Parents of teenagers are no strangers to stress, but the psychologists say that resilience — learning the science of well-being — can help us deal with stress.

The Mercer County Psychological Association, comprised of Princeton-area psychologists, says that half of all mental problems can be traced to genetic heritage. Another 10 percent of minor stress problems can be dispelled by pursuing pleasurable activities, like going to a movie or buying a new dress. To deal with the remaining 40 percent of stress cases, the psychologists say, “use intentional behavior.”

The MCPA wants to reach out to that 40 percent, those who experience stress but don’t feel there problem is severe enough to seek professional help. The association has put together a free half-day conference at the Nassau Club in Princeton on Saturday, November 3, at 8:30 a.m.

Teena Cahill, author of “The Cahill Factor: Turning Adversity into Advantage,” will give the keynote speech on resiliency in everyday living — how to enhance the lives we’ve got and develop resilience to stress. Then Wendy Matthews and Karen Cohen lead a discussion on how to parent teens and children.

Cohen grew up in South Philadelphia, went to Penn State, Class of 1979, and earned a doctoral degree at the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University. She worked at a school for handicapped children and for a adolescent mental health program in Brunswick, and in 1989 she opened her a general practice with a sub specialty in children, adolescents, and families. She is the president of MCPA.

Matthews has a masters and Ph.D. from Cornell University and a certificate from the University of Paris. After post-doctoral work at Temple and Harvard, she worked at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital Institute’s child evaluation center and directed the pediatric neurology division of UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. She has had a full-time private practice for 25 years.

“As parents we can teach or model resilience,” says Matthews, “by showing how we can laugh off some of our worries, or turn them into challenges that we can take some satisfaction in achieving. For a positive, constructive approach to problem solving, turn to the old adage, ‘When life throws a few lemons at you, make lemonade.’”

Attendees can also choose from three other workshops: life transitions, couples and relationships, and aging well. Presenters include Valerie Brooks-Klein, Phyllis Marganoff, Greg Moore, Tamerra Moeller, and Sharon Press.

Mercer County Psychological Association, Nassau Club, 6 Mercer Street, Princeton. 609-924-9670. www.mercerpsych.org “Resiliency in Everyday Living,” a half-day conference staged by a group of psychologists. Free by registration. E-mail:wsmnassau@aol.com Saturday, November 3, 8:30 a.m.

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