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Marriage in distress? Try EFT

Ninety percent of couples improve with Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy! That’s an unparalleled success rate and last year I had the privilege of interviewing  Scott Wooley, PhD, one of the worldwide EFT trainers. Since then I have been training in EFT so I can more effectively help couples! To find an EFT therapist in your area visit

Watch the segments below…


EFT Part 2

What to say when: Tips for surviving sticky social situations

If you ever find yourself at a loss for words in awkward social situations watch this segment. Here are some helpful phrases to add to your relationship repertoire!


 Sticky Social Situation  Example  Try Saying This
 You’re asked to do something you don’t want to do and it’s hard to say “no”.  An extended family member informs you that they are staying with you over Spring Break and you already have a full house.  “That’s just not going to work for me.” 
 You’re feeling pressured to answer on the spot.  A friend asks you about your recent marital separation in the company of others.  “Let me get back with you on that .” 
 You’re asked about someone else’s personal life  Your neighbor asks you about details of your best friend’s financial problems.  “That’s a good question to ask her/him.” 
 You’re in a heated debate or disagreement.  You and your spouse get in a no-win debate about whose fault that you were late for an important event.  “We can think different things and still be friends.” 
 Someone is expressing intense emotion about you directly to you.  Your toddler screams in the grocery store, “I hate you, mommy!”  “Wow! You’re really (feeling word) at me.” 
 You want to make a difficult request of someone else.  Your mother-in-law frequently gives unsolicited parenting, cooking, weight loss advice and you want her to only give advice when you ask for it.  “It would mean a lot to me if (your request).” 

Find the Voice to Say “No”: Studio 5

I recently surveyed more than 600 Utah women and found that 60 percent say they take on more commitments than they can handle, and 68 percent reported they don’t say “no” when asked to do something they don’t want to do. There are so many demands on your time and energy that saying “no” is crucial to your emotional well-being.

Why is it hard to say “no”?

In my therapy office and in my workshops I often hear women they don’t say “no” because:

 “I don’t want to disappoint others.”
“I should be able to do it all.”
“I want to help.”
“If I say ‘no’ I feel guilty.”
“I want to please others.”
“I feel pressured by others.”

“No” is an important boundary -It shows that you are a separate person with your own thoughts, feelings and desires. Saying “no” acknowledges that you are different from others and that your voice does matter.

“No” prevents burnout – Saying “no” and setting limits allows you to prevent feeling overwhelmed and becoming overcommitted. We have to pick and choose where to invest our time, energy and other resources. A wise workshop participant commented, “When I say ‘no’ I’m saying ‘yes’ to something more important.”

“No” helps you get what you want – It is an expression of your sense of self. If you know what you don’t want to do, you can identify what you do want.

Tips For Saying “No”

1) Accept that you have limitations
Everyone has limits to what they want to and can accomplish. It’s simply part of being human. Many women feel bad about having limitations of time, energy and prior commitments, just to name a few.2) “No” is an honorable response
Saying “no” means telling your truth. If you allow yourself to say “no” when you mean it, others will trust that when you say “yes” you also mean it and will follow through.3) You owe no one an explanation
If you give your week’s schedule, or the reasons why you are saying “no”, you open up the door for others to rearrange your schedule to accommodate their request, or to discount or argue with your reasoning. While I find it difficult to simply say “no” followed by an awkward silence, I really like the phrase “No, that’s just not going to work for me” because it softens the “no” without actually giving an explanation.

Click  HERE to read more about why “no” is important and for tips to help you say “no”


Handouts: BYU Preventing Burnout Workshop

Thank You

What a treat to speak and sing for you this morning!


CLICK HERE  for tonight’s workshop handout packet! You will be asked to input your email address & name to access the handouts.  For more tips on saying “no” tune in next Tuesday to KSL TV’s Studio 5 from 11-noon for my segment called “Find the voice to say NO”. 


Here are the names of songs that I performed & link to iTunes. 
God’s Signature (to be released on “Best Of” album April 20)
Make Enough of Me (iTunes)   

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Your Feedback

To contact me directly with questions or comments click here.  I’d love to hear what you found were the most helpful ideas we discussed this morning. Feel free to leave comments about the the workshop in the comment form below (the comment form  requires name and your email address to comment but your email address will not be included in the post. )

Cultivating desire in marriage workshop

This workshop has been a favorite since we started offering it at Wasatch Family Therapy last year. Offered in an informal small group setting, women come together to understand the importance of a mutually satisfying sexual relationship, and how to cultivate their desire. 

Cultivating Sexual Desire in Marriage

Women’s Workshop
Wed. March 3, 2010
Wasatch Family Therapy, LLC Salt Lake City, UT

Join me for an evening of  enlightening lecture and dynamic small group discussion (women only) designed to help you:

Understand how men & women approach sex differently
Challenge negative beliefs about your body to increase confidence
Find practical ways to prioritize lovemaking
Decrease emotional barriers to physical intimacy
Expand your definition of wife to include more passion
Gain tools to better communicate your preferences and needs

For more details or to register CLICK HERE

Why Do Men Who Have It All Cheat? 2 News

Because of my therapy work with couples I was interviewed for a news story that aired tonight on KUTV 2 News called “Power Affairs”.

Power Affairs: Why do men who have it all cheat? Watch News Clip

Why do you think people are willing to risk it all? Post comments below (email address will not be made public).

Ask Julie: Sharing Difficult Feelings in Marriage

“My husband and I have been married for almost 4 years. My problem is that I have always had a really hard time sticking up for myself and when we get in arguments he tends to say things that really hurt my feelings. I have never had a lot of confidence in myself and when he says hurtful things it brings me down more. I have always had a hard time with holding things in since I grew up in a family that didn’t really talk about our feelings we always just kind of held things in. I need some advice on how to learn to stick up for myself so that I can feel more confident in myself?”


Identify Your Feelings, Thoughts, Needs

Before you can get comfortable expressing your inner experience with your husband, it’s important to get acquainted with your own inner life.  Ask yourself daily, “How am I feeling?”, “What am I thinking?”  & “What am I needing from my husband?” A helpful place to start in identifying your emotions is ask yourself which one of these 4 feeling words describes what’s going on inside:

happy     mad      sad      scared 

Knowing how you feel, what you think is the first step to developing the confidence to share the deeper parts of you with your husband.

Explore Family Patterns

Great job recognizing the impact of your family on your emotional tendency to hold things in and challenging yourself to express when it doesn’t come naturally to you. Since you didn’t learn the skills to express emotions and thoughts it may take some time to get comfortable sharing your inner experiences with your husband. Often we apply our family of origin relationship rules to our current relationships, whether or not they actually apply to the current situation. Ask yourself the following questions:

“How did my family manage intense emotion?”

“How does my reluctance to express myself make sense, given my life experience?”

“What am I afraid will happen if I speak up now, in my marriage?”

Revisit the Hurt

Once you’ve identified what’s going on inside of you, during a calm time sit down with your husband and revisit a time when he has said something that hurt you. This is not  an opportunity to prove him wrong, but to share your feelings with him when neither of you are emotionally escalated.  You might want to say something like, “Remember last week when we were talking about the money? I know we were both upset. I wanted to tell you that I felt hurt when you said that I my poor budegeting is the reason we are in debt. Can we talk more about that? I need you to hear how hurt I was and I want to understand better where you are coming from.” 

Trust Husband’s Positive Intent

Assuming your husband is a nice guy, he may be unintentionally saying hurtful  things to try and get ANY kind of emotional response from you to prove that you are still invested in marriage and that you still care about him. His jabs may be a way of trying to reach the deeper parts of you and to connect with you when you start to shut down emotionally.  If you have a pretty good relationship overall, it’s best to assume the best, instead of the worst, about your spouse’s intentions, even if it doesn’t appear that way on the surface. Hold on to his positive intent to help you gain even more courage to share more of yourself with him.

I welcome questions and comments about this topic. Please use the comment box below (your email address will not be made public).

To Forgive or Not To Forgive?

What is Forgiveness?

The topic of forgiveness has cropping up frequently in many conversations this week: women’s workshops, individual or couple therapy sessions, and casual conversations. What is forgiveness anyway? At first, forgiveness seems like a simple and straightforward concept. But on second thought, it is not easy to understand, and it’s even harder to practice. We are all in the same boat: we will all offend and be offended during this life and will struggle to seek and offer forgiveness.

Forgiveness is an evolving concept. As a child it meant that when a friend apologized and said, “sorry for taking your toy” that I should continue to play with them.  During adolescence, forgiveness meant being nice and pretending that I wasn’t resentful, angry, or hurt. At this point in my life I find the most helpful definition of forgiveness is to give up resentment or to cease to feel resentment (thank you Websters). I love this definition because it helps clarify 2 stages of the forgiveness process:

1) feeling resentment
2) ceasing to feel resentment

It’s tempting to try and skip the first step – “the feeling part” – and jump to the “cease to feel” step.  A lot of the forgiveness work that I help clients with in therapy is allowing the FEELINGS to be experienced. You can’t give up something that you don’t have.

Common Questions on Forgiveness

Does forgiveness always involve forgetting?

No. I can’t think of one instance of deep hurt in my own life where I have forgotten the event. Forgiveness is about letting go of the emotional charge of the event, not the memory of it.

Does forgiving someone mean that you have to continue a relationship with the person you have forgiven?

No. It is possible to cease to feel resentment toward another and still choose to not have a relationship with him or her for various reasons ranging from personal preference to protecting self or family from serious harm.

Does forgiving a person eliminate the impact of their offense?

No. In the case of childhood abuse, I have often heard families throughout my years of therapy practice use the concept of forgiveness to silence the abused family member and prevent them from expressing the negative emotions about the impact of their abuse.  “He’s been forgiven. Why do you have to keep bringing it up? It was so long ago. Forgiveness does not eliminate the long term consequences of abuse for the victim.

Forgiveness is a Personal Process

My own experiences with forgiveness has taught me that to forgive is usually a process rather than an event, that it is a process of working through hurt and pain, and that it is ultimately a gift to ourselves. It is the gift of emotional and spiritual freedom by no longer allowing someone’s behavior, words, or attitudes to smother our growth. I’ve heard it said that lack of forgiveness and holding onto resentment is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.

The following lyrics were born out of my wrestle with the forgiveness process

Out of Jail (lyrics by Julie de Azevedo)

It’s time I let you out of jail
In my mind in my mind
It’s time I let you out of jail
You may not know it
But you’ve done time
You’ve done time

I’m tired of leaning against this door
And screaming all the things that you’re in for
I’m tired of holding shut the gate
My hands are worn and I can’t escape

It’s time I let you out of jail
In my chest in my chest
Bound in angry iron chains
It’s high time I took a breath
And got some rest

I’m tired of seeing the world through bars
I’m tired of being a prison guard
Wearing armor and wielding swords
I’m calling truce on this one way war

It’s time I let you out of jail
So I speak so I speak
Forgive me

It’s time I let you out of jail
In my mind in my mind
It’s time I let you out of jail
You may not know it
But we’ve done time

Download “Out Of Jail” in iTunes

I’d love to hear your thoughts about forgiveness. Feel free to leave your comments in the comment box below (your email address will NOT be posted with your comment).