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Old 03-06-2005, 05:11 PM
Jo-Ann Baca Jo-Ann Baca is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2009
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Default help for a child with Spina Bifida

Dear Dr. Joe,
My step son, Luke, is 12 years old and can most likely benefit from your book, your theories, and the coaching technique. The Spina Bifida that he was born with and a childhood filled with surgeries and medical attention have been the breading grpund for many innappropriate behavior patterns to develop and take hold. His mother has been reinforcing dependency and learned helplessness ( as well as diagniosis of anxiety disorders and ocd) for a great deal of this young man's life. I would very much like to provide Luke with some tools to help. However, your material seems to be written for an older person, not a child. Do you offer any help, material, or information for children?
Dr. Jo-Ann

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Old 03-07-2005, 01:55 AM
Dr. Joe Dr. Joe is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 2,015

In my book Self-Coaching: How to Heal Anxiety and Depression, I talk about a concept called the Insecure Child (which I use in conjunction with a technique I call Self-Talk). This refers to the primitive, reflexive-thinking-habit of insecurity. This concept works really well with children. You might, for example, tell your step-son to imagine a frightened little child, one who feels he canít possibly be okay or handle his struggle. It helps to give this child-part of his thinking a name. For example, Scared Harry. Then you might, for example, say, ìYou say youíre afraid that you can't handle your problems, is that you doing the talking or is that Scared Harry?î Most children will readily tell, ìThatís Scared Harry!î Then you would respond, ìWell, it seems to me that if you listen to Scared Harry youíre going to become scared. Why not tell Scared Harry to leave you alone and to get lost!î

What youíre doing is teaching your step-son that he has a choiceóthat he doesnít have to be victimized by his insecurities. Working in this way, you begin to help him distinguish between insecurity-driven fictions and reality--itís all about breaking the habit of distrust and insecurity. Whenever you see your step-son upset, you would ask, ìIs Scared Harry talking to you again?î Youíd be surprised how easy it is for kids to begin to realize, ìHey, Iím not going to let Scared Harry tell me what to do.î Try it out, it works great. I would suggest that you read through the book first, paying particular attention to the control and insecurity chapter, then begin to apply Self-Talk using the Insecure Child (you'll find much more specific information in the book on this) as a format for helping your step-son understand what he can do to feel better.

Disclaimer: The diagnosis of clinical anxiety or depressive disorders requires a physician or other qualified mental health professional. The information provided is intended for informational purposes only. Please understand that the opinions shared with you are meant to be general reference information, and are not intended as a diagnosis or substitute for consulting with your physician or other qualified mental health professional.

Yours truly,
Dr. Joe
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