• What is Parent Child Interaction Therapy?
  • How PCIT is helpful for children with behavioral problems
  • How receiving PCIT virtually through online counseling benefits families
  • Are the tantrums my young child is having a normal part of development?
  • PCIT Calm adaptation for anxious children
  • Reinforcing brave behaviors over accommodating anxiety

Resources and links:
Anika Mullen, LPC-MHSP
Parent Child Interaction Therapy

By The Well Counseling

More Podcast Episodes

Transcript of Episode 7

Hello, Welcome to Hope for Anxiety and OCD Episode 7. 

For today’s episode, I got to interview one of my friends in the counseling profession. Anika Mullen. It’s kind of like Monica but without the M. It’s what she told me when I first met her. Anika was so sweet because when we went to record this show. We had been talking and got through almost the entire interview. We were towards the end and I realized nothing got recorded. I was absolutely mortified.

I say all this to let you know that I’m completely human and Anika was so gracious. She said, “Carrie it’s okay. Just hit record. Let’s do it again” and so we got a little bit of practice before our actual recording and I think it turned out really well.

Today on the show, we are talking about PCIT which stands for parent-child interaction therapy. This is a therapy that Anika is specialized in and has received training in. She’s going to talk about the origins of this therapy as well as its use for children who have tantrums or behavioral issues. We’re also going to get into how can this help parents support their child who has anxiety. 

Let’s dive right into this interview with Licensed Professional Counselor, Anika Mullen. 

Anika’s Story of Becoming a Therapist

Carrie: Anika, you and I have known each other for a few years but I don’t know that I’ve ever heard the story about how you decided to become a therapist.

Anika: Yeah, we haven’t talked about that yet. In college, I volunteered with an organization that helps human trafficking survivors. I decided that if I wanted to work with trauma survivors in the future I wanted to get the education and do the work I needed to provide the best treatment we have to offer to address therapy. I decided to get a graduate degree in clinical mental health counseling. 

When I was in clinical mental health counseling, I attended a training call with an organization in California that works with sex trafficking survivors. In that call, they were talking about how some of the sex trafficking survivors that they were working with and helping got EMDR therapy, eye movement, desensitization, and reprocessing EMDR. If they had PTSD before therapy, after going through the EMDR therapy process afterwards, they no longer met the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder. I found that just absolutely incredible that for that level of repeated trauma we have something that is helpful. That really inspired me to get training in EMDR after I graduated and actually prompted me to get to know you because EMDR is one of your areas of expertise. 

What is PCIT? What Types of Clients Would Pcit Work Best with?

Carrie: Great and now you’ve taken a little bit of a shift. You were working with children of a variety of ages and some that had experienced trauma. Some that had anxiety. Some that had behavior problems. Now you’ve shifted into your own practice of providing PCIT. So what ages is PCIT indicated for?

Anika: PCIT has been thoroughly researched as an effective treatment for ages two and a half through seven. There is new research now coming out about PCIT for toddler ages. So like 15 to 24 months, and who may be struggling with attachment or regulation and development and even language skills. They are showing that PCIT is effective for that age. There’s also some research being done about an older child adaptation. We don’t currently have randomized controlled trials for older children yet.

How PCIT Was Developed

Carrie. Can you tell us a little bit about the background of PCIT and how it got started? 

Anika: Absolutely. Dr. Sheila Iberg started developing it in the 1970s. She was at that time drawing on different types of therapy that had positives. She really wanted to take the powerful, positive aspects of these different types of therapy and so she combined the attachment theory in play therapy which really has a calming effect on children and can be very therapeutic, healing with behavior therapy. It can really help turn around challenging behaviors and increase the behaviors that we want to see.

Drawing on aspects of play therapy and behavior therapy, she also drew on the work of Constance Hanf who is a psychologist that developed a type of therapy that instead of the therapist doing the work, the therapist did was coach the parent in being the therapeutic agent of change. So the PCIT that she developed, she decided to draw on attachment and play therapy as well as behavior therapy to create a combination that really draws on the best of both. Also, she was drawing on the research of Diana Baumrind who was looking at different styles of parenting and what styles tend to have the best outcomes. What was identified in that research was authoritative parent team, which is not authoritarian but authoritative parenting has a combination of warmth and nurturing as well as clear communication and from effective limit setting. 

By drawing on behavior therapy that has a lot to do with behavior change and limits and seeing behaviors we want while also drawing on play therapy, she was able to create a system of therapy that increases the nurturing and the connection in the warmth while also increasing predictable calm limit setting. That kind of combination is really for children that might have developmental challenges or, or ADHD or histories of trauma, just certain personalities that can be more challenging to parent. 

The authoritative style, when parents can be equipped with those skills, it can really just reduce stress for everyone and increase positive interactions and really help promote healthy, emotional regulation and development.

Carrie: That sounds like she can really combine the best of three different worlds.

Fostering Warmth Between Parent And Child

Anika: She did. Drawing on the work of Constance Hanf, she was able to teach parents those skills through lectures. She would join the parents with an earpiece in their ears, watching through a video camera or one-way mirror and coach them live.

It wasn’t just giving parents all this knowledge and homework and sending it home and saying, “Here you go, this is what you should do.” It was like, “I’m here with you. I’m coaching you every step of the way you can get these skills. We’re going to practice this one. Alright, let’s work on this one today.” And then a lot of encouragement and praise until the parents have the confidence that they have the skills to manage the more challenging elements of parenting.

Carrie: Because how many times have you, or I’ve been taught something with someone else and we think, “Oh, I got this. I’m good” and then we leave that environment and go to do it on our own and we go, “Oh no. What was it they said right there?” 

Anika: The close working relationship where I’m really encouraging the parents and prompting them with little reminders when needed on the skills and celebrating those successes, it helps them turn around with that same optimism and warmth to help their child. It’s very supportive on the therapist to parents side as well as the parents to child’s side. That warmth is really established as the first part of therapy, the play therapy, warm, nurturing aspect. That’s something parents receive from me as well.

Equipping Parents With Information And Skills

In the second part of therapy is where I really equip parents with the skills to address the more challenging behaviors that something that their child is experiencing. 

Carrie: There are several different types of therapies for children as you just named. Some are less directive than others, for example, non-directive play therapy. The child will come into a room full of toys always with the play therapist and the play therapist may reflect what the child is interacting with in the relationship to them and the toys, whereas PCIT is a lot more of a structured approach. 

Anika: It is structured in that there are different stages of therapy. In the first stage of therapy, we actually teach parents professional play therapy skills. We teach them reflection. We teach them other play therapy skills. What that does is it really sets the foundation needed when we get to the limit-setting stage that is more structured like behavior therapy.

Carrie: Right. I know that you’re also a parent yourself. Could you tell us a little bit about how learning about this therapy impacted you as a parent? 

Anika: It really, having seen how transformative those parent play therapy sessions are with kids. It made me want to offer my child the same thing. I see building kids’ confidence, building kids’ social skills, and just increasing the likelihood that the child wants to please the parent and cooperate and be a team.

Seeing the positive impact that five minutes a day of play therapy with their kid had on so many kids’ lives, I want my kid to have that too. So what we call special time as part of our everyday life now it’s just something that my kid can count on. It tends to be calming and then just a really therapeutic time to connect. I’ve also found it just really built my confidence in how to address non-compliant behavior. Often for a lot of families, getting out the door in the morning, getting to the school bus on time is a highly stressful time and it can easily lead to what I call the escalation cycle where one person raises their voice, the kid doesn’t comply and gets irritated and reactive and then it escalates more and more as the bus is coming and we’re still not ready to get out the door. 

PCIT has really equipped me with the skills to increase cooperation in a positive way, and also to firmly set limits when they need to be set because limits actually help kids feel safe. They actually reduce anxiety. Sometimes kids listening to limits can save their lives. Limits are a very important part of parenting and PCIT really helps parents in tangible ways to see that balance of worth and nurturing and clear, calm limit setting.

PCIT Improves Child’s Minding and Listening

Carrie: I know you work with parents who by the time they get to you, they may feel they’re at the end of their rope. They may feel so overwhelmed by their child’s emotional outburst or by their avoidance of behaviors because they’re angry. They won’t sleep in their own room for example and parents may say, “I don’t understand what happened because I did the same things with my second child that I did with my first child and it’s just not working. Can you speak to that a little bit? 

Anika: I work with a lot of parents who’ve been getting a lot of mixed advice from a lot of different people. It may be a parent or a grandparent or a religious leader or a friend or everybody’s just giving them advice about how to respond to a child’s behavior. I find it really helpful that I have this ability to draw on over 40 years of research of professionals who’ve worked with really challenging children about what really helps turn dynamics around and replace that escalation cycle with respect and cooperation and what we call in PCIT, minding and listening. So following directions and heating the rules and having these tools, I can encourage parents like, “Yes. I hear that this other approach hasn’t worked but I’ve seen PCIT work for a lot of families. Let’s just give it a try.”

I really see my role as encouraging those parents and being the new wind in their sails and giving them tools that they haven’t had before, or haven’t applied in this way.

PCIT Via Telehealth

Carrie: You and I had a conversation early in 2020 about online therapy and the benefits of it and how to really encourage people to engage in online therapy because so many people have been hesitant. Then we had a pandemic and all of a sudden, pretty much all therapists were online. We’ve really seen the way that people are receiving services be transformed in the midst of which I think is a good thing that’s coming out of a very hard situation in our country and world. And you made a decision actually to go be an online therapist before the pandemic. Can you talk to us a little bit about that decision? 

Anika: One of the things I love about PCIT is it helps catch things early on before they become more ingrained habits and patterns of behavior. So turning around aggressive behavior with PCIT and a preschooler or early elementary age child it’s 12 to 20 weeks so three to four or five months at the most. Research says that the impact of PCIT even six years later is still there. Since it’s such a powerful intervention, I wanted to find a way that would make it more accessible to more families.

PCIT offices historically needed those two-room spaces. They often were in a city or in a university setting. So people farther away from cities and universities didn’t have access to it and now more therapists are getting trained in it. Recently, they became licensed in Nevada and in Alaska because Nevada only had one PCIT therapist in the whole state and Alaska had no PCIT therapist. So by going online and by being telehealth, I was offering an equally effective treatment that was just way more accessible. You didn’t have to fight traffic to get there. You didn’t have to be close to a PCIT therapist. It just helps make it easier to fit into family’s lives and at times less costly too cause I’m not fronting the cost of having a double office as well. 

Carrie: Right. One of the things that’s great about utilizing PCIT online is that the parents are able to practice these skills with their children in their own home. I think that’s a beautiful thing. 

Anika: Absolutely. They’re finding that the behavior changes are easier. Instead of a child coming to an office and learning these new ways to interact and the parent applying the skills in the office, we’re coaching families in real-life settings at home. And so it’s easier for those new skills and new behavior patterns to stick because they’re in the environment that they’re part of every day.

How PCIT Can Help With Anxiety In Children

Carrie: Right. I know you told me that PCIT also has an adaptation specifically for anxiety. Can you talk a little bit about that? 

Anika: Sometimes kids with anxiety also have externalizing behaviors. We call it outbursts and defiance when given a command because they’re anxious about whatever the situation is. There are also kids who are just anxious but are actually pretty compliant and eager to please. With kids that were both anxious and had defiant behaviors, the therapist and researchers were finding that PCIT was very calming and it helped reduce their anxiety. 

They did an adaptation of PCIT, which we call PCAT-CALM. This adaptation is focused specifically on kids that are experiencing anxiety but don’t necessarily have behavior problems. Again it uses the same approach of having the parent be the agent of change. The parent being the ones doing the play therapy with the therapist coaching in their ear and supporting them along the way. It teaches parents ways to increase the child’s sense of calm and security. Also, how to help the child when the child is encountering situations that once the child is afraid of. For example, if a child is afraid to go to a new place or talk to new people, or is afraid to go to sleep in their own bed or afraid to sleep without all the lights on, it teaches very simple steps parents can take to help support the brave behaviors. 

Oftentimes kids will seek out parents for a lot of reassurance and nurturing when they’re anxious and parents are in a tough spot because you want to help a distressed child. You’re caught between rock and a hard place like you don’t want to encourage avoiding the thing that’s safe and that it’s okay for them to practice being brave with. If your child is in distress, your natural urge is to support them and help them through that. Unfortunately, what happens is with anxious children they’ll seek reassurance and get that nurturing that helps them calm down in the moment, but the next time they’re anxious their habits going to be, “I’m going to need more reassurance.” So it kind of fuels the cycle of avoiding and getting reassurance instead. 

With PCIT we train parents how to have a lot of that nurturing and that warmth during the play therapy and calm, strategic ways to increase brain behaviors when the child’s facing something that is safe but that they’re afraid of.

Carrie: I love that because so many parents who have anxious children also struggle with anxiety themselves. This model seems to help build their confidence as a parent and being able to help their child with anxiety, which I imagine may in turn, help them with their own anxiety too.

Anika: I find parents want to do the best for their kids. [00:18:20] So when they know clearly this is what they can do and it’s going to help their child learn to be brave even when feeling some levels of stress, it helps the parents be brave when they’re feeling the stress of their own child being anxious. I find my role as supporting the parents in being brave with these new parenting techniques and steps and then the parents are able to turn around and provide that similar support to their child. 

Carrie: Great. Maybe there’s someone listening today who is feeling a little overwhelmed like, “I don’t know if I could take in all this new information and really learn it. It sounds kind of hard.” What would you say to them?

Anika: I would say that parents that reach out are often under a lot of stress already and it’s like, “how can I do one more thing? Life’s already stressful enough to juggle.” What I’d say is that the process is designed in a really step-by-step manner and not going to teach you things and then just send you home to do it all on your own and figure it out on your own. I’m not going to be upset if you’ve had a hard week and it’s been hard to use the skills. 

What To Expect In A PCIT Session?

The beauty about this PCIT is that I get to be there with you in your home via the video camera with an earpiece in your ear like a Bluetooth earpiece or even a headphone. I get to support and encourage you as you’re practicing these skills that get to praise your little successes.

I get to join in the process with you and really be a supportive, safe place for you to develop these therapy skills that are going to help your child so much and it’s not all at once. There’s two stages to the therapy. Usually, there’s the first meeting where I get to know you. I get to hear about your concerns, the struggles that your child’s been having. The next one, I get to observe the child and in different kinds of settings and interactions. After that I meet with just the parents, I teach them some of the skills that we’re going to be practicing in the first stage. We role-play them. We answer questions about them and then learn them. I join you in practicing them.

So again, in your home, your child being your normal child and I get to coach you in the moment, how to apply the skills. Then when we get to the second stage of therapy, after that, play therapy foundation’s been laid. That’s so critical. They’ve actually done research where they tried to do the predictable limit setting part of treatment first and then do the play therapy afterward. It’s not as effective that play therapy, that nurturing warm business central foundation for addressing the challenging behaviors. 

So when we get to the second part of therapy, we don’t even move on until the first skills come easily. You don’t even have to think about the first set of skills so much when you get to the second part. Once they’re fluid, it’s fluid and come easily. We move to the second part and again, I’m right there with you and coaching you. I praise you for the efforts and the successes, and it’s just really built step-by-step so that it’s not overwhelming. So it feels really doable and manageable. 

It’s Okay To Seek Professional Help For You Child

Carrie: One of the things that we’re all about on this podcast is reducing shame. There may be a parent out there that feels overwhelmed and feels like, “Oh my gosh, I’m feeling my child and now I’m at a level where I need professional help.” What would you say to that parent?

Anika: First of all, I really respect the parents that reach out and kind of bust through that shame barrier because the parents that I work with, like I said, they often have another child that they’re parenting worked fine for. They’ve often tried things that so many people have said to try with the child and it’s just not working and it’s okay. It doesn’t mean that you failed that you’re reaching out at such a crucial time. It shows me that you really love your child and that you’re ready to do what it takes to help turn this situation around, which I find wise and insightful, and courageous. 

Carrie: Absolutely. We know that it’s a lot easier to intervene early than it is to wait until later and that’s really true of any mental health difficulty. If you’ve been struggling for a long time that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get help. Any time that we can say, “Hey, I’ve hit a speed bump in the road of life and I can’t seem to I’ve tried my non-professional avenues and I can’t seem to work through that.” Maybe it’s time to look into professional counseling. 

Anika: The fact that you’re even considering it takes courage. I know that there can be different messages in different communities about seeking mental health care, being a problem. I find that often after graduating from PCIT, parents are just really proud of being such a key part of the process like they weren’t the problem. By having these professional therapy skills, they’ve really been such a big part of the solution like I’m not training people how to be the average parents. I’m training you with these expert skills to intervene with anxiety and with behavior problems. I find that it really builds parents’ happiness and they can sometimes also be insightful in their own circles then as well and somebody that other people look up to. 

When To Seek Professional Help for Your Child’s Behavior?

Carrie: I love that. So I know that in our society, sometimes we really normalize behavioral challenges at certain ages. We say things like, “Oh, you know, they’re just going through the terrible twos or the terrible threes and it’s normal for young children to throw tantrums sometimes.” How do we know if it’s a normal behavior or if it’s something where maybe we should seek professional help for?

Anika: Excellent question. It is normal for young children learning about limits and regulating their behavior. For example, up to two and a half, those temper tantrums are a normal part of development. Where we start to get concerned is if after two and a half, they’re not going down in frequency or they may be going up in frequency, duration, and intensity. If there’s concerns at preschool and daycares about aggressive and defiant behaviors is kind of like a red flag. There is a sign that help could be really beneficial at this point is if you see what’s called the coercion cycle. I tend to like actually the term, the escalation cycle where a parent sets a limit, or it gives a command for a child to do something and the child then says, “No, I’m not going to” or “You can’t make me go.”

It starts to escalate. Then the parent escalates with the threat and then the kid gets more angry and then it sometimes ends up in some type of aggressive interaction, or the parent giving in just cause this is so exhausting and I’m not going to deal with it right now. So if that kind of escalation is becoming a normal part of everyday life, that’s a really great sign that PCIT could be a really good tool to come in and turn that dynamic around before it becomes more ingrained.

Carrie: Kids don’t want to be in that cycle and parents don’t want to be in that cycle. So both people end up losing because I think the child, even though they may get what they want in the short term, they’re not getting what they need in the long-term. 

Anika: It doesn’t feel good to anybody, but it’s a cycle that is really easy to get caught up in especially if there’s really high levels of stress or if there’s just certain child personality, characteristics, or even developmental delays or challenging conditions like ADHD that just lead to a lot of impulsivity and hyperactivity whether there’s like an underlying biological issue that made their child more challenging to parent or not. It really gives the parents the tools to turn things around and to really be proud of their children’s cooperation and minding and listening. 

For anxiety, you’re asking about how to know if you should seek out help. Some childhood fears are normal and they don’t necessarily interfere with a child’s life. They’re not impacting their ability to make friends. They’re not impacting their ability to be dropped off at daycare. Oftentimes, one of the most common early childhood anxiety disorders that I see is when a child’s afraid of separating from a parent, that can be really stressful for both the child and parent because the parent needs to get to work and the child needs to let go of their leg and be dropped off at daycare. So if the child’s anxiety is impacting their ability to sleep or they’re having lots of tummy aches and headaches, and just not being able to do what you and the child need to do throughout the day, that would be a sign that it’d be a good time to reach out for some professional support.

Carrie: I think that’s great advice. There’s a difference between a child saying, “Hey, I’m afraid of the dark” but then they’re still willing to go sleep in their bed versus a child that says, “I’m so afraid of the dark” that they refuse to sleep without a light on or refuse to sleep in their own bed. 

Anika: Absolutely. I haven’t talked so much about the PCIT but it is also very gradual. We’re not going to ask the child to face their biggest fear on day one. We’re going to increase their level of security, increase their self-confidence, and then we’re going to slowly start engaging in situations that previously caused anxiety and teach them to be proud of themselves for being brave. It’s really a sense of accomplishment that the child has at the end. It’s not like a big terrifying experience. 

Carrie: You and I both know from working with a variety of people that gradual behavior changes are often the best and that we’re going to see more lasting impact that way.

Valuing Clients Faith As Part of Their Identity

Carrie: This information that you’ve shared about PCIT I know is going to be super helpful for our listeners. I wanted to just briefly ask you a little bit about just so people can understand where you’re coming from like how you identify spiritually?

Anika: Some of my values are just in valuing humanity and our connectedness. I’m a firm believer in loving our neighbor and really speaking up for the cause of the oppressed and caring about those who are less fortunate than us. Times where I feel the most spiritual or connected are when I’m outdoors on a hike and I see like the sun filtering through a canopy of beautiful old trees. I really feel the most alive and connected outdoors and surrounded by the beauty of nature all around. 

Carrie: I see a variety of Christians in my practice, but we may be coming from different denominational backgrounds or express our Christianity or live that out in different ways. I really want people to know that there are times where they can seek professional help from someone that may be outside of their faith and that person will still be respectful of their faith boundaries based on professional ethics and so forth.

I really value people’s faith as part of their identity. I’ve worked with a lot of different people and in my family, there’s a range of faith and beliefs myself. It’s all across the spectrum. I see people whose faith and his Christianity is such a source of strength, resilience, and community and connection, and inspiration to do what is right and just, and defending for the cause of the oppressed and just such an inspiration.

I’ve also worked with people who have found religion to be a source of trauma and pain, and they have not had healthy experiences in their churches, their communities. Really I want to be able to work effectively no matter who walks in my door. I care about the health and wellbeing of their child and the tools that I have are very applicable to diverse cultures and to diverse faiths.

I’m not going to change someone’s faith when they walk in the door, I’m going to say like, “Okay. So what do you believe? What values are important to you?” And then, “How does PCIT work with those values and work within your worldview?” 

Discipline Instead of Punishment

Carrie: Right. I think the basic components don’t go against biblical principles. Essentially, you’re working with investing and having healthy, positive relationships with your children, having discipline, and limits is definitely a biblical principle.

Anika: I do think that the word discipline actually comes from the word disciple and so the goal of discipline is to teach. It’s not to punish. That’s really one of the things that we help families to do in PCIT. Oftentimes the escalation cycle can lead to a lot of punishment, but it doesn’t stop the escalation cycle from happening the next day.

Oftentimes punishment can seem like it works in the moment, but for certain personalities and certain children, it can actually increase the frequency of the escalation cycle. Whereas discipline is an important part of the Christian faith. We teach clear limit setting, following through. It helps your children to respect what you say, and to mind and listen to the limits that are set. I’ve seen Christian families really benefit from the PCIT process. 

Carrie: I like that because I think it also supports this value of communication with your children where you’re not disciplining out of anger, and you’re not allowing yourself to be ruled by that anger, which I believe is also biblical.

Anika: It also really values love and not provoking your children to anger. I think it really can fit well within a Christian worldview. 

Carrie: Awesome. That’s one thing that I want all our listeners to hear is that even though there are a variety of therapeutic techniques out there, and many of them are not in opposition to what we actually believe. And so we don’t need to be afraid when we’re seeking help for ourselves or our children that somehow we’re going to be given advice to be turned away from Christianity or we’re going to be misled or misdirected in some way, shape, or form. If that does happen, then that person is probably not acting in a truly ethical manner.

Anika: As therapists, we’re trained to be able to provide helpful skills that have been found to be effective for other people struggling with the same situations, but to be able to share them with people who maybe from different backgrounds than we are, it would be unethical of me to try and enforce my beliefs or my spirituality on the family that I were to be working with.

Carrie: I appreciate us being able to dialogue about that piece because it drops some of the mystery of what actually happens in counseling a little bit in a professional sense so maybe reduces some stigma and shame there as well. 

Anika: Absolutely. I also welcome families to let me know if there are elements of their faith or their belief system that they want to incorporate in our work together.

Anika’s Story of Hope

Carrie: That’s good. That’s really good. So one of the things that since this podcast is called Hope for Anxiety and OCD, I love to ask our guests at the end of every podcast to share a story of hope. This is a time in which you received hope from God or another person. 

Anika: One of the most challenging times of my life was when I was pregnant with my child and I had a condition. It started five weeks before my child was born and my body broke out in hives and blisters from my rib cage all the way down to my toes. It was very hard to sleep. It just felt like I was constantly burning especially my fingers and toes because there’s so many nerve endings there. It was just very hard to cope with. It’s a pretty rare condition. For the majority of the women that have it, it fades away after the baby’s born. In my case, I was one of the very few that it continued after my child was born for about five more weeks. After my child was born, it did not go away. I no longer had an end date like a bunch of that point.

All I have to do is make it until the baby is born and all I have to do is make sure he’s born. It was still there and I had an infant to feed and take care of. I guess the point where I couldn’t even sleep I would be getting through the nights with ice packs on my fingers and my toes and taking three or four hot-cold showers to reduce the level of burning sensation that I was experiencing.

I think it would have been really easy to become hopeless at that time. Just I was not getting enough sleep. It’s already a stressful time of life and also it’s a very idealized time. You should enjoy every moment of it. They’re only going to be little once. It could’ve been really easy to go down the, “why me, why did this happen to me route.” 

One thing that gave me hope and really helps me through that time was remembering family members who had walked with a child through open-heart surgery and eventually the death of their child. Just their courage and strength walking through that time gave me hope that I could get through whatever I was experiencing.

It just really helps put it in perspective and remind me that people have gone through such difficult things and have come out of it as such beautiful, wonderful people that there is another side to this, and I can get through this however long it’s going to last. 

Carrie: Thank you for being so vulnerable and sharing that story. I know that’s going to impact somebody and encourage them in a positive way today as well as listening to this. 

Thank you so much for being on the show. I just appreciate your friendship really and truly over the years. I think that we share a lot of the same values therapeutically and just from a human [00:36:49] connection standpoint of just wanting to love on people and provide really high quality, good counseling services to them. We’ve gotten the opportunity to just see people be empowered and set free from things that they thought they would never be released from. That’s just what keeps us going every day when it gets hard. Thank you for all that you do. 

Anika: I really appreciate your friendship as well. Really seeing the transformation that happens in families and seeing the changes, that’s what keeps me going. It’s what inspires me to keep doing what I do. 


That was my first time hearing about Anika’s story of hope and I was really blown away by that. And also just blown away by her courage and willingness to share that.

If you’re a parent, I hope that in some way you were encouraged by this episode. If you know a parent that would benefit from hearing it, please let them know about our show. About this episode, you can always find us online anytime at hopeforanxietyandocd.com.

Hope for Anxiety and OCD is a production of By The Well Counseling in Smyrna, Tennessee. Our original music is by Brandon Mangrum and audio editing is completed by Benjamin Bynam. 

Until next time. May you be comforted by God’s great love for you.