National Adoption Month

0 November 10, 2016

November: National Adoption Month Written by: Kimberly Treharne, LMHC Did you know that Florida Governor Rick Scott declared November as National Adoption Month? Last year 3,469 children found their “forever families” in Florida alone! Based on the numbers, there’s a good chance that someone in your family or circle of friends has been touched by adoption. It’s important to know that there are many reasons parents choose to adopt; including infertility, being adopted as a child, religion/spirituality, being single, being a gay/lesbian couple, adopting through foster care, or a combination of many factors. Some parents choose the route of international adoption, while others adopt within their family. Some adoptions are referred to as “open” which preserves open communication and visits with the biological family, while other adoptions are considered “closed” and without biological family contact. Some people are adopted at birth, while others find their forever home just shy of their 18th birthday. Adoption is a special way in which families are formed. While adoption is more common than most think, adoptive children can face unique challenges throughout their development and into adulthood including feelings of rejection or abandonment, low self-esteem, feelings of difference or exclusion, and loss or grief. Most adoptive people will go through a time (or many time

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0 October 5, 2016

BLOG October 2016 Food Dyes and ADHD: What do parents need to know?   Did you know that October 2016 is ADHD awareness month? Among the other many important things to be aware of this month, we decided to address a topic that parents often ask about, particularly as we approach Halloween.  Do sugar and food dyes cause hyperactivity in kids? Can dietary changes affect ADHD?   The short answer to this question is “maybe.”  The longer answer involves a more complicated attempt to summarize what data we have on this topic. The food dye controversy reached a peak in 2007 after the publication of a controversial study by the University of Southampton in the UK suggesting a link between six food dyes – the “Southampton Six” – and hyperactivity in children.   These six dyes are: E110 (sunset yellow/FD&C Yellow #6), E104 (quinoline yellow), E122 (carmoisine), E129 (allura red or FD&C Red #40), E102 (tartrazine/FD&C Yellow#5) and E124 (ponceau 4R).  This study (as well as follow up studies in the U.S.) lead to the FDA’s and European Food Safety Authority’s concluding that there was not enough evidence to alter acceptable daily intake of these additives.  And yet, further investigation of this issue, including a look at earlier studies, yields conflicting results.   A study in 2004 compared behavio

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0 September 23, 2016

What would we do without our smartphones?  We have become so dependent on our mobile devices, it’s hard to remember life without them.  Finding time to disconnect from our work, social lives, and the media can have many benefits.  Still, we find it impossible at times to put down the mobile devices.  So why not use these same devices to improve our mental health and overall well-being.  There’s a growing market for mobile applications that promise to improve our mood, reduce stress, create healthy habits, help us heal from trauma, become more mindful, and even raise our children. The wonderful thing about mobile applications is that they have the ability to reach a much wider audience.  Help via a mobile device may be more cost effective and available to those who may not otherwise have the time or energy to read a self-help book.  Some mobile apps may be utilized best to supplement psychological services, as individuals can carry tangible reminders or activities with them that relate to the tools they learn in therapy.  The following is a small list of the countless available apps to address self-improvement.

Anxiety and Depression

Mind Shift – This app is ideal for teens and young adults experiencing anxiety.  It addresses issues with sleep an

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0 August 22, 2016

ANXIETY IN CHILDHOOD: DEVELOPING TOOLS TO HELP YOUR CHILD COPE: By Dr. Tia Westheimer Although unpleasant at times, feeling anxious is a very natural part of human existence.  The purpose of anxiety is to alert us to and protect us from true threats of danger.  When danger is perceived our bodies prepare us for immediate action.  Most people have heard of the body’s “fight or flight” response.  This represents a series of changes that take place in our body to prepare us to either fight off or escape from danger.  The sympathetic nervous system is activated and hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released into the body.  As a result we may feel dizzy, sweaty, or shaky as we experience increased heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate.  Blood flow to major muscle groups is slowed along with slowed digestion, which may result in nausea. Despite the body’s brilliant design to protect us from danger, the threat of actual danger occurs far less often than one may tend to experience anxiety.  The manner in which we interpret and handle our feelings of anxiety can greatly impact our overall level of stress and eventually our quality of life. When a child experiences anxiety, caregivers often feel confused, helpless, and even frustrated at times.  It is important to remember that some level of worry in children is normal.  It can even

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0 July 19, 2016

What’s up with They Pronouns? By: Dr. Erin Robinson Pronouns are something we use every day without much thought, but which have significance in identifying the people we are talking about.  The pronoun, “he” or “she” holds a rolodex of images, meanings, and assumptions about the person being discussed.  Some of these assumptions are driven by internal ideas of men and women, and others based on societal expectations. So what happens when we are confronted with they/them pronouns? We have to think!  All of the preconceived notions of men and women existing on a binary must be altered.  This usually causes discomfort, and as a result, people dismiss these pronouns as invalid because they do not fit into our orderly constructs of gender.  However, there are people who view their gender ambiguously, or fluidly, and do not ascribe to traditional gendered pronouns, like “he” or “she”, and rather prefer pronouns such as “they” or “ze.”  By telling someone their pronouns are invalid, you are all invaliding them as a person. Outward appearances do not necessarily give you information about what a person’s gender identity is, and therefore should not be used to make assumptions about one’s identity.  Gender identity is defined as “a person’s inner sense of being male or female, usually developed during early childhood as a result

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