February 15, 2016
Father and Son

“And Then Puberty Kicked In”

In my career I have always loved working with teenagers, they always keep things exciting.  Teenagers are growing and learning through many developmental experiences.  One of these experiences is puberty.  This was illustrated to me by my own son.  He came into our room one night and woke me and my wife up because he couldn’t sleep.  He was obviously distressed.  We had him sit on our bed and we started questioning him why he couldn’t sleep.  He went through a number of life stressors that he was going through at this time.  He mentioned his science project that was […]
February 8, 2016
advocate

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 […]
February 4, 2016
Equine Therapy

How Equine Therapy Can Benefit Troubled Teens

Winston Churchill once said, “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” Horses can have a profound effect on just about anyone. It has often been said that horses are a mirror to our souls. Due to the incredible nature and ability horses have to mirror and touch the souls of those that work with them, the use of horses in therapy is becoming more and more popular.  Horses can help people to overcome fears, gain confidence, learn self-control, focus their attention, build relationships, and develop new skills—in a way […]
February 2, 2016
Family Fun

Creating a Positive Family Culture

As we exit the holiday season and start the New Year, I have been reflecting a lot on the importance of quality time, tradition, and cultivating family culture.  Culture is defined in the Miriam Webster’s dictionary as, “a particular society that has its own beliefs, way of life, customs, art, etc.”  What this definition doesn’t explain is that culture is usually created very organically, and has many unwritten nuances and rules. The organic nature of culture is often so subtle that we rarely take the time to identify or consider what we are projecting as important to our children. So […]
January 26, 2016
Meditation

Creating Balance in Your Life

Life can be filled with highs and lows, happiness and stress, fun experiences and scary ones. I personally have many things in my life that make me happy and then in the next instant worry me to death. Working with teens brings this feeling daily. One minute everything seems to be going right and the next it blows up in my face and vice versa. Dealing with what comes your way in life is important, but more than that, it’s important to manage the things in your life that you can control. Being balanced in all areas of your life […]
January 25, 2016
Father And Teenage Son Having A Hug

How to Avoid Stand-offs With Your Teenager

Born and raised in the great state of Texas, I’m a big western movie fan. I own more Clint Eastwood and John Wayne movies than I should admit. There’s something about a high noon showdown that reminds me of the way I unintentionally square off against my stubborn children sometimes. I’m guessing you can relate. The foundation of any relationship is communication. To improve parent-child communication, a simple but difficult strategy is to show up at high noon, drop our gun holster on the ground and kick it away with our hands empty saying, “let’s talk about this, what’s going […]
January 22, 2016
Mountaineer celebrates the conquest of the summit. Concepts: victory, success, achievement, triumph.

Vicarious Trauma: How To Learn Through Others

In my previous post titled, “Vicarious Trauma: How it Affects You Without You Knowing & How To Use It To Your Benefit” I discussed how to use smaller traumatic experiences and the experiences of others to prepare ourselves for our own, more significant traumatic experiences. In this post I want to explore how we can vicariously learn from the experiences of others.   Here is the paradigm shift for vicarious trauma; are you ready? What if you could use the trauma of others to help transform you? The technical jargon for what I am talking about is vicarious transformation and […]
January 19, 2016
Depositphotos_7463873_s-2015

Vicarious Trauma: How it Affects You Without You Knowing It & How To Use It To Your Benefit

Vicarious or secondary trauma is a term used to explain burnout in caretakers who work with individuals who have suffered a traumatic or series of traumatic events. I know that sounds a little complicated but to illustrate its meaning, imagine you have a daughter who has recently been abused in some way. Because of the level of empathy you have for your daughter, you will begin to experience traumatic symptoms even though the trauma did not directly happen to you. This is what we call vicarious trauma. In many circumstances, sufferers do not recognize the signs or symptoms and do not […]
January 12, 2016
Depositphotos_33567249_s-2015

Four Ways to Connect with Your Teenager

  Some of the relationships I’ve developed with teens over the years as a recreation therapist have been very meaningful. Building relationships is not easy, nor does it happen quickly; it takes time and effort to create healthy meaningful relationships of trust with teenagers. Adolescent years can be difficult for parents to navigate but having a strong relationship with your son or daughter can make all the difference. Below are four tips that might help you strengthen the connection you have with your teenager. Find out what they enjoy and learn about it Ask them about a video game they […]
January 4, 2016
Family

Business-like Consequences For Teenagers

                              How do you discipline a teenager?  What consequences are most likely to be effective with a teen? The answer may be different than you expect. Let’s imagine it’s you who needs a consequence.  Picture this:  You messed up at work.  Pretend you missed a deadline, and you know your boss has to do something about it. There are two ways this can go. Scene 1: your boss says “Hey, you missed that deadline.  Was there anything unclear about what was expected?”…  “Well, next time please […]

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