Helping the Children of Veterans Suffering from PTSD

Art Therapy pic

Art Therapy
Image: arttherapy.org

Leveraging a PhD in psychology from the Trinity College of Graduate Studies, and a master’s degree in social work from California State University, Long Beach, Dr. Miriam Galindo founded her private practice in Irvine, California, in 2004. In her role as a licensed social worker, Dr. Miriam Galindo focuses on therapies designed specifically to help young children in traumatic situations who are at risk, such as play and art therapy.

Research has shown that the children of Veterans with PTSD have an increased risk for behavioral, and interpersonal, and academic problems. Understanding the effects of PTSD on children can be a critical part of treatment and can positively impact how families cope with difficult situations. Common PTSD symptoms include re-experiencing traumatic events, avoiding people and places to the point of isolation, and high anxiety levels, which manifest as difficulty sleeping, being easily startled, and extreme irritability.

Children who witness these events and symptoms tend to respond to a parent’s PTSD symptoms in specific ways. They can over-identify and begin to mimic the feelings and behaviors of the parent, they can act as the rescuer by filling in for the parent and taking on the adult role, or they can become emotionally uninvolved, leading to issues at school, anxiety, and depression.

Helping Children through Art Therapy and Play Therapy

Play Therapy pic

Play Therapy
Image: playtherapy.org

Clinical psychologist and social worker Dr. Miriam Galindo operates a private practice in Irvine, California, where she assists families facing difficult circumstances. Dr. Miriam Galindo helps children process and recover from troubling events through the use of art therapy and play therapy.

Two types of therapy for people of all ages, particularly young children, art therapy and play therapy incorporate the professional standards of counseling with the use of play, imagination, and creativity to help children express, process, cope with, and heal from difficult experiences.

In art therapy, children are encouraged to express themselves and their experiences through the creation of art projects with the guidance of a professional trained in the arts. Through play therapy, children play and use their imaginations to share tough experiences and work through them while being guided by a mental health professional. The two forms of therapy are often used together.

Coping with Divorce for Children

Coping with Divorce pic

Coping with Divorce
Image: divorcesupport.about.com

A licensed clinical psychologist and social worker, Dr. Miriam Galindo has been part of an approved panel of experts for Orange County Superior Court since 2005. Dr. Miriam Galindo has been able to work with children and their families through many different aspects of a divorce, and she has a strong understanding of the psychological effects of divorce on a child.

Most of the effects of divorce on a child have less to do with the custodial situation, or even the change in environment, as the uncertainty involved in the divorce process. The presentation of new issues such as parental conflict and the lack of a unified front between parents can be difficult for children. Initial adjustment for children typically takes about two years.

Younger children tend to blame themselves and often imagine their parents getting back together. Older children, meanwhile, see the breakdown of trust and unity in their family relationships and become more independent. In many cases, it also has a negative effect on their first serious romantic relationships, which they expect to fail.

Negative effects of divorce can be mitigated with loving communication from both parents as well as reliable, consistent communication. Children whose divorced parents can maintain amiable relations in front of the child and make time for the child’s needs are more likely to adjust well.

Physically Abused Children Have Trouble Identifying Rewards

Dr. Miriam Galindo pic

Dr. Miriam Galindo
Image: galindopsychology.com

Miriam Galindo is a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Irvine, California. Miriam Galindo also has served as a therapist in the Child Abuse Prevention Program at CSP, Inc., in Lake Forest, California.

A study performed by psychologist Dr. Jamie Hanson of the University of Pittsburgh indicates that physically abused children are less able to make choices that lead to rewards. Children who experience abuse often grow up in environments where punishment is always looming and rewards are rare and unpredictable. Thus, they don’t have the ability to adapt to new rules.

The researchers performed an experiment where abused and nonabused children had to choose between pictures of objects to earn points for a prize. One of the pictures was randomly chosen to award points significantly more frequently than the other. While both sets of children chose higher-value images more often as the trial progressed, the physically abused children lagged behind, choosing the correct picture in 131 out of 200 trials. The nonabused children chose the image 151 times out of 200.

Scientists posit the unpredictability and inconsistency of rewards at home may affect the decision-making abilities of abused children in social situations.

Children Communicate Complex Feelings through Play Therapy

Play Therapy pic

Play Therapy
Image: playtherapy.org

Licensed psychologist and social worker Dr. Miriam Galindo has years of experience working with at-risk children and families. Today, Dr. Miriam Galindo treats juvenile patients in her work as a play therapist.

Play therapy is a growing form of mental health treatment for children of all ages, though the technique is said to be most effective for patients between the ages of 3 and 12. In play therapy, children are presented with a variety of toys designed to encourage creative fantasy play as well as toys that make it possible to demonstrate scenarios from real life.

Play therapists work to create a supportive bond with the children in a safe environment, allowing the children to feel comfortable enough to use the toys as a means of communicating their feelings symbolically through play. This mode of communication may allow the children to express feelings, fears, and ideas that they do not yet have the verbal language to explain.

Play therapy is often used to help children who live through traumatic experiences, including domestic violence, grief, disfigurement, and sexual abuse. Parents often seek the help of a play therapist when their child begins to display unusual traits or behaviors, including anxiety, aggression, social difficulties, and poor school performance.

Family Therapy Methods and Effects on Children’s Mental Health

Dr. Miriam Galindo pic

Dr. Miriam Galindo
Image: galindopsychology.com

Dr. Miriam Galindo completed her PsyD at the Trinity College of Graduate Studies in Anaheim, California. Upon licensure, she began her practice in psychiatric social work. Dr. Miriam Galindo conducts family therapy sessions for the welfare of children with psychological issues.

According to the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, therapy sessions involving parents have a positive impact on children afflicted with certain psychological conditions, such as conduct disorders. This study refutes existing notions about family therapy, such as parent-blaming. According to study authors Guy Diamond, PhD, and Allan Josephson, MD, behavior family therapy (BFT) and parent management training (PMT) are effective treatments to promote positive behavior in children.

In another study by Jeffrey Wood, PhD, published in Psychiatric Times, children with anxiety disorders can benefit from family cognitive-behavioral therapy (FCBT). In addition to cognitive-behavioral techniques, FCBT also educates parents on family intervention strategies to help children regulate their anxiety.

Social, Cultural, and Economic Influences on Child Psychology

Dr. Miriam Galindo pic

Dr. Miriam Galindo
Image: galindopsychology.com

Dr. Miriam Galindo serves as a licensed clinical social worker and a licensed clinical psychologist. As a result, Dr. Miriam Galindo has experience with the discipline of child psychology.

A rich field of study, child psychology deals with growth and development. Its practitioners differ as to the importance of various factors in explaining a child’s personality. Although most people look to genetics and personality to account for children’s feelings and actions, several other domains also play a part.

In the social sphere, schools, peers, and families all play a role in a child’s development. Relationships play a role in molding how a child learns and thinks.

Culture is also important. Cultural identity is a factor in making assumptions about the world and sharing customs and values. It also influences children’s relationships with parents, levels of educational attainment, and standards of child care.

Additionally, socio-economic status (SES) has a strong influence on children. Its aspects include family income, level of schooling, types of jobs held, and the quality of the neighborhood. Children who are high SES typically have better access to healthcare and nutrition than children on the lower end of the economic ladder.

These three domains interact with one another. For instance, healthy relationships and a vibrant culture may compensate for a low-SES situation. Properly understood, these concepts can help child psychologists determine the best treatments for their young patients.