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      Helping children deal with behavioral problems

      In a 2010 National Center for Health Survey, six percent of parents reported that their child had serious emotional or behavioral difficulties. When it comes to parents looking for ways to help their child deal with emotional or behavioral problems, they may enlist the help of someone like Dr. Donald Mattson. He's a psychotherapist who uses specific techniques to help change the way a child behaves. "I conduct art therapy, play therapy, and conventional talk therapy during my practice," said Dr. Mattson. In art therapy, art is used to help children work through their conflicts. During the beginning stages of play therapy, a child chooses a toy. Each toy is chosen and has a purpose. Once they start playing, they play through their problems. "So what we have here are toys that reflect the nurturance's theme, and so an individual that feels like there isn't much in the home life or needs are not being met, typically we see them take to things like dolls or store shopping play," Dr. Mattson said. In a world filled with technology and television programs, could they be to blame for a child's behavioral issues? "It's difficult to say, but certainly there's something to do with the media and how much exposure we have with issues now days vs 20, 30, 40 years ago. So I can see that maybe these problems have always existed; just that they've not been brought to light," Dr. Mattson said. Staff member Karen Labelle says she notices a significant change in the children that meet with Dr. Mattson. "I've never seen in a regular doctor's office where the kids were actually excited to go in and see a provider, so it's exciting to see the kids' faces," said Labelle. Dr. Mattson usually recommends 10 sessions to help with the overall improvement of a child's behavior. If you're interested in learning more about Dr. Mattson's methods, you can call (906) 370-1688 or e-mail him