6 Ways To End a Screen-Time Addiction

6 Innovative Ways To End A Screen-Time Addiction

In the age of iPads, tablets, smartphones, and Macbooks, keeping your kids away from screens seems to be an impossible feat. Professionals have recommended children under the age of 5 spend an hour a day devoted to a screen, but it sounds a lot better on paper than it does in action.

Can we end the epidemic of screen-time addiction and obsession with the internet and the instant gratification it provides? These 6 tricks can help you get your kids to cut back on screen-time and resume their lives as healthy, active children again.

Take One For The Team and Start Cutting Back

Honestly, it’s no surprise we’re seeing more and more kids become addicted to screens, and it’s spreading down into the toddler ages. The average adult spends over 10 hours on a screen in America, and kids are our biggest copycats. When they see us enjoying the easy access to screens and getting sucked into the vortex of virtual reality, it sets up an example for them to follow.

Introduce Firm and Understandable Rules

The younger the child, the easier it is to create a habit, or end a bad one. Most preschoolers won’t know what they’re missing if you turn the screens off more, but when they reach 5 and up, they start to develop that dependence on screens that’s causing many problems we see in society today. No matter if you’re starting young or a little late, make sure your kids know the new rules and don’t let them bend or break them.

Allow Yourself To Look At The Clock

In most situations, watching the clock makes time go slower and creates more problems than it creates. Setting limits for your kids and establishing firm timeframes for them to use a screen is a great start, but to enforce these rules, you have to be on top of the tick-tock.

It’s Okay To Make It a Bribe

Since your kids are going to be using screens no matter one somehow or another, make it a motivational tactic to encourage activity in their other areas of life. Completing the chores for the day can be rewarded with their hour of screen time, whereas having a bad attitude or breaking a different rule could result in losing computer privileges.

Knock Out Two Birds With One Stone

Some families struggle to find time to all spend together, so make electronic games and movies part of your activities as a group! Not only are you making the time spent with a screen more productive by encouraging conversation and bonding, but you’re staying active and involved in your child’s time spent online. Doing so can help prevent bad situations from happening without your realization.

Create a Designated Space

There isn’t much reason for your kids to have screens in their rooms, so don’t even start introducing them in your kid’s private areas. Instead, keep your electronics located in accessible spaces, like a family room or a computer office. This will make monitoring their time and activity much easier and establish healthy habits.

The Bottom Line

By acting as soon as possible, you’ll have an easier time getting a handle on the screen dependency problem that countless families face. Screen addictions in kids lead to other problems down the line and can affect their cognitive skill development. Implementing these practices can bring the risk to your child down significantly without creating the next World War in your own home!

About The Author

This post was written by Jenny Silverstone, the chief editor and writer of Mom Loves Best, a research-driven parenting blog that aims to educate parents on essential topics such as children safety, health, and development.

Related Online Continuing Education (CE) Course:

Effects of Digital Media on Children’s Development and LearningEffects of Digital Media on Children’s Development and Learning is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that reviews the research on media use and offers guidance for educators and parents to regulate their children’s use of digital devices.

Today’s world is filled with smartphones used by people ignoring their surroundings and even texting while driving, which is criminally dangerous. Are there other dangers that may not be as apparent? Media technology (e.g., smart phones, tablets, or laptop computers) have changed the world. Babies and children are affected and research reveals that 46% of children under age one, and up to 59% of eight-year-old children are exposed to cell phones. In England, nearly 80% of senior primary-school staff reportedly are worried about poor social skills or speech problems of children entering school, which they attribute to the use of media devices.

Media technology affects family life, children’s readiness for entering school or preschool, and classroom learning. Recent research delineates a developmental progression of understanding information on devices for children between ages 2- 5 years. Younger children may believe false information if it is on a computer. This research is important for understanding technology uses in education. There are also known health risks and possible adverse effects to social-emotional development. Statistics describing the increase of media technology and developing trends in media use are presented along with guidelines and position statements developed to protect children from risks and adverse effects. Course #30-96 | 2017 | 50 pages | 20 posttest questions 

Click here to learn more.

Course Directions

Our online courses provide instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more. Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

Psychological Effects of Media Exposure

New Online CE Course @pdresources.org

Psychological Effects of Media ExposurePsychological Effects of Media Exposure is a new 2-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that explores the psychological effects that media exposure has on both the witnesses and victims of traumatic events.

This course will explore why we are so drawn to traumatic events and how media portrayals of these events influence our thoughts, conclusions, and assumptions about them. It will then discuss how the intersection of trauma and media has evolved to provide a place for celebrity-like attention, political agendas, corporate positioning, and even the repackaging, marketing, and selling of grief.

Lastly, the course will look at the interventions and exercises clinicians can use to help their clients understand the effects of trauma becoming public, how to protect themselves, and most importantly, how to recover from traumatic experience – even when it becomes public. Course #21-23 | 2018 | 44 pages | 15 posttest questions

Click here to learn more.

Course Directions

Our online courses provide instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more. Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

This is Your Brain on Depression

Depression

According to the National Institutes of Health, depression is one of the most important causes of disability worldwide, and yet the high rate of inadequate treatment of the disorder remains a serious concern (Kessler, 2013). There are several possible reasons for this, such as resistance to treatment, difficulty in adequate diagnosis, and compliance with medication. However, one very large prevailing factor is the way in which depression affects our brains.

To date, the most relevant theory of depression is what is known as the monoamine deficiency hypothesis. According to this theory, monoamine acts like a brain regulator, affecting several brain functions, including mood, attention, reward processing, sleep, appetite, and cognition. This theory has been supported by the fact that almost every compound that inhibits monoamine reuptake, leading to an increased concentration of monoamines in the synaptic cleft, has been proven to be a clinically effective antidepressant (Belmaker, 2008).

Further, when the enzyme monoamine oxidase, which increases the availability of monoamines in presynaptic neurons, is inhibited, antidepressant effects are observed.

From the monoamine-deficiency theory emerged the understanding of depression as a depletion of the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine or dopamine in the central nervous system.

Of the neurotransmitters involved in depression, serotonin is the most studied. Evidence for abnormally low functioning of the serotonin system in depressed patients comes from studies using tryptophan depletion, which reduces central serotonin synthesis.

When tryptophan was reduced in subjects at increased risk of depression (those with a family history, or with MDD -major depressive disorder- in full remission) depression symptoms increased (Neumeister, 2014).

Further, experimentally reduced central serotonin has been associated with mood congruent memory bias, altered reward-related behaviors, and disruption of inhibitory affective processing (Hasler, 2014). Serotonin receptors – which regulate serotonin function – also appear to work abnormally in depressed people, as decreased availability of receptors have been found in multiple brain areas of patients with MDD (Drevets, 2011).

A classic feature of depression is low energy; dysfunction of the central noradrenergic system has been hypothesized to play a role in the pathophysiology of depression. Several studies have found decreased norepinephrine metabolism, increased activity of tyrosine hydroxylase, and decreased density of norepinephrine transporter in the locus ceruleus in depressed patients (Charney, 2014). In addition, decreased density of adrenergic receptors have been found in the post-mortem brains of depressed suicide victims (Pandey, 2015).

Dopamine, which is typically associated with the reward system and evidenced in cases of addiction, also appears to play a significant role in the neurobiology of depression. When dopamine reuptake is suppressed (through reuptake inhibitors) anti-depressant effects are observed (Goldberg, 2014). In patients with MDD, dopamine transporter binding and uptake were both reduced, suggesting a depletion of the dopamine system as an important feature of depression (Meyer, 2011).

Click here to learn more.

Course excerpt from:

Nutrition and Depression: Advanced Clinical ConceptsNutrition and Depression: Advanced Clinical Concepts is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that examines how what we eat influences how we feel – and what we can do to improve both.

Depression is an increasingly common, complex, inflammatory condition that co-occurs with a host of other conditions. This course will examine how we can combat depression through nutrition, starting with an exploration of the etiology of depression – taking a look at the role of neurotransmitters, the HPA axis and cortisol, gene expression (epigenetics), upregulation and downregulation, and the connections between depression and immunity and depression and obesity. We will then turn our attention to macronutrients and investigate how factors such as regulating blood sugar, achieving amino acid balance, consuming the right fats, and eating fruits and vegetables can enhance mood, improve our decision-making, enhance cognitive processes, and reduce inflammation. From there, we will look at just how we go about the process of building a better brain – one neurotransmitter at a time. Exercises you can use with clients are included. Course #31-02 | 2018 | 42 pages | 20 posttest questions

Course Directions

Our online courses provide instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more. Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

What are Executive Functioning Skills?

Executive Functioning

Parents are often confused when they are told that their child has deficits in his “Executive Functions.” Those seem like big words to describe the frustrations of having a child who seems more disorganized than other children; the kid who often comes to school late and unprepared and always seems to be losing his homework, shoes, or games.

Executive functions are the self-regulating skills that we use every day in order to get any task done, from getting dressed and eating breakfast to getting a backpack packed and choosing which friend to play with. They help us plan, organize, make decisions, shift between situations or thoughts, control our emotions and impulsivity, and learn from past mistakes.

Dawson and Guare (2010) describe executive functioning skills as follows:

“Human beings have a built-in capacity to meet challenges and accomplish goals through the use of high-level cognitive functions called executive skills. These are the skills that help us to decide what activities or tasks we will pay attention to and which ones we will choose to do. Executive skills allow us to organize our behavior over time and override immediate demands in favor of longer-term goals. Through the use of these skills we can plan and organize activities, sustain attention, and persist to complete a task. Executive skills enable us to manage our emotions and our thoughts in order to work more efficiently and effectively. Simply stated, these skills help us to regulate our behavior” (p.1).

Executive functioning difficulties cause children and teens to struggle with many academic learning tasks. According to Howland (2010), executive functioning skills predict academic success more effectively than tests of academic achievement or cognitive ability. Children with poor executive functioning skills are at high risk for dropping out of school, as well as for social and behavioral problems (Lindsay & Dockrell, 2012). They often have compromised listening skills and difficulties following directions, which can compromise familial relationships and academic and social functioning.

Executive functioning difficulty is not necessarily considered a disability, yet it is a weakness in a key set of mental skills that helps connect past experience with present action. People use them to perform activities such as planning, organizing, strategizing, paying attention to and remembering details, and managing time and space.

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Course excerpt from:

Executive Functioning: Teaching Children Organizational SkillsExecutive Functioning: Teaching Children Organizational Skills is a 4-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that will enumerate and illustrate multiple strategies and tools for helping children overcome executive functioning deficits and improve their self-esteem and organizational abilities.

Executive functioning skills represent a key set of mental assets that help connect past experience with present action. They are fundamental to performing activities such as planning, organizing, strategizing, paying attention to and remembering details, and managing time and space. Conversely, executive functioning deficits can significantly disrupt an individual’s ability to perform even simple tasks effectively. Although children with executive functioning difficulties may be at a disadvantage at home and at school, adults can employ many different strategies to help them succeed. Included are techniques for planning and prioritizing, managing emotions, improving communication, developing stress tolerance, building time management skills, increasing sustained attention, and boosting working memory. Course #40-42 | 2017 | 76 pages | 25 posttest questions

Course Directions

Our online courses provide instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more. Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

Learned Helplessness in Children

Learned Helplessness

A number of circumstances and conditions can predispose children to the damaging effects of repeated failure experiences and learned helplessness.

Possibly the most unfortunate consequence of the cumulative effects of these conditions on children is the eventual development of the belief that they are simply not able to perform up to the standards of their parents and teachers. Children who have never experienced success in school are afraid to challenge themselves academically. They do not put in the required effort, and give up before even making an attempt to succeed. These students develop self-defeating strategies that eventually lead to the very failures that they are attempting to avoid. After striving for unattainable goals and procrastinating, they become depressed and angry. Worse still, this sense of helplessness is sometimes influenced in a number of subtle ways by the behavior of parents and teachers, who unwittingly participate in the expectation that the child is not going to do well.

According to Eklund et al. (2015), learned helplessness creates three basic shortfalls in the child: cognitive, emotional, and motivational, thus destroying the child’s aspiration to learn. Once a child ceases to have the motivation to learn, it becomes even harder to engage him/her to attempt to understand something new, as they fall into becoming a helpless learner. To be clear, the child does not intentionally try to behave this way, but feels as though there is no other option, and that failure is inevitable. Once these practices are repeated and reinforced, the child builds an inappropriate response to learning, which becomes a habit. The child will continue in this way throughout his/her educational career, until something changes.

Red Flags of Learned Helplessness

  • Laying blame on the teacher:
    • “The teacher is unfair and picks on me, so I’m not going to do any of her assignments”
    • “It’s the teacher’s fault that I didn’t do well on the test because she didn’t remind me it was today, and I guessed at most of the items”
  • Making excuses for bad behavior to hide insecurities about struggling to learn:
    • “The hallway was too crowded, and when I got to the cafeteria there was no dessert left, so I trashed my tray and got sent to the office instead of going to my next class which, by the way, is the one where I don’t learn anything anyway.”
  • Exhibiting an “I give up” attitude:
    • “School is just boring, the work is dumb, the assignments are too hard (or too easy), and the teacher never checks homework anyway, except when she knows I don’t have it done.”
  • Pulling away or refusing to communicate to avoid confrontation:
    • “What happened in school today?” “I don’t want to talk about it.”
  • Children who feel judged instead of supported:
    • “My parents worry so much about my homework and school work. Why bother worrying about it myself?”
    • “I often feel like my parents won’t value me if I’m not as successful as they would like.”
    • “My parents say I can be anything I like, but deep down I feel they won’t approve of me unless I pursue a profession they admire.”

The progression from learning challenges to school failure looks like this: (note that school failure can initiate a spiral of further discouragement and reinforcement of self-defeating beliefs).

Learning Challenges  >  Lack of Success  >  Discouragement  >  Fixed Mindset  >  Learned Helplessness  >  School Failure

School failure is not, of course, the end of the story. Rather, it can be the beginning of a cascade of negative life outcomes such as problem drinking, mental health problems, criminal activity, and employment problems. While such outcomes are beyond the scope of this course, they do highlight the importance of intervening early with children who are at risk for school failure.

The “Cycle of Success,” by contrast, would proceed as follows:

Learning Abilities  >  Success  >  Encouragement  >  Growth Mindset  >  Self Confidence  >  School Success

Click here to learn more.

Course excerpt from:

Motivating Children to LearnMotivating Children to Learn is a 4-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that provides strategies and activities to help children overcome their academic and social challenges.

This course describes the various challenges that can sidetrack children in their developmental and educational processes, leaving them with a sense of discouragement and helplessness. Such challenges include learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, behavior disorders, and executive functioning deficits. Left unchecked, these difficulties can cause children to develop the idea that they are not capable of success in school, precipitating a downward spiral of poor self-esteem and – eventually – school failure.

The good news is that much better outcomes can result when parents, teachers, and therapists engage children in strategies and activities that help them overcome their discouragement and develop their innate intelligence and strengths, resulting in a growth mindset and a love of learning. Detailed in this course are multiple strategies and techniques that can lead to these positive outcomes. Course #40-44 | 2018 | 77 pages | 25 posttest questions

Course Directions

Our online courses provide instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more. Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

Cultural Humility: A Mindset

Cultural Humility

Healthcare professionals have, over the years, wrestled with determining the best way to become culturally competent. Knowledge is important, but Tervalon and Murray-Garcia (1998) suggest that achieving cultural humility is equally important.

The authors note that the standard of competence in clinical training as detached mastery of a finite body of knowledge may not be the best concept in the area of culture. Cultural humility is proposed as the best stance for learning about other cultures. Cultural humility includes lifelong learning, including evaluating and critiquing your own behavior. Power imbalances in the therapeutic relationship must be assessed and addressed to develop a non-paternalistic, mutually beneficial relationship that includes advocacy for both individuals and groups.

The National Association of Social Workers (2015) includes humility in its cultural standards. Social workers are expected to “demonstrate cultural humility and sensitivity to the dynamics of power and privilege in all areas of social work” (pg 4).

Cultural humility is defined as learning about a person’s culture and then communicating, offering help and sharing decision making, when working with people at the micro, mezzo and macro level. It is an “other-oriented” mindset that focuses on how the person’s social experiences affect their behavior.

The healthcare professional listens and learns, rather than taking an authoritarian stance. The person being served is, after all, the expert in the way their culture affects their lives. Empowerment flows from the validation of the person in their culture.

This is a lifelong process. Researchers have described the process as a constant state of “being-in-becoming.” A lifelong commitment to learning and becoming more and more competent in multicultural and social justice is required, as well as the willingness to apply cultural humility to your practice.

Course excerpt from:

Cultural Awareness in Clinical PracticeCultural Awareness in Clinical Practice is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that provides the foundation for achieving cultural competence and diversity in healthcare settings.

Cultural competence, responding to diversity and inclusion, are important practices for healthcare professionals. This course will help you to gain an awareness of bias and provide strategies to adjust your clinical mindset and therapeutic approach to adapt to “the other” – people who differ in color, creed, sexual identification, socio-economic status, or other differences that make inclusion difficult.

Inclusion is defined as “the state of being included” or “the act of including,” which is something all clinicians should strive for. This course is designed to provoke thought about culture, diversity, and inclusion. Even though research for evidence-based practice is somewhat limited in this area, the concept of cultural competency (however it is defined and measured) is a key skill for healthcare professionals to create an inclusive therapeutic environment. Course #31-07 | 2018 | 57 pages | 20 posttest questions

Course Directions

Our online courses provide instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more. Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

Maintaining Boundaries in an Online World

Maintaining Boundaries in an Online World

One of the mainstays of ethical practice and effective therapeutic practice is the maintenance of clinical boundaries. Clear boundaries are necessary in order for both therapist and client to understand the nature and purpose of their relationship with each other. Boundaries in therapy distinguish psychotherapy from other types of relationships. Confusion about the therapist-client relationship can only interfere with the goals and process of psychotherapy. A client who comes to view the therapist as a friend, lover, or business associate – anything other than his or her source of professional help – is likely to have difficulty making use of the therapeutic alliance. In consideration of the implicit power imbalance that exists between therapist and client, the burden of responsibility for maintaining boundaries always falls upon the therapist.

Blurring of Roles

One of the many challenges to professional boundaries posed by participation in social networking is the fuzziness surrounding online relationships. There are actually at least two dynamics that need to be discussed here. The first is the blurring of the lines between personal and professional relationships, and the second is a phenomenon that seems to influence some individuals to self-disclose or act out more intensely online than they would in person.

The Online Disinhibition Effect

Complicating the picture further is a phenomenon that has been termed by Suler (2004) as the “online disinhibition effect.” This is essentially the observation that while online, some people self-disclose or act out more frequently or intensely than they would in person. People online tend to have a loosening of both behavioral inhibitions and boundaries. Self-disclosure in itself can be therapeutic, of course, but too much disclosure with loose boundaries can lead to toxic disinhibition and embarrassing content online. Researchers have found that three factors facilitate online disinhibition: anonymity, invisibility, and lack of eye contact (Lapidot-Lefler, 2015).

Social Hyperreality

Introducing further complexity into the equation is Borgmann’s (1984, 1992, 1999) early conceptualization of social hyperreality. He called it the device paradigm, described as “a technologically-driven tendency to conform our interactions with the world to a model of easy consumption… the way in which online social networks may subvert or displace organic social realities by allowing people to offer one another stylized versions of themselves for amorous or convivial entertainment.” I.e., the online version of a person may be very different than the person in real life.

In this light, not only do therapists and their clients have to assimilate new and startling data about each other found in online media, they also have to discern whether it represents the real person or his/her digital avatar.

The upthrust of all of this is that therapists must go to extraordinary lengths to assure that their therapeutic relationships do not devolve into something less than what is required for single-minded attention to the best interests of their clients. Even an established and carefully constructed therapy relationship can be unwittingly unraveled by a chance encounter on Facebook. Even when the therapist is mindful of professional boundaries and judicious in the use of self-disclosure, an indiscreet posting or picture on his or her social network page – when viewed by a client – can largely undo prior efforts.

Course excerpt from:

Ethics and Social MediaEthics and Social Media is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE) course that examines the use of Social Networking Services (SNS) on both our personal and professional lives. Is it useful or appropriate (or ethical or therapeutic) for a therapist and a client to share the kinds of information that are routinely posted on SNS like Facebook, Twitter, and others? How are psychotherapists to handle “Friending” requests from clients? What are the threats to confidentiality and therapeutic boundaries that are posed by the use of social media sites, texts, or tweets in therapist-client communication?

The purpose of this course is to offer psychotherapists the opportunity to examine their practices in regard to the use of social networking services in their professional relationships and communications. Included are ethics topics such as privacy and confidentiality, boundaries and multiple relationships, competence, the phenomenon of friending, informed consent, and record keeping. A final section offers recommendations and resources for the ethical use of social networking and the development of a practice social media policy. Course #20-75 | 2016 | 32 pages | 15 posttest questions

Click here to learn more.

Course Directions

Our online courses provide instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more. Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

Community Matters After a Mass Shooting

Community Matters – Especially After a Mass Shooting

Sadly, mass shootings are becoming more widespread and occurring with ever greater frequency, often leaving in their wake thousands of lives forever changed. As victims struggle to make sense of the horror they have witnessed, mental health providers struggle to know how best to help them. The question we all seem to ask is, “Why did this happen?” The etiology of mass shootings remains unclear.

In the wake of a mass shooting, immersing ourselves in a supportive community can help.

James Hawdon and John Ryan, professors of sociology at Virginia Tech, and Finnish researchers Atte Oksanen and Pekka Räsänen, studied four communities’ responses to tragedies at a shopping mall in Omaha, Nebraska and at schools in Jokela and Kauhajoki, Finland and Blacksburg, Virgina.

In all four communities people expressed their need for belonging after the shootings, and this solidarity appeared to have remarkable benefits for their well-being. After each incident, the communities held mass gatherings, vigils and spontaneously erected monuments to the victims, demonstrating that though they were in shock, they were united (Hawdon et al., 2016).

The teams’ research showed that participating in the activities of local businesses, religious establishments, volunteer organizations, and social clubs shortly after a tragedy promoted solidarity while seeing a crisis counselor did not.

Another much larger study found similar results.

Martin Obschonka, Associate Professor at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane (Australia), in collaboration with the economist Michael Stützer from the Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University (DHBW) in Mannheim (Germany) and researchers from the University of Texas in Austin (USA) and the University of Cambridge (UK) compared self-assessed neurotic personality traits within a global personality sample including 7 million respondents worldwide via a large scale online study. They filtered out around 33,500 people living in 89 German cities and tested the historical link between the local intensity of the WWII strategic bombing and today’s regional level of neurotic traits and related clinical problems such as depression disorders in each of these cities.

Surprisingly, the researchers’ findings countered their assumptions. Fewer neurotic traits were found in populations of cities subjected to substantial wartime bombing, compared to the populations of cities that suffered less destruction and trauma caused by bombing raids. Moreover, more severe bombing did not impede entrepreneurship in the region, but instead acted as a protective factor against future stress.

Regions that experienced major destruction during WWII raids and currently facing major stressors, such as economic instability, are protected against higher levels of neurotic traits and higher rates of clinical depression disorders. They seem to have a striking historical resilience today (Obschonka et al., 2017).

“It is possible that the experience of severe bombing in WWII has made the people and the local culture there more resilient in the long-term, which is for example relevant when coping with major stressors and challenges today such as economic hardship” (Stützer, 2017).

While there are many potential mechanisms behind this result, Obschonka suggests, “One possibility is that the major destruction of cities could have made the local population “tougher,” serving as an impetus for the remaining residents to pull together” (Obschonka, 2017). Obschonka notes that research indicates that external threats strengthen social support, thereby boosting their psychological adjustment. He points to the psychological resilience shown through Germany’s reconstruction of the destroyed houses and infrastructure of bombed cities in the years following the war. New Yorkers demonstrated this same resilience after 9/11 (Obschonka, 2017).

“Our results can also be explained by means of research on the neurobiology of resilience, which emphasizes resilience effects of adversity” (Obschonka, 2017).

As we attempt to reconcile our changed realities after a mass shooting, we come to see the events in our lives from multiple perspectives; develop dialectical thinking; incorporate new perspectives on life; adopt new approaches, and experience community solidarity. All of these help us realize that psychological growth is possible, even in the wake of a mass shooting.

Course excerpt from:

Counseling Victims of Mass ShootingsCounseling Victims of Mass Shootings is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that gives clinicians the tools they need to help their clients process, heal, and grow following the trauma of a mass shooting.

This course will begin with a discussion about why clinicians need to know about mass shootings and how this information can help them in their work with clients. We will then look at the etiology of mass shootings, exploring topics such as effects of media exposure, our attitudes and biases regarding mass shooters, and recognizing the signs that we often fail to see. We will answer the question of whether mental illness drives mass shootings. We will examine common first responses to mass shootings, including shock, disbelief, and moral injury, while also taking a look at the effects of media exposure of the victims of mass shootings.

Then, we will turn our attention to the more prolonged psychological effects of mass shootings, such as a critical questioning and reconsideration of lives, values, beliefs, and priorities, and the search for meaning in the upheaval left in the wake of horrific events. This course will introduce a topic called posttraumatic growth, and explore the ways in which events such as mass shootings, while causing tremendous amounts of psychological distress, can also lead to psychological growth. This discussion will include topics such a dialectical thinking, the shifting of fundamental life perspectives, the opening of new possibilities, and the importance of community. Lastly, we will look at the exercises that you, the clinician, can use in the field or office with clients to promote coping skills in dealing with such horrific events, and to inspire psychological growth, adaptation, and resilience in the wake of trauma. Course #31-09 | 2018 | 47 pages | 20 posttest questions

Course Directions

Our online courses provide instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more. Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

 

Grief Work: What Do I Say?

Grief

If you have not been trained in grief work, it can be intimidating to have a client expressing grief by crying, being upset, or angrily responding to you. You may not have easy access to a social worker, psychologist, or other mental health professional. The primary ideas to remember are these:

It is not about you. Grief is not a problem to be solved. It is a process to live through.

Talking to someone who is grieving stirs up your own feelings. This can trigger inappropriate responses to the grieving person. Think about what you are about to say, and why. If you start to talk about yourself, stop. This is not about you. It is about the grieving person.

If you are a problem-solver, you may be tempted to find a solution for the person’s grief. It may be appropriate to refer the person to a mental health professional, but you will not solve the problem and make the person feel better today, tomorrow, or even a month from now. Grief must take its course, and the course will be different for everyone. Your best response is to listen supportively, without judgment and without giving advice (Devine, 2017).

Use these basic ideas to respond to a grieving person:

  • Say, “I can’t imagine how you are feeling.” Do not tell the person you know how they feel. Their grief is unique to them. You may have a similar experience, but it will not be the same.
  • Ask, “What can I do to help right now?” The person may not know what you can do to help, but asking provides the person a small amount of control in a situation that feels wildly out of control.
  • Say “It sounds as if you loved her/him very much. Would you like to tell me what made him/her so special?”
  • Be silent with the person and wait. Offer a tissue if needed.
  • Say, “I am not sure what to say to comfort you, but please know I care” (What’s Your Grief, 2014).

Course excerpt from:

Grief: The Reaction to LossGrief: The Reaction to Loss is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that teaches healthcare professionals how to recognize and respond to grief.

Grief is the reaction to loss, and any kind of loss can trigger grief. People grieve for the loss of someone they love, but they also grieve for the loss of independence, usefulness, cognitive functioning, and physical abilities. Grief is also a lifelong process: a journey rather than a disease that is cured. It changes over time to deal with different kinds of losses. It is an experience that is intellectual, physical, spiritual, and emotional. It is affected by the person’s culture, support system, religious beliefs, and a host of other factors.

Grief is often not recognized by healthcare professionals, in patients or themselves. This course will teach healthcare professionals to recognize grief, as well as how to respond appropriately to the grieving person. The progression of aging and dying will be discussed in order to normalize the process, one of the most important aspects of working with a grieving person. Screening guidelines for depression, suicide risk, and grief are included, as are treatment strategies for anticipatory and complicated grief. A final section on compassion fatigue, burnout, and secondary stress includes strategies for professional self-care. Course #21-25 | 2018 | 35 pages | 15 posttest questions

Click here to learn more.

Related Online Continuing Education (CE) Courses:

The Grieving SelfThe Grieving Self is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that looks at stories of the bereaved to determine the major issues to address to reconnect those who grieve to a stable sense of self. The annual number of deaths reported in the United States in the early part of this century was 2.4 million, about four per minute. This course looks at the stories of a few of those who are recently bereaved to determine the major issues for those who grieve: aloneness, loss of self, social connections, anniversaries and holidays, self and others’ expectations, the need to continue living, ambivalence of recovery, grief dreams, medical problems. Studies are reviewed which indicate some researchers’ conclusions as to: 1) Gender differences between men and women who grieve; there are important questions regarding the recruitment of subjects and the data gathering process for gender differences research. 2) And, who among the grief survivors are best served by counseling and psychotherapy. This author, while agreeing with much of the research, challenges the belief that the emotional loneliness suffered by the bereaved is the single, major dynamic of the bereaved, and can only be alleviated through passage of time. It is felt that an effort to reconnect those who grieve to a stable sense of self can help the bereaved regain better function and reduce the length of the time they are consigned to painfully distressing lives. Course #30-49 | 2010 | 34 pages | 20 posttest questions
Suicide PreventionSuicide Prevention: Evidence-Based Strategies is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that reviews evidence-based research and offers strategies for screening, assessment, treatment, and prevention of suicide in both adolescents and adults. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. In 2015, 44,193 people killed themselves. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes, “Suicide is a serious but preventable public health problem that can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities.” People who attempt suicide but do not die face potentially serious injury or disability, depending on the method used in the attempt. Depression and other mental health issues follow the suicide attempt. Family, friends, and coworkers are negatively affected by suicide. Shock, anger, guilt, and depression arise in the wake of this violent event. Even the community as a whole is affected by the loss of a productive member of society, lost wages not spent at local businesses, and medical costs. The CDC estimates that suicides result in over 44 billion dollars in work loss and medical costs. Prevention is key: reducing risk factors and promoting resilience. This course will provide a review of evidence-based studies so that healthcare professionals are informed on this complex subject. Information from the suicide prevention technical package from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be provided. Included also are strategies for screening and assessment, prevention considerations, methods of treatment, and resources for choosing evidence-based suicide prevention programs. Course #30-97 | 2017 | 60 pages | 20 posttest questions
Overcoming the Stigma of Mental IllnessOvercoming the Stigma of Mental Illness is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that explores the stigmas around mental illness and provides effective strategies to overcome them. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines mental illness stigma as “a range of negative attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors about mental and substance use disorders.” Mental health and substance use disorders are prevalent and among the most highly stigmatized health conditions in the United States, and they remain barriers to full participation in society in areas as basic as education, housing, and employment. This course will explore the stigmas surrounding mental illness and provide effective strategies clinicians can use to create a therapeutic environment where clients can evaluate their attitudes, beliefs, and fears about mental illness, and ultimately find ways to overcome them. We will explore the ways in which mental illness stigmas shape our beliefs, decisions, and lives. We will then look at specific stigmas about mental illness, from the fear of being seen as crazy to the fear of losing cognitive function and the ways in which we seek to avoid these fears. We will then look at targeted strategies that, you, the clinician, can use to create a therapeutic alliance where change and healing can overcome the client’s fears. Lastly, we will look at the specific exercises you can use in session with your clients to help them address and overcome their biases and stigmas about mental illness. Course #21-24 | 2018 | 35 pages | 15 posttest questions
Course Directions
Our online courses provide instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more. Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!—

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

Personality & Temperament in Young Clients

New Online CE/CEU Course @pdresources.org

Personality and Temperament: Connecting with Young ClientsPersonality and Temperament: Connecting with Young Clients is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that demonstrates how differences in personality and temperament impact how children behave and how adults communicate and connect with them.

Understanding differences in temperament and personality among adults and children will ultimately assist us in developing better relationships with our clients and enhancing therapy interventions, plans, and goals. Within the context of each type, this course will describe motivators that are type-specific, behavioral “triggers,” strategies and techniques for engaging children’s cooperation, and ways to free children from negative roles.

We will also discuss ways for clinicians to help parents understand their own personality traits and behavioral tendencies in their children so that they can learn to be more effective behavior managers. Many of the same observations and interventions can be applied to children who are experiencing learning differences or developmental challenges. Course #31-10 | 2018 | 54 pages | 20 posttest questions

Click here to learn more.

Course Directions

Our online courses provide instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more. Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!