Parenting And Family Therapy Category

I am Stressed About Being Stressed

Is stress causing your child to feel overwhelmed? Check out this review of Susan Kaiser Greenland’s The Mindful Child.

What is Mindfulness: Mindfulness can be described as paying attention to the moment. When I stop to take a break and become aware of my self, my thoughts, my feelings, and my surroundings, I am being mindful. Wikipedia describes mindfulness as a meditative practice that has gained worldwide popularity as a distinctive method to handle emotions. It is when we purposely bring awareness to our experience.

Mindfulness can help your family to not get too caught up in the past or future. It switches our attention to what’s happening in the present helping to reduce emotional reactions such as tantrums or panic. Learning mindfulness can help you or your child gain peacefulness and control as opposed to feeling stressed out.

Review of The Mindful Child: This book offers practical and applicable skills for parents to teach mindfulness to their children. It begins...

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5 Things to Think about When Considering Divorce

5 Things to Think about When Considering Divorce
By Nancy Fagan,

Considering leaving your spouse? You need a solid exit plan. Pre-divorce-planning involves carefully planning out often-overlooked aspects of your life before you announce you’re leaving. In 85 percent of divorces, it is the wife who initiates the divorce. Whether man or woman, if you are in this situation, starting a plan of action now is absolutely necessary. Just because your wife/husband wants everything, including the children, it does not necessarily mean that’s what has to happen. Learn how to get a fair settlement by playing smart and doing certain things that will help your situation tremendously.

Divorce planning is needed for both men and women. With that said, if you’re a woman, preparing in advance is even more important. In fact, most women are in a worse place financially after it’s all said and done. With this said, you don’t have to become a statistic. You have ...

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The 5 C's to Resolving Parent-Teen Conflict

Ahh... The good old summer time; the time of summer vacations, summer movies, summer camps, summer jobs, and for some kids, the dreaded summer school! Indeed, for most kids and teens, summer is filled with staying up late and sleeping in even later. For parents, however, summertime can be a time when conflict with one's teen is magnified.

Ever had a teen that not only sleeps all day and eats you out of house and home, but in today's technologically driven world, seems to have grown an extra appendage...a cell phone. Teens these days can't seem to put it down. It’s with them when they awaken and when they go to sleep; it’s with them at the breakfast table and the dinner table; it’s even with them when they go to the restroom. Yes, today's teens seem to believe that putting their cell phone down for just one minute would be akin to chopping of an appendage such as their hand, or foot. Does the following vignette sound familiar to you?

Parent: "Hello (insert name of te...

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Teaching Emotional Intelligence

Parents teach their children emotional intelligence by being attuned to a child’s needs and feelings. Feeling seen and understood, children develop a sense of themselves as worthy, valuable individuals. They learn to accept and handle their feelings as well as to be sensitive to others’ emotions.

How do we as parents help children develop these emotional skills? First we shift our perception, slow down from our adult busy-ness, set aside our parental desires about how our children might be, and step out of an orientation to our own needs and judgments in a situation, so that we can see our children for themselves and focus on understanding what they need and how they feel beneath their behavior.

The mere act of accurately and compassionately labeling an emotion is tremendously powerful- it grounds the child, helps him feel emotionally held and contained, conveys the acceptability, understandability and therefore manageability of feelings, and preserves his integrated sens...

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Mindfulness for Kids

Mindfulness is usually reserved for adults, but it does not have to be. Children of all ages experience stress and tension physically, the inability to focus or concentrate, as well as distressing emotions (i.e anxiety, anger, sadness). The great thing about children is that they can adapt easily to mindfulness as well.

You may be asking, what is mindfulness? How can I get my child to sit still long enough to practice? The best way to conceptualize mindfulness is the ability to be present and to be in the here and the now. It is a way of observing, describing, and fully engaging in the moment. Now, how can we get our children to fully engage in the moment? Here are some techniques:

1. Be mindful of the breath: Observing the breath is the simplest way to start mindfulness. For example, if I tell you to not think of the color red, you are definitely going to think of the color red. So if you help the child think about breathing, it will be easier for them to focus on their breath. If y...

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7 Ways To Teach Your Child Meditation

Meditation is, in fact, a handy tool that is worth knowing how to do. In this fast paced, high-tech culture, it is easy to keep going, missing the finer details of life only to gain the bigger reward. As adults, we know that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is the discipline required to meditate! Meditation is the slowing down of things; the clearing of the mind; paying attention to details; observing life and self; being grounded and present in the moment; being aware of the thread that makes the fabric. Meditation is awareness. In order to teach awareness, you must first become aware for yourself. Children are naturally more aware than adults so it may be easy for them to ease into the practice.

Here are some ways to teach your child to meditate. Because children naturally have a short attention span, give them activities that are fun for them to do, as well as quick, and simple.

1. Lead by example: Develop your own meditation practice. Children learn instantly if they...

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Troubled adolescents: Working therapeutically using a schema focused approach

Written by Dr Dorothy Ojarikri, Chartered Clinical Psychologist and Director of UK Private Psychology.

Working therapeutically with troubled adolescents is always both challenging and rewarding and never more so than with those adolescents who lack a supportive relationship with a parent or other adult. Maxine*, 18, is one such young person referred by both her Aunt and herself for therapy last autumn and I am sharing my experience of the process so far of schema therapy with her.

Dear Maxine

During our initial 3 psychological assessment sessions you described what a struggle life has been for you. Your Mum and Dad divorced ten years ago following an acrimonious separation involving marital infidelity by them both. Both your Aunt and you report that your Dad has social communication difficulties. He has never met your emotional needs and favours your younger maternal half-sister Kate* leaving you feeling worthless. Since your parents’ divorce your Mum has worked as a prostitut...

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Children in care: 5 ways psychologists and therapists can help them achieve their potential

Written by Dr Dorothy Ojarikri, Chartered Clinical Psychologist and Director of UK Private Psychology.

The number of children ‘looked after’ by the state in foster, residential parental or kinship care rose to over 91,000 across the United Kingdom (UK) partly due to public concern about recent child deaths and serious child maltreatment. It is ironic that UK children in care are described as ‘looked after’ as for decades they have been identified as experiencing higher rates of education, mental health, offending and other problems than other young people. As psychologists and therapists working in clinical practice it is tempting to believe we can resolve these problems with therapy. But psychologists and other therapists do have a vital role to play in supporting young people in care to build psychological resilience and reach their potential by working with children in care more broadly and systemically and I make the following recommendations:

1. Provide r...

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Groundbreaking New Research On The Science Of Attachment In Relationships!

In November 2013, Sue Johnson shared the results of a groundbreaking collaboration between herself and University of Virginia Neuroscientist Dr. James Coan. They showed for the first time that Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) changes how the brain perceives and responds to threat.The research findings have important implications for all of us. We all know that EFT can deepen love and create a more secure emotional bond, but we haven’t always understood how this happens. It seems that science is giving us a deeper understanding of how love (and adult attachment security) works at the level of brain function.

Here is a link to this amazing research:

For those of you that may not have the time to read it, Sue has summarized the findings like this:

The study dramatically illustrates how couples therapy that teaches people to bond securely, builds the pathway for loving contact that soothes the brain and calms ...

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Help children process the news of a divorce! Part #I

Children have different reactions to their parents’ separation, which is in accordance with their developmental stage.

Pre-schoolers may cry, ignore the news, pretend they haven’t heard anything and ask for permission to go play, or show no emotion at all. But, no matter what their initial reaction to the big new is, it does not mean that they are fine with it. Most of the time, their emotional and/or behavioral reaction to divorce unfolds within time.

“Play” has a critical role in processing difficult information for kids. Pre-schoolers’ play may demonstrate families (of animals, dolls, cars, etc) with themes of going on trips, fights, yelling at, leaving, loneliness, and empty houses, which allows kids to practice control over their feelings regarding divorce and separation, i.e. they control who leaves, when they leave, etc. Adults process the same difficult information through talking to friends, family, and therapists and through critical thinki...

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