MORE ABOUT PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICES
Additional Therapy Information
Sometimes childhood is interrupted by a crisis—feelings and situations too big for children, teens, and families to deal with on their own. Often children express their sadness, fear, and anger through their behaviors and attitude. This "acting out" is especially challenging for caregivers. The Gwendolyn Group can help you and your children through this stressful time.
The Gwendolyn Group licensed therapist specializes in child and family therapy. She provides the support, skills, and knowledge necessary to improve family relationships and reduce the severe impact of traumatic life events like abuse and neglect, divorce, or family violence. The Gwendolyn Group therapist works with children and families struggling with a variety of issues, including:
Mental Health Disorders
Grief and loss issues
ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS TRAINING
Organizational skills training focuses on training children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to overcome their difficulties in organizing school materials. This intervention teaches children and adolescents organizational, time management, and planning skills. These are especially helpful for children with ADHD who often struggle with these skills. A lack of organizational skills can hurt school performance, friendships, and can cause issues at home. Organization training has been proven effective for teaching these skills to children with ADHD.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for children and adolescents usually are short-term treatments (generally between six and 20 sessions) that focus on teaching youth and their parents' specific skills. CBT differs from other therapy approaches by focusing on the ways that a child or adolescent's thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are interconnected, and how they each affect one another. Because feelings, ideas, and actions are all linked, CBT approaches allow therapists to intervene at various points in the cycle.
These treatments are effective in treating many psychological disorders among children and adolescents, such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), behavior problems, and substance abuse
Individual cognitive behavioral therapy focuses solely on the child or adolescent and includes one therapist who teaches the child or adolescent the skills needed to overcome his/her challenges. This form of CBT has been proven effective in the treatment of child and adolescent depression and anxiety disorders, as well as substance abuse in adolescents.
Group cognitive-behavioral therapy includes not only the child or adolescent and therapist in the therapy sessions but also others outside of the child or adolescent's social groups – usually new acquaintances who are being treated for the same disorder. Those in the group therapy are often dealing with similar behavioral issues and, unlike individual CBT, the group format allows valuable relationships to form, in addition to learning skills needed to change behavior. It has been proven effective in the treatment of depression and substance abuse in adolescents.
CBT WITH PARENTS
Cognitive-behavioral therapy that includes parents in the treatment process has been shown through research to be effective in treating children and adolescents with anxiety disorders. Specifically, CBT that teaches parents techniques to help care for anxious youth, including psychoeducation, individual therapy, caregiver coping, and parent training methods are especially helpful. In this form of therapy, the parents are involved in the treatment of their children and trained to help them handle their children's fears at home.
Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy helps children and adolescents affected by trauma. It is useful in treating PTSD but can be effective in treating other trauma-related disorders as well. It is delivered in the same way as cognitive behavioral therapy – usually short-term in six to 20 sessions with the child and his/her parents present. A trauma-focused CBT session addresses several factors related to the child's traumatic experiences, including behavioral and cognitive issues, and depression or anxiety symptoms. It helps improve parenting skills and parents' interactions with their children to help support and cope with their children's struggles.
CBT PAIRED WITH MOTIVATIONAL ENHANCEMENT THERAPY (MET)
Motivational enhancement therapy (MET) is a type of evidence-based treatment that motivates adolescents internally to change their behavior. When MET is paired with group-based CBT, it is useful in improving an adolescent's behavior towards drug and alcohol abuse. This therapy uses discussion, coping strategies, and motivational interviewing principles to help the youth initiate a plan to change his/her behavior and motivate the child to follow through. Throughout the sessions, the therapist will guide the youth through their plan to stop using substances and will continue to motivate and encourage his/her progress. Following MET therapy sessions, the adolescent would participate in group-based CBT to see the best results.
CBT PAIRED WITH MOTIVATIONAL ENHANCEMENT TREATMENT AND FAMILY-BASED BEHAVIORAL TREATMENT
In family-based behavioral treatment, parents set examples for their children in changing their behavior to help their children improve their behaviors in the long run. An essential component of this type of therapy is the training of parents on child management and problem-solving skills. This integrated therapy has been proven effective in treating adolescent substance abuse.
FUNCTIONAL FAMILY THERAPY
Functional Family Therapy (FFT) is a family-based therapy that was developed to help youth with behavioral issues and has been proven effective in treating substance use disorders in adolescents. The goals in Functional Family Therapy are to motivate adolescents and their families to reduce negativity in the household and to build skills within each family member to reduce problematic behaviors by using communication, effective parenting, and conflict management.
MULTIDIMENSIONAL FAMILY THERAPY
Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) is a family-centered treatment that addresses the individual, family, and environmental factors that influence a variety of behavioral issues in youth. This treatment is based on the idea that behavioral problems in adolescents are caused by many factors, and treatment should come from a place of respect and compassion. In MDFT, youth learn coping, problem-solving, and decision-making skills and the family learns ways to enhance family functioning.
MDFT has been proven through research to be effective in treating substance use disorders in adolescents.
MULTI-SYSTEMIC THERAPY (MST)
Multisystemic therapy (MST) is a family-focused evidence-based intervention for youth with significant antisocial behaviors, delinquency, and substance problems. MST appraises these behaviors within the broader context of multiple systems of influence, including various social-ecological factors such as individual, family, peer, school, and community influences. In a cost-effective framework, MST interventions reduce these problem behaviors and improve youth and family functioning.
Behavioral therapies for children and adolescents vary widely. Still, they all focus primarily on how some problematic thoughts or harmful behaviors may unknowingly or unintentionally get "rewarded" within a young person's environment. These rewards or reinforcements often contribute to an increase in the frequency of these unwanted thoughts and behaviors. Behavior therapies can apply to a wide range of psychological symptoms among adolescents and children.
Although behavioral therapies can vary substantially from disorder to disorder, a common thread is that behavioral therapists encourage children and adolescents to try new behaviors, reward desired behaviors, and to allow unwanted behaviors to "extinguish" (that is, ignore unwanted behaviors).
In behavior therapy, parents and children learn to promote desirable behaviors and reduce unwanted behaviors.
One common trap that families fall into is unintentionally rewarding the wrong behavior. For example, take the teen who has not finished his homework, but wants to take the car. Despite initial objections, the teen persists and becomes angry, irritable, and disobedient towards his parents. Following a tantrum, the parents decide they cannot take the hassle anymore and allow him to borrow the car. In this way, the parents unintentionally reward or reinforce the teen's oppositional behavior. The best way to handle these situations is to ignore acting out behavior and to reinforce wanted behavior (homework attempts) as much as possible. Behavioral therapists seek to understand such links between actions, rewards, and learning, and to help youth and parents shape their behaviors to meet individual and family goals.
BEHAVIORAL CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT
Behavioral classroom management is a type of evidence-based therapy designed to support students' positive behaviors in the classroom while preventing negative behaviors and increasing student academic engagement. In this type of treatment, the child's teacher participates in delivering the treatment. Behavioral classroom management has received substantial empirical support as an effective therapy in the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
BEHAVIORAL PEER INTERVENTIONS
Behavioral peer interventions involve one or more of a student's peers, assisting the child with behavioral problems. A teacher will train a child's peers to reinforce the child's positive behaviors and academic performance with social and educational support strategies. This kind of therapy is often used in the school setting and has provided many benefits to academic, social, and interpersonal development.
Participation has also shown to be a positive influence for the peer assistant as well because it reinforces a sense of responsibility and constructive behavioral changes. Behavioral peer interventions have been proven by science to be effective in treating ADHD.
There are a variety of peer-based behavioral interventions, including:
Peer initiation training
BEHAVIORAL PARENT TRAINING
Behavioral parent training teaches parents how to reinforce desirable behaviors in their children, discourage unwanted behaviors, and improve parent-child interactions. In this form of therapy, parents play a significant role in treating their children's behavior problems. During the therapy sessions, parents learn how to carefully observe their children's behaviors at home and are taught skills to reward their children's positive behaviors by using praise, positive attention, and rewards. They are also trained to use rule-setting, time-out, and ignoring to discourage harmful practices.
Behavioral parent therapy has received substantial empirical support to be effective in reducing behavior problems – especially for children with ADHD.
COMBINED BEHAVIORAL MANAGEMENT INTERVENTIONS
Research has found that combining forms of behavioral classroom management, behavioral parent training, and behavioral peer interventions are well-established and effective for treating ADHD
Modeling is a form of therapy in which a therapist demonstrates a non-fearful response to a negative situation to promote imitation in the child or adolescent. It is useful in treating anxiety in children and adolescents.