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Subtle Signs of Emotional Abuse in Marriage: Good Things Utah

Abuse is a tough topic to talk about, but it’s so important that we know signs to watch out for. While physical abuse is easy to identify, emotional abuse can be more subtle but can be just as damaging (while most everyone has mistreated their partner at times, we are talking about repeated and consistent behavior). Here are some signs of emotional abuse in marriage:

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Avoiding Unrighteous Dominion: Mormon Marriages Podcast

Avoiding Unrighteous Dominion: Mormon Marriages Podcast

I recently sat down with Nate and Angilyn Bagley to discuss issues relating to unrighteous dominion in marriages. This phrase comes from the scripture in Doctrine & Covenants 121:9 that reads, “[w]e have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority…they will begin to recognize unrighteous dominion.”

Influence By Fear or By Love

As a therapist who has worked with Mormon clients for over twenty years, I’ve seen unrighteous dominion manifested in a variety of ways: making major decisions (such as financial or employment) or in any other way being controlling and manipulative. Unrighteous dominion can extend to children as well; when a mother or a father using shame or intimidation with their children, this is another example. And any type of abuse certainly falls under the category of unrighteous dominion.

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Mormon Bishops Are Not Therapists: KUER News

Mormon Bishops Are Not Therapists: KUER News

In the fallout of the news that former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter was physically violent to both his ex-wives, some have begun to question the wisdom of LDS Bishops counseling women in abusive relationships (reports indicate both women were encouraged to stay with their husbands). Working with women in private practice, I’ve heard of this kind of thing happening. It’s embarrassing, it’s infuriating, and it’s my hope that this cultural moment of awareness and the #MeToo movement can spark social change. I shared some of my thoughts on this subject with KUER news.

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A New and Innovative Way of Treatment

Wasatch Family Therapy Idea

Cindy sat in my office, seeking relief from the intense psychological anguish that she had been experiencing for the several months since having survived a fatal head on collision with an SUV. The driver of the other vehicle was intoxicated, swerved into Cindy’s lane of traffic and impacted her vehicle head on. That driver was pronounced dead at the scene. Since that time, Cindy had been experiencing insomnia, nightmares, flashbacks, panic attacks and difficulty functioning – classic symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

From a neurological stand point, her brain was essentially “stuck” in a primitive survival mechanism known as “fight or flight” – a protective measure that is designed to identify a dangerous situation and put the entire system on the defense at warp speed, all in an effort to ward off any threat to survival. Fight or flight is a mode of defense that operates on a “better safe than sorry” mentality. In Cindy’s case, even though the threat to her safety had ended months ago, her system was still stuck in that defensive posture “just in case” the threat, or anything like unto it, resurfaced. Although Cindy understood on a rational level that the threat had long since passed, her neurology was reluctant to let it’s guard down in the event that there was a mistake and the danger had not really passed.   Scenes from the event were relived again and again in her mind because literally that memory had been loaded into her neurological network in a manner that caused the rewind button to be continuously pushed by anything in her environment that even slightly resembled the near fatal accident – riding in a moving vehicle, the sound of a car’s engine, sirens in the distance, flashing lights, etc….

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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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Ask a Therapist: Is My Friend Really Suicidal or Just Seeking Attention?

I have a friend with severe problems. She’s 16, she is at distance from me. She has claimed to have tried suicide many times, sometimes even talking about committing suicide while I was talking to her. A friend posed the possibility that the suicide attempts were fake, and that she was calling for attention. One, I want to know if it is possible for her to actually want to commit suicide, while announcing it to us. I ask this because a friend of mine insists that suicide is only committed by people who don’t even mention it, or who mention it once and attempt it. Two, if she is attention calling, how can I help her? She is a great friend of mine, and I want to help. She was/is bullied, she’s bisexual, and that already got people to bash on her, she was beaten by her father, and occasionally still is. She cuts herself. Doesn’t eat for large amounts of time, because she thinks she’s fat. She is ignored by her mother, etc. I wonder if it’s also possible that she exaggerated her description of the problems, in order to call for attention.

A: Your friend is lucky to have a concerned friend like you. While you can help, it’s important for you to remember that you can’t save her from her problems. It sounds like your friend could benefit from intensive therapy. Are her parents or extended family members a resource for her to get help? Please encourage her to get a mental health evaluation as soon as possible. You nor I can determine whether she is indeed suicidal, especially in this forum, but a licensed mental health professional can. Watch the video for the complete answer.

Take good care of yourself!

Julie Hanks, LCSW

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Parents: Do You Know The Sexual Abuse Warning Signs?

Croc Farm_1With the onslaught of media coverage Penn State University has received following the horrendous and and heartbreaking allegations of child abuse I  find myself wondering two things:

  • Where were the other adults on these “outings” and why didn’t anyone step in sooner?
  • How did the parents/guardians/counselors miss the warning signs that something was wrong?

Unfortunately, many of the “red flags” we often associate with child abuse are usually vague and not widely discussed in public.  Many parents and adults are unsure of what they should be aware of when we talk about the red flags.  We can read and write in the media hundreds of stories about child abuse happening but not what to do about how to 1-stop it and 2-know what to look for.

I came across an excellent article on cnn.com a few days ago that I think all parents and adults in general should read.  Because as we know, it only takes one person to cause irreversible damage to a child and it just takes more one person to stop it, recognize it, and send a message that we will not tolerate it anymore.

Most children are abused by someone they know and trust, according to the American Psychological Association. An estimated 60% of perpetrators are known to the child but not family members: family friends, babysitters, child care providers and neighbors.

Read this CNN article for Warning Signs of sexual abuse

 

Creative Commons License photo credit: variationblogr

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Battered Men: A Different Perspective

Distaste for Photography
Check out a national blogtalkradio interview I did on “wellness for the real world with Dr. Veronica Anderson”.  This interview included several contributors from academicians, authors, family lawyers, therapists and male victims.  We discuss the change in popular belief about violence and the increased awareness of males who are victims of violence.  This was done in a way that does not diminish the seriousness of female victims, but increases the understanding and experiences of male victims.  My specific segment focused primarily on types of violence and the more recent finding that situational couple violence (where both partners are violent with each other) leads to more injury than violence where there is only one perpetrator.  The whole segment can be found here or listen to the interview by clicking the arrow below.

Creative Commons License photo credit: M. Pratter

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