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It’s Magical, but it’s not Magic: Equine Assisted Interventions

by Angela Fredrickson, LCSW  |  Clinical Director I have been inexplicably fascinated by horses for as long as I can remember. By the age of 13, I had pestered my parents (who did not have much of their own experience with horses) enough that they purchased me my very own horse. This has lead to a life in which I have always been in the presence of horses. My horses have helped to lift me out of despair and have been the source of great joy for me. They have been with me at every turn and they have inspired my career path. I first witnessed horses helping humans in a planned and deliberate manner when I was 16 years old. I had the opportunity to observe a therapeutic riding session in which a tiny, vulnerable looking little girl was lifted from her wheelchair and onto the back of a horse.

RAD and Butterflies

I have spent countless hours preparing eloquent presentations of the attachment process and what could go wrong with this process for parents.  I speak about the beautiful and dynamic interplay between child and caregiver through those first moments of life and into early childhood that create and prune connections within the brain.  I educate about how this process creates a loving, reciprocal, and emotionally insightful individual in the best of circumstances; that our brains are set to receive this developmental process, but are not preprogrammed to function in this way in the absence of a healthy reciprocal relationship.  I then work to very carefully validate the experience of disappointment, heartbreak and even horror when trying to parent a child whose attachment process has been disrupted by abuse, neglect, or parental mental illness. 

Assessing for Pediatric Mania | Part 2 of 2

by Dr. Himanshu Agrawal, MD.   Disclaimer: This blog is merely a personal opinion about psychiatric issues. It does not equate to a psychiatric consultation and does not imply doctor-patient relationship.   In Part 1, Dr. Agrawal introduces his assessment of pediatric mania. Part 2 begins with additional considerations. Click here for part one.

The Power of Pilates

by Lisa Courchaine, CAPSW  Northwest Passage III Therapist  Ok I admit it, I began practicing Pilates 10 years ago because it was the” hip” new workout, and I was curious what all the buzz was about.  Over time, I have realized the many benefits Pilates has to offer, and recent studies suggest the same.  For instance, in a recent study, college students participated in a 15 week movement based class on Pilates, Taiji quan, or GYROKINESIS.  Results found that overall; these students had increased levels of mindfulness, which were associated with improved sleep, self-regulation, mood, and perception of stress.  Now, first things first, according to Marsha M. Linehan, who brilliantly developed Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), the core concept of mindfulness is all about being able to pay attention, non-judgmentally to the present moment. After reading about the study, I was intrigued to research exactly how the movement based classes increased levels of mindfulness.  When looking at the core principles of Pilates, I found numerous connections to the mental health world, particularly DBT, which is the core treatment modality we use with the girls at Northwest Passage III.  The first core principle of Pilates is Concentration, as it requires intense focus on your entire body throughout the entire routine, which is an excellent way to actively distract oneself from intense emotions,

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Assessing for Pediatric Mania | Part 1 of 2

by Dr. Himanshu Agrawal, MD.   Disclaimer: This blog is merely a personal opinion about psychiatric issues.It does not equate to a psychiatric consultation and does not imply doctor-patient relationship. In my humble opinion, in the world of Child Psychiatry, there is nothing murkier than the answer to this question “What does pediatric mania look like?” It seems that there are several differing opinions endorsed by different schools of thought spread across USA.

Using Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) Principles in Daily Life | Part 3 of 3

by: Kira Yanko, MS, LPC  |  Northwest Passage III Therapist Don’t Have a Cow?! For therapists like me, thankfully DBT is highly structured.  There are times in every clinician’s work that we are challenged and these difficulties lead to self doubt.  In addition to hashing this out through consultation, DBT’s stages and targets allow for grounding and focus in session.  They provide a framework to approach clients and guide treatment.  This is especially important when working with clients who are emotionally dysregulated because often they will enter session with a new “COW” (Crisis Of the Week) that they would like to discuss.  Often these are chaotic and crisis ridden problems that are loosely related to the overall goals of treatment.  As such, it would be easy to spend each week addressing these COWs and never get to the gestalt, to the greater pattern of underlying distress, and the need to build a live worth living.  Avoiding COWs is a term I heard in a training several years back.  In my own practice, I tend to refer to these as “shiny objects” because it is easy to become super distracted by them in session.  The stages and targets of DBT help provide a framework to make COWs or “shiny objects” less clinically alluring.  They also offer guidance to what problems areas

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Using Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) Principles in Daily Life | Part 2 of 3

by: Kira Yanko, MS, LPC  |  Northwest Passage III Therapist Nurtured and Nudged… The first and foremost principle of DBT is dialectics, hence the name.  This is the idea that two concepts that seem to be completely opposite from one another can both exist and be true at the exact same time.  A person can both love and hate someone.  They can seek independence and dependence at the same time.  A client can be doing the best that they can and simultaneously need to do better.  This isn’t a new idea (and Marsha doesn’t suggest that it is…after all it is the basis of the serenity prayer written in the late 40’s, early 50’s), but for the first time it was encapsulated and formalized it into a therapeutic approach.  It is often the belief that only one truth exists that leads to both internal and external turmoil for our clients.  If we interact with any of our clients purely from one static vantage point, we present them with opportunities to “power struggle” and this can destroy our alliance – the key aspect of any therapeutic relationship (and I’m not just referring to therapeutic relationship in terms of therapist and client, but in terms of any relationship between two people that can have therapeutic value).

Using Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) Principles in Daily Life | Part 1 of 3

 by: Kira Yanko, MS, LPC  |  Northwest Passage III Therapist A Rather Loose Metaphor… In the world of mental health, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is all the rage.  It’s the Channing Tatum of psychotherapies…can you tell I’ve worked with adolescent girls for the past eight years?!  Although starting primarily with clients diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder who possessed a high suicide risk, research has shown DBT to be an effective treatment for any client whose underlying struggle is rooted in emotional dysregulation.   Just as Channing has proved he is here to stay in the cinematic world, any early concern that DBT was simply a “buzz word” in the therapy world or a passing fad has long been laid to rest.  Also like Channing, DBT is easy on the eyes…so to speak.  DBT’s popularity amongst clinicians (aside from its efficacy, of course) comes from how it took aspects of behavioralism, CBT, mindfulness, and emotional regulation and added some “zhush” transforming it into a package that is more palatable by clients leading to greater adherence and success in treatment.

Cognitive Disabilities | In-Home Recommendations for Parents (part two)

Part 2 of 2: by Melissa Gendreau, MS, LPC – Child and Assessment Center Therapist In part one, we introduced several environmental factors that can be helpful for parents – part two will expand upon additional strategies. Read part one here.  Utilize emotion charts- Make a poster with multiple facial expressions on it to help the child identify what emotion he is having. This can be even more useful when incorporating pictures of the child’s various emotions as well as the parents. Validate his emotional distress and then work to help problem solve the situation. Making statements like “I can see you’re angry right now” “Let’s figure out what you can do until…”

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