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Three Reasons Therapy Is Like A Dental Cleaning

Though I’m not privy to all the research on the matter, I dare say that people who keep regular dental appointments enjoy significantly better oral health over the course of their lives than people who do not. I imagine that the same principle might hold true for emotional/mental health. Allow me to hypothesize as to why that might be the case:
(c) Can Stock Photo

1. Stuff builds up over time.

Crud between the teeth is a natural casualty of eating. Since we all have to eat to live, it stands to reason that we are all going to battle teeth crud from time to time. It’s natural. There are professionals who make a living by helping others through the process of crud removal. When the crud builds up again, the crud removal recommences. We tend to accept as normal that this cycle will repeat on a yearly basis.

Crud within our thoughts and feelings seems to be a natural casualty of living. Since we all interact with others in order to successfully live in society, it stands to reason that we are all going to battle thought and feeling crud from time to time. It’s natural. There are professionals who make a living helping others through the process of crud removal. When the crud builds up again, the crud removal recommences. The duration of the cycle may differ depending upon a variety of factors, but it’s my guess that the crud-build up/crud-removal cycle will probably play out more than once in the course of a life span.


Ask A Therapist: How Can Children Be Protected From Cousins Who Were Sexually Molested?

Q: My daughter’s children are close friends with their cousins.  The parents of these cousins took in foster children who sexually molested the cousins.  My daughter wants to know how best she can protect her children from being molested by the cousins.  All the children involved are younger than 10 years old.  My son was similarly molested by neighbor children and has been struggling with pornography and masturbation for twenty years.  She doesn’t want that to happen to her children.   Where can she go for advice?

A: The first step your daughter can take is to begin to have first of several conversations with her young children about good and bad touch- explaining “good” touch is a hug, a tickle under the armpit, a high five.  A “bad” touch is when someone touches your private parts or asks you to touch theirs.  Talking about what to do if this ever happens is also a topic for conversations throughout their lives- always tell a grownup! She also needs to ask if they have ever experienced “bad touch” to find out if they have also been abused.

Just because the cousins were sexually abused, it does not necessarily mean that they will in turn, molest others or engage in sexually inappropriate behaviors.  If they have not acted out sexually, you do not need to limit their exposure and time together, unless the foster children are still in their home.  To be on the safe side, an adult should be supervising their play for the next few months.  They can still have play dates and engage in normal interactions, but I would suggest that the play just takes place out in the open- no closed doors allowed.  I would also say “no” to sleepovers for the time being.  If the cousins have been acting out sexually because of their abuse, it is okay to limit the play dates and offer support as adult friends/family.

A good resource for your family members is The Association For Play Therapy where you can find play therapists who specialize in treating sexually reactive and abused children in your area.  There are chapters located throughout the United States.


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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 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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Ask a Therapist: Why Am I Afraid To Grow Up?

Wasatch Family Therapy DepressionQ: I’m a 25 year old male. I’ll just start off by saying that opening sentences take me sometimes hours to write (this one took ten minutes). The same goes for my life – I just can’t seem to get anything started: Job applications, writing routines, relationships with the opposite sex, you name it.

The only thing is, I usually succeed once I get started. So, I’m trying to figure out why I can’t get things moving. I graduated college almost a year ago and have only applied to about 5 different districts (I’m a state-certified English teacher) out of the hundreds in my state.


Ask a Therapist: Is This Obsession Really About Food?

Q: I had naturally been apprehensive to meat when I was younger. I liked to eat, but I didn’t really like meat (aside from the taste). Then, 6th grade came along, and I started having problems: depression, (the past, not now) suicidal and many other things. Along with that, a lot of changes were entering my life: I was about to enter junior high, and I had insomnia. Then, I decided to become vegetarian and anorexic. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t a complete vegan at first. I was “98% vege”, meaning that I ate hotdogs/hamburgers/chicken nuggets/bacon/top ramen soup. In seventh grade, I became full-fledged vege, and continued to have problems. In eighth grade, I turned my life around, and was the food nazi: no food additives, no meat, healthy as you can be.


Ask a Therapist: Husband Sexually Abused Our Daughter

Three days ago I found out that a year ago my husband sexually abused my daughter. I don’t know what to do I love my daughter very much and I love him I will protect her at all costs, I have put locks on her door locks on the bathroom and she is not left alone with him. I confronted him but he denies it stating he loves our baby very much and would never hurt her. I want to believe him but I could never not believe her. I want to know if our family unit is savable would therapy help what should I do. I don’t want to be a bad mother and I don’t want to lose my family.


Ask a Therapist: My Hubby Won’t Take Financial Responsibility, Help!

Q: My husband hasn’t ever taken full responsibility for supporting our family Wasatch Family Therapy Couplesfinancially. He has had opportunities to advance in his career but won’t do what it takes to move ahead. I think he makes important decisions based on fear. His Dad and mine have been helping us financially for years. I work part time and recently took over ownership of the business and see it as our way to finally be self reliant. I feel some resentment towards my husband because he doesn’t work on most Fridays and spends those days as well as evenings with the kids while I’m working so hard. It seems like he’s always being bailed out of his responsibility and now I’m bailing him out by taking over this business. He seems fine with putting forth no effort. He’s been up watching sports games till 1 am while I’m up at the same time studying for business classes. I’ve lost respect and love for him over the years because of his lack of drive. My question is – How do I decide to be okay with his decision to pass of his responsibility to support the family when I think it’s totally wrong? Is it possible to live with this when it goes against everything I think should be important to a father?


Ask a Therapist: My Son’s Illness Is Ruining My Life

Q: My son is now 13 and had been diagnosed ED / ADHD since he was 3. I was a single mom the first 4 years of his life, and married when he was four.I now have two other boys, 2 and 4, and my husband and I are struggling to deal with the oldest’s behaviors. It is actually causing me to be very depressed at times and it is straining our marriage. I’m not sure what I can do, to help him and us. I feel like I’m going to literally lose my mind on a daily basis. I end up snapping at everyone or not dealing with normal issues, because I feel so overwhelmed.

My son’s therapist suggested I see someone, but I don’t know if that’s the right thing I need. Help? I’m afraid of losing my son to his illness, my husband because of the difficulties with son, and my sanity in it all.


Ask a Therapist: I’m Depressed and No One Knows

Q: First off I would like to thank you for taking the time out to help me. But the problem is I’m depressed but nobody knows it.

Half the reason I am is because I have no really close friends to hang out with or etc. While everybody is usually going to the movies, the beach, or somewhere fun I’m at home. My mother has started to notice it, she always suggests I hangout with my friends but truth is I don’t have the heart to tell her I don’t really have any. It started at the age of 11 when I started to notice I didn’t have a lot of friends like all the other kids did.

I have tried on several attempts to makes friends, but all miserably failed. I try not to be clingy or to appear desperate. I think I have been cursed not to have any friends and it kills me every single day. I don’t wanna go talk to a counselor in person, it makes me feel even more abnormal. And I don’t wanna tell my parents because they’ll feel bad for me and I hate it when people feel sympathy for me.


Ask a Therapist: I’m scared to see a therapist for my eating disorder

Q: I started out with anorexia but now am bulimic/anorexic and have been this way for about 3 yrs now. I am on a binge/purge cycle and have purged everyday at least since November. One person knows about my ED and I am so scared to get help even though I know that I need it. I am fully aware of the dangers of bulimia. I am being treated for one of the symptoms of bulimia, which is passing out because of malnutrition. However, the doctors did not figure out that it is due to an ED. I’m 18 so I can get help without my family knowing which is a big deal for me because I can not let them know. They have a lot to deal with right now plus my mother does not really understand how to deal with things. Shes Bipolar and every once in a while has a Schizophrenic episode. I am scared of my father and stay away from him so I can’t tell him either, my whole family dynamic is screwy. However, I am considering getting help for my ED. What should I expect if I do decide to go to a therapist? What kind of questions will they ask me. Thanks for your help.