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Archive for Depression & Self Harm

When Is It Time for an Out of Home Therapeutic Program for My Child?

ANSWER:

Kim Jenkins, MSW, CADC
One Oak Educational & Therapeutic Placement Consulting
www.oneoakconsult.com
Kim@OneOakConsult.com
(773) 288-9156

When Is It Time for an Out of Home Therapeutic Program for My Child?

Choosing to place your child in a therapeutic program outside of the home is incredibly difficult. It is a painful decision to have to make and can be frightening and costly. When parents are broached with this decision, they have often attempted to intervene several ways that have proven unsuccessful. Or, there has been a crisis so serious where maintaining a child’s safety at home is in question. Additionally, some psychiatric disorders require 24-hour treatment in a highly structured setting that could not possibly be recreated in a home environment. There are many reasons why parents may choose to place their child in a therapeutic program and below are a few signs that may warrant consideration of a therapeutic placement:

• Substantial decline is academic performance
• Refusing to attend school or participate in other age appropriate activities
• Severely oppositional or aggressive behaviors in the home
• Disrespect of rules, laws and authority figures
• Threats to harm self or others
• Self-harming behaviors
• History of suicidal ideation or attempts
• Persistent use of alcohol or other drugs
• Sexual acting out or promiscuity
• Lack of emotional regulation and/or severe mood swings
• Frequent episodes of aggression or anger
• Threats to run away, running away, or consistent disobedience of curfew
• Obsessiveness about weight gain, excessive dieting, binging, purging or restrictive eating to the extent that one’s health is suffering
• Obsessive Compulsive behaviors that impact daily functioning
• Resistance to participating in therapy or outpatient treatment
• Previous behavioral health hospitalizations or short term treatment experiences that haven’t been successful

Some of these behaviors alone would not necessitate placement in a residential program or school. However, the intensity, duration, and frequency of some of these issues should be considered, along with the complexity and co-occurrence of issues. Additionally, it is important to pursue the least restrictive options as a first step, which may include seeing a therapist or attending an outpatient program. If these options have been exhausted, and there continues to be an exacerbation of symptoms, it may be time to consider a therapeutic placement.

If placement in a program or therapeutic school is recommended, it is important to choose the right program for your child. An educational or therapeutic placement consultant can be an important resource as they have firsthand knowledge of hundreds of therapeutic schools and programs nationally and can help to ensure that your child is placed in an environment that will clinically and academically meet their needs. Placement consultants are creative thinkers who work in collaboration with parents, home treatment providers and schools to match a child to the right type of program, which could include:

• Acute Stabilization and Crisis Intervention Programs
• Short Term Residential Treatment Programs
• Addiction Treatment Programs
• Wilderness Therapy Programs
• Therapeutic Boarding Schools
• Transitional and Independent Living Programs
• Summer Programs

Posted in: Anxiety & Stress, Depression & Self Harm, Drugs & Alcohol

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My Child Needs Professional Help. How Do I Find a Good Therapist That Matches My Child’s Needs?

ANSWER:

Kim Jenkins, MSW, CADC
One Oak Educational & Therapeutic Placement Consulting
www.oneoakconsult.com
Kim@OneOakConsult.com
(773) 288-9156

How Do I Find a Good Therapist That Matches My Child’s Needs?

Education and experience are important factors as you consider a therapist for your child. However, there are additional considerations that can impact the type of connection your child will have with the therapist that you choose.

First, a therapist should be as invested as you are in making sure that it’s a good match. Most therapists are willing to offer a brief introductory session or interview before you commit to regular sessions. This will allow to you determine if the connection feels authentic, if you like his or her style and if their approach aligns with your goals.

Factors to consider in choosing the right therapist for you child include:
• What are his credentials and how long has he been in practice?
• What type of therapy does she specialize in?
• It’s important that the issues you are seeking treatment for are within therapists range of expertise and interest
• Do you feel like your child will find the therapist friendly and approachable?
• What is the therapist’s policy in communicating with parents? Will the therapist meet with parents in addition to the child?
• Is your child’s therapist willing to collaborate with other providers (psychiatrist, school personnel, etc.)?
• Is your therapist covered by your insurance provider?

Keep in mind the following:
• Ask for recommendations from people who know your child and know the resources available in your community. For example, seek recommendations from you pediatrician, teacher, school counselor or school social worker.
• In order for therapy to work, there needs to be a level of rapport and connection between your child and the therapist. Finding a therapist who connects with your child and who your child feels they can trust is important. It may be helpful for your child to meet with a couple of therapists and allow them to select the one they feel most comfortable with. This may empower them to commit to the therapeutic process.
• Find a therapist who works from a strengths-based perspective. Pointing out faults and weaknesses will put kids on edge and create resistance to therapy. A good therapist can build on a child’s strengths and find balance in addressing a child’s struggles.
• If your child is struggling with substance abuse or addiction related issues, find a therapist who has had addiction specific training.
• As you are exploring the reasons why you are beginning therapy with your child, discuss the types of therapies that have been proven to be most effective. For example, some adolescents may benefit from:
o Cognitive Behavioral Therapist (CBT)
o Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
o Family Therapy
o Play Therapy
o Art Therapy
o And more…

Posted in: Anxiety & Stress, Depression & Self Harm

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Why Do Kids Self-Injure?

ANSWER:

Dr. Nancy Rivas
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
1240 Iroquois Avenue, Suite 100
(630) 881-6604
nancy.rivasphd@gmail.com

-People who repeatedly injure themselves are using self-injury as an emotional regulation strategy.

“Emotional regulation strategy” is just our professional way of saying that kids self-injure in order to try to feel BETTER. Many parents worry that kids who cut themselves are suicidal — that they actually want to die or are trying to kill themselves. However, that is actually a completely separate issue. Habitual self-injury is more like a negative coping strategy — something they repeatedly do when they are overwhelmed and need to manage their emotions somehow.

Now if you are like many parents I’ve talked to, you are probably thinking, “How could that make anyone feel BETTER?” Great question and I’ll give you 5 answers.
-There are some kids who feel better cutting themselves because they are harsh perfectionists who believe they deserve to be punished, and this is how they punish themselves.
-There are some who don’t know how to express their anger, and so this is how the anger comes out — turned against their bodies.
-There are some who feel that the concrete physical pain is so much more manageable that the swirl of conflicting emotions, so and it calms them to transfer all of that into the physical realm and then they can move on in their heads.
-And last, there are some who have been holding in all of their feelings for years. Though they seem fine on the outside, inside they are struggling and they don’t know how to express it any other way, so the cutting is a way of communicating, of demonstrating physically, I am hurting and I need help.
-Self-injury can be addictive. Either immediately or over time, people can come to the point where even when they want to stop and try to stop, they find themselves unable to stop without getting help.

Therapists usually use Dialectical Behavioral Therapy to help people who self-injure learn positive emotional regulation strategies to replace the self-injury.

Posted in: Depression & Self Harm

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How Can I Learn About and Respond to Mental Health Problems Students Are Facing Today?

ANSWER:

Janice Rubin
Director of Family Life – Student Ministries
Good Shepherd Church
Naperville, IL 60565
(630) 961-9220 ext. 3014

Mental Health issues affect all of society in some way, shape, or form. It’s estimated that one in four Americans will have a diagnosable mental disorder at some point in their lives. That’s right, ¼ of our population. It is extremely likely that you will encounter someone in your family, workplace, school, church, or community who lives with a diagnosed mental disorder. The truth is that mental health problems are more common than heart disease, lung disease, and cancer combined.

Wouldn’t you love to:

  • dispel the stigma and discrimination of mental illness
  • and be able to offer support to someone in distress
  • be a source in helping person seek further assistance

Gaining knowledge and skills is valuable. It is important to understand that wellness and recovery are possible. If this seems like a daunting task, let’s think about it in terms of basic first aid.
Knowledge and skills serve us well in navigating an emergency and can potentially prevent a medical emergency through early intervention. In 2001, MHFA Training and Research Program was
developed in Australia and since has been updated for use in the U. S.

Mental Health First Aid is a groundbreaking public education program that helps the public identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.
MHFA is an 8 hour training course designed to teach lay people methods of assisting someone who may be in the early stages of developing a mental health problem or in a mental health crisis.

I encourage you to become certified in MHFA by going through the interactive 8 hour course that:

  • presents an overview of mental illness & substance use disorders in the U.S.
  •  introduces participants to risk factors & warning signs
  •  builds understanding of their impact, and
  • overviews common treatments.

Those who become certified as Mental Health First Aiders learn a  5-step action plan encompassing the skills, resources and knowledge to help an individual in crisis connect with appropriate professional,
peer, social, and self-help care. Check out the MHFA website where you will that the course is offered in many locations and times. Wellness and recovery matter. You can be a part of the solution.
To register for the MHFA course, contact:
Barry Groesch, Mental Health First Aid Community Liaison
Linden Oaks at Edward Hospital, Naperville, IL
(630) 646-5154
Click Here for MHFA Course Info Online

Posted in: All Categories, Anxiety & Stress, Depression & Self Harm

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Are Cutters Just Seeking Attention?

ANSWER:

Julie Nelson-Kuna, PhD, LLC
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
800 W. 5th Avenue
Naperville, Il  Suite 101 B
(331) 472-7313; drjulienelsonkuna.com

 

Are Cutters Just Seeking Attention?

Cutting is frequently a secretive, hidden behavior that makes adolescents feel very
ashamed. For others, cutting may be a ‘cry for help,’ because they are unable to
express their pain more directly. Any parent that becomes aware of their child
experimenting with self-harm should immediately initiate a conversation with their
adolescent regarding these behaviors. It is likely your adolescent will need help
understanding her own emotional world, and may benefit from talking to somebody
about how she is feeling. Life is stressful, and we as parents can model for our
children positive stress management strategies.

Posted in: All Categories, Anxiety & Stress, Depression & Self Harm

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What Is Self-Harm?

ANSWER:

Julie Nelson-Kuna, PhD, LLC
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
800 W. 5th Avenue
Naperville, Il  Suite 101 B
(331) 472-7313; drjulienelsonkuna.com

 

What is Self-Harm?

Self-harm is deliberating cutting, burning, picking, or injuring one’s body as a way
to cope with strong negative feelings. Activating the pain network may either
numb the adolescent to feeling anything, or the pain may function as a distraction
from their emotional pain. Adolescents who self-harm are often suffering from
depression, eating disorders, or other mental health challenges, and they are very
limited in their ability to cope with stress. As self-harm has gained prominence
in media, this coping strategy may also have been inadvertently glamorized, and
become another way for adolescents to experiment along with alcohol and drug use.

Posted in: All Categories, Anxiety & Stress, Depression & Self Harm

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What are the red flags we should be looking for if we think our child is depressed?

ANSWER:

Angela Michalak, LCPC
360 Youth Services
1935 Brookdale Road, Suite 119
Naperville, IL 60563
Intake:  630-717-9408 ext. 114
amichalak@360youthservices.org
www.360youthservices.org

Red flags that parents should look for if they think their child is depressed are:
·         Lack of interest in previously-enjoyable activities.
·         Persistent sad feelings
·         Feelings of hopelessness or guilt
·         Changes in eating habits and or sleeping patterns
·         Difficulty concentrating

If you think that your child is depressed,
·         Talk to them openly
·         Tell them that you are worried about them
·         Communication with your child is key
·         You know you child best.  If your gut is telling you that there is something going on, there probably is.

If you are interested in an intake assessment for individual or family counseling services, please call 630-717-9408 ext. 114

Posted in: All Categories, Depression & Self Harm, Uncategorized

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