What can we do as parents to help our children overcome challenges they will inevitably face?

In what ways can we guide them so they become successful adults?

According to Dr. John Gottman, emotional suppression can underlie a child’s inability to overcome challenges faced in today’s fast paced, stressful world.

As parents we can foster emotional intelligence in our children. Emotionally intelligent adults are generally better able to cope with life’s inevitable ups and downs. Dr. Gottman developed an Emotion Coaching program, based on his own extensive research, consisting of five simple steps to help improve children’s emotional lives. The premise of Emotion Coaching is based on valuing your children’s emotions and offering empathy and patience in order to help your children trust and manage their own feelings.

1. Emotional awareness: being aware of your own, as well as your child’s emotions

2. Connecting: recognizing emotional moments as an opportunity to draw close to your child and create a bond instead of giving advice, which teaches your child to tolerate negative emotions

3. Listening: having empathy for your child’s emotions, without disapproval, criticism or indifference

4. Naming emotions: helping to build your child’s emotional vocabulary so they can better express what they need

5. Finding good solutions: setting good limits on behavioural reactions and providing guidance in finding an appropriate solution

It’s important to note that you can’t always be an emotion coach because these moments require adequate time and patience. The research reveals that parents who employ emotion coaching successfully only do so 40-60% of the time.

Try out these 5 simple steps with your child and watch their emotional intelligence soar!

See more research from Dr. John Gottman here.

Why do we do nice things for others? Why do we enjoy seeing these stories in the media? What’s the psychology behind altruism? Dr. Cohen is featured in a Global News segment, answering these questions.
She explains that watching videos of “random acts of kindness” helps us reflect on ourselves because we all like to think we can do something for others, and be heroic. It also gives us a sense of community, which stems from altruism. Happier people tend to be those who give more.

Try doing something nice for someone and see how it makes you feel!

Trouble sleeping at night? Although it is common for many people to experience occasional sleep difficulties, for some people these difficulties occur more frequently. Chronic insomnia includes a persistent difficulty in one or more of the following: falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early. Insomnia affects between 10 – 30% of the adult population and is a serious disorder that negatively affects the functioning, health status, and quality of lives of millions of individuals worldwide. Both medication and psychotherapy are effective options in the management of this disorder. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) is a brief non-pharmacological insomnia treatment. The majority of people treated with CBT-I see improvements and almost half of people no longer have insomnia at the end of treatment. Some more benefits of CBT-I:

• Similar to CBT for other disorders, you will learn skills and strategies that you could use even after treatment has ended. Specifically, in CBT-I you will learn skills and strategies to improve your sleep.

• Whereas the benefits of sleep medications may stop once you stop taking the medication, research has shown that those treated with CBT-I maintain these sleep improvements over time (i.e., even after the treatment has ended).

• CBT-I is the preferred and recommended first-line treatment for chronic insomnia.

• Finally, CBT-I is an effective short-term treatment, which typically takes between 4 – 8 sessions.

Our associate, Taryn Atlin, is conducting her doctoral research on the daytime experience of those with insomnia and she is trained and experienced in the delivery of CBT for the treatment of insomnia. Feel free to contact Dr. Eliana Cohen & Associates today for additional information!

Phobias are the most common anxiety disorders. Although they are among the most treatable anxiety disorders, overcoming a phobia without professional treatment can be challenging. There are a variety of phobia types, including phobias focused on the fear of an animal (e.g., fear of dogs, spiders, or snakes), an element of the natural environment (e.g., fear of heightsor storms), medical practices (e.g., needles, dental or medical procedures), or a variety of other situations (e.g., driving, closed spaces, flying). Regardless of the type of phobia, most individuals’ fear is focused on the idea that some aspect of their feared object or situation will cause them harm. Therefore, one of the key elements of overcoming a phobia is by confronting one’s fear directly.

The most effective way of overcoming a phobia is through exposure-based treatments, such as cognitive behavioural therapy. The first step in treatment is to develop a list of your feared situations, with the most anxiety-provoking ones at the top of the list and the least anxiety-provoking ones at the bottom. This “hierarchy” provides a roadmap that guidesyou through a series of exposure exercises that involve directly confronting the feared situations, starting with the easier items on the list and working up to more difficult ones. As you progress through the list of exposure exercises, you have the opportunity to learn information that disconfirms your fearful beliefs about the object or situation.As a result, the anxiety that you experience when confronted with the feared object or situation reduces over time. With the support of a trained therapist, phobias are highly treatable and can be overcome relatively quickly.