Posts Tagged ‘child therapist sarasota’

Play: Reduce worry and power struggles

March 7th, 2012

Jumping, running, playing- you’ve heard the positive benefits that play has on fine and gross motor skills and physical development, but did you know that play and exercise have therapeutic benefits?

Did you know research supports the benefits of play and exercise on reducing depression and anxiety? When excising and playing your body releases feel-good chemicals (neurotransmitters and endorphins), your body temperature rises, increasing calming effects, distracts you from worries, can improve sleep, strengthen your heart, lower your blood pressure, while strengthening the body and immune system. Yes, play is therapeutic!

Yet, given unstructured free time most children would prefer to watch television, play with their video games, text, be on social media, listen to music, or surf the web. Children are often in structured environments (sitting and listening) and then they unwind by plugging in to their electronics. When problems arise I often prescribe play to help children self-regulate their behaviors and emotions. Here are some common concerns that parents have regarding their children and some ways that play and exercise can be used therapeutically to benefit your child.

Children who have issues with sitting still, paying attention, focusing, doing homework can benefit from play after school. Your child has been focusing and working on paying attention all day and they need some time to release their pent up energy. Asking some children who struggle with attention and impulsivity (children with attention deficit issues, ADD and ADHD)  to do homework right after school is asking for a power struggle. Create a break between school a homework, take your child to the park, play tag, time them running and see if they can beat their time, go swimming, get out toys and play, paint, color, put on music and dance. Allow time to release energy and then create a transitioning calm down routine, such as a snack, before moving into a more focused activity.

Children who are anxious and worried can benefit from play and exercise to increase endorphins. Engage in gross motor activities, such as tossing a ball and naming worries and positives for the day, or blow bubbles and worries away and catch the bubbles that are good thoughts (use a big bubble blowing kit for expansive movement), or focus on a worry and then hula hoop for 5 minutes, and check to see if the worry is still as big.

Children who are frustrated can benefit from playtime where they can express their frustrations by ripping up paper with things that frustrate them written on it, or using a big piece of paper and painting with both the left and right hands, or bouncing on trampoline and naming all the things that bother them, or drawing/writing frustrations and throwing them in a basket.

Children who have a difficult time getting along with their sibling and peers can use play to work on positive communication, asking for what they want, learning how to cope with frustrations, and working out problems. Imaginary games, interactive art activities, or building with Lego’s provides an opportunity to manage differences.

Children who have a difficult time sleeping and self-calming can use exercise to help them get a good night’s sleep. Engage in running and swimming, or sports where they are continually moving (such as soccer or basketball). Make sure these activities happen in the afternoon or early evening so your child has plenty or time to regulate their body for sleep.

What play strategies you use to help your child?

If you are in the Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, Venice Florida area and you are looking for child therapy, we can help. Schedule a Support Consultation here.

If you don’t live in the area, don’t worry. I created parenting resources to help children and teens you can immediately download  to help your child.

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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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How do I find a child therapist?

September 12th, 2011

child

Choosing a therapist for your child or choosing a family therapist is a difficult decision. As a parent you want the best for your child and you want to find the “right” person who can help your child be successful in managing their behaviors and expressing their feelings.

Here are my professional recommendations:

  • Ask another parent or professional for recommendations of child therapists in your community. Your pediatrician, school counselor, tutor, or other professional should give you the name of several resources for you to choose from.
  • Find a therapist who understands your child’s issues and your concerns as a parent.
  • Schedule a consultation with a several professionals and ask them questions about how they would best support your child. You’ll learn much about the potential therapist by how promptly they return your call and how they interact with you during the consultation.
  • Do not just rely on your insurance company for therapist referrals. Not all therapists specialize in working with children and many blanket their services as “child, adult, and family”, yet they have no additional training specializing in children’s specific developmental needs.
  • Let your child meet with the therapist and decide if that is the person they would like to work with. Let them know they have to see someone, and you can give them a choice of who they see.
  • As the famous Dr. Benjamin Spock said, “Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do”. Listen to your intuition and find the right person who respects your and your child and is willing to help you find new positive ways to communicate.

Need some more support to help your child? Schedule a complimentary Support Consultation by clicking here!

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Is there something wrong with my child? Does my child need therapy?

September 2nd, 2011

That’s the biggest heartbreaking question a parent can ask themselves, is there something wrong with my child?

You may be wondering about your child’s behaviors or moods, concerned that they are not coping well with problems or relationship issues, worried that they are experiencing problems and you are wondering if your child needs therapy.

A child may go to therapy for various reasons, likely you or someone in your child’s life noticed that your child is struggling and recommend you talk to someone. Often a concerned teacher or adult will recommend seeking help, and you may be reluctant. Don’t worry, not every child who sees their doctor or a therapist needs to medicated. Children can often learn how to cope with their feelings and manage their behaviors in child therapy, without needing medication.

If you are worried ask your doctor, teacher, or other parents to provide you with the names of several child therapists or child psychologists. Call several therapists and find someone you feel understands your situation and can provide therapy for you child or family therapy. Make sure that the therapist you see specializes in working with children, as not all therapists are the same.

Please do not avoid the problem or hope that it goes away. Ignoring your child’s emotional and behavioral problems is neglecting your child’s need for support. Do not worry about the “stigma” attached with seeing a child therapist. These days many children and families come to therapy to improve their ability to communicate, and the therapeutic process is confidential.

Not sure where to start? We can help. Schedule a complimentary Support Consultation by clicking here!

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Programs

August 16th, 2009

Where do your start to help your child?

It depends upon your child’s needs.

Are they in need of support and new coping tools…

because they are experiencing problems that are significantly impacting their ability to manage their behaviors, feelings, and their self-esteem?

Most children respond to art therapy because it’s often a natural way for a child to express themselves. We use art therapy and creative play to help children manage their anger, cope with feeling of loss, depression, fear and anxiety, adjust to new situations, manage impulsive behaviors and frustrations, learn new strategies to communicate what they want and need without yelling, hitting, shutting down, tantrums or pouting.

Your child will learn how to cope with difficult situations, such as coping with with bullies, friends, siblings, relationships, curfews, peer pressure, loss, divorce, homework stress by creating new ways to solve the problems they are encountering.

If you need support for your child to make changes, and you’d like to change how the whole family responds when a problem arises (so there is less nagging, yelling, repeating, and frustration, and more peace and calm communication), then click here for information on the Comprehensive Family Support Program>>

Do you need some parenting support and tools that work, ASAP…

because you are struggling with feeling overwhelmed, unsupported, and disconnected, and you just want to do what’s best to help your child?

Contact the office at (941)504-8498 or email info@thecreativityqueen.com to schedule a complimentary phone consultation.

I would like some support just for me and what’s happening in my life, do you help adults too?

Yes, I found that many of the families I work with the parents want support just for themselves. Many adults also find that things surface from your own childhood when you are trying to better support your child. There is something nice about having some time to focus just on your needs without having to think about taking care of others all the time. What many of the adults discover when they work with me 1:1 is that they became an even better parents because they were more clear on what they are feeling and what they need, and they learn how to communicate the support they desire from their partners and their children. You can learn more about support for adults here>>

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