Adolescent Depression: Meeting Therapeutic Challenges Through an Integrated Narrative Approach


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The adolescent period is a time of transition and change often associated with losses and adjustment issues at the family, school, and individual levels. When this normal developmental transition is interrupted and compounded by depressive illness, treatment needs and nursing therapeutic challenges can be daunting.


This clinically based article explores the clinical process and progress in work with a 14-year-old adolescent boy who was diagnosed with a major depressive episode. Core clinical features, distinguishing characteristics of depression in youth, as well as specific therapeutic issues and challenges are discussed. The value of an integrated clinical approach with special emphasis on narrative methods both for achievement of clinical goals and for establishing a therapeutic alliance is highlighted.

Sources Used

The study used published literature and the author's professional and clinical experiences.


Nursing therapeutics with adolescents experiencing depression must embrace a holistic integrated approach to adolescent recovery with an emphasis on what works with each unique clinical situation. Special attention to the nurse–adolescent therapeutic alliance not only facilitates achievement of therapeutic goals related to the depressive illness, but in addition, supports the shaping of a new self-narrative, wholeness, and healthy adolescent development and well-being.