House Calls Herald 04 – September 2009, Back to School Edition


It’s that time of the year again- summer is out, and school is in! The long, lazy days of summer are giving way to cooler temperatures, vibrantly colored leaves, and a renewed sense of industriousness in the air. Here at House Calls Counseling, we’ve been busy putting together another issue of The Herald packed with information that will be of use to you, whether you are a mental health professional or a parent.


Travel Log: Before the Journey

great_wallI am deeply interested in rich communication with those I’m with, so as I begin to think about traveling to China with my wife in the middle of October, I wonder how, when we speak to people there, differences in tone, use of dynamics, rhythm, and facial expression may interfere with our connecting with them. I can imagine mistakes in communication. But as my wife said, “it’ll be ok.” She’s a more experienced traveler than I am, so that actually does increase my confidence.

Click here to read the rest of the article!

And stay tuned to the next issue of The Herald for Episode 2 of my China Travel Log!

Billy Kaplan, LCSW
House Calls Counseling President and Clinical Director

Cultural Consciousness in Kids: Nurturing Self and Mutual Respect

people_diversity_teensParents often ask me when I lead diversity workshops: “At what age do kids really begin to be racially and culturally aware?” The reality is that we have a window of opportunity during the child’s early years to help them develop a positive racial identity and cultural awareness. When children are young is the ideal time to challenge their distorted views or pre-prejudiced thinking. Children construct their identity and attitudes through experiences with their social environments, especially caregivers. In other words, your child’s cultural consciousness is learned first and foremost by observing and modeling YOU!

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Wendy Kovacs, LMFT
HCC Senior Clinician

The “Other” Safe Sex … And How to Talk to Your Teen About It

people_teen_coupleSo, you’ve made a point to educate your teen about safe sex: condoms, birth control, abstinence, even dental dam. Good for you! Think you’re off the hook? Think again. While physical health is an essential part of the conversation about safe sex, it is only half the story. Before they start dating or become sexually active, our teens need an education about psychologically safe sex too. Because this side of safe sex is so markedly absent from public discourse and sex education, most of us have no idea what psychologically safe sex is, much less how to talk to our kids about it. This article aims to help you with both!

So … What is this psychologically safe sex all about? It’s about making sure that both partners feel comfortable with what is happening when they are sexual with one another. It means both partners feel like they can say what they want/ don’t want, and have those needs and boundaries respected. Psychologically safe sex is about negotiating consent for everything that partners do together.

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Clémentine Malta-Bey
HCC Clinical intern and Interim Program Coordinator

Conditional Parenting: Even Positive Conditions Can be Harmful

people_puppet“More than 50 years ago, the psychologist Carl Rogers suggested that simply loving our children wasn’t enough. We have to love them unconditionally, he said – for who they are, not for what they do.

As a father, I know this is a tall order, but it becomes even more challenging now that so much of the advice we are given amounts to exactly the opposite. In effect, we’re given tips in conditional parenting, which comes in two flavors: turn up the affection when they’re good, withhold affection when they’re not.
Conditional parenting isn’t limited to old-school authoritarians. Some people who wouldn’t dream of spanking choose instead to discipline their young children by forcibly isolating them, a tactic we prefer to call “time out.” Conversely, “positive reinforcement” teaches children that they are loved, and lovable, only when they do whatever we decide is a “good job.”
This raises the intriguing possibility that the problem with praise isn’t that it is done the wrong way – or handed out too easily, as social conservatives insist. Rather, it might be just another method of control, analogous topunishment. The primary message of all types of conditional parenting is that children must earn a parent’s love. A steady diet of that, Rogers warned, and children might eventually need a therapist to provide the unconditional acceptance they didn’t get when it counted.”

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Alfie Kohn
The New York Times