Understanding and Decreasing Back to School Anxiety

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

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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.

  • Back-to-school shopping

    • 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:

  • Plan lunches

    • 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

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  • 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

How to Meet Emotional Needs

(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.

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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:

  1. Discover Your Emotional Needs

  2. Know Who Is Responsible for Meeting Your Emotional Needs

  3. 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:

  • Affection

  • Sexual Fulfillment

  • Intimate Conversation

  • Financial Support

  • Honesty and Openness

  • Physical Attractiveness

  • Recreational Companionship

  • Domestic Support

  • Family Commitment

  • Admiration



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.

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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.

Be YOU: How to Maintain Independence in Your Relationship

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.

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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.

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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.

47 Fun Family Summer Activities in Logan

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“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&sections=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&sections=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:

5 Useful Ways to Deal with Everyday Stress

(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.

1. Breathe

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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.

3. Sleep

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

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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.

Setting Boundaries

(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.

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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.

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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.

10 Mother's Day Gifts You Can Put Together TODAY

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:

1.

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.

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2.

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!

3.

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.

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4.

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.

5.

Write Mom a Poem

Poems can be long,
Or even a short Haiku.
It’s all up to you.

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6.

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.”

7.

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.

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8.

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.

9.

Make Breakfast

This is a great way to start off the day and let Mom know you’re thinking of her.

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10.

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!!!

3 Ways To Improve Communication With Your Child


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.

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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.

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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

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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:

3 Ways To Improve Communication With Your Spouse

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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.

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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.

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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!

5 Signs Of A Good Marriage Counselor

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

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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

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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.  

5 Signs Your Child Needs To See A Counselor

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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

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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

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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.

5 Tips To Love Your Husband

Never stop dating

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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.

Show appreciation

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.

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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

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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.

10 Best Pieces Of Marriage Advice

Many people ask what I do for work and when they find out that I am a marriage and family therapist they will often ask me, “so what advice do you have for making my marriage better?” Whether you are a newly married couple asking for advice on how to make your marriage successful or a seasoned vet looking to keep your relationship strong; here are 10 pieces of advice to keep your relationship amazing:

1: Stay best friends

Best friends don’t always get along. Best friends don’t always think the same. Best friends don’t always do everything the exact same way. But many people tell me they married their best friend and somewhere along the way things changed and “we aren’t best friends anymore.” Remind yourself that just because you are married, you can be best friends. Treat your spouse like you treat your best friend.

2: Show respect

Respect does not mean that you each cannot have a unique way of approaching things. You can parent differently. You can spend money differently. You enjoy different foods and movies. It is critical that even with these differences that you do not disrespect the person that your spouse is.  If there are specific areas of difference you feel are important, such as parenting or spending habits, then working together to come to an agreement may be needed. You may need to respectfully explain and demonstrate how your style may be more effective and work together to change it. I can promise you the least effective approach is to dominate them or tell them their way is crap.  More often than not it is “more important to be interested in peace than justice!”

3: Don’t compare

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Those who compare will never find happiness or joy. You cannot compare your relationship with your spouse to that of anyone else. You are both different than any other human being and your relationship is different than any others. Give yourself a fighting chance and stop comparing! You have no idea how much debt that other couple you’ve been observing on Instagram are in because they went on their 4th trip to Hawaii in one year. You have no idea how much your parents have worked and sacrificed years, even decades, for their dream home. Stop comparing with others and compare your relationship to how much better we are TODAY instead of YESTERDAY.

4: Tell them what you need

Be direct in what you need from your spouse. They can’t read your mind. If you need help with house cleaning, ask instead of being grumpy while you work. If you need help fixing the lawnmower, tell them what you need! We often expect our spouse to know exactly what is weighing on us and exactly what we need to help us feel better. Most of the time they have no idea. Do yourself and them a favor by being direct and straightforward with what you need.

5: Make time for your relationship

So many of us are taking on more and more demands which is putting our relationship further and further down the To Do list. Make your relationship a priority by spending time ON it. As a business owner I am often told I have to spend time ON my business, not just time IN my business. A relationship is no different. Show your spouse they are important to you by spending time working ON the relationship. Ask questions like: what about the relationship makes them happy? What do you do that drives them nuts? Share what they could do to be more aware of you and your needs. What can WE do to fix issues that arise?

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6: Show appreciation

It takes approximately 8 seconds to leave a Thank you note. Find a scrap of paper, an old envelope, a piece of junk mail and scribble a Thank You. Let your spouse know that you see and recognize their efforts. We all work hard at the things we do and it’s nice to be acknowledged every once in a while. Make it a habit to show that appreciation.

7: Take care of yourself

When our own gas tank is empty we cannot give our self to those around us. Just like a car runs on gas it can’t run on fumes for very long. Be sure that you are taking care of yourself. For some people that means exercise, for others that means reading or learning, being engaged in something that uplifts and inspires you to be the best version of yourself! If you do this, I promise your relationship with those around you, especially your spouse will be greatly enriched for doing so.

8: Have fun together

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Once you tie the knot, it doesn’t mean the fun stops. Be sure you are enjoying each other and having fun together. Sometimes that’s going on dates with other couples, sometimes that’s hanging out at home with nothing else to do. Have fun together! Play a game, watch a movie, laugh together, play video games, visit friends and family. Another approach for some of you go-getters is to take up a new hobby together such as rock climbing, hiking, dancing, etc.  Whatever it is just get out and have fun together!

9: Take care of the important things together

Often I ask couples about finances, about sex, about parenting, and it is always a little surprising when one person is solely responsible for any one area of the relationship. I have to admit, finances STRESS me out and most of the time I loath discussing them. But we push through and do it together every single time because not only are they important to both of us but they equally affect both of us. It is typical that one person takes the lead in an area and is the one paying the bills or primarily responsible for the discipline of the children but this shouldn’t just fall on the shoulders of one partner. Be sure that the important things in your relationship are discussed and talked about together.

10: Make love

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We saved the best for last and notice how I didn’t say have sex? It’s important that you take time to make love. When making something a person puts time, energy, effort in creating something beautiful. Intimacy between two people isn’t something to be rushed through, something to be checked off the to do list, it’s a powerfully beautiful interaction between humans that bonds us together. We share the very most vulnerable parts of ourselves with another human and that is not something to be rushed or check off. It is to be enjoyed.

If any of these areas are areas that you find you’re struggling with in your relationship, it doesn’t mean that your relationship is doomed. It means that you are NORMAL! Every relationship can use improvement and that is part of the reason we commit ourselves to someone else in this life, is to improve each day with them. Put work INTO your relationship and continue loving your spouse!

How To Tell The Difference Between Normal Worrying And Anxiety

We all experience stress. Did you know there is a difference in how we experience stress? Stress is not always a “bad” thing. In fact there are two types of stress, Eustress and Distress.

Eustress is the positive way we feel stress. It motivates us and drives us to action. An example might be going to school and taking a test. When we understand the content and enjoy the subject we are often motivated to study for the exam.

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Distress is the negative experience of stress. We become so overwhelmed that it feels impossible to even start preparations or even begin the journey of conquering the task.

Normal worrying is eustress. It’s stress that motivates to perform, to get things done, helps us to stay on top of daily tasks. Distress is overwhelming and debilitating. When we stay in a state of distress for too long we can develop cognitions or thought processes that make it difficult to feel “normal” again. Patterns of anxious thinking can begin to occur and take over our thought process. This isn’t altogether terrible but when you notice the following signs happening in your life, please reach out for help:

Habit changes

if you notice your eating or sleeping patterns have changed, this is a good indicator that you are experiencing some sort of discomfort in your life. Although this isn’t the only indication that you may need to reach for help, it is a pretty good start that something is amiss and needs a little extra attention in y  klour life.

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Avoiding regular activities, family, friends

If you find yourself avoiding acquaintances or going places where you may have to interact with someone, please know that you are not alone. Please keep looking for opportunities that you can be involved with those people and activities in which you enjoy. Use relationships and activities as a way to recharge and refuel instead of weighing you down.  Counseling can be a great way not only to get that vital human interaction, but also a way to help get you back to your normal rhythms.

Increased negative talk

When we create space in our minds for negative self talk, we create room for negativity that is hard to see past. It becomes easier to look at all of the negative that happens in life instead of to see the good or even the potential for good. If you are getting stuck in negative self talk, it might be time to reach out for a little more support.

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Be kind to yourself and find support that helps uplift and inspire you to keep pushing through those hard, distressing moments in life. Because it’s not a matter of IF they will come but WHEN. Being able to recognize when we may be getting stuck is the most important. If you or someone you care about is in any of these patterns please follow-up with a professional; at Cache Valley Counseling we are happy to chat with you to see where you’re at.

Top 6 Myths Of Therapy

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There are a lot of stigma that surround therapy.  For every success story, I’m sure you’ve heard a dozen not so pleasant experiences.  I recognize that counseling can come with some preconceived notions about what to expect from therapy. I have included 6 misconceptions about therapy I often hear and hope you find them useful as you begin your journey.

1: Therapy will last forever

At Cache Valley Counseling, most of our clients come an average about 4 months. Making changes takes time but does not take forever. At CVC we come alongside our clients to help foster the changes they want to make, and usually this can be done in a shorter amount of time.

2: I’m not “crazy” or broken enough

Many people assume they have to suffer from a severe mental health issue or their relationship has to be on the brink of divorce. However, people without severe mental health diagnoses visit us every day at CVC. Regular folks, just like yourself are coming in to help sort out the stressful events that they are dealing with.

3: All therapists are the same and the last one I had was terrible. This won’t really work.

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Has every physician you have seen been the same?  What about restaurant, hotel, or resort? Absolutely not. We are individual people who all have different experiences that make us unique. One therapist’s style is not going to match that of another therapist. Some therapists offer more psychoeducation and focus on life skills or things to do behaviorally to improve. At CVC we have an eclectic approach and use the theories and methods in which are best suited to your learning style.

4: I don’t have time

But you do have time to be stressed out and/or depressed? Many people think that they don’t have time to squeeze in an appointment. However, how well are you really managing your life if you aren’t sorting out how to make it better?  Yes, it may take a level of re-prioritizing commitments, but the benefits gained from getting your emotional/mental life in order are invaluable.

5: Rehashing the past

Going over and over the past can be a painful thing. It can also be an irrelevant thing. Good therapy isn’t about this rehashing; but sometimes the past includes experiences that our brains code as painful. In certain instances making short visits to the past helps our brains to rewire to a safer, less panicked or dangerous place. However, every session is not spent in the past but using your past to help navigate the present and future moments.

6: People who go to therapy are weak

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This notion seems to be particularly prevalent in our region, I believe this is in large part due to the heritage of those who settled our mountainous home needing to “go it alone.”  However, going to therapy is about growth and change and that can be hard and painful. People DON’T come to therapy because they are too weak. It takes courage and hope to engage in the therapeutic process. You (and your partner) are courageous for starting this journey of self-discovery and growth. And that proposition is not for the faint of heart or the weak.

The very fact you are searching out, reading this blog, or considering counseling can be a very challenging and courageous first step.  If any of these myths resonate with you, or you have your own, reach out and chat with one of our therapists and see if counseling is appropriate for you.

BLENDED FAMILIES: Do They All Fail?

BLENDED FAMILIES: Do They All Fail?

Have you ever asked yourself one of these questions:

-    Is our blended family failing?

-    Am I failing as a parent (couldn’t even keep the first marriage together, and now I can’t get this blended family to mesh)?

-    Am I destined to not be able to find fulfillment and joy in marriage and family?

-    Am I going to be the NEXT failed marriage/blended family statistic?

Truth is these are HARD…perhaps even stinging questions.  But they’re real, and TOO real for some of us…..

Enjoy Empty Nesting

Have you raised all of your kids and now find yourself exhausted, looking at your spouse wondering “do we still like each other? Or do we have anything in common anymore?” Do you ever wonder if your marriage could use a “tune up”? For so many years you put so much effort into your kids and more often than not took the divide and conquer stance with your partner in the hopes of maybe getting a few hours of sleep before you had to wake up and do the daily grind all over again.

This next stage or as some people call it “the second honeymoon” can be an absolute joyous time of life. However, many couples find themselves struggling to feel needed, to feel wanted by their spouse, or find themselves so busy with finally doing the things that have been put off for 20-30 years to raise a family that their relationship is once again on the back burner.

Here are 3 tips to help you enrich YOUR second honeymoon:

1: Create a partner-focused marriage. For many years, finances, kids, work have often received the focus and attention of one or both partners. Now is the time to reinvest in your marriage. Spend time together, dating one another as you did at the start of your relationship.

2: Focus on your love life. The assumption goes that the older you get, the less interested in sex people become. However, research shows that sexual satisfaction actually increases with the number of years married. There are no kids in the house now so take your time and enjoy making love with your partner. Think of it as a stroll instead of a sprint.

3: Connect with other empty-nesters and have fun together. Often you can relate to each other and find it enjoyable to spend time with others with whom you share this stage of life. Take trips together, make memories, and mentor other couples as they transition into this stage as well.

The empty nest years do not have to be a time or loneliness or struggle. They can be incredibly fulfilling and satisfying. If you are finding yourself struggling in this stage of life, I encourage you reach out. At Cache Valley Counseling we specialize in couples counseling for all stages of the marriage life cycle and we would love to help you increase the connection between you and your spouse.

Set up your FREE discovery visit today to find out just what we can do to help you find lasting love in your relationship.