Posts Tagged ‘therapist’

Depression during pregnancy: What you can do

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

Depression is a serious medical condition that can affect how you feel, think and act. People with depression feel sad and lose interest in the activities they used to enjoy. Depression is far more common than many of us realize. It affects about 15 percent of women during pregnancy and the year after giving birth. Women who have depression before they conceive are at a higher risk of having depression during pregnancy than other women.

What can you do?

Learn the signs and symptoms of depression during pregnancy. Having major depression is different than feeling down for a few days. The signs or symptoms of depression last for more than two weeks. These are the signs and symptoms to look for:

Changes in the way you feel 

  • Feeling sad, hopeless or overwhelmed
  • Feeling agitated or moody
  • Crying all the time
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Thinking about death or suicide

Changes in your everyday life 

  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Eating habits and appetite change (more or less than usual)
  • Having trouble concentrating, remembering things or making decisions
  • Sleeping too much or not being able to sleep
  • Losing interest in things you used to do

Changes in your body 

  • Feeling tired all the time or having no energy
  • Having stomach problems, headaches or other pains that don’t go away

Some of the signs and symptoms of depression may be similar to those normally found in pregnancy. For instance, changes in appetite and trouble sleeping are common when you are pregnant. Nonetheless, if you are pregnant and have any of these signs or symptoms, talk to your health care provider right away. Depression is a serious condition, and it can be dangerous for you and your baby if it’s not detected and treated on time.


Your provider can recommend different treatments or a combination of treatments. Some of them are: counseling (therapy), support groups, or medications. It is best that you and your provider discuss all these options and decide together what treatment is best and safe for you and your baby. You can also ask your provider to talk to your mental health provider to tailor a treatment plan according to your needs.

Note about antidepressants: Some research shows that taking an antidepressant during pregnancy may increase the risk of certain birth defects in your baby. However, if you’ve been taking an antidepressant, don’t stop taking the medicine without talking to your provider first. Not taking your medicine may be harmful to your baby, and it may make your depression to come back.

More information:

What is a Child Psychologist?

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

psychologyA Psychologist is a professional who specializes in understanding why people do what they do. They examine the relationships between brain function, environment, and behavior.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), “Psychologists study both normal and abnormal functioning and treat patients with mental and emotional problems. They also study and encourage behaviors that build wellness and emotional resilience.” A Child Psychologist focuses specifically on children and teenagers.

Are there different kinds of psychologists?

Yes. There are many subspecialties within the field of psychology. Here are a few kinds of psychologists that might be particularly helpful to a child and family:

• Clinical psychologists – they diagnose and treat a range of mental, emotional and behavioral disorders.  They offer psychotherapy (talk therapy) to work through problems and issues.
• Developmental psychologists – they specialize in the many changes that occur with aging, especially developmental issues in childhood and adolescence.
• Neuropsychologist – they specialize in the relationship between the brain and behavior. They may use imaging techniques to help with their work (such as PET, SPECT and fMRI scans). They diagnose and treat a wide range of disorders.
• Rehabilitation psychologists – they help individuals with developmental disabilities, CP, epilepsy, autism, intellectual disabilities and those negatively affected by a trauma or accident, to adapt and improve their lives.
• School psychologists – they work in pre-schools, elementary, middle and high schools. They provide testing for children with learning or behavioral issues, counsel students and work with families and school staff to help children learn and socialize effectively.

To learn about the other kinds of psychologists, see the APA’s descriptions.

What kind of problems do psychologists treat?

Psychologists may specialize in different areas and treat issues from mild to severe.  Here are some examples of their areas of expertise:

• Developmental delays and disabilities
• Behavior problems
• Conducting psychological and educational testing
• Diagnosing and treating conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, ADD and ADHD (attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity), autism, PDD (pervasive developmental delay), OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), learning disabilities, phobias
• Parenting challenges and family issues
• Stress, trauma and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)
• Sleep disorders
• Self abuse
• Domestic violence
and many other issues or mental illnesses.

What kind of training do psychologists have?

Psychologists earn a doctorate degree – either a PhD or a PsyD (which is why they are called “Doctor”). This means that after 4 years of college, they go on for graduate study for 5 to 7 years. Then, states require a one or two year internship to obtain a license to practice psychology.

Is a psychologist different from a therapist?

A person can practice psychotherapy without a doctorate degree  (PhD or PsyD). For example, a clinical social worker (CSW) is an individual who completes a master’s degree and at least 2 years of additional training to become a licensed psychotherapist.

How is a psychologist different from a psychiatrist?

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (MD) who has then gone on for several years of additional training to specialize in the field of psychiatry. As a medical doctor, a psychiatrist can write prescriptions for drugs. A psychologist is not a medical doctor, so he is not able to write prescriptions (although some states are beginning to allow psychologists to write prescriptions after additional training in pharmacology).

Both a psychiatrist and a psychologist offer psychotherapy, although there are some psychiatrists who primarily limit their practices to medication management. Many psychiatrists, psychologists and psychotherapists work together to provide a comprehensive treatment plan for a child.

Where can you find a psychologist?

To find a psychologist in your area, ask your child’s health care provider for a referral. Or, go to the APA’s Psychologist Locator where you can search by location as well as area of specialization and ages served (such as a child psychologist).

Bottom line

A psychologist can be a lifeline to your child in diagnosing and treating different conditions or disorders, and an enormous help to you and your family in managing the associated challenges.

Note:  This post is part of the weekly series Delays and disabilities – how to get help for your child. It was started in January and appears every Wednesday. Go to News Moms Need and click on “Help for your child” on the menu on the right side to view all of the blog posts to date. As always, we welcome your comments and input.

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What are Recreation Services?

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

kids-playing-with-a-ballRecreation Services (also known as Therapeutic Recreation, Rec Therapy or “RT”) involves the use of activities to help treat a variety of challenges (physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and leisure). For children with delays or disabilities, recreation therapy focuses on the non-academic, recreational activities in your child’s life.  The end goal is for your child to become more comfortable when participating in recreational activities with his friends or classmates. The added bonus is usually a boost in self confidence, which we all know can have an enormous impact on your child’s life.

What are examples of recreation services activities?

Rec therapy can focus on his hobbies, sports or games. They can take place in school or at a community center, indoors or outdoors, or at another place appropriate for your child’s needs. Some school systems even have arrangements for children to receive therapy at local park programs.

What else can RT include?

Your child may need to learn how to “warm up” before playing a game, or conversely he may need to learn how to channel his energy as he plays. He may need help in navigating his body in space as he plays a sport, or need assistance in learning how to wind down and relax.  Maybe a sudden injury makes it necessary for him to learn how to adapt to his disabling condition. Special adaptive recreation equipment may be necessary to help your child participate in a particular leisure activity.

The therapist may incorporate all sorts of games, sports, dance, creative movement, music, and artistic endeavors such as crafts and acting into your child’s program.  Since RT is so pleasurable for your child, he may have an easier time participating and making progress. I know this was the case for my daughter. At first, I could not for the life of me understand how it was therapy – she was having such a good time!  She got to pick two classroom “buddies” to go with her, and they played all sorts of games in the gym and on the playground. This encouraged her to use her language with her friends and become more comfortable with the rules of games involving balls, running, etc. Over time, I saw definite improvements and watched her gain confidence and improve her skills.

There are lots of facets to RT. For more information on how RT might be helpful for your child, see this excellent summary.

What should you do if you think your child could benefit from recreation services?

RT is one of the services a child may receive as part of related services. Like all related services, RT services needs to be based on your child’s individual needs as identified by his evaluation results. If your child is already receiving special education services, mention RT at your next IEP team meeting, or request an IEP meeting. Discuss your concerns with the team, and see if an assessment would be helpful. (Remember, parents are members of the team, and your child can be too, once he is old enough to participate.)

After an RT evaluation and discussion of your child’s individual needs, if the IEP team decides that RT should be included in your child’s program, specific goals are then added to your child’s IEP.  The therapist will begin working with your child either individually or in small groups. Remember, as part of related services, parents and educators may be given training on the effects of recreation therapy on your child’s education. This is so important! It ensures that skills are not taught in a vacuum, but are able to be “transferred” from one place to another (the playing field, school, home, etc.).

If your child does not currently have an IEP and you feel he could benefit from RT, see my prior posts on how to have your child evaluated for free if he is under 3 years of age or age 3 or older.

Who provides RT?

As in many other therapeutic fields, recreation therapists are college graduates who receive a credential after taking certain courses and passing tests.  The organization that certifies recreation therapists is NCTRC, the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation.

Bottom Line

Your child’s non-academic or leisure activities are a very important part of his life. But often a child with delays or disabilities struggles with these activities. Isn’t it great to know that RT exists and is a part of the related services that can be provided to children who qualify?  Every little bit of help…helps.

Note: This post is part of the weekly series Delays and disabilities – how to get help for your child. It appears every Wednesday, and was started on January 16, 2013. Feel free to go back to look at prior posts as the series builds on itself.