Mental Health Foundations

connect@mentalhealthfoundations.ca

Offerings for Caregivers

Why We Want You

 

Whether struggling to support the behavioural or emotion needs of their child/loved one, or lost in a spiral of fear, shame, helplessness or hopelessness, parents and caregivers can absolutely still be the strongest allies on their loved one's journey to health. In this video, Dr. Adele Lafrance, outlines some of the key reasons why we want YOU. Even if you are feeling like you are the last one who should be helping.

 

In line with Emotion-Focused Family Therapy – an innovative and evidence-based treatment – our caregiving video series is now available to support caregivers interested in "prevention parenting" or who are struggling with the behavioural or emotional needs of their child/loved one. Viewers will be exposed to practical skills and techniques for advanced caregiving. Parents and caregivers will also be exposed to education and skills to manage their own emotional reactions - including feelings of burn-out, guilt and resentment. 

 

Are you the parent of a teenager or an adult child with an eating disorder? Is your spouse suffering? In this 2-part video series, caregivers will learn how to respond to some of the common statements that come up along the journey, including coaching scripts for meal support and symptom interruption.

Does your child—young or adult—suffer from anxiety, depression, substance use problems, an eating disorder, or other mental health concern? Do you struggle with their behavior and/or setting limits? Join Dr. Adele Lafrance for a 2-day EFFT caregiver workshop. For more information, including registration, click below.

Anger is a basic emotion experienced by all. Like every emotion, for anger to run its course, it needs to be expressed and then validated, and preferably by a trusted other. We are now just learning about the power of its role in mental health. For example, issues with anger can lead to an increased risk for symptoms of anxiety, depression, OCD and eating disorders - even self-harm behaviors and suicidality.  Anger can also be used to transform problematic thoughts, urges and behaviors. As such, this webinar provides caregivers with a new framework and specific skills to respond to anger in order to harness its healing power. Strategies are also shared for those whose loved one's anger is easily accessible (read: overflowing) or beneath the surface (read: not sure if it's even there). 

Learn to respond to “I give up”, “Nobody likes me” & “You love my sister more” and live to tell about it!

Inspired by Emotion-Focused Family Therapy – and with a dose of humor - this parenting webinar will provide you with education and skills to respond to these common scenarios - and from the comfort of your home. Want help in responding to eating disorder struggles? Visit our ED parenting webinars here. Find it useful? Click here to access the 3-part series at no charge.

Dr Adele Lafrance - co-developer of the EFFT model - writes and publishes a newsletter for caregivers interested in topics related to emotion, family, caregiving and mental health.

Our Favourite Resources

The Super-Feeler: 

Is your child a super-feeler? A super-feeler has a very sensitive radar for emotion. They can pick up on your sadness, anger or stress, even when you’ve made a point not to talk about it. And when they experience emotions, they tend to be quite intense.  Not surprisingly, it can be hard to be a super-feeler.  Click here for more information and a handout for caregiver and loved one.

Behaviour Coaching:

Are you in need of tips to increase your child's compliance to requests - no matter their age? Click here for a simple guide. Keep in mind however that validation is a necessary step and so be sure to refer to the emotion coaching / validation resources to further refine your skills. Parents of younger ones - do you struggle to differentiate "normal" behavior from "acting-out" behavior? Click here for a great article on this very topic. 

Emotion Coaching:

If you are struggling to respond to your child’s emotion in a way that reduces the intensity of their pain, but also leads to their eventual adoption of these strategies, click here for more information. You may also want to read this great article that describes the science of emotion processing in children using a simple analogy that you can share with your co-parent and child.

And if you're serious about getting started - click here for short-cuts and sentence starters.

Validating Anger:

Ready for the ultimate challenge in emotion coaching? Learn to validate your loved one's anger - especially if directed toward you. The ability to do so can be a powerful gate-way to mental health. Click here for a hand-out to guide your efforts or here for a parenting video on the Healing Power of Anger. 

Animal Models:

Dr. Janet Treasure and her colleagues have developed beautiful animal analogies to help identify parenting patterns that may require transformation. Remember – the goal is always to strive to become the St-Bernard in the face of your children’s emotion and the Dolphin when guiding them through life and its challenges. Click here for more information. 

Parenting Dimensions:

Are you interested in transforming parenting patterns that may get in the way of your best efforts? Complete this self-assessment and determine where you can begin this process. First download the file here. Then place a checkmark where you fit on each of the lines with regard to the different parenting dimensions. Then, identify your relative extremes – in other words – the top 3 dimensions where you marked yourself the farthest from the middle. Then, try to identify one behavior that will help you to make your way closer to that middle. For example, if you never apologize, offer a sincere apology to one of your children. If you never criticize your children, make it a point to offer them constructive feedback. This can be a powerful tool to guide change in your family unit starting today.

Our Favourite Books

The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion, and Connection - Brene Brown

Dr. Brené Brown invites us on a journey to transform the lives of parents and children alike. Drawing on her 12 years of research on vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame, she presents 10 guideposts to creating what she describes as "wholehearted" families where each of us can continually learn and grow as we reach our full potential

 

Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child – John Gottman

Dr. John Gottman explores the emotional relationship between parents and children, and offers insight into parenting styles and emotional self-awareness, including the steps to emotion coaching. Chapters also cover divorce, fathering, and age-based emotional development.

 

Brain-based Parenting: How Neuroscience Can Foster Healthier Relationships With Kids - Jonathan Baylin & Daniel A Hughes

In this groundbreaking exploration of the brain mechanisms behind healthy caregiving, attachment specialist Daniel A. Hughes and veteran clinical psychologist Jonathan Baylin guide readers through the intricate web of neuronal processes, hormones, and chemicals that drive―and sometimes thwart―our caregiving impulses, uncovering the mysteries of the parental brain.

 

No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame - Janet Lansbury

“No Bad Kids” provides a practical tool for parents who are anticipating or experiencing those critical years when toddlers are developmentally obliged to test the limits of our patience and love.

 

Treating Childhood and Adolescent Anxiety: A Guide for Caregivers - Eli Lebowitz

Focusing on the special role of the caregiver in recovery, this empowering guide offers parents practical, evidence-based, and theory-driven strategies for helping children to overcome anxiety, even if they resist treatment.

 

The Mother Dance: How Children Change Your Life - Harriet Lerner

From birth or adoption to the empty nest, The Mother Dance teaches the basic lessons of motherhood: that we are not in control of what happens to our children, that most of what we worry about doesn't happen, and that our children will love us with all our imperfections if we can do the same for them.

 

 

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting - Laura Markham

Based on the latest research on brain development, Dr. Laura Markham’s approach is as simple as it is effective. Her message: Fostering emotional connection with your child creates real and lasting change. When you have that vital connection, you don’t need to threaten, nag, plead, bribe—or even punish.

 

Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More – Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate

Dr. Gordon Neufeld and Dr. Gabor Mate explore the cause for and impact of "peer orientation" - when children look to peers, rather than to adults for direction. Along with shedding light on the sources of breakdown of parental influence, they offer ways to re-connect with kids in order to reestablish a healthy caregiving relationship.

 

 

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk - Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish

This book starts with one of our favourite concepts – we should help children deal with their emotions before jumping in "to fix". Oftentimes, strong emotions, especially negative ones, cannot be brushed aside or “fixed” by another. Instead children need our help learning to deal with them and this provides a framework to do this.

 

Siblings Without Rivalry: How To Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too -Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish

This book offers parents the practical tools they need to cope with conflict, encourage cooperation, reduce competition, and make it possible for children to experience the joys of their special relationships with one another.

 

The Whole-Brain Child – Dan Siegel

Dr. Daniel Siegel and Dr. Tina Payne Bryson explain the new neuroscience about children's brains - how they are wired and mature. They make the information relatable and give tangible examples of how parents can support right and left brain integration, which helps foster vital growth for children's success.

 

Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain – Dan Siegel

Dr. Daniel Siegel explains how parents and teens alike can better understand the neurological changes that occur during adolescence (ages 12-24) in order to decrease conflict and form closer relationships.

 

The Yes Brain: How to Cultivate Courage, Curiosity and Resilience in Your Child-

Dan Siegel & Tina Payne

When facing challenges, unpleasant tasks, and contentious issues such as homework, screen time, food choices, and bedtime, children often act out or shut down, responding with reactivity instead of receptivity. But our kids can be taught to approach life with openness and curiosity. Parents can foster their children’s ability to say yes to the world and welcome all that life has to offer, even during difficult times.

 

No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind- Dan Siegel & Tina Payne

Defining the true meaning of the “d” word (to instruct, not to shout or reprimand), the authors explain how to reach your child, redirect emotions, and transform a meltdown into an opportunity for growth. By doing so, the cycle of negative behavior (and punishment) is essentially brought to a halt, as problem solving becomes a win/win situation.

 

Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting - Jon and Myla Kabat-Zinn

Everyday Blessings remains one of the few books on parenting that embraces the emotional, intuitive, and deeply personal experience of being a parent, applying the groundbreaking "mind/body connection" expertise from global mindfulness leader, Jon Kabat-Zinn and his wife, Myla Kabat-Zinn. 

Our Favourite Videos
Thich Nhat Hanh on Compassionate Listening
Thich Nhat Hanh on Compassionate Listening
"Validation wisdom with Phil Dun-empa-phy"
Brene Brown on Empathy
It's Not About the Nail
Dr. Gabor Mate - No two children have the same parent