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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.


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


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:


KIDS Social Skills Group – Fall 2014

This 8 week group is designed to help school-aged children navigate the challenges of social situations and understand what it means to be a friend. Focusing on understanding their role and impact on those in their world.

  • Keep and make friends
  • Increase self-esteem
  • Discover skills for coping with anxiety
  • Strengthen social skills

Next Session begins: Monday, September 15th (4:30 – 5:30 PM)

Price$50 per week/ per child

Ages: 8-12



Easing First Grade Jitters: Tips For Back To School

Many parents with kids entering first grade are shocked about how big this transition is for their child. They go from being in school part of the day or even part of the week in kindergarten to being in school for the full day. This is a full day without mom and dad, without the comforts of home and without knowing what to expect. Often times many first graders develop anxiety for the first couple of weeks and may exhibit some regressive behaviors during that time. Watch the video to learn some tips for helping your kids get through this transitional period.



We’re Moving! New Location for Utah County Office

Exciting news! We’ve outgrown our Utah County location in Provo so we are moving to a new office space THIS SAT.

After June 1st we will no longer be in our Provo office on University Ave but will be seeing all Utah County clients in our new office location:

As of June 1st our NEW Wasatch Family Therapy UT County office address is:

1458 East 820 North, Orem UT 84097

Near the mouth of Provo Canyon, our new office suite has

  • larger offices
  • more offices
  • breathtaking views
  • private bathroom
  • kitchenette

Thank you to our therapists and clients who have made this possible.

Make an appointment with one of our Utah County therapists and see how they can help you improve your life and relationships!


20 Books Every Parent Should Read To Their Child


    As a child therapist, I often use books to teach concepts and promote change.  This is a list of my top twenty books.

    • How Are You Peeling?  Saxton Freymann  & Joost Elffers
    • I’m Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem by Jamie Lee Curtis (Author), Laura Cornell (Illustrator)
    • My Many colored Days by Dr. Suess
    • All Feelings Are Ok: It’s What You Do With Them That Counts. Lawence E. Shapiro (Author), Jillie Mandel (illustrator).
    • How to Be a Friend: A Guide to Making Friends and Keeping Them by Laurene Krasny Brown and Marc Brown (Illustrator)
    • No Hitting!: A Lift-the-Flap Book Karen Katz
    • When Sophie Gets Angry–Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang
    • Tiger, Tiger Is It True by Byron Katie and Hans Wilhelm
    • Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
    • Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus and Jose Aruego (Illustrator)
    •  The Feelings Book Todd Parr
    • Today I Feel Silly and Other Moods That Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell
    •  The Cow That Went OINK byBernard Mos
    •  The Mixed Up Chameleon by Eric Carle
    • The Paper Bag Princess by  Robert N. Munsch (Author), Michael Mart
    •  If You Give A Pig A Pancake by Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond
    •  How Do Dinosaurs Go To School by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
    • Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Jane Dyer
    •  Snuggle Puppy  by Sandra Boynton
    • If Everybody Did by Jo Ann Stover


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.


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.



Get To Know The Wasatch Family Therapy Team (Video)

Get to know our Wasatch Family Therapy therapists and their specialty areas, learn more about why we do what we do, and hear about my vision for Wasatch Family Therapy 9 years ago when it was a solo practice.