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Mixed-Faith Marriages

Most couples get married in their twenties. In Utah, the statistics show marriages occur in their early twenties, or even late teens for some women. Research suggests our beliefs change over our lifespan, including our religious and spiritual convictions. No matter the reason, it is extremely common for one partner (or both) to change their religious views over time. Because religious beliefs in Utah (primarily members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) require strict adherence, stress from a spouse questioning or leaving the faith can create tension and pressure on the relationship.

The irony is, LDS theology promotes the importance of the family, yet, when such stressors encumber the relationship, it’s the marriage that suffers at the hand of obedience or compliance. Many couples experience a form of betrayal, fear, or disruption of intimacy and connectedness. Some of my clients report the grief of losing the assurance of their eternal marriage, feeling the risk of an affair, substance use changes or experimentation, or other unwanted behaviors.

A faith transition, however, isn’t a predictor of the failure of the relationship. With time, support, and tools, couples often unify and strengthen their relationship. Couples find shared values and bond by moving into a space of curiosity, openness, and acceptance while also validating and “holding space” for their partner.

Wasatch Family Therapy is hosting a group for five couples currently struggling with a mixed-faith marriage. Group meetings occur each Wednesday starting March 3rd at our new address in Sandy. Couples will need to be interviewed (to make sure it’s a good fit) and will need to pay half upfront; the remainder billed after the eight sessions. Sessions are $75 per couple per session. This group will be a “process group”, where couples participate interactively learning about each other. The group will be facility lead by Jeff Lundgren, ACMHC, who works with many couples and mixed-faith marriages and families.

If you want to participate, please contact us at 801-944-4555.

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Helping Children Cope with Crisis: Caring for Yourself

COMFORTINGSharing information through writing is something I sincerely enjoy in my work as a clinician. Working both as a school psychologist in a public high school as well as a therapist at Wasatch Family allows me to interact with so many different people in any number of contexts. I am lucky to have many, many  interesting & insightful conversations, and am never at a loss for ideas to share here. Getting ready for this week, I had prepared something and had it ready to go.

Then I caught the news the last night.

Sadly, unbelievably, another school shooting has occurred.

I write that in isolation, nothing added to the paragraph because even with my close to twenty years of clinical experience, I am at a loss of what else to add. All of us, regardless of whether we have children in school or not,  likely feel some reaction to that type of news, though may experience or try to make meaning of it all  in vastly different ways. As I first watched the news, I must admit I was immediately shocked and then just overwhelmed with sadness. My significant other reacted with anger (“how could this happen again!”) My mother – anxious (“I worry about your nieces and nephews, they’re in high school!) My closest friend, who has a school age child, needed to not react (“I just can’t think about it”) and just pushed it out of her head.

Sadly, we’ve had ample opportunity to learn that, in fact, a range of emotional reactions following a school or community violent event is normal.

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This Week at WFT 6/9/14

ThisweekatWFT

K.I.D.S Social Skills Group

Monday, June 9th, 4 – 5:30 pm

WFT and Mad Science are teaming up for an exciting Kids Group.  Designed for school-aged children, this group will provide opportunities to learn how to navigate of social situations and understand what it means to be a friend. Through exciting science activities and skill building, group members will practice building healthy relationships.

Julie Hanks on Studio 5 – Plastic Surgery

Wednesday, June 11th, 11:00 am

Tune in to hear the 5 questions Julie Hanks suggests you ask yourself before getting plastic surgery

Julie Hanks on Rewind 100.7 with Todd and Erin

Friday, June 13th, 8:10 am

Fridays at 8:10 am, Julie joins The Todd & Erin Morning Show on Rewind 100.7 to answer listener questions and provide real life solutions to your mental and emotional health challenges.  Topic: 5 Minute Fix for Relationships

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