Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Stress and the Debates: Think of it as preparation for our family holidays, especially if you are co-Parenting.

The statisticians and and APA have come out with the (no surprise) fact that this years elections are causing stress and anxiety in the American people. I have spoken to several people across the globe and we are not the only ones. BUT for now, lets focus.
Watching the adults in charge or soon to be in charge, arguing, fighting, lying and not putting the country's good first is very stressful.. As a long term licensed psychotherapist with a focus on Marriage and family as well as a certified parent educator, this reminds and mirrors the couples across the country and in my office that I see everyday. They are so focused on the negative ad campaigns that they do not stop and think about the children , their children listening and watching.

It is so hard to focus on the positive in your own camp or home, fears you will lose the love of your child if they see the good in the other. This election cycle IS the cautionary tale of a divorced family.

If you are struggling with anxiety due to this or any issue, if you are a parent dealing with the war of custody, please feel free to contact the Carlsbad Counseling Center, we have therapists and parent educators here to help. (we are also on the San Diego Superior Court Resource List)
760 434-9694

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Forgiveness and Marriage

I do not usually post just pics to this blog, but a local church has this on their signage and had to snap a pic and share. Practicing forgiveness stops a lot of fights in their tracks. Power and Control are huge issues for every human, even more so in a marriage. Forgiveness is not the same as forgetting or accepting it the issues are significant, I am referring to the everyday bickering couples can go thru and create.
The picture isn't the best, but the message is perfect.


Monday, September 26, 2016

Guidelines before you try online (telehealth) counseling. It's a great option, but know what to look for.

Online psychotherapy is legal and can be as helpful as meeting a psychotherapist in person. There are a few things that you must ask and be aware of first.
1. If you are in California your online therapist must be in and licensed in California.
this applies to most states.

2. The therapist must make provisions for privacy and confidentiality not only of location of where to be when working online but also the medium that the therapist uses.

3. Please know that online counseling can be as intense and as hard as in person work.

I was watching Dr. Phil today and he mentioned the ability to seek physical and mental health online. Although this is true, please know like many areas, this is an emerging field and many have jumped on the bandwagon without the training and understanding of both the state and professional standards and ethics.

I waited until the state and professional leadership clarified and standardized online Telehealth Counseling.

If you are interested in seeking care online and you are in California, please feel free to call or email me at
760 434-9694 or EMAIL

Or visit either my business website or my online HIPAA secure portal for online care.

Kendall Wagner,MFT

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Your Child online. What you should know. Kendall Wagner, MFT Clinical Director of the Carlsbad Counseling Center

    I am going to sound very old here and that is ok. Technology continues to move at a fast pace and like most things creativity and pushing the envelope to create new applications and programs is a younger persons calling.
     I watched 48 Hours last night, it was about our children and cyber security, abductions and pedophiles. Wonderful television watching for a Saturday night. They mentioned and there are several ways to check on your children's Internet usage. Years ago, the idea was keep the family computer in the living room or where you can watch and see it, preventing unknown activity. Then, the next step was to let parents know what the acronyms were that we saw on our children's computers. Unfortunately we are in a new era and most kids do not use computers they use smart phones and tablets or laptops. There are some great programs and collaboratives between government and non profits to help educate parents and students alike.

     There is one factor that I see in my office, online and thru out our struggle with cyber safety. YOU must not be afraid of your child. I am not talking about physically afraid but the emotional blackmail our children can use. What I hear even more often is My Child won't let me. WHAT!!!!??? In a world where we want them to succeed and see all that they have to do, we have become afraid to set boundaries and stay the parents out of fear they will be too emotional to succeed or we will have to come out of our comfort zone to parent.
     I am not talking about 100% lock down, that does make children hide even more, but having an understanding of how the internet and other online platforms will be treated within the family, by everyone in the family. These guidelines must be practiced and clarified before there is an issue. For example, you do not buy a fire extinguisher for you home once there is smoke, you have it ahead of time just in case. This is how all family rules should be, practiced and modeled before our children become ready for the phone or cyber-life.
     Practice what you preach, do you get angry if your child picks up your phone, reads a text or possibly comes across a picture that you are not proud of? Set the bar early, practice your level of morality online and modal this for the children. When it is time to log in to their accounts and walk along side them, it is not out of lack of trust but how the family does the online portion of their lives.
     If this hits a chord, you feel it is already too late or you would like more information and or guidance, feel free to email my your questions or concerns : or leave a private confidential voicemail: 760-434-9694

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Top 5- Back to School to get Back to You! Kendall Wagner,MFT

I was walking with a friend the other day and she was telling me about the changes she makes and wants to make in September. "It is like a fresh start".. As a child we had friends that their mom on the first day of school would close the gate (think country road) and have the day for herself. I find myself starting new projects.
Children go back to school, they start fresh we can push the reset or new start button. Here are 5 tips to have a fresh fall vs. waiting until the new year.
1. Walk, swim, do some exercise daily. Park at the far end of the parking lot, walk to pick the kids up from school, take your tennis shoes to work and walk and eat fruit at lunch.

2. Start a SMALL project: start a book, clean a closet, try a new recipe. Small success' will build your confidence and set an example to your children on how to try, try and finally succeed.

3. (warning:Not Fun) Go over your finances. If you are not the finance person. Take a scavenger hunt and know where things are. If you are the finance person, do a quick over view of things you want to get done before the end of the year. I am a big fan of It is free and a great overview of all your credit.

4. Self-Care: Along with physical activity, there is the role your physical health has in your life. Make that
Dr. appt. get the mole checked, tummy or other pain checked out, physical done. If you do not take care of your physical self, the rest cannot happen.

5. Emotional Self-Care: This is not a shameless plug for counseling (online even:) ) .. Although that is a good choice in your emotional self care. Others are taking 10 mins. for yourself. If you are Spiritual, meditate or pray, treat yourself well. Do something for yourself that you would do for a friend. Watch a movie. The list goes on. Sometimes counseling is helpful.. but now is the time to not only provide Emotional Self-Care but to teach by example for your children.

If you are past the young parenting stage, we never stop being parents, then look at resetting your relationships with those around you, near and far.

These are just a few ways to reset the Self-Care and move in a positive direction. Let your New Years Resolution be about going to the next level, not just starting something.

Kendall Wagner, MFT is the Clinical Director of the Carlsbad Counseling Center. Providing online and in-person counseling and parenting thru out California. Office for in person care: Carlsbad .
To Contact Kendall Directly: 760-434-9694 or

Monday, August 29, 2016

Telehealth Counseling is now online.

Telehealth counseling has now completed the set up for online therapy. You must be a resident of California.

With  our office in Carlsbadyou have the opportunity to meet online and then in person during in person office hours.

Please feel free to check it out.
Kendall Wagner, MFT Telehealth Counseling

There is also a link from our main website. Carlsbad Counseling

Carlsbad Counseling Center
760 434-9694

Please note: if this is a mental health emergency, you must go to your closest emergency room or call 911.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Online Counseling: When is it a good idea? Kendall Wagner, MFT

I have always had extended contact with my clients thru text and emails between clinical sessions. I have also in the past had extended check ins while clients were on vacation. Over the last few years, the Board of Behavioral Sciences and CAMFT (our professional group) has explored the pros and cons of online counseling and psychotherapy. Recently, the BBS has formalized the guidelines for providing online care.
In clarifying these, Carlsbad Counseling Center is now comfortable launching online counseling /psychotherapy when the guidelines are met and when it is deemed appropriate for the given client.

Here is the link to the BBS guidelines

Before beginning online care, please consider:
1. If there is a licensed person that you are able to meet with in your area at the times you are available.

2. In case of an emergency, there will need to be a plan in place knowing your local resources.

3. Be clear why you would like online care. The relationship with your therapist is a part of the process, online or in person, you must develop the same working relationship.

4. You must reside in California.

If you are still interested in exploring online counseling or psychotherapy. (see blog post about the differences) then please contact me at
call me at 760 434-9694.

To Book an Online Session, please visit: Telehealth Counseling

We will discuss your needs ( a traditional phone consult) and determine if this option for services is for you. Also if you have the technology to assure a confidential communication on your end.
Tele Health Counseling

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Letting your Kids Fail Short term leads to lifelong success.. (aka Realities of Life)

I say this in my psychotherapy practice and in my court mandated and non court mandated parenting classes.
Let your children have the natural consequences of their actions.
They do not finish their homework (emphasis on THEIR), then the teacher will discipline them.
They don't take care of household chores then they do not go out.

If we rescue our children (many reasons which we can go over at another time) then they never learn to handle the anxiety and normal life stress that is involved in achieving their own goals and doing the right thing.. They never get to have a real sense of SELF accomplishment.

It is easy to help our children succeed short term, but our personal challenge as parents is to allow (it does not feel good for us) our children to fail short term so they can succeed in the long term and in the real world as adults.

The pain, real parenting causes in us, many times is the reason we rescue our children, it is too hard to see them struggle. But life is full of struggles. It is our job as parents to prepare them for the real world.

below is a short CNN video that you may find helpful.
CNN video on letting your children fail

If this is a struggle or you would like to start off the school year with a fresh perspective, please feel free to contact me: Kendall Wagner, MFT 1760-434-9694
Email or visit our website Carlsbad Counseling Center

Friday, July 15, 2016

Troubled Teens, Take Action, Turn things around: Kendall Wager, MFT

I wanted to share this clip from the Dr. Phil show, here he is discussing having the courage to identify and take action with a troubled teen.  I wrote a little while ago about Parental PTSD and having a troubled teen is one of the factors. To have the courage to seek help and do what it takes to turn a teens life around, can mean facing your own mistakes and blemishes. I am always impressed and encouraged when I see parents in my office willing to expose their own blemishes or family history for the sake of helping their children. This is not about blaming the parents, there are so many factors to draw the teens off course, no matter how well adjusted or not the home life is.
At Carlsbad Counseling Center, we have a group of therapists that can work with your teen and or your whole family. Please look at our bio's and see which therapist would be the best fit for you. We are able to work with others in the community and create a treatment team approach. Our goal is to readjust and get back on track, so with the start of the new school year ... It is a fresh start for all.

If you would like to speak to me directly about your teen or any other family concern please contact me directly at: or call the center at 760-434-9694.

Kendall Wagner, M.A. MFT
Clinical Director: Carlsbad Counseling Center

Please watch this short clip from the Dr. Phil Show.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Fireproofing Your Marriage: by Lindsay Holt, MS , MFTI

Summer time for many people means time off work, sitting in the sun and spending time with family and friends….It also means fire season is in full swing: spouses gone between 4 and 21 days at a time, exhausted when arriving home, disconnectedness in the family, and the tendency to be emotionally flat and guarded when they get home. If anyone is married to a firefighter, they can understand this.

It is important for the person who is at home to be flexible, understanding and accepting that this is the life. With that, the person who is at home needs to be comfortable with being alone a good portion of the time.  This is not easy.

I want to share this quote originally from Dave Grossman and Loren Christensen’s (2008) study

“It is especially important for spouses to be aware of the effect that occurs after the adrenaline wears off; this leaves firefighters completely exhausted. At work, they are alive, alert, energetic, and involved. When they come home, the after-effects may set in, and they may be tired, detached, isolated, and apathetic. The greater the demand at work, the greater the possible backlash at home, debilitating them for family involvement, which, if misunderstood, may be destructive to intimate relationships.”

Though challenging it is possible to have a happy, loving, and fulfilling relationship with your spouse and take advantage of the alone time to do what you want to do. Or not do… i.e not shower for a few days, don’t clean the house until the day before they get home, eat ice cream for dinner and watch several episodes of a show the person would not like….

If you or your spouse are struggling with the challenges this profession brings: communication concerns, depression, anxiety, loneliness feel free to give me a call at Carlsbad Counseling Center to schedule an intake appointment so that I can assist you to build a stronger more satisfying relationship.

Lindsay Holt, MS, MFTI #87735
(760) 434-9694 or (760) 814-1176

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Parental PTSD by Kendall Wagner,MFT

The true definition of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

I work with parents that this is true. I am in no way minimizing war related PTSD. This is a whole other trauma that causes parents to panic when the phone rings, obsessing on their adult or teen's comments about upcoming events, hyper-vigilance and reliving terrifying events brought on by their children's choices.

I used this example a while back with a mom who has been thru the ringer with her son. Her eyes lit up and she said "yes, that's it!" . More and more past and current clients are coming in to deal with the anxiety, sleepless nights, reliving past events and unable to get back to normal. 

There are several reasons why this is happening. Not one reason explains it for all parents: but a combination of your own past memories of your teen and early adulthood also contribute. Here is a very abbreviated list of some causes that are making Parental PTSD more common.

1. Zero tolerance of past normal adolescent and early adult behavior. Our children can be getting straight A's, sports or academic scholarships and one bad decision can ruin it all. (NOT talking rape or true criminal behavior). Ex: drinking at a party, having a cigarette at school, shop lifting a small item and there are more. The consequences outweigh the offence.
2. The level of drugs and potency is not where it was, we all know someone who's life was taken or ruined due to drug and or alcohol use during high school or college.
3. The micro-management of our children have left them with the inability to learn from their own mistakes until the stakes are high in college. (so much more I can write later)
4. Our own parental keeping up with the Jones, nothing spurs a parent on more and creates shame then when others are bragging about their own children. (they are not sharing that they are also going thru struggles, their ego only can boast)

If you have what I call a REAL CHILD, you have had the phone call, the letter or the pain of watching your child struggle. This creates trauma in us and when this happens more then once and/or the depth of the situation this can create long lasting anxiety and fear.

I will write more about this in the coming weeks. 

Kendall Wagner, MFT
clinical director at the Carlsbad Counseling Center.

Welcome to Summer! Kendall Wagner, MFT

Welcome to Summer... now what....
I am starting to get moms and dads coming in and counting the days until School Starts! And it is only June. I could get into why such a long break or why the break seems so much longer then in the past... but this is a practical blog.

First: People should not be entertained at all times. Everyone has a backyard, pool, park or beach. Take your children and have each child take a friend when possible (this way you are not the focus of their activities).

Challenge: Do not take the Game boys, X-Box or other items...they inhibit a child's ability to learn to self direct. This may seem impossible.. start with one outing a week game free...

Rule 1. Let them figure out what to do and how to do it...Play is a child's work.

Rule 2. Let them be bored.. without boredom there can be no self initiation of activities.

Rule 3. IGNORE, IGNORE and IGNORE.. the I'm boredthere is nothing to do and other sayings.

Rule 4. We, out of our own discomfort, rescue our children from themselves. This is a dis-service to their ability to grow into responsible and capable adults.

Let them learn through trial and error how to navigate friends, playgrounds, cul de sacs and community pools. Make use of your local public library, they have activities for all ages. San Diego Parent magazine also has calendars of free events. 

Rule 5. Have a paper day timer and use it.. structure your time with your needs and your to do list on there also... you are setting an example by focusing on what needs to get done and to balance your time. It also helps the crazies when you know what the end point is to any activity...

There are lots of why you can't do this in today's world.. there are also lots of ways to make this happen and take a big step into giving our children and teens a life outside of fear and micro-management. This doesn't make you a bad parent.. just one that sees the big picture!

Happy Summer!

This was posted a few years ago, so thought I would remind everyone.

        Kendall Wagner,MFT

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

How older adults are getting addicted through their Dr.'s

Over the last few years I have been to funerals for older adults addicted to Heroin and or pain killers. 

With Prince seemingly having died from an overdose of a prescribed medication.. This brings to life a huge problem for everyone, but most people do not understand until it is to late. 

Doctors prescribe pain medication, then stop but the patient is already addicted physically. The cheapest alternative is Heroin. 

It is up to the patient to be conservative (unless absolutely needed) with the level of physically addictive pain meds even if prescribed. Here is a great article on CNN about this issue.
Kendall Wagner, MFT #31553

Monday, May 2, 2016

Semi Adult Children in perspective

I wanted to share a few videos. They are both funny and true. As a parent and psychotherapist.. It doesn't matter what mistakes you made yesterday as long as you do not repeat them tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

What is and What is not the role of a Parent Coordinator. Kendall Wagner,MFT

The role of a Parent Coordinator has been a part of the family court system for over 15 years, still many people are not familiar with the role and how a PC can help. Here is a short video by an Attorney in Arizona that nicely clarifies the role.
As a PC, I have training in Dispute Resolution, Mental Health, Parenting, Child Development and over 20 years practicing and working with families in the North San Diego Area.

Although most Parent Coordinator cases are court ordered, I do work with families that have agreed to meet with a PC in lieu of returning to court and to help lower the conflict between the parents for the betterment of the children.

Please watch the video and feel free to contact the Carlsbad Counseling Center with any questions you may have.
What is a Parenting Coordinator?

Kendall Wagner, MFT

Monday, April 4, 2016

A portion of an article by Diane L. Danois, J.D. on when to call a Parenting Coordinator

Top 10 Signs That It’s Time to Call a Parenting Coordinator
1. Your monthly legal bill exceeds your rent or mortgage payment;
2. You spend more time in your attorney’s office than with your friends;
3. Your vacations are spent reviewing depositions, drafting motions, hiring investigators, etc. etc.;
4. Your children are exhibiting classic signs and symptoms of children of high-conflict divorce, such as failing grades, sexual promiscuity, and drug use;
5. You spend more time in the courthouse than on the golf course;
6. The judge assigned to your case knows you by name and recognizes your face in the supermarket;
7. You seem to be paying for your attorney’s kids’ education instead of your own;
8. Your attorney doesn’t seem to want to take your phone calls anymore, and only reluctantly responds to your emails;
9. You seem to be having an ongoing, friendly relationship with your local process-server; and
10. You’ve hired and fired multiple attorneys, and just can’t seem to find one who “gets” you.
Wouldn’t you rather put your divorce behind you and never ever ever be forced to have a volatile engagement with your former spouse again? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to co-parent without the venomous hostility that consumes your life, and worse, hurts your children? If you see yourself in the above list, imagine what life might look like after working with a parenting coordinator. A measure of the true success of a parenting coordinator is in what are the “Not.” Imagine yourself Notgoing to court; Not calling your attorney; Not litigating; Not calling the police; Notmissing holidays and special occasions; Not fighting with the ex spouse/ex partner; and Not being constantly frustrated and angry regarding co-parenting. You canachieve this result.
Parent Coordinator is not for all litigated custody and parenting cases but is can for many. Please call  the Carlsbad Counseling Center.
760-434-9694 or
Kendall Wagner,MFT is a trained mediator, psychotherapist, parent and child development specialist that brings the various areas of expertise to her role of Parent Coordinator.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Navigating your child, when conjoint reunification therapy has been ordered. Kendall Wagner, MFT

Divorce and Custody cause great pain to all involved. What ever the reason for the change of status the children risk losing a parent. In some cases, this is unavoidable: domestic/child abuse, incarceration, geographic challenges.
Many parents find ways to stay involved or connected to their children. Some of these options are phone-calls, Skype/Facetime, and letters. It is up to the primary parent to set the tone for contact with the non custodial or possibly absent parent.
The challenge to not talk negatively about the other parent is overwhelming, many times parents will share the faults of the other parent.. It makes the child feel they have to take sides, sometimes this occurs naturally but other times children align with the present parent out of a need for security.. They understand to share a desire for the absent parent will cause distress in their own home and even risk losing the love and support of the parent they still have.

Many times once the absent parent is released , returns or re-engages, the court will often require the first contact be thru reunification therapy. This allows the parent and child to re engage, talk thru past pains and (possibly) begin to forge a new and honest relationship. This can be very scary for all involved. The primary parent has both valid worries and concerns, the child is both afraid to hurt the primary parent and angry at the absent parent for leaving (whether by choice or not) and afraid to open up and be let down again.

So as the primary parent how can you help? First, make sure you have your own support network(therapist, friends, religious) second: have an open line of communication with both your child's therapist and the conjoint therapist. Third, send the message that it is ok with you for your child to see the other parent.. This is so difficult, but so important for the mental health of your child.
Finally, understanding that your child's reluctance to see the other parent is not only out of not wanting them but fear of losing them again. This helps you not re-enforce the negative.. Comments like, I know how hard it is.. It is hard to trust again, It takes time... What can I do to help? are all supportive and therapeutic.
What not to do? Do not ask the following? Do you want to see your parent this week? How hard was it? Sorry you have to do this? We only have to do this a few times. Was your parent still (fill in the blank).
These all send the message to your child" You must not like him/her.. here is the answer that I want."

There are many cases where the reunification therapy will not take place for lack of co operation of either parent.. It is then that the child is re abandoned.. vs. forging a relationship (in some capacity)  with both parents. The therapist meets will all parties before ever starting the therapy to lower the risk of re-abandonment and trauma when possible..
This is a very brief overview of just a few issues that arise during reunification therapy.

Kendall provides reunification therapy at the Carlsbad Counseling Center.
If you have questions or are looking for a conjoint reunification therapist please contact us.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy video

As an ACT therapist there are a few videos that I love to share. They help us understand that our feelings are valid but that does not mean they have to run or ruin our lives. Here is one that deals with our negative or unwanted thoughts and emotions.
Please meet Brian.

Therapy is not that simple, but this does show the focus on where our negative thoughts and feelings need to be in our internal lives...

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A commitment to a son.. an excerpt from the photographer Lorenzo Menendez to his son.

 .Lorenzo Menendez a well known Carlsbad /San Diego photographer posted this message to his son.

 To you my son i make no promises that i cannot keep but make this commitment to you.....i will never stop loving you and i will never stop trying. I will not keep my mistakes or weaknesses from you but share them openly for you to learn that all of us make mistakes but are not beyond redemption. I will not protect you from the consequences of your actions but hold your hand as you face them. i will not shield you from darkness but walk with you through it as we search for Gods guiding light. I will not hide my fears, my pain, my tears or my brokenness from you and disguise it as strength but you will see all these things when life brings me to my knees and from there i can show you that on my knees in search of Gods wisdom and guidance is where true strength begins. I do not live in fear of the mistakes i will make in the future as you grow for God already knew them and still entrusted me with you. In my heart i know this, my love for you is never ending and no matter what you do, no matter what mistakes you make i will always be there with arms open to share your joy, your tears, your laughter and pain. 

I posted this as it shows his love for his son, enough to promise not to rescue his son from himself, not abandon him, but walk thru his son's life and actions with him. As parents, we went from total lack of involvement to over indulgence in the name of love and good parenting. Although the tide is changing, I see the struggle of parents trying to let children learn from their own mistakes. It is hard, as it breaks our own hearts. Sometimes helping our children is really a rescuing of ourselves from our own pain. 

To promise to be strong enough to walk thru our children's lives with them is so difficult and we all fail. BUT that is the goal....

Monday, February 22, 2016

Carlsbad Counseling Center: list of court related services.

The Carlsbad Counseling Center has been providing compassionate care since 1994. These services include counseling for adults, children, couples and teens. We use a variety of approaches based on the needs of the client. We work with issues of depression, anxiety, anger, eating disorders, divorce, grief and more.

In the last 5 years we have continued to increase our court related services:
Currently we offer:
Court related (mandated) classes:
Parent Coordinator: Kendall Wagner,MFT only
Parenting (high conflict, co parenting)
Shop Lifting
Anger Management
Professionally Supervised Visitation
Reunification (conjoint) Therapy
Mental health/counseling services.

Our Mediation Center is formally open: 
Working with helping parties resolve privately issues of custody, visitation, divorce settlements and neighbor to neighbor disputes. 
Over the last 20 years we have worked with individuals prepare for court mediation and depositions. These services continue to be available.

Please contact the Carlsbad Counseling Center with questions about our services or issues surrounding your specific situation. All contacts are handled privately and confidentiality is a part of all services unless mandated by the court.

Carlsbad Counseling Center

Kendall Wagner,MFT 1-(760) 434-9694 or email us.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Great Article about Conjoint Therapy and Reunification Therapy from Psychology Today

At the Carlsbad Counseling Center we do court ordered Reunification Therapy. In another post I shared the difference between Reunification Therapy and Supervised Visitation. Today I want to share a Psychology Today article about issues to look at during the Conjoint Therapy process. This is a clinical article but I do think it is helpful for both parents entering into the process and to give a perspective of what the child is going through.
Here is the article.

If you have been court ordered (or not) and are interested in the services provided by the Carlsbad Counseling Center,
please contact us at: 1-760-434-9694 or email us at: Carlsbad Counseling Center

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Word! Intentional living with one word. By Deborah Mori, MFTI

Here is something near and dear to my heart...

Word! Intentional living with one word.

Usually the start of a new year is met with hope, inspiration, and motivation. People see it as a way to begin fresh and set resolutions to change what isn't working in their lives. However, many times by the time February roles around, those New Year Resolutions are long forgotten. Could this be you? Quite a few years ago it used to be me I can tell you for sure! Not anymore though and here's why...

I realized instead of taking something away or trying to 'give up' a bad habit, adding something positive fared much better and produced significant results. I didn't add a new diet or work out routine or new rules. I only added on thing and that was a word of intention. In December, I would start reflecting on the past year and what worked and what did not work and anything I'd like to see different in the coming year. By thinking about these things, a word would usually show up and keep showing up that signified what these intentions could be. For example...

One year I chose breathe. Something significant happened that year and I regularly forgot to breathe and found myself holding my breath, so by intentionally choosing this word I began to concentrate on my breath. Over the course of the year I learned to use deep breathing as a tool to help calm my nerves and anxiety.

Another year I chose simplify. I had so much clutter in my brain trying to run two businesses and other busy life responsibilities that I needed to slow down and become more organized. That idea was overwhelming but asking myself "how can I simplify this moment?" when I felt chaotic helped me slowly simplify my life throughout that year.

So for this year my word is attend. It's not the prettiest word but it reminds me to tend to all the personal things I've pushed aside. This is going to be a powerful year! I invite you to think of one word that is meaningful to you and see if using this word over the course of one year can make a significant change for you. It can be an amazing move as I have realized the power of intention one word at a time!
Deborah Mori, MS, MFTI#82381
2777 Jefferson St. Ste. 200
Carlsbad, CA 92003

Friday, January 22, 2016

Great article on the differences between Reunification Therapy and Supervised Visitation

At the Carlsbad Counseling Center we have many departments and services. We offer counseling to individuals, couples, families and children, we also have our psycho-education department that offers many court required classes in parenting and other areas and our mediation department allows people to work out agreements privately related to both marital and custody issues as well as working with those in the business community. The areas that have the most cross over and confusion are Reunification Therapy (introducing or reintroducing a parent and child in a safe therapeutic environment) and Professional Supervised Visitation (having a trained professional monitor to ensure and create a safe environment for the non custodial parent and child to have a visit.) .
Many courts continue to request Therapeutic Supervised Visitation. Unfortunately the courts have not caught up with the changes and guidelines for visitation. Many psychotherapists are trained visitation monitors, we bring our clinical skills, experience and training to the role of monitor, this allows a greater awareness of issues that may arise in the visit, mental illness, drug and alcohol behavior, personality dynamics and an understanding of intervening when appropriate. Visitation is NEVER therapy. In the state of California the guidelines are clear.
The distinction between Reunification Therapy and Supervised Visitation is blurry but the professionals that you are working with, must not only understand the difference but be appropriately trained in the legal, ethical and clinical differences and requirements.
The Carlsbad Counseling Center provides all of the above services, but they are different services and having the client understand the court request and at times getting clarity at the start of the process is very helpful.
Here is a great article that explains the difference. Please note the term Therapeutic Visitation is no longer valid but the information in this article is so helpful, I did want to  share it.
The difference between Reunification Therapy and Therapeutic Supervised Visitation.

Please contact the center if you have questions or are interested in any of our services.
phone: 760-434-9694 or email us.

Kendall Wagner, MFT
Clinical Director

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

NAMI Article about Ca. laws to keep Care Givers in the loop...

I work with several clients that have caregivers. Some due to mental health issues and others due to physical illness' or both. As a caregiver for my own parents in their final days, I was fortunate to have physicians that understood the family's role in their patients care and included me in the process and sought out my input. 
Many are not so lucky. In psychotherapy, we do honor confidentiality, yet it is important that the family is updated when issues of competence or changes in direction of treatment goals are made. 
NAMI (National Alliance on Mentally Ill) has worked to educate and legislate requiring hospitals to keep the primary caregiver in the loop. 

For many entering into psychotherapy or counseling, total confidentiality is required and always presumed. This is allowing in specific situations with the clients knowledge crucial information to be passed on to those that will ultimately be in charge of carrying out the Dr.'s orders.

Article on keeping caregivers in the loop as required by law.

If you are struggling with providing care to a loved one or if you yourself are struggling with emotional issues or family situations, please feel free to give the Carlsbad Counseling Center a call. We can help direct you to the best resources for your specific situation at no charge. We also provide individual and family counseling on a sliding scale. 
Kendall Wagner,MFT
(clinical director #31553)
1 760 434-9694
email us at:

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Physical Health and the emotional/social struggle to stay positive.

Over the last few years, the link between chronic illness and depression has received a lot of focus. Chronic and or extended illness can bring on a host of unexpected issues.
Loss of friends and social support
Many people are supportive at first, but they go on with their own lives or out of not knowing what to say start to avoid or exclude you.
Isolation (both needed for health and also not having the energy to go out)
This is not only due to loss of friends, but the effort it takes to go out, the medical issues that may arise when not in your own home with your supplies, fear of getting a virus from others and feeling like the costs outweighs the benefits.
Accepting new limits and loss of old physical activities
Even after the worst of an illness has passed or a new normal has been established, it is hard to mentally look at what you can do. On the outside others may expect you to be back to your old self. Physical illness takes it's toll and recovery does not always mean returning to your old activities. There is a season of grief and mourning that must be respected. Along with that , you must see and explore what you can do. New activities, social outings and other ways to challenge yourself.

Having a strong support network and positive mental attitude is key.. But that key can be hard to keep in sight.
1. Make sure you join a chronic pain or illness group. This can be done online and helps with the feelings of isolation, you can rally support and glean tips from others that are on your same path.
2. Make use of your psychotherapist or other mental health support, address depression, anxiety and isolation head on.. having a strong mental awareness and working on a positive outlook is a key to your physical healing and success.
3. See the long picture in positive terms, the negative issues as obstacles  that will be overcome.
4. Take advantage of modern technology,the  Internet can provide you with online live counseling, Facetime or Skyping with friends, join support groups and researching anything you are interested in.. (not just your illness).
5. Accepting your body with it's issues, allows you to focus on other parts of your life.

This is a very brief overview of tips to deal with chronic illness and having a positive mental outlook.
Carlsbad Counseling Center provides in person, online* and phone therapy* for those struggling with issues related to health, depression and other issues.
Carlsbad Counseling Center    ph: 1 760 434-9694
email: Kendall Wagner, MFT 

Carlsbad Counseling Center has been providing compassionate care since 1994.

*phone and online counseling is available to those living in the state of California by Kendall Wagner,MFT.