Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Child Teen ADHD Counseling Phoenix Arizona Therapy and counseling Scottsdale Arizona Chandler Arizona

Wednesday, January 6th, 2021

Parents are concerned about their children’s unhealthy habits during COVID 19, the Corona Virus Pandemic. Most children are not physically connected to their peers and most sports activities have been disrupted in some capacity. Most children are spending more time at home.

Parents top concerns for their children and teens at home are : social media and screen time at all time highs, poor eating habits, depression, mood, suicidal thoughts. Behavioral issues looking like ADHD or ADD as well.

Concerns about Covid 19 are also huge issues for parenting and ones children. Changes in routines in relation to : school, academics, time at home, activities, social activities, travel, daily life has changed with COVID 19. Change is very challenging for youth as well as for adults. Change is a huge stressor for most people in society.

It is important for children and teens to have social connections with family and friends. Parents should set clear limits and boundaries on how long a child or teen is using : social media, internet, texting, smartphone, video gaming, you tube, movies, Netflix, Disney Plus etc. Having a balance in your child’s day is very important and this includes: adequate sleep, health eating habits, spending time with mom and Dad and family, talking about thoughts and feelings daily. Reading and exercising at least 5 times a week for one hour or more.

Parents should be aware of an increase in your child’s stressors: anxiety, depression, substance use, negative thinking, suicidal or homicidal thoughts or changes in behaviors and or emotions.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that providers prescribe behavior therapy and counseling before medication. Parenting and individual child and teen counseling can create desired changes in ADHD behaviors. Behavior therapy gives children choices to manage their own behavior and to make healthy choices and decisions. A behavioral approach will work for a majority of children and teenagers in counseling therapy. Data shows the long term trajectory of ADHD symptoms does not change with medicatio . Behavior therapy looks at the root of the behaviors and helps create change.

Medication does not look at a child’s thoughts or problem solving or behavior management it simply may numb your child out. However when your child or teen refuses to take the medication he or she will not have the skill set to manage his or her moods and emotions and it will be harder to learn the longer he or she has been relying on medication and not dealing with the underlying problems. Behavioral counseling and therapy is not done overnight however results can be seen in weeks depending on the child and family. Parents are involved at a high level to help implement behavior therapy and being consistent is very important.

Research shows using ADHD behavior therapy early on helps prevent other negative behaviors like oppositional defiance, anxiety, depression, conduct disorders , a low sense of self , self esteem and more.

It is important that children with ADHD receive positive praise and rewards after engaging in appropriate behavior. Improvement in parent child relationship was vital to a reduction in ADHD child behavior according to a large study done in Japan. Japan does not typically use Pharmaceuticals to treat ADHD .

ADHD effects children and adolescents worldwide at the rate of 3.5 percent of the worlds children according to researchers. ADHD is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental health disorders in the USA and worldwide. The main symptoms of ADHD are : hyperactivity, impulsivity, and attention deficits.

Over sixty five percent of children and adolescents diagnosed with ADHD in a large study showed the symptoms into their mid twenties.

Healthy diets have a huge impact on ADHD according to research in Spain. Mediterranean diets filled with lots of fruits, vegetables and healthy fats provide the best nutrients for ADHD according to a recent study.

Over one million children are mis diagnosed with ADHD each year. This is concerning since many are put on stimulant medications and long term impacts of stimulants is not known for youth.

Many children are diagnoses with ADHD because they are young and immature and they do not have ADHD. Many children are simply emotionally immature and or intellectually immature. Many ADHD diagnosis are driven by behaviors at school. Teachers are overwhelmed and they do not have the resources to take time to manage a child’s behaviors with many classrooms having a 30:1 ratio . Teachers really need many more assistants and if they did the suggestion of an ADHD diagnosis would disappear most likely.

Children and adolescent teenagers that experience stress and trauma are more likely to have an ADHD diagnosis. Psychosocial issues are rarely looked at by pediatricians according to recent ADHD studies. Children with ADHD may display: disruptive behaviors, impulsivity, issues with organization, issues with memory, challenges with problem solving and more.

ADHD like symptoms are often found in children and teens that have family stressors and or environmental stressors. Family discord and divorce are some examples where ADHD like behaviors are likely to be seen. Research shows that environmental stressors may increase levels of stress to a high toxic level. This level of stress may impair a child or teens brain development, behaviors, and overall it may impact their physical health as well as their mental health.

When environmental stressors like divorce or family stress is not looked at many practitioners may diagnose a child or teen with ADHD and are at risk of overlooking a child’s past trauma or current trauma as well as environmental factors that are the triggers for the behaviors like Impulsivity, disruptive behaviors, challenges with focus or problem solving etc.

Financial hardships, domestic violence, divorce, mental illness in families, incarceration of parents, discrimination death, grief and loss must be looked at in depth before one gives a child or teenager a diagnosis of ADHD.

Children and teens can learn ways to mange behaviors and moods via therapy and counseling. Parents can learn tips to assist in healthy behaviors at home and at school through child therapy and family counseling from a professional who specializes in these areas. Lifeworksaz.com provides child, teen, adolescent, and family therapy in Phoenix, Scottsdale Arizona. David Abrams MAPC, LPC has expertise working with ADHD children and teens for over fifteen years as well as parenting techniques for ADHD

Counseling TEENs: Phoenix, Arizona, Teen Counseling and therapy.

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020

David R Abrams MAPC provides counseling expertise, coaching, consulting, and therapy for children, teenagers, Adults, and parents for over 15 years in Phoenix, Arizona, Paradise Valley Arizona, Scottsdale Arizona, Arcadia, Biltmore Arizona.

Many practitioners label clients with a disorder be it ADHD Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Autistic Spectrum Disorder counseling, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder etc.

One of the main reasons for a diagnosis for a disorder is for insurance reimbursement. A practitioner submits a code with the disorder for reimbursement. The medical model for medication providers is similar a disorder with a code is submitted and a medication that is matched with the disorder is now prescribed.

In my professional experience I identify the challenges and behaviors and issues that are going on with and adult or child or teen without giving the individual a “label”or a “disorder”. Labels and disorders can be self fulfilling prophecies in that an individual believes they have a disorder and can NEVER improve. Individuals who are given labels feel: defective, disabled, and damaged and the reality is this is not remotely true. 

I have seen individuals that came into my office with all sorts of society labeled disorders . Many were able to manage their challenges without having another stigma of a label placed on their forehead.

I have seen adults and children learn to manage: depression, anxiety, tantrums, rage, addictive behaviors, relationship challenges, and much more.

I have seen Autistic labeled youth excel socially, and obtain employment as well as improve family relationships and have great success at college.

It is vital to take the time and not only look at the challenges that are out of balance today and also look at how the individual got off track before the current challenges. Simply labeling the tip of the iceberg does not look at the depth of the iceberg that goes deep into the ocean. It is vital to look at the roots of the Tree and not only the roots of the tree but the soil, water, sunshine, vitamins and more. This is vital to create balance in health in humans!

There are many big behaviors that are important to address and look deep into why these behaviors are happening with your child or teen.

Your child may rage and have temper tantrums. This eruption of emotions is seen as the child or teen is now out of control. Some reasons these behaviors may be occurring are un resolved: pain, grief, loss, anxiety, control issues, or sensory issues. The inability to communicate thoughts and feelings to a parent are also a potential reason for anger filled raging behaviors.

Escape is another behavior when a child is not dealing with emotions. It is important to find out why they want to escape.

Children and teens may refuse to do something be it a chore or coming to the dinner table or getting off their video games.

Verbally badgering a parent is a behavior that is learned where the child knows if they keep asking the parent they will eventually break them down and get what they are asking for.. This can lead to frustration,  arguing, and aggression.

Refusal to do chores or do homework is also a common behavior seen in children and teens that create challenges for parents at home.

Verbal aggression and raising ones voice in tone is often used to control a situation and manipulate a parent’s behavior. Verbal aggression is a big red flag because verbal aggression tends to increase in families and it can often lead to physical aggression. Many times verbal aggression is the inability to communicate or could be a sensory issues that is going on with your child or adolescent teenager.

Aggression is a huge issue in schools and at home with siblings as well as with parents. Sometimes aggression is self directed , however, when adults get involved it oozes out onto the parents or adults in charge.

Not following directions is an issue at home and can be an issue at school as well. An example of this would be completing homework, completing a task on a job, completing tasks at home like chores.

Bullying others at school at home is also an issue. Bullying can be verbal, emotional, and physical or just some of the above mentioned. This creates physical or emotional harm to others. This can include: put downs, contradicting adults, getting others to laugh at expense of others, deliberately annoying someone, name calling, blaming others. Two kids of equal power arguing w each other may not be bullying the circumstance would need to be assessed.

Anxiety and panic reactions can also be the cause of negative acting out behaviors. This behavior can be seen as oppositional  and it is important to understand your child’s anxiety to understand their behaviors.

There may be a variety of reasons why a child or teen’s behavior is seen as defiant or angry or aggressive.

Adolescent teens may feel a need to escape. Escape could be do to feeling inadequate, gain control over self and the environment. Teens escaping may be to get attention or get an emotional need met. Escape can be daydreaming or using electronics.

The need for attention by an adult is another reason why behaviors may arise. The need for attention from a peer. The teen is looking for emotional attention. Attention to have a sense of belonging. Attention to cover up feelings of inadequacy.

Basic needs and physical needs and sensory needs are a category of why a behavior may be arising.

Children and adolescents may be in emotional pain . Emotional pain impacts are thoughts, feelings and actions even though the pain source may not be visually apparent.

Children that do not honor their parents are on the rise . Children and teens feel it is ok to call parent’s name, scream at them, be verbally abusive and emotionally abusive. Many children and teens are running the house and parents are allowing themselves to be victimized by their children. It is not healthy for the child and it is not healthy for the parents. Family values and respecting mom and Dad must be paramount! By focusing more on achieving an ‘A’ you are teaching your child that how you treat me and how you talk to me is not important in life. When parents negotiate disrespectful behavior without firm boundaries and without following through with a consequence daily this lack of action means something to the individual child that they are saying basically you can continue walking all over me because I am not going to set a boundary or a consequence with this disrespectful behavior. Consistency daily is vital.

. Children that do not treat others with respect are not treating themselves with respect as well. No child that abuses their parent’s verbally feels good about their emotional well being.

Parents have great intentions. They want their children to excel in academics and sports and extracurricular activities however family must come first. If not you are putting time and energy into a situation that will not support your family or create long term love. Your child may go to a good college however he will not have success in all areas of his life specifically relationships and working with others. 

Children and adolescent teenagers are using their smartphones and video games and electronics and TVs and iPads on average of 60-70 hours  per week.  This is not healthy and there is great amounts of research to support limiting electronics. No child should have his or her smart phone is his or her room as well as: tv, iPad, Video games. Research from the American Academy of Pediatrics state this and most experts worldwide on children and teens support this fact.

Family time and family communication is vital. Spending time discussing your day and communicating feelings and thoughts without electronic devices is crucial. Having dinner without phones and TV is needed. Talking in the car with your children without ear buds in and texting is very important. Discussing family activities, chores, events, expectations, values, and how to communicate and treat others is essential.

STRESS, Depression and anxiety are on the rise not only during the COVID 19 crisis. Mental health Disorders are on the rise over the past ten years and yes there are many factors that are contributing to the rise in teen anxiety and depression.

There has been an increase in depression and anxiety among teens at the rate of almost 19.5 percent. Suicidal thoughts and suicidal thinking increased the most among teenagers in the USA.

Look for changes in your child or teens behavior for signs there may be a mental health issue present with your child or your teenager. An example would be your child or teen always gets grades of B or higher and now grades are C and below this is a red flag. Another example would be your child or teen used to come out of their room and spend time with Mom and or Dad and now is spending time in their room and it is not due to extra homework or studying.

Many parents use logic and are spending a lot of time problem solving for their child. Most children and teens brains are not fully developed until after 23 years old. It is important that parents listen to your child and teenagers emotions and feelings and allow them to express themselves without problem solving. It is essential to show empathy and validate your child and teens feelings daily. If not your child will stuff these emotions and they will ooze out into mental health issues such as: depression, anxiety, substance abuse, paranoia, lack of motivation and more.

Many parents and some very highly educated with graduate degrees believe that mental health issues are a quick fix. Some child and teen mental health disorders can be fixed in a short time, however, some take more than a handful of sessions. Counseling and psychotherapy are complex and there are many variables and experiences from the past that create the present situation.

For example I have had client’s that are straight A students that are in the 95 percentile on their SAT , however, they are struggling with homework and motivation and there are grades are slipping. They are suffering from a great deal of anxiety as well as depression . The anxiety as well as the depressed mood has built up over years. If your child or teen has been thinking distorted or unhealthy thoughts for lets say five years then that would be almost Two Thousand two hundred days of unhealthy cognitions throughout the day and it will take some time to untwist these unhealthy “knots’ and elevate mood as well as to learn to manage their anxiety. Each child and teen is unique so there is not a standard number of sessions. Parents will see positive changes in behavior and mood over time and will know their child is back on track and feeling balanced.

I have worked with youth and families for over 15 years in mental health counseling, coaching, and consulting. It is vital to help your child and teenager find balance in all aspects of their lives. A child or teen that obtains great grades is excellent, however, the child may need more balance as far as social skills, self esteem, friendships, exercise, family relationships, extracurricular activities, as well as being balanced with integrating their thoughts as well as their feelings.

Developing rapport is a huge piece in working with youth and understanding their world. I spend a lot of time learning about my client’s world. Learning about the books they read, the video games they play, the web sites and apps they post on, the social media they are involved with, what movies they enjoy, what tv shows they love, what sports they enjoy, what type of art they find interesting be it Animae or sketching etc, what hobbies they love, and what their favorite foods or restaurants are, and more. It is vital to understand each child’s unique world and each child and teens individualized personality traits.

If you are feeling: stress, depressed, anxious, frustrated, take time to journal your thoughts and feelings as well as talk to a loved one or best friend or see a professional in the field of counseling psychology and or mental health providers.

Stay active physically this means exercise daily. There are free applications on line as well as on your smart phone where you can do many activities included and not limited to: dance, cardio, cycling, weight training, strength, Boxing, MMA,running, yoga, meditation, stretching, bootcamp, walking and much more. Spending time doing intense and vigorous activities will help you with anxiety and depression during a time of isolation and uncertainty during this COVID 19 pandemic.

Teens are facing a great deal of challenges that are real and challenging. Adolescents are exposed to many struggles from the inside to their environment. Teens are experiencing hormonal and physical body changes. Youth are searching for their own identity and want to fit in as well as find friendships. Many teenagers feel overwhelmed and stressed out concerning their grades, their future, college, a career path and more.

Some of the most common problems teens are facing today are: relationship issues with family and friends, stress, bullying, anxiety, depression, addiction to Electronics: social media, instagram, snapchat, video games, you tube, Netflix, the internet, texting, TV, and other electronic media, body image, peer pressure, drinking and smoking, drugs, self esteem, social skills, academic and school stress, family communication and healthy life skills and habits.

All of the above issues are interconnected and must be addressed to create healthy life choices and healthy behaviors at home and at school as well as socially for your child’s success and happiness.

For example if your child has a few friends he might be suffering from anxiety and stress. He or she might also have a low self esteem and negative thinking about his or her ability to be liked and fit in with peers. Many youth are highly critical and judgmental of themselves and their image of their body is negative. Many teens compare themselves to media and celebrities and feel inferior or un attractive.

Bullying is a huge issue in the school system. Children and teens can be cruel in person and via smartphone and internet. Bullying is real and has impacted millions of children and teens. A child that is being bullied is suffering great emotional pain and this must be addressed asap. Many children have committed suicide and have stated in their suicide notes that is was due to being bullied. Bullying impacts your child’s mood, academics, and social lives and this is vital to be addressed for your child’s mental and physical health.

Depression is one of the worst problems teens are struggling with and can lead to more problems in the future. Depression can arise from: low self esteem, negative self talk, poor self image, struggles academically, grief and loss, poor social interactions, family challenges, bullying, being out of balance, poor sleep, and other unhealthy habits.

There are many symptoms of depression in your child. It can be : dropping grades, changes in sleep, sleeping too much, lack of sleep, lack of interest and motivation in activities they once enjoyed, isolating in their room, crying a lot, not communicating feelings, avoiding family interactions, isolating, suicidal talk, feeling hopeless, worthless, criticizing themselves.

Teen problems are interrelated and for example depression will not improve unless negative self talk improves, self esteem changes, social interactions change, eating and sleeping habits change, family dynamics change etc. A holistic approach is best.

Lifeworksaz.com David Abrams MAPC, LPC CAGS has worked with children, teens and families for over fifteen years. His specialty is youth and families working with : depression, anxiety, ADHD, ASD, Bullying, electronic addiction, family issues, academics, motivation, social skills, self esteem, mood regulation, stress management, and more. David has worked with youth and families providing teen counseling in: Phoenix, Cave Creek, Scottsdale, Tempe, Goodyear, Buckeye, and Gilbert.

Teen Counseling Phoenix Teen Counseling Scottsdale Arizona: Video Games, Anxiety, Depression Etc

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020

Video games are now a bigger industry than sports and movies combined. Global gaming has risen to a 180 BILLION dollar industry in 2020. The global film industry brought in approx. 100 Billion in 2020. The global sports industry brought in approximately 75 million. The largest growth in the video game industry came 

from: mobile Gaming, console gaming, then PC gaming in the last year. Smartphone and tablet gaming revenue is on the rise in a giant manner. The top ten video games in the USA in 2020 are : Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Madden NFL21,  The last of Us: Part 2, Ghost of Tsushima, Assassins creed: Valhala, Final Fantasy VII; Remake, Marvel’s Avengers, Super Mario 3D All stars.

Addiction to social media and video gaming should be classified as a disease according to experts in England. There are great concerns with harmful content online and poor mental health. The English gov is asking Psychiatrist to make assessment of social media and online habits a part of mental health assessments. This should have been done over a decade ago according to most experts world wide.

Twenty five percent of eighteen to twenty five year olds stated watching reality tv made them worry about there body image. Fifteen percent of those that have watched stated they have self harmed due to body image issues. Almost twenty three percent stated they had suicidal thoughts in relation to their body images.

Thoughts of body images in a negative light are linked to : anxiety , depression, , and shame and this is not good for mental health issues.

Children and teens are not born with addictive minds however they are learned behaviors based on unhealthy thoughts that are based on fear and scarcity and thoughts that believe there is not enough. Not enough time, not enough love, not enough friends, not enough food, not enough video games , not enough toys, not enough clothing, not enough infinite items. The reality is these are false thoughts in that there is enough and there is enough love to go around.

Many teens are showing symptoms of : anxiety, depression, substance abuse and more and video games are not helping your child’s mental health.

Children an teens carry around negative thoughts of past behaviors that they are : bad, not good, not loveable, losers, etc and I see this in my office on a regular basis. We must not dwell on past thoughts and past behaviors because the past is done with and over and we must create a new thought pattern and new behaviors today. A child can not move past behaviors if they are dwelling and thinking about low points and negative cognitions in their minds. A child or teen may have lost their temper and hit a wall and put holes in the wall, however, the child and family must forgive him and we must not live in the past in order to create new behaviors and relationships and positive feelings in the future. Past guilt and resentment does not allow healthy thoughts of abundance and love and keeps children in Fear and inadequate thinking that fuels addiction and much more. If your child has this type of thinking they will search for things outside themselves to medicate their pain like: video games, vaping, drugs, tv, social media and have to do more and more of it so they do not have to cope with or deal with painful feelings.

Many children and teens are dwelling in negativity being negative self talk on a daily basis and in order to feel better they immerse themselves in media and in video games and Tv and social media and you tube so they do not have to look at themselves this is part of addictive thinking in children and teenagers.

A child and teen who feels inadequate has a low self esteem and is most likely judging themselves in negative ways with negative self talk that is their programming for all behaviors at home at school and with peers. Guilt ridden thoughts and comparison with siblings and peers can only lead to more feelings of inadequacy and low self worth. These thoughts feed addictive behaviors. It is vital to untwist these knots and pull these weeds in your child or teens mind for them to move in a balanced and healthy and successful direction at home and at school and in all areas of their life and have their garden grow and blossom.

A child and teens judgment squeezes the opportunity for joy and laughter and happiness in life. The addictive cycle of negative thinking leaves very little room to enjoy oneself and family and feel happy and balanced.

Addictive thinking in children have many unhealthy thoughts. I must be perfect in all I do. This is an addiction to being right. Another addictive thought is get as much as you can due to scarcity this thought does not allow balance nor does it allow a child to understand quality vs quantity and feeds addictive personalities and minds of children and teens.

Attacking and defending is one of the most challenging thought systems that feeds and expands a child’s addictive thought system. The more a child or adolescent teen attacks and defends the more we feel inadequacy. It is here that a victim begins to victimize someone it can be: mentally, emotionally, physically, or sexually.

Children and teens get stuck in guilt and shame and can not move from the past in their thinking or their future thinking of fear and worry and this must be addressed in order to be balanced and healthy.

It is very important for children and teens to learn that a situation does not determine their experience. We know it is the thoughts that we hold in our minds that will determine our perception.www.lifeworksaz.com has been working with children and teens as well as families for over 15 years. David Abrams MAPC, LPC, CAGS has a graduate specialty in child, teen and family therapy as well as more. David has a strength based approach and uses many research based techniques to reach positive results. David Abrams is a child and family psychotherapist that has a great deal of experience with : mood management, behavioral and emotional issues, anxiety, depression, self esteem , social skills, anger management, motivation, family issues, adhd behaviors and much more. To see more go to his web site www.lifeworksaz.com

Counseling adults College Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale Arizona

Monday, December 21st, 2020

Depression has doubled in colleges over the past fifteen years. Anxiety Disorders has also been on the rise at colleges and Universities through out the US.

College is a time of transition and change. College is a new life style, new friends, new classes, new lovers, new teachers, new environments, new challenges, new stressors….

When a student does not feel he/she has a foundation that provides adequate coping skills the college student can easily become more stressed and depressed and anxious potentially.

Self esteem and a new identity are important elements in the transition to college. At college their is a lack of the same support system around: family, old friends etc.

Counseling and psychotherapy can provide tools to overcome: anxiety, depressed mood, low self esteem, anger and mood issues, stress, relationship problems, academic challenges and more. 

During college students deal with a wide array of stressors. College is a big change from High School. Lifestyle is different and many are away from family and home. Roommates are new and the culture of peers and school is new. 

The campus environment is new and new friendships and relationships are new. Classes are new and studying habits change in college as well.

Demands from self or parents academically can create anxiety and depression . Finances and budgeting can be stressful.

Students feel there is a stigma to getting help, however, no one needs to know you are seeking help it is confidential . There are many professional practitioners available to help college students .

Transitioning from home to college can be a huge stressor.

New roomates , freedom, independence, all can be a blast however it is
change and this can create huge stress in a college students life.

Time management , distractions, parties, new roomates, new classes,
new friends and relationships can create stress, anxiety, and imbalance.

A majority of college students are extremely stressed. Many College students are depressed. Eight five percent of college students are feeling stressed.

College students were extremely stressed about: money, relationships,school,and work.

Forty two percent of the college students surveyed recently stated they felt: depressed, down, or hopeless in the last two weeks. Thirteen percent surveyed showed up with mild depression.

These college students would benefit from counseling and psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a great tool and is an evidence based therapy for treating depression and depressed moods. Stress management, anxiety reduction, anger management, are techniques and tools that can help college students cope with life and it’s stressors.

Psychotherapy and counseling can provide a support system and a plan
to cope with mood , anxiety, stress, goals, healthy choices so college
and University life can be a positive experience for all.

www.Lifeworksaz.com counseling therapy for college students, asu students,
community college students , teens, children and family counseling
Phoenix, Chandler, tempe, Glendale, Peoria and more

Counseling Teen Video Games Phoenix, Scottsdale,CaveCreek, Chandler, Gilbert Arizona

Saturday, December 19th, 2020

Many children and teens are spending more time using screens and the internet do the fact that they are not physically attending school and online work takes twenty five to sixty percent less time to do than homework and physical school classes. This means your child or teen will be done with his work before noon if he starts at 9 am. He or she will have 9-10 hours of free time a day.

Study after study highlight the negative mental health impact of excessive screen time for your child or teen. Many children and teens will have social withdrawal . Children an teens that spend more than 1.5 hour per day on : social media, you tube, video games, and other screen time activities will increase the likelihood of: depression, anxiety, anger, behavioral issues, irritability, family conflict and more, also social skills will be diminished as well. Below are a handful of articles based on research and why you should limit screen time. www.Lifeworksaz.com has expertise working with youth and families for over 15 years.

Some studies say limit your child or teen to one hour of screen time per day and some medical professionals allow up to three hours a day. I can say that the less time on screens the more resilient and more balanced your child will be mental health wise and physical health wise as well as in healthy relationships.

I have been writing about the negative impact of media ( social media, Tv, Video Games, internet, and screen time) for over 18 years. I did a graduate essay on video games and violence toward woman that was published online. It is all about balance , however, most children and teens spend more time on media and electronics than they do: studying, spending time with family, and exercising or interacting face to face w peers.

One of thousands of studies on children and teens and exposure to media( video games, snapchat, instagram, you tube, Tv, Netflix, screens) by the American Journal of Psychiatrists state that youth that use media over three hours a day are more likely to develop mental health issues including but not limited to: depression, anxiety, anger, aggression, and anti social behaviors. Mood and behaviors are impacted by media input for children and teens according to a plethora of research. The three hour study is an estimate of time in that for some two hours a day may create mental health problems. The best advise is moderation , however, youth should be studying and exercising daily, as well as interacting in social groups face to face for best outcomes later in life.

Below is another study as well some parenting tips to move your child or teen off the screens and into other activities.

A study was completed with over 50,000 children and the results showed that almost twenty percent of the youth had are struggling with a mental health disorder. Less than fifty percent of the 20 percent were obtaining treatment for their mental health disorder. This study was done by the American Journal of Medicine and pediatrics.

Parents can maintain an active lifestyle and role model exercising. There is a huge connection between life style and mental health disorders.

Diet and eating habits also play a huge role in your child’s mental health. Eating vegetables and proteins and having a balanced diet throughout the day is vital.

Limiting screen time is very important. There are many dangers on the internet as well as the blue light impacts sleep. There is a correlation between time on screens and your childs mood, behavior, anger, aggression and more. One huge reason to limit screen time is so you can spend quality time with your child and this is essential for your child’s behavior, mood, and mental health.

Here are a few risk factors that your child is having mental health issues: Regular disputes and fights between parents, being bullied at school or elsewhere, a physical illness, exposure to substance abuse, grief and loss or death of a loved one or animal,.

Mental health disorder as a child is confusing and tormenting in equal amounts. Hence, parents’ need to be the wind beneath their kid’s wings and the anchor.

Below is another behavior that is contributing to children and teens being out of balance : mood, behaviors, sleep, family, academics and more.

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 3 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, academics, social skills, emotional skills, behavioral skills, family involvement, and music and other aspects of their life.

http://www.lifeworksaz.com  has expertise working with children , teens and families to create health and balance and success in all aspects of life. David helps children, teens and parents with : Parenting, self esteem , social skills, mood regulation , anxiety managementanger management, Behavior Modification, depression management, sports mental training, and much more. http://www.lifeworksaz.com

Studies indicate children spend over 6.5 hours on average a day in front of a screen. Oftentimes, social media use is taking up at least some of that time, and the communication happening isn’t always positive. 

Texting can be abusive and aggressive and can have long lasting negative stigmas on children and teens and their emotional and mental well being. Cyber-bullying and inappropriate behavior are common. Exposure to X rated material is pervasive and many children age 8 have been exposed to inappropriate materials.

Anxiety and depression are more and more common with youth and social media usage does not appear to be helping in fact statistics shows increases in mental health issues like: ADHD, Depression, Anxiety, Anger issues and more that is correlated with more time on social media.

Limiting an minimizing or eliminating usage on social media and internet and video gaming is best.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Children and teens are using social media to express their deep feelings and fears at times and even let people know they are planning suicide. Parents and friends should not assume they are posting for attention. Recently two teens killed themselves in Colorado after posting suicide plans on their social media accounts . It was to late and they passed.

Children and teenagers need a safe and supportive individual to discuss their daily lives, stress, and problems. www.lifeworksaz.com

has been working with youth and families for over 15 years in Phoenix and Scottsdale Arizona. The trauma is great for a teen who loses a friend to suicide.

Social media has created more connections with a click as an alleged friend however it has created fewer relationships that are real where a child or teen can talk to a real loving and supportive advocate.

Children and teens are communicating through : instagram, snapchat, Face book, texting, discord, WhatsAPP, and more and many times they want people to know how they feel and so they post it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I find wonderful children and teens that have very negative thought processes about.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Parents should seek professional help if any of the above are going on as 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.

Here is a research study on aggression and video games going back 40 plus years. 

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 I have been writing articles regarding VIDEO GAME ADDICTION https://www.lifeworksaz.com/treatment-excessive-video-gaming.htmlexposure with youth and a correlation with mental health issues for over 15 years. Many children and teenagers are suffering from anxiety, depression, anger, and behavioral issues in Phoenix Arizona as well as world wide.

Research studies show that after just one hour of screen time children and teens show less emotional stability, and a greater inability to complete tasks or chores or homework. A decrease in self control is also present in these studies.

Research shows that screen time for youth has adverse effects on physical and mental health in youth ( children, teens, and adolescents).

In a study of over 40,000 youth research showed the prevalence of anxiety and depression to be very high for those that were spending a great deal of time on screens: smartphones, computers, video games, social media, ipads, PCs, etc.

Moderate use of screens showed lower psychological being and moderate use was considered up to 4 hours of usage of screen time.

In another study researchers found that children that played more than 2 hours of screen time a day were more likely to develop ADHD Attention Hyperactive Disorder.

 A big takeaways from the research group are that children exposed to more screen time before the age of 5 showed significantly greater emotional and behavior issues and attention issues . This risk was greater than : family issues, parenting, economic issues etc.

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). 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. The video game industry recently has generated 93 Billion dollars annually in 2013. IN 2019 the gaming industry generated 120 BILLION DOLLARS and it will rise again in 2020.

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 have 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. This 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. ADHD, defiance, and conduct disorders are on the rise exponentially.

The 130 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 we really want your 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.

Is your child learning : social skills, life skills, teamwork, employment skills, healthy habits like sports and exercise, mood management, spending time with your family?

Written by David R Abrams

Specializing in children and teen and family counseling.

MAPC, LPC, CAGS

www.lifeworksaz.comprovides counseling and therapy for children and video game addiction.

Lifeworks AZ  Phoenix Arizona, Scottsdale Arizona, Chandler Arizona, Gilbert Arizona

Counseling Family Holiday Stress and Toxic People Phoenix, Scottsdale, Arizona.

Saturday, December 19th, 2020

There are many stressors that can arise during the holidays. Balancing work with family is a huge stressor for most families. There are family members that are positive and easy going and enjoyable to be around and then there are family members that are : negative, critical, jealous, judgmental, and those who are ungrateful for all you have done for them be it raising them and loving them and giving them a great life and future. Being around selfish, narcissistic, controlling people that are negative can really take a toll on ones stress and can suck the energy out of family members. It is important to recognize these types of people and limit your exposure depending on how toxic the fallout is when you are around them or interacting in their vicinity.

A family member that always blames everyone else for their own problems is a sign of toxicity. This individual can never take accountability for being late or for errors or really anything that happens. They will throw you under the bus per se.

Family members will lash out or verbally victimize other family members. When the family member is questioned about his or her behavior he or she will deny that the vent ever occurred. This type of individual will “gas light” you into believing you are the one that is imagining their sick and toxic behaviors. The Narcissist might say “they find it hard to believe” even when you have factual proof or evidence supporting the claim that their behavior was inappropriate. The miserable narcissist will invalidate anything you state regardless of its evidence based or not. You will rarely receive validation and if so it is only to manipulate into obtaining something the narcissist desires.

Toxic family members will criticize: your behaviors, appearance, food you prepared, your home, or anything they can find to criticize. These people have no compassion or empathy for humanity.

Many family members can not enjoy anything in life and are miserable in their own skin. An example would be if you gave lovely gifts to your father and instead of receiving a thank you you are told that they do not want the gift and they do not need the gift and are completely unthankful. This is typical toxic narcissistic personality traits oozing out on you.

A toxic family member would tell you for example that your diet will not work and you will regain the 50 pounds you lost and will always be overweight. The dysfunctional family member will always be condescending upon sharing anything joyful or anything that makes you happy.

It is important to have empathy and compassion for people that are toxic and narcissistic and selfish and critical for they were not born this way they developed this personality traits from watching or being around behaviors that enabled this personality to develop. Just because you have compassion for toxic family members does not mean you have to spend a lot of time around them and it is important to set boundaries with toxic people so you do not have to ruin your day or holidays being around their unhealthy behaviors that will and I mean will spill out and ooze out all over you and anyone in their proximity.

Many people will feel sad, depressed, and emotional during the holidays.

Over 30,000 people take their lives annually . Many people have lost
loved ones to illness, old age, car accidents, homicides etc.

The holidays can trigger deep emotions in relation to your lost loved
one.

Seeking professional support can be important during these difficult
times.

Lifeworksaz provides counseling for adults, relationships counseling, family counseling, grief counseling , stress
management counseling. Counseling anger , depression counseling , anxiety
counseling and more.

Teen Anxiety Disorder Counseling Anxiety in Phoenix and Scottsdale Arizona

Friday, December 18th, 2020

Anxiety can be healthy. But not all adolescents, or adults, know that it typically acts as a useful and protective emotion. Accordingly, teenagers sometimes fear that their heightened nerves signal the onset of a full-blown anxiety disorder. They become worried about the fact that they are worried.

Over twenty five percent of all teens are suffering from an anxiety disorder according to the latest research in the United States. Research shows that only two out of ten children or teens receive treatment for an anxiety disorder.

Low grades can be a sign of an anxiety disorder for your child or teenager. An anxious teenager may procrastinate on assignments and may miss assignments. Your child or teen may eventually miss class due to intense anxiety or panic.

Teens should receive at least between eight to ten hours of sleep per night. Anxiety can lead to your child or teenager not obtaining adequate sleep. Monitor use of electronics and turn all electronics off one hour before sleep to see if sleep improves as well as if anxiety improves with more sleep.

Teens with anxiety or some with social anxiety avoid social interactions and tend to isolate themselves from social and interpersonal interactions. Social withdrawal also feeds anxiety as well. Monitor your child to see if they are avoiding social gathering, events, activities, extracurricular activities, sports, groups etc.

Unhealthy eating habits can be away of dealing with anxiety and stress. Many females turn to eating to manage anxiety and stress. Many teens turn to alcohol or drugs to manage stress or anxiety in their life.

Teens that have negative self-talk or poor self esteem or critical self talk may have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders and low self esteem can go hand in hand and are often co –occurring issues among children and teenagers.

Panic attacks are another anxiety disorder common in children and teens. Panic attacks may have the following symptoms: numbness, fear, nausea, throat tightness, accelerated heart rate, dry mouth, issue with breathing, sweating, chest discomfort and more.

Mood swings that happen at the blink of an eye can be a sign of anxiety or an anxiety disorder. Hormones and neuro-transmitters play a role in ones mood and if out of balance need to be addressed.

There are many counseling techniques and skills a child or teen or adult can learn to manage anxiety disorders. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a powerful therapy that helps look at unhealthy thoughts and their connection with feelings and behaviors that impact a child or a teen in a negative way. CBT therapy has been used worldwide and has been around for over 50 years. There are many other skills that can be used as well to compliment this therapy including but not limited to: DBT, VMBR, Progressive Relaxation, breathing skills, life skills, emotional skills, mood management skills and more.

Child anxiety disorders in adolescents. , teens , and children should be addressed so the child can receive treatment . Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an evidence based therapy that shows positive results however there are other therapies that are beneficial . Rapport is a vital piece in the therapeutic alliance to create desired change in children .

Twenty three percent of youth, kids, teens suffer from anxiety disorders including: separation anxiety , obsessive compulsive disorder , generalized anxiety disorder, phobias, post traumatic stress disorders and more . Children that have been exposed to trauma and abuse can have a number of anxiety conditions .

Child anxiety disorders that go untreated can often bloom into : substance abuse , depression, other anxiety disorders and poor social skills and low self esteem .

Anxiety disorders can lead to a negative pattern of avoiding situations socially that are essential to success in relationships, work, education , and other areas in life . Many children and teens today stay in their rooms and play video games. The child enjoys the video games because they have a lot of stimuli and reinforce playing with many psychological research tools that keep a child wanting to play the games. Many adolescents and children are playing: Call of duty, World of War Craft, Zelda, Black Ops, Mind Craft, Grand Theft Auto, and more. It is comfortable for many youth to play these games because they can avoid human interactions and can avoid dealing with emotional issues.

Children in the USA are losing social skills because they are: playing games online, video games, watching you tube, watching tv, on social network sites, and they simply are not interacting face to face with peers. It is important to help your child break the technology addiction or comfort zone. Many children need to work on their negative thought process that is keeping them stuck in their rooms . Building self esteem and confidence is vital to healthy social skills. Learning communication tools is also very important to build a strong foundation for success. Social anxiety can be the root of avoiding social interactions and playing video games and technology to an excess.

Lifeworksaz.com teaches children a variety of evidence based tools to overcome and manage social anxiety as well as other types of anxiety. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy skills, DBT skills, Progressive relaxatiion skills, mindfulness, and many more tools will help your child socially. Testimonials can be found at lifeworksaz.com 

David Abrams MAPC LPC a licensed Professional counselor with expertise in child and family therapy for over 17 years www.lifeworksaz.com has helped many youth as well as adults with anxiety disorders: General Anxiety disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Social Anxiety, Panic Attacks, and more. David has a positive strengths based approach that looks at a child and teens positive traits and uses those strengths to help the areasthat need improvement.

Teen Counseling Anxiety Phoenix Arizona, Scottsdale Arizona, Paradise Valley Arizona

Thursday, December 17th, 2020

Many individuals are struggling with anxiety from the pandemic and emotional stress is on the rise due to the holidays. Patients have very high rates of anxiety and panic related to the pandemic. Fear and anxiety are bombarding anyone that listens to : TV, Social media, Internet, You tube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. We all know about masks and social distancing and crowds. The pandemic is in our faces 24-7 regarding: death tolls, Vaccines, number of cases in each city, state, county, country etc. The stress of the pandemic can be overwhelming.  Anxiety can be a precursor for depression in children and teens as well as adults so it should be taken seriously and addressed by a mental health professional. Anxiety, depression, substance abuse, panic attacks, mood disorders, suicidal thoughts, self harming behaviors, anger, irritability, loneliness, stress, poor sleep, poor eating habits is a lot higher than it was in 2019 and of course this is correlated with COVID -19..the corona virus.

Coping with stress can help aging. Stress at work is a huge culprit. It is important to maintain family relationships and friendships outside of work to relieve work frustration as well as have a mental and physical break from work related stress.

It is essential to take a break and get away from your stress at work. Not eating well or taking lunch or breaks is not healthy and will not help alleviate stress. you may think you are a dedicated and hard worker but you are compromising your health if you do not take breaks. You are also hurting your body if yo do not eat three balanced healthy meals each day and exercise.

People with stressful jobs do not take the time to: sleep, maintain exercise, and also end up smoking and eating because of their poor choices…..to cope with stress.

Coping with stress is huge for your health!

Excessive use of cell phones can create stress and anxiety as well as impact sleep according to research done in Sweden.

The research showed a connection to Insomnia, restlessness, and drinking stimulating drinks for children and teens who were on their cell phones five or more times per day including text messaging.

The disrupted sleep seems to come with the constant connection with someone else and disrupts sleep patterns. Experts state adolescents need at least 9 hours of sleep per night and many state setting limits on cell phone use.

Stress, Anxiety, and Tension and sleep problems can occur without limits, boundaries, and balance in a teens life.

Our Central Nervous System are assigned to help us know when to be alert
in social and other situations in life. Almost everyone feels nervous or
anxious asking a question in front of a large group, a classroom, public
speaking, meeting new people and more. It becomes a problem when you
want to: apply for employment, join a new organization, meet new people
at school, go out on a date, interview for an internship, get out of the
house and interact with people and you are frozen and are struggling
with the above mentioned activities.

Anxiety is a tool we use to protect ourselves from threats like a Rattle
Snake or a charging Elk. Some people have a hypersensitive system while
others may not have a sensitive system. It is not your fault that you
have anxiety there is a genetic component to anxiety that is passed
through the gene pool. It could be a parent or grandparent or be from
someone further down the line in your family tree.

Many children and adults with anxiety share these common feelings:
anxious, inferior, lonely, hopeless, ashamed, sad, frustrated, jealous,
confused, hurt, disappointed, angry, guilty, self conscious, foolish,
inadequate, pessimistic, defeated, depressed, mad, resentful, annoyed,
irrupted and upset.

Anxious children and teens and adults have automatic thoughts that are
distorted in that I mean there is no facts to support the thoughts that
are being replayed over and over in your mind. It is important to
recognize and become aware of these unhealthy thoughts so you can take
them less seriously as well as not allow them to solidify and become
your reality.One common cognitive distortion is discounting the
positive. An example is when someone praises you, do you assume they are
only saying it to be nice or because they are a friend or relative. It
is difficult to build confidence if you are discounting your positive
traits and putting ourself down.

Perfectionism plays a role in anxiety. By not allowing any chance of a
mistake or failure in your behavior or social situation you are setting
a standard that is unrealistic. If we did not make mistakes we would not
go to school to learn or we would have no need to learn new things or
learn from others. It is impossible to always be: funny, energetic,
excited, relaxed, athletic, or whatever high standard you have created.
This perfectionism feeds into creating more anxiety.

A combination of CBT therapy, exposure therapy, and building self esteem
as well as working on social skills are all very important in overcoming
anxiety. Lifeworks AZ uses an eclectic approach that has research to
support positive outcomes. Lifeworks AZ has expertise counseling
children, teens, and adults as well as with families for over 15 years.

Child Counseling Specialist Arizona: Phoenix, Scottsdale, Chandler, Arizona

Monday, December 14th, 2020

Teenagers who experience very poor sleep may be more likely to experience poor mental health in later life, according to a new study.

In a paper published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, researchers evaluated self-reported sleep quality and quantity from teenagers and found that there was a significant relationship between poor sleep and mental health issues.

The team, based at the University of Reading, and Goldsmiths and Flinders Universities found that among the 4790 participants, those who experienced depression reported both poor quality and quantity of sleep, while those with anxiety had poor quality of sleep only, compared to those teenagers who took part who didn’t report anxiety or depression.

Dr Faith Orchard, a Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at the University of Reading said:

“This latest research is another piece of evidence to show that there is a significant link between sleep and mental health for teenagers. This study highlights that those young people who have experienced depression and anxiety had overwhelmingly experienced poor sleep during their teens.

A new study from UBC researchers finds that teens, especially girls, have better mental health when they spend more time taking part in extracurricular activities, like sports and art, and less time in front of screens.

The study, published in the journal Preventive Medicine, found that spending less than two hours per day of recreational screen time (such as browsing the internet, playing video games, and using social media) was associated with higher levels of life satisfaction and optimism, and lower levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms, especially among girls, the researchers found. Similarly, extracurricular participation was associated with better mental health outcomes.

Psychotherapists have a hard time competing with pharmaceutical companies when it comes to marketing expenditure and therefore struggle to get the exposure necessary to highlight the relative benefits of psychotherapy.

So, what are some of the obstacles that perpetuate this medication-only or medication-first treatment model rather than a combined approach?

One major impediment is marketing. Sit in front of the television long enough and you will come across at least one commercial for medication. Some believe that this level of exposure has contributed to the high volume of people seeking medication-only treatment. Critics argue that these commercials prompt self-diagnosis and superfluous prescribing of psychiatric medications. In addition, psychotherapists have a hard time competing with pharmaceutical companies when it comes to marketing expenditure and therefore struggle to get the exposure necessary to highlight the relative benefits of psychotherapy.

Another barrier is insurance coverage. Many insurance companies make it seem like paying for pharmacological therapy is easier than paying for psychological interventions. However, according to a survey conducted by the APA, only 4% of Americans know about the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. This legislation requires that insurance companies provide mental and behavioral health coverage that is equal to physical health coverage.

Two more obstacles that impact the implementation of psychotherapy are access and convenience. In some rural areas, psychotherapists are not as accessible as they might be in urban areas. Socioeconomic status can also impact access due to the cost and availability of transportation to clinics and other mental health care providers. In some cases, it can be easier for families to attend one monthly med check versus multiple psychotherapy appointments. In addition to access, convenience plays a role. Some professionals theorize that the convenience of popping a pill is more attractive than attending therapy sessions, even when therapy is clinically indicated. Similarly, some medical professionals might feel it is easier to write a prescription instead of making a referral to a mental health care provider.

New Guidelines that Advocate for Psychotherapy

In order to combat these obstacles, the APA is developing an updated set of clinical guidelines that will not only advocate for the efficacy of psychotherapy, but will also serve as a resource for practitioners. In addition to presenting people and policy makers with evidence-based treatment options, the guidelines will inform those interested in therapy about the types of therapy available for their specific mental health.www.Lifeworksaz.com provides counseling for children, counseling for teens, counseling for young adults, counseling for families and has done so for over 18 years in Phoenix, Arizona, Scottsdale, Arizona and valley wide

Teen counseling: Chandler, Gilbert, Goodyear, Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Arizona

Sunday, December 13th, 2020

A new study show depression among children and teenagers is skyrocketing. Isolating children from school and peers has serious consequences for children and their mental health in studies done in many countries as well in the United States of America. In one study in England over twenty five percent of children during COVID 19 had suicidal thoughts or contemplated suicide in a recent study.

Calls to mental health hotlines for help with children and teens has doubled since COVID 19. Over four million calls were made in Canada for mental health crisis in relationship to children and teenagers be it depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse etc. Loneliness and low self esteem and body image issues have a risen for calls made to the kids mental health hotline or crisis line in Canada during Covid 19. Many children are feeling grief and loss in relation to : school, sports, academics, extracurricular activities, and more.

Children and teenagers are feeling stressed about Covid 19 and what it means as far as their lives, school, family stress, their future, changes to their daily routines, closures of most activities that children and teens enjoyed. Change is very hard for adults and it is even more stressful for children and teenagers during this time of COVID 19.

Teen depression and child depression is on the rise in Scottsdale and Phoenix Arizona.

There are many factors that contribute to a depressed mood or depression in children. Family stressors, divorce, bullying, social issues, socioeconomic factors, abuse, grief and loss, low self esteem and more. These are huge and are not the only risk factors, however, it is how a child or teen copes with these stressors and how he or she learn coping skills to either empower themselves or become a victim.  A giant contributor to depression is negative thinking. We have thousands of thoughts a day and what these thoughts are very important it is the software and our programming for mood and behaviors! In over 20 years of providing counseling and psychotherapy for children and teens 6-18 I have not seen a depressed child that did not have negative thinking that outweighed positive thinking.

Many children and teens are not involved in physical activity : biking, walking, swimming, dancing, yoga, basketball, baseball, karate, hiking etc. This is a must for mood regulation and managing a depressed mood. Managing hormones like cortisol is done by exercising and can not be accomplished through: video games, social media, TV, You Tube, reading on the internet . Creating and role modeling exercise daily is a must if your child wants to improve his physical and mental health.

Nutrition is an important element in mood and depression as well. Does your child skip meals? Does he eat healthy foods?Vegetables? Protein? Fruits? Natural foods often. Food impacts your child’s brain. Research shows that: Vit C, Omega 3, Magnesium, and curcumin have the power to neutralize inflammation that may spark depression.

There are many other pieces that important in managing a depressed mood and the more pieces that a child or teen is doing the quicker his mood will elevate most of the time. Professional help with someone who is an expert with children and teens and families is vital. 

Finding a child and teen or adolescent and family counseling or therapy is vital for children and teens as well as parents. As the child and parent learn tools to change their environment so will the child’s mood change or the teens mood change. Managing child and teen depression is very important and the sooner counseling begins the better results. www.lifeworksaz.comhas a lot of experience working with children and teens and families counseling depression for children and teenagers and families.

Research shows that infants can meet the criteria for depression. Approximately one percent of infants meet the criteria for depression. The most common symptoms of depression for infants are : unresponsive facial expressions, listlessness, slower physical mannerisms, irritable and  fussy mannerisms, challenges eating, challenges sleeping, physical aches and physical pains.

Research shows the stronger connections between the infants amygdala, insula, and pre frontal cortex connection determined risks of pediatric depression.

A child’s environment and experiences impact these connectivity patterns and child Psychiatrists state that this will impact an infants depression or if a child has more or less signs of pediatric depression.

Thirty two million people suffer from Major depression in the United States of America. A large recent research study shows that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be as effective as using a second generation anti-depressant to treat the depression. The study focused on three anti depressants that are used frequently to treat depression. The three anti depressants were: Wellbutrin, Lexapro, and Prozac. The journal states that both options should be provided for treatment for the almost 20 Percent of people that suffer from depression.

CBT Cognitive Behavioral Therapy empowers your child to manage his mood, thoughts, and behaviors. A medication will not change your child’s negative or rational or unhealthy thinking. This therapy in conjunction with healthy life choices, boundaries, building self esteem, social skills, and learning to be successful is vital for a child’s life long journey.

There is as much evidence for cognitive behavioural therapy as there is for medications to treat mild and moderate depression, as well as evidence that they have a synergistic effect,” says Dr. Gratzer. “In other words, for the hundreds of thousands of Canadians struggling with depression, Internet-assisted cognitive behavioural therapy offers a cost-effective and empowering way of accessing an important treatment.”

One of the most common types of mental health disorders that children, teens, and women experience is depression. We all have times when we feel: down, low, unmotivated and lack energy however when symptoms occur for over two weeks it may be sign of a depressive disorder, grief and loss and more.

Major depression occurs twice as frequently in women as major depression occurs in men. Depression is a persistant state that will negatively affect ones physical well being and health as well as how one performs, behaves, and ones mood.

Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders in society however it is not diagnosed due to a number of reasons and it needs to be looked at by a professional in order to help alleviate symptoms that impact ones life.

Many things contribute to depression: grief and loss, loss of friends, changes in relationships, new schools, new life transitions, negative thinking, financial stress, family stress, abuse, genetics, biological predispositions, environmental factors and much much more.

Treatment for depression can include: counseling, coaching, psychotherapy, meds, or a combination of some of the above or all of the above.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an evidence based treatment used in therapy to help with depression and anxiety as well as other disorders. CBT looks at the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors .

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy looks at thoughts to see if the thoughts have distortions in them. By identifying unhealthy thoughts we can change them to healthier thoughts. These healthier thoughts will impact our feelings as well as future behavior in a positive manner .

An example of some cognitive distortions follow :

Black or White Thinking: you look at things in black n white and see little shades of gray or other colors in your spectrum .

Mind Reading: you read others minds and jump to a conclusion that is not supported by facts .

Magnification or minimization: you blow things out of proportion or you shrink their importance .

Labeling: instead of stating you made a mistake you call yourself names .

CBT is a powerful form of therapy and counseling that has evidence and research to support it by the medical as well as the psychological experts.

CBT therapy is based on the fact that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors not external things, like people, situations and events. CBT therapy is a research based therapy w evidence to show positive results. It is rapid in terms of results obtained compared to other therapeutic techniques .

Cognitive Behavioral therapy is considered a brief type of therapy .

The average number of sessions is approx 15.

CBT Cognitive Behavioral Therapy makes use of homework and is highly instructive in nature.

Rapport with the therapist is important in CBT however the focus is on teaching rational self therapy skills.

Learning what goals you desire and helping you achieve those goals is part of CBT.

CBT is just one of many techniques used to create changes in moods and depression.

LifeWorks AZ counseling provides therapy, counseling, coaching, and psychotherapy for adults , families, and teens in phoenix Arizona. www.lifeworksaz.com has worked with child depression therapy and counseling, teen depression, and adult depression

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