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Creating Connection: Are You the Sun or North Wind?

Marriage Parable: The Sun and The North Windhappycouplev2-banner

A traveler was walking alone down a country lane. The Sun and the North Wind decided to have a contest to see who could remove the traveler’s overcoat. The North Wind tried first. He blew and he blew around the traveler as fiercely as he could, trying to rip the coat from the traveler but the traveler wrapped his coat more closely around him and held it tighter. The more the North Wind blew, the tighter the traveler hugged the coat. Then the Sun said, “Let me try,” and as she gently shone her warmth on the traveler, the traveler opened his coat and within minutes took it off (Alison Lee, Ph.D., EFT Community News 2013).

Now, put on your relationship hat. What is this parable teaching about creating closeness and safety in a marriage? Imagine that the traveler is you or your spouse and the overcoat represents vulnerability or risking connection in the relationship. To reach our partner and feel the reassurance that we are loved and cared for, we can choose to “blow off the overcoat” like the North Wind or “to gently warm” our spouse and he/she will remove the overcoat willingly.

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Moving Beyond Your Painful Past With Lifespan Integration

Children look to their parents to provide unconditional love and acceptance in infancy and early childhood. When children are subjected to trauma or neglect or when parental support is lacking, the child is left feeling unloved and sadly, unlovable. These feelings remain with us into our adult lives and can have a profound influence on our current relationships, often without us realizing the connection to our early childhood experiences.

Fortunately, there is much that can be done to “rewrite” these memories and to move into the future rather than feeling “stuck” in the past. For most people this requires professional help from a trained therapist.

A revolutionary new therapy called Lifespan Integration is now available and being used worldwide to successfully help people of all ages heal recent and past trauma and build a more solid core self.

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Skip The Chocolates, Give Your Spouse What They REALLY Want!

With Valentine’s Day having just passed you might have experienced a complete victory in gift giving or an epic fail. The year provides many opportunities to make it up to your significant other. This year you can’t go wrong by breaking with tradition and giving your significant other the gift s/he really wants – a gift that will keep on giving for years to come – the gift of love, support, and connection. “Hold Me Tight” Couples Workshop starts Tuesday, March 5 at Wasatch Family Therapy. This highly effective, scientifically based eight week class teaches couples that the way to enhance a good relationship or to save a troubled one is to be open, attuned, and responsive to each other’s needs. You and your spouse will gain insight into defining moments in your relationship and skilled marriage therapists will guide you in reshaping these moments to create a secure and lasting bond.

Get more information or register now!

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How To Program Your Husband

Several years ago a good friend sent me the following email and I laughed until tears were rolling down my cheeks. I’ve never deleted it and still pull it up on occasion if I have a particularly rough day or just need a good chuckle. I wish I knew who to credit for this little stroke of creative genius that’s been floating around Cyberland. Sometimes just looking at your relationship from a different perspective – in this case, a humorous one – can make all the difference. Oh, if only marital bliss were as easy as buying the correct operating system and installing it without a glitch! The truth is human beings are much more complicated than computer programs and creating a loving marriage requires more than knowing the right buttons to push. Keeping a positive attitude through life’s ups and downs and sharing a good laugh now and then will help see you through. Enjoy!

Dear Tech Support ,

Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and noticed a
distinct slow down in overall system performance, particularly in the
flower and jewelry applications, which operated flawlessly under
Boyfriend 5.0. In addition, Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs,
such as Romance 9.5 and Personal Attention 6.5 and then installed
undesirable programs such as NBA 5.0, NFL 3.0 and Golf Clubs 4.1.
Conversation 8.0 no longer runs, and Housecleaning 2.6 simply crashes
the system. I’ve tried running Nagging 5.3 to fix these problems, but
to no avail. What can I do?

Signed,
Desperate.

DEAR DESPERATE,

First keep in mind, Boyfriend 5.0 is an Entertainment Package, while
Husband 1.0 is an operating system. Please enter command: ithoughtyoulovedme.html and try to download Tears 6.2 and don’t forget to install the Guilt 3.0 update. If that
application works as designed, Husband 1.0 should then automatically run the applications Jewelry 2.0 and Flowers 3.5. But remember, overuse of the above application can cause Husband 1.0 to default to Grumpy Silence 2.5, Happy Hour 7.0 or Beer 6.1. Please note that Beer 6.1 is a very bad program that will download the
Snoring Loudly Beta. Whatever you do, DO NOT install Mother-In-Law 1.0 (it runs a virus in the background that will eventually seize control of all your system
resources.) Also, do not attempt to reinstall Boyfriend 5.0 program. These are
unsupported applications and will crash Husband 1.0. In summary, Husband 1.0 is a great program, but it does have limited memory and cannot learn new applications quickly. You might consider buying additional software to improve memory and performance. We recommend Cooking 3.0 and Hot Lingerie 7.7.

Good Luck,
Tech Support

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10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Throwing In the Towel on Your Marriage

Making the decision to stay or leave your marriage may seem overwhelming in the wake of a revealed affair or other traumatizing event.  It’s normal upon hearing that a spouse has been unfaithful to assume the marriage is over and that the love you once shared is gone forever.  Both partners may feel highly emotional and perhaps hopeless about their future together.  This is a good time to put on the brakes and slow things down.  Rushing into a life altering decision such as a divorce may actually compound the problem and prolong the hurt you and your partner are experiencing.  Before making any life changing decisions, allow yourself a brief waiting period, somewhere between 8 to 12 weeks, to think things through.  Your decision will have far reaching effects for you, your spouse, and your children.Wasatch Family Therapy Couples

Read through the following questions and share your answers with your partner, a close friend, or a therapist.

  1.  How will my life be different if we get divorced?
  2.  How will our children’s lives be different?
  3.  What first attracted me to my spouse?
  4.  What are my best memories with my spouse?
  5.  What will I miss the most about my marriage?
  6.  Down deep, do I still love my spouse?
  7.  Are my partner and I generally compatible?
  8.  Is my partner a generally dependable and trustworthy person?
  9.  Am I able to explore vulnerabilities in our marriage?
  10. Am I willing to work on my marriage?

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How To Get Stepchildren To Not Hate You


The other day, a recently remarried friend commented,“I can’t seem to do anything right when it comes to parenting my spouse’s teenage kids.” This friend is finding step-parenting much more challenging than expected.  If you are facing a similar difficulties in your family, it is important to realize you are not alone.  Did you know that over half of the families in the United States today are blended families and millions of parents are facing the challenge of step-parenting? Here are a few ideas that may make the transition to step-parenting a little smoother:   Wasatch Family Therapy Teens

First, take it slow. Don’t blame yourself if everything doesn’t go according to plan.  Remember, there is no such thing as “instant love.”  Love grows slowly over time so expect some rejection initially and try to keep a sense of humor.

Second, whenever possible, let the child’s biological parent do the disciplining.  A step-parent’s role in the family with teenagers can be that of a role model, a mentor, and a friend.  Work together with your spouse to decide house rules and to create structure at home; this will help you maintain a united front.

Finally, continue to strengthen your marriage.  Over time, your love and commitment to your spouse will create security in the lives of your step-children.  Keep your relationship alive and healthy, date regularly, and express your affection for each other in the presence of your children.

So, to recap, take it slow, let the biological parent discipline, and focus on your marriage.  Good luck.  I hope this is useful.  If you would like to speak to a professional about your family’s specific situation, please contact us at Wasatch Family Therapy; We would love to help.

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How Much Should I Tell My Children About An Affair?

The answer is as little as possible.  Children may require an explanation if they see or hear evidence of infidelity or if they are going to read about it online or in the media.  In some situations, talking with your children is the only way they can understand what is happening in the family.  However, children should never be told details of an affair and asked to keep it secret.  Share only with your children what you are comfortable with them sharing with friends, teachers, and relatives.  If you and your spouse are working to repair your relationship rather than separating or divorcing then it is usually better to keep the matter discreet.

Consider the psychological and emotional burden it would place on a child to overhear his mother accusing his father of loving another woman.  Imagine a father, feeling hurt and betrayed, blurting out to his children that their mother is having sex with a coworker.  Exposure to such information can create fear, confusion, and insecurity for the child.

There are times when parents do find it is necessary to say something.  For example, your children may ask, “Why are you and dad going to counseling every week?” or “Are you and mom getting divorced?”  When this happens, it is best to sit down with your children together and answer their questions simply and honestly.  Here are a few examples of age appropriate responses:

Preschoolers: “Mommy and Daddy have a problem that has nothing to do with you.  We both love you so you don’t have to worry.”

Grade-Schoolers: “What have you noticed that has made you worried?”  “Mom and Dad are having difficulty getting along, but we still love each other and want to work things out.”

Teen and Young Adults: “Yes, your mom and I are going to see a therapist every Monday night for the next few months.  I made a mistake and got too friendly with a woman at work, but your mother and I love each other and want to stay together.”

What children want to know most is that their lives will not be disrupted and that they can count on their parents to be accessible and responsive to their needs.  By limiting exposure to details, discussing fears, and constantly reassuring children of your love and commitment to them and your marriage, you create an atmosphere of safety and emotional security for your children.

For further information, a book I frequently recommend to my clients on this subject is “Not Just Friends: Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity” by Shirley P. Glass, PhD.

 

 

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Give Yourself the Gift of Gratitude

“What are the benefits of feeling and expressing gratitude?” It turns out grateful people have an edge over the not-so-grateful when it comes to physical and mental health, according to several recent psychological studies.  They tend to exercise more regularly, eat healthier diets, and get a boost to their immune system.  In addition, feelings of thankfulness have a tremendous positive value in helping people deal with increased stress and anxiety which are associated with the holidays.  Gratitude can also serve as a buffer against symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) such as sadness and depression which tend to build up slowly in late autumn and into the winter months.

Wasatch Family Therapy

What better time to reflect of gratitude than during the fast approaching holiday season.  Amid the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations, mindfully take a few minutes to slow down, breathe deep, and reflect upon the many blessings in your life.  You can start today to grow your feelings of gratitude.  Here’s how:

  • Keep a Gratitude Journal.The simple act of writing down a few things on a daily or weekly basis for which you are grateful is a great way to feel better about your life as a whole and to feel more optimistic about the future.
  •  Count Your Blessings.  This list may include family, friends, freedom, spiritual convictions, hobbies, talents, and material comforts.  After writing everything that comes to mind, ask yourself, “To what extent do I take these for granted?”  Tuck this list away and pull it out whenever you’re feeling down in the dumps.  This is an excellent reminder of the good things in your life.
  •   Try a Positive Reframe.   When faced with a challenging situation, see how it could ultimately be beneficial.  For example, if you are having a particularly hard time getting along with a neighbor or coworker, rather than complaining that the person is “trying” your patience look at it as an opportunity to “improve” your patience.
  •  Graciously Accept Gratitude from Other People.  Society has taught us to dismiss the gratitude directed towards us as unnecessary.  Saying things such as, “No problem; it was nothing,” or “No thanks is necessary,” robs others of the benefits of showing gratitude.  A simple, “You’re welcome,” lets people know you appreciate being thanked.

As you incorporate these few ideas into your life, I hope you will find – as I have – that life will become richer and more satisfying this holiday season by expressing gratitude to loved ones and by giving thanks for all that blesses your life.  Happy Holidays!

 

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The Gift of Closeness

If you can imagine nothing better than a more loving and secure relationship with your husband or wife, consider giving your spouse the gift of closeness for Christmas this year.

“Hold Me Tight” is an eight-session couple’s workshop based on Dr. Sue Johnson’s book “Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love” that has helped thousands of couples throughout the world repair, enhance, and grow their love relationship.  You will learn the new science of love, how to fix mistakes and overcome past hurts, and how to create the tender and intimate relationship you have always wanted.

Classes begin January 10th from 7-9 pm

Gift Certificates Available

Space is limited. Register now!

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How to Say “I’m Sorry” to Someone You Love: 5 Tips for Offering a Sincere Apology

Wasatch Family Therapy CouplesIf you’re like me, you would rather walk barefoot through burning coals or attend a political fundraiser than actually admit you suffered a brief laps of judgement which led to hurting a loved one’s feelings.  Perhaps the two most difficult words to say in the English language are “I’m sorry.”  Why is it so hard to admit when we’ve made a mistake and then to offer a heart felt apology?

The truth is we all make mistakes.  Misunderstandings occur even among the closest family members, friends, and coworkers.  The good news is that a sincere and thoughtful apology can be a powerful tool to heal almost any relationship.

The following are five tips for offering sincere and effective apologies:

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