Summer Program Series: Radically Open DBT Intensive for Over-Controlled, Shy Teens in St. Louis with Dr. Kirsten Gilbert

Summer Program Series: Radically Open DBT Intensive for Over-Controlled, Shy Teens in St. Louis with Dr. Kirsten Gilbert

DBT Class With Licensed Clinical Psychologist Dr. Kirsten Gilbert

When your teen experiences stress, anxiety, and perfectionism, you want them to find the best options for help. One great resource in the St. Louis area is Kirsten Gilbert, PhD. Kirsten is leading a RO-DBT class this summer, starting June 17th.

What’s the story behind the program, and why do you like the work?

Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy (RO DBT) is an evidenced based adaptation of standard DBT that targets 'over-controlled' personality. Although self-control is valued in our society and is helpful, too much self-control, in the form of over-control, can lead to a variety of problems that easily go unnoticed and are difficult to treat. Over-control is often characterized by inflexibility/rigidity, rule-governed and perfectionistic behaviors and over-controlled individuals are often shy, risk-averse, tend to suppress or hide emotions, don't like making mistakes and often feel socially awkward, anxious, or lonely. Over-control is a personality style that characterizes many disorders, including some forms of depression, anxiety, and anorexia nervosa.

I like this work because we help over-controlled teens relax rigid rules, be open to new situations and feedback, help them learn how to play more and how to socially connect with others.

In society today, teens have so much pressure to always be working harder, longer, and to be perfect, and RO DBT recognizes that some individuals are almost TOO good at this. These teens need to learn how to be flexible, interact socially, and learn how to make mistakes every once in a while.

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Summer Program Series: Leaps and Bounds Occupational, Speech, and Feeding Therapy Programs

Summer Program Series: Leaps and Bounds Occupational, Speech, and Feeding Therapy Programs

Spotlighting great programs in St. Louis:

This summer, Compassionate Counseling St. Louis is spotlighting summer programs that provide awesome services for anxious, angry kids and teens. This week we’re looking at Leaps and Bounds Occupational Therapy.

I’ve toured the Leaps and Bounds campus, and I love how they integrate OT to help kids managing their emotions. Read below for some great, interesting answers about their summer camp programs.

What supports do you provide for parents?

We offer occupational therapy, speech/ language therapy and feeding therapy. Our programming includes both individual and group options.  Therapy can focus on a variety of skills, but some of the areas that we address include: sensory processing, feeding, communication, literacy, attention, behaviors, motor skills, emotional regulation, executive function and social skills. We also provide home programs for parents to help facilitate progress during the course of therapy. 

We also offer summer camp options.

Our camp is much smaller in size than a typical summer camp and we can offer more supports to help kids be successful. We get excited each year to see kids create friendships and increase confidence in our summer camps.

How do you help kids who have behavioral issues?

​As licensed occupational therapists, it is our job to look at why the behavior is happening and figure out the best plan to manage it. Sometimes, the behavior is a result of poor sensory processing. In those situations, we would determine if we need to alter something in the environment to help the child or remove the stimulus.  We address behaviors differently depending on the reason they are occurring. Our goal is to help each child feel confident, comfortable and successful within the group.

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Mindfulness and Anxiety - Start With a Seat

Mindfulness and Anxiety - Start With a Seat

Mindfulness should be more than an “every now and then” kind of thing.

If you only practice mindfulness when you’re already upset, you may calm down in the moment - but it’s harder to reach for the skill when you need it. It’s much more effective to set up a daily practice, and really reinforce this skill.

The foundation for all of this? Being in the moment.

So today, let’s practice just sitting.

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Anxious Parenting Series Week 8: Next Steps and Moving Forward (with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy)

Anxious Parenting Series Week 8: Next Steps and Moving Forward (with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy)

Does Anxiety Ever Really Go Away?

After 8 weeks of talking about anxiety at different ages, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed.

Or, maybe you just gulped down the information and are hungry for more.

But I think one of the tricky things we need to keep in mind about anxiety is that it never really goes away. It’s always there, even if it looks different from pre-school through college. As I say on my homepage, “Whether your pre-schooler has behavioral issues or your highschooler gets caught up in the small stuff…” I could include in that statement:

  • Whether your child has separation anxiety or your college student is a perfectionist

  • Whether your teen has anger management problems or your child gets tummy aches every other day

  • Whether you feel overwhelmed and on edge, or you feel like you’re at the end of your rope parenting a child who gets so overwhelmed so quickly

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Anxious Parenting Series Week 7 - Out of the Nest: Parenting Your Anxious College Student

Anxious Parenting Series Week 7 - Out of the Nest: Parenting Your Anxious College Student

Anxiety disorders are a huge concern in college.

Stress disorders, self-harm, overwhelm and depression all become big concerns in college due to a couple of different factors: age, brain development, and the stress and independence that go hand in hand with starting college.

And rather than you being able to monitor any big changes in your student, you’re not there.

You only hear and know as much as they want to tell you. Whether you have serious concerns, or you just feel like you’re out of the loop, it’s tough to parent your college student and feel like you’re actually having an impact.

Parents will often reach out to me about their new college students, sharing concerns like:

  • My college student never calls!

  • I’m worried my college student has anxiety and depression.

  • I’m not sure if my college student can manage stress.

  • Is my college student depressed/anxious/too angry/too overwhelmed?

  • And the ultimate concern: I don’t know how to help my college student deal with everything that’s going on.

It’s tough to figure out how to parent and deal with these concerns when your student no longer lives in your house. And even if you’ve noticed signs of anxiety in the past, the game plan can be so different when your child is in college vs. when they were at home.

So what can you do?

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