July 9, 2015
In my practice, animal-assisted therapy has a specific meaning: applying knowledge of the unique bond that can between people and dogs, as well as the great interpersonal skills of Sasha, my canine partner and an unusually sensitive daschund-mix.
My youngest patients connect instantly with Sasha, who eagerly greets them with a wagging tail and, (more…)
June 18, 2015
I’ve written previously, as have many others, about the ways in which meditation and mindfulness practices can help children. One built in problem, a sort of Catch-22 is that those children who most need to learn to calm themselves and to focus their minds are those least likely to want to sit still, (more…)
June 8, 2015
Parents of preschoolers are often worried about sibling rivalry. Here I will answer questions that journalists, parents in my office, and those attending my talks and workshops have asked.
My children sometimes squabble just before dinner. Is this normal?
The answer to this depends on how often your children squabble, (more…)
June 4, 2015
What is Sibling Rivalry?
As some readers of this blog may know, I’ve devoted a lot of time to thinking and writing about this question (Beyond Sibling Rivalry, Why Can’t We Get Along) and have only recently figured out how to share my expertise in bite-sized chunks that you can read while drinking a (more…)
June 3, 2015
Helping Your Child be Mindful and Calm
In the past 10 or 20 years, meditation, once associated only with Eastern religious practice, has morphed into “mindfulness meditation,” but it is still the same practice, and it still has the same goals. The practice involves focus, slowing heartbeat and breathing, and observing both internal and external experience. (more…)
June 1, 2015
I decided to start this series of posts because of what I has observed going on in therapy and counseling between my patients and my dogs: first a small white dog who I still insist was a petit basset griffon Vendeen (PBGV) who had wandered away from home until she found (more…)
June 20, 2014
THE MIND OF A CHILD
Marianne, a petite 4-year-old, came to see me after her mother had received a spate of notes home from her preschool teacher complaining about aggressive behavior. Since very few girls have problems with aggression, especially at this age, I was intrigued to see what sort of little terror would appear in my office. I was skeptical as well, since I had met her mother and father, and neither was remotely aggressive or intimidating.
After Marianne had been in my office for five minutes, my skepticism about her teacher's ``diagnosis'' was confirmed. This was not an aggressive child. To the contrary, my growing understanding of her was that she was actually quite sensitive, very concerned about how adults and other children related to her and quite prone to having her feelings hurt if she experienced anything that seemed like rejection.
I learned that some children in her preschool class occasionally made comments that she took as indicating that they disliked her. What looked like aggression was in truth the effort of a hurt 4-year-old to defend herself against a perceived affront. I phoned the teacher and shared my understanding (more…)
June 18, 2014
Q. What causes encopresis?
A. In nearly all instances, encopresis is the result of chronic constipation. For this reason it is often referred to as “functional encopresis,” or “encopresis with constipation.”
How can I tell if my child has encopresis?
A. If your child has fecal stains in his underwear, with or without small (more…)
June 17, 2014
The first day of school is a huge milestone for every child in every family.
Nervousness about a new experience is much more normal than it is otherwise. Here are some things that you can do to help your student prepare for the first day of school or the first day in a new (more…)
June 17, 2014
Understanding Asperger Syndrome
Asperger Syndrome, like autism, is a neurodevelopmental disorder. it cannot be cured, but children, adolescents, and adults with Asperger Syndrome can learn techniques that will help them compensate for their disability. In 1944, a pediatrician named Hans Asperger described a group of children with at least average intelligence who had marked interpersonal (more…)
June 17, 2014
Brian Johnson was a few days short of his eleventh birthday when his parents first brought him to my office. A bright, funny, and engaging child, Brian had a lot going for him: friends, a remarkable verbal gift, loving parents. He also had something that interfered with his enjoying (more…)
June 17, 2014
In mid-April, twelve-year old Mike Dougherty walked into my office an entirely different young man. His shoulders, usually curved inwards, were straight; his back, usually stooped, was upright. His head was held higher than usual. His chest looked fuller, as did his shoulders. He was smiling. He looked me right in the eye.