Blog Section

When Tragedy Strikes; the Murder-Suicide of a Springville Family: Julie Hanks, LCSW on KSL

On the evening of September 27, 2014, the bodies of Springville, Utah couple Kristi and Benjamin Strack were found dead in their beds. Tragically, their three children were also found dead, and investigators determined the cause of all 5 deaths to be an overdose of lethal drugs.

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5 Steps to a Powerful Apology: LCSW Julie Hanks on KSL’s Studio 5


Human beings are prone to mistakes, and we all have the experience of doing or saying something that has hurt another person (even someone we value and love). In order to repair those precious relationships, it is often necessary to apologize. But simply saying, “I’m sorry” is rarely enough. Here are 5 steps to giving a powerful, sincere apology:

1) Own Your Part
5 steps to a powerful apology
To truly mean that you are sorry, you need to own up to the specific thing you said or did that contributed to the other person’s pain. Take full responsibility for the part you played. Avoid general statements (“I’m sorry for whatever I did to hurt you”) or making reservations about the mistake you made. Have the courage to own up to your fault.

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Beat the Winter Blues: Tips for Dealing with Seasonal Depression

The winter months can bring excitement and joy as we celebrate the holidays, decorate the tree, and spend time with our loves ones. However, it can be quite a different experience for people with Seasonal Affective Disorder (also known as SAD). For these individuals, winter can be a time of gloom, despair, and hopelessness.

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2 Minutes Tip for Stress Management

Woman Relaxing Yoga

In a TED Talk from 2012, Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy explained how our body language not only shapes our interactions with others, but how it can have profound effects on how we feel about ourselves. She suggests that by simply changing our posture for 2, yes only 2 minutes, we can dramatically shift our brains response to stress and begin to feel and act more confident.

Take a moment to notice your body language right now. Are your arms crossed in front of you or resting by your side? Is your chin lifted or tucked down? In her research, Cuddy and colleagues found that “closed” body language, like crossing your arms in front of you and looking down at the ground, can actually increase the release of the stress hormone cortisol in your brain. When we have higher levels of cortisol in our system we feel less confident and more reactive and avoidant. Cuddy found that by simply lifting the chin, unwrapping your arms from your chest, and lifting your heart, cortisol is deceased and testosterone begins to flood the brain. This is a good thing because testosterone can increase feelings of optimism, assertiveness, and confidence.

Is it really that simple? Yes. In practice with my clients, I have found that having them shift their body posture, or even having them get into a gentle and supported “heart-opening” yoga posture, can help them feel more comfortable talking about and addressing their issues and moods. Changing what signals your body sends to your brain changes how you feel about the situation and about your ability to manage it.

I offer this challenge to you, the next time you find you are holding your body in a “closed” posture, assess what your mood is. Then, for 2 minutes open your posture, elongate, spread out, and lift yourself up. Maybe even look at yourself in the mirror as you do this. Check back in and assess what has shifted your mood or perception.

Let your body teach your brain a simple 2 minute technique for stress management.

Check out Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk by clicking the link below.

Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are

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Creating Reasonable Resolutions: Monette Cash on Fox 13 Salt Lake City

It’s that time again. The New Year is a time when so many of us resolve to create change. We want to change our love life, change our waistline, or change our career. But it can become frustrating when the changes we desire don’t always happen the way we envisioned.

LCSW Monette Cash sat down with Dave Nemeth on Fox 13 Salt Lake City to discuss ways to create reasonable resolutions. She suggests that instead of making lofty resolutions, we instead make mini habits to practice on a daily basis that will eventually lead us to our goals.

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5 Common Road Blocks to Couple Intimacy

couple-listening-optimizedWant more intimacy in 2015?

5 common road blocks that could be keeping you and your partner from optimal intimacy!

Environment

Work life, parenting responsibilities, maintaining a home, dishes in the sink or a bedroom overcrowded with laundry, these are just a few examples of things that contribute to shaping our environment. Is there anything present or obstacles in your environment that could interfering with opportunities to create more intimacy. Environment can play a crucial role in our ability to focus and dedicate time to growing and nurturing intimacy in our home and relationships.

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This Week at WFT 1/12/15

ThisweekatWFT

Women’s DBT Skills Group – Series 3

Tuesday, January 6th, 6 – 7:30 pm

Women’s DBT Group is a 3-series group that teaches basic skills such as how to manage your emotions so they don’t control your life, how to cope effectively with difficult relationships, and learning how to react rationally rather than impulsively.  When applied as taught, DBT WORKS!

Call Brittany at 801-944-4555 to register!

 

KIDS Social Skills Group

Wednesday, January 14th, 5:00 – 6:00 pm

Social Skills Group for Children (Ages 9-11)

-Keep & make friends

-Increase self-esteem

-Discover skills for coping with anxiety

-Strengthen social skills

Call Brittany at 801-944-4555 to register!

 

TEEN GIRLS DBT WORKSHOP

Saturday, January 17th, 12:00 – 4:00 pm

This One-day workshop will teach:

-Healthy Coping Skills

-Social Skills / Peer Relationship Skills

-How to Deal with Overwhelming or Uncomfortable Feelings

-Calming Strategies

-Recognizing Strengths & Increasing Self-Confidence

Call Brittany at 801-944-4555 to register!

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A Fresh Outlook in The New Year

Wasatch Family TherapyTo be honest, I’ve long abandoned the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions. Being born with a brain that’s wired for a short attention span and lacking in organizational skills, I am challenged by simple tasks which I resolve to complete on a daily basis: being sure I arrive at appointments on time, having gas in my car, and did I remember to bring my iPad? Additionally, my brain is now deficit in attention and almost 50.   The determination, willpower and stamina involved (or so I would imagine)  in ‘sticking to’ resolutions made on January 1 come January 10th, or 20th or (wow! is it possible!) into February is mind boggling to me. Like space traveling; I know incredible human beings make it happen all the time; how they do so is a true wonderment to me.

For myself, and for some of the rest of us, I would like to propose a change in focus this year, and one that I have come to find very useful. Resolve to focus more on the present and live each day to the fullest.  I could resolve , on January 5th, to exercise for 40 minutes every morning; but how can I know how I’ll be feeling on the morning of January 6th or January 12th? Resolve to live each day in the moment.  Attempting to pre-determine your action/behavior on some future date can be limiting and is often a set-up for failure. I have come to learn that I don’t have to make grand statements or decisions about the future; I choose to focus on the present and live life as it occurring. Taking action based on the here and now, in the present, is empowering. It takes practice for sure and can be scary to think about, but that’s the beauty inherent in the approach. You don’t have to think about it!

Next, consider some of the values that are important to you and then ask yourself,  if someone were to spy on me for a few days, would they be able to identify them? For example, some potential areas might be: having a job and money; loving and being loved; making my own decisions; self-respect; freedom; having no legal problems; good health; religion & spirituality; family; good friends. Let’s say my top two are ‘good health’ and ‘family.’ The spy follows me for 3 days. What he observes is: I eat junk food, I lay on my couch, my mom calls me repeatedly and I refuse to pick up the phone. In this  case, clearly, while I am identifying good health and family as the two most important values in my life, my behavior clearly is NOT in line with what is most important to me.

So, why suggest this exercise?

When we act in ways that are contrary to our core beliefs or values, our emotional systems will often act up in one way or another.  We may begin to feel like something is ‘just not right’  though we’re not exactly sure why or what’s wrong.  At times. we lose sight of the things we truly value. Other demands, pressures, stress, or who knows what pulls us to act in ways contrary from the things that are truly important to us.  This simple exercise is a great little tool to use as a reminder. Use it as a self-check in;  am I using my time in ways that align with things that are truly important to me? If not, adjust accordingly.

 

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This Week at WFT 1/5/2015

ThisweekatWFT

Women’s DBT Skills Group – Series 3

Tuesday, January 6th, 6 – 7:30 pm

Women’s DBT Group is a 3-series group that teaches basic skills such as how to manage your emotions so they don’t control your life, how to cope effectively with difficult relationships, and learning how to react rationally rather than impulsively.  When applied as taught, DBT WORKS!

Call Brittany at 801-944-4555 to register!

 

KIDS Social Skills Group

Wednesday, January 14th, 5:00 – 6:00 pm

Social Skills Group for Children (Ages 9-11)

-Keep & make friends

-Increase self-esteem

-Discover skills for coping with anxiety

-Strengthen social skills

Call Brittany at 801-944-4555 to register!

More

The Benefits of Gift Giving

Group of PeopleYes that magical time of the year is upon us where we frantically run about trying to get the special people in our lives that special gift or take time out of our busy schedules to serve others. In all of the madness that is the holiday season it is interesting to note that the act of gift-giving or service has some psychological benefits of better health and less stress and that is pretty neat. Dr. Michael Poulin, an assistant professor at the University of Buffalo, had this to say on the topic:

You may have heard that stress is bad for health.  Well, it turns out that giving to others may undo the negative effects of stress.  In a recent study, my colleagues and I found that there was no link between stress and health among people who reported helping their friends and neighbors in the past year.  But among people who didn’t engage in such helping, stressful life events predicted decreased odds of survival over the next five years.

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