We caught up with the brilliant and insightful MONICA DOUGLAS DAVIS a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Hi MONICA, thanks for joining us today. We’re complete cheeseballs and so we love asking folks to share the most heartwarming moment from their career – do you have a touching moment you can share with us?
I work with blended families as a counselor and parenting practitioner. There are many challenges that come with blending two different sets of people. One family I worked with had children from the mother. Children from the father and children from the couple. The older children expressed concerns that they were being treated differently from the younger children both parents shared. I worked with the family both as a unit and as individuals to improve communication, set goals and establish new routines for the family. Where before each family had their own way of doing things, as a blended family sometimes the routine was disrupted or even cancelled and this caused a lot of friction in the home. We practiced working together as a family unit to be able to speak respectfully but freely about feelings each person had. We set up chores and consequences and family meetings. We worked on each child having personal time with their biological parent but also time with the blended family as well on family nights. Each person would pick an activity that EVERYONE had to participate in. One example that was meaningful was when this family cooked together. They made pizza and pasta. Everyone made their own personal pizza and the older siblings and parents made pasta. They laughed and talked and joked during the process. It was a fun mess but created a lasting memory. One teen video taped the event and shared it with other people. They even sang songs and asked trivia questions as they prepared and cooked their meal. They each had different aspects of the evening they enjoyed and then they planned a family vacation for the future. Once the doors of significance and security were established, the family improved their relationship dramatically. As a counselor, I stress the importance of everyone feeling a sense of significance, security and contentment. When you know that someone cares for you as an individual person, they are more likely to respond in a positive manner with the nonbiological parent. Parents get together because they love each other but often times they forget that their kids don’t necessarily love the nonbiological adult or their new siblings. They feel like their family unit has been violated. New connections and effective communication must be established. As a counselor, it gives me joy to see these families thriving and growing together in life. Life can and will be challenging at times and having a great support system is essential to make it through those tough times.
MONICA, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
I am the owner and founder of Child & Adolescent Resource Education Services, LLC also know as CARES Counseling. I was a elementary school teacher for eleven years prior to becoming a counselor so teaching is very important in my counseling practice. I love working with families to have great fun, communication, and quality relationships. I pride myself on being a peacemaker for the families I work with. My goal is to help them be at peace with themselves and others whenever possible. I provide individual, couple and family counseling from a hands on approach that is full of fun, practical and solution focused perspective. I believe that everyone who works hard to fulfill the goals they set with support, will ultimately be successful. I provide behavior strategies for client to utilize immediately after each session. I accept people at the stage they are at and we work together to get them to a determined goal of where they want to be as a person or family unit. I use humor and stories as a way to relate to real life with my clients. I share my own stories with my family or others, when it can be helpful to the families. My clients set the pace to accomplish their goals and I provide a road map to achieve it. Flexibility is critical in the process. I feel that counseling should be fluid, We all grow and change and as a counselor, I allow my clients to be their true self while improving the quality of their lives. My motto is ” Take care of yourself, Be salt and light.” This means that everyone has a valuable voice and it matters and we all seek connection and joy through insight and our experiences. I believe we have everything we need inside of ourselves to be happy and successful, but a counselor helps us to recognize it and bring it out in the world in a constructive way. Everyone has things in their lives that traumatized them and affected the way they see life and society. As a counselor I provide a safe avenue for clients to release those traumas and be the best person they can be. I am proud when my clients feel they can be that best version of themselves in the world, and I am a vessel for them to get to that level of success. I have written several books I am so proud of including ” God Made Me Beautiful, But I didn’t know it.” Twenty Tips For Effective Parenting In The 21st Century and an Amazon Best Seller co author of ” The Voices Behind Mental Illness: Volume 1. . I enjoy writing blogs and articles on parenting support and had a podcast that instills hope in people and encourages people to always shoot for the moon. The only limits we have are our own thoughts that stop us from being our best self.
Let’s talk about resilience next – do you have a story you can share with us?
I wanted to be a teacher years ago but my GPA was not high enough to pass the basic application requirements. I have a strong faith that I will accomplish whatever goal I set even with obstacles. I applied anyway for a competitive program. I got through all four rounds only to be turned down. I was devastated, but believed this program was the one for me. I prayed for understanding from God as to why I had passed all of the requirements when I was supposed to be eliminated from my GPA alone. I believe timing is critical for resiliency. A month later, I received a call that someone had not accepted a spot in the program and they offered it to me. The month after I was not chosen for the program I was travelling out of the country. Had I been accepted before I would have missed a memorable trip to Africa. I ultimately received a fully paid Master’s Degree in Education because I believed in my desire to be a teacher even when the odds were against me.
We often hear about learning lessons – but just as important is unlearning lessons. Have you ever had to unlearn a lesson?
I had to learn that You have to believe in yourself no matter what. Not to be a people pleaser because you can never truly please all of the people. I have a voice. it matters and needs to be heard.
I had low self-esteem growing up as child and often felt inferior to people. I compared my outward appearance to others or material things I lacked. When I felt I didn’t measure up, I would shrink back. I always had big goals but often didn’t feel worthy enough to speak up for myself. I loved to be around people but I somehow often felt small and insignificant . It took many years for me to learn to truly love myself and know that I had value and worth and if people didn’t see it. that was their loss. I now end unhealthy relationships with people who are negative or joy suckers. I am light and salt to others and I refuse to allow others to take away my joy or gifts I possess.
I encourage all parents to speak life giving words to their children so they won’t look for validation in unhealthy ways.
- Website: https://carescounseling.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/monicadouglasdavis/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/monica.douglasdavis/
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/monica-douglas-davis-450baa45/
- Other: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/monica-douglas-davis-lilburn-ga/