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“Bringing Parntership Home” Article Published in Peer-Review Journal

As part of my dissertation study I created a model of family transformation to help families move from a dominator systems based on ranking and domination, to a partnership organization that values cooperation, caring, connection, collaboration, celebration of all contributions, compassion, conscious language usage, and creativity. Based on Riane Eisler’s Cultural Transformation Theory, my Partnership Model of Family Organization offers a path for families to shift to a more nurturing and supportive system.

Bringing Partnership Home: A Model of Family Transformation

Free Access: Read and download the full article here http://pubs.lib.umn.edu/ijps/vol2/iss1/4/

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7 Keys to Creating An Amicable Divorce: Guest Post

My friend and trusted colleague Michelle Farris, LMFT offers the guest post with great advice for divorcing couples about how to manage your own pain, end the blame cycle, and minimize the negative impact of divorce on your children.  

What about the kids? Every divorce parent worries about what divorce will do to their kids. It may keep you up at night obsessing over how you could prevent your children from experiencing such pain. As a clinical counselor, I want you to know that there is something you can do. It may sound like an impossible task, especially if the pain is still fresh. You might be thinking that I don’t understand. Based on my own experience, believe me I get it. I know firsthand the importance of creating a positive connection with an ex. We worked hard to lessen the impact by keeping communication open and eventually transformed our divorce into a working friendship. As a result, a harmonious (and yes, divorced) family unit was born. And my son loves it.

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5 Ways To Be an Amazing Mother-In-Law: Studio 5

When an adult child gets married, it can be difficult for his/her parents to navigate their new role as an in-laws. I am learning this myself, as my oldest son got married in the not too distant past. Unfortunately, our culture has created a negative stereotype of in-laws (particularly mother-in-laws), but your own experience can be a positive one! Here are 5 ways to be an amazing mother-in-law:

5 Ways to Be an Amazing Mother-In-Law

1) Expect and Embrace Differences

A family unit can thought of as a sort of “organism;” it has its own traditions, belief system, and even its own quirks. When a new person enters this family (through marriage), there are bound to be differences. Recognize that there is no such thing as a completely seamless transition, and expect  your new son-in-law or daughter-in-law to do some things in a new way. You can learn to celebrate these differences as well! It can also be helpful to talk about family expectations in order to navigate this change. Read more

How to be a Sex-Positive Parent: Studio 5

Even the most confident of parents often feel uncomfortable with the prospect of talking to their children about sex. Most understand that if we fail to talk about it, they will learn about it from media and peers, and that it is our responsibility to do so to ensure that they have accurate information.But still, it’s not an easy conversation to have! And even for those who are brave enough to do so, how can we best help our kids not only know the facts, but also have a healthy attitude toward their bodies and understand sex in a way that will benefit them? Here are 5 ways to be a sex-positive parent:

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Ask Julie: I Feel Like a Failure As A Mom And Fiancee

Q: I am a stay-at-home mom, and lately, I have been feeling like a failure. I feel like I can’t do anything right and that everything I do goes unnoticed. I have a wonderful fiance, who works hard to take care of our family and who loves me very much, but the problem lies with me. I can’t express my feelings to him. I have so much guilt inside of me: I feel guilty when I need money and my fiance gives it to me. I feel guilty if he comes home and the house isn’t spotless, even when the baby was a handful. I feel guilty if I take time for myself or if we go out without the baby. I feel guilty when the little one cries or throws tantrums when my fiance is at home, because I am supposed to be a good mother and a good housekeeper and a good fiancee, but I don’t feel like I am. I am a failure at everything, and I am just so sick of crying everyday. How do I get past this? Please, please help me.

A: Thanks for your email. You sure put a lot of pressure on yourself! But who says you have to be a perfect fiancée, house keeper, or good at finances? It sounds like you want to be more than just good at those things, it sounds like you want to be perfect. I wonder if there’s something deeper going on, or how you learned to be so hard on yourself. Watch the video for the full answer.

Take good care of yourself!

Julie Hanks, LCSW

Passive-Aggressive Conversation Killers: Studio 5

Some people joke that women talk in code (and there’s probably some small truth to that!). But what if women owned up to their mixed messages and instead spoke their truth and said what they meant? That’s the topic behind this round of “What To Say Instead.” While it can be tempting to speak somewhat passive-aggressively, it’s much better to be honest and authentic about our feelings.

The following scenarios are ones in which woman mask their true emotions with trite sayings. But doing so is harmful to relationships because it’s deceptive and can limit intimacy. Read about better things to say to communicate and bridge those connections:

Scenario #1: Jane gets a call from her sister. At the time, she is trying to make dinner for her family, take care of her sick baby, and help her recently unemployed husband comb through job applications. Her sister asks how she is doing. Her response: “I’m fine.”

What To Say Instead - If this is a sister with whom she has a close relationship, it’s okay to open up! She doesn’t necessarily have to divulge all personal details, but saying something as simple as, “I’m having a really hard day, honestly” is telling the truth. There’s a pressure as women to appear as if something is going smoothly, but it’s okay to admit we don’t have it all together.

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Ask Julie: I’m Madly In Love with My Ex-Therapist!

Q:  I am madly in love with my ex-therapist.  This is not transference; I truly love her! I never had the chance to tell her, and now we no longer talk to one another. This has and is still bothering me. I can’t stop thinking about her, and it is killing me inside everyday! I wanted to tell her back then during sessions, but was afraid to, and now I will never have the opportunity to ever tell her. This is not healthy…what should I do? (28 year old female)

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Ask Julie: My Anxiety Is Hurting My Relationships

Q:All my life, I have never been able to do what i like to do for the fear of being judged by other people. It has come to such a point that I cannot think for myself; it always has to be “if I do this, what will others think?”I have good friends who keep advising me to be more social, but my fear gets the better of me. I haven’t had a serious relationship in a long time. I am scared if that if I keep being such an introvert, I’ll end up with no life. I have lost all sense of emotions in the last few months and am becoming desperate for companionship and just to be accepted.

A: Thank you for writing in. I wish I could talk to you to clarify how long this has been going on. I do have a few thoughts, though. You may have developed social phobia or another form of anxiety disorder. What you’re describing sounds like more than just simply being introverted. I really think you should get some help from a professional. Watch the video for the rest of this answer.

Take good care of yourself!
Julie Hanks, LCSW

5 Ways to Develop Resilience: Studio 5

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Everyone goes through challenging experiences: loss, illness, divorce, and other hardships can take a heavy emotional toll. Resilience is being able overcome these kind of struggles and is the ability to “bounce back.” But you don’t have to wait until the storms hit to develop this skill. Here are 5 ways to build resilience for when you really need it:
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How to Help an Unhappy Friend: Studio 5

How to help and unhappy friend: Julie Hanks, LCSW on Studio 5

True friends often go through a lot together. They experience the joys and good times, and sometimes they seeeach other through harder seasons of life as well. But it can be difficult to know exactly how to react when a friend is weathering a particularly difficult storm or is in some way unfulfilled. Here are 5 strategies to employ when a friend is unhappy:

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