Archive for the 'Adolescent Therapy' Category

Counseling Child Anxiety Disorders Phoenix, Arizona, Scottsdale Arizona

Monday, July 17th, 2017



Teens are taught to keep in their emotions and boys are told not to cry. Stuffing emotions is extremely unhealthy and must be worked on and processed to create best outcomes.

Many children report high levels of anxiety at school. Children as young as five self harm due to anxiety and stress related to school and academics. Many children do not know how to express their feelings and emotions end up turning into aggression, sadness, anger, tantrums, crying etc. It is vital to teach children to express emotions at a young age before it oozes into an imbalance.

There are many factors that can contribute to anxiety or anxiety disorders: obsessive compulsive disorders, Panic disorders, social anxiety, Phobias, general anxiety, Panic attacks, PTSD Post traumatic stress disorders and more.

It is important to look at many elements in an individuals life: medications, factors during inception and birth, environmental factors, Drugs, marijuana, alcohol, Stressors, Trauma from the past ( emotional, physical, mental), sleep, diet, daily habits, negative cognitions daily, genetics in the family from Mom and Dad as well as other family members and their traumas as well.


Many practitioners give meds without addressing the root causes of the anxiety. It is important to look at all the above and more in order to create the best plan to reduce anxiety. I have worked with anxiety disorders for over 15 years and have seen a combination of many elements that exacerbate anxiety disorders. It is vital to look at all the above areas in order to really manage your child’s anxiety or your anxiety as best as possible. Not looking at sleep for example and treating the disorder without a change in sleep will most likely not be very successful since sleep is an important element in mood disorders.

Brain experts believe a diet that is heavy in inflammation food consumption and low in healthy fats affects the risk of obtaining anxiety or anxiety disorders. Anxiety is extremely high in those with high sensitivity to gluten.

Medication is used to treat ADHD , however, research shows that it also leads to anxiety disorders, as well as other symptoms including but not limited to addiction.

There are many tools an anxiety client can learn in order to manage an anxiety disorder be it panic attacks, phobias, generalized anxiety, PTSD, etc.

Some of the research based tools in counseling psychology to manage anxiety are: EMDR, DBT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Progressive Relaxation, VMBR, Exposure therapy, and mindfulness.

Child anxiety is stressful and painful for families. Activities that once were enjoyable are avoided and parents hear complaints of stomach problems, and various aches and pains, headaches and more. Learning ways to cope with anxiety is important. It is a fine balancing act however avoiding school and avoiding sleeping alone and avoiding new things is not creating a balance for your child or teenager. Forcing a child may be overwhelming and can be a failed approach as well. It is important that parents understand that anxiety can be debilitating and your child may no be manipulating and may not be lazy.

Many children that have behavioral issues like oppositional defiance or conduct disorders also have underlying anxiety that they do not know how to handle or identify. Learning skills to manage anxiety is vital to you child’s success socially as well as academically and behaviorally and emotionally. Most children can not articulate what is going on inside their bodies and minds. They must learn skills and tools to address their anxiety.

Some children can manifest itself in different ways. One way might be to avoid situations that are uncomfortable. Another way might be to escape the situation and this can be seen or perceived as oppositional or defiant when it is really fear based. Behavioral dysregulation is common with children and teens that have anxiety disorders: panic attacks, phobia, social anxiety, PTSD, Post traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorders , obsessive compulsive disorder and other anxiety disorders.

Children that display temper tantrums, behavioral problems at school, throw things at school, throw themselves down and cry and have full blown outburst may have a profound anxiety disorder however this needs to be assessed by a professional. Anxiety disorders need to be assessed and treated by a professional in mental health care.

Academic pressure and demands in the classroom can trigger anxiety and this will look like disruptive behaviors. The child may feel overwhelmed and anxious and not be able to cope with the teachers request or the assignment. The child might be intelligent however he or she may have a learning challenge or trouble with the task and feel overwhelmed hence unable to do the task and act out behaviorally.

Most teachers are not trained in identifying anxiety disorders and a child or teenager typically will end up in suspension or in the Principals office being punished. This does not address the underlying issue that may be an anxiety disorder.

A child that is diagnosed with ADHD may have an anxiety disorder instead that looks like: impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattention however this needs to be evaluated by a professional. A lot of times individuals jump to ADHD diagnosis when really the child or teen is suffering with an anxiety disorder. An anxiety disorder may be primary and for example ADHD is secondary or it may be the other way around. There are a number of other diagnosis as well that may be co-occuring with a child or teens anxiety.

Many adolescent teens are feeling worthless, unhappy, inability to focus or concentrate.

Teens are reporting more problems sleeping and are not receiving adequate sleep.

Children and teens are slow to talk about their distress to parents and parents tend to be slow to respond once finding out their child or teen is suffering.

Parents are not to blame for a child’s mental health issues. Children can have excellent parenting and still suffer from mental health issues.

In colleges and universities throughout the United States the following research was done and this was the mental health results :

The American College Health Association surveyed 100,000 college students at 53 US campuses and found that 84 per cent of US students feel unable to cope, 79 per cent are exhausted, 60 per cent feel very sad and more than half are experiencing overwhelming anxiety.

Obviously teens and college students need to learn coping and stress management tools to address : school, peers, family, work, grades, social situations and much more.

Many teenagers and adolescents as well as college students fear failure and are fearful of their future and need a direction and support to reach their goals. Children as young as 10 are worried about finding a job in many homes and are stressed and anxious.

Cyberbullying and social media can be a stressor and many teens are concerned about their body image with such a huge emphasis on waif models being the norm when most adults know this is not reality. Technology does not create the bully or the poor body image it may magnify the problem. Removing all media may not solve the issue because it is the negative distorted and unhealthy thoughts inside your child or adolescents head that is feeding the negative behaviors and mood. Media can affect our moods however it is up to parents and children and teens to set limits on use and be able to turn it off and find a balance in other activities above and beyond social media and or video games and technology.


I have worked with children , teens and families over fifteen years at  and many times it is more than just one issues that a child is suffering with it could be: social, self esteem, bullying, relationship with family, and grades. All of these need to addressed so your child can find balance, happiness, and success in their life.

Counseling for Family and child: Behavior, Depression , ADHD, Anxiety

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

Is your child Depressed, Angry, Defiant, Unmotivated, irritable, does not listen, does not do chores, does not do his or her homework, lies about his or her academics? You are not alone and behavioral issues for children and teens are on the rise in an exponential fashion. The best research approach to creating desired change is a combination of child and teen counseling mixed with parenting skills and or family therapy to created desired change. Below is information on statistics for mental health issues in Arizona and the USA.

Children throughout the United States of America and in Phoenix and Scottsdale Arizona are experiencing a higher rate of neurological disorders and behavioral problems then were reported or diagnosed ten years a ago. The positive news is that children are facing fewer physical disabilities over the past ten years.

The unexpected spike could be attributed to more awareness of mental health disorders, better diagnostics and more availability for mental health care support in the USA.

Experts state that the increase in behavioral health issues and mental health disorders may be attributed to an increase in stress for children and families.

The increase in environmental exposures and poor dietary health habits for children and families in the USA.

Media news is at an all time high and this may impact pregnant women.

Higher rates of autism spectrum disorders, childhood anxiety, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and depression are some of the disorders that are on the rise.

Children, especially those in more socially advantaged households, may be diagnosed more readily for neurological disorders such as autism or mental health disorders, because of better access to health services and increased parental awareness of such disorders.

But environmental exposures, obesity in pregnancy and the persistent stress of the American lifestyle also help to explain the increase. During his career, Dr. Jones said, he has witnessed notable increases in autism and childhood anxiety, along with an ever-larger prevalence of ADHD and childhood depression.

Video games, media,Tv, You tube, smart phones, movies have exponentially increased: anxiety, fear, and stress. The more exposure to violence and aggression the more likelihood a child will have sleep problems, anxiety issues, academic challenges, depression , and mood disorders. Parents should limit and minimize exposure to violence and fearful media images and parents will see a shift in children’s mood etc.

Over twenty percent of American Children and teenagers have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder in America.ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) was the most widely diagnosed disorder for children under the age of eighteen.

Behavioral disorders and conduct disorders ranked second on the list of disorders among youth in the USA. Next Anxiety disorders and Depression or depressive disorders followed and next was Autistic Disorders.

Depression and alcohol use disorders were high as well as cannabis use disorders. Millions of teenagers in America abuse drugs, alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine.

Children struggle with family issues such as: grief , loss, divorce, moving schools, adoption issues, abuse, mood regulation, self esteem , social skills, healthy choices, problem solving, stress management,  ADHD, changing behaviors at home as well as at school bullying, peer pressure, addictions to electronics, poor eating habits, lack of exercise, and more.

It is important to obtain support and the earlier you get counseling and psychotherapy the better chance your child or teenager has of finding balance and success. Family counseling combined with individual counseling and therapy can be extremely effective for change.

ADHD Counseling Child Adolescents Teenagers Phoenix, Tempe, Chandler, Scottsdale Arizona

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Before stimulant drugs such as Ritalin, and Adderall began their rise to popularity in the 1970s, treatment for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) focused on behavioral therapy. But as concerns build over the mounting dosages and extended treatment periods that come with stimulant drugs, clinical researchers are revisiting behavioral therapy techniques. Whereas stimulant medications may help young patients focus and behave in the classroom, research now suggests that behaviorally based changes make more of a difference in the long-term. ADHD drugs are tested for 8-12 weeks in experiments and most children stay on the drug for years not knowing how it impacts the brain. Many children suffer withdrawal symptoms and behavioral changes when taken off the drugs similar to what a drug addict experiences when stopping long term drug use.

Recent research findings suggest that behavioral and cognitive therapies focused on reducing impulsivity and reinforcing positive long-term habits may be able to replace current high doses of stimulant treatment in children and young adults. Lifeworksaz has been working with ADHD children and teens using a combination of cognitive therapies, behavior modification, play therapy, and more to teach children how to manage ADHD with excellent results.

Recent surveys indicate that 12 percent of all children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with ADHD. ADHD’s core symptoms include hyperactivity, inattention, inability to perform monotonous tasks and lack of impulse control. Children with ADHD have trouble in school and forming relationships, and 60 percent will continue to suffer from the disorder well into adulthood if they do not receive counseling and therapy.

Over 3 million U.S. children and adolescents with ADHD were being treated with stimulant drugs. New research reveals that these drugs are not necessarily the panacea they have been thought to be.Research outcomes suggests that if ADHD children and adolescents could learn good study habits early on, medication could become less necessary.

Other research has examined the role of behavioral interventions not only for school-age children, but also for their parents. Parents of children with ADHD tend to exhibit more parenting-related stress and difficulties than do those of non-afflicted offspring. After training parents in stress management and giving them behavioral tools to help their children, significant improvement in their children’s ADHD-related behavior appeared.

Cognitive therapy may also boost improvement: In a 2011, showed that children with ADHD show extra activity in brain areas associated with “task-irrelevant” information during working memory tasks (those that depend on one’s ability to hold and focus on information for immediate reasoning and recall), suggesting that they have less efficient cognitive control. Cognitive therapy and counseling can improve control and ability to focus.

Children, teens, Adolescents Porn Unhealthy!

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Children as young as 5 and 6 are exposed to explicit images of pornography at a very early age. If your child or teen has internet access there is a very high probability that they are being exposed to porn. The numbers are staggering.

Children and teens that are exposed to porn are more likely to develop sexually risky behaviors and become sexually active at a much earlier age due to their exposure to porn. Violent and sadistic images of pornography are pervasive on the internet.

Children and teens can access Pornography through many different devices: smartphones, iPod, WII, PS3-4, X Box, Computers, iPads, DS games, any device that has access to the internet. Children are being exposed to a high concentration of porn as a daily diet and it is is very dangerous.

Pornography influences children’s attitudes toward relationships and sexuality. Exposure to porn can lead children to engage in dangerous sexual activities that are unhealthy and extremely risky. Exposure to porn can foster use of drugs and alcohol and unprotected sexual behaviors.

A majority of boys and girls over 12 are exposed to pornography. The largest group of individuals viewing pornography on line is not an adult it is children ages 12- 17 that are watching these graphic images daily.

Children exposed to pornography will begin to see sexuality as a disconnected activity from a healthy loving relationship. The children will learn to objectify women and men. Children and adolescents will begin to see others in a context that is devoid of emotions or empathy and in a contact where people do not have: feelings., personalities, or needs.

Pornography hurts adults, children, couples, families, and society. Among adolescents, pornography hinders the development of a healthy sexuality, and among adults, it distorts sexual attitudes and social realities. In families, pornography use leads to marital dissatisfaction, infidelity, separation, and divorce. Pornography will handicap one’s ability to be intimate in marriage and will ruin relationships.

Addiction to porn and the internet will also ruin lives. The inability to communicate and connect with partners and have healthy social skills is a huge issue..Child and teen pregnancy and sexual diseases are on the rise as well.

There are many things parents can do to help their child first is to have parental controls and devices that will block all pornography from the internet. There are a number of free programs out there however at the moment you may need a device for your: router, PC, and mobile devices however it can be done and is vital to help your children. Of course explaining healthy behaviors and intimacy and love is vital as well.

Teen children adolescent school, academics, motivation, goals, cheating?

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Fighting test cheating is big business with the advances in technology . There are concerns such as wirelessly transmitting questions outside of an exam and hacking into the computer based tests .

Over 1.8 million children took the ACT a national college placement exam taken by high school students . The test will be computer based starting in 2015.

Test takers have used advanced technology to download questions or capture their images with digital cameras or other devices while taking a test and then they transmit them wirelessly outside of a testing room. These questions can end up for sale on various web sites.

Major testing companies like CTB/Mcgrawhill are developing security software to sell to schools and licensure boards to protect them from cheating .

Computer based exams are expanding rapidly . We are using technology for a large majority of life activities and this is why tests are becoming more computer based as well .

Wireless technology where students that are cheating have reached people outside of the classroom during a test has been a threat to test taking .

An Individual recently used a tiny video camera in his glasses to transmit questions on a drivers test to a person outside the test room who then was able to relay the correct answers for the test via a small earpiece .

Many educators in high schools prefer pencil and paper testing and are opposed to computerized tests due to : hacking , and the ability to cheat through technology .

Teaching children to be honest is important and that shortcuts will not help them in the long run . Cheating does not pay !

Lifeworks Az works with children , teens and families to create health and success in life . Contact to set up an appointment .

Counseling therapy benefits child teen adults

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Talk therapy is a strong treatment for serious mental disorders as well as for other mental health disorders .

Talk therapy alters the brain . Clinical depression and anxiety can be helped by understanding unhealthy or distorted thought patterns that sabotage mood and the brains neurochemistry.

Learning new things in therapy affects the way in which the brain forms its neural connections . Psychotherapy is a very powerful tool in the healing process and it effects the brain to create desired change .

Counseling is an objective and safe place to talk to someone who can provide compassion and empathy without fear of being judged and many people do not have a place like this to go in their lives .

Counseling at Lifeworks Arizona puts a high value on each individuals strengths. There are many skills that can be taught through counseling that have had great success . Counseling is all about the client and what goals they would like to achieve .

Counseling and therapy can be extremely advantageous for those that need coaching , goal setting , stress , anger , pain, trauma , anxiety , depression, relationship issues , couples counseling , ADHD counseling , ADD counseling , behavior challenges , parenting , depression , bipolar disorders , and much more.

Teen in Tempe, Arizona arrested for explosive device

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

A Tempe Arizona high school student was arrested for possessing allegedly a improvised explosive device . The device was not big however police state it could cause serious damage .

A house keeper discovered several explosives in the home while cleaning the house . Authorities are not sure of how these explosives were intended as in was there a plan to use them ? Why did the student have them ?

Bomb technicians defused the explosive device and it was an IED that was active and could cause serious damage .

Gunpowder and two more bombs as well as another improvised explosive device was found in the home .

The parents were not aware that their son age 18 had these devices in their home .

It is difficult for parents to know exactly what is being hidden in a child’s room or in the home . It is important for parents to be open with their children and let them know what is safe and acceptable in the home and what is not safe. Also parents must set limits and communicate boundaries as well as consequences for bringing illegal substances. ( drugs , weapons , stolen property ) anything that is illegal , dangerous ,and not healthy.

In today’s age of technology 24/7 it is important that parents monitor friends, activities, and that they have access to technology to prevent potential dangerous , illegal, and unhealthy choices for their children .

Being aware of what your child is doing after school is vital . What type of friends is he or she associating with? Have you net the parents ? Are the children supervised when away from the home ? Is your child isolated ? Is your child sad? Is your child angry? Is your child’s grades suffering ? Is your child zoned out on video games and Internet and tv? Is your child involved in productive activities ?Are they using drugs, marijuana, or alcohol ? Is your teen doing homework daily ? Is your teen or child involved in sports , music, a club,
positive activities ? Is your child spending quality time one on one with parents? Do you spend time one on one listening to your child without solving the problem or cutting them off before they tell you their thoughts and express their feelings ? Does your child or teen have balance ? Enough sleep? Enough healthy foods ?

It is best to be safe and aware.

Adolescent, Child, ADHD, ADD, Treatment

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

ADHD is a common diagnosis on children and teenagers . ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder can co- occur with depression or major depressive Disorders. Recent research on children show that almost twenty percent of children that are diagnosed with ADHD also have a disorder related to depression . It is important to treat the ADHD symptoms as well as the symptoms of depression and do a full assessment to look at all areas that are working well for the child as well as emotional and behavioral issues that are not working for the child .

Children and teenagers that have been diagnosed with ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder show that over twenty five percent of these youth qualified for a diagnosis of GAD or generalized anxiety disorder . Those children with both ADHD and GAD may display less impulsivity and more in attentive behaviors however treating the ADHD as well as the anxiety is vital.

Panic Disorders do co occur with ADHD . Panic may show up as : sweatiness, rapid heart best , feeling like one can not stand up, and other somatic symptoms . Treating the root if the panic disorder as well as the ADHD in an integrative approach shows best results .

ADHD Atttention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder co – occurs quite often with alcohol and marijuana dependence and other substance dependences .The estimate is close to twenty percent if children that have ADHD also have drug dependence .

Many children with ADHD also have a diagnosis of conduct disorder . Conduct disorders have behaviors such as aggression , destruction of property , dishonesty , breaking rules and more . Conduct disorder is more common in males then females however a child with ADHD has a fifteen percent chance of also having a conduct disorder if it is a male.

ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder co occurs quite often with the diagnosis of Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Over forty percent of children with ADHD also have a diagnosis of Oppositional Defiance in the USA . Typically children with oppositional defiance display hostile and defiant behavior that impact social situations at home or at school, with family , academic challenges , and problems at work .

Autism and ADHD seem to have some overlap however a co occurring diagnosis is not allowed per DSM guidelines .

An integrative approach using individual counseling as well as family counseling has shown great success rates among children and teenagers for ADHD as well as for : depression , anxiety , anger , aggression , conduct disorders , oppositional defiance and more.

Anxiety, Depression,ADHD,ADD Diagnosis ? More medication ?

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

The DSM 5 publication is coming out with a new edition in May 2013. The concern among many counselors , psychologists , and doctors is that new thresholds have been created that have lowered the criteria to create a mental health disorder.

Childhood crying and tantrums would turn into a mental health disorder called disruptive mood dysregulation disorder.
The more labels of disorders will increase the amount of drug medications prescribed by the diagnosis .

I believe children are over medicated and firmly believe a disorder label creates a stigma that feeds the child to believe he is disabled and dysfunctional, defective , and this is not what is needed to improve behavior.

Lower thresholds have been created for ADD , Attention Deficit Disorder,ADHD and this means more potential for prescribing stimulant drugs .

Generalized anxiety disorder will become more common and will allow more medical treatments . The magic pill is what is given first however evidence based research shows that medication and counseling therapy is most effective together not alone .

Grief and loss will become a Depressive Disorder however grief and loss has never been considered a mental health disorder in the past.

A number of experts state we tend to prescribe medications: antidepressants , ADHD meds, anti psychotic medications despite poor evidence of their effectiveness and a laundry list of negative symptoms .

Child school failure mental health

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Research shows that children that are suffering with mental health issue that are over thirteen have a high likelihood of dropping out of high school . Many children seem to be unmotivated however they may be suffering from depression , anxiety, bipolar disorder, or some other disorder and simply need treatment and support to manage their issues .

Early intervention can minimize long term disability from mental health challenges . Help children learn effective life coping skills to stay in school , manage mood and emotions , and regain peace and balance in life instead of feeling emotional pain.

Effective counseling and therapy and other treatments can prevent delinquency and increase school success. Learn healthy positive social and communication schools. Teens can learn healthy problem solving skills and goal setting as well many other skills for success.

Lifeworks Arizona counseling has provided counseling throughout Phoenix , ahwatukee, Scottsdale , Glendale , Peoria, and valley wide working in therapy with children, teens, and families .

Articles are not to be taken as a substitute for professional advice or counseling.