Psychotherapy

Therapy services share the same functional emphasis as in evaluation. Again, the focus is on what the individual is doing in mind (more than on what he/she ostensibly “has”), and by extension what to differently that turns out better. Main areas addressed are described below. Services are primarily for children, secondarily for adults.

1. Attention coaching. Most persons with attention weaknesses have been told to “pay attention” for a very long time, but few if any have been taught how to actually do so. Thus, present services demonstrate how attention works, and how to work it.

2. Cognitive-behavior therapy for anxiety. Anxiety is the mind’s alarm system, and thus provides very useful and adaptive warning functions. However, it sometimes gets wound too tight, yielding false alarms or warnings of dangers which don’t actually exist. Depending on the particular type of anxiety problem or disorder, treatment entails a combination of relaxation training, modifying self-talk, and lifestyle changes. For Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), treatment involves thought stopping and response prevention – breaking the bond between obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors.

3. Cognitive-behavior therapy for mood disorders. Mood is the mind’s emotional regulator or thermostat. People who operate mood controls effectively are able to keep emotional experience reasonably in balance. People who don’t operate these controls well are vulnerable to dysregulated mood: large emotional reactions or overreactions to seemingly small problems, low resilience or not bouncing back from setbacks, becoming very easily angry/sad/frustrated – more than actual circumstances would seemingly call for. Thus, therapy focuses on strengthening specific mood control functions: assessing the degree of the problem, self-calming and self-soothing, strategies to solve the problem (rather than avoid or compound it).

4. Social and emotional skills training for Autism Spectrum (Asperger’s) Disorder. Autism involves, among many other things, a particular way of understanding the world – thinking piece-by-piece and bit-by-bit, but difficulty getting beyond the bits and pieces to grasp context and larger wholes. Understanding this way of understanding is the first step in treatment. Further steps center on presenting the social and emotional world in a piece-by-piece way: social stories in picture-by-picture format, distinguishing between what’s discretely stated and what’s meant beyond that, using discrete knowledge and specific interests in positive socially connected ways.

5. Parent behavior training for oppositional-defiant behaviors. In many cases, children’s oppositional and non-compliant behaviors are a sign of some other problem. Sometimes though, oppositional behavior is simply oppositional behavior – children and parents locked in a negative cycle of interaction whereby negative child behaviors yield negative parent responses, begetting more negative child behaviors and so forth. In these instances, therapy focuses on establishing compliance and positive interactions, following a series of steps: setting up non-adversarial interactions, setting children up to comply, positively reinforcing compliance, setting and maintaining limits in response to non-compliant behaviors.

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