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How To Deal With Life’s Challenges

TRIUMPHSometimes things happen in our lives that we aren’t quite prepared for and can leave us feeling empty and void emotionally. When these events occur we can incorporate a few strategies that can help us develop a sense of resiliency so that we are better prepared to face the perfect storms life has to offer. Here are a few surprisingly simple emotional coping strategies that are easy to do and cost very little money if any at all that can get you back in the saddle:

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Does My Child Have an Anxiety Disorder?

SCHOOL KID ANXIETYAs a child, the world is full of fears and challenges, real and imaginary, that adults cannot recollect from their own childhood. Most of these childhood fears and challenges are temporary and eventually outgrown, but studies show that one in eight children suffer from an anxiety disorder and anxiety has become one of the most common mental health conditions in children. At some point in life, children will experience some form of anxiety, however, when the symptoms become distressing and interfere with normal living then the anxiety can be considered and classified as an anxiety disorder. The mind and emotions of a child are continuously changing and developing at different rates, so it may not always be easy to distinguish normal fears and challenges from those that may require additional attention. That is why it is important to important not only to assess the severity of the symptoms that obstruct daily living, but also be aware of the developmental progress of each individual child. Assessing if the fears and behaviors are appropriate on a developmental level is crucial for each child. Many situations will cause children to display anxiety; however, if they continue beyond reasonable age norms, or are intense and distressing, then it could likely be the beginning stage of an anxiety disorder. These intense or distressing anxieties can eventually cause more serious distress, destroy a family system, and interfere with a child’s development or education.
Anxiety disorders that your child could be experiencing are:

Generalized anxiety disorder. With this common anxiety disorder, children worry excessively about many things, such as school, the health or safety of family members, or the future in general. They may always think of the worst that could happen. Children with generalized anxiety tend to be very hard on themselves and strive for perfection. Children with this disorder are self-conscious, self-doubting, and excessively concerned about meeting other people’s expectations. Along with the worry and dread, kids may have physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomachaches, muscle tension, or tiredness. With generalized anxiety, worries can feel like a burden, making life feel overwhelming or out of control.

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Our Boundaries, Our Selves

“Boundaries can be understood as processes of contact and exchange,
moments of knowing, and movement, and growth.”
Judith V. Jordan

Knowing how to set healthy boundaries is an important part of living a life where you feel honest with yourself because you are able to interact honestly with others.  This isn’t a skill that comes with all of us into life. This isn’t a skill we learn in our formative years either.

We learn it, oftentimes, through experiences of pain and trauma, both emotional and physical.  Because of our experiences, we learn to have boundaries. Because of our experiences, we also gain the tough challenge of doing 3 life-altering things:

  1. Learning to value ourselves;
  2. Actively creating our identity;
  3. Balancing the ways we share our personal space.

Often times we are expected to share our personal space without regard to personal needs because of our roles in life – such as our families, our friends, our occupations or hobbies, our roles as as parents, siblings, spouses, or relatives.

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Studio 5 with LCSW Holly Willard: Encouraging Honesty in Children

Let’s face it: young children lie. They make up stories and often exaggerate what really happened. So how can we encourage honesty in our kids?

LCSW Holly Willard gives us some insight on this topic. She says the age of the child matters. A 3-year-old doesn’t developmentally understand what it means to lie, so this is innocence and we don’t really have to worry about it. When a child is 5-6, his/her mind goes back and forth between fantasy and reality, so we can try to help him/her understand what is real and what is not. By 7-8, it’s time to hold our kids accountable for telling the truth.

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This Week at WFT 9/29/14

ThisweekatWFT

HOLD ME TIGHT WORKSHOP

Wednesday, October 1st, 6 – 8 pm

SIGN UP TODAY – Only a few more openings left!

Based on Dr. Sue Johnson’s Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT).  THE most effective couples therapy, this class will teach you and your spouse how to connect emotionally and physically and to create the relationship of your dreams!  Only $400 per couple for the 8 week series!

Monday, September 29th – Holly Willard, LCSW on KSL Fresh Living

Tune in today to hear what Holly Willard has to say on the topic “Why Kids Lie”.

 

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Getting to Know Clair Mellenthin, LCSW, Clinical Director of Wasatch Family Therapy

Clair-Mellenthin--300x300

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:

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5 Things I Wished I’d Known In Graduate School

Common Therapy QuestionsI 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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, LCSW

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Five Stress Relieving Strategies For Busy People

Wasatch Family Therapy DepressionChronic 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:

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Affirmation: A Conference Dedicated to Fostering Loving Dialogue about LGBT Mormons

Affirmation LGBT Conference

 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. 

Many people assume that Affirmation is an activist group that is in opposition to the LDS church’s teaching.  Affirmation is about creating and maintaining a respectful and healthy dialogue between LGBT Mormons and the broader LDS community that encourages inclusive attitudes and practices. 

 

The Affirmation conference is on September 12-14.  Click here for more details and to buy tickets.

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Reconnect with your Spouse! – Upcoming “Hold Me Tight” Couples Class

HoldMeTight WorkshopFlyer OCT2014Are 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.

 

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