Family counseling for a more connected family.

Meet Abby

Did you know that we live what we learn? That is until we learn better. I willfully admit to following in my parent’s footsteps, becoming a very strict and controlling mother myself.

There must have been something about that experience that softened my heart to children and led me on a journey to decrease their suffering and sorrow.

From the time I was a little girl, I loved other children. Other mothers in the neighborhood sought me out for my well-known babysitting skills from the time I was twelve years old. I was a lifeguard, taught swim lessons to kids of all ages, and coached the mini swimmers, ages four and under. Growing up in Michigan, I could not wait for summer to roll around, to get back in the pool with those kiddos.

My desire to work with children only grew in college. I loved taking the practicum classes where I went out into the community. I worked with challenging preschoolers, the developmentally disabled, and teens who were hospitalized at the state mental hospital. Post-graduation, I had a passion for working with children from hard places in the child welfare system, making my rounds through residential treatment, group homes, foster care, and adoption, eventually working as a clinical supervisor. In my graduate-level studies, I concentrated in children and families.

Back then, however, parenting was very different. We were still using behavior modification, including reward charts and level systems for good behavior, and timeouts, writing standards, and other punishments for bad behavior. Sadly, I used these same tactics on my own three daughters. I didn’t realize back then why these well-known parenting strategies never seemed to work, but I do now.

Once my girls were grown and flown, I dove back into studying the parenting field and it had changed dramatically during my time at home with my girls. It was no longer best practice to consequence and reward children. More positive, trust-based parenting had started to emerge, and I could not get enough of it. I was thirsty to learn at a deeper level and dove into the science of parenting. This research not only transformed my work but my relationships with my three daughters.

Ironically, it was the science of parenting that uncovered the truth for me of how relationships grow and heal inside a securely attached relationship. As I learned, I turned to my own daughters to repair the ruptures with them, taking responsibility for my very strict parenting style. Learning that my girls were so much more than their behaviors, led us to more loving and trusting relationships. Now I am blessed to frequently hear from my very adult daughters, “You are the best mom, ever!”

It is now my passion to take the science of positive and brain-based parenting to as many families as possible. I strive to teach parents how to build safety in their relationships with their children, and then use that safety and connection to create calm in their child’s nervous system. My goal is to help parents become the healers in the home. It is never too late to bond as a family.


You are invited to review my professional Credentials. I have over 20 years experience working as a Clinical Social Worker in child welfare. I am licensed to practice psychotherapy in the state of California with the Board of Behavioral Sciences.

Over the years, I have been passionate about keeping children connected to and in their families in multiple settings, including residential treatment, group homes, foster care, adoption, out-patient clinics, and private practice. I have focused my training and experience on building strong family identities and healthy family cultures.

Certifications and Affiliations:

Professional Studies and Licensure:

  • 1992 ~ LCSW ~ Licensed Clinical Social Worker (CA License # LCS16129)
  • 1989 ~ MSW ~ Master’s Degree in Social Work, University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, California
  • 1982 ~BA ~ Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology, Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude, Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, Michigan

Relevant Professional Trainings:

This list of Relevant Professional Trainings highlights the conferences and seminars that reflect the passion I have for my work with children and families. I have a subspecialty in Post-Adoption Family Therapy and I am a certified Parent Support Group Facilitator and certified professional provider for SENG. I practice from a Family Trauma Therapy perspective. Above all, I am a lifetime learner and value new contributions to my field.  I regularly consult with my colleagues to ensure I follow best practices in clinical social work.

I would love to talk to you more about my clinical credentials, training, and experience.

  • Childhood Depression
  • The Defiant, Chaotic Child and Adolescent
  • Anger Control Made Easy
  • Psychological and Neurological Effects of Anxiety
  • Fundamentals of Trauma Processing
  • Sensory Integration in Children
  • Executive Dysfunction: The Disorganized, Defiant, Chaotic Child and Adolescent
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Intensive
  • Comprehensive Training Program on Child Sexual Abuse, Children’s Institute International
  • Treatment of Sexually Abused and Traumatized Clients
  • Comprehensive Approach to the Care of Gender Non-Conforming Children, Transgender Youth, and Young Adults
  • Intensive Adoption Clinical Training
  • Empower to Connect: Trust-Based Parenting
  • SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted) Certified Provider

Additional Trainings

  • Certified “Being With” (TM) Practitioner/Parent Course Facilitator
  • Virtual Parent Mentoring for Children with Mental Health Concerns
  • Clinical Perspective on Family Violence
  • Addressing Substance Abuse in Family Preservation Cases
  • Family Therapy: New Developments
  • Family Assessment: Seven Step Method
  • Collaborative Problem Solving (SM): Parenting, Teaching, and Treating Children with Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Challenges
  • How The Brain Forms New Habits: Why Willpower Is Not Enough
  • Teaching Executive Functions to Children with ADHD
  • ADHD and Food Dyes, Nutrition, and Supplements
  • Dyslexia: How to Identify, Address, and Treat Learning Problems Hidden in the Brain
  • Anger Control Made Easy
  • Behavioral Approaches to Child Management
  • Teaching Values to At-Risk Kids
  • Management of Assaultive Behavior
  • ABC’s of Behavior
  • Helping Children Deal with Anger
  • Treating Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  • Fundamentals of Trauma Processing
  • The Impact of Early Childhood Trauma on Children’s Behavior
  • Sensory Integration in Children
  • Play Therapy
  • Play Therapy: Reaching Children through Play Therapy
  • Sensory Integration: Processing and Strategies for Autism Spectrum, ADHD, and Neurobehavioral Disorders
  • Anxiety Disorders: Recognizing and Treating the Emerging Epidemic
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • The Dance of Courage: Rising Above Anxiety, Fear, and Shame
  • Psychological and Neurophysiological Effects of Anxiety Disorders
  • Feeling Good Now: New Rapid Recovery Techniques for Depression and Low Self-Esteem
  • Recognizing Depression and Suicidal Thoughts in Children and Teens
  • Understanding Emotions
  • Childhood Depression
  • Suicide Prevention for Clinicians
  • The New Breaking Free of Eating Disorders
  • Adoption Clinical Training
  • Best Practices for Serving LGBTQ Youth in Out-of-Home Care
  • Caring for LGBTQ Youth: An Introduction for Foster Parents
  • HIV/AIDS Training
  • Human Behavior in the Social Environment
  • Addressing School Refusal Behavior in Children and Adolescents
  • Understanding Cravings and Emotions
  • Childhood Obesity: The Role of the Mental Health Professional
  • Understanding and Treating Domestic Violence
  • Collaborative Couples Therapy
  • Codependency
  • Emotional Manipulation: Understanding Manipulators and Helping Their Victims
  • Assertive Communication Skills for Women
  • Chemical Dependency
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • Addiction and Mental Health Professionals
  • Dream Work: A Psychoanalytic Perspective
  • Transference and Countertransference in the Therapeutic Relationship
  • Multiple Personality Disorder
  • Personality Disorders in Social Work and Healthcare
  • Compulsive Hoarding: Conceptualizing and Treating the Chaos
  • Critical Incident Stress Management Conference
  • Spirituality and Mental Health: Beginning a Dialogue
  • Dreams as Guides
  • The Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference
  • Human Trafficking and Exploitation
  • Children’s Institute International, 5-day, Comprehensive Training Program on Child Sexual Abuse Treatment
  • Treatment of Sexually Abuses and Traumatized Clients
  • Working with Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse
  • Consideration and Treatment of Sexuality Issues in Children and Adolescents
  • Child Abuse Assessment and Treatment. and Reporting
  • Issues in Human Sexuality
  • Child Sexual Abuse and the Courts
  • Two Steps Forward: Annual Conference of the California Consortium for the Prevention of Child Abuse
  • The Victim’s Perspective of Child Sexual Abuse
  • Sexually Acting Out Child
  • Checking In on Your Teenager’s Mood During the Covid-19 Pandemic
  • Behavioral Activation: Fighting the Covid-19 Blues
  • The Supervisory Relationships
  • Clinical Supervision: Beyond the Basics
  • Clinical Supervision
  • The Ethics of Professional Practice

Become the Healer in Your Family

Click below or call to book a free 20-minute consultation (626) 755-4059.