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New Article on Therapeutic Consulting

Posted an article today titled “Therapeutic Consulting For Teens And Young Adults?”. It talks about who therapeutic consultants are, what we do, and how we can help families. For all of those who already know what we do, please leave a comment telling us what we forgot. And for all of those who are somewhat murky on the subject, let us know if you now feel fully educated. Of course there will still be lots of questions, but we’re all ears of course!

On a related note, I’d like to mention I spent the last week visiting programs in Arizona. I had many positive experiences and I’d especially like to extend a big “Thank You!” to the following, in no particular order, for hosting me:

Some of you may have noticed the blog posts are starting to slow down. As much as I love writing them I have to say that things are really starting to pick up and I simply don’t have the time to write a post every single day. Thankfully, busy is good and I’ll do my best to keep up.
 

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One of every Twelve Teens Suffer from Anxiety

The National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) reports that in the U.S., about 8 percent of adolescents (13-18 years old) are experiencing a diagnosable anxiety disorder. They further report that while most of these teens have been experiencing symptoms since the age of 6, only 18 percent of them have received treatment for their symptoms. Some anxiety is quite normal, for example becoming anxious prior to an important exam. In contrast to this rather short lived experience of anxiety, the symptoms for teens who are experiencing anxiety disorders typically last at least six months, and may increase without proper treatment and support.

While there are a range of psychotropic medications used to help those with anxiety disorders: “The Child/Adolescent Anxiety Multimodal Study (CAMS), in addition to other studies on treating childhood anxiety disorders, found that high-quality cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), given with or without medication, can effectively treat anxiety disorders in children. One small study even found that a behavioral therapy designed to treat social phobia in children was more effective than an antidepressant medication.”

Parents need to know what to look for to identify that their child or teen may be struggling with anxiety.

What to look for:

  • Body Aches – Complaints of stomach aches, headaches, tooth aches or other body pains that do not have physical reasons. Always make sure you listen to your child and check out the possible physical reasons for the complaint.
  • Changes at school – When the “A” student starts to get in trouble, or refuses to go to school, it is time to look into the issues further
  • Attitude – Some moodiness is expected as children move into their teen years, but excessive mood swings or changes in attitude can signal a problem.
  • New Habits – Be aware if all of a sudden your child begins to bite their nails, or shake their legs, all of these nervous twitches and habits are their way of letting you know that something more is going on.
While teen anxiety can be confusing, parents can find resources who can help.  There are treatment options locally and nationally that work with teens struggling with anxiety disorders. Whether you’re looking for a therapist or a treatment program or would like more information about therapeutic and educational consulting, Prepare To Bloom, LLC can help. Please give us a call at 650-888-4575 or visit PrepareToBloom.com for more information.
 

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Attachment Disorders in the Adoptive Population

Adoption and Attachment DisorderAs I was doing some research on Attachment Disorders, I came across an interview with Dr. Jane Aronson, “Orphan Doctor” to Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s family. Although the interview is now four years old, the conversation struck me as inspirational on one hand, as she is a strong supporter of adoption, and somewhat confusing on the other.

The inspirational part of this interview shines through when she talks about the myth of there being something of a magical age where younger children transition from perfectly adoptable to going forever unadopted. Indeed, she makes a solid case for adopting older children, especially if the couple who is adopting the child is older themselves.

Dr. Aronson also provides some commentary that attempts to debunk the argument that if you don’t adopt children before a certain age then they will suffer from Attachment Disorder. She says:

Attachment disorder is likely more based on brain chemistry and brain damage. And a lot of these magazines that you read aren’t tapping into research done by people who are at lofty universities who really study attachment from the basis of the physiology and anatomy of the brain. And attachment likely has more to do with brain damage that occurs during the pregnancy, due to malnourishment, exposure to toxins in the environment, infections during the pregnancy, exposure to alcohol and drugs and smoking.

Here’s the confusing part. Unfortunately, Dr. Aronson doesn’t provide the studies so we might verify her claim. It is well established in the therapeutic community, however, that some attachment disorders are indeed caused by inadequate nurturing environments and not necessarily by issues during pregnancy. The Mayo Clinic, a top research facility in the country reports the causes of Reactive Attachment Disorder to be:

A child whose needs are ignored or met with emotionally or physically abusive responses from caregivers comes to expect rejection or hostility. The child then becomes distrustful and learns to avoid social contact. Emotional interactions between babies and caregivers may affect development in the brain, leading to attachment problems and affecting personality and relationships throughout life.

Dr Aronson’s confusing claim does not, in any way, reduce her argument for the need for and the advantages of adopting older children. In fact, though we would love to see all children adopted, parents adopting older children could be better informed of a child’s attachment disorder because attachment disorders manifest themselves before 5 years of age, and older children are more easily diagnosed.

As for the adoption aspect of the article, Dr Aronson somewhat stigmatizes American mothers who give their children up for adoption as being drug addled, while glossing over virtually all of the potential pitfalls of international adoption. In my experience working with at risk or out of control adopted youth has shown that serious trouble can be found in both international and domestic adoption.

If you are having difficulty with an adopted child, if he or she is having trouble in school, trouble getting along with their peers or authority, lack of social skills, lying, hyperactivity, ADHD, addictions, drug abuse, running away, mood disorders, or stealing please contact Prepare To Bloom, LLC at 650-888-4575 or visit our web page at PrepareToBloom.com

Further Reading:
Mayo Clinic Definition : Reactive Attachment Disorder
HelpGuide Article : Attachment Disorder

 
 

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What we do at Prepare To Bloom, LLC

Prepare To Bloom, LLC

Prepare to Bloom was formed in 2011 by Shayna Abraham, M.A., who has over a decade of experience in the therapeutic and educational consulting industry. She is well known for her work with another reputable consulting firm based in California. Shayna brings a unique set of skills, knowledge, experience, and expertise to her new company. Shayna has worked with hundreds of families and successfully assisted in the placement of clients in academic and therapeutic settings.

What is a Therapeutic and Educational Consultant?
A therapeutic consultant, sometimes called a therapeutic placement consultant, is someone who assesses a family’s needs and helps to create a plan for intervention. Adolescents and young adults who work with therapeutic consultants may be struggling with anxiety, depression, disrespect to authority, identity issues, academic failure, substance abuse, anger or aggression, poor choice of friends, oppositional defiance disorder, eating disorders, and/or learning disorders.

Consultants create individualized plans for adolescents and young adults. Sometimes the client needs an out-of-home placement in a program that is designed to meet their precise needs. In other situations, local treatment professionals may be recommended for the client and/or family. In all cases, however, the consultant coordinates with all of the appropriate professionals, schools, and/or programs.
How do you choose the right consultant?
Choosing a consultant is similar to choosing a therapist. It is a very personal process as you will be sharing some private information with the consultant.
Comfort – First and foremost, you need to feel comfortable speaking openly with your consultant. Don’t be afraid to ask your consultant pointed and straight forward questions during your interview process.
Background and Training – Consider the consultant’s background and training. It is important that the consultant participates in ongoing training. This training should include ongoing visits to the programs and professionals that s/he recommends.
Specialty – Consider the consultant’s specialty. Make sure that the consultant has experience working with your family’s set of concerns.
Customer Service – Consider the consultant’s customer service – Customer service is essential in a field that is built around individualized counseling and relationship building. Find a consultant who is readily available and is willing to meet on an unlimited basis.

Click the image above to view our brochure

For additional information about Therapeutic and Educational Consulting and Prepare To Bloom, LLC please call us at (650)888-4575 or check us out online at PrepareToBloom.com.
 
 

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Blood Tests to Diagnose Schizophrenia

The diagnosis of schizophrenia and other mental health disorders is increasingly becoming a more scientific process.  A new blood test from veripsych looks at biomarkers found in the patients blood that are associated with schizophrenia.  The company partnered with Cambridge University in creating the new blood test.  While the blood test alone is not intended to diagnose schizophrenia, it can assist a psychiatrist in making the determination.  The plans are to continue research and develop blood tests to help identify markers for depression and bipolar disorder as well.  It is clear that the way we think about mental illness will continue to evolve as a result of these new tools.

 
 

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Ameliorating loneliness through the use of technology

Loneliness seems to be here to stay. Although western civilization has allowed us to connect with more people faster  and more frequently than ever before, many of us find ourselves suffering from feelings of abject solitude. Perhaps stimulating our sense of community over long distances through text, pictures, and video simply isn’t enough to deliver that feeling of well-connectedness. Shaking hands, giving a hug, or getting a real pat on the back are all impossibilities when we’re sitting at our computers, talking to someone many hundreds of miles away. What if we could use technology to help fill this seemingly impossible chasm pulling us apart?Well, a new Stanford research paper titled “Intimate Heartbeats: Opportunities for Affective Communication Technology” aims to point us in the right direction.

The research attempts to tackle the disparaging lack of a physical connection over long-distance communication by inserting the heartbeat of the communicating partner into the auditory stream. In a way, they wanted to know “What if you could hear how someone else is feeling”.  They used virtual reality to simulate how physically close participants were to each other when they communicated. How close do you stand to someone when you first meet them?  They tracked eye contact as well as responses to questions. They found that self-reported intimacy was higher when the participants could hear the other person’s heartbeat than when they couldn’t. Furthermore, the effect was equal to that of physically looking the other person in the eye.

The heartbeat doesn’t even need to be heard, either. It can be a sensation felt on the skin. The authors mention a ring, but one can also imagine something of a “heartbeat headphones” type of device that might be connected to a bracelet or even be a part of regular headphones. This is very promising research and raises many questions; Does this work equally well for all people? Can this be used as a therapeutic mechanism for people who exhibit antisocial behavior or who may have disorders with symptoms that parallel loneliness? Maybe we’ll know some of these answers soon, as the authors seem to be on the right track.

Here is their conclusion:

In this age of the Internet in which people interact more and more with their computers and less and less with each other,we need new ways to communicate emotions and maintain close connections. Decades of research have shown the importance of physiological signals for our own emotional experiences. This study presents evidence that physiological signals can be important communicative tools as well. Heartbeats are shown to be a powerful intimate nonverbal cue. Because of the intimate nature of heartbeat communication, it could potentially prove to be beneficial for social connectedness. Similarly, heartbeat communication might also improve emotion recognition and communication. This opens up a future in which we augment our natural emotion communication by new technologies that share the biosignals carrying our emotions.

Loneliness is obviously a very important topic for many of us. Google returns over 24 million results for the search term. There are countless blog articles devoted to the subject. Here are some written by people who experience or think about loneliness: Dreaming of Quiet Places, A Poem on Loneliness, Comparing Loneliness to AlonenessThe Complicated Simple Life. And a good professional read by Dr. Booth.

 

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Major Depression and the Premature Aging of Immune Cells

A new UCSF led study, published in PLoS ONE, found that people who suffer from certain cases of major depression may have an elevated risk of suffering from serious illness. Important to note is that it’s the length of time the individual goes untreated that seems to be the critical factor. People with long-term depression who go untreated for a long period of time have a higher risk of getting sick from other physical diseases because their immune cells age faster. More specifically, individuals who were tested whom had been untreated for their chronic depression for 9 years had a corresponding 7 years of “accelerated cell aging”.

As a next step, UCSF researchers plan to replicate these preliminary findings in a larger sample of depressed individuals in order to explain why certain people develop shortened telomeres and physical disease, and how that process can be combated. Depressed individuals not taking antidepressants are currently being enrolled for this ongoing study, and interested participants may inquire at (415) 476-7254 or mood@ucsf.edu.

Source

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2011 in Articles, News, Research

 

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