Daniel Siegel, clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA, has been studying the brain for over 20 years. His unique focus has been exploring the effects of meditation and mindfulness on the brain, and he has come to recognize that meditation and mindful awareness can alter brain function, mental activity, and interpersonal relationships. His research and extensive books and articles on the brain, has led to providing easy to understand descriptions of difficult scientific concepts about the brain. Read more!
It’s true that electroconvulsive therapy has received a poor reputation, for good reason. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) formerly known as electroshock, gained widespread popularity among psychiatrists in the 1940’s and 1960’s. However, it appeared to be a crude form of treatment, producing horrifying muscle jolts, crackling noises, and pain.
Since then, this form of therapy has evolved. Today, it is done under anesthesia and considered to be one of the safer methods to treat severe cases of depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, and other forms of mental illness, particularly mood disorders. Read more!
There has been an increase in youth suicide in recent years, including suicides and suicidal ideation among gifted adolescents. Although there is no direct evidence linking suicide with the unique population of these children, many researchers in the mental health field are beginning to explore this connection and recognize that additional research is needed.
It is only recently that mental health professionals are becoming more aware of the unique psychological and emotional concerns of gifted children and teens compared to non-gifted children. Some of the specific impairments that a gifted teen might experience include: Read more!
If you are a parent of a male adolescent who is in need of treatment for an addiction, mental illness or both, there is good reason to bring your son to treatment that is gender specific.
Your teen will obviously have a different experience at a boy’s rehab center than he would where both males and females were participating. When females are not attending the same treatment center, boys can keep their thoughts and attention on their recovery without having romantic or erotic distractions. In addition to this obvious benefit, being with other boys undergoing the same process can be supportive. For example, rooming with another adolescent male, attending group therapy with other boys with the same concerns, and working with issues that are specific to the male gender can support the emotional and psychological growth of your child. Read more!
Often parents are at a loss when it comes to self-harm and self-injury. At first glance, the behavior of harming oneself seems incredibly foreign and to discover that their child is participating in some form of adolescent self-harm can be difficult to accept.
However, recovery is possible. Yet, the road to get there can be challenging. One parent admitted that it was incredibly difficult to allow her daughter to set the pace of recovery, which is a typical suggestion offered by a therapist or psychologist. She admitted that giving her daughter the space to vent her feelings was frightening. This mother was afraid that when her daughter returned to reflecting on challenging emotions that the self-harm would return.
Yet, this is far from the truth, especially for teens who are using self-harm as a means to cope with intense feelings. Having an outlet to articulate feelings, to get them out of the bag, so to speak, prevents the need to find another way to cope with them. Talking about emotions and expressing them is a healthy form of emotional release.
This mother also had a challenge with trusting the levels of support from friends, family, and the therapist, especially when things got rough. She admitted that learning to trust the process was difficult, especially when it looked like things were getting worse. She learned not to always question her daughter about the self-harming pattern; instead, she eventually allowed her daughter to open important conversations herself.
Once you know that your teen wants recovery as much as you do, trusting her becomes easier. The following are other tips to remember when supporting your teen through the self-harm recovery process:
- Hold on to the belief that recovery is possible
- Remember that there will be ups and downs.
- Know that there will be occasional setbacks.
- Don’t lose hope when it looks like your back to the drawing board.
- Make sure your child knows that she can direct the pace of recovery.
- Make sure your child is choosing recovery because she wants it and not to please others.
- Help your teen stay focused and motivated, yet still be sensitive to her emotional mood.
- Encourage the rest of the family to be sensitive.
- If you’re unsure about how to help your teen in recovery, ask her.
- Let your teen explore with healthy techniques that might reduce harming.
- Make time for your teen and invite her to share about her process.
- Discuss any setbacks calmly and safely explore the reasons behind them.
- Discuss various ways of coping with emotions versus self-harm.
- Facilitate the exploration of consequences of her choices, not only self-harming ones.
- Provide extra support when it appears that circumstances might get in the way of recovery, such as spending time with certain friends, or an unexpected emotional challenge that might further self-harm.
Self-harm is in most cases an outer reflection of an inner experience. Once that inner experience is recognized and healed, self-harm will typically no longer be an unhealthy pattern in your teen’s life. As a parent or caregiver, your presence and support, although she won’t always rely on it, is essential in your teen’s recovery.
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Adolescence is an already challenging time. The amount of stress from psychological, emotional, and physical changes can be overwhelming for some teens. Add to this breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, parents divorcing, or the loss of a close friend to death and adolescence becomes that much more challenging. Read more!
When some people think of mindfulness, they might think of religion or spirituality. Although mindfulness is sometimes a part of religious or spiritual practices, it alone is not a religion. Nor is it really all that spiritual.
Put simply, mindfulness is the practice of becoming conscious of your internal and external environment. It is a mental state achieved by focusing on the present moment, while acknowledging and accepting the existing feelings, thoughts, bodily sensations, and surrounding activity. Today, it is often used as a therapeutic practice among therapists and psychologists. Read more!
There’s a clear benefit to taking medication: you feel better. Whatever ailment you might be experiencing goes away and you can return to a normal level of functioning. If a headache or migraine is keeping you in bed, for instance, you can take a pill designed to take the pain away.
However, there’s a point when relying on medication or other substances to relieve symptoms goes too far and in fact becomes an addiction. For example, when a person wants to calm down and believes that in order to do so medication is necessary, the medication becomes a crutch. The sense of relief, happiness, or relaxation experienced with the medication is not authentic. Finding a sense of calm is not sourced from one’s own power to relax. Read more!
Often when a member of the family is suffering from an addiction, a common dysfunctional pattern of the other family members is to enable that addiction. When the relationship is between a parent and teen, the parent is often the lead enabler.
To enable means to assist, facilitate, or make possible. However, the pattern of enabling in families with an addict can be indirectly harmful and unhealthy. Instead of helping the one who is addicted to alcohol or substances, a spouse or sibling might do things for the addict that he could be and should be doing for himself. To help someone is to assist in a task that he or she cannot do alone, such as calling the pharmacy when your spouse has lost his voice from strep throat. Enabling is completing a task that he can do on his own, such as paying the bills for an addict who hasn’t or can’t work because of his addiction. Read more!
In recent years, there has been focus on how the quality of attachment between an infant and a caregiver can affect that infant’s psychological future. For this reason, researchers have begun to look closely at the types of relationships caregivers have with their children and how that plays a significant role in that child’s later life.
Research on this subject began in the 1940’s when psychiatrist John Bowlby was asked to write about the psychological difficulties homeless and orphaned children experience. A theory on attachment grew from Bowlby significant research on the deprivation of maternal care. Attachment theory describes the long-term relationships between individuals by looking the relationship an infant has with its primary caregiver. Read more!