The challenge of parenthood is not in seeing the pregnancy through and ensuring a safe delivery for the baby. It’s what will happen afterward – raising the child and seeing him grow into an emotionally healthy and responsible adult, one who is self-disciplined and considerate of other people’s feelings. It may involve a lot of struggles, challenges and some hair-pulling. At times, you may even need to seek family counseling in Utah to help you gain more techniques on how to discipline your child.

Establishing a System of Discipline

One important element you need to establish as a parent is a system of discipline that includes:
– Setting rules on behavior and responsibility
– Providing for rewards for positive acts
– Imposing consequences for negative behavior

Providing consequences for a child’s actions teaches the child to be responsible for his choices and behavior, to prepare them to face the world on their own, as adults. Consequences may involve logical consequences (the logical result of his actions) or loss of privileges.

Here are some things to remember when creating and enforcing an “action and consequence” system for your child:
– Provide structure. Write down the rules and corresponding consequences. This way, you don’t easily fall into the trap of providing consequences based on your emotions. Make a list of offenses and consequences so that the child knows what to expect.
– The consequences are best related to the actions. For instance, if the child gets a low grade due to failure to turn in assignments, it may work better to restrict TV or internet access, rather than ordering him to clean the garage. The first is related and is even a natural consequence of the offense. Or, if the child throws a tantrum and flings his toys about, the consequence is for him to be required to clean up the mess he made. Sending your child to his room may not be as effective when he can simply watch TV or play with video games there.
– Have a reasonable set of consequences. If it does not pose a risk to the child’s safety, allow him to experience the natural consequence of his actions. For instance, if he does not take care of his toy and it gets broken, it means that he can’t enjoy that toy anymore. According to Utah counselors, don’t set out consequences you know are impossible or unreasonable. “You are banned from the phone forever.” is not a reasonable consequence and does not give the child the motivation and opportunity to redeem himself and do better. It should be restricted to a certain period. Also, unreasonable consequences will only breed anger and resentment in your child.
– Consequences should still be respectful of the child. Arguments still abound with regards to a dad who used his child’s Facebook account to show a video of him decrying his child’s action and shooting his child’s laptop. Publicly humiliating your child is a no-win solution.
– The consequence should be given close after the offense. If your child misbehaves, the consequence should be right after the act. Giving a consequence 3 months after the fact is not effective.
– Give consequences for good behavior, not just for bad. This will show your child that you don’t only notice bad behavior; rather, good behavior is also rewarded. This will give him something to reach for.
– The consequence should be age appropriate. Expecting your teen to ponder and change bad behavior after you have made him “face the wall” is largely ineffective. However, a teen will especially “feel” the consequence if it means restricted access to the Internet or the loss of privilege to go out with friends.
– Show consistency.Don’t selectively impose the rules. Your child should be able to know what to expect. Usually, your child will show some resistance when you introduce a new set of rules. However, when you show that you will impose it every time, it will send a message that you mean business. If you have difficulty applying the rules consistently, get the help of the people around you – teachers, other family members or your Provo counselor.
– Seek help. If your child has problems following the rules and may exhibit behavior that is dangerous to himself and to others, it may be time to go for family counseling in Provo. This is particularly important when there are signs of alcohol or substance abuse. A Utah substance abuse counselor can provide the guidance to help your child recover from substance abuse issues.

Sexual addiction: it’s something that brings shame and guilt – a personal secret that affects an individual in the core of his or her being. Sex addicts are consumed by sex and thoughts of sex that there is difficulty connecting with other people and building quality relationships.

The obsession will also impact other aspects of the addict’s life since the compulsion leads him or her to act regardless of negative effects to his or her financial, emotional, health and social situation. Sex addicts don’t care how and where they get their satisfaction as long as they get it, even when there obviously is no bond with sex partners.

Sex addicts are prone towards taking serious risks – engaging in sexual activities that may be hazardous not just to his or her relationship but also to his or her health. The acts may include:
– Being a peeping tom
– The use of pornography, phone sex or cybersex
– Going for casual, anonymous sex (i.e. having sex with prostitutes, one night stands, etc.)
– Indecent exposure
– Masturbation whenever the mood strikes
– Making obscene calls
– Sexual harassment, molestation or rape

The advent of the internet has made this addiction easier to indulge. The addict can obtain his “fix” online or arrange for hookups via the web.

According to statistics, some nine million Americans suffer from some form of sex addiction. The problem is further compounded by the fact that those struggling with a sex addiction also have substance abuse issues (i.e. the use of alcohol or drugs).

In the context of a married couple, sex addiction will have a profound effect on the relationship, especially upon the discovery of the addiction by the other spouse.  A married couple may need serious couples counseling in Provo for recovery from the devastation brought about by the sex addiction, as well as Utah substance abuse counseling to deal with the drug or alcohol abuse.

The Effect of Sex Addictions on a Marriage

The sexual addiction is wounding, especially for the other partner. Not only are emotional barriers built between the sex addict and his or her partner, it also builds feelings of insecurity and bitterness due to the seemingly unreasonable expectations and pressure brought on by the sexual compulsion. Sex between the married couple loses its joy and wonder, as it competes with the partner’s sexual addiction. There may also be issues with marital infidelity. Even the seemingly “innocent” act of looking at pornography can cause pain and bitterness, if one partner is not okay with this form of “adult entertainment”.

Fighting Sex Addiction

The first step is for a sex addict to want to stop and believe that he or she can do so. This can sometimes be a struggle since the sex addict is not even aware that he or she has an addiction. The other partner should not feel obligated to bear the burden of overcoming the addiction (which is properly the responsibility of the one with the addiction). However, the partner should also be patient and realistic in his or her expectations about the partner’s recovery.

Treatment of the sexual addiction would involve discovering how one can control the addictive behavior so that the individual can eventually develop a healthy sexuality. The treatment may also include couples or family therapy.

Therapy can be helpful for the couple to:
– Understand the issues surrounding the addiction
– Start the road to healing – for the addicted partner to heal from feelings of guilt and isolation and for the other partner to overcome feelings of bitterness and insecurity.
– Be equipped with tools to cope with the effects of the addiction, as well as tools to strengthen the marriage and family bond.
– Draft a recovery plan and break addictive patterns by having strategies as to how to act and react when the impulses strike and how to manage the stress that may arise.

Therapy in Provo, Utah

Recovery from sex addiction can be a challenge for the individual and the people he loves. But with the help of an experienced Provo, Utah counselor, the barriers are not insurmountable. A marriage can emerge stronger, more loving. Dr. Triston Morgan offers individual and family therapy for couples and families in Utah who struggle from these problems.

In the rapidly changing world of parenting, children seem to be growing up more rapidly than ever before. The world of teens and tweens is saturated with ever-increasing peer pressure and social anxiety. Children learn limits by testing them and it is vital for parents to enforce these limits. However, there are five considerable mistakes, or blunders that parents may be guilty of, which include:

  1. Worst Case Scenario Survival – Parents that expect the worst from their teens often sets teens up for disappointing disapproval. Giving children the message that they are only “good” if they are not being “bad” sets them up for a disastrous outcome. Parents who teach children that they have negative expectations can often expect this to backfire, causing a child to act out this negativity and make parents’ worst fears a reality. Connecting with children creates an environment where open communication receives positive enforcement.
  2. But I read in a parenting book …” – Often this statement is enough to make someone cringe. The over abuse of reading every parenting book available is actually detrimental to the parent-child relationship. Parents who read every book available on child rearing are often stressed, brimming with worry and negativity. Parents who do not rely on their own internal instincts and parenting skills and try to replace them with every child-rearing theory in existence, typically end up far worse than those that trust their guts. While parenting books can be helpful, limiting the number, and only using the articles to gain perspective is a more positive approach to childrearing. 
  3. Focus on the big picture, not the small picture – If a parent does not care for a child’s self-expressionism, haircut or clothes, it is also important to understand when to draw the line and when to let miniscule things go. As long as a child’s choice of clothing is not provocative, parents may decide it is better to allow their child to experiment with self-expression than alienate him/her. Children have to experience life – to a degree – by themselves. Parents are not able to shelter children forever and childhood unfortunately involves experiencing disappointment, hurt, failure and pain.
  4. Ignoring the Big Picture – Many parents would rather ignore suspicions that their child is using drugs or abusing alcohol. In fact, parents need to address these problems immediately otherwise they could rapidly escalate. Today there are more drugs available to children, posing major health risks and concerns. A popular choice trend between teens includes huffing, abusing cough medicine and mistreatment of over the counter medications.
  5. Iron Fist vs. Kid Gloves: Finding the Middle Ground – Some parents employ harsh iron fist parenting tactics that can push children away, making them feel disciplined for every minor mistake and error. Other parents pursue the angle that they want their teen to be their friend and stray away from enforcing discipline. In reality, parents need to find a happy medium between these two extremes. Overly strict parents may stunt their child’s development by not allowing him/her to grow and become his/her own person. Parents who do not discipline do not provide the structure and foundation a child needs for sufficient self-discovery. Parents need to establish values and communicate these effectively to their children.

No one ever claimed that parenting was an easy task. In fact, it is not only an 18-year commitment, but also a lifetime commitment. Therapists in Provo are available to help parents build their parenting skills, including improving communication with their teen or tween. Family counseling in Utah is also a good option for parents that need a third party counselor to help initiate communication and healthy interaction with their child. Provo counselors receive special training that helps families focus on therapy in a safe environment, helping strengthen relationships and create healthy family bonds.

Life, they say, is a journey that has its peaks and low points. But these ups and downs are more pronounced, more emotionally damaging with a person who has bipolar disorder or manic depression.

Bipolar disorder can be likened to a ball that is continuously bouncing – times of high energy (or mania) and times of feeling extremely low, times where one feels he can do anything and times where one can’t find the energy to lift even a finger. There are also some cases where those with bipolar disorder dwell longer on the depressed “phase” rather than in the manic phase.

The intensity of these highs and lows are so high that one’s ability to function normally everyday are seriously impaired. Bipolar disorder will also wreak damage on one’s relationships with family and friends and to one’s professional life.

When left untreated, bipolar disorder can only worsen and produce obvious negative effects not just on emotions, but also in the physical aspect such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and migraines. Bipolar disorder will also affect one’s concentration, appetite, judgment, energy level and self-esteem.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, bipolar disorder strikes about 2.6% of Americans that are 18 years old and above every year. This means that the number of persons with this disease is on the rise. The disease is also equally distributed between men and women, and all races, ethnic groups, ages and social classes. Also based on statistics by the National Institute of Mental Health, there is an indication that bipolar disorder is a inheritable disease as close to 70% of those with bipolar disorder also have at least one close relative with bipolar disorder or major depression.

The Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Although bipolar disorder is seen as jumping from one extreme to the other, bipolar disorder symptoms may actually vary from person to person. Each person may have different patterns where the severity of each phase of the cycle, as well as the frequency, varies. There are some manic depressives who shift from mania to depression at more or less regular intervals. There are also some that lean more towards either mania or depression. The intensity may vary where you can have sever mania or hypomania (mania that is mild to moderate) and severe depression or mild to moderate depression.

Mania. During this phase, one may have bouts of high energy and creativity. There may even be a flurry of hyperactivity and euphoria, where one has an unrealistic view of his abilities and powers – he feels he can do and be anything he wants. There is a feeling that one is never wrong. The danger with this phase is that there is a tendency to perform destructive acts – ringing up thousands of dollars in one’s credit card, making very rash personal and career decisions and engaging in sexual promiscuity. Those in this phase may:

–          Be highly aggressive and may pick fights with others

–          Talk a mile a minute

–          Be very restless and irritable and easily distracted

–          Sleep very little (as he feels there is little need for sleep)

–          Indulge in substance abuse: drugs, alcohol and sleep medications

Hypomania. This is more manageable than mania since it is less severe. There is also a heightened sense of euphoria and productivity. At this time, one is in unusually high spirits. Those in the hypomanic state are able to continue with daily functions and still keep their sense of reality. However, there may still be cases where decisions made during this state can be damaging to the persons involved.

Mild to moderate depression. This phase is marked by a persistent feeling of sadness, fatigue, emptiness, hopelessness or anxiety. During this phase, one may lose interest in performing day-to-day activities, in food and in sex. When those in a manic state are prone to making rash decisions, those in the depressive state can hardly make decisions and will have difficulty focusing and remembering.

Severe depression. This phase is also dangerous as those in this phase often exhibit suicidal tendencies. They will neglect themselves to the point where they are not able to eat or sleep properly and will forget about maintaining their hygiene or appearance. There may also be times when they behave as if they have a death wish. During this phase, there is a higher risk with people who have a tendency towards substance abuse to attempt suicide.

Help for Bipolar Disorder

Treatment for bipolar disorder may be a long term activity. It is also highly encouraged that those who exhibit symptoms of bipolar disorder seek an experienced psychiatrist who can provide treatment, including medication. And, to get an accurate diagnosis of a person’s symptoms, one should undergo a comprehensive evaluation that encompasses the person’s medical, psychological and social condition.

One can also benefit from the help of a Utah therapist to get coping tools to deal with damages in relationships, manage stress, as well as cope with the negative and difficult feelings or behaviors. With therapy, one can know how to avoid the triggers and minimize the possibility of a relapse.

Help for Loved Ones

Undoubtedly, the loved ones will also need help in dealing with this illness. It is important for the patient’s recovery that he has the continued support and encouragement from people he loves. And his family may need some help in this area. They can seek family therapy in Provo to help provide them with the tools needed for them to properly support their loved one.

With Utah family counseling, family members can:

–          Be more aware of the symptoms, monitor the patient’s moods and watch out for damaging or destructive behavior.

–          Gain perspective about the disorder and know the “proper” way to respond to the loved ones’ actions and symptoms

–          Work together to ensure that the home environment is healthy and supportive not just for the patient but for the rest of the family members

–          Minimize the patient’s stress

–          Help the patient make healthy choices

–          Help the patient care for himself – i.e. ensuring that a regular sleeping and eating schedule is kept

Don’t wait to get help until it’s too late! If you are looking for an experience family therapist in Provo, Utah, be sure to book an initial appointment with Dr. Triston Morgan. In the span of Dr. Morgan’s practice, he has gained extensive experience in helping individuals and families triumph over the difficulties they have in life.


The wicked stepmother… We have the fairy tales to thank for stories where stepmothers (and stepsisters) are viewed in a negative light. But with the increased number of divorces and single parents who marry again, 6 out of 10 remarriages usually have children from previous marriages or relationships. Also, according to Pew Research Center, in 2011, there are 13% of adults who are stepparents in a blended family.

Marriage (or the blending of two individuals) is hard enough to manage.  Imagine the situation if you try to blend two families with various members having different personalities. It’s only a matter of time before there will be clashes between a stepparent and child and between stepsiblings. There may be feelings of disappointment or frustration when the “new” family does not seem to gel the way one wants it to. It may be challenging, but living (and loving) together in harmony as one happy family can be done.

When You Say “I do” the second time around

When you are planning on marrying someone who has children from a previous relationship, you must remember that you are marrying into a family. You are not just binding yourself to your future spouse, but to his or her children as well. In the same way, if you have children from a previous relationship, your future spouse is also “marrying” your children. You must seriously consider whether getting married is the option that you, as a couple, are willing to take. The difficult fact is that when a couple decides to get married, it is by their own choice. The children may not feel that they are given a choice in the matter.

If you have been previously married and divorced, children (and you yourself) may have emotional baggage about the previous marriage. Your children may still be mourning the loss of that family and may be wary of having a “new daddy” in place when all they want is their daddy. Stepping into a situation like this takes patience and love. Forming a blended family successfully will also take time.

You will need to set up the foundations even before the marriage. You will also need to develop a good relationship with the children, especially if these children are in their teens.  It will also be a challenge to expect these children to accept you and your authority as a parental figure.

Here are some issues that need to be addressed in a blended family:

–          Decisions that will have an impact on the whole family – where to live, how each one is to relate with the others and so on.

–          Jealousy (especially if there are children resulting from the “new” relationship)

–          Feelings of not belonging

–          Grief due to the loss of the previous family relationship

–          Confusion, especially over the new identity as a family

–          Resistance to the stepparent or stepsiblings. “Why should I listen to you? You’re not my mother?” This can be a possible response and must be addressed in a positive manner.

–          Relationships with members of the extended family. How do you deal with ex-wives or ex-husbands, as well as a “new” set of grandparents, uncles and aunts and cousins?

–          Implementing rules and discipline in the home.

How Family Therapy Can Help

Prior to marriage, it will be helpful to seek family counseling in Utah. This is a great way to start right and begin the journey through the maze of conflicting and negative emotions into building a home where everyone feels he belongs and is loved.

Couples’ pre-marriage counseling will help the future husband and wife to:

–          Discuss expectations with regards to important matters such as disciplining children, handling money, religion, celebrating holidays and other issues that relate with the family.

–          Discuss feelings regarding the previous failed marriage. Each individual can get help to dispose of emotional baggage that he or she may have been carrying as a result of a previous marriage.

–          Help you build a plan for the blended family. You can discuss how you will structure the blended family in such a way that every member feels that he or she is part of it.

Starting Right

Here are some tips as you plan for your blended family, even before your marriage:

–          Don’t make too many changes all at once. The children may still be adjusting to the loss of the previous family structure. If you are recently divorced, it is wise to wait for a year or two before you remarry.

–          Exercise patience and not force your way in. It will take time to build trust and acceptance. Stepsiblings will not instantly love each other. Stepchildren may not immediate see you as someone with the authority over them. Give the children time to ease into the new family.

–          Have realistic expectations. From the start, accept the fact that the “new” family will not fit the traditional pattern with traditional roles. Also, don’t immediately conclude that fights amongst stepsiblings are due to the blended family.

–          Find ways for the blended family to enjoy each other’s company. Take as many opportunities for all members to experience “life” together. For instance, invite your fiancé’s children to spend the night in your house or go on a camping trip together.

–          Be united as a couple. The issues that face a blended family may drive the spouses apart. It is important to remain committed to nurturing and strengthening your relationship. Make sure that you spend quality time together so that you stay united as you face the challenges in your blended family. This is particularly important if your children try to issue an ultimatum that you choose between them and your fiancé.

–          Provide stepchildren with their own space. When building your new home together, give each stepchild his own space, even when new siblings have to share a room. Give each child the freedom to decorate his or her own space.

–          Encourage open communication. Foster open communications where you are just there to listen to what your child feels about the prospective blended family.

–          Include them in the wedding ceremony. There are unity ceremonies which you can include in the wedding ceremony to make your children feel part of the union. For instance, in a sand ceremony, children from previous relationship can have an integral part in the program, where the officiating minister explains how each member has something to bring into the relationship.

–          Set limits and rules that members are expected to follow. Although children, especially teens, may chafe at boundaries set for them, limits and boundaries are actually a positive signal for the children. It shows that you love and care enough for them to want to spend time and attention in their development and discipline. However, you must also be realistic in that you can’t expect to be the enforcer of the rules as the stepparent. Let your spouse do the enforcing during the first few months when you come together as a blended family.

–          Get the help of a family therapist. An experienced Utah  family therapist will help, especially during the initial years of the blended family. If you are looking for a licensed marriage and family therapist in Provo, Utah, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Triston Morgan. Dr. Morgan is an experienced therapist who is licensed to practice in the state of Utah. He has been instrumental in helping individuals, couples and families go through the challenges they face and emerge as stronger, better persons.


Seeing red when a driver cuts in front of you or steals a parking slot you already have. Raising your voice when talking to a particularly insensitive customer service agent. Getting irritated when you get a prank call at 3 a.m. We all have felt the full range of anger – from mild annoyance to intense rage. It’s normal to feel angry. Anger, after all, is one of the emotions in our bag of human feelings and expressed properly, it is healthy. Anger is sometimes the body’s way to respond to attacks and threats, it enables us to defend ourselves against such threats.

However, there are “proper” ways to express your anger and there are ways that are not. You can suppress anger, express it or manage it. The best way to manage your anger is to express your feelings in an assertive (and not aggressive) manner. This allows you to make your feelings and needs known (and possibly have these met) without hurting others.

Anger may also be expressed in unhealthy manners. You may blow up and physically or emotionally hurt the people around you. Another way to express anger in an unhealthy manner is to try to suppress it or turn it inward. You can try to ignore your angry feelings, but in doing so, it may result in high blood pressure, tension or depression. It can also lead towards behaviors that display hostility and bitterness, or perhaps, passive-aggressiveness. Angry people who aren’t able to express their emotions well tend to be hypercritical, cynical and have a tendency to put others down.

When Anger takes the Better of You

How do you know if you have a problem managing your anger? Here are some symptoms to look out for:

–  An attitude of being constantly critical, short-tempered and easily provoked

– Tendency to want things done his way

– Uncontrollable outbursts that are often triggered by seemingly trivial matters and are manifested by throwing things or hitting people

– Tendency towards threats or acts of violence. Tendency to get into trouble with the law.

– Easily gets into a fight

– Tendency to abuse substances such as drugs or alcohol

– Vulnerability towards depression and anxiety

Anger Management

You may have to go for counseling in Utah when you feel that your angry feelings are going out of control. This will help you thresh out the root causes of your anger and provide you with tools to effectively express these feelings. Anger management Provo family counseling can help you identify the triggers that cause the anger, develop healthy reactions towards these triggers and give us tools to solve our anger management issues.

An anger management counselor will provide you with strategies to effectively manage anger:

Relaxation techniques. This is one way to calm yourself and keep angry feelings at bay. You can imagine yourself as a cube of ice that is slowly melting. You can take deep breaths and slowly count from one to ten (or even a hundred!). Other relaxation techniques include yoga exercises and calming yourself down by repeating a word or phrase such as “calm down” or “relax”.

Try to keep perspective. It is easy for you to be swept away by the angry emotions and feel that the world is conspiring to make life difficult for you. In your anger you might exaggerate the true nature of the situation. Keeping the proper perspective will help you keep your anger at bay when you realize that that anger isn’t warranted. It can also help you more easily answer the question, “Is this matter worth getting angry about?”

–  Learning to communicate. Anger may be caused by a mismatch of your and the other party’s expectations and behaviors. When you fail to communicate your expectations and also jump to conclusions about the other party’s behavior, anger can erupt. In learning better communication skills, you are able to express your feelings and also listen to what the other party has to say.

Getting solutions. Sometimes anger is caused by a real problem that needs a solution. Rather than chafe at the situation, you can explore ways to solve the problem or get around it. When trying to find solutions, anger can be a positive force to change things for the better. However, it is vital that you know which problems can be solved and which issues are out of your control.

Laugh it out. Keeping a good sense of humor can keep the edge of the angry feelings. Instead of raging at a situation, you can choose to find the humor in things. Remember, though, that sarcasm will not also work.

Sweat it out. One other outlet for anger is some exercise – such as jogging or going for a quick walk. Exercise produces “happy” endorphins that loosen up the anger and relax you.

Express your anger when you’re calm enough. This way, you are less emotional and confrontational and will not hurt others with your words.

Let go of grudges and forgive. They say that forgiveness is actually releasing a prisoner – you. As long as you hold a grudge, feelings of anger swell up every time you remember the incident or the person that did you wrong.

Change your environment. If you are able to identify some things that trigger your anger, it is sometimes best to avoid the aggravation. If going through a certain road at a certain time causes the traffic that so angers you, try to drive through another route or drive earlier in the day. If your child’s room particularly upsets you, close his room so you don’t see it. Avoid discussing important matters when you are tired or hungry.

Remember, anger management therapy is not about doing away with anger but with how you can positively and healthily express this anger. There are therapists that hold individual and group therapy sessions. If your anger issues may be affecting your relationship with your spouse, you can also go for Provo couples counseling.

Like a storm that uncontrollably washes wave after wave and threatens to drown you, sorrow and grief may engulf you and devastate you so that you are no longer able to function as you should. This is particularly true if the sorrow is combined with other similarly debilitating emotions – anger, guilt, bitterness and shock. Feelings of sorrow and grief may be caused by the loss of a loved one, dealing with a divorce, receiving news of a terminal illness, losing a home to foreclosure, the death of a pet, irreparable damage to an important relationship or friendship.

Although it seems like one will never fully recover from the grief and pain of loss, going through the grieving process is necessary for one to heal. Although everyone grieves in their own way, there are common reactions to grief.  These include:

Denial or shock. The first reaction would either be shock or denial. “That’s not true.” “I can’t believe this is happening.” “This is all a dream.” People who have lost a loved one sometimes feel that he can go home and see his lost loved one waiting there, safe and sound. As the shock of the moment fades, the grieving person will start to take in the reality of the loss.

Despair. During the early stages of grieving, the sadness may weigh too heavily that it seems too hard to bear. This is natural. When left unmanaged, though, this sadness may turn into depression. Although the sadness will never quite go away, over time, it will lessen in intensity.

Bitterness and anger.  Grief may cause you to feel angry or bitter and question the unfairness of what happened, why bad things happen to good people. The grieving person may look for someone to blame – God, the person who caused the accident that killed your loved one, or even the person who died.

Guilt. “The last words we exchanged were angry ones.””I never even got a chance to say goodbye.” Guilt over the grief may be doubly debilitating. You may also blame yourself somehow. The grieving person may go over the things he should have done while the person is alive.

Acceptance. Reality will start to set in that the loss is permanent and that there is nothing to be done but to accept it. Accepting the loss will help the person move on and heal.

When the negative feelings are left uncontrolled, it may result in some negative and hurtful behaviors. It may also result in physical symptoms. These include nausea, the inability to sleep, heaviness of the body, a tendency to overeat or to starve yourself.

Grief can be hard to bear but it can be managed. Here are some ways you can cope with your loss:

Surround yourself with friends and loved ones who support you. There is a time when you want to be alone with your grief. But it is important to find people who share your loss and who can grieve with you. These people will be invaluable as you deal with the arrangements necessary immediately after the loss (scheduling funeral services, arranging for the burial, packing your ex-spouse’s things, etc.).

Don’t disregard your physical needs. Grief will take its toll on you physically. It will make you more susceptible to illness. In order for you to heal and cope with your grief, make sure that you get the sleep and food you need.

Go get help. If as parents, you have to cope with the loss of a child, it is good to visit a couples counselor for you to be able to deal with the loss as spouses. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to get professional help. When the grief is particularly overwhelming that it negatively affects how you relate with other people and how you get on with your life, it may be time for grief counseling. Getting grief counseling will help you through the healing process. It is better to get help before it is too late and you find yourself getting depressed, develop severe anxiety or other psychological disorders.

Find other outlets for your grief. Use a journal, start a scrapbook project, learn pottery or painting or do something that will memorialize your lost loved one in a special way. Honoring your lost loved one’s memory creatively will help speed up the healing. That is why grief and loss counselors may use various kinds of therapy involving art, music or writing to help you. Avoid negative outlets such as alcohol and drugs. Go to a Provo substance abuse counselor when you find yourself seeking a drug high or alcoholic oblivion as a way to “forget”.

Be patient. There is no set time limit for grief. So don’t rush things for yourself.

Be comforted in the fact that you can survive a tragic loss. You will heal and find happiness in life even without someone you hold precious. Dr. Triston Morgan, who has a practice in Provo, Utah, can help you come to terms with your loss in a healthy manner. Dr. Morgan is a licensed Utah marriage and family therapist who has extensive experience helping couples and families establish stronger bonds and experience healing even in the face of a tragic loss.



Getting into a drinking binge at a party. Craving that constant high. A teen who starts having discipline problems at school and puts on a rebellious attitude at home. Someone who loses a job or plays the truant in school because he’s always sick due to a hangover. These may be signs of substance abuse.

Substance abuse can be defined as the pathological use of a substance – alcohol, drugs, prescription medication or tobacco. Although a person who has a substance abuse problem may not yet be considered an addict (and there are no issues with withdrawal symptoms), there will be undesirable consequences that will affect an individual’s family life, social life and work life. A person who has substance abuse issues may perform poorly in school or work, have problems with the legal system and may act negligently or carelessly so as to cause harm to themselves and others.

There is also the tendency that substance abuse can devolve into addictions, where people have this uncontrollable compulsion to indulge in his addiction of choice. Over time, there is a feeling of helplessness and lack of self-worth. What they are focused on is how to get the next fix.

It is especially sad for parents to see this happening to their children. Having a child who has substance abuse problems may be one of a parent’s worst fears. That is why it is important for parents to nurture a caring and supportive environment where children feel loved and are less vulnerable to turning to drugs and alcohol. Parents should also be on the lookout for possible substance abuse and act accordingly to help their child win over the temptation to indulge in substance abuse.

Parents should be on the lookout for:

Change in behavior. A teen who is into substance abuse may be suddenly sullen and rebellious and be more insistent about “privacy” and may withdraw from family events. You may notice a change in attitude as the teen becomes more hostile and sullen and may also be caught lying at times. As the substance abuse worsens, you may see increased conflicts with your teen, where he is becoming more and more out of control.

Have alcohol or tobacco in their breath. Or, they may try to mask it by going straight to their rooms to “freshen up”.

Declining performance in school. Grades may start to suffer and there may be complaints about delinquency and truancy, as well as discipline issues in school

Change of peer group. Your teen may start minimizing contact with friends who don’t share the substance abuse problem and may spend more time with other peers who are also substance abusers.

Change in activities. The sports and extra-curricular activities your teen used to enjoy may be dropped. Your teen may also be always “out with friends”.

Mysterious loss of valuables and money. Things may suddenly go missing around the house. Or, your teen may start borrowing money from you, their siblings, other relatives and friends.

Dealing with Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is oftentimes caused by underlying issues the teen feels he has no control over or that he is unable to deal with. That is why going for Utah substance abuse counseling is one important component in treating this problem. It is also most effective when counseling is also coupled with medical treatment.

Going to a substance abuse counselor in Provo will help the teen deal with the underlying cause of the substance abuse. It is also vital in helping them recover their healthy functioning and build healthy relationships with others. Counseling will also help provide essential tools on how to manage this problem and prevent relapses from occurring.

Substance abuse therapy may focus on the emotions and thoughts that lead to the problem. It helps the teens to look into their feelings and identify situations that lead them to the temptation to take on drugs and alcohol – and how these situations can be avoided. Other tools include relaxation techniques to help the individual resist the temptation, manage the stress or anxiety they feel at this time and explore healthy outlets for pent up emotions and anger.

Teens may also feel anger (at their families, friends and even themselves) and therapy will help delve into the root causes of this anger. Through therapy, they are given tools on how they can express this anger in a healthy manner and deal with it constructively.

Families who have a teen who is into substance abuse could also do well to have Utah family therapy. It is important to foster an environment where the teen can see his family and friends support him and make efforts to get him back on track. Family therapy will be helpful to identify if there are any behaviors by family members that “enable” a teen’s substance abuse problems. Family members (especially parents) are also provided with communication tools and how they can effectively resolve any conflicts within the family that may have contributed to the substance abuse problem.

When in Provo, Utah, be sure to look up Dr. Triston Morgan. He is a highly experienced substance abuse counselor in Utah and has treated teens in various settings.


Often adults think that they’re the only ones experiencing stress. But really, children and teenagers get stressed, too. And the stress may be all the more pronounced for teenagers, at the time when they are especially vulnerable. As adolescents struggle to establish their identity, these stressors can sometimes feel more overwhelming. It’s not easy to be a teenager these days!

Parents can be particularly helpful in providing their child with the tools to cope positively with stress. As Hodding Carger Jr. once said, “There are two lasting bequests we can give our children.  One is roots.  The other is wings.” When our children have the tools to positively deal with the stress, we actually prepare them for future life, helping them become more resilient, stronger and more able to face the challenges that life has in store for them.

There are times when the stress your teen is experiencing is a bit overwhelming that it eventually becomes a serious problem. You may have to turn to the help of family counseling.

Here are some of the common stressors teens nowadays have to deal with:

  1. Body Image pressures. Magazines, movies and even the internet parade sexy women and well-toned, well-muscled men. Teenagers may feel the pressure to look a particular way. They may become vulnerable to pressures to be “thin enough” or “sexy enough”. They may start developing an eating disorder, exercise excessively and be more preoccupied with how one looks and weighs.
  2. 2.       Pressure from peers. One of a teenager’s pressing needs is the need to belong, the need to be with the “in crowd”. Peer pressure may come in the form of being able to dress or behave a certain way or belonging to a certain group of friends. Peers may entice teenagers to join them in playing truant, having sex, drink alocohol or try other addictive substances.
  3. Relationships. One teenager was crying her eyes out. When asked by a parent, the teen laments, “I love Leonardo di Caprio, and I am just sad that he doesn’t even know that I exist!”. The teenage years is a period of discovery and teens start to feel attraction for the opposite sex (and in some cases the same sex). They may feel the pressure of getting noticed by the person they like. The stress becomes more pronounced when the teenager already has a boyfriend/girlfriend. Fights and breakups take on a large amount of emotional energy.
  4. Changes in their bodies. Puberty is a time when hormones are running amuck and when the body undergoes a lot of changes. These changes may feel overwhelming and sometimes frightening. Teenage girls may feel anxiety about getting her period or boys may feel awkward about their changing voices.
  5. School stress. The teenager may stress about getting good grades, balancing academics with his or her social life, deal with conflicts with teachers and other persons of authority or having too many activities on top of his academic life.
  6. Family stress. As teenagers start to explore boundaries, they may start questioning (or even testing) rules that parents may impose. Parents and teens may not also see eye to eye with many matters such as the teen’s schedule, his curfew, chores, phone and computer usage, friends, choice of college and so on. Siblings also add to the stress, as you can expect siblings to have spats from time to time. Family-related stress can also come in the form of parents divorcing, changes in the family’s finances, the sickness or death of a family member or the need to move to another location.

Helping our teens handle stress

Robert Heinlein reminds parents: “Don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy.” As parents, though, we can help our child cope with the stress positively and appropriately. Remember, the teenage years are a particularly challenging phase in any person’s life. The feelings and changes as well as the stress they have to deal with make them vulnerable to depression, drugs and alcohol use.

Be there for them. At this stage, it is important for a teenager to have someone he or she can talk to. Chances are, if he can’t talk to his parents, he will turn to peers for advice (and you’re not really sure what kind of advice his friends will give). Make your teenager understand that when he or she needs to talk, you are there to listen. Carve out time for one-on-one “dates”, as well as “group dates” with the family. Laugh and play together as a family. Make sure that you also have regular dinners together in your home and outside. This way, your teen knows that he can approach you anytime to discuss problems that have been bothering him.

Encourage your child to have a wide circle of friends. There are many areas where a child can meet friends such as school, the community center, your church or the local sports team.

Build your child’s sense of self and confidence. The teenage years is a time of doubt – about who they are, how they look. Make sure that you build your child and not tear him down. Find opportunities to praise him, point out his good qualities. A teenager with high self-esteem is more able to cope with stress than one who is riddled with self-doubt.

Encourage healthy outlets. This may come in the form of physical activity and sports. It may also be about hobbies and pasttimes. You can also encourage your child to express himself via a diary or journal. (Just make sure that you also respect your child’s privacy and resist the temptation to take a peek at what is written there.)

Finding help for our teens

Sometimes, it could also help to seek family therapy when family issues become a main source of teenage stress. Often, a teenager may need help expressing and processing his feelings and thoughts about a certain family situation. A licensed family therapist can help the teen thresh out the issues and the positive responses he can make.

There are also instances when problems with alcohol and drugs warrant the services of a substance abuse counselor to help the teen break out of his addictions. A family therapist that specializes and has experience handling teens would be a great help to teens as they try to learn to manage their stress.

Triston Morgan is one such therapist. He is licensed to practice marriage and family therapy in the state of Utah and he has had extensive experience treating adolescents, particularly in the area of substance use. Since starting his practice in Provo, Utah, Triston has been involved in wilderness therapy programs especially designed for teens. As a therapist in Utah, Triston is committed to helping local teens increase their emotional capacity and confidence.


Families can be our source of joy and pride. But sometimes they can also be a source of pain and heartaches. There may be fights, disagreements and arguments. There may be spurts of rebellion or other destructive situations. But still, we carry on because we are fighting for people that we love, for people who matter.

The occasional conflict among family members is to be expected. Conflicts happen. However, there are times when the struggles cause deeper damage and stress to the family. It is often important to identify some of the reasons why families struggle so that family members can make efforts to prevent conflict from happening unnecessarily. With hard work (and sometimes the help of a Utah family therapist), family members can get to a win/win result.

What are some of the common reasons why families struggle?

Lack of communication. Sometimes we speak with harsh words when “soft” ones will do. Sometimes we fail to listen to what is being said (or left unsaid). Conflicts also arise when people fail to express feelings and expectations and then blow up when these expectations are not met. For instance, parents may be sending mixed signals – being permissive one moment and being really strict the next. Lack of communication among family members can result in bitterness, shouting matches and fights. It will help for family members to develop communication skills – to learn to listen, clarify and contemplate what others are trying to say. This is especially necessary when children get to their teens and start being uncommunicative and sullen. Developing good communication skills earlier on will do your family good during this time. One important aspect in communication is learning to say “I’m sorry” and saying “You’re forgiven.” with equal grace.

Lack of or no respect. This goes for respect for the spouse, respect for a child, respect for a parent and respect for a sibling. Respect is one of the main ingredients in maintaining peace in the family. When respect is not present, spouses tend to should angry and foul words to each other. Children start to talk back and use foul words with their siblings. Respect also has to do with a family member’s privacy and property. Respect teaches us that each one has value and is worth being treated properly.

Tendency to take other family members for granted. The truth is, we are sometimes kinder to other people (even strangers!) than we are with our family. We forget to say the magic words such as “thank you”, “excuse me” or “please”.  We also easily forgive other people for mistakes that we don’t allow to simply pass when it is our sibling or loved one who does it.

Setting unrealistic standards. This commonly happens between the parent and the child. A parent may have set unrealistic expectations that don’t match the child’s abilities or the parent expects a child to take on responsibilities when the child is not yet ready. For instance, a parent may dream of having a virtuoso pianist, ace basketball player or straight ‘A’ student. This puts undue pressure on the child and makes him feel frustrated that he can’t meet the parent’s expectations.

Favoritism.  A parent who shows that he favors one child over the other sets the family up for conflict. It becomes deep-seated over time, causing resentment among siblings and pain to the child who feels that he is being loved less. The words “Why can’t you be like your brother here?” may be some of the harshest words a child can hear.

Changes/Crises in the family. There is a long list. A new addition to the family (a baby). Moving to another house. A child starting to go to school. The children’s teenage years. A family member getting sick. Parents getting a divorce. Problems in the family’s finances. These are some souces of conflict within the home.

These are just some of the causes of conflicts in the family. In the complicated arena of families, there are more. The point is, sometimes these conflicts produce wounds and scars that may take time and professional help (such as family counseling) to overcome.

With regular marriage and family therapy, loved ones can learn how to work as a team to sort out the conflict and get results that are satisfying to all family members. This is especially true if there are other issues underlying such as drug abuse or alcoholism (where you may need to work with a substance abuse counselor).

Finding Family Counseling in Provo, Utah

If you are located in Utah and would like to get the help of a family therapist, consider Mr. Triston Morgan. Triston Morgan is a licensed family therapist in the state of Utah, particularly in the city of Provo. Morgan provides therapy in a safe and non-confrontational environment where family members, couples or individuals can thresh out issues in order to strengthen relationships.

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