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Psychiatry & Psychology--General/Behavioral issues with a 5 year old


Hello Dr. Elmore.  We have been having some problems with our 5 year old. She has a VERY strong desire to do things she know she is not supposed to do. At one point he kept saying a " private" word 100 and more times a day. Talking, explaining, punishing her for that didn't help. We tried to ignore it but she d say it in public, at daycare and put us in uncomfortable situation. She also started paying I think a little too much attention to private areas and it seemed her curiosity was a lot more than just hey whats that. Then she started complaining about stomachache even though she didn't seem uncomfortable. She d just constantly like 100 times a day say "my belly hurts" and would keep doing what she was doing. It subsided a little but now she wants to lick EVERYTHING. She licks her fingers particularly after bathroom after she touches her private, floor, toys, clothing. She even says she wants to lick the bottom of shoes! It's horrible! And every time she does it she feels like she has to tell us with guilty mind. She knows its bad but she just genuinely cant help herself. Her words: "I just really really want to do it mommy". In general if you tell her not to do something she really really wants to do it. And not because she just wants to disobey us but she's got desire which she cannot resist. (please don't touch the computer - I really have to mommy please; please don't turn the lights on- I have to really bad mommy).
Deep inside she is a smart,  very sweet and passionate little girl. She loves to play and laugh and have fun. We give her lots of love and attention. But she wants more attention from us. As soon as she comes home from daycare her first words are "play with me". And it's non stop. I know she feels stressed and frustrated. At daycare she doesn't seem to know how to play with other children and she really wants to. She tries but she ends up playing by herself. I think it upsets her she just cant put it in words. And she is a goodie girl there, very obedient. But I see she is tense and not comfortable. There is no point of changing the daycare or teachers because both are fine. It's not them it is her. Also she goes peepee there constantly (like every 10 minutes) even though she has no medical problem.
I feel really bad for her. I don't want her to have social problems in the future or feel stressed all the time (she always seems uncomfortable in new environment, she can't break into new groups or just run around freely like other kids without a fear that she is doing something wrong. And if an adult tells her not to do something she freezes and then sits still somewhere. Even though she doesn't listen to us and we always try to be fair with her.)
I don't know what to do. Maybe you can recommend some books I can read or any advice would be appreciated. We live oversees and I don't think I can find professional guidance here.
Sorry for such a long letter. Just wanted to give the most accurate description of the situation.
Thank you


Please do not apologize for your excellent and detailed letter, and please retain copy of it for the next steps I am suggesting you take.

Please try to find a well trained pediatric neurologist for your daughter.  It is possible that there is a condition contributing to her behavior that is not of an emotional or psychological nature.

She and you may need and benefit from some thoughtful family counseling to assist in managing her behavior so that she does not develop problems in her social development going forward, but she may be suffering from something that she cannot control and that needs to be identified, so please get her to the neurologist first.


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Psychiatry & Psychology--General

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Andrew M. Elmore, Ph.D.


I can answer questions about: Stress. Headaches. Stress-related Disorders. Anxiety/Panic Disorder. Depression. Psychopathology. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Personal Problem Solving. Life in General. Relationships: Love, Friendship, Business Partner, Coworker, Family,Child/Parent. What makes us tick. The use of psycho-pharmacological agents in combination with psychological treatment. How to deal with evil people in your life. How to improve your outlook under duress. How to control stress. How to control mood. How to control headaches. I cannot answer: Questions about Eating Disorders. Questions about computers.


30 years in private practice as a psychologist in Manhattan. Dealing with people from almost every conceivable ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, and as many character types as exist in this country. Dealing with patients from 8 years old to 90 years old. Pioneer in biofeedback and the treatment of stress-related disorders. Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine since 1982. Treatment of stress-related, anxiety and depressive disorders with biofeedback and cognitive behavioral therapy. Developed personal problem solving, an extremely precise form of psychotherapy. Relationship therapy for couples, families, parent/child issues, business partners, coworkers, employers, and dealing with psychopathic individuals in your life.

American Psychological Association. Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. Biofeedback Certification Institute of America. New York Academy of Sciences.

The journal, Psychophysiology. The book, Expanding Dimensions of Consciousness. The journal, Headache. The journal, Biofeedback and Self-Regulation. The journal Psychiatry Digest. The book, The TMJ Book. The book, Dental Phobia. The network, CNN. Parade Magazine. The newspaper, Newsday. The Manhattan TV station, WCBS. The national news program, The CBS Evening News. The newspaper, The New York Post. The national TV program, The Phil Donohue Show. The magazine, The New Yorker. The magazine, Glamor. The magazine, Redbook. The magazine, Health. The magazine, Bottom Line Personal. Web MD. The website, Healthology. The magazine, Newsweek.

Ph.D. SUNY at Stony Brook, 1979. B.A., magna cum laude with Honors in Psychology, Illinois Wesleyan University, 1974.

Awards and Honors
Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare, First, Second and Third Editions, 1997-2000. Appointed to the Training Faculty of the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America (BCIA), 1993. Senior Fellow BCIA. New York Academy of Sciences, 1987. Who’s Who in the East, 1983-present. Who’s Who in Frontier Science and Technology, First Edition. Citation Paper Author. Eleventh Annual Meeting of the Biofeedback Society of America, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1980. Biofeedback Society of America Scholar, 1979. Co-author, USVA Grant, “Variables Affecting the Experience of Pain in Migraine,” USVA Medical Center, Northport, New York, 1977-1979. Biomedical Research Fellow, Department of Biomedical Engineering, SUNY at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York, 1978. NIMH Predoctoral Fellowship, 1976. BA, Magna cum laude, with Honors in Psychology, 1974. Danforth Fellowship Nominee, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Illinois, 1973.

Past/Present Clients
Most of my clients are my private patients. However I have provided many seminars, lectures and workshops for: Columbia University. The Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Museum of Natural History. The UJA Federation. The university, CW Post. The College of New Rochelle. Equinox Fitness. Travelers Insurance. AutoOne Insurance. Chubb Insurance. Metropolitan Life. Allstate Insurance. State Farm Insurance. Encompass Insurance. The public relations firm, Porter Novelli. The investment firm, Capital Re:. The Estee Lauder corporation. The law firm of Irwin Abrams. The National Insurance Crime Bureau. GEICO Insruance. Beth Israel Hospital.

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