Archive for the 'Teen Adolescent Counseling in AZ' Category

Counseling Therapy Depression Teens Phoenix, Scottsdale Arizona

Thursday, November 29th, 2018

Increased levels of emotional stress, anxiety, and depression among children and teenagers is a major concern among parents and school districts.


Suicide has become the second leading cause of death among children and teenagers age 10-24 in the United States of America. There were over 100 attempted suicides in the Santa Barbra school district just last year!


Schools are starting some classes to educate children and teens about mental health and self awareness. In the past educators believed that stress and social stress and academic stress was a part of life however due to the high suicide rates they are re thinking news ways to help youth in the schools.


Children and adolescent teenagers are losing themselves in social media and the internet with unrealistic comparisons. Suicide is being normalized on movies, Netflix, internet and more.


Stress can impact children brain chemistry. This stress can eventually create mental health disorders in children and teens in the USA and pHoenix Arizona and throughout the world. It is essential to address at risk teens in phoenix and throughout the world so we can provide the support they need.

Three children in Feb-2009 committed suicide in Illinois. Some symptoms of children at risk are: depression, discussion of suicidal thoughts, alcohol or drug abuse, frequently running away, and avoiding family and friends, isolating, low self esteem, angry, dropping out of school, giving things away, not connecting socially to peers, feeling bad about who they are and much much more….There is not simply one red flag their are many.

The vast majority of young people who commit suicide also have psychiatric disorders( medication management). Many children have had issues with bullying as well. Clearly being victimized or made fun of is not healthy for a child, teen, or adolescent.

Lifeworksaz .com provides : counseling families Phoenix,counseling family Glendale, Counseling Family cave Creek, Family counseling tempe Az, Family counseling Phoenix, child counseling Scottsdale, Children counseling Phoenix, adolescent counseling phoenix, Depression child counseling, Depression teen counseling Phoenix, Counseling boys Phoenix, Counseling girls Phoenix, Depression adolescent counseling, depression counseling children, self esteem counseling children, self esteem counseling Teenagers, anger management teens, anger management child, social skills counseling child, social skills counseling teens, social skills counseling adolescents.

As a child, teen or adolescent you can tell your mom and Dad if you are being bullied. You should tell the principal and your teacher. A child or teen needs to be in a safe environment in order to learn, grow, and develop emotionally and socially in a healthy way.

Arizona ranks in the top 10 states across the nation for suicide-related deaths.

Paying attention to warning signs-changes in behavior, hearing someone say, “this place would be better off without me” should be taken seriously, Kontz said. She recommends parents take advantage of opporrtunities to speak with their child about suicide and depression.

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

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





Blog by David Abrams child therapist, teen therapist, adult therapist, child counselor, teen counselor, adult counselor, psychotherapist, Phoenix Arizona, Scottsdale Arizona, Tempe Arizona, Paradise Valley, Arizona, Glendale Arizona, Mesa Arizona.
Sent from David Abrams MAPC, LPC, CAGS

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.

Teen Counseling Depression Phoenix, Scottsdale, Cave Creek AZ

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

Adolescent youth developmental is characterized many risk taking behaviors as well as reward seeking behaviors in Arizona and throughout the United States of America. Behaviors like substance use and abuse, drug use and abuse as well as symptoms of mental health issues likely can arise like anxiety symptomology or depression symptoms as well as other disorders that may come to the surface with more frequency and intensity.


Childhood traumas and stressors impact the development of brain functioning during teenage years and therefore also elevate the risk for alcohol and or drug abuse.


Researchers have also found a variant in receptor gene sites in the adolescent brain that reduces the natural reward system in adolescence before they began using alcohol or drugs or other unhealthy substances.


Decision making, planning, and self control may be impacted by adolescent Cannabis use among teenagers in the USA.  A neuroscience study in 2018 showed evidence that exposure to cannabinoids alters the adolescents brain development in the pre frontal cortex. Using marijuana during the most vital time a teens brain is developing may have huge costs later on in life as an adult as well as a teenager.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and behaviors. Teen depression can be treated .

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

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

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

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


Child Counseling Anxiety in Phoenix Arizona and Scottsdale

Monday, November 5th, 2018


According to a recent report released by Researchers, anxiety affects 30 percent of children and adolescents at some point in their lives.

The institute reports a twenty percent increase in anxiety among young people over the last Ten years. Mental Health reports show hat of those who have anxiety, Ten percent percent experience severe impairment as a result of it. This may include poor academics, truancy, poor interpersonal relationships, poor communication skills with family members, substamce abuse, alcohol abuse, vaping, video game addiction etc. Not joining organizations or attending social gathering and much much more.

A growing number of children under 10 are living with anxiety, but several factors keep many from receiving treatment .One in five children ages 3 through 17 about 15 million have a diagnosable mental, emotional or behavioral disorder in a given year. But only fifteen percent of them get diagnosed or receive professional counseling services or medical care.

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.

Children and adolescents can learn a variety of skills to help with their anxiety: for example: cognitive behavioral techniques, Dialectical Behavioral techniques, stress management techniques, anger management skills, healthy life skills, health social skills, healthy communication skills, skills to build self, skills to improve family relationships and more

Children and teens will learn skills and coping skills to empower themselves when anxiety arises so they can manage their anxiety and live happy, fulfilled, and successful lives.

You can go to and read testimonials as well as set up an appointment through the web site:


child counseling, Teen, Parenting Phoenix, Scottsdale Arizona

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

In our pro drug pro pharma society we see medications advertised on TV throughout the day and night. Individuals are looking for a quick fix to pain , stress, anxiety, depressed mood and more.

Some researchers state that ADHD medications and stimulants have not shown to improve a child’s mental state, academic performance, or learning. They state theses drugs is strictly a method for short term inhibitions of behaviors. You can find research to support medications as well.

Researchers use animal research on mammalian brains instead of adults brains. The concept of bio chemical imbalance in the brain remains speculative according to experts. Researchers on Prozac or Abilify or Zoloft or Xanax, and all other psychiatric medications state the technical capacity to measure biochemical concentrations in the synapses between nerve cells is not available at this time.

Researchers state that certain psychiatric drugs impact: serotonin, Dopamine, and Gaba, norepinephrine, acetylcholine, but do so by disrupting normal brain functioning.

It is important as a consumer to be aware that the FDA tests drugs for an 8-12 week trial. It is important to know that a drug must be .01 percent better than a sugar pill in a double blind study that is done twice in order to seek approval of the FDA. This is the cliff note version of basic requirements for medications to be approved by the FDA.

Many researchers state that improvements on psychiatric medications are due to the placebo effects as well as individuals that hope the medication will help them.

Keep in mind that there are many side effects for each medication and the side effects are determined based on an 8-12 week time period.

Children, teens, and adults are typically on medications for years, decades, and a life time. The side effects for long term use are not published in the studies because only the 8-12 week period is reported.

A doctor often takes a few minutes to make an evaluation for an SSRI or anti depressant or anti anxiety pill. The decision to take the prescribed medication can lead to years if not decades of use for medications. It may be easy to find someone to start a medication process it can be very challenging to find a practitioner willing to assist in stopping the medication process.

All psychiatric drugs can cause problems during withdrawal. Sudden withdrawal from medications can produce potentially dangerous physical and psychological issues and reactions.

Insurance companies encourage medications as an alleged less expensive alternative than talk therapy, behavior modification, counseling, coaching, and or psychotherapy.

In a conference fifteen years ago at the American Psychiatric Association a research study stated over fifty percent of individuals dropped out of medication treatment because of : side effects, sleep problems, anxiety, sexual dysfunction, and more. The negatives outweighed the positives for over half in this large study.

It is important that each adult make an educated decision on what is in the best interest for themselves as well as for their child. You have to feel good about your decision in relation to medication for yourself or for your child.

There is also research that supports the use of medications for depression, anxiety, and ADHD etc.

An evidence based research study states that counseling, behavior modification, psychotherapy in conjunction with medication gives the best results for children, teens, and adults.

Parents must keep in mind that no pill will change a child or teens negative cognitions. Teens thoughts are always present no matter what medication they have been on or what medication they decide to use.

Working with children, teens and families is a wonderful experience. Helping to empower healthy life choices and balance and success, mange mood, and happiness are some goals in counseling. Learning social skills, and problem solving, building self esteem, and becoming more aware are just a few benefits of counseling and coaching.

Teen Bullying: counseling depression, anxiety, ADHD, aggression Phoenix Scottsdale

Monday, April 25th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A sixteen year old teen age girl-, who died after getting into a fight with another girl over a boy, was jumped by bullies who slammed her head against a bathroom sink at a school in Delaware Thursday morning.

A teen shot two students at Antigo High School’s prom this past Saturday. The student had been bullied since middle school! Reports state students had bullied him for years and made fun of his hygiene and called him names High School

The latest in a decades-long string of U.S. school shootings drew immediate national attention, as high schools are holding proms across the country.

There is a strong relationship between bullying and violence. Many teens that have committed violent acts and shootings and have killed others have suffered from alienataion from their peers in school, neglect, and often a history of abuse. Abuse can be: emotional, physical, or verbal abuse.

Many of the victimizers in bullying deaths and killings at high school are victimsTeen

Teen and Child medication without Counseling?

Monday, September 21st, 2015

Fewer than half of all children and adolescent teens with ADHD are receiving counseling with their medications. The Academy of pediatric medicine recommends therapy and behavior counseling before any medication is give to a child who is still developing. Furthermore the American Academy of pediatrics suggests that children between the ages of six and 18 that are on medications do so in unison with evidence based counseling and therapy. The American Psychological association recommends psychotherapy and counseling whenever medication is prescribed for children or teens under 18 years old.

One well know behavioral pediatrician explains that medication addresses biological components however, therapy and counseling improves outcomes by teaching skills to: manage depression, manage anxiety, build self esteem, increase social skills, improve problem solving, learning coping strategies, learn life skills and family and interpersonal skills.

Thousands of studies show that counseling and psychotherapy can improve all aspects of mental health as well as physical health that is connected to mental health issues. CBT is just one evidence based psychotherapy that is used to mange depression nd anxiety as well as many other mental health issues.

Many people want a quick fix however find out that their child is on medication for ten years or even the rest of their lives and this is not cost effective. If medication is 100.00 per month over ten years it would be 12,000 dollars in medication .

Psychotherapy results can last longer than medication,pills,pharmacological treatments alone. Children and adults that learn skills for depression and anxiety disorders can be used long after treatment or counseling has ended.

Research supports concurrent use of psychotherapy and medications for childhood anxiety, adolescent major depressive disorder, OCD, Phobias, and more.

Pharmacological treatments are on the rise and counseling and psychotherapy are on the decline. Research shows that Billions are spent on TV advertisements and this exposure gets people to ask for these medications from their physician. Counseling and psychotherapy does not have the Billions in their budget to compete in any way shape or form. Have you ever seen a commercial highlighting the benefits of counseling and psychotherapy? How many ads for medications have you seen in the last day? week? hundreds..?

For many it is easier to attend a med check 4 times a year than to attend weekly or bi monthly counseling sessions. Convenience plays a roll as well for many it appears easier to pop a pill than  attending therapy sessions. Popping a pill might be like going through a quick drive through for food vs a home cooked meal where you have all fresh ingredients and you take a lot of time to make it and put in a lot of energy. Many times the home cooked meal tastes lot better than fast food. Research shows that medications must be used with therapy and counseling  for the best results.

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

I was talking to a parent who has a teen that plays video games a majority of his day and his statement was that we do not know the long term impact of video games on children. The reality is we do know the long term impact of video games and violent video games on youth.

We know that youth that are playing video games more than one hour per day have social and interpersonal communication challenges.

Research shows huge increases in aggressive behavior from playing video games that are violent.

Tv Research over the past fifty years supports the above mentioned.

Medical research states that youth that play video games more than one hour have challenges with : sleep, insomnia, anxiety disorders, depression and more.

Research shows teens that are playing more than one hour of video games per day show poor performances in academics.

Research shows that teens that are playing video games more than one hour per day are not spending enough time exercises and the risk of diabetes and health issues increases significantly.

Scientists have known for years that playing violent video games causes players to become more aggressive. The findings of a new study provide one explanation for why this occurs: the brains of violent video game players become less responsive to violence, and this diminished brain response predicts an increase in aggression.

Teens show an increase in lack of empathy and are desensitized by habitual use of video games. Many video games push and promote imagery that is marketing tobacco use to youth as young as 6.

Spending too much time within the virtual world of violence may prevent teens from getting involved in different positive social experiences in real life, and in developing a positive sense of what is right and wrong.

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 for 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 128 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.

Teen counseling College; Phoenix Arizona

Monday, September 7th, 2015

Many college students are going through huge transitions with college. College can be exciting however change is a huge stressor that must be addressed. College stressors include: finances, more challenging academics, new peers, potentially a new living environment, being home sick, less structure, less of a support system.

Many college students turn to Drugs: alcohol, marijuana extra to help cope with stress, depression, and anxiety as well as stressors. These are obviously not health coping mechanisms. College students need to learn life skills, mood management skills, social skills and more to find balance and health as well as success.

Depression is a human response to pain in life. It is not a disability unless we stay stuck in it and can not pull ourselves out of the depression and it begins to impact our lives in a negative way. Depression will not sustain itself when one gets on the right path for life and sees the glass half full instead of half empty.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Below is a list of SOME possible symptoms of child depression it is not inclusive just some things to look out for and to always seek professional advice on this matter.

One very common childhood depression symptom is an irritable mood.Children and adolescent teens who are irritable may be rude, disrespectful, and may refuse to do what you ask. They are less likely to follow the rules at school or at home and frequently talk back to parents and teachers. They are defiant at times as well.

A child who is bored may bother you, follow you around the house and demand that you entertain them. This may be because they are feeling down and blue.

They no longer like to do things they used to think were fun this is a red flag as well.

A child who is experiencing this childhood depression symptom will stop enjoying the activities they were the most interested in.

They may display changes in eating patterns or appetite. A child may eat more or eat less or very little as far as eating habits.

Children who experience this childhood depression symptom may seem particular or complain about their food. They may not want to get up or go to bed. The child may complain about the food when in the past they did not complain.

Children may sleep more or less than normal. Behaviorally this can translate into refusal to go to school or to go to bed. A change in sleep is a huge red flag. Sleep will impact mood in a very negative manner besides school performance and interpersonal communication and social interactions.

Depressed children and teenagers may complain of feeling tired and lack the energy to complete the tasks they need to do at home and school. This childhood depression symptom often causes children to behave in a way that can be misinterpreted as lazy. If parents or teachers describe a child as lazy I am immediately suspicious that the child is depressed. They have thoughts of worthlessness or guilty feelings. Low sense of self esteem is apparent and the child is not feeling good about his or her life at this time.

Children and adolescent teens who are depressed will often make negative self statements. Most parents often miss these statements or may be irritated by them. Younger children won’t attempt to complete tasks or activities because of fear that they are not good enough to do so. Kids with this childhood depression symptom may also blame themselves for things that they have nothing to do with.

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

If you think your teen or child is exhibiting these symptoms it is very likely that your child is depressed.

Teen and child Depression Anxiety Counseling and Therapy Peoria Arizona, Chandler Arizona, Scottsdale Arizona

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Children and teens are every bit as stressed as the adults around them per a survey in  the USA that offers a snapshot of youth and their stressors.

Adolescent youth routinely say that their school-year stress levels are far higher than they think is healthy and their average reported stress exceeds that of adults, according to an annual survey published by the American Psychological Association.

Three out of ten children reported feeling depressed in a large survey taken  in 2014. Teenagers stress level was reported higher than the average reported for adults.

Children are feeling the intense pressure of: schoolwork, homework, family stress, social and interpersonal stress, and a culture that focuses on performance more than passion. A culture that pushes consumption and accumulation of “things” as vital when an inanimate object truly can not bring a foundation of happiness to our lives.

Our society is seeing a huge increase in child and teen anxiety, depression, behavioral issues, poor social skills, and more. Children today are connected to 5-6 electronic devices that are distracting and impact: sleep, school performance, mood, relationships and more.

Teens need a support system as well as structure and tools to cope with stress and distractions that are painful and challenging.

Parents, counselors and other adults can help young people resist stress and learn to manage it better. They can set limits and firm boundaries for reasonable sleep and screen time and point their teens toward stress-relieving activities, such as exercise. Creating a balance is key to managing life for a teen. Helping a child manage his or her time, eat healthy foods, minimize electronics and video games, obtain adequate sleep, balance school with family and peers.

Lifeworks Az has expertise in helping each unique child with creating balance in all aspects of their life. Lifeworks Az also works with each parent to modify the family dynamics to create the best outcome for the family as well as the child. The research in counseling and psychotherapy shows that a combined integrative approach is the most effective and gets best results. Lifeworks Az works with: boys and girls ages 5 and up as well as with teens and parents to create desired change. Lifeworks Az looks at the child’s unique gifts and strengths and uses this  as a foundation for change. Lifeworks AZ does not label any child because a label will become used as a reason a child can not succeed and change and we have children making huge changes daily. Labels creating a feeling of being defective or disabled, or having a deficit and Lifeworks AZ focuses on the child as half full not half empty.

teen counseling Phoenix: Sleep and Behavior

Monday, February 16th, 2015

While a stressful event can lead to a bad night of sleep, it’s what you do in response to stress that can be the difference between a few bad nights and chronic insomnia..

Research studies state that positive reframing, acceptance and humor are the most effective coping strategies for people dealing with failures.

Positive reframing was helpful for students high in perfectionistic concerns is particularly important because it suggests that even people high in perfectionistic concerns, who have a tendency to be dissatisfied no matter what they achieve, are able to experience high levels of satisfaction if they use positive reframing coping when dealing with perceived failures.

Reframing is a resiliency skill that helps people to overcome adversity and reach life goals.  Remember the old metaphor “Is the glass is half-full or half-empty?”  This is a perfect example of how the same event can be looked at in a positive or negative light. Positive reframing means trying to reconsider things in a positive light, and it is a powerful way to transform your thinking. Positive reframing does not change the situation, but it can certainly reduce damage and put things into a healthier perspective.

When you are experiencing positive emotions like joy, contentment, and love, you will see more possibilities in your life. These findings were among the first that suggested positive emotions broaden your sense of possibility and open your mind up to more options.

Finding ways to build happiness and positive emotions into your life — whether it is through meditation, writing, playing a pickup basketball game, or anything else — provides more than just a momentary decrease in stress and a few smiles.

Periods of positive emotion and unhindered exploration are when you see the possibilities for how your past experiences fit into your future life, when you begin to develop skills that blossom into useful talents later on, and when you spark the urge for further exploration and adventure.

To put it simply: Seek joy, play often, and pursue adventure. Your brain will do the rest.

Exercise daily is very important for teenagers and adults in order to help with sleep. Eating healthy is also very important. Children should have little sugar and caffeine this will disrupt healthy sleep. Children and teenagers should not be playing video games after 6 pm and they should not be watching TV or playing electronics three hours  before bed time. The child or teens brain thinks it is day time due to the screen lights and it manipulates the brain got stay yup late.

Research shows that youth that do not get 9-11 hours sleep per night will have behavioral issues including: anger, depression, anxiety, and more with limited sleep each night.

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