Jessica Alba on Going to Therapy with Daughter Honor, 13, and Why She Wants to 'Destigmatize' It

"I just wanted to be able to show up for her," Jessica Alba tells PEOPLE about going to therapy with her 13-year-old daughter Honor

Jessica Alba says she wants to "destigmatize" therapy and is reflecting on her own parenting support network.

In a joint interview with PEOPLE about her new kids' book, A Bear to Share, which she co-wrote with longtime friends and Baby2Baby Co-CEOs Kelly Sawyer Patricof and Norah Weinstein, the actress explains why she opened up about going to therapy with her 13-year-old daughter, Honor, this past summer.

"I think just trying to destigmatize what that is," says the founder of The Honest Company. "It really is: How can I show up as a mom for my kids and be the best parent for her?... There really isn't one sort of recipe that works across the board. I just wanted to be able to show up for her."

Alba also reflected on her own source of strength. Not only does she have the support of her husband Cash Warren — with whom she also shares daughter Haven, 10, and son Hayes, 3 — she relies on her friends.

"Luckily, I have friends like Kelly and Norah who have girls the same age," she says. "I think we're all sort of going through all of this together. So, that helps to have a community of support around you and friendships where we can have a dialogue about, 'Hey, I'm kind of going through this and I'm kind of hitting a wall and how do I break through?' And 'This is what I'm doing and just being transparent and open about it.' I think makes it less scary for others."

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Jessica Alba with her eldest daughter. Jessica Alba/Instagram

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Jessica Alba with her family. Jessica Alba/Instagram

In July, Alba was on an episode of Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt's Instagram series Before, During & After Baby and revealed that she began attending mother-daughter therapy with her eldest child two years ago to work through communication barriers.

"Like my 13-year-old, I'm struggling with not treating her like a little [kid]— I want to treat them all like babies. I want to baby them. Still, my tendency is to parent them as if they are little," the author said at the time. "I started going to therapy with her I think when she was 11. For me it was really out of, I felt like my relationship really suffered with my parents because they didn't know how to communicate with me and how I needed to be parented. So I didn't want that breakdown with Honor so we went to therapy together."

Honor "felt empowered to find her voice" in therapy, said Alba, adding that her child was able to "speak her voice and own her opinions in a way and really gain confidence to say, 'Hey, Mom, I like this, I don't like this.' "

A Bear to Share book
HarperCollins

In her interview with PEOPLE, Alba explains that while she appreciates the benefits of therapy with Honor, she also handles harder conversations as they come up.

"I think every lesson is really a moment for reflection. I don't avoid conversation," the mom of three says. "I think it's all just how can we have a better understanding of each other? And it actually is very similar to the book." (A Bear to Share teaches little ones about giving back and benefits Baby2Baby, where Alba is an ambassador.)

"Just having compassion and empathy around someone else is reality, right?" Alba continues. "And being able to have context and see either lens, I think that's something that you could always work on as a person."

A Bear to Share is on sale now.

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