Teaching Kids to Cope

A 10-session group intervention designed to reduce depression and stress by enhancing the coping skills among high school adolescents.

Teaching Kids to Cope (TKC) is a 10-session psychoeducational group intervention designed to reduce depressive symptomatology and stress by enhancing the coping skills of adolescents. Each session lasts 45 minutes. Participants are guided through a process to discover their distorted thinking patterns and to test their thinking against reality using suggested approaches. They also explore and practice problem identification, alternate ways of viewing a situation, and alternate ways of reacting. The TKC program focuses on behavioral techniques but also incorporates cognitive components. The behavioral techniques aim to improve coping skills, which include activity planning, social skills training, assertiveness training, bibliotherapy, role-playing, conflict resolution, and relaxation training. The TKC incorporates experiential exercises such as trust-fall, buddy assignments, and role-playing situations from school and home. Art is incorporated into the sessions through drawing exercises. The cognitive components employ techniques such as externalization of negative voices, reframing, establishing idiosyncratic meaning, and cognitive rehearsal.

To improve access to the treatment for high school students seeking help, this intervention is offered during regular school days. Eligible students should score in the mid-range (at least 60) on the Reynolds Adolescent Depression Scale (RADS). The intervention is implemented by a psychiatric nurse in collaboration with the school nurse or guidance counselor.

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