What causes stress in your life? Is it buying a house, having a baby, working, being married, going to the in-laws, or on a family vacation? Here you will learn WHY stress cause marriage problems.
(3-4 minute read)
Emotional needs are those deep, to the core needs, that each person has. Feeding those needs is like keeping one hydrated and fed. However, when those needs go unmet, one hypothetically is dehydrated and starving. It can be difficult to successfully do even simple things when you are dehydrated or starving.
What do unmet needs look like? Here are a few basic ideas:
Lack of Communication
What kinds of communication do you and your spouse have? Do you simply talk about what’s for dinner and who’s going to get the kids ready for bed? Is it hard to bring up the important things?
Being able to communicate allows you and your spouse to express your needs and desires with each other. Good communication helps a couple work things out before getting into an argument. A lack of communication leads to misunderstandings and arguments.
Avoidance in a relationship can range from avoiding each other to avoiding conflict.
Avoiding each other is when a couple withdraws from each other and is not intentional about spending time together. Conflict avoidance is when couples avoid taking care of the important things and big conversations. They pass up opportunities for expressing their concerns or things that need to be done in their family.
When a couple is able to spend time together and express their feelings, they are naturally closer in many aspects of their relationship. Avoidance makes it difficult to show commitment and care between the couple.
Lack of Intimacy
This isn’t only in the bedroom. In general, are you and your spouse less affectionate with each other than you used to be? Do you still hold hands, kiss, cuddle, give a flirty smile, or put your arm around each other?
Affection and intimacy are great ways of reducing stress and feeling more comfortable and open with your spouse. Without it, you’ll likely feel more stress and closed off with your spouse.
Frustration can be a mix of pain, resentment, hurt, disappointment, anger, misunderstanding or neglect. It is an unresolved negative feeling that often comes when one can’t make the changes needed or achieve what they hope to in a relationship.
When a couple can’t make the changes they need to, it hinders their relationship from becoming stronger and healthier. When a couple learns how to overcome these negative feelings, they are better able to work together and accomplish the things they want to as a couple.
Lack of Trust
Trust is when you have confidence in someone. Trust is important in a relationship because it brings openness and reliability between a couple.
When one feels they don’t get enough acceptance or care from their spouse, it may reduce their desire to trust their spouse with their thoughts, feelings, and other important aspects of their relationship. Without trust the couple will lack openness and confidence with each other.
When needs go unmet, it typically results in bad behaviors in the relationship (such as anger, anxiety, jealousy, and those listed above). With that, it is important to note that unmet needs are not an excuse for the bad behavior – instead, bad behavior is a symptom of unmet needs.
If a relationship is full of unmet needs, it is likely happening because the couple doesn’t know what each other’s needs are or how to meet them. Rather, learning how to meet each other’s needs can bring better trust, openness, intimacy, the ability to work together, and enjoying each other into the relationship.
They say it takes two to tango, each spouse has needs and feelings that will either be met or unmet. If you want to learn the “dance” of meeting emotional needs, the counselor’s at Cache Valley Counseling are specifically trained in helping couples with understanding each other’s needs, learning how those needs can be met, and setting healthy relationship patterns.
(4-6 minute read)
A few weeks ago, I was talking with my cousin’s 8-year-old daughter about what we were each learning in school. During our conversation, she looked at the fancy ring on my left hand, fourth finger and asked, “Are you married?” An affirming, “mmmhmmm, I sure am,” was my reply. Shocked she asked, “You can be married when you’re still going to school???”
Her innocent surprise made me wonder, how do so many people handle marriage during school and work? Life is busy and there is a lot to manage as a student.
Little did my cousin know, you can be married, go to school, AND have a job – all at the same time! What?? Really?? Yes! It is a lot to do, but it can be done! I’m sure you see several people around you somehow managing that life and wonder how they do it? Well, good news, this post is just for you. Here are some important steps to helping you manage time between work, school, and your spouse.
1: Determine Your Priorities
You wear many hats, but which role is the most important right now? I remember back in high school, being reminded by coaches that we were student athletes. Being a good student was more important than (and a part of) being a good athlete.
Is being a spouse your most important priority? (Hint, hint: being a spouse before anything else, is the best for your marriage). After that, is your role as a student or an employee the most important? What comes after that? For me, I am a married student who is working at Cache Valley Counseling. When I focus on keeping my roles in that order, it helps me to remember that my marriage comes first, school comes second, and work comes after those.
2: Prioritize Your Marriage (Then Your Other Priorities)
Live up to what you’ve prioritized. If marriage is your priority, show it. Have time that you can spend with your spouse. Even if it is giving 10 minutes each day to listen to your spouse when they get home, taking a shower together, eating a bowl of cereal together before heading off to work, taking the dog on a walk together. You don’t have time to give your spouse all your attention for 24 hours a day, but make you have quality time set aside for your marriage.
In this video, a college professor gives his take on how to prioritize so that you can get accomplish the big things and the little things.
In the video, the professor teaches the importance of getting your priorities (aka the big rocks) in order. Once those big rocks are in place, you have the smaller ones, then eventually the sand that almost falls into place when the other larger pieces are in order. As said in the video, “Take care of your priorities, the rest is just pebbles and sand.”
Use these “10 Best Pieces of Marriage Advice” to find more ways to prioritize your marriage.
3: Make A Schedule
Schedules are a way to put those big rocks in place and help the pebbles and sand settle in around it. Your schedule will help you know how you can prioritize what’s important and get done what you need to.
For me, my work and school schedules are some “big rocks” that have definite. I put those into my schedule. Now that those set items are in your schedule, start at the top of your priority list and schedule when you can get things other things done. To do this, I would add in quality time when my spouse and I can talk and spend time together. Then, I look at my list of homework for the week and fit that in where I can so I can finish homework before it is due. Then, if there’s something I needed to do for work, I find a day and time that that can work. The rest, like friend time, walking the dog, and checking social media are the pebbles and sand that fall into place.
You don’t have to make a schedule the same way I do, but, do make a schedule. Getting organized and utilizing task management skills will help you create the time you need for you marriage and still accomplish what you need and want to get done.
4: Follow Through
At times, you may want to just ditch your schedule and “Netflix and chill,” for the rest of the evening, or maybe even the rest of the week. Or maybe you need to go on a walk to refresh your brain. Make sure you give yourself that time in your schedule, or breaks, so you can take those without feeling like you’re not keeping to the schedule.
Overall, stick to your priorities. If marriage is your priority and you had time planned with your spouse, spend that time with your spouse. If you planned on getting homework done, get your homework done.
5: Say “No” When You Need To
Not everything can fit into your schedule. If there is something you are invited to, but it doesn’t fit with your priorities and schedule, then don’t do it. Remember, you’ve prioritized what is most important to you. If it is difficult saying no, practice in the mirror. You can be honest about why you’re saying no, tell them “I really want to help; however, I know that I don’t have the time for it right now.”
By not saying no, you allow yourself to get to the point that you have too much going on. That point can bring feelings like being overwhelmed, dissatisfaction, low self-esteem, anxiety, loneliness, sadness, irritability, etc.
6: Give Your Spouse The Time They Need
Your spouse loves you and wants to be with you. Why else would they have married you? Even if the time is short, find meaningful ways to spend time with your spouse.
Do they love having someone to talk to? Then talk to them. You could even do the dishes together too to get in that couple time. Find quality time to be together. Serve each other. Tell them how much you appreciate them.
Determining your priorities, making a schedule, and giving your spouse the time you need with help you run your busy life. and In the end by managing your own life (marriage, work, and school), you are able to run your life instead of letting your life run you.
For help on exploring understanding your spouse’s specific needs, read here:
“Why Meeting Emotional Needs is Just as Important as Good Communication”
Have you ever experienced the racing thoughts, tightening of your muscles, and quickening of your breath that highlights anxiety? Or have you ever been paralyzed by your fears, afraid to pursue a passion, engage in social activities, or even just engage in your normal every day life?
As we begin discussing this topic, ANXIETY, it’s important to know that anxiety is REAL. It affects many many people. BUT most importantly it CAN be managed!!
An anxiety disorder incorporates biological and psychological components with those experiences and makes our lives quite difficult. I doubt that anybody could honestly say they enjoy having irrational or excessive fears, a persistent feeling of apprehension, or difficulty managing life situations.
Three things I want you to know:
1. You don’t need to or deserve to suffer from the symptoms of anxiety.
2. The fact that you suffer from anxiety does not mean there is something wrong with you.
3. Your body contains so many tools to help you cope with and manage anxiety symptoms!
The breath is something most of us usually forget about. Our body maintains the natural rhythm of inhaling and exhaling that keeps our body alive. It’s miraculous. There is nothing wrong with not constantly being aware of our breath (we’d never have time for anything else), but it’s sure powerful when we take a few minutes from our day to use the breath for a specific purpose.
First, just learning to be aware of our breath and paying attention to it can be daunting. That in itself can even make us feel anxious. However, as we slow down and give ourselves more time to focus on our breathing, eventually taking some control over each breath, there is an amazing physiological response that takes place.
As our breath gets deeper, our sympathetic nervous system (the Fight, Flight, Freeze mode) can turn off. Instead, our parasympathetic nervous system can take over. This kind of deep breathing is also more effective at nourishing and oxygenating the body, and it will calm us down.
Many studies, as well as a general understanding of the human body, will tell us that the breath is excellent at calming us down and relieving anxiety. Places like Harvard Health, Psychology Today, and the Mayo Clinic have all asserted that Yoga and focusing on our breath can alleviate symptoms of anxiety. So what does that process look like of gaining control of your breathing and using it?
First step: just notice your breath! As I mentioned earlier, sometimes the simple act of paying attention to your natural breath can make us feel anxious, but as we spend more time observing our breath, we can overcome that initial tendency.
After that, we can begin using our breath in various ways…
You can direct your breath to be a certain number of seconds long.
You can guide your breath to specific parts of your body.
You can use your breath to envision calming images or ideas.
You can find peace and stillness.
Doesn’t that sound nice?
Now, this is just skimming the surface of the practice of mindful breathing. However, what I find to be one of the best parts of this principle, especially in this crazy day and age, is that once you learn how to really use your breath, you now have treatment that is entirely FREE...
One that you can use any time, anywhere....
And one that has no negative side-effects!
All it requires is some time and attention.
Aren’t we worth that?
We have created a unique process combining the amazing benefits of Yoga and counseling here at Cache Valley Counseling. Our classes and individual sessions, particularly the Breathing for Anxiety course, will help anyone who is willing to invest a small amount of effort and time to develop these skills. We love sharing what we know will help. Come discover with us and begin your healing journey!
(2-3 minute read)
When you think of a Stay at Home-Parent (SAHP), what do you think?
The stereotype is that because a SAHP is home all day, they have plenty of time to get ready and have all the laundry done every single day. There is also never a crumb on the floor, the ceilings are dusted, and dinner is always perfect, right? Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
But they’re home all day, so why don’t those things get done?
From my observations, a SAHP is relatable to a CEO. Let’s see if they really are the same.
What does a CEO even do?
According to Investopedia, the CEO is the one who:
makes major decisions
manages the overall operations and resources of a company
deals with decisions that direct the company’s overall growth
they are hands’ on and involved with day-to-day functions
a CEO can set the tone, vision, and culture of their organizations
Is a Stay At Home Parent (SAHP) really like a CEO?
Okay, now let’s reword that a little and see how a SAHP is seen as a CEO of the family. An SAHP:
makes major decisions affecting the family
manages the overall operations and resources of the family
deals with decisions that direct the family’s overall growth
they are hands on and involved with the family and children’s day-to-day functions
a SAHP sets the tone, vision, and culture of their family
Wow! Parents sure do a lot! Why do people forget how much a SAHP does? Rather than “staying at home all day,” that parent is working the day away as the family CEO, while having spaghetti thrown at their face – not many business CEO’s have that experience on the daily.
The SAHP also helps the kids get ready (CEO’s are lucky they only have to deal with employees after they’ve picked out their clothes and had breakfast).
A CEO doesn’t have to clean up their employees’ sports gear, homework, sticky fingers, brush their hair, wipe their bum, or deal with tantrums in the middle of Walmart - but a SAHP does have to deal with that. And that SAHP does that every single day.
Not only is a SAHO like the family’s CEO, they are so much more.
Those parents need a raise, a big high five, a moment for themselves, and some praise.
Parents, thanks for all that you do!
School comes with a lot of new things. New teachers, new schedule, new classmates, new material to learn, and new buildings. Sometimes, when it’s a school they’ve never been to, it’s new everything. The newness of it all may lead your child to feel a fear of the unknown.
If you notice your child excessively worrying about school, not being able to sleep at night, full of fears, or agitated, your child is likely feeling anxiety. That anxiety may be about school specifically.
Many parents worry about their children and wonder if they are okay.
To know what signs are important to look for, read: “5 Signs Your Child Needs to See a Counselor”
There are many ways to help your child feel more ready for their upcoming big day – the first day of school. Try following these tips to get your child ready and prepared for school instead of afraid and anxious.
Back to School Timeline to Reduce Anxiety
A couple weeks before school:
Get the routine started
By getting your kids used to their routine, they hustle and bustle in the morning when school does start won’t add to their anxiety
Morning Routine: plan a time to wake up (whenever they need to wake up for school) and start sticking to it. Help them get ready in the morning, do their hair, eat breakfast, and brush their teeth.
Evening Routine: this could be dinner, play for an hour, pajamas, brush teeth, set out clothes for the next day, read, and go to sleep at a certain time.
Get used to the school grounds
Show your child what door you or the bus will drop them off at
Younger kids would likely enjoy playing on the playground at their school
If there are older siblings, have them show the younger kids some of the school grounds outside like drinking fountains, music room, where you play for P.E., etc.
Get the clothes, school materials, and backpack your child will need for the upcoming year. Letting them pick some of these out may help them feel more excited about it.
Learn calming techniques
Teach your child things they can do to become calm when they start feeling anxious
Give your child a bracelet or special pencil they can hold to remember how much you love them and that you know they can do it
Stress balls are often used for calming too – if your child doesn’t want to tote stress balls to school, improvise! They could use erasers, a glasses case, or something else to hold
Set up playdates with friends
Help your child get to know other schoolmates so there’s a familiar face or two for them to see in their class or during recess
The week before school:
Have your child help you plan their lunches for the first week of school. Or if they’ll be having school lunches, check the school website to find the lunch menu to help your child get excited for eating at school
Tour the school
There may be a day that you can go in and walk through the school
Show your child what door they’ll walk into
Help your child find their classroom
Teach your child where the nearby bathrooms and drinking fountains are
Meet the teacher
Teachers are in their classrooms quite often preparing for school,
call the school office to get a hold of your child’s teacher to find a time that your child could come meet them in the classroom
Pack up their backpack
Help your child put their pencils, papers, and erasers where they can find them
Pack up any other items needed from the back to school checklist that school’s usually send out
The day before school:
Plan a tasty (and easy) breakfast
Whether is cereal, granola bars, fruit, or all out pancakes, eggs, and hash browns – make sure your child has a healthy breakfast to kickstart their day with
Plan a fun outfit
Lay out the outfit, socks, and shoes for the first day of school, or maybe even the first week
Pack a lunch for the next day
Help your child put together their lunch and put it in a spot that it will stay fresh
Stick a big note on their backpack that says “grab your lunch from the fridge”
Set their backpack in an easy to find spot
Help your child find a good spot to keep their backpack where they won’t forget it
It would be by the front door, in their room, by their breakfast
Write your child an encouraging note for them to find at school
Stick the note in an easy-to-find spot in their pencil bag or lunch box
Maintaining a good relationship with your kids helps them stay open with you about
what they are feeling and going through. Here are many useful ways for parents to begin
“Improving Your Relationship with Your Kids”
(5-7 minute read)
Why Understanding Emotional Needs is Important
You may feel misunderstood or like your relationship is unfulfilling. Well, you are not alone. Many couples go through times like this. Some can get through it, and then those hurt feelings come right back. Others can figure out a solution that helps them get through many of the hard times. One of those solutions that keeps on working is creating an emotional connection with your spouse.
In her book, Hold Me Tight (2008), Dr. Sue Johnson explains, “Basically, feeling connected means feeling in touch with someone who cares about us. Most people acknowledge that children need to feel a safe attachment to an adult who cares for them. The reality is that adults also need a secure attachment to another adult. Each of us has an innate need to feel safely attached to another person who will be there in our times of physical or emotional need. When we enter into a committed relationship, this need actually intensifies due to the hope that this one special person will consistently be there for us. Specifically, we hope that this one adult will meet our emotional needs...”
If you, like many others, don’t fully understand how to create an emotional connection with your spouse, follow these three steps:
Discover Your Emotional Needs
Know Who Is Responsible for Meeting Your Emotional Needs
How Your Emotional Needs Can Be Met
1. DISCOVERING YOUR EMOTIONAL NEEDS
What are your emotional needs? Do you need more affection? Someone to recreate with? Do you need more commitment? More financial support? Men and women have a variety of emotional needs. Oftentimes, a man and woman will also have opposite emotional needs. Willard F. Harley, Jr., clinical psychologist and marriage counselor, wrote the book His Needs, Her Needs.
Willard writes that when he has his clients list their top five emotional needs, they will typically have one of these 10 emotional needs as their top ten needs:
Honesty and Openness
Take the time to think about what means the most to you in your relationship. When you feel anxiety, anger, or jealousy, what core needs aren’t being met. When you’re hurt, afraid, disappointed, lonely, ashamed, again, what core need or needs aren’t being met?
2. WHO DO YOU EXPECT TO MEET YOUR EMOTIONAL NEEDS?
When you think about who you want to meet your emotional needs, who do you think of? Do you expect your spouse to meet all your needs? If they could, that would be really nice.
However, your spouse can’t meet all your emotional needs. Expecting your spouse to perfectly meet all your emotional needs will lead to disappointment. Because your spouse isn’t perfect, they will never be able to perfectly meet all of your needs.
In this video, Will Smith shares about when he and his wife, Jada, recognized that they could not expect each other to make each other happy.
From the video, we learned that Will and Jada Smith were able to make themselves happy before their relationship. But, during their relationship, they suddenly expected each other to meet all their emotional needs and be the one source of their happiness. This caused them unhappiness.
You may relate with that as well. The beginning of you and your spouse’s relationship was likely easier that it is now for several reasons. One of those reasons is because you both came into the relationship with the ability to take care of yourselves, most emotional needs included. Then, once married, you probably, like many do, unloaded onto your spouse the responsibility to take care of all your needs.
Your spouse probably did the same thing to you too. Though unhealthy, it’s normal. Many people do that without recognizing it.
Now that you recognize that not your spouse, but you have the responsibility of getting your emotional needs met, it doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. It is vital to effectively learn how to help your spouse help you. The first piece of that, as mentioned above is discovering your emotional needs.
3. HOW DO YOU MEET YOUR EMOTIONAL NEEDS?
Now that you have made a list of your top three emotional needs, and you know who is responsible for getting your emotional needs met (hint, hint: It’s you!), you have a great base to get your emotional needs met.
Sit down with your spouse and talk about your emotional needs. (Some of you reading this may think but my spouse will never sit and talk – don’t worry, if there is a will there is a way! Have treats during the conversation, give your spouse a heads up on why you want to talk about emotional needs, start out good and tell your spouse two or three great things you recognized them do this week, etc.)
Make sure your spouse understands what emotional needs are, you could even read this post together “Why Meeting Emotional Needs is Just as Important as Good Communication.” Explain to your spouse what your top three emotional needs are and how you feel they could be met.
Some emotional needs you may be able to meet in other healthy ways, while some are best met in marriage. An example of this is something my husband and I discovered last year:
One of my husband’s greatest emotional needs is recreational companionship – especially while mountain biking. He has recognized this need as a big part of his life since childhood. He is an adrenaline junkie too.
He has explained how much it means to him, so when he’d ask me to go, I’d usually try to. It was fun, but our pace is the complete opposite. I go slow while he likes to go fast. Even though he would always wait for me, one time, I tried to go fast enough to nearly keep up with him. It was a bad idea and I broke my collarbone.
I learned the painful way (quite literally!) that I can’t meet all of his needs on my own. During my recovery, he reached out to more of his friends to go on rides with him. I realized that his needs could also be met by his friends, not only me. Hallelujah!
Now, he’ll meet his fast paced adrenaline needs with a buddy or his brothers, and I can be with him on the gentler rides to meet part of the more important need for recreational companionship.
Some emotional needs don’t need to be met by your spouse and can be a great way to involve other friends and family members in your life. Rather than relying on your spouse to meet your emotional needs, find out how your needs can be met. When your needs need to be met within your relationship, involve your spouse and teach them how those needs can be met.
Many couples still need help discovering and expressing their emotional needs to each other.
Because Cache Valley Counseling recognizes the help many couples need,
the therapists here are trained in Emotionally Focused Therapy.
To learn more about setting FREE Discovery Visit to meet with one of our therapists, follow the link below.
“The sudden jump to having kids home all day long can bring on more stress than a parent already feels…”
Through the years, the relationship, the jobs, the kids, and the things that need to get done, it can be easy to lose yourself and get lost in the long list of to-dos. But you don’t need to feel lost forever.
Find YOU. Maintain your independence. And most of all, be yourself.
America itself fought for independence so the people here could uphold their own values and maintain their natural rights. Those natural rights, as stated by the Declaration of Independence are “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Those are rights each of us have and can easily forget. How can you maintain your independence in your relationship?
1. Find what makes YOU happy
You have the natural right for the pursuit of happiness. What is it that makes you happy? Is it a day in the sun? A nice, cool can of Diet Coke? Reading a good book? Shredding down the mountains on your bike? Writing poems or a story? Building a collection? Fishing? Or even grocery shopping on your own? Everyone has something that makes them happy. Find that thing and make time to do it.
2. keep working towards your dreams
What have you always dreamed of doing? If you’ve forgotten, rekindle those dreams and find ways to work towards them. If your dream is to run a marathon, start running. If your dream is to become a chef, start cooking or take a class. If your dream is to go deep sea fishing in Alaska, start saving. After all, the famous Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”
3. Learn how to listen and understand another’s point of view
Another way of becoming independent is learning how to understand another’s point of view. You and your spouse have the liberty to have your own points of view. This means you will likely have differing views throughout the years. By listening to your spouse’s views, and working to understand them, it can help you recognize your own point of view. Taking time to listen and understand each other enables you to each gain independence in creating solutions that work for both of you.
Find more help with listening and understanding skills here:
“3 Ways to Improve Communication With Your Spouse”
4. Both sides give and take in the relationship, not one sided
In your relationship, is it one side takes all and the other gives all? Does it feel like that way sometimes or oftentimes? When making plans or creating solutions to problems that arise, compromise. Find ways to compromise so you and your spouse are both able to get some of what you want without giving up all that you want.
5. Put Your phone aside
Everyday we become more and more dependent on our phones. We use our phones to communicate, take pictures, for directions, to learn something new. Take some time to put your phone to the side. Turn it to silent mode and leave it in another room or turn it off. Try finding an address without your phone. Enjoy the time with your spouse rather than taking 12 pictures of everything. Instead of texting or calling, write a note, pick a flower, or do something for you spouse to let them know that you love them.
6. Become interdependent, rather than codependent
Codependency is when one depends on another to meet all of their needs. Google defines codependency as, “Excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner.” When a spouse depends on their spouse to meet all of their needs, it sets up unrealistic expectations that eventually leading to disappointment. When a couple is interdependent both spouses can depend on each other while still maintaining the independence of who they are and getting some of their needs met.
For on improving your marriage and becoming interdependent, read “10 Best Pieces of Marriage Advice”
7. Enjoy some time with your friends
It’s likely that your spouse won’t enjoy doing everything you like to do, just like you probably don’t like doing some of the things they like to do. Take a night out with the girls, or a night out with the guys. Some people have their BUNKO nights, others watch the game. Whatever it is, enjoy that wholesome recreation with your pals doing what you all love to do.
8. Learn to love you
Sometimes, with all the busyness of the hustle and bustle, you forget to love you. What kinds of things do you do for the ones you love? Do you take them out for cheesecake? Rub their back? Write them a note? Read them a story at night? Do some of those things for you and take care of yourself. Go get yourself a brownie because it’s your favorite. Take yourself on a date to get a massage. Write yourself a note. Read the book you’ve been wanting to read. Share that love and time with yourself too.
“Many parents want to have a great relationship with their kids. Parents want their kids to be able to tell them anything, they hope their kids actually want to spend time with them, and they’d like their kids to be able to take their advice. Truth is, many kids want that same kind of relationship with their parents too. “
“Help! It’s summertime and my kids are bored already!”
Do you ever wonder how you are going to entertain your kids today? Sometimes it’s hard thinking of something to do. Here’s a list of a whole lot of things you can do this summer in Cache Valley:
Aggie Ice Cream - This is probably my favorite thing - good, tasty, Cache Valley made ice cream. There’s even a video on the website to see their latest remodel in action to show your kids before getting ice cream. http://www.aggieicecream.usu.edu/
American West Heritage Center - Anything and everything ranging from baby animal days, kids camps, pulling handcarts, a great way to learn about those who were here before us. https://www.awhc.org/
Beaver Mountain – A fun night up in the canyon! Have you ever slept in a yurt? It’s a fun experience and you can even fit up to 30 in this one. Plan a fun night with another family or two and get away for a day. http://www.skithebeav.com/c/mountain/summer-at-the-beav
Bounce and Slide – Are your kids FULL of energy that you need to get out? They can bounce and play and get that energy out here. Just remember to wear socks! http://www.thebouncenslide.com/
Cache Valley Antiques – Check out these American antiques and art. This is one the older kids may be interested in. https://cachevalleyantiques.com/
Cache Valley Visitors Bureau Calendar – This is a good one, really! This calendar is full of community events happening today, tomorrow, in a week. It’s great for planning fun family activities. https://www.explorelogan.com/calendar.html#/84318-hyde-park/all/today
Camping – We are surrounded by BEAUTIFUL land! There is plenty of space to camp on too. You can camp in your backyard, up the canyon, on the trampoline, in the living room. Most of those places are FREE too.
Casper’s Ice Cream – Another satisfying Cache Valley original. Delicious ice cream and it’s fun to see where fat boys were created. https://fatboyicecream.com/
Cherry Peak – There’s lots to do up here in the summer, including summer concerts the family would love! http://www.skicherrypeak.com/
Cinefour – This is one of the least expensive theaters in Logan! It has all the new movies and the tickets are only $4. http://walkercinemas.net/
Crimson Trail - Are you up for a hike? Big kids might enjoy the whole hike, younger kids may just want to do a little bit of it. Remember to take extra water bottles! https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/utah/crimson-trail--5
Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum - This one is FREE too! It’s a fun museum where you and the kids can see old pioneer clothing and tools and learn more about Cache Valley’s pioneer heritage. http://cachedupmuseum.org/index.html
Drive through Logan Canyon - Okay, this one is BEAUTIFUL!! There are lots of trees, colors, mountains, the river. You can go all the way through the canyon or turn around when you need to. Along the way there are dams and hikes you can stop at too.
First Dam - A classic place to have a picnic, go fishing, take a little hike, canoe, play in the grass, and there’s a playground across the street. While you’re there, you’ll get the chance to see all the ducks and geese wading near the water's edge.
Family History - The Logan tabernacle has heaps of free classes to guide you in learning about your ancestors. This helps you learn a little more about where your family is from and who they are. There are even ways to find out how your related to your friends. https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Logan_Utah_Family_History_Center/Class_Descriptions
Fun Park - Bowling, arcades, laser tag, soft jungle gym, pizza, you name it! http://cachevalleyfunpark.com/
Gardener’s Market - FREE it’s fun to check out all the different stands at the market. This one is on Saturdays near Main Street. https://www.explorelogan.com/calendar.html#/event/7776427-gardeners-market?location=84318-hyde-park§ions=all&date=today
Geology Museum - This one ROCKS! Literally! Your kids can tour the museum and learn all about the rocks in the mountains, backyard, you name it! https://geo.usu.edu/information/geology-museum
Gossner’s - Say CHEESE! Squeaky cheese that is! There are even videos you can watch on their website to get a little Gossner’s prep before going in to taste their world famous squeaky cheese or buy a carton of root beer milk. https://gossner.com/plants/
Hardware Ranch - Hike, walks, and wildlife to see all around! https://wildlife.utah.gov/hardware-visit.html
Heber Hatchets - Have you ever thrown a hatchet at a target? Rumor has it, oftentimes girls figure out how to land the hatchet in the target before the guys do. http://www.heberhatchets.com/
Hyrum City Museum - This FREE experience was created to “preserve for the public benefit, the natural, historical, cultural, and artistic heritage of our region.” Your kids may have fun looking through their wide variety of exhibits. http://hyrumcitymuseum.org/
Ice Skating - AKA making all of your Olympic Dreams come true. Even on a hot summer day, it’s chilly in there so take a jacket and gloves! https://www.ecclesice.com/
Intermountain Herbarium - What do you know about plants? At USU’s Herbarium, you can see and learn about a variety of plants. http://www.herbarium.usu.edu/resources/learning_about_plants/index
Jardine Juniper Trail - This one is a longer hike. At the end there is a tree that’s estimated to have been around for 3,000+ years. Wow! https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/utah/jardine-juniper
Jump Zone - Here your kids can jump around and really get their energy out. This place is full on trampolines, foam pits, and more to play on. https://www.thejumpzonegetair.com/
Locked In- Get your thinking caps on gang. Here you and your group get the chance to solve mysteries in order to ESCAPE. https://www.lockedinlogan.com/
Logan Aquatic Center - Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming. Water slides, diving board, L.A.C. has got it all. Your kids will loves a day at the pool - as long as you remember to bring sunscreen! https://www.loganutah.org/government/departments/parks_and_recreation/aquatic_center/
Logan Lanes - STRRRRIKE! Bowling, billiards, pizza and more here at Logan’s slickest lanes since 1959. You may even be able to go in and check out the valley’s finests bowlers during their evening bowling. https://loganlanesinc.com/
Logan River Trail - This trail is perfect for walks, runs, bikes. Along your way you’ll see the old rail roads, golf course, and the chilly Logan River. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/utah/logan-river-trail
Maverick Stadium - Where’s the safest place to go during a tornado? To Maverick Stadium - there hasn’t been a touchdown there in years! Haha, okay, okay that’s an old joke. The USU football teams is actually been doing really well these past few seasons! You can check out some of their games, the stadium, or the beautiful scenery around it. https://utahstateaggies.com/sports/2018/6/19/merlin-olsen-field-at-maverik-stadium.aspx
Mountain Valley Trout Farm – “You and me going fishing in the dark,” well actually in the daylight here. You can come and catch your own trout for dinner or catch and release the fish back into the pond. http://bearriverheritage.com/stories/mountain-valley-trout-farm/
Museum of Anthropology – This USU exhibit ranges from Egyptian artifacts to the Ice Man. It’s a fun way for your kids to see what’s the world was like way back when. http://anthropology.usu.edu/museum/museumtours
Mt. Naomi Farms - Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and more. Come ready to pick whichever tasty berries you want to buy from the patch. Be ready to leave with strawberry covered lips and sticky fingers, mmmm. https://mountnaomifarms.com/
Old Lyric Repertory Company - There’s a wide variety of shows to enjoy each week. Check out their calendar to find what you want to see this week. https://lyricrep.usu.edu/
Old Grist Mill - Okay, this place is another one of those Cache Valley classics. They have the best Cinnamon Drop Bread! Not to mention is a great place to grab some sandwiches (with a cookie and chips too!) if you’re headed to a picnic, on a hike, or just need a bite to eat. https://oldgristmillbreadcompany.com/
Pepperidge Farm - Okay we all know about goldfish, but do you know where they’re made. Right here at our own Pepperidge Farm! Come and get some really big bags of Goldfish, Milano cookies. Pastries and more. https://www.pepperidgefarm.com/
Skate Park - Even if you don’t skate, you can watch these skater and biker’s cool trick!
Summer Concert Series at the Logan Tabernacle - Feel free to take a beautiful walk around the Logan Tabernacle, then when it starts getting hot outside, steps inside for a nice summer concert at 12pm. Check out their calendar for specific dates. https://www.explorelogan.com/calendar.html#/event/7811284-tabernacle-summer-concert-series?location=84318-hyde-park§ions=all&date=today
Stoke Nature Center - Great place to learn more about Cache Valley’s beautiful nature and environment. There are community programs, kids camps, nature preschool, and canyon jams. http://logannature.org/
Temple –This is a beautiful historic building that you can walk around. The grounds are always well kept with seasonal flowers and beauty. The gates are open Tuesday-Saturdays.
Utah State - There are fun activities happening all the time up at USU. They have geocaching for the family, plays, kids camps, tours, and more. https://www.usu.edu/calendar/?audience=5
Utah Theatre - Now here’s a cool theater! It’s an old playhouse turned movie theater on select nights. They have fun shows each week from silent films to Star Wars. http://theutahtheatre.org/
Walk Through Downtown Logan - Window shopping, street lights, and more. Enjoy a lovely walk through the historic building that became “Downtown Logan.”
White Pine Lake - If you or your kids aren’t up for this beautiful hike, no worries! There is a lake at the mouth of the canyon with a beautiful scenery. Take some paddle boards, a picnic, and sunscreen. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/utah/white-pine-lake
Wind Caves - This one is labeled as the #1 hike in Logan. The wind has formed the caves at the top (hence the name “Wind Caves”) and provides a beautiful mountain view. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/utah/wind-cave-trail
Zootah at Willow Park - Parrots, turtles, monkeys, peacocks, and so much more! Maybe your kids can even teach the parrot a word or two! https://zootah.org/
If you’re looking for more ways to strengthen relationships within your family, read our article:
(1-2 minute read)
Stress affects everything around you. It affects your mentality, body functions, mood, and feelings.
Some short-term stress can be useful for getting through a challenging, but doable, situation. However, an excess of stress, or distress, typically comes with situations you feel are out of your coping abilities. Whether short-term or long-term, distress can increase feelings of being overwhelmed, nervous, anxious, hurt, confused, afraid.
Here are some tips on how to deal with stress so that those negative effects do not hinder you.
Take a moment to sit down and breathe. Focus on the breaths you are breathing. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Your deep breaths and the increase of oxygen will help your body to relax and decreases the stress you are feeling.
2. Slow down
Stop trying to do a million things at once. Instead of multitasking, focus on ONE thing. Make a list of the most important things for you to work on. Choose one and get to work on that. By working on that one thing, your mind is better able to focus, and your work will be more efficient.
Exhaustion makes your work less effective, which is likely to cause more stress. Getting the sleep you need allows your brain to reset and process through your day, getting you off to a fresh start in the morning. Plan a time to go to bed and go at that time. Your mind and body will thank you.
4. Avoid enhancers
Oftentimes, caffeine is used as an energizer, and nicotine is used as a relaxer. However, both should be avoided. VeryWellMind explains, “[Caffeine] can increase the body’s levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.” It is also important to note that “Research into smoking and stress has shown that instead of helping people to relax, smoking actually increases anxiety and tension,” as described by MentalHealth.org. What you may be using to help you relax, is actually causing more stress.
5. Talk to someone about it
Talk to someone about what you’re stressed about. If you don’t feel like you can trust anyone, use a journal and write about what you are feeling. Sometimes just getting your thoughts and feelings out helps you to recognize the stress you are feeling and how to manage it.
If you need a professional to talk through your stress with, the counselors here at Cache Valley Counseling are ready to listen and talk through your stress with you. They will work with you to create a plan to manage and get through your stress.
Click here to learn more about our Discovery Visit – an opportunity for you to meet with a therapist for free to help you decide if one of our counselors will be a good fit for you.
What are emotional needs? How do you recognize them? What happens when they go unmet? Here, you’ll learn how understanding, discovering, and meeting emotional needs in a relationship is just as important as good communication.
(3-4 minute read)
Once, my teacher told me a story that has stuck with me for many years. There was a husband and wife (I’ll refer to them as Thomas and Karen). They lived on the same road as all of Thomas’s siblings and his parents.
His side was a very close family. They typically walked in each other’s houses without knocking. This was difficult for many of the in-laws, like Karen, whose parents and family were not like this. After talking with the family to resolve the issue, Thomas and his siblings decided everyone would knock before going into each other’s houses.
However, the Thomas’s mother felt exempted from her children’s decision. She still walked in to everyone’s houses whenever she wanted to. Karen did not like this. She felt her mother-in-law’s unannounced appearances, and additional parenting to their children was disrupting the way they wanted to raise their family. Not to mention, her mother-in-law was always disappointed that their house wasn’t kept as clean as hers.
Repeatedly, they’d asked Thomas’ mother to let them know when she was coming over. But she just wouldn’t. Thomas and Karen were getting frustrated, as I’m sure many of us would be.
Until one day, after the kids were at cousin’s and all the shades were drawn, Thomas and Karen were getting a little intimate in the front living room. Just then, Karen’s mother-in-law walked in as unannounced as ever. In a state of shock, she screamed, “OH MY GOODNESS!” and ran out the door as fast as she could.
Everyone was embarrassed about the situation; Karen especially was mad. She was mad until the next time her mother-in-law wanted to come over and she called first, and then every time after that. Her mother-in-law would always call Karen and Thomas before coming over to their house. In fact, she’d now call before going into any of her kids houses. After some unfortunate embarrassment, the mother-in-law was finally able to understand why it was important to not cross the boundary that had been set.
Sometimes boundaries are easy to set and sometimes they are hard to set. But if there are boundaries that are important to your family, by all means, set those boundaries. Here are a few tips of how to set boundaries:
1: Talk About Boundaries With Your Spouse
Boundaries come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and reasons - find what works for you. Is there a goal your family wants to reach? Are there issues you’ve noticed going on? Are there situations you need to avoid? Based on the boundaries you see are needed, talk with your spouse about which boundaries to set and what the boundary will look like.
2: Set The Boundaries
Boundaries can be set for yourself, your marriage, your kids, with extended family, work, etc. A boundary may look like:
Kids can’t have more than one soda.
Only ask in-laws to babysit twice a month.
I need to know what time you’ll be home, so I don’t stay up waiting for you all night.
Even though playing games is fun, we can’t stay at in-laws past 8:30 pm so we can get the kids to bed.
“Mom, give us a 2-day heads up so we can get ready before you show up on our door and ask to spend the night.”
3: Communicate Clearly
Whoever the boundary is being set with, communicate it directly and lovingly. Let your in-laws know why you have to leave their game nights at 8:30pm. Teach your kids why it’s important to you that they clean their room before playing with friends. Explain to your siblings why your kids can’t have more than one soda when at their house. Your relationship with others is important. Having boundaries can help establish ways to keep the relationship a positive aspect in your life.
4: Enforce the Boundaries
As a kid, I knew that when I was grounded for a week, it only lasted as long as mom actually remembered it. I’d be extra good and every time in less than 48 hours she’d forget that she had grounded me, and I was back to doing what I wanted. The boundary lines weren’t actually clear so I never felt I had to keep them.
If you set a boundary that your kids need to have their rooms clean before playing with friends, stick to it. If a boundary is not enforced, it will soon look like a fence with gaping holes in it. Just like a fence with holes doesn’t do its job, a boundary that’s not solid is going to get walked all over until it’s forgotten.
If you feel like boundaries could help you and your family and want help making them,
the therapists here at CVC can help. Call or email us to set up your FREE Discovery Visit and find a therapist who can help you best.
Are you looking for a gift for mom on the day before Mother’s Day?
Or maybe on Mother’s Day itself. No worries! We’ve got you! Sharing gifts with
mom (and your wife) is a great way to show her you love her and strengthen your marriage
and family. Here are some fun ideas of gifts you can do from home:
52 Things I love About You Cards
Tell your mom/wife how much you love her. Make a list of 52 things you love about her and glue it to a deck of cards. Use a hole punch or nail to make holes and tie it with some ribbon or add some book rings to finish it off.
A Clean Kitchen or House
Send mom to bed early or out for the night so you can get to work. Do the dishes, clean the kitchen, the living room, oh and maybe the bathrooms too! Mom will appreciate the cleaning you do!
Words to Describe Mom
If you want to be crafty, type words that describe Mom (or cut out words from a magazine!) and glue them to a piece of paper. If you have a frame, you can frame it too to finish it off. You can also put it on the fridge or mom’s dresser to give her a little daily reminder of what she means to you.
A Foot Rub, YAY!
People are on their feet all day long, moms especially. This, hands down, is always my mom’s favorite gift. You can even add to it and give mom a nice lotion to rub her feet with.
Write Mom a Poem
Poems can be long,
Or even a short Haiku.
It’s all up to you.
A Coupon Book
Mom’s do a lot for everyone. For Mother’s Day let’s do something for her! Have each kid write some services they want to do for mom. Then, mom can use the coupons whenever she wants to. My mom always liked the one that said, “Clean my room without complaining.”
Pick Flowers for Mom
Do you have any flowers growing in your yard, a field, or mountains near you? Pick some flowers for mom and put them in a vase or jar with water to keep them fresh.
Write Notes or Draw Pictures for Mom
Sometimes we get so busy throughout the day that we forget to tell mom how much we appreciate what she does and who she is.
Let her know how you feel about her.
This is a great way to start off the day and let Mom know you’re thinking of her.
Date Nights for Mom
Dad, you’re going to need to help out on this one. Help each of the kids plan dates to take mom on over the next few weeks. While each kid gets their time with mom, you can help by watching the other kids.
Thank your mom’s for all they do. Have a Happy MOTHER’S DAY!!!
Imagine the last time you were trying to communicate with someone and either they could not understand what you were trying to say, or you could not understand what they were. Perhaps you were talking to a doctor or lawyer, or my least favorite an insurance representative. Think back to your emotions, likely frustration, anger, annoyance, etc.
As adults communicating with children can be difficult. Even though we once were a child we often forget how it feels to not always be able to have the words to express ourselves. The fact you clicked on this post tells me that one of these two scenarios will ring true with you:
At the time of writing this blog I had a 20 month old little boy...at this stage he was starting to find words, but with a limited vocabulary he often got frustrated and threw a bit of a tantrum. This was his way of expressing his emotions.
On the flip side I have also been watching as my oldest niece enters the teenage years. She is a great girl, but often gets frustrated (aka rolls her eyes or makes a smart aleck comment) with her parents because “I feel like no one gets it” because “mom and dad are just so old they don’t understand.”
Does that sound familiar? Children are amazing little humans and if given the right support and resources, figure out a way to succeed in life. Here are 3 ways to improve your communication today with any child.
1: Show Empathy and understanding
Help your child to understand that you know what they are going through, despite never having gone through EXACTLY what they are going through. Find the emotion that is coupled with their experience (i.e. sadness, frustration, anxiousness) and relate to them a time when you felt that emotion. It helps them to connect to you and provides hope that it won’t last forever and they can get through whatever they are experiencing.
2: Ask open-ended questions
When you ask YES or NO questions, children will respond with YES or NO answers. Asking questions like “tell me your favorite part of your day” rather than “How was your day?” This helps them to know that you are interested in them and what they have going on in their life and provides room for them to tell you what is happening. Be kind in your responses back to them. And be CURIOUS, don’t expect the answer you always want, if you ask about the favorite part of their day, ask follow up questions to help you understand why that was their favorite part. Avoid putting them down if you thought it should have been something else.
3: Give them your time and undivided attention
In an ever growing, very busy world where it seems like more and more demands are placed on us (or rather we place on ourselves) children need to know that they are loved and that they are special to us. When we devote a few minutes each day to each child individually, it helps reinforce to them that they mean something to us. If we talk to them while doing other tasks, or being distracted by phones, TVs, other people, it sends the message that “I am not important enough to mom and/or dad.” Give them direct eye contact and your undivided attention to help them know that you love, accept, and respect them.
Children want to know they are important and that they matter to their parents and in their family. The more you can communicate that to them without criticism or defensiveness, the more open and honest your communication can be with them. If you feel like you could use some help connecting closer with your kids you can get in touch with one of our therapists by clicking the button below:
Question, I want you to think how many times you have heard “Communication is the biggest key to any relationship.” We all know it is important, but let’s face it – communicating with your spouse or partner can be difficult at times.
To go further there are “THOSE” crucial conversations that are especially tricky when you aren’t sure if it’s going to lead to a fight or argument of sorts. I know for me I always dread the finance conversation...early on it was almost a guaranteed “fight”, fortunately now after over a decade of marriage we’re down to a 50/50 (and at times 25/75) chance of it going south!!!
So whether you fall into the classically defined finances, sex, parenting arguments, or have your own “favorite” argument’s, here are 3 tips to help you communicate more effectively today with your spouse.
1: Show empathy and understanding
Your spouse wants to know they have someone in their corner that gets them. Heck! We all want that! Show your spouse that you care and that you understand what they are going through. We all can relate to each other, even if we haven’t walked in their exact path. Most of us have felt the pangs of disappointment, or the crushing weight of failure. Most of us know what it’s like to feel sad or be struck with frustration. You may not have experience with exactly what your spouse is going though, but you likely have experience with whatever the emotion is they are experiencing. Put yourself in the EMOTION of what they are feeling and empathize with what it could be like for them. Don’t try and solve their problem – just sit in whatever the emotion is that they are experiencing.
2: Don’t get defensive – be curious instead
When our spouse gives us feedback about something we might not agree with, avoid getting defensive or attacking them. Get curious about why they feel the way they do or how solving the problem their way makes sense to them. Create understanding for their side of the discussion. When they feel understood by you, they are more open to seeing things from a different perspective. If you argue with them about why their way is stupid or isn’t going to work or doesn’t make sense, the more closed they become.
3: Spend time together talking
Make intentional time for you to just talk. Plan a date night or a time etched out of your week to talk. Show genuine interest in your partner, their interests and hobbies. Talk about things other than the kids, or details of the week. Give direct eye contact to your partner, which does mean that you have to put down your phone, shut off the TV, close the book, put the kids down early. Another favorite of mine is to either go for a walk or a drive with just your partner; forcing yourselves to be alone. Do whatever it takes to make and spend quality time together.
Always remember to be respectful and kind to each other. It’s tough enough to communicate over the little things in life, when it comes to the difficult things, be sure to lift each other up and support each other. Remember you are in this together!
Sometimes all you need is a little push to get the conversation started, if you are looking for that little nudge perhaps we could give some help click the button below!
What makes a good marriage counselor? Surely the universal principle of ‘not all things are created equal’ applies to doing counseling, especially relationship counseling. When it comes to your most important relationships, selecting the right therapist to guide you to a happier place is crucial. The purpose of this blog is to give you a few tips to consider when making this important decision.
1: They are an advocate for the RELATIONSHIP
This may be a little bit of a new concept, but bare with me for just a sec. If you are seeking counseling specifically for your relationship, than neither you nor your partner are the most important entity. BUT your relationship is the most important entity. Your relationship in essence becomes like a person in fact more like a child, it needs to be nurtured, guided, and given an environment where it can not only survive, but grow.
When choosing a marriage counselor, be sure they put the relationship first, above you, and above your partner. Remember you are seeking out a counselor because you are feeling stuck or unhappy in your relationship.
2: They help each partner take responsibility and provide hope for working harder
The very essence of being in a relationship means that more than one person is involved. Meaning that both people play an integral part in that relationship (whether for good or for bad).
We all do things in our relationships that aren’t necessarily helpful; a good therapist will not belittle you or make you feel like it’s all your fault. Occasionally YOU might interpret it that way, but your therapist should be working to help you and your partner to take accountability for the role that you play in your relationship.
Taking accountability for your actions as well as helping your partner see their role should provide hope that something different can and will occur in your relationship.
3: They speak in simple terms, not trying to impress with jargon
Matters of the heart are S.I.M.P.L.E. Therapists should not be trying to impress you with their jargon or fancy terms. They should be helping you to uncomplicate things and jargon should be left to conversations with their colleagues. Emotions and deep matters of the heart are simple things, like “I want you to want me” “I want to be accepted and admired by you” “I want to know that I am important to you.” All of which are simple longings of our heart, which do not need muddied up with jargon or more confusion.
These simple, yet deep rooted longings/emotions should be at the forefront of every interaction you have with your therapist. And if they are not, then it may serve you well to seek a therapist who will put those crucial emotions first.
4: They are relatable but not too personal
Many people search out a therapist who appears to have gone through a similar situation as to what they have been through. There are pros and cons to this approach. As discussed above in point number two, GREAT therapists are able to remain objective throughout the process, putting the relationship first above their own emotional reactions. Although they may be able to relate completely to your situation, your experience may trigger even the best of therapists to relive their own experience making it difficult for them to remain objective.
One healthcare provider, who although is very young in his career, I greatly trust puts it this way “If I had every condition or injury that I saw in just one week of work, if I was not dead I would be completely useless!” You want to know your therapist understands you and your situation but this doesn’t mean that they have to have walked the same path to skillfully lead you. If you find your therapist, not able to stay objective or becoming too pushy, it’s either time to address it with them or find a new therapist.
5: They help you feel less confused, not MORE confused
Have you ever gone to a physician thinking that you had one thing going on and leave feeling more confused or like there is no answer and certainly, very little hope? Walking out of your therapist office should not be that experience. You should feel that they understand you and your situation and have a road map to get you unstuck.
Most importantly they should leave you feeling CONFIDENT not only in their ability, but confident in you and your partners ability to recreate your wonderful relationship. If you leave feeling hopeless or more confused than when you walked in (I’m not saying that they haven’t challenged you) but they really don’t understand, then you may want to find a therapist that better fits your needs.
On a side note, through the course of your counseling journey it may become apparent that the best environment for your relationship is for you and your partner to not stay together. If this is the case, YOU should be the one to decide, not your therapist. At this point a good couples therapist will be able to help both you and your partner understand the difficulties that lie ahead and help navigate those waters.
At Cache Valley Counseling, we offer free Discovery Visits (either in person or over the phone) to make sure that you feel heard and understood by the counselor before you even begin the therapeutic process.
One of our jobs as a parent is to worry about our kids. The challenges of our day that kids are facing are difficult to navigate and sometimes different then what we experienced. Sometimes we don’t know how best to help them and aren’t sure if they need more support then we can provide. If you notice any of the following signs with your children, it is a good indicator that professional counseling may help them in their life journey.
1: Struggles in multiple areas of life
Struggle, stress, resistance are important ingredients for young people to be able to grow and develop into mature and independent adults. Sometimes kids struggle at school (the social or the academic), in their community, in athletics or arts, or at church. This struggle is normal...it is when you notice your child is struggling in multiple areas, not just in one area, that they may need a little extra help to get them through.
2: Extreme hopelessness
This can manifest itself in different ways depending on your child. It can look like statements about themselves (i.e. “nobody likes me” “everybody hates me” “I’m not pretty enough”) or hopelessness about the future (“what’s the point?” “what good will that do me?”). The occasional comment like this may be normal, but if there is a pattern of consistency in these statements or thoughts, your child may need some help. A good first step for you as a parent would be to ask follow-up questions as to why they are thinking this way.
3: Excessive withdraw from friends, family, activities
It’s important to note that at various stages of childhood and through the teenage years, young people withdraw from family or friends when they are trying to find their independence. For example when younger children discover imaginary play they are often found more by themselves than they once were. This behavior is often more prevalent in the teenage years and believe it or not can be normal. It becomes problematic when the isolation happens in multiple areas of their lives, are they isolating at school, at home, from their friends? Do they not want to be involved in activities they once found exciting? These behaviors can be important signs that your child needs help.
4: Engages in negative behavior such as self-harm or destructive self-talk
Any self-harm or destructive self-talk should be taken seriously every time. They are young people’s way of reaching out for help when they may not have the words to tell you. If your child is involved with negative self-talk, or self-harm such as hitting themselves, hair pulling, scratching, cutting with a foreign object, it is important to reach out for help immediately. If these behaviors are not stopped, children form unhealthy patterns of dealing with stress or uncomfortable situations that can be difficult to break.
5: Significant changes in habits
If you notice significant changes in their eating or sleeping habits, typically it’s another way for stress to manifest itself in children. It is another way they let you know that something uncomfortable is happening but they may not have the words or formal cognition to tell you. Reach out for help and begin asking them questions as to what might be going on.
Seeking professional counseling services for your children does not mean that you are a bad parent, or that your child is weak, it means that you are recognizing the help they need and you are courageous enough to find those who can navigate these difficult times.
I know many parents are scared to seek counseling, not because of the counseling itself, but because they are afraid if their child has a bad experience it will put even more pressure on a strained relationship. Cache Valley Counseling we offer a free Discovery Visit in which we can help you determine the best course of treatment for you child. And more importantly give them a chance to meet with their counselor before starting treatment to see if they feel comfortable. We promise, that we will help you find the best services for your child, even if that means outside of Cache Valley Counseling.
Never stop dating
Just because you are married, whether it be 1 year or 50 years, couples need time to spend with just each other. The every day tasks of life can bog us down individually and as a couple. Set a regular date night. If you aren’t sure how to go on dates – google it. There are lots of creative things you can do with your spouse, other than a dinner and movie. It’s important couples have a way to relieve stress together and get to enjoy time just with the two of you.
Let him be your hero and when he is, say thank you! Often we expect things from our spouse, take out the trash, change the oil, mow the lawn, etc. and it’s expected. Just because it’s expected doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t be appreciated for the efforts he took in doing it. Chances are he didn’t do it because he enjoys mowing the lawn, but that he enjoys making you happy or easing your burden. Be sure to tell him thank you. Even leaving a thank you note can be wildly effective. It takes less than 10 seconds to leave a note. DO IT! And when you are really grateful, throw your arms around him and show him that you love him.
Fill your own tank
Before we can take in love from another person, we have to first love ourselves.
Before we can GIVE love to another person, we have to have something in our tank to give.
Find what makes you happy and make it happen. Do the things that make life enjoyable for you and share them with your spouse. The happier you are, the more enjoyable your time with your spouse is and you can’t depend on your spouse to make you happy all the time.
Increase oxytocin flow
It’s important to enjoy intimacy with your husband. Physical touch and intimacy is one of the most powerful bonding agents. When we are involved sexually with our husband the hormone, oxytocin is flowing through us. Oxytocin is the “cuddle hormone” or the “bonding hormone” it’s what tells our brains that we are connected to someone, that we belong to someone. Be sure that this is happening frequently in your relationship.
Tell him what you need
As much as we wish it was possible – men can’t read our minds. When you tell your husband exactly what you need, if you are open about your worries, if you problem solve together, then your husband can be your “fixer”. He can show up for you in exactly the way that you need him to, which takes a whole lot of guessing out of the game for everyone. When he shows up, be sure to show him that appreciation he deserves.