Archives for posts with tag: family therapy

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Having a defiant toddler can feel like you are losing all of your power, especially if you are engaging in power struggle and find yourself giving in or walking away as the “victor” but not feeling good about the interaction. Every parent wants to feel in control with their children but sometimes they make it difficult to be the empowered parent you always wanted to be. Here are five tips for you to disengage in power struggle with your toddler.

Negotiate to achieve Win/Win
During conflict, one side is attempting to get their way or assert their desire over the other person. What if you decided to come from a win/win stance and look for ways you and your child could benefit? If you are fighting over bedtimes, you want him to get sleep and he wants to watch one more episode of tv, what is the win/win? If he watches one more episode, will you be able to complete one more work assignment? When you work towards win/win, both keep leave the conflict with a sense that they mattered and they were able to negotiate what they wanted. Can you think of a situation where you could have negotiated win/win and had an amicable outcome?

Do something completely unexpected
Is your child throwing a temper tantrum about something? Why not turn on the music and dance! Do something unexpected and see what type of response you get. It will probably confuse them in the beginning and then show them that you are not willing to go into power struggle. They will be forced to do something drastic themselves in order to meet you on your new level. They might even start dancing with you.

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Try using one word
Your child doesn’t want to go to sleep again despite your many reminders? Try saying one word: bed. Repeat it strong and assertively but do not engage in dialogue with them. Do not allow for power struggle to occur with words. Use one word to signal the desired behavior and once they realized, again, that you aren’t going to go into power and control with them, then they will be given the choice to follow through with the request.

Give options and choices
If your child is generally defiant, then give them options. Would you like to wear the pink or purple shirt? Would you like to go to the park or the pool on Saturday? Giving them choices on a regular basis will help them to feel like they are a decision-maker in their life and thus allowing them to let go for the need for control.

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Teach them to be powerful
If we teach children to be powerful, they will not need to try to control situations in their life to be powerful. They will naturally feel like they have influence on the things that happen in life. They will develop into strong leaders that know how to influence people without defiant behavior. Have your child look in the mirror every day and repeat powerful affirmations as a reminder of their worth.

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Again, being the parent of a child, especially a defiant one can be taxing. Remember to look for ways to get out of power struggle with your child, which is probably going to be a new concept for both of you. You and your child will have the opportunity to do something different during periods of high stress. How much easier would your life be if you and your child lived together in cooperation versus powerful struggle?

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Amanda Patterson, LMHC, CAP decided to become a therapist while attending Nova Southeastern University. She saw the need to help people achieve the life they wanted to live, while creating a life of her own. She completed her master’s in Mental Health Counseling and started a career in the juvenile justice arena. Since then, she has started a private practice in Pembroke Pines Florida, specializing in depression, anxiety relationship issues, and substance abuse. Amanda is a believer in holistic treatment and she practices veganism, meditation and yoga in her life. Find out more about her practice here. For a free 15-minute consultation, call or text Amanda at 954-258-8845 or email her at amanda@amandapattersonlmhc.com.

Family trees have become popular over the past several years due in part to Ancestory.com. The commercials are very catchy and it sparked interest in many people to look at their family history.

In therapy, family trees, called genograms, are used to see patterns in family behavior. Genograms are given as homework assignments for clients to work on and then process in sessions. Patterns can include healthy and unhealthy ones.

Some of the types of patterns that can be plotted include mental illness, substance usage, medical issues, marriages/divorces, family roles, sexual and physical abuse, emotional abuse, traumatic events, and any other significant issues that have impacted a family. This information is used to help a client see how they have been or can be impacted by their family history.

One of the most common traits passed down from generation to generation is drug usage and alcoholism. Completing a genogram can be used with a client who comes from an addicted family. A therapist may point out how generational substance usage can impact other areas of lives. For example, research shows that there is a correlation between substance usage and physical abuse. It depends on what the client is working on, but all the information can be used to move a client along the therapeutic process.

Another way a genogram can be used is to track positive family relationships, personality traits and happy memories. This would be an effective tool to use with a client who wants to forge a relationship with a family or repair a broken system.

If you’re in therapy or working a 12 step program, a genogram is a great supplement to the work you’re already doing.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to do your genogram, click here.

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Photo credit: Pinterest

Amanda Patterson, LMHC, CAP decided to become a therapist while attending Nova Southeastern University. She saw the need to help people achieve the life they wanted to live, while creating a life of her own. She completed her master’s in Mental Health Counseling and started a career in the juvenile justice arena. Since then, she has started a private practice in Pembroke Pines Florida, specializing in depression, anxiety relationship issues, and substance abuse. Amanda is a believer in holistic treatment and she practices veganism, meditation and yoga in her life. Find out more about her practice here. For a free 15-minute consultation, call or text Amanda at 954-258-8845 or email her at amanda@amandapattersonlmhc.com.

Family.  Sometimes it’s a blessing and sometimes a burden.  In the world of therapy and personal development, there is a huge focus on family.  In therapy, clients are often encouraged to look at how their family patterns have impacted their current behavior.  Family trees are a popular tool to use to explore how unhealthy patterns are repeated throughout a family.  In personal development, there is also a focus on how problems are passed on from generation to generation.  Often, there is much attention on how families have impacted us in a negative way, the positive is forgotten.

Families, no matter how chaotic, are often the primary source of love and affection.  Families teach us about what to do and what not to do.  What to do: Tie your shoes when you put them on or always hug before going to sleep.  What not to do: Push your sister when she doesn’t give you a toy or disrespect your elders. 

It is my intention for you to think about your family and how to celebrate the relationships that you do have with them.  Look past the hurt and pain and find the love and support.  Think about the funny moments of your childhood.  One of my favorite memories was a pool party my family threw for me and my youngest sister.  My uncle dressed up as Mickey Mouse and we had a huge Godzilla float in the pool.  It’s a memory I can always go back to in order to remember the silly times with my family.  What positive memory can you go back to in order to appreciate the good your family has done for you?

In addition to thinking of fond memories, here’s a list of things you can do to nourish your relationship with your family:

  1. Call a family member you haven’t spoken to in a while.
  2. Throw a party.  Invite every family member (even if they live far away).  Insert fun.
  3. Look through old pictures and reminisce.  Post an old one on Facebook or Twitter for Throwback Thursday. 
  4. Send a postcard or written letter to a family member who would appreciate that type of communication, a grandmother perhaps.
  5. Take a young niece or nephew to the park and blow bubbles with them.   Adults and child nieces and nephews alike?

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Photo credit: Pinterest

Amanda Patterson, LMHC, CAP decided to become a therapist while attending Nova Southeastern University. She saw the need to help people achieve the life they wanted to live, while creating a life of her own. She completed her master’s in Mental Health Counseling and started a career in the juvenile justice arena. Since then, she has started a private practice in Pembroke Pines Florida, specializing in depression, anxiety relationship issues, and substance abuse. Amanda is a believer in holistic treatment and she practices veganism, meditation and yoga in her life. Find out more about her practice here. For a free 15-minute consultation, call or text Amanda at 954-258-8845 or email her at amanda@amandapattersonlmhc.com.