|Counseling and Psychiatric Services for Adolescents and Young Adults
Archive for January, 2012
Monday, January 30th, 2012
When we are overtired, everything in our life suffers. We are moody and irritable which affects our personal relationships. Our ability to concentrate and focus is compromised, making it difficult to learn, retain, and recall information. We lack energy which makes exercise and physical activity difficult. We drive when we are drowsy which endangers our lives and the lives of everyone else on the road. For teens and adolescents, sleep deprivation can cause these problems and more at one of the most crucial developmental periods of their lives.
Why Sleep Matters
Sleep is as important to our health as breathing clean air and eating healthy food. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), there is a relationship between how much sleep you get, the quality of the sleep you get, and your overall health. If you don’t get enough sleep, it can impact your hormone levels, impact the way your body handles insulin, and increase your risk of developing diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and becoming obese. In addition to the health risks, sleep deprivation is also the primary cause of drowsy driving and has a detrimental effect on grades and scholastic achievement.
The Facts about Teens and Sleep
If your teen is staying up late and struggling to drag themselves out of bed in the morning, it isn’t because they are being lazy or disobedient; and simply telling them that they need to go to bed earlier isn’t likely to fix this issue. Our biological sleep patterns shift when we are teens making it difficult to fall asleep before about 11:00PM. Because teens need as much as nine hours sleep each night, this biological shift makes it difficult for teens to get the sleep they need and still get up for school on time.
Teens are not getting the sleep they need. One study cited by the National Sleep Foundation showed that 85% of teenagers are getting less than 8.5 hours of sleep on most school nights despite the fact that many teens actually need more than nine hours of sleep every night. Another study showed that 26% of high school students are sleeping less than 6.5 hours a night which is causing a serious sleep debt to accrue.
The Dangers for Teens
The list of problems that sleep deprivation contributes to is long and varied. While most of these problems affect anyone who isn’t getting enough sleep, the consequences to teenagers can be different than those for adults. Here are some of the problems the National Sleep Foundation and the American Psychological Association sleep deprivation in teens can cause:
- Problems with learning including difficulty concentrating, listening, problem solving, remembering, and with behavior. Sleep deprivation can lead to aggressive and inappropriate behavior including outbursts, anger, and impatience.
- Increases the likelihood of overeating and making bad food choices which when combined with hormonal changes caused by lack of sleep contribute to weight gain and obesity.
- Increases the use of caffeine and nicotine.
- Increases the risk of being involved in a drowsy driving accident.
- May be linked to depression and other mood disorders.
The best way to combat sleep deprivation in teenagers is to make sleep a priority and encourage them to follow a consistent sleep routine. Helping teens learn to use naps appropriately, create a good sleep environment, and stick to a schedule can decrease their likelihood of being sleep deprived while also teaching them the skills they need to be good sleep managers throughout their lives.
Wednesday, January 25th, 2012
If you are the parent of an adolescent, it is likely that you will experience problems communicating with them at some point before they become adults. This is one of the most common problems parents and teens have to overcome and is often the root cause of other problems.
Teens are going through one of the most significant transitions of their lives; they should be learning to make their own decisions, take responsibility for their actions, and to become independent from their parents. This can be stressful, confusing, and frustrating for them and you as they struggle to handle situations and make decisions without the confidence that comes from experience. When parents take this struggle and frustration as a personal rejection or label it as just a bad attitude, it can close the door to effective communication at a time when teens need that two way interaction more than ever.
One of the most common mistakes parents make is forgetting that effective communication involves both sending a clear message and trying to receive the message as intended. Parents need to be able to listen more than they talk. This can be a challenge when it feels like your teen is being evasive, belligerent, or withdrawn and may feel impossible when it seems like they aren’t listening to you.
Open the door to meaningful communication with your teen by:
- Being willing to let them talk with you about everything and nothing. Make sure you have a strong reliable communication channel for the important stuff by using it even when there isn’t anything of great importance to say.
- Focusing on your teenager, show them you are interested in their life and engaged in your conversation with them by giving them your full attention, listening without judging, and being as respectful to their views and opinions as you expect them to be of yours.
- Using supportive, engaging language that shows you are listening and invites your teen to ask for advice, seek support, and turn to you in times of trouble.
- Making sure you stay on the same page by using your own words to restate important points your teen makes to confirm you have a shared understanding.
- Involving your teen in decision making and troubleshooting as a team.
- Maintaining a daily connection by spending time together, even if it is only a few minutes before bed or the length of the car ride to school.
- Using shared interests and activities to provide teens with a pressure-free platform to talk. It isn’t always easy for them to bring up sensitive issues or to talk through things they are struggling with when they are on the spot.
- Respecting your teen’s privacy. This helps foster independence and creates a bond of trust that increases the likelihood that they will come to you when it really matters.
- Talking to your teen with respect as you would talk to another adult to help them learn how to communicate and interact like one.
Make sure that door stays open by avoiding the following:
- Talking down to your teen, demeaning their ideas, or using every conversation as a chance to criticize them. You, of course, can disagree and hold to your own standards and expectations of conduct, but let them know that you value what they say and think.
- Talking over your teen or interrupting them when they are speaking to you.
- Dismissing your teen’s point of view or their concerns.
- Being judgmental, criticizing their friends, belittling their beliefs, or overriding your teen’s opinions.
The bottom line is that you want to be the rock they rely on, the person they know they can always turn to when they are struggling or in trouble. In order to be that person for them, they need to have confidence that you will listen, you won’t fly off the handle, and you will help them find the right solution to their problem. The keys to fostering that type of relationship are being reliable, listening, staying calm, and helping them figure out how to solve the problems that matter to them.
Monday, January 16th, 2012
As the first few days of 2012 roll by, many people will be talking about and setting their New Year’s resolutions. However, even those who set resolutions don’t always expect them to be successful. The statistics don’t lie; 35% of those who make resolutions don’t even make it through the first day. But, statistics go both ways. According to a study completed at the University of Scranton, almost half of those who set resolutions go on to achieve some degree of success as opposed to only 4% of those who think about setting goals, do not commit to a specific resolution.
If you are interested in helping your teen set and stick to a couple New Year’s resolutions, think about making it a family affair. Setting goals together fosters the type of supportive environment that helps people succeed at making life changes. Even if each family member has their own set of resolutions, you can act as accountability partners for each other and work together to stay on track. In addition to the family unity benefits that this type of activity can offer, getting teenagers to start thinking what they want to achieve will help them develop the skills needed for long-term planning.
If your teen is resisting participation, talk about why goals and resolutions are important from your perspective. Then listen to their objections thoughtfully. If you cannot convince them to get on board, seek some kind of compromise. Resolutions and goals must be sincere to be attainable. Forced or begrudging participation may result in a list of resolutions, but it isn’t likely to result in long term change.
To help both parents and teens set their resolutions, we pulled together a list of some of the more common resolutions to provide each group a place to start. As you work through the list and determine your own resolutions, remember that being sincere about the resolutions you set and believing that you can succeed are the two factors that will contribute most to your success.
Ideas for Teens
- Commit to helping out around the house in one new way every week.
- Commit to being more helpful to your family or more social at school.
- Make yourself available take over the care of the family pets.
- Make a commitment to turn on the TV less.
- Decide to be nicer to your brothers and sisters, especially if they look up to you.
- Decide to read more, and to read just for fun. Set a goal for how many additional books you want to read next year.
- Resolve to ask for help when you need it and take help when it’s offered.
- Resolve to volunteer and give some of your time to someone else.
- Commit to being more organized and make a plan for how you will get organized and stay that way.
- Commit to taking school seriously.
Ideas for Parents
- Resolve to be a healthier family and set a good example for your children.
- Commit to eating dinner together at the table several nights a week.
- Decide to focus on getting more quality time with both your children and your spouse or significant other.
- Choose a home improvement project or a vacation that they family can plan and undertake together.
- Resolve to enforce your own rules.
- Commit to helping your children establish and adhere to their own boundaries.
- Decide that when interacting with your teen, you will listen more than you talk.
- Commit to saying one sincere, positive thing about each member of your family every day.
- Choose to focus on the good decisions your teens make at least as much as you focus on the bad decisions they make.
- Resolve to get your teen or your family whatever help they need to overcome their challenges and make it through their struggles successfully.
Wednesday, January 11th, 2012
Doorways is contracted with Grand Canyon University to provide confidential, professional, Biblically-based counseling services to students on campus. Effective immediately they have expanded their hours of availability as well as are now offering nutritional counseling. Appointments may be scheduled through the counselor on campus, or by calling and identifying yourself as a GCU student. There is no charge to students of Grand Canyon University for use of on campus counseling and nutritional services. On campus services offered include counseling for
A registered dietitian will be on campus every Tuesday from 2:00-4:00 PM and will be available to advise students on a variety of issues.
The dietitian is available at Grand Canyon University to provide nutritional advice for:
- Internationals confused about American food
- Allergy sufferers,
- Disordered eating or eating disorder clients,
- Weight management, need for weight loss or gain,
- Diabetes, and other medical conditions
Workshops are also available on topics such as hydration, how to eat healthy in the cafeteria, dorm room snack ideas, how to avoid the freshman 15 and more.
Other counseling and nutritional services are offered off-site at Doorways, LLC. Cost for offsite services will be the responsibility of the student and include treatment and help for:
- Psychiatric Evaluations
- Family Counseling
- DBT Support Groups
- Medication Management
For more information about counseling services at Grand Canyon University, click here: GCU Brochure
Wednesday, January 11th, 2012
February 19th, 2012: Sam Lample is presenting a parenting seminar on “Depression and Anxiety in the Family” at La Casa De Christo Lutheran Church in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Wednesday, January 11th, 2012
January 19th, 2012: Rachel Daberkow, MS, RD, will be speaking about Nutrition at Midwestern University from 1:10-2:10pm.
Wednesday, January 11th, 2012
February 25th, 2012: Jan Hamilton, Sam Lample, and Rachel Daberkow are conducting a workshop titled “Adolescent Eating Disorders” at Ottawa University, February 25, from 9am to 4pm. For more information contact Trina@DoorwaysArizona.com
Saturday, January 7th, 2012
Denora Matock, Administrative Assistant
Denora has a 30 year history of working in small business administration. She has also been involved in youth ministry in the Valley for many years and is happy to be a part of the Doorways team.