DR. MEL'S MESSAGE - From my novels to my other projects, no telling what you will read. This is the only place you will get to read about how I developed a screenplay into a novel and what is the driving force. I will talk about many things from films to books to acting to producing. It really will depend on where my mind takes me. I hope you will join me on this journey.
Based on decades of experience as a therapist, parenting coach and mother of a child who was afraid of dogs, I developed the Overcoming Fear of Dogs (OFOD) protocol. This is a step-by-step guide for parents (therapists will find it helpful as well) based on exposure therapy using a live dog. This book provides an easy to understand tool for parents to help their child overcome the fear of dogs. By using exposure therapy and my specifically designed exercises, parents will gradually increase their child's exposure to a real dog and thereby decrease their child's fear and resistance. This book helps parents understand how and why their child is afraid of dogs and most importantly how to help their child face the fear and overcome it. When a child has a strong fear of dogs it is important to address this fear as soon as possible. There is much to gain when children are able to overcome their fears. They develop self-confidence and self-esteem and feel empowered. Children who face their fears learn coping skills and self-control, two of the biggest predictors of success later in life. In addition, they learn to speak up and ask for help. By using the method in this book children will become more aware of their feelings and learn to express them clearly. Mindfulness and relaxation exercises are included in the book to help this develop. Anxiety and fear create the feeling of being out of control. My method helps kids feel in control and ""take back the leash"" when interacting with dogs. Most children do not outgrow this fear and they need to have supervised brief and positive experiences with dogs in order to feel safe and in control when interacting with them. Dogs are everywhere these days and it is impossible to avoid them. Kids who are afraid of dogs suffer socially and emotionally. They avoid sleepovers and play dates where a dog is in residence. They often refuse to go to a park in case they might encounter a dog . Some children will even endanger themselves by running into the street to avoid a dog. Children are afraid of things they don't understand and this book provides education for parents and children about dogs. The book includes information on how dogs communicate as well as how to ""read"" dogs and know when it is safe to interact with them and when it is best to stay away. My ultimate goal is to enable children to feel comfortable around dogs so their lives aren't disrupted by the fear of them. While the book is designed for parents of children aged 5-12 my method can be used with older children and adults.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in private practice. Main focus: Parent coaching and education, specializing in anxiety in children with a sub-specialty in helping children overcome their fear of dogs.
• B.A. in Sociology | William Smith College, Geneva, N.Y. • Master of Social Work | New York University, NY, N.Y.
As a parenting expert, I have over thirty years of experience working with parents to help them develop and implement positive parenting strategies to maximize their children’s social and emotional development. I also work individually with children to help them learn to cope more effectively with “big” feelings, such as worry, fear and anger. I have created and facilitated numerous parenting support groups and workshops. Topics have included: anxiety in children, parenting special needs children, positive limit setting and sibling rivalry. In addition, I have presented many teacher training sessions on recognizing developmental red flags and behavioral issues in children.
I have developed a niche of helping children who are afraid of dogs overcome their fear through exposure therapy using a live dog. Together with my canine assistants, we have done presentations for school children and scout troops on humane education, kindness to animals and bite prevention. We have also visited professional associations, such as the Board of Jewish Educators, the Rotary Club of Mount Kisco, N.Y., and the Men’s Club at the Jewish Community Center on the Hudson.
My love of animals, especially dogs, developed when I was a young child. Dogs have always been an integral part of my life. When I realized that my daughter Becky was afraid of dogs I began to develop and implement the Overcoming the Fear of Dogs Protocol (OFOD). Since then I have perfected this method and have helped many children to feel safe and comfortable around dogs. This book is the culmination of my efforts. It was also born out of my wish and need for guidance when I needed help and support to help my daughter overcome her fear of dogs.
Online presence • Facebook – Overcome Fear of Dogs and Stefani M Cohen LCSW • Stefanicohen.com • Overcomefearofdogs.com