Please check out this amazing blog post from a colleague of mine, Amanda Chastain, M.A., BCBA. She is the Program Director with First Steps Kids in CA. and a Research Associate with University of Southern California. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is one of the primary therapeutic orientations I utilize in my practice as a clinical behavior analyst here at ABC Behavioral Services. ACT can be helpful to promote flexible responding in treating the issues that show up in my clients with ASD, ADHD, challenging behaviors, and anxiety. Standing alone ACT, is an excellent evidence-based intervention. Combining ACT with Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) can improve positive treatment outcomes in my clients with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). During these uncertain times, using ACT tools will help your children, adolescent or teen learn to respond flexibly and with values-based intention to challenging situations, changes in routine and to help manage their difficult thoughts and feelings. I encourage you to read this gem of an article for an excellent overview of the benefits of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and for some outstanding tips for ACT tools to use at home.
Please click the link below to access the article:
I am very excited to share this amazing free parent support webinar provided by Dr. Lisa Coyne, Ph.D., and Dr. Evelyn Gould, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LABA to help with parental burn-out during these uncertain COVID-19 times. The following information is shared directly from the Praxis website:
"Parental burnout is a specific syndrome resulting from enduring exposure to chronic parenting stress. It is not ordinary stress, and signs can include exhaustion in one’s parental role, contrast with previous parental self, and emotional distancing from one’s children.
To date, research on parental burnout has focused on understanding what makes parents vulnerable to this condition. Researchers have found that parents are at greatest risk when they aim to be perfect parents, lack emotion and stress management abilities, lack emotional or practical support from the coparent or broader social networks, have children with special needs that interfere with family life, or they work part-time or are stay-at-home.
For many of these risk factors, COVID-19 really is the perfect storm...
This free live webinar will focus on strategies for parents dealing with the struggles presented by the Covid-19 pandemic and shelter-in-place orders. Topics covered will include:
Whether you are a mental healthcare provider working with parents, or a parent yourself, join us online for this exploration in how self-compassion can begin to dismantle parental burnout, and help to ease the burden of this crisis". www.praxiscet.com (retrieved on May 8, 2020).
Tuesday May 12, 2020, 3:30 pm-5:00 pm MST
Please click on the link below if you are interested or would like to join!
Avoidance is one of the most common behaviors I target in my work as a clinical behavior analyst while supporting individuals with anxiety. When things are too difficult or we don't yet have the skills to handle certain life challenges, our first instinct is to avoid the discomfort. Our brain is wired to protect us from the pain, so we naturally avoid and push it as far away as possible. In doing so, we may find we adopt unhealthy coping skills to manage the discomfort. This pulls us away from living a life we value and we can easily get stuck in this cycle. My work centers around intentionally learning new skills through acceptance and commitment training (ACT training). Leaning into the discomfort, getting unstuck with mindful compassion and then choosing a direction that aligns with your life's values is the core foundation of ACT and it's a game changer! Please see the link below for more information on why this works and is such an important skill in everyone's life!
Please check out this recommended reading by Ronald D. Siegel, PsyD, Center for Mindfulness & Compassion, Harvard Medical School.
Covid Coach is a mobile app that serves as a resource to help individuals stay connected and cope with stress, anxiety, parenting, care-taking, and more during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a free and evidence-informed, and intended for everyone. This app was developed by staff at the National Center for PTSD. Please click on the link below to get more information on this valuable app!
The World Health Organization (WHO) released this ACT illustrated book called “Doing What Matters in Times of Stress”. Please click on link below to access this free resource.
Below is a link for an ACT inspired video from Dr. Russ Harris on how to FACE COVID. I highly recommend watching this video as it has lots of valuable information to support all of us.
Finally here is a link for a parenting in a pandemic podcast and other resources from the founders of Triple P parenting program that you may find helpful as support during these uncertain times:
I hope these resources are helpful. Please reach out if I can be of additional support during this time.
Please check out this article (link below) by Ben Sedley PhD, PGDipClinPsyc for a great overview of OCD, exposure response therapy, and teletherapy during these COVID times. Stay well.
Google Dictionary definition:
noun: anxiety; plural noun: anxieties
Anxiety is a great masquerader and notorious for always being wrong. Hidden beneath the surface of many challenging behaviors can deeply lie the source.
What you may see:
What might be happening:
Let’s pretend Jane is a 3rd grader and at school she often displays what looks like oppositional, disobedient and unmanageable behaviors. Her teacher may describe frequent outbursts, running out the classroom, and ripping up papers. She often ends up in the principles or school counselor’s office, she never gets to green on the classroom behavior chart and sometimes she is sent home. Even worse she has been suspended because one time she hit the principle because she could not calm down.
In Jane’s case, the anxiety shows up and she doesn’t have the skills yet (depending on her age and developmental level) to understand it or communicate how she is feeling. Her body and mind go into fight or flight mode, her brain kicks into high gear, she feels like she is in danger and she tries to escape the situation or fight back against it. When she is sent home or gets a break in the principles office, these consequences meet her needs of getting out of the uncomfortable situation that caused her to feel anxious in the first place.
Overtime, as we feed anxiety with our mismanaged coping skills:
So as you can see here in the case of "Jane", challenging behaviors that are often seen as defiant or oppositional can be easily misread anxiety. In a nutshell, if your child’s behavior is unpredictable or they are quick to anger, anxiety may be the cause or this might be something to explore further towards understanding how to support your child.
Here at ABC Behavioral Services, I primarily utilize Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to help children manage their anxiety. This therapeutic approach is behavioral and ACTion based focusing on:
If you want to learn more some of my favorite parenting resources related to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Parenting are:
Thanks so much to Voyage Denver Magazine for featuring my services in their inspiring stories section. Click on the link below to reach the article! Happy New Year.
Thank you to all of my clients who I have served and supported across Colorado and in the mountains since 2013!
Based on your feedback to serve clients better, I have relocated to a new clinic location in Lone Tree, CO. I will be seeing clients here in the new clinic office and still providing services to those remotely via online methods across Colorado.
9220 Teddy Lane, Suite 1000 C
Lone Tree, CO. 80124
Be well and Happy New Year,
This is Part 1 of what will be a short series of blog posts related to anxiety and panic. You may be reading this if you or a loved one has experienced a panic attack before. If you have, you’ve also probably wondered how to stop a panic attack while it’s happening. This post will go over a few panic attack tips to help you deal with them or help you support your loved ones if they are experiencing a panic attack near you. If you are experiencing a panic attack now, skip down this page to the section, “How to Get Through a Panic Attack" to get the quick anxiety tools you need right now.
You might be wondering what is a panic attack?
A panic attack is different than general anxiety and stress. Often people casually say I am about to have a panic attack when they are feeling overwhelmed or stressed. However, a panic attack is very different than generalized or social anxiety.
When you are experiencing a panic attack your body is triggered as if there is a real emergency and responds this way even though the situation you are in is not dangerous. You may experience uncomfortable sensations such as (but not limited to):
Your body and mind responds to danger when in fact there is no real threat to your safety...
Panic attacks can happen very rarely or more frequently for some. If they happen frequently or you experience several of the physiological symptoms described above, they could meet the criteria for a panic disorder per the DSM-5. If you are concerned you are experiencing panic attacks often or feel you may need additional support, please seek the help of a therapist or a medical professional who can help you better understand your needs and how to help you with your panic.
How to stop a Panic Attack in the Moment:
Panic attack symptoms can sneak up on you and once you are in a full-blown panic attack there are some tools I would like to share that can get you through the uncomfortable moment. While it is terrifying and during a panic attack it’s hard to see coming out of it ok, they are not dangerous. Another thing to know is they generally don’t last more than 10 minutes with most of any uncomfortable physical sensations gone within 15 minutes. You will get through it safely. Here are a few quick tips to help you do this:
Press Pause and Accept the Moment:
Sit with the Panic:
Hand over Heart & Belly:
Notice Your Environment:
Practice This in Advance:
Here's an important fact: we can’t get rid of anxiety and panic because our brains are actually wired to respond to real danger. Think about it this way, if there was a true emergency, you would want your body to respond and keep you safe! With panic attacks these quick and easy tools will help manage the control that anxiety can have on your life.
After reading this, if you are wanting more information, here is a great workbook I often find helpful in my private practice work. You may want to give a shot on your own or you may find it helpful to seek the guidance of a professional therapist to help you through similar techniques and strategies.
Thank you for joining me for this quick post. Please stay tuned for Part 2 in this blog series coming soon:
What Anxiety Looks Like in Children.