Being knowledgeable about kind, effective parenting strategies is essential in my marriage and family therapy.  For children of any age, I will help you brainstorm which rewards and consequences will lovingly but firmly motivate an irritable,  defiant child to renew respect, help a hesitant or ‘helpless’ child gain confidence, or calmly handle a teen who constantly reacts with too much “attitide.”  Parents sometimes need coaching or encouragement to be consistent long enough for their strategies to actually work.  Some parents may need ongoing counseling to implement brand new ideas, while others may find brief consulting is enough to get their own parenting back on track.

From early in my graduate training, I sought out extra coursework and clinical experience with couples and families.  In addition to my 4 years of practicum at the University Counseling Center, I also completed a year-long specialty practicum in Marriage and Family Therapy.  This specialty practicum included several doctoral classes, and benefited from a five-person team involved in supervision.  The Marriage and Family Practicum– as well as my internship year– refined my skills (and sense of humor) in working with parenting, family and stepfamily conflict, and adjusting to divorce.  My own marriage and parenting experiences also help keep a realistic mindset in setting goals, and allow me a personal understanding of the challenges of modern family life.

My style in working with parents or whole families is to first get to know each person and their story, as well as hearing about each relationship in the family.  For some, it may be equally important for me to hear about relationships with extended family or with an important teacher.  What conversations (and arguments) are already happening at home, and what messages or conversations are perhaps missing?  How have recent family changes or stressful events affected children’s behavior or “attitude?”  I may even want to hear from siblings not involved in the current conflict, as they often have fascinating and helpful insights.

In therapy, I work with parents and families to rebuild mutual respect, peace, acceptance, improved communication, and forgiveness– which may require meaningful change by both children and adults.  Finding the most helpful approach for your own family will vary, so we will work collaboratively to choose a counseling plan that is both effective and comfortable.

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