Ahh! Parenting! It is never a dull moment. And definitely not for the faint of heart. Being a parent is filled with joy, confusion, laughter, monotony, surprises, and frustration. So, we decided to ask our Thrive team of therapists to share their favorite parenting tips or recommendations. Come learn a little more about parenting and our therapists.
Abbey Stewart, AMFT: My favorite parenting tip is not usually my most popular: less is more. I mean that parents are quick to believe that if they don’t offer solutions or instant comfort, their child will experience unreasonable distress. I like to support children in finding their inner strengths by increasing their understanding that they can navigate challenges autonomously. If folks have questions, I am happy to expand!
Dr Andrea Seldomridge: Less is more! Often, seeing kids and teens about to make mistakes can be hard. Instead of stepping in each time, allowing them to make mistakes can be a great way to help them grow, mature, and build confidence.
Kim Macias, APCC: I always recommend that parents spend time one-on-one with their children where the child gets to pick the activity. You may be surprised by what they choose! And it's a great way to show how special they and their interests are to you.
Jennifer Gonzalez, LMFT: Although not the only form of communication, words matter. Even when you think that your child is not listening, they are. The best way to teach your child positive behaviors is by role modeling, but you are also human, and you might not get it right every time. You are also learning with your child, so if you notice that your emotions are intensifying and might dictate your reaction, take some space and walk away rather than saying things you may not mean or want to say.
Dr Maria Fowlks: That your child is a whole person with the same feelings we have, but with developing brains and very limited experience with these emotions. So remember your child is having a hard time, not giving you a hard time.
Molly Llamas, AMFT: Less is more! Parents often feel pulled to make decisions and choices for their children to prevent them from making mistakes or getting hurt. I love experiences where I can work with parents to normalize these worries/ concerns while also empowering them to welcome opportunities to see their children succeed and learn from their mistakes/ choices.
Ying Ying Shiue, LPCC: Foster connection and hold your boundaries. While you may think it’s an oxymoron, you can do both by fostering a connection with your kids and holding them accountable.
Being present in the moment to love and support your child is key. At Thrive, we are here for you. We take a positive, client-centered therapy approach focused on creating a genuine connection with our clients. If you want to talk with one of our therapists about yourself, your child, or your teen about attending therapy, call us at 858-342-1304. We offer in-person and video sessions, and all of us LOVE supporting parents!
Are you thinking about starting therapy for yourself or a loved one? An important aspect of that decision is finding a therapist who can connect with you. Every therapist has a style and approach that is as unique to them as their thumbprint. We recently asked our Thrive therapists to describe their approach in therapy. We invite you to read and consider if this may be the help you have been looking for.
Dr. Maria Fowlks: My therapeutic approach looks to help individuals become more understanding, accepting and compassionate in dealing with themselves and those they love. I believe in creating a safe and non-judgmental space for my clients. I strive to make them feel comfortable and supported throughout our sessions. My goal as a therapist is to support my clients on their journey towards improved mental well-being, and to empower them with the tools and insights to navigate life's challenges. I do this by taking an integrative approach to therapy. This means that I draw from various evidence-based therapeutic modalities and techniques, tailoring my approach to meet their unique needs. I also recognize the importance of cultural sensitivity and strive to create a culturally inclusive environment. I respect and value diversity and am committed to understanding and addressing the unique challenges clients may face based on their cultural background. I work alongside my clients, supporting, guiding, and rooting them on as they brave the challenges life can sometimes bring. My clients are as much my teachers as I am theirs. My clients never cease to amaze and inspire me with their strength, courage, and resilience.
Dr. Andrea Seldomridge: I like to strike a balance between structured and unstructured. I often will bring in tools that may help them with what they’re coming in for, such as depression or anxiety. However, I always want to meet the client where they’re at and utilize a more conversational and organic approach.
Molly Llamas, AMFT: I bring my authentic self to all sessions by incorporating humor, curiosity, empathy, and culture, inviting you to bring your whole self, too. My approach includes a multicultural lens that allows me to understand and honor all of my clients’ needs and stories by meeting them where they are, while also challenging them to step out of their comfort zones through a non-judgemental approach.
Ying Ying Shiue, LPCC: I like making connections with my clients, so I incorporate a lot of real-life experiences and humor into my style of therapy. I’m kind, caring, and compassionate while also being realistic and honest. If you’re making a mistake, then I’ll tell you that, but then I’ll also tell you about the time when I made that same mistake, and we can laugh about it!
Abbey Stewart, AMFT: I would love for clients to know that I have tools and knowledge that I use to support a client in exploring their questions or processing experiences they have. Ultimately, every person is the expert of their own experiences, and supporting people in their therapeutic journey is a great privilege.
Kim Macias, APCC: I strive to provide a warm and nurturing space for you to identify your needs and goals. I approach therapy as a partnership between me and my clients to help you reach your goals, and I strive to create a space where you can be yourself.
Jennifer Gonzalez, LMFT: I utilize various evidence-based therapeutic modalities as I believe the therapeutic approach should meet the client’s needs, not vice versa. In treatment, I always operate under a trauma-informed and culturally sensitive lens.
At Thrive, we have an amazing team of therapists. We take a positive, client-centered therapy approach focused on connecting with our clients and building skills to help them manage their symptoms more effectively. We offer in-person and video sessions and group therapy for preteens and teens. We would love to hear from you at 858-342-1304 so that we can support your family!
Our final therapist post is about Jennifer Gonzalez, LMFT 98444 who has been working with Thrive for almost 7 years! Jennifer is incredibly passionate about working with teens and their parents, but also has a specialty in working with parents individually. Not only does she do an amazing job supporting her clients, but she also works with me on supervising our team and helping to lead them clinically. If you have the rare opportunity to work with Jennifer (as her schedule is rarely open), I think you are in great hands!
Who do you LOVE working with?
I enjoy working with clients of all ages! However, I am particularly interested in tweens and teens as I believe adolescence is the most challenging and complicated stage in a person’s life! As a therapist, I love having the opportunity to support my client’s identity development, interpersonal challenges, and social and emotional health. Also, due to my many years of experience working with adolescents, I have also developed a passion for working with their parents. My unique insight into this stage of development helps support parents' goals of raising healthy and autonomous individuals.
What should potential clients know about you and your style in therapy?
I utilize various evidence-based therapeutic modalities as I believe the therapeutic approach should meet the client’s needs, not vice versa. In treatment, I always operate under a trauma-informed and culturally sensitive lens.
What is your favorite parenting tip or recommendation?
Although not the only form of communication, words matter. Even when you think that your child is not listening, they are.
The best way to teach your child positive behaviors is by role modeling, but you are also human, and you might not get it right every time. You are also learning with your child, so if you notice that your emotions are intensifying and might dictate your reaction, take some space and walk away rather than saying things you may not mean or want to say.
What advice would you like to have received when you were younger?
Expressing sadness is not a sign of weakness. I was raised in a culture that values strength and promotes the “fake it until you make it” mentality. Just because you are not doing or feeling well does not mean that you have to act like everything is fine. Feel all of your feelings. This will create opportunities to learn more about yourself and how to cope better.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I am an avid traveler. The best way to experience culture is by visiting the place of origin. One of the best learning experiences is cultural shock, as this provides a unique opportunity to question everything you know and perhaps change your perspective for the better. I think this has made me a more well-rounded therapist, so I can better understand and serve my clients.
At Thrive, we take a positive, client-centered approach to therapy that is focused on creating a genuine connection with our clients. If you would like to talk with Jennifer Gonzalez, or another Thrive therapist about yourself, your child, or teen attending therapy we offer in person and video sessions, please reach out to us by phone at 858-342-1304.
A note from Thrive's founder, Dr. Erica Wollerman:
Welcome to our latest blog series! Since I am often the one writing our Thrive blogs, I wanted to make sure that our readers would be able to also get to know the amazing team I work with at Thrive. I am so grateful to work with each of these therapists and they each offer our clients something special. Since we have a team of 6, we will be sharing these blogs over the coming summer weeks!
Tell us about you and why you wanted to become a therapist.
I was about ten years old when I figured out what I wanted to be “when I grew up.” I consider myself very lucky as I understand that not everyone has this luxury. From a very early age I realized that I wanted to help people make a difference in their lives. My journey began when I volunteered my little brother’s first grade class, this experience gave me the opportunity to witness some of the struggles that children face in and outside of the classroom.
What do you love about being a therapist?
It is my life’s passion and I can say with great certainty that I could not possibly imagine doing anything else! There is no better satisfaction than being part of an individual’s personal growth. I enjoy being people’s support system and advocate to help those people that many times are struggling to help themselves. My favorite part of being a clinician is witnessing first-hand the progress that a person can make with a little assistance and encouragement.
How would you describe yourself as a therapist?
Client-centered! I believe that my clients are the experts on their own lives, and it is my job to learn about them from them and meet them where they are. I am empathetic, humorous, a story teller, warm and non-judgmental. I see my approach as a collaborative effort and take the time to work on building and nurturing trusting therapeutic relationships with my clients.
Who do you love working with in therapy?
I enjoy working with school-age children, adolescents, adults and families. Although my passion began with my work with children, through my education and experience I learned to love and appreciate every stage of a human’s development. As a systemic thinker, I promote and advocate for family therapy whenever possible and appropriate. I believe that there is a lot of power to change, adapt or adjust to a situation when more members of a family are involved in treatment. My areas of focus include but not limited to depression, anxiety, academic and school-related struggles, attention deficit/hyperactivity, oppositional-defiance, grief and loss, self-harm, parenting, relationship and identity related issues.
Do you have a particular theory or framework that guides your work as a therapist? If so, describe it and tell us why you use that.
I have been trained in multiple approaches such as Solution-Focused Therapy, Structural Family Therapy, Brief Strategic Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. My philosophy is that the approach should be good fit for the client not the other way around.
Share one thing you are passionate about in your professional or personal life.
A professional goal I set myself post licensure was to become a clinical supervisor. I enjoy being a teacher and leader; becoming a clinical supervisor will give me the opportunity to help others grow professionally and help create the next generation of therapists. This goal will become a reality this year!
My personal passion is traveling! Culture and diversity never seize to amaze me. Although culture shock can be scary and intimidating, I find it fascinating. My goal is to visit all continents. At the end of this year, I will have visited 18 countries in 5 continents. My travels provide me the opportunity to learn about different, backgrounds, idiosyncrasies, traditions, customs and beliefs which I often incorporate into my treatment.
By: Dr. Erica Wollerman
January 1st was a very big day for us at Thrive, and really for me in particular as the founder of Thrive Therapy Studio. You see, this is the day that we celebrated our first year anniversary of being a group therapy practice! Not only have we celebrated our first year of being a group practice, but we have also been able to expand our team of clinicians and services offered over the past year. While reflecting on the year, I feel so proud of the work we do, families we work with, and overarching values of our growing company!
At Thrive, we offer a different approach to psychotherapy in the sense that our clinical team focuses heavily on the relationships we develop with our clients. We all have different approaches to working with our clients, but this very relational, client-centered, and collaborative approach remains the same with any Thrive Team Member. This is one of the most important factors that has gone into choosing clinicians to join us at Thrive as I truly believe that therapy works best when we are collaborating with our clients and building a bridge with them to their goals. We believe in building people up so that they can learn to change things themselves with our support rather than a top down more clinical approach.
Since we have many different therapists to choose from, I feel confident in knowing that we can truly serve our community in so many different ways and that most people seeking therapy will feel that one of us will be a good fit for helping and supporting them. We offer individual therapy for children as young as 3 up through adulthood. We also are offering parent consultation services, either in conjunction with individual therapy for a child or teen or as a separate service to support parents. Special areas of interest and specialty for us as a whole includes the following: Autism, ADHD, Behavioral Issues, Parenting Issues, Anxiety, Depression, and Adjustment Issues. All of us are well versed in working with children, teens, and adults with a myriad of challenges.
We have even started offering all of our services in Spanish as well due to our lovely bilingual clinician, Jennifer Gonzalez, LMFT. Jennifer is wonderful in working with shame around parenting and increasing communication in parent-child relationships (check out her bio here!).
Dr. Maria Fowlks specializes in working with teens who are going through the pangs of adolescence and need a supportive space. Check out her bio here!
Angela Bianco, ASW, is skilled in working with individuals who are feeling stuck, frustrated, or bored with current parenting strategies. Check out her bio here!
And I, Dr. Erica Wollerman love working with individuals of any age who identify as perfectionists! Check out my bio here!
As I mentioned before, I am so proud of how far Thrive has come in one year and so excited to think of how many more people we can support in the coming years! To stay in the loop on our services offered and to receive updated information about Thrive, please feel free to sign up for our newsletter through the following link: http://eepurl.com/cvGx5n.
If you would like to talk with a Thrive Therapist about yourself for adult psychotherapy, your child, or teen attending therapy with one of us, please reach out to us by phone at 858-342-1304.
We at Thrive thought it would be fun to share a joint blog from our team of therapists where we each share one of our favorite parenting tips. Since we all have different perspectives, this is a great way to get to know each of us as a therapist. Hope you like it and find our ideas helpful!
Lindsey Brady, LMFT - How to support your child through tough feelings
In practice, I often work with children who experience difficulty with self-regulation, anger, and tantrum behaviors. A big part of what I do is help parents to understand developmental levels and how to support their kids through the “tough stuff.” Often, as parents, we expect our children to be respectful and behave appropriately and it’s easy to forget that kids often don’t understand or know how to manage their emotions. It’s important to teach children that ALL feelings are okay, even the ones that seem socially unacceptable, like anger or jealousy, and that all feelings pass with time. Encourage your kids to do something with their feelings if they need to. Invite them to be still or to share, cry, or communicate. If a child is unable to regulate and engages in inappropriate behaviors, parents can lovingly disengage and remind themselves that the behavior is not a reflection of their parenting or their child’s lack of respect, but more a lack of skill in dealing with the emotion or situation. Stepping back in the moment and addressing it when everyone is calm enables the child to be in an emotional space to learn and allows the parent space to explain and correct in a calm and loving way.
Maria Fowlks, PsyD - Validate your child’s feelings
Validating your child’s emotions helps them feel heard and understood, and it lets them know their feelings matter. When you do this, you are sending the message you love and accept them regardless of how they think and feel. It is important to honor and validate the big and small things, because what may seem small to you is likely very big to them. It shows them you care and think their feelings are important. It teaches them that ALL feelings are valid.
Jennifer Gonzalez, LMFT - Provide your child with options
I am almost sure that you have heard “children like to have options” before. I agree with this statement completely. Children and adolescents like to feel like they are in control and hold power, and who doesn’t?
Well, I would like to offer you an extension of that. Giorgio Nardone creator of Brief Strategic Therapy designed an intervention called “illusion of alternatives” which is exactly what it says; it gives the illusion that the person has an alternative. This intervention is a real elegant way in which you offer the possibility of a option: The first option is very frightening and almost impossible for the person to complete and the second option is one that is less threatening and easier to put into practice.
Translating this into child and adolescent terms: the first option should be one that is boring, tedious, and annoying to them. The second option (the one that you really want them to choose) should be doable, easy and in many ways more appealing. For example you may say: “Would you rather vacuum the entire house or take out the trash?” or for adolescents “Would you rather do the dishes and put them away or vacuum the living room.”
Angela Bianco, ASW - Helping parents shift from being reactive to proactive in parenting
Taking time to reflect on your parenting and interactions with your child is crucial in learning to shift from being reactive to proactive in parenting. Unfortunately, because our lives are so busy, parents are more likely to operate from a reactive state of mind instead of working from a clear set of principles and strategies. Instead of just reacting, try asking yourself the following questions: Why did he act this way? What's the lesson? How can I best teach it? Use these questions and your overarching parenting principles you want to use to guide your parenting as a guide for how to intervene and teach your child.
Erica Wollerman, PsyD – Knowing when to let your kid fail
As many of you who read the Thrive blog know, I am passionate in my belief that as parents, one of the best things we can do is to allow your child to fail at times. I believe strongly in the importance of teaching kids that failure is okay because it means you are trying new things and leaving your comfort zone. The other great thing about allowing your kids to fail is that you can then coach them through the failure. Teaching them how to fix things after mistakes, how to manage their feelings about the failure, and that it is okay to fall down only helps build grit and resiliency in all of us. As parents, this is a great gift you can give your children that will help them be more successful and resourceful in the future!
We hope you enjoyed our first group blog! There will hopefully be many more to come in the future so that we can continue sharing our many different experiences and thoughts with you!
If you would like to talk with a Thrive Therapist about yourself, your child, or teen attending therapy with one of us, please reach out to us by phone at 858-342-1304.
If you would like to receive updated information about Thrive Therapy, please feel free to sign up for our newsletter through the following link: http://eepurl.com/cvGx5n.
Blogs from the Thrive Family!
Musings from Erica, Jennifer, Maria, Kim, Andrea, Molly, Abbey, and Ying-Ying