Therapy That Works...

Childhood Depression - Can Exercise Prevent Childhood Depression? - By Chris Gearing

Friday, August 08, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing on CBS 11 discuss how exercise can help prevent depression in your child - click here.

Psychological Resilience - How To Strengthen Your Willpower - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discuss how you can build your willpower and take back control - click here.

One of the most important parts of resilience during tough times is the ability to govern your emotions effectively.

Your emotions can overwhelm your logical mind and you can be swept away by the twists and turns of what is happening around you. The resilient mind is able to focus and redirect your mind away from the cascade of stress and anxiety. Many of us slip into negative emotions with ease due to previous traumas.

In fact once you’ve experienced depression, you’re twice as likely to slip back into depression in the future.

Lets face it though, our minds only have so much firepower. Research has proven that willpower is a limited resource, and we can eventually lose our logical minds and let our emotions take over. Our good judgment can be compromised by immediate, disruptive emotions that distract us from solving the problem.

One of the best things you can do to build resilience is to practice remaining calm, focused, and determined in every day situations.

For instance, many of us begin to lose focus at work or eat unhealthy snacks when we are tired or stressed out. However, your focus and willpower can be strengthened like an athlete builds strength through daily training. By practicing focus and remaining logical on a routine basis, you will be able to calm and focus your mind when you need it most.

Sources:

"Willpower" by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney

"Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman

Parenting – How To Discipline Your Child Without Yelling or Spanking - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe how you can properly discipline your child without yelling or spanking - click here.

Spanking or emotional abuse through speaking can have a lifelong, devastating impact, especially on children below the age of 10.

Since many children still need discipline and clear boundaries, you must have other options available to discipline your child when you’ve lost your patience. Here are a few suggestions:

Take A Break

If your child has just acted our severely, you may want to put yourself in a time out first. Take a breath and slow down. Your mind will be clearer and you’ll make better decisions if you are calm and focused. Give yourself a chance to calm down for a few minutes before deciding how to discipline your child and potentially overreacting.

You’re The Model

Since your job as a parent is to teach your child how to manage their emotions, you need to make sure your voice is calm and your body behavior is relaxed. Next pick your words carefully and remember to speak respectfully to your child. This is a wonderful opportunity to teach your child how to speak to others without anger or contempt. Angry parents can be very scary and intimidating, and your child is soaking in every word and action from you.

Rewind and Slow Down

One of the best things you can teach your child is how to effectively understand and solve problems that frustrate and upset us. A wonderful way to teach them how to understand what happened is to walk back through what just happened and explain why they are being disciplined.

There are more effective ways to teach and discipline your child than spanking or yelling.

For instance, removal of privileges is a very effective punishment for most teenagers since it restricts their freedom, which is highly valued during these years.

Remember that every time your child needs to be disciplined, you have another opportunity to teach them the attitudes and behaviors necessary for a successful and happy life.

Source:

"Longitudinal Links between Father's and Mother's Harsh Verbal Discipline and Adolescents' Conduct Problems and Depressive Symptoms," by Ming-Te Wang and Sarah Kenny, in "Child Development," 9/13/13

Parenting - Is Yelling the New Spanking for American Parents? - By Chris Gearing

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discuss the new trend of parents yelling instead of spanking their kids - click here.

Is yelling the new spanking for American parents? Many parents have been warned to not spank their children, so they have turned to yelling as a way to reach their child and correct bad behavior.

But new research suggests that yelling at your child, especially teenagers, can actually make them more resistant to change and better behavior.

Many of us do yell when we are overwhelmed by the moment, and we are often haunted by our words and actions afterward. Rather than resolving the problem and helping our child make a positive change, we make the problem much worse.

Children who are routinely yelled at tend to make one of three choices:

1.) They yell back, which often ends in disaster.

2.) They withdraw into stony silence with resentment brewing beneath the surface

3.) They become silent and anxious while magnifying what happened and the future consequences.

Yelling teaches your child that you are not in control of your emotions at that moment, and it makes them less likely to control their emotions in the future.

In addition, spanking and yelling can increase aggression and resentment, both physically and verbally. Severe yelling or emotional abuse through speaking can have a lifelong, devastating impact, especially on children below the age of 10. Please make sure to watch my next video on this topic – How To Discipline Your Child Without Yelling or Spanking.

Source:

"Longitudinal Links Between Father's and Mother's Harsh Verbal Discipline and Adolescents' Conduct Problems and Depressive Symptoms," by Ming-Te Wang and Sarah Kenny, in "Child Development," 9/13/13

Parenting - Is Spanking or Yelling A Better Way To Discipline Your Kids? - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing on CBS 11 discussing which discipline method is better - spanking or yelling? click here.

Psychological Resilience - Moving Past Adversity Effectively - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discuss how you can move past adversity effectively by using psychological resilience skills - click here.

Inevitably we all encounter disappointments, tragedies, and setbacks in our professional and personal lives. Jobs are lost, beloved parents die, we lose touch with close friends, and dreams for how we wanted out lives to turn out vanish.

However, research has shown that how you handle adversity in your life will actually determine where your life will go next.

Remember that it is not the adversity itself that determines what happens next. It is your reaction to the adversity and how you think about it that ultimately determines where you end up.

If you spiral into negativity, your bad mood will sabotage your ability to effectively solve the problem. You’ll become stuck in the “what if’s” and the agony of the situation. You’ll lose sight of how you can turn this adversity into something beneficial. The situation that seems so awful, so devastating right now can be the catalyst for making you stronger and more effective in the future.

True wisdom is usually hard won, and our challenges in life can be the very events that take us to the next level. Hopefully, after overcoming a setback you will truly value your resilience since you’ve learned that what is happening today is temporary and will not determine tomorrow unless you let it. The rest of your life can and will be determined by the resolve you demonstrate in the moment and your ability to triumph over setbacks.

Moving past adversity requires a particular set of thinking skills that, if used consistently, can take your life to the next level.

This series of presentations will give you some important tips and strategies for how to move past adversity effectively and overcome obstacles in your path.

Childhood Depression - How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Can Help Your Child - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe how Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help your child or teen defeat depression - click here.

One of the saddest facts of modern psychology is the soaring rates of childhood depression and anxiety.

Between 1987 and 1997, the number of kids and teens on mood altering drugs tripled. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for our young people from ages 15 to 24. Most parents couldn’t image that their child’s sadness could ultimately become something that threatens their lives.

The good news is that clinical depression and anxiety are highly treatable in children.

Cognitive behavioral therapy for children is designed to equip them with the tools to help them change their inaccurate, negative thinking and redefine their worldview. Whether negative thinking is from tough times at school or at home or maybe even caused by genetics, cognitive therapy can help them convert negative feelings into realistic, accurate, and optimistic thoughts.

According to the founder of Cognitive therapy, Dr. Aaron Beck, how your child thinks during times of adversity and sadness can determine whether or not they will have a depressive outlook for the rest of their life. Children often take the most catastrophic view of things where problems are permanent, pervasive, and entirely their fault. They often conclude that there is nothing they could do to improve things. Psychologists call this type of hopeless, defeated thinking “learned helplessness.” Learned helplessness becomes a defining philosophy and these children stop trying to change their lives. They give up and give in to negative thinking.

Cognitive therapists help your child see events more accurately and effectively.

They teach kids that adversity is usually short-term and solvable. Many children learn that they can change the outcome of events and setbacks are not always their fault. They learn how to overcome obstacles that seem unfair, unpredictable, and unavoidable.

Cognitive behavioral therapy for children has some of the highest success rates in the industry, and CBT can help inoculate your child against future depression and anxiety.

Since 84% of depressed kids also experience depression as an adult, learning these skills early in life will equip them with the tools for a highly successful and happy future.

Sources:

"The Optimistic Child" by Dr. Martin Seligman

"Treatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety Disorders, Second Edition" by Robert Leahy, Stephen Holland, and Lata McGinn

Childhood Depression - 5 Ways Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Can Help Your Child - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing list five ways that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help your child fight off depression for the rest of their life - click here.

If you are considering working with a cognitive therapist, here are a few ways that Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy can help your child:

Identifying My Feelings

Like many adults, children can overreact, misinterpret events, and lapse into a cycle of negative thinking that can compromise their success. Our therapists begin by helping your child learn how to identify feelings and to differentiate between similar feelings. For example, frustration is not anger and disappointment is not guilt.

Feeling Intensity Scale

Once your child is capable of differentiating between different types of feelings, we teach them how to rate the intensity of their feelings. We teach them how to understand their feelings and to make sure the intensity matches the situation.

Accurate Thoughts Not Guaranteed

As your child learns about their feelings, they will begin to understand that their negative thoughts are not facts. Feelings are theories about how to react to an event. We teach them how to systematically examine their negative thoughts and feelings to make sure that they are accurate and appropriate. They no longer assume that their pessimistic feelings are correct, and we teach them how to push past automatic negative thoughts calmly and positively.

Back In Control

When your child learns that negative feelings may not be accurate, they begin to have more control over their thoughts and actions. Automatic negative thoughts may still pop up from time to time, but they now they have the tools to dispute their negative thoughts and make sure they are accurately experiencing events in their life.

The Student Becomes The Master

We continue to help your child practice and perfect their cognitive skills so that they become automatic and effortless. By honing his cognitive skills, a child can begin to build the essential coping skills that lead to resilient living. Once they have mastered these skills, your child will be able to control their thoughts and actions, improve their behavior, and step into a whole new world of happiness and possibilities.

Sources:

"The Optimistic Child" by Dr. Martin Seligman

"Treatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety Disorders, Second Edition" by Robert Leahy, Stephen Holland, and Lata McGinn

Growing Kids Strong - The Wrong Way To Rescue - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia describe some of the most common ways that parents try to comfort their kids and the possible long term emotional consequences - click here.

Every parent has done it. When our children experience anxiety, anger, or sadness, we swoop in to save the day and hopefully make them feel better. However, many parents use strategies that can actually increase negative feelings and set their children up for a lifetime of pessimistic thoughts, anxiety, and depression.

Here are three very common, but potentially damaging ways to rescue your child from negative feelings:

“I Think You’re The Best”

If they think they’re stupid, we say they’re smart. If they sat out the big game on the bench, we say they were the best athlete on the field. Sometimes, we lie to our kids and present them with a false reality to make them feel better in the moment. However, we aren’t fooling anyone, especially our kids. They know what we’re doing and they tend to resent it. Now they not only feel sad or angry about the situation, they’re mad at you too. We should tell our kids the truth and hopefully turn a temporary frustration into an opportunity for masterful action. If they failed the test, encourage them to study harder next time and you can work on practice problems together. It’s not that they’re stupid, it’s that they have a temporary problem with an easy solution.

“Let Me Do It For You”

We’ve all felt the urge to swoop in and help our kids work on a project, especially if they are having a difficult time. However, some parents go too far and try to make their child feel better by taking over the project entirely. The project may turn out wonderfully, but you’ve planted a dangerous belief in your child’s mind - “If I start to get frustrated or bored, give up and let someone else do it for me.” There is nothing wrong with your child experiencing negative feelings. The important thing is how they think about and recover from setbacks and frustrations. Instead of taking over the project, try to talk to your child about what they are feeling and why they feel that way. Talking to your child about how to overcome failure and bounce back from frustration is one of the best things you can ever teach them.

“Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself”

One of the most important things you can teach your child is how to frame and interpret events in their life. Most parents don’t know what to say to their kids when they are upset, and they often use temporary distractions to make their child feel better in the moment. But ice cream and video games can only go so far. Parents need to get in the habit of disputing their child’s negative thoughts. They need to teach their child how to fight back against the negative thoughts that can take over their mind. A failing grade becomes “I’m just a dummy.” A failed social situation becomes “I’m a loser.” Teach your child that their problems are temporary and almost always have an easy solution.

Many children are their own worst enemy and regularly tear themselves down with negative thinking. Pessimistic children tend to give up and let life pass them by. Interventions, like these cognitive techniques, early in life can prepare your child for a life of optimism and perseverance. Success usually requires hard work and dedication, and your child will be ready to bounce back from any set back and overcome any obstacle.

Source:

"The Optimistic Child" by Dr. Martin Seligman

Growing Kids Strong - How To Use Masterful Action - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe how you can use "masterful action" to help inoculate your child against depression and anxiety - click here.

Have you ever wanted to boost your child’s self-confidence?

Since unwarranted praise and rescuing can have other negative effects, many parents wonder how they can help their children feel better about themselves while also keeping them grounded in reality. Masterful action is one of the most effective ways to teach your child to believe in themselves and to be effective in any situation.

Masterful action is when your child engages with a problem and overcomes obstacles to find a solution.

Whenever they encounter adversity, they must strategize how they will solve the problem and plan the steps they will take to do it.

Here are some important points to keep in mind about Masterful Action:

Progressive Positivity:

Teaching your child to be a resilient, optimistic problem solver doesn’t just happen overnight. It builds over time and hundreds of successes and failures. Each success builds their self-confidence, their perseverance, and their spirit for adventure.

Framing The Outcome:

One of the most important parts of masterful action is how your child thinks about the success. Was it pure luck or some external force that made them succeed? Or was their success driven by their hard work, intelligence, and perseverance? Framing the outcome as a result of their own actions further bolsters their belief in their ability to improve their lives and achieve their dreams.

Resist The Urge To Rescue:

Let’s face it – your child isn’t always going to win. In fact, most children will face failure regularly and they may often experience anxiety, anger, and sadness. However, negative feelings are not always a bad thing since they can be used as motivation for hard work and practice for the next time. You shouldn’t always feel the need to “rescue” them from bad feelings. Instead, try to talk to them about what happened and help them understand how they can change the outcome next time.

Teachable Moments:

You should try to teach your children how to think about and experience failure. Instead of them “just being stupid,” they may just not have studied very much for the test and they can improve their grade with a little extra hard work. If they regularly dread gym class or recess, they can always become stronger and faster through practice and discipline.

Create Opportunities:

One of the best things you can do for your child is create opportunities for masterful action. Solve math problems together, hold batting practice every weekend, or even play a video game together. Not only will you spend more time with your wonderful child, but you’ll also be teaching them valuable skills to overcome obstacles and to believe in themselves.

Source:

"The Optimistic Child" by Dr. Martin Seligman


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