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Dogs and Therapy #4: Mindfulness

Many people are interested in learning to be in the moment, to experience their inner life and their surroundings without the intrusion of the constant stream of thought that accompanies each of us everywhere. One path to this kind of immediate awareness is through the increasingly popular practice of meditation. A complementary path involves  Read More 
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Dogs and Therapy #3: Dog Parks

Several months ago, I visited a local dog park with Sasha, the 16-month-old Daschund mix who has become my constant companion and a valued co-therapist in my psychology practice.

We had been enjoying the sunny and mild fall day for an hour or so when I saw an American Bulldog wagging its tail at the other end of the park.  Read More 
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Dogs and Therapy #2: Dogs and Wolves

When I think about how Sasha comforts my patients, and how they speak of their pets with such affection, I am reminded of the often repeated assertion that dogs and wolves are extremely closely related, behaviorally and genetically. And yet, the qualities that make Sasha and other companion dogs so companionable don’t seem  Read More 
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Dogs and Therapy #1

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  Read More 
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Children and Families #1: The Mind of a Child

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  Read More 
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Children and Families #2

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  Read More 
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Children and Families #3 School Avoidance

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  Read More 
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Children and Families #4: Asperger Syndrome

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  Read More 
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Children and Families #5: Fears and Phobias

Children’s Fears

Peter Goldenthal

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  Read More 
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Children and Families #6 Bullying

Bullying

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.

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