Last weekend, Anchor Children and Family Counseling, Inc.'s Melissa Springstead, Becca Bokoch, and Amoret Kaufman presented on "Signs and Solutions to Stress" for LCPC (La Canada Presbyterian Church)'s Growing Families program. We really enjoyed giving a community presentation to a diverse audience of children, parents, and educators. Also, we got some great feedback from this group on their opinions and experience of the acceptability, feasibility, and perceived effectiveness of mindfulness and self-care interventions. You should be able to view our presentation in the near future on their website if you are interested: http://www.lacanadapc.org/…/parentsfamilies/growing-families.
With the start of the new 2017-2018 academic year just around the corner (or maybe it has already started for some of you), I have been very active in several local school staff trainings. I am feeling refreshed and excited for the new school year, and I have seen a lot of that same energy from the educators, clinicians, and staff at these trainings. As previous teacher in early childhood education and student myself, and a current counselor in school-based therapy and an adjunct faculty at Alliant International University, I can relate to the excitement and anxiety that can present itself before a new year with new students/teachers begins. This is all the more reason why creating a self-care plan and preparing strategies for child wellness is so important!
Here are some highlights from my week:
Monday, August 7th:
Day 1 of 2 presenting at Head Start Preschool's back-to-school staff training with Melissa Springstead, representing Anchor Children and Family Counseling, Inc.! On this day we presented "Signs and Solutions to Stress: Self-Care Strategies" and included several mindfulness and art-based practices. I love being able to share integrated mindfulness and art practices with fellow colleagues in helping professions, because it is a self-care strategy that is so helpful in my own self-care. We need to take time to care for ourselves to ensure that we will be able to care for others in need!
Wednesday, August 9th:
Day 2 of 2 (but hopefully to be more in the future!) presenting at Head Start preschools back-to-school staff training for teachers in the Glendale/Pasadena area with Melissa Springstead, representing Anchor Children and Family Counseling, Inc.. On this day we presented "Signs and Solutions to Stress: Child Wellness Strategies." I was personally so excited to present for Head Start, as I have focused my area of study on the zero to three population, from my time as a teacher in Early Childhood Education with UCLA's Infant Development Program, to my recent completion of the Infant and Preschool Mental Health Certificate with Alliant International University. Integrate my knowledge of child development and the applications of infant and preschool mental health practices for these presentations was an extremely fulfilling and rewarding experience!
Tuesday, August 8th:
We at Anchor Children and Family Counseling, Inc. are helping to prepare many schools and agencies for the new academic year! Today Melissa Springstead and I shared trauma-informed mindfulness interventions with Pasadena Unified School District, along with several wonderful presentations from Matt Bennett from Bennet Innovation Group, and Mary Donnelly-Crocker from Young & Healthy. We are so excited to see the movement towards trauma-informed care in Pasadena, and very grateful to be a part of it! Included below are pictures of some of the awesome mindfulness tools we were able to share, and Young and Healthy was able to provide, for all of the teachers to implement in their own classrooms (including: glitter jars, heart pillows, and affirmation boxes)!
This past weekend I graduated with my PsyD in Couple and Family Therapy and officially celebrated becoming Doctor Rebecca Bokoch. I am still feeling so full of joy, pride, gratitude, and empowerment. I am so proud of the hard work that I have done the past five years in this doctoral program, and for completing my dissertation, entitled: "Acceptability, feasibility, and effectiveness of a mindfulness-based art therapy group curriculum on child mental health outcomes in a school-based setting: A program evaluation." I am so excited to continue to use this knowledge, training, and experience to better serve the mental health needs of individuals, children, families, and communities.
In addition, I am so thankful for the support of my family, friends, peers, professors, and mentors. I also want to say thank you to my clients, for sharing your lives with me and inspiring me in my work every day!
I am overjoyed after the Child Mindfulness and Art Therapy Workshop this past weekend. I was honored to co-present with Dr. Noah Hass-Cohen and thankful to the Alliant Art Therapy Club for hosting. It was so exciting to see other clinicians and teachers get excited about the child mindfulness and art therapy curriculum that I have been researching, developing, and implementing over the past couple of years. Thank you so much to everyone who attended! I learned so much from everyone's feedback and got some great new ideas! I feel invigorated to continue with this clinical work and my dissertation, and I am looking forward to continuing to share my knowledge and passion for child mindfulness and art therapy!
Happy New Year!
The beginning of a new year often reminds us of opportunity, intention, hope, and New Year resolutions. One of my New Year resolutions is to greet each moment with this same sense of opportunity, intention, and hope. As part of these new opportunities, I am very excited to announce my upcoming presentation schedule:
Saturday, January 28th, 2017 at 10am-5pm with Noah Hass-Cohen
Child Mindfulness and Art Therapy Workshop
Hosted by the Alliant Art Therapy Club
- Great for parents, teachers, clinicians, mindfulness practitioners
- You can register for this event here: http://arttherapyclub.wixsite.com/cspp/childmindfulnessworkshop
Tuesday, January 31st, 2017, time TBD with Melissa Springstead
Mindfulness Intervention as part of Trauma Informed Care Training
Hosted by Young and Healthy
- You must be invited to this event by Young and Healthy Pasadena as part of a four-part certification series training.
Friday, March 3rd, 2017, time TBD
Child Mindfulness and Art Therapy in a School Setting: A Program Evaluation
Hosted by the AAMFT-CA Annual Conference
- Great for mental health professionals and students
- You can register for this event here:
Sunday, April 2nd, 2017 at 10am with Noah Hass-Cohen:
Self-Compassion, Mindfulness, and Art-Based Therapy for Children: Curriculum and Application
Hosted by the Expressive Therapies Summit Los Angeles and UCLArts and Healing
- Great for mental health professionals, students, parents, teachers, artists
- You can register for this event here: http://www.expressivetherapiessummit.la
Sunday April 30th, 2017 at 9:30am with Melissa Springstead: Signs and Solutions to Stress
Hosted by Growing Families at La Canada Presbyterian Church
- Great for parents, children, and families
- This event is free and open to the public, no registration is required!
I hope to meet you at these events! And I am so excited for what other great opportunities 2017 has to offer!
A couple of weeks ago I went on my first 5-day silent meditation retreat with InsightLA. It was an incredible experience. I was nervous in anticipation before I attended this retreat, and when I first got there, I often caught myself planning ahead and worrying about the next retreat I would go on, or the next thing on my to do list. But eventually, I was able to just be, and fully experience each moment, and really absorb all of the benefits of the meditation practice on retreat. I allowed the schedule to become my teacher. I was challenged in many ways, and learned more about myself, my patterns, my relationships, and my practice. I also gained insight into how to balance and incorporate mindfulness and compassion into my daily life at a deeper level. I am so excited to share my experience and pass along this mindfulness and compassion to others! I am so grateful for this experience and the beings and space that shared it with me.
I am currently in the middle of taking a 6-week online Mindfulness Fundamentals course with Mindful Schools. It has been great for enhancing my practice and giving me more ideas for how I can use mindfulness with my clients. This course is great for any parent, teacher, or person who is interested in starting a mindfulness practice; however even as an experienced mindfulness practitioner, I am still finding great value in this course. It is so important for me as a therapist to keep my mindfulness practice, in order to be able to use it effectively with my clients. I am so glad that I am taking this course and for the opportunity to refresh my knowledge and practice with some of the core foundations of mindfulness. If you would like to learn more about Mindful Schools and this Mindfulness Fundamentals course, you can visit the website here: http://www.mindfulschools.org
Last week I went on an amazing Meditation and Massage retreat in Sequoia with Rachel Hardy. On this retreat, I renewed my personal meditation practice and walked away with several other tools to use for my own self-care, and for the care of my clients. I also met some of the most intelligent, courageous, and strong women, who encouraged me to follow my own path. As a therapist, I often encourage my clients to follow their own path and to tell their own story. I help clients to feel safe to tell their own story free from judgment, even if it differs from the stories of other people, or from the stories that other people tell about them. My experience at this retreat reinforced my personal and professional beliefs about the power of meditation and self-compassion. I feel so joyful and gracious that I had the opportunity to attend this retreat, and to share the experience with such wonderful people. Thank you for the laughter, wisdom, and compassion!
I just returned from an incredible trip abroad. I had an amazing experience the past few weeks networking with other professionals and learning about international perspectives on family therapy and working with diversity. I was thrilled to be able to share my presentation, Mindfulness Art Psychotherapy: Practicing with Children and Families in a School Setting, with other students and professionals in the field from all over the world at the International Week at the Catholic University of Applied Sciences in Freiburg, Germany. I was also fortunate enough to give a second talk on using mindfulness and art with young children to students studying to be social educators for nurseries and kindergartens at the University of Copenhagen College, Sydhavn in Copenhagen, Denmark. I am so thankful for all of the wonderful experiences and connections that occurred as a result of this trip. I cannot wait to continue to pursue these connections and opportunities with others in the future. Together, we learn so much more and are able to reach so many more people!
Do you notice that your child has a hard time focusing or paying attention?
Does your child struggle to make friends or socialize with others?
Does your child have difficulty dealing with big emotions or self-regulating?
Are you interested in your child gaining experience in mindfulness, artistic expression, and compassion?
Mindfulness-based child therapy groups can help to anchor your child! Mindfulness is a very grounding practice that is supportive of helping children with anxiety, depression, and attention problems. And group therapy is a great way to build social skills and make new friends! In my groups, I use a mindfulness art psychotherapy approach, where the children will be able to practice mindfulness, share experiences, and engage in reflective art processing activities. There will be groups for different age groups: preK, K-1st, 2nd-3rd, and 4th-6th graders. Groups will take place: June 27th-July 1st, July 11th-15th, and August 15th-19th. The groups take place Monday through Friday, one hour per day. The first day will be a parent group, and the following four days will be child groups.
If this is something that you or someone you know would be interested in, please contact me at:
Phone: (323) 301-3984
Location: 280 S. Los Robles Ave, Unit B, Pasadena, CA 91101
This morning I gave an exciting presentation with Melissa Springstead on "Signs and Solutions to Stress" for the parents at San Marino Community Church Nursery School. We talked about relational mindfulness strategies to help parents and preschool age children with stress, including the use of these awesome calming kits and glitter jars! Let us know if you are interested in us giving a similar presentation at another location, or if you are interested in learning more about the calming toys smile emoticon
This past weekend I helped to host a wonderful Art Therapy Club workshop on "Children's Art Therapy and Trauma Groups" presented by some of the amazing therapists at Cedar Sinai's Share and Care program! I am so thankful to the presenters Jonathan Vickbur and Genia Youn for sharing their knowledge and experience, and the volunteers and attendees for all of their participation!
Yesterday, I presented with Melissa Springstead and Young and Healthy at the Pasadena Unified School District training for preschool, TK, and kindergarten teachers, about how to use mindfulness in the classroom with children who have experienced trauma. We reviewed the research on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), research on mindfulness with children in primary grades & their teachers, and age-appropriate formal and informal practices that can be used in the classroom! I am so thankful for this great experience of sharing and learning!
As the Alliant International University, Art Therapy Club Coordinator, I am so excited to announce that we will be hosting an upcoming workshop on: Children's Art Therapy and Trauma Groups. The workshop will be presented by Jonathan Vickburg and Genia Young from the Cedars Sinai Share and Care program. The workshop will take place on Saturday April 16th, 2016 from 10am-2pm at Alliant International University. This workshop will provide experiential activities for students and professionals to use in their own practice! Please feel free to spread the word, and come and join us if you are interested!
Several people share a fear, anxiety, and anticipation before the holidays. Now that the season has passed, we can work towards recovery and reinvention. With the coming of the New Year, many people turn away from the past and their problems, and turn towards the optimism of New Year’s resolutions. Most dedicate their New Year’s resolutions to improving their physical health by joining gyms, starting diets, etc. I encourage you to consider dedicating your New Year’s resolution this year to improving your emotional health and the health of your relationships! Therapy can support you in the process of reauthoring your life story for the New Year, new you.
Maybe you’ve just experienced some family drama at a holiday gathering that inspired you to set new boundaries. Maybe you are sick of feeling stuck in an ongoing fight with your partner. Maybe you want to reconnect with your teen. Maybe you want to make sure that you are developing a healthy relationship with your growing child. Maybe you want to practice being more present in your relationships. Whatever your resolution may be, therapy can be a nurturing and supportive environment to breathe life into the New Year, new you.
Take some time to consider what you would like your identity, your relationships, and your life to look like this year. Share it with someone special in your life. You have the power to rewrite your story, and all future chapters to come! Happy New Year to all!
A couple of weeks ago I presented a poster on Mindfulness-Based Practices for Children, Adolescents, and Families at the I-MERIT Los Angeles Unity Conference. This poster presentation briefly reviewed the literature related to using mindfulness approaches with children, adolescents, and families. This presentation explained the benefits, support, gaps, limitations, and future directions for using mindfulness approaches as a tool for children, adolescents, and families dealing with anxiety, attention problems, depression, and trauma. I am continuing to gather research for this review of the literature and I plan to present on it in workshop form at future conferences.
Yesterday, I presented at the Los-Angeles Unity Conference with my Colleagues. Here is a summary of our Panel Presentation:
I am very excited to announce that I am helping to put on a conference at Alliant International University Los Angeles. It is the I-Merit Los Angeles Unity Conference and the theme is Coming Together: The Art and Practice of Diversity and Unity. The Conference will take place at Alliant on November 21st, 2015 from 9am-5:30pm. You can receive 6 CEUs/workshop hours towards licensure at this event. There are going to be a lot of amazing presenters there. The conference is celebrating a multimodal platform, including: a keynote speaker, cultural experientials, difficult dialogues, panels, and poster presentations! The conference is only $25 and the cost includes lunch, snacks, and CEUs!
If you are interested, you can register at the website, here: http://unityconference.wix.com/2015
Thank you for your support!
The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT) made a great video about the benefits of Marriage and Family Therapy. This video can help you to understand what marriage and family therapy is about and how it can help you and your loved ones: