Chad Beaver is here to help.
Beaver is a licensed marriage and family therapist and owner of Key Peninsula Counseling Center.
He’s lived on the peninsula for three years and opened his practice two years ago.
“I really enjoy what I do,” Beaver said. “In the past, I’ve always worked with high-risk people, but with high risk comes high reward. You see people’s lives changing for the better and it feels good.”
In his local practice, Beaver works primarily with individuals and families, people with dementia and also with children [with] ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
He’s a child mental health specialist and is a member of the American Association of Marriage and Health Therapists.
One of his main tools is “a very simple test that compares verbal and nonverbal intelligence, sequencing and other things for ages 10-75,” he said.
The test results “give me an objective tool to learn how to help them,” he said.
“The problem I see a lot of, especially in kids with ADHD, is that often the diagnosis is made subjectively, but when it comes to the actual disorder there are more solid ways –– specific tests –– for making a diagnosis,” he said. “The test I use also tests for gifted.
Often, kids are diagnosed with ADHD and really they’re just bored, he said. “They’re actually ahead of the curve, not behind the curve. So this test gives you an idea of where the curve is.
“It’s been shown that there’s a major misdiagnosis in the rate of ADHD in kids. A lot of times it’s actually anxiety, stress, environmental issues or family conflict.
“I’ve found more times than I can even think of counting, it’s not a problem with the child. My approach is often ‘let’s fix the environment, instead of going down the medication route,’” Beaver said.
As far as he knows, only one other therapist in Washington state is using this test because it’s so new. He just started using the test recently, but he knows it works.
Among other things, Beaver is a strong advocate of treating people –– especially children –– without medication.
“Long-term medications can do a lot of damage to a developing brain. We really shouldn’t give kids amphetamines because they have long-term effects,” he said. “When you start messing with people’s brain chemicals, you can have a lot of long-term and short-term effects.”
According to Beaver, there are different options besides drugs and medications.
“There are simpler ways of handling things, but sometimes they’re not the easiest ways. I work with families and individuals to change entire systems, not just by taking a bunch of medications,” he said.
Beaver has also done extensive research on how diet and nutrition affect memory loss and recently worked with a local group to develop a cookbook for people with Alzheimer’s.
“There’s been a lot of research on nutrients that can help clear it up and help increase memory, and actually a therapy regime that can help reverse memory loss and Alzheimer’s that focuses on exercise, social activities and diet,” he said.
Beaver is currently working to develop a “nutrition calculator” app to reverse memory loss.
“We’re working with some tools that nobody else has,” he said.
For information, call Beaver at (253) 884-3644 or visit keypeninsulacounseling.com.