Systems Theory

On June 6, 2017 we had a lunch and learn on Systems Theory, a theoretical framework used to better understand our interactions with those around us. As human beings, we are all components of various “systems”: family systems, work systems, societal systems, etc. Our systems impact us, just like we impact our systems.

Examples of System Interactions

Family roles

In a family unit each member plays a role. Perhaps in one family the role of a parent is performed by a mother or a father, while in another family there is a single-parent and the role of parent is played by single-parent and the oldest child.

With siblings, each child might occupy a specific position. For example, perhaps the oldest child has more responsibilities and is meant to be an example. The youngest child might occupy a different position, such as being a companion or friend as this might be the last opportunity for parents to parent.


Boundaries is another component that makes up systems. Different types of boundaries may include: rigid, porous, or healthy. An example of a rigid boundary might be keeping others at a distance, while a porous boundary might be oversharing personal information.  Most people have a mix of boundaries: for example, one might have rigid boundaries at work, but porous boundaries in romantic relationships. Click on Therapist Aid’s (2016) worksheets, linked at the bottom of this post, to see what types of boundaries you have.

Functional Analysis of Behavior

Functional Analysis of Behavior explains the concept of doing something because it works. For example, perhaps a child wants a candy bar at the store. Mom may tell the child no. The child then throws a tantrum, and mom gives the child a candy bar. The child might then learn that if he/she wants to get something, one must throw a tantrum.

Utah Healing Center’s Role

Utah Healing Center recognizes the role and subsequently the impact systems have in our individual lives. We may be pleased with the way our systems function, or perhaps we are dissatisfied. This understanding is one of the reasons why Utah Healing Center provides individual, couple, and family counseling as we see the importance of recognizing the role systems have in our lives.


Butler, M. H. (1997). System’s Theory. Family Science 250/563, 1-7.

Therapist Aid. (2016). What are Personal Boundaries?. Retrieved from



Spirituality in Counseling


At Utah Healing Center, our spiritual practice is client-oriented throughout the flow of therapy. As part of the initial intake, we assess a person’s level of spirituality and engagement in their chosen religion. Each of our therapists asks his/her client “how much would you like spirituality to be part of the therapeutic process?” Our providers have received various answers from “Absolutely, yes” to “None”. We believe people should have options and choices in their treatment and we encourage that the client’s specific spirituality or chosen religion should be one of them.

When our providers are asked to use spirituality or religious preference in therapy, we NEVER step over the boundaries to put them in an ecclesiastical role. We do not encourage client’s to pray, read scriptures, attend meetings, go to the temple, etc. This is the job of their ecclesiastical leader and we respect their role and judgment of the person’s spiritual needs.

Each religion is special and most religions teach a version of the golden rule. Each of our therapists are educated and understand the following teachings (MacFarlane, 2012):

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself” Judeo-Christian-Levitius 19:18

“Don’t go around hurting people, and try to understand things.” Native American – Hopi Culture, the Spider Grandmother gave two rules.

“One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts.” African – Yoruba Proverb

“In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self.” Jainism – Lord Mahavir 24th Tirthankara

“The heart of the person before you is a mirror. See there your own form” Shinto

“What would you would avoid suffering yourself, seek not to impose upon others.” Greek Philosopher – Epictetus

“One should seek for others the happiness one desires for on’e self.” Buddhist

“The higher the aim and sense of human life is the striving to attain the welfare of one’s neighbor.” G.I. Gurdjieff

“All things are our relatives; what we do to everything, we do to ourselves. All is really One.” Native American – Black Eld

“No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.” Sunnah – Islam

“The golden way was to be friends with the world and to regard the whole family like the members of one family.” Mahatma Gandhi

“It is a very high goal: free and responsible development of the individual, so that he may place his powers freely and gladly in the service of mankind.” Albert Einstein

“Do unto others that you would have them do unto you.” Christianity

“Treat others as you would yourself be treated.” Hinduism

“Do as you will, as long as you harm no one.”Sacred Earth

We use spirituality as a common language in therapy. The client will define spirituality and we will never push one religion or another on a client. We are able to use stories, metaphors, and vocabulary that are understandable to the client and could have deeper meaning than a secular therapeutic word.

Josh Childs, LCSW stated, an example of using stories and metaphors is the story of the Good Samaritan discussed in the New Testament of the Holy Bible. He uses this story to talk about a therapeutic principle of boundaries. In the story, the Good Samaritan brought the battered man to an “Inn”. He related to the innkeeper to take care of the man while he was away and he will return again.

Josh teaches the clients that the Good Samaritan brought the man to an “Inn”. He didn’t bring him to his house but to a place where the person could be taken care of. This could be a homeless shelter, a drug and alcohol program, a hospital, etc. The Good Samaritan didn’t stay until the man was “all better” but did what he could and left presumably to take care of matters in his own life but would return to follow up.  This story teaches our clients great boundaries while helping another person.

Josh also stated that he thinks religious stories have great psychological implications and I enjoy putting on a therapist “lens” to look at them and how they can help my client.

Written by Josh Childs, LCSW & Janelle Nimer, PhD, LCSW




MacFarlane, M (2012) Sacred Stories: Wisdom from World Religions.



EMDR Consultation

We are pleased to announce that registration is now open for EMDR Consultation opportunity.

Janet Wilson, LCSW is an EMDRIA and HAP approved consultant and provides consultation to EMDR clinicians during their different stages of professional development.

Janet provides in person, phone, and web-based consultation.

Group sessions are two hours and involve staffing cases and focusing on the EMDR protocol. Group sessions are priced at $50 each and individual sessions are $100 each. Bring your questions and cases to staff. Registration is on a first come, first serve basis. If there is only one person signed up for the group consultation, the individual signed up will be given an opportunity to have an individual session at the individual cost before the group is canceled.

Janet offers three levels of consultation (group or individual) to EMDRIA and HAP approved EMDR clinicians:

Level 1: Consultation for completing the basic training in EMDR therapy (5 hours post W-1 and 5 hours post W-2). Janet does a minimum of 5 hours of group consultation for this level. For individual consultation there is not a minimum number of hours.

These groups are held Tuesdays in the evening from 6:00pm – 8:00pm. Please send an email to to sign up. It is appropriate to sign up for one group a month.
Level 2:  Consultation for clinicians that want to become certified in EMDR therapy. Janet does a minimum of 10 hours of consultation for certification (individual or group). Please send an email to to sign up.

Level 3: Consultation for clinicians that want to become approved consultants in EMDR therapy. Janet does a minimum of 10 hours of consultation for this level (individual or group). Please send an email to to sign up.
The level of consultation MUST be specified before beginning consultation. Please know that each level of consultation has major variations in how consultation is provided.

Once Janet and you have agreed to start consultation a contract will be faxed or emailed to you. Contracts must be signed and received prior to beginning consultation.

Go to the store link on the Animal-Assisted Healing Center webpage to purchase your consultation services. Please add a note that describes which level you are signing up for.

To set up the individual sessions please call 801-266-4643 or send an email to


Assessment of Community Needs

Assessment of Community Needs
As a graduate student of the University of Utah, I am creating a group for individuals who suffer from PTSD.  I am conducting this survey to gain more information on who this group should be created for.  This survey is completely voluntary, you can choose to opt out of this survey, or skip questions.  This survey should not be used for diagnosing. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and would like more information about this group, or any other services, please contact Utah Healing Center at 801-266-4643 or 5284 S. Commerce Dr. Suite #C-134 Murray, UT 84107. Thank you for participation.

-Kaylee Taylor, MSW Student

Festival of Trees – Lights Not Forgotten

Festival of Trees – Lights Not Forgotten

557 – Tragically there are 557 victims of suicide each year in the State of Utah. This tree us a memorial to all those lost, bit not forgotten. Each light on this tree represents a victim of suicide in Utah.

Our hearts go out to the families of victims, as we try to raise awareness and help those suffering. We love and miss those who are lost, but not forgotten.img_2894

Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini Yoga

Take time for yourself to reconnect with your mind, heart, body, and soul as we practice Kundalini yoga to increase your movement, breathing, and meditation.

The Utah Healing Center’s new Kundalini Yoga Instructor is:
Erin Spjute (Level I Kundalini Yoga Instructor).

erins yoga pics

I have been doing Kundalini Yoga for over 7 years. It has transformed my life in ways I never thought possible.  I suffered from neck pain for over a year. I had tried several medications to alleviate the pain. But nothing was helping so I decided to try yoga. After 3 classes my neck pain was no longer there. You can imagine how surprised I was. Little did I know the vastness of what was to come. The inner and outer healing and self-awareness that Kundalini yoga provided me is unlike anything I have ever experienced. I look forward to teaching you this tool and being part of your journey on this transformative path. May you come to truly know yourself, love yourself, and love this life.

I am a lover of yoga and all things that bring the mind, body, and soul into balance and unity! Yoga meets you where you are and takes you to your potential. In fact, if you can breathe and move your body, you can do yoga!!

I could go on and on about the many benefits of kundalini yoga, but the best way to understand it, is to experience it. It is my desire to share this practice with all that may benefit from it.

Kundalini Yoga, as taught by Yogi Bhajan is also known as the Yoga of Awareness: its focus is on self-awareness and highest state of consciousness. Yogi Bhajan’s Kundalini Yoga is a science of the mind and body, to elevate the spirit with no boundaries and discrimination. Therefore it is for everyone, universal and nondenominational.

Kundalini Yoga is untapped energy at the base of the spine that can be drawn up through the awakening each of the seven chakras. What is uncoiling and awakening, while practicing this yoga is you, nothing more and nothing less.

“In Kundalini Yoga the most important thing is your experience. It goes right to your heart. No words can replace your experience. Your mind may accept the words or it may not, but your consciousness will not accept just words.”  
-Yogi Bhajan

Our classes are all beginning level classes. All levels and abilities are welcome.

Teen Anxiety Group

Teen Anxiety Group

We at The Utah Healing Center are excited to announce that we are starting up a teen anxiety group for males and females ages 12-18 who are dealing with anxiety. Our group will begin on August 4, 2015 and will run for 10 weeks. We will be using a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance Commitment Therapy or ACT Therapy. We will also be using Art therapy and Animal Assisted Therapy for one session each. This group will be facilitated by Janelle Nimer PHD, LCSW, Alison Dinkelman, CSW, and The Utah Healing Center’s MSW student. This 10 week group will allow for your teen to engage with other teens that are experiencing the same worries and will help to normalize the anxiety that they are feeling.

The teen will also be taught how to

  • Understand the differences between anxiety, fear, and worry.
  • Understand ways to cope with anxiety and learn the skills to do so.
  • Learn to accept anxiety and continue to live their lives.
  • Understand how to manage their thoughts that cause the anxiety.

Many teens and adults deal with anxiety on differing levels and many never get help to learn how to manage their anxiety. It is important to learn how to cope with and accept anxiety, as anxiety does actually serve a positive role in life. Anxiety can help us stay safe, however, it can also become overwhelming and keep us from enjoying our lives. This is what our anxiety group will help to improve in these teens lives. We want everyone to be able to enjoy their lives and be able to live day to day without anxiety that keeps them from doing the things they enjoy.

“It’s sad, actually, because my anxiety keeps me from enjoying things as much as I should at this age.”

–Amanda Seyfried.


***This is a weekly Tuesday Night at 5:00 p.m. group that will start on Tuesday, August, 4, 2015 and will run for 10 weeks.


  Please contact us in order to secure a spot in the group.