Alumni

School Counselor

Theresa Moore, LCSW, LPC / School Counselor /tmoore@sa-academy.org or ext. 203 

Ms. Moore entered employment ast SAA with the challenge of creating the first counseling department in the history of SAA. That was 20 years ago. Today, the counseling department includes a learning specialist and is a vibrant center for learning and problem solving. 

In addition to Ms. Moore's positions at SAA, she also is a private practitioner for individuals and families. She has served the San Antonio community for over 35 years with her counseling services, speaking and writing. 

Personally, Ms. Moore has a great sense of humor, loves her students and families, is passionate about encouraging others to be the best they can be and enjoys adventure.

Articles by Theresa Moore LCSW, LPC

Anger - The Misunderstood Emotion

We can be easily upset by so much that is going on in the world today. One need only to open the newspaper, listen to the evening news, drive across town, go to a movie, play a video game or even walk the halls of our community schools and churches to witness violence and other inappropriate human behavior. And today it has become a way of life when 20 years ago one would consider it appalling. 

All of our emotions are tied to a physical, social-emotional, or spiritual need. The driver in front of us slams on his breaks, and our fear and anger sparks the need for safety. Our child decides to hit the child in front of him or does not remember to turn his homework into the teacher. The frustration, anger, and disappointment we experience signals a need for orderly, responsible, and well behaved children. If this happens often, we know the problem needs our attention. If it is a one time or infrequent occurrence, we let it go. 

Anger is a central issue in our lives beginning at birth. If we never felt anger, we wouldn't be human. Having emotions is essential to healthy living. The emotions are not the problem -- it how we choose to handle them that creates problems in our daily relationships. 

Handling anger appropriately must be taught. These skills do not come naturally and are not learned without direction from adults. Human beings are able to learn some skills by observing, but effective use of language, and knowing how to problem solve must be taught with purpose and standards. 

It's when we "bottle up" anger that we create further problems. Our emotional systems are flexible and resilient, yet they do have limits. And when those limits are reached, our emotions begin to spill over with inappropriate behavior and intensity. This can range from a verbal outburst to an act of violence. 

Three coping skills must be developed to help manage emotions appropriately. Tolerance and delayed gratification are significant to effectively handling emotions. People naturally want to avoid discomfort and seek pleasure. From the moment a child is born, he is aware of discomfort and cries to express the need to eliminate the problem. What happens on an airplane when we hear a crying baby? Everyone on the plane is focused on getting that baby to stop! Our desire to eliminate discomfort is powerful. 

If a child is not given the opportunity to experience his discomfort long enough to develop some tolerance, he will become reactive, demanding and impulsive. Children cannot delay gratification if their needs are routinely and immediately met. Our responses to life situations often require time and reflection, if we are to arrive at an effective solution. many times the solutions may not be pleasant, yet necessary for long-term outcome. Short-term solutions may eliminate the immediate discomfort but lead to more significant problems in the long run. 

Consequently, tolerance offers the time we need to formulate a plan. The subsequent delayed gratification provides a vision for us  to see long-term solutions that yield longer lasting results. Self-discipline is another coping skill. With this self-control we are able to put aside our emotions, wants and needs long enough to do what it takes to accomplish our intended goals. Self-discipline is the result of abiding to standards, experiencing consequences and consistent practice. When we bend the rules, lower the standards or do not consistently  follow through  with the stated or natural consequences of a child's choices, self-control gives way to self-entitlement. 

Self-entitlement is the personal belief that one can do whatever he/she wants, whenever he/she wants, without regard to rules, guidelines, conventions, laws or fairness to others. This behavior not only results in significant personal anger, but also provokes others to anger. Therefore, providing structure and follow-through allows our children to develop self-control. Know that the discomfort experienced by both parent and child is well worth the lesson of self-discipline 

Tolerance, delayed gratification and self-control are developed over time with perseverance. 

The following are some suggested tips to aid in this development: 

  • Keep the focus on the behavior. 
  • Be specific and direct with behavioral expectations. 
  • Listen carefully to what your child is expressing. 
  • Dont' argue or try to change his mind or feeling. 
  • Redirect inappropriate behavior by telling him what to do that is appropriate. 
  • Expect him to follow through. Hold him accountable for his choices. 
  • Look for the times you can positively reinforce appropriate choices of behavior. 
  • Know yourself and your emotions and what they are telling you about your needs and wants. 
  • Teach your children about their own  emotional systems of information. 
  • Above all, believe in the adult you want your child to become. 

 

San Antonio Academy is a Gurian Model School

 

San Antonio Academy is a Gurian Model School. This means that SAA has been trained and adheres to the educational concepts Michael Gurian has established for same sex education. Michael Gurian’s approach to same sex education is based upon three foundational concepts: 1) Boys and girls learn differently. 2) Nurture the nature and 3) Understand, monitor and guide cultural influences.

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Building a Foundation around Emotional Intelligence

Daniel Goleman coined the phrase “emotional Intelligence” in 1995 with his groundbreaking book Emotional Intelligence – Why It Can Matter More than IQ. Twenty three years later there is an urgency to explore this concept in practical, applicable ways.

Emotional intelligence is basically one’s awareness of self, others and the environment coupled with choices made in response to life experience within those relationships. The concepts of emotional intelligence are simple. The application is more challenging. It requires the regular, repetitive, patterned practice of specific behavioral skills that develop the necessary emotional and social skills that shape emotional intelligence. This is what we strive to provide for our students and families at SAA.

Beginning in morning chapel, where we teach, demonstrate and model honesty, compassion, kindness, thoughtfulness, perseverance, self-regulation, manners and more sets the daily tone for desired outcomes. Combined with a reassuring message, “I know you can do this,” each of these lessons is carried into the classroom and daily activities.

At the developmental ages of Pre-K through 8th grade, our goal is to build a foundation that encourages and provides opportunities for the development of delayed gratification, empathy, sharing, the purpose of and the vocabulary for emotions, identifying problems and then guiding boys through a process for solving problems. For example, in order to learn what perseverance means to us, individually, and to build confidence that leads to motivation, we must make mistakes from which we learn consequences. This is a challenge for both children and adults. Another example is patterned practice, where we teach the practical importance of falling down and getting up over and over again until a skill has been mastered.

In the past 30 years, much of our research literature has focused on the development of successful relationships. As a result, thousands of books have been published discussing developmental milestones and skills for preparing our children to become successful adults. The corporate world has also taken notice and embraced many programs that assess and train the skills necessary for successful business relationships and increased productivity. Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is an example of this.  More recently, Kristin Anne Dudley’s article Lead with Emotional Intelligence: 6 Ways of Doug Pederson, Head Coach of the Philadelphia Eagles highlights these same concepts through the lens of coaching as ‘the core of successful relationships that lead to being winners.’