Marks/Phelps Can Help Families




Staff Writer


21-phelps, kanePacific Palisades is a mecca for families—and to the outside world, everyone here seems happy. But parents knows that the idyllic family image can be deceiving. Parenting issues, children and teens rebelling (maybe a child even in trouble with a school or coach), and the marriage strained as the couple navigates parenthood.

Therapists and Palisadians Jordan Marks and Kane Phelps can help. They will offer a free workshop, “Empowered Parenting,” from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 30 at the Palisades Branch Library, 861 Alma Real.

During the workshop, there will be tips to manage sibling conflict, create a peaceful home environment, get your kids to listen, practice healthy relationship skills and learn how to exercise parental authority.

If you cannot attend, the therapists have also developed a short-term intervention, Wraparound Services, designed to produce lasting change in a family under stress.

The program involves 10 sessions; the first and last session includes the whole family and both therapists. In between there are four individual/children sessions with Marks and four parent sessions with Phelps.

“Jordan moved here last year and reached out to me because I was an established therapist in the community,” Phelps said. “We immediately hit it off and have been sharing referrals ever since. His specialty is working with kids, mine is coaching parents. It just seemed like a natural collaboration to develop/offer an intensive Wraparound Service.”

Marks lived in San Francisco for 15 years, moving to the Palisades last summer with his wife, Ashley Salomon.

21-marks, jordan cropThe offspring of two teachers who taught in Los Angeles public schools for 25 years, Marks was inspired by his parents’ profession. He began teaching 12 years ago, became a school counselor in 2009 and has been a licensed therapist for five years. He has a master’s degree in counseling and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in mind-body medicine.

Marks’ approach to healing incorporates many different modalities, including meditation, biofeedback, somatic therapy and breath work, in addition to standard treatment such as psychoanalysis that he learned while becoming a marriage and family therapist.

“Adolescents are prime clients,” he said. “Whether they know it or not, adolescents are needing a lot of support while navigating through an immense amount of change.”

Marks adds, “I don’t see therapy as something someone should go to because there’s a problem. I’m waiting to have a client who says, ‘Everything is going well. I just want to keep getting better, keep evolving and learn how to grow as a human being.’”

Phelps took a more unusual route to becoming a therapist. He made a film in the Philippines with Jack Nicholson, but even though afterwards he got bit parts in Hollywood, he admits: “I didn’t have the chops, I was a lousy actor.” But more importantly, being an actor “didn’t resonate with my soul.”

He married an actress and the two moved to Big Sur, where Phelps built his dream house. His mate didn’t appreciate the rustic lifestyle and the absence of electricity and Phelps soon found himself alone.

He came to a party in Malibu 1974 to see his old film friends, and was introduced to singer Dee Dee Sperling (of Dick and Dee Dee fame). She had recently divorced.

“She was so beautiful, so smart and such a caring person,” Phelps said, that initially he was too intimidated to approach her. But this changed, and they married in 1975 and he became an instant dad to her six-year-old son. “It was a great instruction manual for me on how to be a stepdad,” Phelps said. The couple went on to have two more children and moved to the Palisades in 1980.

Phelps earned his bachelor’s degree at Middlebury College and his master’s degree in psychology from Antioch University, then became a licensed marriage and family therapist. For 21 years he was a supervisor for the Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services.

For the past three years, he has had a private practice here in town, based on solution-focused therapy, influenced by Zen Buddhist philosophy, meditation and mindfulness practices. Active in the community, he is the current president of the Optimist Club.

Call Marks at (415) 429-2055 or visit: or call Phelps at (310) 573-9771 or visit:


Jordan Marks Photo: Shelby Pascoe


Kane Phelps

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