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Interview with:

Los Angeles Teen Counselor - Sandra Dupont MA, MS, MFT [sandradupontmft] 

Which is your specialty in psychology?
Adolescent Therapist | Teen Support Groups | Effective Parenting Workshops I help teens approach life’s challenges with confidence and competence. I help parents to understand the issues teens face today, and to support their child in successfully navigating the adolescent years.
What types of clients do you work with?
I specialize in working with shy, sensitive and creative adolescents. I also have extensive experience working with diverse, multi-cultural families.
Is there a web site or blog where we can learn more about you?
Teen Advice Blog: www.losangelesteentherapist.com Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sandra-dupont/ YouTube Video Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/LATeenTherapist Follow me on Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/LATeenTherapist Follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LosAngelesTeenTherapy
What methods do you employ? Could you briefly explain the principles your approach is based on?
My interactions have a conversational feel. I look beyond "diagnoses" to understand what the symptoms are saying about where this person, or family, is in their process of growth and self-discovery. Using art therapy, character building exercises, social skills role-playing, along with lively and creative discussions, I am able to uncover and address the challenges that teenagers are struggling with. Parents also benefit from learning proven techniques for setting healthy limits and re-connecting with their child. My work reflects both a Humanistic focus, as well as my understanding Attachment Theory and how to form healthy bonds within families. My goal is to use my interactions with families to model alternative responses and ways of thinking about their situations.
Depression is almost epidemic. What is going wrong on the societal level?
In a society where we have become extremely technological, many people have disconnected from nourishing relationships in favor of virtual ones. From television viewing, to Internet surfing, to text messaging - people are spending more time with their phones and computers than with their families. Unfortunately, the co-regulation of emotional states that was once available to society through chatting with neighbors, friends and co-workers is getting interrupted by less emotionally fulfilling forms of interaction. So, step away from that computer and go hug your loved ones!
What do dreams mean?
Writing in a dream journal upon awakening is an excellent way help you remember your dreams. Taking time to reflect on what message your dreams might be giving you is wonderful way to stimulate your own creative interpretations. If you've noticed, the unfolding of a dream often lies outside of time and space; thus the past, present and future are lumped together. Dreams can be a way for the mind to organize and process the day's events, concerns, hopes and fantasies. Thrown into the mix are symbolic representations of things our that unconscious may try to shield us from ... or bring to our attention. Only the dreamer truly knows what meaning the dream images hold for them.
Why is it so difficult for us to forgive ourselves?
As humans, we are designed to learn from our experiences. It is essential that we recognize mistakes are an integral part of the process of our growth and learning. By practicing accepting ourselves--along with our imperfections--we learn greater tolerance for and acceptance of others.
What does the phenomenon of falling in love consist of? Is there a cure?
Did you know that relationships with early caregivers have directly influenced our ability to later form heartfelt bonds with others? As our primary caregiver mirrors our tentative first encounters with the world, we develop a sense of our ability to impact our world, and whether or not our needs will be met. In a perfect world, we learn how to deeply connect to others in the early stages of our life. Recent research in brain function has proven that love is a human necessity; its absence damaging not only individuals, but to our whole society. Our brains have evolved to require consistent bonding and nurturing and close emotional connections literally change the brain in those who engage in them. Loving from a balanced sense of self is a very good thing.
What are the keys to creating healthy relationships?
Healthy relationships come about from creating a safe space where we can see others, and be seen, in our most authentic expressions. However, to accomplish this, we must first know and accept ourselves. To accept oneself presumes integration of all of one's expressions--quirks and idiosyncrasies. Only in fully accepting yourself do you have the capacity to truly see and accept another.
What new trends in psychology have stirred up your interest the most?
My work with teens and their families includes coaching the parents in proven effective parenting techniques. In the book "Parenting from the Inside Out" the author, Dan Siegel, shows parents, through cutting edge research, how a parent's interaction with their child impact their child's brain development. Were you aware that parenting styles are often passed down through the generations with parents frequently repeat their parent's style of parenting? Therefore, a parent's unresolved issues from their own childhood can influence the way they perceive and parents their children.
How is the creative personality different from others?
Highly creative adolescents can sometimes find themselves struggling to fit in with their peers. Because of the difference between their conceptual abilities and their actual development, teens are able to envision outcomes that they are, as yet, unable to perform. Therefore, they frequently end up feeling frustrated and discouraged when learning new things. By projecting “perfectionism” onto everything they do, these unrealistic self-expectations can result in feelings of inadequacy. Able to anticipate the challenges in new experiences, they can become hesitant to try new things for fear of failing. Gifted teens can also be hypersensitive to noise, light and the emotions of others, sometimes causing overreaction and difficulty in social settings.
What is a “healthy” ego?
Teens with healthy levels of self-esteem determine their self-worth according to how well they are living up to standards they have set for themselves in regards to their attitude, compassion, beliefs, and vision for their life. Here is a checklist to know if you are living an “Inner Directed life” * You know who you are and what you feel. * You are not afraid to be yourself. * You stand strong in what is true for you, and trust and believe in yourself. * You love and appreciate yourself. * You feel at peace. * You have no need to manipulate others. * You accept others exactly as they are. * You don’t waste time looking to others for approval. * You take responsibility for your actions..
Which are the most common psychological problems of artists and creative people in general?
In modern classrooms, where left brain skills are valued, creative children can be given the message that something is wrong with them. This message, if not tempered, can follow them the rest of their life, leaving them struggling to fit in. Some teens are academically oriented, while others perceive life through colors, sound, images and movement. Rather than label these students, I would prefer to see them guided to schools, programs and teachers where they can thrive.
What kinds of people do you think are at high risk for addiction?
Adolescence, with all the changes that accompany it, can be an intense time where teens are overwhelmed by new feelings. Feelings aren’t always comfortable, and some teens so strongly dislike feeling sad, anxious, angry or insecure that they will do anything to avoid these feelings. Self-medication through drugs or alcohol is often an attempt to regulate or avoid painful feelings. Substance abuse in teenagers can appear as attention seeking, and/or isolating behavior. Teens who are at high risk of becoming addicted to drugs often feel emotionally cut off from the important people in their life.
What books do you recommend to help us develop a better understanding of ourselves?
"WHAT WOULD YOUR TEEN THERAPIST SAY? A workbook for discovering your true self-expression" by Sandra Dupont MA, MS, MFT This book invites teens to look at life challenges in a way that allows them to resolve them. The journal exercises included are designed to teach teens how to meet life honestly and openly, work through their feelings, and experience their emotions completely. http://www.amazon.com/What-Would-Your-Teen-Therapist/dp/1468111817/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1330985210&sr=8-1 "WHAT WOULD YOUR TEEN LIFE COACH SAY? A Survival Guide For Girls Entering High School" by Sandra Dupont MA, MS, MFT Written for girls who want a preview of what to expect and a guide to help them soar through their teen years--this book is a treasure for those eager to successfully navigate this complex time of life. The simple Q & A format makes it easy for girls (and parents) to find relevant topics - and help. http://www.amazon.com/What-Would-Your-Teen-Coach/dp/1456304127/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1323038702&sr=8-1 PARENTING TEENAGERS: Systematic Training for Effective Parenting of Teens by Don C., Sr. Dinkmeyer and Gary D. McKay Proven techniques for better parent-teen relationships. Examples of real-life situations that parents can relate to. Helping families communicate more effectively, understand each other, and live happier, more fulfilled lives. http://www.amazon.com/Parenting-Teenagers-Systematic-Training-Effective/dp/0979554217/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1323038777&sr=1-1
In the past there was a lot of stigma associated with going to therapy, but now it is rather fashionable. When is and when isn't help from a psychotherapist necessary?
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” ― C.G. Jung The major difference between seeking help from family and friends versus a therapist is the education and neutral perspective that a trained professional can provide. Persons suffering from severe forms of depression and self-injurious behavior are in a different category than those struggling with milder forms of stress and anxiety.
How should one deal with a friend who "psychoanalyzes" without having been asked to do so?
That is never pleasant. I would suggest kindly inviting them to look at the intention behind their actions, and then share with them how it feels to be identified as their "patient". (Bottom line, they may be uncomfortable with hearing you share about your pain.) Until they can learn to tolerate their discomfort and trust in your process of growth and self-discovery, limits will need to be set about the information you share with them about your life.
Give us a simple prescription for happiness
Each night before you go to bed, make a mental note of 5 things that you are grateful for. And make every opportunity to look the people that you dearly love in the eye and tell them so. Blessings to you and your loved ones!! Please let me know if I can ever be of assistance to your teen or young adult children.

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Los Angeles Teen Counselor - Sandra Dupont MA, MS, MFT
Los Angeles - USA

[sandradupontmft] Los Angeles Teen Counselor - Sandra Dupont MA, MS, MFT
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