Blog Section

Managing the Stress of the Election Season

Click here to view Clair Mellenthin, LCSW on KUTV discussing how to manage stress during the election season!

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The 4 P’s of Entrepreneurship: Utah Women & Leadership Project

The 4 P’s of Entrepreneurship: Utah Women & Leadership Project

As the founder and executive director of Wasatch Family Therapy for over sixteen years now, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to be successful in business. If you have an idea in your head for a business or are thinking about starting your own, here are 4 P’s of Entrepreneurship:

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School Safety Summit – Join Me in Taking Action

Did you know that April 20th has been deemed a National Day of Action? It’s the 19th anniversary of the school shooting at Columbine High School and a day that many communities are planning events designed at keeping kids safer in schools.

I thought I’d let you know about something I am doing to help professionals, parents and teachers like you on this day and challenge you to take part with me:

It’s the School Safety Summit, and it’s totally FREE to register!

I will giving a presentation called Putting Back the Pieces After Community Violence: Using Play Therapy To Mend Broken Attachments

And other top mental health and play therapy experts are talking about:

  • Reducing bullying using the Nurtured Heart Approach
  • How we might actually be increasing aggression by trying to keep kids calm
  • Toolkits for schools to prepare for crisis responses

This is a politics free event focused entirely on how to help parents and teachers feel more prepared to help the kids that they care so much about.

Just follow this link https://clairmellenthin–jentaylor.thrivecart.com/school-safety-summit-parents/ to register for free and my friend, Jen Taylor, will send you all the details. Can’t make it on 4/20? Register anyway, and Jen will send you the details on how you can catch up later.

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Ch-ch-changes… Turn to Face the Change: How Therapy Helps People Make Positive Change Daily

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Change is something we all do. This may include confronting new challenges in relationships, moving, starting a new job, or welcoming a new addition to the family. Changes, whether big or small, can be a difficult adjustment for anyone.

Let’s try a simple experiment. Tonight, I want you to change the way you brush your teeth.

As you are brushing your teeth, switch from brushing with the hand you usually do and use the opposite hand. I know that some of you will be thinking that will be quite easy, but you may be surprised by how difficult this simple change can be.

Some attempting this change might notice that your brush strokes feel uncomfortable, your arm is not operating in a manner you are accustomed to, and when you finish (if you finish brushing your teeth with your opposite hand), your teeth may not feel as clean! I know, I know ,some of us are blessed and are ambidextrous and this may be easy, but for me this task was not.

Changing brushing your teeth, just like any change in life, will feel uncomfortable, awkward, and difficult, but it is when we continue to work through those difficulties that we improve and grow. These changes may come by choice or can be unexpected.

Changes occur in many different ways; such as, changes in our mental state, making changes in a relationship(s), or even changes in our behavior can be difficult without any help. Where do we find help for changes? The simple answer to that is in therapy. Therapists are like an athlete hiring a coach or trainer. The therapist is trained in helping individuals, families, or couples make changes or achieve their goals. We all know that many athletes have natural abilities, but often they require another set of eyes to give them the guidance that they need to hone those abilities and develop to their greatest potential.

Therapeutic Relationship

One of the most important factors of making change with therapy is the therapeutic relationship. The therapeutic relationship is the trust you have with your therapist. It what makes you feel comfortable with him/her as you come frequently without judgment of what you have going on. This relationship can take time to develop, but depending on your therapist, you could feel comfortable  right away. This relationship means that your therapist is there to have what some call “real talk” with you and help you develop and improve. This means that at times, therapy might make you feel uncomfortable as you explore different aspects of change, but because of this therapeutic relationship, you keep coming back.

Your current or future therapist can be male or female, short or tall, and can even be a new or experienced therapists. The relationship with whichever therapist you choose is crucial. Research has shown that the therapeutic relationship is one of the most important indicators of therapy success (1). If you wanted to be a successful Olympiad, you find a coach or a trainer, right? So, when seeking to make real changes changes or improve, why do we not seek out a therapist?

The first step for many is reaching out to a therapist, which can be difficult. Going to therapy is often stigmatized as making the individual weak, helpless, a failure, or broken. Going to therapy does not make you any of those things, as we all have our individual struggles. Just by coming to therapy, you are showing strength and a desire to achieve and improve.

If you are considering therapy and are worried what it will be like, please come and see us at Wasatch Family Therapy. We strive to provide everyone who comes with a comfortable, safe and non-judgmental atmosphere so that those we see can succeed. Please do not hesitate to contact us at Wasatch Family Therapy at 801-944-4555.  Together, we can learn further tools to help you through your specific changes.

References

(1) Horvath, A.O. and Symonds, B.D. (1991) Relation between working alliance and outcome in psychotherapy: a meta-anaysis, Journal of Counseling Psychology, 38 (2), 139-149.

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Rerouting

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The road ahead, though long, is straight and smooth. You start cruising on your predetermined route, and all seems to be going well. You are making great time as you speed at freeway speeds towards your destination. Suddenly, the road is filled with potholes. You slow down and try to maneuver around all the damaged parts of the road, but you persevere forward. Then the road starts to take twists and turns that you couldn’t see from the starting point, so you slow further to ensure safe passage. You notice turn-offs from the road you are traveling on, but you are determined to continue on to your destination. However, the further you travel, the more twisted and impassable the road becomes. What are you going to do?

We have all encountered situations in our lives where we are faced with the decision to continue on a path that is fraught with danger and impassable, choose to abandon our current path to our destination, or reroute our journey entirely. Maybe we’ve experienced the death of a loved one, a divorce, a job loss, a crisis of faith, troubled relationships with our families, or other crippling circumstances that force us to reevaluate. These situations are difficult and anxiety provoking; however, they also give us the opportunity to look critically at our path and make changes if necessary.

As scary as it is, looking for alternative routes can be empowering. Not too recently, I was at crossroads that I hadn’t anticipated. Looking at options was overwhelming, but I realized that as difficult as the situations was, I did have options. I could choose to be controlled by circumstances and become subservient to a situation, or I could take control of the situation and make a choice to move in a different direction that gave me the power to grow. I chose to grow and reroute.

The new route isn’t without its own bumps, twists, and turns; thus, I am constantly evaluating the possibility of detours that may slow my progress, but that will still lead me to my destination. However, seeing my progress has been invaluable in my journey.

If you are faced with a situation where you feel like you are stuck and without options, visit us here at Wasatch Family Therapy, and we can help you see alternatives. Life is a journey that isn’t without obstacles, but we can help you move around and beyond them.

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Summertime Rituals and Filling Our Family Buckets

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In the musical Fiddler on the Roof, the main character Tevye poses the question: “How do we keep our balance?” He replies to his own question with, “Tradition!” After bursting into song with the entire town, he then explains, “Without tradition, we are no safer than a fiddler on the roof!” Tevye was a smart man! He’s right, tradition is important to family development and a sense of personal well-being.

Tradition, however, does not necessarily need to be related to big family celebrations, holidays, or life events. Routine rituals have quite a bit of power in creating “balance” within the family. Summertime is a great time to begin new family rituals! These may include everyday things that involve roles, chores, rules, and family living.

Why do rituals hold so much weight in family life? Because of the feelings they create! Children who participate in family rituals experience buckets of benefits:

  • A sense of belonging
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Social competence
  • Improved health
  • Better academic success
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Understanding of Roles
  • Feelings of family identity
  • Memories
  • Family cohesion
  • Better sleep
  • Adolescent well-being
  • Predictability

With the school year wrapping up, why not start some new family rituals today? Here are some ideas:

  1. Dinnertime: Dinnertime is one of the best ways to form new memories, integrate family values and social rules, add a chore, and create connectedness. Allow each member to have a job in the meal prep, such as setting the table, filling the drink glasses, cleaning up, or choosing a dessert (my personal favorite). This is a time for parents to get details on the kid’s day. You can play the game “A Rose and a Thorn” by having each member share one good thing that happened and one negative thing. This opens up opportunities for gratitude, listening and feedback, and validation.
  1. Child Date Nights: Choose one night a week to do something special with your child. This can be a fun way to get to know what your child enjoys or would like to try! Fun activities can include put-put, painting parlors, splash pads, a trip to the zoo, a bike ride, or a concert. Remember, put the distractions away, pay attention, and let your child take the lead!
  1. Library Lolligag: Take a stroll through your local library on a regular basis. Plan on spending time reading together, talking about topics, and slowing down. Even big kids have subjects and books they enjoy! Try checking out the same book your teen does; you may find you have something in common!
  1. Game Night: Frequent game nights teach children social skills in disappointment, competition, and winning. Some games require critical thinking, planning ahead, keeping a “good” secret-to win, and seeing what comes next. Playing together teaches appropriate modeling when the game doesn’t go as planned.
  1. Saying “Goodbye” and “Hello”: Little routines of saying “goodbye” and “hello” opens doorways to connection, disconnection, and re-connection. Think of something that is special to you and your child that is a signature sediment. A hug, a kiss on the forehead, a fist pump (for the tough guys), or even “See you Later Alligator.”
  1. Coming of Age Celebration: Growing up can be tough! A Coming of Age celebration gives permission for change and allows us to embrace growth. Perhaps, even some discussion of family values, expectations, and personal precautions. A small trip with Mom and/or Dad, can be defining in developing a life-map, of sorts. Where the focus is not on physical maturation, but life goals. Considering dating, college, careers, and even hopes of marriage and partnerships.
  1. Saturday Morning Breakfast: A happy morning wake up call to breakfast in bed and watching a favorite kid show may not be so bad. Perhaps, that’s not your style, but a bowl of a favorite cereal in PJs and a morning bike ride might feel more like it. Or maybe choosing a favorite breakfast spot, where everyone can pick what they like and then get on with weekend commitments.

No matter what summer ritual you decide to pick up, remember that it’s about dropping the distractions and filling our summer buckets with memories and connection.

For more insights into creating family cohesion and decreasing family stressors, visit our website at www.wasatchfamilytherapy.com/blog.

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Women’s Workshop with Dr. Julie Hanks July 26

Women’s Workshop with Dr. Julie Hanks July 26

Grab a friend and join me for this rare one-day workshop for LDS women in Salt Lake City this summer. Don’t wait! Early-bird tickets on sale (Save $50). Seating is limited. Purchase tickets and get details below:

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Will I See You Sunstone Summer Symposium 2016?

Will I See You Sunstone Summer Symposium 2016?

My first Mormon cultural blog article was title  “The Costs of Misunderstanding Modesty” (published on Meridian Magazine website). The response to the article was so positive that I continued to share my perspective writing a dozen or so articles and a few podcasts on Mormonism  published on a handful of different websites (including this blog).

I’m not sure how I jumped from writing blog articles on Mormonism to submitting proposals to present at the 2016 Sunstone Symposium in Salt Lake City, UT, but, I did. And both were accepted! These topics are informed by my doctoral studies in systems theory, cybernetics, and creative transformation and their application to Mormon cultural transformation.Even though I’ve been working with Latter-day Saint clients for over 20 years, and my first book, The Burnout Cure, was written for LDS women, it was less than a year ago I started blogging about the intersection of Mormon culture and emotional health.

  • Sunstone Summer Symposium 2016 “Many Mormonisms”

  • Thurs. July 28, 2016

  • University of Utah Student Union Bldg.

  • Pre-register now Sunstone.org

Here’s more about my upcoming presentations…

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Join me THIS Thurs. for Aspiring Mormon Women Networking Event

AMW Networking Event Dr. Julie Hanks

Come meet & network with women in the Aspiring Mormon Women community & participate in a discussion about how to “Create the Life You Want by Overcoming Aspirational Shame.”

What is ‘aspirational shame’? Read about it here. 

Date: Thursday, June 2, 7-9 PM

Location: 8334 Monte Luca Way, Cottonwood Heights, UT

Tickets: Purchase tickets here

$20 ticket; space is limited to 80 people.
Business casual dress | Light refreshments
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