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Category Archives: News

New website to highlight our new services

New Prepare To Bloom Web PageI’d like to take a moment to talk about the new web page. I’m really excited about the new look and feel. It’s much more in line, from a design point of view, with the brochures and business cards I have. But there’s a lot more to the new web site than a pretty new layout. The new design coincides with the official launching of my new service structure. I’m very proud of all of the hard work I put into building a large network and expansive database of professionals, programs, and services but program placement is not the only service I provide.

Families often reach me after they’ve had several less-than-stellar experiences. Between the constant bombardment of marketing and the high expectations placed on parents and children by our culture, parents must do something if a child acts out. The direction they subsequently end up going may not be ideal. It is exceptionally difficult for parents to find the optimal resources when our society continues to stigmatize mental health concerns. So when a family reaches out for a therapist, they are doing their best but did you know there are over 30,000 psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers in California? Can a parent really be expected to find the most appropriate help for their child?

I help connect families with resources.

Sometimes this takes the form of finding the most appropriate therapist. Other times it may be finding a best-fit program. If contact early enough in this sometimes lengthy and expensive process, I can help to prevent poor decisions and save time, heart ache, and money. I’ve talked to many of you about how I have five distinct services and have finally put it in writing:

  1. Prevention – For families who are just beginning to see the signs and the symptoms of trouble.
  2. Family Support – For families in need of a new or modified treatment team.
  3. Placement – For families who need options outside of the home.
  4. After Care – Providing best fit options in a safe and secure ‘real world’ environment.
  5. Home Planning – Creating structure and support through past learnings.

Not only have I updated and articulated the new services I’m offering, but I’ve also built some illustrative tools. There’s a somewhat complex flow chart showing the process many struggling youth and their families go through. There’s an illustration showing how Prepare To Bloom fits into the puzzle that is the therapeutic treatment team. And finally there’s an illustration that shows the general growth pattern I see with some of my clients and how Prepare To Bloom provides the best services available at each critical step.

I’ve tried to tie up a lot of loose ends too. I’ve added a lot of information to the Resources and FAQ pages. I’ve tried to ensure the page is accessible to people using older browsers on older computers, but the site really shines when you’re using a modern browser such as Chrome 12+, Firefox 5+, or even Internet Explorer 9+.

Please check out the new site and let me know what you think.

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Bullying And Being Bullied: A Growing Problem

Bullying has been a hot topic in the news recently as the case of Phoebe Prince was brought to light by the media. For those who have not heard about it, the Associated Press printed the story on May 9th.  In this story, they reported that “Phoebe Prince was a recently arrived Irish immigrant, 15 and emotionally fragile, when high school bullying over two boys she dated apparently drove her to hang herself with a scarf in her Massachusetts home.” While her story is severe, it brings to light just how serious of a problem bullying has become. Bullying was once thought to be a normal part of growing up, but it has come to light that it can also have dire consequences. While there are a lot of states that have laws and schools that have rules protecting victims of bullying, this is simply not enough. Parents, teachers, and the local community must make the prevention of bullying a priority.  Our commitment should start in the elementary school years and extending throughout our formalized education system. Getting involved to stop bullying starts with understanding bullying.

What is Bullying?
Education.com defines bullying as

  • An intentional act. The child who bullies wants to harm the victim; it is no accident.
  • Characterized by repeat occurrences. Bullying is not generally considered a random act, nor a single incident.
  • A power differential. A fight between two kids of equal power is not bullying; bullying is a fight where the child who bullies has some advantage or power over the child who is victimized.

Bullying may take place face-to-face, on the playground, or in the classroom. Bullying behaviors may be physical – kicking, hitting, spitting. The behaviors may be verbal – teasing, name calling, and threats or it can also happen online – this is considered cyber-bullying.

Bullying has no boundaries, it happens regardless of socioeconomic conditions, gender, race, religion.  With that being said, it tends to happen differently between the genders.  Boys, as with most of their interactions, tend to be more physical with their bullying.  Girls on the other hand, tend to be more indirect with their bullying, for example trying to ruin other girl’s reputations.

Even though boys and girls bully differently, the signs that your child may be the victim of bullying are the same. Bullying is something that kids often feel ashamed about so don’t share it directly with parents. As with other problems, parents know their kids and have to trust themselves if they feel something is not as it should be. Some of the signs parents can look for are anxiety and concerns about safety, general sadness, low self esteem, aggression, loss of items with no explanation, physical complaints (headaches, stomach aches etc.), avoiding recess or being at school during free times, and frequent unexplained injuries to self or property.

What can parents do if they suspect their child is being bullied?
  1. Parents need to listen to their child, be supportive, believe your child, and try not to be judgmental about the situation.
  2. Make school officials aware of the situation so they can ensure your child’s safety at school. They can also access information on bullying and add it to the the curriculum to help all students feel empowered to address bullying.
  3. Parents need to avoid aggressive responses and try to maintain a calm emotionally appropriate response. This modeling behavior will help your child to learn how to behave in these difficult situations.
What can parents do if their child is the bully?
  1. Talk with your child and help them to become aware that their behavior is hurting other kids. Talk to them about what they do with their friends, the games they play, how they treat one another. Work with your child to give them alternative ways to show their leadership and strength.
  2. Examine the behaviors in the home, are they aggressive? If so, work on new ways to communicate more effectively. Your child will model the behaviors s/he sees at home. Create rules at home to support this and create a zero-tolerance for bullying policy in the home.
  3. Talk with the school to get a better understanding of the behaviors they are seeing and how it is being addressed. Open communication is the best way to have an understanding so that home and school can send a consistent message.
If your child is bullying or being bullied, Prepare To Bloom, LLC may be able help.
Therapeutic and Educational consultants are professionals who may be able to help to locate appropriate resources for your family. To learn more, check out our website at PrepareToBloom.com or speak with a consultant now by calling us at (650)-888-4575. In addition, there are a lot of resources for parents and school officials on the web to learn more about bullying and prevention. Education.com is very comprehensive with regards to bullying and how to prevent it in your school or community. Also, to learn more about what the California Department of Education has to say about bullying, check out http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/ss/se/bullyingprev.asp.
 
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Posted by on May 11, 2011 in Families, News, Parenting

 

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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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Second Annual National Take Back Day

Announcement from the DEA

News Release [print-friendly page]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19, 2011
Contact: Public Affairs
Number: (202) 307-7977


Over 5,300 Sites Join DEA Nationwide Effort
to Take-Back Prescription Drugs on April 30th

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s)
second National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is this Saturday, April 30th. More than 5,300 sites nationwide have joined the effort that seeks to prevent pill abuse and theft. This is hundreds more sites than were established for the event last fall. The free event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time.

Government, community, public health and law enforcement partners at these sites will be working together to collect expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs that are potentially dangerous if left in the family’s medicine cabinet.

Last September, Americans turned in over 242,000 pounds—121 tons—of prescription drugs at nearly 4,100 sites operated by more than 3,000 of the DEA’s state and local law enforcement partners. Also last fall, Congress passed the Safe and Secure Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow users of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them. The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances. DEA is presently drafting regulations to implement the Act.

Collection sites in every local community can be found by going to www.dea.gov and clicking on the “Got Drugs?” banner at the top of the home page, which connects to a database that citizens can search by zip code, city or county. This site is continuously updated with new take-back locations. In addition, interested media can now go to: www.nationaltakebackday.com to download a public service announcement about the initiative.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high—more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin combined, according to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Studies show that individuals that abuse prescription drugs often obtained them from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away – both potential safety and health hazards.

“The overwhelming public response to DEA’s first nationwide Take-Back event last fall not only rid homes of potentially harmful prescription drugs, but was an unprecedented opportunity to educate everyone about the growing prescription drug abuse problem,” said DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart. “Studies have shown that, for many, prescription drugs are the very first drugs they abuse—and all too often they aren’t the last. That is why we are committed to helping Americans keep their homes safe by ridding their medicine cabinets of expired, unused, and unwanted drugs.”

“I encourage every American to take advantage of this valuable opportunity to safely dispose of unused, un-needed, or expired prescription drugs,” said Gil Kerlikowkse, Director of National Drug Control Policy.  “Preventing these readily available and potentially deadly drugs from being diverted and misused is something each and every one of us can do to help reduce the epidemic of prescription drug abuse that is harming so many Americans.”    

Other participants in this initiative include the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy; the American Association of Poison Control Centers; the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America; D.A.R.E. America; the Federation of State Medical Boards; the U. S. Health Resources and Services Administration; the International Association of Chiefs of Police; the National Association of Attorneys General; the National Family Partnership; the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives; the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy; the National District Attorneys Association; the National Sheriffs Association; and The Partnership at Drugfree.org.


 
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Posted by on April 30, 2011 in Addiction, News

 

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Artifact Discovered in Southern Utah

Prepare To Bloom FlowerThe Salt Lake Tribune reported on April 22nd that a group of kids in a southern Utah outdoor therapeutic program happened across an amazing find. During a hike, the kids came across a perfectly preserved bowl that may be nearly 1,000 years old.  This discovery will add to the incredible experiences participants in this group have had while at Aspen Achievement Academy.  To read the full story click here. 

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2011 in News

 

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Happier Teens are Healthier Teens

According to a study at the University of South Florida completed by Emily Shaffer-Hudkins and her team, happier teens are healthier teens.  Her findings were reported in Springer’s Journal Applied Research in Quality of Life.  Shaffer-Hudkins’ used a sample of 401 students in grades 6-8 from a suburban southeastern middle school in the United States.  She had the teens rate their overall satisfaction with life.  They were asked to rate their feelings both positive and negative about their lives.  After going through these criteria, the teens discussed their physical health.

The study concludes: “Findings from the current study underscore the importance of attending to positive wellness-focused indicators of mental health among youth. Subjective well-being is a significant, unique, and primary predictor of important physical health outcomes in youth and is more strongly associated with physical functioning than is psychopathology. Examining only psychopathology may lead to an underestimation of the relationship between mental health and physical health in young people.”

If your family needs help returning to the balance of physical and emotional health, Prepare To Bloom, LLC may be able to help you create a plan.  You can learn more about how on the web at PrepareToBloom.com or call (650)888-4575.

 

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Bipolar II Disorder in the News

On every morning news show today it was reported that actress Catherine Zeta-Jones “made the decision to check into a mental health facility for a brief stay to treat her bipolar II disorder.”  This information was reported by Zeta-Jones’ publicist.  When celebrities come forward with mental health disorders it presents an opportunity to reach out and help others who may be struggling.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) up to 2.6% of adults in the U.S. have been diagnosed with a bipolar spectrum disorder.  These disorders are typically diagnosed during the adolescent and young adult years.  Due to this, parents need be aware of the symptoms.

This list of symptoms is from the NIMH website.

Symptoms of mania include: Symptoms of depression include:
Mood Changes

  • Being in an overly silly or joyful mood that’s unusual for your child.
    It is different from times when he or she might usually get silly and have fun.
  • Having an extremely short temper. This is an irritable mood that is unusual.

Behavioral Changes

  • Sleeping little but not feeling tired
  • Talking a lot and having racing thoughts
  • Having trouble concentrating, attention jumping from one thing to the next in an unusual way
  • Talking and thinking about sex more often
  • Behaving in risky ways more often, seeking pleasure a lot, and doing more activities than usual.
Mood Changes

  • Being in a sad mood that lasts a long time
  • Losing interest in activities they once enjoyed
  • Feeling worthless or guilty.

Behavioral Changes

  • Complaining about pain more often, such as headaches, stomach aches, and muscle pains
  • Eating a lot more or less and gaining or losing a lot of weight
  • Sleeping or oversleeping when these were not problems before
  • Losing energy
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide.

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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