Presence for Parents: Handling Your Kid’s Emotional States Without Losing Your Own

Parenting evokes strong emotions. Most of us were not taught how to have such strong emotions and still function.

Do you find yourself snapping at your kids for no apparent reason? Are you worried or guilt ridden that you aren’t doing enough or maybe doing too much for them? Do you try really hard and tell yourself that you are not going to yell anymore, only to find yourself doing it again?

Join us for this class where you’ll learn how to use empathy for yourself and your child to transform your parenting, and much more.

Our Next Class

This workshop is not currently scheduled. Please contact us if you are interested in being informed when this workshop goes on the schedule.

Can’t make this time? You can register and participate by listening to recordings of the course each week at a time that works with your schedule. But you won’t be eligible for CE units.

 At A Glance

WhoFor parents interested in how Focusing can help build presence, empathy, and self-awareness so that you can choose what works for you and your child.
WhereTaught by phone – join us from anywhere in the world!
WhatTeaches body-based, self-compassion skills for improving your relationship with yourself as a parent. Full Course Description
HowPhone courses: We use an advanced phone conferencing system to connect you to other students and the teacher. You can also use Skype to call in. Students receive access to a private webpage where materials can be found.
WhyParenting evokes strong emotions. Many parents struggle to make good choices in the midst of emotional storms. In this course, Carol offers tools to help parents build their inner awareness and develop a strong sense of empathy, so that they can meet the challenges of parenting in more resourced and resilient ways.

What’s Included

  • Five one-hour-and-thirty-minute meetings for a total of 7.5 hours of class time.
  • Access to mp3 recordings of every class so you’ll be able to download and listen to anything you want to hear again.
  • A private web page where you can access homework, recordings, and other important class information.

Want a free taste of this class? Click the Listen Here button to hear a recording from a live mini-class we hosted in February 2016. We’ll show you:

  • Simple ways to cultivate a more present relationship to yourself and how this changes your parenting dynamics
  • Small, subtle changes you can make in your communication with your kids that make a huge difference
  • How Focusing can help you find more peace with yourself as a parent

Course Information

About the Course

Parents are advised things like: “foster open communication”, “be a role model,” “give them limits”, “give them freedom”, “spend individual time with them”, “give them responsibility”, don’t put too much on them”. With that kind of overwhelming and conflicting input, it’s no wonder you might feel you are never doing the parenting job you would like to be doing. You may even think, you’ve messed them up forever. As a group, we can often feel upset, scared, worried, and mad without knowing how to be with those intense feelings.

An abundance of advice and information for parents can be found out there. Books, classes, websites, and, the usually well-meaning tips we hear from loved ones and friends. Yet, even when you receive great information and advice, putting it all into practice is an entirely different thing. How do you put anything into practice when you are on emotional overload, stressed out to the max, or feeling inept?

The missing ingredient is the how. Raising children evokes strong emotions. Most of us were not taught how to have such strong emotions and still function. Some of us have even been told, “you should not feel that way.”

There are tools — organic ones that you can call upon, whenever you are in need — that make a difference. Presence for Parents is where you can learn them.

What you’ll learn and have a chance to practice in this course:

  • How to be more present so you can respond instead of react.
  • How to use subtle changes in language that can transform your approach to a situation.
  • How being empathic is a key ingredient in all interactions you have with your kids.
  • How to accept and respect yourself as the parent you are and are becoming.
  • A new way of letting go that builds trust and confidence.

About the Teacher

Carol Nickerson
Carol Nickerson
Carol is a committed, empathic teacher whose priority is to meet her students where they are and to facilitate a respectful, open and attuned relationship with those she works with. Carol’s students, many of whom are helping professionals themselves, have described her as “down to earth,” “easy to be with,” and “intuitive.” Carol loves to share practical and transformative tools for personal growth and healing.

Carol's Personal Story...

How people are with others has a lot to do with how people cared for them as a child. This idea was instilled in me at a young age. One day in elementary school, I felt upset about how a classmate behaved. I told my mom, “Mom, John was so mean today.” She said something like, “John’s mother has a lot to deal with and he was not an easy baby.” Explanations like this reached my young ears often. I suspect this way of thinking planted the seeds that blossomed into a career helping others.

Early in my professional life, I worked with teens who struggled a lot. As I listened to them talk about their families, I thought, “No wonder these kids have problems! Their poor parents are struggling too and have no support.” Much of my work has been with children, adolescents, and families. Helping kids of all ages and supporting parents with their children is my area of expertise. I’m good at it. My supervisors referred to me as ‘quite skilled’ and ‘effective’.  I was comfortable with my work – competent and confident.

Then I became a parent. All the sudden the skills I developed over years of professional practice were gone. I remember a colleague once confided in me after becoming a parent. She wanted to apologize to parents she’d so matter-of-factly advised over the years.  As a mom, I felt the same.

Lucky for me, I stumbled upon Inner Relationship Focusing. Not for parenting reasons, I was just looking for a continuing education course. Ann Weiser Cornell’s “Getting Unstuck” workshop was my first taste of Focusing. I began to use, and benefit from, the skills we learned after the first class. Inner Relationship Focusing became my primary coping tool.

The unexpected result? I became a calmer, more present, and more effective parent. My young son often responded to requests I made of him with negotiations worse than Congress. Before Focusing, I’d  explain, rationalize, wheel and deal with my then 10 year old! With tools from Focusing, I stepped out of those dynamics like a loose fitting pair of jeans! I can honestly tell you it became rather fun. I continue to consider it an art form.

I used to sit panic stricken when my daughter started to drive and attend social gatherings. I knew older kids, alcohol, and all that comes with that were likely be present. In those moments I turned toward Focusing for support. I went from worry, obsession, and self-blame to choosing self-compassion and empathy. As I opened to myself with empathy, there was space for new information. Reminders of my daughter’s common sense, confidence, and solid relationships emerged. I no longer needed to feel submerged in my panic.

Focusing transformed my relationship to parenting. So it brings me great pleasure to share Presence for Parents. A course chock full of resources for people who have a most important job to do.

Additional Information

How Phone Courses Work

All you need is a phone, though a hands-free headset is helpful. You can even call with a cell phone or Skype, as long as your connection is reasonably clear. When you register, you’ll receive a special number to call and your own PIN code. Toll charges may apply. You’ll be on a conference call with the teacher, the assistants, and a group of friendly fellow students. There will be lectures, demonstrations, question periods, group exercises and paired exercises. We’ve been doing phone seminars since 2003, and we’re old hands at it – and they work amazingly well.


There is no prerequisite for this course. All students are welcome.

Continuing Education Credit & Course Completion Certificate

Course meets the qualifications for 7.5 hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. Focusing Resources, CAMFT Approved CE Provider #62524.

Focusing Resources is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs. Focusing Resources maintains responsibility for this course and its content.

There is a $25 administrative fee for CE units. Course completion certificates are awarded at the end of the course upon completion of all requirements and the course evaluation. (If you don’t want CE units but would like a completion certificate, the $25 fee does still apply.)

Eligibility for CE units requires at least 80% live attendance. Missed classes must be made up.

Cancellations, Changes & Refunds

Up to 14 days before the first day of class: Just let us know and we'll refund your course fee. Or you can choose to apply the entire course fee towards a future class with us.

Cancellations received 13 days or fewer before class begins: No refund, sorry.

When Something Doesn't Go As You'd Hoped...

We are always open to discussing experiences with our courses that didn’t work for you or didn’t go the way you expected. Depending on the circumstances, you may want to email your course instructor, the staff member in charge of your course, or Ann Weiser Cornell. Email addresses for all these people will be supplied on registration. We will work with you to find a way to meet your needs.

Upcoming Courses and Registration

Register early to save money and ensure your spot! Tuition goes up three weeks prior to the start of class. To help us provide an excellent experience for everyone, registration closes one week before every class.

This workshop is not currently scheduled. Please contact us if you are interested in being informed when this workshop goes on the schedule.



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