Goodbye to BYU

FullSizeRender(9)As I mentioned before, my personal theme for the year is “bravery.” This week, I made another brave move by quitting the job I’ve had for the last four years at BYU’s Counseling and Psychological Services. This is a decision I’d been ruminating about for over a year and was a very difficult one to make.

BYU holds such a special place in my heart. In so many ways, it is home to me. According to my math, I’ve spent 13 years of my life at BYU (undergrad, grad school, internship, and working)!

The counseling center was a haven to me after we lost Charlie. I knew then that I wasn’t emotionally equipped to return to work at Center for Change where I had worked with an eating disorder inpatient population, but I also knew I needed to return to work as I was going into a really dark, unhealthy place and needed to get out of my head.

BYU reached out to me as they were looking for someone part-time and it was a perfect fit. It felt so great to be somewhere where I didn’t have to feel so broken, and felt like I was contributing in meaningful ways. The BYU students were great to work with and I became good friends with many of my colleagues.

As the years passed by, I was also able to develop professionally. I created and co-led an experiential eating disorder group; I trained my colleagues in how to run this type of group and now there are three of these groups running throughout the year; I started a mindful eating group with a colleague and a dietitian; I led training on how to work with clients struggling with eating disorders, and I got to teach some new classes I’ve never taught before.

IMG_2826(1)Over time however, my professional development slowed and there were frustrating circumstances about our workplace that were unresolvable. The main frustration was that for eight months of the year, I could only meet with my clients about once a month. This obviously wasn’t conducive to effective therapy or helping my clients overcome eating disorder and body image concerns! Given that it is my passion to be a competent therapist for treating eating disorders, it no longer felt like a good fit. Plus, I have recovered significantly in terms of my emotional reserves and feel ready to work more in depth with the eating disorder population again.

Over a year ago, my really good friend started a private practice in Pleasant Grove and asked me to join her. Like I said, I took over a year to consider this move as I love BYU and also felt loyal to them for all they have done for me. But after much thought and consideration, Chad and I decided leaving was the best move for me.

(PS, regarding the professor position I interviewed for in March…I didn’t get it. I was a bit bummed to not have that opportunity, but that interview and exploration process confirmed and solidified thoughts that it was time to change jobs).

This is a really brave step for me as I have never quit a job before! And BYU was comfortable and pretty easy (high functioning students make great clients). But I want to feel passionate and competent and I know moving to an environment where I can see my clients more regularly is the right move. Plus, I am so excited to work with one of my favorite people and build a practice with a great reputation! I also feel like there are so many cool adventures we can create together in this practice (body image and self-compassion retreat in the mountains, for example!) I am thrilled to work with one of my best friends who also happens to be one of the most competent therapists I know.

I also am exploring picking up groups for Center for Change in addition to working in private practice, but this is up in the air right now. Groups are my biggest passion and I must lead them! If I can’t work it out with CFC to run groups, I’ll be recruiting clients for a private practice group!

Another thing that feels good about this move is the flexibility and lifestyle. I am looking forward to not working Fridays anymore and possibly only working two days a week! Since we’ve been struggling with so many miscarriages, I have re-recognized how precious my time is with my kids! Cami starts preschool this year! I want to suck up as much time with them as possible and private practice will allow me to do that!

I was super sad to say goodbye to some of my favorite clients this week, but I mostly feel happy and excited to start this new adventure! So farewell BYU! God be with you until we meet again! 🙂



Spy birthday party!

Hailee, our sunshine, turned 7 last week! She is such a fun age! Usually planning a birthday party feels a bit overwhelming and the last two years we’ve had destination birthday parties after I learned the stress of home birthday parties with Hailee’s fourth birthday party. But I think, like the pain of childbirth, you forget after a couple years and it seems like a good idea to plan a home birthday party again.

I worked really hard to pull off an intricate and awesome birthday party for Hailee this week! When I first talked to Hailee about what she wanted for her birthday party, she identified that her favorite things to do are obstacle courses, scavenger hunts, and basically anything active. After ruminating about a variety of themes: adventure party, or cowgirl theme, or camping theme, I finally came up with the SPY THEME! It was perfect and Hailee loved the idea!

IMG_2823(1)I absolutely must give a shout out to my partner in crime: the social media website, Pintrest. I am so glad I live in the age of Pintrest! I got 95% of the ideas for this party from this site!

We started the party with a “cadet check-in” station. Check-in was where the only hiccups of the party occurred. It was during check-ins that some random, older boy, showed up to the party with his little sister. He wasn’t invited and the mom didn’t ask me if he could stay…he just walked right in and joined the party. I was bit miffed but it actually worked out ok and the kid ended up being decently nice. But seriously people?! Invites have names on them for a reason! As part of check-ins, the kids had to choose spy agent names from a list of adjectives and nouns (like stealthy marshmallow and dark unicorn) and make a name tag for themselves. I had a “lie detector” hand scanner ap on our ipad that I used to scan about half of the kids to make sure they were all honest and qualified for spy training. I didn’t scan all the kids as chaos quickly threatened to ensue with the already-scanned-kids starting to running amok and we quickly needed to get the kids onto the next part of the adventure: spy school.

Spy school included an obstacle course, target shooting, and a grenade toss challenge. The grenade toss was a great way to cool the kids down on this hot summer day!

After all the kids graduated spy school and got their graduation certificates, they went on a “mission” to find stolen treasure and the bad guy who stole it!  In the process of this mission they had to navigate a lazer maze, find and deactivate some bombs, and solve a puzzle to know who the bad guys was!

IMG_2821IMG_2822(1)IMG_2812Once they knew who the bad guy was, they had to find him and capture him! I then gave the kids “interrogation tools” to get him to reveal where he had hidden their goody bags. The kids loved dousing Chad in silly string and Chad was a great sport. After he told them where they could find the goody bags and the kids released the prisoner, we celebrated Hailee’s birthday with cake and presents.

IMG_2672While we waited for parents to pick up the guests, a lively water fight ensued with water guns the kids found in their goody bags. Hailee said the water fight was her favorite part! Oh the irony that her favorite part of the party was the impromptu, unplanned part! But oh well, I think the party was an absolute success!

IMG_2819I totally gave myself a pat on the back for this well-planned and executed party! It was stressful and barely controlled chaos, but everyone had a great time and it’s a party for the books! We had important help from our nanny, Zoe and her husband, Ryan. Zoe decorated Hailee’s cake in an awesome spy theme! And Zoe and Ryan helped set up and facilitate the different activities so that everything ran smoothly! That evening we were all happily exhausted! I’m not sure this party can be topped!