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MENTAL DISORDERS and MANAGING POWER STRUGGLES. Bernard A. Yates, LCSW-C July 16 and 17, 2009 [email protected] Objectives. To look at the mental disorders that affect our students To understand how these conditions impact the child in stressful situations

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mental disorders and managing power struggles

MENTAL DISORDERS and MANAGING POWER STRUGGLES

Bernard A. Yates, LCSW-C

July 16 and 17, 2009

[email protected]

objectives
Objectives
  • To look at the mental disorders that affect our students
  • To understand how these conditions impact the child in stressful situations
  • To learn ways of dealing with students and assist them in managing difficult situations
introduction
Introduction
  • Know your child.
  • Know the diagnosis the treating professional has given the child.
  • All behavior has a goal.
  • Know yourself and your buttons.
goals of misbehavior
Goals of Misbehavior
  • Attention
  • Avoidance
  • Control or Power
  • Revenge
  • Expression of Hopelessness
power struggle
POWER STRUGGLE
  • An interaction
  • With the goal of gaining control of the situation
  • Win-lose interaction
  • Each partner utilizes different tools
    • Student: disrespect, arguments, etc.
    • Teacher: Authority, orders
a look at diagnoses
A look at diagnoses
  • A diagnosis is not a clear description of the problem
  • All children exhibit symptoms along a continuum.
  • The diagnosis could be inaccurate or misleading.
slide7
ADHD

Symptoms

  • Difficulty attending to class work
    • Over attends to stimuli
  • Easily distracted
  • Impulsive, acts without thinking
  • Is accustomed to being “in trouble” and is defensive when corrected

Goal of misbehavior: Attention

adhd in a power struggle
Effect on Interaction

Defensive when confronted (perception)

External locus of control

Negative attention- seeking

Overwhelmed by the work

Your Response

Use calming techniques

Reinforce who is responsible

Teach positive ways of getting attention

Teach “chunking”

ADHD in a Power Struggle
depression
Depression

Symptoms

  • Low Mood, sadness
  • Irritability
  • Poor motivation
  • Withdrawn

Goal of Misbehavior: Avoidance or expression of anger

depression in a power struggle
Effect on Interaction

Difficulty Motivating self

Hopeless feelings

Catastrophic thinking

Your Response

Relationship may be the key

Feelings are not facts

Challenge thinking

Depression in a Power Struggle
bipolar disorder
Bipolar Disorder

Symptoms

  • Vacillation from highs to lows
  • Possible psychosis
  • Delusional thinking, Grandiosity
  • “Rules do not apply to me”

Goal of Misbehavior: Power or Control

bipolar disorder in a power struggle
Effects on Interaction

Highs are silly or rage

Believe their grandiose thinking

Can look antisocial

Can be paranoid

Your Response

Do not negotiate

Set firm limits and enforce consistently

Know your feelings

Know who is treating the student

Bipolar Disorder in a Power Struggle
anxiety disorders including ocd
Anxiety Disorders, Including OCD

Symptoms

  • Worry/stress about anticipated events
  • Avoidance is the cornerstone. Often looks oppositional
  • Student really is “stuck”
  • Can look like ADHD

Goal of Misbehavior: Avoidance

anxiety in power struggle
Effects on Interaction

Fight or Flight

Stuck on negative thought

High Stress level – watch for aggression

Your Response

Do not impose physical closeness

Feelings are not facts; give choices

Calm first and then problem solve

Anxiety in Power Struggle
ptsd post traumatic stress disorder
PTSDPost Traumatic Stress Disorder

Symptoms

  • Hyper vigilance
  • Easily startled
  • Can become aggressive in a panic
  • Sexual abuse can complicate relationship

Goal of Misbehavior: Escape or Avoidance

ptsd in a power struggle
Effects on Interaction

Panic can lead to flight or aggression

Child feels very unsafe

Child may be seeking a physical/sexual confrontation

Your Response

Express limits verbally, avoid physical

Bring child to a safe place to process

Only when calm

Be aware of child’s goal

PTSD in a Power Struggle
attachment disorders
Attachment Disorders

Symptoms

  • Wide range of severity, from mild to severe
  • Skewed relationships: Avoidant, Ambivalent, Disorganized
  • Inhibited and Disinhibited
  • Extreme need for Control

Goal of Misbehavior: Control

attachment disorders in a power struggle
Effects on Interaction

Will attempt to “split” staff

Approach/Avoidance

Negative cycle of behavior

Your Response

Be aware of your feelings

Keep boundaries clear

Set clear limits and consequences without showing emotion

Attachment Disorders in a Power Struggle
odd and conduct disorder
ODD AND CONDUCT DISORDER
  • Are descriptions of behavior and not clear statements of what drives the behavior.
  • ODD is most likely based in Anxiety with the goal of controlling the present situation.
  • CD is most likely caused by untreated Depression and ADHD with the goal of power.
teacher responses
Teacher responses
  • Set clear limits and consequences ahead of time.
  • Consistently enforce consequences without getting angry.
  • ODD wants a good relationship with you while CD simply wants power.
  • Know your emotions and buttons.
conclusion
Conclusion
  • Know your student.
  • Know yourself and your buttons.

Power Struggles, Successful Techniques for Educators

Allen N. Mendler, Ph.D.

Discipline Associates

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