Keri Downs, Psy.D.

Keri Downs, Psy.D. is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the State of Illinois.  She completed her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology at Dartmouth College in 2003.  Keri went on to earn her Master of Arts Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Boston University and Doctor of Psychology Degree (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology from Roosevelt University in Chicago.  Keri has experience working with various populations in a variety of settings, including residential treatment centers, therapeutic day schools, public school systems, inpatient hospitals, and outpatient clinics throughout the Chicagoland and Metro Boston areas.

Keri has special interest in working with children and adolescents, trauma, and diversity issues and is trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT).  Through her doctoral dissertation, Keri explored racial identification in black-white biracial children.  Keri’s approach to psychotherapy encompasses a wide range of interventions that typically rooted in strengths-based, relationship-based, and cognitive-behavioral theories.  She is aware of the strengths of her clients and their families and, whenever possible, incorporates creative approaches into all modalities of therapy.  Keri also believes that the therapeutic relationship is a powerful tool to help individuals gain deeper awareness and insight into their emotions, behaviors, and relationships.

Keri joined Dr. Parisi & Associates, P.C. in 2017 and works as an outpatient psychotherapist in his Chicago office providing psychological testing and counseling services to children, adolescents, and adults.  Keri has a passion for playing basketball and boxing and she is an avid fan of hometown teams (DISCLAIMER:  Since moving here, Keri has opened up her heart to the Chicago teams as well!! 😀 ).

Kathleen Alberts, LCPC, CCSOTS

kathleen_albertsMs. Kathleen Alberts, LCPC, CCSOTS is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) in the State of Illinois and a Clinically Certified Sex Offender Treatment Specialist (CCSOTS).  Kathleen earned her Bachelors of Social Worker (BSW) and Masters of Social Work (MSW) Degrees Summa Cum Laude from George Williams College of Social Work at Aurora University in Aurora, Illinois.

Kathleen’s career in behavioral healthcare spans over two decades where she has worked in nearly every capacity imaginable.  She has served as Clinical Director of the Adolescent Sex Offender Treatment Unit with the Friends of Children under Supervision Program in Illinois.  She also worked at the non-defunct UHS, Streamwood Behavioral Health Systems Residential Program and has worked in private practice since 1993 serving all age groups with an emphasis on treating children and adolescents, self-harming behaviors, victims of crime / abuse, PTSD, bullying, domestic violence, sexual harassment, families, parenting, marriage counseling, court-approved divorce and family mediation, court-appointed child custody evaluation, court-appointed expert on child behavior and emotional disorders and families, Sex Offender Treatment and Assessment (SOMB Approved), supervision, and psychiatric assessment and treatment of anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and personality disorders.  Kathleen’s treatment style is eclectic and borrows from CBT, DBT,  family systems, trauma-focused psychotherapy, solution-focused psychotherapy, mindfulness, and play therapy.

Kathleen lives in the Western suburbs and joined the staff of Dr. Parisi & Associates, P.C. as an outpatient psychotherapist at his Mount Prospect office in 2015.

Melissa Colon, Psy.D.

dr_melissa_colonMelissa Colon, Psy.D. completed her Bachelor of Science Degree (B.S.) from Roosevelt University of Chicago and her Doctor of Psychology Degree (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology from Adler University in Chicago.

Dr. Colon is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Illinois specialized in Clinical Neuropsychology and Psychophysiology.  She is also a certified parent educator.  She has extensive experience in brain-mapping (QEEG) techniques, neurofeedback treatments and technologies, neuropsychological assessment, and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Dr. Colon works with both pediatric and adult populations on an array of issues, including:  Autism, ADD / ADHD, TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), Pain Management, ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder), Parenting Techniques, Dementia, Anxiety, Depression, and Learning Disorders.

Dr. Colon joined the staff of Dr. Parisi & Associates, P.C. in 2016 and works in both inpatient and outpatient settings.  Her passion lies in the neuroscience field.  Dr. Colon enjoys keeping up with the latest research and technologies in the field of Clinical Neuropsychology and neurofeedback techniques.

Dr. Colon enjoys spending time with her family, reading, traveling, and spending time outdoors.

5 Tips for Encouraging Regular Activity within Your Family

Family TherapyThe average child between 8 and 18 years old spends about 7.5 hours per day in front of a screen (TV, computer, phone, etc.), according to the U.S. government (1). This is a very sad statistic that has many people worried about the activity level of our children. It is recommended that children have at least 60 minutes of activity per day, but that goal is not always reached.

In fact, a study of high school students in 2013 found that less than 30% had reached that goal in the previous week (2). Physical activity is defined as “any body movement that works your muscles and requires more energy than resting (3).” Some people think that physical activity means playing sports, but there are many other things that quality. Doing yard work, going for a walk, or going for a swim in the pool are all examples of physical activity. If you are a parent that is striving to keep your kids active and away from the screen, here are a few things that could help.

  1. Promote it. If you do not show interest in physical activity, chances are good that your children won’t either. Kids will be deterred from outside play when they hear parents or other kids complaining about how hot it is or how tired they are. Physical activity needs to be portrayed as something fun and something to look forward to, not something to dread. One common mistake that people make is to promote physical activity in boys more than girls. Girls need just as much exercise as boys and they are just a capable of doing vigorous activity (4).
  2. Participate in it. Don’t tell your kids to go outside and play – go with them. Play catch, make up a game, go for a walk, or anything else that your kids mention that they want to do. Instead of telling them to go rake the yard, grab a rake and do it together. Make it fun by making it a competition or offer a reward for a job well done.
  3. Mix it up. Kids need a variety of activities to keep them interested. Play in your backyard, walk to the park, go to a gym, visit the zoo, go to the beach, schedule a play date with friends – all of these things can promote healthy habits in your kids without calling it “exercise.”
  4. Give them the opportunity. There are many kids that would love to try a sport, learn karate, do gymnastics, etc. but are never given the chance. If your child shows interest in something, do your best to give them the opportunity. Instead of spending money on a video game, spend it on sports equipment for your home or use it join a team sport (5).
  5. Reward it. Watching television or playing games is not bad in moderation. After a long day of yard work, reward the kids with a trip to the movie theatre. After a long walk to the park while on a play date with friends, let them play a game together. Cutting out screen time altogether will most likely have adverse effects.

No matter what your children enjoy doing, make regular activity one of them. By promoting it, participating in it, mixing it up, giving them the opportunity, and rewarding them for taking part you can help encourage your family to get active daily.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation.

 

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Sources:

  1. Reduce Screen Time, Screen time statistics, 2013, https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/reduce-screen-time/
  2. Physical Activity Facts, Activity level statistics, 2015, http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/physicalactivity/facts.htm
  3. What Is Physical Activity? Definition of physical activity, 2011, http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/physAdding Physical Activity to Your Life, Tips for staying active, 2015, http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adding-pa/activities-children.html
  4. Parents’ Endorsement of Vigorous Team Sports Increases Children’s Physical Activity, Say Researchers, Parents promoting sports, 2009, http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2009/07/parents-exercise.aspx

 

 

 

 

 

Coping with PTSD as a Family

Coping with PTSD as a FamillyPTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is an anxiety problem that develops in some people after extremely traumatic events, such as combat, crime, an accident or natural disaster, according to the American Psychological Association. (1) PTSD is often acted out through nightmares, hypervigilance, flashbacks, anger, or depression and can often complicate close relationships like families.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), PTSD is considered one of the mental health conditions most likely to lead to relationship problems (2) but families can find hope in learning new ways to cope.

  • Stress management skills. Families should take the time to learn stress management skills. These skills may include eating healthy, getting active, allowing for alone time, getting adequate sleep, and establishing necessary support. By learning these skills as a family you can help one another along the way.
  • Realizing everyone is impacted. In most scenarios, one family member, often mom or dad, is diagnosed with PTSD- not the entire family. But this does not mean that others are not affected too. In fact, the APA stresses that everyone in the family is affected by PTSD even if it’s not apparent at first or some members aren’t as quick to show it.
  • Everyone processes trauma differently. Like with many emotions, there are a variety of ways to process trauma. Not everyone will react in the same way as you. Realizing this will help you understand one another and in return, be able to offer help when needed. Just because someone doesn’t handle trauma in the same way you do, does not mean they aren’t experiencing affects.
  • Establishing a universal plan. Together, families need to establish a plan. How are you going to address the event to outside family and friends? Especially for emotional traumas such as rape or abuse, this step can be important to healthy coping. Establish a universal plan that everyone agrees with.

To families experiencing it, PTSD is so much more than a stress disorder. It’s a mental illness that threatens to tear their family apart. By turning to each other to cope instead of trying to tackle extreme traumas individually you can better help lessen the relationship effects of PTSD. Coping with PTSD as a family means learning stress management skills, realizing everyone is impacted and processes trauma differently, and establishing a universal plan. Together you can cope, conquer, and thrive as a family despite PTSD.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation.

 

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Sources:

  1. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Definition of PTSD, 2015, http://www.apa.org/topics/ptsd/index.aspx
  2. Helping Families Cope with PTSD, Relationship impact of PTST, 2015, http://www.apa.org/monitor/jan08/helping.aspx

 

 

Helping Children Cope with Tragedy

Cope with TragedyIt’s unfortunate today, how tragedy has become such a routine part of our lives. Whether on a small scale, such as the death of a loved one or on a national scale with the influx of terrorism, tragedy is hitting home far more frequently than ever before in our history. We would be gullible to believe these tragedies aren’t affecting our children too.

Helping children understand, cope, and live through tragedy can be challenging but it’s important they know they are not alone. Teaching them how to move forward in a positive manner is key to them living a successful adult life as a member of society. To better equip you, here’s how to help children cope with tragedy.

  • Recognize. The first step in helping a child cope with tragedy is being able to recognize the signs of disaster-related stress. According to FEMA, these signs could include difficulty communicating thoughts, difficulty sleeping, limited attention span, headaches/stomach problems, colds or flu-like symptoms, depression, fear, or overwhelming guilt. (1)
  • Communicate. While it may be difficult at first, it’s important to keep communication open between you and your child. Encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings about the tragedy including how it made them feel. And answer any questions they may have honestly. Maintaining a calm persona will help them feel at ease.
  • Listen. As your child shares their feelings about the incident with you it’s important that you listen intently. “It’s also key to listen closely to your child for misinformation, misconceptions, and underlying fears,” according to the Mayo Clinic. (2) Turning an ear to these details can better help you correct any misinterpretations and reassure them of any concerns of new fears they may have.
  • Limit. For coping with large, media-based tragedies, it may be best to limit your child’s time spent listening or watching media. This allows you to control exactly what your child sees and hears about the event.
  • Seek help. Parents should never be afraid to seek help for their child. By finding a professional to speak to you can better help your child cope with the tragedies happening around them. A professional will also be able to direct you and provide additional tips for assisting your child.

Tragedies happen almost on a daily basis it seems. No matter how small or large a tragedy may be, it’s important to take the time to help your child cope. They are likely fearful, sad, and unsure. By recognizing these stress signs, opening up communication and listening, limiting their media exposure, and seeking help you can offer your child the loving support they need.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation

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Sources:

  1. Coping With Disaster, Disaster-related stress signs, 2015, https://www.fema.gov/coping-disaster
  2. Helping Children Cope, Listen closely quote, 2012, http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/in-depth/helping-children-cope/art-20047029

 

 

 

 

Jim Vanderbosch, Psy.D.

Dr. Vanderbosch PicDr. James (Jim) Vanderbosch is licensed as a Clinical Psychologist in the State of Illinois and has extensive experience working in hospital (inpatient and outpatient), schools, and clinics.  He works with children, adolescents and adults providing both psychotherapy and psychological testing services.  Dr. Vanderbosch has worked with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) conducting psychotherapy and psychological testing for child victims and adult perpetrators.

Dr. Vanderbosch completed his Bacheloreate training at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and went on to earn his Doctor of Psychology Degree (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology in 1990.

Dr. Vanderbosch is fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) and well-connected within the Deaf and Deaf / Blind communities of Illinois.  He spent most of the last twenty-five years as the Clinical Director of two mental health programs for Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals.  He is intuitive, compassionate, and perceptive.

Dr. Vanderbosch joined Dr. Parisi & Associates, P.C. as an associate in 2016 and works in both outpatient and facilty-based settings within the practice.  Outside of work, he is father to four boys and is a weekend musician.

Is Screen Time Weighing On Your Child?

Child Behavioral HealthBetween televisions, video games, tablets, computers, and smartphones children today are bombarded with an overwhelming supply of screen technology but is all the screen time weighing too heavily on your child? In 2013 the average 8 to 10-year-old spent nearly 8 hours every day with a variety of different media, and teenagers spent eleven or more hours per day, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).(1). Yikes!

While these numbers may seem shocking, they certainly are not that surprising if you truly take a moment to ponder your child’s day to day activities. Much of what we do with our time as adults requires one form of technology or another- the same goes for our children. Should parents be concerned?

Absolutely! In May, 2014 a prospective study testing the effects of parental monitoring of children’s media use concluded that “encouraging parents to monitor children’s media carefully can have a wide range of health benefits for children.” (2) To help your children begin reaping those better health benefits here are a few tips for monitoring screen time in your child’s daily life.

  • Limit. Obviously, enforcing a zero tolerance for screen time is quite unrealistic. After all, when used in moderation, screen time can be beneficial in key areas like education. Instead, try to limit screen time to only 1 to 2 hours each day.
  • Monitor. It’s vital to not only limit screen times in your child’s life but to also monitor the media they are accessing. By activating parental settings on media such as internet and television you can better control the media your child is able to view.
  • Move. These days, it seems as if every bedroom within a house has its own TV. An easy way to monitor your children’s screen time is by simply moving the televisions out of the bedrooms and having one or two common room TVs for the entire family to share.
  • Model. Making a point not only to limit and monitor the screen time of your children, but also your own is a great way to model through active parenting, according to the AAP. (3) Create a family home use plan for media and enforce it together, allowing each member of the family- young or old- to gain the health benefits of less screen time.

With so much of our youth spending 8 or more hours in front of a screen every day, it’s no wonder parents are beginning to grow more and more concerned. By being a part of your child’s media use you can better help them reap the good health benefits that come with less screen time. Begin limiting, monitoring, moving, and modeling your way to better health with a little less screen time.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation.

 

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Sources:

  1. Children, Adolescents, and the Media, Average time spent daily on media, 2013, http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/132/5/958.full
  2. Protective Effects of Parental Monitoring of Children’s Media Use: A Prospective Study, Positive health benefits of media monitoring, 2014, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24686493
  3. Children, Adolescents, and the Media, Model through active parenting, 2013, http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/132/5/958.full