Counselors' Timely Tips

List of 20 news stories.

  • Healthy Relationships and Boundaries MS

    To watch video of Timely Talk please go to our wellness page and click under Video Links (you may need to sign into MYSSES)

    As part of teenage development, young people practice, form, and learn about relationships.  Through their experiences, they explore what safe and healthy connections feel and look like with friends, parents, caregivers, teachers, and romantic partners.  We are a school that cares about healthy relationships and boundaries. We accompany the students in that journey of reflecting and building strong and positive interpersonal skills. We create a variety of opportunities throughout the year to support these conversations:
    • Healthy relationships day in the MS 
    • Chapel Talks by the Healthy Relationship Committee
    • Classroom discussions and advisory talks on friendships, toxic relationships, dating, break-ups, and  setting limits (such as our program of “Your Boundaries” in 6th grade)
    • Winter Wellness programming

    In Middle school Self Science 6th grade we will start our Your Boundaries: A Prevention Approach for Sexual Abuse" program after spring break and in this Timely Talk we will discuss what is covered in the class.  The 9th graders are just completing a series of classes on teenage relationships; and, in a recent chapel talk, the student Healthy Relationship Committee shared the importance of relationships to support our healthy mind, body, and spirit.
  • Dr. Natinsky Top Five Tips for Building T(w)een Tech Management Skills 

    Have you ever thought about all the areas in which we teach our kids skills management? We teach them to manage their belongings, their relationships, their time and their money. Yet, we also need to teach them how to properly manage technology. Watch this presentation in our Wellness Tile (you will be asked to sign into your MYSSES and it's under "Video Links") to learn five tips for building tech management skills in our t(w)eens that reflect your personal goals and values. Guest speaker Michelle Natinsky, Ph.D., enjoys teaching and translating research into practical techniques for parents, as well as providing compassionate and collaborative consultation. She will guide us through helpful strategies for managing technology in our children’s lives. You can learn more at
  • Winter Wellness Programming 2022

    Please join us for our 2022 Winter Wellness Program. These talks enhance our wellness program by addressing timely topics throughout the community. These events will take place on Thursday, Jan. 27 and Thursday, Feb. 3. We invite you to join these healthy conversations by participating in a remote parent session, as well as speaking with your child about their session topic. We hope these will provide many wellness-filled discussions.

    The following is an outline of the programming  (click here to read detailed information on each talk)

    Parent Series: 
    • Thursday, Jan. 27, 11 a.m.-12 p.m. “Top Five Tips for Building T(w)een Tech Management Skills,” Michelle Natinsky, Ph.D.
    • Thursday, Feb. 3, 1- 2 p.m. “The Science of High-Risk Behavior,” Crystal Collier, Ph.D., LPC-S

    For both events, please use this link, Meeting ID: 919 4886 8547, Passcode: SSTXparent. 

    Student Series:
    • 6th grade: Outdoor Wellness
    • 7th grade: Creating Balanced Mental Health and Healthy Relationships
    • 8th grade: The Science of High-Risk Behavior, Middle School version
    • 9th and 10th grades, students will select a talk from the following choices: 
      • Mental Wellness
      • Zen and the Art of Drawing
      • Yoga: Finding Balance
      • Nutrition
      • Outdoor Mindfulness
      • Using Your Voice for Good: Rising Above Harmful Online Trends
      • Creative Writing: Self-Discovery Through Writing
      • Gender and Sexuality
      • Racial Identity Development and Wellness
      • CPR Certification
    • 11th grade: The Science of High-Risk Behavior, Upper School version
    • 12th grade: Sexual Consent
  • 8th grade Transition to US 2021-22

    As part of the transition to 9th grade, speakers from the upper school provide an initial space for us to start thinking about and asking questions about the upper school experience. You will hear about academics, student life, admissions, the arts, athletics, and other topics of interest and there will be time for questions. Watch the video under "Video links"- you will be prompted to sign in using your MYSSES password.
  • "The Ongoing Talk: How to Speak to your Children about Sexuality"

    Ivy Chen is a nationally experienced speaker who thoughtfully facilitates and offers helpful tools to families to have conversations on sex and sexuality based on a developmental perspective and honoring families’ beliefs and values. Ivy discusses how to effectively start and maintain communication about relevant topics around sex and sexuality in a family with middle-school-aged students. This workshop covered a wide range of topics such as puberty, sexual intercourse, reproduction, gender identity, masturbation, pornography, and appropriate use of media.
  • Change can be Hard

    While change can be hard, we have shown time again that we can do hard things! Thank you for showing resilience and patience as we do our part in protecting and pursuing everyone’s health this week.
    Here is an infographic to remind us to focus on what we can control. Although this time of virtual learning is temporary, please know that we as a community are here to care for you.  Naming what is uncomfortable, what is pleasant, and who is in our corner are important components for getting through hard times.
  • Timely Tip and Talk: Communicating with More Ease

    When parenting adolescents, it is helpful to remember that they are on a journey of a “second instance of separation-individuation.” This means that similar to when they were two years old (their first individuation experience), teens are trying new things, exploring, pushing boundaries, and often feeling dysregulated. 
    Both developmental stages have the goal of pulling away from parents and beginning to assert their own independence, of course with different age-appropriate nuances and higher stakes during their teenage years.  Our roles as parents and how we communicate with our tweens and teens are crucial parts of their lives. Staying close is not always easy though, as we try to adapt to their fluctuating moments of rejection and wanting connection.   
    Please watch the talk with Barb Steinberg (parent and teen-life coach) who shared with us some communication skills to help us and our teens establish mutual respect, connect, and feel more at ease.  The workshop was focused on how to:
    • Discover strategies to connect and have open communication
    • Recognize ways to reduce power struggles and resistance
    • Learn specific phrases to increase cooperation and feelings of being heard
  • Prioritizing The Right Type of Rest

    With midterm grades and Parent Conferences upon us, life can feel busy. In response to our busyness, we often create lists of to-do’s to set ourselves up for greater success.  These lists, however, sometimes don’t include rest.  Here is an article about seven types of rest: physical, mental, sensory, creative, emotional, social, and spiritual. 

    Our hope is that this article helps frame the appropriate kind of rest we may need in order to replenish ourselves this long weekend.  May intentional rest allow us to reflect on the hard work that has been put in the past two months and prepare us to bring ourselves fully to the remainder of this Autumn season.

    Rooting for our best rest
  • Dr. Damour Making sense of anxiety and stress in times of COVID

    As a community, we have the opportunity to dialogue with Dr. Lisa Damour about anxiety, coping, and mental health in times of COVID.  Dr. Damour’s presentations (click here to access videos in "Under Links") to faculty, students, and parents have been made possible by the generous support of the Brooke Howe Laws Endowed Lecture Series*.  

    Dr. Damour invites us to begin our conversation with a crucial premise: Maintaining equilibrium is not about getting to a place that feels good... it’s about having the right feelings at the right time and managing those emotions effectively.

    Two Timely Tips she offers as part of her recent work on how to manage emotions and find balance for both adults and teens:
    • Create a space for the mind to wander: we can weave into our day-to-day the possibility of “soft fascination,” which refers to activities that require some focus but still leave room for our attention to wander (such as taking a walk in nature or taking a long shower).
    • Become a “helpful thesaurus” to our kids and loved ones: recognizing and expressing our emotions helps us manage them (“name it to tame it”), so as we listen to our teens we can help them find precise words to describe their emotions.
  • Timely Tip: We were all new once, and will be again.

    Welcome to this year’s Timely Tips and Talks. Throughout the year, the school counselors will share social, emotional, and mental health “Tips,” often followed by “Talks.” 

    Below is our first Timely Tip on being new.  
    How do you do “new?” New school, new friends, and new classes. Each beginning gives us a chance to practice introducing ourselves, connecting with others, and learning something new. Being new is something we all do again and again in our lives. 
    Here are some tips to help your child practice moving through the “new.” 
    • Start with introductions and sometimes re-introductions.
    • Remember that others can be “new-vous” (nervous), too.
    • Find common interest groups - joining clubs, creating study groups, and connecting with others in advisory. 
    • Being new gives you a chance to try something new. A chance to redefine yourself!
  • Summer Plans?... Staying Connected

    After a pandemic-filled school year, our social-emotional and mental health has been brought to the fore in some ways and missed out on in others. Summertime this year can help students catch up on some important social and emotional skills to get ready for the next year. There are healthy steps teens can take to keep up with their developmental needs. 
    Here are some ideas:
    1. Seeking social-emotional connections. 
      1. Finding everyday ways to be in community 
      2. Valuing on-line relationships (ie., grand-parent zooming or gaming with friends)
      3. Fostering peer connections, competition, and collaboration
    1. Highlighting mental health   
      1. Use check-in statements “Tell me how you are doing”
      2. Taking a “breath” 
      3. Tending to worrisome signs 
    Here are some summer readings that may help to that end: 
    Please bring your summer support questions and ideas to our video chat
  • Getting through the “Blahs”

    The dominant emotion in 2021 is being coined as "languishing." A recent article in the New York Times described this as “the void between depression and flourishing- the absence of well-being."
    Let's come together to share what this state-of-being looks like in our students, in our own selves, and what we can do to embrace spring and start closing the academic year finding meaning and joy.
    Our talk will be around this article, "There is a Name for the Blah you're feeling" that may help give language where many of us may be emotionally and mentally. Happy Mental Health Awareness month.
  • For a school year like no other, how do we finish strong, in mind, body, and spirit?

    The intentional and supportive structure of our school, itself, allows students to develop some of these strengths, as they move through their classes, advisory, activities and community time, such as Chapel and clubs. Some of these lessons on caring for our well-being are highlighted in a winter term Chapel Talk organized by upper school students, and linked here with their permission: Student Gov’t video on Mind, Body, Spirit
    Along with uplifting insights, this video gives us good ideas of how to talk with our children about the sometimes challenging subject of their health and well-being. Here are a few additional questions to consider in exploring the subject further with your own child.  
    1. Do kids at school talk about how they are doing mentally, physically, and spiritually? 
    2. Do you have questions or thoughts for me about these?
    3. How have these impacted your own life?
    4. What helps you stay healthy?
    5. How do you notice when you are not feeling well? (do you notice it in your body- feeling sick or stressed?)
    The counseling team and the chaplains will host a video chat regarding strategies to grow mind, body, spirit strength on Wednesday 4/7/21 at 11 am:  zoom link and passcode- SSTXparent. Hope to see you there. 
    The Counseling team
  • Start with Self-Compassion

    Dear Parents,
    On the heels of winter wellness, we enter the theme of Healthy Relationships! 
    We have provided recordings of our speaker series of Winter Wellness (see under Video Links Section, you will be prompted to sign-in to my SSES) for those of you that were unable to attend, and we have added some additional videos that can help support ways to connect with your loved ones.  
    It is said that in order to have a good relationship with others, it helps to have a good relationship with yourself! How To Be a Good Friend to Yourself, is an interesting read on preserving and developing self-compassion. After all, we have to start with ourselves to then be a good role model for our children. Enjoy!
  • “How are students talking about mental health”

  • The impact of national strife: how parents can support a healthy understanding for their children.

    Hearing about and watching the intense, real-life events unfold before our eyes is an all too frequent reality in our current time. This past week’s strife is another example of how seemingly far away events can reverberate through our personal, social, and emotional lives. Helping your child understand and, hopefully, grow through them is a challenge we can take on together.

    You can find helpful resources both below and at our Counseling Corner

    1. “How To Talk To Kids About The Riots At The U.S. Capitol”  resource NPR 
    2. “Talking to kids about the Violence at the US Capitol”  resource from common sense media
    3. Suggestions for educators in response to the events
    4. How to talk to children about difficult news (American Psychological Association)
  • January Wellness Programming

    January is well known as the month in which we all make our new year's resolutions; often goals related to wellness and healthy choices, and this is also true at St. Stephen's. Especially during these challenging times, being mindful of our physical and emotional wellbeing is so crucial. We have a variety of events for parents and students around our Health programming this month  Please note all parent meetings will be held at this  zoom link Passcode: SSTXparent 

    • January 14th, 11 a.m. Link-up Conversation for parents "The Ongoing Talk: How to Speak with your Children about Sexuality", featuring guest speaker Dr. Karen Rayne  (for 7th and 8th grade parents)
    • January 20th- 11 a.m. Virtual Chat for parents featuring the Upper school “Get Psyched” Club “How are students talking about mental health”  (for all school parents)
    • January 21st- 6:30pm  As part of the transition to 9th grade, a panel of speakers from the upper school provides an initial space for us to start thinking about and asking questions on the upper school experience. You will hear about academics, student life, admissions, the arts, athletics, and other topics of interest and there will be time for questions. (for 8th grade parents)
    • January 25th- 11 a.m. Virtual Chat “Top 5 Tips for Building T(w)een Tech Management Skills”  featuring guest speaker Dr. Michelle Natinsky.  (For all school parents)
    • January 29th, Winter Wellness Day - a series of workshops and conferences for both parents and students in which health-related topics are covered. 
    For all school parents:  
    • 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m “Mindfulness 2021: A New Year, A Higher Perspective” guest speakers Kelly Corbet & Melinda Young
    • 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. “The Science of High-Risk Behavior” guest Speaker Dr. Collie
  • A Conversation with Barb Steinberg Recording

  • Barb Steinberg guest speaker: Let’s Strategize! Tips and strategies to support teens socially and emotionally at this time

    Join us Thursday, Dec. 10?  at 11:00-12:00 Zoom link  Meeting ID: 862 0590 2996     Passcode: Link-up  
    Let’s learn to identify red flags for depression, anxiety, and isolation in our teens. Barb Steinberg will guide a timely conversation and provide specific tools and resources on how to support our teens emotionally and socially through the uncertainties, demands, and unique circumstances impacting all of us during this time. 

    Save the date! Here are events the counselors are highlighting for the next two months, hope you can join. The virtual chats will take place in the following Zoom link  Meeting ID: 862 0590 2996     Passcode: Link-up 

    • Dec 9: SSES staff virtual chat 
    • Dec 10: Barb Steinberg speaker, 6th-12th - Let’s Strategize! Parent tips to support teens throughout the 2020-21 school year. 


    • Jan 14: Middle School Link-up - Dr. Rayne speaker ‘The Ongoing Talk: How to Speak to your Children about Sexuality” 
    • Jan 20: Virtual Chat : Get Psyched talks with Parents-  “Get Psyched” club: “how are students talking about mental health.”     
    • Jan 21: The Transition to Ninth grade  
    • Jan 26: Chapel talk w/ Winter Wellness  - TA/Get Psyched
    • Jan 29: Winter Wellness (schedule TBA)
    • Jan 30 - Feb 1: Winter “wellness” long weekend - Refresh
  • A Fall Outlook for Social and Emotional Support

    As we continue to roll with the different twists and turns of this school year, we want to look ahead to how we all can grow our social, emotional lives. This Timely Tip highlights SSES up-coming mental health related events. 
    As you can see, our next virtual chat will be in November. Until then, peruse the Counseling Corner’s to access a helpful resource or call on us with questions or thoughts. 



    • 11/4: Virtual Chat for Upper school new parents: “Fall Term Check-in” 

    (zoom link and passcode- SSTXparent)

    • 11/12: Virtual Chat for all parents- “From comments to finals”

    Come discuss healthy and sustainable strategies as students get ready for finals.

    (zoom link and passcode- SSTXparent)

    • 11/2: International Survivors of Suicide Day 

St. Stephen's health and wellness counselors are here to ensure that our school community remains well supported emotionally. We have created this space to provide informed readings, resources and tips on ways to stay connected and to reach out to us as needed. Meet our Counselors - we are here for you! (scroll down to see our contact info below)
Address: 6500 St. Stephen's Dr., Austin, TX 78746
Phone: (512) 327-1213