Topic - Children/Adolescents

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We've gathered Psychotherapy Networkers most popular posts and arranged them here by topic.

Getting Unhooked

Optimizing Connection with Teenage Clients by Understanding Your Own Attachment Style

Martha Straus

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

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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Using Play to Connect Better with Kids in Therapy

How Modeling Play Can Help Children Heal Trauma, Alleviate Anxiety, and More

David Crenshaw

When children are too anxious, afraid, or traumatized to play, they can't utilize this natural resource of childhood to relieve a painful emotional state. Because play is both releasing and disarming, it may be too threatening for the child to give up control sufficiently to enter into it. Child therapists can help children reclaim this vital feature of emotional self-regulation by teaching, modeling, and setting the stage for the child to play. But as when you're teaching children with attachment problems to tolerate emotions, this must be done gradually.

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What Therapists Need to Know About Autism

An Interview with Steve Silberman on the Intricacies of Autism and Asperger's

Ryan Howes

When it comes to autism, how do we separate truth from fiction? Steve Silberman is a Bay Area writer who, for his Wired article “The Geek Syndrome,” dove into Silicon Valley culture in 2001 to explore the contribution of people on the autism spectrum to the dot-com boom. He followed up that article with years of research and study, culminating in his new book, Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity. In a recent conversation, Silberman teased out the intricacies of autism as a pathology and as a different way of seeing the world.

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Treating Violent Children with a Therapist's Warmth

Wisconsin's Mendota Treatment Center Offers Violent Youths a Path to Recovery

Katherine Ellison

The word "psychopath" distinguishes hard-bitten predators. Research shows a treatment center---run by shrinks, not wardens---has reduced new violent offenses by 50 percent. What accounts for the Mendota Treatment Center’s success? Its founders argue that “prosocial” bonds help deter crime by giving people a stake in society, and thus a reason to work to control themselves. At the center, no one ever calls a kid a psychopath. At most, the center’s therapists will speak of someone as having “psychopathic traits.” Inmates are rigorously referred to as “youth.” Faith in the possibility of redemption is embedded in the language.

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The Secret Ingredients for Effective Therapy in Inner-City Communities

Thelma Dye on Inspiring Hope at Harlem's Northside Center

Thelma Dye

When you do therapy in poor, underserved, inner-city communities, it’s important to be aware of the message your program communicates. For example, we never underestimate how important it is for people in the community to see our the environment at Northside Center for Child Development---a community-based agency in Harlem that’s provided outpatient mental health and educational services to children and families for 70 years---as a place that’s well cared for, inviting, and reflective of their culture. Regardless of training, the most important thing our therapists bring to the table is the strong belief that clients can get better, despite life circumstances.

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Helping Therapy Clients Cope with the Reality of Death

Clinical Wisdom to Combat Fear, Anxiety, and Grief at the End of Life

Barry Jacobs

For 17 years, managing responses to death has become part of my work, whether originally my intention or not. I’ve aspired to helping families hang tough through medical crisis, but now spend some of my time hanging crepe. I’ve now accepted the variety of ways people react to their dying. All of these ways of facing death are utterly ordinary and human. Throughout it all, I've learned that as difficult and awkward as confronting death can be, this work also gives me a richer sense of my client, the cast of characters in their world, and the drama of their life.

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Fine-Tuning Your Therapy Approach for Male Clients

Understanding Shame as a Threat to Perceptions of Manhood

David Wexler

The field of counseling and psychotherapy hasn't done a particularly good job of creating a user-friendly environment for male clients. The problem begins with a lack of awareness about the profound impact of shame. Most men will do whatever it takes to prove their manhood. Furthermore, there's a mismatch between the relational style of many men and the touchy-feely atmosphere of most counseling and psychotherapy. As therapists, we have two choices: shoehorn men into a process that's traditionally been more user-friendly for females, or reshape what we do and how we present it to better reach male clients.

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Functional Family Therapy: A New Road Map for Behavioral Change

Using FFT to Get Parents and Kids Motivated, Allied, and Committed to Change

Thomas Sexton

Over the years, I’ve found that I’ve needed a solid, research-backed clinical model, which would guide me in sessions and keep me grounded during conflicted family interactions. The one I use, based on 30 years of research on the most effective interventions with delinquent juveniles and their families, is Functional Family Therapy. Like other models, it provides a framework for conceptualizing the case and focusing on relational family patterns. But more importantly, it's a kind of “clinical GPS” system. It not only shows a way through rough, unmarked territory, but allows you to update decision points and recalibrate the therapy to fit changing circumstances and unexpected developments.

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Helping Children with Asperger's Reduce Anxiety and Stress

Behavioral Interventions to Help Children on the Spectrum Learn New Skills

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---he can't fathom why the other kids treat him the way they do, or what he might be doing that garners such consistently negative reactions. But both teachers and parents who understand how AS affects children can use small behavioral interventions throughout the day to help them learn new skills, such as understanding the nonverbal cues in facial expressions and tone of voice and adapting their own rigid desires and expectations in order to be more flexible and likeable to peers.

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