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How To Ward Off Emotional Vampires: Studio 5

Spot an emotional vampire before it bites! Therapist, Julie Hanks, has tips to protect yourself from people who want to bring you down.


I became aware of the term “emotional vampires” after reading a book review of Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life by Judith Orloff, MD. She has excellent strategies for identifying and dealing with people who emotionally drain you.

In her book, Dr. Orloff identified these 5 signs that you’ve encountered an emotional vampire:

1) Your eyelids are heavy—you’re ready for a nap

2) Your mood takes a nosedive                                   

3) You want to binge on carbs or comfort foods

4) You feel anxious, depressed, or negative

5) You feel put down, sniped at, or slimed

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How To Overcome Fear & Take Emotional Risks In Relationships: Studio 5

Allowing another person to “step in your shoes” means letting them know what is really going on in your life. Studio 5 Contributor and Therapist, Julie Hanks, says that’s a risk many of us are simply not willing to take. Find out how to break through false fronts and let people in.


Level 1 – Doing (hands) Talking about action and external facts and events, like “What did you do today?” “I went to the store.”

Level 2 – Thinking (head) Conversations focused on thoughts and opinions, such as “I think that you’re a great mother” or “In my opinion, the only solution to the economy is…”

Level 3 – Feeling (heart) Sharing emotional experiences, like “I feel scared that I might lose my job” or “I felt so loved when you brought me dinner last week.”

Level 4 – Being (core/gut) Sharing a deep, emotional connection with another person at the same time. This is when you feel “felt” – you know that the other person “gets” you. This type of communication is honest and genuine, deep, meaningful, and rare.

What prevents us from letting others walk in our shoes? 4_0029

1) Fear of being hurt

“What if I open up my heart and they don’t care, they leave me, they don’t “get it”, or they don’t comfort me?” After being hurt in the past, we learn to protect from being hurt again, but that also keeps us from being close to others.

Solution: Decide to risk anyway

If it’s hard for you to let others “walk in your shoes” you have to make a conscious decision to take a risk to let others into on a deeper level. Honest self-disclosure is associated with higher levels of relationship satisfaction. When you share deeper experiences and emotions it invites others to share their heart with you. This invites intimacy. We all want to be known and loved. Intimacy = into me see

2) Worry what others will think

“I don’t want to appear weak. If I share vulnerability with someone, they may think I don’t have it all together.” We live in a culture that values strength and sharing emotional vulnerability may be perceived as weakness. But is it? I truly believe that the developing the ability and willingness to share emotional vulnerability is one of the most important relationship strengths we can develop. It is the key to fulfilling relationships.

Solution: Accept that you don’t have it all together

Everyone is weak AND strong. We need to lean on each other. When I get caught in the trap of wondering what others will think I rehearse this quote in my mind, “It’s none of my business what others think of me.”

3) Don’t want to burden others

“People have their own struggles. Why would they want to hear about mine? Do they really care anyway?” You may be aware of the burdens of your loved ones and want to protect them from additional stress.

Solution: Share, don’t dump

Sharing is opening up your heavy backpack and letting someone else see and feel the contents. Dumping is sharing the contents of your backpack and then trying to get the other person to carry your backpack for you.

4) I don’t know how

“That’s just not what I do. I wouldn’t know where to start to let some one really know me.” From birth we are born to emotionally connect with each other, so you do know how to be emotionally vulnerable on some level. As you developed you may have had experiences that taught you to guard your tender feelings. Some families are better at fostering deeper sharing of emotions than others. If you’ve never been in a relationship where you’ve been able to be yourself, it may be time to open up, just a little bit at a time.

Solution: Start small

Ask yourself, “What level am I sharing from?” and then see if you can move one level down. This is the crux of what I help clients with in therapy — to identify their internal experience and to share it in a meaningful way with loved ones.

Creative Commons License photo credit: theperplexingparadox

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The Key to Expectations in Relationships

We constantly hear how important expectations are in relationships.  However, many expectations in relationships are not discovered until they are NOT met by your partner.  When this happens suddenly expectations become a big deal and have the potential to become a wedge in any relationship.

It can be difficult to acknowledge, monitor and understand some expectations you may have, because they are developed and picked up throughout life.  We can unintentionally create expectations as a result of watching our parents’ behavior with each other.  Or, expectations can be created from experiences in past relationships.  Finally, media has a strong influence on expectations, as well as, what we are told by others (friends and family).

For example, you may have the expectation that your spouse will immediately come to you and try to work out a disagreement because you saw this behavior in your own parents.  If you become involved with a person who does not do this, but withdraws for a few minutes to calm down after a disagreement, your expectation could be unfulfilled and it could leave you feeling like your relationship has some major flaw.

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Don’t Board That Train: Stop Anxiety In Its Tracks

Bluebell Railway 22-10-2010I receive a newsletter each month from Happy People Win, and a story caught my eye about worry and anxiety. It seems as though we often use a lot of our energy worrying about things that have not yet happened or that are out of our control. In this newsletter, Jean Steel, a motivational speaker, told a story about a friend who recently had a suspicious mammogram and the doctor wanted to perform more tests. Her friend started worrying and started “what if’ing”, thinking of the worst case scenarios that could happen. Another friend looked at her and said, “Don’t board that train without a ticket.”

I thought that was a powerful insight. If we can remember to stop ourselves from worrying needlessly, it can help us reduce much of our anxiety, and we can use our energy on more positive emotions. So, as things come up for you and you start to worry, first ask yourself, “Am I boarding that train without a ticket?”
Creative Commons License photo credit: Karen Roe

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Let Back to School Inspire You: Studio 5

Back to school doesn’t have to be all about your kids. Let the start of a new school year inspire you. Therapist, Julie Hanks, has a grown-up perspective on back to school that can help improve your emotional health. I recently did an interview for Natural Health Magazine’s article “Back to School for Grown Ups” about channeling school day memories and fall’s energy to improve our lives as adults. Here’s a quote from the article:

The weather, certain smells, certain tastes-all of these things can trigger memories of earlier experiences,” says Julie Hanks LCSW, a psychotherapist in Salt Lake City. “Come fall, some women feel the same type of anticipation they did as kids and might even unconsciously find ways to relive or improve upon the experience.”

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Battling Summer Depression: KSL TV News

Holly Willard, LCSW on KSL TV News discusses Summertime Depression and how to cope.

Read more at KSL.com

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Read RelationTIPS June Newsletter “Summer’s Here” Issue

This month’s news letter is packed with resources to improve your marriage & family  relationships!

Parenting tips for college-age kids home for summer

3 small things that make a big difference in marriage

The 4-letter word husband’s hate

Help if your spouse has a “wandering eye”

and a NEW section dedicated to providing resources for mental health professional!

Read out June Issue here

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Ask a Therapist: I’m scared to see a therapist for my eating disorder

Q: I started out with anorexia but now am bulimic/anorexic and have been this way for about 3 yrs now. I am on a binge/purge cycle and have purged everyday at least since November. One person knows about my ED and I am so scared to get help even though I know that I need it. I am fully aware of the dangers of bulimia. I am being treated for one of the symptoms of bulimia, which is passing out because of malnutrition. However, the doctors did not figure out that it is due to an ED. I’m 18 so I can get help without my family knowing which is a big deal for me because I can not let them know. They have a lot to deal with right now plus my mother does not really understand how to deal with things. Shes Bipolar and every once in a while has a Schizophrenic episode. I am scared of my father and stay away from him so I can’t tell him either, my whole family dynamic is screwy. However, I am considering getting help for my ED. What should I expect if I do decide to go to a therapist? What kind of questions will they ask me. Thanks for your help.

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Psych Central’s Live FB Event to Feature Julie Hanks

Julie Hanks, LCSW will be among 4 therapists from PsychCentral.com‘s “Ask the Therapist” column answering your mental health and relationship questions in a first ever international LIVE Facebook event this Saturday, Feb. 26.

Julie Hanks, LCSW

Here’s what to do to participate in this rare event:

1) “Like” PsychCentral on Facebook

2) Visit PsychCentral FB page this Saturday, Feb. 26 between 2-5 PM MT

3) Post your relationship and mental health questions & get advice from 4 different therapists.

Julie is the newest therapist to join the “Ask the Therapist” team on Psych Central — the Internet’s largest and oldest independent mental health and psychology network.

Visit Julie’s Psych Central profile and see her Q & A’s

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Exercise For Your Mental Health: Studio 5

Julie Hanks, LCSW on KSL TV’s Studio 5

Read more on JulieHanks.com

Cialis vs Viagra it is old dispute between two similar medicines which stand by the way almost equally. but here not a task how to decide on a choice and to start using one of them. Viagra vs Cialis much kontsentrivany cialis which is on sale in the form of powder and we use it as required emergency. but nevertheless what harm they neninut especially if the birch costs.

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