Intensive IN HOME Parenting Support
& Child/Family Counseling:
Our mission is delivering strength-based, issue sensitive, empirically derived counseling to help you and your family clear emotional and behavioral blocks while making the process as efficient, fascinating, and FUN as possible.
Dr. Lois Prislovsky comes to your home, office, vacation destination, school, or whatever environments are most appropriate and convenient for your family to practice immediately implementing practical solutions in real time.
We use Positive Psychology and integrative approaches from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, DIRFloortime® methods for strength/relationship approaches to Autism Spectrum Disorder training, Mindfulness, Ericksonian Hypnotherapy, and conflict resolution/collaborative problem solving techniques to help each client emotionally regulate.
We help you get really good at being you.
When you are trained to navigate emotional stress and distractions like Anxiety, Depression, Aggression, ADHD, Non-compliance, Underachievement, poor Social Skills often associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and low Self-worth, then you may happily laser focus your energy to be your greatest self – one positive, purposeful choice at a time.
Intensive IN HOME Parenting support and Child/Family Counseling clients are booked for one week at a time (some a day or two more or less – depending on the issues). Dr. Prislovsky stays in accommodations near your family and comes over daily to spend scheduled time with you and your family during your regular activities to listen, observe, and collaborate with you to make empirically wise choices that align with your goals. A typical week includes the equivalent of 40 sessions of: 1) direct counseling and integrative play therapy (individuals, couples, parents, children, and families), 2) review of all related psychoeducational and neurological documentation, 3) detailed session notes by Dr. Prislovsky for the family to measure progress and provide documentation for family communications with schools, supporting practitioners, and attorneys (in situations involving divorce, separation, and custody) and 4) follow up consultations as needed.
Healing cannot be done in the past, the time to make a positive choice to heal is now.
Example chapter from our latest book: Neurodiversity: A Humorous and Practical Guide to Living with ADHD, Anxiety, Autism, Dyslexia, the Gays, and Everyone Else.
Chapter 2: Teen Angst and Cow Farts
By Lois Prislovsky, Ph.D.
A family recently flew me across the country to help their teenage son. Like many adolescents he struggles with anger, anxiety, depression, prevarication, social skills and loneliness. Winston Churchill advises, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Of course, Winston was not dealing with troubled teens, just world war and a diaper-wearing vegetarian, but he is right – keep moving forward. That is precisely the action-oriented path this family and others are navigating to get through hard times with their teens. All parties can cooperate to understand more and move forward with positive change on each issue.
What works for Aretha Franklin also works for teens: R. E. S. P. E. C. T.
R = Reminders. Like modern day matadors thinking it is probably time to find other work, some things are obvious. When the tone of family communications needs to change, everybody knows it. Parents and teens can all agree they want to be treated with respect during discussions. Adolescents may want “fewer commands and more conversation.” Parents may desire less contempt and defensiveness. Each person can change the tone by doing his or her part. Every act of good will and cooperation will pave this new road out of an adversarial rut. One family found a private joke reminder to help them stay on track. Whenever somebody (one of the parents or the troubled adolescent) noted behaviors that were not congruous with their common goal of giving and receiving more respect, one would utter the phrase, “cow farts.” The more ludicrous or humorous the word, the better. Like a warning light on a car dash, the idea of the cue word or phrase is to get your attention and motivate you to do something different. The developmentally positive, common goal is to engage collaboratively not reactively. Psychology need not be devoid of humor to be of service.
E = Empowerment. Healthy adolescent development is a time of role transitions. The relationship dynamics that worked when these young people were children, no longer serves the goals of the parents or the adolescent. Time to change. Give the young person time to think about how he or she would help their own child with the same issues. Twenty-four hours is usually enough time to avoid the impulsive “I don’t know” shut down answers. Parents, be genuinely curious about what your teenager thinks. Such curiosity communicates safety and a deep level of caring on your part and promotes introspections rather than rumination on the part of your teen. Young people want to be respected for their mature problem solving abilities. It is a powerful and natural intrinsic reward. Give them the opportunity to be a big part of their solutions. Some ideas may be as helpful as silent letters, but others may be insightful. Validate practical suggestions with non-patronizing praise and implementation.
S = Sarcasm. Research shows anxiety is often the precursor to depression and an array of behavioral problems. With teens, sarcasm often helps the medicine go down, so in the sarcastic language of indigenous adolescents, here are a few tips for anxiety:
1. Starbucks. Nothing simulates the fight or flight response like a pounding heart. If you want to experience high anxiety and perhaps even full-blown panic attacks, go for the Grande. And if you are a huge anxiety connoisseur, order a Venti, red-eye. A Trenta, black eye (two shots of espresso in regular drip coffee) is theoretically possible, but survivors are likely an urban myth. Legend has it old-timey comedian Robin Williams, got the closest as he road out the tachycardia, irritability, and sweats only to become an excessively hairy cocaine addict five sleepless days later. (Warning: This stupid idea may also cause facial ticks, compulsive hair pulling, skin picking, irritable bowls, insomnia, and other way-fun “I told you so” symptoms preached by old people.) This particular tip may also be used to speed poverty onset. Enjoy that drink!
2. Cram. Want to vamp up test anxiety too? Stay up all night, cramming. Nothing depletes Dopamine faster than messing up your sleep cycle. With less Dopamine, your memory and attention will suffer, but that is nothing compared to the loss of motivation and drive you will feel at exam time. Lack of sleep has also been shown to desensitize Serotonin pathways, so your brain will scream to your mind, “You are not safe or well!” Test freak out much?
3. Play video games by yourself forever and ever and ever. Who knew the “relaxing” path of least resistance could actually increase anxiety – but it does in oh-so many ways. For one thing, gaming stimulation, especially one hour prior to bedtime, increases insomnia, which starts that dopamine dumping. Also, in-person social skills need to be practiced especially during adolescence so you can expect to lessen your ability to communicate and connect with others. Dating will suck more. Building relationships with everybody should become more awkward, which will lower your success in most endeavors. The crazy good news is that doing something so easy (hours and hours of solo gaming) will actually make your life much harder, which of course will increase anxiety.
P = Presents. Give non-monetary gifts to each other daily. Research shows caring for others increases resilience to stress. When we connect lovingly with others, our brain rewards us with Oxytocin (aka the “cuddle drug”) a powerful hormone which acts as neurotransmitter increasing feelings of optimism and self esteem. Studies are showing that naturally produced Oxytocin may be effective in reducing anxiety and depression. One of the best ways to score Oxytocin is to hug a drug dealer – oops, scratch that as the sarcasm part is over. HUG a loved one!
Many adolescents experience anger because they are in pain and do not know what to do about it. It is often safe to blame parents since peers and others would not tolerate the angry focus. Like candy cigarettes, this is a terrible idea for multiple reasons and better strategies must be learned and practiced. Giving can help change that pattern of negative thinking. Oxytocin has also been observed to increase generosity. Most teens love their parents but do not often let parents know they are important and appreciated. Daily gifting by teens and parents can bring the focus back to what is working. We all have something to give. Our gifts are of different currencies such as emotional, physical, mental, etc., but all are of value. The exquisiteness of giving your strengths is that it does not deplete but actually builds your strengths. Practicing considerate giving is vital for learning the social skills exchanges necessary to be successful in the adult economy. For example, upon returning from a vacation, without being asked, our towering teen went to the luggage carrousel, collected all our bags, carried all to the car and loaded it. My scrawny, tired self did not lift a finger. He was proud to do it. We were proud to accept. He said little, but communicated expertly.
E = Exercise. Clinical trials show regular exercise works just as well or better than medication for anxiety and depression reduction. The effects can be long lasting. One vigorous exercise session can help alleviate symptoms for hours. Consistency is important and may significantly reduce anxiety and depressive symptoms over time. Moderation is necessary. Becoming a Michael
Phelps will not solve all your problems (for a variety of reasons –please see dopamine depletion and jail time). Consistent exercise for 30 minutes to an hour a day for healthy teens should be sufficient to jump start neurotransmitters to help the individual feel well and motivated to take positive action on life problems.
C = Compassion. One mom was so furious about what she perceived as her son’s “manipulative behaviors”(cutting) that her tone was blocking the start of the new style of communication that all agreed they wanted. But, this wise mom was part of a seasoned couple who strengthen each other, so she knew the power of flexibility. She then chose the emotion of compassion at the first family meeting. As a result, anger did not permeate the discussion and the goal to establish one or two points of agreement using open and respectful dialogue to establish a pattern of collaboration was accomplished.
One can get practiced at choosing emotions especially when the options are mutually exclusive. For example, one can’t be anxious and relaxed at the same. An honest reflection about your own teenage years may help sustain a compassionate state.
Compassion is welcome currency everywhere, which sure beats bitcoin. Like Warren Buffet said, bitcoin can be an effective way to transfer money, but so is a check. Compassion checks are easier to write than you may think. Plus the feds don’t chase down teens who take it.
T = Thank you. Say it authentically and often. This healing phrase
is in a teen’s control and empowers the giver and receiver. Neale Donald Walsch said it perfectly: “The struggle ends when gratitude begins.” Thank you for your patience with your teenager’s learning process.
Like not blaming others, some things take time to learn but then you know it for good. Which came first – the chicken or the egg? Chicken is the correct answer. True story. Wanna hear another? Grateful people are happy.
ADHD tips video and please enjoy the free interactive ADHD flip chapter from our latest book on Neurodiversity in the description below the video.
“It wasn’t our plan to take Dr. Lois on a ski vacation. Our family had issues to deal with and being together on vacation gave us all the bandwidth we needed to work on them. Our daughter was struggling with some anxiety and depression, which was having a significant effect on her school work and relationship with the family. Getting things on track was a top priority for us be we didn’t know what to do or how to turn things around and we were overwhelmed by daily activity. Dr. Lois was able to coach us and moderate some very emotional conversations where everyone felt heard. Being “offsite” and away from the day-to-day made all our work more collaborative and respectful. We all learned better ways to express our feelings, listen, and communicate. The session notes and follow up were very useful in keeping us on track and building momentum for positive change. Our daughter’s grades, mood, and engagement with the family have all improved dramatically. It is hard to imagine making this much progress in another setting or with another Doctor. Her professionalism, playful demeanor, and expertise made our experience transformative, plus she is a pretty good skier.”
-Father and corporate executive
“I would highly recommend the Intensive Home Therapy with PEN. My Husband and I were going through a very emotional and intense situation in our marriage and they came to our rescue. They did a wonderful job of “distracting” our children with meaningful activities and discussions about what they were feeling about what was happening with Mommy and Daddy. Also, when my husband and I would have conversations that would escalate with anger, they were there to bring us “back down” and help us to discuss the situation and our emotions in a more productive way. I believe they helped us get through what is possibly the worst week we have had in our marriage. They did this with understanding and gave us the tools we needed to make the best of the situation at hand.”
-Mom of two, owner of Misc. Provider LLC.
“Adolescence was a very difficult time for our 15 year old son. Difficulties with ADHD, anger management, relationships, self-esteem, identity issues, burgeoning sexuality, experimentation with drugs and cutting were all conspiring to produce a crescendo of dysfunction both at school and at home for him and for our entirely family. Although we had been seeing a local psychologist and psychiatrist for over a year and had participated in individual and family therapy, completed expensive testing and evaluations and tried a variety of medications – our situation was continuing to deteriorate. We were considering our next options – a local intensive outpatient program, an eight-week therapeutic wilderness program or a therapeutic boarding school. Before taking any of these more drastic steps, we decided to try a week of intensive in-home therapy. Dr. Prislovsky accompanied us on a planned family trip to the mountains. Days spent on long hikes, fishing, rafting, biking and preparing family meals together all proved to be environments much more conducive to listening, hearing, healing and practicing new skills and strategies. This was immensely helpful not only for our son, but for my husband and me and our other children as well. While there is no such thing as a quick and easy one time fix for all the tribulations of adolescence or parenthood, I do feel like we accomplished more in this week than is the entire previous year. Dr. Prislovsky continues to provide ongoing support for our family and become a trusted and invaluable resource.”
-Mom, physician, and business owner
“Our son was having a terrible time dealing with our messy divorce and my x-husband’s alcoholism. Our son’s schoolwork, communication challenges, ADHD issues, fears, anger, and social skill problems were overwhelming. Dr. Prislovsky’s intensive in home, in school, and in play (hiking, boating, swimming, skiing, biking, rock climbing, and around the neighborhood adventures, etc.) counseling helped us work through it all. In home and at play counseling were very effective because Dr. P was warm and straightforward so our son trusted her and enjoyed their time together. Our son’s behaviors were shaped quickly in a light hearted and mutually respectful way. We all learned a lot! Our son began to change habits that did not serve him well right away. Dr. P’s help at school was also critically important. Dr. P worked with his teachers, principal, and school psychologist as our advocate. Our family, the school staff, administration, and psychologist liked and respected Dr. P, so tensions were reduced and everyone worked together for our son’s best interest. We are all now doing very well and are grateful for Dr. P’s intensive care when we needed it the most.”
-Single Mom and Health Care Provider
“Impressively efficient! Our family has worked with many psychologists individually over the years for marriage problems, panic attacks, addictions, and our youngest child’s Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis. But this time divorce seemed imminent plus our oldest child was having serious anger and school problems too; so we decided to get help for the whole family. Dr. Lois flew in to NYC and stayed nearby. Then each day, she came over as scheduled to work with each of us. Regular sit down discussions were productive, but the real magic, came as Dr. Lois spent time with us doing family activities. I thought this would be awkward, but it was not. The kids loved their individual and family play therapy time with Dr. Lois and so did my wife and I. (Plus she has the best accent.) When arguing happened, Dr. Lois showed us all better ways to communicate our needs and work out solutions that were in everyone’s best interest. Each of us was dealing with some heavy, dark feelings, but were able to face those head on with Dr. Lois’ practical advice and knowledgeable support. Actually, most of the parenting tips were beautifully simple and we implemented those right away – and still do. Our family is now able to have much more enjoyable “quality time” and we all improved our emotional regulation and communication skills. This unique approach to problem solving is actually enjoyable because the progress is clear and is at the pace I prefer. I plan to work with Dr. Lois again should the need arise at work or home.”
-Single Dad of two and Studio Executive
“We are so grateful to God that Lois is a part of all of our lives. Through her knowledge and grace, Dr. Lois helped our children/our family learn to live and grow with their different learning styles( ADD and ADHD) Less frustration leads to happier families! Lois taught us that being accountable is essential to being successful. You must own your choices, right or wrong always learn from them. Lois, has a gift of knowing what to say and how to say it. Our children listened and acted on it! Our children are thriving in their careers and enjoying life. The “Time” our children/our family spent with Lois is invaluable. It’s not just about school and college ….. it’s about Life!”
-Signed with a happy heart, A grateful Mom