“You don’t know what you don’t know” In my parent group for those whose children think differently, a favorite phrase is “you don’t know what you don’t know.” This phrase has come to reassure me as I look back over …

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know Read more »

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

Trying to do everything right I never imagined that two words, “attachment insecurity,” could have such a distressing and at the same time life-affirming effect on a person. My son already carried a diagnosis thought of as hard-to-parent. I felt …

Two Words: Attachment Insecurity Read more »

The story By now you may have read the headlines such as “YouTuber Myka Stauffer Reveals Adoption Dissolution 2 Years After Welcoming Son Home from China.” You may have even viewed the original adoptive parents’ tearful YouTube video about the …

Rehoming: Who’s to Blame? Read more »

My son’s behavior has been improving. It’s really quite incredible when I think about the progress he has made in such a short amount of time. There has been no hitting. No biting. No long-lasting rages. Very little swearing. Still. When …

When My Son Cries for His Birth Mom Read more »

The morning after watching Instant Family, I sent this text: “as much as I liked it, it has messed with my head some. I’m a little stabby today.” Reading online reviews did not help with the stabbiness (let’s be honest–do …

Instant Family Read more »

Have you seen those funny memes that use photos to demonstrate the difference between how we might expect an activity or career to look and the reality? I have laughed at many. When we adopt, however, I think the contrast …

Expectation vs. Reality Read more »

A few years ago, my parents flew out from Wisconsin to visit for Christmas. Because they only make it out to California to see us twice a year, and we make it to Wisconsin to visit them even less, it …

The Greatest Christmas Gift Read more »

As a trauma and emotion-centered psychotherapist, I am relieved that children are now being screened for toxic stress. Thinking about mental health as a byproduct of a child’s environment is an important addition to current thinking on how to improve …

ACEs and Toxic Stress: How We Can Heal Children’s Brains Read more »

Richard, a former patient of mine,* used to bully kids when he was in high school. When I asked him to share what bullying felt like, he told me intimidating kids was the only time he felt powerful and strong. His father …

Stopping a Bully: How Learning About Attachment and Emotions Can Help Read more »