Carol A. Francis & Associates  |  3655 Torrance Blvd, Torrance, CA 90503
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Psychologist Dr. Carol Francis serves Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance, Rancho Palos Verdes, Palos Verdes Estates, Rolling Hills,
Rolling Hills Estates, El Segundo, San Pedro, Carson, Harbor City, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Long Beach, All of the Los Angeles South Bay Area.
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Welcome to our Web Site from Dr. Carol Francis.
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Optimism: Good Pill Worth Swallowing.
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New Self Help Podcasts
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“Your child's well-being psychologically is very much affected by food, exercise, sleep, happy-lively parents, genuine success, and opportunities to help others.”
Child & Teen Therapy
310-543-1824 | Serving the Los Angeles & South Bay Areas.

Play Therapy, Sand Tray, Symbolic Play, Traditional approaches, and creative interventions developed over 30 years each help with anxiety, depression, sadness, image concerns, esteem, and emotionally complicated traumas or changes.

Behavioral or Cognitive Therapies may also be used with behavior problems at home or school. These techniques help parents be in charge in loving ways and children be contained peacefully so love and calmness can prevail.

Many other therapies which help children and parents are available so please feel free to discuss such with Dr. Francis at 310-543-1824.

A few topics below are selected for your interest.

Also check

Panic Attacks and Anxiety / Fears & Phobias

Unable to stop your fearful thoughts or anxious imagings about a particular relationship, events or troublesome worry? Feeling out of control, shaky, edgy, sleepless, unfocused? Fears piling in on your day that seem extreme or unrelated to the actual situations your are facing. Worries or fears that stop you from functioning normally or approaching situations that you would like to do? Such worries, fears, panics, anxiety moments, can hamper relationships, career moves, self-esteem, and even what you do for fun.

Therapies which are evidence-based or shown to reduce anxieties include Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Relationship Therapy, Hypnotherapy, NLP, EMDR, Systematic Desensitization especially if your anxiety is related to clearly remembered events or attitudes you adopted knowingly. Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, and other types of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, also are known to help when memories are lost or the panics, anxieties, worries or unstoppable thoughts have been long-lived and the origin is unknown. Dr. Carol Francis can discuss with you the types of treatment that may most likely help you given your concerns, your history, your personality style and your goals.

Unique Learning Styles

If your child’s learning styles match the style of teaching they receive at school, you and your child will have an easier time developing the early skills, foundational knowledge and self-esteem that will assist them throughout their life. However, if your child’s style of learning differs from the style of teaching, your child’s self-esteem, skills and knowledge will be hampered.
Therefore, as a parent, teacher, or guardian, go to the effort to discover how your child learns. See if your child’s style matches the instructional style and materials. You are your child’s most important advocate.

(For more on learning styles of children, call Dr. Francis @ 310-543-1824)


For interviews that may help you too. 

Children vary by age and personality in their ability to pay attention, focus and concentrate.  Clearly, if your child’s teacher or you can not capture your child’s attention long enough to teach one concept or bit of information, his/her education and social cooperativeness will be hampered.

   Diagnosing Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD or ADHD), is a fairly straightforward procedure and the help now available for treating such complications is quite attainable.  However, if your child’s attention is due to emotional states (worries, sadness, loss, chaos, fears), psychotherapy or play therapy is more likely helpful.

   We teach fun exercises that can enhance attention, focus and concentration skills for adults and children.  The first step is to know your style and strengths in terms of you or your child's ability to attend, focus and concentrate.  After that is determined, exercises are refined that implement your natural ability to tuning into the moment, information or conversation.  Whether in a corporate luncheon, club meeting or classroom, these exercises are fun, enlightening and usable--immediately.     

(For more on Attention, Focus & Concentration Skills of children, call Dr. Francis @ 310-543-1824)

Attention Focus & Concentration Skills for
Children & Adults

With the rise of divorce, impact of scary world events, pressure of academic and extracurricular activities, or distractions created by dual income parenting, children are more exposed to situations that cause depression and anxiety.  In a desperate attempt to relieve depression and anxiety in children, medical doctors are relying more on quick interventions of psychotropic medications.  Dr. Kelly Young a leading pediatrician practicing in the South Bay area of Los Angelesnoted that these medications can be helpful in extreme situations but are being prescribed too often.


Anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications are rarely tested and proven on children and the short term and long term effects are significant.  Dr. Carol Lamden and Dr. Kelly Young, both pediatrically trained medical doctors, confided their concern that children on such medications is too often a swift avenue doctors and parents utilize without knowing the possible side-effect. Altering circumstances, intervening with helpful forms of psychotherapy for children as well as counseling for effective parenting are proving to be more benign and more helpful approaches.


(For more on childhood depression & anxiety, call Dr. Francis @ 310-543-1824)

Childhood Depression or Childhood Anxiety

Fitness Training, Lively & Tasty Eating, Proactively Enthusiastic Parenting Produces


Research is clear. 

Your child's well-being psychologically is very much affected by food, exercise, sleep, happy-lively parents, genuine success, and opportunities to help others.  

Dr. Carol Francis


Healthy Living Produces Healthy Children

Section: Juvenile Diabetes or Diabetes Type II in Children
Audience: Parents
Topics: Management of the Psychological Factors of Childhood Diabetes


My eight year old son loves mood rings—those heat sensitive, color changing rings that turn black if you are cold and supposedly nervous or upset or turn a beautiful shade of purple if you are tranquil and blue if you are in Nirvana---Awe!


My twelve year old is the son with Juvenile Diabetes and quite frankly I wish sometimes that we had a mood ring that would indicate when his blood sugar was about to make him miserably depressed or lethargic. Even more disconcerting is when is blood sugar spikes and so does his anger: irrational rageful moments when no reasoning in the world can get through. Twenty minutes pass and finally, his angry rampage will actually have lowered his blood sugar it seems and my son is back. My reasonable, affectionate and logically kindhearted son returns hardly remembering his cruel words or illogical aggressive gestures.


Before my oldest son was diagnosed with Diabetes, Type I, these moments were very puzzling to say the least. As a parent who adores her children and truly enjoys each moment I have with my sons, these moments of anger or depression seemed so incongruent with his personality and his knowing that he is much loved and supported.


Now that he has been diagnosed, these events of emotional extremes are easily traced to moderate or very high spikes or very sudden lows in his blood sugar. In all the training I have had through our excellent support hospital and the caring and thorough nurses, doctors and teachers, the mood swings associated with Diabetes, Type I in children has never been addressed.


Dr. Francis:  Talking with parents on-line, in my office and in support-groups, the effect of high and low blood sugar swings on their otherwise reasonable, loving and usually quite cooperative children is quite frequently discussed.


I am a Clinical Psychologist and one of my specialties is children. I have been working with children, their parents and teachers for over 30 years. Depression, anger, cooperation, ADHD/ADD and academic complications are the most frequent reasons parents seek my assistance. Within the last 15 years, I have noticed a big change in how doctors and parents have become more alert to the impact of foods, sleep, and exercise upon their child’s moods, school performances and helpfulness. Now, as Juvenile Diabetes is more frequently and more easily diagnosed, we can now understand this and other disorders and their impact on a child’s personality, emotionality and behaviors as well.


As parents of children with diabetes, we are not only managing their insulin, blood tests, diet and exercise in order to save their lives and maintain the quality of their physical well-being. We are also managing their diabetes so that their personality and relationships will not be severely impacted by their emotional instability.


We as parents cannot afford to become confused or be personally offended when our diabetic children become irrationally angry, bursting in tears or agitated with worries. We need to harness ourselves during those 20-40 minutes of outbursts and figure out how to manage the moments when no logic, no words and no emotional comfort will have the desired calming impact. When we are able to manage our reactions to our children’s emotional and behavioral reactions to their blood sugar swings, we become more available to assist our children through their mood swings so that all the wonderful moments that will follow will not be destroyed or made worse by our poor reactions to their very difficult emotional outbursts.


No parent who does not manage Juvenile Diabetes can truly appreciate how very difficult it is to passage through these intense, irrational, extreme moments of anger or depression. But rest assured those of us that have wonderful children who are coping with all the management issues associated with diabetes know what you are going through.


Here is some advice for managing the moments so that once your child’s blood sugar returns to normal, so too can your relationship and your household.


First, never take the moment personally. Do not concern yourself with the words, accusations, attacks, or blames that might pour forth during those 20-40 minutes. Please remember that when these blood sugar highs and lows occur, your child’s brain and therefore his/her personality is entirely bathed in chemicals that will trigger the most primitive, emotional and aggressive portions of his/her brain.


Second, manage your child’s words and behaviors in a manner that keeps your other children, you and your spouse at a safe distance especially if impulse controls are temporarily too low to prevent physical aggression from occurring.


Third, make sure your child having the outburst is safe both from himself/herself and from your own personal inclination to get angry in a self-protective or defensive manner. Remember, you are human too and when someone is anger at you in an unfair manner or in an excessive manner, you may also have a brain bath of chemicals that propel you into a fight or flight pattern. Therefore, remind yourself to remain calm and disengaged from the emotional provocations that your child is hurling at you and also disengage from the emotional reactions that are being stirred up inside of you.


Fourth, do not try to discuss the issues that your son or daughter is bringing up during these crazy emotional moments. Rather, reassure them that you love them and that you will discuss everything when they are calm. Later, when all is calm, let your child know that when they have these extreme moments that you know they cannot discuss or solve the issue with you right then. Remind them that you will discuss or solve those issues as soon as everyone returns to normal.


Fifth, as a parent you are primarily a teacher. You will need to help them learn to manage their own emotional outbursts due to high or low blood sugar. Your child will likely enter into relationships with their co-workers, friends, spouse and children and need to know how to manage these moments so that their relationships in their future are not permanently harmed by these extreme moods. So, as their teacher, when your child is in a reasonable state of mind, teach them how to isolate themselves, giving themselves time-outs when they are angry for example. Next, you can teach them how to discharge these emotions without causing any harm; they can hit pillows, exercise, go for a run or twirl in circles—anything constructively physical--as alternate ways to discharge their energies at those times.


Sixth, as their teacher-parent, you want them to develop a consciousness or a conscience about never letting it be okay to physically or verbally hurt others. You want to teach them that in these moments, when their emotional brain-centers are triggering wildly, they have other portions of their brain policing them and stopping them from hurting others. They need to have ingrained in them that they cannot direct their angry actions toward anyone. Teach them to talk about their angers when they are calm and in a problem-solving frame of mind. Also, you want them to be aware these moments are short-lived and need to be passed through with minimal damage created so there are no regrets for anyone.


Seventh, remember that you do not want to do or say anything during this time that you may regret as well. Remember that you need to manage these moments for everyone’s emotional and physical safety. Do not say or do anything that will actually aggravate the moments and make things worse then they have to become.


Do not choose these short-lived moments as the time to teach a lesson or to drive home a point or to tell them anything that they actually would be pained to remember later. They can not think clearly during these moments anyway, so save your breath and efforts. When you can later discuss with them how to manage these moments, avoid describing their behaviors or words as truly fundamental parts of their personality. For example, you might be tempted to say, “You are such an angry child!” “You are out of control so much!” “You need to be severely punished for not stopping when I told you to.” “You are so mean!” “You are so unreasonable.” These moments are not who they are typically so help them realize that their self-definition is not based on these brain-glitch moments.


Keep to the plan of teaching constructively and with solutions in mind. Do not teach with accusations, shameful descriptions, blame or demeaning pronouncements—you will harm your child’s self-perception and actually reduce their ability to skillfully cope with these moments.


On the other hand, do not coddle your child and let him/her feel that they are not responsible for their words and actions. Instead, practice how they can manage their extreme moments in a manner that works for them. This gives them the tools to be responsible even when they are crazed by the chemical brain-baths associated with extreme spikes in blood sugar.


There are many other ideas that parents of children with Juvenile Diabetes need to share about how we manage the emotional, behavioral and pragmatics of life. Don’t feel embarrassed; seek solutions to your dilemmas and worries—that is what good parenting truly is!


Finally, enjoy your days with your children. These days are short lived anyway—not because they are diabetic but because they will grow-up very soon and create lives of their own. Hopefully, they will always remember that YOU HAD THEIR BACKS AND STILL DO!


For more help, information and support-group opportunities regarding Parenting Children With Diabetes, please contact Dr. Carol A. Francis at 310-543-1824. 

When Blood Sugar Goes Crazy and Emotions Run Wild

So your family has split-up. Your children now have two fragmented families. Guess what, parenting may be harder than ever before because now you need to make decisions, communicate, coordinate and rely on the same individual whom you have just divorced!!!

All divorces are different and some parents are able to maintain the attitude of maturity that is necessary to create a good experience for their children in the two home split-up family. These parents place the children’s growth, authentic needs and development above the wants, needs, insecurities and conflicts that exist with the other parent.


These parents are also able to help their children by not falling into these easy co-parenting traps 1) placing the child in the middle by either using the child as a communicator of complications, a spy on the other parent or by using the child to side against the other parent; 2) making the child feel guilty or disloyal if they love and enjoy the other parent; 3) venting one’s frustrations inappropriately about the other parent’s behaviors or words; 4) letting the child "divide and conquer" or "playing one parent against the other" and thus letting the child grow more insecure when they are inappropriately indulged or allowed to misbehave. . .There are many more such traps—be wise, loving, thoughtful as you guide your child through the rest of the childhood while enduring these and other pitfalls of living within two households.


Now that you are a divorced co-parent to your child who lives in two households, you must take very good and healthy care of yourself so that you can function clear headedly when things become conflictual, painful, unfair or even impossible. You must have the support systems in your life separate from you children so that you can sort through your frustrations and pains away from your children and your children have the emotional space in their relationship with you to sort through their emotional chaos, insecurities, frustrations and confusions. And,. . .if a legal battle exists you must insure that you are well represented with thoughtful, experienced, energetic and intelligent counsels who will work with you out of integrity and commitment to help your children first and you second.


For more information or support, feel free to contact Dr. Carol Francis & Associates, a Psychotherapy Association in support of Individuals & Families. 310-543-1824.

offers several radio interviews with professionals who might assist you with providing your child with the most peaceful transition into two families you might be able to offer.  

Co-Parenting After Divorce
by Dr. Carol Francis, Clinical Psychologist
Marriage, Family & Child Therapist
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