Posts Tagged ‘art therapy fl’

Can you hear me now? What’s up when your child is acting out

February 19th, 2013

Your child tells their brother to stop hitting them, they aren’t listening, the fighting begins and someone ends up crying “mmmoooooommmmmm”,

Your teen asks if they can go on Facebook, you tell them no, and find them pretending to do homework while chatting with their friends online,

You told your daughter she has to watch her bother’s game and she spends the afternoon whining and complaining that she hates her bother,

Your child wants to go to McDonald’s on the way home from school and when you say no, he has a fit for 30 minutes,

Your child’s sister is on the computer/tv/phone, and it’s unfair. You hear about how wrong you are for the rest of the night,

Your child comes home from your ex’s house from a weekend visit and all of a sudden you are the “bad guy” for asking them about homework.

It seems like you can’t win, and  no matter what you do your child is upset or angry and once again they are yelling or arguing. Is there really such a thing as a peaceful home?

Here’s the scoop- all of our behaviors are an attempt to get our needs met, and each of us have different needs we are trying to meet. Some of us want more freedom, some want more control, some want to feel safe, some want to feel loved and understood, and some want more fun. Our needs are so very different, and when we are feeling like our needs are not being met, watch out- that’s when the negative behaviors arise. Depending upon who you are (and your life experience) you may shutdown or act out when you’re feeling like your your not being understood or your needs aren’t being met.

Often those negative behaviors are ways of communicating without the words- yelling, pouting, hitting, tantrums, are all ways of expressing, “can you hear me now?”

Not the best the ways to get your needs met, for sure.

So how can you help your child (spouse/partner) express their needs and feelings in a positive way?

CQ Playful Creative Activity:           

Bust out the art supplies! Help your child identify what’s important to them. Create images, words, collages of what they like, what is meaningful in their lives. Help them put words to what’s important. This will help you understand why they are so upset when their brother changes the channel when they are watching Sponge Bob. You can help by validating their feelings, “I know it’s important to you and you feel upset”.
Use art to explore choices, create images or a collage of things they can do when they are feeling upset. Help them to identify ways they can get their needs met, and if they aren’t able to get what they want, things that they can do to help them calm down. Sometimes knowing you are heard and that you have choices is a pretty powerful tool that can diffuse reactive behaviors.

Use art to encourage identifying and expressing feelings. Sometimes it’s hard to verbalize or even understand a painful experience. The use of art materials can provide a safe container for self-expression.

Are you in need of some more support to help your child? Join the International Parents & Professionals Community– We’ve got lots of resources, 24/7 access to information to help your child whenever you need it, a group of awesome community members, plus you”ll have access to the upcoming February Support Call “Egads, what do I do to help my attention deficit, impulsive (ADD/ADHD) child?”

Need more support for your child, or you’re looking for child or family art therapy in the Sarasota, Fl area? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Laura by clicking here.

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Child Depression: 3 Creative Art Therapy Coping Strategies to Help Your Child with Depression

September 22nd, 2011

Children with depression: art therapy can help!

As featured on  PBS This Emotional Life

Depression in children and adolescents impacts 11.2 percent of children 13 to 18 years of age in the U.S. according to the National Institute of Mental Health, and 3.3 percent have experienced seriously debilitating symptoms of depression. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 3.7 percent of children between the ages of 8 and 15 have a mood disorder, with girls being diagnosed more frequently than boys and that treatment works for depression.

Children’s depression can look different than adult depression. Depression in children Symptoms of child depression: your child is not acting like him/herself, if he/she is lethargic and have lost interest in activities that once made them happy, if he/she is overly clingy, frequently reporting feeling sick, refusing to go to school or get in trouble at school, sleeping excessively or is excessively moody, there may be something more happening with your child.

So what course of action or treatment should you take if your child is suffering from depression? The Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study evaluated the effectiveness of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). The latest research suggests therapy and medication may be the most rapid form of effective treatment for childhood depression, although over time therapy alone is just as successful.

The Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study evaluated the effectiveness of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) therapy alone, medication alone, combined medication and cognitive behavior therapy treatment and placebo (sugar pill) treatments for adolescents 12 to 17 with depression. The combination of medication and therapy worked the most rapidly, although therapeutic treatment alone over months has a similar impact to the combination of therapy and medications. 

What is cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) evidenced-based mental health treatment for children? How can it help your child to overcome the challenges of depression? CBT treatment for depression is a therapy that teaches an individual how to manage their thoughts, behaviors, and feelings through education while testing new behaviors and assumptions. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, treatment may include learning how to set realistic and positive personal goals, encourage participation in pleasant activities, discourage negative thoughts, solve social problems, negotiate and compromise when conflicts arise, and foster assertiveness.

If you feel that your child is just starting to demonstrate signs of depression and you’d like to begin the process of helping them manage their feelings, try any of these three art therapy coping strategies. Depression is serious, so consult a professional if your child is exhibiting signs of depression.

1. Design a creativity journal. Go shopping with your child and pick out a journal they like, or go to the arts and crafts store and find a blank artists journal and create an individualized cover using magazine images, old greeting cards, wallpaper samples, or scrapbook papers. Embellish with unique words and images that represent your child. Let your child know this is a safe place for them to express their thoughts and feelings without feeling like they have to censor words and images.

2. Create a feelings box. Something as simple as a shoebox can be decorated with images or words that feel empowering. Allow your child to use the box as a safe place to put their worries, anger, anxiety, fears, and frustrations. Cut up slips of paper and add words or images of things that bother your child, and then have your child add these to their feelings box and “close the lid” as they let those feelings go. This teaches your child to respectfully acknowledge their feelings and let them go.

3. Make a mask. Go to the arts and crafts store and find a papier-mâché mask, or for younger children you can use a paper plate or craft paper and cut out a mask shape. Ask your child to create an art image of what they choose to show other people on the outside of the mask, and what they keep to themselves in the inside of the mask. Younger children may need to have this modified by asking them to create on the inside of the mask what makes they sad or choose a color that represent how they feel when they are sad and on outside of the mask choose images or colors of feeling strong, brave, or happy.

Often children and teens feel like they have to mask their feelings so they do not upset others. Allow your child to create their masks without censorship. Ask your child to tell you about it if they choose to, then listen without judgment.

Seeking professional help is essential for a child who is experiencing depression. As a parent look for therapists who specialize in working with children and adolescents, and who utilize cognitive behavioral therapies that teach your child appropriate ways to positively express their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Children and teens respond positively to art therapy and an art therapist can help your child manage their depression, especially if they use cognitive behavioral therapy in art therapy. If your child is depressed and you are in need of child therapy in Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, Venice Florida, art therapy can help. Schedule your complimentary Support Consultation here.

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