We had the good fortune of connecting with Erica Curtis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erica, as a parent, what have you done for you children that you feel has had the most significant impact?
“Loved me,” is how my eleven-year-old answered this question. He’s probably right. Afterall, as a mental health professional I know the damage caused when children don’t feel loved. I can easily imagine super-highways of neural pathways forming in my own kids’ brains every time I hug them, draw with them, and set limits for them. But what is the most important thing I’ve done to show my children I love them? It was probably setting a simple intention to approach parenting like I would a painting. Encourage self-expression, balanced with limits. Invest in the outcome, but not too much. Make a plan and go with the flow. Step back and observe. Work with mistakes. Simplify. This has allowed me guiding principles that I return to again and again, regardless of what situation my children throw at me. And it is this approach that helps me consistently parent with love. So as not to leave them out, I also asked my eight- and five-year-old how they would answer the original question. “Helped me be confident and make my own path” replied my eight-year-old, reflecting on the many interests I’ve supported her in exploring. And my five-year-old? “Making me born.”
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Erica Curtis, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy Inc. offers a unique combination of creative, compassionate, and cutting-edge approaches to emotional and relationship health. As sole owner/employee I provide one-on-one psychotherapy, workshops, consultations, and freelance writing. I am most proud of my award-winning book, “The Innovative Parent: Raising Connect, Happy, Successful Kids through Art” (Swallow Press, 2019), simply because I had wanted to write a book since childhood. But I have felt most deeply touched when leading workshops for educators and counselors who work with marginalized groups. Sharing my knowledge and specialized techniques with other professionals, so that they can positively impact their communities, is a true gift. In many ways, building my business has been easy, simply because I have always loved what I do. I come from a mindset of abundance, generosity, and collaboration. That has certainly helped my business grow. Of course, there have been many anxiety-producing and challenging moments, as well. They still come. I don’t know a business owner who doesn’t experience these.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Days 1-5: Beach. Beach. And beach. South Orange County boasts many beautiful beaches for adults or families with kids: Doheny, Salt Creek, Strands, Baby’s Beach, North Beach. We would grab a coffee at Hidden House Coffee in San Juan Capistrano, just a short walk from my office. If we had our kids along, we would be sure to watch for trains pulling into and out of the station before heading down to Zoomars petting zoo. If we had the chance, we might head up to Laguna Beach to get gelato at Dolce Gelato or down south to San Clemente to get lunch at one of their many tasty restaurants (think kalua pork nachos at Happa J’s or quinoa lentil bowls at Active Culture).
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Loyola Marymount Univeristy’s Department of Marital and Family Therapy (with Specialized Training in Art Therapy), for my clinical and scholarly foundation: www.cfa.lmu.edu/programs/mft UCLArts & Healing, for shared visions and countless collaborations: www.uclartsandhealing.org
Katie Lubbers Photography, Janelle Ketcher, UCLArts & Healing, Corbyn Curtis