Love, Always

Family // Childhood

A Guidebook For Parents On How to Raise Happy, Successful Kids. IT STARTS WITH YOU, by Dr. Gelb.

“My daughter just won’t cooperate.”
“The tantrums have gotten out of control.”
“He promises to do his chores, but then he doesn’t.”
“She’s having trouble making friends at her new high school.”
“I’m trying everything I can think of… but I’m at my wit’s end!”

Sound familiar?

If you’re a parent, chances are you’ve uttered at least one of those statements during the past year—or something pretty similar.

Dr. Suzanne Gelb, a psychologist and life coach, who has worked with parents and families for many years, and also an attorney (currently inactive) who has handled family law cases, intimately understands your frustrations.

Year after year, moms, dads, and kids—from toddlers to teenagers—have stepped into Dr. Gelb’s offices, and she has heard stories about every crisis, melt-down, tantrum, and hair-pulling situation that you can imagine.

Three decades—and thousands of transformational success stories—into her career, Dr. Gelb has consolidated her immense knowledge into a new guidebook for parents:


This book does not outline a “revolutionary” or “ground-breaking” parenting philosophy. Rather, just the opposite. It’s a refreshingly simple guidebook on how to raise great kids by setting a great example that your kids naturally want to follow. As Dr. Gelb explains, you set the tone for your household. If your child is acting out, first, look towards yourself. IT STARTS WITH YOU urges parents to get back to basics—starting with your words, your actions, your role modeling; the messages that you knowingly (and unknowingly) feed to your child every day.


In this book, you’ll find:

—Relatable stories from parents and kids

—Tips on how to set age-appropriate rules and consequences for kids of all ages, including teenagers

—Worksheets to organize and track family chores and responsibilities

—Guidelines to help resolve dozens of tricky, uncomfortable scenarios (from public tantrums to curfew-breaking to texting at the dinner table to navigating major life events, like illness or divorce)

—Inspiration to heal and improve your own mind, body, and life—forgiving your own parents, releasing the past, becoming a stronger, more positive role model for your kids: a family leader who’s worthy of admiration and respect

Readers have called this book “game-changing” and “incredibly effective,” and the message rippling through the pages of IT STARTS WITH YOU is one of hope and empowerment:

It is never too late to become the person, parent, and role model that you want to be—and that your child needs and deserves.

Your child is looking to you & counting on you.

It all starts with you.


Digital (PDF). 172 pages. Instantly downloadable. Read it on your tablet, phone, or computer.


Soft cover. 184 pages. [Plus 1st class shipping/handling within the USA—$4.16].

Customers outside of the USA: please email your shipping address to We will promptly send you a payment link which includes shipping costs to your address. Pay with a debit or credit card, or PayPal credit.

Please shop mindfully. No refunds or returns.


From parents:

“I always thought it was my kids’ fault for not cooperating. After reading this book, I realized that if I wanted them to cooperate, I needed to change how I was parenting. That’s exactly what happened (I made some changes, and then they did too). So remarkably simple… so incredibly effective. Wow!” 

—Belinda K.

“I’ve read a lot of parenting books, but this one is totally unique. Dr. Gelb has captured the essence of effective parenting in this gem of a book and taken the mystery (and the struggle) out of raising, happy, fun-loving, well-adjusted kids. Beautifully written, practical, easy-to-read. Finally, peace at home… thanks to this book!”
—Mark B.

“The stories that Dr. Gelb shares at the beginning of the chapters in the book about the parents she’s worked with—and their successes—are so inspiring to a parent like me who is pulling her hair out, trying to get my kids to listen. The self-reflection exercises throughout the book are game-changers. I went from feeling frustrated and helpless, to empowered and pleased with the changes I see in my kids (and my whole family) as I implement the tools and solutions offered in this book.”
—Tracy L.

From kids:

“Mommy read this book and now we have all our rules on a chart on the fridge. I know what I am supposed to do and I don’t forget things. Also, we don’t yell as much. It’s awesome!”
—Ryan, 8

“Daddy doesn’t get mad and yell at everyone, and slam doors like he used to. Mommy says it’s because he read your parenting book. I am so happy, thank you.”
—Adam, 9

“My parents never used to listen to anything I had to say. It was always, “Because I said so.” I used to cry myself to sleep, and not want to get up in the mornings. Lately [after they read this book] they’ve been really listening to me when I have something to say. For the first time ever, I feel heard in my family, and like I belong, and that I want to be part of this family. It’s so different at home now… so much better.”
—Jenny, 12


Digital (PDF). 172 pages. Instantly downloadable. Read it on your tablet, phone, or computer.


Soft cover. 184 pages. [Plus 1st class shipping/handling within the USA—$4.16].

Customers outside of the USA: please email your shipping address to We will promptly send you a payment link which includes shipping costs to your address. Pay with a debit or credit card, or PayPal credit.

Please shop mindfully. No refunds or returns.

Praise for Dr. Suzanne Gelb

“Dr. Gelb’s warmth and calm nature make her extremely approachable. She is a gifted expert on a wide range of parenting topics, no matter what your child’s age. She’s inspiring, insightful and always empowering and provides you with the tools you need to become the best parent you can be.”
Ron Mizutani, Anchor, Reporter, KHON2 TV News

“As a fairly new mother, I am constantly learning about the many challenges, yet extraordinary blessings, parents endure. I always look forward to the practical and insightful advice Dr. Gelb offers.

Everything she shares is so inspiring, not only to myself, but to other parents as well. She has a wealth of knowledge and makes learning about parenting, family life and relationships informative, engaging and fun.”
Kanoe Gibson, Weather Anchor, Reporter, KHON2 TV News

“I have interviewed Dr. Gelb on a number of occasions relating primarily to issues of child-rearing. Her insight includes common sense, compassion and wisdom. If you have children, Dr. Gelb’s a good person to have in your Rolodex. [I’m dating myself, aren’t I?]”
Kirk Matthews, Anchor, Reporter, KHON2 TV News

“For the past 14+ years, Dr. Suzanne Gelb has contributed thought-provoking, problem-solving, inspired articles to every issue of Hawaii Parent. Her articles have enhanced the credibility & success of our magazine.“
Charlie Harrington, Publisher, Hawaii Parent Magazine

I just read and shared your beautiful article!
“It is never, ever too late to become the person, parent, and role model that you want to be.”
Love, Love, Love! You are so precious and your wisdom helps so many of us!
Dr. Susan Mathison

“Dr. Gelb has a gentle spirit that instantly makes you feel like you’ve come home. The depth of her wisdom is undeniable, her curiosity is insatiable and her love is palpable. These qualities make her the perfect guide for life.

In the pages of the Life Guides you will find practical and proven processes to support you in living your great life.

Whether it’s heart-centered wisdom on navigating the dating world, love-based strategies for becoming a parent, or reaching your ideal weight through kindness, Dr. Gelb’s Life Guides are gifts to be treasured.”
Dr. Gemma Stone


IT STARTS WITH YOU, Featured on Television

Dr. Gelb had the honor of celebrating the “birthday” of her brand new parenting book on Hawaii’s KHON2 News. Here she is with news anchor, Diane Ako (below right). Such a thrill for Dr. Gelb to release it into the world—on the air! Since then, as you see in the photo above, the cover has had a new birth, too!

Keiki Talk photo

Read an Excerpt from the Book

Download here.

Parenting Coaching / Counseling with Dr. Gelb

Learn more about how Dr. Gelb works with clients, including parents and families, here.


Digital (PDF). 172 pages. Instantly downloadable. Read it on your tablet, phone, or computer.


Soft cover. 184 pages. [Plus 1st class shipping/handling within the USA—$4.16].

Customers outside of the USA: please email your shipping address to We will promptly send you a payment link which includes shipping costs to your address. Pay with a debit or credit card, or PayPal credit.

Please shop mindfully. No refunds or returns.

Other Books by Dr. Gelb

The Life Guide On How to Get Ready to Be a Parent and Be the Best Mom Or Dad You Can Possibly Be

The Life Guide On How to Get Your Kids to Cooperate and Help Them Become the Best Grown-Ups They Can Be

The Life Guide On Helping Your Teen Make Healthy Choices About Dating and Sex

The Life Guide On How to Reach Your Ideal Weight Through Kindness, Not Craziness

The Life Guide On How to Rekindle That Spark and Create the Relationship and Sex Life That You Want

The Life Guide On How to Care for Yourself When You’re a Caregiver for Somebody Else

The Life Guide On How to Deal With People Who Drive You Absolutely Nuts

The Life Guide On How to Find Work That You Love When You’re Stuck in a Job That You Hate

The Life Guide On How to Forgive the One Who Hurt You Most of All

The Life Guide On How to Navigate Being Single and Savor Your Dating Adventure

The Life Guide On Aging with Grace, Strength and Self-Love

Welcome Home: Release Addiction and Return to Love

To interview Dr. Gelb about this book or set up a media appearance, please email:

. . .

And here’s a brief mention about another book by Dr. Gelb… on another topic:

“We found that our addictions and compulsions subsided. Like a true miracle, we felt at peace and at home within our own lives”—excerpted from Welcome Home—Release Addictions & Return to Love. 25th Anniversary Edition.

To learn more, click here.

. . .

PS. Please purchase mindfully, as no refunds are offered for any products.

Copyright © 2017 Dr. Suzanne Gelb. All Rights Reserved.

Super full schedule? Too much going on? Read this.

Here’s a 24-hour plan that can help you get through the world’s craziest workday—
and still keep your stress levels in check.

Chances are, you’ve read plenty of helpful books and blog posts filled with relaxation tips to help you get through stressful times.

Meditate, breathe deeply, count to ten, punch a pillow to release pent-up feelings, journal, do yoga… and so on.

These are all terrific ideas, but when you’re in the middle of a super-hectic workday it can be tough to remember to actually do them!

I can relate. I remember back when I was a law student, juggling intense coursework, commuting between Hawaii (home) and California (law school), feeling completely overwhelmed with my classes and my life, like I’d never, ever catch up. My brain was so full, my calendar was so packed. It was tough to remember to make time for self-care.

Sound a bit like you, these days?

Here’s a blog post that’s… a little bit different.

It’s a 24-hour plan that can help you get through even the craziest workday—while staying relaxed, focused and keeping your stress levels in check.

You can print out this plan and put it above your workspace.

Or you can “schedule” each of these activities into your calendar, just like a series of appointments (with yourself).

If you’re worried that won’t be enough (you’ll get distracted or you’ll forget), then you can set a timer on your phone that goes off every two hours, as indicated in the plan below. When your timer beeps, pause. It’s time for a de-stressing activity—a few minutes of self-care—before you move on with your day.

Over time, as you practice these kinds of self-care habits consistently, you won’t need so many “notes” and “reminders” to encourage you to take care of yourself. Over time, these habits will become second nature. But until that day, a few little nudges (from a printed plan or a timer on your phone) can really help you to stay on track.


Here’s your 24-hour plan for a happy, healthy, beautifully productive day!

6am. Rise and shine! Start your day with The “Beautiful Morning” Meditation. It’s free. You’ll find it here. Take 12 minutes to breathe deeply, get into a positive frame of mind, and prepare for your busy, exciting day ahead.

8am. Drink a big glass of water. Did you know that dehydration can lead to tiredness, difficulty concentrating, tension, and anxiety? Drink an extra glass, knowing that you’re doing something really kind for your body and mind.

10am. Time to move! Chances are, you’ve been driving, commuting, or sitting at your desk for a few hours by now, so it’s time to get your heart pumping. Take a walk around the block or try a 10-minute yoga video. Need some motivation to exercise? This meditation might help. Exercising is one of the best ways to lower your body’s levels of cortisol—the “fight or flight” hormone that’s associated with stress. Move—even just a little bit—and your stress levels will drop.

12pm. Unplug for lunch. Enjoy a meal without any devices around you. No computer, no phone, no screen. Just savor your food. There are so many good reasons to step away from your desk when it’s time for lunch. (This article might inspire you!)

2pm. Check in with yourself. How is your day going? Has anything happened that bothered you? Anything stressing you out? If so, take a mental note (or write it down in a journal). Then: set those emotions aside—not forever, just for now. Tell yourself, “I am feeling _____, which doesn’t feel good, and that’s OK. I am going to explore the situation that’s bothering me—later—and deal with these emotions in a healthy way. For now, though, I am going to set the matter aside and get back to work.”

4pm. Time to move (again)! Sitting for multiple hours in a row is really rough on your body and mind. Researchers call sitting “the new smoking.” So, now’s a great time for another quick movement break. Zip around the block. Stand up and march in place for a few moments. Or, if you really, truly can’t get away from your desk—fidget, wiggle and bounce in your seat! It’s not much, but every little bit of movement helps.

6pm. Still at work? Set a “final hour” intention. Say to yourself, “I am going to work for one more hour. Obviously, I can’t finish everything in the entire world tonight—there will always be something more to do—but for the next hour, I will focus on ______. After that, I am done for the day.” By setting a clear intention for the final hour of your workday, you’ll avoid slipping into the “Oh, just one more email…” pattern and you’ll be more likely to leave work at a reasonable hour.

8pm. Process your day. If you’re feeling stressed or loaded with pent-up emotions (irritation, overwhelm, stress about work deadlines or studies), pounding it out, might be the perfect solution—literally. If that feels right, consider grabbing a pillow, going somewhere private, closing the door, and thwacking the pillow to release your feelings, safely, and get them out of your system. Many people find it helpful to vocalize—out loud—whatever’s bugging them as they punch the pillow (“I am so mad at ____ right now!!”) You probably won’t need to thwack for very long. You’ll know that you are “done” (at least, for now) when you feel a sense of release and relief. When you feel lighter. Your problems may even feel smaller and more manageable. Ahh. Time for a calm, restful night—and a great day tomorrow.

10pm – 6am. Lights out! It’s bedtime. It can be difficult when you’re in the midst of a busy, hectic workweek, but try to get as much sleep as you can. Sleep deprivation wreaks havoc on your mind and body, making it harder to focus, remember things, and manage your stress levels. So, don’t skimp on your sleep. It’s one of the biggest gifts you can give to yourself—and being well rested makes tomorrow’s challenges that much easier to manage!

If you don’t follow this 24-hour plan “perfectly,” guess what? That’s OK.

Even if you only remember to do one or two of the de-stressing activities I just mentioned, that is still better than nothing at all.

Every single time you “pause” your busy day to take care of yourself—even if all you do is drink a few sips of H2O (filtered, please!) or take one big, deep breath—you’re doing something beautiful for yourself, for your mind, for your body, and by extension, for everyone you meet: your community and the whole world.

I hope this plan inspires you to take excellent care of yourself, and to find new ways to keep your stress levels in check if that’s something you’re challenge with (many people are!).

Here is the beautiful truth:

Whether you are 17 or 107 years old, you are human, you are alive, you are not fixed in stone. You are capable of transformation. You can drop old habits and learn how to help yourself feel better. Any time that you’re ready to work on yourself, you can change.

It is never too late to tweak your daily routine, to change your mindset, to establish new habits, and to evolve into the kind of person you’ve always wanted to be.

Becoming that kind of person can begin… right now.

Wishing you the very best day, week, month (and year!) of your entire life.

Love, always.


Copyright © 2016 Dr. Suzanne Gelb. All rights reserved.

“What actually happens during a therapy session?”… and 6 other common questions about psychotherapy.

When you take your car to the car mechanic, you know what’s going to happen—your car will get repaired.

When you break a bone and visit your doctor, you know what’s going to happen—your bone will be set in a splint or cast and eventually heal.

But when you make an appointment to see a therapist, what’s going to happen?
Many people aren’t quite certain. “Will I have to talk a lot?” “Will I be “hypnotized?” “Will I have to discuss my childhood?” “What’s the “point” of seeing a therapist, anyway? Why not just talk to a friend?”

There is a great deal of uncertainty in our society about what actually happens during a therapy session, what types of issues and problems can be suitable for therapy, and the kinds of benefits that a therapy session can provide.

I’d like to address a few typical questions—and misconceptions—about what therapy is, and isn’t, and how it works.

Q: Do I have to be “sick” or “disturbed” to go see a therapist?

A: No. While some therapists do specialize in severe emotional disturbances—including schizophrenia or suicidal thoughts—many therapists focus on helping clients work through far more “typical” or “everyday” challenges—like mapping out a career change, or improving parenting skills, strengthening stress management tools, or navigating a divorce.

Thinking that one has to be “seriously disturbed” in order to see a therapist is a myth.

In fact, most of my clients are successful, high-achieving people who are quite healthy, overall, but who are challenged by a specific, personal goal—like losing weight, creating more work-life balance, finding ways to parent their children more effectively, feeling anxious about dating again after a rough break up, and so on.

Just like some physicians specialize in curing life-threatening illnesses, while others treat “everyday” illnesses like flus, coughs, and colds, psychotherapists can serve a very wide range of clients with a wide range of needs and goals, too.

Q: How can I choose the right therapist for my issue / goal / situation?

A: Choosing a therapist is just like choosing any other service provider—it’s a good idea to visit the professional’s website, read client testimonials or reviews (if they have any—many therapists do not, for confidentiality reasons), ask friends and family members (or your physician) for referrals, and of course, check to see who is included in your health insurance network.

If you are hoping to work on a specific issue—say, overeating, quitting smoking, making a career change, etc.—try to find a therapist who has expertise in that area. Many therapists list their “specialties” or “areas of focus” on their website. There are therapists who specialize in relationship issues, parenting issues, anger management, weight issues, or sexuality—pretty much most issues, goals, or situations that you can imagine.

If you’re not sure about someone’s zone of expertise, just call the therapist you’re considering and ask, “Do you have experience working with people who [describe your situation or goal]?” The therapist you’re contacting will let you know, and if they can’t be of assistance, they may be able to refer you to someone who can.

Q: What actually happens during a therapy session?

A: Each therapy session is, essentially, a “problem solving session.” You describe your current situation, and your feelings about that situation, and then the therapist uses their expertise to assist you in trying to resolve that problem so you can move closer to having the life you wish to have.

At the beginning of a session, the therapist invariably begins by inviting you to share what’s been going on in your life, what’s on your mind, what’s bothering you, any goals you’d like to discuss—things like that.

You’ll be invited to speak openly. The therapist will listen and may take notes as you speak (some therapists, like myself, take notes after the session). You won’t be criticized, interrupted or judged as you speak. Your conversation will be kept in the strictest confidentiality. This is a special, unique type of conversation where you can say exactly what you feel—total honesty—without worrying that you’re going to hurt someone’s feelings, damage a relationship, or be penalized in any way. Anything you want—or need—to say is OK!

Some therapists (like myself) often give clients some “homework” to complete after a session. Depending on your goals, your homework might be to set up an online dating profile and bravely set up your first date, or exercise three times a week, or spend some time each day pounding a pillow to safely release pent-up emotions, or make a nightly journal entry, or any number of other “steps” and “challenges” that are relevant to your goals. Then during your next therapy session, you might give a homework-update, share your progress, and address any areas where you got frustrated, stuck, or somehow off-track.

Of course, every therapist is different, every client is different, and every therapist-client relationship is different, too. Which means that there is no universal description of a therapy session, either. Some therapists incorporate dream interpretation into their work. Others incorporate music or art therapy practices into their work. Others incorporate hypnotherapy, life coaching, meditation, visualization, role-playing exercises to “rehearse” challenging conversations—the list goes on and on. Ultimately—regardless of their approach—a therapist will listen without judgment and help clients try to find solutions to problems or challenges that they are facing.

Q: Will I have to talk about my childhood?

A: Not necessarily. Many people think that visiting a therapist means “digging up” old skeletons from your childhood, or talking about how “awful” your mother was, and so on. That is a myth. What you talk about during a therapy session will largely depend on your unique situation and goals.

Depending on your goals, you may not talk about your “past” that much. The focus of your therapy more on your present-day reality and the future that you wish to create.

That being said, if you REALLY do NOT want to discuss your childhood, the intensity of your desire to NOT talk about it might suggest that, maybe, you should! When people have strong negative emotions—about their childhood or any other topic—it’s typically worth doing some excavating to figure out why that is, because whatever is causing them to feel such strong emotions about the past is more than likely impacting their present-day life in some way, too.

Q: How long will I have to go to therapy?

A: This varies from person to person. I’ve had clients who booked one session we worked out their issue(s), and they were all set! They marched ahead and didn’t need a follow up session. Sometimes, one brave, honest conversation is all that’s needed!

Other clients have booked sessions with me over a period of several weeks or months, focusing on one issue, resolving that issue, then perhaps moving on to a different challenge. Then there are other clients who I’ve been working with for some time—they appreciate having a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly “check-in” to share their feelings, sharpen their life skills as needed, and perhaps enjoy a deeply nourishing, guided meditation or hypnotherapy experience to de-stress. As one client aptly put it, “Each time I meet with you every two weeks, I leave your office feeling like you pressed my reset button!”

Therapy is really about whatever a client needs—a one-time conversation, a temporary source of support during a tricky life transition, or an ongoing experience to optimized health—physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Whatever frequency / duration of support is uniquely best for you is what can be set up.

Q: Is meeting with a therapist over the phone—or through video-chat—just as effective as meeting in person?

A: That depends on your personality and preferences. In the State of Hawaii, where I live, doing therapy virtually, via video-chat (like Skype or Facetime) is covered by at least one insurer that I know of, making it a convenient option for people.

Many of my clients enjoy having some—or all—of their sessions via video-chat because it means they don’t have to take time out of their busy schedules to drive, park, and so on. They can just close their bedroom or office door, pick up the phone or log in, and away we go! Very convenient.

Where feasible, I suggest trying out both ways—do a traditional, in person therapy session and then do a video session—and see which format is the best fit for you.

Q: Why see a therapist? Why not just talk to a friend or someone in my family?

A: If you are blessed with caring, supportive family members and friends, by all means, share your feelings, goals, and dreams with those people. They are a part of your support network, and their insights and encouragement can be very helpful!

However, people who already know you might not always be completely “unbiased” or “objective” when listening to you. For example, if you want to change your career, and you confess this dream to your wife, she may want to support you one hundred percent, and she may try her very best to do so, but she may also be dealing with emotions of her own—fear, anxiety, thoughts like “How will this change our life?” “What about our income?” “Will we have to move?” and so on. These emotions could make it difficult for her to listen and support you objectively.

That’s why working with a therapist can be so valuable. When you speak with a therapist, you have a unique opportunity to share everything you’re feeling, and everything you want to create, without anyone interrupting you, imposing his or her own anxieties onto you, or telling you that you’re “wrong” or that you “can’t.”

A therapy session is a space where you don’t have to worry about hurting anyone else’s feelings, which means you can be totally honest, which means that problems have the potential to be solved faster and with greater success. In the long run? That’s better for you and for everyone else who’s involved in your life, too.

To sum it up:

Therapy is a valuable tool that can help you to solve problems, set and achieve goals, improve your communication skills, teach you new ways to track your emotions and keep your stress levels in check, and help you to build the life, career, and relationships that you want.

Therapy is appropriate for people dealing with “severe” issues, as well as people dealing with more “typical” or “everyday” challenges, too. There’s a therapist for just about every type of challenge, situation, goal or need under the sun!

Does everybody “need” therapy? No. But if you are curious about working with a therapist, that curiosity is worth pursuing! Consider setting up one or two sessions, keep an open mind, and see how things unfold.

You have very little to lose and, potentially, a whole lot of clarity, focus, self-understanding, and long-lasting happiness to gain.

Ready to meet with a therapist?

You can contact me about possibly setting up a session with me here.

If I do not participate with your insurance plan, but you’d still like to work with me, check out this page, which details my life coaching services—somewhat different from therapy, but suitable for diverse types of clients and goals.

Want to find a therapist in your own city? Here’s a database—from the American Psychotherapy Association—where you can begin your search. Or log into your health insurance carrier’s website and search there.

Love, always.


This article was originally published online on Psychology Today and then on The Huffington Post.  To read more of my articles in my column on Psychology Today, click here and on The Huffington Post, click here.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always contact your physician or health provider before beginning any new personal development or wellness technique and with your questions have about your well-being.

Copyright © 2015 Dr. Suzanne Gelb, All rights reserved.

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