Emotionally Connected

Reflective Parenting

Reflective parenting is the ability to imagine mental states in the self and others. It’s having the ability to be in your child’s shoes and seeing the situation from their experience. If a child lets go of their balloon and begins to cry as it floats away, their experience of the situation is very different from the parent’s point of view. To us it’s insignificant, and therefor parent through that lens. To the child it is as important to them as if our purse or wallet was tied to the end of that balloon floating into the unknown. Now the loss of the balloon takes on a new level of importance.Developing a reflective function is a uniquely human attribute to make sense of each other’s experience in any given situation. Psychological research has learned that a mother with high reflective functioning has the ability to see her child as a separate, autonomous individual with a mind of his or her own. As a result, the mother is able to differentiate between her thoughts, feelings and intentions and her child’s. This is crucial in developing a child’s ability to understand and regulate his/her emotions and behavior, supports cognitive development, and strengthens the parent-child relationship that will promote future healthy relationships.
Some parents benefit in support to develop their reflective functioning abilities, to in turn pass that function down to their child.

I have concerns about my parenting.

As a parent and a child therapist, I fully understand all of the emotions that can boil up when parenting children. You may be here because:

  • You want to have a better relationship with your child.
  • You would like a new way to set limits with your child so that they will listen.
  • You and your spouse may be separating or going through a divorce.
  • You may have a special needs child and need specialized help in parenting.
  • You get frustrated with your child and lose patients.
  • You want to parent differently than you were parented.
  • You want your child to have healthy relationships and a strong self-esteem.

How will therapy help me parent?

Often times we didn’t have the opportunity to have a parent with a strong reflective function. This function can be developed as an adult in a safe and connected relationship with a therapist. With guidance in developing the insight and skill to connect with your child reflectively, you will allow your child to thrive socially and emotionally. Strengthening the reflective function strengthens connection to children. Children are born to feel close and connected to their parents, when connection is broken, children’s behavior becomes difficult. Parenting is hard enough to do without additional roadblocks.When parents are willing to listen and reflect on how it might feel for the child and connect, resolving the tension and difficult behavior melts away. Feeling isolated or alone in parenting can cause a parents’ behavior to flare up. In therapy, you will be given the respect of a reflective supportive listener to make a powerful difference.

Why choose Bess over all the other therapists?

Choosing the right therapist for your child is a very important decision. The “right” therapist is different for every person. Ideally there will be a true connection for therapy to be helpful. I’ve dedicated my life’s work specializing in children and families. I’ve obtained specialized training on reflective parenting from The Center for Reflective Communities, that has dedicated their research and training to helping parents develop their reflective capacities.I am truly fascinated in learning all aspects of supporting the social and emotional growth for children, parents and families. I will continue to learn, because working with children and families is what I love to do most.

You may still have questions about the therapeutic process:

    • My schedule is very impacted, how will I add one more thing?
      One thing we all need more of, is time. My hope is that in developing a smoother relationship with your child, you will have less difficult moments and more connected moments that will free up time naturally. With that said, I do try my best to work out a schedule that will work for you. With a little flexibility on both our parts, the schedule tends to work out. Once an agreed upon time has been reached, consistency and commitment to therapy is important for a good outcome. I work Tuesday – Friday and afternoon appointments tend to fill up quickly. If my schedule cannot accommodate you, I will do my best to place you with a trusted therapist.


    • Can I afford therapy?
      This answer is different for every family; however with your consent I am happy to bill your mental health insurance as an out-of-network provider for you as long as it is a PPO plan. This typically works well, only being responsible for the coinsurance or copay amount. There are some insurance plans that have high deductibles, low reimbursement rates, or does not cover certain diagnostic codes that could make the cost of therapy difficult to manage. I’m happy to check into your insurance benefits for you, and with that information you can make an informed decision about seeing me, or possible going with an in-network-provider on your plan.


  • This is informative, but I’d like to speak to a real person about my concerns.
    It’s best to call me to discuss your specific concerns. I typically return non-urgent calls within the same day you leave a message, unless it is on a weekend or holiday. I recommend leaving a message with some good times to call you back. I’m often unable to pick up calls immediately when in session.

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