by KELLEY GUSICH | photos by Zeena Gregg Photography

Psychology in PQ

Darlene Sweetland and Ron Stolberg are both clinical psychologists, having earned their PhDs at Alliant International and Palo Alto Universities, respectively. Darlene’s Del Mar practice works with children, adolescents, and families, focusing largely on assessing kids with ADHD, learning, and developmental disorders. She also consults for the San Diego Regional Center. Ron is a professor in the doctoral program at Alliant, and his private practice covers children, families, and professional athletes.


Because of their work with children and teens and their interactions with adults, Darlene and Ron noticed a significant shift in the issues being dealt with. “Kids are becoming more dependent on adults and technology to answer questions for them,” Darlene said. The two have seen kids losing everyday opportunities for problem-solving, and being used to getting things quickly makes for a low frustration tolerance to any requirement to wait or solve problems. “We began seeing a generation of kids who were entering college and adulthood vastly unprepared,” she explained. “We found ourselves providing the same guidelines to parents over and over, so we decided to write a book.”


Teaching Kids to Think: Raising Confident, Independent, and Thoughtful Children came out in March and has enjoyed tremendous success. It was selected as one of the Publisher’s Weekly 2015 Select Parenting Titles and is being translated into multiple languages worldwide. “We didn’t write the book thinking about international sales, so it is a great surprise!” Darlene confided. They are so passionate about the subject, it was important to put it out there. “When we talk about the Instant Gratification Generation everyone has an example from their own life, which showed us how well it resonates with people.” In addition to their book, Ron took his expertise in personality assessment and risk management to the set of CBS’s Survivor. He screened potential candidates to rule out dangerous behaviors or psychological conditions that would put them at risk. For seasons 21 and 22 he was on location in Nicaragua to ensure the safety of contestants voted out.

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Ron and Darlene have two sons, Aaron and Drew, who are students at Westview and Mesa Verde. Aaron volunteers regularly at the Helen Woodward Animal Center, helping with annual events and as a junior counselor at Critter Camp. Drew plays soccer in PQ and plays lacrosse for the PQ Tigers. The family fosters animals for Helen Woodward, and they’ve all completed the Ride Across California.

Meet the Stolbergs

Parents: Darlene Sweetland and Ron Stolberg
Children: Aaron (15) and Drew (12)
Community: Crestmont
Hometowns: Ron – Encinitas; Darlene – Concord
Occupations: Both are clinical psychologists
Favorite Local Places: We have spent a lot of time biking and hiking the Peñasquitos Preserve! We also love to hike Black Mountain from all angles and entrances. Yenchim Garden and Cotijas are favorite restaurants.