Parenting differently from the mainstream can be very difficult in our society, especially when you are bombarded with onlookers telling you you’re ruining your child by not sleep training them or creating a rod for your back by providing comfort to a crying baby or perpetuating problems by not ignoring tantrums. Getting access to the kind of information and support needed can be even harder as people push training and “experts”, who shall remain nameless, tell you it’s their way or a life full of troubles. I believe that this is why I have received hundreds of emails and messages from families looking for specific help, information, or just someone to listen and reassure them all is normal.
I have a lot of information available on the site for free, but many times this isn’t enough and families come to me looking for more specific assistance regarding their situation. As I have written on EP, I understand the difference between writing about what the promotion of techniques and how that may or may not fit with the needs and circumstances of a given family, and I want to be able to offer families help at their specific level. When something isn’t working for the family, change should be considered, but that change must respect every member of the family, not just the parents, which is the case with mainstream parenting advice. This, however, takes time.
Because of the demand, I decided to open up my services by phone (or Skype or Google Hangout, depending on where you live). I offer two different types of services: 1) General parenting coaching, and 2) Specific consultations. The reason for the two services is to address the individual needs of families. My approach mixes my clinical training (I have an M.A. in Clinical Psychology) with my knowledge of child development (I have a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology) and my ongoing reading of the scientific literature to help understand your child’s behaviours while realizing that there is more than just the child or just the parent involved, but rather an entire family with unique needs.
General Parenting Coaching
Coaching with me involves regular contact over a period of time to help you address the various issues and problems that may arise during your parenting journey or simply to provide you with support as you parent in a different manner than the mainstream. We will keep in touch via phone and email (see booking for more information on rates by amount of contact) and I can help you navigate your unique parenting journey. For many families, there is no physical or social support for a different way of parenting and this leaves many moms and dads feeling isolated and questioning whether or not they are doing the “right” thing. By going over options, covering the research with you, and helping you understand what is biologically normal for our children, my goal is to help empower you as a parent and help you feel as confident as you need to be.
Click here to go to bookings and get more information on coaching with Tracy Cassels, PhD.
Unlike general coaching, specific consultations focus one particular area in which families are struggling. Areas which I have worked with families on include sleep-related problems for babies, toddlers, and children, anxiety in children, tantrums, transitions to daycare or school, weaning, and more. A consultation involves a one-hour consultation to obtain all relevant information (done via phone, Skype, Google Hangout, or AnyMeeting), a full report (which includes a summary of the problem, a framing of the problem, discussed plan, and reading recommendations), and email contact to follow-up on progress.
I also offer a half-hour option at a discounted rate for returning clients only. The reason for offering the shorter time frame for returning clients only is that I have yet to have a case where we could successfully discuss everything in a half hour time frame as focusing on people’s individual situations takes time.
A special note on sleep-related inquiries: I must be clear that my focus is to help families (a) identify underlying causes of sleep disruptions in their child and any potential fix for these, and (b) help create a positive sleep environment for the child so that natural sleep rhythms can take over. These things take time, especially if sleep has been an area of contention for a while. I ask parents think about it as follows: It takes your child a certain amount of time to build up negative thoughts and feelings about sleep and it’s going to take time to unravel those thoughts and feelings and replace them with positive ones that are conducive to good sleep. However, the hope and goal is that once these changes take place, they are lasting changes that will not require you to revisit sleep “problems” over and over again (as is the case with most mainstream methods). But I do not and will not promote extinction methods like crying-it-out or even controlled crying (if your problem is sleep related) or any method that asks you to ignore your child or dismisses your child’s crying, but will work with families to find potential solutions to problems that are affecting their lives.
Click here to go to bookings and get more information on consultations with Tracy Cassels, PhD.