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About Don MacMannis, Ph.D & Debra Manchester-MacMannis, MSW

Don MacMannis, Ph.D. and Debra Manchester MacMannis, M.S.W. are a team both at home and at the office. Married for more than thirty years and parents of two sons, they are psychotherapists who have simultaneously served as directors of the Family Therapy Institute of Santa Barbara. In addition to nationwide lectures on families, they have provided postgraduate training to hundreds of therapists.

Helping Siblings Get Along During the Pandemic

Since the Coronavirus outbreak, parents across the globe have been impacted in countless ways. With families cooped up for weeks on end, we’re all searching for better ways to deal with sibling conflict. Like proverbial rats in a cage nipping at each other, it’s all too typical for kids to take their frustrations out on each [...]

The Surprising Truth About Happiness

“I just want to be happy!” Young and old, male and female, rich or poor, we utter these six simple words. If you ask parents what they most want for their kids, they say the same thing— “I just want them to be happy.” Why is this precious human emotion so available to some and so [...]

For the Love of Laughter

"The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease."  – Voltaire Although many of us have felt instinctively for years that laughter, like crying, can be a powerful antidote to pain and suffering, the scientific world is finally catching up. According to the American Association for Therapeutic Humor, laughter may have [...]

How to Not be a “Victim”

“You can either be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It all depends on how you view your life.” -Paulo Coelho How often do you say things out loud or to yourself like: "He makes me feel stupid!" "I'm depressed because she’s always criticizing me." "I’d be happy if my [...]

Facing the Challenges of Screen Time

“Please tell me what to do about my daughter’s constant use of her cell phone!” “My son throws a fit every time I tell him to get off the computer.” “How many hours a day should I let my kid be online?" Everyone working with kids and teens these days is constantly being asked the same [...]

Celebrating the Power of Awe

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. They to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, are as good as dead: their eyes are closed." ~ Albert Einstein Do you often feel like time’s rushing by and you never [...]

10 Tips for Handling Holiday Stress

"Gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect." - Oren Arnold Believe it or not, the holidays rank right up there on the stress scales with asking the boss for a raise, moving, [...]