Counseling Group Miami

Archives: September 2012

Weight Stigma Awareness Week!

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September 24 – 28 is Weight Stigma Awareness Week.

Weight discrimination is spiraling upward as fast as obesity rates. It “occurs in employment settings and daily interpersonal relationships virtually as often as race discrimination, and in some cases even more frequently than age or gender discrimination,” researches reported in a 2008 issue of the International Journal of Obesity. The negative effects of this form of bias, which is peppered with all sorts of misconceptions and misrepresentations on the causes of obesity, are painful at an individual and collective level. We fail to take responsibility for the socio-economic and cultural causes of obesity, placing the blame solely on the individual. Ongoing research is discovering the detrimental impact that high fructose corn syrup in industrialized foods has on insulin and metabolism, body weight, and brain functioning. Yet packaged and processed foods are quite often cheapest and the only accessible foods to low income families. Let’s stop discriminating against overweight and obese individuals and become consciously aware of our biases so we can take responsibility for effective changes in socio-economic and cultural influences. Let’s recommit to end “fat talk” and reclaim our health through actions!

The eating disorder treatment team at The Counseling Group (Alma Lovaton Quagliato, LMFT; Kristin Jones, LMHC; Inge Sengelmann, LCSW; and Dalit Szkolnik, RD) support the efforts of the Binge Eating Disorder Association to raise awareness about weight-ism during Weight Stigma Awareness Week.

Let us know what you think and how we can help if you’ve been the recipient of weight stigmatization!

COGMED

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Memory loss and brain health have become increasingly popular topics in both scientific research journals as well as in the popular media. Exciting advancements in the field of neuropsychology have increased our understanding of neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to grow at any age and make new connections), and attempts to capitalize on this knowledge and increase the capacity of the human mind are already underway. Computerized working memory training, or CogMed, is now a reality, and is being offered in Miami at The Counseling Group!

Working memory is the human ability to hold on to information while doing something else, or processing that information in some way while maintaining an accurate recollection of the original information. We use it every day in a variety of activities, from childhood and throughout our lifespan. It is necessary for learning the most basic concepts of life, to read and write, and to follow a conversation. Working memory is essential to all our lives, not just to people who suffer from learning problems or attentional issues such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This new technology can potentially help a wide variety of people, including those who have suffered from strokes, dementia, Alzheimer’s and other debilitating brain conditions. For those who want to do what they can to counteract the natural declines that come with an aging brain, there is increasing hope that we can do more to preserve mental functioning and quality of life.

Being able to help people improve their cognitive functioning is a personal issue for both licensed psychotherapist, Katherine Wald and psychologist Dr. Robert Blackgrove. Ms. Wald was diagnosed with combined type AD/HD and multiple learning disabilities when she was seven years old. She struggled for years to learn how to compensate for these deficits and was even told by a teacher that she would never be able to go to college. Thankfully, through hard work and help from learning specialists, she was able to prove that teacher wrong and attended Georgetown University, graduating magna cum laude, and then University of Pennsylvania for graduate school. She now works as a licensed psychotherapist, AD/HD coach, and CogMed coach at The Counseling Group.

This struggle is also very personal for Dr. Blackgrove, who is director of psychological assessment and CogMed quality assurance supervisor at The Counseling Group. His grandmother died following a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. He always believed that he could have had more meaningful time with her had his family known what to do before her memory began its serious decline. Science has a long way to go before we understand all aspects of brain and memory functioning, but computerized interventions such as CogMed bring hope to many who want to improve functioning in working memory.

Please contact us at 305-857-0050 if you wish to know more about the latest research regarding neuroplasticity, brain health, and CogMed working memory training, or any other psychological issue of concern to our community.