Parenting is a day to day opportunity to love, understand, and form a citizen of the world.
— Lina Acosta Sandaal, MA

I was born in Bogota, Colombia in 1971.  I was the baby of my family and was often labeled as the "emotional/independent" one.  In 1979, my family moved to Miami, Florida, due to my father's drive to attain the "American Dream."  Being bi-cultural and a strong Latina, I struggled as a child and adolescent with what that meant in the face of familial and societal hardships.  Those experiences shaped most of the decisions that I have made through out my life.

It is imperative to me to always come from a place of authenticity.  I believe that authenticity gives us the freedom to express who we are meant to be.  When a family sits with me and we find who they wish to be authentically, then that is when they begin to flourish and thrive.  My first experience of hearing the whisper of my authentic voice was as part of one of the founding classes of New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida.  At New World I discovered that what I thought and loved was what drove me to work hard.  It was at New World that I learned that without authenticity and passion it is difficult to get through an obstacle.  I bring this to the work with my families but most importantly the adolescents that cross my  path.

Real Women Have Curves (2002) -Click to see trailer

This idea of being Latina and bi-cultural and how it shapes who I am and the decisions I make came as I walked into the halls of Boston University the fall of 1990.  Prior to my move to Boston I had been surrounded by others just like me.  In Boston I discovered that I was "brown."  This idea of being part of the "minority" began my search and questioning of what it meant to have culture define us or break us.  This questioning continued when I moved to Los Angeles in the summer of 1995, to pursue acting.  While in Los Angeles and in the world of Hollywood, I learned to look into the characters that I was personifying and wonder why they made the choices that they made.  These were the building blocks to my intrigue into human psyche, culture, and environment as the ways that form us as individuals.  I bring this curiosity to my work today when I sit across a child, adolescent or family, I always wonder what has shaped them into who they are today. 

My time in Los Angeles brought the greatest changes of my adult life. I finally healed the hurts of my past by seeking help and discovering how those experiences shape me.  I married my best friend, who supports and helps me grow to this day.  But in May of 2005 the final piece of who I am today came to fruition: my daughter Camila was born.  Her birth did for me what the birth of a child does for most parents if they are willing to take on the challenge.  Could I change, could I learn, and would I be willing to allow this experience to shape me into a completely different woman?

In the pursuit of answering these questions I earned my Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology.  I trained in infant mental health, child and adolescent development, inter-personal neuro-biology, and trauma-focused treatments. Finally in 2012 I founded our parenting program and center.  In that moment, I made a commitment to assist and support other parents to use all of their experiences in seeing how their children challenge them to be the best person they can be.   I bring this commitment and passion to our space and my online community every day.  I often get told, "you must love children,"and I do, because they are usually my greatest teachers. But, I love parents. Each one of us as parents has been given the responsibility to build a better community by guiding and loving our children.  That tenuous task is what wakes me every morning to do the work that I do with all those families who honor me by asking for my assistance and support.

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Topics Include:

  • Parenting the Personality your Child Was Born With: a discussion on temperament
  • Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child
  • Managing and Handling Difficult Behavior
  • The Parenting Cycle: Understanding and Developing a Healthy Cycle for Parent and Child
  • Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Adolescent Brain
  • Enhancing Emotional Intelligence in the Classroom (Teacher Training)
  • Attachment Theory in the Classroom: Understanding the Parent/Child Relationship(Teacher Training)


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