To Be, or Not to Be? Here Is the Answer.

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As I drove home from the office Saturday I picked up the Standard Journal (Nov 5) and was saddened to see the cover story about the young boy who took his own life, and his mother’s efforts to find some meaning in the loss and to protect others from a similar fate. So it seemed particularly ironic to see a feature letter to the editor in defense of doctor-assisted suicide.

In the span of those few pages one person sought to ...

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Why Mick Jagger Can’t Get No Satisfaction

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Since 1965 we’ve heard Mick and the Rolling Stones wailing about their inability to get a sense of satisfaction. Could it be that Mick is making a mistake—I mean, in addition to slaughtering the English language?

Always remember this: You can never get enough of what you don’t need, because what you don’t need cannot satisfy you.

This axiom goes a long way toward explaining human foibles. We can become fixated on behaviors that have no real capacity for meeting our very ...

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Responding to Your Responses

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Last week the Standard-Journal published thoughtful and respectful responses to my last two columns. At first I was a bit self-conscious of the critiques. But since I am a licensed therapist I scheduled some time to talk to myself, and I’m okay now. (Too bad I can’t bill my insurance!)

As these responses were written to appropriately challenge my thoughts in the public forum, I hope it is okay to respond in like manner. I have hoped that my columns would ...

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What Happened to Robin Williams?

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Many of us woke last Tuesday morning to the disturbing news that comedian Robin Williams had taken his life in the throes of depression. Before the day was over members of the media and of this community were trying to make sense out of what we would consider a senseless act.

I was approached by several people, genuinely concerned about the implications of this news for their own well-being, and for those they love. “If anyone as funny as Robin Williams ...

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Life in the Blender

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One-third of Utah marriages include children from a former marriage or relationship, according to a recent report. That means that one-third of that state’s new families are “blended families”. While I don’t know the statistics for our own state and area I dare say it is likely not much different.

There are many terms for families in which members from different family units come together to form a new or additional family structure, whether by remarriage, adoption, cohabitation, or other means. ...

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2000-Year Old Marital Advice

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“Can ye be angry and not sin?” asked Paul rhetorically. “Let not the sun go down on your wrath; neither give place to the devil.” (Ephesians 4:26, 27; JST)

The apostle counseled the Christians in Ephesus to go to great lengths to avoid being angry, and nothing ticked off my BYU-Idaho students more than my suggesting the same.

“But if I am feeling mad, shouldn’t I just let it out?”

“You are just asking us to bury our true feelings, and that isn’t ...

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When Panic Attacks Someone You Love

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Last week we discussed the nature of panic attacks—sudden episodes in which one feels intense emotional and physical sensations associated with a sense of doom or dread. These “attacks” don’t directly result from anything dangerous; the sense of panic is spurred by perceptions that something happening within the body—changes in blood pressure, heart rate or breathing, or even light-headedness—is not right and signals a greater problem or danger.

Panic attacks are so very common that about 10 percent of the adult ...

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When Panic Attacks

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A sudden sense of impending doom; something awful must be happening! Your body doesn’t feel right—heart pumping, breathing fast and difficult, your insides feel like Jell-O. There is no real danger, at least not anything obvious. There must be something wrong with you…

Panic attack—a sudden sense of danger or urgency accompanied by intense physical sensations without any apparent reason—is much more common than you might think. Depending upon the study cited, between eight and twelve percent of Americans have experienced ...

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Here Comes the Judge!

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In the 1970’s comedian Flip Wilson created a ridiculous character whose signature line was, “Here comes the judge! Here comes the judge!”

That phrase has often passed through my mind as I work to help people recognize the problems with judgment—even those small, seemingly-harmless thoughts that we keep to ourselves. As pointed out last week when those judgments pass through our minds they color and distort whatever situation we are in. These thoughts are anything but harmless; they create unnecessary tension, ...

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Judge Not, Lest Ye Be in Big, Big Trouble!

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As I work with couples to help restore love, and individuals to enjoy life more fully, I am wracked by the price we pay for judgment.

“What a jerk!”

“You have no right…”

“They have no idea…”

“I was so dumb.”

“Utah drivers!”

Judgment has many forms but comes down to this: labelling something or someone as good or bad, right or wrong, rather than simply describing what it is. It goes without saying that harsh judgment hurts relationships. But the effects of small, day-to-day judgments ...

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