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Family Therapy

 

 

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Part One: Background / Rationale for Family Therapy / Marriage / Divorce / The Role of a Father / Anger / Domestic Violence / Child Abuse / Guilt / Love / Growth: Communication Problems and Solutions (Unhealthy Communication; Healthy Communication; Gender-based Communication Bias; A Lesson from Dog Training)
Part Two: Physical Affection and Attachment / Discipline / Punishment / Shaping Positive Behavior / Death, Dying, and Bereavement / The Loss of Innocence / Family Therapy / Special Hint: How to Say “No ” to a Child

 

Physical
 
Affection

IANY YEARS before he started psychotherapy, a nurse in his physician’s office suffered the sudden death of her father. Just out of kindness, he sent her a sympathy card. The next time he saw her, not too long thereafter, she ran up to him, threw her arms around him, and gave him a big hug. He almost fainted. The fact that a woman he hardly even knew was putting her arms around him was one thing, but the real surprise—as odd as it sounds—was that no one had ever given him such an innocent, spontaneous hug before.

That hug initiated a radical change in his life.

  

In the early 1960s, H. F. Harlow’s experiments with monkeys showed that when physical contact was withheld from infant monkeys, they became fearful, withdrawn, and apathetic.
 
And we know now that the same is true for human infants. Without physical affection, infants cease to thrive.

  

He was raised with all the basic care an infant needs. His family, however, was not an emotionally open family. Yes, they were close, and they did everything together. But, beyond infancy and early childhood, aside from a handshake or a kiss on the cheek, he never learned to touch or be touched.

Fortunately, once he saw the problem through the perspective of his psychotherapy, he learned how bodily awareness relates to emotional awareness. He developed social confidence. And he learned how to hug.

In order to develop emotional intimacy, children need to be touched and caressed. A lack of physical affection and emotional intimacy can cause great psychological pain to a child. Lacking touch and emotional spontaneity in their families, they don’t even know how to recognize their own emotional experiences. They repress their emotions, they suffer psychosomatic illnesses, they become socially insecure, and they confuse a need for simple physical affection with sexual desire.

Moreover, this emotional pain can persist even into adulthood as the underlying cause of social dysfunction. These emotional wounds can be healed in psychotherapy, but the healing doesn’t happen by receiving hugs from your psychotherapist; the healing occurs through your “mapping out” the effects of the pain of not having received physical affection from your parents.

 
Clinical Considerations

When an infant perceives its mother as consistently protective and nurturing, it will actively seek out contact with her. In psychological language, a child who demonstrates this kind of comfort with its mother is said to be securely attached to her.

Impediments to a secure attachment can manifest in several ways. There can be an avoidance of contact, as exhibited by withdrawal, inhibition, or hypervigilance; there can be a resistance to contact, as exhibited by pushing others away, hitting and slapping them, or angry outbursts; and there can be indiscriminate sociability, as exhibited by excessive familiarity with strangers, or a lack of selectivity in choosing attachment figures.

These impediments can result because the child has been physically, sexually, or emotionally abused, or, even more specifically, has been witness to domestic violence or has suffered the emotional betrayal and confusion of a mother who abuses drugs or alcohol.

Insecure attachment styles can be diagnosed as Reactive Attachment Disorder if the cause of the non-attachment can be attributed to pathogenic care: persistent disregard for the child’s emotional or physical needs, or repeated changes of primary caregiver (as in foster care).

 


 

Discipline:
 
Overview
 
of
 
Behavioral
 
Techniques

Techniques of behavioral psychology offer many different ways to shape a child’s behavior so that it becomes obedient to the values the parents want to teach. This shaping can happen through strategies to increase selected behaviors or to decrease selected behaviors.

 
Increasing Behaviors through Reinforcement

There are two ways to increase a particular behavior; one is called positive reinforcement and the other is called negative reinforcement.

Positive Reinforcement occurs when you give something in response to your child’s behavior. What you give can be pleasant, such as a reward of money or food, or unpleasant, such as a verbal reprimand.

For positive reinforcement to be effective it must

follow the child’s behavior,

be delivered immediately after the child’s behavior,

be large enough to be significant to the child,

be consistently applied, and

have verbal clarification.

 
Negative Reinforcement occurs when you take away something in response to your child’s behavior. This can be a hard concept to understand, so consider the example of relieving a child from washing the dinner dishes after you have noticed that he or she just completed a special report for school. The idea here is that in being relieved of an unwanted task the child will be motivated to keep doing well in school. Even though taking away the task may seem like a reward, it technically involves removing something, so it is a “negative” reinforcement.

 
Decreasing Behaviors through Punishment and Other Methods

Several psychological methods can be used to decrease a particular behavior.

Overcorrection is a two-step process which involves first making restitution for the undesired behavior, and then performing correct behaviors. For example, a child might be required to pick up all the clothes from the floor of her bedroom and then to clean the floors of all the rooms in the house.

Time Out involves removing positive reinforcement for a brief, specified time. For example, each time a child has a temper tantrum, he can be sent to a place away from family activity (such as a chair across the room) and ignored for a short time (such as 30 seconds). For more details, see below. Note that locking the child in a closet, for example, is abuse, not a healthy form of psychological correction, and serves no good. And sending a child to his or her room as a so-called “time out” can, ironically, be perceived by many children as a form of reward.

Extinction is a technique to decrease a previously reinforced behavior by removing the reinforcement for it. A parent won’t have much use for this technique—unless you happen to read this section and find out that you have been unwittingly reinforcing a bad behavior and now want to remedy it. For example, you might stop giving attention to a child when she performs the undesirable behavior.

Differential Reinforcement involves positively reinforcing all behaviors except the unwanted behavior. Like extinction, this technique is unlikely to be used by a parent. Unlike extinction, this technique requires you to actually give something to a child for all behaviors except the undesired behavior during a certain time period.

Punishment occurs when you do something (which the child finds to be unpleasant) in response to your child’s behavior. An example would be removing driving privileges or adding extra tasks for a child to perform in response to a speeding ticket—all with the goal of decreasing unsafe driving habits.

For punishment to be effective, it must

follow the child’s behavior,

be delivered immediately after the child’s behavior,

hurt enough to be significant to the child,

be consistently applied, and

have verbal clarification.

 
The average person, untrained in psychology, often misunderstands the simplicity and benefits of punishment, so this leads to the next section . . .

 


 

Punishment—
 
and
 
Values

As long as families have to exist in a permissive culture, psychologically healthy families need more than healthy communication. Children also need to be punished when they have done something wrong. After all, punishment is a part of the reconciliation process, and unpunished guilt can cause psychological problems of its own.

As I said in the previous section, punishment is just a simple psychological technique to decrease specific behavior. But to be effective, it must be used properly. The punishment, then, must be just: it must be consistent, fair, and adequate to the transgression. And it must be tempered with mercy.

  

In its psychological sense, mercy means to withhold some—or all—of the punishment demanded by justice if the guilty person shows deep sorrow for his or her behavior.

  

But this is just the easy part. A parent can’t expect to administer punishment by remaining uninvolved. In fact, to administer punishment is to get involved.

  

Don’t expect to take away a child’s driving privileges and then say, “Well, you need to drive to school, so you can use the car for that. Just come home right after school.” What child couldn’t see through that nonsense—and learn to abuse it immediately? So wake up. You will have to drive your child to and from school, no matter what the inconvenience to you.
 
Don’t expect to confine a child to the house and then expect that you can come and go, leaving the child alone in the house, while saying “Don’t go anywhere.” Wake up again. You will have to stay home and monitor your child, never letting him or her leave your sight. Homework must be done under your supervision, not alone in a bedroom. Meals must be eaten together. Entertainment must be in your presence. Everything must be done in your presence, and, as a result—like it or not—you will be drawn closer to your child.
 
Sound hard? Well, that’s why there are so many family problems: the parents are always too busy to really get involved in the punishment. In the end, you have to accept the fact that the punishment will hurt the parent as much as the child. If it doesn’t, it will never be effective.

  

Finally, parents cannot provide healthy punishment unless they themselves live by healthy values—courage, integrity, and responsibility, for example—that they can pass on to their children through teaching and action.

  

Sadly enough, most adolescent “acting out” derives from the fact that many parents’ values aren’t really grounded in a deep devotion to something greater than themselves, such as religious faith. And so the adolescent in effect says, “Your values are all a fraud. They’re arbitrary. So why should I do what you say? It’s not fair. I’ll do what I want because my desires are just as valid as any of yours.”

  

As strange as it might seem, a permissive parent who fails to administer discipline actually causes a child to fear punishment and to associate it with irrational violence. These fears can become so strong that the child actually engages in violence as an unconscious plea to be punished for an unspoken, aching sense of guilt for other acts that were never justly punished.

 
Guidelines for Punishment

1. The best form of punishment (removing something to decrease a specific behavior) is time out. But, for this to work, there has to be in place both a system of positive recognition and a clear set of family rules. With these in place, “time out” then becomes the response of choice when the child breaks a rule: the child is removed from the positive family activity in such a way that he or she can still witness it while being excluded from it. For example, if a child swears, the parent responds—in a neutral tone, not angrily—“That’s a time out.” The child then goes to the time-out location, such as a chair on the other side of the room, and is ignored by everyone else. Then, after about 30 seconds, the parent says OK and calls the child back. And then the parent must offer positive recognition to the child, such as by giving a hug and saying, “I like the way you accepted the time out so willingly and how, even though you felt angry, you handled your frustration very well.”

2. Any infliction of punishment can easily become abuse, in which the punisher takes pleasure in the punishment. In terms of parental-child discipline, this is clearly not acceptable. Period. Many adults use the excuse that the abuse they inflict on children is “punishment,” but this is just a smoke-screen to hide the adult’s unconscious sadism—or sado-eroticism, for sadly enough many adults derive a sort of perverse erotic pleasure in inflicting pain on children.

3. Physical punishment can also be an “easy way out” for a parent who has botched up the whole job of parental discipline all along and tries to “save face” once in a while by lashing out at the child. I feel sorry for any children in these circumstances because there really isn’t anything that can help them. They will be wounded for life. The lucky ones will seek psychotherapy as adults, and the unlucky ones will end up in prison—or in their own private hell of drugs and alcohol or whatever.

4. As for “just” punishment, I personally cannot see any reason for punishment that involves a series of repeated blows, as in caning (whether with a cane or a belt) or with “spanking” as it is commonly conceived. So for older children the punishment should be focused on the removal of privileges or perhaps the assignment of extra tasks. For younger children in circumstances involving obstinate behavior, rather than simple childish desires, a gentle whack on the butt, along with a strong “No!” can be quite effective. But even this has to be done in compassion. And it needs to be done only once. If the child doesn’t get the idea with one whack, then something else is going on, and the parent needs to re-evaluate the whole situation.

According to California law, striking a child anywhere other than on the butt, or with an instrument (such as a paddle), constitutes child abuse.

 


 

Shaping
 
Positive
 
Behavior:
 
The
 
Best
 
Way

He was a “latchkey kid.” That is, he came home from school to an empty house while both his parents were still working. He spent his time watching TV and neglected his homework. When his parents came home, his mother was too tired to do anything with him, and his father blew up at him in anger. The child became disruptive in his classes; he began to set fires and to shoplift. He was given medication for ADHD. It seemed there was nothing he could do right. Nothing, that is, except play video games.

Maybe he couldn’t sit still in school, but he could focus his attention for hours on the games, achieving advanced levels of play. He was one of the best.

So how do we understand this?

Well, the video games offered three things that were sadly missing in his family:
 

Clear Rules. He knew exactly what he had to do to get points and exactly what would happen if he made any mistakes.

Rewards for good behavior. As long as he followed the rules, he earned his points. Immediately.

Punishment for breaking the rules. If he did make a mistake, the game punished him for it. But the punishment was never critical or belittling. It was just a fact: You did this, so this is the cost. And then the game resumed.

So what can we learn from this? Well, several things.

1. Families need rules of conduct that are clearly stated. This includes the no’s (no swearing, no hitting, no lying, etc.) and the do’s (do your homework, come to dinner clean and on time, go to bed at the appointed time, etc.).

  

Needless to say—although in today’s world it may be necessary to say it anyway—the parents must abide by the same rules as the children. Period.

  

2. Families need to give children positive recognition. Like the child in the story above, many children are ignored until they do something wrong, so they unconsciously are motivated to strive for even negative attention just to get some attention. But a healthy family will give a child positive recognition (a) for behavior that tends toward the desired behavior and (b) for not breaking the rules:

  

I like the way you [hung up your jacket, did your homework, helped your sister, etc.]. That shows [consideration for others, integrity, compassion, etc.].
 

  

  

I notice that you haven’t [fought with your sister, used swear words, thrown a tantrum, etc.]. Thank you for [being kind, having good manners, using self-control, etc.].

Note that this positive recognition, though largely verbal, is best offered with affectionate touching as well.

  

Some theories of dealing with difficult children advocate the use of a credit system, or token economy, in the school classroom and in the family. Such systems, however, tend to reduce human interactions to the level of commodities to be purchased. Token economies may be necessary in classrooms to keep order, but in families, though they may seem to be convenient, token economies ultimately subvert the deeper values of life.

  

3. Families need a fair and defined way to punish broken rules. But the punishment must be clean—it cannot be given in anger, and it cannot belittle or shame the child.

 


 

Death,
 
Dying,
 
and
 
Bereavement

Everyone has heard of the predicament of a person who receives a diagnosis of a terminal illness and is given only several months to live.
 
You might then stop to ask yourself, “What if I had only six months to live? What would I do now?” Unfortunately, the usual answer is something like, “I would sell everything and take that trip to Tahiti I’ve been dreaming about all my life.” I say “unfortunately” because such an answer does little to get at the real spiritual and human point of the matter.
 
Better to ask, “What would I do if I had only six hours to live?”
 
What would you do? And what would you do if you knew your parents or your children or your spouse had only six hours to live?
 
Notice that the
Five Stages of Dying identified by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross [1] are based on a life that is unprepared for death:

1.

Denial

2.

Anger

3.

Bargaining

4.

Depression

5.

Acceptance

 
The truth of the matter is that a life unprepared to die—or unprepared for the death of someone close—is not much of a life in the first place. It’s a life whose first impulse is denial. It’s a life just waiting to be slapped in the face with trauma. In contrast, some of the saints lived lives of perfect joy and peace because they lived as if they were dying in every moment.

So, to have a family life that is truly intimate, learn to talk about death. Learn to ask “What would you do if . . . ?” questions. Learn to walk out the door with the awareness that you might not come back. Because it might be the last thing you ever do.

 
Fear of Death

Talking about death can be difficult for many individuals because they have their own unspoken fear of death. This fear of death can take on several dimensions, and each dimension has its own particular questions that need to be explored and prepared for before you can be at peace about your own death.

Contemplate the questions that follow and prepare yourself for the various possibilities. Even though you won’t be able to control anything after you die, while you are alive you can (a) make legal plans; (b) discuss issues with others; (c) alter your current attitudes; and (d) change your current behaviors.

1. The body dying. “What will I feel at the moment of death? Will it be gentle or will there be bodily pain and suffering?”

2. The body after death. “What will happen to my body? Who will touch it? Will my body be treated with respect or lack of respect?”

3. Possessions and wealth after death. “What will become of my possessions and wealth? Who will handle my possessions? Will they be treated with care and respect? What will happen to my financial assets? Who will acquire them? For what purposes will they be used?”

4. Relatives, friends, and acquaintances. “How will those who know me be affected by my death?”

5. The soul. “Will I experience anything after death? Is there a continuation of consciousness as some persons claim? Is there a God? Will I be judged for my actions in life? Will I experience reward or punishment because of my actions in life?”

 
Bereavement

Mourning after the death of someone close, clinically diagnosed as Bereavement, actually takes a full year, because you have to live through a full cycle of holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays—and ultimately the anniversary of the death itself—without the loved one.

The process of bereavement can also have many symptoms in common with a Major Depressive Episode, such as feelings of sadness, along with insomnia, poor appetite, and weight loss. The diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder generally would not be given to a grieving individual unless these symptoms are still present 2 months after the loss and the full criteria for the diagnosis are met. Remember what I said in the above paragraph: the bereavement cycle takes a whole year—so if you are still crying over the loss at nine months, but if you do not meet all the criteria for major depression, then you are simply still grieving, and a clinical diagnosis is not warranted.

Here is a comparison of normal bereavement with clinical depression:

Bereavement

Major Depression

The survivor may feel guilt about actions taken or not taken at the time of the death.

Guilt extends beyond actions around the death.

The survivor may feel that he or she would be better off dead or should have died with the loved one.

Thoughts of death extend beyond an identification with the deceased.

The survivor may feel empty and useless.

There are morbid feelings of worthlessness.

The survivor may feel lethargic or move slowly.

There is obvious and considerable psychomotor retardation.

The survivor may lose interest in work and daily tasks or experience them as a heavy burden.

There is obvious and considerable functional impairment.

The survivor may think that he or she hears the voice of the deceased person or sees the transient image of the deceased person.

Hallucinatory experiences extend beyond thoughts of the loved one.

When depression complicates bereavement, the root of the problem is often unrecognized anger toward the deceased. The dynamics are quite simple: one part of you feels anger for all the hurt the deceased ever caused you, and consequently you feel relief for—and even satisfied by—the death. But another part of you, which cannot accept the “scandal” of being angry with someone you love, feels guilty about your relief. So you end up unconsciously turning your anger against yourself. And that’s what depression is: anger turned inwards. Once the anger is recognized for what it is, and once you can accept honestly all the positive qualities and the shortcomings of the deceased, then you can forgive the person—and the depression dissolves.

  

Anger at the deceased may not always be turned inwards, as in depression, but it may also be felt as irritability. In this case you may feel that you have been cheated—or victimized—by the death, and you may find yourself expressing this feeling with complaints of being poorly treated and with subtle (or not so subtle) acts of hostility toward others.

  

 


 

The
 
Loss
 
of
 
Innocence

Once a child is born, its continued survival depends entirely on someone to feed it and care for it. So it comes to expect the world to be caring. And as the child grows and develops, its mental health and sanity depend on the innocent belief that the world is not completely irrational and hostile.

So what is a parent to do when social violence and natural disasters around the world shatter the child’s sense of innocence?

1. Don’t try to hide anything from the child. Parents sometimes believe that if they don’t talk about tragedies then it will protect a child from fear. But children, in one way or another, know as much, if not more, about what is happening in the world than their parents. So not talking about an event only increases a child’s inner, unspoken anxiety. And parental silence “tells” the child that the parent can’t be a source of trust and support.

2. Talk about the event from the child’s perspective. Parents often believe that “talking about” something means telling the child what they themselves believe. But usually, the parents are more anxious than the child, and so they end up making the child anxious. The fact is, children think about things that might not even occur to an adult. For example, hearing that an entire family was killed in a terrorist attack, a young child might not be concerned at all about his or her own death in a similar situation but might be worried about who will take care of the family cat that will be left alone in the house without food if anything happened to the family. Therefore, to “talk about” something with a child, it is necessary for the parent to listen carefully to the child’s concerns and help the child understand the meaning of those concerns.

3. Help the child express emotions. Children need help putting complex emotions into words. By listening carefully to the child’s concerns, parents can help the child distinguish anger from fear from anxiety from vulnerability from frustration from sadness and so on. Of course, you, the adult, are perfectly capable of sorting out your own emotions, aren’t you? Aren’t you?

4. Don’t overwhelm—or brainwash—the child with your own anxiety. Parents who become overly protective of a child after a tragedy only instill a sense of paranoia in the child. If a child is kidnapped in your city, bolting the doors, keeping the drapes closed, and refusing to let your child out of the house only cause additional trauma in your child.

5. Speak of positive and good things. Bad things happen, yes, but far more good things happen each day. Thousands of airplanes take off and land every day without incident. Hundreds of millions of children go about their lives every day without getting hit by cars, abducted, or shot at. Teach your child to trust in the good, not to fear the bad.

6. “Why do bad things happen?” Parents often freeze when a child asks this question—or they offer a cynical answer that reflects their own bitterness. Here’s the best and simplest answer of all:
God is love, and God created the world to share that love with us. But love can’t be commanded; if we are to love, we must love by our own free will, and that means we must have the capacity to not love. Therefore, God gave us free will, and with it came the freedom both to love and also to reject love and do evil. So the more you see evil around you, the more you should be reminded to love from your own heart.

 


 

Family
 
Therapy

Family therapy requires a counselor who can listen closely to the family’s communication patterns and intervene to break through dysfunctional communication styles so as to facilitate healthy, honest interactions. Forgiveness is also an element involved in healing family wounds.
 
This same style of counseling can be applied to organizational situations.

 


 

Special
 
Hint

I’m always deeply saddened when someone attempts to discourage a child’s behavior by saying, “You don’t want to do that.” But of course the child wants to do that! It’s perfectly obvious he wants to do it, or he wouldn’t be trying. So why confuse the child by denying what you both know is perfectly true?

Here, then, is a special hint on how to say “No” to a child without causing psychological hurt. You do this by acknowledging what the child wants and then, without making the child feel guilty or bad simply for having childish desires, explain why the child cannot have what he or she wants.

To a young child say the following:

  

I know you want to [have some candy, play in the water, chase the birds, whatever . . .]  and  there are times when you can’t always have what you want because other good things have to come first.

  

To an older child (or another adult, for that matter) try saying something like this:

  

I know that you really would like to [stay out past dark, bungee jump off the Golden Gate Bridge, or whatever . . .]  and  [the danger of getting mugged, the law, insurance regulations, etc.] just won’t allow it.

  

The point of such statements is to show the child (a) that you recognize and respect the child’s desire  and  (b) that since the world is filled with conflicting desires, one’s own desires can’t always be fulfilled. This is an important lesson for children to learn. (Too bad most adults haven’t learned it.)

Said in another way, it’s not that the child’s desire is wrong, it’s simply that, because the world is unfair, all desires cannot always be fulfilled. It’s important to learn that apparent “evil” is, in many cases, simply the conflict between two “goods.” This is why you use the word and, rather than but, between the two parts of your statement.

 
What if . . .?

What if, after taking the precaution of saying “No” properly, a child were to respond, “If you don’t give me what I want, I will kill myself!” Or what if you were afraid that a child might commit suicide if his or her desires weren’t fulfilled? What then? Should the fear of suicide hold you hostage?

Well, it’s important to remember that no one can make another person get angry. Even though a person might feel hurt by something, anger is a response to that hurt, a deliberate response freely chosen for the purpose of causing harm in retaliation for that hurt. It’s not a response that someone can be forced into; it’s a response that a person chooses.

So even though a parent might have to do something for perfectly good disciplinary reasons that a child experiences as hurtful, the parent is not responsible for causing any anger the child might express, even if the anger takes the form of a suicidal threat—or even if the anger takes the form of actual suicide.

When a child considers suicide to be a justifiable response to feeling hurt, it points to a grave disorder that derives from a combination of two things. First, it demonstrates that the child has been brainwashed by the contemporary culture of hedonism and entitlement, such that the child has come to accept the false belief that “anything is acceptable, and if I want it, I’m entitled to it, and, if I don’t get it, I’ll make a big enough stink about it until I do get it.” Second, it demonstrates that moral values and discipline have been so lacking in the family life as to let false beliefs take root and grow in the child.

Here, then, is where parents do have responsibility. If a child gets angry when parents have to say “No,” then the parents have failed in either, or both, of two ways. On the one hand, parents can fail to provide necessary oversight and correction to reverse any brainwashing the child receives from the culture; on the other hand, parents can fail to assert the discipline of making moral values—such as love, humility, patience, and mutual cooperation—the core of the family life.

 


 

Lessons
 
In
 
Healing
 
And
 
Hope
 

Psychology from the Heart
The Spiritual Depth of Clinical Psychology

A collection of texts from the writings of
Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D.

More information

 


   

Gratitude
 

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Notes:

1. Kubler-Ross, E. (1969). On Death and Dying. New York: Macmillan.

 
Additional Resources
 
Animal Abuse:
Animal Cruelty / Human Violence  from the Humane Society of the U.S.
 
Child Abuse:
American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children  “is a membership society dedicated to serving professionals who work in child abuse and neglect and thereby improve the quality of services to maltreated children and the adults who share and influence their lives.”
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect
National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse
 
Child and Adolescent Mental Health:
ADD   provides “information and discussion about the diagnosis and medical treatment of ADD/ADHD” and describes “the many social consequences people with ADD/ADHD neurology not infrequently struggle to cope with.”
Autism  from the National Institute of Mental Health
Autism Research Institute
Cancer: Support and Resources  from the National Cancer Institute.
Children and Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General  provides comprehensive information about child development, mental health disorders (including ADHD), and treatment.
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Activities  from the Center for Mental Health Services.
Conduct Disorder: Diagnosis and Treatment in Primary Care  from American Family Physician.
Contemporary Pediatrics®  offers many helpful articles.
Depression in Children and Adolescents  from American Family Physician.
Guidance for Effective Discipline  from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Helping Children After a Disaster  from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Helping children with learning disabilities toward a brighter adulthood  from Contemporary Pediatrics
Mental Health Disorders in Children  from THE MERCK MANUAL
National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect
RETT SYNDROME-SILENT ANGEL'S  offers information from the perspective family coping.
Self-Injury in Adolescents - AACAP Facts For Families  from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP).
Sleep Disorders and Sleep Problems in Childhood  from American Family Physician
Sleep disorders in children and teens  from Postgraduate Medicine
Suicide and Suicide Attempts in Adolescents  from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
When parents have a drinking problem  from Contemporary Pediatrics
 
Child Psychology:
History of child psychology, testing, psychiatry etc.  provides an overview of the history of child psychology through many articles by and about the most famous psychologists who worked with children.
Psyche Matters: Infant and Child Psychology and Psychoanalysis Resources  provides information about therapy and analysis for infants & children.
 
Domestic Violence:
Domestic Violence - International Resources
Domestic violence: Ways to get help  from the Mayo Clinic.
Family Violence Prevention Fund
Marital Rape
National Clearinghouse on Family Violence (NCFV), Health Canada
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
On-line Domestic Violence Survival Kit
The White Ribbon Campaign  —Educational Materials: Men working to end men’s violence against women.
 
Family Systems Theory:
Allyn & Bacon Family Therapy Website  provides an overview of important family systems therapists and historical concepts.
Family Systems Theory & Concepts  provides a slide presentation of basic family systems concepts.
Bowen Family Systems Theory, family healing meditations  provides some helpful family systems healing concepts.
 
Geriatrics:
Alzheimer’s Association
A Practical Guide to Caring for Caregivers  from American Family Physician. (A confusing title! It is a guide for family members who take care of persons with dementia.)
Elder Abuse  from Emergency Medicine
Guidelines for the Evaluation of Dementia and Age-Related Cognitive Decline  from the American Psychological Association.
Late-Life Depression  from Clinical Geriatrics Magazine Online.
The Merck Manual of Geriatrics  provides numerous articles which discuss mental and physical aspects of geriatric care.
Recognition and diagnosis of dementia  from the National Guideline Clearinghouse.
 
Marriage and Family Issues:
Abortion and breast cancer: The scientific link
Family Matters and Resources
How therapy can be hazardous to your marital health
Smart Marriages
 
Marriage and Family Therapy:
American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy  provides information and resources for marriage and family therapy.
Directory of State MFT Licensing Boards  provides the regulated titles and addresses of state boards regulating marriage and family therapists.
 
Strategic Therapy:
Strategic Therapy  —from Jay Haley on Therapy.
 
Substance Abuse:
Adult Children of Alcoholics
Alcoholics Anonymous
Alcoholism  and other publications from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse  is “a non-profit organization working to minimize the harm associated with the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.”
Cocaine Anonymous
Drinking and Your Pregnancy  and other publications from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Droginformation  is a Swedish site with articles, in English, about marijuana abuse.
Drug Use And Dependence (Substance Abuse)  from THE MERCK MANUAL.
Narcotics Anonymous
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration  is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
 
Related pages within A Guide to Psychology and its Practice:
Adolescent Violence
Anger
Death—and the Seduction of Despair
Depression and Suicide
Fear
Forgiveness
Honesty
Identity and Loneliness
Questions and Answers about Psychotherapy
Reasons to Consult a Psychologist
Sex and Love
Spirituality and Psychology
Terrorism and Psychology
Trauma
Types of Psychological Treatment
The Unconscious
 
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