Saturday, September 24, 2011

Asset Approach to Relationships

We live in a world that loves to diagnose us. In fact, it is not usually possible to get an insurance agency to cover prevention and growth because they are focused on "Treating Illness". Sometimes when I was Coaching a couple one of them would start to tell me what is wrong with their mate by quoting Oprah or Dr. Phil.

"I saw a show last week and Dr. Phil said that people like my wife are really suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder or NPD. It is at that point I will act like I am wearing a striped shirt and blow the imaginary whistle and call him "Out of bounds for practicing Psychology without a license".

One of the reasons I left the Clinical Psychology program and entered the Counseling Program at the University of Cincinnati was its obsession with sicknesses. We all had to study big books with names like "Personality Disorders" and "Mental Illness". Every new chapter brought groans and complaints from the students who started to think they and all their friends had every disease mentioned in the book.

Because my Master's Degree was twice as long as most programs I was able to choose classes that I liked more than the sickness focus so I was able to develop a minor in small groups that was focused on growth and assets than it was weaknesses and illness. All of us certainly have weaknesses, pains and dysfunctions but we also possess gifts, talents, abilities, skills and energies that allow us to contribute to our church, work and society.

Write your strengths and talents down by using the suffix "ABLE".

I am Lovable:
I am _____
I am _____

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why Teens Resist Help for ADHD


Concerns about Stigma Undermine ADHD Treatment for Adolescents

Dear Colleague,

In the issue of Attention Research Update I review a study that examines the predictors of treatment in adolescents with ADHD. Maintaining regular ADHD treatment for teens can be a significant challenge and protests related to treatment often increase with the transition from childhood to adolescence. As this study makes clear, an important factor in these protests may be adolescents' concerns about being stigmatized and addressing these concerns may be essential in maintaining treatment continuity.

I found this to be an interesting study and I hope you enjoy today's issue.


David Rabiner, Ph.D.
Associate Research Professor
Dept. of Psychology & Neuroscience
Duke University
Durham, NC 27708

P.S. Please feel free to forward this newsletter to others you know who may be interested - you'll find a "Forward to a Friend" link at the end of this message. If this has been forwarded to you, go to our web to subscribe.

** Concerns about Stigma Undermine ADHD Treatment for Adolescents **

Because ADHD frequently persists into adolescence, and continues to undermine teens' academic and social functioning, most adolescents continue to need treatment. However, as issues of self-direction and autonomy become more important for teens, resistance to treatment for ADHD - medication or otherwise - frequently intensifies and many adolescents stop treatment prematurely. This is a challenge that many parents struggle with.

It is thus important to understand the factors - particularly adolescents' perspectives on treatment - that affect the receipt of ADHD treatment during this critical developmental period. Examining this issue was the focus of a study published recently in the Journal of Adolescent Health [Bussing et al (2011). Receiving treatment for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Do the perspectives of adolescents matter. Journal of Adolescent Health, 49, 7-14.]

Participants were 168 adolescents - about 50% female - and their parents recruited through a public school system in the US. These adolescents screened positive for ADHD in elementary school and were contacted 6 years later for a follow-up assessment. At follow-up, over 60% continued to meet full diagnostic criteria for ADHD and many others still had elevated levels of ADHD symptoms. The researchers were interested in how many adolescents had received ADHD treatment in the past year and the parent and child characteristics that predicted the receipt of treatment.

- Parent Perspectives -

Clinical need - Parents rated their teen on symptoms of ADHD, disruptive behavior, emotional distress and overall impairment. High levels of symptoms reflected high clinical need for treatment.

Treatment receptivity - Parents rated how receptive they were towards obtaining medication treatment or counseling for their child.

Caregiver strain - Parents rated the effect of caring for a child with emotional or behavioral problems, such as demands on time, financial strain, worry, guilt, and embarrassment. High scores reflect high levels of strain associated with caring for their child.

- Adolescent Perspectives -

Clinical need - Teens their symptoms of ADHD, disruptive behavior, emotional distress and overall impairment. High levels of symptoms reflected high clinical need for treatment.

Treatment receptivity - Teens rated how receptive they were towards obtaining medication treatment or counseling.

ADHD Stigma - This measure assessed teens' perception that being diagnosed and treated for ADHD would be stigmatizing.

Receipt of mental health services

Lifetime and past-year receipt of mental health services for each adolescent was gathered through detailed interviews with parents. This interview inquired about the receipt of services in a wide range of settings and asked about counseling services and medication treatment.

- Results -

Lifetime and past year mental health service usage

Although most adolescents, i.e, 79%, had received mental health intervention at some point in their lives, only 42% received any services in the past year. This was true even though most continued to meet full diagnostic criteria for ADHD and/or continued to struggle with symptoms.

Agreement between parent and teen perspectives

Parent and teen reports of the teen's emotional distress showed moderate agreement. However, agreement on symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and disruptive behavior was poor. Agreement on receptivity to treatment for ADHD was also poor.

Predictors of prior year use of mental health services

The researchers were especially interested in what predicted adolescents' receipt of mental health services during the past year. Interestingly, neither socioeconomic status or insurance coverage were significant predictors. Neither were parent ratings of their child's hyperactive and disruptive behavior.

Instead, teens who had received services were rated by parents as more inattentive, more depressed, and more impaired in their daily functioning. Treatment was also more likely when parents were more receptive to medication treatment.

What about adolescents' perspectives?

Even after taking these parental factors into account, adolescents' perspectives emerged as significant predictors of treatment receipt. Adolescents who rated themselves as more impaired and who had more positive attitudes towards medication were more likely to have been treated. The most powerful predictor, however, was concerns that ADHD was stigmatizing. Adolescents who were worried about being stigmatized for ADHD were far less likely to have received treatment in the past year than other teens.

- Summary and implications -

Results from this study indicate that many adolescents struggling with ADHD have not received any mental health services in the prior year. Especially noteworthy was that even after accounting for parents' perceptions of their child's functioning and their receptivity to medication treatment, adolescents' own attitudes were important predictors of receiving treatment.

Teens who felt they were not functioning well in their daily lives were more likely to have been treated. And, adolescents with concerns about ADHD stigma were far less likely to have received treatment during the prior year. In fact, this was the strongest predictor of all.

These findings highlight the importance of eliciting adolescents' perceptions of the need for ADHD treatment, and concerns related to treatment, during evaluation and treatment planning. In particular, health professionals should discuss concerns teens may have about being stigmatized for ADHD as these concerns can substantially undermine an adolescent's willingness to initiate or continue with indicated treatment.

These results also suggest that when a teenager refuses treatment, or protests continuing, parents should recognize that there may be more involved than their child's being oppositional, not recognizing the reality of what they require, or exercising their desire for autonomy and self-determination. While these factors may certainly be involved, an adolescent's worries about being stigmatized can be especially important and need to be understood and addressed. There is a need to develop effective interventions for addressing such concerns.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Christians Just Do It

During the time I was at Cedarville University at the conference on Ethical Issues at the End of Life and Joni and Friends' conference on developing ministries to folks with a disability, I rediscovered several key things.

1. There is a lot of compassion, concern and love among Christians for those of us who suffer. There were many different kinds of ministries and offerings at these conferences.

2. That Christians are the greatest innovators and entrepreneurs around. Many churches and lay persons are starting new programs for the elderly, the disabled and shut ins. I recently learned a new term that is being used among universities and academics: "Social Entrepreneurs". It hit me that Christians have been "Social and Spiritual Entrepreneurs" for 2000 years. However, I rarely meet a Christian Innovator or Entrepreneur that has heard that term.

3. Christians have always been on the cutting edge of education. Harvard, Yale, Brown, etc were first and foremost Christian schools with a mission to train ministers and missionaries.

4. Quality schools. The 3200 student university at Cedarville has a beautiful campus, an innovative leadership and a caring, thoughtful faculty and student body. I rarely had to open a door myself because a student would smilingly open it for me. They were warm, inviting and unfailingly good humored. And they are sharp! My book on Listening for Heaven's Sake has been translated into Russian. I had it on the display table and several students looked it over. Two of them could read the Russian title!

5. On the cutting edge of spiritual and social change. It was Christians who led the Abolitionist Movement to free slaves and to free people from Communism and terror in Europe. Now we are working to protect the unborn and the disabled.

6. The power of volunteering. All nations are held together with the glue of social interactions and Christians still lead all other groups in charitable giving, political involvement, voting, volunteering to help those in need, helping in a crisis, supporting the poor, lifting the lives of minorities, etc.

7. In healing. Jesus was The Great Physician and Christians have built hospitals, clinics, Counseling Centers, and prayer stations all over the earth.

Visit Sweeten Life web page to discover how you can support all these activities.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Watch, Listen and Learn

LIVE webcasts: Tune in for Joni and Friends Through the Roof Summit breakout sessions with Dr. Gary Sweeten, Saturday, September 17th

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effortless event broadcasting

Thanks to the innovative technology of BOXCAST, SweetenLife is able to bring you two live broadcasts from Cedarville University.

Session I: What The Parents Said To Us

Date: Saturday, September 17, 2011 at 1:30pm

Presented by Dr. Gary Sweeten

During a first of its kind, year long study, Sweeten Life Systems went beyond the surface with 12 couples who have children with special needs. The study addressed several topics including, stressful events, spiritual support needed and received, practical jobs, best practices, and barriers. In the study, parents revealed their deepest needs for support, prayer, and practical assistance.

To view this event just click the link below:

Session II: A Practical Vision for Supporting Parents and Caregivers

Date: Saturday, September 17, 2011 at 2:40pm

Presented by Dr. Gary Sweeten

Training to care for families using a comprehensive, holistic approach that uses The Three T's of modern life: High Touch (person to person care), High Tech (use of social media, web teachings by other parents, and video conferencing), and High Teach (a combination of seminars, best practices, and workshops on topics selected by parents). Sweeten Life Systems has completed an in-depth study of the felt needs of parents with a child who has a special need, and they are busily recruiting organizations to join in developing specific action steps to offer the support families say they want.

To view this event just click the link below:

If the above URL does not work try copying and pasting it into your browser.

For information about how your organization or company can use this simple video streaming service contact Gordon Daily at BOXCAST.

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Friday, September 16, 2011

webcasting at Joni and Friends

Joni and Friends is one of the oldest ministries in America whose focus is entirely on supporting people with disabilities and those who love them. Joni Ericson Tada was paralyzed at age 17 in a diving accident. After wrestling with God for several years she finally accepted His call to work with churches, families and individuals who care about reaching out to the disabled.

Today they have an international center that touches millions through radio, written materials and the distribution of wheelchairs. They also sponsor seminars and events training Christians how to love all God's people. That is where I am this week and I will speak twice tomorrow about the research we did with these families and how we propose to train Lay Helpers to support the families and the person with a disability.

You can tune in to hear my talks live at 1:30 and 2:30 tomorrow or later because it will be taped
for watching anywhere and anytime. Go to our web to connect.

By the way, consider taking a look at Box Cast the company making this possible to us free. Thanks to Gordon Daily.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Do You Believe in Climate Change?

"Pointing to the devastating weekend Indian Ocean tsunami that left over 24,000 dead, an international blue ribbon committee of climatologists and ecoscientists today issued a stark warning that man-made pollutants have increasingly 'make water spirits angry.' The blunt conclusion prefaced a 2300 page meta-analysis of hundreds of scientific studies and computer models detailing links between human industrial activity and wrathful eco-deities. Entitled 'Fire Bad: Fire Very Bad,' the report warns that the planet faces additional catastrophes unless drastic regulatory action is taken to appease Earthen-furies."--David Burge, IowaHawk blog, Dec. 27, 2004

What do you think these folks believe about God? Or, asked another way, "Who is god" to these Ecoscientists"

Another question: "What the fat is an 'Ecoscientist'"?

I am a scientist in Human Relations. I have a Masters Degree and a Doctoral Degree with statistical training in both of them. I was taught to look at science as the use of math and statistics to test whether some act had positive or negative impact.

I am also a Christian who believes in God's intervention into our world. However, my statements about God's will would not be labeled as "science" but as my "Faith in God".

By using the term "Ecoscientists" along with what is essentially statements of faith by religious men and women not by scientists. Unfortunately, people like Al Gore seem to be worshiping some kind of "water spirits" and hearing them speak about their anger at us humans.

What do you think?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Relapse into Stinking Thinking

A few minutes ago I was tempted to relapse back into "Stinking Thinking" and start to beat myself up. I heard the still small voice of, "You Dumkoff! You left out an entire phrase and that sentence made NO sense. Now everybody who reads the Blog and Facebook will also see how stupid you really are."

Wow! It certainly does not take long to fall back into old habits of the fallen, broken brain. But, thankfully, I remembered my pledge to never, ever disrespect God's word and His promises again and treat myself like a no good, dirty, stupid worm that deserves a good beating! (I made that pledge way back when I was struggling mightily against anxiety and fear and workaholism.) I am still tempted to sin but today I do not usually relapse very long before I catch myself and stop the madness! (Thanks to Scott for that last bit of advice.)

I try to remember that Relapse is nearly always a part of Recovery! Alcoholics are known to relapse. Smokers are known to Relapse. Over-eaters are known to Relapse. Chocoholics are known to Relapse and so are those Addicted to Stinking Thinking.

By Relapse I don't mean a full blown binge, although if we don't handle the false Guilt and False Shame well a small Relapse can turn really ugly and push us into an in-depth binge. In fact, when I was deeply engaged in Addictive Self Pity and Self Destruction it could take only one small slip of the tongue to send me reeling into a roller coaster of self-hatred and mental, emotional,spiritual Depression.

One time I came home from preaching and was deeply disturbed. Karen, my ever loving and up building wife, was wonderfully affirming about the sermon and how it was delivered. But I was Eyore and fell into a funk of self-pity and self immolation that left her with grunts and grumbles as responses. She asked, "What is wrong with you?" I replied, "That sermon was terrible." She said, "What was wrong with it?"

My answer was a classic for those of us who are into perfectionist of self behavior analysis. "I said uh three times!"

If saying "Uh" or "You know" sends people to hell for failing God not many preachers will be in heaven. Yet, those small mistakes of anxiety led me to a deep sense of failure and anger at myself.

So, a Relapse is not falling back into a permanent state of being an Eyore, but even a temporary state of allowing the Pre-Christian part of my brain take over for a few minutes of Ruminating on some self perceived lack of perfection. But, don't worry about me. I can resist anything but temptation.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Recovering From My Stinking Thinking

For as long as I can remember I was addicted to Stinking Thinking. That is until I learned I could be healed and set free from the ravages of those Irrational and Self Destructive Thinking Habits. Here is a short history of my getting healed.

I developed a very important but destructive way of motivating myself to achieve more and better results in life especially when dealing with failures. Each time I messed up I would beat myself mentally and emotionally until I was enraged at me for failing. It "worked" to motivate me to do better but it left me an intellectual and emotional and relational cripple.

A couple of years after I finished a Doctorate in Counselor Education at University of Cincinnati I was called the the Holy Spirit through the Elders at College Hill Presbyterian Church to establish an "Equipping Center at the Church. Our focus was to be on Family Life, Small Groups, The Healing Service, Training Lay Helpers and Christian Discipleship. It was a grand vision.

We started by implementing a program to train our members in Genuineness, Respect, Empathy and Warmth, or what researchers call, "The Core Conditions of healthy relationships". On my dissertation I also discovered that they are highly correlated with what scripture calls, "The fruit of the Holy Spirit". We used the newly discovered ideas to produce my first student manual, "Apples of Gold". I still meet people who say they use the "Apples of Gold" skills in daily life.

Alice Petersen came to us from Fuller Seminary as an Intern and Margaret Josephson was a volunteer for us because I was on her Doctoral Committee at UC. They both attended a seminar led by Dr. Maxie Maultsby on Cognitive Therapy. Upon their return, both exclaimed how wonderful it was and how it fit perfectly with scripture.

I read their books and notes and agreed. I immediately saw how the principles of Dr. Maultsby were very close to what the Bible teaches about controlling our moods, feelings and behavior by "Taking every thought captive to Christ".

As I studied those books and studied the Bible I asked Alice and Meg to write up a simple way to bring the two together. Meg was too busy so Alice and Dorothy Geverdt teamed up with me to write a manual that later became Rational Christian Thinking. As I studied scripture and Cognitive Therapy I saw I needed to renew my own mind first.

I am still working on breaking those life long habits of Stinking Thinking but I am much better now than I was in 1982 when we began. Thanks Alice and Meg.

Encouraging God's Gifted People

I have had a very busy week. One of the highs was yesterday when we celebrated the 80th birthday of a friend with whom I worked for many years. Lois Dunn was a fine artist who was well known in our community for drawing a wonderful portrait of "The Head of Jesus". Almost everyone had it in their homes.

Just after I finished a Doctorate and was trying to implement its findings by teaching the skills I had discovered at College Hill Presbyterian Church I needed someone to illustrate my writings. Lois had no experience in commercial illustrations. To make matters worse, we were just moving from fine art to computer art and Lois had never touched a computer let alone one that had drawing software.

The church bought her a computer and software and paid for her to attend classes. The rest can be found in books, articles and all sorts of graphics. She was a tremendous support for us when we developed what is now ministering and training in some 75 nations as Equipping Ministries International (EMI). Thanks Lois.

I am a visual learner and wanted to use good illustrations to enhance my teaching. Lois enabled me to do that as we wrote and published Apples of Gold and Rational Christian Thinking. She designed the art work and took us to a new level of self publishing and communication.

It takes the talents, gifts and love of many good people to take an idea and launch it into an international ministry that touches thousands. Most of them are behind the scenes and are largely unknown to the general public. However, the words of I Corinthians 12 about the need for every part of the body to work together are absolutely true and amazing. They are especially remarkable when one considers they were written in an era of complete dictatorship.

4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[b] 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

Unity and Diversity in the Body
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues[d]? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.

We established EMI in 1978 to "Equip God's people to do His work" and this passage was a basic reason and answer to the vision. My Doctoral studies about Counseling effectiveness confirmed God's Word as written here about ministry. All people can minister and use their gifts. Neither the Church or Clinic ought to be restricted to Professionals. To restrict Ministry to the Clergy is heresy and contrary to the effective work of God. To restrict Counseling, Healing and Caring to Professional Clinicians is arrogant and contrary to outcome research from the past 50 years.

Both limit the enormous good that would come from unleashing all God's people to care, pray, preach and love. We did that and taught how it can be done at EMI and Lois was a very important part of the leadership team.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Prayer and Meditation are Selfish

The last few months I have been speaking and writing as well as coaching people how to enter into deeper life of prayer and intimacy with God. It has been a wonderful journey for me. Thankfully, it is also a journey in which I have been learning and changing a lot.

I did not want to preach about prayer and not be practicing some prayer myself. I wanted to increase my intimacy with God too. Why? because I am selfish. Increased intimacy with God is good for me.
  • It is good for my brain and I need help for my brain.
  • It is good for my body and I need help for my body.
  • It is good for my heart and I need help for my heart.
  • It is good for my health and I need help for my health.
  • It is good for my emotions and I need help for my emotions.
  • It is good for my relationships and I need help for my relationships.
  • It is good for my spiritual life and I need help for my spiritual life.
My book Healing Souls, Touching Hearts by going to my web.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Great Time for Spiritual Growth

My friends Judy Haag, Linda Holmes and others are sponsoring times of refreshment throughout the year. The next one is coming up soon so read the brochure and pray about meting God with the rest of the seekers.

If you cannot attend this one ask about the future schedule.

Remember the old song, "Just a Closer Walk with Thee? Here is an opportunity to develop it.