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Taking Over From the Little One

Not all parents understand what is meant by permissive parenting.

It is essentially a style that in the end, enables the child to get away with things they shouldn’t.

It can come about the result of neglect, but very often it is also by well-intentioned parents and even those who are quite active in their approach.

Three-year Missy throws her food at the table.

The parent approaches and explains why it is not acceptable.

Missy protests what is provided for her meal.

The parent negotiates another selection.

Missy takes the new item and throws it too.

The processs continues with parent explaining and continuing to negotiate.

This mealtime last 40 minutes with Missy having eaten little. Another 45 minutes later, Missy gets a treat as she is hungry.

The parent didn’t see an issue with their parenting although wanted things to change.

Indeed, having come from a background of harsh parenting, the parent was sure to be gentle in approach.

What the parent didn’t see in the interaction was that it was the child in charge of the outcome through resistance and throwing of food. In the end, the child didn’t have to eat what was provided and was able to hold out for the treat.

The goal of the parent was for Missy to sit and eat her meal reasonably without this daily turmoil.

Parent was instructed to remove the child from the table to have the child sit on a nearby chair quietly. No discussion, but also no negative mood or threat was to be directed to the child.

If the child left the chair, she was simply to be placed back. Time after time.

Eventually the child felt thwarted and cried. The parent stood beside, remained calm, but otherwise quiet. The parent was now modeling the desired behavior. Quiet, calm.

When the child settled, the parent helped the child, again calmly, back to the table and meal.

This went on six times. On the seventh time, the child sat nicely at the table and began to eat.

As instructed, the parent in a quiet voice, remarked at how nicely Missy was seated and eating.

Over the course of four days, Missy was siting and eating the meal provided within about 15 minutes.

Although not reported earlier, apparently the parent had similar processes in place for brushing teeth, bedtime and getting up in the morning.

The parent, without instruction, applied the same new process to those expectations.

The parent reported that not only was the child easier to now manage, but overall, a happier child. Indeed the mood of the entire household had shifted. It was lighter and more joyful.

Key to making this work was respecting the parent’s wishes for an approach that wasn’t harsh or punitive.

What was required was interrupting the child’s behavior to eliminate the chain of events and escalation of challenging behavior.

The parent also had to tolerate the child’s pushback and protest in the form of yelling and then crying.

As a result, the child learned to manage some basic frustration, self-sooth and meet reasonable expectations.

When the child was meeting expectations some basic negotiations was reintroduced but within limits determined acceptable by the parent.

Welcome to the Internet.

There is so much parenting advice available, some of which is contradictory. With that people can choose their approach and theory by which they make parenting decisions.

Each approach has its own language and perspective. Some parents adhere rigidly to a particular approach and some treat the approaches like a buffet, picking and choosing alone the way.

In the end, regardless of approach, we always want the parent to manage themselves first to bring a calm and loving disposition to the job.

With that, however you manage those limits, boundaries and expectations, your child should develop reasonably well and emotionally intact.


Are you following me on Facebook yet? If not, you are missing many more posts!

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by video conferencing.

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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
www.yoursocialworker.com for counseling and support

www.garydirenfeld.com – to build your successful practice

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, former parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

Safe Word for Family Gatherings

For some family gatherings you just have to have a safe word.

It could be a nod, a look, a gesture, a comment whispered in your ear.

Once seen or heard, it’s time to leave.

No discussion, no drama, no explanation. Just leave.

When someone is marching down trouble street, you don’t have to join the band.

Kids? Take them quietly with you and go.

Have that as a quiet agreement with your partner.

With that you quietly maintain your boundary and safety without getting into defending yourself.

Truth is, once your absence is recognized, most will get it.

From that they may learn too.

Therein you are only controlling yourselves. Others may do as they wish.


Are you following me on Facebook yet? If not, you are missing many more posts!

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by video conferencing.

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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
www.yoursocialworker.com for counseling and support

www.garydirenfeld.com – to build your successful practice

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, former parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

When Your Emotions Betray You

There’s a reason it’s called anxiety DISORDER.

That’s because those feelings don’t really match the situation or are vastly greater than what the situation calls for.

In a world that states, trust your feelings, that is about the worst advice when those feelings are owing to a disorder.

As a disorder, your feelings are actually betraying you.

The whole thing about CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is about using your head to process the situation instead of your gut.

Think about it.

Seriously. Think about it.

Process situations with your head, not your feelings and you are less likely to be held hostage by the disorder.

That’s how CBT works.

You can even do that on your own.

Just start by acknowledging your feelings are betraying you and think it through. Then act.


Are you following me on Facebook yet? If not, you are missing many more posts!

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by video conferencing.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
www.yoursocialworker.com for counseling and support

www.garydirenfeld.com – to build your successful practice

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, former parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

Sometimes there isn’t a choice. We must call.

Trigger Warning. This post discusses violent child abuse.

——–

The lad was about 12.

Mom and step-dad in my waiting room.

The lad described the beating and kicks by step-dad as mother watched. This, according to the lad was recently.

I called CAS, keeping the lad in my office.

I went to the waiting room to describe the situation to the parents.

Dad stood up to me wanting to see the lad. I stayed put, standing between him and the door.

I explained that if he left the waiting room, he would have to move me. I further explained that of he did so, I would call the police and advise of assault.

He backed down. I went on to say that they could explain matters to the CAS from their perspective, but I had no choice but to call.

I left them to stay with the lad in my office.

I quietly told Arlene that while the parents were welcome to leave, if they scare her in any way for anything, that she call 911.

There was no further incident.

CAS arrived and spoke with lad and then parents.

The lad was taken into care from my home office.

It is not uncommon for me to hear from men that growing up, their dad or step-dad was abusive of them or their moms.

I ask if/when it stopped.

Also not uncommon is when the fellow is mid to late teens and physically capable of intervening which means they get into a violent altercation with the dad/step-dad to protect themselves or mother.

In some of these types of cases, their mom remains in the relationship. The teen lad leaves home. They may couch surf a while. Hopefully land on their feet.

I can only hope my involvement that night leads to a better outcome for that lad.

I will never know.

Please. No violence…. of any kind.


Are you following me on Facebook yet? If not, you are missing many more posts!

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by video conferencing.

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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
www.yoursocialworker.com for counseling and support

www.garydirenfeld.com – to build your successful practice

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, former parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

The Hit that Reverberated to Adulthood

Trigger warning. This post describes domestic violence.

———

She said she only saw her dad hit her mom once.

With that she dismissed the impact of domestic violence and downplayed the fact that with that hit, she and her mom learned never to cross him again. They acquiesced to his demands and forever walked on eggshells.

He continued to be a mean bully, but never did have to hit again because the fear from the one episode was enough to maintain his control on them.

She didn’t think this all affected her but called herself a people pleaser.

What she hadn’t realized is that people pleasing was a strategy learned beyond her awareness to keep others happy so she never again had to deal with the fear of another’s upset. A fear that included things escalating to physical violence.

That disposition of hers maintained her in a position where she could be easily exploited by others.

Indeed, she was with a man who did just that.

She tolerated far more than most others would and always felt the need to accept and tolerate the abuse of the man she was with.

It wasn’t until we put it all together and she recognized the connection to the abuse of her father did she realize she didn’t need any additional excuse to leave her partner. She had wanted to do but felt she hadn’t tried hard enough or given enough chances.

Those feelings were also the result of her father’s abuse, making everything feel like her fault and responsibility.

She only saw her mother hit once.

She hadn’t figured in all the demeaning, put downs, yelling screaming , slamming doors, throwing things, name calling, stinginess, jealousy… all other forms of domestic violence too, had also affected her.

In a sense her set point for what is unacceptable behavior was skewed much higher the result of having to tolerate and live with such behavior.

Because of that she then tolerated more than others would without even realizing it.

She only saw her mother hit once.

Indeed others haven’t seen a parent hit at all.

However they may have witnessed the aftermath: the walking on eggshells, the acquiescing of a parent to the rigid demands or mood of another, the bruises or broken objects.

All these things affect the child developing in that environment.

They learn skills to survive in the moment.

Those skills applied in adulthood though, often work against their favor by maintaining themselves in new but unacceptable situations.

She did learn. She did leave. It was a challenge.

In the end, she was grateful.

Domestic violence. It has long legs and can carry the effects into adulthood.

If you are in such a situation, please get help.


Are you following me on Facebook yet? If not, you are missing many more posts!

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by video conferencing.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
www.yoursocialworker.com for counseling and support

www.garydirenfeld.com – to build your successful practice

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, former parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

Child Between Separated Parents

The child was six or seven. I was seeing this child as part of an assessment to help the courts determine a parenting plan.

The child entered my office full of determination to tell me something, to get something off their mind.

The child told me who their preferred parent was and how much time they wanted to spend with that parent. The child offered their rationale, disparaging the other parent.

I told the child that was a lot to say and asked if anyone helped them remember.

It was the parent who drove the child to our meeting.

When I asked if they practiced during the ride over, the child indicated with big eyes, the whole ride over.

I told the child they did a good job and good tell their parent so. The child relaxed.

After that beginning, I then engaged the child in a conversation about the parent they had just disparaged. They loved that parent too and offered much information contradicting what they told as practiced.

I wrote the entire dialogue into my report.

FYI – I have used gender neutral terms because I have had this kind of conversations multiple times regarding kids and parents of all gender and sexual orientation.


Are you following me on Facebook yet? If not, you are missing many more posts!

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by video conferencing.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
www.yoursocialworker.com for counseling and support

www.garydirenfeld.com – to build your successful practice

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, former parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

That Sense of Abandonment

That sense of abandonment doesn’t mean someone left you intentionally.

It can also arise from a parent’s lack of availability.

That can be work, mental illness, hospitalizations, the distraction of life events.

It tends to be particularly impactful on the younger child, the infant, toddler, preschooler.

The child that young cannot make sense of the parent’s absense. They have yet to form the cognitive capacity to understand the circumstances. The child just lives through experience.

Then if it occurs time after time, it is difficult for that young a child to form a stable image of the parent.

The coming and going itself can be traumatic to this young child only seeking to be cared for consistently.

Although the parent is well-intentioned and even if reasonable when present, the child can still develop a sense of abandonment that haunts and brings concern to adult intimate relationships.

These issues can arise with the best of parents yet under challenging circumstances that affect availability.

With that we want to be mindful if there are numerous and extended parental absences.

That is also why for the child this you, we want frequent and regular contact between separated parents.

For the infant or toddler or preschooler, that week about parenting plan while perhaps good for the parent can wreak havoc on the little one’s mental health.


Follow me on Facebook! If not, you are missing many more posts!

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by video conferencing.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
www.yoursocialworker.com for counseling and support

www.garydirenfeld.com – to build your successful practice

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, former parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

Figuring Out Child Behavior: More Than Meets the Eye.

The child was almost five. Acting out was an issue. There is much to examine to figure things out.

I wonder about a “nonverbal learning disability.”

While I am no psychologist, kids have their “tells” that can suggest a disorder. If a “tell” is recognized, observed, then it is wise to have the child further assessed.

With parents present and after a period of settling in with the child and the child was comfortable, we played a few games.

One game was the make a face game.

I make a face and the child has to guess what I am feeling. Happy, sad, excited, surprised angry.

Next we played the tone of voice game. Here and with warning, I tell the child I am going to say something and have the child describe what I am feeling.

I have a happy voice, sad, scolding, etc.

A nonverbal learning disorder is about difficulty reading social/emotional cues.

One may see this disorder in kids who play rough or who seem not affected or tuned in emotionally to the feelings or social cues of others.

Although a crude screening exam, this child was well able to identify all feelings and tone of voice. No confusion.

I also wonder about hearing, so I do a rudimentary hearing screen.

It’s simple. Standing in front of me and facing out, I ask to play the hearing game.

I rub my thumb and finger together over the child’s ear at different intensities and ask if the child can hear it.

I next do that to varying degrees off centre from top of head to ask which ear hears the sound.

If I am rubbing my fingers closer to the left ear, but the child indicates hearing it in the right ear, then the left ear may have trouble hearing.

No issue detected with hearing.

We play other games too: the jumping game; the frustration tolerance game; the reading game; the small toy game; the cleaning up game; and others.

Similarly I observe the child at play and parental interaction.

Does the parent guide the play; scold; threaten; cajole; interrupt, explain, nurture… etc.

Prior to having met the child, I had an extensive interview with both parents. I learn about their family, background, living arrangements, quality of life, conflict management, addictions, mental health, physical health, traumatic life experiences, etc. I also learn about the child by taking a developmental history.

Finally after a really good look at the situation from many perspectives, I develop my point of view regarding the child’s behavior and what if any further more indepth investigations may be needed.

Understanding what may give rise to an issue of child behavior is complex.

The above is any just a taste of the many things that can go into figuring out what may be at issue.

A child behavior issue may be the result of any one issue or it may be complex and be the result of a combination of issues.

Understanding what is beneath the behavior is important. It is important because only then can we know how best to address the concerns.


Are you following me on Facebook yet? If not, you are missing many more posts!

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by video conferencing.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
www.yoursocialworker.com for counseling and support

www.garydirenfeld.com – to build your successful practice

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, former parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

At Home. Unproductive. Stuck in Room. Twenties.

That child, now well into their twenties remains living at home.

There has been a history of failed attempts with school and work.

Not spoken about until seriously probed are the bouts of depression and/or anxiety. There may have been some episodes of violence. Maybe suicidal behavior. There may have been hospitalizations.

That child takes refuge in their room and seems oppositional and full of excuses and blames issues outside of themselves for their situation. Try to get them help and they are argumentative.

The parent calling is looking for the kind of help that turns things around with the hope of this child, well into their twenties, getting on with life.

The sad part is, this now is this child’s life.

These situations often require difficult conversations starting with the parents.

The issue is coming to terms with a likely mental illness that is severe and disabling or alternatively, so much enabling with little accountability since early childhood that this person truly hasn’t learned to cope and manage independently.

The likelihood of going from here to being fully functional is remote.

We discuss options, none of which are palatable.

One can create the conditions necessitating the adult-child take care of themselves or prepare to provide for their long term care.

Creating the conditions to take care for themselves may mean having them leave the home. That can include taking them to a shelter or setting them up in a rooming house or apartment.

Also discussed is helping them apply for long term social supports. Here in Ontario there is ODSP – Ontario Disability Support Program.

This is a tremendous challenge for the parent at this point who would hope for someone else to have the sort of answer that provides for an easier solution. There is none.

No solution will be easy.

Seeking to follow through with anything is likely to result in an escalation of whatever this child has done before to push back on the expectations of the parent.

That may mean threats of violence, destruction of property, self-harm, suicidal behavior.

It is the parent who must plan for any eventuality if they want to enact a plan through to its conclusion. It will carry risks no matter what.

That means using police and possible involuntary hospitalization for management.

Change rarely comes easily in these situations and change isn’t about truly altering the person, but coming to terms with who they are and facitating a transition to a long term living arrangement, either independently or under the parent’s care.

Better outcomes have less to do with this person getting on with their life than realizing this is their life.

This is among the most challenging of situations and requires support for and fortitude on behalf of the parent.


Are you following me on Facebook yet? If not, you are missing many more posts!

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by video conferencing.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
www.yoursocialworker.com for counseling and support

www.garydirenfeld.com – to build your successful practice

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, former parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

Speaking so the Message is Heard

When something on Facebooks irks, triggers or or simply rubs the wrong way and you seek to comment or reply, how do you do so, particularly when it’s something you feel passionate about?

Do you respond pointedly, almost or actually admonishing as you deliver your reply?

Are you sarcastic, using some bitter humor to cut, yet inform?

Do you believe in “speaking your mind” with a belief that it is within your right to get a point across with less concern of how it lands?

Do you come across respectfully and compassionately having a sense of the view of the other yet wanting to be informative on another perspective while remaining respectful in the delivery?

There are many ways and tones with which to deliver information.

The real challenge is recognizing if and when there is an emotional aspect in our felt need to reply or comment and then managing it so as to remain informational and respectful.

It is in an informational and respectful delivery that the message of what we seek to transmit is best received.

Therein we may have a better influence towards a positive outcome: to be heard and respected ourselves for the information important to our perspective.

Self-reflection aids in this approach as does practice.


Are you following me on Facebook yet? If not, you are missing many more posts!

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by video conferencing.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
www.yoursocialworker.com for counseling and support

www.garydirenfeld.com – to build your successful practice

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, former parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.