Category Archives: Events

WFC Hosts Guest Speaker, Bill Donaldson for Lecture on Money Coaching on 7/26


Westport Family Counseling hosted a Networking Breakfast and Professional Lecture on Money Coaching on Wednesday July 26th, 2017. WFC was pleased to welcome Bill Donaldson of Donaldson Financial Wellness Network LLC as our Guest Speaker. BILL DONALDSON, CFP, is the founder of Donaldson Financial Wellness Network, LLC. located in Westport, CT. In addition to the Certified Financial Planner designation, Mr. Donaldson is also a Certified Money Coach.

Money Coaching is an entirely new field and paradigm developed by Deborah Price, author and founder of The Money Coaching Institute. People often have unconscious patterns, beliefs and behaviors around money that prevent them from fully experiencing their true potential. Money Coaching assists individuals in identifying and moving beyond these restrictions.

For more information on Money Coaching and the Eight Money Types as well as The Money Type Quiz.

WFC is Hosting Network Breakfast and Presentation on, “Pharmacogenomic Testing: Moving Psychiatry into the 21st Century”

Westport Family Counseling is hosting a Networking Breakfast and Presentation on, “Pharmacogenomic Testing: Moving Psychiatry into the 21st Century,” on Thursday February 18th, 2016 from 8:30-10am.  Dr. Vatsal Thakkar will be our guest presenter on this topic.

Dr. Thakkar will speak about the fact that the state of the art in psychiatry for the last 50 years has been an evaluation by interview, followed by an educated guess regarding need for medication and then deciding among the 100+ various psychotropic medications available for clinical use.  Now, the field of psychiatry is taking a quantum leap forward: a simple DNA test done by a mouth swab can be used to run anywhere from one to 18 different psychiatry-based genomic tests to create a physiological and treatment landscape on the patient sitting in the clinician’s office.

This presentation will be facilitated by Dr. Vatsal Thakkar M.D.

Vatsal G. Thakkar, M.D. Is Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine.  He has held positions at both Vanderbilt Medical Center and NYU in the areas of med student & resident teaching, professional wellness/EAP, and clinical research on major depression, addictions, and adult ADHD.  In 2013, he published a feature article in the New York Times titled, “Diagnosing the Wrong Deficit,” about the hidden scourge of sleep dysfunction in the psychiatric population.  He currently practices full time in Westport, Connecticut.

Click here to register for the event.

Community Presentation on Tuesday October 6th on “Redefining Family: Understanding and Supporting the Modern Family”


Westport Family Counseling is hosting a Free Presentation for the Community on Tuesday October 6th at 8:30am.  Stephanie Schacher, PsyD will be presenting on “Redefining Family: Understanding and Supporting the Modern Family”

8:30-9am Complimentary Breakfast

9-10am – Presentation by Stephanie Schacher


This presentation will address the social and clinical issues relevant to families headed by gay dads, single mothers by choice, and families formed using fertility treatment including third party reproduction. With the increase in the use of fertility treatments, issues pertaining to older parents will also be addressed. The talk will address both commonalities and differences in these groups, and how to provide treatment and support that are sensitive to these parent groups’ needs.


About our Guest Presenter:

Stephanie Schacher, PsyD  is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Fairfield and Branford Connecticut. One of her main areas of interest is in clinical work surrounding family building with groups such as gay dads, single moms, and heterosexual couples utilizing fertility treatments. She has conducted original research and published on gay dads, exploring their pathways to and experiences with fatherhood. Prior to establishing her practice in Connecticut, she worked for New York Presbyterian/Columbia university medical center where she provided psychological services to Hospital and University employees, and was involved in a grant funded program treating individuals impacted by 9/11. Other trauma-related work has centered around developing curriculum and providing trainings to educators, nurses, and mental health clinicians on childhood trauma in the Gulf Coast following hurricane Katrina in 2005. In her private practice she also does trauma work, working with women with childhood histories of abuse.

If you are interested in attending or have questions please email, call (203) 227-4555 or you can sign up online:

20 Local Professionals and Parents Attended WFC’s September Networking Breakfast and Presentation by Alison Bevan, Certified Sleep Consultant

Westport Family Counseling hosted an audience of 20 parents and professionals last Wednesday morning 9/16 for our September Networking Breakfast and Presentation by Alison Bevan, Certified Sleep Consultant.  The event was a great success and we had a great turnout of Fairfield County professionals and parents!

WFC Offering Free Community Presentation on “Strategies to Resolve Behavioral Sleep Problems In Children” on September 16th at 9am


Westport Family Counseling is hosting a Free Presentation for the Community on Wednesday September 16th at 9am.  Alison Bevan, Certified Sleep Specialist will be presenting on “Strategies to Resolve Sleep Issues in Children.”

9-9:30- Complimentary Breakfast

9:30-10:30- Presentation by Alison Bevan

Lack of quality of sleep has a pervasive effect on the physical and emotional well-being of children. During sleep, biological and physiological processes take place that are essential for maintaining optimal health and development.

Sleep problems are pervasive in the pediatric population, and effect the entire family. Studies show that approximately one in three children will experience a significant sleep problem in the first ten years of life and, if left untreated, they will be 50{f1cbbec8c52242e0435b0f8ae193f61eb53614017266a91800a694fa5707c0ea} more likely to suffer from chronic sleep problems as adults. Parents of poor sleepers are more likely to be anxious and/or depressed, and most report that their child’s sleep problems have a profoundly negative impact on their family’s quality of life.

Why Sleep Matters

  • The effects of sleep deprivation on children and families

Components of Healthy Sleep

  • Sleep as a learned skill
  • Amount of sleep –average sleep requirements by age
  • Timing of sleep – circadian rhythm, melatonin, cortisol
  • Quality of sleep – un-fragmented, motionless, undisturbed by underlying medical conditions

Why Sleep Problems Happen

  • Conscious and unconscious parenting choices/parental philosophy
  • Temperament
  • Developmental leaps/regressions
  • Circumstances/significant life events
  • Underlying medical conditions

Solving Behavioral Sleep Problems

  • Evidence-based sleep coaching methods (extinction, modified extinction, fading)
  • Choosing the right approach for the family
  • Choosing the right time to start

Roadblocks to Success

  • Parental inconsistency
  • Lack of support/resources

The Role of the Sleep Coach

About our Guest Presenter:

As a Pediatric Sleep Consultant, Alison Bevan is dedicated to offering parents the guidance and support they need to have a well rested family. Alison works with parents of newborns and infants to establish healthy sleep habits and parents of older children to solve daytime and nighttime sleep problems. She is the Pediatric Sleep Specialist at The Center For Advanced Pediatrics in Fairfield County, and works with families across the country through her private practice – Sleepytime Coach. She is a Happiest Baby Educator, a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach with a specialty in 4-5 month old sleep, a member of the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants and a guest speaker and contributing author for numerous organizations and publications dedicated to family health and wellness.

Please email if you are interested in signing up.

Westport Family Counseling is Sponsoring Westport Art Center’s Art Slam! this Saturday 6/20 from 6-8pm

WFC is teaming up with the Westport Arts Center to sponsor their Art Slam! this Saturday 6/20 from 6-8pm.  Art Slam! is a one night only art party featuring work from 12 local teens and music by local performers. This event is free and open to the public, and will also include food furnished by The Cheese Truck and the GRANOLA bar.  As the event sponsor, a clinician from Westport Family Counseling will be offering an art therapy activity that all guests can take part in.  Stop by the Westport Arts Center on 51 Riverside Ave in Westport this Saturday, June 20th from 6-8pm.

Artists were selected by TAC members and are:

Katherine Coogan, “Longshore”
Madison Dick, “Living Life.” 
Sophie Driscoll, “Real”
Lauren Fraites“Patterns in the Sky”
Sarah Holmes, “Autumn Walk” 
Blair Marine, “It’s a Grey Day”
Celeste Matte, “The Garden Arch” 
Alexandra McMahon, “Tiger Lily”
Audrey Seo, “Fun with Knives”
Katherine Simpson, “Stay Gold, Ponyboy” 
Alex Spadacenta, “Just Another Day”
Rachel Wolfe“Colorful Crab”

TAC Is a group of 20-30 elite teens who serve as ambassadors for the arts in the community by creating program and event opportunities for their peers. Founded in January 2015, TAC currently accepts applications on a rolling basis. To learn more about TAC, please click here.

Last Week WFC Co-hosted Film Screening of “The Anonymous People” and Panel Discussion in Westport

Westport Family Counseling Director, Nicholas Strouse speaking on the panel at “The Anonymous People” film screening at Christ & Holy Trinity Church in Westport last Thursday, March 12th. Newport Academy co-hosted the event with Westport Family Counseling and had a large turnout of community members, sparking a dialogue about addiction and recovery issues.



Next Thursday 3/12 Join WFC and Newport Academy for a Free Screening and Panel Discussion of “The Anonymous People”


Westport Family Counseling and Newport Academy are proud to present, “The Anonymous People,” a film aimed at encouraging an open dialogue about addiction and recovery. The documentary depicts the road that 23 million Americans travel for long ­term recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. It showcases the history of recovery, including how the AA is just one of many recovery ­related anonymous experiences available for the individuals who face addiction.

But anonymity is not always what recovering addicts or those around them, need or want. There are social stigmas and discrimination that can arise with the anonymity of meeting quietly and in secret from the rest of the world. Mass media has reinforced stereotypes, rather than explaining that addiction is preventable and treatable. “The Anonymous People” depicts courageous Americans as they emerge from the shadows of anonymity to help elicit a network of strength to defeat addiction.

Above all else, the film inspires us to be a face and voice for change, raising our concerns while unveiling fear and how to triumph over it. Because while addiction is a scary thing, the world remaining silent about it is scarier. Together, we can open eyes and ears to the struggle, which in turn gives those who face addiction and their loved ones a way to feel comfortable reaching out. In turn, we can fight to end the discrimination and criminalization of addiction. The film touches on this issue, discussing potential legislation to prevent jail time for drug offenses linked to addiction.

The film will conclude with a discussion panel. Greg Williams, the film’s producer, will be present alongside Ingrid Gillespie (from Communities 4 Action), Carter Barnhart (from Newport Academy), and our own Nicholas Strouse (Director of Westport Family Counseling). Feel free to bring questions for anyone on the panel.

The first step to finding a sustainable solution is speaking out about the problem. We intend to do just that.

Interested in attending? The event will be held on Thursday March 12, 2015, at Trinity & Holy Church Westport at 75 Church Lane in Westport from 6:30-­ 9 PM.  You can register for your f​ree tickets ​online.  We also encourage you to visit the M​any Faces 1 Voice Project ​to learn more about the film and it’s impact.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, Westport Family Counseling ​is a safe resource for support and guidance.

WFC and Newport Academy hosting Film Screening and Panel Discussion in Westport on March 12th from 6:30-9pm

Westport Family Counseling and Newport Academy will be hosting a screening of The Anonymous People followed by a panel discussion on Thursday March 12th from 6:30-9pm at Christ & Holy Trinity Church in Westport, CT.  The Anonymous People is a feature documentary film about the 23.5 million Americans living in long-term recovery from alcohol and other drug addiction.  The moving story of The Anonymous People will be told through the faces and voices of the leaders, volunteers, corporate executives, and celebrities who are laying it all one the line to save the lives of others just like them.  The panel discussion will feature The Anonymous People producer, Greg Williams, Westport Family Counseling Director, Nicholas Strouse, Executive Director of Communities 4 Action, Ingrid Gillespie, and Professional Colleague in Recovery from Newport Academy, Carter Barnhart.  There will be refreshments provided and this is a free event for the community.  To register visit: