ABC Counseling Fall Newsletter

abc-newsletter-fall-2016

ABC’s Summer 2016 Newsletter

ABC Newsletter - Summer 2016 - 2

ABC Counseling’s Spring 2016 Newsletter

ABC Newsletter - Spring 2016 - JPEG

ABC Newsletter - Spring 2016 - JPEG - Page 2

Get Out of Normal Raffle

Get Out of Normal Raffle Flier - 2016

Buy Your Ticket Here




Position Available

Sexual Abuse Therapist (2 Positions) – Springfield, IL and Peoria, IL

Job Description

Master’s level therapist from social work or counseling program(preferrably an LCPC or LCSW). The position involves assessment and treatment with children affected by sexual abuse. Due to the specialized nature of the work, the agency is looking for candidates that have the following knowledge base: childhood psychological disorders,child development, short term/long term effects of sexual abuse on children, how children’s memories work, human sexuality (and the ability to talk about it comfortably), normal/abnormal child sexual behaviors and good diagnostic interviewing skills. Priority will be given to candidates who have worked in the clinical area of child sexual abuse; however the agency provides extensive training and orientation to anyone hired for this position. The job requires a fair amount of report writing and deadlines for reports, particularly the Medicaid cases.

To Apply

For further information please call Lynn Willard at (309) 451-9495.  If interested, send resume to Lynn Willard, Executive Director via:

Exposure to Pornography

At ABC Counseling, the therapists provide treatment for juvenile sex offenders or youth with sexually problematic behaviors. These children have engaged in inappropriate behaviors with peers or younger children. Each child’s inappropriate behaviors may be motivated by a variety of factors. One important factor that has a profound negative influence on children is exposure to pornography. At ABC, we understand that pornography has a significant influence in the lives of many children that develop sexual behavior problems. Unfortunately, the rates of pornography exposure have escalated, and a significant number of children and teens in society are exposed to pornography, especially through online sources. Pornography exposure can impact the brains of children, can lead to pornography addiction, and lead to unhealthy and deviant behaviors. To learn more about the prevalence and consequences of pornography, visit fightthenewdrug.org.

By: Christina Meads, MS, Sexual Abuse Therapist

Let’s Talk About Sexual Abuse

Parents often ask when is the right time to talk with their child(ren) about sex and sexual abuse. The article provides some helpful suggestions and tips to guide parents down that road that is not familiar to them. For more safety tips, please check out the link at the bottom of the article for more information.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mary-l-pulido-phd/talking-to-your-child-about-sexual-abuse_b_3581232.html

Youth with Sexual Behavior Problems: What Everyone Should Know

At ABC Counseling, many therapists work with a very specific population. In our field and in the research, they are known by many names: juvenile sex offenders, kids who sexually act out, youth with sexual behavior problems. In the general public, it is common to hear the words “sexual deviant,” “perpetrator,” “predator,” or “pedophile” applied to these same individuals. However, it is important to understand the significant differences between a youth and an adult who act out sexually, and use the correct terminology.

 A juvenile sex offender is a youth (under 18 years old) who engages in an inappropriate or illegal sexual behavior with a child his/her age or younger. Typically, these youth are motivated by a combination of sexual, emotional, psychological, and social factors, such as isolation, difficulty interacting with same-age peers, depression, exposure to pornography, anxiety, family problems, or a history of abuse or neglect. While they need regular supervision and accountability, juvenile sex offenders are often very amenable to treatment. The rate of recidivism, that is, the frequency that these individuals re-offend after successfully completing treatment, is around 7%. This is significantly lower than the recidivism rates for adult offenders.

In contrast, adult sex offenders are less amenable to treatment and require much longer treatment, due to years or decades of ingrained patterns of behavior. They often lack the social supports to provide supervision, and therefore are held responsible for keeping themselves accountable. Some of the motivating factors that lead to adults  acting out sexually against children are often a combination of low self-esteem, a history of abuse or neglect, sexual addiction, isolation, lack of social skills, stress, disability, or alcohol or drug use. The recidivism rates for adult offenders range between 20% and 60%, depending on the specific population researched and the time period studied.

A pedophile is an individual who has a sexual attraction to children instead of adults. They may or may not act on this attraction, but they are characterized by an interest in developing sexual relationships with prepubescent children. True pedophiles, who fit this description, make up a very small percentage of all adults who act out sexually – estimates are typically under 3% to 5%. It is even rarer to find an adolescent who falls into this category.

Before joining the staff at ABC Counseling, I never imagined myself working with juvenile sex offenders. Like many in the general public, I assumed it would be uncomfortable, or that they would be threatening or dangerous to work with. As I have discovered, working with youth who have sexual behavior problems is incredibly enjoyable and rewarding. They are great kids who come from difficult backgrounds. They usually have very low self-esteem, lack education about sex and sexuality, and need help improving their social skills. Most come from separated or divorced families, or are being raised by single parents. The vast majority know they have done something wrong, feel badly about it, and want to avoid doing it again. They can also be funny, creative, intelligent, friendly, helpful, and loyal to their friends and family. They play basketball, collect Magic cards, and love video games; they watch TV and go to movies; they cheer on their favorite sports teams and do their chores (most of the time – they’re still teenagers!). Some of them have been abused themselves, and never got help or dealt with the trauma. They all need help, and the benefits of counseling are far-reaching and long-lasting.

 There are many, many misconceptions about youth with sexual behavior problems. These misconceptions contribute to a failure to communicate or support families who are dealing with these issues. I hope this brief commentary has helped you understand a little bit more about the kids that we work with. In addition, like many other families in Central Illinois, the families who have a child who has acted out sexually sometimes cannot afford the services that child desperately needs. If you would like to help a child receive counseling who cannot afford it, please contact us at (309) 451-9495 and ask about the Ed Willard Scholarship Fund, or make a donation here.

 By: Melissa Box, LCSW, Sexual Abuse Therapist

Violent Video Games

Lots of kids play video game. What’s wrong with that?  Well there could be some problems if the video games are excessively aggressive or violent.  Here are some myths and facts every parent should know before allowing free range to different video games.

http://www.tomorrowcounseling.com/TDE_CMS/database/userfiles/Violence%20in%20Video%20Games(1).pdf

Progressive Relaxation — A great way to induce sleep or reduce stress

Progressive relaxation is a technique used by many clinicians and individuals to help monitor muscle tension and learn how to relax and reduce stress.  It is has been found to be very effective in helping individuals increase their self-awareness and be able to reduce tension quickly in many settings, including those that induce stress.

Parents can utilize this with children in many ways, but practice is needed for it to be most effective. Using it at bedtime is a wonderful way of connecting with your child and helping to induce a calm, relaxing environment to encourage sleep and reduce anxiety or stress.

Start with a darkened room (a nightlight is fine) and if background noise is needed, use soft music or a sound machine. Have the child lay on their bed on their back with their eyes closed. Using the following script, have the child tighten the specific muscle group you are referring to for 10-20 seconds then release. Repeat if needed or move to the next muscle group.

Imagine you are laying on a nice warm patch of grass or a soft fluffy cloud. We are going to work on relaxing your body so you can be totally comfortable. First curl your toes tightly like you are trying to hide them. Hold that while you take a deep breath and then exhale and relax your toes. Next tighten your low leg like you are getting ready to jump. Hold that tight and take a breath, then relax. Squeeze your upper legs/thighs tight so they are hard as rocks. Hold….relax. Now pretend a puppy wants to sit on your stomach, tighten your stomach muscles so that the puppy doesn’t squish you! Hold it tight so the puppy can sit there for a minute….relax he jumped off. Imagine you have lemon in both of your hands. You need to squeeze it hard so you can feel it in your hands and arms. Get all of the juice out so you can make lemonade! Now drop the lemon and relax. Take another lemon and squeeze so you get enough juice. Do this one a bit harder so you can get out every last drop. Now taste the lemon juice. Pucker your lips and pinch your face because it is so sour. Now relax your face. Try another sip and pinch your face again…relax. That is better, someone added sugar! Finally, pull up your shoulders to your ears and hold tight. You are trying to hide your head….take a deep breath and let it out and relax. Now that your body is all relaxed, I want you to imagine you are nice and warm and like a blob of jelly. You are all relaxed and there is not a anything tense in your body.

There are many other scripts available online, so you can find something that works for your child. The goal is for your child to be able to run through this on their own anytime they are having trouble sleeping or feeling tense. For more information, visit http://www.guidetopsychology.com/pmr.htm.

By: Teri McKean