Author: Dr. Grace Graham

The AFCC Works to Resolve Family Conflict

Association of Family and Conciliation Courts  pic
Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
Image: afccnet.org

Dr. Grace Graham is a licensed psychologist who provides professional counseling, evaluations, and consultations at Charis Counseling and Psychological Services in Plano, Texas. Dr. Grace Graham received her doctorate in clinical psychology from George Fox University in 1991 and is a member of several professional associations, including the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts.

The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) is made up of educators, researchers, lawyers, counselors, judges, policy makers, and more who are committed to the resolving conflict within families. The AFCC’s multidisciplinary membership collaborates through task forces and projects to help solve ongoing challenges and issues in the domestic arena. AFCC members have spearheaded initiatives such as divorce education, child custody mediation, and parenting coordination.

Another AFCC initiative, the Task Force on Guidelines for Examining Intimate Partner Violence, was approved in 2016. The task force was formed to produce guidelines to help those who conduct child custody evaluations.

Specifically, the group focused on formulating standards for the identification of intimate partner violence, as well as any effects the violence may have on the children and on parenting. AFCC was joined by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges in sponsoring the task force. The Battered Women’s Justice Project also consulted on the initiative.

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What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar Disorder pic
Bipolar Disorder
Image: WebMD.com

Before completing her post-doctoral residency at the Minirth-Meier Clinic in Richardson, Texas, Dr. Grace Graham received her doctor of philosophy in clinical psychology from George Fox University. Licensed to practice by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists, Dr. Grace Graham is trained to identify and treat bipolar disorder.

Formerly referred to as manic-depressive disorder, bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme, unpredictable mood swings ranging from euphoria to depression. Some manic symptoms of this disorder include excessive happiness, restlessness, and irritability, as well as increased energy and libido. Depressive symptoms include sadness, crying, anxiety, and exhaustion. The more severe symptoms requiring immediate medical attention include extreme fluctuation in appetite and contemplation of death. Although 10 percent to 15 percent of all patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder have taken their own lives, early diagnosis of the disorder can drastically lower the risk.

Effective treatment and management for patients suffering from bipolar disorder is commonly achieved through the combination of medication and therapy. Due to the dynamic and polarizing nature of the disease, clinicians often administer separate antipsychotic medications to manage the specific manic and depressive episodes, along with a mood stabilizer. Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, is another proven form of treatment, allowing the patient to discuss thoughts, feelings, and problem-causing behaviors with the clinician.

Evaluating the Best Interests of the Child

 

Dr Grace Graham pic
Dr Grace Graham

Dr. Grace Graham, an experienced clinical psychologist, draws on experience in diagnosing and treating clients of all ages. Dedicated to supporting the well-being of children, Dr. Grace Graham serves as a consultant to determine the best interest of a child in contested divorce cases.

Courts across the United States use the best interests of the child as a guiding principle for determining custody arrangements. The phrase “best interests” itself has no universal definition or contributing factors, though courts typically take it to mean that situation which will place the child in the safest and most nurturing home situation.

In determining the best interests of the child, courts tend to favor those situations that will ensure the child receives sufficient clothing, shelter, food, and medical care. Courts also consider socio-emotional and psychological factors, such as the strength of the relationship that each parent has with the child. The mental health of each parent and that of the child also play significant roles, as does any potential history of domestic violence on the part of either potential custody recipient.

Several Types of Anxiety Disorders Explained

Anxiety disorders
Anxiety disorders

Psychologist Dr. Grace Graham has maintained a private clinical practice since 1993. Dr. Grace Graham focuses largely on the treatment of anxiety and mood disorders, and on educating clients about the nature of such disorders.

Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental illness in the United States today. Approximately 18 percent of adults and 8 percent of minors nationwide experience some form of anxiety that interferes with their lives. Each type of anxiety disorder has the common symptom of excessive and frequent periods of fear, though the cause of this fearfulness differs between disorder types.

Panic disorder, for example, causes a person to feel intensely and suddenly terrified. These attacks of fear often occur without warning, and they typically feature severe physical symptoms such as shortness of breath and chest pain. Because these symptoms mirror those of other illnesses, individuals who experience panic attacks may believe they are having a heart attack or other medical emergency.

Specific phobias also cause sudden fear, though these fears are focused on a particular stimulus. Individuals with this disorder will work hard to avoid events or situations that trigger attacks, even if doing so has a significant impact on everyday functioning.

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), by contrast, prompts pervasive daily worry rather than brief periods of terror. Individuals with GAD will dwell on these worries for long periods of time and, as a result, they may struggle to finish daily tasks. Like other forms of anxiety, GAD is highly treatable with appropriate psychotherapeutic care.