Partners in your child’s wellness

Dr. David Callies, Child & Adolescent Psychologist

Welcome to Gyro Psychology Services!

We provide psychological testing, assessment and treatment services to children, adolescents, young adults and families with a wide variety of mental health and behavioral needs. Gyro Psychology Services is committed to providing effective and compassionate psychological care that is grounded on sound research, practice and discipline.

We’ll collaborate with professionals who are involved in your child’s health care and education so that your child can reach their full potential in all areas of their lives.

Join us! We would be honored to be your partner in the behavioral healthcare of your child, adolescent and your family.

Recent Posts

Goal Setting Strategies for Kids & Teens

Goal Setting Strategies for Kids & Teens

July 26th, 2014

The first steps in goal setting is deciding what it is you want and why you want it. Once you've dec[...]

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Goal Setting Strategies for Kids & Teens

The first steps in goal setting is deciding what it is you want and why you want it. Once you've decided what it is you want, whether it is trying a new activity, making new friends, improving grades or decreasing stress, it's important to map out the steps you need to accomplish what you want to achieve. Once you've decided what it is you want and mapped out at least the first few steps let friends, teachers and family members that you want to make a change and share your goal and plan to achieve it.

Getting support is a key component to accomplishing goals as others will support you should your resolve be shaken or that inner desire to continue to move forward begins to waver. Remember, optimism, postive thinking and focusing on what you 've accomplished instead of how you may have messed up will help keep you moving forward toward success.

Here are a few tips that will help you get the ball rolling:

Set specific, realistic goals for yourself.
Change does not come easily. Setting realistic goals increases that chances that you will accomlish them and feel the indescribable feeling of success. If you want to make new friends, it might be best to write down activities you like to do, your interests, and the types of people you enjoy spending time with. From there you can begin to explore activities where the types of people you want to meet might be (e.g., community-based classes). Then share your goal with others and get their support.

Realize that it might take some time before you see the results of your efforts.
You have the power to make changes right away by focusing on gaols that are short term and coincide with your established routines. Goals that are further away from your routines like being an accomplished violinist or doing barrel races at rodeos will likley take some time to accomplish. Your body, your brain and others in your environment will need some time to adjust to this change in direction. Please be paient with yourself. focus on what you accomplish daily, celebrate your successes with the ones you love and keep moving forward toward realizing your dreams.

Remind yourself of what you want daily.
One tip is to look at yourself in the miror and tell ourself what it is you want. You can alos write it down first thing in the morning and write down what you did to accomplish your goal at the end of the day. You will then be positined to seize opportunities that will help you move forwad and strengthen your resolve to achieve what you want. Every time you remind yourself of your goal, you're training your brain to make it happen. It's like magic!

Setting goals to involve pleasing others often lead to disappointment. The real key to making any change is to find the desire or motivation within yourself. Decide what you want and go after it! You have to do it because YOU want it to happen, not because a girlfriend, boyfriend, coach, parent, or someone else wants you to. The people you trust in your life will provide support to you as you move forward with accomplishing your goals providing that you are making healthy choices.

Making mistakes or misgudgements are learing opportunities.
Slip-ups and mistakes are actually part of the learning process. When mistakes happen, think about what you learned from the istake, make adjustments and move forward. Perhaps you will need to make some adjustments along the way, like being realistic about what you actually can achieve in the timeframe you want.

The key is to be flexible, focused, connected, and motivated to achieve what you want. Please realize that it's totally okay to mess up when trying to make a change. It's not easy. When the dust has settled, brush yourself off, reset, rethink and continue to move forward. The feeling of personal pride, accomplishment, resiliency and success will be sure to follow - sometimes in exciting and unpredictable ways.

Please feel free to contac us should you need help with goal setting or want to make a change, 360.236.0206. We're here to help!

Warm Regards,

Gyro Psychology Services
5191 Corporate Center Court SE
Lacey, Washington 98503
866.616.GYRO (4976)
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5 days ago

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Adolescent Lying: What it costs and what to do

Why do adolescents tend to lie more than children? Usually for freedom's sake - to escape punishment for misbehavior or to get to do what has been forbidden. To many teenagers, lying seems to be the easy way to get out of trouble or to get to do some adventure that has been disallowed. Mid-adolescence (ages 13 - 15) is when most frequent lying occurs because of the intense push for freedom at this stage.

Lying is deceptive for adolescents in more ways than one because deceiving others proves deceptively complex. What seems simpler at the moment proves more problematic over time. The "easy way out" turns out to be extremely expensive, particularly for teenagers who have gotten so deeply into lying that they feel trapped in a world of dishonesty, a world of their own fabrication. To these young people, it can be helpful for parents to itemize the high cost of lying in order to encourage a return to truth. What to tell their errant teenager?

Explain some common costs that people who lie pay.
~Parents who are lied to can feel hurt because lies take advantage of their trust, can feel angry because of being deliberately misled, and can feel frightened because now they don't know what to believe and so feel out of control. People who lie can feel guilty about they damage to loved ones that they do.

~Lying is a gamble. If the teenager is not found out, then there is no punishment; but if the teenager is found out, he or she is often punished twice - first for the offense, and second for lying about it. People who lie double up the consequences for getting caught.

~The person who lies has to remember two versions of reality: what they actually did (the truth of what happened) and the lie they told about what they did (the falsehood they created.) Keeping this distinction clear proves twice as complicated as telling the truth. People who lie have to manage double lives.

~Concealing the truth, people who lie have to live in hiding. They wonder and worry whether the deception they created will hold up or come crashing down around them if they are caught. People who lie live in fear of being found out.

~Covering up one lie with another, pretty soon liars lose track of all the lies they've told. They find it harder and harder to keep their story straight. People who lie can't remember all the lies they've told.

~To avoid questions and to keep from being found out, people who lie distance themselves from those to whom the lies were told. They become isolated from family and friends they have deliberately misled. They cut off closeness to those they care about and love.

~Lying to others can become confusing when liars start believing the untruths they've told. The more often they tell the lie, the more likely they are to believe it. They start by deceiving others, but they end by fooling themselves.

~The more lies are found out, the less easy it becomes for people who lie to be believed when they are actually telling the truth. People who lie lose credibility.

Whatever the teenager's reason, parents need to treat lying seriously. The quality of family life depends as much as anything on the quality of communication. Lying can erode that quality to devastating effect. An extreme example is lying about substance abuse to conceal what is really going on. There is no trust without truth. There is no intimacy without honesty. There is no safety without sincerity. And there is no such thing as a small lie because when parents overlook one lie they only encourage the telling of another.

So, when the adolescent lies, what might parents helpfully do?
- Explain the high costs of lying so the teenager understands the risks that go with dishonesty, and how the liar ends up mistreating himself most of all.

- Declare how it feels to be lied to so the teenager understands the emotional impact of being lied to.

- Insist on a full discussion about the lying - why it occurred, how the teenager could have chosen differently so that lying did not occur, and what he is going to do to prevent further lying.

- Declare that lying in the family will always be treated as a serious offense. Explain how now is later, how if they let his lying go now the young person is more likely to lie in significant relationships later on.

- Finally, state that you intend to reinstate trust and the expectation of truth in order to give him a chance to resume an honest relationship and so you do not drive your selves crazy with distrust. Most important, explain you reinstate trust because in a healthy family people should be able trust each other to tell the truth. If lying occurs again, repeat the sequence. You can't stop the teenager from choosing to lie, but you can definitely treat lying as something that needs to stop.

Courtesy of Carl Pickhardt, Ph.D. & Psychology Today
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7 days ago

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Using Reward Charts to Shape Behavior

Whereas time-outs and groundings motivate children's compliance with rules by offering them aversive consequences for misbehavior, sticker charts and like-minded discipline techniques are examples of positive disciple which reward children for compliance with the rules.

In the case of sticker charts, the idea is that children are rewarded with stickers when they follow the rules. When they don't follow the rules, they get no stickers.

Sticker charts are an instance of what is known as a "token economy". Token economies are effective and useful ways to mange the behavior of younger and older children alike, Even adults will respond if such economies have been set up properly. The use of stickers as the tokens to be won for good behavior is most appealing to younger children.

Older children will come to view stickers as "babyish" at some point. So, it is necessary that when using a token economy with older children stickers are swapped out for some new form of token that older kids do find compelling and valuable.

Often, for older children the sticker chart is reformulated as a behavioral checklist, with children earning check-marks for good behavior in place of stickers. The basic concept remains the same, however. Children must complete certain chores, personal hygiene tasks, and homework assignments every day or week, and are rewarded for doing so. At the end of a recording period of arbitrary duration (perhaps each month), the check-marks are summed up and traded in for small prizes, privileges (e.g., a trip to the library, etc.) or even a small allowance.

Because children learn to earn their privileges through the use of this technique, it is not bribery when they earn their rewards, but rather a useful life lesson that children can take and benefit from when they later become adults who work for a living.

Setting up a reward chart
Choose the behavior you want to change or encourage.
Use clear and positive descriptions of the behavior, and talk with your child about the behavior you want to see. For example, ‘Pick up all the toys from your bedroom floor’ is clearer and will be easier for your child to understand than ‘Tidy your bedroom’. And ‘Knock before going into other people’s rooms’ is more positive than ‘Don’t invade other people’s privacy.’

Create a chart
You can choose from lots of different styles of charts, or make one yourself. Older children might like to create their own chart, perhaps with a drawing or photo of the reward they’re trying to earn. Put the chart where your child can see it. Keep in mind that your older child might prefer a spot that’s private – for example, his bedroom, instead of on the fridge. Decide which stickers or tokens to use – star stickers work well for younger children, whereas older kids might like points or other markers.

Choose short-term rewards
Most children start by liking the idea of collecting stickers or tokens, but the novelty can wear off quite quickly. When this happens, swapping the stickers or tokens for some short-term rewards can help them keep their eyes on the main prize. You could let your child choose from a range of objects, events and activities – a family bike ride, special time with mum or dad, staying up late, a hired DVD, or buying a new book or small toy.

Give your child the stickers immediately after the behavior happens.
Some specific praise reminds your child why she’s getting the sticker or token. For example, ‘I really like the way you and Mia have been playing and sharing toys this morning. Here’s a star for your chart’.

Try to stay positive.
If your child doesn’t earn a star, just move on. Also try to avoid punishing your child by saying, ‘I’ll take a star away’, or ‘You won’t get any stars if you keep that up!’ Focus on encouraging your child to try again.

Move on from the reward chart.
You can gradually stop using the reward chart once your child’s behavior has changed. For example, you might gradually phase out the reward chart after a few weeks by increasing the length of time between stickers or points. If your child’s getting a sticker each day for unloading the dishwasher, this could be increased to one sticker every two days. But if you suddenly stop using a reward chart, your child is likely to go back to the old behavior.

Optional step:
If your child has a particularly challenging behavior, you might like to measure the behavior before you start and while you’re using the reward chart. For example, count how many times, or how often, your child hits. Record this when you start using the chart, then keep track of it as the days pass. This will help you tell if the reward chart is working.

Courtesy of Angela Oswalt, MSW
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1 week ago

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Stuck, Stubborn and Always Right? Changing Patterns of Rigid Thinking

Recognizing Rigid Thinking

Children with rigid thinking struggle to consider alternatives to the current situation, optional viewpoints, or new and different problem solving strategies. They respond to their own immediate needs with minimal ability to shift between ideas and actions.

Rigid thinkers have less developed executive functioning processes. Because this aspect of their brain has not matured, they lack the cognitive skill to appraise a situation, understand options, judge severity, or understand the effect of their behavior on others. Limited in inhibiting impulses, they may not think before acting.

Poor impulse control lowers frustration tolerance leading to meltdowns when expectations suddenly change. Coinciding with less developed executive functioning is emotional dysregulation which causes negative and overwhelming emotions to come out of seemingly nowhere. This dysregulation makes it difficult for a child to immediately capture the appropriate thinking tools to calm down.

Recognizing Thinking Styles Improves Positive Outcomes

Black-and-White Thinking
Black-and-white thinking occurs when children perceive the world in polar opposites. Situations are either one way or another; without perception of alternative gray areas.

Parent Approach:
~When stuck in this thinking pattern, logic and reason doesn’t work; it actually exacerbates frustration and anger. Wait to speak with the child later.

~When the child is calmer, broach the topic and suggest possible solutions. Write down all possible good and bad ideas, then list pros and cons. This visual display of other viewpoints makes it easier to consider alternative perspectives.

~Practice appraising the situation. Coach them to ask, “Where am I?” “Who is with me?” “What is expected of me?” “What is different that could change my expectations? Offer situations in which a regular routine may have to be altered.

Rule-Oriented Thinking
Some children miss the concept, ‘exceptions to the rule.’ They believe all rules should be followed at all times. This is problematic when the rigid thinker sees others break rules. Rule-oriented thinkers frequently tattle which damages relationships with peers.

Parent Approach:
~Encourage child to request guidance when questions arise about rules or how someone has acted in relation to the rules.

~When you see this child getting frustrated, step in and intervene.
Emphasize that life is constantly changing and circumstances are more important than “rigid rules.”

~When rules must be changed, give clear, concise information and allow the child time to adjust so there isn’t a rapid shift.

Nothing-But-The-Truth Thinking
The truthful thinker has trouble understanding other people’s feelings and doesn’t understand the misstep in being bluntly honest.

Parent Approach:
~Teach that, “saying I’m sorry,” doesn’t mean their honesty is wrong, but is necessary when someone expresses hurt feelings.

~Encourage the child to keep opinions about others to themselves.

~Develop this through role-playing or a social story.

Perseverative Thinking
This child will repeatedly ask questions about one topic. Perseverative thinking is not obsessional thinking since these thoughts are disturbing and unwanted. Perseverative thoughts are pleasing, often about the child’s interests.

Parent Approach:
~Interrupt the pattern of thinking. Create any distraction like, “ Let’s walk the dog” or “Wow, look at this interesting thing!”

~Assigning active complex thinking tasks (looking, listening and action) like Wii games can be a helpful distraction.

Perfectionist Thinking
When some children strive for perfection and it’s not achieved, they become extremely frustrated. For example, a child cannot complete an assignment because he is too busy erasing his imperfect letters. The accuracy of the task becomes more important than the goal of the activity.

Parental Approach:
~Before beginning the task, remind the child it’s ok to make a mistake.

~If the task already started, disturb the rigid thinking by suggesting a break or creating a distraction.

Catastrophic Thinking
Catastrophic thinking occurs when a minor situation seems incredibly terrible to a child and they believe the bad situation will go on forever.

Parental Approach:
~Encourage expression of feelings and offer empathy.

~Give the child time and space to recover.

~After the child feels more secure, they will be more amenable to logic and reasoning.

Parents, remember that rigid thinking, regardless of your child’s ASD, ADHD or anxiety symptoms is different from being stubborn; don’t blame children for choosing to be difficult. While it takes time, kids can gradually learn to make transitions and understand change as a comfortable part of life.

Learn to practice empathetic and calm approaches to your child’s emotions. Become proactive by providing structure and planning ahead. Choose battles and redirect your child without antagonist demands. Don’t reward bad behavior. While your child may be stuck, stubborn, and always right, it is patience, consistency and these strategies which strengthen fluid processing and self-mastery of emotions.

Courtesy of Kimberly Williams, Psy.D.
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1 week ago

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