HONORING THE CHILD WITHIN
By Melissa Lambson, CSW
Think of the average, healthy two-year-old. How would you describe that child?
People often use words like strong-willed, emotional, mischievous, or curious [when describing toddlers]. This child usually knows what they want and will often use the word "no" to exhibit their independence and set boundaries. You will notice they seem secure with themselves.
All of us were two once upon a time and exhibited these same characteristics, some to a larger degree than others. With that in mind comes the question, "Why do we lose the ability to express ourselves openly as adults, particularly with feelings?"
Life experience and interactions with others will affect us positively and negatively. For example, usually we learn that we do not always get what we want, no matter how intensely we scream. It is important to behave maturely and learn we are not the center of the universe. On the other hand, a negative effect may be growing up in a society where there are messages like "nice girls don't get angry" and "tough boys don't cry." I believe this [cultural conditioning] contributes largely to difficulty that women often have saying "no" and setting boundaries. [Conversely,] men having difficulties with anger and aggression, unable to access more vulnerable emotions [sadness, hurt] are also examples.
Think back and remember, "What messages about behavior, emotions and expectations did I receive early on?"
1) What was the response when I listened or did well in school? How about when I was disobedient, or fought with siblings?
2) How were emotions expressed, and what were common responses? When I felt sad, hurt or angry did I feel safe to share those feelings?
3) What were some expectations that I learned? As an example, some families have the expectation that each child is expected to go to college.
It is essential to realize how these things may have affected our once uncensored, vibrant self, and how they may be present in our current reality. Additionally, it is helpful and enlightening to remember the child that you once were.
To do this, I would like to suggest observing a young child, and asking yourself, "What can I learn? What can I do to remember who I have always been?"
Maybe you can say "no" to things that make you feel uncomfortable or complicate your life. You may discover that you are lacking creativity. What about being direct and not diluting how you really feel? Could you be more independent?
I know a mother who was trying to wipe her tears because she did not want her child to know she was sad. Her child walked up to her and asked, "Mommy sad?"
"No, mommy is happy!" she responded.
"Then why are you crying?" The child asked confusedly.
She realized it was confusing. She could acknowledge that she was sad and accept her child's concern for her. Then do things with the child that helped her to feel happy.
Have you ever noticed how quickly children get over emotions? They may feel sad about a friend taking a toy from them. The key is they feel it, go to someone who will listen, and then move on. I do not think these three steps occur nearly enough in adulthood.
My two year old reminds me to find more joy in simple things by asking me if I will run around the table, paint her fingernails and go outside with her to see the airplanes in the sky. She is always telling me about the amazing colors she sees which I would never notice otherwise. My family often tells me that finding joy in simple things was easy for me as a young child because I was carefree and easily entertained, always singing, dancing, and catching grasshoppers. This has been easy to forget as an adult.A grownup is a child with layers on. -Woody Harrelson
Why not spend some time to identify those layers and try some things that help uncover them, "Honoring the child within."
To schedule an appointment with Melissa, or to join her Wed. night women's group please call (801)-944-4555 or email HERE
ASK JULIE: SHARING DIFFICULT FEELINGS IN MARRIAGE
by Julie Hanks, LCSW
To read Julie's answer click HERE
"My husband and I have been married for almost 4 years. My problem is that I have always had a really hard time sticking up for myself and when we get in arguments he tends to say things that really hurt my feelings. I have never had a lot of confidence in myself and when he says hurtful things it brings me down more. I have always had a hard time with holding things in since I grew up in a family that didn't really talk about our feelings we always just kind of held things in. I need some advice on how to learn to stick up for myself so that I can feel more confident in myself?"
For more relationship advice or to find out where Julie is presenting next visit www.juliehanks.com "Inspiring a Better You!"
|CREATING A SPACE FOR YOU|
by Amber Dunford, Mental Health Intern February is often honored as a time to celebrate the love and care we feel for one another. As I reflect on this tradition, I cannot help but consider the concept of love in terms of self. Often times we expend our energy caring for the many people in our lives, but too often we forget to reserve that same care and effort for ourselves. This can be especially difficult when we become ill, run down with stress or simply need an escape. I am reminded of a recent conference I attended on Healing Environments, led by the founder in Design Psychology. During her talk, she disclosed being a recent survivor of breast cancer. This battle inspired her exploration into healing environments, which she identifies as one of the most powerful forms of self care. In listening to her story, I was moved by the idea of considering oneself a priority and making a conscious choice to attract mental, physical and emotional health. I will share pieces of the self care story offered at this conference, along with some Design Psychology tools I have used in my own efforts to better love myself. Doctors warned the psychologist and mother of two, that radiation burns might occur as a result of the necessary treatment. To combat this physical and psychological hurdle, she replaced her bed sheets with cool, cucumber green sheets and guided herself into images of being bathed in soothing cucumber water when crawling into bed. This ritual became a part of her daily routine and one that she relished as part of her self care process. In addition to the guided imagery, an old house robe was substituted with a new and more regal, golden robe. This was to represent a powerful empress who manifests a sense of strength and control. Soon, her healing space became an environment that symbolized wellness and as she indicates, a space that contributed to her physical and emotional recovery. While these steps may be simple in nature, they are often quite significant in creating a mindset that states, "I am worthwhile, I am powerful and I love myself."
In fact, when people attach associations to a space, they benefit by simply being in that space. For example, designating a room as a space for relaxation and sanctuary, subsequently triggers relaxing thoughts in your brain. Whether battling serious illness as in the case of the above story, or simply in need of some TLC, it is important to recognize the elements that create an ideal healing space. Here are important factors to keep in mind when designing healing environments.
Control: The space should elicit a sense of control from the user. We tend to feel on edge in unfamiliar environments, so chose an area in your home or yard that feels user friendly and easy.
Love and Support: We feel best when we are reminded of those in our lives that matter the most and whom offer the greatest source of support. Surround your healing environment with things that matter most to you; family memorabilia, meaningful photos or cards, special scents or sounds. This does not necessarily mean that these same people need to physically be present in your healing space! Carve out this time (even a few minutes) for personal mental, physical or emotional healing and renewal. This will also demonstrate self care skills to your loved ones, which is a powerful and important message to teach.
Creation and Renewal: Like nature, your space should reflect harmony and balance. This can be achieved through actual elements of nature or with inspired pieces that conjure related energy. For example, try laying down a green blanket to represent grass or include various sizes of rocks for balancing.
Dreams and Future: This space should inspire future ambitions, goals and aspirations. If you have always dreamt of traveling to the beach or sailing, try infusing thoughts of this into your space. Beige flooring or mats to represent "sand", shells to hold special items or opaque, rice paper window treatments to replicate the sails of a boat might help to inspire future goals.
In expressing love this month, it is important that we do not exclude ourselves from the care and support we extend to others. Exercising self care can include a few simple changes to an existing space and a mantra stating, "I'm worth it and I love myself enough to make the time."
To schedule an appointment with Amber call 801.944.4555 or email
Wasatch Family Therapy would love to introduce you to our Marriage and Family Therapy Intern, Jonathan Harrop. Jonathan is offering professional counseling services at a significant discount! Right now you can book your first 50 minute session for FREE.
Each session after is only $50. Evening appointments available.
Click here to schedule YOUR FREE appointment or call 801-944-4555.
POWER AFFAIRS - Why do the ones who have it all cheat?
KUTV 2 News Segment
Do you ever wonder why it is those that seem to have all the power and money are willing to risk it all by having affairs? Julie Hanks, LCSW weighs in on this topic on a feature news story.
Cultivating Desire in Marriage Workshop for Women
Led by Julie Hanks, MSW, LCSW
When: Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010 7-9 pm.
Where: Wasatch Family Therapy 7084 S 2300 E, Suite 120, Salt Lake City, UT 84121
With enlightening lecture and dynamic discussion this interactive workshop is designed to help you understand the differences in how men and women approach physical intimacy, overcome challenging beliefs about your body, decrease emotional barriers to intimacy and learn to communicate your needs and preferences. Join us!
Limited Seating. Click Here to register now
STUDIO 5 TV SEGMENTS
Watch KSL TV's Studio 5 for relationship and self-care advice segments with Julie Hanks, LCSW our Clinical Director.
Set your DVR to Channel 5 11am-noon:
February 23rd 11 am - Find The Voice to Say "No"
March 16th 11 am - Setting Personal Boundaries
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