It's not bad behavior; it's a stress response.

Establish safety & reflect together to develop new skills.

Betty peralta
MIT, MSc, LMHCA, IMH-E®(III)

I am an adult-child interaction specialist working with parents, teachers, and therapists to give children relationships that set them up for their best lives.

I started out my career as a special education teacher who wanted more for my students than the one-size-fits-all ways of learning. I felt terrible for the kids who sat in classrooms feeling bad about themselves for wanting to do just about anything else. In fact, I was one of those kids myself. As a child, I struggled to feel understood and accepted by my teachers and peers, and that tended to get in the way of my feeling happy at school.

 

As a therapist working mainly in homes and classrooms, I get to help adults understand children better. I use the NeuroRelational Framework (NRF) to target areas of development that could use enhancement, particularly the ability to self-regulate, make friends, take on responsibility, and learn. I use Hand in Hand Parenting to help parents strengthen their child-rearing skills. I use The Work in 4 Questions (Inquiry-Based Stress Reduction Technique) to help adults improve their relationship with children, often by improving their relationships with themselves. I also use hypnotherapy to heal traumas that prevent us from connecting with the people in our care. 

It was while working in the field of infant and early childhood mental health that I found the NRF, which was created for children ages 0-3. I realized that this idea needed to be shared with school-age children and adolescents as well. This model is especially promising for disrupting the preschool to prison pipeline because it moves us away from the compliance model of behavioral science, and in its place, uses a safety-challenge-threat lens of neuroscience. This model seeks to first establish relational safety, then challenge children short of putting them into a threat response that would give them toxic stress. All ages can benefit from interventions that prioritize relationships and the developmental needs of the brain. I now train, consult and coach adults on how to use relationships to rewire brains, helping both adults and children become calmer, more joyful, and cooperative human beings.

My work is influenced by the following schools of thought:

  • Bruce Perry's Neurosequential Model, which meets a child where they are in their brain development and proceeds from there

  • Stanley Greenspan's DIR/Floortime, which emphasizes development (D), individual differences (I), and relationships (R) for rewiring brains to regulate energy, connect with others, and tolerate sensory stimuli

  • Daniel Siegel's Interpersonal Neurobiology Movement, which studies brain science and the effects of interpersonal relationships for child development

  • Alfred Adler's theory, the bedrock of Positive Discipline, which explains how the source of behavior is discouragement or encouragement

  • Patty Wipfler's Hand in Hand Parenting approach, which uses principles from Re-Evaluation Counseling, a listening technique that promotes deep healing in children as opposed to surface behavioral strategies

  • Circle of Security, which teaches that difficult behaviors are communication of unmet needs and describes how to meet those needs based on building a strong relationship pattern

  • The intersection between child-rearing practices of indigenous cultures and neuroscience

Affiliations
  • NeuroRelational Framework Institute Faculty Advisor

  • Broadview Emergency Shelter Parent Coach & Staff Trainer

  • Washington State Office of Public Defense Coach for parents reuniting with their children after foster care and Consultant for lawyers, social workers, and CASA's

  • Reflective Consultant for

    • Kindering Spanish-Speaking Home Visiting Team

    • NW School for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children's Family Connections Home Visitors

    • El Centro de la Raza Home Visitors

    • Global Perinatal Services Doulas

    • Open Arms Perinatal Services Doula Supervisors

    • United Indians of All Tribes Foundation Ina Maka Home Visiting Program

    • ChildStrive Home Visitors and Supervisors

  • Cooper House Facilitating Attuned Interactions (FAN) Trainer

  • Voice of Vashon's Mi Gente Latina Crianza Saludable Radio Show Monthly Segment Guest

  • Associated Recreation Council (ARC) for Seattle Parks and Recreation Trainer and Steering Committee Advisor

  • Families of Color Seattle (FOCS) Parent Educator

  • Washington State Department of Youth and Family Services Self-Care Trainer for Home Visitors

  • South King County Discipline Coalition Consultant, Trainer, and Author of South King County Discipline Coalition Parents' Guide to the OSPI Discipline Menu of Best Practices

  • Washington Association for Infant Mental Health (WA-IMH) Endorsed Member at Level III (Clinical)

Degrees
  • Masters In Teaching, Seattle University

  • Masters in Science - Mental Health Counseling, UMass

  • Bachelors of Arts, The Evergreen State College

" Betty is a great listener.  She is thoughtful, sincere, friendly, empathetic, incredibly knowledgeable, and really works with parents to help them come up with solutions and alternate approaches." - JS

"[Betty] does her work quietly and without judgment; she is patient with us imperfect parents as we work to incorporate her evidence-based suggestions.  I have so enjoyed learning from her; she has helped me to become a better parent!" - JS

"Betty is incredible at creating a safe space for clients to be heard in a nonjudgmental and calming environment. What a wonderful healer!" - JW