July 2, 2015

Brevard Family Wellness CenterWow, It has been two long years since I have written a blog post on here. Of course there is a reason for that, during that time I had my second child and went on maternity leave, and then instead of returning to the practice I had been working at decided to open my own private practice. Since opening up my new practice, the number of clients I have been able to work with and help has increased drastically, keeping me even busier! If that wasn’t enough, in February of this year, I decided to expand my practice by making it a group practice and hiring on additional counselors. The new company is called Brevard Family Wellness Center. Of course there is always time of growing as you find the right people but I am feeling pretty confident that I have found two wonderful counselors to help me serve Merritt Island and the surrounding areas with high quality counseling services. One of the counselors signed right before going on an extended vacation so I do not have her bio and pic to share just yet but I would like to welcome everyone to check out the new websites. You can find my personal website at www.stebbinscounseling.com and the company website at www.BrevardFamilyWellness.com. I hope to continue to grow the practice and eventually offer other natural minded health care options such as massage therapy, nutrition, reiki, acupuncture, yoga & meditation, etc. Of course it will be baby steps in our growth! I hope you enjoy the new websites! I’m looking into starting back up with my writing and will be deciding soon if it will continue on here or if it would be best to start on one of the new websites. I’ll keep everyone posted!

P.S. Don’t you just love the new logo!


Finding the Right Therapist for Your Child

May 16, 2011

       It is hard for a parent to admit that their child or family needs professional help. Once they do, most don’t know where to turn to get the help that they need. For the average person, the mental health field can be quite confusing. There are several options depending on your situation, and once you know what type of professional you need, it can be hard to determine who the best professional is to help you. Often times people select a therapist solely based on the fact that they take their insurance. Although whether they take your insurance is important if this is how you plan to pay for therapy, there are other factors that you need to take into consideration.

        Finding the right person is essential to making positive changes. Let me be clear though that by “right person” I do not mean that there will only be one person that will be able to help. In fact, most therapists may be able to help, but some will be better able to do so than others for several different reasons.

        I will provide a guide for you on the different types of therapy services available and how to make sure the therapist you choose is the best to help your family in several upcoming entries.

       If you are looking for a therapist in Brevard County, please feel free to call or email me to see if I may be a good fit for you! My contact information can be found in the About section of the blog.

The Mommies: A Musical Blog Mental Health Review

May 12, 2011

        Yesterday I went to see The Mommies: A Musical Blog. From a mental health perspective I was pleasantly surprised by the content of the play. It discussed aspects of motherhood from the time before the sperm even meets the egg to the empty nest. I believe the musical did a wonderful job of highlighting some of the struggles of motherhood and the emotions involved. During the scene discussing trying to conceive, the characters hit on the multitude of feelings such as sadness, guilt, embarrassment, and resentment when others around them are becoming pregnant and they are not. A musical number focusing on the postpartum period discussed feelings of baby blues, depression, lack of libido, and other struggles accurately and poignantly. In fact, the emotions portrayed were the same as many that I see in my office including confusion and guilt over why they don’t feel as they thought they should about their baby, resentment and sadness over losing a sense of self, and feelings of isolation and frustration.

         Later in the play, struggles of being a mother to older children, tweens, and teenagers are hit upon in not only an accurate but also a humorous manner. The scene on tweens mentions the transition between childhood and the teenage years and how children often flip flop between the two. The scene on teenagers likens this stage as a battle, which I believe many parents will wholeheartedly agree on as teens begin to try to find their own sense of self.

        The musical is not only an accurate portrayal of the feelings associated with motherhood and of the developmental milestones children and parents reach but also on the trends of our society today. The musical shows a mother’s tendency to search for answers on the “right” way to do everything from conceiving, potty training, and letting go and even highlights The SuperNanny in this quest. Also, as the name suggests, it is all about using the internet and technology to reach out to other mom’s to connect. Although this is definitely a trend, I do not agree that it is a helpful one when it takes the place of face to face, deeper interactions. Overall, I believe that any parents that decide to check out the play will find that they will be able to relate to stories.

If you are in the Brevard County area and looking for a counselor due to your own struggles as a parent, I would be more than happy to talk with you.


Plugged In, Tuned Out

May 10, 2011

         I know this is not a new phenomenon. Slowly over the past several years, Americans have started to use technology more and more as the technology has evolved further. We now have smart phones that people carry with them everywhere, supposedly making our lives easier. While it may be making it easier for us to get things done, I’m not convinced that it is enriching our lives.

            Over the past several weeks I have been noticing how these smart phones are causing people to lose touch with the real world. Just while at an exercise class I noticed a 12 year old girl “attempting” to work out while really playing on her phone and then two younger girls glued to their own phones. I think what really did it for me though was while walking on the beach on Mother’s Day, I watched another mom push her child in a stroller and her eyes were glued to her phone. She was at the beach and instead of enjoying her child or the beach, she decided to be on her phone. 

            This technology has become so addictive that it takes us away from our other priorities. It consumes much of our day and we spend less time with friends, family, and doing things we used to enjoy. Although we feel more connected with our phones in the short run, in the long run it will only leave us feeling more disconnected to the world around us. I urge you to think about your use and how it affects your life. Try implementing rules for when use of technology is and is not acceptable. Make more of an effort to turn off the phone or computer and enjoy the outside world, whether that means going out with friends, enjoying your family, or reveling in nature. Whatever you choose to do, make sure some of your time is technology free! I’m sure down the road research will show that overuse of technology can be a detriment to our mental health, take steps now to prevent it!

Therapist Relationship with Teenage Clients

May 6, 2011

Q. My child does not want to go to counseling and doesn’t think it will help, how do I know if it will and if the therapist is the right one for them?

A. Children and teenagers do not typically want to be in therapy. You may need to try to separate their feelings about going to therapy from their feelings about their therapist. This can sometimes be hard when your child won’t talk to you about what goes on in therapy and really does not have to. You can try to start a conversation about how they feel about their therapist and what they like about them without asking questions about what they talk about in session. For instance you could ask questions such as “What do you think of Jessica?” and “Do you think she understands what you are going through?” If you get the feeling your child is finding your questions to be invasive, it is best to back down.

      Give the therapist some time to make a connection with your child and for results to become apparent. Over time your child should resent going to counseling less if they have made a connection with their therapist. If your child consistently states that they do not like or trust their therapist, it is a good sign that it is not the right therapist for them.

      As far as if therapy will help, only time will tell. I will say that if your child does not like their therapist, chances are it won’t, however, because your child won’t feel heard, understood, and will not take their counselor seriously, all of which is important if progress is to be made. Look for changes in their behavior, not only for the reason that you have them going to counseling but in all aspects of their life. Keep in mind that sometimes things get worse before they get better as well.

      If you still aren’t sure, you can always ask for an update from the therapist. My recommendation is that updates be given in front of your child so they can hear exactly what is being said and will continue to develop trust in the therapeutic relationship. If the counselor has something to say that should not be said in front of your child, they will have sense enough to not add it in at that time.

Discovery Institute, P.A. New Location

May 3, 2011


Discovery Institute, P.A. has reopened in a new location. We are still in Rockledge but are now off of US1. The address is

4175 S. US1
Rockledge, FL 32955

The following therapists will be seeing clients at this new location:

Connie Porter-Richard, LMHC
Marilyn Bennett, LMHC
Jessica Stebbins, Registered Marriage & Family Therapist Intern

Therapy groups will also be conducted at this location.

Planned Teen Pregnancy

April 29, 2011

        Although teen birth rates have dropped since the early 1990s, it is becoming a more talked about topic since MTV has been airing their shows “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom”. Statistics state that about 1/3 of girls will become pregnant during their teen years and most of these are unintended. Most, but not all. Today I’d like to talk about those teen pregnancies that are planned.

         Parents and other adults have a hard time understanding why a young girl would decide to have a baby, especially when she does not have the ability to provide for the child either financially or emotionally. Other teenagers would look at their life and decide that they aren’t ready to give up their freedom and fun-loving lifestyle. So why is it that some girls overlook these reasons to not have a baby and make that life changing decision to become a parent? They are looking for unconditional love. In my experience with working with teenage girls in the juvenile justice system, I have heard girls who wanted to have babies state that they want someone to love them. These young girls reported not feeling loved and cared for by their families and yearned to feel the unconditional love that they should have experienced with their parents. Often times they report a conflicted relationship with their own mother.    

          We all have a need to feel loved. It is a strong need, and the experience itself can become intoxicating, leaving individuals desperate to feel it again. In this state of need and desperation, people often don’t think clearly, hence the sayings “punch drunk love” and “blinded by love”. Girls will often look for love through relationships with boys, relationships that often become sexual. As girls begin to realize that this “love” is conditional and not real, they begin to get more desperate to experience unconditional love. They begin to realize that unlike a romantic relationship, a parent/child relationship does not end.

         There is no reasoning with these young girls. They are often emotionally immature and are fixated on their dreams of what their life would be like with a child. Trying to help these girls to see that there is no guarantee that their child will love them unconditionally is fruitless, even though they report not loving their own mothers this way. They believe they know what it takes to be a good mother, even though they have not had good parental role models. So what can you do to help prevent a girl you know from becoming a teen mom by choice? It is important that these girls find a relationship with an adult that is supportive, trustworthy, and stable. Be there for her, show her what unconditional caring is like and that she does not have to go to such lengths to obtain it.

Jessica Stebbins, M.S., Registered Marriage and Family Therapist Intern
IMT 1258
Discovery Institute, P.A.     Rockledge,FL