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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.

Top 10 Summer Tips

If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers. — Edgar W. Howe Perhaps you’ve been enjoying your summer, getting extra time to have fun with your kids without the pressure of homework and extracurricular activities. Perhaps not. Let’s face it, [...]

Singing the Praises of Elementary School Musical

Most of you know me as Dr. Mac, with more than 30 years of family therapy practice and the author of numerous articles and books on parenting. What you may not know is that I'm also a music director, songwriter and creator of educational entertainment for children, including having worked on the animated PBS series Jay Jay [...]

By | 2018-06-01T16:09:32+00:00 June 1st, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

We Can Work It Out – Tips for Avoiding Hurt & Conflict

Most people realize that high levels of conflict— loud, angry or bitter fighting— can be tremendously destructive not only to marriages and intimate relationships but can cause lasting harm to kids caught in the crossfire. Conflict takes a toll not only psychologically but also physically. As painful as divorce can be for kids, what we know [...]

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 [...]

By | 2018-03-29T13:03:46+00:00 March 29th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

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 [...]

By | 2018-02-25T14:08:21+00:00 February 25th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|1 Comment

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 [...]