| Other Specialties
Grief and Loss
The time anticipating and following the loss of a loved one can be a vulnerable time in life. Therapists at Alvord Baker are available to help walk along side adults and children throughout the bereavement process. Our compassionate and sensitive staff can help to provide support, grief education, and assistance in helping families grieve together. As children tend to grieve differently, our staff are also able to serve as consultants to parents as they strive to support their children through loss.
Pediatric Diabetes Management
Management of Type 1 diabetes and chronic illness in children and adolescents poses unique challenges to the family. Common problems include difficulties related to adherence, parenting stress, parent-child conflict, fears related to injections or changes in regimen, coping, and school problems. Often the challenges can change over time from initial diagnoses and peak during adolescence. These difficulties may also be compounded by co-occurring issues such as ADHD or mood problems. Our focus is on using behavioral strategies to help the family find ways to work together to minimize conflict and improve overall functioning – ideally with the goal of improving health outcomes. We are fortunate to have a psychologist on staff, Dr. Lisa Sanchez, with specialized training working with children with pediatric diabetes.
Pervasive Developmental Disorders
Pervasive Developmental Disorders. We offer specialized psychological assessment and social skills groups for children and teens with Autism Spectrum disorders including High Functioning Autism (HFA), Asperger’s and Pervasive Developmental Disorders Not otherwise Specified.
Resilience is a set of skills and abilities that enable us to effectively deal with life’s challenges, stresses and adversities. Other terms used to describe resilience include flexibility, ability to bounce back, ability to make a good recovery, and adaptability. An important element of being resilient is knowing, that while you can’t control everything, you can cope and effect change in your life. The good news is that resilience skills can be taught, and behaviors and thought patterns modified for improved adjustment.
Psychologists and social workers at Alvord Baker incorporate the literature on best practices and protective factors, to guide interventions as they facilitate their clients’ development of resilience. Dr. Mary Alvord, co-authored with Dr. Judy Grados, published a journal article in 2005 that outlines six categories of protective factors (Enhancing Resilience in Children: A proactive approach, Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 2005, 36, 238-245). They are:
- Being Proactive. A person’s ability to take the initiative and not be passive, to believe in his or her effectiveness, and to think realistically but positively is a primary determinant of his or her resilience.
- Self-regulation. Modulating one’s emotions and behavior by recognizing what might trigger dysregulation and having the skills to calm oneself are all important to being resilient.
- Connections and attachments. Having strong and healthy relationships with family and friends is fundamental to a sense of belonging and self-worth, as well as developing a support network to avoid isolation and depression.
- Acknowledgment and development of special interests and talents. Engaging in activities that enhance pleasure and self-esteem, and identifying strengths helps develop a stronger sense of self.
- Community. Supportive relationships outside the family also serve as buffers against stress and provide interaction and feedback. Participation in organizations, recreational activities, and helping others, provide perspective and a sense of belonging.
- Proactive parenting. Supportive, loving parents who hold their children to high behavioral standards have been shown to be more likely to raise resilient children.
Selective Mutism (SM)
Selective Mutism (SM) is a childhood disorder characterized by the persistent failure to speak in specific social situations when speaking is expected (e.g., at school, with peers), despite speaking fluently in other situations. Current research suggests that a behavioral treatment approach is effective in treating children between the ages of 2 through 7, and a cognitive-behavioral treatment approach is recommended for children ages 8 and above. Treatment begins with a detailed diagnostic evaluation followed by feedback and treatment recommendations. Education about SM and the format of treatment is discussed. The treatment process frequently includes the following components: training parents in behavioral skills and distress management skills; working on targeted behavioral practice with the child; addressing the child’s maladaptive thought patterns; learning and practicing coping skills; collaborating with the school and other relevant settings.
Trichotillomania (TTM or “trich”) is a condition of compulsive hair pulling, from the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, or other parts of the body. It is categorized as a body-focused repetitive behavior. We treat “trich” with Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Habit reversal techniques. This disorder is more common than most realize. Tic Treatment – the evidenced-based behavioral intervention for tic disorders (motor tic disorder, vocal tic disorder, and Tourettes) involves two steps. First, the treatment will involve figuring out what is going on in the environment to exacerbate the tics and then identify some ways to keep these things from happening or at least make them have less of an impact on the tics (function based environmental modifications). The second part of treatment involves the teaching of behavioral tricks (competing responses) that are less noticeable to create an increased sense of control over the tics. The intervention will also include motivational techniques including social support from family members and a behavioral reinforcement program. More information can be found on www.trich.org.
We also offer services for the following: