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Summer Camps versus Summer Therapeutic Programs.

Summer Camps versus Summer Therapeutic Programs.

Understanding the differences when seeking behavioral change

As you are looking for options for the summer, it is important to know and understand the differences between a summer camp and a summer program. reSTART is in favor of encouraging any activity or behavior that focuses on getting our students outside, active, and away from screens for a certain period of time, but for those students that are looking for specific support around Internet and gaming struggles, it is essential that you know the difference between these two options when considering treatment for video game addiction, screen dependence and mental health concerns.

Lack of Regulation

Summer Camps are generally unregulated and unlicensed. This means that they do not have the same standards such as training requirements or background checks. As a licensed program, we are accountable to the state licensing board and have regular audits for our staff and our facilities. This helps ensure that your child is receiving proper care, support, and attention in a physically and emotionally safe environment.

Summer Intensives at reSTART

The benefit of the reSTART summer program is that you get a shortened version of our propriety, state of the art, experiential program. This program includes in depth assessments, parent coaching, individual and group therapy, family therapy and our unique program design. This design has been developed over 10 years and has been shown to greatly improve the lifestyle and wellbeing of adolescents and young adults struggling with internet and video game problems and co-occurring mental health issues.

Combining Summer Intensive with Summer Camp Fun

reSTART also focuses on a lot of similar elements of your traditional summer camp. We want our students to be out in nature and experience the wonders that the outdoors have to offer. Our students participate in day hikes and overnight camping trips throughout the summer, allowing them that opportunity for connection and getting them out of their element, away from screens, and in an environment focused on positivity and growth.

Enroll early to ensure you have a spot

Late spring and summer is the most popular time of year to enroll at reSTART, so apply early to ensure you’ll have a spot. We look forward to working with our summer families and being apart of their amazing journey. See you this summer!

Addictive video games? What makes the list in 2019

Addictive video games? What makes the list in 2019

The unknown gamerverse

While it’s relatively easy to recognize the signs of problematic video game use, identifying the games being played is proving to be much more difficult. When parents of troubled teens are asked what games their children play, they often respond with “some shooter game,” or “I’m really not sure.” That said, parents are keen at noticing the ways in which games interfere with academics and daily life. 

What video games are most addictive?

Game developers often pride themselves in producing addictive video games. And players are quick to create lists of addictive games. To this point, a quick Internet search on addictive video games will show countless sites highlighting the top addictive video games of 2019, followed by the most addictive video games of all time.

Briefly, let’s highlight a few MMO, MMORPG, and RPG games which frequently show up on  assessments for those seeking treament.

The following video games made our list:

  • Fortnite
  • Minecraft
  • Hearthstone
  • Overwatch
  • Guildwars2
  • League of Legends
  • Call of Duty
  • World of Warcraft
  • Counter Strike
  • Dota 2
  • Mortal Kombat
  • Grand Theft Auto
  • Elder Scrolls

This list is not exhaustive. In fact, there are thousands of addictive video games on the market.

Rise in Gaming?

More video games are played today than ever before. This rise in gaming worldwide poses difficulties for parents and healthcare professionals alike who are not familiar with the complex nature of video games.

When seeking treatment or help with an addiction, especially one involving digital media, it’s always best to work with a team of specialists rather than a generalist who may have little understanding of industry trends.

Overwhelmed by texts and emails?

Overwhelmed by texts and emails?

It is an understatement to say that the frequency of text messages and emails overwhelming our phones and inboxes leave many of us anxious and distracted. Our evolutionary history has not equipped our brains to respond to and then relax from these interruptions (and at times wonderful connections) in our lives. I have found that my need to create space away from these notifications has become a staple of my mental health. Even better than simple time away, spending time in nature brings the kind of calm that my nerves wait for while I respond to the next email.

Newer research is continuing to discover the profound impact that having or not having connection to the natural environment plays in our mental and physical health. As I cope with the everyday distractions of my technology connected life, I find myself longing for a place where I can hear myself think, allow my body to calm down, and connect to all that is around me. As research about the impacts of nature on our health unfolds, it is becoming clear that nature plays this important role in a way that other interventions are trying to keep up with.

I am grateful that I am able to spend part of my time as a therapist leading others to discover the beauty and calm of the mountains, ocean, and lakes of the Northwest. The picture shown is an image from one of our trips to Mt. Baker last year.

May you, too, discover your sense of calm and plan your next adventure to our home in nature.

Unraveling the Meaning of Intimacy Disorder

Unraveling the Meaning of Intimacy Disorder

What is intimacy?

People have different ideas about the word “intimacy”. For many, it’s a code word for sex. We at reSTART do not think of it this way. We subscribe to the ideas put forth by Drs. John and Julie Gottman, Dr. Brene Brown and Dr. Patrick Carnes. The Gottmans, through their 40+ years of research, say that intimacy is: “. . . the feeling that grows out of knowing another person’s past, present, and future in great detail (“love maps”) and they know the same about you. Intimacy requires the development of respect and admiration.”Dr. Brown talks about the sense of intimacy and trust that grows out of allowing oneself to be vulnerable with another person, risking and “daring greatly” to be known. And Dr. Carnes talks about how, over time, two people come to know one another in an increasingly open way that develops trust. In the context of romance, he calls this “courtship”.

Friends With Benefits?

These ideas clearly overlap and get at the notion that intimacy is not sex. It really is the development, over time, of an open, honest, trusting relationship. This sounds like friendship, doesn’t it? And, indeed, it is that. In their study of satisfying, long-term relationships they found that the core of success was friendship, characterized by trust, respect, love and admiration. Between romantic partners there will be sex, of course, added into the mix.

Distorted Reality

The clients who come to reSTART have, for the majority, little notion of healthy intimacy. They have spent their growing up years playing video games, watching porn, and whatever other online activities they found interesting. The content of video games and porn was largely what informed their ideas about relationships. The more time they spent online and how early its overuse began influenced the ways their minds came to bewired.It is safe to say that most of our clients come to us with an intimacy disorder. They rarely know how to build and maintain close, intimate relationships, face to face,either with those they would like as friends, or those they would like as romantic partners.

Not Always As It Seems

Gamers often believe that their online friendships count as intimate, and, it is true that they may feel close to those they game with and talk to in their online communities. Sometimes these online relationships are mutual and sometimes gamers meet these friends in person and deepen their friendships or romantic relationships. But, here’s the thing, however close you feel to someone you only know online, the reality is that you have no way of truly knowing who they are. You may feel trust in this person and then have the trust betrayed either by them disappearing one day (a common occurrence) or meeting them one day in person and they are different from the person they presented to you online. We know, for example, of a 22 year-old man who had been having a romantic relationship for 10 years with an older man, pretending to be a grown woman when he was just 12+ years old. At 22 he was committed to never meeting this man, as he didn’t ever want to be discovered for whom he really was.

Shifting the Intimacy Paradigm

So, in conclusion, the online lives of our clients have, for the most part, not allowed them to develop the skills of intimacy-building. Their intimacy disorder can change within the safe, close environment of our program where they learn how to risk being vulnerable with one another. The change takes time, but many of them find that the investment in this growth is worth it. They, like all of us, need and want intimate relationships. As they discover a path toward it, their hopes for the future develop.

You, Your Child, and Video Game Addiction: How to Foster Communication

You, Your Child, and Video Game Addiction: How to Foster Communication

Real Life and the Gaming World

The gaming world and the real world can seem at odds at times, especially when the potential for classifying video game behavior as addictive is on the table. On one side we have gamers who may either be playing without thought of potential consequence, gamers who are questioning the time they spend gaming, or gamers who remain in stark denial over the mounting evidence that technology could, in fact, be negatively impacting their quality of life; on the other side are worried friends and loved ones. For parents who eventually need to send their child to treatment over the deteriorating effects of video game use, the sentiment across all families are universal: ‘I wish I had done something sooner.’

Check the List

But how do I know if my child has a problem, and what are the early signs of video game addiction? It’s common that parents will not approach their child for fear of their children perceiving them as overreacting, or because they simply don’t know what to say. In the following, I will lay out the criteria that the APA is proposing for an individual to receive a diagnosis of Internet Gaming Addiction. Of the following nine criteria, five are needed for a diagnosis.

Preoccupation: Spends time thinking about video games, even when not playing them. Does your child feel like they are not mentally present during family or other activities?

Withdrawal: Feeling restless or irritable when not able to play games. Does your child become confrontational, or is there a strong change in mood when you try to limit your child’s technology use?

Tolerance: Needing to play more games in order to get the same excitement as before. Have you noticed that, over time, your child has become more and more preoccupied with their technology use?

Inability to Reduce: Attempting to play less but finding that they are not able to. Is your child finding that their want to play in transitioning into a need for gaming?

Giving up Other Activities: Is there a lack of pleasure in other activities that your child previously found enjoyable?

Continuing Despite Problems: Is your child aware of the negative impact of gaming on their life but chooses to continue gaming anyway

Deceive: Is your child hiding or lying about how much they are gaming?

Escape Mood: Is gaming becoming a way that your child handles stress or anxiety? Are they using gaming as a way to avoid or numb their feelings?

Risk: Is your child’s gaming creating risk of losing or harming significant relationships, employment, or performance in school?

Talking it Out

Communicating with your child or loved one about their gaming in an open, consistent, non-shaming way is a good way to foster honesty and trust. This can be hard sometimes, delineating ‘you’re breaking my heart with your gaming (more shame-based)’ from ‘it breaks my heart thinking that we haven’t been able to talk like we used to (more assertive-based),’ but more communication is better than none! Be honest with yourself—you deserve to feel however you are feeling in this moment. The best that you can do is share how you are feeling, specifically what your needs are. Open a dialogue with your loved one: how can we work together to both get our needs met? Communication can bridge the gap between parents and loved ones. It’s not about you vs. me; it’s about us vs. gaming, unhealthiness, and all factors that challenge our connection. To this end, we are all on the same side.

Is more information really better?

Is more information really better?

by Erica Demeester, Rec Therapist

Your Inner Voice in the Digital Information Age

We live in a world where we have so much information at our fingertips that having to wait for something can seem unbearable. Not being able to immediately look up a question can seem irritating. There is a never-ending access to pictures, post, articles and any information imaginable; all we need to do is scroll down for more.

Is More Info Really Better?

At times it seems more is better, the more we know the smarter we become, the smarter we become the more we achieve. But what if that was not entirely true? If we are so concerned with what is going on around us then we may be missing what is truly going on inside of us.

Sit With Yourself

We all have the ability to listen to ourselves and our inner voice. It takes time, patience, practice and space. My work at reSTART has reaffirmed my belief that taking time to sit and listen to our inner voice without distraction is one of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves. This is especially true in a day where there are so many distractions. Our inner voice can lead us to paths of creativity, encouragement and direction.

Finding the Magic

Life is meant to have challenges and if we spend our time “numbing” negative feelings with technology or simply consumed with the mass of information available;we miss out on the magic. Personal growth takes patience and is uncomfortable. The magic is when we chose to grow from our challenges and take time to listen to our inner voice. If we do that,we will be able to achieve more than we ever thought was possible.