Jennifer Van Gorp

Jennifer Van Gorp

We sat down with one of UCEBT's parent-child relationship specialists, Dr. Kalee Gross, to ask about the parent-adolescent relationship. What's it all about? Why is it important? How can it be improved? Read along in the fifth of this five part series to see what Dr. Gross says about the latest research on the parent-adolescent relationship.

Strategic use of Emotion and Attention (SEA) Protocol 

This last piece of information that I'm going to talk about for improving the relationship, is the Strategic use of Emotion and Attention (SEA) Protocol. The SEA Protocol uses the principles from Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). I will say, however, it is not researched at this point, but the reason I'm bringing it up is because it has a lot of pieces that are based on principles that are really well researched and supported.  

This protocol occurs in two phases, similar to PCIT. The first phase really focuses on increasing attention for acceptable behaviors and increasing that positive regard. The second phase is focused on intentional teaching and contingent follow through. I'm not really going to talk much about the second phase right now, though, because the first phase is where we're going to get more of this information on how we can improve that relationship.  

Within that first phase, a huge part of increasing attention for acceptable behaviors is praise adding and praise. It’s extremely helpful to try to find opportunities to add in praise, perhaps by setting a goal for a number of times per day.  

You could start small, starting with five times a day. You could even break it down into something like, “I am going to focus on giving my teenager praise once in the morning, and again after school, and again at night.”  

The goal is to get to this 5:1 ratio of five positive interactions to one negative or more demanding interaction. Generally, the interaction tends to be more on the demanding side like when you get home and the first things that you say to your kid, “Oh, did you get your homework done? How was the test? Did you do all of your laundry? Do you have everything together for piano lessons tonight?” So these are more demanding interactions. We want to try to level out or increase the positive side, praising things that we want to see more of; usually when we praise someone for something, it feels really, really good and they want to get more of that praise... and so they're likely to keep doing that again. But it's not a one-time thing where you’re going to see this complete change in behavior all at once. You have to be consistently adding in the praise. But when thinking about adding in that praise, you can think about things that you want to see more of.  

Giving praise even when it’s something they’re just expected to do 

Sometime parents think, “why would I add in praise for something that is expected of them? Like they're expected to get their homework done... They're expected to do their chores well...”  

Well, I'm an adult and I don't like doing my chores, but when I do the dishes and I take out the trash and I do those things, it feels really good when my fiancé notices it and tells me, “Oh, thank you for doing that for me.” That feels really good and it makes me more likely to keep on doing it. But if I never got recognition for that, I'd probably eventually just stop taking out the trash or really reluctantly doing it. I would just kind of build up a lot of negative feelings about it.  

So, yes, there might be an expectation to do the dishes. And if we want to see them keep doing it or have less of a fight over doing the dishes, it can be really helpful to add in that praise.  

What is 'positive regard' and how do you do it? 

The other piece to the first phase of the SEA Protocol is adding in positive regard. Positive regard is like spending 5 to 15 minutes per day with your teen. I know sometimes that can be really hard to find that time, and so we can try to find times that it works in your schedule or that it's convenient for the teen. You can even do it on the way to school or on the way to an activity. But during this time, we want it to just feel like it's an experience that doesn't have a lot of demands. And we can do this by increasing physical affection during that time. So that physical affection could just be being in a closer proximity to them, smiling, more being more inviting to them. And then providing more positive comments. This could also be a great time to add in some of that validation that I talked about earlier. But we just want this to create this space where it feels really good to be talking with your teen instead of getting stuck in more demanding conversation. We're trying to kind of balance that out by adding shorter periods of time every day where it's more of these positive interactions.  

An important piece of during this 5 to 10 minutes is to avoid criticisms, commands or questions during this time. In fact, criticisms in general just aren't the best. Saying something like “you're a terrible student” just tends to decrease the teen's self-esteem, making it even harder for them to try hard and work hard to become a “better” student. They just don’t feel great and lowers self-esteem. So even outside of these 5 to 10 minutes, it would be helpful to avoid those criticisms. But especially during these 5 to 10 minutes, we really want to avoid those. 

We also want to avoid commands during this time because commands can seem pretty demanding and punishing for the teen. Sometimes we don't even know that we're giving commands. Those could be things like, “hey, look at this”, “come over here”, "do the dishes”, “get your homework done”.  

We're also trying to avoid questions during this time. When we have question after question after question like... “How was your day? What did your teacher say? How did this go?” It can feel pretty demanding to them instead of just feeling like they have an open space to talk. So, it’s best to keep those questions to a minimum. After all, if you can imagine, whenever someone has asked you question after question after question, you tend to get over the conversation like, “I'm done, I don't want to talk anymore”, shutting down the conversation instead of opening it up.  

Eliminating emotion during conflict 

One piece that I do want to talk about from that second phase of the SEP protocol, is whenever you are dealing with problem behaviors, we want to try to eliminate emotion. That doesn't mean you're not going to have emotion. Of course, you're going to have emotions about it. But we're trying to keep those inside. And when we're talking about it, having a more neutral manner, when we're talking about those problems. Going back to that example with the teen coming in late and being late for curfew and not letting the parent know, you'll notice earlier when I was talking about it, how I was saying it in a more neutral, calm manner. You can even think about it as being more robotic, if that's helpful for you. Because usually when we add in that emotion during problem behaviors, that increase in emotion just contributes to the escalation in that conflict and doesn't usually let us resolve it in a way that's beneficial for either the teen or the parent.  

So, if you're in a conflict, and you notice you can't keep the emotion in any longer, take a break. That's okay to take a break and come back to it, because that's going to be more helpful for you to take a break then it would be to continue with that conflict.  

This also teaches teens how to be when they're receiving those consequences. So the calmer and more neutral we are when delivering the consequences, they'll also learn to be calmer, more neutral when receiving those consequences, or at least more so than they would have if we're increasing the emotion in that situation. And also, again, models for them how to handle difficult situations where, again, we are always teaching teens how to behave. 

We sat down with one of UCEBT's parent-child relationship specialists, Dr. Kalee Gross, to ask about the parent-adolescent relationship. What's it all about? Why is it important? How can it be improved? Read along in part 4 of this five part series to see what Dr. Gross says about the latest research on the parent-adolescent relationship.

The benefits of conflict in the relationship 

Conflict in the parent adolescent relationship is normal, it's typical. And there's a lot of benefits to having this conflict. The conflict is a helpful way to renegotiate the relationship. It's a helpful way to reorganize it more towards an egalitarian relationship. If we work through the conflict, it's really helpful because it can actually decrease future conflict and increase that closeness in that relationship. And if that conflict is handled in a helpful and healthy way, it can actually model for the teens how to be in any conflict. 

So, we want to make sure that we're having conflict that's done in a helpful way because it can be really positive for that relationship.  

Emotional Variability: What it is and why it’s important 

How conflict is handled makes a difference on the outcome with it especially as it relates to emotional variability. Emotional variability means being able to express more of those positive AND negative emotions during conflict.  

Research has shown that the greater emotional variability there is during conflict, the better the parent-adolescent relationship tends to be.  As an example, if a teenager comes home late for their curfew and they didn't text you... and then you are more worried and pissed off about it... during this conflict, having that emotional variability  would be saying to them, “I'm really disappointed in you that you were late and you didn't tell me that you were going to be late. I was so worried about you and didn't know if you were safe, and I'm so glad that you are safe and that you are here. You know I love you and I'm glad you're safe.” So, it's having both of those aspects in there and trying not to get stuck on those the one side of emotions during conflict.  

There's been research done to show the positive outcomes from having this greater emotional variability during conflicts. One research looked at mother-adolescent dyads specifically, and they show that the greater the emotional variability during the conflict in these interactions, they tended to report a better relationship quality. Over time, the teen felt more support for their autonomy, and there was less frequent conflict. And it allowed reorganization in the relationship to happen just more efficiently.  

So it’s important for parents to think about trying to increase that emotional variability during conflict, trying to get unstuck from the anger or the fear or whatever that it is so that those types of emotions are not the only one that comes up.  

Another really cool outcome of having this greater emotional variability during conflicts is that there tends to be a higher disclosure from adolescence and a more open communication pattern. (“They don't talk to me as much... I don't know what they're doing...”) Well, if we can increase this emotional variability during conflicts, that will help open up the door for that higher disclosure from teens and open up those communication patterns to actually meet the goal that you have to improve that communication and know what's going on in their private life.  

Parenting by example: modeling conflict and emotional regulation 

Another important thing to mention for conflict, in general, is just modeling conflict resolution and emotion regulation. Something for parents to consider is that your teenagers are always watching you. They are watching how you handle situations and they're learning from you whether you want them to learn that behavior or not. 

Even if you are managing the conflict well with your teen, but not handling it as well in other relationships (work, friends, family) that's still communicating to them how to handle conflict with other people. So we just want to be really aware of how that conflict is being handled and how we can shift it in a way that is going to be more helpful.  

So, thinking about “how am I handling this conflict right now?... is that how I would want my child to be handling the conflict?”  

Teenagers of parents who have a harder time regulating their emotions tend to also report having more trouble regulating their own emotions. If the parents are struggling with emotion regulation, you're likely going to see that from the teens as well.  

Family rituals are important 

Another way we can look at improving this relationship, is by adding in family rituals.  

Research has shown that when there are family rituals, it's often related to the adolescent having a greater sense of identity. They tend to also have a greater general sense of sense of self-esteem. And there is a greater increase in family cohesion and lower levels of conduct disorder when we have these family rituals in place. 

I think this is kind of a fun way to improve that relationship because you can get really creative with it. I know we're busy as adults, there's a lot going on, a lot of different pieces that we're trying to juggle, so these rituals don't have to be big thing. It can be something smaller. It could be like a special handshake or a hug before their activity, before they go to school. It could be that, whenever you play a certain game that you have special family rules. Or maybe you have a movie night once a month and at that movie night, you always have popcorn and certain types of candy. And so, we can try to find ways to add it in that works for your family and feels really fun.  


Stay tuned for Part 5 of 5 on the parent-adolescent relationship.

We sat down with one of UCEBT's parent-child relationship specialists, Dr. Kalee Gross, to ask about the parent-adolescent relationship. What's it all about? Why is it important? How can it be improved? Read along in the third part of this five part series to see what Dr. Gross says about the latest research on the parent-adolescent relationship.

Looking at the research, not the stereotype 

Research has shown that even though there are some changes in this interaction and how that relationship is organized, the individual's perception of the quality of the relationship tends to remain stable.  

So, a teen's relationship with their parents tends to be fairly the same throughout adolescence. And I know this tends to be seen as a stereotypical storm in stress period, but research hasn't really supported that anymore. There's a research study that was done that showed that only 14% of early adolescents around age 12 reported turbulent relationships with their parents, and that was characterized by high conflict, low supportiveness. And then that number increased to 29% around middle adolescence. And then by late adolescence, it decreased to 10%. And so, that 10%-29%, that's the minority and it's not the majority. Most of these relationships tend to remain fairly stable.  

Parenting practices 

Some other factors to consider when thinking about improving the relationship are parenting practices. Parenting practices includes parental awareness, parental monitoring, parental supportiveness, and strictness.  

Parental awareness is the parent's awareness of the child's needs and their emotions, but also their awareness of their own emotions. So, when parents have a higher awareness, it tends to predict healthier, psychosocial and psychological adjustment for their teenagers; it also is related to lower internalizing and externalizing problems for those teens.  

Parental monitoring refers to the expectations that the parents hold for their teen and how they track to see if the teen is meeting those expectations. Research has shown that if there is low parental monitoring during this time, it's related to more antisocial behavior, substance use, and various delinquent behaviors.  

Higher levels of parental supportiveness are related to reduced levels of depression, less psychological disorders, less externalizing behaviors, and overall less behavior problems among youth.  

Strictness is a little different because it's not that high-levels are good and low-levels are bad... it's more that low- and high- levels of strictness tend to predict higher levels of problem behavior. So we want to find a moderate level of strictness. When there is a moderate level of strictness within the relationship, it tends to be a protective factor for adolescents.  

Parenting stress 

In general, parenting during adolescence tends to be more stressful for parents because of several changes that are occurring during this time. One of those changes is that there there's a tendency for adolescents to want to spend more time with their friends and their peers. Sometimes parents can view that as more of a threat to that parent-adolescent relationship. So that can create some stress and conflict.  

Also, the assertion of autonomy in those family interactions and that heightened emotional arousal or emotional lability can create more stress for the parent.  

Further, when parents are under high stress in their own lives, it tends to be associated with poor child and adolescent adjustment. It's also associated with an increased risk in child psychopathology, substance use risk behaviors. It's also related to more maladaptive parenting behaviors. Some of those parenting behaviors include lower level of warmth in the relationship or more harsh or negative parenting, maybe resulting in using more criticism or yelling or having stricter rules. It can also lead to a diminished parent-adolescent bonding.  

Another piece to note, too, is that when parents are under high stress, it tends to change their perceptions of their child's behavior. So something that might typically be seen as a normative behavior, the parent could associate with more of a problematic behavior, or even viewing it as more of an attack. And this can lead to more conflict within the relationship and a decrease in the parent-adolescent bonding.  

Mindfulness and parenting 

So an important piece to look at is how can we decrease the stress of the parent. One study that was done, looked at using mindfulness-based interventions. In this study, researchers compared mindfulness-based interventions to psychoeducation group therapy; they found that in the mindfulness-based intervention group, over time the parents had a decrease in their distress and overreaction to events. It also showed that they had an increased ability to respond to events in ways that they chose rather than automatically acting on those emotions that come up.  

So instead of automatically acting on the anger, being able to notice the anger and then choose how they want to handle that situation; then, there's also an increase in the positive parenting behaviors and increase in that closeness and bonding in the parent-adolescent relationship. So for parents, it can be really helpful to consider adding in some mindfulness-based practices for you.  

Our therapists here at UCEBT are really, really well trained and knowledgeable in mindfulness and can help any parent with gaining those skills. But, in addition, there are a lot of apps out there that people can look at to start building on that mindfulness piece and gain a lot more information about mindfulness. 

There tends to be this misperception of mindfulness that mindfulness means meditation, but they aren't the same thing as each other. They can overlap with each other, but they aren't the same thing. Mindfulness is more about being able to be in the present moment, noticing what's going on with all of your five senses and just trying to be in that moment, non-judgmentally.  

Check out part 4 of 5 on the parent-adolescent relationship.

This is part 2 of our 5 part series on the parent-adolescent relationship. We sat down with one of UCEBT's parent-child relationship specialists, Dr. Kalee Gross, to ask about the parent-adolescent relationship. What's it all about? Why is it important? How can it be improved? Read along to learn more about this important topic!

What is validation? And how can you use it? 

Validation is the communication of acceptance, the communication of that person's thoughts and feelings. But those make sense in this moment. And an example of validation would be like a teenager coming to you and saying, “Oh my gosh, I have all these things going on with school, I have the science project, I have a chemistry project and then have my music lessons and I have soccer practice after. I don't know how the heck I'm going to get all this done in that moment.” A validating statement for them would be, “Well, it sounds like you're feeling really overwhelmed right now.” And that helps them feel understood and heard. And that what they're feeling makes a lot of sense that it works to help strengthen that relationship, open up that door for communication. 

The perks of validation 

Another really cool piece about this is that it improves emotional regulation as well, because once someone feels heard and understood, it tends to lessen the intensity of that emotion for them. And then that gives them more space to think more logically and problem solve.  

The downsides of problem-solving 

And so, with parents, something to consider is parents often want to jump into problem solving right away because it's hard to see their child in pain and they don't want to see that, it's uncomfortable. So, they're trying to solve the problem for them. But then this creates a dynamic where then the teen doesn't feel heard and understood, and then they either tend to escalate in anger, frustration, or tend to pull away and be less likely to come to you and talk about those problems. So then you know less about what's going on.  

If you can step back and just focus on validating in the moment, that will actually help with your goal of keeping that communication open and helping them learn how to regulate their emotions and problem solve.  

“Validation” is not “agreement” 

A lot of times parents think that or just people in general think that validation means agreement and validation does not mean agreement. They are not the same thing as one another.  

And so, going back to that example with the teen coming and saying that they're so overwhelmed with everything, with all their school and activities... and then all of a sudden, they start talking about, “I'm just not going to do that science project... I'm going to fail it... whatever”... the parent can validate in that moment that their teen is feeling overwhelmed AND not necessarily agree with the fact that they're making the choice to not do their science project.  

Giving space for problem-solving 

Well, as a parent, if I can stick with that validation, their feelings of being overwhelmed will likely decrease. And if I can give them more space to problem solve, they may shift into thinking that “well, I can work on the science project for an hour today and then an hour tomorrow...” or “...I can talk with my teacher and ask for an extension...” or some other way to work out the problem themselves. So, it just creates that space for problem solving without threatening their autonomy.  

Validating the invalid 

Another thing some parents say sometimes is “well, there's nothing valid to validate what they're saying”... but there's usually something that we can find. There's usually a piece that we can validate. And I think a helpful way to get through this one is to pay attention to the emotion that the teen is feeling, pick up on that emotion, and try to validate it. 

Sometimes parents say, “Hey, what if I get it wrong?” That's okay. That doesn't matter. What matters more is that you are tuning in and trying to hear them, and if you get it wrong, they'll correct you. They'll tell you.  

Paying attention to invalidating statements 

Sometimes, there are certain types of invalidating statements that tend to happen. And so just keeping an eye out for those that come up is important. For parents, just thinking about times when you've had people say invalidating statements to you and how it felt can be helpful. Usually it doesn't feel great, makes you either escalate or pull away and really not want to talk to them anymore.  

Some of these types of statements are include giving advice, telling them what they should do or how to solve the problem. Another one is telling a person how to or how not to feel. So you might have a teen come to you telling you about a friendship that blew up and that they're really sad about it and how difficult it's been for them... but as a parent, you've seen how maybe unhealthy that relationship was... So then you tell them, “Oh, no, don't be sad. You should be glad you don't have that toxic friend anymore.” 

That's going to feel pretty bad to them to hear that in the moment. And they're just not ready to see the things that can come out of that relationship ending at that time.  

Another example of invalidating statements are ones where you make it about you. So just look out for these invalidating statements and try to find those validating statements, instead.  


Check out part 3 of 5 on the parent-adolescent relationship.

We sat down with one of UCEBT's parent-child relationship specialists, Dr. Kalee Gross, to ask about the parent-adolescent relationship. What's it all about? Why is it important? How can it be improved? Read along in this five part series to see what Dr. Gross says about the latest research on the parent-adolescent relationship.

Why does the parent-adolescent relationship matter? 

I think sometimes we get these stereotypes that the parent adolescent relationship doesn't hold as much weight or isn't as important as peers during this time. And it is true there tends to be this kind of tendency to be highly influenced by peers, though that parent-adolescent relationship is still really important during this time.  

Research has shown that high quality and positive parent adolescent relationships tend to predict lower levels of adolescent depression, fewer delinquent problems, and it can also help protect against antisocial behaviors.  

Research has also shown that any time there's a disruption to that family system, it's pretty normative and typical for some children and teenagers to have this delinquent, pushing-back behavior. And so, if there's a higher quality and positive parent adolescent relationship, even just one with one of those parents, it can be a protective factor against these pieces.  

Adolescent development: What’s going on in the brain? 

Looking at the development of the teenage brain, this period for teenagers is a really big time of rapid cognitive biases, social or biological and psychosocial changes. And so, one of those changes during this time is that they have an increased activation in their limbic structures, their amygdala, hypothalamus.  

They also have an increase in release of hormones during this time. And so, this has been related to an increase in sensitivity to negative emotions and emotional lability during this time. So, you might see the teenager having more of a pessimistic attitude about things are not seeing things in as much of a positive light. And to a certain extent this is normative for them.  

They also have increased reward sensitivity. So that means, “I want it, I want to know, I want to feel good, I want those things that feel really rewarding to me”. And so that can mean that they're having more experience, experimentation or risk-taking during this time. 

At the same time, their prefrontal cortex is developing. That's the part of the brain that's involved in that self-regulation and inhibitory control. But that part of that brain is maturing at a gradual rate.  

And so, there's kind of this imbalance between the activation of that limbic system and the prefrontal cortex. One way to think about it is almost like the teenage brain is hitting the gas while their brakes are out for repair. So, they're going, they're going, and going, and yet they don't have as much of this protective factor to help slow them down a bit.  

Some other changes that occur are looking at that psychosocial development piece. Teens are faced with a wide variety of new stressors during this time. So, one of those stressors is just an increased expectation for maturity. And another big one is that they have higher expectations for their academic achievement, while at the same time they're progressively going into larger schools. And so, when they're in these larger schools, there's a tendency to have fewer opportunities for support in those close student-teacher relationships. So, we have this increase in expectations and lower levels of support, which can create some stress for them, their peer relationships, or tend to also be more intense during this time. So psychosocial, they have all of these pieces contributing to their stress level. 

Adolescent development: How to balance between autonomy and privacy? 

A piece of adolescent development that's important to note is that they are striving for autonomy and increasingly asking for more of it. And that's a normal part of their development, which sometimes can cause conflict because they might be striving for autonomy sooner than they develop those self-regulation strategies. This leads to some changes in the relationship that occur.  

During this time, throughout adolescence, the parents and teens, they have to reorganize their relationship in a way that is more egalitarian. So instead of the parent being on top and the adolescent being down below, they have to start shifting it so that they tend to become more horizontal. And this is a progressive change. It's not an overnight thing that happens. And so, as they're organizing this relationship, there's also an increase in that interdependence on each other and increase in the responsibilities that that adolescent has.  

During this time, one thing that we have to do is find a balance between autonomy and privacy. During this time, teens tend to progressively view information about their life as more private, while parents still view it as their jurisdiction and want to know about it. So if we can find and create this relational context where the teens can share this information and feel supported, and sharing it without it feeling like a threat to their autonomy, that can be really helpful to decrease this conflict that tends to come up if the parent wants to know more about what's going on about the teen is saying “Nope, I don't want to tell you it's my life. I get to decide who knows about these things.” So, if we can create this context where the teen feels safer to share without their autonomy being threatened, that will help decrease some of that conflict.  

One way we can actually do that is through the use of validation. Validation really helps open up communication and conversations in a way that helps people feel heard and understood and less threatened.   

Check out part 2 of 5 on the parent-adolescent relationship.

October 10, 2022

Cancellation Policy

Canceled, Missed, or Tardy Appointments

Due to current waiting lists, it is expected that scheduled appointments will be kept and paid for. If it is necessary to cancel an individual therapy, family therapy, or any other appointment, you will be charged your regular fee for that session, unless you have notified us 24 hours before the time of the appointment.

This policy includes, but is not limited to, reasons related to SICKNESS, INCLEMENT WEATHER, SCHEDULING CONFLICTS, and TRANSPORTATION ISSUES ETC.

In addition, tardiness for appointments will result in being charged from the time your appointment was scheduled.

To the degree possible, we attempt to schedule appointments at the same time each week (or interval designated by your clinician). This allows us to reserve a time slot for you each week. In the event two scheduled sessions are missed in a row, we may schedule someone else in your time slot.

Telehealth Option

If you cannot make an in-person appointment, please consider having your session via telehealth to avoid paying the full fee.

Group Sessions

When you agree to participate in group sessions, we agree to reserve a space for you in that group for a specified period of time. As such, fees are charged for groups up front, regardless of attendance.

Appeals Process / Special Billing Request

Should a client be charged for late cancellation or no show, they will have the option to complete a Special Billing Request form. This form will be signed by the clinician and Program Director, and reviewed by the billing team.

Whether or not the charge is refunded is up to the discretion of the clinician and Program Director. If the refund is approved, it’ll be deducted from the clinician’s pay and assigned program’s budget. The final decision is made by the Program Director and the billing team, upon which client will be notified if said charge will or will not be refunded.

If it’s an emergency or illness, we will send you our Special Billing Request via Adobe Sign for a potential reimbursement or credit to your account. Once this is completed by you, it will be sent directly to our Billing Team to review. However, we do NOT guarantee reimbursement for emergency or illness.

Social media has been a place for people, especially teens and young adults, to have a safe space for connecting with others with aligned interests and perspectives. In recent years, social media creators have centered content on mental health, which has started important conversations in reducing stigma and has enabled others to learn about mental health disorders and get support from peers going through similar experiences. However, social media can be a hotbed for spreading misinformation.

Clinicians have noticed a spike in young people presenting with self-diagnosed disorders, especially, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), tics and Tourette’s, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), dissociative identity disorder (DID), and personality disorders. But they are at a loss as to how to accurately assess these conditions when their clients come in with strong attachments to particular diagnoses and recite well-studied clinical criteria.

In this talk, we will discuss the current research on the benefits and harms of mental health social media content and how clinicians can balance their ethical responsibilities and the client-practitioner relationship in assessing clients. There will also be a discussion of how clinicians can engage in effective outreach in supporting access to evidence-based, reliable information to teens and young adults searching for help.

Throughout the presentation, there will be space for questions and attendee participation. There are no known risks to attendees or patients. As with all clinical work, attendees should be thoughtful about applying clinical strategies and obtain appropriate training and supervision.

Date: Friday, October 28, 2022
Time: 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.. MST
Location: Virtual, via Zoom
Cost: $25.00 OR Free to attend without CEUs 
CEUs: 1.0 Ethics CEU (UPA, NASW-UT, UAMFT, and UMHCA)

Note: Everyone who registers will be emailed the recording, presentation slides, and CE Quiz within one week following the event.

Register here:

Learning Statement:

At the conclusion of this presentation, attendees should be able to identify the evidence based for how social media use has contributed to diagnostic presentations in adolescents and young adults, and how their ethical obligations intersect with their clinical relationship in supporting individuals obtaining the right help for them.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Describe epidemiological connections between social media use and diagnostic presentations based on the current researchb.
  • Describe at least 3 ethical principles that apply to working with clients who have strong attachments to self-diagnosed disordersc.
  • List at least 4 skills to enhance clinician-client relationships when there is disagreement in diagnosisd.
  • Describe at least 2 ways clinicians can contribute to combating misinformation in media regarding mental health diagnosis


American Psychological Association. (2017). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct (2002, amended effective June 1, 2010, and January 1, 2017).

Geidinghagen, A. The tic in TikTok and (where) all systems go: Mass social media induced illness and Munchausen’s by internet as explanatory models for social media associated abnormal illness behavior. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

Gupta, S, Bhusan, DS, Mahajan, R. The role of social influencers for effective public health communication. 2021. doi: 10.1108/OIR-01-2021-0012.

Olvera, C., Stebbins, G.T., Goetz, C.G., Kompoliti, K. TikTok Tics: A Pandemic Within a Pandemic. Movement Disorders Clinical Practice. 2021; 8(8), 1200-1205.

Pringsheim, T., Ganos, C., McGuire, J.F….et al. Rapid onset functional tic-like behaviors in young females during the COVID-19 pandemic. Movement Disorders. 2021; 36(12) 2703-2713.

Yeung, A., Ng., E., AbiJaoude, E. TikTok and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Cross-Sectional Study of Social Media Content Quality. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 2022;

About the presenters:

Laura Rowley, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist. Laura obtained her doctorate from Wayne State University. She completed her APA-accredited internship and postdoctoral fellowship at Primary Children’s Hospital. Laura is currently the Program Director for the Assessment and Testing Team at Utah Center for Evidence Based Treatment, where she specializes in testing services for neurodiverse children and adults.

Accuracy, Utility, and Risks Statement:

This program discusses ethical codes in clinical practice for psychologists. It may not include information on all mental health professions. Misapplication of the materials, or errors in the materials, could result in non-compliance with applicable laws or ethics code.

Program Notices:

Conflicts of Interest: None noted.

Commercial Support: None.

We have a new 12-week virtual group starting at the end of this month (Oct 27)! This group uses the evidence-based therapy approach Skills Training in Affect and Interpersonal Regulation (STAIR) for individuals currently experiencing distress from trauma. Taught by Cristina Chévere-Rivera, Psy.D. and Nicholas Schollars, Psy.D., this group is geared toward adults who are currently in therapy or who are transitioning out of therapy. REGISTER HERE.

At the end of these 12-weeks, you will have:

  • Enhanced coping skills to navigate distress and regulate difficult emotions. 
  • The skills to make decisions based on important values instead of being emotionally driven.  
  • Healthy ways of relating across social, professional, and personal contexts. 

Through this group, you will also learn:

  • How to have increased emotional awareness. 
  • How the interconnection of body, thoughts, and behaviors can impact your life.
  • What self-compassion is and how you can use it to help yourself in challenging situations.


This virtual group meets every Thursday for 12-weeks and begins on Thursday, October 27th from 4:00 - 5:30 p.m. MST. The cost is $65/weekly session.

Here's the link to the webpage:

This 12-week virtual group uses the evidence-based therapy approach Skills Training in Affect and Interpersonal Regulation (STAIR) for individuals currently experiencing distress from trauma. Taught by Cristina Chévere-Rivera, Psy.D. and Stephanie Taylor, Ph.D., this group is geared toward adults who are currently in therapy or who are transitioning out of therapy.

At the end of these 12-weeks, you will have:

  • Enhanced coping skills to navigate distress and regulate difficult emotions. 
  • The skills to make decisions based on important values instead of being emotionally driven.  
  • Healthy ways of relating across social, professional, and personal contexts. 

Through this group, you will also learn:

  • How to have increased emotional awareness. 
  • How the interconnection of body, thoughts, and behaviors can impact your life.
  • What self-compassion is and how you can use it to help yourself in challenging situations. 

This virtual group meets weekly for 12-weeks. The cost is $65/weekly session.

Next group begins April 6, 2023 from 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

To register, complete the online form so that we may contact you to make sure you're a good fit for this program.,

Sign up for this group.


Cloitre, M., Cohen, L. R., Ortigo, K. M., Jackson, C., & Koenen, K. C. (2020). Treating survivors of childhood abuse and interpersonal trauma: STAIR narrative therapy. Guilford Publications. 

Jackson, C., Weiss, B. J., & Cloitre, M. (2019). STAIR group treatment for Veterans with PTSD: Efficacy and impact of gender on outcome. Military medicine, 184(1-2), e143-e147. 

MacIntosh, H. B., Cloitre, M., Kortis, K., Peck, A., & Weiss, B. J. (2018). Implementation and evaluation of the skills training in affective and interpersonal regulation (STAIR) in a community setting in the context of childhood sexual abuse. Research on Social Work Practice, 28(5), 595-602. 


As part of our Assessment and Testing Services, UCEBT offers Giftedness and High Stakes Testing. Here are some of our most frequently asked questions regarding these services:

Do you offer IQ testing for giftedness evaluations?  

Yes. UCEBT's psychoeducational evaluations can be used to identify intellectual giftedness. Many parents explore giftedness testing to see if their child is eligible for specialized gifted programs or schools. Here are some things to consider if giftedness assessment is right for your child: 

  • Giftedness assessment includes standardized cognitive testing (IQ testing) as a component of a comprehensive evaluation 
  • Giftedness assessment also includes parent and teacher reports, observations, academic achievement testing, and assessment of child’s strengths, learning style, and educational needs 
  • Giftedness assessment provides recommendations for educational and enrichment resources to help each child meet their unique potential  

Do you offer services for twice exceptional (2e) individuals?  

Yes. UCEBT evaluations can determine whether individuals are twice exceptional, meaning that they are intellectually gifted and also have a learning disability or other forms of neurodivergence, such as autism or ADHD. Twice exceptionality requires specialized training in understanding the complex presentations of strengths and weaknesses and providing tailored recommendations for education and intervention planning.  

Do you offer assessment for individuals seeking high stakes testing accommodations?  

Yes. UCEBT evaluations can provide data and documentation needed to apply for accommodations on high stakes tests. High stakes tests include standardized exams such as the SAT, ACT, GRE, MCT, etc. Individuals with documented learning disabilities that have had accommodations in school at times require updated testing to support standardized test accommodations, such as extended time. UCEBT recommendations for accommodations to do not guarantee that they will be provided by the testing officials. It is advised that individuals seeking such accommodations familiarize themselves with the requirements for specific tests. More information can be found at the following links:  

Learn more about Giftedness or High Stakes Testing at UCEBT with a free consultation. Simply complete this online form and a member of our staff will reach out to you to schedule your free consultation with one of our licensed psychologists.