Camas Ridge Counseling Corner

Week of May 18-May 24, 2020

Things to be aware of. . . In this episode . . .

In this edition:

  • Collaborative Problem-Solving: Working with your child to address problem behaviors
  • Parent Info & Collaboration Night
  • OT Corner: Sensory-motor activities
  • Activities for Home
  • Camas Ridge Care Team: Community Resources & Food Resources
  • Prior week's resources: Anxiety resources, Calm Corner & Breathing Exercises

Collaborative Problem Solving: Working with your child to address problem behaviors

What is Collaborative Problems Solving (CPS)?

It's working together to see why a behavior happens and set a plan together for change.

It's a non-punitive and non-adversarial model and approach to interacting and parenting.

  • It's empirically-supported & evidence-based
  • It is a cognitive-behavioral (CBT) approach, is growth-mindset, restorative, trauma-informed, and based in neurobiology

It's about Perspective. . . Traditional Perspective vs. CPS Perspective

  • A traditional perspective on behavior: intentional & manipulative. This thinking often results in thinking of the person as a 'bad person', power struggles, and frustration
  • The CPS perspective on behavior: challenging behavior occurs when expectations being placed on a person exceed the person's capacity to respond adaptively. . . and some people are lacking the skills to handle certain demands and expectations
  • Behaviors and thinking skills are taught and learned.

When I simply shift how I view "behavior," I begin to view the person differently, become aware that a skill deficit may exist that needs to be taught, and am better at working with, rather than against, the person. I feel better about my interactions compared to responding to challenging behavior in a punitive or blaming manner.

Why CPS?

CPS helps to solve problems collaboratively and proactively,

  • promoting a problem-solving partnership
  • engages kids in solving problems that affect their lives
  • produces more effective, durable solutions
  • teaches skills at the same time

Six Key Themes of CPS:
  1. Emphasis is on solving problems before they happen, rather than modifying behaviors. The challenging behavior is often the signal or communication that there is difficulty meeting expectations.
  2. Problem-solving is collaborative rather than unilateral
  3. Problem-solving is proactive rather than responsive
  4. Understanding comes before helping
  5. Kids do well if they can
  6. Doing well is preferable

If we teach no skills. . . we solve no problems

With CPS, it takes two to tango:

  • the challenging kid who is challenging because they're lacking the skills not to be challenging
  • the adult with unmet expectations

With CPS, we examine the expectation (is it clear, is it important & relevant), the skill or lack of skill (the challenging behavior) to meet the expectation, and problem-solve how to build skill to reach expectation while possibly re-examining or adjusting the expectation.

Collaborative Problem-Solving: Quick review of process

CPS, for me, has become a way of relating and interacting with youth in my role in schools and in my parenting, rather than a scripted series of steps. Using CPS well has involved multiple hours of in-person training, reading, and on-going learning within a group of like-minded professionals. It is ongoing and becomes ingrained in your methods of being and responding. Even without in-depth training, the framework and perspectives can be invaluable in responding to challenging behavior.

An Overview:

Step 1: Empathy Step~ gather information to achieve clearest understanding of kid's concern and perspective about a given unsolved problem

  • Sounds like: "I've noticed that you have difficulty brushing your teeth when I ask in the morning, what's up?"

Step 2: Define the Problem~identify expectation (parent concern) that is not being met

  • Sounds like: " The thing is brushing teeth helps your breath smell better, cleans your teeth, and actually helps keep you healthy, and I worry that not brushing teeth could cause you to get sick."

Step 3: Invitation~ both child and parent brainstorm solutions to arrive at plan of action that addresses both concerns and both people can actually do

  • Sounds like: "I wonder if there is a way you could keep your teeth clean and healthy and (whatever the child identified as concern or barrier to meeting expectation) have time to play in the morning"

Working with your child to find a solution to a situation that you both can actually do and can live with is a win-win AND just going through the problem-solving process builds skills and supports the parent-child relationship.

Parent Info & Collaboration Night

Wednesday, May 20th, 6:30pm

This is an online event.

Open zoom meeting with short presentation on parenting-related topic relevant to current times, followed by time for Q & A.

This weeks topic: Collaborative Problem Solving

See e-mail and Seesaw announcement for zoom invite

OT Corner ~ Sensory Motor Activities

Newsletter of activities from our 4J Occupational Therapy Team with fun fine motor & sensory activities.


Upper Elementary-Middle School:

Activities for Home

Camas Ridge Care Team

EBT food supplement for Free & Reduced Lunch

There is some relief for families now having to provide extra meals from home. See this News Release regarding food assistance for children who were previously receiving free or reduced lunch at school. In partnership with DHS and ODE, families will receive $5.70 per child per day in assistance on an EBT (Oregon Trail) card for March – June. Those who already receive SNAP benefits will receive a supplement automatically on their EBT card. Those who don’t have SNAP will receive an EBT card with the issuance by mail automatically. If a family was not previously receiving Free and Reduced meals at school but has experienced a financial hardship that would make them eligible now, they can apply online or contact their child’s school for assistance.

Want and Able to Provide Support?

While we brace for a larger economic crisis to come, many of our 4J families are experiencing an immediate financial crisis. Camas Ridge, and all 4j schools, have formed wraparound support teams to connect with families in need and help them access services and supports. In many cases, the families we're helping have never needed support before. If you are able to give, thank you. There are many ways to give, from providing gift cards for groceries, gas, or data, or donating items, such as pet food, cleaning supplies, food, hygiene items. Donations can be made to Camas Ridge or the Eugene School District.

Family Check-Up and Parenting Support

The UO Child and Family Center is providing Family Check-Up free to families to help address common parenting and childhood behavioral and emotional challenges.

Prior Resources: Addressing Anxiety

Prior Resources: Brain Breaks & Calm Corners

Addressing Anxiety

Anxiety has been on the rise and is becoming quite common in youth. Unfortunately, there is no "cure" for anxiety: it will never go away, medications don't eliminate it, we can't always avoid it.

Instead, we learn how anxiety impacts us and develop strategies to work through or sit through the discomfort.

What it looks like: mood swings, sleep changes, constant or excessive worrying, negative self-talk, avoidance of typically-liked activities, physical complaints (headaches, stomachaches, tired without cause)

What it feels like: Panic feels like being stuck on the tracks; anxiety is future-thinking and feels like being worried you may get stuck on the tracks

What is anxiety, why does it occur:

  • some fear and anxiety is necessary and biological. It's a protective mechanism and part of normal development. Childhood anxieties are fueled by an active imagination and trying to build an explanation of the world and their experiences.
  • Anxiety and worry is based on future thinking
  • Over-estimation of threat + Under-estimation of coping skills = Anxious response

How Worry Works:

  1. The amygdala in our brain filters thoughts and information.
  2. In calm, non-anxious brain, the amygdala senses "safe" and sends the information to the prefrontal cortex to process the information thoughtfully and rationally.
  3. In an anxious brain, the amygdala tends to run on high alert, responding more automatically with fight-flight-freeze, disabling the flow of information to the part of the brain that processes and applies reason and thoughtfulness to the information
  4. Many of the thoughts and perceptions that initially cross our minds may be lies or mis-perceptions. Allowing those thoughts to be critically examined removes their power.

3 Parts of Anxiety: the worry track is automatic for people with anxiety. Address by working from Head to Toe

  • Thoughts (head): thoughts automatically occur and may be lies or mis-interpretations. Challenge those thoughts. Are they true? Is that a what-if?
  • Feelings (Stomach): where and how do you feel the worry in your body. Once the feelings are identified, we can name it to tame it (identification removes much of the power and intensity)
  • Behavior/Action (toes): What do we do with the anxiety? What can we do instead?

What to Avoid:

  • passing your anxieties onto your student
  • enabling your student to escape situations
  • dismiss your child's anxiety or worries
  • provide false reassurances "everything will be fine"

What to Do:

  • validate feelings
  • name the worry thought: Challenge or change the thought. Don't shame for feeling worried
  • identify and practice strategies when in calm state, so can begin using when feeling anxious or worried

Some Strategies:

  • Research suggests cognitive-behavioral therapies and strategies are most successful. This includes psycho-education, teaching yourself about your anxiety, challenging thought patterns, and implementing behavior change.
  • Schedule "worry time": instead of worrying all day long, try to limit worry thoughts to a specific time (not right before bedtime)
  • Discuss the Circle of Control: no need to worry about what we can't control; focus on what can be controlled
  • Create a Worry Box: write or draw your worried to pass along to the worry box so you don't have to carry.
  • Blow It Away: Thinking about the worry, breathe in a cleansing breath, breathing in your favorite color; breathe out your worry, breathing out your least favorite color. Watch your worry float away.
  • Mindfulness Strategies, including breathing and positive affirmations

Closing Thoughts

We've moved to distance learning, families are trying to provide for their child(ren)'s education from home, while also managing work, home, family, etc. Some may be able to tackle this with ease and grace. . . for (many) others, this is a challenging time trying to find the balance between all of these expectations and priorities.

There is great importance and value from positive connections, relationship-building, and free-time for imagination, exploration, day-dreaming, and exploring your own interests and joys. A lot of learning occurs from the natural conversations and experiences that come from letting the imagination run loose, engaging in silly physical activities, and random day-dreaming.

Education and academic learning does not have to look like worksheets, text-books or other teacher-led activities. Academics and educational learning can be infused in natural-occurring activities, which lead to more engaged and meaningful learning.

Some ideas: Board games, create an oral story contributing one-word or one-phrase per person, draw a picture story of a recent experience, dream up a future vacation, create a board game.

This is a great time to let the imagination and creativity flow and allowing time to follow our children's lead.

Jaime Hock

School Psychologist

Work cell: 541-760-6199