Katherine Sellery, CEO and Founder of Conscious Parenting Revolution, helps individuals minimize misunderstandings and melt-downs in order to communicate with more collaboration, cooperation, and consideration.
Katherine is the creator of the Guidance Approach to Parenting, a program that applies conflict resolution skills to communicating more effectively with children, She has positively influenced relationships for generations and brought about healing and reconciliation in families that were suffering from disconnection. For over 20 years, she has taught and coached thousands of parents, educators, social workers, and medical professionals in half a dozen countries through her popular workshops, coaching programs, TEDx talks, 250 page comprehensive training manual, and E-book. Katherine is also a trained mediator, attended Law School, has certifications in different trauma models, teaches a breathing meditation modality with the Art of Living Foundation, and ran her own commodities-trading business in Hong Kong for 30 years.
Katherine Sellery As Cover Story – November 2023 Edition
Please share your background.
It’s pretty eclectic! Studied Poli Sci and History as well as Chinese language in college, moved to Hangzhou, China and taught english at University there right after graduation immersing myself in the local language and culture (it was during China’s Anti-foreigner cultural pollution campaign, I had a full time communist party member assigned to me reporting on my every move at the communist party meetings on Saturday, it was a Kafkaesque experience)!
I went back to the USA after two years to grad school for Law, certified as an advanced mediator, established a commodities trading company in Hong Kong specializing in non-ferrous metals deals with China/Russia/SE Asia/India/SAmerica, set up a factory in Northern China that supplied product for two decades to a US client, and in the midst of all that started my own family that would birth not only our own children but my deepest passion, purpose and the movement I have dedicated my life to, The Conscious Parenting Revolution!
Committed to being the ‘best mom ever’ I started taking every parenting class I could find and beginning in 2003 I certified to teach and became the HK trainer for many of them which gave rise to 20 years of coaching, supporting and training parents, educators, health care providers.
In 2008, along with two colleagues, we wrote the most comprehensive of parenting programs on the market that addresses gaps in other programs, The Guidance Approach to Parenting (GAP).
It integrates Dr. Marshall Rosenberg’s NVC (non-violent communication) approach to restorative justice (whom I had the pleasure of training with), Gordon’s PET (a program I taught), Dr. Eugene Gendlin’s Focusing, an approach to inner dialogue that keeps us rooted in self in presence and staying “bigger than what’s bugging us.”
Childhood to Adulthood – How was your transition from childhood to adulthood and what are the bad and good things you remember?
I grew up in a blended family. Both my parents were divorced and had children from their previous marriages and then married and had my sister and I. It was his, hers, ours and a total of 5 of us. I am the youngest.
I reflect on my growing up years and think about the role I play(ed) and how I was cast into that part. The rescuer, the hero, the “good girl”.
There was a lot of joy, adventures, fun and also pain. My dad and his step son (my brother Chris from my mom’s first marriage) didn’t get along. Dad was triggered by Chris and would punish and spank him when he was triggered. I find myself chewing a lot on these deep seated memories. So much harm was done. In the journey to adulthood I sought answers to understand them both. Still hurts to think about their interactions. They were the furthest thing from loving, kind and empathic. So much of my Conscious Parenting Movement is catalyzed to be sure others have more support than dad and Chris had. To do whatever I can to bring the skills necessary that that harm isn’t perpetuated.
My maternal grandmother (who was a complete Auntie Mame, bigger than life, personal hero of mine) would say to my mom (while pointing to me) “she’s the one sweetheart, she’s the one that will take care of you”. I took my job very seriously and in that journey to adulthood eventually learned about “over-responsibility”, codependence, and dysfunctional family dynamics. We had all of that. Unfortunately, none of the adults that surrounded me knew anything about any of these things!
My parents were complex. Of course, they were my teachers. The thing I didn’t have permission and guidance from them to do was to speak my inner truth. I could speak up about all sorts of things, but I learned to hide anything that would upset them and became hyper vigilant of their temperament and learned to focus on how other people felt at the expense of how I was doing. Two of my three TEDx talks really goes deeply into the cost of
(1) Surviving and Transcending Unconscious Parenting https://youtu.be/umVLtHhgI50
(2) From overriding my inner knowing to trusting myself TEDxGEM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_HrR9oVgnk&t=4s
Struggle – What hardships have you gone through in life?
My brother Chris died by suicide when I was a junior in high school. That pain of losing him and navigating my mom’s feelings defined my life. Only many decades later I was finally equipped to move through the grief cycle and integrate that loss. My folks didn’t know how to take care of themselves in it, let alone all of us. We needed to have had someone trained to support us through this tragedy, that wasn’t something they knew how to bring onboard and the stigma was just more than they could maneuver through.
Then when I was in law school my older sister Melanie died from Melanoma that metastasized to a brain tumor. We were so close. I had actually returned from China when I heard she was sick. I moved into her house that was close to the law school and lived there till she died. Her pain was so excruciating and I felt so useless, there was nothing I could do to relieve it. Again, I was just not prepared to handle her passing. This time, this loss, threw over the deep end and onto a path of inquiry that would change my life.
When my mom passed away in 2011, I picked up Dr. Alice Miller’s book Drama of the Gifted Child and I had a clarity I had never had in my life before. She talked about what it was to be cathected by a parent, and I finally learned that that was what explained my inner knots. I thought back to a conversation I shared with my mom in 1986, shortly after the passing of my sister, when I told her that ‘Everything I have ever done in life up until then was to make her feel happy, her feel proud of herself, that she was a good mom, that she was okay, that she was capable.’ She said to me, “Oh my god. Your brother told me the exact same thing.”
That was when I understood the nature of transgenerational trauma.
What do people usually not know about you?
I am actually really private. Because I am a Leo and I have always been in leadership roles (Student Body President, Chosen to represent my school at Girls State, then to represent Colorado at Girls Nation, leader of my school debate team, American Academy of Achievement, etc etc.) but I hid from the middle of the stage. Trained to bury my inner self in deference to my mom’s feelings and needs I have had to learn the art of self disclosure and the art of revealing like you would learn how to ride a bike!!
What sets you apart from your competitors in the industry and in life?
The biggest thing that sets me apart from others in the industry is that I developed, along with two others, the Guidance Approach to Parenting.
What are your upcoming major events – Unforgettable Moments or products/services that you want to promote/inform?
Go to freeparentingbook.com to get My Amazon best selling book on 7 Strategies to Keep Your Relationship with your kids from hitting the boiling point.
What expert advice would you like to give?
See your children beautiful, past all the “tragic expressions of their unmet needs”.
By withholding judgments like good, bad, right, wrong in service to connection, empathy and understanding it allows for psychological safety to be so strong that our kids recover from high emotion faster and can find the steps toward “self started” behavioral change. This is so much better than the use of “consequences” for their “bad” behavior.
Please share your social media handles and website links.
- Website: https://www.consciousparentingrevolution.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/consciousparentingrevolution/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/k_wintersellery?lang=en
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/katherinewintersellery/?hl=en
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/katherine-sellery
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3AmEVaT9wyS-2bgTcWkqGA/playlists