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Fire Child, Water Child – Cowan’s 5 Types of ADHD

canstockphoto13998194Do you feel that you have a fire child? Parents of children identified as suffering from Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) sometimes do. They may wish that their child was more identified with the properties of water – seemingly calm and serene.

Dr. Stephen Scott Cowan, in his book “Fire Child, Water Child: How Understanding the 5 types of ADHD can help you improve your child’s self-esteem & attention” encourages parents, as well as practitioners, to view their ADHD-identified child as one of the “five primal powers described in Chinese medicine as Wood, Fire,Earth, Metal, and Water” (p. v). The first line of the introduction in Cowan’s book, “ADHD is a symptom, not a disease,” sets the tone for the remainder of the book.

He explains that caregiver interactions with children identified as ADHD are less successful when they come from a place of fear.  Fear uses words like “something is wrong with my kid,” or “what can you do to fix him/her?” While Cowan admits that the ability to pay attention in class is definitely a problem, he disagrees that it is the problem and it doesn’t mean that something is wrong with a child. He shares how focusing on the problems a child exhibits will bring up feelings of judgment, guilt, and fear for both the child and the caregivers in his or her life. He instead chooses to direct the reader’s attention to what they ultimately want to see the child experience in the school setting: success. He suggests that we can learn to develop a “sense of compassion for the diverse ways in which we engage with the world” and recognize ”the qualities each child has to offer” (p. 1)  in attempts to manage the natural gifts of a child’s personality. When we embrace and nurture these natural gifts, they can become strengths that aid in improving focus for the classroom setting.

What are the natural gifts of a child’s personality? Usually these are the behaviors that teachers observe in the school setting that are discussed in parent-teacher conferences and lead to a visit to the pediatrician’s office for a medical assessment. Behaviors such as being always on the move, active, easily frustrated (wood child); overly social, class clown, mood swings, impulsivity (fire child); worried or indecisive when stressed by the environment (earth child); difficulty shifting out of routine or moving from task to task (metal child); daydreaming, easily distracted and hard to keep on task (water child).

Dr. Cowan maps out the path toward improving attention so that children can enjoy school and function effectively at home. He enlists the support and love of parents and caregivers who have control over the home environment to create the first influences that can be shared with other caregivers and teachers to maintain behaviors in the structured school setting.  Dr. Cowan’s goal to educate and empower parents, caregivers, and teachers to understand the ways of holistically viewing their children through the 5 primal elements is clear – when we validate the qualities that children possess, we can bring them in tune with their world and help them learn the self-regulation skills necessary for success.

Whether your child is diagnosed with ADHD or not, the qualities that make them unique can sometimes contribute to struggles in the school setting. Utilizing Cowan’s 5 Types of ADHD may help you learn to embrace these qualities and identify strategies to nurture them to the benefit of your child’s ability to focus. Additional skills for focusing in the classroom can only lead to good things. As we transition into the end of the school year, this summer may be a great time to tune in with your child and create a path for improved focus and success at home as well as school!

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This Week at WFT 4/21/14

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Women’s DBT Skills Group

Tuesday, April 22nd, 6-7:30 pm

Monette Cash, LCSW leads our DBT Women’s Group. A 3-series skills group that teaches basic skills such as how to manage your emotions so they don’t control your life, how to cope effectively with difficult relationships, and learning how to react calmly rather than impulsively in order to avoid unhealthy escapes. This 3 module skill group will run in 6 week segments and
all are necessary to have lasting success. Register Now!

Julie Hanks FREE Webinar for Professionals

Tuesday, April 22nd , 5:00 pm MST

“Talk Time with Dr. Rebecca Jorgenson” Building a strong online presence for your practice.  If you can’t make the live Webinar, sign up and watch the video replay! Register here

Julie Hanks PR Webinar for Healing Professionals

Thursday, April 24th, 7-8:30 pm MST

Julie will be sharing her PR Secret Weapon that has landed her top-tier interviews with Wall  Street Journal, Fox News, LA Times, Reader’s Digest, and others. Reserve your seat now

Clair Mellenthin & Holly Willard presenting at Wasatch Mental Health

Friday, April 25th

Clair and Holly will be presenting on at Wasatch Mental Health on the topic: A Guide to Modern Family Play Therapy.  This is a private event for members.

Julie Hanks on Rewind 100.7 with Todd and Erin

Friday, April 25th, 8:10 am

Fridays at 8:10 am, Julie joins The Todd & Erin Morning Show on Rewind 100.7 to answer listener questions and provide real life solutions to your mental and emotional health challenges.

K.I.D.S Social Skills Group

Monday, June 9th, 4 – 5:30 pm

WFT and Mad Science are teaming up for an exciting Kids Group.  Designed for school-aged children, this group will provide opportunities to learn how to navigate of social situations and understand what it means to be a friend. Through exciting science activities and skill building, group members will practice building healthy relationships. Registration is open for our next group starting June 9th.

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Should I Forgive My Abusive Mother? Julie Hanks on Rewind 100.7

Should I Forgive My Abusive Mom?I’m giddy about being invited to talk with listeners on the Todd and Erin Morning Show. They’re now on air weekdays at Rewind 100.7 FM! I chatted with caller “Nicole” about whether or not to forgive her mother who has a history of alcoholism and abusive behavior.

For individual, couple, and family therapy services in Utah visit WasatchFamilyTherapy.com

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Should You Spank? Julie Hanks on Rewind 100.7

I talked with caller “Mike” on Todd and Erin Morning Show on Rewind 100.7 FM about how he and his ex-wife disagreed about how to discipline: his wife spanked and he disagreed with it. It ultimately ended their marriage.

How can you handle differences in discipline between parents? What are alternatives to spanking?

For help with parenting issues and family relationships in Salt Lake, Utah, and Davis Counties contact us

For parenting resources and articles

To listen to the interview click the arrow below

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This Week At WFT 4/14/2014

ThisweekatWFT

Women’s DBT Skills Group

Tuesday, April 15th, 6-7:30 pm

Monette Cash, LCSW leads our DBT Women’s Group. A 3-series skills group that teaches basic skills such as how to manage your emotions so they don’t control your life, how to cope effectively with difficult relationships, and learning how to react calmly rather than impulsively in order to avoid unhealthy escapes. This 3 module skill group will run in 6 week segments and
all are necessary to have lasting success. Register Now!

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How To Survive Friendship Breakups: Julie Hanks on Studio 5

Finding friends as adults can be challenging. We may even find ourselves feeling left out when those friendships don’t hold up. Julie offers her advice for handling friendship break-ups.

Get more information about our Women’s Therapy Group

Watch more of Julie Hanks, LCSW’s Studio 5 interviews

Purchase Julie’s new book The Burnout Cure: An Emotional Survival Guide for Overwhelmed Women

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This Week At WFT 4/7/14

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 Christine Holding presenting at The 2014 Generations Conference

Monday, April 7th, 2:30 pm

Christine Holding, AMFT will join Jack Boden, CMHC at the 2014 Generations Conference. Presentations topics include Emotionally Focused Therapy and Lifespan Integration. This is a conference for mental health professionals.

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The Positive Pledge

Wasatch Family Therapy Teens

Often times we get down in the dumps and very critical of ourselves and cannot see past the negatives. I came across this cool concept by Jon Gordon called “The Positive Pledge” which states the following:

I pledge to be a positive person and positive influence on my family, friends, co-workers, and community.

I promise to be positively contagious and share more smiles, laughter, encouragement, and joy with those around me.

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Improving Communication In Your Relationships

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It is a rare relationship that does not experience difficulties in communication from time to time. Sometimes we feel that nothing we say is understood correctly – that everything is misconstrued. Or we get stuck in arguments that just spin around and around, going nowhere. Or we feel that our partner is dismissive of what we are trying to say — that he or she really doesn’t care. When we care deeply for another human being, we are our most vulnerable – and also our most human. We make mistakes. We say what we don’t mean. We don’t say what we do mean. We retreat. We attack.

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