therapy

We're Hiring!

On January 2 we moved into our new space that has the room to grow!

The second therapy office is furnished and ready to be used!

The second therapy office is furnished and ready to be used!

I have been blessed to have a full and thriving practice. I am so grateful for the community referrals that keep coming. While I am humbled by the outreach, I am overwhelmed by the unmet need in our community. So I am going to do my part to change that.

I am seeking a licensed mental health therapist with passion and a sense of humor to join me in serving this amazing community. I am looking for someone to start from day one helping all of those patients patiently waiting on a wait list.

Here is the link to the job posting, or you can inquire directly at apply@bryanharrisonphd.com

Stay tuned - I cannot wait to find the right person and introduce them to all of you!

Day 1 and Day 905

New year, new office!

This morning I welcomed my first patients into the new office at 610 Pittsford Victor Road.

This reminded me of when I first started blogging in anticipation of starting private practice.

In the spring and summer of 2016, I put a countdown in a blog post titled “Final Countdown.”

Feeling nostalgic and wondering if time stood still on this post, I took a look. That countdown clock has continued ticking ever since and here we are in a new forever home 905 days later.

Getting the space ready for today has been an all-hands-on-deck labor-of-love for the Harrison family. This included holiday visits from different sides of the family to pitch in with everything from childcare to switching out door knobs, major trash removal to interior decorating counsel.

We rung in the New Year at the new office working on important finishing touches such as…

Organizing toys in the waiting room.

Organizing toys in the waiting room.

Testing out Mario Kart in my new therapy space.

Testing out Mario Kart in my new therapy space.

Thank you to everyone who has helped to make this dream come true. The trust and support of so many people has helped grow this practice into a place where more people can find help. Something that I know I can do no justice to is highlighting the role My Better Half has played in all of this. I intend to devote a full post to describing how my wife and best friend has built my dreams and given me the opportunity to live out my life’s calling. Can you guess when this post will appear? Until then, you’ll just have to remember that she even thought of the Keurig!

Coffee (and tea and hot cocoa) for everyone!

Coffee (and tea and hot cocoa) for everyone!

One of the greatest features of this new office is more space to expand!

For those of you that have reached out since I first announced my move, thank you. Thank you for your interest. Thank you for your patience. Now with this additional space, I will work with other providers to meet the needs of families, both the ones I currently see and those waiting patiently for services. You will be the first to know!

Day 1 in the new forever home.

Day 1 in the new forever home.

Product Review: Teach Me Time Clock

Last week I posted about Bedtime Routines. I wanted to share an accompanying product review of something I have and use daily in my home, along with some ideas on how I use it to improve my kid's sleep. 

Sleep can be challenging at different stages of development for a variety of reasons. Sleep can also be a sensitive subject for caregivers and healthcare providers alike when it comes to improving the onset (how long does it take to fall asleep) and increasing the duration (how long do they stay in bed asleep). At the end of the day, we all need sleep to function, so I’ve talked about it often with my friends and with families I have worked with over the years.

So...my cherubic first born child learned to sleep through the night at a young age. This is something we took relatively for granted until our second child arrived 22 months later. Just about the time our 2.5 year old transitioned to her big girl bed, she started developing the fabulous habits of A) getting in and out of her bed repeatedly and B) waking up too early. By my math, she was losing anywhere from 60 to 120 minutes of sleep on the front and back ends.

We needed to shore this issue up in a hurry since it was ratcheting up the household stress.

Like most things in my life, my Better Half deserves a lot of the credit. She read about this product, we purchased it, and had it all set to go atop the dresser in our daughter’s bedroom:

Teach Me Time Clock can be purchased on Amazon. This is the nightlight ("stay in bed") mode.

Teach Me Time Clock can be purchased on Amazon. This is the nightlight ("stay in bed") mode.

 

Here’s what the Teach Me Time Clock can do:

  • Tell time
  • Work as a traditional alarm
  • Provide touch-button voice-over to speak actual time
  • Serve as a nightlight
  • Change colors at different times (this is the key ingredient).
  • Here are our current settings:
    • 7:30pm - soft yellow light comes on (serving as a nightlight)
    • 8:00pm - soft yellow light continues on (time for bed)
    • 6:45am - soft green light comes on (indicating time to get up)
    • 8:00am - soft green light turns off (nobody is asleep at this time...)

So our daughter used to wake up around 6:30am, but was now waking up at 5:30am. She used to go to bed around 8pm with little fuss, but now was getting up and down until close to 9pm.

This is what we needed to do:

  • Talk about the clock to her, the colors, and what she could earn for following the rules
  • Identify a strong motivator soon after the light changes (morning tv show)
  • Tell her what she would get for staying in bed until the light turned green (tv show)

The careful reader will likely notice that I have said nothing about getting her to stay in bed in the evening without getting up and down a bunch. I believe the the venerable Sun Tzu put it best when he said, in different words, “never fight a war on two fronts.” Sage advice here.

It would’ve been amazing if this took only one evening to do the trick. Of course, it did not.

What we needed to do was set the clock to 5:45am (close to her new 5:30am awake routine) and then gradually move the time toward our 6:30am goal in 10-15 minute increments over a few weeks. In addition, she would often wake at 5:30am, come get one of us, and then want to go watch her tv show. I would take her back to her room, lay her back in bed, and then lay with her until it turned green. I praised her to holy heck, got her dressed, and took her to tv time.

Then we worked on having her lay by herself until the light turned green. Then once this new behavior of laying in bed on her own until the light turn green appeared firmly established, we moved the time forward. This would often reset the level of support back to her needing to be taken back to bed, me laying beside her, then fading my physical presence, and her staying in her bed on her own. Then we’d move the clock forward another increment toward our goal.

Green light means time to get out of bed. "I slept until the light turned green" - parenting win!

Green light means time to get out of bed. "I slept until the light turned green" - parenting win!

What happened if she refused to stay in bed until the light turned green? This is where we would "ride the lightning."

She just didn’t get tv time that morning. And yep, it was not fun for either party.

But she got the hint relatively quickly because we also were not doing tv time in the evening, so this increased the reinforcement value of tv time.

This is one of those parenting battles where I feel like we fought the good fight and won. It wasn’t a one week or even a one month slam dunk, silver bullet sort of deal for us or her. But I do think this alarm clock provided a nice level of cuing and support that we still use with her.

Now we are preparing to transition our son to a big boy bed and will be ordering a second Teach Me Time Clock soon.

Bedtime Routines

I believe our souls call out for consistency in the form of predictable, daily routines. I am sure that life would be boring for most of us if everything was predictable and routine, but when learning something new and potentially challenging (like how to eat or sleep or drive a car), a consistent order and flow gives a comfort that enables new things to come more readily to us.

Bedtime is a ritual that rewards parent and child alike.

For the child, having a bedtime routine signals what to expect as they transition away from the wakeful part of their day where they acquire new skills and encounter new situations at a ferocious pace.  The order in which the routine unfolds matters a great deal, but can vary depending on what you know about your child. For example, certain children become animated during bath time (or don't even like getting their hair wet), while others begin to quiet down and doze. If your child becomes more animated or upset during the bath time routine, starting bath time sooner or only bathing every other night might be an easy place to modify things.

For the parent, having a bedtime routine gives you a chance to gently guide your child toward a restful state that readies them for falling asleep. It also provides an opportunity to lay the foundation for the next day (picking out clothes after looking at the weather on your phone). 

For the parent and child, the bedtime routine provides an opportunity for bonding and more attentively observing the subtle ways in which your child responds to their world and others.

Recommendations to consider with the bedtime routine:

Provide your child with a clear indication of when the bedtime routine will begin. For example, you could say, “In ten more minutes” or “at 7:30, we will get ready for bed." For some children, setting an alarm (fun song) on your smartphone could be a creative support.

Pay attention to how you announce the bedtime routine. For some children, saying, “Time for bed” is the equivalent of saying, “the fun thing you are doing right now (e.g., playing with toys) will have to end soon because I said so.” Instead, try changing the way you state this by using a preferred activity or item as part of the announcement. For example, you could say, “Time for bubble bath!” or “silly story time is soon!” This reminds children of the fun parts of bedtime.

Start the bath early enough that you don’t have to rush your child through it. If your child likes to play in the tub, build in extra time by starting earlier so that they can have more time to play in the bathtub.

A lot of kids have a hard time transitioning from the bathtub to getting dressed and brushing their teeth. In these situations, I'd recommended leading with a clear contingency that gives them something to work for and look forward to. Something like, "Once you hop out of the tub and have your pajamas on, you can pick an extra book!" Help them get dressed and praise them for using nice hands. With tooth brushing, I think having your child pick out a favorite toothbrush from the store and/or a preferred tooth paste container can help make this part of the routine fun.

I really like background sounds or some for of white noise when I sleep, and both of my little ones have a white noise machine in their room. It's also served as a discriminative stimulus for my kids -- sleep machine turned on signals little butts into bed in order to have story time.

Since starting my private practice, I have had the opportunity to work with more than one family to improve their bedtime and sleep routines. I really enjoy this type of work, besides who doesn't enjoy a good night's sleep?

First Week Follow Up

I had an amazing first week in private practice. I met with 13 different families at both of my office locations and learned about their children who ranged in age from 4- to 22-years-old. The diversity of strengths and interests of each child, adolescent, and young adult gives me a great deal of hope and excitement about the weeks ahead as we forge a therapeutic relationship. Their families are incredibly engaged and motivated to help their loved ones flourish.

I am excited, too, that I have another 10 new clients scheduled for next week and a few additional new clients scheduled for my third week of practice. I really can’t thank my colleagues and friends enough for “getting the word out” about my practice and helping to build my schedule with wonderful new people. Rest assured, there is still plenty of space left, and I am eager to welcome more new clients in the coming weeks.


I’ve had folks from a few different organizations reach out to me asking if I have a flyer to share with them that they can hand out to families. I did not have a flyer, and I think it is a fabulous idea. I developed a first edition flyer to view, share, and download here

Please feel free to share it with others who may be interested. You can offer feedback on the flyer by reaching out to me directly, or in the comments section of this blog post. 

Thank you!