Play Therapy Community Inspiration, Information, & Connection for Child Therapists Around the World | ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Child Parent Relationship Therapy, School Counseling Behavior Therapy, Sandtray Therapy,

Play Therapy Community will present a fresh, insightful episode once a week, usually on Thursday mornings. On this podcast, we will cover topics such as play therapy techniques and resources, group therapy, maternal mental health, picky eaters, struggles in school, behavioral issues, grief and loss, and so much more. We’ll also delve into specific diagnosis such as ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Specific Learning Disabilities, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, etc. Difficult topics, such as parenting through separation/divorce, depression, anxiety struggles, relationship struggles, and such will be explored as well. As the host of Play Therapy Community, I feel honored that you are joining us on this journey for knowledge to truly help our children in a way that honors their mind, body, and soul. My name is Jackie Flynn, and I’m a Licensed Psychotherapist, Registered Play Therapist, Education Specialist, Adolescent Life Coach and a Parent Educator.
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Play Therapy Community Inspiration, Information, & Connection for Child Therapists Around the World | ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Child Parent Relationship Therapy, School Counseling Behavior Therapy, Sandtray Therapy,



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Jun 29, 2017

In this episode Billie Jo covers the following:


  • Description of what Infant Mental Health is and what professional support in this area involves.
  • A discussion on the impact that ages 0-3 has on a child’s development – emotional, physical, cognitive, etc.
  • Clarification of who could benefit from Infant Toddler Mental Health Support
  • Tips for therapists working with children and families.


Jun 22, 2017

Ellis Edmunds is a licensed psychologist in Oakland, CA.  He has a private practice working with teens and adults struggling with anxiety.  He is passionate about Mindfulness practices and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.  He also loves to play games of all kind and has created a therapeutic board game called The Mindful Bus that can be used with groups or in a one on one setting.  He believes games can provide a fun, safe, and interactive experience for therapeutic work to take place.

In this episode Dr. Edmunds covers the following:

-How he got the idea for the board game by working with teens and adults. 
-The process of getting the game created: prototypes, testing it, art work. 
-How Acceptance and Commitment Therapy inspired the idea for the game. 
-How to get started on your own product or game.


Jun 15, 2017

In this episode Dr. Kat covers the following:


  • Understanding what Maternal Mental Health is and where to find trained professionals to help.
  • Where to get training for professionals working with mothers in the mental health field.
  • Understanding postpartum depression, anxiety, and much more.
  • Reducing the shame of maternal mental health struggles through support, education, and sharing stories.
  • Her podcast, Mom & Mind is a wonderful free resource for parents, professionals, and anyone that could use information and knowledge in this area.


Dr. Kat’s Amazing Podcast


Mom and Mind Facebook Page


Jun 8, 2017

Expert Guest: Mercedes Samudio, LCSW Mercedes Samudio, LCSW is a parent coach, speaker, and author who helps parents and children communicate with each other, manage emotional trauma, navigate social media and technology together, and develop healthy parent-child relationships. Over the course of her career, she has worked with adoptive families, foster families, teen parents, parents navigating the child protective services system, and children living with mental illness. Mercedes started the #EndParentShaming movement as well as coined the term Shame-Proof Parenting – using both to bring awareness to ending parent shame. Mercedes is a leading parenting expert and has an amazing following on social media that allows her to reach the hearts of thousands of parents who feel heard and seen on their parenting journey. She has been featured on The Huffington Post, US News and Report, Woman’s Day, LA Parent Magazine, CBS LA, and Kids In The House. Mercedes seeks to empower parents to believe that they are already great guides for raising healthy and happy children. You can read more about her parenting expertise at



In this episode, Mercedes covers the following:

  • How family meetings can help strengthen relationships. 
  • Important things to consider when having family meetings. 
  • How to respond to sibling rivalry and the benefits. 
  • The importance of listening to children and allowing them to participate in family discussions and problem-solving.


Mercedes’ Book – Shame Proof Parenting 

Mercedes’ Website


May 9, 2017

My guest today is Dr. Jonathan Singer, Ph. D., LCSW, who is an expert in the area of suicide. He is an Associate Professor of Social Work at Loyola University in Chicago and the founder and host of The Social Work podcast. He co-authored the book, Suicide in Schools. This episode focuses on suicide pacts and the social media component and is the second piece of a two-part series.

  • The language we use around suicide is important. Instead of “suicide threat,” the less-threatening terminology is “suicide disclosure.” Dr. Singer shares how he helped in a suicide pact scenario years ago, before the onset of social media. His story would be very different in today’s world that’s overrun with social media platforms. 
  • Peers can help and even intervene in a crisis situation. In today’s world saturated with social media, teens will often be the first to hear of suicide pacts. Their awareness is crucial, so they know how to help and what to do. Dr. Singer explains how to be a friend to someone who is at risk for suicide and, specifically, how to address an online suicide pact.
  • What if someone feels that they are betraying a friend? Well, “It’s better to have a friend alive and mad, than dead.” There are intense affective conversation techniques that can help keep a friend around: “Your reason for living may not be in your life yet.”
  • Talking about it is so important! Dr. Singer explains that research has shown that asking kids about suicide does not increase risk, but can actually buffer the risk. Contrary to what some people think, bringing up the conversation will NOT make them suicidal.  What does increase the risk is watching a graphic show about a bleak world without hope, as in the recent Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why.


Find Jackie and the Play Therapy Community on Facebook: Look for Play Therapy Community or Jackie Flynn Play Therapy Community.


Find Jackie on Twitter @jackieflynnrpt


Suicide in Schools by Dr. Jonathan Singer


Social Work Podcast


Join the Play Therapy Community Mastermind group -


May 9, 2017

My guest today is Dr. Jonathan Singer, Ph. D., LCSW, who is an expert in the area of suicide. He is an Associate Professor of Social Work at Loyola University in Chicago and the founder and host of The Social Work podcast. He co-authored the book, Suicide in Schools. This episode focuses on suicide assessments and interventions and is the first of a two-part series.

  • Therapists can do much at various levels to assess risk. The most important action is to screen for suicide risk at each intake assessment, whether it’s suspected or not. Often, aggression and other behavioral disturbances can be evidence of suicide risk, so ASK the questions!
  • What can parents do? Dr. Singer says that parents of any child at risk should talk to the school counselor about a referral. “Don’t start looking for someone when the need arises.” Therapists should also connect with school counselors and let them know who you are and what you do.
  • Dr. Singer explains Attachment-Based Family Therapy, which is emotion-focused and addresses the fundamental issue of why kids don’t see their parents as a resource for help. “Why does the child feel like it’s a better choice to die rather than talk to and open up to their parents?” Repairing the “attachment rupture” makes it easier than to talk about everything. Kids need their parents to be a safe place!
  • Within ABFT, parents must understand the difference between condoning and validating by giving care and acceptance with words and actions. Use the phrase, “tell me more” to encourage kids to share. With this, they gain confidence to start problem-solving on their own---and this is what we want them to do!
  • Another important aspect of ABFT is the service coordination between therapist and counselor. The amazing work in your office is not going to be beneficial if the adults in the kid’s life are not on the same page!



Find Jackie and the Play Therapy Community on Facebook: Look for Play Therapy Community or Jackie Flynn Play Therapy Community.

Find Jackie on Twitter @jackieflynnrpt

Suicide in Schools by Dr. Jonathan Singer

Social Work Podcast

Join the Play Therapy Community Mastermind group -


Apr 27, 2017

Lucy Lauer, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with 26 years’ experience as a Registered Dietitian. She specializes in helping people navigate the rough waters of disordered eating to achieve a healthier life and relationship with food. She has experience with Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, Nocturnal Eating Disorder, and the range of dysfunctional eating patterns that cause distress but may not have a diagnostic label.


In 35 years of practice, Lucy has treated disordered eating from both a nutritional and psychological perspective. She has presented workshops at the local, state and national level on many aspects of disordered eating for psychologists and counselors, physicians, dietitians, parents and teachers. She established and facilitated the Space Coast Eating Disorders Professional Consortium from 2009-2011, and supervises Florida Tech Psychology students in a special practicum focused on Eating Disorder treatment. 


She participates regularly in continuing education programs and has had over 60 hours of specialized training in ED treatment in the last 3 years alone. Specific topics have included ACT and other evidence-based interventions, medical complications, trauma impact, co-occurring disorders (substance abuse, self-injury, etc), assessment for appropriate level of care, body image, art and other expressive therapies, and using a team approach to treatment. She has also been invited to site visits at residential treatment centers in South Florida and Colorado. 




What are the various types of eating disorders? Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder


Since eating disorders have a direct impact on physical health as well, tell us a bit about the team approach to treatment when collaborating with Registered Nutritionists, Physicians, etc...

The gold standard of ED treatment involves a team of clinicians working together. The team consists of a mental health counselor or psychologist, Registered Dietitian (RD), primary care physician, and if needed, a psychiatrist. In an out-patient setting, it is usually the mental health clinician who coordinates care by communicating with other team members re. treatment goals, progress toward goals, and psychoeducation, as needed. The RD monitors weight, food intake and specific food-related issues and may also help set exercise goals. Medical parameters such as labs, EKGs and bone-density are ordered by the PCP and shared with other team members as markers for progress. When all team members are not under the same roof (which is usually the case), communication is done through phone calls, written assessments and updates and occasionally, face-to-face team meetings. If the client is a minor, the parents are also part of the team and are included in treatment planning, progress updates and psychoeducation so they can more effectively support their child’s recovery.


 Many people with an eating disorder have a fear of recovery.  Talk a bit about this and how a clinician can work with someone resistant about recovering from their eating disorder.

An eating disorder is experienced as a life-raft in the rough sea of uncertainty that is a normal part of life. Despite the fact that eating disorders are deadly and create enormous physical and psychological pain, they also serve important functions such as protection from intrusion, a sense of control when life feels chaotic, a way to make complex issues seem more manageable and many others. In order to help a person let go of this safety net, the clinician has to help them:  1) recognize the costs to other valued parts of their lives such as relationships, energy & concentration for other persuits; 2) Identify the functions of the ED and Develop other ways to address those. This often requires practicing acceptance of the inherent uncertainty of life, imperfection of themselves and others, and the messiness of living in a human body with all of its flaws and limitations. Sometimes, cognitive growth and recovery cannot take place until weight and nutritional balance is restored and this takes education, support, encouragement and a leap of faith on the part of the client.


 I know you facilitate a wonderful group for people with an eating disorder.  Tell us a bit about that group and how it's different from individual therapy? Our 8-week eating disorder therapy group employs a combination of mindfulness practice, self-compassion and some elements of ACT (acceptance & Commitment Therapy), which helps people identify personal values that the ED has robbed them of. There is a lot of discussion about perfectionism, fear of failure, body hatred, habitual responses to difficult emotions and practice slowing down and experimenting with alternative perspectives and behaviors. Much of the benefit from the group comes from the common experiences of the members who usually feel alien and outside of “normal” human connections. ED is a very isolating illness and it is progressive, so over the years, people feel more and more alone and ashamed of the disorder in addition to all the other things about themselves they already hate.


  Where can clinicians go for more information, trainings, certifications, etc... My favorite resources are programs presented by The Renfrew Center & the Eating Recover Center, both of which have residential treatment facilities in several US cities and do a lot of research, outreach and education. There are some very useful websites with loads of info, too. I’ve attached a list of resources we turn to on a regular basis. Our website and Facebook page also have regular posts about ED and other psychological and mental health issues. Our website is; our FB page is Beachside Counseling & Wellness on Facebook.




Recommended ED Self-help books


Cruze, Robyn & Andrus, Espra, LCSW (2013). Making Peace with Your Plate:  Eating disorder recovery. Central Recovery Press.

Kelly, Joe (2003). Dads and Daughters: How to inspire, understand, and support your daughter when she's growing up so fast. 

Lock, James, MD, PhD. & Le Grange, Daniel, PhD (2005). Help Your Teenager Beat an Eating Disorder. The Guilford Press.

Maine, Margo, & Kelly, Joe (2005). The Body Myth: Adult women and the pressure to be perfect. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. 

Roth, Geneen (2010). Women, Food and God. New York: Scribner.

Tribole, E. and Resch, E. (2003). Intuitive Eating. New York:  Saint Martins Press.

Johnston, Anita (1996). Eating in the Light of the Moon: How women can transform their relationships with food through myths, metaphors and storytelling. Carlsbad, CA: Gurze Books.

Schaefer, Jenni (2004). Life Without Ed:  How one woman declared independence from her eating disorder and how you can, too. New York:  McGraw-Hill.

Siegel, M., Brisman, J., and Weinshel, M. (1995). Surviving an Eating Disorder:  Strategies for Families and Friends. New York: Saint Martins Press.

Waterhouse, D. (1997).  Like Mother, Like Daughter:  How women are influenced by their mothers’ relationship with food, and how to break the pattern.  New York:  Hyperion.

Sandoz, Emily and DuFrene, Troy (2013). Living With Your Body & Other Things You Hate:  How to let go of your struggle with body image using acceptance & commitment therapy.  Oakland, CA:  New Harbinger Books.


Eating Disorder Resources

  • NEDA - National Eating Disorders Association. NEDA Helpline: 1-800-931-2237

     ANAD-National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Eating Disorders. ANAD Helpline: 630-577-1330

  • Something Fishy - Website On Eating Disorders. Referral sources.
  • Gürze Books. Eating Disorders Publication/Education & Referral Sources.  800-756-7533
  • EDReferral - Eating Disorder Referral and Information Center.
  • Alliance for Eating Disorder Awareness. Information for parents & caregivers about the warning signs, dangers, and consequences of eating disorders.
  • ED Hope: a resource and referral site for eating disorders and addictions.
  • Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA). Mission is to raise awareness, educate, and provide resources for its members and the general public.
  • F,E.A.S.T. - Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders. An organization of parents and caregivers. ww•
  • Anna Westin Foundation. Dedicated to the prevention and treatment of eating disorders & advocating for insurance coverage.
  • Beachside Counseling & Wellness, Indialantic, FL. Individual, couple and family therapy, Group Therapy, Nutrition Counseling, Information. 321-327-3793
  • Am I Hungry? Website promoting intuitive/mindful eating and body respect.

Websites & Blogs:

  Website launched by a patient in recovery from Bulimia:

  • Blog encouraging positive body image:

  Blog encouraging a non-diet approach to healthy eating:  Website/program to improve body image on college campuses:


Apr 14, 2017

Episode 52 – Supporting Grieving Children and Families at the Dougy Center


In this episode:

Jana Cristofaro covers the following:


  • Describes the mission of The Dougy Center.
  • Tells how it was created (Dougy's story).
  • Describes who is eligible to receive services through your program and what is the process.
  • Describes what services look and feel like at the Dougy Center.
  • Provides tips that you have for therapists working with grieving children and their families.
  • Let’s us know about and/or donate to the Dougy Center.


For her Free Download:  Tips for Supporting Grieving Children click on the following:


Apr 14, 2017

Episode 53 – Sandtray Therapy and the Brain

Expert Guest: Amy Flaherty, LPE-I, RPT is the Founder and Director of the Southern Sandtray Institute located in Jonesboro, AR. She has a hybrid program to credential therapists as a Registered Integrative Sandtray Therapist (RIST).  In addition to the formal credentialing program, Amy also offers online sandtray training through The Sandtray Suite. To find out more and grab your free Sandtray technique, simply go to

In this episode, Amy Flaherty LPE-I, RPT covers the following:

  • What is Sandtray Therapy?
  • She describes the relation between neuroscience and Sandtray therapy.
  • She shares few examples of that she’s seen throughout her work.
  • She shares her most used miniatures?  And, where are some common area she finds miniatures for her collection


Apr 14, 2017


Episode 51: Introduction to Play Therapy Community Podcast and Host, Jackie Flynn EdS, LMHC, RPT

Thank you so much for listening to the podcast! This episode was previously known as Parenting in the Rain Podcast.

I created this community as a space for us (Child Therapists!) to connect with other and learn together.  If you’re anything like me, you like the idea of having tons of information at your fingertips so that you can provide the best therapy possible for your clients.

I have a Private Practice in Central Florida, with a fully stocked Play Therapy Room and Expressive Arts Therapy Studio. 

I love being a private practitioner and entrepreneur, taking risks, and daring to dream BIG! And, I LOVE Play Therapy!!!  Helping people through the healing Power of Play.

In the beginning, I remember surfing the web for hours and hours trying to get ideas.

Now, we don’t have to do it alone…we have this podcast and connection to each other where we can find out about all of the other wonderful play therapy related resources that are available to us out there! I LOVE the thought of being part of a community with like-minded individuals.

In my work at my private practice, I am passionate about helping children, adolescents, parents, couples, and families through Play Therapy, EMDR, Sandtray Therapy, Gottman Method Couples Counseling, Hypnotherapy, Education Consultation, Mindfulness, and Art Therapy. 

Probably much like you, I’ve spent years and years going to school, training, conferences, reading books, listening to podcasts, networking, reading blogs, and more to be the effective and passionate therapist that I am today.

We all have so much info to share… and the thought of creating a SYNERGYSTIC community of amazingly ambitious, child therapists like you makes me so happy, I can hardly stand it!!!

Personal and professional growth is ALWAYS at the forefront of my consciousness. And, I LOVE the world of BUSINESS and THERAPY combined. The online business world is packed with so many opportunities for growth – and I LOVE it!  I love helping people in a big way, and online that is possible!  You may have listened to my podcast, Parenting in the Rain or attended some of my Webinars.

I’d love to stay in touch with you through our newsletter.  If you’d like that too, just let me know where to send it by entering your info below.  You’ll get a video of my top 3 most used miniatures as my way of welcoming you to Play Therapy Community’s newsletter.

Apr 6, 2017

Episode 50, When Your Child Makes a Mistake

In This Episode:  

Mistakes are part of our humanness.  They are bound to happen from time to time.  In fact, they need to happen for us to grow.  For our kids, allowing them to make mistakes can make all of the difference.

As parents, it is helpful to allow our children’s mistakes to teach them about life.  

It can be difficult, though.  Especially, if you are in a rush and you need to get out of the door for school (okay this can be tough!), you may be tempted to just tie their shoes yourself, or dress them yourself, or make the bed yourself so it’s not so messy, or stick with the food that they are comfortable with ... the list can go on and on talking about how we’re busy and we don’t want to cause a scene and how everyone benefits, if we choose leads you down a path of least resistance.  I know some of these because I’ve been there.  Parenting can be exhausting and feel defeating sometimes.  I’m not saying you need to never help your kid again.  But rather, grasp those opportunities to learn and grow from messes and mistakes when possible.  

If you are in a rut of doing everything for your child, give own self-permission to be human.   Small tweaks over the course of time can make all the difference.  With a positive attitude. .. and lots of EMPATHY.  It may sound something like this, “It must’ve been really hard to have done your project and then not have it in class.  I know how hard you worked on it.”  

Beware of the temptation for sarcasm here.  If you connect with your child in an empathic way that leaves them feeling like “my mom or my dad gets it. I’m not gonna let this happen again.” 

“When the student is ready, the teacher will teach.”  – Zig Ziglar

When children are allowed to make mistakes and learn from their experience, the cognitions (aka “thoughts”) that are embedded in their self-perception are I am capable, I am competent, I can do difficult things, It's okay to try, as well as several other helpful ways to feel.  

The only people that make mistakes are the ones that don’t try.

Some opportunities to make mistakes are to learn how to tie shoes, make lunches, forget homework, lose a friend due to behavior, and a gazillion other ways.

One of the huge benefits of making mistakes, especially for children, is that they get a chance to hone and develop their problem-solving skills.  Think of it like muscles – how will they ever get strong if you don’t use them, or, if you let them lay dormant for a while.  

Letting our children make mistakes is actually a HUGE gift to them. 

This topic lends itself to the area of high expectations.  Les Brown said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.”  This is so true.  If we hold our kids to high expectations such as doing chores, reading a book every 2 weeks, applying for the scholarships, eating their vegetables, messing up their Science project, then we are sending the message of “I believe in you.”  And, then in turn, they have permission to believe in themselves.   

Remember, as we raise these small human beings that we refer to as our kids, we are given opportunities to help them be the best that they can be.  So rushing their homework or lunch to school that they forgot or allowing them to sit in front of the video games all weekend disconnected from family and life because they’ve had a difficult week, is not helping them at all.  It actually hinders them.

I’ve told the butterfly story before, but I’m going to mention it here too because it is so related.

I first heard this story in my Child Parent Relationship Therapy training.

So, as Mrs. Frizzle used to say in the Magic School Bus episodes... “Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy.”  This will allow your children to dare to dream and actually have the confidence and courage to follow their dreams.  



For Therapists – Join Play Therapy Community ™ with Jackie to learn more... Launching Soon!

Below Are Some Affiliate Links to Books/Products That I Love


Jackie’s Favorite Labryinths (Discounted Price)

Weighted Blankets by Mosaic




If you’d like to connect with me, I offer consultation and parent coaching support.  Just email me at or at my private practice at


Find a Play Therapist  Near You


Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting From Birth to Six Years

Child Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT) Treatment Manual: A 10-Session Filial Therapy Model for Training Parents


Mar 30, 2017

Episode 49:  The Art of Raising Honest Children with Integrity

In This Episode:  


Children learn way more by watching what we do, than by listening to what we say to do.

This is why it is so important to live our lives with integrity and good character.  It was super important before we had children, but it’s more important now than ever as it could impact generations to come.

There are quite a few definitions of integrity floating around, but I like this one the most.  

Integrity – doing the right thing even when no one is watching.  It’s personal honesty.

It’s a biggie to resist those temptations to tell little white lies or big hairy tall tales.  

Don’t tell the person at the ticket booth that your child is really 9 instead of 12 to get a reduced price ticket.  Don’t sneak into hotel pools when you’re not a guest.  Don’t go past the “Do Not Enter” signs and all of the other of gazillion things that can be tempting to do.  It may save you a few bucks at the movie theater to sneak in Candy from the outside, but in the long run, it costs way more than a few bucks.  You can compromise your kid’s integrity.  And, that is so valuable.

When someone is true to their values of honesty and integrity, it usually generalizes to other areas of their lives.  

So, take every opportunity to be honest, even when your child isn’t present, even when it cost you more money, even when it means that you will be inconvenienced, even when it’s hard...  Resisting the urge to gossip about someone else’s life can help your child develop trusting relationships that are solid as a rock too.  It helps your child to not only be trustworthy but to be trusting.  

It’s not only a beautiful gift to your child to raise them to value this important character trait, but is also a huge gift to yourself, your community, and ultimately the world that we all share.

Below Are Some Affiliate Links to Books/Products That I Love


Jackie’s Favorite Labryinths (Discounted Price)

Weighted Blankets by Mosaic



If you’d like to connect with me, I offer consultation and parent coaching support.  Just email me at or at my private practice at


Mar 23, 2017

Episode 48:  EMDR Therapy: Helping Children Move Past the Tough Stuff

In This Episode:  


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, also known as EMDR, is an effective, research and evidence-based therapy that helps free people from painful memories, anxiety, intrusive thoughts and other disturbances from exposure to trauma or especially disturbing situations.  And, it works with children too.  In my experience, it often takes less time to notice changes because often children have less tough memories due to their young age, as compared with older clients.

When exposed to traumatic events, our minds may not fully understand and process the magnitude of the situation due to the scenario at hand its overwhelming nature.  When I mention trauma, I want you to think of it as in “Big T trauma for the big stuff such as witness a crime, etc” and “Little t trauma such as being called a name by a peer, etc” This lack of processing of traumatic events thoroughly can show itself in a debilitating psychological/emotional state of distress. With kids, it can look like night terrors, bedwetting, behavior issues, anxiety, depression, and so on.  This state of distress can result in a feeling of being “emotionally stuck”.

EMDR Therapy can help with symptoms of distress from living with disorders such as Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder (ADHD), Restless Leg Syndrome, Phantom Leg Syndrome, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), Eating Disorders, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Anxiety, Depression, Tourettes Syndrome, Bed-Wetting, Emotional Regulation Issues, Behavior Concerns, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Eating Disorders, Disassociative Identity Disorder (DID), and much more.

EMDR therapy basically stimulates the mind into reprocessing the events, facilitates resolve from within the person experiencing it, and lessens the emotional impact of the memories. Even if the memories are from before the person can remember it with their thoughts.  We actually have memories from up to 3 months in utero that can sometimes stay stuck as emotional memories.  EMDR can free individuals from painful memories and empower them to live more fully in the present.  This is especially important with our kids, as staying stuck in trauma can impact their development in so many ways.  Sometimes, the effect of trauma is misdiagnosed as ADHD since it can leave people feeling distracted, unable to focus and fidgety from anxiety.

EMDR is a therapeutic “tool” that can be used in therapy to help our clients overcome barriers to normal functioning, and ultimately, to their happiness.  I love using it with kids!  Also, EMDR has been shown to alleviate anxiety and depression, which can leave children and their loved ones feeling emotionally anguish.  Anxiety and depression can look very different for children than it does adults.  Many of my clients have engaged in some type of self-harm, such as cutting, skin picking etc… and EMDR is one of my go-to tools to help them.  There are so many ways that it can be performed.  With younger kids, I love integrating it with Play Therapy.  As a part of the therapy, I have the client identify a negative thought about themselves, notice what they are feeling in their body and provide stimulation to either side of the body by having them move their eyes back and forth (usually with finger puppets or moving a car back and forth), or holding on to buzzers while often wearing earphones that alternate soft beeping in either ear that help desensitize what their feeling and reprocess it into something healthier.  For example, a negative thought maybe “I am a bad person” and the reprocessed thought maybe “I’m good enough just as I am.”  The healing can be profound.

Memories of negative events, whether big T or little t traumas, for children it can be a death, divorce, car accident, fight, etc. can become painfully fragmented into other events resulting in limited enjoyment of life activities.  Often it may manifest into anger, depression, chemical dependency, impulsive disorders, eating disorders, anxiety, phobias, relationship issues, and more.  Through the brain stimulation created from EMDR therapy, clients can reprocess traumatic events or negative thoughts, and eventually become desensitized to the painful memories that are often at the root of emotional troubles.

I love using the audible app.  Through Audible, I have read Francine Shapiro’s book “Getting Past Your Past” 5 times so far.  That book is wonderful at explaining EMDR in a way that helps people understand how it works and what it works on.  Francine Shapiro created EMDR Therapy back in the 80s and it is getting more and more well known each day.  In the show notes, I’ve linked sites where you can find an EMDR therapist in your area.  It’s good stuff, whether you use it for you or your child.

I remember that quote “Hurt People, Hurt People” that I first heard in an Addiction class.  When we can free our kids and ourselves from pain, we not only improve our own lives but improve the lives of others around us for years to come.

Below Are Some Affiliate Links to Books/Products That I Love


Jackie’s Favorite Labryinths (Discounted Price)

Weighted Blankets by Mosaic




If you’d like to connect with me, I offer consultation and parent coaching support.  Just email me at or at my private practice at



Mar 16, 2017

As a Play Therapist, I love using art with my clients!

 Art engages more of the brain in the healing process. 

But what about home? Is it important to have our materials and home? They can get messy look a little bit cluttered, be expensive sometimes, and take some time to delve into. 

Is it worth it?

The answer is yes! Art helps children in so many ways.Art projects can definitely help with confidence. Especially, if children are struggling in other areas. When children make something that they feel good about, that makes him feel proud of themselves, they perceive themselves as competent and capable of performing work that is really good. This self-perception often generalizes into other areas of their life. On surface level, one might think what’s sure they can paint a tree on a canvas, but that doesn’t mean that they can rock at math. And, to some extent that is correct. But, if gives them the confidence to try things that are very difficult and helps them to feel capable, they may have the courage to do math problems, they previously would’ve just shut down on…or whatever it is that the struggles with. Art projects can also help children with emotional self-regulation.  Artwork helps a right and the left hemisphere of the brain to synchronize which engages a calming effect. Many times, in session I will have my clients use the right in their left-hand at the same time which can enhance this effect. We do activities such as double mirror doodle, or art in the sand tray by moving both hands, design figures with the clay with both hands, and other things that just engage both hands, etc. I also love mandalas! mandalas or circle designs can either be symmetrical or any random design. I use these in individual, group and family sessions. There’s so many varieties think that you can do with Art.Art projects can also help with connection on many different levels. Engaging in creativity can help us connect with our inner self as well, as express what’s going on to others that can be so connecting. It can be so very healing. 

A picture is definitely worth I thousand words… and then some. I love using art therapy with blended families and adoptive families as it can truly that can strengthen the family system.  Art surpasses the limitation of words for sure!Sometimes, families will have an art cabinet or an art shelf where they random art supplies. For my families that I work with that do this, many of the kids comment how doing art work is one of their favorite things to do as a family. Sometimes in our family sessions where we’ll do a family coat of armor and have them identify their family strengths, or I’ll have them created habitat of a an animal in the future including all of the things that he needs to survive. They can be fun, telling of their situation, and also very healing and connecting, especially in high conflict situations.

 When parents ask me what they need to buy for their ourselves, I usually put it back on them. What do you think YOU might need for your shelf?   Because something that I recommend make totally be a turn off to them! For example I absolutely love, love, love, love, love, LOVE  glitter. But, a bottle of glitter around a 5-year-old can send some people into tizzy.  Gathering supplies for an art supply is an individual process for sure. You can find many low cost items at the local department store, but many things in nature are very useful as well. I love to bring in palm fronds for my clients to paint on and Angel and I have painted about a gazillion of them over years. We love using stick and leaves too. We live in Florida, so many times people around the neighborhood well trim the palm tree and put the palm fronds on the side of the road. Then, when we are walking our dog Max full pick up a really good friend.

 Remember too, art in this context is expressive, so isn’t confined to paint, paper, colored pencils etc. Art can be building a sand castle at the beach, it could be writing a plan together, it could be singing a song and expressing it with a dance, etc.

 As a play therapist, I love using the sand tray.  If you haven’t heard the episode 44 with Tammy van Hollander yet, it is so worth listening to. Putting little figurines, a.k.a. miniatures in the sand, can be very healing and extremely connecting. Also, I love to use rocks! All kinds of rocks I like to paint on rocks write on rocks use the rocks in the sand tray, incorporate rocks and are in mindfulness altogether… The possibilities are absolutely limitless

 In the show notes I have provided several links to art sites that can give you inspiration.


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Mar 9, 2017

“Is my kid addicted to video games?” 

I hear that question all the time from parents.  The word “addiction” is thrown round a lot these days… Video game addiction is not actually in the diagnostic manual per se, but some families have a real issue with their child being clued to a video game for many hours of the day. Sometimes, this is at the detriment of the social relationships play, family relationships, getting things.

 To steer away from the term addiction, which could be used totally appropriate here, I want to go to little bit deeper  with this topic. As a hypnotherapist that helps people transition from being a smoker to a nonsmoker, the term addiction can sometimes leave people feeling stuck and held captive by something larger than them.  I prefer to use the word habit, just because habits are much easier to change.   It’s all about perception and mindset, especially with our kids.

I just had an episode with Dr. Temple Grandin, perhaps the most famous person with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the world.  In that episode, she spoke to the connection between kids have an Autism Spectrum Disorder and their often strong attraction to play videogames. Many people children and adults included are trying to videogames for hours on end. Dr. Grandin recommends limiting their time on the games and involving them in some type of activity where they feel useful and helpful.  This approach helps prevent the dreaded scenario of having a 29 year old living at your house without skill, ambition, and desire to move into a more interactive kind of life that involves independence, responsibility and work ethic.

When is video gaming a problem?

 Moderation is the keyword here. And, prioritization. Just to be clear I am not anti-video games, I’m just pro parenting wisely when it comes to this area. As a parent of the kid that loves to play video games I totally understand the excitement and the joy and skill building in all of the strategic thinking that  goes with it. I’ve also experienced the other end where it is all-consuming, when situations left me wondering how to wean back without an unimaginable amount of upset or a disaster scenario.

This is where an ounce of prevention is like a pound of cure applies.  But, it’s never, ever too late to improve. 

Excessive, unmonitored, and/or violent video gaming can put a child at risk for increased irritability, avoidance of other healthy activities such as playing, reading, doing chores, spending time with family, obesity, etc.…  A very real concern sometimes involves safety such as connection and communication with strangers. It can get downright scary.But what can you do? What’s the solution? It can be a real dilemma, especially if you have a child that has been playing games for years and you fear an emotional explosion if you decide to pull the plug. Many times children that Play video games excessively also use the gaming as a in emotional self-regulation technique a.k.a. “A source of calming.” This could create a situation where the child is especially upset over losing the privilege of playing video game, win the video game is actually their way of calming down. This is why I recommend never going “cold turkey”. Never take away 100% of the videogame time if they are truly relying on it to help regulate their emotions without any other calming techniqes. Slowly pulling back to healthier lifestyle can be achieved much easier. Our children’s brains are not fully developed until about the ages of 21 to 24, so they are already working on limited ability to come down.Okay, following are the things that I think are important to keep in mind when making decisions around this matter. Each family is different… each family has their own set of values, rules, expectations, culture,… So the decisions that you may make for your child may look totally different than the decisions that your friend makes for her child– And that’s okay!

 Be involved, know what your kid is playing enjoying in periodically. When you are not involved it is like a secret world you have limited information about. No need to tell you about all of the dangers of the Internet, as I’m sure that you already know from my previous podcast episode on the subject. Sit down with your child to play the game every once in a while. It’s hard to find time to even take a shower before 11 PM much less to sit down to play a video game with your kid. But it is so very important to be involved. It’s a big deal.  The stakes are high.  Then you know what your child was doing and is exposed to, as well as it turns it into a connected activity.

 Also, pay attention to the rating levels… I recommend being really conservative with time here… Some of the games with the enhanced graphic these days are really activating… It does have an effect on your child’s perception of normalcy. Kids need to be kids while they are kids. Enough said here the violent games are not good …for anyone !

 Place your child’s gaming device and/or computer in a public area. When parents put gaming devices in their bedroom, they are really limiting their capacity to not only know what the child is playing to be more aware of how long they are playing for and with whom they are playing. This is a biggie!Also, prioritize, prioritize, prioritize… be sure that your child gets their chores done come other homework done, their playtime and their social time in before they play games.  Also, be sure that they get to be in time.  The crankiness meter can shoot up fast with sleep deprivation, regardless of age.  This helps to ensure that gaming is PART of their life, not their ENTIRE life. Many kids are at risk of turning into a hermit crab and staying in the room for hours upon and only to come out when they need food, a bathroom break, or prompted by their parents.  It can get bad sometimes.  

 Some warning signs that your child is playing too much is when they give emotionally explosive when it’s time to get off, when you wake up in middle the night to go to the bathroom and you see that they’re playing video games instead of sleeping school night or not, feelings of disconnection from family and friends, when they do not get enough physical exercise because they are always sitting in front of the computer or the gaming device,  when they don’t want to do anything except for play their video game, and several more things that I’m probably not thinking about basically becomes a problem when it is the problem. What are your thoughts? Jump in the Facebook group at Parenting in the Rain Community and let me know what strategies you have adopted to help your kids moderator video game usage

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Jan 12, 2017

I’m really excited about this episode with Dr. Temple Grandin!  

She’s so inspirational to me and many around the world. 

She has written so many books on Autism!  

In this episode, she talks about what it was like growing up for her with Autism, what helps and what doesn’t.  She also provides some great tips for parents, teachers, and therapists to help raise kids that have a sense of purpose and a strong work ethic that can go on to thrive in emotionally, socially, and occupationally.

I first heard of Dr. Grandin from a friend of mine, Stephanie Sanders.  She is the Speech Therapist and the author of the FILTER Approach that I had on the podcast way back in episode 28.  If you haven’t listened to that episode, please do.  It’s a good one!  I love Stephanie and her work.  Her book is fantastic.  It provides a step by step curriculum to help children with social communication skills.  I worked with her when I was a school counselor and had the opportunity to really see her work help some of the same kids I was working with... it’s amazing.  

Also, one more thing before we jump into my conversation with Dr. Grandin.  My colleague, Robert Cox, has a podcast and a book coming out soon that I am super, crazy excited about.  It’s called Listening to Autism.  He was also a guest on my podcast back in Episode 24 – “Teaching Kids with ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder to Calm Their Chaos through Mindfulness.”  On his podcast “Listening to Autism” he brings in research, lots of information from professionals.  He draws on his 24 years of experience of working with people with Autism as well as explores effective treatment approaches to really help.  One thing that I love about his work is that he looks at helping through the lens of trauma, to really help.  He also has a book in the final stages at the time of this recording “The Life Recovery Method”.  You can find Robert at

Okay, so here are the highlights of my conversation with Dr. Temple Grandin.

It’s important to get a child that is non-verbal into speech therapy as soon as possible.  

There’s 3 types of minds -  photo-visual thinking, pattern thinker, and the person that thinks in words.

It’s important to “stretch” kids to expose them to things that help them grow.

Build on children’s strengths - art, hands-on, etc...

Giving kids a chance to develop a strong work ethic and develop working skills is so important.

Dr. Grandin expresses gratitude to the people such as her teachers, her mother, and others that helped shape her work ethic and push her.

She is very concerned about video game “addictions”.  

It’s important to limit their video game addiction with ASD, by weaning them away from it and replacing it with hands-on work opportunities and activities that the child is interested in. 

Dr. Grandin describes “teachable” moments as being really helpful.  

She mentions that understanding sensory issues is really important.  

When she was growing up, adults would “correct” kids when they were doing something incorrectly such as “only the clerks are allowed behind the counter” when she went behind the counter.

It’s important to give kids a refuge away from teasing in groups with people that have a “Shared Interests”.

Exposure in high school is important – it’s a window of opportunity to get kids involved and exposed to other things than video games.

Dr. Grandin says that it is never too late to make changes.

She discusses her own experiences with medication to help her take the edge of anxiety.

She mentions a connection with Autism Spectrum Disorder and the images in video games.

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Dec 8, 2016

I love Sandtray Therapy!  In my early days as a therapist, while I was working towards licensure Tammi Van Hollander was very influential on growth as a, then, aspiring Play Therapist (to be).  She has a private practice in Ardmore, PA. Her passion and enthusiasm to helping people through Play Therapy is contagious.  Since then, I have had years of experience with Sandtray, but will never, ever forget how much she taught me.  I will always feel so very grateful to her and her work Sandtray work.  This episode has been a dream of mine for a while now.  We recorded it 2x due to technical errors, but finally got it out there.   Here are some notes from our conversation on Sandtray Therapy.

  • Sandtray Therapy it quietens the entire nervous system and it helps to turn off the thinking brain.
  • It can go much deeper than talk therapy.  For children, their language is play. 
  • Little toys called toys, called “miniatures” are placed in the sand to tell stories.  It surpasses the limitation of words, which is especially helpful when they have difficulty articulating some things.  Or, may not even be able to identify what is bothering them. 
  • Fences and bridges are often used with children that have chaos in their lives to bring order to their situation and help them to compartmentalize things that feel out of control and difficult to cope with.
  • We have a conscious and unconscious mind that is often in conflict.  When we place the miniatures in the sand, we can find a resolution to the conflict.
  • Sandtray Therapy can be done with any age group for individuals, couples and families.
  • Sandtray Therapy is based in neuroscience and understanding how the brain works.
  • Healing can occur on a deep level through Sandtray Therapy.
  • Family Sandtray therapy can be really helpful to establish respect, boundaries, and connection as well as help families heal from deep rooted issues.
  • Resources can be identified and inner strength can be brought out through Sandtray Therapy.
  • From session to session, the created scenes transition and start to take on a life on their own.  
  • Tammi writes down their story to help with the processing.
  • The possibilities are seemingly endless, as each person makes their experience unique to their needs and situations.
  • Sandtray Therapy can be especially helpful for helping people with trauma.
  • Resolving ongoing arguments and relationship issues can be resolved through sandtray work by providing a safe psychological distance that increases the probability of involvement on a deeper level than talk therapy.
  • Sandtray therapy can offer a freedom that is available through that increased dialogue.
  • It is such sensory experience that can create a full body experience.
  • It can be fun and engaging way.
  • Many different types of sands can be used – kinetic, dry, wet, and many more.
  • The sand can calm people down and quieten their nervous system.
  • Problem solving can be attained in the sandtray by helping individuals and families look at issues in a new way with resources that they hadn’t realized before.
  • Once a sandtray is created, the creator leaves it there without cleaning it up.  The clean-up is done after the person has left.
  • Some clients take pictures of their sandtray scenes for reflection purposes and gaining of new insights.
  • This type of therapy can be used with parenting support as well to strengthen the family system.
  • Sandtray therapy can be used with Couples as well.  It can be really powerful.


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Nov 21, 2016

Tiffanie Trudeau, LMHC, LPC, CSAT, NCC is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the State of Florida as well as a Licensed Professional Counselor in the Commonwealth of Virginia and District of Columbia.  She earned a Dual Bachelor's of Art degree in Psychology and Criminology and a Master’s of Art degree in Mental Health Counseling.  She has advanced training in:  Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Sexual Assault Response, Critical Incident Stress Management Debriefing (CISM) and Sexual Addiction Therapy.

In This Episode:  

 What is “sexting”:  Sexting refers to the sending and receiving of sexually charged material that may consist of words, images or both that are intended to sexually arouse and are sent via digital means.  


What puts the child / teen at risk for this behavior?  


Attention-seeking – separate oneself from peers

Self esteem boost – to feel attractive

Peer pressure – being directly or indirectly coerced 

Easy access and perceived privacy 

Modeling – celebrities in the media exposed for sexting have gained popularity

“Normal” – digital flirting, displays of affection


Where is this happening?  

When we, as adults, think of social media, Facebook may be the first thing to come to mind.  However, a 2013 study conducted by Forbes Magazine showed a 16% decrease in teen usage and engagement on FaceBook.  Presumably because of the increase in parental and extended family presence.  Young people are often using other social media platforms and messager apps such as:












What are the consequences? Legal? Social? Emotional? 


Shame – after the text/image is sent, it cannot be retrieved. Personalizing the “bad behavior” as being a “bad person”

Fear – who might see the text/image, what is their opinion of me, my text/image

Anxiety – if I text this, will he/she expect me to “do” what I said (becoming sexually active)

Low self-esteem/poor body image – comparisons with pornographic images or peers

Depression – in the aftermath of discovery if the text/image to shared with others


Rejection – “If I don’t send this text/picture to him/her, someone else will”

Ostracized – “Everybody else is doing this, if I don’t people will think I’m a prude”, “If I send this people will think I’m a ….”

Gossip – sending sexually charged images could suggest the presence of actual sexual activity, which may not be the case


The exchange of image-specific material intended to sexually arouse constitutes pornography, child pornography carrying the harshest of sentences 

Receiving, possessing and distributing child pornography can be considered a 3rd degree felony carrying sentences of up to 5 years imprisonment and up to $5,000 fine

Some states have laws specific to sexting that limit harsh penalty and/or separate sexting from child pornography



How can parents respond that will help the child heal, while preserving and / or increases feelings of self-worth?

Awareness - - ignorance is NOT bliss.  If your child or teen is over-protective of their phone, it may be because of photos they wish to hide or websites they do not want you to know they have visited

Be present and engaged. Children/teens want to connect and also fear rejection.  Being on your phone or preoccupied with occupational or domestic responsibilities can make parents/caregivers seem inaccessible

Listen and be prepared (emotionally and cognitively) for what might be shared.  If you ask about your child/teens online behavior, be mindful of your reactions/judgments (avoid  saying “what were you thinking”, “I can’t believe you did that”, “you weren’t raised that way”)

Compassion and empathy. The child and teen brain is still developing, and so is their ability to reason, predict future outcomes related to their behavior and manage impulses.  They are still learning. As parents and adults, our roles include reminding ourselves that they are not merely little adults.

How can parents educate and encourage their child / teen to make different/safer choices in the future? 

Open and regular communication regarding decision-making and safe online behavior (includes sexting and cyber-bullying). Once a message/image is sent it cannot be taken back and privacy cannot be guaranteed once the text/image is received by someone else

Process parental fears, beliefs and biases regarding sexual behavior to reduce reactivity 

Practice empathy and approach child/teen with friendly curiosity when risky online sexual behavior is discovered. Being mindful of the difference between punitive consequences and setting boundaries, personal responsibility and encouraging self-monitoring (consider if this text/photo was published in the yearbook, on FaceBook, sent to grandma)

For more information on Tiffanie Trudeau, visit or 



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If you’d like to connect with me, I offer consultation and parent coaching support.  Just email me at or at my private practice at

Nov 14, 2016

Episode 42, When a Child is Shamed


In This Episode:  

It’s important to understand what shame is and what isn’t

Shaming is when someone induces humiliation, embarrassment, and a feeling of guilt, regret, or deep sadness on another person.

Shaming is not motivating, although that is a common misconception.  Sometimes people think “if they feel really bad about what they did, then they won’t do it again.” But it doesn’t work like that.  It is in essence a trauma that can cause long term maladaptive behaviors.  Many people that struggle with addiction, relationship issues, and other tough life struggles often have shame in their past. 

My friend and podcasting colleague, Robert Cox has a really good podcast episode on this his podcast, Mindful Recovery.   GUILT AND SHAME RIDDING THE SOUL OF TOXICITY  The link

Making mistakes is actually a healthy part of child development.  Allowing your child to make and learn from mistakes while the price tags are small is a huge gift to your child.  Life experience is the best teacher.  It’s so much more effective than lectures, put downs, shaming, or “I told you so’s”.

Empathy, clear expectations and logical choices are much more effective in helping your child grow into a self-confident, responsible, ambitious individual that enjoys life. 

Ongoing culture of shame decreases the quality of life for the entire family.

The trauma of shaming can be substantial, but if it’s an ongoing form of discipline, it can be devastating and often unbearable.  

Shame undoubtedly damages the parent child relationship.  It simply can’t be unfelt.  I just recently watched THE FAULT IN OUR STARS.  I love that movie! My daughter is a  huge John Green fan.  She’s read all of his books.  In that movie, one of the actors says “PAIN DEMANDS TO BE FELT”.  This is so very true.

It can establish a dysfunctional cycle that can lead to generations of pain and dysfunction.  If you tempted to shame your child, check in with what may be going on for you.  Was this something that you experienced as a child?  Is part of your heart hurting or could you use some healing?  I’ve seen great healing occur through therapy as well as work with one’s inner child.  It’s important to realize that blame, whether on self or others, isn’t on the healthy road to healing.  But, rather a focus on “I need to put on my own oxygen mask...” is much healthier for everyone.

Shame can cut deep.  Each person is so unique, so everyone has a different experience.  What is common though is that it hurts in a way that words can’t accurately describe. 

I really feel like part of the soul withers with shaming.  For people of all ages, it erodes feeling of self-worth and self-esteem.   

Ultimately, shame establishes a dysfunctional perception of a healthy relationship.  When children grow up they often, but not always, use their formative childhood years as a blueprint of how life “should”be.  If that “should” is maladaptive, it can be a long, hard road for them filled with heartache and pain. 

I’ve noticed that causes people to put up emotional walls to keep themselves safe.  It is ultimately a type of emotional abuse, especially if it is ongoing.   It limits our children’s vulnerability, which limits their options in life with relationships, careers, dreams and so much more.

Shame manifests itself in the body.   Shame fragments itself in the body in messy, infiltrating way that can take years of work to heal from.

Engrains negative cognitions in the brain such as i am not worthy, i can’t do anything right, i’m a jerk, i’m defective,  i’m a bad person and such

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Really does have some merit.  Fixing the effects of shaming is much more difficult than preventing it.

The quote “HURT PEOPLE, HURT PEOPLE” is a quote worth considering in this discussion of shaming.  When someone is deeply hurt, they often hurt others from their pain.  Looking at it from a child’s perspective, shaming, whether they are the target or someone that they love and identify with is, they may be tempted to transfer that pain.  Sometimes that can look like depression, anxiety, bully type behavior, aggression and much more.  

For parents that default to shaming, give yourself permission to learn a new approach.  Maya Angelou says when people know better, they do better.  This is so true.

If you are prone to shaming, it’s important to reflect on what messages you were sent as a child.  Ask yourself, “is this helping or hurting my child?”.


A more effective way is to use empathy to connect with your child. I love the ACT Limit Setting model  (Acknowledge the Feeling, Communicate the Alternative, and  Target the Alternative) that is described in Child Parent Relationship Therapy.  If you haven’t done so yet, be sure to check out episode 22


There’s so many better ways to discipline than shaming.  I love LOVE and Logic, Child Parent Relationship Therapy, a 10 Session Model, and 123 Magic are some much better options.  I have all of these linked in the show notes. 

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Nov 7, 2016

Episode 41, When a Parent Feels Judged


In This Episode:  

What does it mean with someone feels “judged”? 

When you feel something in your heart that your mind knows isn’t true.  It can wreak havoc on family relationships.

One thing that I remember from a pre-marital training called Pre-Cana was the emphasis of not sharing personal disagreements and issues with friends and family members.  When personal conflicts occur and get resolved within the couple relationship, but close members of the inner circle are made privy to one side of the issue, long after the issue is over, the knowledge of that deep, personal feelings of their often skewed (because they only heard one side of the argument) perception lingers.  And, the relationships suffer as a result.  It can’t be unheard, unfelt or undone.

Feeling judged isn’t something that everyone deals with though.  Some people are more impacted by their caring what people think of them.  It has a lot to do with how we are wired, our own life experiences and the things that we feel to be true about ourselves.  When it can have a big impact is when someone feels judged, whether perceived or real, by multiple people.  It can feel painful, especially if the parent is already conscious of a need for improvement in that area anyway.

It’s important to distinguish between reality and perception.  Sometimes it can feel like others are judging us simply because we are judging ourselves.   Or if we have been judged or called out on a certain issue before, when it comes up again an emotional response could be triggered.

It’s really helpful to see it for what it is. If it’s really painful, do a check in with yourself to determine if you need some healing in that area.  If big emotions come from a situation of feeling judged, it’s almost certain that the feelings link to another situation.  If that situation hasn’t been fully processed and healed from yet, you may be more at risk for feeling judged.  When people feel judged, sometimes they close up to risk their vulnerability and that is when maladaptive behaviors start to form and relationships start to suffer.

Putting it into perspective can make a difference.  Looking at the source and thinking through the facts can be incredibly helpful with putting it in to a healthy perspective.


I love Brené Brown’s books.  In her works, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong and The Gift of Imperfection she speaks a great deal about vulnerability. Vulnerability is  feeling free to be authentic, daring to follow your dreams, being true to yourself and your values at the risk of being judged.  When we can be vunerable, we can be more creative, we can parent better, we can love more fully, and a gazillion other things that aren’t possible if we live in that space of fear of judgement.

So, why do people judge?  Quite simply, I believe it’s a character defect to go around judging everyone else.   I’m certainly not saying that I’ve never done it.  I’ve gotten so much better over the years and with my years of training and experience in this field.  It is common unfortunately, but it can be “fixed”.  When you stop judging others, you ultimately end up feeling good about yourself.  Way back in the early days of this podcast, I had an episode on about “How to Nurture Kind Kids” with Carol McCloud the author of Have You Filled a Bucket Today book.  The link is in the show notes  one of the big messages in this book is that when we are kind to others, we ultimately make ourselves happy in the process.

In this world, there’s no such things as a “perfect parent”.  We make mistakes, it gets messy sometimes, and it is a work in progress.  Give yourself permission to be real, to be human.  In this space of authenticity, you can model that genuine you to life and problem solving.  While it’s not always pretty, it can help you raise a confident child that feels free to be their authentic self.  Free to love and live without having guards up.  If you haven’t done so yet, listen to my episode 29 “How Taking Advice From Other Parents Can Be Like Wearing Their Skinny Jeans” on this topic. The link is in the shownotes

In a couple of other episodes, I mentioned the quote “HURT PEOPLE, HURT PEOPLE”.  I think for this topic of when parents feel judged, it’s helpful to look at who’s doing the judging.  In Brené Brown’s book, Daring Greatly, she mentions one of Teddy Roosevelts quote “in the area” from a speech that he gave that still holds true today.  It’s an excerpt from his speech "Citizenship In A Republic" that he                                           delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910.

Here it is: It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

So if the person that’s doing the judging isn’t “in the arena” then their judgment, aka “opinion” doesn’t really count.  They don’t get to take up valuable real estate in my brain.  But if they are someone in the arena, worthy of me caring about their opinion, then I take it with a filter.  I keep what is helpful and filter out what is not.  This was a profound lesson in my life.  If you haven’t read her books or watched her Ted Talks yet, I highly recommend that you do as soon as possible.  Her concepts can help you get through tough times, as well as raise your resiliency levels to other people’s judgment.

If you haven’t done so yet, be sure to join us on Facebook in our group Parenting in the Rain Community and like our page Parenting in the Rain Podcast, Hosted by Jackie Flynn

If you’d like to connect with me, I offer consultation and parent coaching support.  Just email me at or at my private practice at

Below Are Some Sites, Affiliate Links to Books/Products That I Love

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Oct 31, 2016

Episode 40, A Parent’s Guide to Having a Productive & Helpful Meeting at School


In This Episode:  

Many different types of meetings occur in the school setting.  For parents, the most common are parent / teacher conferences, IEP meetings, 504 meetings, meetings to address a specific concern and/ or gather information, and so on. ..


Each school has its own culture and each district and/or school has certain protocol, policies, and procedures that they follow.  Usually, these are readily available either on the website, the student handbook, calendar or request from the school.  

Regardless of the type of meeting that you are attending and where you are attending it at, having a few basic elements in place can make a huge difference between a productive and helpful meeting to one that is not.  

As a disclaimer, I worked as a teacher and a school counselor for years in a wonderful charter school so I am giving you my opinion from my limited view point.  Just like with any information, take what you need of this information and leave the rest.  You may not agree with what I’m saying and that is okay.  My intent is to provide some tips that may help you.  

Sometimes meetings at school can involve some information and decisions that are heavy by nature.  This can lead to a wide array of emotional responses. 

Here’s some tips that I believe can help meetings at your child’s school be more successful:


BE ON TIME – this starts the meeting off with respect to the importance of everyone’s time, as well as afford you and the school the time allotted to focus on how to best help your child.  Tardiness or last minute reschedules can really set a tone from the start.  With this said, sometimes things happen.  If you are late or need to reschedule, always apologize and try your best to not let it happen again.  

ERR ON THE SIDE OF KINDNESS and RESPECT – You can’t go wrong with kindness and respect, even if you don’t feel like it is reciprocated.   The old adage “You can get more bees with honey than vinegar” applies here.

CONSIDER YOURSELF AS PART OF THE “TEAM” -  Viewing yourself as part of the team that is working together to help your child can create a different energy around the entire situation.  Remember, the others on the team are people too that are in the field of helping children.  

BRAINSTORM A LIST OF THINGS THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO COVER - This will help you to prepare for the meeting and increase the chances that you get your questions answered and concerns addressed.  In some cases, it’s helpful to send this to the person that coordinates the meetings, such as the school counselor or the assistant, to give them time to prepare.  Be sure the email is written in an information seeking way that conveys kindness and respect.  It may be helpful to write it out a few days before you send it to allow yourself time to edit the content to get it just like you want it.  

SOMETIMES PARENTS BRING A PERSON TO THE MEETING AS PART OF THE TEAM – I’ve been in meetings with the child’s therapist, a friend of the family, a family advocate, and a handful of people that offered some other type of support in the child’s life.  For this to happen, it is always best to let the school know beforehand.  A letter of authorization that allows the school to discuss private matters about your child in front of the guest that you bring to the meeting will most likely be required.

ALWAYS STAY PROFESSIONAL – If you feel yourself getting upset, it may be helpful to excuse yourself to the restroom to engage in some calming practices before you return.  Communicating while we are emotionally flooded can cause relationship ruptures that are difficult to repair.  Remember, always err on the side of kindness and respect.  It is everyone’s best interest to establish and maintain a good relationship. 

FOLLOW-UP COMMUNICATION AFTER THE MEETING – It may be appropriate to send a thank you email to all of the participants that include a list of the key points that you took away from the meeting.  This will help you to remember and have a list of important things that came up, as well as send a message to the school that you are involved and care about the situation at hand.

KEEP THE FOCUS ON YOUR CHILD – It may be tempting to get off track, especially if you feel emotionally charged about a certain issue.  Keeping your focus on your child helps keep the meeting moving in the right direction, as well as supports productivity. 

EDUCATE YOURSELF – It can be really helpful to learn about the process, whether it be IEP, 504, EP or another area.  If you get an invitation for the meeting, look for a paper that accompies it that explains your rights and options as a parent.  Beware of some of the information on the internet though, as there are some sites that depict school meetings as somewhat of a battle ground, and that is seldom the case, at least in my experience.  

AVOID TRASH TALKING ANYONE IN FRONT OF YOUR CHILD – Sometimes, meetings are held as a response to a parent complaint.  It is not helpful at all to say hurtful, degrading things about your child’s teacher in front of your child – even if you feel they are true.  You can still convey that you are addressing a situation, but be sure it is done in a respectful manner.  Remember, your child will need to go to class again, so it’s in their best interest for you to handle your concerns directly with the school, not in front of or through your child.

KNOW WHO IS AT THE MEETING – It may be appropriate to ask who will be at the meeting.  Often, introductions will occur at the beginning of the meeting to let you know who’s on the team.  If you don’t recognize someone, it can be helpful to ask for a round of introductions.  Some meetings are small with just the parent and the teacher, while other meetings can get quite large with several professionals i at the table such as a teacher, speech language pathologist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, resource teacher, exceptional education teacher, administration, advocate, school psychologist, staffing specialist, behavior analyst, and other such professionals depending on the needs of your child.

If you haven’t done so yet, be sure to check out episode Melissa’s Mantras.  It’s with a lady that I really admire, that is an integral part of school meetings, both in a professional and personal capacity.  In that episode, she really offers some helpful advice. 



If you’d like to connect with me, I offer consultation and parent coaching support.  Just email me at or at my private practice at


Oct 24, 2016

Episode 39, Understanding the Aftermath of Trash Talk


In This Episode:  

Let’s begin this episode with a clear understanding of what I mean when I mention “trash talk”.  

My definition of “trash talk” is when someone intentionally attempts to degrade someone by speaking poorly of them a manner that involves defamation, malintent, and  purposeful degradation of another.  This is also known as poor mouthing, vilifying (this is a stronger version of trash talking) and bad mouthing.  

Things can slip out of our mouths in a blink of an eye.  When it is truly trash talking is when it’s done by more than one comment.  I’ve heard it used in the world of sports and politics and I think it also applies in the world of parenting.  

In my experience, trash talking is most present in situations of divorce, but it can also be present in family members’ relationships, friendships gone poorly, other relationships with members of an organization or company, with teachers or administration at school – it can be present in so many places.  It’s unhealthy and can cause lots of devastation.   The bottom line is that it isn’t healthy for the person doing the trash talking, as well as their target, those watching (especially if it’s our children that are learning how to treat others in this world), and for our communities and ultimately our world as a whole.  It’s just not respectful.  There are healthier ways to convey dissatisfaction with another’s person’s action.  

When a person uses trash talking as their default, it says a lot about them and their character.  The quote “HURT PEOPLE, HURT PEOPLE” can apply here as well.  Because people that aim to hurt people, really aren’t’ in a healthy space themselves.  It’s a sign that they are in need of social skills, communication skills, or perhaps just healing from their own wounds if this type of behavior was done to them and they feel entitled to do it to others.

Where I’ve seen the most damage with this is in families of divorce and separation.   It can leave children with wounds that are difficult to heal.  Feelings of betrayal and confusion for the kids are not uncommon and can be very painful.  I read a book, Divorce Poison, by William Morrow, a while back that really talked about these types of situation.  Often children identify as ½ of one parent and ½ of another. When one of their parents is trash talked by the other, or by a family member, it hurts.  It can feel like a personal attack.  It can feel like “if my mom/dad is _____, then I must be”.  This is painful for anyone, especially children because it can strike them in such an intimate part of their life.  Just think, “What message am I sending my child when I speak like this?”.  They don’t benefit from thinking or knowing how defective their other parent is, or whoever the trash-talk is targeted at.  

If you have been the victim of trash – talk, you may know the feelings of betrayal, anger, and helplessness that this can bring.  So, how do you respond when someone’s trash talking you?  Do you just let it happen? Do you “fight” back?  Do you let it bother you?  Well, unfortunately there’s no cookie cutter response.  It depends... don’t you love that answer?  There is always benefit to choosing kindness and respect, with wisdom, even when people are not reciprocating it to you.  Taking the opportunity to return the trash talking behavior just puts you at their level.  And, if your kids are watching it really normalizes this type of behavior and teaches them that trash talking is acceptable.  So always run it through the respect, wisdom, and kindness filter.  It is helpful though to discuss with your child, and in some cases document what’s happening, if it gets to out of hand.  Know when to seek professional assistance though, whether it is a therapist to help you heal from it and what led to that point and / or an attorney if it involves parent alienation.  Putting positive energy into the situation can be so very helpful.  Seeking support from a therapist can help you heal from this and help you with some coping and calming skills.  

It’s important to mention that this podcast is not therapy, nor is it a substitute for therapy.  It is also not legal advice.  It is merely information meant for self –care and educational purposes only.  

I view trash-talking as a betrayal.  It can feel like a betrayal.  Actually, it is a betrayal.  Betrayals leave us with our guard up, to guard against letting it happen again.  Some people refer to this as “jaded” or “burned”.  I offer a type of therapy at my private practice called Gottman Method Couples Therapy that helps people heal relationships, even relationships that have endured betrayals.  I help people heal from betrayals that involve infidelity, finances, trash talking and more.  It’s not easy, but it can be done.  “An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure” definitely applies here.  The healing process involves regaining TRUST.  

Carl Jung spoke to this I believe when he said “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”


If you’d like to connect with me, I offer consultation and parent coaching support.  Just email me at or at my private practice at


Oct 17, 2016

In This Episode:  

Click Here for the Free Download: DISTRESS SCALE for Before / After Calming Techniques

Today’s episode is all about what it is like when a parent struggles with anxiety, as well as some options to heal from and some coping skills to get through the trying times.  

My work has been greatly influenced by my work in EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing and reading books like The Body Keeps the Score by Dr Bessel Van der Kolk and Peter Levine’s Healing Trauma.  

I think it’s important to begin with a discussion of what anxiety is and what it is not.  Mental Health clinicians use a book to clinically diagnose Anxiety Disorder called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.  At the time of this recording, we are using the 5th edition.  Anxiety disorders can come in different forms. In this episode we’re going to look at symptoms and coping skills rather than a diagnosis. Anxiety can come in many different forms – Separation Anxiety Disorder (I see this most often with children and some teens) , Selective Mutism, Specific Phobia , Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia), Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia (fear of places or situations), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (what I see most commonly in my work) ,Substance/Medication-Induced Anxiety Disorder, Anxiety Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition and more.

Anxiety, like the range of emotions that we experience, are all part of the human experience.  Give yourself permission to be human.  It’s important not to judge them good or bad, rather look at the level of functionality that it has in your life.  I listened to an episode of Marie TV with Marie Forleo, with Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat Pray Love, where she talked about the function of Fear.  Fear is ultimately at the foundation of anxiety.  She had a great description of how it’s like fear is riding with her in the car – she puts it in the back seat, not in the front seat, not allowing it to control the radio or adjust the mirrors or grab the steering wheel.  Ultimately, a certain amount of anxiety keeps us alive, keeps us from getting into situations that can hurt us.  

Doctors Peter Levine and Bessel Van der Kolk describe anxiety as the smoke alarm in the brain.  It goes off when there’s danger.  When people have an unhealthy level of anxiety, perhaps one of the Anxiety disorders, its like to smoke alarm goes off on super sensitive mode.  There’s a part of our brain called the Amygdala that serves as the smoke alarm.  Our brains are brilliantly wired for our life experience.  So much goes on in our brain to try to allow us to have the best lives ever.  Lots of brain research has surfaced in the last 10 years, but more and more is coming out each day.  All of the coping skills that I’m going to suggest may help you brain function at more optimal level during times of distress.  Please know that these things are not like a light switch, but rather a dimmer, that can help one calm down slowly.  If these things don’t seem to help, seeking out professional assistance from a mental health professional may help you get to the root of these fears on a deeper level.  As a clinician, I’ve seen amazing progress with EMDR, EFT, Art Therapy, Play Therapy, and a body based therapy called Somatic Experiencing.  These types of therapy surpass the limitation of words by incorporating the entire brain and body in the healing process.  It can happen so quickly sometimes, it leaves me questioning if it’s really healed.  Has the person really moved past and escaped from the grips of the Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, or whatever it is they are dealing with, or is it hopeful thinking?  After years of working in this field and seeing long lasting change, I am certain that these types of therapy help- help people get their quality of life back.  And, for parents it allows them to be fully engaged with their children and spouse if they are married.  It can be truly remarkable!  I think everyone can use therapy at one time or another in their lives, especially if they have a difficult situation in their past and/or their present, as well as their perceived future. 

 In this episode we’ll going to cover what that diagnosis means, but we won’t confine ourselves to that, because anxiety can be felt to the level of meeting that clinical diagnostic criteria, but it can also be felt without.  It can leave us, as parents feeling unable to cope with stressful situations, feeling trapped and overwhelmed.  

Also, if you haven’t done so yet, be sure to check out Episode 33, When a Parent Struggles with Depression.

A Reminder: this podcast is not therapy, nor is it a substitute for therapy.  It’s meant for informational and educational purposes only.  If you need therapeutic support, look around in your area for a mental health provider that can meet your needs.  

For parents, it’s especially important to heal and move past Anxiety.  Children need a parent or caregiver to fully participate in life with them -to create healthy foundations of attachment and security.  Anxiety can impede on that process.   Even in uterio, the mother’s emotional state can have a big impact on the child’s development.  In my EMDR training years ago, I learned that we have emotional memories from as far back as 6 months in the womb.  Our children not only use us as a model of how to act, they also take on our responses to situations in a deeper way, in an unconscious way.  Some of the types of therapies that I’ll bring up in a bit can help people heal from that.  But, I do believe the old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” applies here.  If you are a parent experiencing painful and life limiting anxiety, getting help for yourself can benefit you and your children, your children’s children, and so on and so on.  Not only is there no trophy for self-sacrificing and taking the hard road through this, there’s also a chance of having it affect people for generations to come.  

Okay, so I know how tempting it can be to search on the web for your symptoms and do somewhat of a self-diagnosis.  I’ve done that before with medical stuff.  I was convinced that I had Hypothyroidism, but once I got to the doctor and had bloodwork done, it turned out that I was just low on iron and Vitamin D.  As a clinician, I’ve experience people coming in convinced that they have a specific disorder as well.  Sometimes they are on the right track, but many times they are not.  That’s why we are going to cover awareness and coping skills today.  For this reason, I’m not going to read verbatim, the diagnostic criteria.  We are going to discuss it in a more practical sense, but if feel like you’re experiencing this on a deep level, then you may want to see a mental health and/or a medical professional.  I’ve seen anxiety treated well with therapy, and sometimes through medication as an adjunct to therapy.  I’m not a doctor, so I don’t offer education or advice on medication.  However, your physician can be a great source of information.  I often accompany my clients to psychiatric appointments or doctor’s appointments as part of a team approach.  It can be incredibly helpful.  If several professionals are helping the same person, it just makes since to collaborate as a team.  It can be powerful.  This is common especially with my clients with an eating disorder.  Upon authorization from the client or their guardian, we can really discuss the treatment approach and support each other in ways that make a huge difference.  

Anxiety can feel overwhelming; often leave us feeling out of control.  Some things that people with anxiety experience are some or all of the following:  exhaustion, even more tired than usual, focus and concentration issues, grumpiness and irritability, body soreness, sleep disturbance of then leaving one having trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep, restlessness, or sleep that leaves someone still tired upon waking.

Anxiety has some body symptoms too.  I love Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk’s work and Dr. Peter Levine’s work.  They really point out how the body experiences deep emotional experiences and can often hold it there.  I’ve seen anxiety show itself as gastrointestinal issues such as constipation or diarrhea, sweating, nausea, feeling faint and much more.  Each person is unique and has their own experience.  But, the big take away is that it isn’t just confined to thoughts in the mind.  It can make it hard to function, especially if you are a parent with tons of responsibilities and expectations.  It can also take a toll on relationships at home, work, social life, and more... It can strain our child parent relationship and marital relationships for sure. 

This episode wouldn’t be complete without a mention of trauma.  Trauma can come to us in different sizes – Big T Trauma for those really startling situations and little t trauma for the smaller situations that still impact us.  A big T may be from emotional and/or physical abuse, violence, war time experience – really intense situations.  A little t may be someone laughing at you during a class presentation in 4th grade, gossip, and such...  Since people experience stuff in such a different way, a big T trauma for one person, may be a little t trauma for someone else.  And, visa versa.  These traumas cause our smoke alarm to go off in our brain, sending the signal to release cortisol in our brain to keep us safe.  If serve enough the alarm system becomes sensitive and releases those chemicals without as much threat when we are triggered.  And, that can look like Anxiety, when our brain and body tries to keep us safe, even when there’s no real danger.  It can be difficult to parent with Anxiety, leaving us on edge, not being able to fully engage in the present moment with our children.  Or, keeping us from participating in certain social situations, staying home to take care of something that you exhibit symptoms of obsessiveness and compulsiveness over, or even the fear of going into a panic attack while doing something.  Sometimes people go into a state of panic over the fear of going into a state of panic.

Years ago, I read Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Teens by Richard Carlson to my middle school class. In that book he used the metaphor of a snow globe.  I think it’s such a great metaphor of how our brain works when inundated with feelings and thoughts.  The coping and calming skills that we’ll cover helps those settle like the snowflakes in the globe.

Another important point that I need to mention here is the importance of naming the emotions that come up in certain situations.  Dr. Seigel has a phrase, “If you can name it, you can tame it”.  By naming our emotions, it allows our brain’s to process them in a more efficient way.  

Before we cover calming and coping skills, it’s really important to mention the impact of nutrition and sleep.  With good nutrition and sleep our brain functions at its best.  This can’t be overstated.  Nutrition and sleep make a big difference!

So, let’s cover a list of the things that help those symptoms of anxiety subside. I always like to start of with rating the level of anxiety.  In EMDR and EFT we call it a SUD, Subjective Unit of Distress.   From 0 to 10, how distressed do you feel?  (these are described more in detail in episode 38 of Parenting in the Rain

  • 4 seconds inhale – hold for 2 seconds – 4 seconds exhale
  • Monitoring Your Self Talk 
  • Bunny Sniffs
  • Circle Breathing
  • Progressive Muscular Relaxation
  • Thought Stopping and Changing
  • Tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique)
  • Writing
  • Labyrinth
  • Double Mirror Doodle
  • Body Scan & Pendulating
  • Walking and/or Jogging


If you are experiencing feelings of anxiety and it is limiting your life, as well as your ability to parent or function in the family in a healthy way, you may want to consider seeking out a professional mental health counselor.  I have seen huge changes in my clients that led them to a better quality of life their entire family.  

See the following for a list of books and products that I love and recommend.  I have used and read all of them, which is the only reason that I would recommend them to you, as I take my recommendations seriously 



If you’d like to connect with me, I offer consultation and parent coaching support.  Just email me at or at my private practice at


Below Are Some Sites, Affiliate Links to Books/Products That I Love

My Parent Coaching Program -


Labyrinths 20% off for calming, focus and connectedness.

Oct 12, 2016

“When something bad happens you have three choices. You can let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.” Anonymous

This week’s episode is all about our experience with Hurricane Matthew in Florida.   I invited my daughter Angel on the show to share her experience with it all as well.

We discuss what it was like to prepare for it, leave our home, arrive at a nearby safe place, worry about friends and family, wonder if we would have a home to come home to, and our delight in the fact that damage was minimal and our community survived.  We also discuss what it was like to look at footage of the damage that Hurricane Matthew had in other places such as Haiti, Jacksonville, St. Augustine and more.  

During our evacuation, we stayed at a hotel that accepted pets.  It was quite the experience.  The people at the hotel were super kind.  We did witness a few people showing symptoms of stress and low tolerance, but overall people were overwhelmingly positive.   My husband was at work the entire time, so it was just me, Tommy and Angel, and Max our dog.  Our car was packed with stuff that we considered valuable.  

Unfortunately, right after we returned home, I checked my email and discovered that someone had made 2 fraudulent charges on my card for apple watches.  I received 2 “thank you for your purchase” emails!  Needless to say, this increased the stress level.  Damage was minimal with that as well.  It makes me think of that movie, Identity Thief with Melissa McCarthy.  That movie is so good.  It’s not rated for kids, but it is funny and parts of it seem educational as it can give a glimpse into the world of credit card fraud. 

We were so fortunate to see that we only had a fence panel blown over, but some of our friends weren’t so lucky.  Lots of people lost power through it all.  Luckily we didn’t, but my cousin Connie and her family did.  Florida Power and Light has been working tirelessly through it all.  Also, power trucks from all around has come to our community to help out.  I heard that they made a tent city while they worked in shifts.  It just makes my heart smile thinking about how people work together in a time of crisis.  When times are hard, sometimes it can bring out the best in people.

We are immensely grateful.  Now that it is over, we are getting back to normal.  I’ve been putting things back on the walls and bookshelves at my private practice and the kids return back to school today.  They’ve had 3 days off because of Hurricane Matthew.  

The Parenting Skill’s Summit!

“I am so excited to finally shout from the rooftops that you can now register for the upcoming summit:

The World's Best Parenting Summit!!

We have some amazingly dynamic parenting experts who will be giving more of the awesome support you need to be the most rocking parent you can be!

This time around the focus is on finding your tribe, rocking your parenting, and raising healthy kids! We'll be talking about so many amazing topics, including how to raise healthy boys, how to encourage your young athlete, how to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life, move towards more authentic parenting, how to talk about sex with your child (for all ages), and so much more!

Check out the details here to register: to sign up and get ready for the summit - which launched October 10th!

Feel free to share and let each and every parent you know in on this amazing FREE event!!”


If you’d like to connect with me, I offer consultation and parent coaching support.  Just email me at or at my private practice at


Below Are Some Sites, Affiliate Links to Books/Products That I Love

Labyrinths 20% off for calming, focus and connectedness.


Sep 24, 2016

Parenting can get really stressful at times, especially if you have difficult circumstances.  Kids are so very different in regards to their strengths and special needs.  And, some situations are definitely more difficult than others.  Some children really require a specialized set of skills, as well as an environment that helps them function.  For example, parents of kids with ADHD really benefit from having patience and parenting strategies that help their child focus and to minimize impulsive behaviors, as well as helping their child with organization skills.  While other parents of a child with early childhood trauma, need lots of understanding about how trauma works and how best to respond.  Difficult situations lend themselves to parenting disagreement, which can strain a marriage.  On today’s episode, we’re going to discuss the 4 predictors of divorce and how to not only prevent divorce by make your marriage more enjoyable, even when you have a perpetual problem like how to parent.  Unfortunately, some parents become gridlocked on this issue and sometimes lead to divorce. 

 I’m strongly influenced my level 3 training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy.  This is a type of therapy that is based on research from thousands of couples.  It the very best type of marriage therapy available, in my opinion.  So if you are considering couples therapy for your relationship, consider finding a therapist trained in Gottman Therapy.  Your time will be used more efficiently and your therapeutic treatment will be designed around your custom needs.  It starts with assessment, then the creation of a treatment plan, and interventions to address specific areas that are problematic.  It tends to be a bit more expensive than your traditional therapy approach, because the sessions are usually longer (I provide 90 minute sessions) and more in depth.  It is much cheaper than divorce though, and much less painful for everyone involved. 

Here are some important parts of Gottman Method Couples Therapy:

5 Positives to 1 Negative Ratio Keeps a Marriage Healthy

When a partner makes a “bid for connection” (attempting to connect with your partner in some way) there are 3 options:  Turn Toward / Turn Away  / Turn Against.  Turning Toward is ultimately what makes marriages flourish throughout the years.  On the other hand, Turning Away and Turning Against may lead to the bids slowing down or quitting altogether.  And, that looks like a marriage that feels like you’re living with a stranger or a roommate.  So accept the bids for connection, even if it’s your parther showing you a pic on their phone or a quick smile.  And, physically turn toward your partner.  This is true for parenting too.  It’s send the message of “I’m interested in you.” and “You are important to me.”  This is a biggie.


Gottman Research provides us with 4 predictors of divorce or an unhappy relationship and their antidotes, aka 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse:

  1. Criticism: This is really attacking one’s character, who they are and what they stand for.  It can start out sounding like a complaint, but quickly transform into a hurtful form of communication that can be difficult to heal from.  This can cut deep, especially if it’s done on a repeated basis.  The antidote for criticism is to complain without blaming your partner.  To be clear, complaining can be healthy, but not when it take s the form of criticism. Without complaining we put our self at risks for resentment about things that are unexpressed and bothering us.  It can cause us to get bitter and shift into “negative sentiment override” – when your negatives about your partner overpower the positives.  It may sound like, “You always scream at him during homework time.”  The antidote may sound like “I’m feeling frustrated about homework time.  Can we please discuss ways to help him focus?”


  1. Defensiveness:  This can be a way of a partner defending themselves against an attack that they believe is coming.  In an indirect way, it can be a form of blaming your partner.  The antidote for defensiveness is for you to take blame for part of the problem.  “It’s not my fault that she’s failing school, it’s your fault for not helping her with her homework.”  The antidote may sound like, “Well, part of this is on me. I could’ve helped her with her homework too.”


  1. Contempt:  This can start as a criticism, but it takes a deeper, more painful level with actions such as name calling and putting down your partner in a global way, attacking their overall personality or being.  It’s really like sending the message of “I’m superior to you” and it can take the form of mockery, cynicism, sarcasm and an overall degrading tone.  It can be really hurtful.    The antidote to contempt is really shifting into a culture or respect and appreciation for your partner.  This may sound like, “You are the worst parent ever.”  The antidote may sound like “This parenting stuff is hard.  I’m glad we have each other to handle this together as a team.”


  1. Stonewalling: Having no response to your partner’s actions, whether good or bad.  Shutting down and withdrawing from the interaction in an unresponsive way to send a message to your partner that I am not even taking in what you’re doing or saying.  It’s like speaking to a stone wall.  This can escalate emotions quickly and leave people feeling gridlocked because processing of the information halts and feelings of resentment can set in heavy.  The antidote to this is to self-soothe and really pay attention to your body and learn ways to calm it down to reduce the likelihood that it gets to the point of stonewalling.  The antidote to this is to take a 20 minute or more calming break and use self-soothing techniques such as deep belly breathing, counting and distraction.   Also, it’s helpful when partners express that they are flooded and need a break.  This can make a big difference.  We do this in therapy as well.  I have the couple where pulse meters to measure their physiological responses.  


If you’d like to connect with me, I offer consultation and parent coaching support.  Just email me at or at my private practice at


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