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Archive for December, 2013

What Exactly Is This Design Called the 12 Steps? Can It Be Summed Up Simply?

ANSWER:

Michael Mark
Life Coach
Interventionist
Instructor
Seminar Leader
(630) 484-0574
www.SustenanceMJM.com
www.SystemicRecovery.com
MichaelJMark@att.net

What exactly is this design called the 12 Steps? Can it be summed up simply in a way that’s understandable? How exactly do the steps help people, and what does it mean to “work” them?

The ultimate fallacy of this simple design is that it’s anything other than simple. This remarkably powerful design has been watered down and skewed in so many ways over the years that in most corners of the organization, it has become virtually unrecognizable in comparison to the revolutionary paradigm created by a small group of alcoholics in the 1930’s. Tune in to get a easily graspable bird’s eye view of what this singular design for living has to offer.

Posted in: All Categories, Drugs & Alcohol

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How Can Animal Assisted Therapy Help My Child Who Finds Counseling Very Stressful?

ANSWER:

Elizabeth Duke, Psy.D., TRI, ESMHL, Registered Therapy Animal Handler
Post Doctoral Resident
Samaritan Interfaith Counseling Center
(630) 357-2456 ext. 112
eduke@samaritancenter.org

Most often you hear about Animal Assisted Therapy, or AAT, associated with dogs visiting people in hospitals, or doing Reading with Rover programs. These are incredibly beneficial services today about animals in AAT in counseling has two basic requirements, a mental health professional and a certified therapy animal.

AAT can be a non traditional way help kids and teens get the benefits of therapy by lowering the anxiety and stress around coming to “therapy” or “counseling.” First and foremost, research has shown that petting a dog increases happy bonding hormones in both dogs and humans! So when there’s a dog in the room, your child is likely to become more relaxed just by sitting down and petting the dog. You can imagine how helpful this can be when a kid has to talk about something that really makes them nervous – just pet the dog and you have an automatic stress reducer; that way we can talk about the difficult things sooner and with more honesty. Often having a dog or horse present is a great way to break the ice, for kids that are on the shy side, talking about the dog is a great way to start building a trusting relationship.

Maybe your teen has some negative ideas of what it means to go to therapy? AAT can provide the opportunity to move therapy outdoors and into nature; Some kids and teens might find taking a therapy dog on a walk (which by the way can give therapists tons of information to work with) or heading out to the barn to work with a horse in the arena much less intimidating than going to the office for traditional therapy.

My favorite part of AAT is how it provides the opportunity to practice what we talk about. Relationships with animals are transparent and feedback from animals rarely offends us; with the help of a skilled therapist animal-human interactions can be used to promote healing and growth in your child.

Posted in: All Categories, Anxiety & Stress

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Does My Teen Need a Therapist or a Substance Abuse Facility?

ANSWER:

Dana Wagner, PsyD CADC
Samaritan Interfaith Counseling Center
1819 Bay Scott Circle, Suite 109
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 357-2456 ext. 34
dwagner@samaritancenter.org

Start by determining if use has been going on a short time or not. Do listen to your gut instincts. You know when your teen came home looking off and started spending too much time alone or with peers. Next, you need to know what substances are being used on a regular basis and which ones that have been tried a handful of times. Most, if not all teens will be reluctant to accurately tell you how much and how often they use. Shame and fear will minimize what is disclosed.

Drug testing is a good idea. Please consult someone on how to best do this, as teens are tricky and it’s an art and a science. A good addiction therapist can tell you how and where to do drug testing in your community. The longer your teen has been using and the frequency of use (not necessarily the type of substance) will indicate whether or not a substance abuse facility is needed.

Please know that it’s important to stay with the process, which may last a full year. Otherwise, you will be looking at repeated treatment services just to help facilitate a desire to stop using. Do have your teen evaluated for mental health problems so that issues like depression, anxiety and/or self esteem, do not create relapse situations that become long detours versus a bump in the road. Thanks for clicking on this link. If you are a parent facing this issue, please seek a professional who is good with teenagers and has a CADC (certification in alcohol and drug treatment).

Posted in: All Categories, Drugs & Alcohol

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What Are the Factors That Can Cause Drug/Treatment Centers to Fall Short?

ANSWER:

Michael Mark
Life Coach
Interventionist
Instructor
Seminar Leader
(630) 484-0574
www.SustenanceMJM.com
www.SystemicRecovery.com
MichaelJMark@att.net

Treatment centers, by definition, seek to rehabilitate. The word means “restoring to a previous condition.” The solution for a real addict is not generally found in any past condition of their lives- as it is usually that condition which led them to begin using in the first place. The addict requires fundamental internal change, a genuinely new design for living, to find true freedom. Many treatment centers are beholden to evidence based modalities, like CBT for example, in that insurance companies will not pay on a spiritually based model which offers no empirical evidence, numbers which can be tracked. Unfortunately, working towards changing ones exterior circumstances and choices in an effort to help them feel better internally, may work in the short term to relieve the behavior driving the addiction, but stands little chance of creating the kind of change necessary to keep the addict from seeking out the exterior answer again once pain and/or suffering return which, of course, they will. Whereas, generating a genuine spiritual change within the addict, literally changing the way they live in and interact with the world, stands a far better chance of not being circumstantially vulnerable in the long term. While many treatment centers advocate for, or even utilize, the 12-Step model, very few elicit a strong understanding of how to employ it properly. They will often demand the individual get a sponsor, without a detailed explanation of what makes an effective sponsor and what things to look for in seeking one. They will tell the individual to work the steps, a design originally meant to be worked with a rapid, consistent cadence, but hold them back from moving beyond step three- even though no change really occurs within the model before step 4. What you often have after 28 days in such an environment, is a person with some cursory self-insight as a result of some group work and a handful of individual sessions, a hazy grasp of The 12-Steps and a whole lot of tactics and strategies for avoiding relapse through knowledge of the key elements that trigger them and how to survive them. On the whole, you often have little more than an addict with an enhanced, puffed up version of confidence and self-will which has provided them a month or so of sobriety and the possibility of being plugged into the “win” column for the facility, but, unfortunately, maybe not a whole lot more than that.

Posted in: All Categories, Drugs & Alcohol

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What Is Hitting Rock Bottom and Is It Necessary?

ANSWER:

Michael Mark
Life Coach
Interventionist
Instructor
Seminar Leader
(630) 484-0574
www.SustenanceMJM.com
www.SystemicRecovery.com
MichaelJMark@att.net

There is no singular definition for bottom. The reason for this is that, ultimately, someone’s “bottom” does not, fundamentally speak to an external condition so much as an internal one. This explains why one person can hit a bottom while still maintaining his family, job, home, etc while, for another, they fail to find their bottom without the assistance of homelessness, incarceration or severe injury. For most addicts, until they internally grasp true powerlessness, that is to say that until the denial-laden idea that there is some way to fix this themselves breaks open, they are doomed to stave on. In large part, it is generally true, that as strong a hold as the substance has on them, the stubborn thought that, through some concoction of their intelligence, competence, resources and will power, they can fix this, holds even stronger. This is why, if you’ve got a child who has taken some kind of step toward sobriety, only to find themselves using again, this is not always a bad thing. A scary thing; yes. A dangerous thing; yes. But it may still be a step toward their ultimate wellness; though it may look like anything but. A person who gets sober but holds onto the idea that, eventually, given the right amount of time and/or circumstances, might be able to do it “right,” in most cases, has done little more than booked a reservation for a relapse somewhere down the road. If that person needs to a few more trips to debauchery to conclusively see that this, is, and always will be, beyond their ability to control, it may ending up being well worth it.

Posted in: All Categories, Drugs & Alcohol

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How Do I Know If My Child Has an Addiction or Is Just Using Drugs/Alcohol?

ANSWER:

Michael Mark
Life Coach
Interventionist
Instructor
Seminar Leader
(630) 484-0574
www.SustenanceMJM.com
www.SystemicRecovery.com
MichaelJMark@att.net

I am going to speak about this distinction through the lens of alcoholism, as I believe it is most simply understood and easiest to locate with alcohol. With that said, all addictions pretty much follow the same pattern. Alcoholism has both internal and external symptoms. Unfortunately, the exterior symptoms are not nearly as decisive, in terms of proper diagnosis, as the internal ones. This is why addiction must be, at the end of the day, a “self-diagnosed” disease. Therefore, rather than taking on the task of figuring out if your child is suffering from the illness, which you are ultimately powerless over, unless they offer up some level of cooperation, I would offer that you’d be best served, and prepared to best serve them, by having an understanding, of how to assist them in making the distinction, should they come to a point where they are ready to ask that question. Alcoholism, at its core is driven far less by how often or how much the person uses than it does with why they use and what effect it is having on them. Daily use, blackouts, overdoses, D.U.I.’s, relationship and/or work problems are all elements we find in addicts; but they are also elements sometimes found in non-addicts. There are two significant components that we only find in true alcoholics and the pairing of these two elements comprise the motor that drives the illness. The first element shows up physically, not showing up until the individual puts the substance into their system. Whereas, with a normal user who, when taking their first drink, hit etc., immediately begins to feel a sense of satisfaction; the first one in the alcoholic not only fails to begin satisfying their desire; it does the opposite; it amplifies it. An alcoholic, once they’ve taken their first one, is unable, at all times, to determine how many will follow that first one. Experiencing this a few times would probably be enough to convince most people that, for them, using is not a good idea. For the alcoholic, in spite of often having such thoughts, will be unable to stay away from that first drink; as a result of the mental component of the illness. They will find themselves restless, irritable and discontent- unable to live inside their own skin- until they can feel the ease and comfort which comes with a drink or two; which then triggers the physical piece once again. Therefore, the alcoholic is caught in a cycle- once they start they cannot stop and once they stop they cannot keep from starting again. While they do not have a monopoly on a solution, The 12-Steps are, by the far, the most effective and time tested solution for this deadly problem.

Posted in: Drugs & Alcohol

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How Can You Motivate A High School Student to Do Well in High School When They Just Aren’t Interested in School?

ANSWER:

Neil Gorman, MSW, LCSW
Psychodynamic Therapist
Edgewood Clinical Services
2948 Artesian Rd, Suite 112
Naperville, IL 60564
(630) 428-7890
Neil@edgewoodclinicalservices.com

While often overlooked, the importance of simply being a receptive listener can help increase a child’s motivation. Listening is especially important when a parent has asked a question. Frequently it is very tempting to interrupt a child answering a question we have asked, however motivation can be significantly decreased by interruption.

In addition to this it is very important for parents who are listening to remember that there’s going to be much about their child’s experience on which they are not experts, but one of the best ways to become more informed as to listen to the child speak.

Posted in: All Categories, Schoolwork & Competition

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How Can I Effectively Parent My Child Who Has School Anxiety and/or School Refusal Issues?

ANSWER:

Jackie Rhew, MA, CADC,LPC
Assistant Director, School Refusal Program
Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital
(847) 303-4980
Jackie.Rhew@alexian.net

I work with many schools, and I often hear that students are having a difficult time managing stress and using avoidance and/or refusal behaviors to cope with anxiety. Some students also experience somatic symptoms as a result of their anxiety and/or depressive symptoms. In addition, the growing technological advances with smart phones and other devices overwhelm us with data and information and promote instant gratification, and as a growing sense of entitlement that adolescents need to be “happy” all the time and everything “has to be fair”, has led to many adolescents struggling to experience any displeasure or discomfort. It is all right for the adolescent to be “unhappy” especially if the goal is maturing into a healthy young adult.

Key skills to teach adolescents to cope with school anxiety and school refusal include goal setting; distress tolerance; self-assessment of strengths and weakness; learning to cope with disappointment and failure; and self-advocacy skills.

KEY PARENTING SKILLS AND OBJECTIVES
As a parent, be mindful and aware of your own anxiety and how it manifests in parenting. Every individual has anxiety, but it is critical that as a parent you understand how your anxiety impacts your responses to your child.

Identify goals and objectives for parenting (e.g. assisting your adolescent in becoming more self-motivated, self confident, independent). Write out clear expectations, privileges and consistent consequences and review them with your child (keep expectations simple and consistent). Avoid a lot of talking and reassurance with the anxious and/or avoidant child, this will only lead to increased anxiety, especially around placing expectations and could reinforce more negative behaviors instead, focus on goals for parenting and outcomes. It will be important to move from emotionally reactive parenting to a more goal centered approach. Also, avoid rescuing your child when he/she is uncomfortable and/or not feeling well, rather allow your child to work through discomfort and/or somatic symptoms by setting expectations and reinforcing belief that your child has an option to manage discomfort and can manage. Review expectations regularly.

Some key tips when dealing with school anxiety and/or school refusal:

1. Make school attendance mandatory unless your child has a fever or contagious illness. A child’s anxiety will increase the more school is avoided.

2. If a child is struggling with school anxiety or refusing to go to school, contact school personnel and do not call in (creating an excused absent).

3. Establish and maintain open communication with school personnel regarding your child’s feelings about school, difficulties with school, etc. Avoid negative comments or statement about school or school staff in front of your child; this may reinforce negative thoughts/feelings about school.

4. Create an environment at home that fosters structure and consistency. Expectations should include rules, chores, privileges and limits. This will allow children to learn to structure themselves, as well as understand rewards and consequences. Likewise, expectations should be clear regarding school attendance and homework, as well as privileges and consequences given for not meeting expectations. Based on research, structure, routine, and consistency, work to alleviate anxiety in children.

5. Encourage children to enroll in school extracurricular activities to feel more connected to school. Have child choose at least one activity per school term.

6. Provide positive feedback for successes made at school.

7. Seek support from school and/or external resources when your child first starts displaying symptoms of school anxiety/school avoidance.

8. If patterns of academic failure are present, psychological and/or neuro-cognitive assessment and/or intervention may be needed due to possible learning disabilities or neuro-cognitive deficit issues that may be present.

9. Negative peer relations may result in school avoidance/anxiety issues. Contact the school social worker if your child is struggling with peer relations, ie: bullying, difficulty getting
along with peers, etc. Therapeutic intervention on the school level may be needed.

10. Make sure the child has gone to your primary care physician at least once a year to rule out medical causes.

Posted in: Anxiety & Stress, Schoolwork & Competition

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My Children Won’t Stop Fighting. What Should I Do?

ANSWER:

Camila Salvisberg, MA, LPC
Bilingual Therapist
Edgewood Clinical Services
2948 Artesian Rd, Suite 112

Naperville, IL 60564
(630) 428-7890 ext. 324
camila@edgewooclinicalservices.com
www.edgewoodclinicalservices.com

Parents need to remember that occasional fighting and arguing among siblings is normal. There are many ways in which parents can deal with sibling rivalry; here are two simple but important rules that can keep fighting to a minimum:

• Whenever possible, do not intervene in the children’s fights. Give children the chance to try and use conflict resolution skills.

• Do not ask children “Who did it?” When parents do not focus on blaming or punishing they are giving their children an opportunity to take responsibility for their own actions.

RESPUETA:

Camila Salvisberg, MA, LPC
Terapeuta Bilingüe
Edgewood Clinical Services
2948 Artesian Rd, Suite 112
Naperville, IL 60564
(630) 428-7890 ext. 324
camila@edgewooclinicalservices.com
www.edgewoodclinicalservices.com

Los padres deben recordar que las peleas y discusiones entre hermanos son normales. Hay muchas maneras por las cuales los padres pueden lidiar con las peleas entre hermanos; estas son dos simples pero importantes medidas que pueden tomar para fomentar la paz en su hogar y ayudar a que sus hijos se lleven bien:

• Siempre que sea posible, no intervenir en las peleas de los niños. Dar a los niños la oportunidad de resolver el conflicto.

• No le pregunte a los niños “¿Quién lo hizo?” Cuando los padres no se centran en culpar o castigar al niño, le están dando la oportunidad de asumir responsabilidad sobre sus propias
acciones.

Posted in: All Categories, Family & Relationships

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What Are the Dangers of Allowing Underage Drinking in My Home?

ANSWER:

Commander Ken Parcel
Naperville Police Department
1350 Aurora Avenue
Naperville, Il 60540
parcelk@naperville.il.us
(630) 305-5485

Parents need to know the dangers of allowing underage drinking in their home:

Underage Drinking is Illegal: It is a crime in Illinois and under City ordinance:

It is a CRIMINAL Offense for parents to allow minors, or anyone under the age of 21, to drink at ANY property they own, including homes, cabins, boats, lakes, or campgrounds.

Parents Face Civil Liability:

Parent or legal guardian is liable for damages for WILLFUL or MALICIOUS acts of their child.
Theft, vandalism, fighting, injuries, sexual assaults, property destruction, etc.

Parents Have a Moral responsibility:
The job of a parent is to help your kids navigate the decision making process AND intervene and stop them when those decisions can have drastic and potentially deadly consequences. Expectations, boundaries, and limits are good.

Kids have heard and been taught “Just Say No”! Parenting is TOUGH- Parents MUST be up the challenge to “Just Say No” when it matters most.

  • Be Aware and look around
  • Use your all your senses; ask questions, challenge their answers… Trust BUT Verify
  • Reach Out. We are a community of many resources.

Posted in: All Categories, Drugs & Alcohol, Family & Relationships

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