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Does my child need to see a therapist?

July 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Children's Counseling

Being a parent is one of the most rewarding and exciting experiences life has to offer, it can also be one of the most challenging. These challenges can arise at any time during your child’s life and it can be difficult to know when these challenges are just part of growing up or a sign your child is heading into troubled times.

Here are some signs that your child may need professional assistance to cope with difficult life circumstances.

1. Your child is unusually withdrawn, worried, stressed, or tearful, or is experiencing sleep disturbances, mood swings, unusual changes in appetite, or displays excessive anger towards self or others.

2. Your child’s behavior or emotional distress is interfering with his or her ability to complete regular daily routines, frequently disrupts normal family functioning, or is preventing the development of age-appropriate milestones.

3. Your child displays an unusual fear of being left alone, going to school, or participating in previously enjoyed activities.

4. Your child’s symptoms or behaviors increase to the point that he/she is socially isolated, exhibiting signs of prolonged depression, disruptive in the classroom, missing school, increasingly argumentative, or defiant about following rules.

5. Your child’s difficulties are interfering with your job or you feel you are unable to effectively manage your child’s behavior or emotional distress.

It is important to remember that your child’s behavior or emotional distress is not a sign of parental failure and seeking assistance from a mental health professional is no different than consulting a physician when your child is sick. Therapists have specialized training and knowledge that enables them to provide effective treatment allowing the child to identify and discuss problems, develop effective coping skills, and resolve emotional issues. Therapists also work with parents to address their concerns, help them understand their child’s needs, and assist them in developing the most effective parenting skills for their child’s success.

To find out more about how counseling can help you and your child, contact Teresa Judy.

Article by Teresa Judy, LCSW, LMHP

The Benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy

July 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Children's Counseling

Animal assisted therapy can be a powerful tool in helping clients attain their counseling goals. Here are a few of the benefits of this treatment:

1. Having my dog in session often increases the comfort level of clients. This is especially helpful during the early stages of counseling with children who have a difficult time talking about their feelings.

2. It can help children with behavioral problems focus on a positive activity. This includes bonding with the dog, treating it with kindness and respect, and learning behavior modification principles by rewarding the dog for following directions (i.e. doing “tricks”).

3. Interacting with a dog can reduce feelings of anxiety, and provide motivation for clients to attend therapy, who may be otherwise ambivalent about the process.

If you are interested in learning more about animal assisted therapy, contact Michelle Oczki.

Article by: Michelle Oczki, M.S., LIMHP

Tips on Preparing for Marriage or Relationship Counseling

Taking the step to work on your relationship can be scary. You may not know what to expect when you enter therapy. Here are some tips that may help you and your significant other get the most out relationship counseling:

Tip #1- The sooner a couple enters counseling when difficulties arise, the better. All too often, people wait until they are on the verge of ending the relationship before seeking help. Counseling can still be effective in these circumstances, but why wait for this to happen? It can be empowering to take charge of your issues, instead of allowing them to drive you and your loved one apart.

Tip #2- Motivation is one of the most important factors in determining the effectiveness of your therapy. Entering counseling only to appease your significant other does not work. If your current motivation to improve your relationship is low, give it a boost before entering therapy, or during the early stages of counseling. This can be done by making the choice to find something positive your partner brings to the relationship, finding new, relaxed activities to do with them, and remembering why you fell in love in the first place.

Tip #3- Don’t think of your problem as “unfixable”. Research shows that it is not the severity of problems that predict a couple’s longevity and relationship satisfaction, it is the way they communicate about their problems that is important. Your therapist will teach you effective communication skills that can help you build trust and reconnect with your loved one.

Article by: Michelle Oczki, M.S., LIMHP