Archives for April, 2012
We’ve been using this space to bring you information about National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week along with the not-for-profit Child Mind Institute, who has been sharing some important and helpful information with us. Steven Kurtz, PhD, ABPP, of the Child Mind Institute, is one of the nation’s leading clinicians in the treatment of children’s behavioral problems and disorders, particularly attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). He is a widely respected clinical researcher and child psychologist, one of sixteen master trainers in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy endorsed by PCIT International, and a dedicated advocate for children with special needs.
Suicide is devastating and has many victims. If you are feeling hopeless or feel that you have nowhere to turn, call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255), 24/7. You can also log onto the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Or go to your local hospital emergency room. If you are worried about a friend, please visit this site. If you are a parent, relative, teacher or mentor to a young person and you are worried about him or her, please visit this site. Dr. Alec Miller is with us again to talk about his work with suicidal teens using dialectical behavioral therapy. He identifies 5 important skill-sets that help suicidal teens and their families address their emotional vulnerability and the invalidating environment.
Suicide is devastating. It has many victims. If you are feeling hopeless or feel that you have nowhere to turn, call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255), 24/7. You can also log onto the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Or go to your local hospital emergency room. If you are worried about a friend, please visit this site. If you are a parent, relative, teacher or mentor to a young person and you are worried about him or her, please visit this site. And read our two-part interview on suicide with Alec Miller, PsyD.
More with Marla Deibler, PsyD, on the hair-pulling disorder trichotillomania. For our first post on this topic, see When Hair Pulling Is A Problem and our second post, Cause and Treatment Of Trichotillomania. Can you share with us something about the emotional states of those who have this disorder? Those with trichotillomania tend to be conscientious, kind, sensitive, goal-oriented individuals. They tend toward anxiety, which sometimes drives the behavior; however, mood states do not always drive the behavior. For some, feelings serve as a trigger for the behavior, that is, they're anxious, bored, tired, frustrated, and so on, while others may be triggered by sensations, thoughts, posturing, or environment. What is often striking about these individuals is the personal toll the disorder can have. The shame, embarrassment, and lack of self-acceptance is very significant for many who struggle with this. This is why I find it so important to have a community of those with trichotillomania to share experiences and learn that they are not alone and that they are beautiful, worthwhile people.
More with Marla Deibler, PsyD, on trichotillomania, a hair pulling disorder. For our first post on this topic, see When Hair Pulling Is A Problem. Welcome back, Dr. Deibler. At what age does trich (trichotillomania), generally begin? The average age onset is between 11 and 13 years of age, although hair pulling behavior may begin as early as the first year of life. It is believed that hair pulling prior to age 5, known as “baby trich,” may be a distinct phenomenon and is often transient, while the typical pattern of symptoms in children and adults is chronic with a course that waxes and wanes over time. What causes trich? Research suggests that trichotillomania is associated with genetic vulnerability; that is, the disorder occurs more frequently in the first degree relatives of individuals with trichotillomania, than it occurs in the general population. Other factors that may contribute to the onset include personality/temperament, life stressors, environmental factors, gender, and age.
Sara pulls the woven, green hat from her head to show her nearly bald scalp, with only a few tufts of long, thin hair surrounding her crown. Sara has trichotillomania. She pulls her own hair out. “This is where I pull from, Dr. Deibler,” she explains. I nod and say nothing, not because it’s unimportant, but because it’s important to react as if this discussion is like any other discussion, even though she has never before revealed her trichotillomania to anyone. This is not the first time I met with Sara. In fact, we’d been working together for months, but this is the first time she felt comfortable enough to show me what she’s done to herself. It hadn’t always been this way for Sara. She began pulling her eyelashes and eyebrows at age 7. Now, at age 14, she’s pulled nearly all of the hair from her head and wears a cap so that no one can see. It’s not that she’s never sought help. She’d been to therapist after therapist, each one helping her cope with her parents’ divorce and family problems, but none of whom knew how to help Sara with her hair.
Fran Walfish, PsyD is back with us. She’s a leading child and family therapist in private practice in Beverly Hills, CA. Over the years, Dr. Walfish has served a diverse patient population, including working-class families as well as Hollywood’s elite, and has achieved recognition as a respected child development specialist and parent educator. As the author of The Self Aware Parent: Resolving Conflict and Building a Better Bond with Your Child she was a natural choice to interview for the Therapy Soup series of interviews and articles leading up to National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week (May 6-12, 2012). Last week Dr. Fran explained what self-aware parenting is; this week she’s going to talk about empathy. Welcome back. Dr. Fran, you say empathy can be taught. First, let's understand what empathy is and why it is a valuable trait to have: Empathy is the capacity to imagine how another person feels. Empathy is learned experientially. In other words, the way we learn to be empathic is by being empathized with. This must come early during infancy and toddlerhood. When we cry, the hope is that there is a consistent warm empathic response from a steady primary attachment figure, usually the mother.
As part of our series on National Children's Mental Health Awareness Week (May 6-12) we're posting interviews and information about children and mental health. Today, we're posting an invitation from Harold S. Koplewicz, MD, president of The Child Mind Institute. Dear Readers, Though 15 million children in the United States have psychiatric and learning disorders, very few of them will be identified and get the help they need. Stigma, lack of awareness, and a deep anxiety about labels and diagnosis mean that many kids will miss out on life-changing treatments even if they actually make it to the office of a mental health professional. The issue of childhood mental illness is too often a silent one, and the existence of these well-documented and researched disorders—depression, ADHD, Asperger’s—is even actively denied by some people. “That’s not real” turns into “Boys will be boys” or “I am not depressed,” which too often becomes “I am just worthless.” That is why every year we take time to Speak Up for Kids—to let the world know that that silence and shame are not options.
Frances Walfish, Psy.D. is a leading child and family therapist in private practice in Beverly Hills, CA. Over the years, Dr. Walfish has served a diverse patient population, including working-class families as well as Hollywood’s elite, and has achieved recognition as a respected child development specialist and parent educator. As the author of The Self Aware Parent: Resolving Conflict and Building a Better Bond with Your Child she was a natural choice to interview for the Therapy Soup series of interviews and articles leading up to National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week (May 6-12, 2012). We're going to be speaking with Dr. Fran about self-aware parenting in this post, and empathy, in the next. Thanks so much for joining us, Dr. Fran. In the heat of the moment, it's easy for a parent to "lose" themselves. It's so important to understand what works with children and teens, and what doesn't. In fact, just identifying the qualities that make for effective parenting, is a good first step. Let's focus on understanding: What is a self-aware parent? The Self-Aware Parent is one who is always curious and open enough to look within and become more aware of their own strengths and weaknesses based on the parenting they received from their mothers and fathers. They are kind and nice to their child(ren).
A neuro-scientist who's done research for the Pentagon, Paul MacDonald, PhD, has created an online center on Facebook for veterans, many of whom need some kind of assistance reintegrating back into daily life after their tours of duty. The site is also an excellent resource for veterans struggling with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and other mental issues. Veteran Central is the result of creative problem solving by Paul MacDonald and IT expert Jonathon Lunardi.