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Ask Julie: I Feel Stuck In My Own Mind

Q: I’ve been sitting here for 30 minutes trying to formulate my thoughts into a paragraph but I can’t do it so I’m just going to list feeling as they come to mind.

1. I feel nothing on a regular basis. For example if I got a call saying that my mother died, I don’t think I would even cry.
2. I’m irritable beyond belief. If someone asks me to do something I get pissed for them even asking me.
3. I’m not suicidal, but I constantly question why I’m living and try to come up with reasons to continue on.
4. I don’t see people as individuals. I see everyone as a mammal, which leads me back to number 3.
5. I want to ask my parents, or anyone for help, but I’m afraid of being laughed at.
6. I don’t even try to interact with girls. I’m not homosexual at all, I’m still attracted to girls, but the effort I need to put in to get an outcome is unbalanced.
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Ask Julie: I’m Scared To See A Therapist For My Eating Disorder

Q: I started out with anorexia but now am bulimic/anorexic and have been this way for about 3 yrs now.

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

A: First of all, I’m so glad that you are considering eating disorder treatment because the fact that you are passing out means that you are not only suffering from psychological problems but that you are in physical danger too.

Please disclose your eating disorder to your physician so he or she can be a resource for you and can help you find a psychotherapist or eating disorder treatment center.

While every therapist is different, I can give you a general idea of what to expect on your initial evaluation session. The initial session is an assessment where you’ll sit down in the therapist’s office and talk about what brings you to therapy; you’ll get a feel for the therapist’s style. This session will include filling out some paperwork – a mental health and family relationship history, rating scales or a brief checklist to establish a baseline to track your progress, and a release of information so your therapist can communicate and coordinate care with your physician and request your medical records, if needed. After gathering this information, the therapist will give you a diagnosis and make treatment recommendations. The recommendations may include outpatient psychotherapy, intensive outpatient psychotherapy, or inpatient treatment.

As you seek a therapist, make sure you find one who specializes in treating eating disorders. A great resource to find a therapist is available PsychCentral.com’s Find Help link. Another excellent resource is EDReferral.com and they have several eating disorder therapists listed in your state. It can be helpful to meet with a few different therapists so you can find one you feel most comfortable talking with and you feel most confidence in. Just like any other relationship, you’ll click with some therapists over others. Consider your physical symptoms as warning signs telling you that you need to address this problem now. Please, don’t wait to get help.

Take good care of yourself!

Julie Hanks, LCSW

*This article originally appear in PsychCentral’s Ask the Therapist column

Pre-baby Counseling Keeps Marriage Strong: KSL TV News

I am all for pre-baby counseling. We don’t really talk about how traumatic the birth of a child can be to the marriage relationship–loss of attention to spouse, sleep deprivation, jealousy, miscommunication, financial and time stresses, additional household duties…I sat down with Scott Haws this morning (bright and early) on KSL TV News to talk about pre-baby counseling for couples and why I think it’s a great idea…

Watch the news clip

Read more on KSL.com

Behind the scenes clip before the show…


Therapy For Kids Who Don’t Need It?: Quoted in Babble.com

Julie Anderson survived a mother’s worst nightmare — the death of a child. She took her 2 young children to therapy to deal with grief around the their youngest brother’s death, but continued to take her children if for therapy “check ins” through the years, even when things were going well.

Now is when they need to go to a therapist. Why? Because looming on the horizon is the terrible triumvirate of middle school, puberty, and high school. And because if you wait until there’s a problem, you might not be able to get your kid to talk to you (or anyone else) about it.”

Julie recently interviewed me to get a therapist’s point of view on taking your kids to therapy BEFORE they need one. Read what I have to say in Julie’s Babble.com article…

“Therapy for Kids Who Don’t Need It


Ask Julie: Should I Tell My Psychiatrist I Have Feelings For Him?

Q: I have childhood onset bipolar disorder and have been in therapy, on and off, for many years. I have been seeing my psychiatrist for three years now and approximately one year ago, I started seeing him weekly for therapy sessions as well as med management. Over the past several months, I have been having really strong feelings for him. I know this is common in therapist/client relationships, but I think of him constantly in erotic ways.

I am terrified to share with him the feelings I have for him. There was a great deal of male abandonment/rejection in my childhood and I still struggle tremendously with those events. Coupled with the fact that I have so much self-hatred for myself, I fear that if I tell him about my feelings for him, that he will abandon me also. I cannot deal with anymore rejection in my life.

Please note that my psychiatrist is extremely professional and there are obvious boundaries in our therapeutic relationship, yet he is also very caring and sensitive to my thoughts and feelings. I have been able to share things with him that have never been shared with anyone. Yet I am so conflicted as to whether or not I should share my feelings/erotic fantasies for him.

A: Thanks for reaching out for advice on how to deal with this painful dilemma.

I can feel how much you respect your psychiatrist and how meaningful it has been to you to have a safe place to share your deepest thoughts, feelings, and experiences. As you said, it is not uncommon to have sexual feelings toward your psychotherapist, especially if this is the first time you’ve felt emotionally safe and nurtured by a male.
While it would be a huge risk to share these intense feelings with your psychiatrist, I encourage you to do so. It sounds like he has proven to be very skilled, professional, and helpful to you in your therapy so far, so hold on to your positive experiences with him in order to muster up the courage to bring up your feelings in an upcoming session. Start slowly and start with sharing generalities, just like you’ve shared in your email to me. You can share your feelings without sharing all of the details of your fantasies. The ability to work through your erotic feelings for your psychiatrist with him, and to experience his continued support and acceptance may allow you to reach a new level of healing.

Take good care of yourself!

Julie Hanks, LCSW

This post originally appeared in my Psych Central Ask the Therapist column

Self & relationship expert Julie de Azevedo Hanks, LCSW is wife of 22 years and mother of 4, a licensed therapist, a popular media contributor on KSL TV’s Studio 5, and director of Wasatch Family Therapy. Listen to Julie’s podcast You and Yours , on B98.7 radio as the Bee’s Family Counselor, and read her national advice columns on Psych Central! and Latter-day Woman Magazine.

How To Get Past Your Painful Past

How To Get Past Your Painful Past

Have you been hurt in the past by your parents or other loved ones and can’t get past it? Is it hard to get past the pain and move on? Are you stuck in blame and don’t know what to do? Do you have a heard time expressing yourself and setting boundaries with the loved one who hurt you? Yesterday, I had a great chat with B98.7’s Todd & Erin radio show answering these important questions.

Click the links below to listen to the show in quicktime…

Getting Past the Past (part 1)

Getting Past the Past (part 2)

Documenting the Documentary

Last Tues. I got an email from Discovery Fit & Health Channel inviting me to provide therapy for a Salt Lake City woman they’re following for a documentary…Two days later we shot the first session, and shot the second therapy session today. Though slightly unnerving to do therapy with lights, a producer and a camera crew, today was easier. The client I worked with was delightful and ready to get to work.

Here are a few behind the scenes clips & photos. The show is scheduled to air this fall…stay tuned.