Talk Therapy has gotten a bad rep ever since its Freudian days, but I’m a huge proponent of Therapy in all of its forms (ie: art, dance, music, play, group, home-based, and original couch-sitting). I’ve even undergone it myself because– let’s be honest–where else can you talk about yourself for an hour, right?!
As I work with more and more families, I’m finding this interesting trend: parents will openly allow their kids to go to therapy but they won’t see a counselor themselves. I’ve wondered if this is reflective of our old school versus new school way of thinking about “talking about your problems to a stranger” but then it was pointed out to me by my sister– the Speech Pathologist–that what may really be going on is that parents are hesitant to start sessions for themselves because they believe that every thing their child does (whether appropriate, inappropriate, negative, or positive) is a personal reflection on them. Okay, perhaps mainstream society agrees with that hypothesis but the other side of the coin says that a child’s personality is determined at birth. So although environmental stimuli, norms, and cues will contribute to an increase or decrease in certain characteristics, a person’s underlying personality– that unique x factor that makes us, us–is already ingrained.
Albeit fascinating from a research perspective, on an everyday level parents don’t always have the support they need from one another, their community, or sometimes even their own family members to assess that prospect. Instead, parents oftentimes feel that everything they do is not good enough, especially when a child is having some real struggles. In that case, it’s good to have a neutral third-party, an objective point of view, to talk about the parent’s own concerns and receive guidance and reassurance. When I help parents navigate the IEP process, for example, I always let them know that this process will not only help them learn how to advocate for their child but for themselves. It’s a lengthy process but as the months go by I begin to see Moms and Dads take charge, become more assertive, and willingly stand up for their own rights as a parent of child in need. When those skills are realized, the denial goes away. It’s an amazing transformation.
I love helping families navigate a problem and figure out a viable, self-sustaining solution. This is what therapy, coaching, and talking to a trusted member in your community can do too. A skilled counselor, psychologist, therapist, or trusted advisor can guide you through a difficult life moment and help you reveal solutions that perhaps you were unable to see due to that murky inhibition. It has to be your choice, but I can promise you it can be a good, eye-opening, positive (and not too scary) experience.
Check out our Family Meeting service, creative outlets that build a child’s self-esteem and confidence, and vetted child, family, and individual therapists and psychologists:
Terry Tutors: Helping You Open the Lines of Family Communication. Communication is the Foundation of a Strong Family Bond. Our In-Home Family Meeting Service is designed to allow each member of the family to be heard in a positive, productive manner. With the help of a Family Coach, we teach you how to actively listen to each other and incorporate family rules, family schedules, and age-appropriate communication tools, such as The Feelings Wheel and The Thought Box, to jump start conversation on a daily basis.
- 1STAGE Repertory: Nonprofit theatre company whose mission is to immerse children in the arts while building their self-esteem and having fun!
- Center Stage Dance LA: Dance Studio dedicated to helping children develop success, confidence, and self-esteem
- Malibu Art Barn: Open art studio, aiding in the emotional and cognitive development of children. Owned by Peter Tulaney, MFT
- Ovation Group Productions: Children’s Musical Theatre Company, where differences are celebrated and everyone gets a real part!
FAMILY, CHILD, COUPLE & INDIVIDUAL THERAPY SERVICES
- Allison Cohen, MA, MFT: Adult Life Issues: Partner Relational Distress, Family of Origin Conflict, Anxiety, Depression, Self-Esteem, Anger, Lack of Identity
- Cheryl Eskin, MFT: Specializing in Parenting for Special Needs Children
- Cynthia Whitham, LCSW: UCLA Parenting & Children’s Friendship Program
- Dana Fogel-Stark, MS, LMFT: Specializing in Depression & Anxiety Disorders, Couples Psychotherapy, Relational Issues, Self-Image, and Grief and Loss
- Debra Warner, MS, MFTI: Marriage & Family Therapist, specializing in PTSD and EMDR
- Naama Cameron, MS: In-Home Child Behavior Consultant & Parent Coach
- The Center for Well Being: Dr. Stephanie Mihalas, PhD., NCSP, Psychologist & School Psychologist for Pediatric Behavioral & Emotional Support
PARENT CLASSES & TRAINING
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Christine Terry, B.A., J.D., is the Founder & Owner of Terry Tutors, a Private Tutoring, Family Coaching, and Education Advocacy service dedicated to supporting the whole student. She writes this blog as an effort to help Moms & Dads Navigate Generation Z, Honestly. Want to Know More? Head on over to TerryTutors.com