Dr. Debra Kessler Psychologist

Specializing in Children with Emotional and Developmental Challenges

Phone 818-248-6414




Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Reason and Love Alfie Kohn (March 28, 2006)

The Science of Parenting Margot Sunderland (September 1, 2008)

Parenting From the Inside Out: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s 

Developing Mind, Survive Everyday Parenting Struggles, and Help Your Family Thrive Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson (October, 2011)

Building Healthy Minds: The Six Experiences that Create Intelligence and Emotional Growth in Babies and Young Children Stanley I. Greenspan, Nancy Lewis October 1, 2000)

The Power of Validation: Arming your Child Against Bullying, Peer Pressure, Addiction, Self-Harm and Out-of-Control Emotions by Karyn D. Hall, Melissa H. Cook

Overloaded and Underprepared: Strategies for Stronger Schools and Healthy, Successful Kids by Denise Pope (Author),‎ Maureen Brown (Author),‎ Sarah Miles (Author)

Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood by Lisa Damour Ph.D. 

Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys by Dan Kindlon

The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion and Connection by Brené Brown Ph.D.

The Blessing of the Skinned Knee by Wendy Mogel Ph.D.

The Blessing of the B Minus: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Resilient Teenagers by Wendy Mogel Ph.D

The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids by Madeline Levine Ph.D.

How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kids for Success by Julie Lythcott-Haims


Center for the Developing Child: Resource Library


Challenge Success http://www.challengesuccess.org

Dr. Becky: Good Inside Podcasts https://goodinside.com/podcast/



Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child-The Heart of Parenting John Gottman, PhD, Joan Declair, and Daniel Goleman (paperback-August 12, 1998)

What Am I Feeling? John Mordechai Gottman (paperback-June, 2004)

Incredible 5-Point Scale Assisting Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Understanding Social Interactions and Controlling Their Emotional Responses
Kari Dunn Buron and Mitzi Curtis (January 2004)


Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz (hardcover-September 22, 2009)

The Worst Day of My Life Ever! (Best Me I Can Be)
Julia Cook and Kelsey De Weerd (March 15, 2011)

The Chocolate-Covered-Cookie-Tantrum
Debra Blumenthal and Harvey Stevenson (Paperback-March 22, 1999)

My Book Full of Feelings: How to Control and React to the Size of Your Emotions
Amy Jaffe and Luci Gardner (February 7, 2006)


The Happiness lab by Laurie Santos https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=laurie+santos+happiness+podcast&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8




Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? Jean M. Twenge

Cybersense http://neurosensepsychology.com/psychology-blog/

Video games and your child’s brain https://drdunckley.com/videogames/

What is gaming disorder?  https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322478


Humantech – https://humanetech.com/parents-students/



iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids are growing up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood by Jean M. Twenge

Reset Your Child’s Brain: A Four-Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades and Boost Social Skills by Reversing the Effects of Electronic Screen-Time
Victoria L. Dunckley, M.D (2015) 


 Example of Problem Areas Associated with Tech

How Screen-Time Effects Translate to Cognitive Symptoms

Pathways, Mechanisms, and Repercussions of Interactive Sceen Time

How Screen-Time Effects Translate to Social Dysfunction

How Screen-Time Effects Translate to Mood Symptoms 



CyberSense Power Up podcasts by Dustin Weissman PsyD  





Why we Sleep: Unlocking the power of Sleep and Dreams by Mathew Walker Ph.D.


Why Can’t We Fall Asleep? by Maria Konnikova

The Work We Do While We Sleep by Maria Konnikova

Neuroscience Reveals 50-Year-Olds Can Have the Brains of 25-Year-Olds If They Do This 1 Thing by Melanie Curtin




Jon Kabat-Zinn



Social and Emotional Development in Early Intervention: A Sills Guide for Working with Children Mona Delahooke Ph.D.(2017)


You are a Social Detective: Explaining Social Thinking to Kids
Michelle Garcia Winner, Pamela Crook and Kelly Knopp (November 2010)


Lives in Balance by Dr. Ross Greene https://www.livesinthebalance.org/parents-families

Aspergers Experts https://www.aspergerexperts.com

Profectum https://profectum.org

Social Thinking https://www.socialthinking.com/Resources

Tilt Parenting https://tiltparenting.com/




Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder: How to Keep Out of Control Emotions from Destroying your Relationship by Shari Y. Manning Ph,D.


National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder: A Resource for Families and People in Recovery Education and Training for Professionals https://www.borderlinepersonalitydisorder.org


To Hell and Back http://charlieswenson.com/podcasts/


DBT-RU: Crisis Survival Skills







Stress, Distress & Trauma Series

The videos in this series with Dr. Bruce Perry are provided to view and share.  We have closed captioned each video. To change captions from English to another language, select “settings” (cog at bottom right), select “Subtitles/CC” then select “Auto-translate” and finally select the language of your choice.
NN COVID Series: 1 – Patterns of Stress determine Risk & Resilience


This brief (15 min) video with Dr. Bruce Perry discusses how the pattern of stress can determine risk or resilience.  The importance of structure, predicability and moderation of daily stress is highlighted.  The malleability of the capacity to demonstrate resilience is discussed.  https://youtu.be/orwIn02h6V4
NN COVID Series: 2 – Understanding State-dependent Functioning


This brief (22 min) video with Dr. Bruce Perry reviews how stress and distress change the way we think, feel and behave.  The relevance for the current pandemic is discussed.  https://youtu.be/PZg1dlskBLA
NN COVID Series: 3 – Emotional Contagion


In this brief (20 min) video, Dr. Bruce Perry discusses ’emotional contagion’ and talks about the power of calm.  The concept of power differential is discussed in context of human interactions and discusses the importance of calm, regulated leadership in times of stress and distress.
NN COVID Series: 4 – Sequence of Engagement


This is a brief (20 min) video describing the sequential processing of experience in the brain.  The Regulate-Relate-Reason heuristic is explained. This simple but powerful concept can help minimize miscommunication and behavioral challenges (especially with dysregulated adults and children).  https://youtu.be/LNuxy7FxEVk
NN COVID Series: 5 – Understanding Regulation


This brief (23 min) video reviews some of the basics of ‘regulation’ and helps viewers understand why patterned, repetitive somatosensory activity is regulating.  The primary regulatory role of dissociation is also discussed.  Very basic neuroscience about stress and regulation can help viewers understand the power of intentional regulatory practices – especially in the current COVID-19 pandemic. https://youtu.be/L3qIYGwmHYY
NN COVID Series: 6 – Dosing & Spacing


This brief (25 min) video discusses elaborates on the importance of the “pattern” of stress and stress activation with a focus on the concept of ‘dosing.’  What is considered a “moderate” dose of stress – why is this important in building resilience?  And what is the power of the moment?  This video presents some important background for understanding the importance of small but powerful relational moments. https://youtu.be/5ATSl8XhF-k
NN COVID Series: 7 – Self-care & Organizational Care


This brief (25 min) video highlights the reasons self-care and organizational care are needed for individuals and organizations that work in high stress settings, or with individuals with trauma histories. Examples of integration of regulatory strategies into work-flow are provided. https://youtu.be/VcDTXJpCMiY
NN COVID Series: 8 – Decision Fatigue


This brief (21 min) video discusses the importance of regulation during decision-making. Decision fatigue and analysis paralysis can impede the development of creative solutions during times of crisis. A few simple guidelines can improve decision-making and lead to more effective practice, programs and policy – especially when created during times of duress, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. https://youtu.be/Yc-Nv8eqfgM
NN COVID Series: 9 – Managing Transitions


This brief (27 min) video helps viewers understand transitions as stressors, and provides concrete strategies to help individuals and organizations struggling with transitions. This knowledge is foundational in managing the uncertain times and many transitions that are inevitable in any crisis, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. https://youtu.be/cA7UbKnM0RM
NN COVID Series: 10 – Reward & Maladaptive Regulation using Alcohol & Substances


This brief (16 min) video provides an introduction to the reward neurobiology and how this relates to the use and misuse of alcohol and substances of ‘abuse’ to provide regulation and reward. The importance of understanding the neurobiology underneath ‘reward’ seeking behaviors is highlighted. The role that stress, distress and trauma play in altering our reward seeking and reward ‘quenching’ behaviors is discussed. https://youtu.be/FZan9ZRMMCM
NN COVID Series: 11 – Sport in Healing & Resilience Building


This special one hour edition of the NM Network Series on Stress & Trauma features a conversation about the potential regulating, rewarding & healing effects of sport. The underlying rationale of the collaborative work of WeCoach and the Neurosequential Network is discussed, in part. This is a useful introduction to stress, trauma and resilience for coaches, parents, athletes and anyone interested in sport or traumatic stress.  https://youtu.be/hbkx_48j_vY
NN COVID Series: 12 – Understanding the Power Differential


This (31 min) video discusses the dynamics of interpersonal interactions; a “power differential” is created when two people interact. A dominance hierarchy can influence emotional, social and cognitive functioning. The individual on the bottom of the power differential will have a ‘state-dependent’ shift in brain-functioning and feel more anxious or even threatened. The role that gender, race, role and physical proximity can play in this dynamic is discussed, as is the importance of power differential dynamics in understanding equity concepts. https://youtu.be/ulwfwYDffV8
NN COVID Series: 13 – The Intimacy Barrier


This (25 min) video discusses the concept of ‘relational sensitivity’; when intimacy becomes an evocative cue, there can be a host of problems with forming and maintaining relationships. This is a common issue with children, youth and adults who have had inconsistent, unpredictable or abusive early caregiving.  https://youtu.be/7crm3JcVfJs
NN COVID Series: 14 – Distributed Leadership


This (30 min) video provides an overview of the power of distributed leadership. The awareness of the neurobiological ‘preferences’ that we have for small group functioning and dynamics provides some insight to the inefficient forms of large group planning and program development that characterize our current child welfare, mental health, juvenile justice and early childhood systems.
The Pandemic Toolkit Parents Need
This brief, useful document is a great resource for parents.


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Copyright © Dr. Debra Kessler Santa Barbara, CA Psychologist | License #19100