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April Quandary: My Teenage Client’s Parents Say He’s Depressed, But He Disagrees!

Five Clinicians Give Their Take

Chris Lyford • No Comments

By Chris Lyford - Fourteen-year-old client Tyler’s parents brought him to therapy because they say he rarely engages with classmates or teachers, isn’t interested in extracurriculars, and heads straight to his room after school to play video games. They worry he’s depressed, but he’s mostly responsive in therapy and insists he’s happy. Here's how five therapists say they'd proceed.

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Family Therapy as We Know It Needs to Change

To Reach Troubled Adolescents, Look to the "Second Family"

Ron Taffel • No Comments

By Ron Taffel - When it comes to treating troubled adolescents, family therapy has not kept pace with several decades of massive social upheaval. The world of an adolescent is now so powerfully defined by systemic forces other than home—the peer network, pop culture, school and neighborhood ethos—that working with the family alone is rarely powerful enough to effect change.

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Why It's So Hard for Young Adults to Leave Home

...And How to Convert the Nest into a Net

Brad Sachs • No Comments

By Brad Sachs - The current generation of families is confronted with what appears to be a substantial upsurge in young adults who can't seem to make the transition from home-centered adolescent to independent adult. Here's why, and what we can do about it.

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The Healing Power of Play

Helping Traumatized Kids Feel Safe and Happy Again

David Crenshaw • No Comments

By David Crenshaw - When children are too anxious, afraid, or traumatized to play, they can't utilize this natural resource of childhood to relieve a painful emotional state. Instead, they must use their energy to compartmentalize the trauma, keeping it out of direct awareness. Child therapists can help children reclaim this vital feature of emotional self-regulation by teaching, modeling, and setting the stage for the child to play.

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Facing a Parent's Decline

Helping Grown Children and Aging Parents Learn to Nurture Each Other

Marian Sandmaier • No Comments

By Marian Sandmaier - Nearly all therapists will soon be working with substantial numbers of aging families, whether or not they ever consciously choose to. The question at hand, then, is how can this juncture in the family life cycle be transformed from an emphasis on adjusting to loss and disappointments to a focus on growth and possibility?

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A Child’s Respect is Bestowed, Not Extracted

How Much Parental Authority Do We Really Need?

Janet Sasson Edgette • No Comments

By Janet Sasson Edgette - Preoccupied with commanding deference, some parents fail to recognize that a child’s respect is always something bestowed, not extracted. Thus, they end up forfeiting the opportunity to remain credible influences on their children in favor of levying control, which is a poor and costly approach to relationship building.

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Is Your Child "Misbehaving"? It Could Be Completely Normal

Three Ways Understanding Temperament Normalizes Child-Rearing Challenges

Alice Shannon • No Comments

By Alice Shannon - Our society has become increasingly intolerant of children's behavior that strays beyond familiar norms, and too inclined to diagnose, pathologize, and medicate what are simply temperamental differences. Having an awareness of temperament has helped me as a therapist to be curious, rather than judgmental or prematurely diagnostic.

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Creating a Support System for New Mothers

Five Ways to Help Them Cope with Stress, Improve Mood, and Stay Energetic

Rick Hanson • No Comments

By Rick Hanson - Motherhood isn't, in itself, a psychological or medical problem. But the challenges inherent in childbearing and childrearing can lead to clinical consequences, with studies showing that mothers are more likely to have depressive moods, more stress than fathers, and frequent conflicts with their partner. Here are five ways to help them cope.

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Repairing the Father-Daughter Disconnect

Five Principles That Build Engagement and Trust on Both Sides

Cara Brendler • No Comments

By Cara Brendler - Bridging the gap between fathers and daughters is one of the great challenges for family therapists. The most familiar dynamic we see is estrangement: fathers and daughters orbiting in separate worlds, each invisible to the other. Here are five approaches that I’ve developed and used throughout the years that have proven to be effective in many situations like this.

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Busting the Myths of the ODD Child

The Surprising Technique That Turns Opposition on Its Head

James Levine • No Comments

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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