Posts Tagged ‘therapy’

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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What are your plans for the holiday slump?

December 1st, 2010
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”….unless your practice/business slows down and you’re left wondering how to finance the holiday gifts. Hmmm, then it’s not so wonderful at all!

The truth is that if your practice slows this time of the year and you’re left wondering how to overcome the holiday slowdown “slump” then I’m going to share with you some wonderful opportunities to help you create consistent income during the holidays and beyond!

1. Host a holiday open house-
Invite your referral resources, your clients, your colleagues, and host a holiday celebration with delectable snacks and refreshments. Not only will you celebrate your clients, you’ll reconnect with those people who may have forgotten about your services (and it may be exactly what they need this time of the year). You can even create a themed party, such as “stress free- holidays” and include a relaxation tip on the invitation, and hand-out goodies/door prizes donated by local retailers that also focus on stress-free services.

Want to expand your connections? Collaborate with a few related local businesses to maximize your business exposure. Get really creative and playful, if you work with girls host a  mother-daughter spa night at your office. Here’s the KEY, make sure you have a plan in place to follow-up with all those new potential clients!

2. Offer a training program to other professionals-
All therapists, healers, and helpers have a wealth of modalities to share with others who want to learn from them. What is it that you do that you can share with others and help them in their own professional/personal development? Start marketing your program now and begin before the holidays, or start your marketing (and take early discounted registration) for your January training program.

If you are encountering “resistance” around this idea, stop and think, what is that about? It may mean that you are not seeing the value of your unique gifts (or you may just be taking those for granted). If you are really stuck, write a list or ask a friend, what you are really good at, and see how you can train others in this as well.

3. Share your holiday survival strategies-
There are so many people right now in need of your support. Now more than ever! Families are in crisis, people are alone and in need of healing, teens are reaching out for drugs and alcohol rather than their family, people who have lost a loved one are grieving without hope.  There is tremendous pain and suffering, and you have remarkable healing gifts that can help them through this troubled time- if you show up. You must show up, and hiding out in your office when you could be connecting with others does not serve you, and it does not help those clients that so need you right now.

I ask you to recommit to your clients and yourself, and that you step forward in a way that allows others to connect with you. Host a teleseminar, host a workshop, ask to speak at a local venue, do whatever it takes to share your message of hope this season! You will change lives by showing up, listening, and sharing your message!

4. Offer flexible support-
Face-to-face therapy is changing. Healing work is now being done at an international level, and it clearly will impact how we work with our clients. (I know of a hand analyst who has international clients -yes, hand analyst, politically correct for palm reader ☺- so if you think your modaility can’t be offered via technology, think again!!

If you do not embrace new ways of working with your clients you may be missing out on an opportunity to support your clients in a way more aligned with their needs. So how can you offer flexible support for your clients during a period when many people are traveling or are in need of a flexible schedule?

Technology is the answer! Can you offer your teen clients email or text access to you while they are away? Imagine offering a holiday support program to mom and dad and teens with email/chat access to help manage those holiday stressors. What about phone sessions or Skype for those clients who can’t directly see you in person while they are traveling?

If you want to add support to your client’s services using technology, then you’re not going to want to miss the call on Why and How To Build an Online Therapy Practice”, part of the Beyond Managed Care Tele-Forum. You’ll learn how you can add online services to your current practice (and how some insurance companies are now covering online therapy).

Now is the time to think of innovative ways to connect and serve your clients, so you can leave the holiday season humming…”it’s the most wonderful time of the year”!
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