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Are You a Guilt Tripper?: Studio 5

When it comes to our relationships, we often spend time trying to figure out problems (how can we get a spouse to listen more, how can we get children to be more obedient, etc.). But what if you are the problem? Might be a bit of an uncomfortable idea, but the truth is that often times it’s easier to spot shortcomings in someone else than it is to see them in ourselves. I encourage you to look in the mirror as we explore the following topic: Are you a guilt tripper? This involves using guilt as a form of emotional manipulation to get someone to think or act a certain way. It’s something that we’ve all done at times.

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Resolving Aspirational Shame: One Mormon Woman’s Journey

I grew up in contradictory worlds.

I was born and raised in Studio City, California in the heart of the entertainment business. Our neighbor was a makeup artist for movies like “Top Gun.” My extended family had a TV show, and my father, a professional musician, was the musical director on several national television shows when I was a young child. Witnessing this kind of creative expression and visible success, I believed that anything was possible for my life.

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Is Social Media Dragging You Down?: Studio 5

The original purpose of social media is to connect us, and yet for many women, looking in on others’ lives can leave us feeling inferior, jealous, isolated, or dissatisfied. So how can we put all these posts and pictures in perspective when we seem to get discouraged by them? There’s been quite a bit of research done on how social media affects us psychologically and emotionally. Here are a few tips to help you if you find that it’s dragging you down:


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1. Be Intentional & Interact Directly

Studies have shown that always consuming, or simply binge reading and looking at picture after picture online can negatively impact you. I encourage you to instead intentionally research, seek out information, and connect with people in your life. Engage more and be purposeful; don’t just mindlessly scroll through your feed to fill time.
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How Idealizing Motherhood Hurts Mormon Women

“All I’ve ever wanted in life is to be a mother,” she sobbed as she slumped over burying her hands in her face. Through her tears she muttered, “My whole life I’ve been taught that being a mother was the most important role. Now, I’m getting so old that I will never be able to have a child. What meaning is there to my life without the role of mother?”

I’ve heard sentiments like this over and over again in my twenty years of clinical psychotherapy work with LDS (Mormon) women. In our efforts to acknowledge and validate the crucial contribution of mothers are we unintentionally sending a message that women who aren’t able to bear or rear children in this life are somehow less valuable to the Church and to God? A deeper understanding of our doctrine reveals that this is not true; we know that “all are alike unto God” (2nd Nephi 26:33) and that an individual’s worth is not dependent on his/her accomplishments (is there not something strange about considering children an accomplishment?).

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Five Real Life Skills for High Tech Kids: Studio 5

Real like skills for high tech kids

We live in a technology-saturated world, and our kids are often more adept at the newest gadgets than we are! I’ve found that parents are sometimes weary about the newest developments in the tech world. But these are the times we live in, and the internet will never go away. The online world can improve our lives or it can distance us, so I invite adults to embrace the good it can bring. However, there are certain skills that our children may be (somewhat) lacking in how to function and have relationships in a non-virtual way. Here are 5 real life skills for high-tech kids. Read more

5 Ways to Dial Down the Drama: Studio 5

Are you a Drama Queen?

Most all of us have experienced drama at one time or another. Maybe it’s with a gossipy co-worker, an overbearing family member, or a nosy friend. But how do you know if you yourself are the one being overly dramatic? Self-awareness is key, but the problem is that most people who really struggle with this are entirely oblivious to the fact. Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine whether or not you’re a drama queen (as well as some tips to help you not let drama get the better of you):

1. Do I lash out with others when I’m not included?

In my clinical practice, I’ve often seen this manifest in relationships with in-laws. For example, a woman I worked with was upset when her mother-in-law had a fun outing with others in the family but didn’t include her. If this kind of situation happens to you, how would you handle it? Some might take extreme offense, harbor great resentment, become overly dramatic, and lash out. Others may stay silent and conceal that it was painful to be excluded. But I challenge my readers to assume positive intent and then simply ask for what you want. It’s okay to say something like, “That was probably a fun thing you all did. It hurt me a little to not be invited. I’d love to be included next time around.”

–> Avoid the drama by being direct and assertive and not lashing out or gossiping.
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Looking to Improve Your Health? Try a Little Optimism!

When things don’t go our way, suggestions to simply “think positive!” or “look on the bright side” can come off as trite and irritating. Why even try to be optimistic when going through heartbreak, financial problems, stress, failure, and any other emotional hard balls life throws at us?
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One of the difficulties of being optimistic is that we are biologically wired to focus on what is negative in order to protect ourselves. It can be much easier to identify when something is off in our lives, as it disrupts our normal routine, than it is to feel at peace when there is no problem or threat. In what social scientist Dennis Prager calls the “Missing Tile Syndrome,” human beings are more prone to see what’s absent or wrong than they are to focus on what’s present or right. So yes, there is certainly justification for a “woe is me” attitude, but still I urge you to fight that natural tendency and try out a little optimism; your soul and body may thank you! Read more

Reflections on Brené Brown’s New Book “Rising Strong”: Studio 5

For this segment of Studio 5, I wanted to change things up a bit and offer my perspective on another therapist’s work. Dr. Brené Brown has become a household name since her famous TED talk a few years ago. To say I’m a huge admirer of hers would be an understatement; the insight she offers about vulnerability, shame, and courage are transforming our culture. This week, I sat down with Brooke to talk about Brené’s new book “Rising Strong.”
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How to Break Into an Adult Clique: Studio 5

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The word “clique” often has a negative connotation and may bring up feelings of exclusive peers in Junior High, but adult cliques exist as well. It may not be a pleasant word, but the truth is that like-minded individuals often form social groups to discuss shared values, lifestyles, and interests. These groups can be intimidating, especially if you are looking from the outside in and would like to be a part of them. Here are some strategies to break into an adult clique:

1.  Don’t Take It Personally

If you feel like you’re not in the loop with a certain group or you haven’t been invited to participate, try not to take it personally (though this is easier said than done). Remember that people often organize themselves based on commonalities (working at the same company, playing tennis, homeschooling their children, etc.), and if you don’t feel involved, it’s likely not that someone is trying to intentionally exclude you. And perhaps members of a certain clique don’t necessarily feel like they need to expand their circle, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t.
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