Debra Kessler, Psy.D.

Debra Kessler, Psy.D.
Debra Kessler, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in the care of children and their families. Dr. Kessler was awarded her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, graduating Magna Cum Laude from Vanderbilt University. While working as an RN in Pediatric Intensive Care, she pursued a Masters Degree in Pediatrics from UCLA to further her skills in caring for children. After a career in nursing that included bedside nursing, Kessler chose to focus her attention on addressing the emotional needs of children and their families by obtaining a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at California School of Professional Psychology. Her post-doctorate work was done with Child Development Institute treating autistic and developmentally challenged preschool and young children and at Reiss-Davis Child Study center addressing the needs of school children, adolescents and their families. She has contributed to Infant/Child Mental Health, Early Intervention, and Relationship-Based Therapies: A Neurorelational Framework for Interdisciplinary Practice (Lillas &Turnbull 2009). Dr. Kessler has an active practice in Montrose, California. In a family centered manner, she treats a range of developmental and emotional issues including adoption/attachment difficulties, bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, autism/Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD, learning challenges, regulatory difficulties and other issues that interfere with children reaching their potential.

Blogs by Debra Kessler, Psy.D.

How to Help Your Child Get Things Done (Without a Fight)

Many parents struggle with repeated conflicts with their kids. One moment may be about getting homework done, and the next may be about picking up clothes off the floor or getting off the computer. While the subject changes, the struggles are the same. Simply put, the topic has changed, but the process repeats. Your child… Read more »

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From Struggles to Super-Powers: Helping Your Child Grow

As parents, we have many goals for our child. Overall, these goals are about managing the challenges in their lives, so they can ultimately be happy and successful. These can sound like: “I want him to turn in his homework.” I want her to clean up her room.” “I want her to have friends.” “I want him… Read more »

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Rudeness and Disrespect: What to Do and How to Manage

I often hear aggravation from parents about their child’s “disrespect,” “rudeness,” or “cussing” when describing challenges at home. They retell stories of conflicts over technology, homework, or limits, and as their child becomes upset, the “unacceptable” behavior emerges. At the point when the interaction shifts from conversation to argument, parents often get heated and escalate… Read more »

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It’s Time for a Hero Story

While it is true life has been disrupted, how do we make sense of it for our kids?  Their routines are changed; relationships are now managed with social distancing and pods.  We told them tech has its place and now it is where they are getting their schooling.  Social unrest is challenging the questions of… Read more »

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tantrum hunger cues

Is it the grouch monster?

Long ago when my daughter was young, we noticed moments when her personality seemed to shift on a dime.  She would flip from cooperative to irritable at a speed that left us bewildered. As we tried to make sense of it we became aware that this was occurring between meals and often when we went… Read more »

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The Paradox of Life During Coronavirus

In the time of COVID-19, life has changed. Many of us feel simultaneously overwhelmed and bored. I commonly hear how tired folks are when in fact, their lives are being lived in a smaller footprint. Time drags on and melts away as days all blend together, going fast and slow at the same time. It… Read more »

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Creating Order in an Upside-Down World

In the past, staying at home was a privilege, a day off, a stay-cation or just an opportunity to relax. However, we are now in a truly strange time. It is mandatory that we stay home and it doesn’t take long for the novelty to wear off. Kids who have complained about getting up in… Read more »

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Facing Into the Rough Winds of a Challenging Time

For a sapling to emerge as a stable and sturdy tree, it establishes a deep root system and a thick trunk. From there, growth takes time and support. It must withstand environmental stressors, competition for water, nutrients, winds and other adversities. In the forest, a canopy provided by the more mature trees shelter the small… Read more »

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Skiing – A Metaphor for Emotional Regulation

When we enter the world, we transition from an insulated environment to one that is full of challenges.  We must learn how to navigate around both expected and unexpected events. It is a journey that is easier for some and more difficult for others.  As adults, it can be easy to overlook the process our… Read more »

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What is Pulling Your Strings?

How often have you asked yourself, “Why am I acting this way?”  It is not uncommon to notice that, as we look around at others in the same circumstance that we respond differently; whether it is our response to our child’s backtalk, meltdown or lying.  We can understand and accept that we may not have… Read more »

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