Archive for the 'Child Counselor Phoenix Arizona' Category

Child Therapist , Counseling , Medication article Phoenix Scottsdale Arizona

Friday, December 7th, 2018


Young children in a study between the ages of ten years old and seventeen years old showed an increase in the us of anti-depressants in a one year period of time.


Experts state we need to identify the root cause and create emotionally healthy environments where children and teenagers are taught how to manage their stress, mood, and set backs. Pressure to excel and succeed as well as stress and body image were cited as reasons youth were taking medications.


Article from Dr Peter Breggin  Psychiatrist below.


On March 22 the FDA issued an extraordinary “Public Health Advisory” that cautioned about the risks associated with the whole new generation of antidepressants including Prozac and its knock offs, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox, Celexa, and Lexapro, as well as Wellbutrin, Effexor, Serzone, and Remeron. The warning followed a public hearing where dozens of family members and victims testified about suicide and violence committed by individuals taking these medications.

While stopping short of concluding the antidepressants definitely cause suicide, the FDA warned that they might do so in a small percentage of children and adults. In the debate over drug-induced suicide, little attention has been given to the FDA’s additional warning that certain behaviors are “known to be associated with these drugs,” including “anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, akathisia (severe restlessness), hypomania, and mania.”

From agitation and hostility to impulsivity and mania, the FDA’s litany of antidepressant-induced behaviors is identical to that of PCP, methamphetamine and cocaine—drugs known to cause aggression and violence. These older stimulants and most of the newer antidepressants cause similar effects as a result of their impact on a neurotransmitter in the brain called serotonin.

For more than a decade, I have documented in books and scientific reports how this stimulation or activation profile can lead to out-of-control behavior, including violence. Indeed, the FDA’s conclusions seem drawn from my recent detailed review of Breggin Antidepressant Column, p. 2 studies pertaining to abnormal behavior produced by

the newer antidepressants: “Suicidality, violence and mania caused by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): A review and analysis” published in the International Journal of Risk and Safety in Medicine, 16: 31-49, 2003/2004 (The complete text of the peer-reviewed article appears on this website). I made a similar analysis in my most recent book on the subject, The Antidepressant Fact Book (2002, Perseus


Below are Scientific excerpts from DR Peter Breggin on adverse or negative impacts on SSRI or antidepressant medications  Many parents want to know the possible side effects etc and he has decades of info in his scientific articles. You can read about him at

There has been an abundance of information on anti depressants and SSRI and long term impacts on children and adult brains. Dr. Peter Breggin is an expert on psychiatric medications and Psychiatry and below are small portions from his scientific papers on antidepressants. You can go to his web site and read about his research on medications in detail his Bio is at the very end.

Even medical and evidence based research states that best results combine counseling with medication. Below is info from only one expert on medications there are many other opinions on medications and positive articles however this blog are more on side effects from Dr Breggin’s papers. 

When evaluating the vulnerability of children or adults to SSRI-induced adverse drug reactions, the inquiry should be broadened from suicidality to include the overall problem of SSRI-induced mental and behavioral disturbances, such as manic-like syndromes, agitated depression, agitation, anxiety, akathisia, and insomnia. These phenomena can be understood as a continuum of stimulant adverse effects that, in their extremes, result in manic psychoses with violence and agitated depressions with suicide.

The overall pattern of SSRI-induced mental and behavior syndromes is well- documented and should discourage their use in children. For example, in brief clinical trials involving children, rates of SSRI-induced mania run as high as 4-6% and rates for SSRI- induced depression as high as 5%. In actual clinical practice involving longer drug exposures and less thorough monitoring, the rates are even higher (see the enclosed reviews).

Studies conducted with adults have grave implications for even more vulnerable children. Many clinical reports, clinical trials and epidemiological studies demonstrate increased rates of abnormal behavior, especially suicide, in adults in association with SSRIs.

Evidence from many sources confirms that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) commonly cause or ex- acerbate a wide range of abnormal mental and behavioral conditions. These adverse drug reactions include the following overlapping clinical phenomena: a stimulant profile that ranges from mild agitation to manic psychoses, agitated depression, obsessive preoccupations that are alien or uncharacteristic of the individual, and akathisia. Each of these reactions can worsen the individual’s mental condition and can result in suicidality, violence, and other forms of extreme abnormal behavior. Ev- idence for these reactions is found in clinical reports, controlled clinical trials, and epidemiological studies in children and adults. Recognition of these adverse drug reactions and withdrawal from the offending drugs can prevent misdiagnosis and the worsening of potentially severe iatrogenic disorders. These findings also have forensic application in criminal, malpractice, and product liability cases.

Recent United States Food and Drug Administration-mandated class warnings

concerning the increased risk of suicidality in children treated with antidepressants.

have drawn a great deal of attention. More recently, the FDA has announced that it is investigating growing concerns about antidepressant-induced suicidality in adults. Almost no attention has been given to a far broader concern within rhe FDA about the “activating” effects of these medications in children and adults. On

March 22, 2004 the FDA issued a Public Health Advisory in regard to children and adults in which :

The agency is also advising that these patients be observed for certain behaviors that are known to be associated with these drugs, such as, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, akathisia (severe restlessness), hypoma- nia, and mania. (emphases addedY 

Drug regulatory agencies in the United States (FDA), Canada (Health Canada) and Great Britain (MHRA) have significantly upgraded their warnings concerning antidepressant-induced suicidality in children. Furthermore, the U.S. and Canada have confirmed an antidepressant-induced stimulant or ac- tivation cluster of adverse events in children and adults that includes hostility and aggression. Although most attention has been given to warnings about drug-induced suicidality, more emphasis needs to be placed upon U.S. and Canadian warnings about the potential production of stimulation and mania with hostility and aggression. This report examines these recent regulatory events and related research. It also updates the author’s most recent review of antidepressant-induced behavioral and mental abnormali- ties [6].

The SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) have been the major focus of attention by the reg- ulatory agencies. With some exceptions in regard to the severity or frequency of adverse reactions, the SSRIs can be treated as one group in regard to their profile of adverse drug reactions2. The SSRIs include fluoxetine (Prozac), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), citalopram (Celexa) and escilalopram (Lexapro). In recent reports issued by the FDA [14] four other potentially stimulating antidepressants were found to produce similar adverse behavioral and mental effects and were included in the group: venlafaxine (Effexor), mirtazapine (Remeron), Wellbutrin or Zyban (bupropion) and nefa- zodone (Serzone).

Why do so many individuals persist in taking psychoactive substances, including psychiatric drugs, after adverse mental and behavioral effects have become severe and even disabling? The author has previously proposed the brain-disabling principle of psychiatric treatment that all somatic psychiatric treatments impair the function of the brain and mind. Intoxication anosognosia (medication spellbinding) is an expression of this druginduced mental disability. Intoxication anosognosia causes the victim to underestimate the degree of drug-induced mental impairment, to deny the harmful role that the drug plays in the person’s altered state, and in many cases compel the individual to mistakenly believe that he or she is functioning better. In the extreme, the individual displays out-of-character compulsively destructive behaviors, including violence toward self and others.

The newer antidepressants frequently cause suicide, violence, and manic-like symptoms of activation or overstimulation, presenting serious hazards to active-duty soldiers who carry weapons under stressful conditions. These antidepressant-induced symptoms of activation can mimic posttraumatic stress disorder and are likely to worsen this common disorder in soldiers, increasing the hazard when they are prescribed to military personnel. Antidepressants should not be prescribed to soldiers during or after deployment.

Understanding the hazards associated with long-term exposure to psychiatric drugs is very important but rarely emphasized in the scientific literature and clinical practice. Drawing on the scientific literature and clinical experience, the author describes the syndrome of Chronic Brain Impairment (CBM) which can be caused by any trauma to the brain including Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), and long-term exposure to psychiatric medications. Knowledge of the syndrome should enable clinicians to more easily identify long-term adverse effects caused by psychiatric drugs while enabling researchers to approach the problem with a more comprehensive understanding of the common elements of brain injury as they are manifested after long-term exposure to psychiatric medications.


n the early 1990s Dr. Breggin was appointed and approved by the court as the single scientific expert for more than 100 combined Prozac product liability concerning violence, suicide and other behavioral aberrations caused by the antidepressant. In 2001-2002, he participated as a medical expert in a California lawsuit whose resolution was associated with a new label warning for Paxil concerning withdrawal effects.

Recently Dr. Breggin was the medical expert in the first psychosurgery malpractice suit and also the first ECT malpractice suit ever won in court. He has been a medical expert in many courtroom victories for individuals injured by medications, including numerous cases of tardive dyskinesia caused by neuroleptic drugs.

Dr. Breggin has also been a consultant to the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) on the adverse effects of psychiatric drugs on pilots.

Peter R. Breggin M.D. conducts a private practice of psychiatry in Ithaca , New York , where he treats adults, couples, and families with children. He also does consultations in the field of clinical psychopharmacology and often acts as a medical expert in criminal, malpractice and product liability suits. Before moving to Ithaca in November 2002 he was in practice for nearly thirty-five years in Washington , DC and Bethesda , Maryland . He has written dozens of scientific articles and many professional books, including Medication Madness: The Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide and Crime (2008), and is on the editorial board of several journals.

In 2010 Dr. Breggin and his wife Ginger formed a new organization that continues their emphasis on bringing professional and laypersons together to share their concerns about the hazards of contemporary biological psychiatry while promoting more caring and empathic approaches to personal conflict and suffering. The new organization will sponsor an annual meeting each April in Syracuse, New York (

Many of Dr. Breggin’s accomplishments as a reformer are documented in detail in The Conscience of Psychiatry: The Reform Work of Peter R. Breggin, M.D. (2009). This biographical tribute to Dr. Breggin’s work draws on more than half-a-century of media and more than 70 special contributions from his colleagues, as well as many other sources.

Dr. Breggin’s background includes Harvard College, Case Western Reserve Medical School, a one-year internship and a three-year residency in psychiatry, including a teaching fellowship at Harvard Medical School. After his training, he accepted a two-year staff appointment at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). He has taught at several universities, including a faculty appointment to the Johns Hopkins University Department of Counseling and an appointment as Visiting Scholar at SUNY Oswego in the Department of Counseling and Psychological Services in 2007-2008. He now teaches as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Counseling and Psychological Services at SUNY Oswego.



Child Counseling Phoenix, Scottsdale , Cave Creek, Arizona

Monday, November 26th, 2018


In a study of over 9,000 youth in England one out of seven youth were found to have a mental health diagnosis. Mental health problems among children and teenagers are increasing at a high level over past decades.


Emotional disorders, behavioral disorders, ADHD, ADD, and other disorders are increasing not only in England but in the United States of America. This shows that wealth alone does not increase mental health disorders, however, the lower the socioeconomics the higher the rate overall of mental disorders.


The research shows a high correlation with mental health disorders and among youth and usage of social media , internet use and media use.


Increases in emotional disorders among girls and young females was the highest. Increases in anxiety and depression among : children and teens was significant as well.


Parents that have open communication with their teenagers and children show a decrease in risky behaviors and mental health problems in their homes. Having a child be able to communicate feelings and thoughts is essential to mental health and physical health for children, teens ,and adults.


Many parents are doing their best parenting as well as doing a balancing act with work, and being a good partner or spouse in a relationship. Parents feel overwhelmed with information on parenting and are judged and criticized for not doing things the “right way”. Many milennials feel to young to be parents and 80 percent of children born are to millennial moms. Many parents are protective of their children and d o not want to post their children for fear the child will become a meme or have some negative connotation used on the web.

Most parents need co-parenting and when one parent criticizes the other parent it can destroy the family and the marriage. Each parent needs positive support and if one parent does not like the way the other is parenting than it must be discussed and a consistent agreed upon strategy is vital for the child as well as for both parents.

Many millennials are receiving financial support from parents and In laws because they do not have established jobs and they have a great deal of college debt  to pay off. Older mom’s in general are more financially secure so do not have to rely on anyone else to pay monthly bills.

Over 40 percent of marriages have a spouse from a different racial group. This is double the number from the 1960’s. There are many challenges with parenting and finances is a big piece, however, it is clear that parents that have financial stability have more tools to receive the support needed o raise their child be it: a tutor, counseling , joining sports teams, arts, etc.

Parents need the opportunity to provide stability to their children. Having a written out specific and organized parenting plan for each child that both parents agree upon will reduce stress and family pain as long as both parents are motivated to follow the behavior plan. Families can find peace and happiness and success with a professional plan for each child.

Healthy communication skills between parents and child are vital for healthy behaviors and healthy relationships between child and parent. Healthy communication goes both ways between a child as well as how a parent treats his or her child.

www.lifeworksaz.comworks with children and adolescent teens on healthy behaviors as well as working with parents on tips to improve behaviors, relationships, modify a child’s behavior, manage mood, manage stress, inprove self esteem , improve communications skills, improve social skills and life skills.

Child, Teen,Therapy: Screen time, Anxiety, Behavior Phoenix , Scottsdale, Cave Creek Arizona

Saturday, November 17th, 2018


Too much time spent on Screens : I-pads, Smartphones, Video gaming, and watching television  is linked to heightened levels of anxiety and depression in children as young as two years old.


Children were seen to have less emotional stability, lower senses of control, greater inability to finish a task or follow directions and a lower sense of psychological well being among children, teens ,and adolescents  in another research study published in Prevention Medical Reports.


Those in the study that spent less than one hour on screen time vs those spending 7 hours on screen time were fifty percent less likely to suffer from anxiety and depressive disorders in a giant research study that used 40,000 plus youth data and reports.


Preschoolers that had more screen time than one hour (4) had more temper outbursts and forty six percent of pre school children were NOT able to calm down.


Curiosity diminished among youth eleven through thirteen with the more screen time. The more screen time above one hour correlated with less and less curiosity in life.


Studies show that time spent on screens is linked to poor shifts in brain connectivity compared to say reading. Studies show that screen time is connected to poorer language cognition as well as  poorer levels of behavioral or self control.


Changes were seen in the reward circuits of children and teenage adolescent brain, in the ratio of the neurotransmitter GABA to other neurotransmitters. Research shows social media taps into the brains addictive pathways.


Here are some more negative results of screen time for your child or teen whose brain is developing. Screens negatively impact children’s sleep. This is huge because sleep is connected with mood and performance and much more ( academic performance).


Screen time use is an identified factor in childhood obesity and teen obesity. Screen time can undermine learning for young children and babies.


Night time exposure to screens and LED devices : smart phones, Ipads, Video Games, computers etc suppresses melatonin and disrupts sleep!


Your child’s brain is in hyper mode and moving very rapidly when interacting with screens and video games and computers and smart phones. When your child or teenager is taken off their devices their brains are still moving a million miles a second. It will take your child a significant amount of time for his or her brain to adjust. Your child may be bouncing off walls in his unconscious attempt to find stimuli that is moving as fast as his brain.


Research shows a child’s vestibular system gets thrown off with screen time which is responsible for calmness and mood.


Our child may be great at playing video games however you must look at how their interpersonal relationships look like, their sports and music and other aspects of their life. has expertise working with children , teens and families to create health and balance and success in all aspects of life. www.Lifeworksaz.comhelps children, teens and parents with : Parenting, self esteem , social skills, mood regulation , anxiety management, anger management, Behavior Modification, depression management, sports mental training, and much more.

Child Counseling Social media, Anxiety and Depression Phoenix, Scottsdale Arizona

Thursday, November 15th, 2018

Study after study from Research journals and medical experts show that limiting social media is important for children and teens mental health. Researchers have looked at the relationship between social media and : Grades at school, family communication, social skills, Depression, Anxiety, and Self Esteem and much more.

Reductions in depression and loneliness were seen in a recent study with just a thirty minute reduction in social media for adolescents and children. Research shows a reduction in social media actually helped reduce loneliness and anxiety.

A huge research study in the UK using over 1500 youth showed negative impacts of social media: poor sleep habits, comparing self to others, low self esteem, poor self image, increase in anxiety and more.

Your child will have more balance is their lives if they spend time with family members communicating face to face, communicating with peers face to face, playing sports or involvement in physical activities or sports,  joining clubs and organizations, altruistic clubs, after school extracurricular activities and more.

Children and teens are spending a majority of their time on : instagram, snapchat, online, Video gaming, texting and watching tv and movies. It is not against the law to be doing so however in my office I find most children are out of balance.

Your child has the potential for more mood disorders: depression and anxiety. Your child is learning about violence and anger in most video games that reinforces violence and that is frequent and intense. Your child has the potential for sleep disorders and lost sleep due to too much use of electronic media. Your child is exposed to unhealthy behaviors. Your child is not learning about exercise or learning social skills and interactive skills that are needed for life and for employment. Your child is not doing a lot of homework or is avoiding studying because they have an entertainment center 24-7.

There are many things parents can do o create balance in a child and teens life and one is limiting exposure to the above at a very high level. Below is more info on children and social media.

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.

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.

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.

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.  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

Counseling Child Social Skills Phoenix,Cave Creek, Scottsdale Arizona

Monday, August 20th, 2018

Children and adolescent teens are spending 50 plus hours a week on technology( instagram, texting, snapchat, you tube, Netflix facebook) and a majority of youth are not developing social skills . You might wonder why social skills is vital? Social skills and resiliency are two of the biggest factors determining future success for your child or teenager.

In many research studies children that have strong social skills and emotional skills were more likely than their peers to succeed academically as well as professionally . One study followed children for over twenty years .

Social abilities are more than just having friends . Social competence includes the ability to be a team player , resolve conflicts , listen to others, make suggestions without judgment or criticism .

In a large research study twenty five years ago academic teachers used an assessment tool the educational leaders were asked to assign each child a score based on qualities that included : team work, cooperates with peers without prompting., helpful to others, understands feelings; and independent problem solver.

One huge result was that the children that scored high on the above criteria were over FOUR TIMES more likely to graduate from college.

Another result showed that academic success is not enough for career or life success. Children need to learn self awareness, and social awareness, self management, and emotional strength in order to have successful futures. Social and emotional skills: mood regulation, stress management, healthy communication with peers and family are vital for healthy adults.

Children and teens with poor social skills were more likely to have : substance abuse problems, be unemployed , receive public assistance , and more .

The positive piece of the study was that children and teens can develop social skills throughout childhood with some practice and work. Your child’s success in life all around: relationships, happiness, career happiness and life joy’s are connected to strong social skills.

Developing the whole child is very important. Teaching your child or teen kills to communicate with peers and family in healthy ways, tools to make friends and keep friends, skills to manage stress in life, mood regulation skills, healthy diet, exercise, and creating overall balance in your child’s life.

Children can learn healthy social skills with some guidance with parents as well as through counseling and role modeling.

Being a team player is an essential social skill for family, friendship as well as at school and at work. It is vital that a child contribute: do chores, do things he or she does not want to do to build healthy social skills.

Listening to others opinions and not thinking one knows it all is helpful with social skills.

Being grateful and thankful to your family and friends and others who do things for you. Helping you, making you dinner, providing support, doing things you enjoy etc.

Being genuine and truly interested in others lives is vital for true friendship. Children and teens should get curious about what activities parents participate in daily and ask about there day. Children and teens should ask friends about activities they enjoy at school at home in clubs etc. Listening is key and asking more questions will allow you to develop a strong relationships and build your social skills. has been working with children, teens and families for over fifteen years on social skills, self esteem, mood, stress management and healthy life skills and more.

Counseling Child Teen Depression, Social media Phoenix, Scottsdale, Cave Creek Arizona

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

We are all numb to the facts that web sites we use daily: facebook, twitter, Instagram, snapchat provide us with media for free however it really is not free the proce we pay is these companies sell our interests and consumer habits to these companies and that’s how they stay in business.


There are many applications that actually listen in to your surroundings and they specifically record what you are watching and what commercials are on and all of your viewing habits on TV.


Research shows that most people post positive events on social media and present a happy, fun, enjoyable life, however, the parts of their life that are miserable or in great pain or not highlighted. People look at the posts and think wow there “ life is great” etc. It is a skewed reality in fact they might be depressed and have other problems. Social media allows people to present a part of who they are almost like the cover of a book without looking at all the detailed chapters.


Children and teens well beings and mood can worsen from viewing social media and this has been researched. There is a correlation between lower self esteem and a greater sense of a depressed mood the more children and teens are using: twitter, instagram, snapchat , facebook, etc.


Many children and teens are addicted to video games and the internet. Many experts do not want to throw the term addiction around however there is research on I use facebook to forget my problesm, I use facebook more and more and really have no intention of being on so long etc. The same goes for video games .


Social media can be used by children to receive acceptance and validation that they perceive they are not receiving. Children and teens use social media for attention from others very often .


We know children and teens crave approval from there peers and there is this effort to seek( likes) or thumbs up or validation on there social media sites.


On snapchat many children have a game of not breaking the chain of using the site with friends and it has become a priority for youth to log in and comment daily even w a smiley face or hello just so they do not break the chain. Addiction? Can be yes.


Many children and teens have been cyberbullied through the internet. The internet and social media give children a sense of anonymity and they do not have to attack someone verbally face to face they can hide behind their smartphone or macbook etc. Cyberbullying is s huge problem in our society and it always leaves a digital footprint so children and teens must be very aware and careful of their behaviors because it is recorded for parents, and schools, and everyone.

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 . 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


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