The Hollywood Mom Blog is proud to welcome our newest contributors Jody Frank, LCSW and Cindy Busto, LCSW of the West Coast Counseling Center.  In the wake of so many recent child actor tragedies, as HMB’s editor I felt it was time to seek the input of professionals to answer some of the unique questions and concerns that we as the parents of child actors have. Cindy, Jody and their team at WCCC are uniquely qualified to tackle these tough issues our children face and will be contributing to HMB several times a month.

Believing it is of the utmost importance to understand the whole person in relationship to their family, friends and work environment, Licensed Clinical Social Workers Cindy Busto and Jody Frank envisioned a counseling center that would help people heal their bodies, minds and spirits. This vision evolved into the West Coast Counseling Center, which the two founded in 1985.  WCCC therapists help clients learn practical tools and skills that lead to a feeling of being psychologically successful on a daily basis. “We know that people come to therapy because they are struggling emotionally and we understand how difficult it is to ask for help. At WCCC, clients experience personal and professional transformations that lead them toward a path of personal freedom, balance and contentment.”  Following 25 years of working with world-renowned treatment centers, including The Betty Ford Center, Sierra Tucson, Cirque Lodge, The Meadows, Hazelden and Cottonwood de Tucson, Jody and Cindy have built a reputation as their pre and post Aftercare Rehab Specialists.  You may even recognize them from their appearance on the E! Entertainment special, “Out of Control: 10 Celebrity Rehabs Exposed.”

As parents of working child actors, we understand that the entertainment industry presents it’s own unique issues: long hours, difficulty in establishing a “normal” routine or social life, getting caught up and stuck in the politics of the business, and most recently intensified media interest in child and teen performers as a whole.  Cindy and Jody’s awareness and sensitivity to these particular issues have helped them to work successfully with all facets of the entertainment industry including the treatment of high profile actors, comics, writers and highly acclaimed executive and industry leaders. They have made many television and radio appearances and have been interviewed by national newspapers, magazines and authors. We are honored to have them contributing to our new Q&A column “Your Child Actors Mental Health,” which will tackle relevant questions directly from the HMB readership.  Please forward your questions to them via our contact form above. Our first question and answer format follows below.

As the parent of an aspiring actor, what steps can I take to protect my child emotionally in a business filled with rejection?

Balance, Balance, Balance. While rejection is a common occurrence in the entertainment industry, it is possible to create an emotional, psychological, and spiritual balance for our children. You can begin by surrounding them with a business team that is positive, supportive, and encouraging of your child’s aspirations.  Family before business. It is essential to provide as much normalcy as possible within the limitations encountered. For example, family dinners, chores, responsibilities, accountability, boundaries, and fun time with family and friends are all great ways of maintaining a normal lifestyle. Above all, remember to stay open and loving in your communication with your children. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, listen attentively, and be willing to explore their thoughts and feelings. Kids need to know that they can share their fears, anxiety and confusion and that we will hear them without judgment or reaction. This gives them a feeling of safety and support.

Contributors: Jody Frank, LCSW & Cindy Busto, LCSW
West Coast Counseling Center
310-475-0223 www.