Archive for the 'Counseling Advice' Category

Counseling teen Phoenix, Scottsdale, Cave Creek Arizo

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

I want to talk a little about the tragedy in the Florida High School shooting. The media wants people to discuss guns and some want to discuss severe mental illness. The reality is that many children are in great pain. Many children are bottling up emotions. Many children are stuffing emotions of  fear, grief, loss, anger, guilt, shame. Many children are upset about the breaking apart of families and having to bounce back and forth from one parents house to another parents house. It is hard not seeing a parent a child loves and it is difficult to cope with one rule at one parents home and a different set of rules at another parents home. Many children are being bullied at school and via the internet. Children are being bullied via instagram, snapchat, texting etc. Many youth are afraid to tell their parents or the school because they have seen that nothing is done and the bullying tends to increase. Children and teens must feel safe and if they do share their pain it is for fear no one will help them and no one will protect them. Youth must feel; safe , secure, and stable and this is not happening.

At a  Arizona Phoenix Metro High , teens, were assaulted and the alleged events went on for a very long time according to news reports.

Many children are on medications as well and the meds did not stop the aggression or violence. Research shows children need counseling if they are on medications and this is evidence based research. What does all this mean it means we must take more time with our youth and provide love and safety and open communication  and listen to our youth. We must also help children and teens find balance in their lives. What does balance look like? It means not playing video games 60 hours a week. It means exercising and getting away from electronics, internet, texting, you tube, smart phones, instagram, snapchat, netflix, hulu, Amazon prime, etc. It means having a conversation with beloved ones about your day what occurred and how you felt about it. Eating dinner and having a conversation without looking at your phones shows the child and teen that they are important and more important than a post on Facebook. Children need time and their is no substitute for love and time and undivided attention. Children and teens would rather have less financially and more time with their parents .

Children and teens need limits and boundaries. They need at least 8-11 hours sleep. It is not a fairy tale. Sleep experts state children that do not get enough sleep and teenagers will suffer with their academics and performance as well as mood  will be impacted in negative ways. How so well ..your child may be more irritable, display more anger and aggression, be more down and depressed etc.

Parents can empower themselves and not allow the children to run the house and be entitled . Children an teens drunk with power may likely become selfish adults that do  not understand: teamwork, empathy, compassion, sharing, and mutual respect. This can be passed on to their relationships and off springs. The cycle can stop and you can do it. You might need support and thats ok we all need support for certain areas in life. We all have strengths and areas we can improve upon.

Teen Counseling Phoenix Arizona Peoria Arizona

Monday, February 12th, 2018

Children and teens are struggling to cope with stress at home and at school. Children and teens are struggling to understand their unhealthy thoughts and how they are impacting their moods in a negative way and their behaviors at home and at achool and with friends.

A combination of parenting tip and techniques in conjunction with behavior modification systems can help children and adolescent teens.

Teens and children can learn healthy rational thoughts vs twisted irrational thoughts that are not supported by facts and ooze into mood swings, anxiety, depression, and unhealthy behaviors.

Cognitive Behavioral therapy is a tool children and teens can learn that will help them manage moods and behavior and is a skill that can be used for a life time. I have used it with children as young as five years old so it is something they can learn from someone who has a lot of expertise in the filed and works with youth and parents . Someone who understands the family system as well as child counseling is vital.

 

Over three million teens report experiencing depression and anxiety that is negatively impacting their daily activities and functioning.

Over thirty percent of females and over twenty percent of males report significant levels of anxiety and depression in the United States.

Teens are exposed to a lot of pressure and stress: academics, two home families from divorce, single parenting, after school activities, pressure to well in sports and academics and be able to get into college.

Many teens are experiencing great pain: loss of loved ones, break up of boyfriend or girlfriend, family stress, body image issues, anger, depression, irritability, self esteem, grief, loss, social issues and more.

When teens do not deal with the above issues in healthy ways negative things can happen: drug use, alcohol use, vapping, grades dropping, mood disorders and more.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are many things children and parents can do to create health and balance for their child and teen or college student. Finding a healthy balance is key to your youths success. Lifeworks AZ has worked with youth and families over fifteen years in: building self esteem, parenting tips, mood regulation, goal setting, anger management, healthy social skills, reaching goals, behavior modification for youth, autistic youth, highly gifted, learning disabled children and more.

It is important to find a professional that has daily experience working with children and teens . Children and teens can learn tools and skills to manage and cope with anxiety and other disorders. Parents can learn skills as well to help create success and balance in your child’s life. David Abrams MAPC, LPC, CAGS has over 15 years experience working with families and youth treating anxiety disorders. Lifeworksaz.com has testimonials and more information.

 

Teen counseling: stress, anxiety depression behavior. Phoenix Arizona

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

More than 100 Americans die each day from overdosing on opioids . Over ten percent of all children in the USA are taking prescription medication for ADHD ( Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder). Another Eleven million American youth under seventeen are taking medications for anxiety and depression and other disorders.

Many parents are not aware of how much stress and anxiety and depression ones child is going through in todays day and age.

Children and teens that do not have tools to manage stress and anxiety turn to : drugs, alcohol, marijuana abuse,vaping, and other unhealthy habits like gaming addiction or over eating etc.

Good grades are an indication of good mental health according to research. Poor academic performance in children and teens increased sexual activity without birth control or contraception. Risky sexual behaviors increased by over 25 percent.

Violence and aggression increased by over 35 percent in teens that had D’s and F’s vs children and teens that had grades above Bs.

Sixty six percent of teens that had grades of D’s and F’s had used marijuana compared to twenty five percent of students that had grades above B’s.

Approximately sixty percent of children and teens used alcohol when grades were at a D or F compared to 25 percent for teens that had grades above B’s.

Lifeworks AZ works with children and teens and parents to find out what areas of your child’s life is out of balance and needs support. If your child has behavioral issues Lifeworks AZ will work with the child or teen on changing unhealthy behaviors as well as helping parents with strategies to connect with ones teen or child and create an environment that is a win win for all and reduces family stress. Some children have experienced grief and loss and Lifeworks AZ will help your child work through the pain. Many children and teens are angry and anxious and depressed. Lifeworks AZ will help your child learn healthy skills to manage their mood, their depression, their stress and their anxieties and find helpful strategies to feel better. Lifeworks az works with the parent as well as the child or teen because a team approach is most effective to create desired changes. Lifeworks Az will hep parents with behavior modification be it : listening, respect, doing homework, aggression and more. Lifeworks AZ works with each parent to create a strategy that will work for each child and teen. Lifeworks AZ works with children on building confidence and self esteem. Lifeworks AZ works with children on social skills and how to have positive and healthy interpersonal relationships at home and with peers. 

Lifeworks AZ look at all aspects of your child’s life and helps create balance and success.

 

Teen Counseling: Phoenix, Scottsdale,

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

 

Stress in America is extremely high for teens and children. Teens report high stress levels at school. Stress at school is high as well as stress at home and at work as well.

 

Twenty five percent of teen adolescents report snapping at peers due to stress. Forty percent of teens neglected responsibilities due to stress levels being high.

 

Stress caused teens to cancel time with friends 17 percent of the time. Friends were reported as very or extremely important to teens according to 80 percent of teens surveyed.

 

Forty percent of adolescents report feeling angry in the last month. Almost 40% percent reported feeling nervous or anxious in the last month.

 

Almost 1/3 of all teens reported headaches in the last month and almost 1/3 of all adolescents felt like  they could cry in the last month that is approx. one out of every three teenagers.

 

Only approx. thirty percent of teens manage stress with some form of exercise in their life be it sports, walking, swimming, basketball, biking, hiking etc.

 

 

 

The teens that exercise at least once a week report significant reductions in their stress levels in their lives.

 

Appearance, social pressure, and comparing ones self to other teens are big stressors for many girls and boys. It is higher for the girls than the boys in this research study.

 

Teenagers are aware of the negative impact stress has on their physical body as well as on their mental well being however only 49 percent feel like they have the self esteem or confidence to cope with their personal problems.

 

Negative teen behaviors and stress are closely linked. Not managing stress is putting adolescent teens and children un a negative projector for their future. Teens must learn healthy ways to cope with stress to be balanced and happy and successful in life .

 

 

 

 

I work with children and teens age 6-18 on a daily basis and one of the biggest challenges is a decrease in family communication face to face and spending quality time together. Families are suffering and children are drunk with power with their smartphones and video games and ipad and internet access.

Many children and teenagers are not doing homework and not studying or are spending very little time with school work. Many teens are not exercising and we know this is vital for well balanced health.

Children and teenagers are receiving limited sleep that is impacting their motivation as well as performance. Adolescents are having mood issues due to a lack of sleep and their mood is spilling out on parents and on others. Children are not able to focus in class due to insufficient sleep.

Many video games will increase aggression in your child and teen. Over forty years of research support this information and you can read more about it on my blog video game and violence.

Teen “Drug’s”: Internet, Gaming, Social media, snapchat, instagram, you tube,Smart Phone. Anxiety, Depression increase. Mood and behavioral problems increase!

What are your children and teens doing for the largest portion of their week? It is not sleep and it is not school and it is not sports and it is not reading. It is not sports or homework? It is an addiction to the internet and media.

The list of video games children and teens are playing is infinite. Many teens are playing violent video games and many are playing fantasy video games and some are playing sports related video games. Some of the most popular are: Halo, Call of Duty, League of Legends, GTA grand Theft Auto and more.

Texting is taking up many hours of your child and teen’s day and it is most likely disrupting studying for school. Many children and teens in my office state they are texting at 3am during weekdays. The result is failing and poor grades. Furthermore they are exhausted and tired and this impacts their mood daily. Research on child and teen sleep is clear a child who is not receiving adequate sleep will have mood and behavioral issues at home and at school.

Many teens are watching you tube on their smart phones for hours on end. Some are watching movies, and comedy acts, some are watching much more. Children and teens are playing video games on their phones like Clash of Clans or Mind Craft etc.

Most teens and children have created more covert accounts on Instagram and Snapchat more so than a Facebook account. Teens are spending a great deal of time on their social media programs. Some are on twitter and other apps.

The total amount of time children and teens are spending on total electronic use is between 45-70 hours a week.

Watching movies on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime is pervasive and obviously there are endless TV series and movies to last a life time at their disposal.

There are some positives in using these devices. Yes, it can be used for studies and for social connection, however, it is all about balance and there is no balance when these devices are being used so much that interpersonal and family time is at a minimum. Exercise is not on the radar. Homework completed is once in a blue moon.

An immense amount of research shows a correlation of: depression, anxiety, low self esteem, behavioral issues,poor social skills, mood issues, with the increase in internet, smart phone, and video game use.

Insomnia is on the rise and research by many medical journals state the electronic component is impacting your child’s brain and not allowing them to sleep as deeply and not allowing them to fall asleep when electronics are used late intothe night.

Children and families are being pulled apart because youth are holed up in their bedrooms glued to their smartphones and computers and I pads.

Families are not sharing their days together at the dinner table. Families are not spending enough one on one time together. Intimacy among families are on a huge decline.

Friendships are being replaced by playing a video game with someone your child has never met and feeling like this is what friendship is all about. Face to face communication has become less frequent and communication is switching to texting and internet chats.

Having someone like what you post is replacing real deep sharing of thoughts, hopes, fears, dreams.

The internet is a huge distraction for students that are studying. Many children and teens as young as 8 are going to adult web sites and watching inappropriate videos daily and are not focused on enjoying childhood. Childhood is being lost.

Physical activity is headed South and Physical health problems among youth are on the rise and is connected to inactivity. Diabetes for youth is skyrocketing and obesity is on the rise due to internet and media addiction.

Internet addiction is on the rise and children are dropping out of school due to this addiction. Creativity for children are at an all time low. Social skills, health, and mental health are at an all time low, and family communication are at an all time low as well.

LIFEWORKSAZ.com has been working with children, teens and parents to help create balance and success in children and families lives for over fifteen years. www.lifeworksaz.com  

 

 

 

 

Stress teenagers and genetics below

 

 

Caring for children is more powerful than once believed. Parenting can help not only shape your child’s life it can shape your child’s genetics. Early experiences as children make our genes work differently.

Genes are very important because they create cells. The relationship that goes from cells to each gene in your body is very detailed. Genes in a cell can be expressed in different ways. Genes can be turned on or the gene can be turned off. If a gene is turned on it makes the cells behave in a totally different way than if the gene is in off modality.

One of the most vital discoveries today in the field of biological sciences states that the process of transforming genes into cells can be greatly impacted and influenced by environmental conditions.

Studies were done in a ground breaking journal called Nature that studied how animals react to stress. The study showed that genes can be methylated or de-methylated.  This means that a certain molecule can attack itself to the gene or it can not attach itself to a certain gene. The methylation or de-methylation impacts the way a gene influences cells in your child’s body.

Studies show that early care giving influenced how the stress regulating gene was methylated. The animals that received less licking and less nuzzling from there mothers had more methylated genes. The animals with the more methylated genes were more likely to react badly to stress later on. These animals in turn were less likely to care for their own young, passing on the effect to the next generation.

The above study showed this connection between nurture and cells and genetics for rats however the question was is this identical to children’s brains which is obviously different and much more complex. A recent study done in the Journal of Child Development shows the  same results for children and there family nurturing system.

Teens from vulnerable backgrounds were looked at and comparison was done on genes of children and teens who had been abused or neglected compared to those that and not been abused or neglected.

The same pattern of methylated genes occurred in humans as had happened in the rat study. Maltreated youth had more methylation than children that had been cared for. We have lots of research that showed abused and neglected children are more sensitive to stress as adults and hence are more likely to develop problems like anxiety and depression. Many did not suspect it traveled all the way to their genes.

These studies show that their is a multigenerational circle that is created at a biological level through nature and this biology is created under stress and in situations such as: abuse, isolation, maltreatment, socioeconomic stress, etc. This creates children and generations that are  more vulnerable to stress.

 

Office Space Counselor, Psychologist Phoenix Arizona

Saturday, September 9th, 2017

I have a very nice office space that has a shared lobby within a garden setting office complex for lease. Great Location centrally located just off the 51 Freeway: close to Biltmore, Arcadia, Scottsdale etc.

Lobby is furnished with nature photography and tranquil atmosphere. Refrigerator and water .

PRIVATE…Office Space For Rent or lease: close To 51 Freeway and Biltmore area as well as downtown and centrally located. Tranquil, Bay windows, courtyard beauttiful Garden settingand very quiet. Perfect location for Health Care Professionals Tenant will share common office area: refrigerator, lobby, storage, restrooms, wi fi, granite and marble bathrooms.

This complex is very Professional: Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Counselors, Attorneys, CPAs etc in a garden setting that is lovely.

Details about the office:

1130 E Missouri Phoenix AZ 85014

Rent includes utilities

Utilities

Wi FI

Approx 12×14

Lots of Natural Light including bay window

Courtyard view

Mood lighting

Quiet and peaceful access to courtyard and picnic table

Inviting waiting room w Nature Photography

Trees, Florals, mountains.

ADA Compliant Bathrooms and access to Office

Filtered Cold water

Filtered Hot water for tea, coffee etc

Refrigerator

CONTACT DAVID: www.lifeworksaz.com

602 575 4030 for more info.

David@lifeworksaz.com

Adolescent Counseling Phoenix Arizona, Scottsdale Arizona, Arcadia, Marijuana

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

 

The marijuana and weed that is being brought into the USA, Cultivated in the USA, and brought in from other countries are not like the marijuana that was used back twenty years ago. The potency of today’s marijuana is anywhere from 10-25 times as potent.  Scientists determine potency by measuring levels of THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive ingredient that gives marijuana users the effect they desire

The two main species of the marijuana plant, Cannabis indica and Cannibas sativa, produce different kinds of highs. Most varieties of pot sold today are hybrids of both.The side  Effects of either can include : altered perceptions and mood, impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and disrupted learning and memory according to thousands of studies world wide.

The teenager’s brain has a lot of developing to do: It must transform from the brain of a child into the brain of an adult. Some researchers worry how marijuana might affect that crucial process.The researchers found that teens who smoked marijuana daily for about three years had abnormal changes in their brain structures related to working memory and performed poorly on memory tasks.

Children and teens who began using marijuana in their teenage years and then continued to use marijuana for many years lost about eight IQ points from childhood to adulthoodIn an alarming twist, the study found abnormalities in brain structure and also identified memory problems two years after the heavy marijuana users had stopped smoking and teens.

The researchers found that memory-related structures in their brains appeared to shrink and collapse inward, reflecting a possible decrease in neuron volume. These findings indicate that there could be long-term detriments of chronic marijuana use as a teenage.

and youth in Phoenix and Scottsdale and throughout the United States who frequently use weed, marijuana, cannabis are hurting their brain power over the long term use. This is according to a number of studies throughout the world.

Cognitive decline, motivation, poor memory ,  poor attention, an decrease in in intelligence quotient IQ, are present in studies where marijuana was used at least once a week. Using (weed , marijuana, cannabis) at least once a week is not safe and  may result in neuro-cognitive damage especially in children and adolescent teenagers,

Recent studies show increase in marijuana use in Phoenix , Scottsdale Arizona as well as in other states among high school seniors and younger children.The brain imaging studies of those that use marijuana  on a regular basis have shown significant modifications and clear changes in the structure of your child’s or teen’s brains. Brain imaging studies show that there are big abnormalities in the gray matter of the brain. The gray matter is associated with intelligence and it appears the youth that are smoking marijuana in the past year have these serious abnormalities .

The bottom line is that just because marijuana is becoming legal does not mean it is healthy!

Child counseling Phoenix Arizona Video games, social media

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

Children have a lot of stress be it academics, family dynamics, changes at home, grief and loss, anxiety, depression, low self esteem, mood issues, anger, and behavioral issues at home. Lifeworksaz.com uses a positive approach to help each unique child find balance and success in life. Lifeworksaz.com works with the parents to give guidance, support, and tips that will help with the family dynamics as well as tips to help each child. Below is an in depth article on video games and TV and internet and how it impacts your child that I wrote.

Monitoring your children on their social media, texting, and internet is very important. There are a lot of dangerous games and activities out there. Recently numerous youth throughout the USA and world wide have been playing video games that encourage youth to do self harm, puts them in situations where they can die, and have them take dangerous risks and encourages this behavior as well as encouraging suicide. Monitoring daily use is vital for your child’s health.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

LIFEWORKSAZ.com  helps youth fin balance and success in all areas of life: school, family, social,academics, relationships, exercise, diet, sleep, family values and more.

Written by David R Abrams

MAPC, LPC, CAGS

Lifeworks AZ  Phoenix Arizona, Scottsdale Arizona

Child Teen Family Counseling and Therapy

 

teen counseling Phoenix, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Arizona

Monday, August 21st, 2017

 

Teens have many stressors. There body is changing, their hormones are changing and they are striving to become independent yet are still dependent on Mom and Dad. There is peer pressure and body image issues. There is academic pressure at school and fitting in with peers. Relationships are very important with friends. Teen actress Lili Reinhart has been outspoken in regard to mental health. She states we must get help for mental health issues and not ignore them. She states mental health is as important to treat as a broken bone. She is an advocate for teens receiving mental health support: counseling and more from professionals.

 

Justin Beiber discussed his bouts of depression and Sinead Oconor has discussed her mental health challenges. Everyone has mental pain and we all can use support.

 

Lady gaga has discussed challenges with post traumatic stress disorder. Selena Gomez has had struggles with depression and wrote a song about mental health. Kendall Jenner suffered with anxiety issues and has been working on coping with her anxiety.

 

It is estimated that one out of every four teens 13-18 will have a bout with anxiety in the USA.

Research shows Cognitive Behavioral therapy is extremely helpful for anxiety disorders and there is more research expanding on CBT and ways to manage anxiety via counseling therapy.

 

Intervening early when a child or teenager or young person starts struggling to cope is proven to reduce the likelihood of that young person developing much more severe and entrenched mental health problems. Counseling and child and teen therapy is vital. Family counseling and parenting will help the child even more than just one on one child psychotherapy. Lifeworksaz.com provides a multifaceted approach that works with teens and also with parents to help their child.

 

Anxiety can be a normal reaction to stress . It helps us deal with challenging situations like a test or a speech .

It is when anxiety becomes excessive , and interferes with daily life situations that it can become disabling. Some types of anxiety that manifests itself in children and adolescent teens are : separation anxiety , post traumatic stress disorder , social phobia , specific phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and more.

Cognitive behavioral therapy , exposure therapy , and mood regulation skills have a lot of research behind it and show great success in treating anxiety disorders . There are many other approaches as well that have show success.

Stress and anxiety in Scottsdale, Arizona are on the rise due to many things. Both parents are working and busy. Children and Teens have infinite distractions with: Facebook, instagram, texting, video games, I pad, smart Phones, Net Flix, and more. These distractions can impact : sleep, mood, behavior and motivation in relation to academics and family life.  There are a number of things that must happen to address anxiety and the more pieces addressed the quicker balance will occur in your child or teen.

Children as young as five are being referred for treatment for depression and anxiety in the United States of America. Figures showed mental health teams are working with more than 1,000 children and young people who were referred for therapy.

Research shows that family stress, financial issues, unemployment, and substance use or abuse is connected with child depression and child anxiety.

Twenty percent of children between ages 10-16 will be diagnosed with some type of mental health diagnosis. It could be ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, Autism, Oppositional defiant disorder and more.

The tendency to develop depression and anxiety involves a complex mixture of factors, such as (genetic) factors and life-stressors.

Children and adolescents who get depressed have often had adverse experiences, such as, losing a parent or being abused as a child. Some have had struggles academically. Many children have been bullied or have been verbally abused and not accepted at their schools. Many struggle with social skills and communication skills. Many have very low self esteem.

Such early life experiences sets a person up for later depression and anxiety.

In addition recent events often precipitate an episode of depression or anxiety. A life event is simply a stressful occurrence. Friendship difficulties and disappointments are common triggers for depression and anxiety in children and adolescents.

Having a family history of depression can also put individuals more at risk as there is some genetic contribution to depression.

Although there is no evidence that family difficulties actually cause depression, when there is a lot of family conflict, this can interfere with a person’s recovery.The most important element in treating depression and anxiety is feeling safe and comfortable with one’s therapist and having someone with a great deal of experience working with youth. I see youth all day in my office and many only see one child per week so make sure you find someone who has rapport with parents as well as your child.

 

LifeworksAZ.com counseling teaches your child a variety of techniques to manage: anxiety, depression, and elevate mood. Lifeworks az.com David Abrams MAPC LPC has been working with children and teens and adults with anxiety disorders for over 15 years. This includes: Social anxiety, Generalized anxiety, Phobias, PTSD, separation anxiety and more

 

 

 

teen counseling Phoenix, Scottsdale: video games, social media mental health

Friday, August 18th, 2017

 

I work with children and teens age 6-18 on a daily basis and one of the biggest challenges is a decrease in family communication face to face and spending quality time together. Families are suffering and children are drunk with power with their smartphones and video games and ipad and internet access.

Many children and teenagers are not doing homework and not studying or are spending very little time with school work. Many teens are not exercising and we know this is vital for well balanced health.

Children and teenagers are receiving limited sleep that is impacting their motivation as well as performance. Adolescents are having mood issues due to a lack of sleep and their mood is spilling out on parents and on others. Children are not able to focus in class due to insufficient sleep.

Many video games will increase aggression in your child and teen. Over forty years of research support this information and you can read more about it on my blog video game and violence.

Teen “Drug’s”: Internet, Gaming, Social media, snapchat, instagram, you tube,Smart Phone. Anxiety, Depression increase. Mood and behavioral problems increase!

What are your children and teens doing for the largest portion of their week? It is not sleep and it is not school and it is not sports and it is not reading. It is not sports or homework? It is an addiction to the internet and media.

The list of video games children and teens are playing is infinite. Many teens are playing violent video games and many are playing fantasy video games and some are playing sports related video games. Some of the most popular are: Halo, Call of Duty, League of Legends, GTA grand Theft Auto and more.

Texting is taking up many hours of your child and teen’s day and it is most likely disrupting studying for school. Many children and teens in my office state they are texting at 3am during weekdays. The result is failing and poor grades. Furthermore they are exhausted and tired and this impacts their mood daily. Research on child and teen sleep is clear a child who is not receiving adequate sleep will have mood and behavioral issues at home and at school.

Many teens are watching you tube on their smart phones for hours on end. Some are watching movies, and comedy acts, some are watching much more. Children and teens are playing video games on their phones like Clash of Clans or Mind Craft etc.

Most teens and children have created more covert accounts on Instagram and Snapchat more so than a Facebook account. Teens are spending a great deal of time on their social media programs. Some are on twitter and other apps.

The total amount of time children and teens are spending on total electronic use is between 45-70 hours a week.

Watching movies on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime is pervasive and obviously there are endless TV series and movies to last a life time at their disposal.

There are some positives in using these devices. Yes, it can be used for studies and for social connection, however, it is all about balance and there is no balance when these devices are being used so much that interpersonal and family time is at a minimum. Exercise is not on the radar. Homework completed is once in a blue moon.

An immense amount of research shows a correlation of: depression, anxiety, low self esteem, behavioral issues,poor social skills, mood issues, with the increase in internet, smart phone, and video game use.

Insomnia is on the rise and research by many medical journals state the electronic component is impacting your child’s brain and not allowing them to sleep as deeply and not allowing them to fall asleep when electronics are used late intothe night.

Children and families are being pulled apart because youth are holed up in their bedrooms glued to their smartphones and computers and I pads.

Families are not sharing their days together at the dinner table. Families are not spending enough one on one time together. Intimacy among families are on a huge decline.

Friendships are being replaced by playing a video game with someone your child has never met and feeling like this is what friendship is all about. Face to face communication has become less frequent and communication is switching to texting and internet chats.

Having someone like what you post is replacing real deep sharing of thoughts, hopes, fears, dreams.

The internet is a huge distraction for students that are studying. Many children and teens as young as 8 are going to adult web sites and watching inappropriate videos daily and are not focused on enjoying childhood. Childhood is being lost.

Physical activity is headed South and Physical health problems among youth are on the rise and is connected to inactivity. Diabetes for youth is skyrocketing and obesity is on the rise due to internet and media addiction.

Internet addiction is on the rise and children are dropping out of school due to this addiction. Creativity for children are at an all time low. Social skills, health, and mental health are at an all time low, and family communication are at an all time low as well.

LIFEWORKSAZ.com has been working with children, teens and parents to help create balance and success in children and families lives for over fifteen years.

 

 

Teen Counseling Phoenix, Cave Creek, Biltmore, Arcadia Arizona

Friday, August 4th, 2017

I have worked with youth with a wide array of diagnoses: Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar, Trauma, Autism, ADHD, Oppositional Defiance, Social skills issues, Mood issues, relationship issues, all types of abuse and more.

Your child may have a label or a diagnosis of ASD or Aspergers or Autism or Selective Mutism. Keep in mind your child is much greater than his or her diagnosis. Your child can learn skills to improve his or her challenges. A positive parental attitude and a support system via counseling and other treatments is best. Having HOPE and Faith and a Belief of improvements and taking positive steps is always the best for your child. Children can make huge strides!

I have worked with youth with the above diagnoses and children with a slew of disabilities and I have seen remarkable changes via individual as well as family feedback.

Autism is considered a life long disorder that is considered developmental by nature. The diagnosis in the DSM is based on many behavioral symptoms: social challenges, repetitive actions or obsessive behaviors, dulled sense of sensory stimulation, fixated thoughts. There is no biological test or markings. The behavioral issues become less frequent by adult hood. The alleged experts have stated that the core symptoms of autism remain. Most doctors see the glass half full in a child recovery from autism HOWEVER we know that change can happen in potentially fifty percent of autistic children in some studies.

As a specialist that works with children and teens and families and has worked with thousands of youth for over fifteen years I have seen children re wire their brains through counseling. There is research to show that our brains can be re-wired. If you read about the plasticity of the brain it shows that regions of the brain can become more developed and do change.

Some children learn through kinesthetic , visual learning, auditory learning, linguistic learning etc. As these parts of the brain are tapped into through counseling so can behaviors change. There are studies that shows fifty percent of children with autism can overcome their deficits with practice . Just like a child that has a learning challenge. The child can overcome the learning disability with a strategic approach that helps him or he develop and learn . It may be a combination of approaches or it may be repetition that is most helpful for your child. I have seen many children overcome their disabilities and I do not label any child or teen in my office because it does not help them to have a label or a stigma or a disorder in my experience.

The idea that autistic children could overcome behavioral symptoms took root with Ivar Lovas he was a founder in Applied behavioral analysis. ABA Applied Behavioral Analysis broke down every action into tiny little chunks that were learnable and could be acquired through memorization and repetition.

Many parent’s have seen their children recover from Autism using this methodology. One exercise for an autistic  child was to give an instruction, prompt the child to follow the directions, reward the child when he or she completed it( clapping, tickling,  cheer good boy,a candy) were some rewards provided. This child made amazing progress. The biggest challenge with this therapy is it is time consuming however if a parent is dedicated and has the time it can yield HUGE results!!!

In another case with a child that had severe autism the parents were taught tat if their child desired something, they would hand it to their child however they would not let go of the item until their child looked into their eyes. Within thirty days the autistic child was looking at individuals when he wanted an item and he had truly learned it was the only way to obtain what he desired. The boy started looking at others with direct eye contact after 120 days regardless of whether he was asking for something or not.

One boy learned the power of pointing for an item he desired instead of yelling, screaming, having a tantrum. He no longer yanked on his mom to get a particular for from the refrigerator. This success flowed into more success stories. He soon learned to use language to communicate.

Many doctors in the study as well as parents were thrilled. The experts concluded that autism were gone and their child no longer met the diagnosis of Autism .

I believe a combination of approaches is best in treating mental health disorders like autism, Asperger’s, ADHD and more. Below is some research on positive results looking at counseling as well as nutrition.

People struggle to envision inflammation as a big factor in : Autism. Research over the past 20 years state brain inflammation is involved in : Autism, Asperger’s syndrome, Alzheimer’s, Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s and more. Millions of Americans are sensitive to gluten and are not aware of it. There is cases for linking gluten sensitivity to autism and Asperger’s syndrome. A ketogenic diet has shown positive results for Autism- Aspergers. Coconut oil is one example.

Lots of research states gluten sensitivity is created by elevation of antiboides in relation to the gliadin that is in gluten products worldwide. These antibodies combine w protein( a specific kind) and specific genes are turned on in a cellular body. Once these genes are switched on cytokine that is inflamed can attack the brain. Cytokines damage tissue and create disease. Elevation of cytokines are scene in autism and Asperger’s syndrome.

Individuals wonder if it is possible to prevent, cure, control, and naturally treat: ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, Autism, Asperger’s, Tourette’s syndrome, headaches and more when traditional medicine and Billions of Dollars are spent for each giant Pharmaceutical company in research and marketing. Many experts believe the answer is yes! An extremely strong yes is echoed by many experts and they believe in natural prevention (Diet, avoiding gluten, nutrition, exercise, counseling, CBT counseling, parenting, vitamins are vital and that as a society we must look at prevention vs treatment of the symptoms.

Symptoms of autism spectrum disorder can be identified as early as two years old. The research states that one in 88children have a diagnosable autism spectrum disorder. Early intervention is very important to modify behaviors. Children can be helped at all ages however the younger the child is that intervention begins the better the results according to the early department of learning.

It is important to remember your child is not his Autism or Aspergers. Your child has many gifts and strengths and abilities and he or she and the family will have challenges, however, there is a lot of positive results in counseling and therapy as well. It is important to look at all areas in a child’s life to help them find desired balance and success. Children with Autism have many strengths and can overcome challenges and deficits with great support from family, loved ones, counseling, and more.

Cognitive behavioral therapy has shown great promise in helping children and teenagers with autism and aspergers. Behavior modification, Mindfulness, progressive relaxation, organizational skills, time management, talk and play therapy, parenting tips and more can create huge change with your child and family. I have seen it!!!!! Yes!

Symptoms and severity varies greatly with children diagnosed with autism. Social interactions and relationships may involve : establishing friendships , lack of empathy , nonverbal communication skills . Learning appropriate social skills is important.

Learning healthy verbal communication skills is also very important for autistic children . Limited interest in activities and play can be some symptoms for the autistic child.

Some therapies best suited are: social skills, exposure therapy, play therapy , art therapy , family therapy , CBT, life skills, coaching and more.

 

Lifeworks AZ; lifeworksaz.com provides children and teens and parents with counseling and tools to manage: behavior, communicate skills, manage moods, reduce anxiety, set goals, decrease impulsivity and hyperactivity, increase healthy social skills, academic success, and parenting tips as well. LIFEWORKSAZ.COM has been working with youth for over 15 years.

 

 

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