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Sounds strange at first doesn’t it? Counseling is full of paradoxes. I value the amazing capacity of even tiny humans so much that I attended graduate school plus the road to licensure. And families invest significant effort to simply schedule amidst other needs and responsibilities. (Not to mention time spent completing the intake paperwork!) So if we all worked hard to build these relationships, then why in the world would I love saying goodbye?




  1. Both bookends shape therapy’s effectiveness. Great counselors make the intake process intentional to start on the “right foot” with new clients. I want clients to know what to expect from me in the beginning (see that section on my FAQ page here) because therapy hinges on a close, trusting, yet professional relationship. And therapy is a process, so wrapping up is like the other bookend. Integrating a cohesive story about the overall process seals the deal on what people take away. (I feel another post brewing, more on integration later.)

  2. It’s a rare chance. How many opportunities do we have for a positive, planned goodbye? I can only think of a few others for children; the end of a school year with a favorite teacher was a standout in my childhood. 

  3. I'm able to genuinely model sturdiness. I demonstrate some ways to handle bittersweet and sad times. I hope this modeling expands families’ possible expressions of those feelings. Again, kids may have few opportunities or models for goodbyes other than toxic positivity.

  4. Goodbyes are enlightening! When time has run out, either in the last few sessions we planned or at the doorway after a sudden final meeting, emotions teach even more about the relationship. The time together was precious. It mattered. Our connection is significant. 


Of course I miss former clients after they’ve “graduated” or when I made a job change. To all of my former clients and those yet to come: You are capable & you won’t need my help forever. Besides, your therapy progress lasts long after goodbye.



Disclaimer: The above information is intended to provide a general overview of mental health topics and child development. This information is not a replacement for professional psychotherapy or diagnosis. Seek consultation from a licensed professional for personalized treatment planning.

Am I a good enough parent? Will my kids be okay?



Of course you wonder! Worries about your child’s future are proof that you care. Now, tell your fear who’s boss. Name out loud all the things you’re already doing to provide, to promote their physical health, and to nurture emotional stability.

Warning: this could take time, but it’s usually helpful in increasing your confidence!


Kids do their best when we believe in them! I trust kids to grow and mature. It’s hard to explain. It’s almost spiritual. But I believe in them so deeply down in my bones that kids can sense it in my presence, my patience and my tone of voice. Demonstrate to your child that you fundamentally believe they are capable.


Brains can adapt! A child’s greatest resource in life is their relationship with a supportive caregiver. Perfection not required. Our brains are wired for adaptability & these are the hallmarks of powerful relationship foundations: forgiveness, repair, and finding our way back to each other after things inevitably go wrong. Kids need to experience adaptability and attunement and reconnection gently in relationships at home before they can grow into independent adults navigating more complex, chosen relationships.



Still nervous? Asking yourself - is that all? Then by all means take some intentional, loving action.

  • Strengthen your belief in your child by noticing what they’ve already accomplished, even at 2, 3 or 15 years old.

  • Make casual conversation about your memories of their successes and strong character.

You’ll speak to your fears and your child at the same time. And you’ll set everyone’s sights on a bright, capable future. If this approach or any of these tips are helpful to you, but you need practice or accountability then maybe working with me in counseling could continue to increase your confidence as a parent. Learn more about my services and schedule a free initial phone consultation here.


About the author: Joy Cannon is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Registered Play Therapist and National Certified Counselor providing group, individual and play therapy in her hometown of Austin, Texas. Her specialties include young children ages 3-7 years, caregivers of people with chronic illnesses or mental health diagnoses and intuitive, misunderstood women. She will begin serving as President Elect of the Texas Association for Play Therapy Hill Country Chapter in August 2022.



Disclaimer: The above information is intended to provide a general overview of mental health topics and child development. This information is not a replacement for professional psychotherapy or diagnosis. Seek consultation from a licensed professional for personalized treatment planning.


Four Questions to Ask Yourself When Parenting is Difficult


As a children’s counselor, a certain question rumbles under the surface in many initial consultations: “Is this normal?” Most caregivers understand that some behaviors and challenges are to be expected in kids for a season. So it’s tough for parents to know when a child needs professional support.


Here are a few guiding questions to ask yourself.


What’s your level of parenting stress?

If your child's problems affect the relationship between you and your child, how you feel towards them, or if you feel incapable, then maybe it is time to consult a professional.


When you look around a group of kids the same age, is anyone else sharing this struggle?

If your child differs significantly from peers, then maybe these concerns are not part of the “typical” course of developmental challenges.


Does your child ask to meet with a counselor or special helper?

I’m excited every time I meet caregivers who honor this request from their kid. Even little ones could hear a friend or family member talking about therapy. And older kids or teens may need a new counselor even if they’ve worked through other concerns in past therapy.


Have you seen worsening of issues or behaviors?

Especially if you are the primary caregiver then I’m guessing you know this child better than anyone else. And you may be the first to know when your go-to maneuvers don’t help your kid return to their usual self.


Finally, you don’t have to be certain before you reach out. Lots of counselors offer a free initial phone call. Let the expert talk you through more questions like the ones above. If I can be of help to you, please contact me for a consultation.


About the author: Joy Cannon is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Registered Play Therapist and National Certified Counselor providing group, individual and play therapy in her hometown of Austin, Texas. Her specialties include young children ages 3-7 years, caregivers of people with chronic illnesses or mental health diagnoses and intuitive, misunderstood women.


Disclaimer: The above information is intended to provide a general overview of mental health topics and child development. This information is not a replacement for professional psychotherapy or diagnosis. Seek consultation from a licensed professional for personalized treatment planning.



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