March 21, 2014
Empathetic parenthood

"We have all been children and have hadWhen I was teaching parenting classes in Portland nearly two decades ago I had one parent in the class who was there because she’d been mandated by child protective services. I don’t know the whole story but I knew that she didn’t want to be there and she resented having to stand there listening to a youngster many years her junior (me) who didn’t even have any kids yet.

I can’t say that I blamed…

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March 20, 2014

Happy Spring! Finally!

This song has one bad word in it. You have been warned.

8:47am  |   URL:
Filed under: spring youtube 
March 19, 2014
All Access

smiley2-insideYou know how Jane Brown famously said that internationally adoptive parents are a fifth best choice? (And I’ll assume that domestic transcultural adoptive parents are a fourth best choice.)

The first, she believes, is for children to remain with their birthparents; second-best is for a child to be adopted by, or remain with, a member of the extended family; third-best is to be raised by people of…

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March 17, 2014
I accompanied someone to the police station to report a sexual assault, and this is what happened



A regular client turned good friend was sexually assaulted and asked me if I would go with her to the police station to make the report. Here is what happened.

Things to note:

1. There may be some triggers around sexual assault, victim blaming, and incompetent police officers.

2. My friend gave me permission to write this and actively encouraged me to do so, as a learning opportunity for all of you. However her name has been changed to LC for this post.

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March 17, 2014
Will my child’s counselor judge my parenting?

Will my child’s counselor judge my parenting?

cute daughter and dadI know that for lots of people it’s scary to bring your child to a counselor. You’re already worried about your son or daughter and then you have to bring them to a stranger in the hopes they can help. It’s never fun coming to experts and saying, “Hey, I’m stuck and I’m scared and I need help.” But it’s even harder when we’re looking for support over something as emotionally fraught as parenting.…

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March 12, 2014
Instagram and Credit Cards

Instagram and Credit Cards

I went and got myself a smart phone so I can take credit cards in the office (thank you Square!) so I decided to try out this new-fangled Instagram the kids are doing. You can follow me here. The above is a picture of the sand tray after a play (versus a therapy — the child present in the office was not/is not a client) session. Those are Playmobil horses. The blue paint in the sand tray lets…

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8:24pm  |   URL:
Filed under: counseling 
March 7, 2014
Acceptance isn’t always happy

Acceptance isn’t always happy

no explanation no matter how reasonable-1Do you ever get stuck explaining something to your child? Why he needs to put his dirty socks in the laundry. Why you can’t buy the cookies she wanted for her lunch this week.

“I’m not making you put your socks away because I like bossing you around; I can’t wash them if they aren’t there to wash,” you might say. “Listen, the cookies just aren’t in our budget; I don’t like saying no.”

We explain…

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March 5, 2014
All behavior makes sense

All behavior makes sense

boy writingHere are two things that everyone everywhere needs to know about everyone else:

  • People do the best they can with what they know.
  • All behavior makes sense when viewed in context.

This is true for ourselves and our friends and family and definitely for our kids.

Knowing this about each other can make it easier to understand — if not approve — of other people’s choices. Likely if we could stand in…

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February 28, 2014
Feelings are not behaviors

Feelings are not behaviors

-There’s no ‘should’ or ‘should not’

Sometimes people get afraid of feelings so we deny them or try to ignore them or explicitly tell our kids to shut those feelings away. But how children feel and how they behave are too different things.

There’s being angry and then there’s yelling or hitting. It’s ok to be angry with your little sister but it’s not ok to hit her. It’s ok to feel frustrated with the Legos that won’t work right…

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February 26, 2014
The betrayal of change

The betrayal of change

gossipmoms-insideOne of the things we talk about in therapy is how our growth and change affects the other people in our lives. Or more specifically, we talk about how to grow and change without placing undo responsibility on the other people in our lives. We can’t expect people to change with us or to understand our journeys. Sometimes relationships improve as we get healthier and sometimes they get worse. It…

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