Essential Conversations and Clinical Issues from Missing and Exploited Children Expert with Carol Ryan | POP 998

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What are the conversations that every parent needs to have with their kids to keep them aware and safe? How can you teach your kids to use their discernment online? What should all therapists know when working with the parents?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about the essential conversation and clinical issues of missing and exploited children experts with Carol Ryan.

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Meet Carol Ryan

A photo of Carol Ryan is captured. She is a therapist and addictions counselor. Carol is featured on the Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast.

Carol Ryan started her private practice in 2020. Her business, Somatic Interventions, offers body-based, trauma-informed treatment. EMDR, Somatic Movement, Yoga, Auricular Acupuncture, and Internal Family Systems are interventions she uses. Carol is considered a topic expert on matters related to missing and exploited children, having worked with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children since 2003. The podcast offers an overview of the complex trauma caused by crimes involving childhood sexual abuse material (CSAM).

Visit Somatic Interventions and connect with Carol on Psychology today and LinkedIn. Email her at: [email protected]

In this Podcast

  • The important conversations to have with your kids 
  • How to be preventative without being a helicopter parent 
  • Carol’s clinical advice 
  • Carol’s advice to private practitioners

The important conversations to have with your kids

For everyone nowadays, the internet is essential. Everyone is on the internet for research, school work, connecting with friends, and more. 

When it comes to something like internet safety, it’s an extremely important conversation to have with your children, but it is also difficult because kids hear this stuff all the time – so much so that they either don’t take it seriously or don’t believe it. 

Therefore, when it comes to safety and prevention, teach your kids how to pick up on the known cues and clues when someone may have bad intentions, and to trust their gut.

The first thing I would say is don’t try to ban the internet and don’t teach the stranger-danger, you’ll never know … What I suggest in the way of prevention is to teach them discerning skills so that they are clever, so that they feel empowered … So that they use their own discernment to make wise choices. (Carol Ryan) 

Additionally, empower your kids and help them to bolster their self-esteem as well as to listen to their intuition, so that they won’t be drawn into someone else’s lure and will avoid doing something that they can feel is bad or dangerous. 

Furthermore, teach your kids to notice the behavior instead of looking at the person, since bad or dangerous behavior can even come from family or a close friend.

How to be preventative without being a helicopter parent

Set definite limits on the phone, I would say, do not have the phone in the bedroom at night. You can have a curfew for the phone … That helps a lot. (Carol Ryan)

When it comes to handling responsible phone ownership for your kids, especially if they are younger teenagers, you could consider: 

  • Having a bedtime curfew for the phone 
  • Periodically checking the phone, especially if they are young, because they may not have the maturity to handle inappropriate material or harassment 

You can obviously tell them; “Hey, I’m going to check your phone”, or “I checked your phone and I was concerned about some text messages” … You know, go in with the information that this is about a conversation. This is about building a relationship of trust rather than punish[ment]. (Carol Ryan) 

  • Be transparent by showing your child why you are concerned 

Carol’s clinical advice 

If a therapist is working with the parents, there’s three things you need to know; 

1 – Admit what you don’t know and seek consultation from people who do know more 

It’s not the same thing to say, “I work with juvenile detention, so I know about online exploitation” … So get some [clinical] help, and consultation is free, you can get free consultation at any time from the family [ethicality] division. (Carol Ryan)

2 – When you are working with parents, remember that this is a snapshot of the most embarrassing, stigmatizing, traumatic, “yucky” event that they are dealing with, so they may be either very guarded or vulnerable. Therefore, be mindful.

3 – Take a holistic approach to treatment and encourage the parents to think outside the box to help their traumatized child 

The very best thing that you can do is to join them in non-judgment and admit that you don’t know everything, so let them explain, because they didn’t know either until it happened to them. They’ll relate to that. (Carol Ryan) 

Carol’s advice to private practitioners 

Recovery is possible! Kids and families can recover fully after these difficult experiences. 

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Meet Joe Sanok

A photo of Joe Sanok is displayed. Joe, private practice consultant, offers helpful advice for group practice owners to grow their private practice. His therapist podcast, Practice of the Practice, offers this advice.

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners who are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

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