Did you know that if you get on Amazon and type in "Parenting Books" you'll get a list of over 50,000 results? WOAH. That's pretty overwhelming! And then when you begin to look through the list you might start thinking to yourself "ummmm how do I know what to buy?!?". I recommend books all the time to clients and am careful to select items that will have an impact and that I know the parent will have time to read (or at least look through).

Here's how I decide if a resource is worth investing in:

1. I read the reviews. If other professionals are recommending the book along with parents then I check it out further.

2. Does the book offer solutions that are positive in nature. Meaning the book isn't trying to "fix" your "bad" kid. The words "fix", "bad", "controlling", "punishment" are red flags to me that the book might look at the child being a problem rather than the child struggling with a problem. I look for books that have words such as "empathy", "emotional intelligence or EQ", "discipline", "boundaries", "attachment", "brain development". Those words indicate to me that the book is probably going to touch on some ideas that will help support a child in their development and give a parent a different way to look at the issue.

3. I look for books that aren't super long or clinical sounding because who has time to read a book with 500 pages or words/terms you have to Google?

4. Finally I take a look inside the book. I love that Amazon offers the feature where you can usually read the forward and table of contents of the book. This allows me access to see what is covered, how the authors write, and it is as advertised.

Interested in learning what books I recommend? Sign up for my freebie here and you'll get the list delivered directly to you inbox.

28 views0 comments

I get this question from parents quite often. “How is playing with toys going to teach my child how to cope with anxiety/ADHD/depression/divorce/bullies?”

Play therapy is much more than playing with toys. It is the most developmentally appropriate way to approach counseling for children ages 3 to 12. A child’s primary language is play and toys are their words. Sit back some time and watch your child play. What do you see? If they are little it may look like nurturing a baby doll, serving you food, playing in a doll house with a family. You may hear them saying things you’ve said before or acting out a situation that may have happened the other day. For older children it may look like them building with Legos and you overhear negative or positive self-talk, creating art to reflect how they view the world, or playing board games and creating their own rules. These are all examples of children using play to explore the world and themselves.

If I were to sit a child down on a couch across from me and talk to them for 50 minutes about what their problems are, how to “fix” those problems, and what they need to change, a couple of things would happen. The first is they would view me just like they view every other adult in their life who is frustrated by their behavior and wanting them to change. Second, they would shut down and tune me out. Now if I take that same child and bring out Uno, fuse beads, sand, Legos, army men, dress up clothes… suddenly, they allow me into their world. They are free to dress up, dig in the sand, make a mess (within reason) without being told to be different. They talk to me, not in the traditional sense, but in a language I have been trained in. My training as a play therapist has taught me how to validate their experience and watch for themes in their play which help me understand what is going on in their world. In play therapy children can develop self-confidence, learn how to name and express feelings, build frustration tolerance, make sense of situations that have confused them, and feel safe all by playing with toys. Pretty cool isn’t it?

Have additional questions about play therapy or are wondering about where to find a Registered Play Therapist near you? The Association for Play Therapy is a wonderful resource and their site can be visited here.

22 views0 comments

Welcome to my first post! Whether you are a current client or stumbled upon my site by accident I'm glad you're here! Just in case you don't know me, my name is Andrea Heston and I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice in McKinney, Texas. I also have specialized training in play therapy and am Registered Play Therapist. I spend my days working with kiddos from preschool to middle school ages, stressed out parents, and women working through a variety of life transitions.

My hope for this blog is to offer some parenting insights based off my experience as a child counselor of 8+ years and a mom of a 6 year old and 2 year old. I'm in the trenches too and know how important it is to have a community to support you in your parenting journey. I will also be addressing the concerns and stressors that many of us women feel. I'll have some free handouts for you to download so make sure to check back weekly to see what topic I'm discussing. My goal is for you to walk away every week with something that will be helpful.

Have a topic you'd like to see covered? I'd love to hear from you!


37 views0 comments

© 2023 by Andrea Heston Counseling.

Proudly created with

  • Facebook Social Icon