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VIDEO: Dan Siegel on Embracing the Energy and Creativity of the Adolescent Mind

Why Adolescent Behavior is More Than Just Raging Hormones

Dan Siegel

In his Symposium address, Dan Siegel challenged some common myths about adolescence and suggested that the aspects of adolescence that can drive us crazy—novelty seeking, social engagement, emotional intensity, and creative exploration—are exactly what we need to cultivate to maintain vitality in our own adult lives.

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Therapy's Transformational Moments

Finding Hope in Seemingly Hopeless Times

Barry L. Duncan

By Barry Duncan - A recent consult I did illustrates the intrinsic rewards of healing involvement and intimate connection. It also taught me that anything is possible—that even the bleakest sessions can have a positive outcome if you stay with the process.

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Mastering the Art of Therapeutic Judo

A Three-Step Process for Cooling Volatile Emotions from the Very First Session

Thomas Sexton

By Thomas Sexton - Based on 30 years of research on the most effective interventions with delinquent and violent juveniles and their families, I’ve found that the research-backed clinical model Functional Family Therapy guides me in sessions and keeps me grounded. Here's how it works.

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Diagnosing and Treating Subtle Bipolar II

A Perspective on "Depression Plus"

James Phelps

By James Phelps - Treatment for bipolar disorders used to focus on medication, but like many other mood specialists, I’ve found that most clients don’t get the help they need with medication alone, or even with established therapy approaches in combination with medication. Instead, a combination of new, lesser-known therapies plus medications has been shown to produce substantial gains in mood stabilization and daily functioning.

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Busting the Myths of the ODD Child

The Surprising Technique That Turns Opposition on Its Head

James Levine

By James Levine - Children diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) inspire many myths. School personnel and even parents believe that these children enjoy frustrating others and are impossible to teach. But children with chronically oppositional behavior typically are unaccustomed to articulating their needs, wants, and experiences in problem-solving ways. Here's how a collaborative approach to therapy can make all the difference.

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Putting Clients with Asperger's Syndrome on the Path to Success

How Adding Brain Science to Therapy Normalizes Living with Asperger's

Richard Howlin

Adults with Asperger's syndrome often behave as if they were confused actors walking onto a stage and being the only ones who don't know the lines or the plot. Worse still, their ability to fake it---to just pick up the emotional tenor of others---is severely limited by their concrete, inflexible thinking style. One of my initial goals in therapy is to help them realize the role their brain plays in their everyday practical and social understanding. Then, we embark on a step-by-step process of skill training, life planning, and helping clients integrate their unusual and obsessive talents into a productive life.

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Childhood ADHD and the Prescription Drug Rush

ADHD Diagnoses in Children Spurred a Medication Boom

Lawrence Diller

Doctors, especially psychiatrists, have been changing their view of children's problems since the 1970s. Before then, based on the Freudian model, Johnny's problems were considered the result of inner conflicts generated primarily by his relationship with his mother. But in 1980, with the publication of DSM-III, a new concept---for most psychiatric conditions, including ADHD---was announced. The diagnosis of ADHD and the use of drugs like Ritalin rose at rates never before seen in this country---or anywhere else, for that matter. The year 1991 marked a veritable sea change---a social movement began that changed the way our society views children's misbehavior and underperformance.

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Sensory Integration Therapy for Defiant Children

When Faulty Sensory Processing Affects Behavior

Karen Smith

In our culture, we don't take kindly to children who refuse to do what they are told. We label them with euphemisms, such as difficult, willful or spirited. When these kids show up in my office as early as age 3 or 4, their parents---often tearful, angry, guilt ridden---want quick advice about how to win the battles they are losing. Because we assume that these children are neurologically and physiologically capable of doing what we ask them to do, we may describe them as inattentive, hyperactive or clumsy and complain that they are stubborn, angry or oppositional. In fact, they are all of those things---but for a reason. That reason is faulty sensory processing.

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Lost in Electronica

Today's Media Culture is Leaving Boys at a Loss for Words

Adam Cox

My year treating high school boys taught me a lesson that still guides my work: if words are the currency of most interpersonal exchange, many boys are on the verge of social bankruptcy. When it comes to communication challenges, gender discrepancies are staggering. Boys make up 75 percent of special-education classes, are far more frequently diagnosed with syndromes ranging from ADHD to autism that involve social-learning problems, and account for nearly 80 percent of children identified as emotionally troubled. Our world is increasingly driven by communication and the need for emotional intelligence---attributes that generally don't come easily for boys---and they're clearly falling behind. In spite of the still-potent icon of the silent male in the American psyche, there are far fewer life options today---whether academic, career, or relational---that can accommodate a boy (or man) of few words.

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Is it Actually ADHD?

Assessing the Cause of ADHD Symptoms First

Pat Pernicano

Schools and physicians don’t seem to understand the ways in which trauma leads to symptoms that resemble ADHD. Thus, we all need to ask the right questions and dig a little deeper in creative ways to find out what may be troubling the child, so that our treatment is effective and not just a surface remedy for a misdiagnosis.

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