John Nielsen

July 16, 2016
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Helping Teens Process Their Feelings After Trauma

Very often at Heritage, a school for troubled teens, we see students who’ve faced trauma act out. No one is immune to traumatic events, from witnessing violence to being abused, anyone can suffer from trauma.   The good news is that teens are resilient, and with the right help, they can – and will — heal. It’s good to remember that the experience of a traumatic event is unique to the child going through it.  Their view of what happened is encoded in the brain according to the senses recording the event.  Their perception of what happened is unique to their […]
February 8, 2016
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Self-Efficacy: A Key to Improved Behavior

Assisting adolescents with speaking for themselves (advocacy) is a very important learning task.  Having a parent or guardian advocate for their children is a tricky process.  There is a fine line between rescuing and advocacy.  One tends to enhance self-esteem and the other can create a dependence handicap.  Encouragement with making decisions and having ownership of their choices are the steps to self-independence. At Heritage, we feel this is so important that we measure a student’s ability to achieve self-efficacy with a self-reported tool called a Treatment Support Measure (TSM). “Self-efficacy is broadly defined as a self-perception of one’s ability […]
December 17, 2015
Senior couple laughing and talking to camera

Parental Guilt and Compassion Fatigue: Part 2/2

Human empathy exposes us to a range of vulnerabilities that tend to physically and mentally break us down into parenting mush!  We lose our effectiveness, our parenting moxie, the belief that we should be better than we have become.  And the evidence…our son/daughter is in residential treatment.  The guilt discussed previously drives us to a breaking point.  Often we think we should just buck up and take it.  But if you really look at your effectiveness at home, in the work place, with other relationships that seem to deteriorate with not knowing why?  I suggest the human system can only […]
December 14, 2015
Caucasian blonde mom  in foreground in bathrobe holding head in frustration, while kids fight in background in kitchen.

Parental Guilt and Compassion Fatigue: Part 1

Let’s just clear the table of the thanksgiving turkey and agree, all parents who remove their children from the home to residential care are empathetic !  Even if your teen has scolded you into believing otherwise. Because of your great capacity to just take it, parents become exposed to a variety of traumatic situations, either by witnessing them or learning about them from their children or other professionals.  If this hasn’t happened then on to the next blog. As we move into the holiday season I want to take a few minutes to remind parents of a couple items.  One, […]

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