Psych Central

3 Ways to Meaningfully Reflect On 2013

By Pamela LiVecchi, Psy.D.

helmetAt this time, many of us are looking toward the next year and thinking about how we could improve. Taking a personal inventory is not easy. Even with the intention to do so, it can prove difficult to reflect in a way that feels productive or useful. There may be a tendency to focus only on the “good” or “bad”, or the external events that had a major impact on us. These are three ways to reflect on the last year, with the purpose of growth trough compassion and understanding.

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Keeping Teenagers Safe In Vehicles: Alcohol use is down but marijuana use is up

By Pamela LiVecchi, Psy.D.

hashDriving accidents remain the number one cause of mortality among American teenagers. Alcohol use is often involved, and more recently, distracted driving as a result of cell phones is a contributor. A recent analysis has found that drinking and driving has decreased among teenagers, but using marijuana and driving as increased. Impaired driving is a major risk factor for accidents, especially among new and young drivers, which makes this a disturbing trend.

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The Problem with Problems- Shifting Our Focus to Our Strengths

By Pamela LiVecchi, Psy.D.

thumbAt any given moment, most adults and some children would be able to list a series of problems they have. These would range from external issues like a lack of money or problems in relationships, to internal problems, such as ways of behaving or issues with mood or thinking. Most of us are very aware of the problems we have. Not only are we aware of them, but we spend a lot of time thinking about our problems.

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5 Ways to Alleviate Exhaustion

By Pamela LiVecchi, Psy.D.

tieBeing exhausted feels awful, and it’s also difficult to be around people who feel exhausted. Children are very aware when their parents are exhausted and relationships become strained under these conditions. Work suffers, and our overall level of happiness is affected.  We need our energy to be able to enjoy daily life, to perform well at work, to function well in relationships, to be creative, and to be healthy parents. The following are five ways to address exhaustion and take action to alleviating it.

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3 Ways that Families Stay Stuck

By Pamela LiVecchi, Psy.D.

All family units have their strengths and their weaknesses. Just like any relationship, there is no family without its problems. Ideally, families are able to function in a way that deals with conflicts effectively. However, not all families are able to do so which can cause family members to disconnect from one another or remain close but struggle within the relationship.

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Choosing Our Words; Avoiding “Bad”

By Pamela LiVecchi, Psy.D.

slingWhen children and teens behave in ways that are inappropriate or unhealthy, the word “bad” is often used to describe them. “Bad kids”, “bad behavior”, “being bad”, “don’t be bad”, etc. Although we use those words to help explain good vs. bad or appropriate vs. inappropriate behavior, there are consequences for those words.

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Why Facebook Makes Us Feel Bad

By Pamela LiVecchi, Psy.D.

browseFacebook has been shown to have a negative impact on mood. Kross, Verduyn, Demiralp, Park, Lee , et al. (2013). This particular study showed that Facebook can negatively affect someone’s mood, moment to moment and over time. If I ever announce this fact in a group setting, it is guaranteed that at least one person says “yeah, because I see pictures of my friend’s life and I feel bad because I’m not as happy/doing what they were doing/as successful”, or some other version of that sentiment. Of the few people who are without a Facebook account, even fewer of those are teenagers. Here are some ideas for why Facebook impacts mood and why it is especially important for young people to detach from it from time to time.

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Prevention in the Form of CBT for Teens: Part 2

By Pamela LiVecchi, Psy.D.

joggingWhen thinking about preventing mental illness, substance abuse, or risky behaviors, the focus is often on spotting “warning signs.” We offer treatment once problems have come up, trying to catch the symptoms before they have become severe. But what are we waiting for? Doesn’t it make sense that we provide instruction in mental health in the first place? Just as we provide education regarding physical health, information regarding mental health is as necessary.

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Prevention in the Form of CBT for Teens: Part 1

By Pamela LiVecchi, Psy.D.

joggingAs a society, we are reactive. We choose to respond to problems or issues as they occur. There is currently less effort put into the prevention of mental health issues than there is to treatment. But, is that the most effective way to keep ourselves and our young people healthy?

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National Recovery Month

By Pamela LiVecchi, Psy.D.

counselingSeptember is National Recovery Month, with the motto: “Prevention Works. Treatment is Effective. People Recover.”-SAMHSA. Unfortunately, because children are beginning to use drugs at an earlier and earlier age, there are more and more teenagers who are already in recovery. If you have a teen who is recovering from a problem with substance abuse, here are some ideas to keep in mind.

1. Teenagers are at a point in their development when they are attempting to learn how to regulate their emotions and manage stress. Drugs can be an artificial method for accomplishing this. Drugs also impact brain chemistry in a way that affects mood and the ability to tolerate stress and frustration. Knowing this, it is essential to focus on building these skills. Learning how to identify and communicate emotions is necessary, along with developing the natural ability to self-sooth and to manage stress. When these skills aren’t learned, problems often continue. If a teenager seems to be struggling with depression or anxiety, treating those issues will be part of the process.

2. Teenagers at different stages lack the ability to effectively think through to long-term consequences of behavior. They can also lack skills such as impulse control. It’s no wonder that teenagers are susceptible to risky behaviors like substance use! Respect their lack of knowledge and maturity by providing education and support. If they are not as open to receiving information from their parent, there are many places to direct them where they will be able to learn about substance abuse and develop the skills they will use to recover. For information, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s website at- http://www.recoverymonth.gov/Resources.aspx.

3. Becoming healthy and remaining sober may mean changing friends, which may be a major barrier to success. Teenagers are attempting to form and develop their identities, which is a process that often happens through relationships. Leaving a group of friends can be a major challenge. There is the additional concern of “so if I have to be sober, that means that I can’t even drink when I’m in college.” These are all issues that should be discussed and thought through, not avoided. Helping them to find opportunities for positive relationships and activities can be a powerful tool in treatment.

4. There are a multitude of resources available for teenagers in recovery that are age-appropriate and specific to their needs. There are certain teen groups within NA, online groups, and professionals who specialize in this area. Family therapy can be enormously helpful. The sooner, the better. As one person in a household develops an addiction, everyone is impacted.

5. Teenagers are in a unique position in which they are able to effectively change the trajectory of their life with much less effort than it would take as an adult. If given the opportunity, many young people thrive within difficult circumstances and become stronger as a result. It is an opportunity to overcome an obstacle and learn valuable lessons. Many teenagers use the skills they learn in recovery throughout their lives, using their history of addiction as a source of knowledge and strength as opposed to a weakness.

Counseling session image available from Shutterstock.



 
 

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