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Bubble-Wrapping Our Children

While not all overprotective parents are as extreme in their behaviors as Shyam (indeed, few experience themselves as being obsessive at all), many middle-class families are struggling to decide how much protection is the right amount, even when their children are showing signs of anxiety and rebellion as a result. Whether these families are my clients or my neighbors, overprotective parenting appears to have become the rule, rather than the exception, in today’s world.   Read More

How to Broach the Subject of Medication with Kids

Given the stigma still attached to psychiatric drugs, it’s no surprise that today’s kids, inundated with peer pressure to be “cool,” might have reservations about taking them. But therapist Ron Taffel, author of Getting Through to Difficult Kids and Parents, knows that for especially burdened young clients, medication is often necessary to get therapy moving. Therapists, he says, can’t always go it alone.
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The Rise of the Two-Dimensional Parent

As we move slowly beyond the great recession, today’s young people are the first American generation in a long while expected to be less well off than their parents. So we have a paradoxical situation, in which the pressure to produce successful kids has never been more relentless or harder to achieve, especially with mass culture suggesting that if kids do fail, it must be because mom and dad failed in some way. Thus, it’s easy to understand how parental focus can shift from the child to the child-as-product, underlining a kind of premeditated parenting with calculated ends in mind. So we have earnest, committed, caring parents trying their best to follow an almost infinite number of often contradictory prescriptions to produce a perfect commodity with greater market potential. What could possibly be wrong with that? A lot!   Read More

Trauma Is Not a “Story”

Often we hear things from clients like “My relationship ending was so traumatic for me,” or “When my uncle passed away, I was totally traumatized.” With the word trauma being used so loosely and for such a wide range of problems, how do we know what it actually means anymore?   Read More

How to Think Scientifically about Medications

Despite the increasing popularity of psychiatric meds as the go-to remedy for everything from seasonal depression to social anxiety, drugs are often not the best treatment alternative. That’s why, according to psychiatrist Steven Dubovsky, author of Psychotropic Drug Prescriber’s Survival Guide, a thorough, systematic approach to assessment is so important—and it starts with therapists. As Steven explains, therapists should have a hypothesis about what might be causing a client’s suffering and investigate it until it’s either confirmed or disproved. If numerous hypotheses and all treatment options have been exhausted, then a therapist might consider psychiatric alternatives.
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Attuning to Reluctant Teens

Most therapists are aware of the perils of trying to connect with teenage clients. Teens are often brought to therapy against their will by adults, which can make them especially unwilling to let therapists in. And don’t talk to them like kids—they’re too old for that. But don’t bore them with stereotypical “therapist talk” either—they’re expecting that. So how do therapists relate to teens without seeming patronizing, clueless, or invasive?   Read More

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