Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: The Aftermath of a School Shooting

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: The Aftermath of a School Shooting

By Fiona McDermut

            After yet another school shooting in the United States left 19 children dead, many parents in grief, and a multitude of survivors in agony, it is time we recognize the impact that is left on the survivors of such devastating events. Although children are known to be particularly resilient, such impactful experiences may lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

            In children, PTSD symptoms are often overlooked or confused with other psychiatric disorders. These symptoms may include restlessness, fidgety behavior, trouble focusing or staying organized, reliving traumatic events through thought or play, nightmares, inconsistent sleep patterns, intense fear or sadness, angry outbursts, avoiding topics associated with the traumatic event, and feelings of denial. These emotions may be triggered by something that reminds the child of the event.

            Such devastating events are hard for anyone to understand, especially a child. If your child has experienced trauma, the symptoms can be best treated if they get in contact with a mental healthcare provider as soon as possible. Even if the child is not ready to talk about the events, many psychologists and psychotherapists can understand the situation by observing the child’s behaviors. Multi modal psychotherapy including cognitive behavioral therapy is frequently used in these situations. In certain situations, your child’s therapist may recommend the addition of safe and helpful medication.

            School should be a safe space for children, but after recent events, apprehensiveness in regard to attending school is understandable. If you or your child is experiencing extreme persistent fear following the recent events, your child will benefit from meeting with a mental health professional to get necessary treatment for his or her symptoms.

            If you or someone you know is struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/ptsd.html

Image Source:

https://www.unicef.org/parenting/how-talk-your-children-about-conflict-and-war

Art Therapy: An Adjunct in the Therapeutic Process

Art Therapy: An Adjunct in the Therapeutic Process

By: Julia Massa

Art therapy is defined as “an integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship.” Art therapy is used as an adjunct in the therapeutic process when working with diverse populations, but predominately children. This type of therapy can be exceptionally beneficial for parents of a child who has a medical illness or struggles with expressing or verbalizing their feelings or thoughts. Though this form of therapy is not commonly used when treating the adult population, it is frequently used diagnostically for those experiencing illness, trauma, or a mental health condition. For instance, art therapy can be an effective treatment for individuals diagnosed with cancer or traumatic brain injury.

Art therapists typically work in hospitals, psychiatric, and rehabilitation settings, as well as other clinical and community settings. In particular, art therapy can help support an individual’s ability to cope with certain medical challenges as well as long or short-term hospitalizations. This type of therapy can serve as an outlet for those who have difficulty expressing their daily thoughts. The creative process allows an individual to foster self-esteem as well as self-awareness.

Using a variety of forms of expressive art, such as dance, music, writing, visual arts, drama, etc. can allow an individual to not only express, but reflect on their own thoughts and emotions. In turn, an individual can explore and understand why they react to their experiences in a particular way and how they can initiate change.  Art therapy can be a key enhancer towards personal growth.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.atcb.org/what-is-art-therapy/

https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/art-therapy

Night Terrors: Terror Filled Sleep for Children

Unlike nightmares, night terrors are consistent episodes of intense screaming, crying, trashing, or fear during sleep. These episodes are reoccurring and usually occur in children between the ages of 3-12. About 1 to 6 in 100 children have night terrors, which occur in both boys and girls and children of all races. Night terrors are very rare, occur 3-6% in children, and typically tend to run in families. About 80% of children have a family member who experiences the same thing.

How are night terrors different from nightmares?

  • Nightmares commonly occur during REM sleep, while night terrors do not and will occur during non-REM sleep. You might find that it is hard to wake your child during a night terror episode and they will most likely not remember what occurred the next morning.

Signs & Symptoms:

  • Fast heart rate
  • Fast breathing
  • Sweating
  • Dilated pupils
  • Flailing around in bed
  • Screaming
  • Looks awake but confused
  • Not talking
  • Non-responsive
  • Cannot recognize that a parent is there
  • Acts upset or scared

What causes Night Terrors?

Night terrors are caused by an over-arousal of the central nervous system during sleep. The following factors have been noted in children who have experienced night terrors:

  • Overtired, ill, or stressed
  • Taking new medicine
  • Sleeping in a new environment
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Having too much caffeine

How can you help your child?

The best way to help your child is to wait it out and make sure they do not get hurt during the night terror episode. Also, it is important to note that it is best to not wake your child during the episode. Waking them during this episode can cause more disorientation and confusion. However, you can help prevent future night terrors by:

  • Reducing the child’s stress
  • Create a bedtime routine that is relaxing and simple
  • Make sure the child gets enough sleep
  • Do not let your child stay up too late

If night terrors occur repeatedly, talk to your child’s doctor to see if further evaluations and/or referrals are needed.

If you are someone you know appears to be suffering from issues linked to night terrors, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201)368-3700 or (212)722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Sources: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/terrors.html

https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/night-terrors

Image: https://www.alaskasleep.com/blog/night-terrors-vs-nightmares-how-to-help-terrified-child

Addiction: Supporting My Adult Child Through Addiction

Addiction: Supporting My Adult Child Through Addiction
By Emma Yasukawa

Being a parent means that your children always come first and from a young age, you teach them to make good decisions because children form plenty of life decisions on their own. For example, there are plenty of adult children who make the decision on whether or not they will try drugs or alcohol; even after hearing all of the possible side-effects and risks of addiction. This decision ultimately has an effect on parents and may leave them second-guessing their parenting skills and whether or not they did something wrong as parents.

If you are a parent of an adult child who is not making good decisions and their future seems uncertain, this can be a heavy burden on you. You must take a deep breath and remind yourself that your child is no longer your responsibility legally, and that they inevitably chose this path. Though, there are a few ways that a parent can help their adult child dealing with addiction:

1. Adult children who are addicted to a substance tend to feel as if the whole world is against them and that they feel as if they ‘had no other choice.’ As a parent it is important to remind your child that it was their conscious decision that leads them to where they are. Ultimately, this can remind them that they always have a choice and that it is not too late to seek help.

2. As a parent, you will always want to support your child emotionally and financially if needed. It is a parent’s heart to want to always help, but sometimes you are causing more harm than good. It is important to offer assistance and support but only to the degree that you are able to, and knowing that it is actually bettering your child’s future.

3. Love your child. Love comes in many different forms and sometimes integrating tough love is the best kind of love. This means holding him/her accountable for their behavior, and possibly setting up an intervention if needed.

4. While it is easy for the addicted child to become the center of attention, it is important to not allow this to affect the rest of your family. Of course it will be on everyone’s mind but, it should not get to the point where it will split up a family.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com

Resources: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/lifetime-connections/201410/7-tips-mothers-adult-addicts

Image Source: https://vertavahealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Addictioncampuses.com-Getting-Help-For-An-Adult-Child-Addicted-To-Drugs-And-Alcohol.jpg
 

Parenting during COVID-19

Parenting during COVID-19

By: Alexa Greenbaum

Parenting in confinement during COVID-19 has many challenges. For many, the home has become the office and the classroom, making it more difficult to be productive and motivated. During this stressful time in isolation it can be very difficult to keep children occupied while also working remotely, dealing with finances, and navigating the danger of the coronavirus. However, by creating structure, setting boundaries, and encouraging open communication, parents can improve their family dynamic.

Parents are having to take on more responsibilities than ever before. Especially in a very uncertain time it is normal for children and parents to feel anxious, stressed, and overwhelmed. As a result, many parents and children are reacting to today’s stressors by acting out or regressing to behaviors long outgrown. Due to the additional stressors that come with COVID-19, parents are taking on too much which is causing parents to feel stressed, frustrated, and resentful. According to the APA’s Stress in America survey, “73% of parents report family responsibilities as a significant source of stress.” This can erode the feeling of mutual support and respect that is crucial to a healthy relationship.

To help, creating some structure in your life, such as a routine and designating a workspace for children to do their schoolwork and homework can be an effective way to set boundaries and help a family cope with stress. Thanking your child for allowing you to do your work, is an effective tool as it positively reinforces your child to continue giving you the space you need to be productive.

Sharing and designating daily responsibilities can improve the quality of a parent’s relationship with their children. Working together as a family and designating different tasks is something you and your children can control, and it teaches children to focus on those things they can control when feeling stressed.

To help parents create a healthy family dynamic in the climate of COVID-19, the way parents talk to their kids may need to be readjusted as well. Initiating regular open conversations with their kids. Giving your children your undivided attention can help a family work together to better understand, acknowledge, and address any stressors children are experiencing. Calming your children’s fears is important.

Take advantage of this time together, it can be an opportunity for your relationship with your kids to grow, but don’t forget to take care of yourself! For support, discussing experiences with friends, relatives, or a telehealth mental health professional can be helpful. At Arista Counseling, we have a multitude of different therapists that can help you.

If you or someone you know is looking for support, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Sources:

https://www.apa.org/topics/covid-19/parenting-during-pandemic

https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/managing-stress

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/little-house-calls/202003/parenting-during-covid-19

Image Source:

https://www.parkview.com/community/dashboard/dealing-with-parenting-stress-during-covid-19

COVID-19: Parenting in a Stressful Time

COVID-19: Parenting in a Stressful Time

By: Alexa Greenbaum

Parenting in confinement during COVID-19 has many challenges. For many, the home has become the office and the classroom, making it more difficult to be productive and motivated. During this stressful time in isolation, it can be very difficult to keep children occupied while also working remotely, dealing with finances, and navigating the danger of the coronavirus. However, by creating structure, setting boundaries, and encouraging open communication, parents can improve their family dynamic.

Parents are having to take on more responsibilities than ever before. Especially in a very uncertain time, it is normal for children and parents to feel anxious, stressed, and overwhelmed. As a result, many parents and children are reacting to today’s stressors by acting out or regressing to behaviors long outgrown. Due to the additional stressors that come with COVID-19, parents are taking on too much which is causing parents to feel stressed, frustrated, and resentful. According to the APA’s Stress in America survey, “73% of parents report family responsibilities as a significant source of stress.” This can erode the feeling of mutual support and respect that is crucial to a healthy relationship.

To help, creating some structure in your life, such as a routine and designating a workspace for children to do their schoolwork and homework can be an effective way to set boundaries and help a family cope with stress. Thanking your child for allowing you to do your work, is an effective tool as it positively reinforces your child to continue giving you the space you need to be productive.

Sharing and designating daily responsibilities can improve the quality of a parent’s relationship with their children. Working together as a family and designating different tasks is something you and your children can control, and it teaches children to focus on those things they can control when feeling stressed.

To help parents create a healthy family dynamic in the climate of COVID-19, the way parents talk to their kids may need to be readjusted as well. Initiating regular open conversations with their kids. Giving your children your undivided attention can help a family work together to better understand, acknowledge, and address any stressors children are experiencing. Calming your children’s fears is important.

Take advantage of this time together, it can be an opportunity for your relationship with your kids to grow, but don’t forget to take care of yourself! For support, discussing experiences with friends, relatives, or a telehealth mental health professional can be helpful. At Arista Counseling, we have a multitude of different therapists that can help you.

If you or someone you know is looking for support, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Sources:

https://www.apa.org/topics/covid-19/parenting-during-pandemic

https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/managing-stress

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/little-house-calls/202003/parenting-during-covid-19

Image Source:

https://www.parkview.com/community/dashboard/dealing-with-parenting-stress-during-covid-19

Parenting: Introverted Children

By: Yael Berger

Initially, one might assume that it is certainly easier to raise an introvert than an extrovert. In theory, introverted children demand less attention and less maintenance than extroverted children. An introvert can also be viewed as being more self-contained, which in turn can be thought of as a calmer child, than an extravert. However, it is not necessarily the case that introverted children are easier to raise.

In actuality, the child’s level of extroversion has less to do with the ease of parenting than one might think. What really determines how hard it will be to raise a particular child is the level of similarity between the parents or parents and the child. If the parent and child share a similar constitution, it will be easier for the parent to determine the child’s needs, even if he or she is not exceedingly verbal about them. Conversely, if the parent and child have very different natures, it might be nearly impossible for the parent to decipher what the child’s needs are.

If the parent and child differ in disposition, it may also cause negative feelings toward the child in the parent. Because parents usually believe that their lifestyle is the “right” one, they will be inclined to try to change their child’s personality, which does not work and is damaging to the child and his or her relationship with the parent. For example, if the parents of introverted children attempt to raise them to be an extrovert, they will feel as though the person closest to them is rejecting who they truly are, resulting in feelings of shame. Once there is a barrier between parents and their children, it can make a child more susceptible to anxiety and depression later on. Because children are essentially incapable of affirming their worth internally, they must feel validated by their parents in order to feel nurtured and accepted.

In conclusion, it is best for the parents to attempt to parent children differently depending on their individual differences, as opposed to the common view that one form of parenting is the best form. In order to raise a happy and well-adjusted child, parents should understand and learn their children’s needs and level of introversion before forming a parenting style. For example, introverted mothers have to remind themselves to provide their extraverted child with more social contact than an introverted child. To have the best relationship with their children, parents should try not to have unreasonable expectations and understand their children’s personalities first. The way a family parents could shape the development of their children and impact their lives.

If you are someone you know appears to be suffering from issues linked to parenting, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201)368-3700 or (212)722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evolution-the-self/201901/is-it-easier-or-harder-parent-introverted-child

Image: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/8-tips-for-helping-shy-ki_b_5913864

Recommended Book: Nurture by Nature by Paul D. Tiegar

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Passive Aggressiveness: Origins and How to Respond

Passive Aggressiveness: Origins and How to Respond

By Crystal Tsui

At one point or another, we have all seen or engaged in passive aggressive behaviors, whether it’s giving the silent treatment, making subtle insults, or sending one of those “as per my last email” emails. We do this because we are suppressing our anger or frustration from someone or something. Fear and anger are controlled by a region in the brain called the amygdala. Passive aggressiveness stems from that basic emotion of anger.

Anger is neither good nor bad. It is a basic, spontaneous, neurophysiological part of human emotion. As children, we were often scolded or punished for expressing anger. For example, throwing a temper tantrum is considered unacceptable. So at a young age, we started to perceive anger as taboo. As a result, we learned to suppress our feelings and engage in an indirect expression of hostility through subtle acts.

Children are most likely to act in a passive aggressive manner. Nonetheless, children are the most susceptible to change. Teaching our children that anger is just like every other emotion and directing their anger towards a positive, productive activity will help the child grow into an adult knowing how to manage their emotions properly. Some positive activities may include writing, exercising, drawing, meditating, and listening to music. These activities provide a form of distraction that can alleviate one’s mood, by stimulating another part of the brain that is not associated with the amygdala.

However, adults act this way as well because it’s easier to be passive than to be assertive and emotionally open. When children are taught to suppress their anger and they mature into an adult, it’s harder for them to stand up for themselves and to confront their source of anger.

It is best to avoid raising your voice, lecturing, or knee-jerk consequences that can exacerbate the situation. If an individual is trying to express their anger through communication, it is best to listen instead of reprimanding them for being angry.

When someone is passive-aggressive towards you, fight the urge to mirror their behavior. Instead confront the behavior because when passive-aggressive behavior is confronted directly and assertively, the hidden anger is weakened. Assertive communication and being emotionally open, no matter how hard it is, is the most effective way to acknowledge and accept anger. This builds a foundation for lifelong emotional intelligence and strong, secure relationships.

If you or someone you know has difficulty managing their anger, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/passive-aggressive-diaries/201712/the-angry-smile-responding-passive-aggressive-behavior

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/passive-aggressive-diaries/201709/how-respond-effectively-young-persons-anger

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-passive-aggressive-behavior-2795481

https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/pixar/images/7/7a/Io_Anger_standard2.jpg/revision/latest/scale-to-width-down/2000?cb=20150425021210

Depression and Empty Nest Syndrome

Depression and Empty Nest Syndrome

Depression and Empty Nest Syndrome

By: Lauren Hernandez

                It’s about time that college students may return back to their parent’s home for the summer. At first, many parents are excited for their children to go to college or begin their professional career, however, it is common for parents to feel sad, lonely, and experience grief when their children leave their childhood home. Typically women will struggle more than men during these times, especially when women were full-time mothers. It is important to know that Empty Nest Syndrome is a transitional period in life rather than a clinical disorder or diagnosis. Although the change brings about conflicting emotions, parents are encouraged to support their children in the gradual process towards adulthood.

Symptoms of Empty Nest Syndrome:

  • Sadness
  • Excessive crying
  • Loss
  • Depression
  • Loneliness
  • Distress
  • A loss of purpose and meaning in life

 

If you or someone you know is experiencing the feelings associated with Empty Nest Syndrome, it is important to refocus your lifestyle and relationships with those living with you. Ways to cope with Empty Nest symptoms include starting new hobbies such as reading, golfing, listening to podcasts, or starting yoga classes. Activities like these may force you to leave the house and engage in a stimulating action which can relieve depressive symptoms and allow you to find something new to put your energy into.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Empty Nest Syndrome, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

 

 

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/empty-nest-syndrome

 

Image Source:

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&id=6506DC3576B86ABB469D5EF9E40198007E7F0D0C&thid=OIP.M_L_B_dbI0s1-1RXN8nDQgHaKg&mediaurl=http%3A%2F%2Fstatic.oprah.com%2Fimages%2F200906%2Fomag%2F200906-omag-empty-nest-220×312.jpg&exph=312&expw=220&q=empty+nest+syndrome&selectedindex=8&ajaxhist=0&vt=0&eim=1,2,6

 

What it Means to be on the Spectrum

By: Estephani Diaz

Did you know that about one out of sixty eight children are considered to be on the spectrum? Being on the spectrum indicates a person has a set of behavioral and developmental challenges related to autism. Some of the challenges they may face are: difficulties with social interactions, poor motor coordination, repetitive behaviors, and many more. They may also have a hard time in school when it comes to playing with other kids or simply trying to learn in class.

Autism, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a developmental disorder affecting communication and social skills in more than 100,000 children across the U.S. It is a brain developmental disorder seen in early childhood and carried out through adulthood. Every child diagnosed with autism has completely different symptoms than another child with the same diagnoses. Some symptoms may be severe, while others are mild. Some signs that might indicate a child suffers from autism are:

  • Delayed speech
  • Repetitive behaviors
  • Little to no eye contact
  • Not responsive to their name
  • Obsessive interests

If you believe your child might have ASD, visit your doctor for a developmental screening and comprehensive diagnostic evaluation. Since ASD cannot be predicted by genes or blood tests, a doctor needs to observe the behaviors of the child to properly make a diagnoses.

If you or someone you know is suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit  http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.