Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Summer Grief Support. Bountiful, Utah

Resiilent Center for Grieving Families offers the following grief support:

Mom's Group (for moms who have had a child die), Mondays 10:30 - 11:45 - Open Group - next group June 2 ($15/group).  Contact Becky Andrews, LCMHC at 801.259.3883 to join.

Teen Grief Group - Tuesdays, 11 - 12 - Six-week group beginning June 10th - ($95/6 weeks).  Contact Melanie Holt, ACMHC at 801.718.9840 or email: to join.

Evening Grief Group - For those who have had a loved one die from suicide -Wednesdays, 5:30.  Contact Melanie Holt to join.

Evening Grief Group - For those who have had a spouse die.  Wednesdays, 5:30 (every other week).  Contact Melanie Holt to join.

Evening Grief Group for those who are experiencing a loss.  Thursdays 6:45 - 8:00 - 6 week group/$95.  Next group beginning June 12th.  Contact Becky Andrews to join.

Within each of us is the capacity to heal, 
and at any given moment we do the best we can.  

Monday, May 26, 2014

Tethered in Gratitude

This article is a couple years old but a favorite:

Staying tethered in stormy waters

“Tossed by the waves.” Isn’t it a perfect metaphor for that feeling of getting hit with one thing after another? So when that happens what we all need is a good strong rope tied to the mainland to avoid getting washed out to sea.
A simple and effective tether in times of transition or stress is gratitude practice. It has amazing power to connect us to everything and everyone. Here’s some data from Dr. Robert Emmons, UC Davis, (Emmons & McCullough, 2003):
• In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events.
• Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a two-month period compared to subjects in the other experimental conditions.
• A daily gratitude intervention (self-guided exercises) with young adults resulted in higher reported levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy compared to a focus on hassles or a downward social comparison (ways in which participants thought they were better off than others).
Kathryn Britton, in her article on the Role of Gratitude at Work on the Positive Psychology News Daily Website, cites Lyuobomirsky, Sheldon, and Schkade (2006) who contend that one’s chronic happiness level is determined partly by a genetic baseline or set point (50%), partly by circumstances (10%), and partly by intentional activity (40%). Thus, “practicing gratitude is an intentional activity that can make a real and ongoing difference in chronic happiness levels.”
Kathryn suggests these methods for practicing gratitude:
• Pay attention to good things, large and small.
• Pay attention to bad things that you have avoided.
• Establish regular times to focus on being grateful.
• When facing a loss or a difficult task or situation, remind yourself to be grateful both for what you haven’t lost and for the strengths and opportunities that arise from facing difficulties.
• Elicit and reinforce gratitude in the people around you.
I would add that it helps to remember how many people have created or made possible what you experience every day. If you fly, for example, think of the many people who built the plane, inspected the plane, fly it, have made the seats, bottled the water, etc. This practice provides a reminder of the web of support that we live in and contribute to daily—and normally don’t notice.
And finally, read poetry. In David Whyte’s beautiful poem Everything is Waiting for You, he writes (with gratitude, I imagine) about the support he feels from the world. Here’s an excerpt from his poem:
even you , at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice. You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.
What tethers you to solid ground?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Mark Barnhurst, ACMHC, Bountiful, Utah

Mark Barnhurst, ACMHC, specializes in using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to help people with depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other life challenges.  He is about helping people become more resilient and move in a valued direction they want their life to go.  He is a soft-spoken therapist who cares about the concerns of his clients.  He also has experience using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Motivational Interviewing.  He has worked with adults, teens and children, though is most comfortable with adults and adolescence.  He has over six years experience of supporting people with their daily lives and understands how to help people change behavior. 

To schedule an appointment call 801-706-8060 or

Sunday, May 18, 2014


Thank you to our colleague Shanna Gwilliam, LCSW, at at Resilient Solutions, Inc. who shared this beautiful quote and created it in such a lovely way.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Children & Outdoors

 My children grew up outdoors. We live in a rural area, and neighbors have horses and goats, and I have chickens. I have a large garden.
So when a recent study showed that children have a powerful sense of connection with spirit, the earth, and transcendence when they spend time outdoors, I was gratified. It is great to see you have been on the right path.
Go to my blog here and read about this study.
Ask yourself: Are we facilitating children being outdoors? Are we encouraging them to spend time in nature? Even going to local parks? 
Or do we "sign off" so to speak on the poor children spending hours in front of TV and playing video games?
--Dr. Lynn Johnson.  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Monday, May 12, 2014

Coping to Thriving

Years ago I was asked to give a presentation in Chicago at a conference.  The title they requested was: "Coping with Vision Loss."   As I began my presentation and started to share 'tips' on coping with vision loss, an elderly woman stood up and said - I don't see why we need to just cope - why can't we thrive!  I absolutely loved her enthusiasm and determination.  I told her I totally agree.  My talk shifted to Thriving with Vision Loss.  A simple word change gave it a different energy!  Coping feels like getting by - making it.  Sometimes we are in a place of coping.  I recognized that as she said ... this was about thriving!   Thriving is flourishing, growing vigorously, progressing towards a goal despite or because of circumstances. 

Whenever I hear the word cope, my mind often goes back to that sweet moment where I was reminded to transition to THRIVE!   

-- Becky Andrews, LCMHC, FT

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Support a mom who is grieving

What Grieving Mothers Want for Mother’s Day
By Renee Wood

Over 80 percent of the nearly 100 respondents in a survey of mothers who are grieving answered, ‘recognize that I am a mother’ to the question of how can someone help.  In addition, nearly every mother surveyed wanted their loss to be remembered with a card, a phone call, a gift or a hug.  Over half of the mothers surveyed considered Mother’s Day to be their most difficult holiday.

In response to the heartfelt answers given by the survey participants, the Comfort Company has issued a list of the ten things grieving mothers want most for Mother’s Day:

1.  Offer a hug.  Send a simple Mother’s Day card to let them know you remember that they are a mother even though their child is not with them physically.

2. Acknowledge that they have had a loss.  Express the message, I know this might be a difficult day for you.  I want you to know that I am thinking about you today.”  Removing the wall of silence gives a grieving mother permission to talk about her child.

3. Use their child’s name in conversation.  Saying the name of a child who has died is like music to a grieving mother’s ears.  One mother suggested, “Say his name and ask me my fondest memory of him/her.”

4. Plant a living memorial. This is a wonderful day to plan a tree or flower bulbs in memory of the child.  This is something that will live on as a beautiful reminder in the years to come.

5. Visit the Gravesite. Many mothers feel that it was ‘extremely thoughtful’ when others visited their child’s gravesite and left flowers or a small pebble near the headstone.

6. Light a candle.  Let the mother know you will light a candle in memory of their child on Mother’s Day.

7. Share a Memory or Picture of the Child:  Give the precious gift of a memory.  One mother wrote that the ‘greatest gift you can give is a heartfelt letter about my child and your most lovely moments with them.’

8.  Send a Gift of Remembrance.  Many mothers suggested appropriate gifts of remembrance that would bring them comfort.  These items included: an angel statue, a piece of jewelry, a memory box, a memorial candle, a picture frame, a library book donation, an ornament, anything personalized with the child’s name or a date, a garden stone or a toy donation in the child’s name.

9.  Don’t try to minimize their loss.  Avoid using any clich├ęs that attempt to explain the death of a child.  (God needed another angel.)  Secondly, don’t try to find anything positive about the loss (You still have two healthy children.  Or She’s in a better place.)

10.  Encourage self-care.  Self-care is an important aspect of the ‘healing the mind and spirit effort’ according to several mothers.  Encourage a grieving mother to take care of herself.  Give her a gift certificate to a day spa or any place where she can be pampered.

Becky Andrews, LPC, FT, 801.259.3883,

Monday, May 5, 2014

Inner Decisions

Each one of us is uniquely independent in the inner realm of our thoughts. No one can bind your mind and make you think thoughts that you don't wish to think or choose attitudes that you don't wish to adopt. Each one of us is absolutely independent in that internal sphere. You, and you alone, have the option to use your mind as a power of positive creation. Thoughts are not just airy vapors, they are quanta of formative energy. They exert direct effect upon our bodies, our behavior, and even the external world around us. Your internal environment has power over your external environment the moment your choose to exercise control. You can alter circumstances and events at will by creating a vision of what you want to have happen and giving yourself permission to enact it. Moment by moment, thought by thought, you author your own script. You do it actively or passively. Either way, you are ultimately the cause determining which effects occur. People are only victims of circumstance if they believe that they are and take a passive approach, letting their lives become subject to outside forces. In a poignant example, Dr. Viktor Frankl recounts his experience and observations while a prisoner in Auschwitz in his classic book, Man's Search for Meaning. Living in the most brutal, demeaning, hostile environment imaginable, Frankl observed the actions and reactions of his fellow prisoners. Understandably, some people became angry and bitter. Some people managed to stay hopeful and perseverant. Notably, Frankl observed what happened when some prisoners made the choice to simply gave up, relinquishing their hopes for the future. He described this as a pivotal moment. The day they abandoned hope and decided that things were never going to get better was the day they began to decline mentally, spiritually and physically. Frankl's conclusion is timeless. He said, "Everything can be taken from man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms--to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way. In the final analysis, it becomes clear that the sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision and not the result of camp influence alone. Fundamentally, therefore, any man can, even under such circumstances, decide what shall become of him mentally and spiritually." In the end, it was not the Nazis, not the fences and barbed wire, not the atrocious external circumstances that dictated the person's life or character. It was his or her inner decisions. Each one of the prisoners decided how they would deal with the forces around them. Each person's life became a reflection of those inner decisions. - Dennis R Deaton