Join our annual meeting - learn about a new youth empowerment program -  explore motivation
Association for Child And Adolescent Counseling in Illinois
October 2016 Newsletter

 Our Annual Meeting 

 5:45 Friday, November 4th  

ICA Conference Center 4  

Come find out what we have been up to, network, learn about member benefits, and help to make a difference in the field of child and adolescent counseling

Letter from the President 

We will be offering a workshop at the ICA conference on Saturday, November 5th at 10:00 a.m. to inform interested people about how to become a “Listening to Youth”  Advisory Board Facilitator. We hope you will join us to learn more about this wonderful opportunity!

The mission of LTY is to empower and support Illinois youth to share their unique voices within their schools and communities to advocate for change and promote physical, social and emotional wellness. We are thrilled that IACAC/ACACI will be offering the facilitator training for this wonderful initiative!

As far as the Board goes, I can’t even begin to express my heartfelt appreciation for how hard everyone has been working! For many, many months there has been a lot of time and energy put into traveling to meetings, planning, writing, developing, creating, and collaborating side by side with other statewide agencies and leaders in preparation of launching our new Listening To Youth (LTY) initiative.
Facebook and Twitter: Our Facebook and Twitter accounts are managed by President-Elect, Peggy Mayfield.  Please visit us at Twitter and like us on Facebook
Newsletter: Our Membership Advocate and newsletter editor is Leslie Contos. Do you  enjoy writing? We would love to have your article in our next newsletter! contact for more information.
     Graduate Students Looking for ways to get involved? We have opportunities for you!  Check out our booth at the conference or join us at our annual membership meeting to learn more about us! Unable to attend the conference, please feel free to contact Roseanne Oppmann at or (815) 519-3106. We’d love to hear from you

What Motivates Children to do What They Do? 
Catherine Gruener, M.A., M.A., LCPC, NCC
Gruener Consulting LLC
   One of the intervention modes that is often overlooked when counseling children or adolescents is parent counseling. Parenting truly is one of the “most difficult and important tasks of life,” (G. Kenneth West, 1986).  Parenting not only offers adults a chance to heal their pasts and have a healthy attached relationship, parents and the family unit greatly influence a child’s behaviors towards the tasks of life (work-school for children, love, and relating with others). Adlerian therapists are trained not only in Individual Psychology, but in the systems-work of families. Change one of the cogs in a system, and the system changes. By changing parenting approaches, orientations, strategies, and techniques, often the child who was identified as the problem, no longer requires interventions.

The intervention used with parents to affect and influence the health and behaviors of children focuses on the parent learning a new philosophy and approach, and then learning specific tools. Children are brought into the process of therapy when teaching communication and problem solving tools. The focus of parent interventions is on the health of the child, the parent, and the family.

To begin this process of learning new parenting approaches, Adlerian therapists help parents understand what motivates children to do what they do. 
(excerpt from Parenting Young Gifted Children What to Expect when you Have the Unexpected) (Gruener, 2016, p. 58-60)

“Motivation for behavior stems from a desire to belong and feel significant.
Behavior has a purpose, and children can misbehave for any number of reasons:
  • somethings going on with their biology (like low blood sugar or impulse control issues)
  • something happened in their environment (like too much or too little stimulation)
  • and/or the child has a lack of skills or lagging skill sets.
Misbehavior is misguided ways a child finds belonging, and/or a not so useful way of solving a problem (Mosak & Maniacci, 1999; Nelsen, 2006).
Children Desire to Belong and Feel Significant
  • Right here and right now, in the present.
  • Their self-concept is intertwined with how they belong and have a place in this world.
Children hold Beliefs about what it means to Belong and Feel Significant
  • Their beliefs come from how they interpret thoughts and feelings, as well as how they interpret how other people behave towards them.
  • They set up rules to make sense of the world, to predict life, and to navigate within the world.
  • These beliefs fuel how they find solutions and make decisions.
Children Make Decisions about how to Behave based upon this desire to Belong and Feel Significant, along with their own Personal Set of Beliefs.
Children can develop Mistaken Beliefs about what it means to Belong and Feel Significant.
When children feel respected, encouraged, empowered, and connected with others through interactions and their personal contributions, these interactions elicit feelings of worth and dignity, and can result in behaviors that benefit themselves and others. These are “useful” behaviors.
When a child’s dignity and worth is threatened (they feel unrecognized or ignored, dis-empowered, hurt, or inadequate and/or unsafe), they overcompensate and try to protect their self, either with an exaggeration of self-goals and/or underachievement. These are "not so useful" behaviors.
When we begin to understand that children’s motivation for their behavior stems from a desire to belong and feel significant, we can begin to connect and understand mis-behavior as ineffective ways that children are problem solving a situation and/or misguided ways of finding belonging and significance.
Through parenting strategies, parents can influence and support their children in finding useful ways to belong and feel significant.”
Gruener, C. (2016). Parenting Young Gifted Children. Elmhurst, IL: Blurb, Gruener Consulting LLC.
G. Kenneth West, P. D. (1986). Parenting Without Guilt. Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas.
Mosak, H., & Maniacci, M. (1999). A Primer of Adlerian Psychology The Analytic~Behavioral~Cognitive Psychology of Alfred Adler. New York, NY: Routledge.
Nelsen, J. (2006). Positive Discipline. New York, NY: Ballantine Books.

Bio:  ACACI Member,  Catherine Gruener, M.A., M.A., LCPC, NCC is an Adlerian trained licensed clinical professional counselor, national certified counselor, and certified Positive Discipline educator with training in Parent Management techniques from Yale University.  She holds master’s degrees in neuropsychology and counseling psychology, and professional memberships in the American Counseling Association, North American Society of Adlerian Psychology Professionals, Illinois Counselors Association and the Illinois Mental Health Counselors Association. She has worked in the mental health field since 1994 and provides individual and family counseling, parent counseling, and parent education through Gruener Consulting LLC in the South Elmhurst/North Oakbrook area. More information about those services and other lines of service can be found at
How to make Therapeutic Play-doh, using Essential Oils   
Helping children and adolescents thrive!

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