The Whole Parent (How to Become a Terrific Parent Even If You Didn't Have One)

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9780738208763: The Whole Parent (How to Become a Terrific Parent Even If You Didn't Have One)
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An important look at how parents can break free from their past unhealthy parent-child relationships and provide a healthy psychological foundation for their children.

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"(This book) addresses the part of each one of us that prevents us (despite having read all the good ideas) from being the parent we want to be. Debra offers concrete exercises to work on so we can overcome the obstacles we have to becoming terrific parents. It is a book needed in an onslaught of good ideas." -Debra Combs, L.C.S.W., Founder, Attachment and Bonding Center of Omaha, Nebraska

"Debra Wesselmann captures the critical importance of one's life experiences as they relate to parenting. She insightfully pulls together how parents' and children's issues often intersect to create emotional impasses in the family. Wesselmann provides creative strategies for mending and strengthening the parent-child connection and relationship. Any parent or professional will find this book an invaluable resource." -Gregory C. Keck, Ph.D., Psychologist and Founder of the Attachment and Bonding Center of Ohio, Cleveland, Ohio

"A sensitive and sensible guide for parents who want to learn more than parenting skills. The Whole Parent is for all parents who want to take an in-depth look at how their own childhoods, in particular relationships with their own parents, influence present-day relationships with their children." -Ann E. Potter, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist; Author, Inside Out: Rebuilding Self and Personality through Inner Child Therapy

"The Whole Parent is about internal change, not just prescriptions. Profound, lucid, and extremely useful, the book takes parents by the hand, providing insight, wisdom, and practical exercises so they can become effective, loving parents. I highly recommend it!" -Charlotte Kasl, Ph.D., Author, Women, Sex, and Addiction and Finding Joy

"What a relief! Debra Wesselmann doesn't make parents feel guilty. She makes it so much easier to examine our parenting flaws, and change them, when we understand why we do what we do." -Anne Stirling Hastings, Ph.D., Author, Treating Sexual Shame: A New Map for Overcoming Dysfunction, Abuse, and Addiction and Body and Soul: Sexuality on the Brink of Change

(This book) goes beyond parenting tecyniques - it provides the template for creating healthy families for generations, which is real wisdom." -Janet McGivern, M.D., Omaha, Nebraska

About the Author:

Author Debra Wesselmann was born and raised in Nebraska and attended the University of Nebraska at the Lincoln and Omaha campuses to obtain her bachelor's degree in education in 1978. She taught elementary school in the late seventies and early eighties to children in an area deeply troubled by violence, poverty, alcoholism, and drug addiction. She witnessed the undeniable effects the families' problems had on her students' emotions and functioning, and never forgot the emotional anguish of four young students who lost parents to suicide.

Debra married her husband in 1977 and became a step-mother to two young boys. She and her husband had a son together in 1982, and a two-year-old daughter joined the family through adoption in 1985. A second daughter was born to Debra and her husband in 1990. Debra received her master's degree in counseling in 1989 and immediately began specializing in work with adults, parents, and children affected by trauma, abuse, addictions, and depression.

Debra is certified in the use of hypnosis through the American Society of Clinical, Hypnosis. She is also a Level II practitioner of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a trauma resolution technique. She has taught as an adjunct professor in the University of Nebraska at Omaha counseling program, and continues to supervise student interns. She has conducted many workshops and seminars on the topic of attachment and parenting for both parents and professionals around the country. Her private practice is located in Omaha, Nebraska where she lives with her husband and their three children.

Debra developed a special interest in the area of attachment and began studying the research intensively early in her career for two reasons. First, the research in the field of attachment gave Debra insight that was tremendously helpful to her in understanding her daughter's issues related to her adoption and her earliest years of life. Second, Debra discovered that the knowledge she was gaining allowed her to view her clients' difficulties from a new perspective, and that with the attachment perspective she could zero in on the real problems - the most core issues - preventing happy, healthy family relationships. Through her studies and clinical work, Debra was struck by the advantages securely attached children and adults have over insecurely attached individuals, in terms of life-long emotional health and a sense of belonging.

In both her clinical experience and in the research Debra found strong evidence that insecure attachment typically carries over from one generation to the next. Debra discovered that because parents' emotional responses to their children are rooted in the past, in order to help parents break unhealthy patterns she had to help them overcome their own attachment histories. She became determined to educate parents about attachment and help more parents break the generational cycle. Debra envisions a world where more kids can have the advantages that a secure attachment provides, allowing them to become secure, happy, and responsible adults.

Throughout the writing of the book Debra of course continued to parent her own three children. However, there was never a chance that she could forget her most important role as her youngest daughter one day remarked, "Mom, make sure you write in your book that all the moms who are writing books should remember that their seven-year olds still need lots of attention."

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