Staff Videos & Vlogs

10 Years of TTC with Jennifer Perez


I think, you know, Kent has always expressed wanting to be a teacher, right. Like, I think that's
one of his kind of goals in life, and I think he's good at it. He's personable for him. I think it's
important to have people under him and to be able to lead the way and have a path that people can
go down that follows him and that he can also cultivate roads for other people. I mean, there's
been other therapists that have come in a teen therapy center and then gone off into their own
practice and have done very well. And I think that goes to show you that he has taught and been
able to be successful in teaching.

It's nonstop that I hear. When we get intakes coming in from parents, there's not a lot of teen
and children therapists. They're just not there. Obviously, you can go through your insurance
and you can get referrals, but if you don't bring your kids to a therapist who specializes in
children and teens, unfortunately, I do not feel like it's a fit. If you are bringing a child
and a teen into therapy, you must find a therapist that specializes in teenagers or children.
And so it's vital to have places like this that specialize in anything, really. I would say we
should have therapy centers that specialize in anxiety and therapy centers that specialize
specific in depression. But to have one that specializes in children and teens, we're cultivating
a healthier community altogether.

He's nerdy. He's very nerdy. He really is. He's into nerdy things. He's that guy that you would
see, I don't know, D and D, right? He's probably that guy, but then he's also not at the same time.
So he does have little quirks. Like he's growing his I guess it's a goatee, right? And he wraps
it or whatever. Not everyone's going to be that wizard. Right. Or he's a vegan. I think that's
an interesting quality, and I think that's a good trait. My mom's a vegetarian, so I always farewell
to vegetarians vegans. But those are the two things. Yeah, he's kind of a nerd and that he doesn't
eat meat.

Ten Years of Teen Therapy Center with Jennifer Perez: our Ten Years of TTC video series continues with Jennifer Perez. Jennifer is soon to be a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, but she trained at our sister nonprofit, Child & Teen Counseling. Hear what she has to say about Teen Therapy Center’s unique market position, the quirks of Kent Toussaint, and why growing that braided goatee thingy may also involve a 20 sided die. The answers are here in this short interview with someone who really knows.

Using Video Games to Connect with Your Kid

Let's say you're a parent and you want to connect with your kid but you don't want to play
video games. You haven't picked a controller in maybe 30 years when since you were a kid. And
you're like that's a little too much. I don't have a I don't have a mental capacity right now to
learn all this. So there's two great ways to connect with your kid through gaming without playing.
One is, let's say your kid is playing a single player game with a really rich story, worry and
complex narratives and themes. A great way to is to ask your kid if you could just come in and just
watch, watch them play. No commentary or maybe ask some questions here and there or just maybe
be a silent view and just watch what they're doing. Another way is there are a ton of board games
about video games. For example, we have Fortnite Monopoly. And it's not just it is actually
they actually implemented Fortnite mechanics into Monopoly. It sounds strange, but it is
super fun. I have a blast with it with clients and you're able to finish a game within 30 to 15 to 30 minutes compared to maybe typical Monopoly
will take 6 hours to maybe a week. Who knows, right? And then the last way to connect with your
kid through gaming is TV shows. Surprisingly, there are a ton of TV shows being made about games.
And maybe your kid doesn't want to start a new TV show with you because they think this new detective
show is boring or this telenovela is just not their thing. Well, asking them about maybe they've
heard of a game about this game or maybe they played it and it's being made to a show. Maybe they'd
be more open or inclined to watching it with you. And right there you have right way to connect
with the kid.

Here at Teen Therapy Center we usually find ourselves talking about the negative impacts of screen time and video games on kids. But guess what? Today we’re going to switch the narrative to healthy ways that you might use gaming to strengthen your relationship with your teen. Video game addiction and how it impacts families Robert Jimenez’s specialty, and in this short video he talks about some of the ways you can actually use gaming to connect with your kid without actually playing them yourself (unless you want to of course)!

10 Years of TTC with Kent Toussaint, Part I


My name is Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage Family therapist, and I specialize in helping
kids, teens, and families to live happier lives. We love our kids so much, we want so much for
our kids, and it's tough to see them struggle, but our kids are going to struggle because that's
part of being human. But they don't struggle alone. And I think the more they have support from
the parents and when they need extra support from a therapist, we're here, and we really enjoy
the work. We really enjoy supporting kids, families, and teenagers. I want to work with kids
and teens. I've always felt drawn to it. I've always been that listening ear since I was a kid.
I've always been the person that people talk to, and I always felt comfortable being that guy.
And I actually started a career in the entertainment industry for about ten years or so and wasn't
really feeling it, was kind of not really liking it, didn't really find my purpose there. And
then someone said, hey, you should be a therapist.


I started looking into it, went to grad school, saw my first client, and I've loved it ever since.
I think Teen Therapy Center brought a presence of therapists who want to compassionately work
with kids and teens in the area. When I first started, there weren't a lot of therapists who want
to work with kids and teens. I've seen that definitely increase over the years, which I'm really
grateful for. I think definitely there's a need for that. But definitely in this west end of
the San Fernando Valley, we have many therapists now who really are engaged and enthusiastic
about supporting kids, teenagers, families, and that's also spawned the nonprofit Child
Teen Counseling, which is helping even more people. So at our office, between both organizations,
we're helping over hundreds of people a week. And it's really exciting that there are so many
people coming to our facility and are getting benefits, emotional strength, increased communication
skills, coping strategies, things like that. And it's just a lot of fun.

Who better to conclude our series of videos celebrating the ten year anniversary of Teen Therapy Center than Kent Toussaint? In our two part interview Kent touches on what brought him to practice therapy, the challenges of being a small business owner, and the rewards of being a mentor. Get a glimpse into his motivations in this first installment of our series finale celebrating ten years of Teen Therapy Center.

10 Years of TTC with Kent Toussaint, Part II


Absolutely. I was terrified to do it. But I think that's the important thing to learn, not
only for me, myself as a business person, as a therapist, but as a human being. And the human beings
I work with is we have to step into discomfort. We have to step into the unknown. We have to do the
scary thing when it's the right thing to do. And I think for me, this was the right thing to do.
What I was scared was I going to be able to meet my clients needs? Was I going to be able to meet the
people I mentor, their needs? Was I going to be able to build a business that was going to be able
to flourish and thrive? And that's the exciting part of being an entrepreneur and doing new
things that you've never done before. I think one of the toughest things about being a small
business owner is all the details that you have to do that no one ever notices, no one ever gives
you thanks, doesn't necessarily even lead to you getting paid to something. But things you
have to do, it can be a thankless


job sometimes, but it's still rewarding because it's yours. And I guess one of the biggest things
also is if your employee, when you leave work, you didn't leave work when you're the boss, you
always had your boss in your head telling you, oh, you didn't do that yet. You haven't done this
yet. Oh, you got to do that still, too. So your boss is always in your head telling you things that
you need to be doing, which is a good thing and a bad thing because it keeps you on your toes. Bad
thing is it's sometimes hard to just not be at work, even when you're not at work. What I really
enjoy is that light bulb moment when someone you're training or mentoring, they're at a block,
they're at a standstill, they're struggling to get through something, and then they take that
leap, and their eyes open a little bit wider, and they see a broader view. It's just an amazing
experience to be a part of that and to help people through that. As the people I train develop
more confidence, more experience, I


learn more and more from them as well. So I definitely feel like I get a lot out of it, and I become
a better therapist by helping other therapists. But the ongoing theme is not only have I helped
people learn, but they help me learn. And I've learned so much about who I am as a person, who I
am as a therapist, who I am as a business person, by the interactions of not only my clients, but
also the interactions with the people that we mentored here and have gone on. And some have come
back and helped train here. Some people have stayed on, and now our licensed therapists, supervisors
here and it's just a wonderful experience. It's a really wonderful community we have here.
And I really am grateful for the supportive environment we have here at Teen Therapy Center
and Child and Teen Counseling.

The ten year anniversary celebration of Teen Therapy Center officially crosses the finish line with part two of our interview with Kent Toussaint. In this final video of our series Kent talks about the terror of starting his own business and the fulfilling thanklessness of being a small business owner. Teen Therapy Center’’s founder also talks about why he enjoys training therapists so much, and the importance of stepping into discomfort. Grab some organic popcorn and enjoy the final installment of 10 Years of Teen Therapy Center.

Video Game Addiction and Recovery


Let's say you're a teenager and you're asking yourself, am I addicted to video games? How do
I know? What questions should I ask myself? These are the questions. So the first one is how long
are you gaming for? Are you gaming 2 hours a day? 3 hours a day? 6 hours, maybe 12 hours a day? Is
it getting in the way of your goals? And what are your goals? Is your goal to get great grades in
school? To branch out socially? To make more friends? Or maybe connect with friends on a deeper
level? Or have a better relationship with your parents? And the question you should ask is is
gaming getting in the way of that? Video game addiction has a couple of phases to it, but we'll
jump to the phase where it's a full on biological addiction like substance addiction. So the
great part about the recovery process for video game addiction is that if you're addicted to
video games, that doesn't mean you have to stop forever. With substance addiction, we work
on a lot of abstinence only models, or abstinence

recovery models, where if you were addicted to alcohol, cocaine or other drugs, that's it.
You can no longer use those substances, ever. Because if that happens, the addiction starts
again. And we have to start the recovery process again. With video game addiction, the cool
part is that we can go from unhealthy gamers to healthy gamers. We can go from maybe six to 8 hours
a day to maybe 3 hours a day and then maybe down to 2 hours a day and maybe just to one. But it all depends
on the person. But if someone can enjoy their life, accomplish their goals, they set for themselves.
And still game 3 hours a day, that's a healthy game month.

If you’re a teenager who plays a lot of video games, how do you measure the difference between a reasonably healthy habit and a destructive addiction? In this short video our resident gaming addiction expert Robert Jimenez talks about what questions you need to ask yourself, and he explains how recovering from video game addiction is different from substance addiction. Good news spoiler alert: you don’t have to quit completely! If you have questions about gaming addiction, contact Robert through TeenTherapyCenter.com

Ten Years of Teen Therapy Center with Ariel Cohen


Okay. Hi, everyone. My name is Ariel Cohen. I am a licensed marriage and family therapist in
private practice. I met Kent originally and learned about the idea for Teen Therapy Center
when I was doing my training under another private practice supervisor, friend, and colleague
of Kent's and mine. And Kent expressed his vision to me and told me what he was imagining. And
so I had approached him and said, hey, I'd like to be involved. I want to grow my own private practice
eventually. And I like what you're doing, and I think where you're going is something that's
really interesting, and it's good for the community, and it's good for the field of psychotherapy.
And so around late 2015, the stars aligned, and he hired me, and I became a part of Teen Therapy
Center. So one of the things that I took away that Kent and I worked a lot on together was the idea
that working in context and understanding that kids and teens live within a family and that
family may have issues that they're struggling

with and may need help as well. That became a really big part of my clinical philosophy that I
still work on today. I consult with parents, and I try to support the system as much as I can support
the teen. And I really see Teen Therapy Center as a space for know. Even Kent continuing his tips
on teens is a big part of him offering support outside of the therapy office. We live in a time
and place in society where, luckily, the idea of psychology and personal development psychotherapy
is significantly destigmatized. And to me, on a local level, teen Therapy Center is one of the
communities where that is exemplified. I'm really proud to see where it's gone. I think I was
just talking to someone about how much it's grown. I remember when it was just a couple of Know,
it went from Kent's vision to a couple of us to multiple people and so on and so forth, and a bigger
office and expanding into more space. And I think that's just a real testament to that. Kent's
vision and Teen Therapy Center

is really onto something, and when you're onto something that people are excited about, people
gravitate towards it and it grows. And so I'm excited to see where it keeps going.

These days Ariel Cohen is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with his own thriving practice, but in 2015 he was an Associate at Teen Therapy Center. We asked him what appealed to him about being part of TTC back then. We also found out what makes Teen Therapy Center so different from other practices. Hear the answer in this first video of our series celebrating the 10 year anniversary of Teen Therapy Center.

All The Tea on TTC

Adriana:
05:00 p.m. Every single day he will start making his mocha coffee. I know this because my office
is right in front of the kitchen. So I see him every single sometimes 04:00 p.m. But 05:00 p.m.
When he does it, I always poke fun at him for the are you feeling supported enough? That word.
I'm always poking fun at him for it.

Robert:
I mean, I'll take it. I've never had a boss be so support it before. I'm like, Dude, it's okay.
I'm good. But it is nice. It's a genuine thing. I'm like, Well, I wish more people did that.

Adriana:
In general, he wants to be so helpful sometimes that he might overdo it in the kindest way possible,
which only leaves him available for drugs.

Robert:
Also, if we have any legal question ever, he will help us. But also call camp.

Adriana:
Yes, always call CAMFT.

Robert:
They are your best friend.

Adriana:
He has a way of walking. I know him coming up the hall without even having to see him because his
walk is so specific.

Robert:
I don't know how he's mastered the art of, like, fast walking.

Adriana:
Very determined. It's a determined walk, for sure.

Robert:
He is. I am going to go see my client or I'm going to have my mocha latte right now.

Adriana:
Oh, my gosh. He's quirky about his parking spot and his corner of the fridge. Can't park in his
parking spot and the right top corner of the fridge is his.

Robert:
If you watch his videos, if you're an avid watcher of TTC videos or teen therapy videos or those
tips on teen videos you've been seeing the progress of his beard really growing out. Yeah. When
he makes a joke, it's pretty not subtle, but it is never an overt punchline. He'll make a joke
here and there, but it's like almost the side of his mouth where you're like, oh, I just heard
you say something. Wait a minute. If you could get a Lord of the Rings or Star Wars reference in
there, that will kill for him. He'll always get a chuckle out of that. I think it's pretty fun.
He gets competitive when it comes to the fantasy football league.

Adriana:
Oh, yeah.

Robert:
Which is always fun. But I like that it's a fun, competitiveness. We definitely text each other.
We've gone against each other on certain yeah.

Adriana:
You'll get the messages and he talks about how he'll destroy you. Then there's great gratification
in beating your boss. Love that.

Robert:
Do you remember that little game with the balls and the little balance board? It was like a seesaw
thing.

Adriana:
I remember it. I don't know the name, the name of it too.

00:02:13 Speaker 2
Very fun game. But I was really playing really dangerously and they were stressing everybody
out. But I could tell Ken was having a real blast with it and because he was having fun, I was having
fun, too. It was competitive in the sense of very like I'm really engaged in playing with you
right now. And this is really fun together.

If you like hearing people roast their workplace superiors you’ll enjoy this video. As part of our ongoing series celebrating the ten year anniversary of Teen Therapy Center, Robert Jimenez and Adriana Navarro Gonzalez go to town in the kindest way possible on the man we call boss. Get all the dirt on Kent Toussaint in this short video replete with “positive disregard” and lively commentary.

10 Years of TTC with Brian Frith-Smith

 

Hey, my name is Brian and I am the director of operations at team therapy center and child and
team counseling. I really love working here because Kent gives me so much leeway and so much
freedom to use my creativity. I really feel like I'm a partner running this business, not an
employee. I also love working here because being that Kent is licensed therapist, if there's
something he's not happy about with my work, he has to use I statements to express himself. Teen
Therapy Center brings something amazing to this community, which is that we love working with
kids and teens, and we're really good at it, and there's not that many other therapy organizations
out there doing it. We have incredible supervisors who have treasure troves of knowledge,
and we have incredibly fabulous people working here who are amazing. You can't talk about Teen
Therapy Center without talking about child and teen counseling. Child and Teen Counseling
is our sibling nonprofit organization. We really run it in tandem


under the same roof here. And so much of the work that we do at Teen Therapy Center ends up being
in service of child and teen counseling. So many of the people the intakes that we do on the phone
end up at the nonprofit organization. And same with the marketing we do. And the money we spend
on marketing ends up being in service of child and teen counseling a lot of the time, and that
really fulfills Ken's goal. When he opens a teen therapy center. He really wanted to help as
many people as possible. He was discouraged about turning people away because of money, because
therapy is expensive. And so he opened just a nonprofit organization to help accommodate people
of all budgets, hopefully. And that's something really amazing that we bring to the community
that people need to know about. One of Kent's really kind of funny personality traits is that
even though he's a very transparent boss and very encouraging, if there's something that you're
really excited about that he's not feeling,


he kind of gets this vacant look on his face and goes, okay. And that's maybe how you know that
he's not so into something. Just in conclusion, I'm so glad to be a part of this operation, both
of these operations, and all the people here are really wonderful, and it's just a joy to come
to work.

In his role as Director of Operations for Teen Therapy Center and its sibling nonprofit Child & Teen Counseling, Brian Frith-Smith does it all! Since July 2021  this guy has been preparing financial forecasts, watering the plants and creating these very emails and videos. As part of our series celebrating 10 years of Teen Therapy Center, hear what this strange and reclusive character has to say about working with Kent and the tremendous value Teen Therapy Center has brought to the community.

10 Years of TTC with Erin Anguino


My name is Erin, and I actually found out about the position at teen therapy center through my
own therapy. So she let me know about the position, and I reached out to kent, and in true kent
fashion, he was very responsive. I mean, almost like minutes later, I heard back from him, and,
yeah, met and interviewed and got the job, and it was great. Although kent is pretty close to
superhuman, I imagine he probably also realized that he was one person and could only see so
many know in a given day, in a given week. And knowing what I do about him, I imagine he wanted to
help as many people as he could, and he also wanted to help upcoming clinicians, as well. So he
opened up his practice, and he was able to offer that. So, teen therapy center was able to expand,
and we were all able to learn, and it just kind of grew from, you know, I think that the teenage years can be a really rough time of life, and it's probably,
in my opinion, a very underserved population, especially in therapy. So, right off the bat,
the fact that kent was able to create this center that was so focused on that age group, I think
is tremendous for the community. I remember from the beginning how much he taught us to be responsive right away, and honestly, that's probably one of the biggest takeaways that I got from kent. You know, it's if you get a
referral, you contact them within 24 hours, ideally right away, just to let people know that
you care and that you're ready to help them. And at the time, When I was working there, I remember
planning my wedding and was looking at that, even with just vendor responsiveness, like, okay,
how quickly are they getting back to me? How eager do they seem? So, that was something that kent
really taught us, and I really do want kent to know, if he doesn't already, just how much he has
helped me personally, but also all therapists that have worked for him. I have no doubt that
he's been a big part of their journey. So I just want to thank him for all of that.

Erin Anguino was an Associate at Teen Therapy Center during our pivotal years from 2015 to 2018. Now she’s a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has her own practice in Utah. As part of our video series celebrating Teen Therapy Center’s 10th anniversary, we interviewed this energetic and eloquent personality. Find out what she learned at Teen Therapy Center and how working at TTC helped her plan a wedding in this punchy video.

10 Years of TTC with Kayvon Babakan


Hi, I'm Kayvon Babakon LMFT.

I used to work here with Kent.


At Teen Therapy Center for about seven years.


Currently in my position, I'm in private.


Practice as well as the vice president at Evolved Treatment Centers.


Yes, I was one of the very first employees in the Canoga office, which was myself and Kent, sharing
little probably twelve x ten rectangle. I initially thought Kent was like an SNL character.


He comes from a background of acting totally engaged with you.


Eye contact, smile, direct feedback. It felt like I was talking to.


One of the best listeners in the world who provided great feedback.


I think Kent, not only does he.


Have a huge heart for his family, his friends, especially his kids, he really wants to help teenagers
and kids through life. That's a really underserved population, generally speaking, or back
when I kind of got.

Involved with Kent, and I think his.


Passion to help as many kids as.


Possible really fueled the expansion teen Therapy Center and child and teen Counseling really.


Brings an affordable, reasonable, high quality option for therapy. There's not many places
that exist like this to have kind of everything all in one. And I think that Kent really wants
to help as many kids as possible. So starting the nonprofit branch makes it more accessible
for families who can't afford it and also providing the highest quality of care. It's a given.


And Kent's evolving facial hair, I think is one thing, as it has changed.


Over the last ten years since I've known him, and is now a beard ponytail.


So I love Kent, and we have.


A lot of good memories together that.


I will probably cherish for the rest of my life.

I think that Kent is really in person that I'll know forever.

Every team has a franchise player. Kayvon Babakan is currently VP of Outpatient Services at Evolve Treatment, but during his 7 years at Teen Therapy Center he was our star cornerback. Kayvon was Teen Therapy Center’s very first employee, so he was there at the beginning and saw it all happen in real time. Hear him talk about those ramshackle early days and coin a new phrase for the current evolution of Kent’s facial hair in this short video in our series celebrating Teen Therapy Center’s 10 year anniversary.

Misunderstood Mean Girls with Adriana

The label "mean girl," I think the best way to think about it is your stereotypical, bitchy girl. I think it's unfair because it creates an ideology within females that they're not good enough, that
they're not ascribing to society's idea of what it is to be ladylike, to be female, especially
when all of these things are taught to you from a very young age. What you see unfold is ideas or
issues with your self esteem, your confidence, even body image issues within your relationships,
specifically how you handle relationships, how you communicate relationships and relationships
not just romantically or platonically, but even within the professional realm where sometimes
you have to go in and advocate for yourself. And if you're that mean girl, it can be deemed as too
bold, too needy, too much so I think it can have various impacts in different areas of your life.
In therapy we work through all those issues by turning them non issues, by developing
healthy ways to communicate, to express yourself, to advocate for yourself, to have a healthier relationship with yourself so that when you step out of therapy room, you're not feeling like you're bitchy or too difficult. And instead you feel that you are empowered and assertive and bold and just capable of feeling good about yourself and having that just internal validation that helps you show up in other parts of your life.

Adriana Navarro Gonzalez is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist at Teen Therapy Center. She’s also our resident “Mean Girl” expert! In her practice Adriana helps girls turn this label around and develop healthy forms of communicating and self advocacy. But how is this label damaging to girls and what are the long term effects? And how can therapy help so called “Mean Girls” turn the name into a source of strength? Hear what Adriana has to say about it in this short video.
If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.