Welcome to the Dalton School-Based Therapist’s web page. My name is Ann Dennison. As a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, I provide clinical mental health services for the students and families of the Dalton Local School District. I am available at Dalton, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. My office is in the Intermediate School and my phone number is 330.828.2405. I am also available at SourceOne Group in Wooster at 330.345.0955. My past experience has been working with children and families in a public mental health setting with an emphasis on intensive home-based therapy. I currently provide a variety of services to Dalton students based on need. Referrals for services come from building principals and an intake session is done with a parent to determine the best approach for counseling services. I am able to do individual and family counseling both at school and in the home.
Wayne County has a 24-hour crisis hotline through the Counseling Center as a public service for residents. The phone number is 330.264.9029. The crisis service provides crisis intervention, pre-hospital screening and community consultation. Another resource for families is the United Way of Wayne County’s helpline. The phone number is 211. Using this helpline, families can access detailed help and information on services addressing basic needs, physical and mental health needs, employment needs and support services. Specific Wayne County agencies and their specific services will be featured periodically on this web page as an informational resource for families.
Tips for Parents
Besides providing resources to access information, the purpose of this web page will be to provide information regarding specific counseling topics. The first topic, that seems to be applicable for all children at all ages, is stress and coping skills. Anxiety and stress are inevitable in children’s lives. Teaching children how to effectively cope with stress and develop resiliency is a valuable skill that will help them into adulthood. When children develop support systems and coping skills, they are less likely to engage in destructive behaviors when stress, anxiety, or a crisis happens. I usually work with children and adolescents to identify situations that are causing feelings of anxiety or anger and develop their own personal list of coping strategies. Some common coping strategies for children and adolescents are: listening to music, talking or seeing a friend, going for a walk, building something such as legos, interacting with pets, playing a sport, playing appropriate video games, or helping others. I also help children and adolescents identify people in their lives that they can talk to when they are upset or overwhelmed. Children, especially younger children, also need consistent routines and plenty of sleep. This helps reduce anxiety and oppositional behaviors. Children and adolescents need realistic expectations that no one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes, and we are not able to always have what we want. When a child makes a mistake it is a learning opportunity to develop alternative behaviors for next time. A child often needs encouragement to change negative self talk i.e. “I can never do this “ into positive self talk such as “ I will try my best “. This helps a child see a situation in a manageable rather than hopeless way. Adults, modeling positive coping strategies when experiencing stress, also help a child or adolescent see the benefits of these skills. When a child, who was handling stress inappropriately, uses one of the effective strategies they should receive positive encouragement from a parent or teacher. It then helps the child or adolescent know that their hard work is being appreciated and that positive things can happen from change.
A very helpful website that gives up-to-date information on many mental health issues affecting children and adolescents is www.aacap.org. It is a public service website sponsored by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. The Facts for Families section gives specific, easy to read information about many mental health topics. The section on stress gives additional information to the topic discussed on this web page.