Readers have expressed a concern that registering Transformative Parenting® as a trademark may be off-putting, worrying it will be seen as an attempt to commercialize my work. In this post, I would like to explain to you why I felt it necessary to register the term Transformative Parenting® as a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Let me begin with a little story. When I was almost finished with the first drafts of my book, I was casting about for a term to best describe my approach. Terms like relational, empathic, child centered, spiritual, and transformational were all considered, and several more. Each of these was discarded for various reasons.
I have a vivid memory of researching the term “relational” and exploring links about relational psychotherapy. In my researches I found various, generally positive, definitions of what the term “relational psychotherapy” means. However, I also remember finding a website dedicated to warning people about the dangers of relational psychotherapy, based on an abusive experience the author had with a psychotherapy practice that claimed to practice relational psychotherapy.
I realized, that whatever I called my system, I wanted people to be able to know exactly what the term stood for. Unfortunately, all the descriptive terms I could come up with were already in use by someone somewhere, and the potential for confusion was accordingly high.
If you Google the term “transformative parenting”, more than likely you will not be directed to this website, or my book. As of this writing, I am not even on the first page of search results! Even so, I consider the phrase “transformative parenting” a good descriptor for my method, given its transformative effect on parents.
In order to differentiate my work from others out using the same or similar terms, I took the opportunity to register the phrase “transformative parenting” as a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. This gave me the exclusive right to use the ® symbol after the phrase. So, whenever anyone sees the term Transformative Parenting® they can know it is exclusively a reference to the methodology described by me, verbally or in my writings.
Since it is my greatest wish for this methodology to be spread far and wide, I hereby grant a limited license for anyone else to use the term Transformative Parenting® (with the registration symbol), but only when clearly referencing the methodology described by me, verbally or in my writings. In fact, I encourage you to do so!
It is not about making money, it is about protecting this precious idea from being confused, misinterpreted, or maligned. I thank you for your understanding, and your help!
(Edit: After the publication of this article, I received some emails from Mr. Todd Sarner, the owner of transformativeparenting.com. He is unhappy with my use of the term “transformative parenting” to describe my work. Just to be clear, Transformative Parenting®, as I use the term, has nothing to do with Mr. Sarner’s approach as far as I know. I have never met Mr. Sarner, never seen any of his seminars, nor read any of his work. I wish him well, but until I can come up with a better phrase to describe Transformative Parenting® I intend to continue to use the term. What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.)