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Ask Julie: Anger Issues Due To Childhood Abuse

Q: I have acknowledged the fact that I have an anger problem, but I have not been able to find a way to deal with it. When I get angry I scream, curse, and get verbally abusive with the person that I am angry with. I have broken objects by throwing them across the room or by simply breaking them myself. I have injured myself by punching and kicking walls and random objects. Whenever I try to control my anger I feel light-headed, weak and shaky. After my anger passes I feel frustrated because I couldn’t control myself and break down in tears.

I have seen a therapist before for my anger issues and it only helped me for a couple of days before I was my old self again. While in therapy the therapist handed me a paper with a list of questions, one of the questions being; “have you ever been sexually abused?” I answered no, even though I experienced sexual abuse as a child. When I was 7 I started being abused by a close family mem

ber, it lasted until I turned 11 1/2 years old (when I started puberty.) I have never told anybody about it because I feel embarrassed and ashamed of the fact that the abuse lasted for so long. I know that the abuse was not my fault but I find myself constantly blaming myself for it because I never told anyone about it. I’m now 21 years old and I am afraid that I will hurt someone due to my anger. The relationships that I have been in before have not lasted long due to my anger and I’m tired of not being in control of my emotions.

I am seeking advice for what I should do to try and resolve my problem. I know that by talking about my abuse with someone I might be able to let the emotions that I have locked inside out, but I know that I will never be able to talk to someone about it due to the embarrassment that I feel. So I’m kind of at an edge here. Any type of advice would be helpful and greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.

Click the arrow below to listen to the therapist’s response…


To find a therapist who can help resolve your abuse issues click Find Help.  Please visit for more resources to heal from male childhood sexual abuse.

Take good care of yourself!

Julie Hanks, LCSW

*This is my first Ask the Therapist AUDIO response. What do you think? Like it, hate it? Let me know your thoughts.

I’ve Never Met A Shrink Who Didn’t Need One

[25/365] On the couch (Explored)

My grandpa used to say, “I never met a shrink who didn’t need one,” as if that was a valid reason for not seeking help for mental health problems. After being a therapist for nearly two decades, I totally agree with my Grandpa.

Therapists are an interesting and colorful bunch and we definitely have our own share of mental health problems. I’d take grandpa’s phrase even farther by saying I’ve never met a person who didn’t need a shrink. We can all benefit from examining our experiences and getting an outside perspective from a mental health professional during difficult times.

The most effective therapists I’ve worked with, as a colleague and as a client, are those who’ve already worked through some of their own mental health and relationship struggles with a therapist, have a handle on their own pain and vulnerability, understand their family relationship patterns, and are comfortable walking with others through their pain. Not only is working through issues with your own therapist good for your own mental health and personal relationships, it’s also good for your therapy practice.

Read more

National TV Appearance on Secretly Pregnant on Nov. 3 on Discovery Health

Tune in Nov. 3rd 8PM MT to Discovery Fit & Health

No. I’m not secretly pregnant. Several months ago I got a call from a casting company asking if I’d be willing to do some pro bono therapy with a woman in Salt Lake for a women’s health documentary show about women who are hiding their pregnancies. I agreed and the next day a producer, crew, and new client “Jen” came to Wasatch Family Therapy to film the first of 2 sessions for the show. Would you let a camera crew sit in on your therapy session? Surprisingly, after a while I forgot they were even there and was really able to connect with and help “Jen”.

Here’s a little clip from behind the scenes.


Here’s more about the show:

Each episode of “Secretly Pregnant” follows the experiences of two women who, for various reasons, have hidden their pregnancies from their family, friends, boyfriends and/or bosses, and follows them through the emotional reveal of their secret and the aftermath that includes the birth of the baby.

Local therapist Julie Hanks, LCSW and Salt Lake City resident “Jen” will be appearing on the November 3 episode of Discovery Fit & Health’s new series “Secretly Pregnant.” As part of the episode Hanks will be providing therapy, with the cameras rolling, for Jen who is hiding her pregnancy due to fears that stem from the traumatic stillbirth of a previous pregnancy.

Here’s more about the show on Discovery Health

Watch the episode trailer

Peek behind the scenes during the shoot

I’m Giving Away Therapy Oct. 3-7: Free Therapy Week In Utah County

Get free therapy & help your community

My therapy clinic is opening a Provo office!

To celebrate our grand opening of Wasatch Family Therapy Provo location we are offering free 45 minute therapy for new clients who bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the Provo Community Action Food Bank.

When: October 3rd – October 7th

Where: Wasatch Family Therapy Provo Office
363 N University Ave, Suite 108A, Provo UT 84601

Participating therapists include:
Clair Mellenthin, LCSW, RPT, Julie Hanks, LCSW, BCD, Mike Morgan, AMFT, Kate Hofer, LPC, or Christine Holding, MFT Intern

*News clients only

*Offer only good at Provo location

*Sessions are first come, first served basis

To schedule your free session: click here


Ask Julie: Confused Future Psychologist

What should I focus more on in my 10 year journey to get my doctors in psych?

A: First of all, how great that you know which direction you’d like to study in graduate school while you’re still an undergraduate student. Here are a few bits of advice that may help you on your educational journey.

Volunteer or work in the field. Volunteer or get a job in the social service field to learn more about what areas of psychology you most enjoy.  Experience will also be a great addition to your graduate school applications.

Keep a high GPA.  A high GPA will help you will help you to have more options when applying to graduate schools.

Take a variety of courses. As an undergraduate student, take a variety of psychology and social science courses to give you a broad overview of the field.

Work as a research assistant. Getting firsthand exposure to the research projects will help you understand and get comfortable with the research aspect of your doctoral studies.

Get into therapy. If you haven’t already done so, experiencing being on the patient/client end of the therapeutic relationship is the best training you’ll have. It will better prepare you for the emotions that will inevitably come as part of working in the mental health field.

Good luck in your studies!

Julie Hanks, LCSW

Sexual Abuse Collection: Mormon Women Project

Several months ago I stumbled onto an amazing website called Mormon Women Project that tells stories of Latter-day Saint women around the globe. Founded by a Neylan McBaine, I contacted her to congratulate her on the site, and let her know that I’d love to help her efforts in any way that I can. Neylan took me up on my offer and asked me to participate in an amazing collection of sexual abuse stories by LDS women by commenting on them from a therapist’s perspective. I’m honored to be a part of this moving collection of 3 women healing from abuse.

Read Accounting for the Debt: A Sexual Abuse Collection


Building a Therapy Practice Using Technology: featured in Social Work Today


I LOVE technology — Facebook, Twitter, websites, YouTube, e-newsletters, Google and not just personally, but I have also used technology and social media to help build my therapy practice Wasatch Family Therapy.

Well, my love of technology and my therapy practice, Wasatch Family Therapy, was featured in May/June 2011 Social Work Today Magazine’s cover story “Building A Practice In A Digital World”! Not just mentioned, but the article starts out with…

“Julie Hanks, LCSW, has a self-professed love of technology, and it shows.

Hanks is owner and clinical director of Wasatch Family Therapy in Cottonwood Heights, UT. The practice has its own website, Facebook page, Twitter account, and YouTube channel. Hanks and her staff send an e-newsletter each month, use Google’s calendar function for client scheduling, and send bills through e-mail.

“Why not embrace technology? It’s here and it allows us to make such an impact,” Hanks says. “Social workers, of all people, should be on the forefront of using technology for educating and making client interactions easier.”

While many social workers and other mental health professionals in private practice are not as tech savvy as Hanks, an increasing number of them are using technology ”particularly social media” to market their services. This has started a debate among social workers about whether embracing technology is simply a necessary business move or a trend that puts the profession’s ethics in jeopardy. And the speed of technological change is leaving many social workers to fend for themselves as they try to navigate the digital world.

Read the article “Building A Practice In A Digital World”

Download “Building A Practice In A Digital World” article PDF

Consulting for Therapists

I’ve had many requests by therapists to consult and coach on business and marketing aspects of building a private practice so I’m excited to announce that I’ll be holding a monthly business consultation group for therapists starting next Tuesday 6/7 & also offering individual practice consultations in-person or via Skype.

Men & Depression Interview

Last week Dr. Todd Dunn & I did an interview with Rebecca Cressman of Utah Families show on FM100.3 on Men & Depression.

Did you know that men’s

depression symptoms may differ from women?

Did you know that many men mask their depression by substance use, working excessively, or engaging in reckless behavior?

Do you know that 7% of men in any given year suffer from depression?

Do you know how to spot warning signs?

Get tips on how to help the men and boys in your life become more emotionally healthy and where to get help if you or a loved one is suffering from depression

Listen to “Men & Depression” interview online HERE

Dr. Todd Dunn is a Licensed Psychologist at Wasatch Family Therapy specializing in men’s mental health & I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker & Owner/Clinical Director of Wasatch Family Therapy.

For information about therapy visit our website or call 801.944.4555.

God In Therapy Interview on

Since I work with so many religious clients I was delightful to participate in this interview on the topic of God in Therapy with CR & Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC who host the Therapy Soup Blog. Here’s the first Q & A in the interview titled “God in Therapy: Songwriter & Psychotherapist Julie Hanks Shatters Stereotypes.”

Q: “We’re the first to say our own view may be somewhat limited due to lack of exposure and we don’t want to fall guilty of stereotyping, so can you reflect a bit on Mormon culture in general?

A: Unfortunately, much of the media coverage on “Mormon” extremists, like Warren Jeffs for example, aren’t actually even Mormon and in no way represent Mormon culture or lifestyle.

Most practicing Mormon’s are fiercely dedicated to taking care of their families. They also generously donate time and resources, are conscientious community members, and genuinely trying to make the world better.”

Read the entire PsychCentral interview HERE