Caring for the Soul

February 9, 2014

What is Play Therapy?

The Association for Play Therapy’s most recent video is Introducing Andrew to the world which is a creative way of explaining what is play therapy.

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January 20, 2014

10 Strategies to Help My Child Overcome the Fear of the Dark

Suggestions:

– No TV or video games or graphic books before bed.
– It’s okay to have a light on.
– Co-sleeping (sleeping with adult) is okay, but not recommended because it’s not solving the problem and could make it worst.
– Right now unsupervised sleep-over’s at friend’s houses is not a good idea- you don’t know what’s going on.
– Switch rooms or bedroom layout of child due to that perhaps something in room is scary – light from street coming in room.
– Calming bedtime routine – mom will know what this could be.
– Have a security item (this helps lessen anxiety so ct. can sleep) – meaning like a flashlight that ct. can keep by bed to make sure there are no monsters – or a time before bed to check to make sure all is safe – sometimes kids are scared of intruder so you can let them make sure doors are locked before bed or let child come up with own solution because only your child truly knows where his fear comes from. Some kids like to pretend that when they are completely under the covers then they are safe.
– Decrease child’s stress as much as possible – establishing a routine for kids helps with this.
– Perhaps have time before bed to get all energy out – because fear of dark is associated with a creative imagination of thinking there is something dangerous in dark.
– Also note, kids who watch too much TV or view things on monitors such as video games or YouTube videos have a greater time reaching a relaxed versus a stressed state of mind.

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January 7, 2014

When Children are Fearful of the Dark

Under My Bed

Under My Bed


Considerations:

1. Children become afraid of the dark once they enter “creative/imaginative stage” around age 3-5. This means that they think up the fears because of an active brain/imagination. If your child is a very imaginative person then perhaps this child needs to have many opportunities to release this energy throughout the day. Drawing, building things, outdoor activities. Limiting TV is a good thing.

2. Also, if you see a psychiatrist as opposed to a counselor or psychologist they will be more pro – drugs since we are talking about an anxiety issue – and I’m not giving advise about medication – however respectfully, some anxiety medications in Europe are not regulated and have many side effects which could result in much more complications than the fear of the dark or the opposite is true – the drug could “work” perfectly. However, be aware that some anti-anxiety drugs will put child in a comatose state, which is basically knocking them out for the night, but is not addressing the anxiety.

3. Listen to your child: Since we are not 100% sure where the fear comes from, we try to find out the real underlying issue – this is done sometimes through talking, but most of the times kids find talking threatening especially boys. If mom does try to talk with son try doing so not face to face, but during a side-by-side activity such as walking, playing game, drawing with mom, driving – males find this less threatening. However, kids are always communicated – so look at drawings, behaviors, what teachers say, short comments.

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December 28, 2013

End of Year Clearance For LPC Lisensure Continuing Education Hours

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December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

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December 14, 2013

Care For Your Soul with Ancient Recipes

Ancient Recipes of Bulgaria by Evdokia Krusteva

Ancient Recipes of Bulgaria

Ancient Recipes of Bulgaria

Purchase at AMAZON for a special Christmas price. This is the perfect gift for the person who has everything.

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November 25, 2013

We Give Thanks

Thanksgiving

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April 12, 2013

How to Detect a Pedophile: Republished

By Kathryn N. Donev, LPC/MSHP, NBCC.

Pedophilia is a medically diagnosable disorder typically “defined as a psychiatric disorder in adults or late adolescents (persons age 16 and older) characterized by a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children (generally age 13 years or younger, though onset of puberty may vary)”(Wikipedia). It is a disorder that does not discriminate by race, class or age. The Department of Justice estimates, approximately 400,000 convicted pedophiles currently reside in the United States (Snyder). The following will attempt to present a profile of a pedophile in order to make aware their tactics and typical personality traits used as part of a strategy to take advantage of innocent children.

SOCIALLY CHALLENGED
According to the American Psychiatric Association the overwhelming majority of pedophiles are male. They are typically more religious than not and over the age of 30 (Montaldo, Ruggles). Researcher reports a correlation between pedophilia and certain psychological characteristics, such as poor social skills (Emmers-Sommer). Pedophiles are typically antisocial with few friends and not in a relationship. If in a relationship, they will more likely be in a superficial one with a person whom has a child of their preferred age range whom they can target. If married, the relationship is more “companion” based with no sexual relations and is typically dysfunctional providing only a façade to their real identity (Montaldo).

INTROVERTED CHARACTER
Being an introvert, they will prefer to keep personal information limited. They are often vague about past history. If closed off to real intimate relationships then they do not have to share their real identity from which they are hiding. This achieved goal of avoidance is considered a great personal accomplishment and is one of the ways they compensate for low self-esteem. However, they will present such an overwhelming caring personality that purposes to form “intimate” bonds in which they will invest in listening to the lives of those around them. This bond will appear so real that one overlooks that there is no reciprocity of sharing and in reality you know nothing to very little about the pedophile with whom you feel close.

DEMONSTRATIVE PERSONALITY
Pedophiles may also demonstrate increased personal affection. You may observe that this type of person is “a hugger” or will constantly enter ones personal space and do so at times without invitation. This characteristic is accepted as a personality trait and innocently overlooked and excused. After time, one begins to subconsciously let their guard down as systematically the pedophile becomes closer to you and your loved ones entering an intimate realm. They also may attempt to exaggerate situations to test the limits of an individuals understanding. For example if another protests the initial reaction or exaggeration presented by the pedophile then this information give an insight to ones awareness level and how easily they may be manipulated.

PROFESSIONAL MANIPULATORS
Even though some studies show that a pedophile has lower intellectual abilities and self-esteem (Marshall) they are skillful professional manipulators. They are so successful they are able to present a non-unlikeable persona. Meaning they are overly friendly and engaging to the point where one finds themselves in a relationship without even making a conscious effort. Their personality is so magnetic that it attracts children and adults alike. One allows themselves to continue with such relationship due to the appearances of trustworthiness and respectability presented by the pedophile. They are people who are in good standing in the community and will find themselves in a position of helping such as coaching, ministry leaders, volunteers, and so forth (Ruggles, Wooden).

PROTECTOR ROLE
Child molesters often make efforts to gain access to or authority over children (Wooden). Because the internal desire of a pedophile is for a child to become a possession, a child is the focus of great destructive obsession. A child is the focal point of the world of a pedophile and may often be referenced in terms which are drastically uplifting or angelic such as innocent, heavenly or divine (Montaldo). This strong child advocacy is often viewed as an innocent protective act and is one of the reasons why they are allowed to get close to children. You may also overlook all of the physical affection or photographs taken of a child because this is done in a manner which is portrayed as a service to children across the board. If a pedophile does take pictures in the open, others will be convinced that such are not for personal use but for the greater good perhaps being published in a child advocacy resource or so forth.

CHILDLIKE GESTICULATION
A pedophile, even though they charm their way into the lives of adults by trade, they prefer to be around children more so feeling more comfortable and understood. They surround themselves with items that will make them more appealing to children perhaps even including the way they dress. Some even control the way they talk and prefer to use a soft, slow, gentle, childlike, and more so feminine voice over a strong, threatening, controlling manly voice. They obsessively prefer childlike activities over adult ones. They may test the acceptance level of playing children’s’ games with children by first attempting to see if adults like to play such games as well.

UNDERDOG MENTALITY
It is true that some pedophiles are highly intellectual. Yet they will use any intellectual difficulty or perceived difficulty to their advantage and enjoy being the “underdog”. This allows them to reach out to even the most unaware unknowledgeable person for help with everyday tasks. It is a part of human nature to help those in need and a pedophile will use this to their advantage. This is how they get their foot in the door in order to silently but skillfully creep into your community, social network and ultimately your personal home. You may see this characteristic demonstrated in the constant reminder that they are from a different town and are not familiar with the local culture or area. Or they may obsessively seek your guidance, assistance or approval for even the smallest of tasks. They play off of ones need to be needed.

EPILOGUE
Remember pedophiles are professional manipulators and you will have to make a conscious effort to see through the sophisticated front which they have learned to master. Keep in mind that you should always trust your internal instincts. This is one area in which a pedophile has no advantage over you. Do not attempt to convince yourself that what you are sensing is not real for it is when you fall into this trap that you begin to slowly loose touch with reality and are bewildered and sucked into a lye one which is too dangerous to ignore. Never be afraid by the lies that I will hurt ones feelings if I make aware my observations or I am being too pushy by trying to get more history on a person who is so closed off. When all of the signs are present it is our responsibility as true child advocates to protect our children at any cost.

2011. Copyright. All Rights Reserved by Author and CCMI Consortium. Not to be reproduced in any manner without permission of author or CCMI.

Works Cited

American Psychiatric Association. Fact sheet: pedophilia. Available at:www.medem.com/index.cfm. Accessed March 01, 2011.

Emmers-Sommer, T. M., Allen, M., Bourhis, J., Sahlstein, E., Laskowski, K., Falato, W. L., et al. A meta-analysis of the relationship between social skills and sexual offenders. 2004. Communication Reports, 1–17.

Marshall, W. L. The relationship between self-esteem and deviant sexual arousal in nonfamilial child molesters. 1997. Queens University. Sage Journal Publication of Behavior Modification.

Montaldo, Charles. Profile of a pedophile. Available at: www.about.com. Accessed March 17, 2011.

Ruggles, Tammy L. Profile of a pedophile. Available at www.mentalhealthmatterss.com. February 2009. Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 September 2010 15:46. Accessed March 5, 2011.

Snyder, Howard N. Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement: Victim, Incident, and Offender Characteristics. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics; 2000. Publication NCJ 182990.

Wikipedia. Article: pedophilia. Available at www.wikipedia.org. Accessed March 15, 2011.

Wooden, Ken, (with Rosemary Webb & Jennifer Mitchell). Think First & Stay Safe™ Parent Guide. A profile of the child molester. 2010. Publication Child Lures Prevention/Teen Lures Prevention.

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March 12, 2013

The Immature Mind and the effects of Information Processing Associated with Indoctrination

by Kathryn N. Donev, M.S., L.P.C.

The following is a response to the most recent developments within Bulgarian laws dealing with Educational Reform making it mandatory that children begin attending public school at the age of four years old.

The mind of a child is an extremely fragile organism that is malleable with the potential to be molded into whatever a caregiver chooses. It is a great responsibility to raise children and much love and guidance has to be given in order for a child to become a healthy functioning part of any society.

Before age six, give or take a year or so, is when a child is most impressionable and is most influenced by learning information and forming realities and constructs. It is before age six that a child’s mind has most neuroplasticity, although our minds are always capable of change. It is during this period when reorganization of neural pathways and long lasting functional changes in the brain occurs as we take in new information.

When the immature brain first begins to process sensory information is when it is most malleable. Indoctrination can occur at great rates and if accomplished before the age of six, then these teachings are so deeply ingrained within that it becomes nearly impossible to change or re-wire the neural pathways which have been formed. Accordingly to neuroscientists, by the time an infant is two or three years old, the number of synapses in their brain is approximately 15,000 per neuron, which is twice the amount of an average adult. This gives insight into how absorbent and thirsty the brain is for knowledge. At the same time, a child’s brain is very impressionable without yet having the ability to rationally sensor the intake of information. Meaning, they will believe whatever a caregiver tells them because they have no other reason but to innocently trust at this early age.

Since a young child’s memory has not yet fully developed, learning takes place by being told and retold what to do. They have to be indoctrinated. And it is the greatest responsibility of a caregiver to choose the most appropriate principles and values to teach a child. By age three or four, the parent or primary caregiver still is their “external conscience,” reinforcing their memory of what they’re supposed to do.

According to Erikson’s stages of child development, it is around two-four years when a child enters into the “Will: Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt” stage in which they encounter life and ask the question if it is okay to be themselves. This question is answered with how the world around them responds to their actions. This period of time is when a child, in gaining control over eliminative functions and motor abilities, will begin to explore their surroundings. If a parent is patience and encouraging, autonomy will be fostered within a child. A caregiver must encourage self-sufficient behavior in hope to develop a sense of autonomy in order to being competent to face life challenges independently. But if caregivers are too demanding, refusing to let children perform tasks of which they are capable, or ridicule early attempts at self-sufficiency, children may instead develop shame and doubt about their ability to handle problems. Now if it is the intent to diminish this fostering of self sufficiency, then it is right at the age of 4 when a child can be influenced to be dependent and self-doubting.

It is during the next developmental stage, “Purpose: Initiative vs. Guilt” that a child asks, “Is it okay for me to be proactive?” in attempts to master the world around them and learn basic skills. At this stage, the child wants to begin and complete their own actions for a purpose. The development of courage and independence are what set preschoolers, ages three to six years of age, apart from other age groups. During this stage, the child learns to take initiative and prepare for leadership and goal achievement roles. However, if a child is striped away from this ability to take initiative, then their purpose is stripped away.

A child has to be given times of self-taught or self-thinking in order to form within a sense of identity; personal and not corporative identity or knowing their true self. If this is not allowed, then confusion sets in and results in midlife crises. After for years having lived exactly how you have been instructed and after having believed all of what you have been told to believe, an awakening takes place that this perceived reality does not meet up with your real internal being and destined reality.

If a child is not allowed to think for themselves and explore on their own at this young age outside of systematic education, then they will never reach the stage of development which is known as “Competence: Industry vs. Inferiority”. The consequences are self-explanatory. Inferiority and doubt set in and this child becomes a product of the system and is void of internal motivation, will and desire to make a change for the betterment of the society. They become cogs in a wheel and the result of a communistic effort.

If we give over our children to a state school system at early and early ages, the parents’ rights are being stripped away. The choice to teach morals of right and wrong or beliefs is only available for a limited time and shared with an organization with limits. A child has no one to speak for themselves at such a young age and they will believe that the sky is green if they are told it is so. It is by around age six that normal children are developing an internal conscience. By age six, they have formed this conscience based on what they have been taught is truth, is right and is wrong. These first six years of development are the most crucial and should not be trusted to anyone else or any other organization that may have hidden agendas. If a child is asking if it is okay to be themselves and they are told it is not, but rather they have to be what a government or a society insists, then confusion arises.

Let children be children and the children that they are intended to become naturally and innocently void of any motive. Let us foster a society of thinkers with independent minds free to make choices. Democratic principles should be applied on all levels of society. We always hear of child rights including stopping physical and emotional abuse, but we rarely are faced with having to protect our children’s minds. Awareness is the first step in prevention and we have to at all cost, protect the rights of our children. Our children only have our mouthpiece to protect them…

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February 28, 2013

National Identity and Collective Consciousness of the Bulgarian Community

In understanding the history of the advancements in psychotherapy in Bulgaria and the foundations of the country as a whole, we gain a glimpse into the national identity and collective consciousness of a community; one which was formed by a strong people; a people that strive for religious freedom and the quest for knowledge; one that overcame oppression, trial and, hardship.

For many Bulgarians, communism was not simply a set of ideological directives, but it permeated nearly all spheres of social life. Communism and the lasting effects on its population is not one that is comfortable to recollect. It is neither something that is easy to understand and we may never fully comprehend the post communist mentality. And perhaps we should question those who make such claim.

However, if left ignored, we ignore an undeniable part of history and identity. The danger in not recollecting is that we may in doing so, ignore the possibility for change. Recognition is the first step toward change and empathy. It is only via the shoes of empathy that we can walk in the paths of genuinely comprehending the post communistic mentality and another culture.
Excepts taken from “LOOKING OVER the WALL”

A Psychological Exploration of Communist and Post Communist Bulgaria
Copyright © April 12, 2012 by Kathryn N. Donev
© 2012, Spasen Publishers, a division of www.cupandcross.com

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