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Kate Hofer, LPC Presents Art Therapy Training for Professionals

Wasatch Family Therapy’s Kate Hofer with Collette Dawson-Loveless will present a CPRT for Teens and Art Therapy training on April 27th, 2012 for the Association of Play Therapy Utah Chapter. The training  focuses on strengthening the bonds of attachment between parent and child. The training will be held at the Foster Care Foundation located at 5296 S Commerce Drive #400, Murray, UT 84107.

Contact the Association of Play Therapy Utah Chapter for Registration.

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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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How To Deal With 5 Common, Childhood Fears: Clair Mellenthin quoted on GalTime.com

Clair Mellenthin, LCSW, RPT-S was quoted on GalTime.com sharing advice on helping children handle some of their most common fears.

GalTime writer Jennifer Lubell explores  common fears likelearning to swim, separation, getting shots and animals. Child therapist, Clair Mellenthin, LCSW, says this is all part of normal childhood development.

“Many parents are confused by their child who, until last week, slept through the night, kept the door closed, and wasn’t worried about monsters under their bed – and this week has morphed into a hysterical, frightened, over-tired monster themselves.”

Clair also advises that a parent’s response can be very helpful in alleviating the symptoms of these fears.

“Take the time to ask your child to describe their fear- what are they really afraid of? For instance, a child who is afraid to have the lights off at night may really be more afraid that you won’t hear 
her when she feels worried or nervous during the night,” she says. Never shame your child for expressing a worry or fear. Instead, validate the fear and then engage your child in finding a solution or developing a plan on how they overcome it and empower themselves, Mellenthin suggests.

 Read the article.

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The Four Things Children Really Want For Christmas

1. RELAXED & LOVING TIME WITH FAMILY 

Of all the needs of children at Christmas, relaxing memorable time with family is most important.

Questions to ask ourself as parents: *Do I create relaxed, meaningful time with my family in December? *Am I having a hectic schedule because I choose to or out of obligation?

Suggestions for relaxed, loving time with children: *Entertain less, attend fewer adult parties *Simplify preparations (Keep it Simple Sweetie) *Cut back on outside commitments *Travel less, visit less, TV less *Relax about decorations, let children help (Children are more important than things) *Make/Buy fewer gifts *Plan meaningful family time/traditions

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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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Do You Have an ‘Overbooked’ Child?: KSL 5 News

The Overbooked Child

Good parents sign their kids up for dance, sports, music, art, and language lessons, right? In a recent NewYorkTimes.com article Alina Tugend says, “…in an effort to give their children everything, some parents end up not just depleting financial resources, but also their own emotional energy.”  Exposure to early opportunities, classes, sports, and lessons to gain skills doesn’t guarantee future success for your child, and in some cases may be detrimental to your child and family. Here are some common myths that lead to overbooked kids, parenting truths and tips to help you to give your child what he or she really needs to succeed.

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Activities to Increase Your Child’s Emotional Intelligence

Wasatch Family Therapy KidsEmotional intelligence is the ability to sense, understand, and react to others’ emotions while comprehending social networks. Research has shown that even more than IQ, your emotional & social intelligence is more correlated with success and overall happiness. Some of the proven benefits of increasing social and emotional intelligence are: better physical health, higher academic scores, fewer behavior problems, closer relationships, increased resiliency, and less prone substance abuse, mental health issues and violence. Daniel Goleman’s model identifies four key areas of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.  In my therapy practice I use many different interventions to help kids recognize, express and manage their emotions.  Here are five of my favorite activities:

Feelings Candyland:

The rules of the game are the same as regular Candyland except, when you choose a card to move, you have to express a time you felt the feeling that correlates with the color.  (i.e. Blue is sad.  Talk about a time or something that makes you sad).  Here is an outline of the game Feelings Candyland

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Sold…Now What? Helping Parents to Navigate “The Move”

With the economic crisis continuing in many of our lives, many families are having to relocate to find new jobs and search for better opportunities with either school or employment.  This can be such a stressful time in any marriage and family.  Many families who find themselves in economic hardship feel more stress, emotional turmoil, are easily frustrated and find themselves arguing more between spouses and with their children.  With the silver lining that a new job can bring, there is also at times a roller coaster of emotions including additional stress and feelings of loss, insecurity, sadness and hope.  Adding a move with all of these can feel like more than we can bear some days, even if it is for a good opportunity.

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I Am Not a Superhero. I’m a Mom!

Last night was my first wake-up call to that fact that I do not have superhero powers to protect my children against pain, embarrassment, and hurt. It was a humbling and I have to admit, very tender experience for me to have. I guess I should back up a little bit?

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Bulletstorm Draws Concerns from Parents: Clair Mellenthin on Fox 13 News

Watch Clair Mellenthin, LCSW’s interview with Fox 13 News warning parents of the risks of allowing children to be exposed to a violent new game released last week. Click here to read Clair’s interview on the dangers of children accessing this game on National FoxNews.com

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