Client Testimonials

A History of Results


Jane A., Portland, OR

I cannot emphasize enough how Chris changed my child’s life and the course of his academic career. My son was diagnosed with severe dysgraphia and other learning differences in 2nd grade. By Middle School, he was falling behind classmates and was having a hard time not just with writing but also with organizing and prioritizing his homework (executive function). A friend recommended Chris during the summer between 6th & 7th grade. He worked with Chris from 7th grade through 9th grade. He dramatically improved in academic performance, confidence, and attitude towards areas of academic challenge.

Chris has a deep and thorough understanding of developmental differences and the tools that can help a child overcome them. Our son learned new ways to approach his work, how to advocate for himself and ask questions, and how to approach his work with patience and confidence. Chris was understanding, patient, consistent, and organized in how she approached our son’s needs. She was also really engaging and fun. He looked forward to every meeting that they had. She was also proactive in contacting teachers at his school in advance of any issues, worked with his teachers on areas where he needed extra help, and was especially thorough at keeping the teachers in the loop on our son’s progress. I’ve recommended Chris to many friends and so has our son. She is the best.

Angela A. Portland, OR

My adolescent daughter and son have challenges in managing their emotions and behavior and divide their time between their father’s and my house. Chris was able to collaborate with divorced parents and adolescents with special needs to address challenges, offer solutions and monitor progress. We have seen many psychiatrists and therapists over the years, but Chris Messina was the first to work in the trenches with our family, instead of just providing advice from their office. She creates a safe environment where participants feel comfortable sharing, and hearing, each other’s perspectives.

Chris’s problem solving skills are focused on highly-individualized solutions that work for both parents and children. If strategies are not working, the data will show that, and she will work with you to find another solution. You are done feeling alone when you choose to work with Chris. She is there to support you to the extent you want or need and I  have since referred her to other parents. You will not be disappointed in your decision to work with Chris Messina!

Nicole C. Washougal, WA

My son was struggling with explosive behavior that would leave him in tears and full of regret for what he did when he was feeling “out of control”. At school he felt like the ‘bad’ kid always getting in trouble and at home we felt like we were walking on eggshells to avoid another emotional outburst. This was taking a huge toll on his self esteem, his ability to be successful academically and socially and the well being of all members of our family. With Chris’s guidance we were able to identify triggers for my son and develop a plan. Over time he was able to use these tools to self regulate. He no longer felt like he was the ‘bad’ kid in class and his confidence grew. Chris always listened to our perspective and took time and care to build a trusting relationship with my son. I would (and have!) recommend Chris to any family that is struggling with these issues.

Registered Nurse, Portland, OR

I am an R.N. and have had the privilege of working with Chris for the past few years. This experience has been on a one-on-one basis or in a multidisciplinary setting.

Illogical becomes logical and impossible becomes possible with Chris as the Behavior Therapist/analyst.
She has the gift to piece together a fragmented family and make them whole again with her encouraging
problem solving methods.

Chris is the ultimate coach and team leader who communicates effectively and efficiently with the student, family, school and all other team members. Success=Independence for the student in the academic and home setting–Chris will do her best to see that this is achieved. I would entrust my own children to Chris Messina should they be in need of her services.

M. Darabi, Lake Oswego, OR

I have met two child whisperers in my lifetime: My mother and Chris Messina.

We came to Chris in hopes of using her service and expertise to help our daughter manage her anxiety around school work and frankly everything else. Our 9 year old has been anxious as long as I can remember. Her anxiety reached a peak when one evening her little sister got very sick…the yucky stomach flu kind of sick. This incident took place 3 years ago and for 3 years our 9 year old has been TERRIFIED of the mere mention of a stomach ache, throwing up, anyone saying the word “cold”…”flu”…”I feel sick”….you get my drift. It got to a point where it began effecting her quality of daily life….not to mention all the tension in our home while we did our best to “manage/control” her anxiety. She was also struggling in school. Her anxiety was effecting her ability to concentrate in class and keeping her from forming positive relationships with peers. We tried journaling, yoga, numerous “heart to hearts” and any other tip I got from all the books, articles and podcasts I listened to about children with phobias and anxiety. NOTHING was working. Then came Chris…

We saw a huge shift in our daughter after her first meeting with Chris. She came home beaming: “MOM!!!! You will never believe this. Chris gets me. Like really gets me…it’s like she’s magic or something. She knows what its like to be afraid of something everyone else tells you not to be afraid of”. Chris has this incredible ability to get on a Childs level and connect with them in an organic and loving way. Let me tell you, my daughter is surrounded by a tribe of incredible family members who would do anything for her. But it’s Chris she feels most safe with…she has told me numerous times Chris is her safe place. As parents, there are no words to describe our immense gratitude for Chris’s work in this world and how much she has impacted our daughters life and sense of self. She has given her the tools to believe in herself, self soothe, communicate her feelings, ask for what she needs and most importantly models what respect for a Childs point of view looks and feels like. After just two months of working with Chris, we saw a substantial improvement in our daughters performance in school. AND she has given us the tools to provide a better emotional and physical environment for our daughter. Chris’s contribution and utmost professionalism has impacted our family dynamic in the best way. THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts Chris!!!

Jenna F., Lake Oswego, OR

Chris is a true professional who has helped our family navigate through challenging times. She has brought our family back together through educating us, breaking through barriers and identifying a path forward for peace in our home. We are grateful for her expertise and her ability to connect with our whole family to make us better and conquer situations and life.

Evelyn S., Portland, OR

Working with Chris was just what we needed for our family. We’d had wonderful professionals we worked with who focused on our son. My husband and I had read books and gotten a lot from parenting classes, but we were at a point where it felt like we needed tools and strategies that took our entire family (and other children) into account. The challenging behaviors we were experiencing triggered us, too, and we needed tools that helped everyone in the family to de-escalate tense situations and provide supportive interventions for all of us. Years down the road, we continue to use language that Chris gave us, and we rely on calm-down techniques we learned. More than anything, Chris helped us continue to deepen our family dialogue around frustrations and problem-solving. There aren’t many people out there like her!

Sara B., Beaverton, OR

Chris came into our world when it seemed to be falling apart: it was late winter and my child had just been asked to leave the school that he had attended successfully for 2 prior years. We had worked with many outstanding professionals up to that point, but Chris was the first person who genuinely and authentically connected with and understood him. He felt this connection immediately and in between appointments would always ask when he would see her next. He now sees her less, and he really treasures this time. Recently, we were considering a short family trip and he said “we cannot cancel my appointment with Chris this weekend. I don’t mind missing anything else, but I am going to see Chris Messina!”

Chris helped put systems in place in our home that ultimately changed some pretty destructive, devastating and explosive behavior. She met with my husband and I at times that were convenient, doing a wonderful job of listening and pushing us to dig deeper. She gave us resources that produced change in my son, and she worked very well with our child’s aid and school. I thank my lucky stars as often as I can that Chris came into our life—it is so different now than it was a year ago, and that is largely thanks to her.

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