Archive for the 'child counseling behavioral emotional Phoenix Arizona' Category

Counseling Teens and Children and family Phoenix Arizona

Tuesday, August 21st, 2018

 

 

Kevin Love NBA star discussed his social anxiety as well as his family history of depression and anxiety. Kevin Love had panic attacks and many of his teammates did not buy into his true mental health issues. Many in society are told to “suck it up” and mental health is not taken as serious as it needs to be due to a stigma in our society. Mental Health Disorders can be paralyzing as well as dangerous.

 

Love had difficulty talking to the reporter back in March and revisited the topic a few months later via email.  Love told the journalist that he was having stress with his family as well as stress w helping the Cavaliers and had a huge panic attack . Love said he could not catch his breath and was running from room to room in the locker rooms. Kevin Love said his heart was beating so hard it felt like it was going to jump out of his chest. Love states he could not catch his breath and it was terrifying. Love went on to say he felt he was going to die.

 

John Lucas a former NBA player with the Houston Rockets states that over Forty percent of NBA athletes have a mental health disorder. Mental health disorders like: Anxiety, ADHD, Bipolar, Depression etc can lead to alcohol and drug abuse and disorders that can make things even worse physically and mentally for the player.

 

Players have to want to get help and must realize that mental health issues are just as serious as Physical disorders. Mental Health disorders will build and ooze out into unhealthy behaviors w family, peers or others . We all have stress and we all need support at going to a therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist is a sign of strength and not weakness. The ego can get in our way.

 

The pressure to perform is extremely high in the NBA as well as coming into millions of dollars at a young age.

 

Many players in the NBA are suffering from anxiety and depression however it is not something most want to talk about. Many NBA players have come out and state one in three people in the USA have anxiety or depression so it is not uncommon or unusual. Mental health is part of the human element not specific to NBA .

 

A study was done with over 17,000 people on adverse childhood experiences:physical, emotional and sexual abuse, physical and emotional neglect, domestic violence, parental substance abuse, parental separation or divorce, household mental illness, suicide or death, and crime or an imprisoned family member and more.

 

 

The research showed that between one to four had adverse childhood experiences and if left unchecked problems can arise.  an lead to disrupted neurodevelopment, which can lead to social, emotional and cognitive impairment, which can lead to adoption of health-risk behavior (such as drugs and alcohol), which can lead to disease, disability and social problems and death as well.

 

Paul Pierce of the Celtics battled depression for over a year. Pierce struggles with crowds and anxiety after he had an alteraction and was stabbed at a night club. The more we invest in mental wellness for society and the NBA the better we will feel as a society and less pain we will carry around.

 

 

For boys aged nine to 15, suicide is now reportedly the second most common cause of death. It is a troubling statistic and one that reflects wider concerns.

Happy children have a better chance of becoming successful children and that’s why we see their emotional development as being just as important as their academic development.

Depression, anger, anxiety, body image, social skills, and self esteem are just a few areas that need to be addressed as well as behavioral and emotional issues.

A study published in Lancet Psychiatry, found that 14-year-old teens who had contact with counseling services had a greater decrease in depressive symptoms than those with similar difficulties but without contact. By the age of 17, the odds of reporting clinical depression were more than SEVEN TIMEShigher in individuals without contact than in service users who had been similarly depressed at baseline. This includes other mental health services as well.

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Contact with mental health services appeared to be of such value that after three years the levels of depressive symptomsof service users with a mental disorder were similar to those of almost 1000 unaffected individuals.

“Mental health and emotional issues can be painful for children, teens and adults . Research worldwide shows clearly that if we intervene at an early stage, we can see potentially dramatic improvements in teen and child symptoms of depression and reduce the risk that they go on to develop severe depressive illness.

Early prevention and finding balance through counseling, and parenting is vital for success. Looking at : sleep, diet, peers, social, self esteem, exercise, friendships, healthy habits, emotional and behavioral issues must all be addressed to spring board your child or teen into balance and success.

Teens have pain and stress and get anxious and depressed. Many adolescents are stressed about : family relationships, peer relationships, grades at school, about future careers, future jobs, future schooling , college?

Anxiety and depression are on the rise since 2012 as well as self harm. Cutting or self harm is also on the rise among adolescents as well as children. Self harm is on the rise and it is not only girls there is a high level of boys that are participating in s elf harm. Most who self harm are doing so to cope with anxiety and depression of course not all but a lot are coping with anxiety and depression. It is important to discover what is going on that is creating anxiety and depression to help each unique child as well as look at all areas of life that are causing great emotional pain.

Over 3 million teens reported an episode of depression in the past year. Over two million teens reported an incident of depression that impacted daily activities and habits. Almost seven million teens have reported an anxiety disorder. keep in mind this what is reported and there must be figures that are much higher than what is being reported statistically. Experts believe that over 27 million teens have experienced an anxiety disorder or an incident of depression that has impacted their daily functioning.

Adolescent teens have grown up watching terror and have gone through a huge recession. It is hard to get away from all the electronic screens and most media is relaying fear and negative messages to youth. When most youth have at least three screens or more it is hard to shut down the fear based stimuli unless there are strict limits enforced daily. Advertisements are bombarding youth from phones, tv, video games, web sites, movie sites, music sites and it is hard for youth to get away from it all. Most of it induces stress.

Boundaries are not being set and this is creating huge problems in relationships and at school and with mental health. Children are zoning out and parents are zoning out and time spent talking is a commodity.

Teens are stressed about dong well at school and getting into college or having a career or a job. Anxiety is a very big piece of most youths lives today in 2016. On the outside adolescents may present as calm however on the inside is great anxiety and pain.

Online bullying is big and is on the rise so not only can someone bully a child in person they can do it covertly online and cause horrible damage to children and teenagers. Many youth have committed due to bullying recently. Children and teens are cruel and unkind over instagram and show little compassion or kindness at all. Children do not want to go to school and are down and depressed due to the way others are treating them online.

Children and teens are distressed at a high level and mask it with games and music and other distractions. It is vital to talk about their thoughts and feelings daily in depth for their emotional health and physical health. Counseling can provide that balance for mental and physical health.

 

Lifeworksaz.com has expertise in working with youth and families for over 15 years!

 

Child counseling Phoenix Arizona, Scottsdale Arizona

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

 

children teens overweight; Depressed, anxious, etc.

 

 

Many children are drinking less sugary sodas in a recent survey however obesity is still a huge issue in America.

Children and Teens are not getting enough exercise in general. Most schools do not provide physical activities on a daily basis and few offer PE.

One of the biggest problems is addiction to : smartphones, you tube, Netflix, TV, Instagram, Facebook, snapchat, and Ipads, computers. Children are spending most of their day on electronic devices and are not involved in sports or dance or some time of physical activity.

 

Maintaining healthy weight or losing weight requires not only healthy eating but exercise.

Many children or stressed regarding their future, school grades, family relationships, peers, bullying, low self esteem, negative thinking, anxious and depressed. When children do not address these issues they will ooze out into unhealthy habits like over eating as well as many times they will stay locked into their rooms on electronics and behaviors will get worse and mood and anxiety will also get worse. Counseling to address this imbalance is essential. Lifeworksaz.com specializes in child, teen, and family mental health issues.

 

 

According to a new study based on a continuing national health survey, 60.7 percent of children and 50 percent of adults drank a sugary beverage on any given day in 2014, down from 79.7 percent of children and 61.5 percent of adults in 2003.

The study, published in the journal Obesity, relied on a representative sample of 18,000 children 2 to 19 years old, and 27,652 adults aged 20 and older. They were asked about their beverage consumption over the past 24 hours: juice, milk, sugar and diet soda, coffee and tea, sports drinks, water and alcohol.

 

 

 

Many schools are sending out letters to parents for children that are overweight. In a recent CA study 200 out of 900 children were overweight. Thirty five percent of children were overweight or obese. The goal is to educate parents and help them make healthier life choices for their children. Nutrition plays a huge role in behavior as well. There is a huge correlation between diet and mood. Unhealthy food intake and inactivity due to technology are two big factors in poor mental health and mood. Depression is on the rise due to being overweight in children and teens. Self esteem is impacted and social acceptance can be impacted.

 

 

A number of factors contribute to becoming overweight. Genetics, lifestyle habits, or a combination of both may be involved. In some instances, endocrine problems, genetic syndromes, and medications can be associated with excessive weight gain.

Much of what we eat is quick and easy — from fat-laden fast food to microwave and prepackaged meals. Daily schedules are so jam-packed that there’s little time to prepare healthier meals or to squeeze in some exercise. Portion sizes, in the home and out, have grown greatly.

Plus, now more than ever life is sedentary — kids spend more time playing with electronic devices, from computers to handheld video game systems, than actively playing outside. Television is a major culprit.

Kids younger than 6 spend an average of 2 hours a day in front of a screen, mostly watching TV, DVDs, or videos. Older kids and teens average 4.5 hours a day watching TV, DVDs, or videos. When computer use and video games are included, time spent in front of a screen increases to over 7 hours a day! Kids who watch more than 4 hours a day are more likely to be overweight compared with kids who watch 2 hours or less.

Not surprisingly, TV in the bedroom is also linked to increased likelihood of being overweight. In other words, for many kids, once they get home from school, virtually all of their free time is spent in front of one screen or another.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids over 2 years old not spend more than 1-2 hours a day in front of a screen. The AAP also discourages any screen time for children younger than 2 years old.

Many kids don’t get enough physical activity. Although physical education (PE) in schools can help kids get up and moving, more and more schools are eliminating PE programs or cutting down the time spent on fitness-building activities. One study showed that gym classes offered third-graders just 25 minutes of vigorous activity each week.

Current guidelines recommend that kids over 2 years old get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week. Babies and toddlers should be active for 15 minutes every hour (a total of 3 hours for every 12 waking hours) each day.

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Child Counseling Phoenix Arizona Scottsdale, CaveCreek

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

 

Medication can not change your child’s thoughts. Medications are tested for only 8-12 weeks and your child could be on medications for decades. The long term effects have not been looked at in the studies only the short 8-12 week side effects. There is no magic pill however a child can learn behavior modification skills, mood management skills, social skills, values, problem solving, social and interpersonal skills and much more through counseling and psychotherapy at www.lifeworksaz.com

A recent study shows an increase in autism and mental psychiatric disorders when a mom is taking antidpressdants during pregnancy. Do you want your child taking these medications too?

Obviously there are times that medication is useful however research shows that counseling is required for best outcomes not a pill alone.

 

“Experts note that two-thirds of prescription drugs have never been studied in children.”

“There are a huge number of drugs that are regularly given to children that have never been tested in children,” said Michael Shannon, on on professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.” I’m very concerned many of these agents may also be inappropriate for children.”

The FDA concluded recently that cough and cold products should not be used in children younger than 6, shocking many parents and setting up on on possible clash between the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry, which is vowing to continue selling the products.

The above was a portion in any article from the Washington Post by Rob Stein Kids’ Cold Remedies suspect for decades.

Children are placed on meds typically stay on them for many years. The research done by the FDA for all ADHD medications is an 8-12 week study. The side effects are only those that show up in 8-12 weeks. There is no standard to test children  that are on ADHD meds for three years and see the side effects. There is a physiological addiction to these medications and if a child is taken of these medications  mood will typically spiral because your child has withdrawal like symptoms just like any substance that impacts the neurology of a brain. Many children resort to illegal drugs after they get off ADHD medications because they are so used to feeling medicated.

“Questions surrounding the long-term efficacy of ADHD medications have stirred debate among pediatricians and psychiatrists. In a 2012 piece in NY times  a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development argued that there is considerable evidence showing that medication was effective in the short-term, but “after three years, these effects had faded, and by eight years there was no evidence that medication produced any academic or behavioral benefits.”

“Early intervention by parents trained to approach their children in an appropriate way could end up being more beneficial in the long term, and could be particularly effective in a regimen that also includes medications if necessary. That’s particularly important considering that ADHD has impact long past childhood into adulthood and is a strong indicator of co-occurring mental illness in both adults and children.”

Many children are furious at their parents for giving them a chemical lobotomy . Giving your child a medication is telling them that their behavior is not able to change and they can not modify it. It also states that no parenting skills could improve your relationship with your child. This is simply not true. There is a great deal of research on: behavior modification, parenting, family and child therapy that shows huge improvements as well as improved family dynamics. A magic pill will not improve your child’s: self esteem, coping skills, communication skills,motivation etc, this is an inside game that can be fostered through counseling and parenting skills as well as life skills.

 

Thirty five percent of children receiving mental health services are receiving it through their primary care Physician. What does this mean? It means that children and teens are being prescribed medications when their brains are still developing that are typically tested for 8-12 weeks when your child or teen will be on a medication typically for years if not decades.

Further twenty six percent were receiving services for mental health through a Psychiatrist. The Psychiatrist specializes in mental health issues , however, 90% typically do not provide psychotherapy or counseling services for the youth.

Research by Psychiatrist and Physicians state that counseling in con junction with medication shows best outcomes. So if a child is on medication he or she should be receiving counseling services from someone who specializes in child, tee, and family issues if they are not seeing a physician that provides psychotherapy.

One of the biggest mental disorders that is treated is ADHD and the second is anxiety and mood disorders. Many children and teens can learn ways to manage behavior with reinforcement from parents through behavior modification, mindfulness, CBT, Family therapy, parenting tips and more.

In a large research study over 74 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD were placed on medications. Over sixty percent of children and teenagers diagnosed with a mood disorder were placed on medication by their primary care physician or family doctor.

Dr Peter Breggin a harvard trained Psychiatrist who has written dozens of books and has expertise in clinical psychopharmacology states the following below:

The latest scientific literature indicates that boys averaging age 7-9 given a diagnosis of mild hyperactivity in the 1970s and treated with Ritalin (methylphenidate) have, as a group, come to a tragic outcome. Compared to a control group of normal children from the same time period, they have much higher rates of early death, atrophy of the brain, suicide, psychiatric hospitalization, incarceration, and drug addiction. By almost every measure, they have reduced quality of life and a shortened life.

Instead of hope and enthusiasm for their futures, too many children now grow up believing they are inherently defective, and controlled by bad genes and biochemical imbalances. They are shackled by the idea that they have ADHD and then subdued by the drugs that inevitably go along with the diagnosis. Unless something intervenes, many of them will go on to pass their days on Earth in a drug-impaired, demoralized state.

Why do children labeled ADHD and given stimulants as a group have such a dreadful outcome? There are multiple reasons, including:

(1) The initial stimulant causes adverse effects such as depression, anxiety, agitation, insomnia, psychosis, and aggression which are not recognized as side effects. Instead, they are viewed as the unmasking of other mental disorders, leading to the prescription of cocktails of drugs that over the years ruin the individuals life.

(2) The drugs “work” by stifling spontaneous behavior and enforcing OCD so that the child socializes less, thinks and imagines in a more constricted fashion, and simple cannot take advantage of ordinary growth experiences because of the limits on his social and psychological capacities.

(3) The initial diagnosis of ADHD ruins the child’s sense of personal responsibility and self-control, so that the child no longer thinks he can control himself. This almost inevitably disrupts emotional growth and renders the child less able to grow up into a mature adult.

(4) The initial diagnosis of ADHD undermines parental emphasis on teaching discipline and devoting the necessary time to the child. Professionals absolve the parents of parental responsibility, so they do not take classes or get therapy to help them improving their parenting.

(5) The initial diagnosis of ADHD discourages teachers from teaching discipline to children who need attention, and so the child is robbed of learning self-discipline in the classroom.

 

Child Counseling Depression social media Phoenix

Monday, September 4th, 2017

 

 

Children and teens are using social media to express their deep feelings and fears at times and even let people know they are planning suicide. Parents and friends should not assume they are posting for attention. Recently two teens killed themselves in Colorado after posting suicide plans on their social media accounts . It was to late and they passed.

Children and teenagers need a safe and supportive individual to discuss their daily lives, stress, and problems. www.lifeworksaz.com has been working with youth and families for over 15 years in Phoenix and Scottsdale Arizona. The trauma is great for a teen who loses a friend to suicide.

Social media has created more connections with a click as an alleged friend however it has created fewer relationships that are real where a child or teen can talk to a real loving and supportive advocate.

Children and teens are communicating through : instagram, snapchat, Face book, and more and many times they want people to know how they feel and so they post it.

 

Child and teen depression is real. Many children and teens have taken their lives due to depression.

Children feel : sad, lonely, and have pain and stress just like adults, however, many children do not have the skills and maturity or the tools to cope with depression.

Experts state social media does not bring people together and many times it simply isolates youth and young adults. Using more than two hours of social media per day doubled the chances a youth or young adult would fill lonely or isolated.

Many children and teens are depressed or have signs of depression. Many children and teens are struggling with : family issues, divorced families, academics, blended families, low self esteem, poor social skills, peer pressure, hormonal changes, grief and loss. Many times teens will stuff their thoughts and feelings . Some teens hide in their room and avoid communication. Some teens are on their Smart Phones, TV, Netflix, and Video games. Too much of anything is not ok and parents can ask themselves is my son or daughter in balance or out of balance with their habits? Below is a story of a Tempe Teen that was depressed and it ended tragically. The good news is there are signs of depression and the sooner one gets help the better. After the article there is a list of some red flags your child may be depressed. There are experts in treating child and teen depression through counseling and therapy and other treatments.

I have worked with thousands of teens with depressed moods and depression. Moving to a new school, change, academic pressure, not getting along with mom or Dad, negative thinking, low self esteem, social dynamics, past challenges are being carried around by children and teens and these items need to be addressed to create health and balance.

A tragedy happened at a Tempe, Arizona High school yesterday . A student athlete committed suicide at a Tempe High school not far from Arizona State University.

Teen and child depression is on the rise and can not be ignored. Depression is not an adult disorder . Millions of children and teen adolescents feel depressed and there are a slew of reasons today that impact a child or adolescents mood.

A child or teen does not have to have had a traumatic childhood in order to be depressed . A teen can have loving parents and spiritual parents and feel depressed.

As a safety measure parents should lock up all pills , medications , guns, knives , blades , weapons at all times regardless of a child’s mood. Parents should lock up all alcohol as well . Parents should monitor social media, smart phones , video game dialogue , texting , and be as involved as they can with their child or teen . Some parents would say it is an invasion of privacy however better safe than sorry . Children state they are excelling in the classroom and passing all classes however parents must still verify and look at report cards and look at missing homework assignments. Teens spend a lot of time w electronic devices and those that are in their room and not communicating daily with parents . They must get off these devices and communicate with parents about their day in detail . If not a parent has no idea why is going on mentally , physically , and emotionally with ones children .

Setting limits and boundaries and requiring family interaction is vital . Spending one on one time with your teen is important and will help find out what is going on in their lives . Make it a requirement before they use their : video games , computers , smart phones etc . Schedule one on one time with each child and this lets them know they are important as well as they are more likely to share information with you than in front of the whole family . Most children will not share their true pain or depressed mood in front of the whole family or at dinner .

I find wonderful children and teens that have very negative thought processes about themselves . Children that are excellent students and athletes still can be very depressed . Many suffer from low self esteem and many suffer from social or peer challenges . Many are depressed about family dynamics and school pressures.

The best approach is to have someone who works w children and parents guide you to help create balance and learn tools to manage depression , anxiety , self esteem, family issues and more .

Teens face a myriad of pressures , from changes in development to questions about who they are and where they are going w peers, school, and their future. The natural transition toward adulthood can bring parental challenges and conflict as the adolescent teen pushes for their independence .

It is not simple to differentiate between depression and teen mood swings . Some teens that are depressed are not sad or withdrawn . Many depressed teens are angry , full of rage , defiant, and irritable and this may be depression.

Some signs of depression in teens are: sadness , hopelessness , irritability , anger , hostility , frequent crying or tears , withdrawal from family and friends, loss of interest in activities , change in eating habits or sleep habits , agitation, restless , guilt, worthless feelings , concentrating issues , thought of death, suicidal thoughts and more.

It is best to have a professional assessment from a professional who has expertise in teen and children .

There are many signs that may indicate your teen is down or depressed or is suffering from depression.

Some red flags that should not be ignored are: sadness , crying, tearfulness, hopelessness, a decrease in activities , inability to enjoy activities that were enjoyable.

Low energy, isolation, poor communication and a lack of connection w family and friends is a sign that something is going on that needs attention. Increased irritability and anger and rage are common w depressed children and teens.

Physical complaints : stomach aches , pain , etc are signs your teenmay be depressed. Changes in sleeping habits and or eating patterns is a red flag as well .

Self destructive behaviors, suicidal thoughts, self harming, drug andalcohol abuse are signs your child need help asap!

Parents should seek professional help if any of the above are going onas soon as possible. Depression is a very serious condition that impacts : thoughts, mood,

and behaviors. Teen depression can be treated .

Teens face many stressors and pressures. Transitioning from child to an adult. Figuring out who they are and what they want to do with life . Hormonal changes and wanting to fit in socially are just a few. Teens with depression do not always appear sad. Many teens display anger and irritability and aggression. Long lasting changes in mood, behavior, personality are all huge red flags that your teen needs professional help.

Some common symptoms for teen depression are: hopelessness , sad, blue, loss of interest in activities, withdrawal from friends and family , crying and frequent tears, changes in eating , changes in sleeping, agitation , restlessness, little motivation , lack of energy or excitement , fatigue , difficulty concentrating , thoughts of death , suicide or self harm.

There are many excellent counseling tools to help elevate mood and treat depression. CBT therapy looks at unhealthy thoughts that have no facts to support them and how these thoughts impact mood. DBT has a few elements: awareness/mindfulness, distress tolerance/mood regulation, interpersonal effectiveness. These are all research based and evidence based counseling techniques that have been used for decades with positive results. There are many other effective techniques that can be used to create health and balance for your child or teenager.

Lifeworks Az has a specialization in child and teen depression counseling and therapy, child adolescent counseling, family counseling, family therapy in Phoenix Arizona, Scottsdale Arizona and serves valley wide.

 

 

 

The suicide rate for adolescent teenagers ages 10-18 nearly doubled from 2006 to 2017… from 5.4 per 100,000 people to 10.5. The rate increased by 40 percent from 2014 to 2017, from 7.9 per 100,000 people to 12.0, before decreasing slightly to 10.5 in 2016. Overall, rates for all age groups have risen from 1999 to 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

Child counseling therapy Phoenix Arizona

Friday, August 25th, 2017

Children can struggle with mood and anger issues, depression and anxiety as well as oppositional defiance. Many children struggle to do homework or listen or be respectful. Family stress can be managed and your child can be successful and happy with a few changes through counseling. Behaviors will change especially with a positive approach to counseling. Working individually as well as with parents is the best approach to create desire change. A team approach is always best in  my 15 plus years of working with family in mental health.

My approach to youth counseling: children, teens, adolescents, and families is a unique specialized approach I have created over the past 15 plus years in the field of counseling psychology

I create a safe and empathic environment for all families and children. I am truly invested and interested in your child’s goals as well as family goals. Developing rapport and connecting with the child, teen, and family is extremely important for me. My work is my passion so I foster great care and time into each family and child.

I do not label your child or teen with a disorder. I have worked with many children with a wide array of disorders including but not limited to: oppositional defiance, conduct disorders, anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, autism spectrum disorders, Asperger’s , Phobias, Tourettes, and much more. I believe in working with your child and teen as well as with parents to help each child find balance. Finding balance includes: eating and healthy habits, sleep habits, communication skills, social skills, teamwork, healthy thoughts, problem solving , time management, boundary setting, empathy, compassion, building self esteem, managing stress, managing depressed mood, managing anxiety, life skills and much more. I do a lot of work with parents in the area of behavior modification: listening, respect, anger management, stress management, emotional management, etc. I work with the child as well as the parent to create a plan that is a win win for both child and parent.

Dealing with life and painful challenging events is vital to create a healthy empowered adult.

If one of the above for example is off balance so will your child’s mental and physical well being be off. For example if your child is playing endless hours of video games or you tubing or on their smart phone, or on Netflix, then they are not able to study, read, exercise, or receive adequate sleep. I have seen this for over fifteen years with youth and families. The great news is a few changes can create huge change for all.

I use a variety of techniques: Cognitive Behavioral therapy, Mindfulness, VMBR, Talk therapy, Play therapy and more to connect with children to help facilitate change. I use educational tools and games to help each child and teen in order to create desired changes.

Counseling and psychotherapy is a process of varying lengths during which a mental health counselor and a client work together to explore problems and develop the skills and mind-set needed to transcend challenges and live a life of Physical, mental, and emotional balance. The process varies depending on the individual and the mental health challenge or issues. It can continue anywhere from a few weekly sessions to months or, sometimes, years of occasional sessions..

Many children and teens are facing a variety of mental health issues: anxiety, depression, anger issues, self harm, OCD, Oppositional defiance, behavioral issues at school, social issues, emotional issues, self esteem issues as well. Children are being bullied at school as well as on the computer or via texting or social media ( instagram, snapchat, facebook etc)

It is important to talk to your children about how they feel and how they think on a regular basis( daily if possible). If your child does not express his thoughts and feelings this can be a huge red flag and you do not know what is going on inside your child’s world.

Everyone struggles with life this is a huge part of mental health and we should not be ashamed or embarrassed by it. Society tells us to be strong and do not cry and do not show emotions , however, we all have pain in our lives and it is how we cope with our pain and stress that is important. Every child and adult has stress and it is a strength to reach out for help. If a child is struggling with math we get him or her help or a tutor. If a child is struggling with : anger, stress, social skills, self esteem depression, oppositional defiance, anger, anxiety, phobias, self harm, issues with family we need to provide an outlet for support.

Research by the American Academy of Pediatricians state a parent should not hand a child an IPAD, Smartphone, DS3, Laptop, video gaming devices, games on smart phones, or other forms of media to calm ones child down emotionally or behaviorally.

Children should not be using media devices: computers, Video Games, Ipads, smart phones etc for more than one hour per day at the very most.

The content of what your child is watching is also important. Violent games and aggressive games will hurt your child’s ability to regulate mood and is connected with aggression, anger, and violence. Children under 18 months old should not use any media devices.

Early childhood is a time for brain development, sleep, learning to handle emotions, and build relationships. There is a lot of research to show that excessive media gets in the way of the above mentioned for your child. Too much media usage is linked to a child’s physical health as well. Using devices as a soothing activity may likely limit a child’s ability to self soothe and calm hi or herself down and regulate his or her mood.

Video and media use limits family connections and limits developing strong family relationships. Video chatting with your grandma is an exception to the rule or watching an educational video on learning.

Parents that spend a lot of time on media, texting, smartphones, computers, Ipads, TV, Netflix, Social media, Twitter, instgram, facebook , video games etc are correlated with more emotional and behavioral issues and a huge increase in parent child and family conflict. A great deal of media limits non verbal nd verbal communication with family members. Communication is essential in family relationships and suffers when a lot of time is spent on video games, texting, smartphones etc.

Parents can develop media use plans and contracts involving using media that specifically spell out what can be used, watched, and how much time is allotted to media use.

Many children are clicking on sexually explicit images and are being sexualized at very young ages do to the vast info on computers. Parents can block sites as well as upload a program that tells you exactly what your child is doing, web sites visited, texts that being sent etc.

A child that is not monitored can easily merge into become a teen that is texting innapropriate photos, talking about drugs, selling drugs, illegal activities, inappropriate activities, covert activities etc.

A vast amount of research shows that using a computer, TV, Video games, etc before bed time has a negative impact on the quality of your child’s sleep and will impact him emotionally, and physically as well as academically and cognitively, in a negative manner, if boundaries and limits are not set and executed.

It is important for family to take time together with al smart phones and games off including TV. There should be rules about having music on w ear buds so you can connect with your family every night without distractions.

 

Typically schools for children and teens have very few counselors on staff . For example at one school I attended there was one counselor for over 600 children. It was great that the school had a counselor because many schools do not have a mental health counselor. The reality is that the counselor does not have time to meet with all 600 students on a weekly basis and give them the support they may need. Finding an expert that has daily experience with children, teens and families is important for parents and for the child. Being able to work with the child and parent provides the best systemic support for your child. Letting your child know that you are working on improving your relationship with your child and you are a team player is important to show your child you are dedicated to therapy and counseling and also it is important to you that things change. Labeling the child as the “ problem” is not a good approach for life changes in mental health and in life skills including school academics and more.

You can read testimonials from families and teens that have worked with me and their experiences. You can see my web site at www.lifeworksaz.com . You can read about my extensive experience working with children and families in many systems: school, agencies, private practice and more

Lifeworks AZ David Abrams MAPC, LPC, CAGS is passionate about helping children and families help themselves . David looks at all areas of a child’s life . He looks at : self esteem, social, family issues, academics, sleep, diet, exercise, anger, mood, anxiety, behavioral issues, emotional issues, depression, self harm, negative thinking and more and creates a plan and goals that create a win win for the child and family. David has been working with children, teens, and families for over 15 years and this is one of his specialty areas. You can read a lot more about what parents are saying about David at www.lifeworksaz.com

 

Child Counseling Phoenix Arizona, Scottsdale

Monday, July 10th, 2017

 

 

There is a lot of research on emotional support and social skills for healthy child development. Stressors like moving, changing schools, divorce, loss of a loved one, a new school, bullying, stress on Mom and Dad all contribute to brain deficits in children pre fatally as well as in early childhood.

Social skills is crucial for success in life. I see many children and teens and they have high IQ’s however their emotional skill set and behavioral skill set as well as motivation need help.

As you speak to teachers at parent teacher conferences you can ask how your child’s social and emotional skills compare to others in his or her class.  You should also ask what the teachers see as your child’s strengths and areas that need improvement upon.

You can ask what your child needs to work on at home and what their goals are for : reading? Math? Science? writing? Focusing on goals is better than looking at grades alone.

Parents can ask how they can monitor goals and how they can help their child with these goals. Knowing what is being used to evaluate your child.

Organizational skill si huge. Disorganization is common with many intelligent children in elementary school. Many children need organizational support at home and a system to stay organized and make sure homework is done and turned in on time. Projects are not left for last minute. Enough time is created for studying for tests.  Time is managed properly.

Does your child have friends at school? How does your child interact with friends or peers? How does your child interact with adults at school? Social skills are vital for a child’s success at school.

How does your child handle frustration or challenges academically and socially and emotionally? Many children do not know what to do with their emotions and stuff them. These emotions will at some point ooze out into rage, substance abuse, addictive behaviors and more if not addressed.

Children need adequate: sleep, exercise, nutrition, listening, affection, parenting., love and more to create a healthy whole child who is balanced and successful. Parenting, counseling, coaching, teamwork with the school all will combine to create a healthy balanced child or teenager.

Counseling Children: Phoenix, Scottsdale, Cavecreek,

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

 

 

Children and teens that spend a great deal of time on : social media, snapchat, instagram, you tube, Netflix, internet sites, hulu, facebook, texting or playing video games are not typically dealing with family and school and healthy habits. Some children may have a balance in their lives however most do not and are far out of balance and need to regain balance for health and success

 

Child and teen depression is real. Many children and teens have taken their lives due to depression. Children have : pain, trauma, loss, grief, anger, sadness, trauma and depression as well as many other challenges. Children have challenges at school, with family relationships, peer relationships, academics, emotional and behavioral issues.

Children feel : sad, lonely, and have pain and stress just like adults, however, many children do not have the skills and maturity or the tools to cope with depression.

Experts state social media does not bring people together and many times it simply isolates youth and young adults. Using more than two hours of social media per day doubled the chances a youth or young adult would fill lonely or isolated.

Many children and teens are depressed or have signs of depression. Many children and teens are struggling with : family issues, divorced families, academics, blended families, low self esteem, poor social skills, peer pressure, hormonal changes, grief and loss. Many times teens will stuff their thoughts and feelings . Some teens hide in their room and avoid communication. Some teens are on their Smart Phones, TV, Netflix, and Video games. Too much of anything is not ok and parents can ask themselves is my son or daughter in balance or out of balance with their habits? Below is a story of a Tempe Teen that was depressed and it ended tragically. The good news is there are signs of depression and the sooner one gets help the better. After the article there is a list of some red flags your child may be depressed. There are experts in treating child and teen depression through counseling and therapy and other treatments.

I have worked with thousands of teens with depressed moods and depression. Moving to a new school, change, academic pressure, not getting along with mom or Dad, negative thinking, low self esteem, social dynamics, past challenges are being carried around by children and teens and these items need to be addressed to create health and balance.

A tragedy happened at a Tempe, Arizona High school yesterday . A student athlete committed suicide at a Tempe High school not far from Arizona State University.

Teen and child depression is on the rise and can not be ignored. Depression is not an adult disorder . Millions of children and teen adolescents feel depressed and there are a slew of reasons today that impact a child or adolescents mood.

A child or teen does not have to have had a traumatic childhood in order to be depressed . A teen can have loving parents and spiritual parents and feel depressed.

As a safety measure parents should lock up all pills , medications , guns, knives , blades , weapons at all times regardless of a child’s mood. Parents should lock up all alcohol as well . Parents should monitor social media, smart phones , video game dialogue , texting , and be as involved as they can with their child or teen . Some parents would say it is an invasion of privacy however better safe than sorry . Children state they are excelling in the classroom and passing all classes however parents must still verify and look at report cards and look at missing homework assignments. Teens spend a lot of time w electronic devices and those that are in their room and not communicating daily with parents . They must get off these devices and communicate with parents about their day in detail . If not a parent has no idea why is going on mentally , physically , and emotionally with ones children .

Setting limits and boundaries and requiring family interaction is vital . Spending one on one time with your teen is important and will help find out what is going on in their lives . Make it a requirement before they use their : video games , computers , smart phones etc . Schedule one on one time with each child and this lets them know they are important as well as they are more likely to share information with you than in front of the whole family . Most children will not share their true pain or depressed mood in front of the whole family or at dinner .

I find wonderful children and teens that have very negative thought processes about themselves . Children that are excellent students and athletes still can be very depressed . Many suffer from low self esteem and many suffer from social or peer challenges . Many are depressed about family dynamics and school pressures.

The best approach is to have someone who works w children and parents guide you to help create balance and learn tools to manage depression , anxiety , self esteem, family issues and more .

Teens face a myriad of pressures , from changes in development to questions about who they are and where they are going w peers, school, and their future. The natural transition toward adulthood can bring parental challenges and conflict as the adolescent teen pushes for their independence .

It is not simple to differentiate between depression and teen mood swings . Some teens that are depressed are not sad or withdrawn . Many depressed teens are angry , full of rage , defiant, and irritable and this may be depression.

Some signs of depression in teens are: sadness , hopelessness , irritability , anger , hostility , frequent crying or tears , withdrawal from family and friends, loss of interest in activities , change in eating habits or sleep habits , agitation, restless , guilt, worthless feelings , concentrating issues , thought of death, suicidal thoughts and more.

It is best to have a professional assessment from a professional who has expertise in teen and children .

There are many signs that may indicate your teen is down or depressed or is suffering from depression.

Some red flags that should not be ignored are: sadness , crying, tearfulness, hopelessness, a decrease in activities , inability to enjoy activities that were enjoyable.

Low energy, isolation, poor communication and a lack of connection w family and friends is a sign that something is going on that needs attention. Increased irritability and anger and rage are common w depressed children and teens.

Physical complaints : stomach aches , pain , etc are signs your teenmay be depressed. Changes in sleeping habits and or eating patterns is a red flag as well .

Self destructive behaviors, suicidal thoughts, self harming, drug andalcohol abuse are signs your child need help asap!

Parents should seek professional help if any of the above are going onas soon as possible. Depression is a very serious condition that impacts : thoughts, mood,

and behaviors. Teen depression can be treated .

Teens face many stressors and pressures. Transitioning from child to an adult. Figuring out who they are and what they want to do with life . Hormonal changes and wanting to fit in socially are just a few. Teens with depression do not always appear sad. Many teens display anger and irritability and aggression. Long lasting changes in mood, behavior, personality are all huge red flags that your teen needs professional help.

Some common symptoms for teen depression are: hopelessness , sad, blue, loss of interest in activities, withdrawal from friends and family , crying and frequent tears, changes in eating , changes in sleeping, agitation , restlessness, little motivation , lack of energy or excitement , fatigue , difficulty concentrating , thoughts of death , suicide or self harm.

There are many excellent counseling tools to help elevate mood and treat depression. CBT therapy looks at unhealthy thoughts that have no facts to support them and how these thoughts impact mood. DBT has a few elements: awareness/mindfulness, distress tolerance/mood regulation, interpersonal effectiveness. These are all research based and evidence based counseling techniques that have been used for decades with positive results. There are many other effective techniques that can be used to create health and balance for your child or teenager.

Lifeworks Az has a specialization in child and teen depression counseling and therapy, child adolescent counseling, family counseling, family therapy in Phoenix Arizona, Scottsdale Arizona and serves valley wide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video Games

 

Research on Video game and TV watching over the past few decades show that their is a correlation between the time playing video games and watching TV and aggression. Thousands of research study show that the more TV viewing and the more video game the more aggression displayed. Eliminating video games and smart phone games and TV is almost impossible however , setting limits each day on electronic is essential to your child’s success. Children and teens need time to develop: social skills, interpersonal skills, communication skills, conflict resolution, listening skills, problem solving skills, mood and stress management skills, physical exercise and more. It is clear that their is an imbalance in healthy activities for youth in America.

Diabetes and obesity are sky rocketing. Mood disorders are on the rise. Anxiety, depression, and substance dependence are on the rise. Social skills are on the decline. Insomnia is on the rise. Violence and aggression in youth and conduct disorders are on the rise.

Most parents view video games as” entertainment.” their content is not taken as seriously as that of the passive act of watching TV. After all, most adults today grew up playing pong, pac man, asteroids, space invaders, or defender. Nevertheless, what many parents might not realize is that the challenge for many players today is to rack up points by killing prostitutes after having sex with them. Video games have not only become more violent, the characters have become more real, and the effects that they are having on society, specifically women is shocking. Video games have engaged the “once spectator” to actively participate in addictive violence. Recent studies have undoubtedly concluded that the violence and negative reinforcements in video games have not only successfully promoted violence against women by desensitization, but they have also increased aggressive behavior in children and teenagers to a level that has devastated the lives of many.

Many people are shocked to discover that the video game industry is larger than the film industry. The Interactive Digital Software Association reported that video games are “the fastest growing entertainment industry in America, surpassing books, records and movie box offices combined” (Berger 2002).The video game industry projected sales for 2015 will be  128 Billion dollars annually .In 1997 the video and computer game industry generated 16 Billion dollars in economic activity, this does not include computer and video game hardware sales. In the year 2000 it became a 20 billion dollar industry and is still growing considerably (Berger, 2002). IDSA also reported at the time sixty five percent of all Americans age six and older, or about 145 million people, play computer and video games (Berger 2002). The video game industry has increased exponentially since 2002. It is stated that video games, many times is the initial experience that children have with the computer/ technology world. So, if boys tend to be the primary target of the industry, which, they are, what effect does it have on girls. In 2014 the video game industry generated over 103 Billion dollars in one year.

If a child’s interest begins with games. most common computer games involve violence and aggressive themes have the effect of turning girls away from the computers in general. This is one way of keeping women out of power. After all, these are male dominated industries. Since computer literacy is essential in most jobs, people who are exposed to computers earlier in life have an obvious advantage. The boys who outnumber the girls in gaming, will be the men who out-number the women in the business world. This may lead to the girls becoming less interested in the world of computers as a career. Girls are not the only ones who are not enamored with video games. Parents are unaware of the violence that is being reinforced hundreds of thousands of times in their child’s brain.

Teenagers report that 95 percent of the time their parents do not check the ratings or the content of video games being purchased. Ninety percent of parents do not set limits on how much time their child can play video games.

We have seen an alarming increase in violence and school shooting. Shootings at Paucah, Kentucky, Jonesboro, Arkansas, and Littleton, Colorado were all cases where the shooters were students who habitually played violent video games. The bloody game Doom was Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold’s favorite game ( they wounded 23 and killed 13). Two studies examined violent video games effect on aggression related variables. The first study found that real-live violent video games are positively related to aggressive behavior and delinquency. the second study showed lab exposure to a violent video game increased aggressive thoughts and and behaviors. The results are in line with the General Affective Aggression Model, which predicts that exposure to violent video games will increase aggressive behavior in both the short term and the long term ( Calvert, Jordan, Cocking 2000)

A study of about 329 children and media violence was done over a 21 year period by L. Rowell Huesmann at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. Girls and boys participated. This was one of the few studies that followed children into adulthood, which enabled researchers to gauge the long term effects of televised violence. Men in the top twenty percent on childhood exposure to violence were twice as likely as adults to have pushed, grabbed or shoved their wives. The women who scored in the 20 percent were twice as likely to throw something at their husbands. the study concluded that both girls and boys exposed to a lot of televison violence have a greater risk of spousal abuse and criminal offenses, no matter what they were like as children( Ritter, M., 2003). This study was based specifically on violence, however, most video games today are also including very graphic sexually violent images, which are destroying women and the morality of society as a whole.

The effects of viewing sexually violent images was researched and discussed by Ed Donnerstein, Dean and Professor of Communications at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  In his study, young adults ages 18-20 were shown a one hour documentary on battered women. After watching the film, the viewers showed less empathy toward the victims. They lowered their evaluation on the level of injury that the women received. They also under estimated the level of pain that must have been experienced. Both men and women were more likely to display indifference toward the victims. many blamed the rape on the ladies and believed that the women brought it to themselves. It is clear that watching these images are negative, however, the video game industry uses reinforcement tactics to hook children, teens, and adults making the game, not just interactive but addictive. Violence in America and against women has increased since the rise of video games across the country. These games are highly addictive and use many psychological reinforcement principles to hook children to wanting to continue to play. Many youth are playing video games 40 hours a week.

Violence was declared the number one health problem for women in 1992, sadly, recent studies have concluded that the problem is not decreasing ( Violence, Women, and  the Media, 2000). For example , consider the following statistics: the single major cause of injury to American women is domestic violence, exceeding gang violence, muggings, murders, and accidents ( The Commonwealth Fund, 1993). In the US, one women is raped every two minutes (National Crime Victimization survey, 1996). One in every seven women has been raped in her life time (Daily News, November 18,1998). Also, In America a woman is physically abused every nine seconds ( The Commonwealth Fund, July 1993). In emergency rooms more than one third of American women have suffered physical or sexual abuse ( Sternberg S. 1999) And a staggering thirty percent of women murdered in the US are killed by their husbands, ex-husbands or boyfriends ( national Crime Victimization Survey,1996). Researchers have found that the way the media depicts women influences how women are viewed and treated in society( Violence, Women, and the Media, 2000). For example, many video games are very degrading and often depict women as victims of violence. Also many video games also portray women as sex objects.

In the year 2000 half of the top selling video games contained negative images about girls according to (Children, Now 2000). For example unrealistic body images, high pitched voices,fainting, violence, and provocative sexuality is promoted.

Twenty eight percent of games in a study show women as inferior and powerless. In games like Grand Theft Auto boys are taught women can be treated brutally and this is reinforced in the video game.

Players of Grand Theft Auto get rewarded if they kick and kill the prostitute to death after they have sex with her. Sounds shocking, but it is true and is one of the most popular video games among children and teenagers in the US. After playing for 4-8 hours a day, these acts of violence begin to seem normal.

In the recent shooting at UCSB the 22 year old male stated many phrases in his you tube video regarding slaughtering women and others. He also stated that video games were a way for him to avoid: rejection, loneliness, humiliation, depression, and pain from not having a girlfriend and not having what he wanted sexually and in  relationships. The UCSB shooter mimicked many specific phrases from the video game World Of War Craft relating to specific violence and rage. The UCSB shooter also played: Diablo, and Halo as well as many other video games.

Anders Breivik, the right-wing extremist who has confessed to killing 77 people during a murder spree in Norway last summer, played the violent computer game World of Warcraft nearly seven hours a day for several consecutive months before his attack, prosecutors say.

Breivik, 33, already known to have a long history with the online role-playing game, was particularly absorbed by it between November 2010 and February 2011, when he played for an average of 6 hours and 50 minutes per day, according to prosecutors.

Two decades of research had shown that repeated exposure to violence blunts emotional reactions and makes people less likely to help others in need ( Levine, 1996). Perfectly normal people no longer recognize violence because it is so prevalent in the media. People grow numb to violence with repeated exposure via media. People become less responsive to human pain and begin to lose awareness of what it means to be human.

Before the Vietnam War, fewer than 20 percent of soldiers on the front lines would actually fire at the enemy, however, with games such as Doom used as conditioning tools fdor the soldiers, the US military kill rate increased to (0 percent in Vietnam. With video games, our military scientifically overcame the soldier’s innate resistance to killing ( game Over, 2000) Violent video games are the mental equivalent of putting an assault rifle in the hands of every American child. By sitting mindlessly, killing countless thousands of fellow members of their own species without any ramifications or repercussions, operant conditioning concepts transfer immediately when the individual gets a real weapon in their hand and are being taught violence. The recent school shootings in 2008 and 2007 serve as an example of a link between video games and heightened aggressive behaviors.

For the video game child/ teenager or gamer, beating a previous high score, or winning a free game, or having sex with a prostitute is all part of Skinnerian reinforcement. behavior that is followed by reinforcement will increase in frequency. In short, video games that make a child or teen or adult feel good will be played again and again. A partial reinforcement schedule will lead to behavior that occurs more often with and is more resilient to extinction than does a continuous reinforcement schedule. These two effects of partial reinforcement produce what is considered addictive behavior. These irregular schedules of reinforcement are in part, what cause these video games to be so exciting and desirable. Tis kind of reinforcement, which causes addictive behaviors can explain why their is an increase in the video game industry as a whole.

The AMA states that anywhere in the world where TV appears, 15 years later the murder rate doubles. Ten thousand murders per year, 70,000 rapes, and 700,000 assaults. We must consider the impact of violent video games on the minds and behaviors of our society. The evidence is clear violence breeds more violence in the majority of situations.

Many children are having challenges sleeping at night and have great anxiety. The children report that their nightmares are specific to the video games they are playing. Research shows a lack of sleep impacts: mood, anger, depression, and behavior as well as performance.

The 93 Billion dollar Video game industry must be taken seriously. It must start with education and healthy parenting. It must come with boundaries and limitations. It must come with healthy communication and listening to children and teenagers. It must come from healthy role modeling from parents. The video game industry is no different than access to violence on TV or on the internet. Violence and abuse physically, mentally, emotionally, and sexually is not ok!

There are 100’s of violent video games out there one is: Call of Duty Black Ops:This gritty, extremely violent military first-person shooter (pictured above) involves constant killing using realistic weapons, with blood and gore pouring across the screen during more intense scenes. Cinematic sequences can be even more dramatic and graphic, with soldiers and civilians alike dying in horrible ways, including graphic melee kills, people burning to death, civilians killed in crossfire, torture, and a shipping container filled with rotting corpses. In one scene, the player steps into the shoes of a villain and goes on a murderous rampage against soldiers, the screen turning red with blood rage as he takes damage. This M-rated game also has frequent profanity, some sexual themes, and drug use.

Do you want your child assaulting woman? Killing prostitutes? Raping people? This is what is going on in many video games above and beyond brutal violence.

Do we really want our children actively involved and engaged in violent games daily; the same type of games that the US military uses to increase kill rates at war? Garbage in garbage out. We must find healthy activities that create health and balance for our youth and violent video games is not the solution.

Written by David R Abrams

MAPC, LPC, CAGS

Lifeworks AZ  Phoenix Arizona, Scottsdale Arizona

Child Teen Family Counseling and Therapy

 

Counseling Child therapy Trauma Phoenix Arizona

Friday, May 26th, 2017

 

 

Neuroimaging of children who have had adverse challenging childhood experiences such as : divorce, emotional, sexual, physical abuse, neglect, bullying, parents with alcohol issues, and other huge stressors like grief and loss and more show changes in the brain. The brain areas that are responsible for: memory, learning, and emotions are impacted by childhood stressor and trauma.

 

For children learning resilience means learning coping skills that can increase their ability to manage and regulate their emotions and deal with stress in healthy ways.

 

 

Healthy secure children are able to express negative emotions and not keep them inside. Insecure children tend to avoid feelings and struggle to express their real true emotions and feelings.

 

Parents with depression, anxiety or substance abuse may be unavailable for their children and can not provide the emotional support or presence needed for the children.

 

Children can experience trauma in many ways and not just at home. Trauma can occur at school, through terror, TV, Violence, emotional abuse, physical abuse, neglect, divorce, battered mom, emotional abuse, neglect, mental illness in the home , substance use or abuse in the home, incarcerated family members ,and more.

 

Parents can learn tips to manage their stressors in life because their ability to manage their mood will impact their children for better or for worse. Children must feel safe and secure and loved and cared for in order to create a balanced and healthy child. Yelling and screaming can trigger trauma responses so tone is very important to your child psychologically.

 

Childhood trauma is widespread and can happen through grief and loss, changing schools, moving, divorce, abuse, bullying and more and we must be aware that is not just from physical abuse or sexual abuse.

 

Some symptoms of childhood trauma include but are not limited to: anxiety, depression,ADHD , substance abuse, eating disorders, behavioral problems, emotional mood regulation issues, anger, and much more. Creating compassion for youth and support systems is important not judging or labeling a child this will not help and many times create a negative stigma for the child.

 

Adverse childhood experiences : divorce, emotional neglect, bullying, grief and loss, violence at home are shown to happen in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Chandler and valley in wide in two out of three children.

There is a huge link between Family stress and the family system and toxic stress that will impact your child’s brain, development, and emotional and physical health.

Many children and teens suffer childhood trauma. Trauma can be from : emotional abuse , physical abuse, sexual abuse, divorce, grief, loss, health issues, family issues and more.

There has ben a great deal of research on the brain and trauma from PTSD for soldiers to childhood neglect and abuse. the latest research shows how important it is to address the trauma instead of avoiding it, stuffing it, acting as if nothing happened. In fact ignoring the trauma is the worst thing a child or an adult can do according to researchers on trauma and the brain.

Children and teens that were exposed to therapy that addressed these traumas show an 80% decrease on average in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Syndrome symptoms. Children and teens that addressed trauma were less depressed and less anxious and were able to function much better in all areas of their lives. Not addressing the past trauma in children and teen adolescents allows the trauma to fester in the brain and this will potentially ooze into unhealthy habits, behaviors, and mental health issues. Many reach for medications to alleviate pain, many start using illegal substances to numb out or cope with their past pain.

Children and teens that can express their trauma can build a strong sense of confidence that they can handle the most painful events. They can build their self esteem. They can learn that they can cope with life’s pain and still have a happy, healthy, and balanced life. It is a relief to release this heavy pain that the child or teen carries around like a 1000 pound weight squeezing their mind and body and soul.

One big piece of dealing with the trauma is also that children become aware that they are not truly safe and that the trauma is in their past and is no longer carried with them today in the present moment. Releasing these traumas take some time however letting go of it and processing the abuse and trauma and pain is the biggest piece in healing the brain and finding health and balance in one’s life physically, mentally and emotionally.

The research has been published in medical journals and has been done at many ivy league schools in the USA.

Arizona children and teens experience more trauma than those in other states and that those experiences put them at greater risk for health problems later in life.

At least one third of all children in Arizona have been exposed to adverse childhood experiences compared to approximately 20 percent in others states in the United States.

Adverse childhood experiences include living with someone who is mentally ill ,or suicidal; experiencing divorce or parental separation; living with someone who has an alcohol or drug problem; being a victim or witness of neighborhood violence; experiencing financial hardship; witnessing violence; having a parent in prison or incarcerated ,being treated or judged unfairly due to race or ethnicity ( racism/sexism etc); and experiencing the death of a parent ( grief and loss)

Teenagers and children who have experienced an adverse event are about twice as likely to engage in bullying behavior and the propensity to bully others goes up by 30 percent with each additional event of being victimized.

Teens 13-17 in Arizona have been exposed to forty four percent adverse events that are traumatic.

Children that have these experiences are more likely to have mental health issues, health problems, academic issues, obesity, and struggle in life.

Strong evidence showed that individual and group cognitive–behavioral therapy can decrease psychological harm among symptomatic children and adolescents exposed to trauma.

Recovery from childhood trauma involves owning the experiences we have disowned. It includes owning parts of ourselves that we continue to want to push away. This is a painful process because it means that we will need to embrace painful realities. Everything in us (and often around us) tells us that this is not the right path to take. But it is always truth, no matter how painful, that frees us. Embracing our life experiences and their ongoing impact on us is the path to freedom and wholeness.

Learning to not allow unhealthy defense mechanisms and behaviors from the past that helped shield you from pain and taking control of your unhealthy habits is vital for healing and balance. Looking at the ways you avoid feelings and how you cope with pain is also essential. Accepting the fact that you were not at fault and you can cope with your pain in a healthy way and that you are strong and can handle it is also important.

Grief and trauma in youth

Grief is a mixture of feelings : anger , guilt, frustration, fear , anxiety , when dealing with loss. Losing a loved one, family member, dog , cat are all areas that connect with grief . A parent that is not involved in a child’s life is a great source for grief and loss.

Children and teens may not be able to verbalize they are grieving however here are some symptoms that can show signs of grief: anger, irritability, lack of focus , anxiety, sadness, drug or alcohol abuse, self destructive behaviors , somatic problems ( headache , stomach pain, fatigue and more), promiscuity , addictive behaviors like being too busy ( blocking pain), decline in academic performance or lack of motivation , confusion, feeling alone , jealousy, constant thoughts of the loss, shock, numbness and more.

Children and adolescent teenagers can learn ways to identify feelings and express them in safe and healthy ways.

Parents need an objective professional that has expertise working with children , teens and families to help work through grief and loss.

Lifeworksaz has an advanced graduate specialty in Trauma and has worked with: children, teens, adults and families to create balance in one’s life. Lifeworksaz.com David Abrams has a specialty working with children and families for over fifteen years.

 

child counseling behavior Phoenix Arizona Scottsdale AZ

Friday, May 19th, 2017

 

 

Children that learn self regulation skills can be successful in life. Helping children understand their frustrations and triggers to behaviors and giving them tools to gain self control and manage how they think and behave in different situations is vital. I wok with children with: ADHD, Autism, ASD, Bipolar, Depression, Anxiety, and many other disorders and teach them skills to manage their mood and behaviors.

 

Many children have challenges sitting still, listening in class, staying focused, playing with friends , making new friends, healthy communication skills; behavioral challenges, self harm , aggression and being aggressive, children with sleep problems that impact their mood, and more. Finding a balance and being able to self regulate and find a balance in their lives is vital for mental health, physical health, emotional health, and success in life.

 

Children lack the skills to self regulate and this is manifested in behavioral issues at school: not listening, getting out of their seat, being aggressive, hitting, and more behavioral issues. We must understand that these children do not wake up with a pre conceived plan to get in trouble at school with children and teachers. These children do not plan on being aggressive at school these children do not plan on having conflict with teachers or authority. However they do the lack the skills to self regulate their emotions and feelings and thoughts that impact their behaviors.

 

Children can learn : problem solving, anger management, tolerance, flexibility, how to handle impulsive thoughts and more through counseling with someone who has expertise with children and families. If a child does not learn these skills they will be more likely to fail in academics, show angry and violent behaviors, abuse drugs or alcohol, engage in high risk behaviors, and have a negative experience with life and life events in the future.

 

Teaching children the skills to maintain emotional control is vital for behavioral success at school and at home. Contact David at Lifeworksaz.com to set up and appointment for child counseling services.

 

Children with ADHD symptoms can manage their ADHD symptoms through behavior modification.

Parents can learn to create a system at home that will work with each individual child. Having a plan that is written and clear and consistent is very important for the ADHD child. Parents play a big role in implementing the behavior modification plan. A reward based system is a positive based system when desired behaviors are not accomplished rewards are not available .

It is very important for parents to track the daily behaviors so each parent can be consistent. Rewarding the child for good behaviors and taking away rewards for poor behaviors must be done daily to create new and healthy behaviors for your child. You may have tried a system before however it is helpful to get advise from an expert in child ADHD behaviors that is objective and they can help modify and or create a new plan for success in the future.

Losing a reward when the negative behavior happens is best to re- solidify that behavior X is not ok and connecting it to a loss of a reward.

It is very important to be specific about changing or modifying a behavior. Telling your child he is being disrespectful does not really communicate what specific behavior is not ok. Telling your child that screaming is not ok is specific. Telling your child calling me a “jerk” is not allowed. Telling your child I asked you to come to the dinner table now and you waited ten minutes before you came is not an ok behavior.

Loss of rewards must be important to your child. If he has five games he places with and you take away the TV that is not a motivating consequence since he or she can play video games, use their smart phone, text, Play on the computer, watch a movie on Netflix via the computer etc.

Parents can learn strategies at LifeworksAZ.com to manage ADHD symptoms. Having both parents on the same page and enforcing the consequences and rewards daily is very important for behavior modification change.

At LifeworksAZ.com David Abrams MAPC not only helps parents with the behavior modification program for ADHD he gives parents tips and advise on how to create the best relationship with each individual child and create emotional, behavioral, and academic success.

David has been working with youth and families for over 15 years. He helps the child learn tools to modify behavior and manage mood. Teaching children skills and tools to manage emotions, behaviors, school, and relationships.

 

Child Teen Counseling Therapy : Phoenix, Cave Creek, Scottsdale Arizona

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

Child and Teen screen time is on the rise and yes there is research related to violent games, tv, videos and aggression.

Many adolescents and children feel empowered when they use: smart phones, video games, texting, Netflix, Instagram,You tube, Reddit, Snapchat, and more.

The problems that arise are why limits must be firm on screen time and electronic usage.

Children and teens spend more time on their video games and their social media and TV than they do on homework and studying. Grades begin to suffer not do to a lack of IQ or ability but simply a lack of motivation and effort. Children that do not spend the time doing homework do not get as good of grades typically as those that do turn in homework.

Screen time is a get away and a distraction and many children are very addicted to their screen time. Another big issue with electronics is that it’s over use is impacting most teen and children as far as their ability to sleep. Many children and teens have : IPADS, Smartphones , Laptops, Computers, in their rooms and they will pull them out past there bed time and play games, text, etc. Most children are suffering from sleep deprivation in that the average child or teen 10-18 needs 9-10 hours sleep and many are only getting 5 hours sleep due to being up on their electronics. Children and teens are more irritable, angry, moody, anxious, and depressed than ever before due to the lack of sleep. Children are tired in class and unfocused and have little energy or motivation for school work and homework.

Screens become more important than talking to family and spending time with family. Communication with family can be very poor and often goes South due to the affinity for electronics.

There is a great deal of research that shows behaviors are influenced by what we watch. If a child is playing an aggressive game for 40 hours a week than he is learning aggression. He is not learning empathy or compassion. Garbage in Garbage out is an old saying but holds true when hours are spent being bombarded with violence.

Many children get sucked into the screen vortex and are not developing their social skills at school or with friends on the weekend . Social skills are important for adulthood as well as academics.

Parents can look at their child’s life: homework, interpersonal skills, family time, chores, sleep, mood, grades and see if their child is in balance?

Positive change can happen and I see it all the time in my office. Angry and irritable behaviors can improve. Grades can move North.. Communication can change. Listening and respect at home can improve. It takes some work and additional support however it is worth it in the long run for all. A reduction in family stress is important!

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