THRIVE: Building Resilient Families.
Created to normalize the challenges of raising children, this short 20-minute podcast features meaningful conversations, tips and resources with parents and professionals dedicated to helping children of all ages thrive in childhood and beyond.
Tune in every other Thursday for the latest episode available through Austin Child Guidance Center, as well as Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
June 30, 2022
Ep. 28: Inclusion Solutions: How schools can evolve to make everyone feel safe
Ace Schwarz of Teaching Outside the Binary joins us today to talk about the importance of creating inclusive environments for LGBTQIA+ people in schools. Mx. Schwarz shares their expertise in working with school administrators, caregivers, and teachers to make everyone feel accepted. One important topic Schwarz speaks about is how language impacts the classroom environment, offering alternative ways of addressing students. Ace also discusses their Instagram platform @teachingoutsidethebinary where they share resources with over 43,000 followers.
June 15, 2022
Ep. 27: Raising a Trans Child: The Realities and the Rewards
Today’s episode is a rebroadcast of Kristen Pierce-Vreeke’s conversation with Virginia Williamson, LMFT. Williamson joined us on our very first episode to share her experience as a mother of a transgender child. She discussed motherhood in a blended family and offered advice on finding time for self-care as a mom. Williamson is also a panelist in our upcoming discussion: Pride Month and Mental Health: Supporting LGBTQIA+ Children and Youth on June 23rd.
June 1, 2022
Ep. 26: Healing While Feeling: Children and Families in the Aftermath of Uvalde
Lead Psychologist at Austin Child Guidance Center, Dr. Laura Amoscato, shares her expertise in helping children and families heal from traumatic events. She discusses the importance of mental health counseling in the aftermath of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and offers thoughts on how parents can support children’s healing while also healing themselves. Dr. Amoscato touches on how to affirm child safety, validate a child's feelings, and how social-emotional learning can help during these times.
May 19, 2022
Ep. 25: Galvanizing communities against systemic racism and advocating for mental health in the process
Executive Director and Founder of Austin Justice Coalition, Chas Moore, shares his motivations behind starting the organization and discusses the need for safe spaces for people to come together to fight against systemic and institutional discrimination towards marginalized groups, without the fear of repercussion or harm. In his own words, Moore defines systemic racism, how it has evolved, and what it means to address the emotional fallout of communities and individuals who experience it.
May 5, 2022
Ep. 24: How Art & Music Helps You Heal: Isabel and the Runaway Train
Join us in this episode of THRIVE: Building Resilient Families with special guest, Anna Westbrook, to discuss how Anna created her program and musical ‘Isabel and the Runaway Train’. The program was created to help everyone of every age, talk about their feelings and past trauma in a healthy way. Anna talks about what led her to create ‘Isabel and the Runaway Train’ to advocate for social justice and mental health in the community.
April 21, 2022
Ep. 23: Strategies to Help your Children with Test Anxiety
In this new episode of THRIVE: Building Resilient Families, we talk with Hartlea Heath, a Social Work Intern at Austin Child Guidance Center. She discusses the difference between normal nervousness when it comes to testing vs test anxiety. Hartlea also shares with us how parents can be detectives to spot these signs in children, and the several strategies to help them with their testing anxiety.
April 7, 2022
Ep. 22: Work Well & Live Well: How to Give Yourself Permission to Show Up
On this new episode of THRIVE: Building Resilient Families, we talk with Trish Blackwell, a Confidence Coach with clients ranging from high-achieving entrepreneurs to Olympic and professional athletes. We dive deep with Trish and discuss ways to find the exit ramp on the hamster wheel of self-doubt and self-induced pressure. By parenting our thoughts and expanding our emotional vocabulary, we can shut out the negative noise while learning the art of self-validation.
March 24, 2022
Ep. 21: Anti-Racism in today’s society & how to address it with your children
On this new episode of THRIVE: Building Resilient Families, we talk with Charlotte Caples, racial equity strategist and owner of Charlotte Caples Consulting, about the anti-racism movement that is ongoing and how we as a society can become the embodiment of anti-racism in our everyday life. Host, Kristen Pierce-Vreeke also talks with Charlotte on how parents can discuss racism with their children while covering topics such as microaggression and code-switching.
March 10, 2022
Ep. 20: Grace Under Pressure: Grace Sorensen discusses the music industry, staying true to herself
A young, ambitious woman with music in her heart that brings rhythm to her hometown. Grace Sorensen is a 19-year-old R&B Artist, who learned how to stay true to herself by building resilience in the entertainment industry. Grace will be performing at ACGC Family Fest as part of Austin Originals this year on April 2nd. Learn more and buy tickets at Austin Originals Benefit Concert (austinchildguidance.org)!
February 24, 2022
Ep. 19: Overcoming the stigma around mental health: A father's story of loss and healing
Please be warned that this episode contains topics related to addiction, drug use, and suicide. Please use your discretion to decide whether to listen. Douglas Rhodes joins us today to share with us the story of his son, who he lost to suicide 10 years ago. He talks about his struggle with the stigma surrounding mental health issues. His family also had difficulty finding treatment due to a lack of awareness and availability of mental health resources. Douglas' mission is to raise awareness about mental health issues, especially in teenagers. His message to families is that help is available.
February 10, 2022
Ep. 18: Addressing the legacy of mental health stigmas in marginalized communities and helping parents curate opportunities for joy and happiness with their children
In this episode, Dr. DeAnna Harris-McKoy, couple and family therapist, joined us to discuss different perspectives on the mental health needs of women of color, addressed ways to overcome mental health stigmas within marginalized communities, and normalized how to ask for help. We also discussed the importance of parents finding ways to engage and connect with their children, especially in these very difficult times.
January 27, 2022
Ep. 17: Surprise, it's Twins! What it's Like Raising Twin Boys
Nikki Lofton joins us today to discuss her parenting experiences with her 5-year-old twin boys. She talks not only the about unique challenges of raising twins but also about her experience with having children at a later age. Touching upon navigating simultaneous virtual classes during a pandemic, discovering her parenting style, and more, Nikki shares with us her unique parenting journey.
January 13, 2022
Ep. 16: Nurturing Growth: Listening and Learning from Your Children
In Part 2 of our conversation with Taylor Nichols, we will delve deeper into her experience as a parent, sharing what she learned from her children and her hopes for how they can grow and thrive. Taylor provides a reminder that children have autonomy over how they feel, and challenges parents to ask, engage and learn from children as individuals in their own right.
December 30, 2021
Ep. 15: A Family's Journey: Navigating the Unique Challenges and Joys of Adoption
In this episode, Taylor Nichols shares with us her daughter's adoption story, including her daughter's perspective of the story. Despite having a quick adoption process, the journey for their family is ongoing. From the joy of having a new family member to getting insensitive questions from other individuals, Taylor talks about it all, and what she and her family have learned together so far.
December 16, 2021
Ep. 14: Telemedicine and Mental Health Resources During COVID-19: Perspectives from a pediatrician
Dr. Roberto Rodriguez, a board member for ACGC, joins us today to talk about his various work experiences as a pediatrician. He shares his take on telemedicine usage to engage with children and its future in health services. Dr. Rodriguez also tells us his observations about the impact of COVID-19 on children's mental health and about the accessibility to mental health resources.
December 2, 2021
Ep. 13: Mental Health Assessments: Debunking Myths and Answering Questions
In this episode, Dr. Sanam Hafeez joins us from Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services in New York. Dr. Hafeez shares with us her journey and experience working with families and advocacy for mental health as well as her take on how our understanding of mental health has changed over recent years thanks to the increased usage of social media and the emergence of COVID-19. As mental health becomes a more valued and discussed topic today, Dr. Hafeez reminds us that getting a psychological assessment is important and that mental health professionals can help you navigate how to take care of your mental well-being.
November 11, 2021
Ep. 12: Stronger Together: Transformation for yourself and your family
Author Tami Overhauser shares her passion for helping women thrive and be the best versions of themselves, especially mothers. Kristen talks with her about her book, The Strong-Willed Mama: Surviving and Thriving Raising Strong-Willed Children, and her work as a mentor and public speaker. Driven by her experience as a mother of four children and faith, Tami’s main message to parents is that life is tough, but so are you.
October 14, 2021
Ep. 11: Observations from a Mental Health Professional: Perspectives and Resources for Children's Mental Health
In this episode, William Pugh, from Georgetown Behavioral Health talks about his career journey to his work in Georgetown, TX. With his diverse career experience and passion for mental health, William shares his perspective on today's view of mental well-being, how the community can continue to support their child's mental health, and resources available in Central Texas.
September 30, 2021
Ep. 10 Sierra's Story: Life lessons from a military dependent
In this episode, college-senior Sierra Burton breaks down her roles as a military dependent. She highlights the struggles military children face in all stages of childhood and gives her perspective on the vast differences of military life and civilian life. She and her brother became, rather quickly, adult-like figures with the responsibility of taking care of their younger siblings while their parents were training. She credits these experiences for her ability to easily adapt today.
September 16, 2021
Ep. 9: Piece by Piece: The Importance of Family Therapy
In this episode Scott Van Camp, LMSW, Director of Therapy Services at ACGC talks with Kristen about the role of family therapy in children’s mental health care. He underscores the importance of trust between therapist and family, and likens inter-family counseling to assembling a puzzle. Additionally, Van Camp compares individual therapy to family therapy, highlighting the differences and benefits of each.
September 2, 2021
Ep. 8: Nightmares and Tummy Aches: Today's Stressors for Infants, Toddlers, and Young Children.
In this episode, we speak with Tameka Thompson, LPC about her work as ACGC's Infant and Early Childhood Therapist. Join us as we discuss which factors catalyze stress for kids today, how such stress and anxiety presents itself, and what caregivers can do to best help their infants, toddlers, and young children.
August 19, 2021
Ep. 7: Helping Your Student Stay Safe for the New School Year: Manor ISD's Plan of Care
In this episode, we speak with Michael Perkins, chief of schools for Manor ISD, about the upcoming school year amidst another pandemic-affected year. Join us as we discuss Michael's role, concerns for the new school year as the delta variant surges, and how Manor ISD, and other school districts, will work with the community to ensure the physical and mental well-being of your children.
August 5, 2021
Ep. 6: Keep Calm and Parent On
It's important for parents to practice self-care and mindfulness in order to remain calm and be able to navigate the day-to-day challenges of parenthood. Celeste the Therapist joins us this week to discuss parenting tips and the importance of listening to your child, even if you don't always understand them.
July 22, 2021
Ep. 5: Helping Your Child Establish a Positive Relationship with Food and Their Body
Given the extensive amount of attention placed on body size and dieting in our society, we spend time talking to Dr. Ebony about one's relationship with food and their bodies. Join us as talk about helping children recover from the pressures of a diet culture while empowering them to develop a healthy relationship with food.
July 8, 2021
Ep. 4 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Why it Matters
In today's episode, Kristen Pierce-Vreeke talks with Sheri Rider Jobe about her experience as an educator and a parent. Jobe has dedicated more than twenty years of her career in education in key leadership positions and a passionate advocate for the inclusion and representation of ESL students in our schools.
Resource Guide For Working With ESL Students
NASP: Understanding Race and Privilege
June 24, 2021
Ep. 3: HIV and AIDS: Helping Your LGBTQIA+ Child Stay Safe
On this episode, we speak with the Director of Case Management at Vivent Health to discuss the shift in conversation surrounding HIV and AIDS and how LGBTQ youth can stay safe and protected.
June 10, 2021
Ep. 2: What are the benefits of therapy for children and adolescents?
On this episode, we speak with the director of therapy services at ACGC about what therapy is and the benefits that both you and your child can receive from counseling services.
Note: If your child is in immediate danger call 911 or the suicide prevention hotline at 800-273-8255.
Learn About Children’s Mental Health
Guide to Mental Health Specialists
May 27, 2021
Ep. 1: Raising a Trans Child: The Realities and The Rewards
On this episode, we speak with the mother of a transgender child about the unique challenges and rewards that come with parenting a transgender child strategies for other parents whose families may be facing similar journeys.