Archives for Family

Caregivers

A Parent’s Worse Nightmare: 5 Possible Signs of Teenage Sociopathy


How many signs would you need from an adolescent to convince you that they could develop into a sociopathic adult? What specific incident or incidents would cause you to identify a teenager as a developing sociopath? For many of the parents I see in my office struggling with adolescent behavior, the number one predictor of sociopathic personality traits is often an indifferent and cold disregard for the rights, personal space, and privacy of others. Explaining sociopathy to parents is one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do as a child and adolescent therapist. Why? Because teenagers are not only a "work in progress," but also a conglomerate of genes/biology, social environment/peer influence, and nurture. It is also very difficult to convince a parent that their highly intelligent, charming, and manipulative adolescent is likely to become a highly intelligent, charming, and manipulative (and possibly dangerous) adult. For these parents, reality is too much to handle and many often retreat into denial or sub-come to the manipulative behaviors of their teen. When this occurs, the adolescent gains control of not only the household but also the parent(s). It is a very sad cycle of confusion. This article will briefly discuss traits often identified in adolescence as sociopathic. This article will also list 5 signs of sociopathic behavior to look for in teens.

Continue Reading

Communication

Positive Communication: 10 Things To Say To Someone With A Mental Illness


Last week we discussed the worst things to ever say to someone with a mental illness.

Many readers commented on what their personal experiences have been and how someone's words  tore them apart, confused them, hurt them, or even empowered them in the long run.

What we say to an individual who is struggling has a great deal to do with our knowledge-base, belief system, life perspective, and ability to care for someone. What we say also has a lot to do with how we have been treated when we have needed help. We are social animals who learn by experience. What we say and do has most likely been learned from some early experience in our lives. Sadly, we rarely consider the impact we have on someone with the words we use. But in some cases, if individuals are taught what to say to someone who is struggling, those individuals can change their perspective and ultimately how they communicate with the sufferer.
Continue Reading

Child & Adolescent Mental Health

9 Truths That Make Psychiatric Hospitals Scary


Do you know someone who has been hospitalized for having experienced psychiatric symptoms that placed themselves or someone else in harms way? Have you ever been hospitalized yourself? What was the experience like? For many people, staying in a psychiatric hospital can seem intimidating and frightening, especially for children and adolescents. Many people do not know what to expect and will see and hear things that they have never heard or seen before. That's why children and adolescents truly struggle with being away from their familiar surroundings, family, and friends. For adults, the experience can lead to low self-esteem due to having to rely on other adults for help, fear due to feelings of uncertainty, and anxiety because of the surroundings, staff, and other patients. Sadly, even for individuals who truly need to receive an acute psychiatric intervention, hospitals are frightening which leads to many individuals refusing treatment, being incarcerated, or living on the streets. This article will explore some of the reasons for why many individuals, including children and adolescents, attempt to avoid having to be placed in hospital settings. The purpose of this article is to help readers build empathy and insight into the frightening experience of those who have to receive hospital care.
Continue Reading

Family

5 Ways To Have A Meaningful Thanksgiving

How do you typically spend your holiday season? Do you spend it alone or with many other people? What do you often look forward to? The family, food, holiday music, holiday parties, time off from work, snow, decorations, the football games and parades, and the natural meaning in the air between the days of Thanksgiving and Christmas always gives a surge of energy. Whatever it is that gives you energy during this time of year, does it provide your holiday season with greater purpose? Many people find themselves attracted to the holiday spirit, even the most resistant among us. But does having that holiday spirit truly add meaning to your holiday? This article will discuss ways to increase the meaning of your Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Continue Reading

Caregivers

Mental Health Caregiving: 3 Ways to Understand Mental Exhaustion


Do you care for someone with a mental health condition? What about someone with several mental health conditions? Perhaps you also care for someone with behavioral problems as well. Either way, it is very easy to begin to feel burned out, overwhelmed, and exhausted. For many parents, families, caregivers, and friends of individuals with mental health or behavioral health conditions, the road can seem almost endless. The road can also be emotionally draining, primarily when a loved one is frequently admitted to psychiatric hospitals, needing multiple safety precautions in the home if there are suicide attempts or cutting behaviors, and multiple calls to the police for protection. As a child and adolescent therapist who works with many families, I have seen my fair share of compassion fatigue, secondary trauma, and burn-out. Unfortunately, many caregivers (friends, family, spouses, children, etc) are uninformed about these things and neglect to care for themselves. This article will discuss burn-out, secondary trauma, and compassion fatigue and ways to examine if you are a sufferer.

Continue Reading

Child & Adolescent Mental Health

5 Ways Halloween Can Affect Traumatized Individuals


What did you do for Halloween this past week? Did you dress up? Did you avoid dressing up? Whatever you decided to do, did you once think about the negative effects of Halloween on the psyche? If not, you are not alone. Many of us would rarely, if ever, consider the negative effects of Halloween on the psychological and emotional health of individuals who have a history of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, have witnessed the death of a loved one, experience post-traumatic stress symptoms such as hypervigilance or flashbacks, and/or has suffered from night terrors in regards to a traumatic experience. This article will discuss the negative effects of certain aspects of Halloween that might do more harm than good.

Continue Reading

Child & Adolescent Mental Health

6 Signs Your Child Has Sexually Inappropriate Behaviors


It's hard to believe that a young  child or adolescent would engage in sexually inappropriate behaviors that can ultimately affect their reputation, psychological and emotional well-being, and ultimate life course. As adults, we are more than ready to fully embrace young people as curious and innocent. Sadly, we are forced to take another look at a youth who is engaging in sexually maladaptive behaviors such as peeping, inappropriate touching, frequent self-stimulation in public or open spaces, watching porn, or sexually violating their peers. Most of these behaviors are the result of a youth being abused, witnessing a traumatic experience, or lack of supervision in the home. As a therapist, I have seen my fair share of sexually inappropriate behaviors in more children and adolescents than I would like to see. As a result, this article will discuss what we call sexually maladaptive behaviors (SMB's) among youth and the causes of these behaviors. 
Continue Reading

Family

Triangulation: The Trap Of The Problematic Person

Do you know someone who takes pleasure in dragging any and everyone down with spreading rumors or lies, starting arguments and getting everyone involved, or keeping problems going by including people who should not be included? If so, you are not alone. In fact, triangulation is something that emotionally unstable individuals use to either manipulate or confuse a situation. In some cases, the triangulation is unintentional but habitual. If you have never heard of the term "triangulate" or "triangulation?" If not, that's okay because it's typically a concept used in and mainly used in trauma-informed therapy. The term is typically used to describe an individual who creates drama or confusion using 3 or more people in a situation. This article will explain triangulation and help you explore the problems that result from someone who engages in this behavior.  intentionally create confusion as a means of controlling others in a passive way.
Continue Reading

Communication

Pathological Liars: 5 Ways To Protect Yourself From Them


Do you know someone who tends to lie frequently about any and everything? Have you caught them in a lie or two and wonder why they continue to lie? If so, you are obviously dealing with a pathological liar. What most people fail to recognize about pathological liars is that they often lack the ability to empathize with others (walk in your shoes), feel guilt about their behavior, and have trouble controlling their inborn impulse to lie. For most of us, it is very difficult to lie with a straight face and quite easy to feel guilty about the lie. But for someone with "psychological deficits" or pathological behaviors, it is rather easy for them to lie while exhibiting behaviors and emotions that make the lie believable.What is most interesting about pathological liars is that many of them know how to control their emotions in such a way that lying can look like the truth to us. This article will explore pathological lying and offer tips on how to protect yourself from their wrath.
Continue Reading

Child & Adolescent Mental Health

Teens With Suicidal Thoughts: 5 Things Parents Should Consider

Suicide. What comes to mind when you hear this word? Do you panic and feel overwhelmed and anxious? Does your mind begin to search for answers and question why anyone would ever consider such a thing? If so, you are not alone. You are with the tens of thousands of people who feel the same way. Suicide is a public health concern. Four out of 5 teens are said to give clear warning signs that they are considering suicide. So then what is the problem with open communication and prevention? For many parents, suicide is a taboo topic that should never be thought about or even discussed. For teens, this makes talking to their parents difficult because they fear their parents will either get angry with them, oust them for having suicidal thoughts, or have them admitted to a hospital and treated. As a therapist who works with various children and teens suffering with suicidal thoughts, I encourage parents to overcome their own fears of the topic and meet with me to learn why I support parents normalizing suicidal thoughts with their teens. This article will discuss why normalization of suicidal ideations can be helpful and 5 things parents should consider about their suicidal teen.
Continue Reading