PsychCentral recently interviewed our very own Clair Mellenthin, the Clinical Director here at Wasatch Family Therapy. Clair was asked about how she copes with stress, the best part of her job, and her overall experiences being a therapist. Here are a few of her answers:More
I feel very privileged to be an adjunct professor at Westminster and University of Utah. I really enjoy teaching, it re-energizes me. I love the student’s thirst for knowledge and dedication to their field. I remember trying to juggle school, work, practicum, and family and how difficult it is but how excited I was to start my career. I wanted to construct a blog detailing what I wished someone had told me. Although the advice is specifically for people in the counseling field, it has application for anyone in higher education.
- Worry less about grades and focus more about gaining knowledge/experience. (Yes, this is coming from someone who literally freaked out when they got an A-). I have never had a client or even a job ask about my GPA. They wanted to know my skills and training.
- Interview your practicum placement. If it isn’t a good fit, find somewhere else. One of my internships was amazing the other placement was horrible. I knew from the beginning that my second placement wasn’t good but I didn’t want to look like a “quitter.” I didn’t realize that the interview process needs to be mutual and that I needed to take charge of my learning experience. There is no shame in saying it isn’t what you want.
- Attend as many professional trainings that you can. Most trainings have a big discount for students, take advantage of it! Even if that means using some of your student loans- trainings are a great investment. Especially if the trainings have a certification or count towards a special licensure. This will distinguish you between other graduates and help you find your specialties/passions. They also are a great place to network and become involved in professional organizations.
- Find a mentor. You will need an advocate to help you navigate the field, for consultation and support. A mentor can be a professor at your school, your clinical supervisor or someone in your professional organization. A good mentor should support and challenge you at the same time.
- Start a professional case portfolio. Some of the most difficult/interesting cases I worked was when I was a student. I didn’t realize at the time that I would want to refer back to details and interventions (for training or evaluation purposes). Keep notes in your personal files without identifying information. Obtain consent to video-tape sessions and interventions.
Hang in there, it will get better. Hopefully, you will look back on this experience with some fondness or at least relief that it is over.
-Holly Willard, LCSWMore
Chronic stress causes problems in every area of life, not the least of which is physical sickness and mental exhaustion. Many people’s depression and/ or anxiety can be traced to chronic high levels of stress. We live in a face-paced and complex world with more stressors than ever. The problem is that people who are stressed out don’t feel they have the time to do anything about it- and so the stress gets worse and worse.
When you honestly have very little time to take a step back from life and take care of yourself, you need to get creative about carving out peaceful moments throughout each day. Prioritize and simplify wherever you can, because as the old adage says, if you don’t take time to be well now, you will certainly take time to be sick later. While you’re figuring out how to cut some things out (!), here are some simple strategies you can implement today to de-stress:More
Next month, Julie Hanks will be presenting at Affirmation, a conference dedicated to fostering a loving discussion among LGBT Mormons, their friends and family, and the LDS community. The conference is non-political, but is instead focused on providing healing, love, and support for our LGBT brothers and sisters.
The Deseret News asked Julie a few questions about Affirmation. Here is a bit of the interview:
Q: How did you get involved with Affirmation? How long have you been associated with the group?
A: While I am not officially affiliated with the group, I am a huge supporter of Affirmation’s mission of inclusiveness, love, and support for Mormon LGBT individuals.
Q: What do you hope to communicate with those attending?
A: I hope to communicate a message that every life is valuable and important. No matter where we are on our life’s journey, God’s love for us is infinite, and Jesus Christ’s Atonement is always available as a source of strength and healing. Too often, we think that we have to do something different or be someone different to be worthy of God’s love, but nothing can separate us from the love of God.
As an LDS performing songwriter and a licensed therapist, I plan to share some of my best-loved songs and words of encouragement based on my experiences working with LGBT individuals and their families.
Q: What misconceptions do you think people have about LGBT Mormons and Affirmation?
A: There are so many misconceptions about LGBT Mormons that it’s difficult to know where to start. Here are a few: that being LGBT is a choice, that you can’t be LGBT and participate in the church, that LGBT Mormons want to leave the church, that many LGBT Mormon who have left the church are bitter and want nothing to do with it. None of those things are necessarily true, and we want to help eradicate these myths.
The Affirmation conference is on September 12-14. Click here for more details and to buy tickets.More
Are you tired of reading relationship books with a few tips and advice that may put a band aid on your marital discourse? Dr. Sue Johnson, author of Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations For A Lifetime Of Love, relationship researcher and expert, believes that the attachment bond individuals have with their partners is crucial for a happy, healthy relationship. Just as an infant feels close, attached, and loved when her mother gazes in her eyes, adults have the same need. We innately feel a desire to connect, be loved, depended on, and to feel safe. When the attachment is insecure with our spouse or partner, there is greater likelihood for disconnection, isolation, and distance. Hold Me Tight looks to address that attachment bond.
Wasatch Family Therapy is pleased to announce that we are, once again, offering a Hold Me Tight workshop. Based on Dr. Sue Johnson’s Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) approach. An approach in which empirical research shows that 70-75% of couples move from distress to recovery. The workshop will take readers through the following seven transforming conversations:
- Recognizing Demon Dialogues
- Finding the Raw Spots
- Revisiting a Rocky Moment
- Hold Me Tight
- Forgiving Injuries
- Bonding Through Sex and Touch
- Keeping Your Love Alive
Join us, LaShawn Schultz CSW and Jameson Holman, for this eight-week course beginning Wednesday nights on October 1st in the Cottonwood Heights location from 6-8 p.m. Register now and find the emotional connection that can come as partners reach for one another, holding tight.
Listen as LCSW Julie Hanks answers a lightening round of “Normal or Not” questions. Is it normal to tuck yourself tightly under the covers? How about stripping down to your skivvies right when you get home from work? Find the answers to all these questions and more!More
Bethany Johnson*, a 25 year old young woman, sat in my office. Presenting symptoms: near debilitating insomnia, hyper vigilance, hyper arousal, irritation, nightmares and flashbacks. This was classic PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) Surprisingly perhaps, Bethany wasn’t a soldier who had recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan, but rather had been teaching English as a second language in the Philippines – and she happened to be working at a school that was right in the eye of Hayian, the category 5 typhoon that struck the Philippine Islands in November 2013 and according to a CNN report “was probably the strongest tropical cyclone to hit land anywhere in the world in recorded history.”More
Do you get very upset or angry easily? Have you ever been accused of being hot-headed? If you respond with intensity and emotion that is disproportionate to the situation at hand, you are overreacting.
Julie Hanks recently had an article published in the August edition of Community Orange Magazine where she discussed strategies to keep calm and appropriately respond to stressful situations. Here are a few basic ways to keep from overreacting.
Click here to read the full article about ways to keep your cool.More
Bethany Johnson*, a 25 year old young woman, sat in my office. Her presenting symptoms were near debilitating insomnia, hyper vigilance, hyperarousal, irritation, nightmares and flashbacks. This was classic PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), which was a bit surprising since Bethany wasn’t a soldier who had had come from a tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan, but rather had recently returned from teaching English as a second language in the Philippines. But the circumstances of her experience explained what was causing her PTSD: the school she was working at was in the eye of Hayian, the category 5 typhoon that struck the Philippine Islands in November 2013 and, according to a CNN report, “was probably the strongest tropical cyclone to hit land anywhere in the world in recorded history.”
August is here! Most stores have shelves stocked full with back to school supplies and school employees are beginning to attend meetings and trainings to properly prepare for the 2014-2014 school year. Typically, teachers, parents, and (most) students are thinking ahead, using experiences from last school year in order to make the current school year even better. For most, the school year ended fairly well this year will likely be a relatively easy adjustment.More