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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.

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 [...]

Who’s the Boss? How to Parent Strong-Willed Kids

Do you have to raise your voice, lecture or repeat yourself to get your kids to listen? Do your children ignore everyday requests when they just don’t feel like it? Have you tried to avoid spanking and yelling but nothing else seems to work? Are you exhausted and upset because your kids seem disrespectful, entitled or [...]

Learning to Love Reading

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” -Dr. Seuss in I Can Read with My Eyes Shut! One of the most important ways to get kids to read is to read aloud to them, starting with when they are toddlers. In a [...]

Should I Medicate My Child?

People have been bombarded in the last few years with news of the dangers of many well-known psychiatric medications. One of the latest health scares of the past few years has been the abuse and misuse of Adderall, commonly prescribed for Attention Deficit Disorder, among college students. Adderall, an amphetamine, is one of several stimulant medications [...]

And the Worst Relationship Killer Is…?

Contempt. It can destroy marriages. It can wound a child's self-image, poison the workplace, and push friends away. If you don't know exactly what is meant by contempt, it’s disdain for another person, openly acting patronizing, insulting, and disrespectful. Contempt is criticism with a twist. When you have contempt for another, you put myself above them. [...]

Family Rules

Rules provide a road map for helping family members get along with each other and with others in the outside world. They fall into several basic categories. First and most crucial are rules that keep children and teens safe. Protection is the reason for teaching small children not to get in cars with strangers and [...]

Too Permissive With Your Kids?

Family researchers have known for years that healthy families create environments that balance large doses of love and warmth with sufficient firmness and structure. Kids thrive in these settings. Without love and warmth they tend to feel abandoned and resentful, and without firmness and structure they will often become anxious and/or have behavior problems. Over the [...]