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How Play Reduces Anxiety

Playtime Principles for Therapy with Kids and Their Parents

Lawrence Cohen • 8/21/2017 • No Comments

By Lawrence Cohen - Parents of young, anxious children are often unsure of how to prepare them for a potentially upsetting event. Using play, however, can heal past upsets and prepare them for upcoming transitions. Here's how a powerful session with a mother and daughter clarified the principles that would come to guide my approach.

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Is Your Child "Misbehaving"? It Could Be Completely Normal

Three Ways Understanding Temperament Normalizes Child-Rearing Challenges

Alice Shannon • 8/16/2017 • No Comments

By Alice Shannon - Our society has become increasingly intolerant of children's behavior that strays beyond familiar norms, and too inclined to diagnose, pathologize, and medicate what are simply temperamental differences. Having an awareness of temperament has helped me as a therapist to be curious, rather than judgmental or prematurely diagnostic.

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Helping Children Conquer the OCD "Worry Hill"

A Child-Friendly Approach to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Aureen Pinto Wagner • 6/13/2017 • 1 Comment

By Aureen Pinto Wagner - While CBT is widely considered the treatment of choice for children with OCD, effectiveness is contingent on overcoming a formidable obstacle: children's reluctance to engage in exposure therapy because they think that facing their fears without performing rituals will be too scary and impossible. Here's a fun yet effective approach that tackles this problem.

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Inside the Mind of a Child with Asperger's

Using the "Social Stories" Exercise to Help Children with Asperger's Fit In

Diane Yapko • 3/16/2017 • No Comments

By Diane Yapko - Aaron, who has Asperger's syndrome (AS), has great difficulty intuitively understanding the intentions or feelings beneath the literal meanings of words. To him, the world is a baffling place. But teachers and parents who understand how AS affects children can use small behavioral interventions throughout the day to help them learn new skills and adapt their own rigid desires and expectations in order to be more flexible and likeable to peers.

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The Essential Component of Treating Children with OCD

A Family Therapy Approach to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Lynn Lyons • 7/15/2016 • No Comments

By Lynn Lyons - OCD, like other anxiety disorders, is like a cult leader, demanding acceptance of a skewed view of reality. It shows up and makes an announcement that’s distressing--the obsessive thought. It then posits a solution to the distress, some action, either internal or external, that offers temporary relief---the compulsion. But by including parents in therapy, it demystifies the disorder and allows them to be part of a family plan to deal with it.

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When Victims Victimize Others

Using Empathy to Help Abusers Make Amends

Noel Larson • 7/12/2016 • 3 Comments

Throughout my career, countless people have asked me how I can work with clients who’ve committed sexual abuse, murdered their wives, or broken their children’s bones and spirits. My answer has always been the same: all I have to do is remember and feel in my heart the traumatized children my clients once were.

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Getting Unhooked

Optimizing Connection with Teenage Clients by Understanding Your Own Attachment Style

Martha Straus • 2/9/2016 • No Comments

For a child to develop, adults need to “loan” them their adult regulatory system. But being a self-aware, engaged, and compassionate therapist isn't automatic. To play our part, we must first foster our own capacity to self-regulate before we can demand it of a terrified or furious teen. Attachment is a two-way street: it’s not just about them.

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The Risk-Taker’s Advantage

Are Today's Parents Too Overprotective?

Michael Ungar • 2/1/2016 • 1 Comment

There’s now consensus among social scientists that children in developed countries have never been safer. But the new normal is a growing pattern of overprotection that I’ve seen emerging as one of the thorniest clinical issues for therapists because it can look so reasonable. Rather than insisting that parents change their behavior and supervise their children less, I focus on how they can give their kids opportunities to experience the manageable amounts of risk and responsibility needed for success.

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Turning Anxiety Treatment into Play

How Role-Playing Can Help Kids Face Their Anxiety

Rich Simon • 6/23/2014 • 3 Comments

Seven-year-old Emily is continually nervous and her anxiety is keeping her from enjoying summer camp, sleepovers with friends, and after-school activities. Her parents don’t know what to do, and even her therapist is worried that Emily’s anxiety is starting to define too much her integral sense of self. Treating anxiety in kids takes a creative, often playful approach, says Lynn Lyons, author of Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents.

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