Entitled Kids, Defensive Parents

We have been in a new era of child rearing for quite sometime now. This new era was supposed to be an improvement over the old one, in which disciplining children was based on an unreflective use of fear, punishment and “do it, because I said so.”
Today’s parents seek to raise their kids in a more enlightened way. They want their children to feel empowered, self-confident and self-assured. Many parents, however, are getting more than they bargained for and are shocked when their entitled kids act in an insolent, arrogant manner. Overwhelmed with self-doubt, parents find themselves on the defensive, not sure how to respond to this monster they created.

We have been in a new era of child rearing for quite sometime now. This new era was supposed to be an improvement over the old one, in which disciplining children was based on an unreflective use of fear, punishment and “do it, because I said so.”

Today’s parents seek to raise their kids in a more enlightened way. They want their children to feel empowered, self-confident and self-assured. Many parents, however, are getting more than they bargained for and are shocked when their entitled kids act in an insolent, arrogant manner. Overwhelmed with self-doubt, parents find themselves on the defensive, not sure how to respond to this monster they created. Continue reading “Entitled Kids, Defensive Parents”

Turning the Anguish of Grief and Loss into Hope and Healing

Allowing ourselves to deeply feel our pain in a safe environment can open us to acceptance and peace. By allowing ourselves to experience and express our suffering, we can see that suffering is common to all, and that understanding helps us find a meaningful way to grow, transform hopelessness into hope and possibility. When you experience your own unique grief, you can tap into its universality which will lessen feelings of hopelessness and isolation. You will also feel a deeper connection with others and the human condition. This is the transpersonal and transformative work of healing grief.

Feelings of pain from the loss of a loved one can be hard on our emotions, but are a normal and healthy part of life.  Feelings of grief from even small losses in day-to-day life transitions at home or work can also make us feel overwhelmed, but are also normal.  The hard part is to get through the door that leads to a place of healing and peace.

Continue reading “Turning the Anguish of Grief and Loss into Hope and Healing”

The Psychological Evaluation in Child Custody Cases

The purpose of this paper is to provide a framework for understanding this psycholegal situation that both sides now confront. To accomplish this, a historical context will first be presented to illustrate the increasing need for inclusion of psychologists and other mental health professionals in custodial and visitation determinations. Next, the difficulties involved with including psychologists and psychological findings and recommendations in the legal environment will be examined. The purposes and components of the psychological evaluation will then he discussed, along with how well it can meet the demands of custody cases. Associated with this are the factors considered most relevant to custody determinations by the courts.

The Psychological Evaluation in Child Custody Cases

Written by: David S Wachtel, Ph.D.

(Originally published in the Texas Academy of Family Law Attorneys Newsletter, May, 1995).
Initially posted on Therapist-Psyhologist.com on 11/05/2006.

Introduction

The relationships between the legal system and mental health care providers have become increasingly interconnected in recent years.  The increased strain on the family and the emergence of the “disposable society” have resulted in overwhelming numbers of divorces, re-marriages and blended families having become much more commonplace and acceptable.  As a consequence both legal and mental health care professionals have struggled to meet these families’ needs. Continue reading “The Psychological Evaluation in Child Custody Cases”

Forgiveness, Child Abuse, Dissociation and An Experiment With Gentle Reparenting

As a child of abusive parents, you are faced with a terrible dilemma. If you disown your abusive family, you become an orphan. If you belong to your abusive family, you implicitly condone the abuse. By not forgiving yourself, you are choosing to be part of the family. You are also seeing yourself as deserving of the abuse they meted out, and denying that you are worthy of the love of others.

Precious Daughter, Lois, It’s over twenty-two years since you walked into my office for help with depression , which we decided was secondary to chronic pain brought on by multiple abdominal surgeries. You told me your birth family was “close”. Little did I know just how “close” your family was! Nine years passed, during which you saw me off and on. I didn’t seem to be able to make much of a dent in your depression. Then again, other people and approaches to dealing with pain and depression didn’t seem to help either. There were some indications that your parents weren’t quite as nice as you claimed. For example, they blamed you when a blizzard made you late in getting home, and they seemed to see their own illnesses as more important than yours, but nothing foreshadowed the horror you have described here. Were someone like you to walk into my office today, I would suspect severe abuse, but then, it didn’t cross my mind. Continue reading “Forgiveness, Child Abuse, Dissociation and An Experiment With Gentle Reparenting”

How to Stop Being Codependent

How does one stop being codependent, especially in situations involving family, loved ones or co-workers? Stopping codependency is simple, but it also takes commitment and time. It all comes down to this: the belief that in every moment, we are given a choice in our own behavior.
There are the three very important steps a person can take to break codependency. Number one: You must realize at every moment of the day you have two choices. Number two: For any of this to work, you must understand – You do NOT have a choice about how other people behave. Number three: Seek out people who will help you grow inwardly. They are always out there.

How does one stop being codependent, especially in situations involving family, loved ones or co-workers?  Stopping codependency is simple, but it also takes commitment and time.  It all comes down to this: the belief that in every moment, we are given a choice in our own behavior. Continue reading “How to Stop Being Codependent”

Control and Anger – Part II

I can control all of these factors, but I will become angry or less angry, or have other negative emotions in greater or lesser amounts when these expectations are not met, depending upon my conscious understanding of the subtleties of my expectations. In this case the need has a shorter cycle than the want, hence is more imperative. Fortunately, expectations can better be understood when we think of them as being either want based, or need based. In short, they and our reactions to them can be modified when you understand these critical aspects. Doing this neutralizes the impact of an unmet expectation. Doing this puts me firmly in control of my emotional reactions.

This is the second of a series of articles on control and anger. Please read the previous article (Part I) before reading this one. To continue with the discussion of wants vs. needs…
I can control all of these factors, but I will become angry or less angry, or have other negative emotions in greater or lesser amounts when these expectations are not met, depending upon my conscious understanding of the subtleties of my expectations. In this case the need has a shorter cycle than the want, hence is more imperative.

Continue reading “Control and Anger – Part II”

Cognitive Techniques for Anger Management – Part I

Here’s some cognitive techniques for anger management. Reduce your expectations by choice. Expect less and enjoy more. This is a decision, not a reaction. You are not turning off your reactivity, just changing how many reactions you need or want, and what makes you happier or not when you do. You have control over this, even if you are not used to thinking this way. Try it, and then practice. For example, try to not be so attached to what you think is right or wrong. While there are exceptions (traffic laws), most things in your life are not life and death, so you don’t need to over-react.

Here’s some cognitive techniques for anger management. Reduce your expectations by choice. Expect less and enjoy more. This is a decision, not a reaction. You are not turning off your reactivity, just changing how many reactions you need or want, and what makes you happier or not when you do. You have control over this, even if you are not used to thinking this way. Try it, and then practice. For example, try to not be so attached to what you think is right or wrong. While there are exceptions (traffic laws), most things in your life are not life and death, so you don’t need to over-react. Continue reading “Cognitive Techniques for Anger Management – Part I”

AN ANALYSIS OF MALE AND FEMALE SUSPECTED OFFENDERS OF INTIMATE PARTNER HOMICIDE

The purpose of this study was to identify and compare the differences and similarities between male and female suspected offenders of intimate partner homicide (IPH). The California Vital Statistics and Homicide Data [CVSHD], 1990-1999 (Jason, 2002), was used for this study. The CVSHD contains data from victims of homicide in California from 1990 to 1999. The understanding of intimate partner violence and intimate partner homicide were explored using four different theoretical approaches. Consistent with previous research, the results of this study suggest that suspected offenders involved in the killing of an intimate partner are more likely to be male.

The purpose of this study was to identify and compare the differences and similarities between male and female suspected offenders of intimate partner homicide (IPH). The California Vital Statistics and Homicide Data [CVSHD], 1990-1999 (Jason, 2002), was used for this study. The CVSHD contains data from victims of homicide in California from 1990 to 1999. The understanding of intimate partner violence and intimate partner homicide were explored using four different theoretical approaches. Consistent with previous research, the results of this study suggest that suspected offenders involved in the killing of an intimate partner are more likely to be male. Continue reading “AN ANALYSIS OF MALE AND FEMALE SUSPECTED OFFENDERS OF INTIMATE PARTNER HOMICIDE”

What Makes a Good Therapist?

What makes a good therapist? This is the eternal question that many people ask, from the potential client to well-known therapists (i.e., Rogers). If we ask a group of mental health professionals this question, they may feel compelled to respond with a canned answer – “good listener, positive regard, empathy, etc.”. They may add that having a good understanding of a theory is what contributes to being a good therapist.

What makes a good therapist? This is the eternal question that many people ask, from the potential client to well-known therapists (i.e., Rogers). If we ask a group of mental health professionals this question, they may feel compelled to respond with a canned answer – “good listener, positive regard, empathy, etc.”. They may add that having a good understanding of a theory is what contributes to being a good therapist. Continue reading “What Makes a Good Therapist?”

Child Abuse Reporting: Is The Initial Report and the Follow Up Investigation The Same Thing?

As mandated reporters, clinicians must report allegations of child abuse to child protective services (CPS). If the clinician has been working with the client or clients for a significant period of time and developed a good client-therapist relationship, reporting is undoubtedly a stressful event. To complicate matters, when a mandated reporter is contacted by agencies other than CPS requesting additional information, the question is, has the assumed confidentiality been breached? Although regulations have been written to address such cases, in real practice, mental health professionals may find themselves in difficult situations where the path to proceed is unclear.

As mandated reporters, clinicians must report allegations of child abuse to child protective services (CPS).  If the clinician has been working with the client or clients for a significant period of time and developed a good client-therapist relationship, reporting is undoubtedly a stressful event.  To complicate matters, when a mandated reporter is contacted by agencies other than CPS requesting additional information, the question is, has the assumed confidentiality been breached?  Although regulations have been written to address such cases, in real practice, mental health professionals may find themselves in difficult situations where the path to proceed is unclear. Continue reading “Child Abuse Reporting: Is The Initial Report and the Follow Up Investigation The Same Thing?”