Behavior Therapy

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Behavior Therapy
Fri, 10-12-2012 - 3:17pm

We have our first appointment next week for one of my twins.  While overall he's pretty even keeled when it comes to his personality, he's struggled a lot over how he handles situations that get him really angry.  The anger usually manifests itself in an unappropriate manner such as meltdowns, throwing items, etc.  We've tried working with him, along with his teachers, but can't quite seem to get a handle on it so our pediatrician gave us a referral.  

He is in his first year of middle school, so it's reaching the point that he is going to be teased over it.   He had his first meltdown at school during an event, they were playing pool and he got angry that the other boys weren't following the rules.  Throwing a pool stick so hard that it broke wasn't an acceptable way to handle it :smileysad:  

That's one of the things that can push him over the edge, he's very black and white when it comes to rules, the other is if there is a game where prizes are at stake (bingo comes to mind).   Last year in 5th he was banned from playing kickball during recess because he kept having meltdowns that would carry over into the classroom because of the lack of rules during the game.    He plays team sports year around and we don't have these issues during practice and games for the most part.  

What should I be expecting from the psychologist?  I saw the pediatrician this week for my other son, and we talked about the referral.  He alluded that the psychologist we were seeing was pro-meds, which in this case I won't agree to it.  95% of the time his mood is fine, he just needs to learn ways to cope when he gets mad.   Do you  have any ideas on the types of behavior therapy they might do with him?  

Thanks for any feedback you might have.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-04-2001
Sat, 10-13-2012 - 6:51pm

The type of therapy may depend on the child's maturity, their willingness to work on things, and expressivity. Some therapists will first build a rapport with the child. They may work on some projects together , play games, and at first not even talk about the precise issue. I knew one therapist who would even eat lunch with one boy outside, and walk around while they chatted. That building of trust can be very important!

When the therapist worked with my younger daughter with anger issues, we would have family meetings with her to discuss acceptable outlets.

There is CBT and self-calming techniques. They can have trigger words that they pick to go to their "safe place" in their mind. I was taught that sort of thing - imagining a wonderful place... And there are breathing techniques that can be learned. Did you know - there are even work-books and guides for kids which some therapists will recommend... Here is one: What to Do When Your Temper Flares: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Problems With Anger (What to Do Guides for Kids) but your son may be old enough to do some of the workbooks available for teens. But they do them in conjunction with the therapy with the therapist - where they will go over their "assignments."

Sometimes they will act out situations and practice the appropriate responses.

www. It's Not Mental .com