INTRODUCING TODD SARNER, MFT
How long have you been doing what you do and how did you get to be a Parenting Consultant and Educator?
I’ve wanted to help children ever since I was a child myself. When I went to college I studied psychology and went on to get graduate degree in Counseling. My first jobs involved working with children in families, foster homes and teen group homes.
In these jobs, I often saw children who were demonstrating forms of acting-out behavior. The child’s parents, teachers and group leaders desperately wanted these behaviors to stop. They would ask me to work directly with the child to change the behavior.
As I worked with more children, I realized that negative behavior often meant the child wanted to tell people that something bigger was wrong. We could make some progress working directly with the child, but deeper, longer-lasting changes could be made when parents proactively began making changes in the child’s home environment.
When I had my own child, I realized I still had a lot to learn. Although I was better prepared than many parents, I had a Masters Degree in Psychology and years of experience working with children, I realized I had the pieces of the puzzle but didn’t know how to put them together.
My breakthrough came when I discovered new research in child development that explained why so much traditional advice just didn’t work. Dr. Gordon Neufeld, an internationally known clinical and developmental psychologist, focused on the child’s need for healthy attachment. He developed strategies that helped parents find solutions that prevented problems from arising and built long-term, loving relationships in families. Now parents don’t have to respond to the same issues over and over again – a process that leaves everyone frustrated with no time to enjoy what being a family is all about.
This approach made sense to me as a professional and as a parent. When Dr. Neufeld implemented a formal professional internship program, I was invited to take one of only 12 places.
During my internship, I opened the Transformative Parenting practice. After my Internship, I also served as a Faculty Member of the Neufeld Institute, and I gained ongoing access to cutting edge research and opportunities to learn from top developmental psychologists.
My goal is to help kids by helping their parents. A lot of us did not get our emotional needs met as children and those deficits have affected us into adulthood. When I see a child suffering emotionally, it affects me greatly and I want to help.
As a parent myself, I understand the challenges of raising children the way we deep down inside want to. The truth is, our contemporary culture doesn’t support parenting the way it should, and so many of us didn’t really get what we needed as children.
As a result of these trends, today’s parents often feel disempowered and overwhelmed. They care about their children and want to do what’s best for each child. They just need the tools to get the job done — tools that aren’t taught in school or handed down from previous generations. At Transformative Parenting, we help parents feel less overwhelmed. They become confident that they will provide their child with whatever the child needs for a strong, healthy life.
What types of clients do you work with?
I work with people just like you – parents serious about being the best parents they can be, who want to see their children grow into their unique potential.
My clients come from all over the world. While every family is unique, the parents I work with are loving and dedicated moms and dads. They are open-minded, curious, and motivated to creating real and positive changes in their families.
Three kinds of parents tend to become clients at Transformative Parenting. Some parents want to transform a child’s behaviors in constructive, relationship-friendly ways. Others are going through divorce and want to find common ground to continue effective parenting without disrupting the child’s life. Finally, some parents seek more general support and parenting guidance, even if they are not facing specific behavior issues when they call.
What are your credentials?
I’m a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the State of California. My Graduate degree is from the California Institute of Integrative Studies, where I earned a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology.
After my Internship and Faculty appointment with Dr. Neufeld, I am now a Professional Associate of the Neufeld Institute.
I’ve worked with children of all ages. I’ve worked with teens in group homes, foster children of all ages, and parents from over fifteen countries all over the world.
One of my strongest credentials is being a parent myself. I learn every day from my son.
If we work together, what can I expect?
I will customize your program to your own needs and sensitivities and be mindful of what works for you. But I will also ask you to get outside your comfort zone at times. Being a parent, and doing this work, requires some measure of courage. The reward for that courage is amazing new possibilities for your own growth and for your relationship with your children.
The values that guide my practice are …
“Ninety percent of parenting is doing what you can to avoid the problem.”
“Discipline doesn’t mean doing something to your kid after he does something. Discipline comes from the word disciple, which is proactive and not reactive.”
“Kids need to be allowed to be kids and their unique potential needs to be allowed to flourish and grow.”
“Parenting can be a whole lot more rewarding and a lot less stressful and that parents deserve to have their needs met as well.”
“Difficulties can be the keys to transformation and should be understood and embraced, not avoided.”
“I believe that parents can truly change the world and that my role is to help them do it.”
You can learn more by visiting my services page.