email page    print page

All Topic Reviews
A Mood ApartA Sadly Troubled HistoryActive Treatment of DepressionAdolescent DepressionAdult Bipolar DisordersAgainst DepressionAgents in My BrainAmerican ManiaAmerican MelancholyAn Unquiet MindArtificial HappinessBeating the BluesBefore ProzacBeyond BlueBiological UnhappinessBipolar DisorderBipolar Disorder DemystifiedBipolar Disorder in Childhood and Early AdolescenceBipolar DisordersBipolar ExpeditionsBlaming the BrainBoy InterruptedBritain on the CouchCalm EnergyCase Studies in DepressionChange Your ThinkingChronic DepressionComprehending SuicideConquering Postpartum DepressionConquering the Beast WithinCry Depression, Celebrate RecoveryDamageDepressionDepressionDepression 101Depression and GlobalizationDepression and NarrativeDepression Doesn't Always Have to Be DepressingDepression FalloutDepression in ContextDepression Is a ChoiceDepression SourcebookDepression, Emotion and the SelfDepression, the Mood DiseaseDepression-Free for LifeDetourDiagnostic Issues in Depression and Generalized Anxiety DisorderDown Came the RainDowning Street BluesDysthymia and the Spectrum of Chronic DepressionsEight Stories UpElectroboyElectroshockEssential Psychopharmacology of Depression and Bipolar DisorderExperiences of DepressionFacing BipolarFast GirlFatal AttachmentsGetting Your Life BackGod HeadHandbook of DepressionHandbook of DepressionHello to All ThatHelping Students Overcome Depression and AnxietyHow Everyone Became DepressedHow I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill MeHurry Down SunshineI am Not Sick I Don't Need Help!Journeys with the Black DogLeaving YouLet Them Eat ProzacLife InterruptedLifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues--Level 1LifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues: Level 2Lifting DepressionLifting the WeightLincoln's MelancholyLiving Without Depression and Manic DepressionLong ShotLucy Sullivan Is Getting MarriedMadnessMaking Sense of SuicideMalignant SadnessManiaManicManic DepressionManufacturing DepressionMelancholiaMindfulness for Urban Depression: Tools for Relief from Stressful City LivingMindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for DepressionMood GenesMoody Minds DistemperedMy DepressionNatural Healing for DepressionNew Hope for Children and Teens with Bipolar DisorderNew Hope For People With Bipolar DisorderNew Hope for People with DepressionNight Falls FastNovember of the SoulOn DepressionOn the Edge of DarknessOne in ThirteenOrdinarily WellOut of the BlueOutsmarting DepressionOvercoming DepressionPerfect ChaosPotatoes Not ProzacProzac and the New AntidepressantsProzac BacklashProzac HighwayProzac NationProzac NationPsychotic DepressionPuppy Chow Is Better Than ProzacQuiet Your Mind & Get to SleepRaising a Moody ChildReasons to Stay AliveScattershotSelf-CoachingSightlinesSilencing the Self Across CulturesSilent GriefSongs from the Black ChairSongs Without WordsSpeaking of SadnessSpontaneous HappinessStudent DepressionSubordination and DefeatSuicidal Behavior in Children and AdolescentsSuicideSunbathing in the RainSurvival Strategies for Parenting Children with Bipolar DisorderSurviving Manic DepressionSwing LowSylvia Plath ReadsTalking Back to ProzacTaming Your Inner BratThe Aesthetics of DisengagementThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Mood DisordersThe Anatomy of MelancholyThe Anti-Depressant Fact BookThe Antidepressant EraThe Antidepressant SolutionThe Antidepressant Survival ProgramThe BeastThe Bell JarThe Best AwfulThe Bipolar ChildThe Bipolar Disorder Survival GuideThe Blue Day BookThe Breakthrough Depression SolutionThe Clinical Science of Suicide PreventionThe CorrectionsThe Cruelty of DepressionThe Depressed ChildThe Depression CureThe Depression WorkbookThe Devil WithinThe Emotional RevolutionThe Family SilverThe Feeling Good HandbookThe Forgotten MournersThe Loss of SadnessThe Memory of LightThe Mindful Way through DepressionThe Mood CureThe Myth of Depression as DiseaseThe Naked Bird WatcherThe Nature of MelancholyThe Noonday DemonThe Pits and the PendulumThe Postpartum EffectThe Secret Strength of DepressionThe Van Gogh BluesThe Van Gogh BluesThe Weariness of the SelfThe Years of Silence are PastThirteen Reasons WhyThis Close to HappyTo Walk on EggshellsTreatment for Chronic DepressionUndercurrentsUnderstanding DepressionUnderstanding DepressionUndoing DepressionUnhappy TeenagersUnholy GhostUnstuckViniyoga Therapy for DepressionWhat Goes UpWhat the Birds SeeWhat Works for Bipolar KidsWhen a Parent is DepressedWhen Nothing Matters AnymoreWhen Someone You Love Is DepressedWhen Words Are Not EnoughWhen Your Body Gets the BluesWhere the Roots Reach for WaterWhy Are You So Sad?Why People Die by SuicideWill's ChoiceWriting Through the DarknessYou Are Not AloneZelda

Related Topics
The Depressed ChildReview - The Depressed Child
A Parent's Guide for Rescuing Kids
by Douglas Riley
Taylor Publishing, 2001
Review by Monique Thornton, MSW
May 28th 2002 (Volume 6, Issue 22)

Douglas A. Riley’s book, The Depressed Child: A Parent’s Guide for Rescuing Kids, explores the nature of depression along with some of the most common negative statements that children with depression tell themselves as a part of their “internal program” or their belief system. Riley provides a concise overview of the nature of depression.  He has 20 years of experience treating children for depression and has realized that most children who are depressed need their parents, and a therapist, to help them navigate through the depression.  Through this book he helps parents examine their child’s faulty thought process, so they may help their child make a conscious choice, through hard work and cognitive behavioral therapy, to change their way of thinking.

The chapters describe each of several beliefs that depressed children think and perceive about life and themselves. The chapters include: “Death is an Option,” “I am Made of Inferior Stuff,” “My Mistakes are Proof that I am Worthless,” “No One will Ever Like Me,” “The “F” Word,” “I Can’t Live without This Person,” “I Must Be Going Crazy,” “My Parent Didn’t Love Me Enough,” “Substances Will Make Me Happy,” and “Nothing will Ever Change.”  The author also includes chapters on “Planning the Rescue Mission,” “Building Treatment Strategies,” and a brief chapter on “Associated Disorders.”

Throughout the book, Riley challenges a series of commonly held beliefs (denoted by each chapter) held by children, about their lives and relationships that have led them into depression. He skillfully challenges the beliefs through a variety of highly effective cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. For example, in the chapter, “I Must be Going Crazy” the author describes strategies to help kids deal with hearing voices (he discriminates between auditory hallucinations and voices of beliefs or negative thoughts). These strategies can be generalized to help deal with other faulty/negative beliefs. For example he says to imagine the negative thought/negative voice as a monster. Imagine the monster, two inches tall, running around, screaming, roaring, and shaking its fists. Visualize taking your foot and squishing this monster like a bug. This visualization exercise gives the child hope and a voice and helps her regain a sense of control. The thought, or voice, loses all power.

In each chapter Riley provides a list of the beliefs behind a main belief such as “substances will make me happy.” He describes that when depression and substance abuse are combined, kids’ thinking becomes more blunted and pessimistic. He explains that the therapist/or parent must first challenge the belief system of the child and then provide replacement beliefs. He states that reprogramming is difficult, so it is best to start these discussions about their beliefs early in life.

Riley discusses the question of what causes depression. He states that there are three main factors: How a person thinks, outside factors and a biochemical imbalance. Once the cause is determined, the therapist is able to make a plan of action. In conjunction with the therapists plan, the parent can learn how to talk to a child about what he is thinking and may be able to help him replace his depression causing thoughts with more productive ways of thinking. Riley describes that in addition to cognitive therapy the child may also need anti-depressants and supportive therapy to help cope with outside factors that may be affecting the child¹s depressive state.

Riley indicates how a faulty belief system leads to new faulty beliefs that leads to dangerous behaviors and or a depressive state of mind. He does not focus on where to place the blame for kids who are depressed. Instead he takes a highly organized, straightforward approach to helping kids challenge their own negative belief system. Once he is able to help kids realize how their beliefs are baseless, they are then one step closer to forming a new belief system based on reality.

The chapter “Building a treatment Strategy” describes treatment strategies of which parents should be aware. Riley provides information regarding the different types of mental health practitioners, inpatient vs. outpatient treatment, medication, and evaluation of the treatment process. Riley also provides three test case scenarios in order for the reader to test their clinical judgment. I found this chapter to provide highly reliable information that may be helpful to parents searching for the most appropriate treatment for their child.
In Riley’s final chapter he includes a “few kind words about depression.” Here he expresses how he struggles with the grief of when kids he has worked with have committed suicide. He states that fortunately not many kids who are depressed reach this point of desperation. Riley explains how parents are given a chance to help their kids when depression is strong enough to catch their attention. His experience is that most parents are surprised at how much information their children will share if they are only asked.

Riley describes that the journey to helping children must be taken on with the joint cooperation between therapist and parent. He emphasizes that the nature of depression is pervasive and that if the cognitive behavioral approach is not reinforced in the home, the treatment will not be as effective. He also reinforces some common-sense advice to parents about setting firm limits and helping their kids make better decisions.

Riley states, “in order to rescue your child from cognitive depression, you have to help him understand that the way he is thinking is what is actually causing him to be depressed. In order to help him escape depression, we will have to show him, sometimes quite dramatically, that his thinking is faulty.” Riley explores the idea that if a child has a thought-based cause for depression, then he needs to be given the tools to replace depression-causing thoughts with more productive ways of thinking.

Riley skillfully explains from a “strengths” perspective the cognitive behavioral approach to helping kids and families break free from depression. He encourages children to recognize that they have the ability to change. He provides children and families struggling with depression hope that their situation can improve and the tools for a lifetime of improved mental health.

© 2002 Monique Thorton


Monique Thornton earned her MSW in 1993 from the University of Kansas, and is the mother of a 5-year-old with Asperger Syndrome.


Welcome to Metapsychology. We feature over 8200 in-depth reviews of a wide range of books and DVDs written by our reviewers from many backgrounds and perspectives. We update our front page weekly and add more than twenty new reviews each month. Our editor is Christian Perring, PhD. To contact him, use one of the forms available here.

Metapsychology Online reviewers normally receive gratis review copies of the items they review.
Metapsychology Online receives a commission from for purchases through this site, which helps us send review copies to reviewers. Please support us by making your purchases through our Amazon links. We thank you for your support!

Join our e-mail list!: Metapsychology New Review Announcements: Sent out monthly, these announcements list our recent reviews. To subscribe, click here.

Interested in becoming a book reviewer for Metapsychology? To apply, write to our editor.

Metapsychology Online Reviews

Promote your Page too

Metapsychology Online Reviews
ISSN 1931-5716