Teens & Technology Focus of Opening Keynote for National Symposium, Led by Two Newport Healthcare Youth Mental Health Experts

PALM SPRINGS, Calif., Sept. 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Technology’s impact on teen mental health is top of mind these days, particularly…

PALM SPRINGS, Calif., Sept. 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Technology’s impact on teen mental health is top of mind these days, particularly as new research has uncovered social media’s profound negative impact on teens, and most young people spent the past year and a half glued to their screens, without in-person instruction or socialization due to COVID-19. Today and Friday, two of the nation’s top mental health experts will open a major behavioral health conference to address an additional concerning trend with teens and tech.

Barbara Nosal, PhD, LMFT, LADC, and Don Grant, PhD, DAC, SUDCC IV, Chief Clinical Officer and Director of Outpatient Services respectively for Newport Healthcare, a nationwide network of evidence-based healing centers for teens and young adults with primary mental health disorders, will open the West Coast Symposium on Addictive Disorders (WCSAD) with their keynote presentation «Unplug to Reconnect: How the Digital World Potentially Reinforces Insecure Attachment in Relationships.»

This innovative presentation will explore how a parent or caregiver’s engagement with devices can impact emotional and social attachment development in children. In psychology, attachment theory explains how the parent-child relationship emerges and influences subsequent social and emotional development. The presentation will identify examples of unhealthy or inappropriate device management which could contribute to the development of a potentially new device-driven relational insecure attachment bond, with vast repercussions for our nation’s youth.

«In addition to my observations, work, studies, and research on increased use, utilization, and reliance on our devices, several years ago I also began to notice how many of us are engaged with our device even while in the presence of others,» says Dr. Grant. «We call this digitally driven phenomenon being in ‘absent presence.’ I started to notice how many parents were engaging with their devices even while with their children – I admit to being guilty of it myself. But my concerns and thoughts surrounding that behavior led me to begin investigating the potential consequences of a parents’ ‘absent presence,’ especially when their child is in the stage of attachment development. Could our favored attention to our devices instead of our children have negative consequences? Could missing out on a potential rare bid for connection from our teenager due to our obsessive engagement with our phones catalyze or trigger an attachment rupture?»

Drs. Grant and Nosal will explore these topics with WCSAD attendees – both in-person and virtual – as well as review expert recommendations for how to implement healthier device management behaviors for attendees, their clients, patients, children, and students on Wednesday, September 29 and Friday, October 1, 2021 in both Opening Plenaries. More information for joining can be found at wcsad.com.

Dr. Nosal oversees the clinical and family programs for all of Newport’s residential and outpatient treatment locations and has worked with adolescents and families in the field of mental health, teenage depression, and addiction treatment for more than 30 years. She is a recognized attachment expert specializing in Attachment Based Family Therapy with a focus on deepening family relationships and improving communication through healing early childhood attachment ruptures and relational trauma.

Dr. Grant is an internationally award-winning media psychologist, published researcher, clinician, and educator with specific expertise in technology’s impact on mental health. He is the current Chairman of the American Psychological Association’s (APA’s) Device Management & Intelligence and Strategic Planning Committees, President-Elect of APA Division 46 (The Society for Media Psychology & Technology), and has been commissioned by APA to write a book on healthy device management and the practice of good digital citizenship. Dr. Grant also designs, presents, and facilitates treatment strategy and educational training workshops on these topics for clinicians, educators, parents, and school communities.

WCSAD, now in its twelfth year, is recognized as a premier event for discussions on the behavioral health, mental health, and substance use disorder industry’s most pressing topics and discovery of the latest therapies for improving outcomes and support services.

About Newport Healthcare

Newport Healthcare, including Newport Academy and Newport Institute, provides evidence-based healing centers for teens, young adults, and families struggling with primary mental health issues. Newport offers a family-systems approach, providing gender-specific, individualized, integrated programs that encompass clinical therapy, academic or career support, and experiential practices. Offerings include residential treatment centers, Partial Hospitalization Programs, and Intensive Outpatient Programs. Newport nurtures the physical, psychological, social, educational, and spiritual needs of individuals, from a foundation of compassionate care, clinical expertise, and unconditional love. Newport’s primary mission is to empower lives and restore families.

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SOURCE Newport Healthcare