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What’s Wrong With Your Cookies?
Written by Allison Ricciardi, L.M.H.C.   


allison nametitleI’m a baker and my favorite thing to make has always been cookies. Not just toll house but real flaky, crunchy cookies with varied tastes and textures. Most often they come out real well but every once in a while they’re just not right and I go through the 'cookie post-mortems' to figure out either what I did wrong or what was missing from the ingredients. After all, if I want to do them better next time, I’d best figure that out.

Well, I’m also a therapist and I’ve worked with people for over 20 years who are trying to figure out what’s wrong with themselves and how they can have a happier life in the future. There’s a big similarity here and I think most people miss this important point. We need to go back to the original recipe and figure out what might have been missing when you were being formed as a child if we’re going to help you find happiness as an adult. Too often therapists focus on the problems here and now, (especially in marriage counseling) and don’t take the time to look at what happened in the past. It’s understandable when it seems like all the current pots are boiling over, but it doesn’t bring healing in the long run.

We need to start here: What do kids need in order to grow up happy and emotionally healthy?


Read more: What’s Wrong With Your Cookies?  [What’s Wrong With Your Cookies?]



The Cutting Edge…What Every Parent and Teacher Needs to Know
Written by Dana Mayeux Nygaard   


dana-nygaardYou suspect that an adolescent has self-inflicted cutting injuries and you are naturally alarmed. This behavior is known as self-mutilation and the most common form is cutting. What is cutting? Cutting is one way in which a person uses self-harm as a method of coping, albeit not a healthy way of coping. Adolescents typically self-harm to ‘feel alive’ or to divert themselves from overwhelming emotions such as anger, sadness, or anxiety. Some will cut as a way to relieve stress or feel in control of their life. A small segment of those who self-harm are seeking to ‘purify’ their bodies. Cutting behavior is frequently linked to low self-esteem and depression. Girls, more than boys, opt to cut. Such self-harming behavior can be risky; however it is not typically indicative of suicidal thoughts or attempts on one’s life.

Some warning signs of cutting are: scars, cuts, scratches, sporting long sleeves or pants that cover their exposed skin and blaming such recurring injuries on accidents or pets.

Teens that are at risk for cutting often:

• may have friends who self-injure
• may have experienced abuse (sexual, physical or emotional)
• may have overly-intrusive parents
• are impetuous
• highly critical of themselves
• lack problem-solving skills


Read more: The Cutting Edge…What Every Parent and Teacher Needs to Know  [The Cutting Edge…What Every Parent and Teacher Needs to Know]



Parents, Get In The Game: Teach True Human Sexuality
Written by Chris Stravitsch, LPC   



Much of society is confused about the true meaning of human sexuality. Terribly confused. Teaching the meaning of sexual feelings, desires, and behaviors tends to be a free for all—a frenzy. It’s much like a game adolescent boys enjoy playing –we all know what it is called– that basically involves a mob trying to tackle the boy with the ball. He may whirl it in the air before being tackled, or he may zigzag and try to fight his way through the crowd. That is really the extent of the rules: run with the ball as long as possible without being tackled. This chaotic game is exhilarating for boys, who earn bragging rights as they juke the other players or possess the ball the longest. Unfortunately, such a maelstrom is alarming and harmful when society acts like this about the meaning of human sexuality.

Here’s what I mean. In our pluralistic society numerous organizations and groups try to influence how everyone else understands the meaning of human sexuality. Much like the game, these organizations are as unique as the many boys running around on the playing field. Each has their opinion about what should be considered “normal” expressions of sexuality. Unfortunately, what these groups advocate are often at odds with a Christian understanding of human sexuality. 


Read more: Parents, Get In The Game: Teach True Human Sexuality  [Parents, Get In The Game: Teach True Human Sexuality]





"Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in Him. 
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream. 
It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. 
It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." 


 Jeremiah 17:5-8