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

Establish relational safety, reflect together, teach new skills.

Betty peralta

MIT, MSc, LMHCA, CHt, IMH-E®(III)

I am a developmental 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 prioritize relationship and the developmental needs of the brain. I now train, consult and coach adults on how to use relationship 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

Current Affiliations
  • North and Central Seattle Colleges Faculty  for the Preschool Cooperative System

  • Broadview Emergency Shelter Parent Coach & Staff Trainer

  • Brettler Family Place and Mercy Transitional Housing Facilities (Solid Ground) Parent Educator

  • Reflective Consultant for King County Developmental Disabilities Division at Kindering, Encompass, and NW Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children

  • South King County Discipline Coalition Consultant and Trainer

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

  • Families of Color Seattle (FOCS) Parent Educator

  • Seattle Public Schools Substitute Teacher

  • The Workforce Development Council of King County, WA Trainer 

  • Washington Association for Infant Mental Health (WA-IMH) Member

Licensure, Certifications & Endorsements
  • Licensed Mental Health Counselor Associate

  • Endorsed Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist (Level III)

  • Certified Facilitator of The Work of Byron Katie

  • Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist

  • Certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator

  • Certified Circle of Security Parent Educator

  • Certified Teacher, K-8 with K-12 Special Education & ELL Teacher Endorsements

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