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.

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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Why It Is So Important For Parents to Validate Their Children

Validation is a way of letting someone know we understand him or her.  Being understood is an essential ingredient to feeling connected and supported.  When someone important to us understands us, their hearing us helps us to tune into ourselves and accept our emotions as real and meaningful.  This ultimately supports the growth of self-compassion… Read more »

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The mad monster made me do it!

When we are little, our needs get expressed through our strong emotions.  A baby doesn’t have the capacity to get food when hungry, a blanket when cold or a change of a wet diaper.  Instead, they fuss!  They muster the voice of the “mad monster” to get the attention they need, whaling and whimpering.  This… Read more »

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Negative Feelings, Essential Signals on the Road of Life: Supporting our Children on their Path

While bearing our own suffering is bad enough, watching our children struggle can be almost unbearable! It’s natural to want to avoid things that are uncomfortable and unpleasant, and especially to protect our children from experiencing them.  And clearly, suffering for extended periods of time is unacceptable. But the truth is, life is not without… Read more »

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What’s Up with Boredom?

In my office I have encountered clients who report “boredom” as an almost unbearable state.  My young clients find they are “bored” at school, doing chores, having to even engage in conversations.  It is a painful state they feel they need to escape from which often leads to distracted behavior in class, conflicts at home… Read more »

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Innovations and Conveniences: Ups and Downs of Parenting in the 21st Century

Life in the 21st century is full of innovations and conveniences.  The scope of these changes and their impact on our experiences are vast from the food we eat to how we do our daily tasks.  We can do many things faster, more efficiently and more conveniently.  Food is tastier and entertainment more accessible, stimulating… Read more »

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