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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5334
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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What tips can I give my son who has major depression, is

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What tips can I give my son who has major depression, is emotionally delayed by about three years according to psychiatrist (is currently 19 years old) and wants to break out of his shell and become less socially awkward. He wants to develop a social life and is turning to me in confidence and help. I would love Kate to answer, but if not available I will accept answer from another mental health professional.
He is not delayed due to any biological disorder, but was out of the loop socially for several years during a traumatic period... Thanks
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 5 years ago.

Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue.

First, let me say you are clearly a loving and caring mom. Your son's lucky to have you there.

I think the best way to discuss what would help your son is to actually address my answer to him. Because he will have to implement it whatever I say. So I would like you to let him read my answer and then the two of you discuss it. Okay?

Here goes:

Hi. There is something called "social life". It means friends, girlfriends, acquaintances, buds, etc. But it's not separate from YOUR life. At least, if it is satisfying and feels good it's not something separate. It is just you being you with others. It means you being comfortable being you with others. And that means you being comfortable being you period!

That's the key. Being you and accepting who you are. Not trying to be somebody else to impress or be accepted. Just seeing if the other person or people accept you. And if you can accept them. That's when social life is good.

Being you can be a little scary and confusing sometimes. When you're alone you don't have to be anybody. You just ARE. And it seems with others you would have to be conscious of yourself. That's when people become self conscious, nervous.

So you have to start with just thinking about being you even when you're alone. Getting used to thinking about you. Here are some tools:

I want you to commit yourself to apply the principles in the following videos and books to getting to know yourself in positive ways. So that you can be yourself with more confidence. Coach yourself. Be your own life coach! I want you to get really into motivational videos and books. Here's a simple YouTube search I put together on "motivational speakers":

Some like Tony Robbins are the classic big guys. Some are newer. Watch them all. Get inspired. Buy a book or two. Here are some possibilities, but they are only suggestions as there are so many good ones.

The first book is the father of all these type of books. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. There are classes in these books now! It was written in the 1930s and still has something to say to us today that is very worthwhile.

I think very highly of the second book on my list, which is a real classic: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. It is the book that has helped more people than probably any other.

The third book is by Anthony Robbins. He's one of those speakers who fills up huge auditoriums. For a reason. He's a terrific speaker and writer. The particular book (if you like it, try his others): Awaken the Giant Within.

You are seeing a psychiatrist for medications for depression. I'd like you and your mom to talk about seeing a psychologist/psychotherapist to work on both your depression and to help you with feeling more confidence as well. See if you want to start out with the motivational books and speakers first or if you want to go right away to get professional help.

Here is the web address for Psychology Today's therapist directory if you don't have a good referral source. You can sort by zip codes and when you see someone who seems like they might be helpful (they show you a photo of the therapist!) look at the listing and see if they list depression in the areas they work with, and teens with the population they work with. Interview the therapist and make sure his/her values are similar to you and you feel confident and comfortable with him/her.

Good Therapy is a non profit directory. Same idea as the one above:

Okay, I'm back. I hope your son will want to talk with you about these recommendations. He is the one who needs to want to do this.

I wish you the very best!

Please remember to click the green accept button because: even though you have made a deposit, I do not get paid for my time unless you press ACCEPT. You are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing ACCEPT. Feel free to continue the discussion even after pressing ACCEPT as my goal is to get you the best answer possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, ***** *****

Dr. Mark and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you very much....for your time and input
Understood everything
He just doesnt know who he is, and his feelings and behaviors are blocked.
Will try to get him to work this out in therapy.
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 5 years ago.
Good for you....and for him!

All the best,
Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you