Struggling in your marriage? Not sure how to fix your communication problems? Tired of being stuck and not knowing how to get unstuck in your marriage? These are all common concerns for couples experiencing difficulties. There is help and a way to get unstuck! As a couples counselor in Utah County, over the years I have help couples find this success many times as they apply certain principles.

Marriage researcher, John Gottman, has found certain principles and developed a model of therapy to help couples find this happiness together. His work is based on researching hundreds of couples. Here are a few things he found that you can try with your spouse:

  1. ‘Enhancing your love maps’ – Love maps consist of how you understand each other and what you know about your relationship and your spouse. Knowing the intimate details of what your partner likes to do for fun to what stresses them out helps you have a stronger relationship.
  2. ‘Nurture your fondness and admiration’ – Creating fondness and admiration are crucial to having a long-lasting and satisfying relationship. One thing you are your spouse can do is participate in an activity called, “I appreciate”. This is where you list three or more positive characteristics your spouse has along with an example of each.
  3. ‘Turn toward each other instead of away’ – Whether this is literal or figurative, turning towards each other helps create an intimacy and healthy dependence on one another. Turning off the TV and listening to your spouse when they say they have had a hard day is a great example of turning toward each other. This might seem simple, but it goes a long way.
  4. ‘Let your partner influence you’ – Consider what your partner says and how they feel about things. Make decisions together as you discuss both of your points of view. These things will help you develop a strong relationship together.
  5. ‘Solve your solvable problems’ – Some problems can be solved and other constitute what Gottman would call ‘perpetual problems’. Work on the ones that you can do something about. The solvable problems have a feel to them that they are situational.
  6. ‘Overcome gridlock’ – What about the perpetual problems? They do seem unsolvable and for a reason! When dealing with these types of problems Gottman teaches that couples must move from gridlock to dialogue. If done right this can be done on your own with your spouse. Many couples find success with a marriage therapist to overcome these problems.
  7. ‘Creating shared meaning’ – There is so much more than the difficulty of marriage and life that you can share with your spouse. Enjoying life together, even in the smallest way, helps to create meaning that means something to both of you. Dream big and dream together!

This research can be found in John Gottman’s book, Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.

Happy marriages don’t happen on accident. It takes time and effort and can be done! In my Provo counseling center, I have found that couples who want to change and be happy can!

Marriage is not just founded on love and intimacy – it is also based strongly on trust and commitment. Infidelity is like a wrecking ball that can demolish this foundation and leave the marriage in shambles.

What is Infidelity?

Infidelity can be manifested in various ways, depending on how an individual and couple see it. The bottom line is that there are strong feelings for someone else other than your spouse. These feelings of connection are usually surrounded by deceit and secrecy. This can be an outright sexual affair, an emotional affair, a fling or one-night stand, an online dalliance or even unrequited feelings by a spouse that does not involve any physical contact.

Finding Out

The discovery of your spouse’s infidelity can turn your world upside down – the emotional morass of denial, anger, bitterness, shame, fear and guilt can be overwhelming. The pain of finding out your spouse’s betrayal can make you ready to call it quits. But then, you need to look at how strong your commitment is towards marriage and your belief of whether the marriage is worth saving or not.

Trust, once it is lost, will be hard to bring back. The same goes with respect and loyalty. Rebuilding a marriage that has been shaken in its very foundations will take time and commitment. But with hard work, two spouses can come out with a stronger marriage.

Here are some things that two spouses who have committed to the marriage can do:

– Put an end to the affair.  First, before the work of rebuilding can be done, you must stop the things that harm the marriage. Cut the affair cleanly, with no plans of going back to it.
– Be responsible. Apologize without making excuses or assigning blame. Don’t say, “I only did it because you were not paying any attention to me.”, “I was drawn to him because you don’t make me feel sexy anymore.” You are responsible for your choices. For the one who was cheated on, think about what you could have contributed that led to your spouse having an affair.
– Take a break. The time after the discovery of an affair is an emotionally-charged time. Give each other time to think things through by not pressuring him or her to make a decision at a time that emotions are running high. Don’t rush the betrayed spouse into “forgetting about it and moving on”. Give him or her time to lick his or her proverbial wounds and let them heal.
– Get help. If you have both decided that the marriage is worth saving, you can consider getting into marriage therapy. Utah marriage counseling can provide a non-confrontational venue for the two spouses to talk with an objective third-party facilitating. Each spouse must be willing to work it out with the help of a Utah counselor to put things in proper perspective for both of you, one who will help you thresh out the issues without being swept away by emotions.

How Marriage Counseling Can Help

Couples counseling in Utah can provide a great benefit to spouses seeking to survive the storms of infidelity. It can:

– Deal with negative feelings. This can include guilt, shame, anger, depression and fear that can result from the infidelity.
– Help thresh out issues. Infidelity can be a symptom of deep-seated problems in a marriage. Family counseling in Utah can help identify the issues that need resolving so that each spouse recognizes his or her part in making a stronger marriage that puts a premium on openness and honesty.
– Give support to the healing and forgiving process. Couples can start forgiving. For the betrayed, to forgive the unfaithful spouse for his wrongdoing. For the one who cheated, to forgive himself or herself for what he or she did and start the process of recovery.
– Equip with essential tools for repairing the relationship and building a better marriage. Provo marriage counseling can provide couples with tools that can lead to a union that is more open, more receptive and with each person recognizing his or her accountability towards the marriage.
– Determining whether the marriage could or should be kept intact. Sometimes, the foundation has not only been shaken but utterly torn down. It may be that the other spouse is not willing to work towards the marriage. Counseling can help you towards the decision to keep or let go of your marriage, but with the benefit of an experienced and impartial party providing guidance.


You anxiously wait for the results. With crossed fingers, you finally dare to take a peek… and heave a sigh of disappointment. It’s negative – just like the other times.

When a couple tries to get pregnant, the hopeful expectations develop into alarm when the “acceptable waiting period” has long since passed and the date with the stork is not forthcoming. They start dreading family and friends who keep asking, “So, when are you having a baby?” The couple decides to seek medical intervention. When the diagnosis points towards infertility, the two spouses may decide to go for infertility treatment. When this happens, it is best to also go for Provo marriage counseling to help deal with the challenges of the situation.

Infertility, Treatments, and its Effect on a Marriage

A baby is a blessing to a loving family. However, not all couples are blessed thusly. Some couples have to face infertility. On top of the medical challenges, infertility treatments can prove to be an emotional roller coaster ride. Without the necessary coping mechanisms and assistance coming from Utah marriage counseling, this struggle to have a baby produces a lot of stress between the two spouses.

Emotional pressure and stress. The treatments are truly stressful for both the husband and wife. As the menstrual period makes its appearance, both spouses experience disappointment after a period of anticipation. This cycle (treatments, anticipation, letdown) takes a huge toll on the couple’s emotions. The couple may also have feelings of loss (for the family they dreamed of), jealousy at other couples and shame (where the inability to bear a child makes the husband feel less like a man and the wife less like a woman).

Sexual tension. With the pre-occupation towards getting pregnant, sex no longer becomes a pleasure, but rather ruled by schedules. At this point, the wife may become demanding and insist that the husband be available and “able to perform” during the time she is ovulating. In turn, the husband, feeling the pressure, may have problems having an erection or maintaining it. There is resentment on the part of the wife (for the husband’s failure to help with the conception) and the husband (for the wife’s expecting command performances from him). There are also feelings of anxiety and disappointment. Thus, the vicious cycle continues.

Financial stress. Infertility treatments cost an arm and a leg. Sometimes, financial worries and disagreements over the treatments can also be a source for conflict such as how long the couple is going for infertility treatments and how much to spend.

Physical challenges. For the woman, infertility treatments are not just uncomfortable. They can be quite painful. The fluctuations in hormones caused by the medications can also result in moodiness and can heighten the stress and disappointment.

Now, what can you do to cope? Here are some things you and your spouse can do:
– Shift the focus from ovulation periods and basal thermometers. It will be helpful for couples (especially for women) to move attention away from menstrual cycles and make sex about intimacy. Procreation, after all, is just one of the aspects of sexual contact. Have fun with your spouse!
– Agree on infertility treatments. Both you and your spouse should agree on the length of time for the infertility treatments and when it is time to stop. You should also agree about alternatives in case the treatments don’t work. For instance, you can explore the prospect of adoption.
– Spend time together “baby-free”. Relate with your spouse without “conception” and “pregnancy” floating over your heads. Schedule nights out, weekend getaways and special dates without discussing how you can get pregnant.
– Seek help. It will help to get couples counseling in Utah to strengthen your husband and wife relationship. Remember, you don’t just need to prepare yourselves physically for parenthood. You also need to have a strong relationship to provide a baby with a loving family environment. During marriage counseling in Utah, be honest about your feelings and thoughts.

The pressure brought about by infertility may shake the foundations of a marriage so that it reaches breaking point. Don’t wait until the cracks have become so huge that family counseling in Utah comes too little, too late. Talk with your spouse and talk with your therapist. This will help you come out stronger as a couple.

Can a marriage survive infidelity? Can broken trust be regained? Or is infidelity the death knell of a marriage? It is like asking about the effects of a bomb blowing up in the middle of a city. The effects are horrendous and far-reaching. You can’t expect a quick recovery. It will take time and a lot of work to pick up the pieces and try to put them back together again. And really, the rebuilding process may mean that things will not be as they were before.

Infidelity statistics

According to statistics from the Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, marital infidelity strikes nearly 40% of marriages – where two-thirds of husbands and one half of wives have been unfaithful in one way of another. The aftermath of an affair is even more bleak – 65% of marriages where a spouse has strayed end in separation and divorce.

However, if you and your spouse are willing to stay together after an affair, there is hope. You can weather the storm and become even stronger as a couple. Getting marriage therapy in UT can also provide you with much-needed perspective and tools towards healing and forgiveness.

Dealing with the aftermath of infidelity will involve not just restoring the relationship, but also digging deep into the reasons why such an affair happened, as well as threshing out the feelings of both the “betrayer” and the betrayed. It is especially important for a couple to heal and move forward – the betrayer from his or her feelings of guilt and the betrayed from his or her feelings of anger, humiliation, bitterness and fears.

Dealing with Adultery

Marriage counseling in Provo can help but it is important to note that a marriage counselor will not make the tough decisions for you and your spouse. It is up to you to decide whether to stay on with the marriage and work towards recovery or to say goodbye. During your marriage’s lowest point, divorce may seem to be the most attractive and logical option. Feelings of anger and betrayal can lead you to this decision but, tempting as it may, it will be helpful to stop and think – especially about fighting for the marriage.  That way, you will not have any regrets about not trying “hard enough” to save the relationship.

Here are some key questions to help you decide to stay or go:
– Is the erring spouse giving up the affair? Before there is even a question of rebuilding the marriage, the erring spouse must have turned his or her back on the affair and ended it completely. Is the infidelity a one-off affair (giving in at a moment of weakness) or is it a chronic problem? Is the erring spouse willing to take full responsibility for the act of infidelity? If the erring spouse refuses to stop and is even defiant regarding his or her infidelity, then the betrayed spouse must make the tough decision of whether to stay or to get out of an unhealthy situation.
– Are both spouses willing to rebuild the marriage? For the part of the betrayed spouses, the process of granting forgiveness and getting over the pain is hard. He or she needs to be willing to grant the forgiveness and let go of the negative thoughts and feelings about the cheating spouse’s act. On the other hand, the cheating spouse should learn to accept the natural consequences of his or her betrayal. He or she can expect an emotional roller coaster from the other spouse. The betrayed spouse will need to be able to express his or her pain and anger without the cheating spouse giving in to the urge to fight back.
– Are both spouses are willing to undergo couples counseling in Utah?
There is no “restart button” that you can simply press and have everything back to what it was before. You may need the help of a marriage therapist to help you deal with both the underlying issues that caused the infidelity, as well as with the aftermath of the betrayal. This includes feelings of insecurity, negative thoughts, and rebuilding trust and self-confidence.

The process of healing and rebuilding a marriage after infidelity is long and arduous so you both have to be committed to it and feel that the efforts are well worth it.

For marriage counseling and therapy in Provo, Utah, you can go to Dr. Triston Morgan. Dr. Morgan is not only PREPARE/ENRICH certified, he is also a licensed marriage and family therapist. For years, he has been helping couples in Provo, Utah strengthen and rebuilt marriages and when that fails, to help individuals and children affected by the situation.

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.


Who doesn’t want to be body beautiful? We want to be racing a la Katy Perry in our skin tight jeans, and we want to answer “yes!” to The Pussy Cat Dolls’ question: “Doncha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?” Every day, we are bombarded by images of models and celebrities in their form-fitting clothes and hunks with six pack abs.

There is this constant pressure to look good – which includes having those curves at the right places. This is a time when gyms, fitness trainers, diet programs and the entire fitness industry are doing good business. Indeed, we tend to go on a diet or take on a physical fitness program to look the best we can.

However, this search for the perfect body may leave us vulnerable to an insidious problem – eating disorders. To be sure, eating disorders are rooted in a number of factors, not just the search for body beautiful. These factors include a poor self and body image, the family environment, life events and many more. There are also instances where food is used as a coping mechanism to those who are overwhelmed by the pressures they are facing in life. Needless to say, food becomes the focal point of one’s attention to the point where this pre-occupation results in damaging behaviors. The obsession with food, weight and a great body also affects one’s ability to see themselves in a more objective manner.

Eating Disorder Facts

Below are the most common types of eating disorders:

–          Anorexia. This is rooted in a distorted body image where one see himself or herself as being “too fat”, never “thin enough”. Because of this, those stricken with anorexia may starve themselves and may sometimes also exercise obsessively to the point where their bodies are gaunt and underweight. Anorexia nervosa produces serious damage to the body which can even end in death.

–          Bulimia. This is marked by the compulsion to go on an eating binge and then purge what was eaten to avoid gaining the weight. Bulimics may make use of diet pills, laxative or vomit inducing tools for them to get rid of the possible weight gain as a result of the eating binge.

–          Binge eating disorder. This is marked by a compulsion to overeat, even when one is already full. The urge to overeat is often accompanied by feelings of guilt and self-disgust, which perpetuates the vicious cycle as the more one feels bad, the harder it is to resist the compulsion to eat.

These eating disorders do not just strike women. These past few years has seen an increase in the existence of eating disorders in men. Based on statistics provided by the National Eating Disorder Association, there are ten million Americans with an eating disorder. This translates to some 10 to 15% of the population having some type of eating disorder.

Statistics also show that the eating disorders may last for one to 15 years, or even longer. If the case is serious enough and no moves are taken to treat the disorder, health consequences are irreversible, where 5 to 10% of those with anorexia die after ten years and 18 to 20% of those in anorexia die after 20 years since contracting this illness.

Signs of Eating Disorders

As parents and for our own health, we should be alert to spot signs of an eating disorder. Here are some of them:

–          Unhealthy pre-occupation with weight and dieting. This involves an obsession with counting calories, ensuring that one gains or losses a certain amount of weight and constant dieting, even when they are objectively within their ideal weight.

–          Change in eating behavior. An anorexic may avoid eating with the family or any social event that involves eating. A bulimic person will often ask to be excused and will make trips to the bathroom immediately after a meal. Those with a binge eating disorder may try hoarding food or eating alone. Food may also mysteriously “disappear” from cupboards and refrigerators and food wrappers may be found under the pillow, inside pockets and so on.

–          Physical signs. This includes the growth of hair in unusual places like the face, absence of menstruation, swelling of the glands that result in one’s looking like a chipmunk, poor teeth, complaints about stomach aches or dizziness and blood shot eyes. Bulimics are also marked by poor dental hygiene and cracked lips as a result of self-induced vomiting.

–          Compulsive and often excessive exercising, even in bad weather.

–          Rapid and unusual weight loss or gain.

–          Use of diuretics, diet pills and laxatives. Those who are diabetic may try to avoid taking in their required dose of insulin.

–          Evidence of purging. There are signs of vomiting or the use of enemas in the bathroom.

Getting help

Eating disorders are best identified and treated while it is still early and the physical effects are not yet serious. Those with eating disorders will benefit from counseling and therapy during this time. This will help those with an eating disorder come to terms with the reasons behind the behavior and equip themselves with tools to help them towards positive and healthy behaviors.

However, it is also important to remember that those with eating disorders are struggling and may be wary about getting help. There may even be some who will resist getting help. Although it is beneficial to get your loved one or friend into a therapist in Utah as early as possible, you must be exercise caution when you approach and communicate with the loved one concerned.  You must remember not to be confrontational, but instead calm, respectful, loving and positive.

With the help of an experienced counselor or therapist, one can address issues of poor body image, which is commonly the root of the eating disorder. The therapist in Provo can also help the patient through feelings of confusion, shame and loneliness that result from the eating disorder. The therapist can provide cognitive-behavioral therapy to help those with eating disorders to be aware of negative thoughts and behavior and how to counter them with positive coping tools. This may also include education and equipping on issues such as good nutrition and healthy ways to manage one’s weight.

For those who are looking for a therapist in Provo, Utah, be sure to visit Dr. Triston Morgan’s office for an initial consultation on how one can get help for an eating disorder. Dr. Morgan specializes in providing a positive, non-confrontational environment as therapy is provided for a patient’s recovery.


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.



Even with today’s pre-nuptial agreements, spouses will need to deal with the fact that they are managing the same household and that there is a merging of their finances somehow. This may be one of the reasons why money matters are such a hot button when it comes to marriages. The financial aspect of a marriage (and the resulting blowout if the couple disagrees) is also a good reason for couples to go for Utah marriage counseling.

Each person comes with his or her own financial upbringing and personal view about money. One may see money as something to be enjoyed and spent. Another may be brought up thinking that money (which one works hard for) should be well spent and purchases thought over carefully before they are made. One may feel that a budget is not necessary. Yet another may stress the need for a budget and spending below your means.

Another aspect to consider is that couples may not have the same level of income. A spouse may earn more or another spouse may have decided to stay at home to take care of the kids. There is a question of who has the control, who holds the purse strings in the marriage. Usually, Provo family counseling  will strive to dig into the core of the issue and couples will see that underneath the money issue is a deeper issue that they need to thresh out.

A couple has to be proactive and creative in facing money matters. The best time to deal with this issue is when it has not already flared up and become a full-fledged problem. While your finances are not being threatened, it is best for you to develop rules (dos and don’ts) about how you will handle this. Here are a few examples.

  • Agree on basic money principles. Although you may come from different financial backgrounds, it is important for you to decide on a set of financial goals and how accountable each is towards meeting that goal. Decide on just how much money to spend and how much to keep as your nest egg. Agree on what is worth cutting and what is worth splurging on once in a while. Decide on just how much money is allowed to spend at his or her discretion, without having to discuss it with the other spouse. Discuss your financial goals – paying off the mortgage, setting aside an amount for the kids’ college fund, wiping your credit card accounts clean, etc. – and how you as a couple plan to reach these goals.
  • Agree to track your spending.  Do you know where your money goes? Make a budget to help you track spending and savings. You will also need to regularly check if you have been keeping to your budget.
  • Stop living beyond your means. As much as possible, spend below the level of your income so that you can have some left to put aside. If you live beyond your means, your monthly salary earnings will just be a way to catch up with last months’ debt. Avoid getting into debt – rather than buying items through debt, try to save up and pay with cash.
  • Assign someone to handle the bills. Agree as to which spouse will handle this chore – it is important, though, that the other partner knows the details of these payments.
  • Talk about money at the right moment. This is when tempers are cool and a financial problem has not cropped up yet. Initiating the “money talk” when your partner just got home tired from work may not be a good time.
  • Discuss major purchases with your spouse before making them. Purchases that will make a considerable dent on the budget should be discussed and agreed upon by both spouses. If one spouse disagrees with the purchase, the other can present alternatives as to how he or she can get extra funds to make the purchase possible.
  • Hide expenses from your spouse. So you’ve overdrawn your account or weren’t able to resist a certain purchase, stop hiding it from your spouse. Instead, be responsible to discuss possible solutions with your spouse.
  • Micro-manage. If you and your partner have your own spending money, you don’t need to micro-manage and check what he or she is purchasing with that spending money. Since this money is already allocated for in the family’s budget, give your partner some leeway as to how he or she will spend it.
  • Merge credit card accounts. It is a good idea for each partner to have at least one credit card account maintained under his or her own name. This way, you maintain your credit history and will make things easier for you in the event of your spouse’s death or if you divorce.
  • Accuse. There may be a strong temptation to get on your partner’s case for a financial mistake he or she has made. Instead of making accusations, try to point out a solution for your financial strain. For instance, if your wife is passionate about shoes (and is intent on buying one every week, it seems), encourage her to earn supplementary income to support this passion.
  • Ignore financial issues. Getting your head stuck in the sand over financial problems will not solve them. One may feel overwhelmed by the financial morass but it will do you good to own up and look at how you as a couple can solve a financial problem. Being aware of just how you stand financially and understanding the size of the financial problem will be helpful in coming up with workable solutions.
  • Refuse to get help. Money matters may have already caused an emotional breech between husband and wife. Sometimes, when emotions get in the way, it is harder to find a suitable solution. You may need outside help who sees things in an objective manner and can help point the way towards a solution. A marriage therapist has the training and experience to help couples with financial issues, as well as a host of other problems related to marriage and family.

Dealing with money matters can be problematic. This is where a good marriage counselor in Utah can come in and help. It may feel that going into marriage or family therapy will cost you more – when your plan is to save money. However, let us assure you that this is money well spent – since it will help you get the tools to communicate with your spouse and develop good spending habits.

For your marriage therapy needs when in Provo, Utah, you can count on Dr. Triston Morgan for a non-combative approach towards resolving the conflict brought about by money matters. Dr. Morgan holds a Ph. D in marriage and family therapy and has years of experience counseling troubled families, couples and teens. He holds a license to practice family and marriage therapy in the state of Utah.


As a child transitions into adulthood, there may be tough times ahead. And as a parent, it is worrisome and troubling to see your cute and cuddly cherub who did not get enough kisses from you turn into a moody and sullen individual that can’t seem to stand being near you. Worse, if your child suddenly exhibits signs of being troubled – getting into fights, substance abuse issues, eating disorders and sexually acting out. Your teen may also exhibit symptoms of depression. There are cases when the root causes manifest themselves by the teen’s playing the truant in school, have discipline problems and a rebellious attitude and display inappropriate anger.

You as a parent feel as if your sweet child has changed overnight. The teenage years are also fraught with landmines since your influence as a parent may have diminished and your child is starting to turn towards peers and other sources of influence other than the family environment. How do you deal with this transition? How do you love your child during this challenging time in his life? How do you provide your teen with guidance, even as he tries to discover his boundaries and sorts out the confusion and pressures that accompany this new phase of his life?

Yes, raising teens has its own difficulties and if handled wrongly, you may cause more damage to your relationship as parent and child rather than strengthen it. There is often conflict between parent and child as the teen tries to be more independent and make more decisions on his own.

Here are some ways you can start understanding and parenting your troubled teen:

–          Connect and communicate with your teen. Spend quality time to bond with your child and do the things he enjoys. If your child is into sports, buy tickets and watch the games together. If she is into fashion, take her out shopping. Spend time together on family outings and camping trips. One practical way to connect with your child is to establish regular mealtimes where all family members share the meals together. Without being too intrusive, let your child understand that you are there when he wants to talk.

–          Remember the teen you love and not focus on the attitudes and behaviors that you don’t. Don’t lose sight of the fact that you love your teen, even during times when you are arguing fiercely and when he is acting out. Remember your teen’s positive qualities and sincerely praise him for it every chance you get.

–          Get into your Teen’s shoes. Try to see things from your teenager’s perspective. This is what family therapists call “reframing”. Trying to see things the way your teen sees it will provide you with valuable insights as to why he is acting the way he does. You will have a deeper understanding of the fact that there is usually pain at the root of the troubled behavior.

–          Don’t play the blame game. Don’t blame yourself for what your teen is going through. The fact that your teen is troubled is not solely due to your parenting. Blaming yourself will just paralyze you into not acting as you should.

–          Be patient. You may be at the point where you are exasperated with your child, and with yourself. Don’t. Showing impatience about your child’s attitudes and behavior will not help.

–          Don’t be afraid to get help. You may need to call in some reinforcements to help you understand your teen and build a stronger relationship with them. You must be on the lookout for signs that your teen is troubled and then reach out to your child by going for family therapist in Utah. This can be an important step in learning how to communicate and bond with your child. If you notice that there are signs of alcoholism or drug use, don’t be afraid to go for substance abuse counseling.

–          Be on the lookout for signs of a troubled teen. Here are some warning signs you should look into:

  • Being particularly insistent about privacy. This is more than your average teenage desire to have privacy, especially from the prying eyes of parents and siblings. A troubled teen may be defensive when asked where he’s been or what he has been doing.
  • Being irritable and prone to bursts of anger. Troubled teens may be more sensitive and usually flare up at the smallest reasons.
  • Having discipline problems at home. This may be due to constantly violated curfews and rules, missed household chores or your teen being caught lying.
  • Things and money that mysteriously go missing. Teens that are into drug and alcohol abuse will need money to buy their substance of choice. He may try to take out expensive items from home and sell it. Or, he may also try to steal some money from you.
  • Change in group of friends. Your child may start hanging out with a new set of friends, often friends that you as a parent would consider as “the wrong crowd”. He may refuse to introduce his “new” friends to you and will not talk about them.
  • Changes in behavior. Aside from sullenness and moodiness, your teen may just use your home just as a place to sleep and eat. They may spend more time eating and sleeping than they would just being with the rest of the family.

If you are looking for an experienced therapist in Provo, Utah, be sure to look Dr. Triston Morgan up. He provides a non-confrontational atmosphere for teens and their families. He holds a Ph. D in family and Utah marriage therapy and holds a license to practice the same in the state of Utah. He has extensive experience in dealing with teens in various settings such as wilderness therapy programs, therapeutic boarding school and in-office therapy.

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