Category Archives: News

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 Presented at New Canaan Networking for Youth Luncheon on Tuesday 10/25

Carolyn Yates, LMFT of Westport Family Counseling presented at New Canaan High School this past Tuesday 10/25 as part of the triannual Networking for Youth meeting.

Carolyn Yates, LMFT presented on the topic of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). There were 30 attendees present including several school counseling staff members from various schools in New Canaan.

Networking for Youth is an opportunity for youth & family service providers within our community to collaborate for the purpose of systemic growth. The triannual meetings provide a platform for sharing ideas, programs and initiatives, as well as obstacles and solutions.

We strengthen the foundation of our community with the support that we provide together. Networking for Youth is an opportunity to engage with other professionals from various agencies and share visions regarding community growth and positive youth development, as well as learn something new.

WFC Co-Hosted Professional Development Conference last Friday 10/14 in Darien

Westport Family Counseling teamed up with Acadia Healthcare to co-host a Professional Development Conference at the Darien Community Association last Friday 10/14.  Dr. Antoinette Giedzinska-Simons and Yudit Maros, LMFT C.Ht presented on “Progressive Treatment Approaches for the 21st Century.”  The event was a great success and 40 mental health professionals attended and received Continuing Education Credits.

WFC Hosted Cultural Competency Training on Tuesday 10/4/16

Ivette Betancourt, LMFT and Sukriti Kushwaha, LMFT, Ph.D., of TLCCT (Training and Learning for Clinicians) facilitated a Cultural Competency on-site training at Westport Family Counseling on Tuesday October 4th, 2016.  The training was well attended by 13 clinicians who received CEUs and met the new state licensing requirements for Cultural Competency CEUs.  It was a vibrant group of clinicians and sparked thoughtful dialogue about cultural awareness in a clinical setting.


For anyone interested in the training, you can contact TLCCT at:

(860) 716-1790;

433 Silas Deane Highway, Wethersfield, CT, 06109



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.

WFC Teams Up With Westport House to Host a Professional Luncheon on 1/29

Westport Family Counseling teams up with Westport House to co-host a Professional Luncheon on Friday 1/29 at The Westport Inn.  The WFC Clinical Team will be speaking about their approach to addiction and trauma treatment.

The topic of the WFC presentation is, “Treating The Host, As Well As The Addiction:” Whether chemical or behavioral in nature, addictions cause deleterious changes to the brain, body, and mind. Moreover, it is often the case that the core issues leading to addictions involve challenging biopsychosocial factors, such as physical injuries or illness, complex trauma, and ongoing mental health issues. Because of the many variables that surround addiction, it is most often the case that adaptive, comprehensive treatment plans are necessary to optimize recovery. Learn about how various treatments are used, individually and together. Interventions such as EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy), Family Therapy, Nutritional Counseling, and Mindfulness Fitness can be coordinated as a multi-pronged approach, which separates the addiction from the host. The result is a greater integration of body and mind, through support of the “whole” person.

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.