If you have questions, or wish to discuss an appointment, please call staff at: (414) 877-1071
  1. Dealing with Distress- How to Talk to Children about School Shooting

    How can you explain the tragedy that took place last week at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.? Parents across the country are searching for words to say to their young children. As we try to understand this unthinkable violence, it is important to inform and comfort our children. sad child

    Listen and Communicate Simply

    Children look to their parents for safety. Your children, at age 3 and at age 18, trust you to ensure their safety. At this time of instability, it is your responsibility to communicate with and support your children. The first step is to talk with your children about what they have heard and what they know. Let them express their opinions and worries completely- don’t interrupt. Use age-appropriate phrases to explain what happened if they ask you. For younger kids, keep the explanation simple and avoid unnecessary details. They do not need to hear excessive details that may scare them more.

    Take Care of Yourself

    To take care of your kids better, take care of yourself. You may be so overwhelmed occasionally that your children see you cry or talk about the shooting. Be honest, telling your children that you are sad for the other families. However, make sure you handle your emotions effectively and reach out to other adults for support. By keeping up your mental health in this unstable time, you can better help your children.

    Watch for Signs of Fear or Anxiety

    It is normal for children to experience a range of emotions following a tragedy. Be aware of their behavior as changes could indicate a change in mood or presence of grief or fear. Encourage your children to put their feelings into words by journaling or talking with you.

    Keep Home a Safe Place

    Your home is a safe haven for your children, especially when things seem chaotic in their world. Help them find peace at home by scheduling favorite family activities and making yourself available. These strategies should help you prepare to help your children manage their distress and fear. Remember that your children need to be comforted by you. If you feel that you or your children are suffering extensively or you notice a lasting behavioral change in your children, consider speaking with a health professional.
  2. Tips for Enjoying the Holiday Season

    Tired Holiday Shoppers Some may call this “the most wonderful time of the year”, but we know that the holiday season can actually be some of the most stressful months of the year. The busy nature of the season can lead to depression and overwhelming stress. Take some time to prepare for the next several weeks so you can enjoy the holidays rather than simply survive.

    Pressure for Perfect Holidays

    Holidays receive special attention in the media. The holiday scenes pictured on TV set extremely high standards and put pressure on Americans to live up to extravagant standards. These ads and commercials remind us of the things we “need”. Many people also feel stress as they anticipate the gatherings with extended family members and friends. It can be difficult to imagine spending time with certain people who press our buttons or let us down.

    How do you deal with added pressure and spending more time with others?

    Turn off the TV. Spend less time watching TV to avoid the extra pressure. Reflect. Take time during the holidays to stop and reflect on the blessings you have and the many reasons you should be thankful. Start new traditions. It is a great time to pick new traditions to start with family and loved ones. Traditions can be simple and often start spontaneously when you aren’t stressing over detailed plans.

    Food and Alcohol in Excess

    Many holiday celebrations center around tables of food and trays of alcoholic drinks. The added temptations can be a trigger for old habits or a trap for potential eating problems. Making a plan to handle food and alcohol temptation will help you avoid regret associated with overeating or drinking a little too much. Make a plan. Whether you stock up your pantry with healthy snacks, replace your holiday recipes with healthier versions, or add extra workouts, pick a plan that will work best for you. Set your priorities. Listing your priorities will remind you that the central focus of celebrations is spending time with others rather than tasting every treat.

    Demanding Schedule

    The holiday season often sneaks up on us and catches us unprepared. This leaves us feeling like we can’t quite catch up with the parties, baking, entertaining, shopping, and cleaning that needs to be done. Changing your attitude will help you stay relaxed even in the face of a full calendar. Stick to a budget.  Set limits for spending for each responsibility you have. Creating a budget ahead of time will help you keep things in perspective and avoid spending too much money. Reach out for help. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family members for help. Most will be happy to help, and it may give you a chance to work together. Consider professional help. There is no shame in looking for help from professionals. If you feel consistently sad or anxious, consider talking to a doctor or mental health specialist. For more information, read a little about us or contact one of our locations.
  3. Your Emotional Intelligence: The Secret of Being A Star Performer at Work

    Your Emotional Intelligence: The Secret of Being A Star Performer at Work We all know a star performer at work; he or she’s that person who closes the accounts the fastest, relates best to the customer or is the manager that has the respect of all the staff. We think of these `workplace celebrities’ as more talented, more skilled, or better socially than us – but the truth is far more surprising. Everyone wants to excel at his or her job. Excellence means raises, promotions, the esteem of colleagues and most importantly, self-satisfaction. But if being good at your job is the only criteria for being a star performer, then why is it that there are only a few “stars” in even the most talented organizations? Perhaps it is time to rethink what it really means to be a star in your workplace. THE TRUTH EXPOSED Research has proven that star performers are no smarter, more social or naturally superior to their colleagues in any way. Star performers simply do more with what they have – effective skill management, good on-the-job habits and emotional intelligence. Everyone knows about the importance of hard work and effectiveness, but the importance of emotional intelligence has been largely overlooked until now. Emotions and intelligence are not the same thing!” you may be saying to yourself. We have been taught to think about I.Q. being solely abstract intelligence (verbal and logical) and/or concrete intelligence (spatial and perceptive). The concept of emotional intelligence wasn’t truly respected until the early 1990s. Emotional intelligence is known by a lot of terms, such as “soft skills,” “interpersonal skills,” “social intelligence” or “good people skills.” Emotional intelligence, essentially, is the practical way that we get along in the world; the way we relate to and understand others and ourselves. This intelligence is often referred to as EQ (emotional quotient), much like the way IQ (intelligence quotient) is to “traditional” intelligence. There are 5 main elements of emotional intelligence:
    1. Self-Awareness: The talent of gauging and understanding your own emotions is very important to high EQ – by understanding yourself, you also understand others. Self-awareness ultimately allows us insight into why people act the way that they do.
    2. Management of Emotions: Managing and controlling your emotional state is the second most important ability to EQ. If you want to get along in your workplace, controlling your emotions successfully is a key both to getting along well with others and remaining effective under stress.
    3. Self-Motivation: This skill allows you to focus and control your emotions to achieve ends, whether it is success at work or creating strong relationships with others. Motivated workers use their emotions and needs to spur themselves to seize initiative and to fuel their drive to succeed.
    4. Empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand the emotions of others, to “walk a mile in their shoes,” and is at the core of what we often call good `interpersonal skills’.”
    5. Social Skills: We all know these type of people; the popular kids in school, the guy that everyone likes or someone that everyone else wishes they were. Strong social skills are vital to networking and establishing effective relationships with others.
    Even though IQ and EQ are two separate but equal intelligences, they are intimately tied together as well. Think of EQ as the gas that fuels the IQ’s car. The IQ represents the body of ideas and knowledge, while EQ provides it with creativity and innovation. While the IQ reasons and deciphers, the EQ motivates and leads the way to success. In fact, some research has found that emotional intelligence can contribute to up to 80% of our success on the job, while only 20% is attributable to IQ. In short, it is not what you know, it is how you work with who you know and what you have. High emotional intelligence is not only a benefit to you as an individual; there are many perks for your workplace as well. Teams with collectively high EQ’s work better and more effectively together, as they are sensitive to one another’s needs and emotions. EQ is tied with motivation, thus high EQ teams are more motivated, effective and confident in their decisions. Workers with high EQ’s relate to customers better and react to workplace challenge with flexibility and creativity. Finally, managers with high EQ’s are high quality leaders, able to respond to the needs of their staff competently and sensitively. IMPROVE YOUR EQ AND LEARN TO SHINE If you feel that your EQ is less than stellar, don’t worry; there is hope. Unlike IQ, emotional intelligence is not set in youth, and unlike emotions, EQ is a learned set of skills. Research indicates that people in their 40s and 50s have higher EQ scores than young adults – in a way, another term for emotional intelligence could be maturity. By working with, refining and developing your emotional habits over time, you will raise your EQ. Try some of these strategies developed by experts to increase your “heart smarts” for success in the workplace: Get to Know Yourself Better As the saying goes, you can’t love anyone until you love yourself – in the same way, you cannot raise your emotional intelligence with others until you understand your own emotions better. Getting in touch with your own emotions and understanding yourself better is the first step in developing your EQ. Turn your external lens inward; try asking yourself questions, writing, or meditating. Learning more about yourself and the way you react to others can foster higher levels of empathy and emotion management, two core attributes of high EQ. Get Optimistic While not necessarily part of emotional intelligence, optimism promotes good EQ habits and is a fantastic tool for raising your emotional quotient. Pessimism inherently sees problems as being pervasive and permanent, while optimism fuels motivation, effective stress coping, self-esteem and facilitates emotional stability. Your positive outlook also will reflect back to your co-workers, helping increase their confidence in turn. Internalize Success and Externalize Failure Similar to optimism, confidence is a very empowering part of our success and performance and the things we keep inside directly affect our confidence. We internalize the things that we focus on, so dwelling on failure becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, try to internalize your successes while keeping your shortcomings at arm’s length. When this becomes a natural part of your thinking, you will find that you are more confident, able to readily meet challenges and succeed – confident is as confidence does. Get Going! Once you understand and can control the degree of emotions you feel, use your understanding to motivate yourself. Learn which “bones” you can wave in order to get results – are you motivated by personal growth, feeling good about yourself, or being able to go home having nothing to do? Appeal to these more “primal” urges and you will find that it is easier to remain motivated and effective on the job. Take Control Initiative is another reflection of high EQ and critical for workplace success as well. Practice your leadership skills by heading up a project or making a presentation when an opportunity arises. Express interest in taking additional responsibility or learning new skills to your manager. Increasing your leadership ability and on-the-job competency not only broadens your skill base, it also brings you into the limelight with leaders and fellow workers alike. Manage Your Relationships The old adage, “It is not what you know, it’s who you know” still rings true, but in the workplace it’s a question of “It’s not who you know, it’s how you know them.” Relationships are the beating heart of a workplace and a team; how they work with you will affect the way you work. Ask yourself what could you do to build better, more personable relationships with your co-workers. Don’t think this is brown-nosing; building earnest workplace relationships is both of benefit to you and all those around you, a sure-fire way to better your workplace reputation and increase your team’s efficiency. CONCLUSION In the end, there are no guarantees that increasing your emotional intelligence will make you a star performer – but it will help. Make an effort not only to work better, but also to work better with others at your job, and you have a formula for success. By practicing these methods of EQ, you can create stronger relationships, finally get the recognition you deserve and learn to be a shining example to everyone else of what a star was really meant to be. Source: United Healthcare.
  4. Making Stepfamilies Work

    Making Stepfamilies Work Researchers estimate that nearly 50 percent of all first marriages end in divorce. This high rate has led to a boom in the number of stepfamilies. But their success rate doesn’t appear any better – roughly 60 percent of second marriages end in divorce. Therapists who work with stepfamilies say it’s a trend that can be reversed if stepfamily parents place greater emphasis on three main areas – communication, discipline and couplehood. Communication Open, honest communication is the backbone of a successful stepfamily. Unfortunately for many stepfamilies, communicating effectively may be difficult. Children, especially older ones, may not be enthusiastic about their mom or dad’s remarriage, so they may conceal their feelings out of loyalty to the non-custodial parent. Parents in the stepfamily may have problems communicating, fearing they may hurt the other’s feelings and jeopardize the marriage. Many therapists suggest that stepfamilies hold formal, weekly family meetings to facilitate talking about feelings, successes and problems. Meeting attendance should be mandatory, so hold them when it’s convenient for everyone. Post a permanent meeting agenda where everyone can see it. Here’s a sample agenda:
    • Good things that happened during the past week. Talking about how a child did on a math test or how much fun the family had raking leaves together starts the meeting on a positive note. Everyone should contribute a comment.
    • Areas that need improvement. This is a time to talk freely about arguments or difficulties that occurred with a focus on preventing them from happening again. Use basic conflict resolution principles: state what happened, accept responsibility, commit to improve. Because no one can assume what someone else thinks or feels, family members should speak only from their experience, such as “I felt `x’ when you did `y.'”
    • The week ahead. Go over everyone’s schedules to avoid conflicts. Draw up meeting ground rules during the first family meeting, making certain that everyone, including the children, has input. Mutual respect and good manners should be the guide. Ground rules may include: “Because everyone’s comments are important, everyone should speak freely and openly without interruption.” “No one can leave the meeting before it’s over, and it’s not over until everyone agrees it is.” “Because everyone’s feelings are important, no family member should dismiss or ridicule what someone else says.”
    Discipline Disciplining children is a difficult issue for many couples in a stepfamily. The biological parent may believe his or her partner is too strict or nitpicky. Or the stepparent may not discipline enough, fearing it may jeopardize his or her relationship with the children. If one partner doesn’t have children, he or she may be unclear as to how and when to discipline. For whatever reason, the children also may resent the stepparent to the point that they only listen to the biological parent. For these reasons, it’s imperative that the couple approach discipline issues as a team. Decide as a couple how the children should be raised. Chores, homework, allowance, bedtime, TV and dating privileges, acceptable and unacceptable behavior and consequences for bad behavior – agree to how each should be handled. Because children (especially older ones) respond best to their biological parent, it will be easiest to have that parent discipline his or her children until the stepparent/child relationship develops more fully. It’s also important that both parents support each other’s actions. If there is disagreement, talk about it when the children aren’t around. Fighting or disagreeing in front of the children may alienate the stepparent, undermine his or her role in the stepfamily and compromise the child’s respect for the stepparent. Couplehood The couple’s bond is the only established relationship in a stepfamily. The children won’t feel “instant love” for the stepparent; it could take years for that bond to develop. Also, children may not care for the idea of having a stepsibling. A stepsibling may take precious time and attention away from their biological parent, which will likely lead to control issues. For these and other reasons, it’s critical that the couple’s bond be strong. And because most biological families end due to family or relationship dysfunction, the stepfamily is the next best hope to show children just how joyous and powerful a loving relationship between two adults can be. Be a role model to the children. Show love for your partner. Work out differences in appropriate ways. Communicate in positive, supportive ways. Other tips for success Establish traditions. Where you vacation, how holidays and birthdays are celebrated, what happens during weekends, how the individual achievements of family members are celebrated – these are traditions that make a family special. When two families merge to form a stepfamily, their traditions don’t have to be abandoned. You may decide as a familyto keep some of them in the new stepfamily, or to blend the two sets of traditions into a format that contains elements of each family’s traditions. Expect problems. If there’s one thing all stepfamily members share it’s this: Everyone will underestimate just how difficult it is to create a family. It takes years, not weeks or months, and there will be problems along the way. When problems do arise, communicate and confront them appropriately, then move on. Not to do so may only lead to resentment, which could lead to further problems later on. Consider counseling or a support group. Children may experience unresolved grief issues over the breakup of their family of origin. They may also have control issues regarding stepsiblings, and their loyalty to the noncustodial parent may lead them to act out toward the stepparent. Either parent in the stepfamily may also be experiencing issues with grief and control. A counselor with a full understanding of the challenges of stepfamilies can help resolve these issues. Support groups are another source of help. At a stepparent support group, members share their experiences and offer each other support and inspiration. Source: United Healthcare.  
  5. Dr. James Winston Voted TOP PSYCHIATRIST in Milwaukee Magazine

    Every four years, Milwaukee Magazine, one of our city’s most popular publications, has doctors and nurses in the area complete a survey to identify Milwaukee’s TOP DOCTORS! So, when you are looking for a doctor or specialist in the Milwaukee area and want to know who has the top notch reputation of not only of patients but other doctors and nurses  – Milwaukee Magazines TOP DOCTORS issue is the place to start!  Dr. Winston said, “there is no greater honor than to be recognized by yours peers for doing good work…” Milwaukee Magazine publishes their TOP DOCTORS issue only every four years.  For the past 12-years, Dr. James Winston, MD the founder of American Behavioral Clinics has appeared in every issue! Dr. James Winston, MD has been practicing for over 30-years and is board certified in psychiatry & neurology. Dr. Winston is a Wisconsin native and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Medical School.
    James Winston MD American Behavioral Clinics

    James Winston, MD

    To schedule an appointment with Dr. Winston, to merely congratulate him or schedule an appointment with any of the providers at American Behavioral Clinic’s five locations, please call us at: 414-877-1071.
    Psychiatry Psychiatrist Top Psychiatrist Best Psychiatrist Top Doctors
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