Family matters

The Happy Family Coach offers life lessons

North Chattanooga resident Danielle Alvarez was looking at ways to improve her own family dynamics when she first attended a workshop focused on the Reality Formula for Kids taught by local therapist Lynne Forrest.

“I fell in love with the model and wanted to teach it to my own children,” Alvarez said. “I was searching for a different way to relate to my kids that would actually work.”

She has since been working with Forrest for the past five years and has gone through the program to attain her Reality Formula for Kids Coach certification. Alvarez started coaching on her own under the business name of The Happy Family Coach in October. She recently led her first workshop at a school for students on the autism spectrum in West Palm Beach, Fla., that had bullying issues.

“[The Reality Formula for Kids] works really well for parents of children with special needs,” said Alvarez. “It works with every child because it’s so simple.”

The program is based on transactional analysis, which she said was developed by Dr. Stephen Karpman. The model uses the Victim Triangle, in which the parent or child takes on one of three roles: Blaming Bully, Bossy Helper and Helpless Baby. The cycle reflected in the Victim Triangle perpetuates helplessness, she said, as the child becomes resentful of the parent in the Bossy Helper role, and the parent in turn resents having to take responsibility for their child.

Alvarez and Forrest co-developed The Reality Mat, which incorporates the Victim Triangle as well as another triangle consisting of the Respectful Leader, Happy Kid and Empowering Ally.

“I teach parents how to empower the child to become a ‘Happy Kid,’” Alvarez said, explaining that the program focuses on giving responsibility back to the child. “I teach parents the difference between being responsible for their children and being responsible. The most amazing gift as a parent to give to kids is the ability to take responsibility for their own unhappiness by beginning to look at the role or part they’re playing.”

She said most of her clients are individuals wanting to explore unhappy dynamics within their lives, such as sibling rivalry. Her own two children have completely shifted their behavior, Alvarez added.

She works with entire families as well as with parents or children one on one in person and through Skype.

Her office, The Real Life Center, is located at 110 Woodland Ave. To make an appointment call 544-9890 or email danielle@realityformula.com. For more information visit realityformula.com.