Beyondpondering's Weblog

Northwest Arkansas Therapy

Beyond Scared March 26, 2015

I found this somewhere else, but so clearly expresses the same point of view.  Susan

Beyond Scared.

by:  Deborah A. Novo

surviveTeenYears (2)It is natural to feel apprehensive and scared navigating through some of life’s challenges and expectations. Much of the time, we can do this with confidence and competence. However, scared doesn’t begin to identify the depth and breadth of the feeling that is experienced when our children with Reactive Attachment Disorder anticipate or perceive abandonment. The feeling could be more accurately described as panic and terror.

People outside the child’s inner circle may find it hard to believe the degree of distress and impairment that is observed and the myriad of triggers. One of our sons purposefully failed a school year so he wouldn’t have to graduate. His belief was that if he graduated he would “be deserted and on his own.”

Our other son and his girlfriend break up and he is in terror mode feeling like an infant again with no one to care for him. Despite their innumerable breakups they have never been “broken up” more than minutes as he frantically begs her not to leave.

When our children were younger triggers included me leaving the house to get groceries, them standing in the outfield during their baseball game, feeling rejected by classmates, spending respite at their grandparents among many, many other examples.

It is essential that mental health professionals, teachers and others involved understand the scope of emotion that real or perceived abandonment can provoke. Fearing abandonment on a chronic basis changes your brain and has significant, potentially life long, implications in creating connection and stability in relationships, academic success, sustaining employment and keeping oneself emotionally regulated and happy.

As parents, it is important to be prepared and respond appropriately. I have learned, through the years, that the best support you can give is a consistent, calm and empathetic response during these, often volatile, reactions. Anything else fuels their panic. There are tools that our family uses with the intention of balancing and healing their whole being so they can learn to soothe themselves and use their reasoning brain. Strategies such as yoga (free online yoga classes for all ages and levels at www.doyogawithme.com), Emotional Freedom Technique (free and easy instruction at www.emofree.com) and doing Brain Gym exercises are a few fun and very effective examples. When our sons were younger we would leave notes with the respite provider, to be given periodically, while we were away from our home. The notes had simple phrases that said, “we believe in you” and “you are safe and loved.” We still do this, but we now text these messages. I have placed Power Ranger stickers on my youngest son’s chest prior to his baseball games to remind him of the “power” within him. We recently resurrected his favorite stuffed version of that Power Ranger to help this now older teen. We continue to engage in quiet activities such as drawing, board games, Reiki and lots of hugs to minimize their intense reactions and promote their attachment, safety and self worth.

I have discovered that every experience, ultimately, has its benefits. For me, I have developed infinite compassion, advanced problem solving skills, articulate boundaries, self care and advocacy skills for my family. When parenting our special children there is no shortage of opportunity to practice growing in wisdom and love!

 

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Why are there no support groups? November 24, 2014

……asked one mother of a RAD kid….

I quickly retorted….Because there is too much embarrassment and shame….No adoptive parent adopts with this in mind……

They are too embarrassed because their child is always a perfect angel at someone else’s house…

No one knows about the anger directed towards you; the yelling, screaming directed towards you; and pain involved.

They are too ashamed because they get so many critical looks reflecting that they should “just spank the kid”;

or give more consequences.

Or they get looks and comments which communicate that something must be something WRONG WITH YOU, as a parent, that you can not control your child.

Or just the opposite…..

They get too many looks or comments which communicate…

you are too hard on him; or all he needs is love;

but she is always so polite at my house…you just misunderstand him…..

 

I communicated to the mom to not be ashamed nor embarrassed for we are dealing with the one percent of the children which nothing seems to work.

But there is hope if you are willing to try something different…and I would bet you are…or you would not be calling me now.

 

 

Sensitive Children October 15, 2014

Filed under: Parenting,Relationships,SENSITIVE CHILDREN,Therapy — beyondpondering @ 4:02 pm

THIS IS NOT NEW BUT I THOUGHT IT WAS IMPORTANT

Northwest Arkansas Therapy “Hope, Growth, Discovery”
January 7
Raising a Sensitive Child
by Sue Fliess

He cries at the drop of a hat—or a toy, in this case. She crumbles if you raise your voice at her, even slightly. He seems to have a bionic sense of smell. Before you write your child off as a drama queen, consider the fact that this behavior may be innate.

Research by Dr. Elaine Aron shows that a high degree of sensitivity is often a physiological reality with which some children are born. Despite what other parents may tell you, it’s not due to a deficiency in confidence or social skills, and it’s certainly not something you as parents have, or ever had, control over.

Sensitive children have different, or perhaps more exaggerated, reactions to things. They don’t act the way you’d expect a typical child should in many situations. Unfortunately, in our society, this is often seen as weakness. But according to Jeremy G. Schneider, a MFT (marriage and family therapist), it’s just the opposite. Says Schneider, “The reality is that sensitive children have a gift. They are able to experience the world at a higher level than average children.”

What earmarks a child as ‘highly sensitive’? Highly sensitive children may exhibit one or all of the following traits. Schneider explains that the key is to notice a pattern of behavior, as well as the degree to which a child exhibits one or more of the following:

Is your child highly sensitive to his/her senses? An excellent sense of smell or hearing? Very sensitive to pain?
Does your child get emotionally overwhelmed easily? Does she feel a wide, yet intense range of emotions? Does she sometimes get so excited she withdraws?
Does your child have a depth greater than his peers, or even adults? Does he ask profound questions, think a lot on his own or reflect on his experiences?
Is your child highly aware of her surroundings? Does she notice when small household items are moved or minor changes in others, like a haircut?
Is your child very sensitive to other people’s emotions? Does he notice when someone is feeling sad and try to help him? Does he seem especially sensitive to the feelings of animals?

Realizing your child is highly sensitive can be tough. Not tough to understand, but tough to swallow. Don’t depair! It’s better that you know early on, and take steps toward helping him deal with his world going forward. Schneider offers these two tips to parents to help their children maintain their sensitivity and confidence without making them feel they are not like other kids:

Adjust your behavior, not your child’s. Don’t try to force her to adapt to society’s demands. Love and accept your sensitive child unconditionally. You cannot change who he is. He needs to know you love him no matter how he perceives or reacts to the world.

Become partners. Work with your child to create ways to interact with the world safely. For instance, she’ll likely have an easier time interacting with classmates 1:1 than in larger groups, so set up individual play dates so she gets comfortable with several classmates.

Focus on strengths. Sensitivity is practically a stigma in the U.S. and it’s important not to “label” your child. Help him understand that he experiences the world more deeply than most children, and help him see the strengths associated with this. He may notice things most people don’t, have a better imagination, focus or concentrate better, be a gifted student, or empathize and be sensitive to others.

Make small changes. If you need to make changes to your child’s environment, make them little by little. She will feel less overwhelmed.

Nudge, don’t push. Most highly sensitive children get easily distressed when they have to make a decision. They often reject opportunities out of fear. Sometimes the best thing you can do is nudge your child to take a risk or try something new. The same goes for punishment. He’ll respond better to you gently correcting his behavior, rather than yelling at him. If your highly sensitive child knows you will be there for him and love him no matter what he is feeling, he’ll have less hesitation in new situations, and will be less self-conscious or risk-averse. If he knows you’re not going to push him to be something he’s not, you’ll both be a lot more relaxed and prepared for the road ahead.
You can help your child deal with the world and all the unexpected noise and upset it can throw out at us. Highly sensitive or not, all children need that parental security blanket every now and then.

 

PARADIGMS September 30, 2014

Filed under: counseling,Relationships,Therapy — beyondpondering @ 12:36 am
Tags: , , , ,

Okay, I have had writers block. I haven’t written in a while. Here goes…

PARADIGMS:  

A MILLION AND ONE WAYS TO LOOK AT THE WORLD

 YET I WILL BOIL IT DOWN TO ONLY

TWO FUNDAMENTAL PARADIGMS:

Problem Focused or Solution Focused

What is a paradigm?

According to Merriam-Webster :

A:  par·a·digm noun \ˈper-ə-ˌdīm, ˈpa-rə- also -ˌdim\

B: a model or pattern for something that may be copied

C: a theory or a group of ideas about how something should be done, made, or thought about

1:  example, pattern; especially :  an outstandingly clear or typical example or archetype

2:  an example of a conjugation or declension showing a word in all its inflectional forms

3:  a philosophical and theoretical framework of a scientific school or discipline within which theories, laws, and generalizations and the experiments performed in support of them are formulated; broadly :  a philosophical or theoretical framework of any kind.

Other words used to describe paradigm are: Example, pattern standard archetype, exemplar, and prototype.

 

So what does this have to do with counseling? There are a million and one ways to theorize about how human beings function, think, live, and process their emotions; and a million and one techniques to go with them. The Arkansas Board of Counseling mentions just a few listed below.

 Individual Therapy Focus

Cognitive Behavioral

Reframing exercises

Self-talk

Self-analysis/self-evaluation/self-assessment

Homework therapy

Relaxation techniques

Muscle relaxation

Deep breathing

Cognitive imagery

Guided imagery

Systematic desensitization

Problem-solving skills training

Self-monitoring

Cognitive restructuring

Role playing social problem-solving situations

Self-reinforcement

Self-instruction

Modeling

Positive incentives

Behavioral rehearsal

Monitoring negative thoughts

Restructuring negative or maladaptive thoughts

Person-Centered

Active listening

Reflection of feelings

Clarification

Empathy

Unconditional Positive Regard

Congruence

Adlerian

Gathering life history (genogram, family constellation, early recollections) ·

Therapeutic contracts

Homework assignments

Paradoxical intention

Suggestions

Confrontation

Interpretation

Providing encouragement

Paraphrasing

“Aha” experience

Catching Oneself

Acting “as if”

Gestalt

Reliving /re-experiencing unfinished business

Confrontation

Staying with feelings

Role playing

Empty chair

Creative expression (art, poetry, writing, movement)

Psychodrama

Putting feelings or thoughts into action

Body awareness (breathing awareness)

Guided imagery

Focusing on the here and now

Behavior

Reinforcement techniques

Relaxation methods

Modeling

Assertion/social skills training

Self-management programs

Behavioral rehearsal

Coaching

Contracts

Homework assignments

Reality

Evaluation of present behavior

Willingness to change

Development of specific plan to change

Awareness of how life would be different

Commitment to follow through with plan

Psychoanalytic

Interpretation

Dream analysis

Free association

Analysis of resistance

Analysis of transference

Questioning to develop case history

Existential

Identification of responsibility avoidance

Confronting irresponsibility

Owning of feelings, statements and actions

Attacking “wish” avoidance

Attacking affect avoidance

Unblocking decision-making

 Family Therapy Focus

From General Systems Theory:

Transgenerational/Bowenian/Contextual

Boundary making

Family sculpting

Genogram

Family reconstruction

Therapeutic contract

Going home assignments

Differentiation assignments

Family ledger

Structural

Enactments

Unbalancing

Tracking

Assess family structure

Assess family rules/roles

Reframing

Draw-A-Person

Kinetic Family Drawings

Family play

Strategic

Assess hierarchy/power

Circular questioning

Miracle question

Scaling questions

Exception questions

“As-if” assignments

Homework assignments

“Go slow” messages

Experiential

Positive connotations

Paradoxical interventions

Rituals

Ordeal assignments

Prescribing the symptom

Behavioral parent training

Restraining techniques

Identifying self-defeating patterns

Invariant prescription

2nd order changes

Family Sculpting

Family drawings

Hypnosis/trance

Here-and-now techniques

There-and-then techniques

Narrative

Questioning (opening space, meaning, future)

Deconstruction

Co-construction

Re-storying

Externalizing

Mapping influence of problem

Find Exceptions to Problem

Therapist’s letter-writing

Preferred view of self/from others

Psychoanalytic Family Therapy/Object Relations

Participant observation

Listening

Avoid reassuring, advising, confronting ·

Interpretation

Avoid counter transference

Integrative Family Therapy

Language of parts

Internal conversations

Micro/Macro lenses

Solution focus

 

WOW ! ARE YOU CONFUSED YET ?

MANY THEORIES HAVE BEEN LEFT OUT AND

MORE THEORIES COME EVERYDAY.

 

Okay, I will help you get off the Merry Go Round. I try to keep things simple. Everything listed above have been thought over and discussed thoroughly over the ages. They serve their purpose and help people. Yet even within the before mentioned paradigms, points of view, theories, techniques and approaches…

 

Therapy can be either

“PROBLEM FOCUSED”

or

“SOLUTION FOCUSED”

      Over the years of practice, I have done both approaches and have eventually come to prefer the “SOLUTION FOCUSED” approach. After using and watching both in action, I gravitated to the one, which seemed to me, proved more successful.

Here, let me give a brief synopsis.  PROBLEM FOCUSED:

“You are sad. You are so sad. How sad are you? So sad you couldn’t get out of bed for a week. So sad you couldn’t take a shower. So sad you couldn’t wash you hair or brush your teeth. So sad you couldn’t get up and let the dog out…..So sad the dog has now pooped on the floor…..”

Down……

Down…

Down…

Down….

Even I got depressed!

(The focus was on the problem of sadness.)

 

SOLUTION FOCUSED:

“You are sad. Okay…But I see you got yourself up…neat and clean, make up on…you got yourself here…Where did you get the energy and wisdom to come to a counselor?”

“Oh…you have known for a while you wanted to see a therapist and you finally made up you mind and made the phone call.”

“Yes, seeing a therapist is scary. But you know what? Most people do not even make the first phone call. Just the fact you made the call then showed up today, tells me a lot about how intelligent you are, your determination, and your willingness to do better in life. Congratulations…you are ahead of most people.”

(The focus is on strengths.)

Solution focus does not deny problems. On the other hand, why should strengths be denied? To me Solution focused is more balanced and healthier.

 

 

 

I have been saying this for years ! November 7, 2013

Filed under: ADHD,adoption,Attention Deficiet,Parenting,Relationships,Therapy — beyondpondering @ 6:12 pm
Induced birthing procedures using synthetic oxytocin (pitocin) have proven to increase the risk of ADHD. In a study of 300 children whose mothers received Pitocin at birth to induce labor, 80 % of the children were diagnosed with ADHD. While these techniques can sometimes save lives, they are over used simply to make the birthing process more convenient for doctors and hospitals. 25% of mothers in the US receive Pitocin during labor. John Gray, Ph.D.
I have done countless psycho-social intakes for children and families.  One question I have learned (by experience) to ask is if the birth was induced with pitocin.   I get the families in my office 5 to 10 years later.  Why is this information not being brought to the forefront?
I am usually not a conspiracy theorist.   But you need to know.
Blessing to you.  Susan
 

STILL PONDERING August 10, 2013

Photo on 2013-07-11 at 14.45 #3

I am still pondering all this time.  

I have had many different experiences.  

I still ponder.  

What do people really want out of therapy?  

You tell me.  

 

MORE OF THE SAME? TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT! March 28, 2009

I go back to the same old questions:  Is it working for you?  Is doing what those so called experts say, really working?  When is it time to try something different?

You will just try to defend yourself out of fear someone will think you are a bad mom.  Or maybe you will just to defend yourself out of fear that it might be true.  You really do enjoy getting away from them.

The peace you feel when he is away seems to validate the assumption that it is “He” who is the problem.  There is something much much deeper going on.

The idea that RAD child should be treated differently is a start.  They have a developmental wound which cannot be helped to heal with more chores or strong sitting.

They have a developmental wound which cannot be helped to heal by being sent away.

A couple years ago,  I was working with a mother and  young daugther.  There was never any problems at school.  The problems occured at home.   I give this mom a round of applause for taking responsibility for her behavior years ago.  She left the children.  Yes she had her reasons…… but from a child’s point of view it was abandonment.  “I was not good enough for you to stick around.”  “I was not lovable enough for you to want to stay with me”.

We had a breakthrough mom said.    I was amazed at something else.

We were all sitting on the floor.  There was soft comforting lighting rather than glaring florescent tubes.  I was verbalizing what a young child might feel if a parent went away.  Little by little the child leaned her head on her mother’s shoulder.  Little by little the child wrapped her arms around mother’s neck.  Little by little, the child crawled into mother’s lap.  Little by little, mother cradled the girl in her arms and started rocking her body back and forth.  The girl nestled her head into mom’s bosom and allowed herself to be rocked.

I kept quiet and allowed the two to rest in each other’s arms for a good long time.

I whispered to mom,  “How old was she when you left?”  Mom whispered, “One and a half.”

The behavior of the child was reminiscent of the age of her trauma.

I helped mom see the developmental issues going on.

A rocking chair and more rocking at home……………. was the recommendation.

This addressed the heart of the matter, not just the acting out behavior.  Work on the heart of the matter and the acting out will subside.

These kids need even more rocking, more comforting, more compassion, more empathy….  Or at least just as much.   Because they are RAD does that mean they should be treated differently when it comes to Tender Loving Care?   They need it even more because they have a develpment lag in that department.

If what you are doing is working for you….by all means…..continue with what you think is right.  However,  begin reflecting on how you can address the heart of the matter rather than just manage the behavior.