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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Dealing With a Panic Attack At School: Proven Strategies That Work

Dealing With a Panic Attack At School: Proven Strategies That Work

Nobody enjoys having a panic attack…

But they're particularly awful when they happen at school. On top of experiencing all of those physical symptoms - shortness of breath, tense muscles, pounding heart - you're worried about how other people will respond to you. 

One of the most helpful first steps is to find a calm area, alone, and go there.

This can be as simple as leaving to use the restroom and finding a stall to sit in - you can always let your teacher know you had to leave for the restroom, and few people will want any details if that's your excuse. 

In the moment, try to ground yourself.

I like to use the 5 Senses Scavenger Hunt - name one thing that you see, one thing that you hear, one thing that you smell, one thing that you can physically touch, and check in with how your mouth tastes. This helps bring you back into your body and the moment. 

Next, try focusing on slowing your breathing.

Try breathing in through your nose for

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Panic Attack Management: 5 Simple Steps

Panic Attack Management: 5 Simple Steps

Don’t judge yourself!

Many people report experiencing panic attacks about panic attacks. Of course it makes sense to wish that you didn’t have to experience them. Or to wish that you were different. But when we judge ourselves, we can make this an unhealthy cycle - the panic, the guilt about the panic, the panic about the guilt about the panic… it’s a panic cycle! So break the cycle, and be kind to yourself. And practice your steps, even before you need them.

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October Scaries: Social Anxiety and Social Phobia

October Scaries: Social Anxiety and Social Phobia

Social anxiety! Almost everyone has it.

I'm sure the majority of us, at one point or another, has experienced anxiety about socializing with somebody. That little bit of trepidation before you walk into your first day of work, that hiccup of anxiety as you enter a party, or that discomfort when the person sitting next to you on a plane just keeps asking you questions.

But, those small social anxieties are very different from social phobia.

Rather than experiencing a small amount of anxiety that we can easily push through, having a social phobia means that anxiety is debilitating. You're too anxious about that party, so you never go in in the first place. Rather than going to work on your first day, you call in sick or make up an excuse. 

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