Archive for the 'child counseling' Category

Counseling for Child Depression, Anxiety, Unmotivated, ADHD, TV Video Games? Phoenix Scottsdale

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Parents can really help shape a child’s behavior by creating an environment that sets limits on : TV, Media, Facebook, SmartPhones, texting, video games, iPods, and all electronics. To much media and TV will negatively impact your childs: Mood, anxiety, depression, ADHD, Motivation, grades, anger, aggression, and impact his or her life. You can read below and you will see that your child needs to have a balance and you are in a power position to do so and to set a great example.

A study shows that those teens that reported a higher level of media exposure had significantly greater odds of developing depression.

Time spent engaging with electronic media may replace time that could be spent on social, athletic or intellectual activities that could guard against depression. Reading, exercise, healthy communication, learning new hobbies, activities that do not involve just sitting around like a potato and absorbing media like a sponge are best.

Aggression, fear, and anxiety are induced by watching TV. Is this the type of message you want for your child or teen. You can limit exposure to TV and media. set limits! Set healthy boundaries with your family. Encourage healthy communication instead of numbing out to TV and Media.

Activities that increase self esteem, social skills, and promote a sense of self mastery are helpful to fight against depression in teens and children.

A study shows that those teens that reported a higher level of media exposure had significantly greater odds of developing depression.

Time spent engaging with electronic media may replace time that could be spent on social, athletic or intellectual activities that could guard against depression. Reading, exercise, healthy communication, learning new hobbies, activities that do not involve just sitting around like a potato and absorbing media like a sponge are best.

Aggression, fear, and anxiety are induced by watching TV. Is this the type of message you want for your child or teen. You can limit exposure to TV and media. set limits! Set healthy boundaries with your family. Encourage healthy communication instead of numbing out to TV and Media.

Activities that increase self esteem, social skills, and promote a sense of self mastery are helpful to fight against depression in teens and children.

study following more than 1,800 children from ages 6 months to nearly 8 years found a small but consistent association between increased television viewing and shorter sleep duration. The presence of a television in the room where a child sleeps also was associated with less sleep, particularly in minority children. Investigators from MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) and Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) report their results — the first to examine the connection between television and sleep duration over several years — in the May issue of Pediatrics.
The study participants, children and their mothers, were enrolled in Project Viva, a long-term investigation of the health effects of several factors during pregnancy and after birth. This study analyzed information — reported by mothers when the children were around 6 months old and then annually for the next seven years — regarding how much time each day infants were in a room where a television was on, how much time older children watched television daily, whether children ages 4 to 7 slept in a room where a TV was present and their child’s average daily amount of sleep.
The study revealed that, over the course of the study, each additional hour of television viewing was associated with 7 fewer minutes of sleep daily, with the effects appearing to be stronger in boys than in girls. Racial and ethnic minority children were much more likely to sleep in a room where a television was present, and among those children, the presence of a bedroom television reduced average sleep around a half-hour per day.
The study authors note their results support previous short-term studies finding that both television viewing and sleeping in a room with a television decrease total sleep time, which can have negative effects on both mental and physical health.

A recent study shows a connection between violent video games and racism and aggression . This was published in The Journal of social psychological and personality science. The violent video games perpetuate the stereotype that african americans are violent. Women and police are portrayed in a negative light and aggression may increase due to playing these violent video games.

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.

The worldwide video game industry, which includes video game console hardware and software, online, mobile and PC games, will reach $93 billion in 2013, up from $79 billion in 2012, according to Gartner, Inc. Driven by strong mobile gaming and video game console and software sales, the market is forecast to reach $111 billion by 2015. This includes: xbox, PS3, WI, Mobile devices, and computer devices as well as smart phones and gaming. I wrote an article on the negative effects of gaming in 2004 and this is research based and is listed below to support some of the potential negative impacts gaming could have on a child.

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). 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.

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.

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.

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.

The 20 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!

The Academy of Pediatrics suggest that children be limited to less than
two hours per day of TV and media. Research shows that media can
diminish a child’s vocabulary, math skills, and social skills. There is
a great deal of research that correlates : sleep problems, aggression,
anger, behavioral problems, ADHD, lack of attention at school, obesity
and more to children that are watching on average 32 hours of TV and
media per week. In most homes the TV is on for half the day if not more.

Children are not interacting with peers and family members. Children are
not eating dinner with families and communicating. The TV or technology
is the focus and healthy social and communication skills are eroding
exponentially. Children and teens are not exercising which is essential
for physical health as well as mental health. Children are not reading
books, playing instruments, playing with peers, joining groups and
organizations and are isolating in their rooms or homes watching media.

Obesity is an epidemic in the USA and this is no exception for children.
One out of three high school students are not involved in any exercise.
Many children and teens spend most of their time playing video games,
watching tv, or on the computer. Limiting media time is one huge piece
in decreasing weight and obesity problems among youth. Of course
exercise and healthy eating habits are important as well. The first step
is limiting media consumption.

Thousands of studies have been done on child aggression/ anger and TV
since he early 1950’s and only a couple dozen state that aggression and
TV watching frequency increase childhood aggression. TV desensitizes
children toward violence, anger, aggression, verbal abuse and more.
Children will be exposed to over 200,000 violent acts and over 15,000
murders before they reach age 18. Do you really want your children
exposed to this much violence?.

Tv research shows that exposure to alcohol and smoking increase the
likelihood your child will gravitate toward these products. This is why
advertisers spend Billions of dollars each year to increase sales and
exposure of their products.

Children and parents can learn healthy skills and tips in counseling at
LifeWorks AZ PLLC to create health and balance for a child, teen and
family. Learning healthy skills to promote health, manage mood, increase
social skills, manage behaviors in the home, increase success a school.
overcome negative thinking, address anxiety issues,increase self
esteem, manage depressed mood, increase motivation, make healthy
choices, manage anger and more.

Child Depression Apps

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

There are applications on your phone that are being marketed for helping children with depression. I do not believe an application is the answer. There are many components that may impact a child’s mood that an application does not address or assess.

Many children I work with have struggles with their self esteem and their social skills and their perception of themselves. Many youth have family challenges and pain related to family dynamics. A lot of children struggle with the fall out from divorce. Some have had past trauma that is impacting them today.
Depression is a human response to pain in life. It is not a disability unless we stay stuck in it and can not pull ourselves out of the depression and it begins to impact our lives in a negative way. Depression will not sustain itself when one gets on the right path for life and sees the glass half full instead of half empty.

A loss of a dog or cat can cause many to feel a sense of depression. As life circumstances change so too will an individuals mood. While watching ASU Arizona State or any sports event one can cycle from euphoria to a sense of hopelessness and then continue to swing up and down many times during the game.

Depression many times is lifted by: making new friends, a new job, learning a new skill, travel, finding a passion, or through the passing of time.

Research shows that an individual whom is depressed many times is wrestling with guilt, and negative cognitions of blame. The best therapy is having good rapport with your therapist and someone who uses a variety of approaches. Many experts state that psychotherapy is the key to alleviating depression. A caring psychotherapeutic relationship is huge according data and research on depression.

Empathy is vital to heal from depression. Empathy a loving concern for others connects people. Some medications blunt empathy and make people feel indifferent. Research shows neurotransmitters that get invlolved in frontal lobe reactions are impacted and can rob us of self awareness, empathy, and sensitivity.

Love and instillation of hope I healing opportunity possible everyday) is crucial in the triumph over depression in children, teens, and adults.

Below are some symptoms you may observe in a depressed child however it is not limited to these alone:

  • Below is a list of SOME possible symptoms of child depression it is not inclusive just some things to look out for and to always seek professional advice on this matter.
  • One very common childhood depression symptom is an irritable mood.Children and adolescent teens who are irritable may be rude, disrespectful, and may refuse to do what you ask. They are less likely to follow the rules at school or at home and frequently talk back to parents and teachers. They are defiant at times as well.
  • A child who is bored may bother you, follow you around the house and demand that you entertain them. This may be because they are feeling down and blue.
  • They no longer like to do things they used to think were fun this is a red flag as well.
  • A child who is experiencing this childhood depression symptom will stop enjoying the activities they were the most interested in.
  • They may display changes in eating patterns or appetite. A child may eat more or eat less or very little as far as eating habits.
  • Children who experience this childhood depression symptom may seem particular or complain about their food. They may not want to get up or go to bed. The child may complain about the food when in the past they did not complain.
  • Children may sleep more or less than normal. Behaviorally this can translate into refusal to go to school or to go to bed. A change in sleep is a huge red flag. Sleep will impact mood in a very negative manner besides school performance and interpersonal communication and social interactions.
  • Depressed children and teenagers may complain of feeling tired and lack the energy to complete the tasks they need to do at home and school. This childhood depression symptom often causes children to behave in a way that can be misinterpreted as lazy. If parents or teachers describe a child as lazy I am immediately suspicious that the child is depressed. They have thoughts of worthlessness or guilty feelings. Low sense of self esteem is apparent and the child is not feeling good about his or her life at this time.
  • Children and adolescent teens who are depressed will often make negative self statements. Most parents often miss these statements or may be irritated by them. Younger children won’t attempt to complete tasks or activities because of fear that they are not good enough to do so. Kids with this childhood depression symptom may also blame themselves for things that they have nothing to do with.

Other symptoms include unpleasant behaviors such as tantrums, inability to handle frustration, complaining or crying. At school depressed children may be hostile or aggressive, display a drop in school performance, or may frequently go to the school nurse. Physical symptoms not wanting to go to school, suicidal thoughts, homicidal thoughts, cutting, self harm are other red flags stating your child needs professional assistance.

The best approach is a professional that works with the parents and the child because the child has the most exposure with parents and their support is essential in facilitating best results.

child mental health disorders treatment

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Child psychiatrists believe that children suffer from biological and genetic diseases that cause millions of youth to be mentally distressed and potentially violent. Many child psychiatrists reject that childhood trauma, poor parenting, neglect, and other social and environmental factors could lie at the root of the suffering displayed by 70 million youth in America.

One NIMH health expert stated that Columbine Type shootings and children with mental health issues are genetic. The expert did not state a word about: divorce, absentee parents, drug and alcohol abuse by parents, sexual abuse, trauma, broken love relationships, grief, loss, change,

There is inescapable evidence that trauma, abuse, neglect, loss of a relationship and more cause severe emotional disturbances that can last a lifetime, especially when inflicted on children and teens.

Millions of children are rejected from our military for taking mind altering medications : antidepressants, ADHD medications and more. Many parents are not informed of this information and seek a fix that does not look at the root of a child or teenagers pain.

Dr. Breggin a child psychiatrist states biopsychiatric treatments routinely given children do not really help them. The psychiatric drugs simply subdue children’s signs of suffering. Suppressing our children’s emotional signals with toxic agents not only harms them, it delays our recognition of the larger environmental stressors in the family, school, and community. When we treat children with drugs, we harm them as individuals by suppressing them and we harm the community by overlooking larger sources of the roots of the problems.

Creating relationships with all of our children is the key to not only preventing violence but also giving children happier lives. We need to be developing these relationships on a daily basis long before they start giving us signals of impending emotional imbalance and breakdowns

Counseling Therapy Child Obesity Weight Scottsdale, Phoenix Arizona

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Children and teenagers are becoming more over

weight and obese over the past two decades. There are a number of reasons why American youth are becoming so un healthy. Access to electronics 24-7 like: smartphones, texting, Facebook, twitter, video games, you tube, the internet, TV, are keeping children inactive.

Children and teens are eating too much processed foods, sugars, carbohydrates that turn to sugar as well. Eating out and going out to eat often is unhealthy for youth and families.

Diabetes and children that are overweight is sky rocketing in the USA.

Parents can take an active roll by purchasing healthy foods at the home.

There is no way to shelter children from sugar or unhealthy foods however limiting it and setting healthy boundaries is key to your child eating a nutritional diet and avoiding severe health problems later on in life .

The rise in the number of people with weight issues and obesity has ignited and epidemic with type 2 diabetes.

Sugary drinks are connected with obesity and with an increased risk of developing diabetes . There are many other things that are connected with weight gain and obesity .

Some areas that impact obesity and weight gain are unresolved : trauma , stress, unhealthy habits , poor sleep, limited exercise , addictive behaviors , sitting around all day playing video games , sitting watching tv for long periods of time , sitting for long periods of time on the Internet ( I pad) ( smart phone ) etc.

The average child between the ages of 8 years old and 18 spend more than 8 hours a day on electronics . This is like a full time job being it is approx 40 hours a week on technology . Typically this means each child or teenager is not exercising or doing much physically which is vital for physical , mental , and emotional health .

Heavy media consumption in children and teens was associated with ; health issues , weight gain , diabetes , behavior problems , low grades and much more .

There is a relationship between heavy media use and children feeling : sad or bored, getting in trouble , not getting along with parents .

Children connected to media in heavy doses are losing out on social interactions and interpersonal skills . Children are not signing up for after school activities : sports , clubs , church groups , dance , exercise , and other extracurricular activities .

Girls and boys that are spending heavy amounts of time on media and electronics describe themselves as less happy and less comfortable in social situations .

Research suggests that youth need to experience the whole range of communication skills which includes face to face interactions to build self esteem and feel good about their social skills .

Parents can make a difference setting rules and limits with all electronic devices.

Children impulsivity and unfocused at school

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

There are children at school who are extremely intelligent and are not challenged in the classroom. This can create a child who is bored and unfocused and create behavioral issues because the teacher can not individualize her plan for each student when they have a large classroom. The child most likely can benefit from an honors placement.

Our minds are built to wander, according to a new study that argues we have a network of brain regions dedicated to meandering thoughts that turns off and on depending on how focused we need to be to complete tasks. This study was done by Mason Inman and her colleagues at Harvard Medical School.

What are your thoughts? Is it realistic to force children to sit still for an hour with out a break? Would children benefit behaviorally from more breaks? Tell me your thoughts?

David Abrams

Child. and teen therapist, Phoenix Arizona.

Sent from David Abrams MAPC, LPC, CAGS


Visit My Blog At

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