Debra Ann Afarian


Founder, Certified Practitioner: Collaborative Problem Solving


Debra Ann Afarian is a Certified Think:Kids Practitioner who has used an approach called Collaborative Problem Solving, since 2003. The approach is defined in the book “Changeable” by Stuart Ablon, PhD. Debra Ann works independently under the direction and supervision of Dr. Ablon, the director of the Think:Kids Program in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital (

As the founder of the non-profit Helping the Behaviorally Challenging Child (HBCC), she has made it her mission to make sure that adult/child power struggles are understood in a whole new way, to break the cycle of misunderstanding challenging and difficult-to-manage behaviors.  Married since 1989, she is the parent of two adult children, the older of the two being a “formerly” challenging child. In addition, having been a challenging child herself, she has first-hand experience of how challenging behaviors are treated by most. She has developed strength and hope to break that cycle and focus on helping people understand that challenging behaviors are a learning disability in key skill areas.

Her life experiences give her unique insight into behaviorally challenging children. She shares her story in the hope that, if you are also misunderstood or have a misunderstood child, you will know you are not alone.  Finding your tribe can be helpful and give you a sense of community and maximize your family’s potential to meet the demands of life, school and work.

A special message from Debra Ann: 

“If sticker charts, rewards & punishments are not helping with low-frustration tolerance, flexibility, impulsivity, risk-taking behaviors and problem solving, you will want to explore this website more! Collaborative Problem Solving helps ALL children, especially those frequent-flyers who are put on time-outs, don’t respond well to consequences, have a hard time earning rewards, seem unaffected by punishments, are sent out of class, get detentions, suspensions, expulsions, restrictions, restraints, seclusion, self-medicate or are at-risk for out-of-home placement.

Stop chasing compliance and start building skills!

Learn how to Regulate & Relate to then Reason.” 

Robert F. Myers, PhD


Clinical Psychologist

Robert Myers, PhD is a child psychologist with over 35 years of clinical experience. He is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the UC Irvine School of Medicine. Dr Myers also provides parent education through public speaking and media appearances. He is the founder of a popular website for parents, Child Development Institute at

Robert Myers lives in Orange, CA with his wife, Pam. They were married in 1971 and have two adult children. He likes to listen to music and go to concerts, travel to new places, photography, and go hiking in the local mountains. Most of all he likes to spend time with his family, especially playing board games and having fun.

Ingrid Stalheim Andrews


Retired Early Childhood Educator


For over 40 years Ingrid worked with children, adults and families as a volunteer, preschool teacher,  Early Childhood Mentor Teacher, preschool director and Early Childhood consultant. As an adjunct college professor of Early Childhood Education at Saddleback and Irvine Valley Colleges, she taught Child Guidance, Creative Activities (art and music) and the class for Mentor Teachers. 

While Director of St. Margaret’s Preschool in San Juan Capistrano, she led the preschool through two successful NAEYC accreditation cycles and helped the preschool win recognition as a Demonstration Site for the Outdoor Classroom Project. Ingrid presented workshops for parents and teachers locally, across the country and internationally and was a validator for NAEYC accreditation, She currently serves on the LA Episcopal Diocese’ Commission on Schools. 

Ingrid holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Drama from Mary Baldwin College, Staunton, VA, a Master’s Degree in Human Development with an Early Childhood Specialization from Pacific Oaks College, Pasadena, CA. and a certificate in Gifted and Talented Education from UCI.

While pursuing her career, Ingrid continued her education by taking additional classes, belonging to professional organizations, attending conferences and workshops on learning disabilities, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, learning and the brain, music and movement with young children, technology and young children, media literacy, diversity, creativity, parenting education, Reggio Emilia theories, early childhood curriculum and outdoor classrooms.

Ingrid grew up in Virginia, Southern California and Utah and has lived in Dana Point for 45 years where she and her husband Rick raised two sons.

Barbara Massrey


Fundraising & Outreach

Barbara Massrey has been a businesswoman, volunteer, fundraiser, philanthropist and leader in the community for over 30 years. She is passionate about children, education and healthcare and is a member of several nonprofit boards.