Emotions are at the center of psychological services in this practice. Happy, sad, mad, anxious, afraid, and disgusted feelings are all valued here. Children and families are taught to recognize their emotions more reliably, to understand the purpose of their emotions, to notice physiological sensations associated with their emotions, and to respond effectively to emotions.
When practiced at home, validation of emotions has the potential to contain the child in the short term, strengthen the parent-child relationship, and foster healthy levels of emotional expression by the child.
Below are four photos which include links to resources. The first reflects the importance of emotions in human experience. The second explains how to be empathic with others. The third discusses how parents can validate their child's emotions. The fourth explains how important it is for parents to refrain from making invalidating comments. The fifth is a video about severe anxiety in children and resources available for treating severe anxiety. Click on each photo to deepen your learning about emotions.
SHAPING BEHAVIOR AND FOSTERING GROWTH
Knowledge is power. It is my perspective that all parents could benefit from learning about behaviorism.
It is important for parents to understand the role of reinforcement in maintaining or changing behaviors (e.g., avoidant behaviors, rituals, aggression).
You will find three resources below regarding behaviorism. The first explains the role of behaviorism in Psychology. The second teaches basic skills of positive and negative reinforcement. The third shares current research regarding reinforcement of effort (or process) versus traits (or outcomes). Click on each of the below photos to learn about behaviorism, behavioral techniques, and the importance of reinforcing effort/process via behavioral techniques.
SPOTLIGHT ON CULTURE OF PARENTAL PERMISSIVENESS
Click on th following photo to access a book that may be especially important for parents whose children share thoughts of entitlement, express unkindness towards parents, display rigidity and a lack of flexibility, and show an overall lack of respect or appreciation in the home environment.
IMPROVING PARENT CHILD RELATIONSHIPS
In this practice, parents learn to model healthy expressions of emotion, engage their child with empathy, and validate emotions, while also effectively setting limits.
All homes have spoken and unspoken rules. I encourage you to make the house rules explicit and for those rules to reflect your value system (e.g., "In this house we help each other, tell the truth, share, do our best, pay with hugs, laugh, try new things, express gratitude, show compassion, dream big, use kind words, think of others, say please and thank you, and show respect for each other").
During parent consultations, I often make recommendations that parents engage particular activities with their children. I often recommend activities such as gardening or igloo building. I have included here the rationale for such recommendations. References are many and can be made available upon request.
Below I have included two parenting resources, which I have put together as references for patients. We will discuss these in more detail if they are applicable to your parenting needs.
Please note: If we do not see a decrease in externalizing behavior in your child at home and/or at school, I may refer you and your child to see someone Certified in PCIT for more intensive support. Click on the below photo get an explanation of PCIT.
ADDITIONAL FACTORS RELEVANT TO CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH
There are times when factors outside of the parent-child relationship can create distress in the child. Substance abuse, poor sleep hygiene, and neurodiversity (if unknown or unaddressed) can lead to psychological distress. Click on the photos below to access resources for thinking about and addressing some of these factors.
High Functioning Autism
When children have a role in bullying experiences, whether the bully, the bullied, or the spectator, it is important to address.
Education for parents and children regarding the bully, the bullied, and the spectator can go a long way in solving these dynamics. Such education can be found by clicking on the photo below.
Bully, Victim, or Spectator
Sometimes there is a particular kind of bullying that includes objectification and body shaming. Typically in these situations, it is the bully who needs to change behavior and perspective. Nonetheless, in treatment, patients who have been targeted can begin to feel appropriate anger and search the best sources for healthy self-esteem, validation, and resilience in the face of stress. Click on the box titled “body shaming” to learn how I might work with a patient who has been objectified / body shamed.