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What is unconditional positive regard and why would I want it?

Unconditional positive regard is supporting and accepting a person regardless of what they have said or done. It is a term made popular by the Humanistic Psychologist Carl Rogers. When we hold this regard for ourselves and others, healthy development, effective communication and mutually respectful relationships follow.

But I can’t always stay centered and accepting!

That’s okay, you don’t need to. As human beings we sometimes get triggered and react in ways that are harmful to others and our relationships. With awareness and self-acceptance we can learn how to acknowledge our challenges, repair and move back to a place of center. From this space we can then connect to the more evolved part of our brain, which allows us to respond creatively with empathy for both ourselves and others.


To support parents, educators and individuals to live with
unconditional positive regard
for themselves and others.



Michelle’s TEDxTalk: Unconditional positive regard: the power of self acceptance

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”
-Carl Rogers


Bio – Michelle Charfen, MD

Hello! Thank you for checking out my site. I am a physician/educator who offers support to help people communicate effectively and with compassion.

I was fascinated by the human body from an early age and dreamt of becoming a physician. In high school, I began tutoring students and discovered a love of facilitating learning for others as well. I studied Human Biology as an undergraduate at Stanford, taught preschool during the summer vacations, and spent the year after graduation teaching at an elementary school in East Palo Alto.

I then attended Harvard Medical School and completed a residency in Emergency Medicine. My interest in public health led to a Research Fellowship and a Masters of Epidemiology. I enjoyed teaching medical students and residents while working in an academic environment.

When my first child was born I found myself torn between a career that I loved and a deep desire to be at home with my daughter.  Eighteen months later, I stepped down from a faculty position as an Assistant Professor at the UCLA School of Medicine to devote this period of life to a growing family while continuing to work part time in Emergency Medicine. Soon after this I found out I was expecting twins.

At home with three young children I found myself challenged in ways I never imagined. I received much needed parent education and support from the Manhattan Beach Nursery School, Echo Parenting and Education, and Evolve with Carrie Contey, PhD. My path has also largely been informed by Marshall Rosenberg’s theory of Nonviolent Communication as well as Carol Dweck’s theory of Mindset.

My personal journey, struggles, and successes organically led to an interest in supporting other families. I completed the Parent Educator Certification Program through Echo Parenting and Education, and now combine this training with my experience and knowledge to help others learn effective tools for compassionate communication.

Centered Parenting is an extension of my lifelong desire to care for individuals. I continue to work part-time as an Emergency Medicine Physician and live with my husband and three children in Redondo Beach, CA.

To learn more you can view my recent TEDxTalk, Unconditional Positive Regard: The Power of Self Acceptance


Bachelor of Arts in Human Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA

Medical Degree, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

Residency in Emergency Medicine / Research Fellowship, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA

Masters of Epidemiology, School of Public Health at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA

Echo Parenting & Education Certified Parent Educator, Echo Park, CA


Centered Parenting


Centered Parenting offers individuals support in learning effective methods of communication in order to foster healthy development, connection and mutual respect. The concept of unconditional positive regard, accepting and supporting a person regardless of what they have said or done, is central to this practice. As parents strive to hold this unconditional positive regard for their children, they are encouraged to simultaneously develop it for themselves. Parenting is as challenging as it is rewarding. It can be messy and all parents get derailed at times. Centered parenting reframes challenging situations as opportunities for growth. Moving away from judgmental thoughts and towards reflective observation parents are better able to support themselves and their children. As parents gain self-acceptance for their own unique paths, the goal becomes not to parent perfectly but to learn how to return to center and parent mindfully.

Centered Parenting classes are currently offered in the Southbay of Los Angeles.

In the future I hope to offer online classes to support parents living in other locations.

Learn more about specific classes.

Join the mailing list if you would like to hear when these classes are being offered and receive periodic parenting support. Please contact Michelle if you would like to host a Centered Parenting Workshop.


Visit the resource page to see a list of books and teachers/websites that have informed and supported me on my journey.

Resource Page Coming Soon.



    Centered Parenting: 360˚ of Compassion – Supporting Yourself While Parenting Compassionately

    A FREE evening of parenting support on Monday, September 11th, from 6-8 pm at The LOFT in El Segundo. The workshop will help parents clarify their intentions, discuss challenges and explore tools for support.

    The class will be held at The LOFT in El Segundo, a new educational enrichment facility dedicated to cultivating curiosity while delivering academic fundamentals and support. There will be a G-rated movie playing for children in a separate room. If you have children that are old enough to  watch the movie while you are in a separate room participating in the workshop, please feel free to bring them.

    Eventbrite - 360˚ of Compassion Workshop: Supporting Yourself While Parenting Compassionately

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    Centered Parenting: What? Why? How? • Thursday's 7-9pm, 9/21/17 - 10/26/17


    This six-week long series is based on the curriculum developed by Echo Parenting and Education. The Echo curriculum is blended with my focus on helping parents work towards self-acceptance as they strive to parent with empathy and unconditional positive regard for their children and for themselves.

    This interactive workshop includes the following material:

    • Supporting participants to establish and remain focused on long-term goals

    • Understanding how our own histories inform our parenting

    • Understanding anger and tools for self-regulation

    • Setting limits with compassion and emotional coaching

    • Developing a practice of self-compassion and self-acceptance

    • Non-Violent (Compassionate) Communication (NVC) and the application of the tools of NVC to the parenting relationship

    • Interpersonal Neurobiology, using an interdisciplinary approach to better understand our experiences

    • Theory of Mindset and support for fostering a growth mindset for both the parent and child

    • Positive Psychology and the science of well-being

    This class will be held at The LOFT in El Segundo.

    Advanced registration is required using the link below.

    Eventbrite - Centered Parenting: What? Why? How? - Fall 2017

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Contact Me

Michelle Charfen, MD

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