Chico Center for Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy and Counseling services for Children & Adults | Support for Parents


Chico therapist An Bulkens, LMFT is psychotherapist and counselor in Chico, California.  An Bulkens specializes in psychotherapy and counseling for young children  (toddlers, preschoolers, adolescents) and support for parents, with a special emphasis on  early childhood psychotherapy, and counseling  for preschoolers and Kindergarten aged child.  She also offers parenting skills support. She offers psychoanalytic psychotherapy for adults.  Her approach is grounded in  Lacanian Psychoanalysis. She was also trained as a clinical psychologist in Europe, Belgium.  Her education emphasized developmental psychology and psychoanalytic therapy. 

Filtering by Tag: Parenting preschooler

The terrible two's: How to handle your child's loud and clear 'NO!'

It can be a shock for a parent, when their sweet and loving baby suddenly turns against them with this loud and clear no. Sometimes parents experience it as a rejection, a withdrawing of the child's love. And understanding it this way can lead to a cascade of misunderstandings between parent and child, and to a souring of the relationship.

However, this NO is indicative of a very important shift in the child's position: from being a baby who could not conceive of anything other than doing what the parent wants, towards becoming his or her own person! This is a moment to be celebrated. As Dolto points out: The child says 'no,' to be able to do 'yes.'   What does this mean?  That the child says no, 'because you ask me, and I do not want to do whatever you ask me, as I am my own person'.  However, the child immediately follows up with a yes, 'but I want to do it for me, because I am a becoming a big boy, or a big girl, and I want to do things on my own, for me.' 

If the parent understands this, these ‘two's’ do not have to be so terrible. Typically, when the parent does not insist, or refers to another adult of importance for the child as making the same request, the child will eventually do it. The child will do it not to please the mother or father, but to become his own person, and not just a 'child' that is commanded like a pet, or a little kid. 

If the parent reads this no as a rejection, but as a positive intention of the child moving towards developing his own personality, separated from the parent, the child might feel that the parent is needing him or her to stay this parental extension. The child might get the message that he is there only for the sake of pleasing the mother, satisfying her needs, but is not respected in his or her own desires. If a third element or person does not intervene to bring about this separation between the parent and the child, it might be the beginning of difficulties for the child, and for the parent – child relationship.  The child might move back and forth between compliance and revolt and opposition. But stuck in this dynamic the child stays stuck to the parent in what can sometimes become an infernal dynamic for all parties involved. In that case therapy might help both parent and child to help bring about the separation that has not had a chance to occur. It is precisely this separation, (which indeed will imply  a certain loss), that will make a connection possible between parent and child.  A connection that will be much more pleasurable than the infernal dynamic of opposition and reconciliation.

To schedule an appointment call An at (530) 321-2970


What is not talked about, tends to repeat itself.

In my practice I encounter at times parents who do not want to talk about certain aspects of the past: the painful history of an absent father, the fact that the child was abused at an early age... I often get the question: Why talk about these painful things when the child does not even remember them, or even asks about them? As if talking about them will increase the pain, will unnecessarily open old wounds that do not need to be opened anymore.  Talking about it might be very hard and difficult for the parent, but can be a crucial step in helping the child, and in preventing the past to repeat itself.

In my work with adult clients I see how not addressing the truth about a biological parent, or about a painful family event can have very detrimental, long term effect. Over and over again I see, that what is not spoken about, what is taboo tends to repeat itself in family histories. I think of the family where 4 generations of women have been raped, and where the teenage daughter is putting herself in situations that might be devastating. It is not until this family history and the pain that goes with it is put into words that something new can happen, and history does not have to repeat itself. 


An Bulkens    |    Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist    |   MFC 52746

Tel. (530) 321- 2970    |   186 E 12th ST,  Chico, CA 95928