Behavioral Therapy Event
Our fifth and final Caregiver Lifestyle Series concluded with a focus on behavior therapy. It is one of the main focuses we work on with our own daughter and therapy we felt very unprepared to deal with. We were excited to not only be hosts of the event, but also participants.
What is behavior therapy?
Mental, emotional, and behavioral problems at childhood can cause long-term issues if not addressed. Working with a child psychologist can help to prevent long-term health problems. In addition, it will help your own health and well-being as a caregiver.
Like all the therapy sessions we hosted, early intervention is key to treating a child’s mental health problems. Behavioral problems can be a result of typical development or a symptom of your child’s rare disease. Psychological therapy is necessary to improving your child’s mental health.
Depending on the issue, behavioral therapy may be combined with other therapies or even medication. For our family, we always combine therapy strategies at home to maximize progress and accomplish educational goals at the same time.
Our final Caregiver Lifestyle Series taught families how to strengthen positive child behaviors and tips on how to manage issues.
Medication and behavior therapy.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that doctors prescribe behavior therapy before medicine for preschoolers. Sadly, fewer than half do. We are not against medication, but it is important to follow the process. There is no perfect solution, or a one size fits all answer. It will be a methodical approach that tailors to your child’s needs.
Many childhood conditions, behavior disorders, anxiety, or depression, benefit from behavior therapy approaches without the use of medication. In fact, behavior therapy and cognitive-behavior therapy are more likely to reduce symptoms. The challenge for parents is treating the specific issue’s root cause.
This is completed through an assessment and discussion with a psychologist. It is important to work with a psychologist and to follow their guidance.
Which approach is the best?
Finding the right therapy for your child is the answer to this question. You can talk with your child’s doctor and psychologist. Ask for homework. You can then apply the approach to daily routine.
You also need to consider external issues that affect your child or may trigger behavior problems. This includes health problems, poor sleep, breathing problems, poor vision, difficulty hearing, or learning problems.
Dr. Rolando says to think like a detective. Record your observations and consider your child’s perspective. Step into their world. If you are thinking from your own perspective, you may miss triggers.
Here are some tools to help find a healthcare provider familiar with treatment options:
- American Psychological Association Psychologist Locator
- American Board of Professional Psychology Locator Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Finder by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)
- Find a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist a search tool by the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies
- National Association of Social Workers
- SAHMSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator
Factors to consider
It’s common for parents to immediately think of the worse and want to label their child as having something wrong when they display undesirable behavior. Here are a few factors you should first consider, however, before jumping to conclusions.
Signs and Red Flags
When thinking about your child and how they behave, these are the warning signs that indicate help is definitely needed.
Refusal to change: Children won’t change their behavior no matter the consequences
Aggression: Children constantly break things, hurt others, or make threats
No remorse or empathy: Children don’t seem to care about other people and their feelings
Self-injury: Children continually hurt themselves, such as by banging their head on a wall
Animal cruelty: Children try to hurt your pets or other animals
Behavior Therapy Presentation
Behavior Therapy Caregiver Workshop
Below is the video for our Caregiver Lifestyle Series – Behavior Therapy event. The event is available in multiple languages and made available for information purposes.