Focus on Foundations

Dr. Nicole Beurkens is the world’s leading holistic child psychologist. She has dedicated her twenty-five-year career to providing parents with simple, effective, research-based strategies that get to the root of children’s attention, anxiety, mood, and behavior challenges so they can reach their highest potential. She recently posted an important perspective:

I wish I’d known earlier in my career that if a child is not sleeping well at night, eating a nutrient-poor diet, not getting fresh air and sunshine, not getting enough physical activity, living or schooling in a chronically high-stress environment, then no amount of psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, educational interventions, or other therapies will provide significant benefit…[These are the] foundational drivers of brain development, behavior, and mental wellness…We simply can’t out-therapize poor diet, lack of movement, poor sleep, chronically high stress, and lack of exposure to the natural world. Focus on these foundations and incorporate appropriate therapies and interventions as needed. This is the path to better brains and behavior.

These foundations become even more important during the ages when developmental brain growth is occurring: in the first year, age 5 (school initiated; not a biologically based growth stage), and around the ages of 8, 12, and 16. When we ensure that a child’s or youth’s basic needs are being met first, we set them up to benefit from every other kind of intervention or therapy that follows.