14 08, 2015

Preparing to Go Back To School

By |2016-11-01T21:48:41+00:00August 14th, 2015|Categories: Blog, Parenting|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

back to school

A note from Abby: My new associate Briana, shares her top tips for preparing kids (and parents) for the start of the school year. Briana Kilian, MFTI, is a registered Marriage and Family Therapy Intern (IMF81364), and offers low-cost individual, couples’ and family therapy for children, teens, and adults. Please read her first post here!

The start of a new school year is fast approaching and with that can come a variety of emotions from children and parents! Some kids can’t wait for the first of school to see old friends and make new ones; while others may cry and throw tantrums. Some parents can’t wait for a little extra free time and more structure in their days, while others are already missing summer. If you fall […]

7 08, 2015

Big News: Expanding with New Marriage and Family Therapy Intern Briana Kilian!

By |2016-11-01T21:48:41+00:00August 7th, 2015|Categories: Blog, Mental Wellness, Parenting|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

I’m excited to announce that I have hired a new Marriage and Family Therapy Intern to work in my private practice! I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with Briana this summer and became impressed with her clinical skills, dedication and reliability. She is also a fun and lovely person to be around. Briana will be working out of the same office as me in the Clairemont neighborhood of San Diego. She comes with a wealth of experience, especially with children, teens and families. She is a registered intern with the Board of Behavioral Science and will be under my supervision and training, although I often feel I learn from her.

I will let her introduce herself:

Briana Kilian, MFTII am a registered Marriage and Family Therapy Intern and […]

25 07, 2015

4 Ways to Help Kids Understand Emotions with “Inside Out” (Disney/Pixar)

By |2017-12-14T14:01:05+00:00July 25th, 2015|Categories: Blog, Giveaways/Free Resources, Mental Wellness, Parenting|Tags: , , , , , , , |3 Comments

My recent “Inside Out” Study Guide for helping teens and adults understand emotions has been getting positive feedback on Pinterest. Today I’m sharing some ideas for helping younger kids and tweens (grades K-8) use the Disney/Pixar movie to better understand their feelings.

Helping Kids Understand Emotions with Inside Out

1. An emotion pie chart

To be honest, I can’t take full credit. One of my young clients* came up with this idea on his own. He had the brilliant idea of turning his face into a pie chart and using the five colored emotions from Disney/Pixar’s “Inside Out” to represent the mix of his feelings. He then drew a key identifying the significance of each color.

You can use this idea even if you or […]

12 05, 2015

Chula’s Mission: Helping Girls without Mothers

By |2016-11-01T21:48:41+00:00May 12th, 2015|Categories: Blog, Maternal Mental Health, Mental Wellness, Parenting|Tags: , , |2 Comments

My daughter and I had a unique opportunity this past Mother’s Day weekend. We received an invitation to attend a fundraiser called “Once Upon an Apron” for the non-profit Chula’s Mission. The mission of Chula’s Mission is mentoring and nurturing motherless girls. They provide free services to girls during the critical ages of 11- to 13-years-old. Services include cooking classes, grief counseling and mentoring. The idea of cooking classes really resonates with me, as cooking is part of my own personal self-care and a highlight of raising my daughters.

Chula's Mission San Diego

Scatena Daniels, a philanthropy-focused communications firm, extended the invitation, and was proud to sponsor the event, along with Brian Malarkey’s Green Acres and KyXy 96.5. I […]

7 05, 2015

Sublimating and Sharing

By |2016-11-01T21:48:41+00:00May 7th, 2015|Categories: Blog, Parenting|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment

I am proud of my daughter and of myself.

Last week, I saw a flier at my work for a stuffed toy drive in honor of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week (May 4th – May 9th). The toys will be delivered to children who have experienced trauma.

toydrive1

When I came home, we sorted through her stuffed animals to select which ones were ready to be loved by another child. Of course, there were many stuffed animals that hadn’t been played with for years, only to be proclaimed “My favorite! Not that one!”

So I said, “Let’s take a break to read a book.” We read a book called “Just Enough and Not Too Much.” In the book Simon has a simple […]

1 05, 2015

Positive Parenting Can Save the World

By |2016-11-01T21:48:41+00:00May 1st, 2015|Categories: Blog, Parenting|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Helping Society at a Population Level through Positive Parenting: A lecture by Dr. Matt Sanders, founder of Triple P.

“The most powerful agents of change are parents.”

father and son playing, positive parenting

I had the privilege of attending a lecture today by Dr. Matt Sanders, the Developer of Triple P, and Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Queensland, Australia, hosted by Jewish Family Service. Most of the attendees were big wigs, from state senators’ offices, the upper-ups from Neighborhood House Association, Episcopal Family Services, Easter Seals, school districts, and many programs associated with First 5, Head Start and the County Health and Human Services Agency.

20 02, 2015

Sharing, Mindful Kids through Sportscasting

By |2016-11-01T21:48:42+00:00February 20th, 2015|Categories: Blog, Mental Wellness, Parenting|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

sharing mindful kids sportscasting

I took my youngest (now 16 months) to a playdate at a park the other day, which she doesn’t get to do nearly as much as my first baby did. She loved playing with other babies and toddlers and I got to chat with other moms. Sharing toys is always a topic with little ones, and one mom introduced me to the idea of “sportscasting” what is happening versus stepping in and making a child share. She said it comes from “RIE parenting,” an approach I immediately researched upon coming home.

Sportscasting describes what is happening without assigning blame. We don’t tell the child what to do, but let him or her try things out. This experimenting is how a child […]

6 12, 2014

Why I Want to Look at My Phone Less around My Baby

By |2016-11-01T21:48:42+00:00December 6th, 2014|Categories: Blog, Maternal Mental Health, Parenting, Postpartum Health Alliance|Tags: , , , , |6 Comments

I have found my New Year’s Resolution for 2015. I want to consciously avoid using my cell phone around my young children. Specifically, checking email, social media, and all those other things I do with my smart phone other than talk. My motivation is not fear of radiation. (Although I do have some concerns about radiation from cell phone use, especially around young brains, and have pre-ordered a SafeSleeve anti-radiation smart phone case.) My concern is being “checked out” and the pain it could cause my babies.

Screen Shot of Still Face Experiment

I recently watched a video of the 1975 “Still Face Experiment” by Dr. Edward Tronick. It was painful to see the baby’s distress at seeing her unresponsive mother. The mother is there physically, […]