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Community CE Event: The Abnormalizing of Normal Childhood Maturational Challenges

  • 02/18/2023
  • 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
  • San Diego Psychoanalytic Center

The Abnormalizing of Normal Childhood Maturational Challenges - 2 CEs

PRODUCED BY:   The San Diego Psychoanalytic Center's Extension Division

PRESENTED BY:    Enrico Gnaulati, Ph.D. 

DATE/TIME:    Saturday   February 18, 2023  9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

                       4455 Morena Blvd., Ste. 202
                       San Diego, CA 92117

TO REGISTER:   Please contact SDPC Administrator
                            Michelle Spencer

FEE:  $50 Clinicians
         $25 SDPC Members, Candidates and Students

         Checks (made payable to SDPC) and cash will be accepted at the door.


The training of mental health clinicians may predispose them to assign diagnoses to children when the behavior in question falls within the broad scope of normal. It can be exceedingly difficult to differentiate between transitory disturbing reactions to stressful life events; lags in socio-emotional maturation; struggles related to mismatches in where a child is at developmentally and the cognitive and behavioral expectations placed on him or her at school; the outcome of patterns of emotional reactivity in the parent-child relationship; the manifestation of difficult personality traits; a perfect storm of all of these—and clear-cut evidence of a mental health diagnosis.

Remarkably high rates of ADHD might be due to how symptoms of this disorder mimic normal childhood narcissism. When assessing ADHD common-sense questions need to be asked: hyperactivity or overdramatic attention-seeking behavior? Failing to finish tasks or trouble persisting in the face of overconfident expectations? Disorganization or magical thinking? Forgetfulness or what’s-the-point-of-practicing?

To accurately diagnose high functioning autism spectrum disorder, particular rule outs need to be considered: Is this a child whose presentation is better explained by delayed, but not impaired, language development? Tantrumming and picky eating rooted to ineffectual parenting methods? The combination of incipient mental giftedness, introversion, and autonomy-seeking in boys? Or, the interplay of several, or all of these?

This presentation will address all these issues and expand clinicians’ procedural knowledge using non-pathologizing, developmentally normative ways of understanding and altering the struggling behavior of children.

Enrico Gnaulati Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist based in Pasadena, California, and Affiliate Professor of Psychology at Seattle University. A frequent contributor to national publications like The Atlantic, Salon, and The Huffington Post, Gnaulati is also a sought-after public speaker and radio guest. He is a nationally-recognized reformer of mental health practice and policy, has published numerous articles in both academic journals and popular magazines, and is the author of several acclaimed books, including Saving Talk Therapy: How Health Insurers, Big Pharma, and Slanted Science are Ruining Good Mental Health Care (Beacon Press, 2018), Peacemaking with Preschoolers: Conflict Resolution to Promote Emotional Mastery and Harmonious Classrooms (GoodMedia Press, 2013), and Back to Normal: Why Ordinary Childhood Behavior Is Mistaken for ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, and Autism Spectrum Disorder (Beacon Press, Sept. 2013).

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