What Therapists Need Foster Parents To Understand

The difficult journey that leads a child to foster care is almost always a traumatic one. State-run agencies such as Child Protective Services (CPS) assess the safety of each child they handle and decide whether or not the evidence indicates an abusive or neglectful situation and whether it calls for intervention. — Susanne Babbel MFT, PhD

It’s easy enough to understand why being involved in the foster care system is complicated. What is even more challenging are the preparations and adjustments that need to be made by all parties concerned. The situation is as tough as it can get when you put yourself in the shoes of the potential foster child. This person likely had to deal with loss in many forms, was likely uncomfortable with the living situation, and couldn’t identify love and emotional attachment.

 

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The need for foster parents is ever so high. On average, about half a million children in the US spend time in foster care. The decision to open a home to fostering is one that shouldn’t be taken likely. Revisit and evaluate your motivation regularly and for a significant length of time, and ensure that it’s solid enough for the foundation of a foster relationship.

 

Many websites detail what it takes to be a foster parent, and here they are:

 

Parents Need To Prepare

Preparing physically, mentally, emotionally and financially is key. It’s precisely why the discerning process ideally takes a lengthy amount of time. Some of the most important considerations to prepare for are the legal processes. Nothing legal and binding is ever quick and easy. This process begins in the consideration stage and will essentially stay indefinitely, as demanded by the foster care system.

 

Knowing and understanding the profile of the foster child follows with a long to-do list of things to prepare. How old the child is, the culture that person is accustomed to, if they attended school, if they have family nearby and how they grew up. It determines things like sleeping arrangements in the house, school schedule, and habits in the home.

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Parents also need to understand that the preparations are not just on the part of the parents. Especially if the foster family has young kids in the picture, involving the entire family is a crucial part of the process. Getting your family on board for the change entails explaining what fostering is, answer questions a kid might have, and preparing them for the changes and challenges that come with fostering while keeping a positive mindset on the next chapter.

When kids misbehave, parents who understand their children’s underlying needs (related to development and, in some cases, past trauma) respond in ways that guide the development of the personality underneath the monstrous mood paralyzing it. — Blake Griffin Edwards, MSMFT, LMFT

Expect To Manage Difficult Behavior

Something that can’t be said any other way, many foster kids are likely to have behavioral problems as a result of being in foster care and whatever realities they needed to deal with. Unsurprisingly, communication is key. Setting the right boundaries, learning how to discipline and creating a safe space for the foster child are some ways to overcome difficult behavior.

 

Experts also want to remind parents that fostering might be exciting at first, but the challenges have a reputation of taking a toll on marriages. Naturally, with an unfamiliar and challenging situation, stress and tension are high, and arguments might come about, but it’s essential to ensure the healthiness of the marriage and relationship.

 

Source: pixabay.com

With the growing recognition that adoptees have a right and a need to know about their birth-family history, most members of the adoption community acknowledge the benefits of openness for all members of the adoption triad: the adoptive parents, birth parents, and most importantly the child. — Suzette Bray, MFT

There Are People Who Can Help

An important reminder is that support for foster parents is everywhere. Experts warn that there will be many insensitive people who ask all the wrong questions and imply all the wrong things, but being surrounded by positive and helpful people will go a long way.

 

Find a community or support group to interact with regularly. Ask for advice, but always take everything with a grain of salt as every situation is different. Consult with a therapist or seek online therapy when things are getting too difficult to manage.

 

It’s not an easy process, but it sure is rewarding. Here’s to providing a better life for someone, one child at a time.

 

 

 

How Therapy Can Help Foster Children With Separation Anxiety

It’s natural for young children to feel anxious to say goodbye to their parents. They may cry or have tantrums, which can be healthy reactions and a stage of development for children. While the intensity of separation anxiety can vary, some children may not move on from this.

Many children end up in foster care for various reasons. However, a common problem that many of them face is dealing with separation anxiety from their homes and caregivers. These traumatic experiences can lead to mental health issues. It can also negatively impact how they develop socially and emotionally.

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No child deserves to go to foster care, and every child deserves a safe and secure home. That is why proper access to mental health resources should be given priority. Thousands of vulnerable children in foster care would benefit from therapy. When they regularly meet with a licensed therapist, children are given a chance to lead healthier and happier lives. 

What Is Separation Anxiety?

Excessive fear of detachment from a loved one defines separation anxiety. This disorder is a common occurrence seen in younger children. Some common causes of SAD are changes in their environment, stress, and insecure attachment.

According to psychologists, having a parental figure or caregiver is vital for young children. Forming this relationship helps them develop socially and emotionally. So, it can be difficult for a foster child when they have never been attached or have been removed from their parental figure. 

Being taken away from their home and loved ones can perpetuate fear and trauma. Their stress and trauma can be further exacerbated when placed in a foster home. Changes in their environment and previous history of distrust can agitate them and cause tantrums. It’s best to find a foster parent who has the patience and experience to care for traumatized children.

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While foster care can be seen as a solution for a child from an unstable household, many children will find it difficult to understand why they are separated from their homes. This confusion can give them trust issues and an intense fear of abandonment. This, in turn, can later manifest in their relationships. 

Some symptoms of Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD) are:

    • Experiencing sleep disorders
    • Feeling sad and withdrawn
    • Being easily agitated
    • Having trust issues with caregivers

SAD in foster children can be difficult to treat because of their circumstances. Most of them do not get access to the mental health services they need. Thus, they find it hard to bond with and trust their new caregivers. 

The fear usually subsides when they start feeling secure in their environment. But for many children in foster care, their separation anxiety can continue past their adolescence. In some cases, it can even stay with them until adulthood. 

Which Children Are Vulnerable To Separation Anxiety?

Studies show that more LGBTQ+ youth live in foster care and unstable households than their heterosexual peers. These queer adolescents are more likely to have poor academic functioning, develop an addiction, and struggle with mental health conditions. They are already marginalized because of their SOGIE and more vulnerable due to their material conditions. As such, there is a greater need to protect them.

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Meanwhile, among different ethnicities in the US, African-American children are more vulnerable compared to white kids. This situation may be explained by the gap in wealth amongst these racial communities. As studies suggest, poverty is a direct link to children’s placement in foster care. 

These disparities are heartbreaking. However, we must face them squarely for us to address the underlying issues and give foster kids the care they deserve. Given more accessible mental health resources, we provide these vulnerable children with the chance to overcome their separation anxiety and other mental health problems. 

How Therapy Can Help

A mental health professional can treat SAD in children. Children in foster care require early treatment, or their disorder may continue until their adulthood. Since they have a different experience than other kids with SAD, it is best to find a therapist who has experience treating foster kids. 

Your therapist may recommend a foster child to undergo Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), an effective form of psychotherapy. During CBT, they will learn how to understand their fears and healthily manage their emotions. Then, they would eventually develop healthier coping skills.

Specialists can also use exposure therapy, another form of CBT. It works by carefully exposing children to separation in controlled amounts. This treatment option helps reduce their anxiety over time. 

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A foster parent can also help make a secure environment by discussing the child’s issues. It helps to learn what triggers their foster child’s anxiety. Also, they can practice the strategies within the treatment plan that their therapist prepared for their kid.

Most importantly, a therapist may help by giving calm support. With their help, foster children can become open to new experiences and develop their independence. For any concerns regarding the child’s well-being, they are the ones to consult. They carry these children’s best interests at heart, so caregivers can be at ease leaving their charges to a therapist’s care.

Conclusion

No children choose to be put into foster care. It can be extremely challenging and traumatic to experience separation from their home and their loved ones. However, in many circumstances, foster care is in their best interest. They may be in grave danger in their original household, or their parents cannot provide them with the material and emotional support they need. 

Foster children with separation anxiety are vulnerable to many mental health issues. That is why it is crucial to provide access to mental health resources. Many kids will have to face the reality of their placement under foster care. Because of the trauma from separation, we should pay close attention to their care and development. One of the best ways we can secure their mental health is through therapy. If given early attention, they can overcome this disorder as they reach adulthood. 

 

Why Therapy Is Crucial For Foster Parents

Becoming a foster parent is extremely challenging. After all, you’ll be in charge of taking care of lives. But what makes it even harder is that the children you’ll be fostering have been through a lot and have special needs.

Often, they’ve been through traumatic situations and experienced abuse. Because of those, they may have more mental and emotional needs compared to other children. They also suffer from the feeling of instability brought by moving from place to place. As a foster parent, it would be your responsibility to introduce these kids to a safe space. It won’t be easy, but providing those kids with the security and love they deserve will be worth it.

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Talking to a therapist can help prepare you for such an important role. They’ll be there to ensure you’re in good emotional and mental shape to take care of foster children. Most importantly, they can aid you in learning how to provide the kids a safe space.

Preparing Yourself To Be A Guardian

When you become a foster parent, you immediately assume responsibility for the life of someone who’s been through a lot. As such, you’ll have to do some preparations for welcoming them into your home. You’ll have to look at things like your financial capability, their room, and necessary supplies. But other than that, you’ll also have to assess your preparedness and capacity as a carer.

Look at your lifestyle, habits, and behavior. Fostering requires a great deal of sensitivity, and it should show through your words and actions. That includes getting rid of biases and judgment, developing healthy routines, and being a great role model for the children.

Therapy can address all those factors. In addition, your therapist can help you break problematic behavior and build healthier ones in their place. You may or may not have to change a lot about your general disposition, and you need to be ready to do so. It may also feel overwhelming at times, but keep in mind that all this will be for your foster children.

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Helping You Provide For Your Foster Children

Kids of all ages appear in foster care, from newborn babies to teens nearing legal age. As a guardian, you need to be able to provide the basic material needs. But aside from that, foster children will need emotional, mental, and social support. 

You have to keep in mind that these children may have never seen what a healthy home is. There’s also a chance that they feel unwanted, more so if they’ve already jumped through different houses over time. In addition, they may not even be interested in knowing you. Again, you always have to remember they have unique experiences that have influenced them into becoming what they are now.

Some kids may have experienced abuse and continue to suffer through some mental health conditions. It’s also possible for them to have depression and anxiety. Others may have post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD or may be experiencing an identity crisis due to constantly moving houses. Unfortunately, they have one or more of these concerns more often than not.

You’ll have to equip yourself with knowledge on how to look after children with those conditions. Agencies usually provide training for foster parents like you. However, it would benefit both you and the children if you sought a therapist’s help to be sure. As a professional, they’ll be able to give you advice so you could interact with your foster children healthily.

It won’t be easy fostering those kids towards a better state of mind and heart. It’s also highly possible for them to be unaccepting of your care. Because of that, you’ll have to pay more attention and be more patient and compassionate towards them. It won’t be a smooth journey, but therapy can assist you in making those children feel safe and secure again.

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Allowing You To Care For Them And Yourself

Foster agencies will determine if you’re fit for the responsibility. Afterward, they’ll train you how to take care of those you’ll be housing. They’ll also provide you with clear terms containing the basics, like your role and responsibilities and how long you’ll be fostering. Most agencies will give you a monetary allowance to help with your foster’s needs.

Overall, they provide the necessary things, information, and training you need. However, you’re just a human too. It’s only natural for pressure and emotions to overwhelm you sometimes. Because of that, you may find yourself breaching your boundaries to take care of your foster child.

Your therapist may help you prevent that from happening. Remember, you’re fostering children to provide them with parental care. That involves giving them a safe space, making them feel loved, nurturing them, and keeping them healthy. That process will require effort, patience, and compassion from your side. While that may be difficult, you shouldn’t neglect your well-being in the process.

Therapy will be there to guide you in setting healthy boundaries for yourself. It’s vital, whether it’s a few minutes of alone time for yourself or refraining from over-purchasing for your foster. You may discuss your situation, thoughts, and emotions with your therapist so they can help you with boundary work.

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Aiding You In Processing The Emotional Toll Of Separation

Even if you foster children for a short time, it’s only natural to develop a bond with them. So, separating from them could deal some damage to your mental and emotional well-being. After all, you treated your fosters like they’re your own family. So it’s only expected you’ll feel negative emotions when it’s time for them to leave. 

Your therapist can help you develop a healthy coping mechanism to guide you in handling your emotions. They’ll also be there beside you to aid you in moving forward healthily.

Wrapping Up

Becoming a foster carer is difficult. It entails serious responsibilities that require effort, sensitivity, compassion, and patience. Therapy can help equip you with the proper mindset and knowledge to take on that role effectively.

Your therapist can prepare you for your role and assist you in catering to the needs of your foster children. In addition, they can help you set boundaries for yourself and aid you in processing the emotional toll of the inevitable separation. It won’t be an easy journey. But remember, you’re doing this for the kids who deserve love, compassion, safety, and security.

An Overview Of Adoption Counseling

If you are confronted with an unwanted pregnancy, you could consider putting your child through an adoption process. Thus, you need adoption therapy or counseling. Help that is intended especially to cater to your needs is available for you.

Adoption changes your path.

 

Source: americanadoptions.com

Adoption Counseling

Overall Guidance

The help we are referring to here is known as adopting help, and it just may be your savior if you need to sort through your emotions.

We should learn more about help for adoption and what birth parents should do.

Adoption Counseling: Important Goals

Adoptions counseling, often known as pregnancy services, is intended to assist hopeful foster parents in learning more about their prospects of foster care. Services and support for this and related stuff, including counseling services, are accessible to all potential adoptive parents, with no extra fees and no duty to move forward with a plan.

Some Adoption Counseling Benefits

Help for the adoption process provides benefits to adoptive families. Your designated adoption counselor will give the aid and guidance that you require throughout the whole foster care and adoption journey.

Seeking Adoption Guidance And Post Adoption Counseling

You are confronted with one of the most arduous decisions that a future parent can make. You might feel great about your decision to proceed with the adoption and feel prepared to start the process. Whichever way you’re taking, mental help services are very much preferred. This will help instill coping strategies regarding difficulty trusting, child trauma, child abuse, and grief, and helping children understand the challenges they are going through. But if you are doubtful of your options and you have concerns as a parent, first read these reasons for considering family counseling or post-adoption counseling.

You can stay as an anonymous parent unless you are prepared to go through with the process. Should you need more data about adoption choices, you can call your adoption agency or a foster care system counselor to ask for this data without giving out your personal information.

    • You are in control of the whole process the whole time. You can speak with your own counselor consistently so that someone can walk you through the steps of the plan or get an occasional peek when you need help for adoption. You could also modify or stop your plan any time you want. Most foster families do that. For example, they would like to prefer a child without mental health issues, complex feelings, or behavioral challenges such as reactive attachment disorder. You can also look into support groups and ask about a wonderful option for you. Rest-assured, support for your concerns and your parenting journey as a whole will always be there.

It’s really up to you to decide the type of service you prefer to have and what kind of relationship you wish to establish with the process.

Source: adoptionstogether.org

    • As mentioned, you have support and assistance in traversing the adoption plan. If you do opt to move forward with the plan, your very own therapist or social worker can definitely assist you in drawing vital decisions for your infant throughout the whole process. An adoption counseling expert – and adoption attorney, if needed – will be behind you through the various steps along the way as you design the adoption plan, seek adoptive families or adoptive parents, and navigate the legal process of putting him or her for adoption. There will also be challenges post-adoption, and the healing process will not be easy.
    • You can deal with the difficult emotions that are in your way. Every potential birth parent goes through periods of pain, grief, and depression. Most moms go through postpartum depression. Your adoption counseling expert will guide you through this difficult time. When you’re stable enough, you can now start healing positively. Your social worker and support groups will be there.
    • You can get help in tackling other needs or concerns. Parents who opt to have their baby adopted have various intentions. If you are thinking about adoption due to a primary issue, like financial loss, lack of family support, experienced trauma, substance abuse, or an abusive relationship, your adoption counselor can assist in finding more resources to help tackle some of these issues.

Adoption Counselors

When you are prepared to talk to an adoption counselor, either to discuss your options or to initiate the process, you may worry about who can offer to counsel. Adoption counselors could be psychologists, family therapists, social workers, or pastoral therapists that have been selected to specialize in adoption. They are tasked to discuss with family members or the whole family your concerns. They are there to make you feel secure.

The most common places to look for foster care or family counselors are frequently fosterage facilities that employ certified social workers experienced in coordinating with birth parents. Most groups or organizations include support and counseling services free of charge only for potential birth parents and their families.

Source: blog.time2track.com

As you start the process of seeking counseling for adoption services, remember to choose a counselor that:

    • Can gain access to several information and resources, along with the adoption experts, including lawyers.
    • Has extensive knowledge of adoption and how to deal with depression, trauma, relationship issues, etc.
    • Is licensed and has gotten birth parenting and adoption training.
    • Is experienced in explaining adoptive parenting and adoptive parents.
    • Is capable of comforting parents and giving them a sense of acceptance.

Finally

It is vital to look for an adoption helper who can make parents feel comfortable, supported, and safe. The perfect adoption helper can offer all the services, parenting support, and education you need to develop the right decision that you feel great about.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is adoption counseling?

What are the 7 core issues of adoption?

How do you heal adoption trauma?

Is adoption traumatic for adoptees?

What is adopted child syndrome?

How do I become an adoption counselor?

 

Foster Care

Have you heard of foster care? Who needs counseling for foster children? How does a family benefit from foster care? How do children prepare in such counseling regarding foster care? Let’s look into the foster care system to be able to understand how foster care helps.

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Foster Care Children Counseling

Foster care children need counseling sessions more than anyone. Since many children carry and suffer a lot of emotional baggage and thoughts, such counseling is suitable to assist them to unload and breathe.

What entails being in foster care? What is a foster care system? And can everyone in foster care benefit from foster care counseling?

Foster Care Counseling

Counseling can be utilized to deal with a range of issues associated with foster care and adoption. Some ways that counseling may assist people in coping with foster care and adoption may include:

    • Informing the child that he is adopted.
    • Discovering a child’s identity.
    • Giving attention to behavioral disorders in foster care or adopted children.
    • Processing PTSD, abuse, or trauma.
    • Healing attachment problems that children or adults that were in foster care have gone through.
    • Working through addiction, depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues.

Attachment issues may be managed or treated with rigorous attachment-focused counseling, along with family and child trauma work. Experienced and compassionate caregivers can self-regulate and offer foster care kids what is required to help them face their issues successfully.

Adoptive Family Counseling

Counseling is commonly advocated for families who are looking to take in a foster care child. In counseling, the foster families can prepare themselves for any concerns that might emerge and learn how to adjust to a foster child’s specific needs, including any health or behavioral problems. With the foster care child, the foster care family members can talk about any developmental and psychological problems and work on them as a family to build trust and establish connections.

Families who decide to adopt a child with certain developmental or psychological problems might find their position daunting and consider surrendering the foster child back to the foster care home. Some of these problems may be manageable through counseling, avoiding further interference to the foster child’s life.

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When a foster child goes through attachment issues or trauma, it might be difficult for him to trust the foster care family. Foster care counseling helps the new family members train for better guardianship for the foster child in whatever he needs. In family counseling, the foster care family can practice empathy and make the foster child feel secure and safe in his new foster home.

Trauma Counseling For Children

Therapy or counseling may be useful for children going through placement or relocation to a group home. Still, those who have been abused and suffered from severe emotional trauma or neglect might have a challenging time adjusting to a new foster care home without the assistance of a foster care counselor.

Social workers may also provide assistance and resources to some foster children, although substantial caseloads frequently imply that social workers can’t spare enough quality time with each foster care child. Foster children who have been disappointed several times because of the foster care system may not put their trust that easily.

Trauma counseling or therapies, including trauma-based cognitive behavioral therapy, have proven to assist adults and children who go through trauma from the adoption or foster care. These therapies may work on trauma by concentrating on attachment problems that the individual may have grown to develop. Trauma-based therapy usually assists individuals in processing their feelings following a traumatic event and may even help manage depression or anxiety due to trauma.

Play Therapy For Children

In some situations, play therapy is beneficial for foster care and adopted children. Play therapy has been especially helpful to these foster care kids because play therapy involves self-expression and might be more convenient for most of them rather than expressing their thoughts and feelings in words. When there is trauma, play therapy can function as a connection to the child’s feelings and may help counselors and caregivers learn how to assist the child. Play therapy may also be utilized to work on anger issues and behavioral problems that children might have developed from their trauma.

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Adoption And Support Groups

There are plenty of support groups created to help foster care kids and adoptive parents. These groups enable foster parents to gather, provide support, and talk about difficulties that may emerge in the parenting journey. They can help foster care parents solve problems, share information and techniques, and inspire each other. Participating in a support group for foster care families can be a vital aspect of self-care. It may also assist a lot of foster parents in helping them feel more emotionally revitalized and prepared to deal with certain difficulties that their family is confronted with.

Final Thoughts – In A Nutshell

There are apparently plenty of support groups that provide support and advice to foster parents and families of foster children. Still, foster care and adoptive children also benefit tremendously from participating in support groups. They may be composed of kids, teens, and adults and concentrate mainly on individuals who came from foster care homes. International adoptees can actually participate in support groups that permit them to connect with people who come from similar circumstances. These counseling groups can definitely help individuals feel safer and successfully get through their past experiences.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What do you mean by foster care?
  2. How do foster home works?
  3. What is the difference between foster care and adoption?
  4. How long does a foster child stay with you?
  5. What is long-term foster care?
  6. Do you get paid to foster kids?
  7. Can I foster and work full-time?
  8. Can foster care lead to adoption?
  9. Can I take a foster child on holiday?
  10. What is a foster care allowance?

Frequently Asked Questions About CBT For Foster Children 

Foster children come from different backgrounds. Some come from abusive families. Meanwhile, others may come from families that can’t provide for their basic needs due to financial constraints.

The situation they’re in may be traumatic, especially at their young age. Past cases of abuse or being away from their biological family is indeed a negative experience. 

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Regardless of their background or past, we’re sure these children need a home where they can be fully cared for.

For these foster children, mental health needs often go unmet. When, in fact, these children are at higher risk for mental health problems because of their situation. As foster parents, we should be ready to embrace and give care to these issues. 

Double trauma is common in foster children. Abuse or neglect from a biological family and stress from constantly transferring from family to family causes this trauma. Studies show that the following mental issues are prevalent in foster children: 

  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) 
  • Social Phobias 
  • Depression  
  • Anxiety disorders  

The frequency of these disorders is higher in foster children when compared to the general adult population. It’s alarming that mental health is typically brushed off. If we want our foster children to have a fulfilling life, we should start caring for their mental well-being. 

What can we do for our child? Besides meeting their basic needs, listening, and providing a safe space, letting them receive therapy is also possible. Particularly, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a good option. CBT is common for people with behavioral, emotional, and mood disorders.

It aims to gain insight into why behaviors and actions are done through guided questioning of thoughts and emotions. 

Being practical in structure, CBT is highly effective in helping your child process their behaviors and emotions. It can help them form healthy coping mechanisms and good relations with their foster family. 

Are you figuring out if cognitive-behavioral therapy can work for your child? Read on to know about frequently asked questions asked by other foster parents. 

What is CBT, and how does it work?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a popular form of psychotherapy that focuses on an individual’s cognitive functions, such as knowledge acquisition, thinking capacities, logic, reasoning, etc.

CBT’s goal is to gain insight into how negative thinking can impact a person’s behavior and motivation.  It is the most common approach in treating various mental health problems, especially mood disorders like anxiety and depression.

What is an example of cognitive-behavioral therapy?

Many techniques are used in cognitive-behavioral therapy. The most commonly used example of CBT is through guided discovery and questioning. This technique allows a patient to cross-examine his/her own thoughts and feelings freely.

The therapist will then challenge him/her to look at a different viewpoint and try to replace the lingering negative feelings or thinking.

Can you do CBT on yourself?

Recent studies have shown doing CBT on yourself is possible and also effective. Many self-help books available in bookstores and on the internet are informative in performing self-directed cognitive behavioral therapy without a therapist’s help.

While self-help CBT is useful, it is still advisable and best to seek a mental health provider’s advice.

How effective is CBT therapy?

While CBT therapy’s effectiveness varies per person, research has concluded cognitive-behavioral therapy as the most effective treatment approach, especially when it comes, but not limited to, mood disorders.

CBT’s effectiveness is found to be similar or far more than psychiatric medications.

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What are the disadvantages of CBT?

Like other forms of treatment or therapy, cognitive-behavior therapy has its disadvantages. Many people find CBT taxing since it is time-consuming.

It is also a person-centered approach and may not account for other stressors in an individual’s life, such as environment and relationships. CBT is also not recommended for people experiencing more complex mental health disorders.

Can CBT be harmful?

There are risks to cognitive-behavioral therapy, which some people may find harmful. For example, in a CBT therapy session, a person may be asked to explore his/her past, which may bring painful feelings and memories.

This is a form of an aggressive method, and individuals may find this uncomfortable at times.

Who is CBT not good for?

As previously mentioned, cognitive-behavioral therapy may not be the right choice for individuals suffering a more complex set of psychological problems. People who are also emotionally sensitive may find CBT challenging.

How long does it take for cognitive behavioral therapy to work?

According to statistics, cognitive-behavioral therapy takes an average of 12 weeks to 20 weeks to fully work and see an improvement in a patient’s condition. Each week usually have one therapy session lasting between an hour to two.

Is act better than CBT?

ACT refers to acceptance and commitment therapy. One cannot say that the other is better or vice versa, as both therapies work differently on every individual.

However, the difference between the two is that CBT confronts the negative emotions and thinking upfront, whereas ACT believes in accepting these negative feelings as a part of life.

What are the pros and cons of cognitive-behavioral therapy?

One of the primary advantages of cognitive-behavioral therapy is its effectiveness, being similar to or more than any other type of psychotherapy and even psychiatric medications. CBT is also highly-structured and practical.

However, CBT sessions can take up a lot of time, making it hard for an individual to commit. It may also be a lot more emotionally distressing to some people, given some sessions’ techniques.

Is CBT good for anxiety?

Yes, cognitive-behavioral therapy is right for anxiety. Studies have found CBT to be the most effective treatment option for general anxiety and other anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic depression, phobias, etc.

Can CBT make anxiety worse?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy requires people to unfold their emotions, making it uncomfortable for some, and thus their anxiety worsening. That is why it is essential to have a trusted therapist when you plan on undergoing CBT.

Why is CBT so popular?

Many studies prove CBT as an effective method in treating a wide range of psychological disorders. Therefore, cognitive-behavioral therapy is so prevalent in both clinical and research settings.

Who needs cognitive behavioral therapy?

CBT is commonly used in people with anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. However, alcohol and substance abuse problems and eating disorders are also some of the other mental illnesses that can be treated using cognitive-behavioral therapy.

If you are suffering from any of these cognitive difficulties, you should ask your therapist about CBT.

What is the difference between cognitive therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy?

Both cognitive therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy target a person’s cognitive psychology. Cognitive therapy only aims to improve a person’s reasoning. Meanwhile, CBT targets the connection between an individual’s thinking capacity and behavioral skills.

Ensuring the holistic needs of your child is important. Foster children may have issues brought about by their circumstances.

Becoming a home for a child means being ready to be there for everything – including their mental health needs. You should have a high level of dedication and belief that your child can indeed lead a better life. 

Source: pixabay.com

Mental issues are indicative of deeper problems and experiences. The trauma of being separated from their biological family is difficult to process even as an adult. What more if you’re just a child? 

Of course, not all children placed in foster care have mental health issues. It is important, however, that those who have can receive the right treatment and care.

Some signs you can look out for are severe mood swings, social isolation, recurring nightmares, and behavioral problems. You can seek professional help to ensure the best for your child. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a method you can consider. Its structural approach can help your child better manage their emotions and behavior. Throughout the process, the therapist will provide your child with strategies for coping and behaving.

As a foster family, you must be willing to be a support network your child can rely on for encouragement. 

Despite its benefits, CBT is not for children with complex mental health problems. It also applies if a child does not want to revisit or is unprepared to process their traumatic experiences.

Since the nature of CBT involves opening up and reviewing your thoughts and experiences, it isn’t for every child. Talk and consult with a therapist to know what’s the best course of action. 

Fostering is a wonderful experience that’s full of sacrifice, commitment, and understanding. In this act of love, caring for your child means being there for them wholeheartedly no matter what. 

Supporting The Mental Health Of Your Foster Child

Supporting The Mental Health Of Your Foster Child

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Children who grew up in a foster care facility experience trauma throughout their lives. Even though they’re happy with your family, there are still instances where they’ll fall into the pit of sadness. That’s how unpredictable their lives are.

The instability of their emotions stems from the constant move from family to family. On top of this is the loneliness they feel without the comforts of their biological family. 

Because of this, the risk of developing mental health problems for foster kids is high. The American Academy of Pediatrics associates this with the fact that most of their physical, emotional, and mental needs are not met. Some of the statistics that they revealed regarding the mental issues of a foster child are the following: 

– More than half of the children in foster care have clinical mental health problems

– Upon growing up, 34% of these individuals experience more than two mental health disorders

– 11.6% of the foster care population experiences Panic Disorder at least once in their lives

With this in mind, what is your role as a parent in ensuring that the child’s mental health stays healthy throughout? Here are ways on how you can support them in this journey. 

Establish Effective Communication

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One of the traumas that foster children experience is being unheard of. Given that they do not have someone look after them most of the time, they long for someone they can talk to. Therefore, it is your primary responsibility to listen to them. 

Make sure that you don’t treat them as if they are an outsider. Let them know that you’ll always be there for them despite not being blood-related. Make them feel comfortable by offering help whenever they have any problems or whenever they encounter difficulty adjusting. Allow them to vent out their concern before giving your advice.

Take Care Of Your Mental Health First

To be able to take care of your foster child’s mental health, you have to take care of yourself first. You will only be able to fulfill your responsibility fully if you’re as stable as you need to be. The best way to go about this is to find a support network. 

Believe it or not, foster parenting isolates you from the world most of the time. The majority of the people do not understand how it works, and they are likely to judge you for what you’re doing. They’ll question your desire to house someone who is practically a stranger to you. Having to deal with these can cause you to feel stressed and sad. 

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However, you are lucky to have co-foster parents who can fully understand where you are. Make sure to maintain constant connection and communication with them. It is vital to have people who can understand you and the challenges you’re facing.

Should you have questions on the technicalities of foster parenting, ask them for advice. If you feel the need to take a break, call them. This support group will be healthy for you and your child’s mental health in the long run.

Implement Positive Discipline In Conflict Resolutions

Foster children experience extreme things throughout their lives. Therefore, there will always be instances where they’ll do something terrible and unacceptable. Their capacity to differentiate right from wrong might be a little rusty because of how they grew up. 

Always keep in mind that these kids are doing their best. What they’re doing may not be aligned with your values, but you can always address them. Sufficient conflict resolution requires love and support, not punishment, and stern discipline. Understand that corporal punishment may not be the best way to go because of the trauma they have faced in the past. 

Here’s how you should attack conflict resolution

1. Understand Your Children’s Behavior 

Deep dive into what makes them who they are and focus on that. If you don’t know the reason behind every move, it will be hard for you to solve it. 

2. Build A Solid Bond With Your Child

Be as open as possible, and do not keep secrets from them, especially if something is related to their identity. Once they trust you, it will be easier to talk to them and improve their behavior. 

3. Always Remain Calm 

There will always be instances where your foster child will push you to your limits. However, losing your cool will only push them away. Always be gentle to them and never hurt them physically to discipline them. 

4. Reward Them 

Whenever they do something good no matter how simple it is, make sure to reward them. This technique is what we call positive reinforcement. If you show your appreciation to them, they’ll tend to do better. 

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A Challenging Role

It is not a surprise to others that being a foster parent is challenging to do. It demands a lot of sacrifice from youtime, money, commitment, and effort. Add to this the difficulty in ensuring that your child is healthy physically and mentally. But along with difficulty is a complement of a fulfilling emotion.

The fact that you’re providing an impact on a child’s life should be enough to make you happy. It may be chaotic, messy, and unpredictable, but it is also gratifying, redemptive, and remarkable. These are feelings that most people won’t feel in a typical setup. As a foster parent, you’ll be lucky enough to experience these fantastic emotions. 

 

Things You Should Never Say To A Foster Family

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Fostering can be a sensitive topic. It’s understandable if you’re unsure if it’s appropriate to ask questions or discuss something related to the situation. However, curiosity can lead to awkward, uncomfortable, and inappropriate queries. For everyone’s reference, here are things you shouldn’t say or do around foster families.

Don’t Bad-Mouth The Biological Families

When someone meets foster kids, they tend to make assumptions about their biological families. Every child comes from different circumstances and is in a different situation. The system may have taken some children out of their homes due to abusive families.

However, some may be unable to take care of their families due to mental illness, financial struggles, and other reasons. Some biological parents will even be able to get their kids back later on. It is incredibly insensitive to judge the foster child’s biological family. It can also be hurtful to badmouth the parents in front of the kids.

Further, their backstory is confidential. Foster parents will be unable to share that much information in the first place. Please don’t assume what their life was like before being in the system.

Don’t Ask Us About Money Matters

Okay, it isn’t always inappropriate to discuss finances. However, some people hold the assumption that foster parents make money by taking care of the kids. First of all, they’re not babysitters, and fostering isn’t for profit. There is no monetary gain to it.

While the state may provide some funds for the child’s needs, it isn’t always enough. Some parents will have to shoulder some expenses personally. Foster care isn’t or shouldn’t be something people get into to make money.

Don’t Tell The Kids They’re Lucky To Have Foster Parents

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Children in the system, even with caring foster families, are far from “lucky.” It can be quite tone-deaf to say that they are such.

Imagine strange adults coming into your home one day and taking you from your parents. You have no warning, and you have no idea what’s going on. These strangers then bring you to other people you don’t know. They then tell you that these unfamiliar adults will be taking care of you from now on. That doesn’t sound like such a lucky situation anymore.

You can be happy that they’ve found a compassionate family to live with temporarily. However, this toxic positivity can be harmful, pressuring people to be cheerful or find a silver lining.

“Just like something that is done in excess, when positivity is used to mask or silence the human experience, it becomes lethal. By not allowing the existence of certain feelings, we fall into a state of denial and repressed emotions,” explains Jamie Long, PsyD.

Don’t Tell Us We Should Adopt The Kids

Unfortunately, not everyone understands that there’s a difference between fostering and adopting. A kid in foster care does not automatically go through the process of adoption. Being a foster child can be a temporary arrangement. Their legal guardian also maintains full parental rights over their kids. These children can then later go back to their biological families.

You shouldn’t tell foster parents to adopt the kids because this decision isn’t up to them. They don’t get to decide whether they can do so, or even if they’ll be up for adoption first place. It may also give the children a false sense of hope. It can even cause distress for them, thinking that they’ll never see their biological family again. 

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Don’t Ask Us If We Can Bring Them Back

Keep in mind that you’re talking about a human being, not an object you can return to a store. These kids may have issues and troubles, but those challenges should never be a reason to get rid of them.

Foster children need someone to stand by them, even when they act up. It’s also the same for someone’s biological kids. You wouldn’t put them up for adoption because you have difficulty dealing with them, would you? Why should kids in foster care be any different?

Don’t Offer Unsolicited Advice

Unless someone asks for advice, it isn’t always polite or appropriate to offer it up. Such is true even in situations when someone is dealing with their biological kids. Everyone has their parenting style, and kids will react and receive it differently. What may work for your family may not be the best for another.

Don’t Tell Us How Difficult It Must Be

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Trust us; foster parents already know how challenging their situation can be. There are several rules they have to follow. There’s also the attachment they might feel and the hurt when their foster kids go back. Raising children is a trial in general. They don’t need a reminder.

Instead of talking about how it might be difficult for them, discuss something helpful instead. Ask about how you can help around. Let your friends vent about their problems and struggles as a foster family.

Conclusion: Discussing Foster Families

It’s best when people make an effort to learn more about fostering. It’s also helpful to read up on things that may be inappropriate to say to these families. Things like talking negatively about biological parents, calling the kids lucky, and talking about making money are colossal no-no’s. If you’re ever unsure what may be insensitive, you can always ask if it’s okay to know.

 

 

Helping Without Conditions During The Pandemic Lockdown

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I knew the risks, and I was fully aware of what I was doing, but the mother in me just could not leave two kids out in the rain. And there is this thing with COVID-19. In my mind, at that time, almost three months ago, on the streets of New York City, I was battling with leaving them alone or taking them with me. You know the answer to it now, I am assuming. Yes, I brought with me two teenage boys who could either hurt me or care for me. I just asked guidance from the Almighty since I told him that I wanted to help the boys. I was so sure that they needed me.

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