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Coping with Grief, Loss, and Anxiety During the Holidays

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For anyone dealing with an illness, grief, loss, and subsequent anxiety it causes or the loss of a loved one, the holidays can be a time of sadness, pain, anger, or dread. It can be difficult to cope, especially when you see the sights and sounds of holiday happiness all around you.

The ebb and flow of grief can become overwhelming with waves of memories, particularly during Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Grief can also magnify the stress and anxiety that is often already a part of the holidays.

How can you begin to fill the emptiness you feel when it seems that everyone else is overflowing with joy? There are a few strategies that you can employ to help you get through this time.

Offer Yourself Some Grace 

One of the best things you can do is give yourself permission to feel whatever it is you’re feeling. Try not to fall prey to the belief that you have to feel a certain way or do certain things in order to make the holiday “normal.” If you feel sad, allow the tears to come; if you feel angry, allow yourself to vent some steam.

Be Kind to Yourself 

It’s important that you get the rest and nourishment you need and try not to take on more than you can handle. If you need to be alone, then honor that. If you crave the company and affection of others, seek it out. Do whatever feels right to you during this difficult time.

Ask For and Accept Help 

The holiday season is no time to feign strength and independence when you’re grieving a death. You will need the help and support of others to get through, so don’t feel as if you are a burden. People generally receive satisfaction and even joy from helping those they care about.

After a death, people often desire to help but simply don’t know how. If you need someone to help you prepare meals, shop, or decorate, this is the time to speak up and make your needs known. Quite often, they will be delighted to feel like they are helping you in some way.

The same holds true for your emotional needs. Friends and family members might feel uncomfortable talking about your grief. They might think that you don’t want to talk about it and don’t want to be reminded of your pain.

The American Psychological Association (APA) notes that not talking about someone’s death lead to isolation and discourage those who are there to support you. Again, you will have to tell your loved ones the best way that they can help you. If you want to talk about what you’re going through, or you just need a shoulder to cry on, let them know.

Find Support

Sharing your feelings is often the best way to get through them and finding people you can talk to will help. Friendsand relativescan be a great support during times of grief. However, they might be coping with their own feelings or so immersed in the holidays that they cannot offer the support you need.

Another good option is to look for a licensed therapist for individual or group therapies. Support group members often make friends that end up being a source of comfort and care for many years to come.

A loss, whether it be a parent, sibling, child, or friend is a very personal matter. Your loss seems like the worst possible thing that could have happened to youand it can be exponential during the holiday season.

When you lose a significant person from your life, whatever the relationship, it hurts and nothing takes away from your right to feel the loss and grieve the absence of that person from your life.

Make a Difference

Many people like to help others in large or small ways during the holiday season. We may drop our change in a charity basket, purchase a gift for a needy child, or donate to a favorite organization. This can help us feel like we are contributing to the greater good.

Likewise, helping improve the lives of others can help take the focus off your loss.Many studies demonstratethat volunteering can be beneficial to our mental health, particularly as we ageand also during the holidays.

Consider volunteering at a nursing home, hospital, hospice, children’s shelter, or soup kitchen. You can also find a way to help another family member or friend who may need it. Any of these things can prove cathartic and help in the healing process.

Don’t Make Comparisons

It’s easy to see other people or families enjoying holiday festivities and compare their experience to what you feel during this difficult time. This may make you feel worse or that you’re lacking in some fashion.

Keep in mind that the holidays are stressful for most people and they are rarely the “magical” gatherings depicted in greeting cards, movies, or on television. Try to embrace what you have rather than compare it to what you think others have.

A Word From Foundations Counseling

As difficult as it seems, you will survive the holidays in one piece. Because of your grief, this holiday might prove to be a very difficult experience. However, you will get through it and come out on the other side stronger than before. You don’t necessarily have to enjoy the holidays or even go through the motions of pretending to enjoy the festivities.

That said, it’s also fine to have a good time in spite of your grief. If happiness slips through your window of grief, allow it to happen and enjoy it. You won’t be doing your loved one an injustice by feeling joyous. The best gift you can give anyone you love is that of being true to yourself and living your life to the fullest, even as you adjust to the loss and remember your loved one.

If you may be experiencing symptoms caused by grief and loss during the holiday season or for more information about the positive effects of counseling for grief and loss, please contact Foundations Counseling today.

Managing Typical Stressors During the Holiday Season

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Welcome to the holiday season and holiday stress! This is the time of year when the whirlwind of gift-giving holidays, marketing blitzes, holiday parties, and activities galore begins right after Halloween, builds to Thanksgiving and continues gaining momentum through the end of the year.

While this season is meant to bring feelings of love and cheer, it’s also the harbinger of holiday stress for many. In fact, according to most health data surveys, more than 80% of us find the holiday season to be ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ stressful.

Doing Too Much

“All things should be done in moderation”, as the saying goes. The problem with the holiday season is that we often experience too much of a good thing. While stress itself is necessary for our survival and zest for life (some may call this a positive type of stress) too much stress definitely has a negative impact on us, both mental and physical. Too many activities, even if they are fun activities, can culminate in too much holiday stress and leave us feeling frazzled, rather than fulfilled.

Eating, Drinking, and Spending Too Much

An overabundance of parties and gift-giving occasions lead many people to eat, drink and be merry, often to excess. The temptation to overindulge in spending, rich desserts or alcohol can cause many people the lasting stress of dealing with consequences (debt, weight gain, memories of embarrassing behavior) that can linger long after the season is over. Also, in these more difficult financial times, finding affordable gifts can be stressful in itself, and carrying holiday debt is a tradition that too many people unwittingly bring on themselves, and the stress that comes with it can last for months.

Too Much Togetherness

The holidays are a time when extended families tend to gather. While this can be a wonderful thing, even the most close-knit families can overdose on togetherness, making it hard for family members to maintain a healthy balance between bonding and alone time. Many families also have roles that each member falls into that have more to do with who individuals used to be rather than who they are today, which can sometimes bring more dread than love to these gatherings.

Not Enough Togetherness

For those who don’t have these family issues, loneliness can be just as much of a problem. As the world seems to be gathering with family, those who rely more on friends for support can feel deserted and alone.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

An often-unrecognized problem that comes with the holiday season is actually a by-product of the seasons changing from fall to winter. As daylight diminishes and the weather causes many of us to spend more time indoors, many people are affected to some degree by a type of depression known as the “seasonal affect disorder.” It’s a subtle but very real condition that can cast a pall over the whole season and be a source of stress and unhappiness during a time that people expect to feel just the opposite.

Minimizing Holiday Stress

The great thing about holiday stress is that it’s predictable. Unlike many other types of negative stress that we encounter in life, we know when holiday stress will begin and end, and we can make plans to reduce the amount of stress we experience and the negative impact it has on us.

Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress

The following are some tips you can try to help reduce holiday stress before it begins so that it remains at a positive level, rather than an overwhelming one.

1. Set Your Priorities

Before you get overwhelmed by too many activities, it’s important to decide what traditions offer the most positive impact and eliminate superfluous activities. For example, if you usually become overwhelmed by a flurry of baking, caroling, shopping, sending cards, visiting relatives and other activities that leave you exhausted by January, you may want to examine your priorities, pick a few favorite activities and really enjoy them, while skipping the rest.

2. Scale It Down

If you can’t fathom the idea of skipping out on sending cards, baking, seeing people, and doing all of the stuff that usually runs you ragged, you may do better including all of these activities in your schedule, but on a smaller scale.

Send cards, for example, but only to those with whom you maintain regular communication. Or, don’t include a personal note or letter in each one. Find a way to simplify. The same goes for the baking—will anyone be enraged if you buy baked goods from the bakery instead? If you find ways to cut corners or tone down the activities that are important to you and your family, you may enjoy them much more.

3. Be Smart With Holiday Eating

During the holidays, we may want to look and feel great (especially if we’re around people we don’t see often—we know that this is how we’ll be remembered), but there is so much temptation in the form of delicious food and decadent desserts, and a break from our regular routines—plus the addition of emotional stress—can all add up to overeating, emotional eating, and other forms of unhealthy eating. This year, plan ahead by being aware of your triggers, do what you can to have some healthy food at hand for each meal, be aware of your intake, and practice mindful eating.

4. Change Your Expectations for Togetherness

With family and friends, it’s important to be aware of your limitations. Think back to previous years and try to pinpoint how much togetherness you and your family can take before feeling negative stress. Can you limit the number of parties you attend or throw or the time you spend at each? Can you limit your time with family to a smaller timeframe that will still feel special and joyous, without draining you?

Also, when many of us are dealing with so-called difficult relatives, it’s okay to set limits on what you are and are not willing to do, including forgoing your visits or limiting them to every other year.

For those who may experience loneliness during the holiday season, consider inviting a group of friends to your home. If virtually everyone you know is with family during the holidays, you might consider volunteering to help those less fortunate than yourself. Many people report these experiences to be extremely fulfilling, and your focus will be on what you have rather than what you lack.

5. Set a Schedule

Putting your plans on paper can show you, in black and white, how realistic they are. If you find a time management planner and fill in the hours with your scheduled activities, being realistic and including driving time and downtime, you will be able to see if you’re trying to pack in too much.

Start with your highest priorities, so you will be able to eliminate the less important activities. Be sure to schedule in some time to take a nature walk each day if at all possible, as exercise and exposure to daylight can drastically reduce or even eliminate the symptoms of “SAD.” If climate or other factors prohibit this, try to find some time to sit by a window and look out; several minutes of exposure to natural light, even if through a windowpane, can help.

6. Breathe

This sounds like a no-brainer, but sometimes we forget to take deep breaths and really give our bodies the oxygen we need. It’s great if you can take ten minutes by yourself to do a breathing meditation but merely stopping to take a few deep, cleansing breaths can reduce your level of negative stress in a matter of minutes, too. If you visualize that you are breathing in serenity and breathing out stress, you will find the positive effects of this exercise to be even more pronounced.

For more information about Managing Typical Stressors During the Holiday Season, or to speak with someone at Foundations Counseling, please schedule an appointment with one of our licensed counselors today.

Top Benefits of the EMDR Therapy Process

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Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a psychotherapy technique used to treat anxiety, PTSD, and more. This technique is known as EMDR therapy.

In 1987 psychologist Francine Shapiro developed a new type of psychotherapy known as EMDR, which stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EMDR therapy has become a more common treatment in recent years as a treatment option for people suffering from anxiety, panic, PTSD, or trauma 

According to the EMDR Research Foundation, “EMDR is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR therapy includes a set of standardized protocols that incorporate elements from several different treatment approaches.

To date, EMDR has helped millions of people of all ages relieve many types of psychological stress.

What is EMDR?

EMDR therapy is a phased, focused approach to treating traumatic and other symptoms by reconnecting the client in a safe and measured way to the images, self-thoughts, emotions, and body sensations associated with the trauma, and allowing the natural healing powers of the brain to move toward adaptive resolution.

It is based on the idea that symptoms occur when trauma and other negative or challenging experiences overwhelm the brain’s natural ability to heal, and that the healing process can be facilitated and completed through bilateral stimulation while the client is re-experiencing the trauma in the context of the safe environment of the therapist’s office (dual awareness).

EMDR works to disarm belief systems, also known as cognitions, and changes the negative cognition through a series of lateral eye movements, tapping or sound, while the client is asked to create the picture of pain and danger (trauma) that most disturbs them.

Typically, it identifies and addresses traumatic experiences that have overwhelmed the brain’s natural coping capacity, and, as a result, have created traumatic symptoms, such as flashbacks or anxiety, or harmful coping strategies, such as isolating behavior and self-medication with alcohol or drugs.

How Does EMDR Work?

Through EMDR, individuals safely reprocess traumatic information until it is no longer psychologically disruptive to their lives. There are varying phases of treatment and in the initial phase, the individual focuses on a disruptive memory and identifies the negative cognition they hold about themselves associated with that memory. (for example, in dealing with abuse, the person may believe, “I deserved it”) the individual then formulates a positive cognition that they would like to have (“I am a worthwhile and good person” or “I am in control of my life.”).

All the sensations and emotions that go along the memory are identified. The individual then reviews the memory while focusing on an external stimulus that creates bilateral stimulation.

Normally, this is done by watching the therapist move two fingers. After each set of bilateral movements, the individual is asked what they focused on during the stimulation. This process continues until the memory is no longer disturbing to the individual. The individual is processing the trauma. The selected positive belief is then installed, via bilateral stimulation, to replace the negative belief.

It is theorized that EMDR works because the “bilateral stimulation” bypasses the area of the brain that processes the memories that have become stuck due to the trauma. Once memories are stuck it prevents the brain from proper processing and storage of the memory.

During EMDR, individuals process the memory safely which leads to a peaceful resolution. This can result in increased insight regarding both previously disturbing event and the negative beliefs they once held about the original traumatic event.

Who Uses EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapy has been endorsed by the American Psychiatric Association and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. In addition, it is used by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense.

According to the EMDR Research Foundation there are now over 30 gold standard studies documenting the effectiveness of EMDR therapy over the past 30 years with problems such as rape and sexual abuse, combat trauma, childhood trauma and neglect, life threatening accidents, and symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.

Licensed therapists believe that this type of therapy has the ability to heal people who are suffering from all types of trauma. This approach shifts the way we process the presence of the physical, emotional and psychological effects related specifically to a traumatic event. The pain and sense of danger carried within the self after a traumatic event grips the soul with such purchase that it leads into a sense of being in emotional quicksand.

Does EMDR Therapy Work?

According to the EMDR Institute, Inc., some of the studies on this type of therapy show that 84%-90% of single-trauma victims no longer have post-traumatic stress disorder after only three 90-minute sessions.

Another study, funded by the HMO Kaiser Permanente, found that 100% of the single-trauma victims and 77% of multiple trauma victims no longer were diagnosed with PTSD after only six 50-minute sessions. In another study, 77% of combat veterans were free of PTSD in 12 sessions.

What is also different about this type of therapeutic intervention is that the therapist does not conversationally converse with the client while going through the process.

After an EMDR session, clients can experience more vivid dreams, may sleep differently, might feel more sensitive to interactions with others or to external stimuli.

Pairing EMDR Therapy with Other Therapeutic Techniques

EMDR Therapy is not the only form of therapy appropriate for people dealing with anxiety, PTSD, panic, and/or trauma, and just because someone is undergoing EMDR therapy does not mean that that person cannot undergo another form of therapy at the same time. Speak with your therapist about combinations of therapy or therapeutic techniques that might prove most effective.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most common form of therapy. If you are interested in pairing EMDR with other therapeutic techniques, we encourage you to discuss this with one of our therapists during an introductory meeting.

For more information about EMDR Therapy at Foundations Counseling, please schedule an appointment with one of our licensed counselors today.

10 Warning Signs Your Child is Suffering from Mental Illness

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Nearly 1 in 5 children has an emotional or behavioral disorder.

Most parents have an instantaneous desire to protect their children. We tend to our children’s needs if an unexplained rash appears, we see the doctor. If a fever spikes, we see the doctor. If a bone seems injured, we see the doctor.

Visible wounds are relatively easy to recognize. It’s different when a child begins having problems at school or with friends, or if he or she becomes uncooperative and has inexplicable outbursts. Such occurrences often leave parents feeling confused and unsure about what to do.

Nearly one in five children is affected with an emotional or behavioral disorder. You may recognize that something is not right, but what it is or what to do remains a mystery. Further, nearly 5 million American children and adolescents suffer from a serious mental illness (one that significantly interferes with their day-to-day life).

Warning Signs and Parent Radar

A teacher, relative, or friend may tell you it’s “a stage,” but you feel that the “stage” has lasted too long, the behavior is too disruptive, or failing grades don’t improve no matter what you or the school tries.

The following warning signs may indicate a problem needing specialized attention, typically by working with a professionally licensed counselor. What you are looking for indicates that your child may be experiencing one or more of these symptoms. The symptoms are also atypical for his or her developmental stage and not related to a move, divorce, or other stressful event:

  1. Your child is having more difficulty at school.
  2. Your child is attempting to injure him/herself.
  3. Your child is avoiding friends and family.
  4. Your child is experiencing frequent mood swings.
  5. Your child is experiencing intense emotions such as angry outbursts or extreme fear.
  6. Your child is lacking energy, motivation, and the ability to concentrate.
  7. Your child is having difficulty sleeping, or is having a lot of nightmares.
  8. Your child has a lot of physical complaints.
  9. Your child is obsessed with his or her weight, shape, or appearance.
  10. Your child is eating significantly more or less than usual.

By listening to your “parent radar,” you can voice your concerns and begin the journey of finding and fighting for the help your child may need.

LPCs Can Guide You and Your Child

Few are better able to guide parents through the agonizing uncertainty and turmoil of a child with a mental health problem than licensed professional counselors (LPCs). When raising children, all of whom may have serious mental health or behavioral challenges such as bipolar disorder, ADHD, ADD, autism, anorexia, and depression, integrating advice and therapies with child psychologists will help tremendously. Being able to find the right therapist to navigate the clinical jargon and mental health system is equally as important.

Even once you have a diagnosis, it is critical to listen to your parent radar. For example, the mother of a 12-year-old diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, and a moderate developmental disability, will not necessarily have the ability to say what she really needs to. Until that communication happens, your child can help you with that part, but a parent must continue to trust your gut and be that voice in her struggle.

 

When to Seek Professional Help

Meeting with a trained professional doesn’t mean your child is crazy, nor does it mean you’re an incompetent parent. Sometimes, for one reason or another, kids just need a little extra support or a different type of discipline to perform at their best. Early intervention is often the key to successful treatment.

If you’re questioning whether your child may need help, don’t hesitate to seek treatment. If there are no serious problems, talking to a child behavior specialist may put your mind at ease. If problems are detected, a child behavior specialist can address the problem before it gets worse.

How a Professional Can Help

A child behavior expert can rule out any mental health issues that may be behind the behavior problems, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). If your child has ADHD, a professional can discuss treatment options and discipline strategies that are effective for ADHD.

At other times, depression can contribute to behavioral issues. For example, a depressed teenager is likely to be irritable and may refuse to get up in the morning for school or may want to spend the majority of his time in his room.

Anxiety disorders can also lead to behavior problems. An anxious tween may become argumentative or non-compliant if he’s worried about something. A complete evaluation will help rule out any mental health conditions and treating these underlying conditions may lead to great improvements in behavior.

A professional counselor will make recommendations. For example, a child who has been traumatized by a serious event may benefit from individual counseling. Or, a child who is struggling to adjust to a new blended family situation may benefit from individual or family therapy.

At other times, a licensed professional counselor and expert in their field may want to work with you without your child present. Providing support and training to parents can lead to the fastest results when it comes to many behavior problems.

Navigating the “Storm”

Should you find yourself and your child on the emotional roller coaster of a mental-health challenge, you will, as every professional counselor suggests, need help and hope. You must take care of yourself and stay strong for your child, and also know when to befriend others who have faced similar challenges so you don’t feel isolated and alone.

Foundations Counseling compassionately explains how to develop essential coping skills to support your child while also taking care of the rest of your family when dealing with these common challenges.

For more information about your child’s mental and behavioral challenges, or for an evaluation, please contact Foundations Counseling today.

Parents Coping with PTSD after a Child’s Illness or Surgery

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Parents may find coping with PTSD after a child’s serious illness which can cast a very long shadow across a family, often for years after the crisis has passed. Unknowingly, parents may begin to cry seemingly without any reason and only because any medical setting, with doctors and nurses and medical sights and smells, brought back intense emotions of their child’s illness or major surgery.

Parents can be haunted by a child’s illness or injury. At the time, they are faced with the terrifying truth that a child is in danger or in pain. When the normal stress responses of the parents play out in extreme cases — and when they continue well beyond the child’s illness — additional harm can come to the family. The emotional trauma of the experience, the parental equivalent of coming through the wars, can echo for years.

The experience of having a child diagnosed with an illness or injury that is potentially life-threatening or debilitating is highly distressing for parents. Parents of a child with a serious childhood illness or injury (SCII) must contend with the possibilities of their child’s death or lasting impairment, in the context of negotiating a path through complex diagnostic and treatment processes is an experience that can overwhelm even the most resilient parents.

Despite initial or recurrent periods of extreme distress, most parents of a child with a SCII are able to cope and adjust well over time but should still seek out counseling. However, some experience persistently elevated or escalating distress impacting on their functioning within the family unit, with adverse effects on themselves, their sick child and other family members.

Little is known about the factors that determine which parents show spontaneous recovery in their psychological wellbeing and whether there are differences in recovery trajectories according to the type of illness or age of the child. For the latter, it is imperative that parents seek out counseling for a variety of factors.

For example, parents of hospitalized children have been found to experience trauma symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of ASD. In a study of families of children admitted to a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), 32% of parents met criteria for ASD while their child was an inpatient.

Higher rates of ASD have been reported with a finding of over 63% of mothers and 60% of fathers of children newly diagnosed with cancer met criteria for ASD. Slightly lower rates of 51% of mothers and 40% of fathers were found in another study of parents of children newly diagnosed with cancer.

When dealing with major surgery, parents will suffer dozens of ups and downs prior to their child’s surgery and afterward. Typically, PTSD is only one of the byproducts of surviving your child’s medical ordeal.

Before approaching an employer, it is recommended to ease the workload as much as possible. By prioritizing exactly what accommodations you need to be productive on the job and keep living with your ill child on an even keel, you should begin speaking to a professional counselor as early as possible. There are so many questions to be answered.

Do you want to reduce the number of hours your work each week? Is it possible for you to work from home temporarily or longer-term? Do you need a leave of absence? Are you prepared to deal with the news throughout the entire process whether it be a shorter timeframe or longer terms? Flexible time generally will top the list of the accommodation wish list but it also depends on the severity of your child. A leave is usually a subsequent request and may be needed at the point you have received the initial diagnosis from your doctor, after hospitalization, or the ongoing treatment’s your child will need.

Consulting an expert therapist is the best possible solution to be prepared in advance or when coping with PTSD after your child’s major illness or surgery. A psychiatric rehabilitation and support program suggest that before requesting leave, parents should consult with a professional early on.

Research has found that at least 1 in 6 parents will suffer from PTSD after a child’s recovery. They may have intrusive and distressing memories and dreams, or continue to avoid people or places that evoke the circumstances of the injury or illness or struggle with mood problems, including depression. If untreated, this can damage both the parent’s emotional and physical recovery.

Cognitive restructuring techniques will help parents reinterpret and pay attention to the positive and not catastrophize, developing a trauma narrative of their experience, instead. It is imperative that parents who are struggling get referred to mental health professionals where therapists have experience with traumatic stress.

All parents want our children to be safe. Once you’ve been through this, you know that your child will never be 100 percent safe, and it’s can be extremely hard to stop thinking about it.

There are solutions. Seek them out today not only for yourself but for your family, and for your children.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Kids With Autism

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Finding the right treatment for your child with autism can be a difficult task. There are many treatments that can be used to treat children with autism; you should determine what therapy best fits your child’s needs. However, there is one therapy that is said to be able to treat different types of disorders. This therapy is called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and it has been proven to help treat many disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders, and is also proven to be effective for those with autism.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of psychological treatment that helps improve a person’s functionality and quality of life. CBT helps children with autism become aware of negative behaviors, and helps them respond to these in a more positive way. Therapists have found this treatment effective for all ages and for different disorders. However, for children with autism, they have developed a different approach because CBT requires a strong thinking ability.

The approach is to use CBT but in a repetitive way in order for the child to fully understand what the therapist is teaching. Visual aid is also introduced to help the child gain a perspective view on what the topic is about. Instead of simply approaching the child verbally, the therapist may use different strategies such us showing the child what interests them to gain their attention. The main advantage of this treatment is that children with autism can learn that they are not the only ones struggling with the disorder. Through a bond of friendship with others, they will be able to help each other overcome it.

What to expect in Cognitive Behavioral Therapies

The first session is focused on assessing the child with autism. This includes finding out what he or she is having difficulty with and what type of approach will get the child’s attention. Based on the therapist’s assessment, he or she will then create goals that will be helpful in treating the child with autism.

Subsequent sessions will focus on achieving those goals. The CBT approach often allows the child to practice their problem-solving skills, breaching the communication gaps, and simply conversing with the child once they have established a bond.

The final sessions will often begin once the child continues to achieve the goals set by the therapist. The number of sessions will gradually decrease until the child can be confident of learning on his or her own. A successful treatment will help your child rely on themselves and allow them to make decisions while showing less undesirable behavior.

Types Of Behavioral Therapy For Kids With Autism

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Autism is a disorder that affects the social behavior and communication development of a person. Children will often show signs of autism by the age of three. Early intervention and getting aid from a professional therapist can help your child adapt to their environment with ease. The most effective treatments for children with autism are behavioral therapies. There are many different behavioral therapies and each has its own strengths when helping children with autism.

Types Of Behavioral Therapy

1. Applied Behavioral Analysis

Applied behavioral analysis or ABA is a commonly used therapy in most children with autism. The therapy is used to help the child reach positive goals set by the therapist, and also help the child distinguish negative behavioral traits. A therapist will work with the child in one-on-one sessions. The therapist will then observe the child and try to create goals for the child to accomplish. The child will then be rewarded for every desirable behavior that the child does while ignoring the undesirable ones.

2. Sensory Integration or Occupational Therapy

This therapy focuses on the child’s sensitivities or what the child may find overwhelming. In most children with autism, there are different factors that may overwhelm them and cause them to have tantrums. Therapists will try to address these factors which are loud noises, bright lights, and other things that may be overwhelming for the child. Though the child will be exposed to things that overwhelm them, they won’t be forced to their limits. Successful therapies often have good results where the child may be able to adapt, control their movements and emotions.

3. Relationship Development Intervention

This therapy focuses on the social behaviors of children with autism. Parents are also involved in this therapy, as they will need to attend intensive workshops to help them carry out the therapy. The therapist will only be there to assess the situation or create goals for the parents and analyze the results. Parents will be tasked to record videos of them at home and how they are interacting with their child. Depending on the results, the therapist will give advice or strategies to help the parent and the child.

4. Communication Intervention

This therapy focuses on what children with autism lack the most, communication. Children with autism who don’t have proper communication skills will often show a lot of undesirable behavior out of their frustration and misunderstandings about situations. Therapists will help by teaching communication skills using devices that may help the child express their needs. This will work with the child and may show improvement in their social interaction skills.

Treatments For Your Child With Autism

There are many other behavioral treatments you can ask for your child. All treatments are effective in different children and finding the right treatment for your child can be time-consuming. However, once you’ve found the proper treatment that has good results, your child will have a more positive lifestyle. When choosing a therapist for the treatment, you should always make sure that you are comfortable with them. If you are comfortable allowing them to work with your child, then your child may also feel the same way.

Effective Therapies For Kids With Autism

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Kids will most likely show signs of autism by the time they reach the age of three or four. The symptoms will vary from mild to severe depending on the child. Most children with this disorder will have difficulty interacting with others and may have problems using non-verbal communication such as making eye contact and using facial expressions. In children with autism who are able to speak, they may have a high pitch tone, unbalanced speed, and rhythm. When you see your child having these symptoms, you should help them get the proper aid they need as soon as possible. There are many counselors or therapists who provide quality therapy for kids with autism. Here are some of the most effective therapies.

The Best Therapies To Treat Kids With Autism

1. Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists study human growth patterns and development. This is through learning the basic skills needed for a person to interact with their environment through their daily activities. Therapists will first observe how the child with autism does tasks for their age. They will ask parents to record their child for a day to see how he or she interacts in their current environment. Once the therapists have gathered all the necessary information they need, they will then create a program for your child.

2. Applied Behavioral Analysis

There are many types of behavioral therapy and the best one that works well for kids with autism is applied behavioral analysis (ABA). This therapy is focused on helping children achieve their goals and be able to distinguish right from wrong. A therapist will work with a child with autism for more than 40 hours a week in a one-on-one setting. The therapist will first observe the child and then plan goals. The therapist will then reward the child for each goal he or she achieves while ignoring negative actions. This will, in turn, help the child gain skills that will help them cope with their environment at home and in school.

3. Play therapy

Play therapy is used for children suffering from trauma, anxiety, and mental illness. This is because playing allows a child to release their feelings and develop a healthy behavior. However, the methods used to treat these illnesses are not the same methods used for children with autism. A good play therapist will sit on the floor with your child and set toys that your child finds interesting. The therapist will then choose another toy that is similar to the chosen toy, and try to block how the child is playing with his or her chosen toy. If the child responds, then there is a relationship that has begun. Over time, the therapist will help the child develop skills such as taking turns, building their imaginative skills, and other thinking skills to help the child cope with groups or other children.

Why early treatment is better for you child

Many parents that have detected autism in their child tend to neglect the fact that they should treat the disorder early. Parents think that they should just allow their kids to run around and play. However, most kids with autism lack the skills to play appropriately, and they often just perform repetitive acts that don’t seem to have an effect on them.

This is one of the reasons why parents should seek the aid of a therapist. Allowing a professional therapist to intervene with their acts and help correct them can stop problematic behavior patterns that can develop as the child ages. It’s also beneficial for the child to receive treatment early because it helps them adapt to groups or develop their social interaction skills effectively. This also helps prepare your child for school, allowing them to be more comfortable in making friends or simply interacting with different people.

Benefits Of Sandplay Therapy

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Sandplay therapy is a nonverbal therapeutic intervention that can be used for children, including children diagnosed with autism. Instead of trying to talk to the child, the therapist will make use of a sandbox where the child can find toys to create something that the child wants. This is a great way for the therapist to see the child’s inner thoughts or feelings. This can be another form of talk therapy while utilizing the sandbox figures as alternate communication tools.

The Benefits of Sandplay Therapy for Kids with Autism

Sandplay therapy allows the child with autism to express their feelings. It can give the therapist an idea of a trauma that the child may have or what kind of things the child finds interesting. It allows the child to show the therapist their creative side and what makes them happy. Introducing different items to the child can be a way of introducing different characters to the child’s setting. This will in turn have a significant effect when it comes to the child’s social skills.

When a child’s hands and mind wander to their happy place, they are often prone to communication. This gives the therapist an opening to interact with the child while he or she is playing. Establishing communication is always the first objective a therapist is looking for in sandplay therapy. It allows the therapist to know if the child is responding and making progress.

Sandplay therapy uses little to no words which makes it easier for the child to have his or her own personal space. This allows the child to create what bothers him or her most and make use of the sand tray as their boundaries. The therapist will be there to evaluate everything the child is building and thinking of new things to introduce to the child in order to improve their feeling toward their imagination.

Choosing a Sandplay Therapist

Some play therapists have taken additional trainings in sandplay therapy. Look for licensed therapists that have experience in sandplay therapy if you think that this therapy will benefit your child. In addition, you should also look for a therapist that has the appropriate tools and education background about the benefits and key elements of this therapy.

Doing your own research on qualified therapists in your area is another great way to find a therapist. Nowadays, therapists have their own website and usually have testimonials from previous clients on their work. Use this information to get an idea on how well the therapist might interact with your child. When finally choosing your therapist, you should make sure that you are comfortable leaving your child in their care.

Importance Of Early Intervention For Better Autism Therapy

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Autism is not a rare disorder, and it affects many people all over the world. There is no known cause or cure for the disorder; however, there are studies that prove that early intervention can make a difference to a child’s development. Early intervention for children with autism can give the child with autism higher intelligence, improved social skills, and allows the child to become independent in the future.

Why Is Early Intervention Important?

Autism can be found in a child at the age of two to three years old. From the perspective of neuroscience, early intervention gives a better opportunity for the child’s developing brain to change. It also helps the child stop behavioral tantrums that may often occur when the child is disturbed by something or someone. The habit of having tantrums can be avoided through early intervention, but as you continue to delay their treatment, they may be difficult to change their habits that may be found in children with autism.

Children at an early age often learn new things much quicker by observing and imitating others. It’s natural for a child to imitate other’s actions in order to engage with them in healthy play. However, children with autism tend to be more focused on objects and activities that will only interest them. They will not likely imitate others and interact because of the lack of interest.

Placing a child with autism in a group of kids to play will not help the child with autism. For children with autism, playing needs to be broken down in order for them to fully comprehend what it means to play. Social skills are also a factor, as most children with autism tend to be shy about interacting with strangers.

What To Expect When Sending Your Child To Therapy

Children with autism learn best through small repeated steps and consistently practicing on those steps every session. For example, if a therapist teaches your child how to share their toy, it may take around four to five sessions depending on the child’s progress. Even complex skills such as conversing and interacting with someone may need to have more steps to allow the child to learn the skill.

Don’t expect too much on each session; let your child take it slow. Your child’s interest should always be taken into account and getting that can be a difficult task even for an experienced therapist. Picking the right program should be discussed by you and the therapist. Giving the therapist as much detail on what interests your child can have a better chance of choosing a the right therapy for your child. Progress will always be present so long as the child is introduced to the therapy as early as possible.