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Instructor Interview with Elissa Wooley

Instructor Interview with Elissa Wooley

Written by Kathryn Tonges

Congratulations Elissa you have just completed conducting your first Parent Effectiveness Training course.

Please tell us a little about yourself?

Firstly, I am a mother to 9 amazing children. They range in age from 1-18 years old and they are absolutely my greatest happiness! I have worked in early learning centres for over a decade and have just finished a degree in psychology. I am currently working on a post graduate qualification in family and relationship therapy. I’d like to say I have a hobby, but I don’t have time! I cook huge amounts of food and my washing pile is endless but I truly love what I do.

How did you first hear about P.E.T.? 

I had a keen interest in the behaviour modification aspect of my psychology degree but was so disappointed that all it really focused on was reward and punishment. Having worked so much with children, I knew this was an ineffective way of creating lasting change or motivating children to change their unacceptable behaviours. I needed more and went searching for answers. This led me to P.E.T. This was exactly what I was searching for.

You were a participant in last year’s online trial P.E.T. course that Kathryn conducted for GTI, and you are currently completing a B.Y.B. and T.E.T. course with Kathryn as part of the online trials. How has the online experience been for you?

This experience was such a blessing to me. With my work and family commitments I would not have been able to participate in PET if it wasn’t offered online. I am grateful this opportunity was given to me, and feel l still enjoyed such a lovely connection with my trainer (Kathryn), and my fellow course mates! I have studied online for the past 8 years with my university studies, so this mode of learning is something I am very accustomed to.

What inspired you to become a P.E.T. instructor?

I loved the course so much I felt it needed to be shared with my community. It aligns with my future direction of family therapy and it really spoke to my heart. The impact of applying this course into my own family has been invaluable, I felt a great desire to teach it to others.

Tell us your experience of conducting your first P.E.T. course?

I really enjoy teaching, and when I am passionate about something I enjoy it even more! I felt so much enjoyment out of the little messages I would receive from the parents I was working with when they had “winning moments” after applying the P.E.T. skills with their children. I love that when I teach something it cements the skills into my own cognitions and reignites my desire to improve the relationships within my own life. I can’t wait to start the next course!

Elissa with her husband and nine children.

How did you gather your first group of participants?

My first group of participants were people that I knew. They were all keen to participate and learn new skills. I have other courses due to start and these participants have come through networking in my community and advertising on social media. I have reached out to play therapists, doctors, child psychologists, teachers and family intervention services and told them this is a course I am offering in the community. This has been met with great encouragement and support.

What have been the significant areas of growth and change for your participants whilst completing the P.E.T. course?

I think recognition of roadblocks that are used in communication was a common theme when we reflected on the overall learning. Participants can now identify and avoid using roadblocks themselves, but they are also more aware when others use them too. Participants also really liked learning about identifying unmet needs rather than focusing on unacceptable behaviours, this changes the whole focus of interactions in the home and encourages positive connections even when unacceptable behaviour is being addressed. Participants reported that it wasn’t just communication with children that was changed throughout the course, relationships with partners, colleagues and friends were also positively affected.

What are your future plans as an Instructor? Please share any other marketing ideas and action steps you have been taking to establish your business.

I am completing the B.Y.B., T.E.T. and Y.E.T. Instructor Training and I am also completing my post graduate studies. My goal is to work with families who wish to improve any aspect of their relationship, with a focus on positive parenting techniques. Networking has been my major focus as far as marketing is concerned, along with creating a website, social media accounts, and updating them regularly.

Do you have any words of encouragement or advice for new instructors who are hesitating or are about to conduct their first course?

Just do it! You learn more as you go. My participants were sad that our course ended, which is a great reflection of the course and the connection they felt as they participated. Self-improvement is empowering and participants will be grateful for you efforts. This course truly changes lives, get out there and spread the love!

Thank you so much Elissa for taking the time to share your experience especially given your busy life. What you have shared is inspirational for others wanting to teach the courses and establish a business.

Kathryn Tonges

Kathryn Tonges

Online Australia & NZ, QLD

I have been deeply rewarded seeing positive transformations in families by teaching P.E.T. effective communication skills since 1978. My two sons are now parents, and I am witness to their natural use of P.E.T. skills in all their interactions with children and people. My passion is to share these skills with others through these options: 1. Parent Effectiveness Training - for parents, grandparents, carers. 2. Be Your Best – personal empowerment skills for self, relationships, and the workplace. 3. Teacher Effectiveness Training – increases the quality of interactions between student and teacher with more teaching-learning time. 4. Instructor Training - I am a Master Trainer of P.E.T., B.Y.B., T.E.T. and Y.E.T. for ETIA Ltd. In my teaching career I taught from early childhood to tertiary level focusing on Child Development and Communication Skills. I lived in Beijing for seven years and conducted P.E.T. and B.Y.B. courses for expatriates as well as training expatriates to become P.E.T. instructors. I have written for parenting magazines in Beijing and Australia and blog for my website The Parent Within (theparentwithin.com). Whilst in Beijing I co-authored a book with P.E.T. Instructors I had trained, to help expatriate children cope with the changes in their life. In the last couple of years I have taken on the position of President of ETIA Ltd. Children, parenting, and effective communications continues to be my passion as I share these courses both online (Australia and NZ) or face to face in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast as well as coaching parents individually.

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Loving Family | About ETIA

About ETIA

The Effectiveness Training Institute of Australia (ETIA) Ltd is a not-for-profit, community based organisation that is dedicated to making courses in communication and conflict resolution skills available and accessible to all people in Australia.

ETIA’s mission is to provide individuals with effective communication and conflict resolution skills to build connected, harmonious relationships.

Our inspiration and programs come from the late Dr Thomas Gordon who is the author and founder of Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) program and Gordon Training International (GTI).

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