Mental Health: 
                   the Epicenter of Your Life 

Faith Escudero, MEd, CAGS, LMHC

Teaching the Principles of Optimal Mental Well-being

       Essential, Leading Edge Mental Health Education for Youth


Like learning levels of math, reading and writing knowledge in first grade through twelfth grade, each human being has a level of emotional awareness, social or relationship awareness, decision making awareness, 'listening' awareness and 'how to learn' awareness. This is self or psychological awareness. The internal level of awareness in these domains can be one of many lower levels or greater levels, for this knowledge is learned too. 

For clarity, the level at which this mental health knowledge can be learned and understood is limitless similar to earning a PhD in economics. Then continuing with a post doctorate. In other words, experiencing, understanding and responding {inside} to current events, topics and conditions {outside} originates from


facts inside regarding these areas of self awareness or 

conditioned, less aware habits in these areas of self awareness.

While every human being has his, her, their inherent disposition, talents, learning style, strengths, weaknesses and passions, emotional, social or relationship awareness, decision making awareness, 'listening' awareness and 'how to learn' awareness is learned and developed by the child's first teachers: his, her, their caretakers and environment. This internal awareness can be formally learned, thus upgraded through direct guidance from a mental health counselor or psychologist who specializes in this knowledge. This means until an individual completes the steps to directly learn this knowledge from a professional, the simple fact is an individual's awareness in these areas typically reflects his, her, their early caretakers and environment. This is not bad. This is not good. This simply is.

When this office provides counseling services to minors, it has been discerned effective counseling includes working directly with the minor's parents. This empowers the parents' to support the minor's acquisition and application of new social or relationship, emotional, 'how to learn' and decision making awareness guided to understand and practice during counseling sessions. It also empowers the parents to create healthy, clear boundaries and connections with the minor from current facts.


Prior to initiating counseling services, the parents or guardians whichever is best are required to complete intake paperwork with their information. Then schedule and attend appointments with an open, interested, curious mind throughout the intake process. These steps are the foundation to making wise, fact based decisions for next right steps in the youth's treatment. 

Note: 17 and 18 year old 'Minors' who are genuinely desire to upgrade emotional, social, relationship awareness, decision making awareness and 'how to learn' awareness can complete 1 up to 4 intake appointments without parents or guardians. Then treatment next right steps are discerned and completed.

Parents' feedback: 

After two 60 minute sessions, Mandi states at the start of the third, " It is going better. Now I really listen to what she is saying, asking myself, what is she really upset about instead of being logical or trying to fix it. Recently when Anna stated in a very emotional manner that 'I never do this', I found myself asking her to realize is that more true or less true." ~ Mandi, mother of a 9 year old recently diagnosed with nonverbal learning disability who frequently tantrums, throwing herself on the floor, intensely crying and speaking very loudly 

"It has greatly. I use to be quite impatient with my kids. Now I find myself asking them and talking to them more. I am more involved with what I am saying and doing. I recently heard a friend say, "I'm (he is) more a father than a dad". Then I found myself saying to myself, "Wow, was I that way with my kids?" I'm glad I am working harder to be kinder, gentler and more approachable rather than being just a provider and disciplinarian. Before my wife would say, "Hey the kids aren't listening." I would get off the couch and act like a gorilla pounding himself on the chest. After being loud, obnoxious, and make the kids do what my wife wanted, I would sit back down on the couch. Now I find myself being interactive by asking myself why are they doing this...And it is just sort of happening...naturally...I find myself putting more energy in being a dad than a father:" ~ Joe, married, parent of two children

" It helps me to remain calm when I would have snapped or gotten angry. Sometimes I still might flair up in the moment, but I usually turn it around and calm down quicker. I find myself saying "alright enough. What is the point of this."...Really improving my life and my attitude can improve theirs. I feel calmer and happier. I feel a lot more grounded. I do feel in a better state of mind more of the time while I still become more aware of things. It is a work in progress." ~ Joyce, primary parent of two children including an adolescent diagnosed with Asperger's Disorder

"I have been focused, but focused on different things. Before I was more focused on things in my head. Now I am more focused on the moment...I have more time with the kids. My head is clear more. I get more done. I have more patience. The day goes by smoother."  ~ Douglas, primary parent of two children

" My approach...there's not as much anger...or feeling as overwhelmed. I step outside the situation and if I see my thought process is not fitting the moment, I slow down to see it from a different angle. Not always, though. Sabrina responds a lot better in that manner than the way I use to do it, but not all the time, but there has definitely been a change."  ~ Christine, mother of a child with a rare genetic disability

"Yes. There has been an improvement...Well, just thinking before I speak...Just to be able to stop and think it through, "how important is it really"...It is progress, not perfection.." ~ Richard, primary parent of two adopted children

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