Don and Debra are a team both at home and at the office. Husband and wife for over thirty years, they have simultaneously served as directors of the Family Therapy Institute of Santa Barbara, a nonprofit organization. In this capacity they oversee the clinical work of fourteen therapists providing help to hundreds of clients each year. They are authors or coauthors of numerous articles on parenting and clinical issues. In 2009, Don won the title of “Best Family Therapist” in a poll taken by SBParent.com. In 2010, Debra was honored with an Award for Service to the Community by local therapists and the Mayor of Santa Barbara “for 30 years of inspiration, leadership, and training provided to thousands of clinicians, and the devotion exemplified with consistent visionary work for the community.”
Don has a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth, a masters in school-child psychology from University of Virginia, and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from California School of Professional Psychology. Also a musician, he was songwriter and music director for the animated PBS hit, Jay Jay the Jet Plane. His public education efforts have culminated in the writing and production of Happy Kids Songs, a series of songs and activities that help young children with social and emotional learning. His music has won over ten major awards.
Debra received her undergraduate degree in psychology with distinction from Stanford University and her masters in social welfare from University of California at Berkeley with a specialty in family therapy and community mental health. Prior to founding the Institute in 1979, she was the Executive Director of Social Advocates for Youth in the San Francisco Bay Area, working with runaway teens and children at risk. She has taught marriage and family therapy at Antioch University, Pacifica Graduate Institute, numerous local agencies, schools and mental health facilities. She finds respite from her busy life through painting, hiking and being with her much loved dog, Shammy.
Don and Debra have lived in Santa Barbara, Ca., for the past thirty-four years. They have two fine sons who have left the nest but still live in California. They share a love of games, music, movies, biking, hiking, travel, and art.