Archive | September, 2012

Parenting Workshops in San Antonio

23 Sep

For those of you in and around San Antonio, I’d like to invite you to join us for some amazing Parenting Workshops.  We’ll be holding them for the next 10 weeks and would love for you to participate.  The information we’ll be sharing is for parents raising children ages birth to 17 years. 

Each week we will cover a new topic.  While you will always be the expert on your child, we’d love to share some information on the following topics:

  • stages of development
  • behavior management
  • communication skills
  • discipline techniques
  • how to boost self-esteem
  • how to have the sex talk
  • ways to impart values

This is just a sneak peek!  Each workshop is only $5 and you can pick and choose which ones you want to attend.  Our workshops are CPS approved!  This is ideal for anyone with an open CPS case that needs to attend parenting classes. A certificate of completion can be provided after 8 workshops.

If you or someone you know is interested, please give us a call at (210) 460-0442 and sign up.

Parenting Workshops begin next week on Wednesday, September 26th from 6:30 – 8:00pm.  Please call for the location and further details.

Hope you’ll join us and spread the word!

Sincerest thanks,



How Important is Emotion?

14 Sep

“It’s huge!”  That is what I’ve always said, for lack of a better explanation. I have always found it difficult to find the words to explain the important role of emotion in one’s life and furthermore how the role of emotions can be used effectively in therapy, in fact emotions are one of the greatest tools for healing.  I’ve been called overly emotional myself.  But what I know that some people don’t, is that my life is richer when I experience emotions directly and viscerally in the absence of my defense mechanisms.  In other words, in those moments where I feel safe to be me, without feelings of shame or embarrassment and I am not worried about being judged, I laugh louder, I cry freely and I feel transformed.

I am reading an amazing book right now called “The Transforming Power of Affect: A model for Accelerated Change” by Diana Fosha.  It’s not an easy read.  I’ve read most of the pages twice to make sure I understand.  One of the highlights of the book was finding the words to explain the role of emotion and it’s importance.  Here are the words I’ve been searching for…

“Emotional occasions…are extremely potent in precipitating mental rearrangements.  The sudden and explosive ways in which love, jealousy, guilt, fear, remorse, or anger can seize upon one are known to everybody.  Hope, happiness, security, resolve…can be equally explosive.  And emotions that come in this explosive way seldom leave things as they found them.” (James, 1902, p. 198)

That’s it.  That is what I’ve been trying to say.  One of the greatest contexts where this process of transformation can occur is in the romantic relationship.  Person(1988) in his work on romantic passion and the state of being in love discovered this:    

“Romantic love offers not just the excitement of the moment but the possibility for dramatic change in the self.  It is in fact an agent of change… Romantic love takes on meaning and provides a subjective sense of liberation only insofar as it creates a flexibility in personality that allows a breakthrough of internal psychological barriers and taboos… It creates a flux in personality, the possibility for change, the impetus to begin new phases of life and undertake new endeavors.  As such, it can be seen as a paradigm for any significant realignment of personality and values. (p.23)

Don’t it make you wanna fall in love?

Thanks for reading! 


Evaluate Your Relationship: Are you Masters or Disasters?

5 Sep

At the risk of stating the obvious, some relationships work and some don’t.  It would be easy to sit and wonder about the mystery behind the success and failure rates of relationships.  If you choose to do that, stop reading now.  For those of you that are after a healthier relationship, let’s take a look at the difference between the “Masters” and the “Disasters”.


  • are very gentle with their partner’s feelings.
  • are more likely to say “Interesting point, tell me more…” than to argue with their partner who has a different point of view on something.
  • make repair attempts.  In other words, they say “I’m sorry, I really blew it.”
  • have a quality friendship with their partner.
  • address their partner’s values and their meanings so they can grow their relationship.


  • lay a lot of blame on their partners.
  • diagnose their partner’s personality defects.
  • display defensiveness of perceived attacks.  In other words, they say “It’s not my fault!
  • show contempt (making statements to their partner from a place of superiority, i.e. insults, name-calling, etc.)
  • use stonewalling to tune out their partner.

One of the most important things to remember is in regards repair attempts after an argument. We know that this is something that “Masters” do.  But, if there is a failure on the part of one partner to accept repair attempts, or if they are rejected over and over, the other will stop attempting to repair.  This often happens with “Disasters” 

“Disasters” also often experience something called negative sentiment override.  It means that even neutral statements made by their partner are interpreted negatively.  Do you see where this is going?  Its no wonder they can’t ever say anything right!

On a final note, the “Masters” of relationships are averaging 5:1 positive to negative interactions with their partner.  Even after a conflict, when asked if they feel like their partner still likes them they say “yes.”.   How do you feel after a conflict with your partner?  And while you’re pondering that, ask yourself what is your ratio of positive to negative interactions.

I’m not saying it’s easy.  I’m saying it’s worth it.  Be careful with your partner’s feelings and remember why you chose to be with them in the first place.

If you have other tried and true strategies that make you a “Master”, please share!

Thanks for reading.

Are You In A Healthy Relationship? (Self-Check for Teenagers)

2 Sep

If you are a teenager and currently in a relationship with someone else, be sure to take this quick quiz.  All you have to do is answer each of the 26 questions with a YES or NO.  Check your score when you are done to determine if you may be seeing warning signs or are in fact in an abusive relationship.

Each statement begins with:

The person I am with…

  • is very supportive of things that I do.   YES/NO
  • encourages me to try new things.  YES/NO
  • likes to listen when I have things on my mind.  YES /NO
  • understands that I have my own life too.  YES/NO
  • is not liked very well by my friends or family.  YES/NO
  • says I’m involved in too many activities.
  • texts or calls me all of the time.  YES/NO
  • thinks I spend too much time trying to look nice.  YES/NO
  • gets extremely jealous or possessive.  YES/NO
  • accuses me of flirting or cheating.  YES/NO
  • constantly checks up on me or makes me check in.  YES/NO
  • controls what I wear or how I look.  YES/NO
  • tries to control what I do or who I see.  YES/NO
  • tries to keep me from seeing or talking to my family and friends.  YES/NO 
  • has big mood swings – gets angry and yells at me one minute but is sweet and apologetic the next.  YES/NO
  • tries to keep me away from my family and friends.  YES/NO
  • puts me down, calls me names or criticizes me.  YES/NO
  • makes me feel like I can’t do anything right or blames me for problems.  YES/NO
  • makes me feel like no one would want me.  YES/NO
  • threatens to hurt me, my friends or my family.  YES/NO
  • threatens to hurt him or herself because of me.  YES/NO
  • threatens to destroy my things.  YES/NO
  • grabs, pushes, shoves, chokes, punches, slaps, holds me down, throws things, or hurts me in some way.  YES/NO
  • breaks things or throws things to intimidate me.  YES/NO
  • yells, screams, or humiliates me in front of people.  YES/NO
  • pressures or forces me into having sex or going farther than I want.  YES/NO

If you scored 5 points or more, you are definitely seeing warning signs and may be in an abusive relationship.  Remember the most important thing is your safety.  Consider making a safety plan right now.  You donj’t have to deal with this alone.  Talk to an adult that you trust about the situation and create a plan of action that works for you and will keep you safe from harm.


Welcome to Holland

2 Sep

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability; to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it and to imagine how it would feel.  It would feel like this…

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip to Italy.  You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans.  The Coliseum, the Michelangelo David, the gondolas in Venice.  You may learn some handy phrases in Italian.  It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives.  You pack your bags and off you go.  Several hours later, the plane lands.  The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?” you say.  “What do you mean, Holland?  I signed up for Italy!  I’m supposed to be in Italy.  All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”  But there’s been a change in the flight plan.  They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease.  It’s just a different place.  So you must go out and buy new guidebooks.  And you must learn a whole new language.  And you will meet whole new groups of people you would never have met.  It’s just a different place.  It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy.  But after you’ve been there for awhile and you can catch your breath, you look around and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills, Holland has tulips.  Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there.  And for the rest of your life, you will say, “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go.  That’s what I planned.” 

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.
By Emily Kingsley