Gruener Consulting, LLC
Elmhurst, IL, USA
Industry: Health Care
Field: Parenting Education
Hillary Clinton once said, “Home is a child’s first and most important classroom.” Sharing a similar belief, Catherine A.Z. Gruener founded Gruener Consulting, LLC, which offers in-person and online parenting services, including experiential classes, seminars and workshops on parenting and positive discipline. She notes that parents and educators have to first identify a child’s strengths in order to teach the child to use those strengths to tackle future challenges and solve problems.
Ms. Gruener holds a Master of Arts in Counseling from the Adler School of Professional Psychology, where she also became certified in teaching positive discipline. Additionally, she earned a Master of Arts in Neuropsychology from the University of Northern Colorado in 1995. Ms. Gruener has progressed professionally from participating in psychosocial-based scientific research and assessments, to implementing interventions that assist in the health and well-being of children, parents and families.
Aside from her professional endeavors, Ms. Gruener has been an active volunteer with causes related to the population of gifted children since 2009. This group has always been of significant interest to her, and she also conducts research and gives presentations on the social and emotional needs of gifted children. She is affiliated with several organizations, including the Illinois Association for Gifted Children, the National Association for Gifted Children and the National Alliance on Mental Illness. She has been an associate member of the American Psychological Association since 1996 and a member of the American Counseling Association since 2009.
Ms. Gruener feels that her success thus far is due to her devotion to learning, listening to her intuition and pursuing her passions. She encourages other women to never give up, learn from their mistakes, and continue to pursue their own dreams and aspirations. Looking ahead, she intends to expand Gruener Consulting to include counseling services, workshops and classes for educational institutions.
Conversation with Catherine A.Z. Gruener
Worldwide Publishing: On what topics do you consider yourself to be an expert?
Catherine A.Z. Gruener: Neuropsychology, parenting, positive discipline, and the social and emotional aspects of gifted children.
What characteristics help to separate you from your competitors?
I love what I do so much that my work is not work. I am a tremendous researcher and I am very committed to my job. My skills are at the top because I combine my passion, compassion for people, research, knowledge and ability to be present with a person.
What motivates you?
Having an understanding that people can learn new ways of doing things. I enjoy helping and supporting people to make changes they want to make in order to be able to move toward their goal.
I spent my first 10 years working with people who were grouped by different problems. I didn’t want to label people, and in 2000, I started the transition in which I would be working with people rather than just labeling them. I realized that once I started the assessment, I was able to immerse myself in helping others. I chose to work with gifted children.
What lessons have you learned as a professional in your field?
I have learned that each person is unique, and they are the experts in their life even if they don’t know it. People’s perception of the world is their own, and they have the choice and freedom to move forward.
What short-term and long-term career goals are you currently pursuing?
My short-term goal is to build the practice, and obtain more face-to-face hours. My long-term goal is to have a full practice with partners.
How do you plan to achieve these goals?
By bringing on new associates.
What is the most difficult obstacle or challenge you have faced in pursuit of your goals?
Being a parent and growing the business.
What is the most significant issue facing your profession today?
Asking for help has a stigma attached to it; people don’t always admit that they need help.
What are some questions that an individual interested in your services can ask to ensure a more productive relationship?
What are your qualifications in parenting? What is your history with gifted children? And, what is your approach?
What changes have you observed in your industry/field since you started?
When I first started in my field, no one focused on neuropsychology. There were only a handful of people who did and the best schools for the subject were in Canada. Now, the neurological brain-based behavior aspect in mental health has become central in all of the counseling and psychology programs.