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Welcome to the Open Sky Webinar This Webinar starts at 6p, See you soon!

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Presentation on theme: "Welcome to the Open Sky Webinar This Webinar starts at 6p, See you soon!"— Presentation transcript:

1 Welcome to the Open Sky Webinar This Webinar starts at 6p, See you soon!

2 TONY ISSENMANN, PH.D., LMFT FAMILY SERVICES DIRECTOR, CLINICAL THERAPIST OPEN SKY WILDERNESS THERAPY Differentiation: A model for understanding adolescent development, presenting problems and determining treatment goals

3 Overview Differentiation defined and explained Benefits of increasing level of differentiation How differentiation is developed Common barriers to increasing differentiation Treatment goals  Students  Families

4 Defining Terms Differentiation: Concept related to inter- and intrapersonal development Increased differentiation necessary for true independence  the ability to remain oneself in the face of group influences, especially the intense influence of family life

5 Theoretical scale 0 – 100 100 High scores represent most healthy Low scores represents least healthy 0

6 Defining Terms Basic and Functional Levels Basic Level 100  Not directly observable  Stable  Not dependant on daily relational factors  Higher basic level yields:  Consistently high functional level 0

7 Defining Terms Functional Level  Observable 100  Dependant on relational factors  Closely related to individual and relational anxiety and stress  Influenced by chronic anxiety in one’s important relationships = Functional Level = Basic Level 0

8 Low Basic Level of Differentiation Effect of low basic level of differentiation on functional level 100  Extreme variance in actions = Functional Level = Basic Level 0

9 High Basic Level of Differentiation Effect of high basic level of differentiation on functional level 100  Little variance in actions = Functional Level = Basic Level 0

10 Differentiation - Implications Fluctuating functional levels is an indicator of one’s basic level of differentiation Can only befriend someone with similar basic level of differentiation As one’s basic level of differentiation increases, one’s friends and family will grow with or apart from growing individual

11 Differentiation – Individual Task Individual Continuum Rational Thought (RT) Emotional Belief (EB) 100 (RT) 50 0 0 (EB) 50 100 Role of stress on ability to balance task

12 Differentiation – Relational Task Relational Continuum Individuality (I) Connectedness (C) Adolescent development Role of stress on ability to balance task 100 (I) 50 0 0 (C) 50 100

13 Benefits of Differentiating Individual level  Actions match values  Ability to think before acting  Less emotionally reactive  More intent behind actions  Greater ability to manage unforeseen difficulties  Increased ability to distinguish beliefs from emotions  I believe this is the right thing to do versus I feel this is the best thing to do.

14 Benefits of Differentiating Relational level  Increase intimacy in relationships  Thinking and acting for oneself (less susceptible to peer pressure)  Not running away from relational problems  Not over-functioning (enabling)  Solid sense-of-self  Desire to be fully present in relationships and for others to be fully present Ability to cope in times of high stress More easily adaptable to new situations Increased health in relationships

15 How does differentiation develop? The basic building blocks of a "self" are inborn, but…  Family relationships during childhood and adolescence primarily determine how much "self" s/he develops. Parenting styles  Family patterns of dealing with stress/anxiety  Family patterns of relating to oneself and others Increasing level of differentiation requires intent to change patterns  No intent = no increase in level of differentiation

16 Maintaining healthy (emotional) connection with others, especially when in anxiety provoking situations is vital to a successful differentiation effort (Ault-Riche, 1986; McGoldrick & Carter, 1999; Walsh & Scheinkman, 1989).

17 Common Barriers to Differentiation Unhealthy management of anxiety and stress:  Triangulation  Enabling patterns  Avoidance  Drugs and alcohol  Online gaming  Overeating and under-eating Authoritarian and permissive parenting styles Unhealthy belief systems (cognitive distortions)

18 Behaviors Explained Adolescent’s desire  Differentiate:  Separate from Family of Origin  Establish an identity - assert oneself  Avoid anxiety – family, social, academic Parental desire  Safety of child  Healthy separation Results in:  Successful differentiation  Problematic behaviors

19 Problem behaviors leading to Open Sky Drugs and Alcohol Excessive video game, internet use Defying rules/expectations  School work  Curfew  House rules Violent behaviors Withdrawn behaviors School avoidance Self harm actions Losing self in relationships

20 Treatment Goals Initial stage of therapeutic relationship:  Normalization - raise understanding of differentiation  Encourage student and parents to identify their position on the differentiation continuums  Help parents and teens/young adults to understand how behaviors relate to attempts to differentiate  Explore multigenerational patterns  Explore family patterns of managing stressful situations

21 Treatment Goals Individual Continuum Rational Thought Emotional Belief Increase awareness of ineffective decision making patterns Address connection between emotional functioning and ability to think clearly  Awareness wheel  Event + Expectation = Emotion (E+E=E)

22 Treatment Goals Individual Continuum Rational Thought Emotional Belief Teach emotional regulation  Cognitive, behavioral, physical cues of emotions  Relaxation techniques  Primary versus secondary emotions  Research emotional reactivity of adolescent males Strengthen cognitive process  Thought stopping techniques  Confront cognitive distortions  Positive self-talk  Problems solving techniques

23 Treatment Goals Relational Continuum Individuality Connectedness Highlight and contrast relationships (Open Sky vs. past relationships Highlight differences in peer (connectedness) and family (autonomy) relationships Value driven decisions

24 Individuality Connection Assignments related to individuality and self- efficacy  Exploring personal and family values  Solos  LOR  Leadership roles  Bow-drilling  Wilderness and survival skills Focus on connection  Practice empathy  Receive support  Communicate openly  Intentional family correspondence Treatment Goals: Relational Continuum

25 Individual Continuum Relational Continuum Help parents:  separate emotional and intellectual process  increase emotional awareness and tolerance  address own reactivity, depression, anxiety, etc. Highlight parents are modeling for their children  Long-term vs. short-term thinking  Magical thinking Educate parents regarding  attunement  enmeshment – control circumstance or others  cutoff – separate  identity beyond parent Highlight parents are modeling for their children Treatment Goals with Family

26 Adjusted families:  are connected across generations to extended family.  have little emotional fusion and distance.  have dyads that can deal with problems between them without pulling others into their difficulties.  tolerate and support members who have different values and feelings, and thus can support differentiation.  have members who use each other for feedback and support rather than for emotional crutches.  allow each member to have their own emptiness and periods of pain, without rushing to resolve or protect them from the pain and thus prohibit growth.

27 References Archer, S. L. (1989). Gender differences in identity development. Child Development, 53, 1551-1556. Ault-Riche, M. (1986). A feminist critique of five schools of family therapy. In M. Ault-Riche (Ed.), Women and family therapy (pp. 1-15). Rockville, MD: Aspen. Eisenberg, N., Spinrad, T. L., & Smith, C. L. (2004). Emotional-related regulation: Its conceptualization, relations to social functioning, and socialization. In P. Philippot & R. S. Feldman (Eds.), The regulation of emotion. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Gilligan, C. (1979). Woman’s place in man’s life cycle. Harvard Review, 49, 431-446. Kerr, M., & Bowen, M. (1988). Family Evaluation: An approach based on Bowen theory. New York: W.W. Norton. McGoldrick, M., & Carter, B. (1999). Self in context: The individual life cycle in systemic perspective. In B. Carter & M. McGoldrick (Eds.), The expanded family life cycle: Individual, family and social perspectives (3rd ed.) (pp. 27- 46). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

28 References Ruble, D. N., Martin, C. L., & Berenbaum, S. A. (2006). Gender development. In W. Damon & R. Lerner (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology (6th ed.). New York: Wiley. Schnarch, D. (1997). Passionate marriage. New York: Henry Hold and Company. Tannen, D. (1990). You just don’t understand: Women and men in conversation. New York: Ballantine Books. Walsh, F., & Scheinkman M, (1989). (Fe)male: The hidden gender dimension in models of family therapy. In M. McGoldrick, C. Anderson, & F. Walsh (Eds.), Women in families: A framework for family therapy (pp. 16-41). New York: Norton.

29 Thank you for joining us this evening! Your participation speaks volumes to the dedication and love you have for yourself and your families.. Contact Information: drtony@openskywilderness.com drtony@openskywilderness.com Please keep this browser window open; it will take you to a short survey.


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