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Call or Text (614) 301-8030 dawn@buildingfamilycounseling.com

Parenting for Attunement


The reason I love the Parenting for Attunement curriculum is that it’s not about me standing up in front of the room telling people how to raise their kids. Generally, I’m against that. After all, what makes me the expert on your life? I will bring my expertise on child development, family systems and values exploration to class facilitation. but the class is designed to help me guide you to become exactly the parent you need and want to be.

The class meets you in the context of your unique circumstances, values and experience to help you grow in confidence as a parent. You will gain skills and understanding that will change the way you look at your child, at yourself and at your world. Seriously. You’ll be a better parent not just now in the face of these challenges, but in the future, too, when your child’s needs change.

Parents have contacted me asking about the age range the class covers and whether or not this class is appropriate for parents of children with special needs. First of all, it’d be hard to take this class if your oldest child is an infant but it’s great for parents with toddlers on up. I’ve taught it to parents of 18-month olds and to parents of teens; it’s all good.

It definitely works for parents whose children have special needs if the parent is comfortable helping us understand the particulars of their child’s development. A good portion of the program is trying to get a handle on what the child is bringing to the table in development and temperament. While the class material defaults to typical child development, parents are encouraged to use the information in the way that best serves their children. I am also happy to help families identify materials outside of the curriculum that will help them in their understanding of the particulars of their child’s experience.

The first class meets, Wednesday September 18th from 7pm to 9pm at my Worthington office. It continues for the next six weeks.

Please contact me if you have any questions about the course and feel free to sign up for my monthly email newsletter to get alerted when I teach it again. Also if you are interested in bringing the program to your home or venue, let me know. I’d love to talk about the possibilities.

When more of a good thing is too much

One of the most interesting things I heard the Ohio Counseling Association conference a couple of years back was something in the presentation on qualities of an effective counselor. The official title of the break-out session was: “Beyond Techniques: Understanding How Counselor Characteristics Impact Counseling Impact.” This was presented by Scott Hall PhD, LPCC-SC-S and Michelle Flaum, EdD, PCC-S.

My favorite part of it was a Character Identity Inventory that looked at Cardinal Values, which are the values we strive to live out as counselors (and as human beings). These Cardinal Values have what the good doctors call Shadow Values. There are under-developed Shadow Values, which is what we commonly think of when we think about good/bad. Then there are over-developed Shadow Values, which totally made me think of the internet.

For example (and this is the version that made me think of the internet), Honesty is a Cardinal Value. Dishonesty is the underdeveloped Shadow Value. But the overdeveloped Shadow Value is Bluntness, Without Tact.

How many times have you watched Facebook go up in flames because someone is saying something extreme and hurtful and defending it by saying, “I’m just being honest!”

I am really intrigued by the idea of overdeveloped Cardinal Virtues because I think they may be the hardest to change. Moderation can be hard anywhere but on the internet sometimes it seems like rigidity reigns only sometimes it’s disguised as being truly free-thinking, truly brave, truly committed to a cause.

So how can we tell where we are on the continuum?

We can ask ourselves, “How does practicing the virtue help or harm you and your relationships?” And then sometimes we just need to get quit typing and come to bed already instead of trying to fix everyone else who lives in our computer.

Dr. Bruce Perry coming to Columbus

I’m super-excited about this training next week:

  • Understanding the Effects of Maltreatment on Brain Development
  • Prevention: Supporting Children’s Well-Being and Breaking the Cycle of Violence
  • Overview of the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics
  • Changing the Cycle of Child Abuse & Family Violence: What Systems Can Do to Build Better Lives

I have a professional crush on him.

2011 Open Adoption Symposium

I am so very excited to be presenting at the 2011 Symposium Opening Adoption: Realities, Possibilities and Challenges this fall in Richmond, VA. Because I volunteered to help them with their brochures and landing pages for the conference, I’ve been privvy to some of the amazing names who will be there including keynoters James Gritter and Adam Pertman but also a long list of speakers with both personal and professional expertise (some of whom you know ‘cuz of their presence in the blogosphere! Check it out!).

This symposium is being put on by a very small, very ethical agency in Richmond, Coordinators2inc. This agency is less focused on overseeing adoptions and much more focused on offering much needed post-adoption support. (Check out their web site and you’ll see!) They received a grant to create this conference because they felt that openness has gotten short shrift in their geographical area. Cynthia Henebry, an online friend, invited me to join them about a year ago and watching this small, dedicated group of people put together what will be a major event has been inspiring. I, along with a lot of other folks I’ve talked to around the country, hope that this becomes a regular event but the agency is first and foremost committed to serving their clients and whether or not this conference happens again will likely depend on how this first one goes!

There is such a huge need for more open adoption information, especially information that is presented critically and with an eye to practical support. Instead expect two days of questions, discussions and hopefully renewed dedication to improving on current practices.

My session is:

Family Values and Openness: Confronting and accepting differences

With the assumption that every non-kinship adoption is a transcultural one, the presenter discusses the small and large conflicts that can arise in open adoptions due to the differing values between birth and adoptive family members. She discusses the ways families can successfully confront these challenges and makes recommendations for ways professionals can better support families in their care.

Cynthia helped me pull it together because they had a rough idea of what they wanted me to do and her feedback was immeasurably valuable. I’ve been working on it since this winter but took time off to tunnel through summer session (argh — halfway through!!! this has not been an easy summer so far!). I can’t wait until August 5th when my final final will be over and I’ll be able to get back to working on my presentation. I hope to get a survey up this week to get some anecdotal information and I’ll be hitting y’all up to help me get it out there.

Blogging dialogues

twochairs-insideI’ve been thinking about blogging a lot as I work on this paper I’m supposed to present. The title is: “Someone Else’s Shoes: How Dialogue On-Blog Impacted a Real Adoption.” (I’m pretty sure I mentioned that here before — forgive me for repeating myself!) I’m writing it about Jerome Bruner‘s theories that we make things true by putting them in narrative form. (Read more about that at that wikipedia link.) I started getting interested in this when I was writing that article on forgiveness and I started talking to one of the interview people about journaling and infertility because I’d read this study about how women who used journaling to talk about their infertility used those stories to make sense of the chaos of what was happening to them and that this changed their actual experience. And then we got to talking about journaling being a therapeutic tool. When I hung up I started thinking about how blogs don’t seem to necessarily be therapeutic for every infertility blogger and then I thought that it’s because blogs have comments and so the narrative shifts in response to those comments and this is why I think some infertility bloggers can sometimes feel more stuck in their infertility than someone who’s journaling alone.

Anyway, that made me think about how blogging has impacted my own adoption story and I know that specifically that it was hearing from first moms (then called birth moms on my blog) before and after Madison came home — particularly in that first year — that strongly influenced my story. So this week I sat down and thought hard about that and how it’s changed me and how it’s changed how this adoption has played out. My thesis is that if writing a narrative constructs reality, then having a blog invites other people to help you construct that reality. It’s been true for me anyway.

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