Archive for the 'child counseling cave creek Arizona' Category

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

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 Phoenix Arizona, Scottsdale Arizona

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017


Children and teens have many stressors in life. Youth are struggling to understand their emotional and social world. Adolescents and children are struggling with academics, chores, family obligations, teachers, new schools, homework, peers, self esteem, hormone changes, body image issues, and much more. The last thing a child needs is to deal with bullying.

Children that are bullied need mental health counseling services at a rate of twice those that are not bullied. Bullying is associated with : depression, anxiety, cutting, self harm, and many other psychological mental health disorders.

Cyberbullying is happening with children and teens and is hidden from parents via: instagram, snapchat, Facebook, whatsapp, texting, and other applications on your child’s smartphone or electronic device. Ganging up on someone and victimizing them and humiliating them is abuse and it is not humor. Many children and teens have committed suicide based on cyberbullying. Parents can monitor and discuss above with their children and monitor their digital footprints.

Teens and children are spending between 6-9 hours per day on electronic devices. Youth in America according to a recent study of over 3000 youth show they are spending more time on media and electronic devices including phones than they are sleeping. The cell phone, Tv, You tube videos, cell phone games, texting , instagram, snapchat, video games, netflix , hula are distracting children from homework, exercise, and healthy face to face relationships. Children and Teenagers are in their room jumping from one electronic device to another and it is having a negative impact on learning and grades! I had a news reporter tell me that we do not know the impact of media on children. There are thousands of studies showing that children and teens are out of balance with media use, tv, cell phone use, and video games. The experts state children should be using no more than 1.5 hours per day . This includes the pediatric medical community. So media Health Care Doctors, Psychologists, Researchers, and world experts maintain we must limit the exposure to electronics. It impacts sleep, mood, performance, social skills, academic success and more in a negative manner.

Teenagers between the ages of 13-18 are spending on average nine hours per day on electronics: tv, netflix, texting, you tube, Facebook, instagram,social networking, snapchat, video games, online videos. Teens are rarely maintaining 7 hours of sleep per night during the school week.

Children are also using electronic media at a high rate. Youth ages 9-12 are averaging six hours per day of electronic media use nd this does not include time for homework.

Seventy percent of teens do not believe that watching tv, texting, playing video games, surfing the net impacts their ability to study and learn. Research shows this not to be the case in fact it is the opposite of what the teens believe.

Teen Boys are spending a great deal of time on video games. Male teens spend almost ten times the amount of time on video games and online gaming as well as cell phone gaming. Teen girls spend more time on social media than boys and girls spend more time reading than boys.

Parents are in a power position to set boundaries for: sleep, gaming, texting, Tv, Homework, and more. If parents do not set firm limits than an immature child will be sucked into the vortex of games and entertainment and will be in their rooms drunk with power. Family communication will deteriorate, grades will go south, negative behaviors will become more frequent, family stress will increase, and mental and physical health will be poor.

Being bullied and teens and school age children that are rejected lead to feelings of powerlessness and isolation. Victims often feel an extremely intense desire to regain their power and turn to violent behaviors to regain their power.

Twenty five percent of students are bullied and of these children seventy percent are bullied at school.

Studies show that students that have been bullied often are very likely to be vulnerable to: depression, anxiety, eating disorders, social isolation, sleep issues and disorders, substance and drug dependence and alcohol abuse, cutting, and more mental health issues. Post traumatic stress Disorder and suicide have also been linked to bullying. Long term psychological damage is linked to bullying and abuse ( emotional, verbal, physical, mental).

Gov legislation and laws have not stopped the violence. We have had 50 school shootings since Sandy Hook only a few years ago this is outrageous and sad and tragic.

We must teach children and teens mood management skills, stress management, social skills, healthy way to communicate thoughts and feelings and more. We need to teach children and teenagers: compassion, empathy, kindness, tolerance, respect, and coping skills for life. We must encourage youth to talk about bullying to parents and to share the info with the principal and all teachers and not look the other way. Cyberbullying also must be discussed it is happening with exponential frequency and is not ok.

Obtaining counseling for children and counseling for teens is important to address bullying to help youth learn skills to address this pain and provide parents solutions so your child does not suffer long term psychological disorders and other forms of harm to family, peers, or self.

Schools need to feel safe physically and emotionally for children and teenagers. Schools must be pro active with anti bullying programs and seminars and education on bullying on a regular basis. Schools should devote time to mental health issues since they will ooze out daily in the schools so it must be addressed!

A child that is victimized very likely will grow up and become a victimizer to peers, wives, friends etc. It is important to teach healthy boundaries( physical, mental, emotional) and healthy choices, right from wrong and also make sure your child is safe from bullying. counseling has worked with children and teens that have been bullied or are victimizing others helping them create health and success in their lives.

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 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. David Abrams has a specialty working with children and families for over fifteen years.


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!

Child therapy counseling: behavior, emotional Phoenix, CaveCreek, Scottsdale Az.

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

Signs and symptoms that a child may have a mental-health or substance-use disorder can be a major change in behavior, mood and friends. Many parents have an intuitive vibe that something is off balance in their child or teen.

Over twenty percent of children and adolescents suffer from a mental health disorders or a learning disability. Over eight one percent of all psychological challenges or disorders begin in childhood.

When mental health issues are not addressed children suffer in school as well as at home and with peers. They also have very negative outcomes in life when left un treated through mental health therapy and counseling as well as other treatments.

Schools have a huge impact on your child and his or her success. If a child is struggling in school this is a huge red flag. If your child is struggling with academics, peers, social, grades, behavior, or emotionally.

School is on your child’s mind all the time. He or she has reports from school, grades from school, friendships from school. If your child is not having positive reports or behaviors than things need to change.

A child’s self esteem and feeling a sense of friendship and belonging is fostered in school . If your child is coming home with poor grades and behavioral issues it is time to figure out a behavior plan to change this in school as well as make shifts at home.

Some schools provide a behavioral plan and have adept teachers that have a small class and are able to encourage your child and help mold their behavior in a positive way. Most schools are overwhelmed and teachers have no time to work on classroom behaviors, social skills, self esteem, giving one on one time to your child. Your child may very well need one on one time in a small setting and not a classroom of 30 plus students to learn.

There are special services that schools can provide to assist your child with his emotional and behavioral challenges when they are interfering with school.

Parents can learn skills to help their children with behavioral and emotional needs at home to make the behaviors transition to the school. Behavior modification is just one way. Creating a plan daily is vital to make positive behavioral changes. It takes some work like a team however you do not have to have ten more years of poor grades and behavior issues at school if you get early support for your child and adolescent. Early intervention with someone who has expertise with children and teens and families in mental health is best.

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