Saturday, November 25, 2017

Ways Children can learn social skills between children.

A long time ago I wrote about the importance of sleep overs and playdates. I just came across this great article and wanted to share.. It sums of the struggles and hopefully will get you thinking of how to be creative and find ways for our children to socialize with out parental organization..
Our Playdate Society

Kendall Wagner, MFT is the director and a parent educator at the Carlsbad Counseling Center.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Couples Therapy: a great Article ...

I have always worked with couples and over the last few years my practice has become primarily couples focused.  Here is a great article written by another Emotionally Focused Therapist Angela  Bisignano, Ph.D.  The Secrets to Lasting Love

If you would like to know more and or schedule an appt. please follow the link below:
Kendall Wagner, MFT. Carlsbad Counseling Center
or call
760 434-9694

Monday, November 20, 2017

Thanksgiving and Christmas and YOU!

I wanted to share. a "how not to be that person" tip. There are so many stressful issues around the holidays. Between holiday blues, percipitory anxiety and just plan not wanting to be there... there is one way to not add to the issues..

Let your family know today if you have any eating or food issues. 
1.If you are on a diet:                   Be off it for the day.. 

2.If you have food preferences:   Be Adventurous for the day

3. IF you have real dietary issues: Let them know now or bring a dish you can eat. I have been this person in the past and I know others that either can't eat or have issues. Let your host know now... so they are not caught off guard and you can plan ahead. 

As for how to deal with the relies that you are going to be triggered by... treat them like acquaintances. Not the family they are... You will feel better in the long run.. :) 

Happy Holiday Marathon!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

DBT Group Starts in September 2017

8 week Emotion Efficacy Therapy
 protocol available with Kendall Wagner, MFT
EET combines the best of DBTACT and exposure therapy to help you implement new coping strategies even when under stress or in Crisis.
Starting September, 2017.  You must be able to commit to the whole 8 weeks. If you know ahead of time, you will be gone for one meeting, we can set up a time to go over the missed materials and techniques. The cost is $320.00 , you may pay weekly at $40 per week.
This course is and may be used to meet anger management class requirements and or a part of the out patient substance treatment program.
    760 434-9694 (call/text)

Out Patient Substance Abuse Program: Carlsbad Counseling Center

Carlsbad Counseling Center offers an out patient Substance Abuse/treatment Program. Our program is on the court referral list and completion of the program is accepted by the San Diego Superior Court.
I would like to provide an overview for those that may be interested, thru the courts or seeking out treatment on their own. This program attempts to reduce the cost of treatment by incorporating  attendance at certain free programs. 
Our program is a minimum of Three Months with many seeing the program as a six month commitment. The duration is decided between the client, the center and if there is a court order, what the court time-frame has required.
The first step in an intake appointment. We go over why you are wanting to enroll in the program, your history of substance use and what you are hoping to get out of the process.
Each Client is required to meet at the center for one Individual appointment per week, along with this each client commits to two self help meetings a week. One of them must be a SMART meeting. The other may be a traditional 12 step.. 
There is a requirement to focus on sober living and self growth. If court mandated there will be random drug testing. Usually only one or two times thru the program.

If you or someone you love would like to work on changing your way of coping and doing life, please feel free to call or email for a private consultation.
                                                            Kendall Wagner, MFT
                                   Clinical Director
                          Carlsbad Counseling Center

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Courage to Speak Up.

     When we hear or think about child sexual abuse we always say, I would be so angry, I would kill (not literally) anyone that hurt a child. 
What we know is that statistically most sexual abuse happens within the family or by a close family friend. Many of you reading this were victims of sexual abuse at the hands of a grandparent, uncle/aunt or close family friend. It was the unspoken truth that everyone knew.

Which Children Are Molested?
Children are most at risk from the adults in their own family, and from the adults who are in their parents' social circle. In fact, 90 percent of abusers target children in their own families and children who they know well. Furthermore, research suggests that the risk is across the board: Child molesters come from every part of our society, and so children from every part of our society are at risk.

Notice that only 10 percent of the child sexual abusers report that they molest a child who is a stranger.

     This week, a very courageous woman spoke up and shared the truth of sexual abuse within her own family. She reported her husband of over 20 years, the father of her 6 children. Her life and the lives of her children will never be the same.

     As she continues to process and possibly grieve the loss of her marriage (as she knew it) the family and stability that has been shattered, she will have moments of shock and disbelief.

     Very rarely does sexual abuse happen in a vacuum, and usually others in the family are either clearly aware or turning a blind eye to what they suspect is happening due to the fall out. The loss of income, relationships , shame and the sharing publicly of personal trauma. Please think if it was your husband, son or friend, if you would lose everything.. What would you do?

     In the days and weeks and years that follow, please ask yourself can you and would you have the courage to speak up when doing so would destroy everything that you had held dear for so many years.
     Sadly, the level of media coverage and destruction may force some of you to slip back into the woodwork.. out of fear that this could have been your story.. This can also be an inspiring example of standing up and telling the truth at great personal and emotional loss.
     Today and this week, as more unfolds, this woman continues to be one of the bravest women out there and is an example of not hiding abuse and doing the right thing.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Pure O.... OCD yes even children can have it.

This is a short blog as the links are very helpful. I have been aware of this for several years, but it is now only getting the recognition that it should.  Pure O(bsessive) are intrusive usually sexual and or violent thoughts.This "type" of OCD known as Pure O can be very scary when it is seen in children as young as 6 or 7. BUT it is important to get the proper diagnosis and be aware of how to talk to the client in ways that do not exacerbate the situation or avoid.. Exposure Therapy is very helpful. Parents at times are upset that I may be talking to a child about very adult topics, yet if that is the subject of their intrusive thoughts, that is exactly where I need to start.
Here are a few links that may be helpful.

If you think this might be you or your child, please do not panic, talk to your pediatrician and let them know what you think this is.. Due to the graphic nature of the intrusive thoughts many uninformed physicians and therapists incorrectly assume the thoughts must be from some type of sexual or physical trauma. In the absence of any other indicators. Pure O must be ruled out before more invasive tests and diagnosis are confirmed.

Kendall Wagner, MFT    760 434-9694

Sunday, March 26, 2017

What is MBT and why is it helpful.

Back in Grad school, therapists would say I am an eclectic therapist. Unfortunately, what that means is you didn't want to commit to a specific therapeutic path and or didn't know what you were doing. For most the first is true. There is no specific one size or treatment modality fits all. There are branches that work in some fashion for a variety of issues and populations.
I only do evidenced based treatments and therapies in my practice. This means I use clinical frameworks and modalities that have been tested over time with various populations.
I have spoken about them in other blog posts. There is one underlying theme for all of my work, that is attachment and a developmental framework. This does not mean we spend all of our time looking at your childhood or parent bashing, what it does mean is we acknowledge the impact on your development, view of the world and coping skills that were impacted and influenced due to childhood experiences.
With some clients we use MBT.
MBT is (Mentalization Based Treatment), we help you see how others view you on the outside and how others may be viewing the world from their insides. When our emotions are overwhelming we tend to forget that the rest of the world is not right there with us.. Or reacting the way we would. This can and does cause poor mentalization, ( a clear assessment of the wholistic view of the situation and those involved.).
Together we work on challenging perceptions and move away from reactions and toward  more accurate responses.

Kendall Wagner, M.A. , MFT
760 434-9694

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Emotionally Focused Therapy: Evidence Based Couples Therapy

     Couples turning to counseling deserve and should have a working knowledge of how their therapist is going to work with them. It is a bit daunting to begin to ask a therapist how and why they work within a certain framework or even what framework that is. The therapist is never able to give a step by step account of every technique or topic that will be addressed, yet myself and every therapist should be able to give an explanation and description of the type of work and why this is their orientation and or methodology.
     At the Carlsbad Counseling Center, all the therapist use Emotionally Focused Therapy (developed by Dr. Sue Johnson and Les Greenberg in the 1980s) when working with couples. EFT is an evidence based theoretical orientation and protocol that has over 20 years of strong successful outcome based research. Couples rated themselves with a 90% success rate and in the meta analysis the researchers found over 70 to 73% of distressed couples continued their success after follow up, meaning that the improvement within the relationship continues.
    EFT work is very intense and depth oriented. There are no quick fixes but the changes can last a lifetime and change the relationship into a positive and secure loving partnership. Most couples should plan at the minimum 8 session and can range up to 20. This is if the therapy is weekly, if not it can create an extended time frame. For myself and many others, the first session with with both partners, the next two sessions are one on ones to gain more knowledge and history of each person. After these three sessions the couple is seen together for the majority of the therapeutic relationship.
*EFT is a structured approach to couples therapy formulated on the science on adult attachment and bonding to expand our understanding about what is happening in couple relationships.

*Goals of Emotionally Focused Therapy
  • To expand and re-organize key emotional responses – the music of the attachment dance.
  • To create a shift in partners' interactional positions and initiate new cycles of interaction.
  • To foster the creation of a secure bond between partners.
*From the ICEEFT website. 

If you would like more information about EFT or couples therapy, please feel free to contact the center directly at : or call 760-434-9694

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Emotional Efficacy Therapy (8 week protocol) with Kendall Wagner, MFT

     I have always shared that I am an ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) Therapist that uses and teaches DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) skills. When combined the therapeutic modality is called 
Emotional Efficacy Therapy. EET is combining the best of ACT, DBT and Exposure Therapy to help you implement new coping strategies even when under stress or crisis. There is an 8 week protocol that you can do in our work together, after this we take a break and give you time to practice the skills and internal changes that you have worked on.
     All of my clients are aware that check ins are always welcome when or if needed. This set protocol allows for a new portion of skills and acceptance of past painful triggers to be tolerated in order to free you up to follow and pursue the areas in life that are most important to you. 
    Here is a link to the EET therapy page for those that would like to know more. 
Emotional Efficacay Therapy
           If the work I do is something you would like to know more about. Please feel free to let me know. or 760 434-9694
                       Carlsbad Counseling Center

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Looping in order to lower Splitting: Not just with BPD Clients

     I have been a licensed psychotherapist for over 23 years. Communication and openness can be an issue. When working with families, I go over the no secrets policy but there are areas that clients need to know what they have shared is only between myself and them. I also explain Looping with clients. This is primarily for those that have some type of splitting behavior. Splitting is very much what you see whenever 3 school girls get together, they always find one to be odd man out and then miscommunicating what has been said. As this is done "in confidence" it makes it very hard to get the full truth or story. There are developmental factors and insecurities that lead to this. It can also create a false sense of us against whoever or whatever is seen as threatening.
     Looping is letting others know that if what I have said or done is taken out of context I will share and or clarify with all family or social members the exact idea or thoughts that I had. I will also share what I have heard was assigned to me. In my personal life, I always use the phrase, just keeping you in the loop. In my professional life, this becomes so important, as Splitting can be used to discredit the progress or growth that I may be working on with one member of a family that is seen as changing the status quo. It can also be used (as in triangulation with young girls) to keep the other person close.
     In families, this happens a lot with teenagers, I get calls from parents saying, my teen said you said this.. I will many times call the parents and explain in general details the heart of the motivation for a comment and the correct context. Couples do this, I will hear from one or the other that you told my spouse I was crazy or other comments. Again, I will clarify my general thoughts and reply then to all.
     Texting and emails are the primary way that clients will communicate. When the text that has been forwarded is extremely undermining and clearly an attempt to split, I will reply to all. There are times that I will include the text sent to me.
     This is a very common technique when I work with my BPD clients, but not only them. It is very common in our society to have to tear someone or something down to feel better about ourselves. Looping allows everyone to keep the dialogue open and talking thru the miscommunications that may have triggered the splitting behavior.  ALL my BPD clients are aware that I use Looping and clarifying conversations to move forward. This allows me to mirror open safe dialogue and correct misunderstandings in a way that many have never experienced.
     Looping helps clients learn they are likable no matter what, I (as therapist) can handle discourse and we can all move forward. Finally it allows clients to experience my apology if I misunderstood what they were trying to say or my reply was said without fully appreciating where they were coming from. Looping must be done in a neutral, open clarifying way. This gives everyone a chance to learn and experience safe open communication of all feelings and thoughts.

Kendall Wagner, LMFT Clinical Director
email or call (760) 434-9694 
if you would like more information.