Author Archives: Eric McClellan, MA, LMFT

I’ve moved!

Howdy folks!

Thought I might check in and say “Hey hey say, HEY!”

I’ve sifted around a bit and landed back into the world of direct care working at the Lee Carlson Center in Blaine, MN. If you wish to contact me you may do so at or shoot me a voicemail at 763-783-4991. I have taken on the task of supervising the Domestic Abuse Program and look forward to making lasting change that improves the quality of life for everyone.

So, without being too wordy I wanted to say that I am back and will hopefully keep adding to this blog in the future!

Thanks everyone!



Posted by on July 10, 2012 in Random Musing

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Love your kids? Teach specifics!

… ok, odd title, even more odd description. Ready to go down the rabbit hole?

Here we go.


So, the other day at the park, the last nice day of the year before winter hit I decided to take my son to swing and go on the slide. A bunch of other parents with their kids were there and that’s awesome. Love that.

The part where I really wanted to jump in was a girl with her mother. To my left the girl really want to go off the slide sideways and jump off. Mom wasn’t too keen on this idea.  And then to my right another mom was with her daughter (Yes, I was the only dad there) and using a bouncy car thing that sways back and forth. Both mothers virtually said the exact same thing;

“Don’t do XYZ because it’s dangerous!”

Come on parents! (moms and dads here) Kids don’t know what “dangerous” means. They really don’t. When they hear ‘dangerous’, they hear, “Oh, it must be fun!”

True story.

Next time, I want you to tell your kids what will happen if they don’t XYZ. Here’s a script:

” (1)[insert son/daughter name], if you XYZ (2), you will fall off (3) and that might hurt (4)!”

Ok, here’s the break down:

#1.) Say their name!! Kids love it when parents talk to them directly and openly.

#2.) Be specific and positive, say the positive version of what they are doing rather than the “don’t do XYZ”, it’s negative. How many times has your kid run around the house mocking you, “don’t jump on the bed, DON’T DON’T DON’T!!!”

#3.) Be specific of the consequences of their behavior, “dangerous” is ambiguous and doesn’t make sense to a kid.

#4.) Be specific about the effect of their behavior, this will teach kids cause and effect.

Good luck! You never know who’s paying attention at the park!! *kidding*

I’m rooting for you!




Posted by on December 2, 2011 in Ask Eric!, Parenting, Random Musing

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4 little principles that will change your life

… Ok, maybe not change in a big way, like a lottery winning or the birth of your first kid. But, these guiding ideas will allow you to give yourself permission to be awesome!

I’m finding out more and more that people are wanting to just feel ‘normal’ and that they aren’t ‘crazy’. I got news for you, you’re not crazy. As a matter of fact, you’re more likely to be a lot more normal than you think you are.

I’ve also found out that some folks just need to feel as if they have ‘permission’ to be or feel a certain way. I’m not sure why that is, but when that day does come to allow yourself to feel and be any way you choose; that’s a good day.

So, I’ve made you wait long enough, here’s my list of 4 criteria that will allow you to be an awesome you!

  1. It has to be legal – This is fairly cut and dry.
  2. Is it positive? – Be very honest with yourself about this one.
  3. Is it consensual? – If you’re doing something with someone else, are they OK with it?
  4. Is it ethical/harmful to anyone? This one will take some thinking to get right. Often ethical questions can be tough!
That’s it!! If what you are doing fits within those 4 things, I say, “have at it! Go forth and be awesome!”
I’m rooting for you,

Posted by on November 9, 2011 in Ask Eric!, Epiphanies, Questions to Ponder, Random Musing, Uplifting Topics

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Dump your cable and internet today!

This article:
Reminded me of why I turned off my cable and my internet at my house. It’s true, not only have I saved roughly $150/month on my bills but I also turned my house into an interaction zone!
Creative turn-a-phrase, but that’s what it is. I made it a priority to not allow my young son (15 months) to watch TV, even for brief periods of time. He has watched probably 30 mins total TV time in his entire life, mostly by accident.
I find that by not having the option to watch TV or go on the internet, I am much more free to do actual productive things. Did I mention that I’m writing a second book? Probably wouldn’t happen if I had a million channels of sports to watch (love sports, mostly SPEED Channel).
(I read in “Parenting” Magazine that the average dad spends 6.5 hours a week with their kids. What the hell??!!!!)
I have more time to spend with my son, I read more, I exercise a lot more, I can get out and do yard work, I can work on my car to get it ready for the road next year, I can clean the house, I can do my writing and photoshop, I can get out and photograph to make a little extra cash… It really does feel good to not feel as if I have a zillion hours of crap stuffed on my DVR.
I advocate dumping all these plans frankly. You won’t have the temptation to be a Facebook widow or a WarCraft widow. You don’t have to watch TV all the time to fill your evenings.
Not to mention the effects it has on young children to not be able to watch TV. The risk of ADHD goes down, creativity goes WAY up, they will want to interact with you more (which is a good thing), you can teach them more and overall have a more cohesive and connected family.
Isn’t that what you always envisioned when you had kids?
I’m rooting for you,


Posted by on October 20, 2011 in Parenting, Random Musing


The enduring spirit.

Howdy folks. I thought I’d take a day off of writing other mental health related topics to just speak to you about the enduring human spirit.

I’ve seen countless folks who are down on their luck and not doing well mentally or physically. Yet, every person who comes through my door sees a brighter future. They just need a hand getting there.

I’m always amazed at how resilient people are. There always seems to be  way to figure things out. I suppose it comes down to choices and options. You ALWAYS have choices and options. That doesn’t mean those choices and options are good ones or even ones that will make things better permanently, but there are always choices to be made.

Sometimes, I’ve noticed that some situations require picking the lessor or two really crappy options, neither of which is all that pleasant or fun. Other times, the choices are too much fun and it’s hard to choose between the fun options.

For example, when you have a free weekend, it’s hard to choose between say, the zoo or Valley Fair. Fun choices, right?

Other times, like in my story about seeing the two kids being blatantly sexual in the park near my house, I had a lot of choices I could have made. But, I was able to carefully weigh them in a quick manner to make a decision that I felt was the best at the time.

Haveyou had any difficult choices to make lately where there’s no good answer? Let’s hear about them!

I’m rooting for you,



Posted by on September 21, 2011 in Random Musing

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Can you ask your therapist questions?

I enjoy reading some of the mental health questions that people pose to some of the newspapers and other publications. I do read “Dear Abby” and the like.  I like to get others’ perspectives on things and see where others are coming from.  So, when I came across this article on CNN’s website, it took me back a bit.

Can I ask my therapist personal questions? – CNN

I happen to work on the philosophy that ‘disclosure begets disclosure’. I have found that a lot of people feel more comfortable with someone they know a little bit about the person their sharing their lives with and their perspectives. The writer makes a good point to show that therapists should only provide information if it is relevant to therapy and will have some beneficial impact to the client. Not all therapists like this sort of thing, they may not feel that their personal life is fodder for conversation.

The best advice I can give to this person is to just ask their therapist. The writer makes a good point that you should accept whatever the therapist tells you.

I have no qualms about talking about my life with people if they want to know, if they don’t want to know then I’m OK with that too.  There are a few topics in which I haven’t worked out in my own life; no one has touched on one of those yet, so I’m safely assuming that whatever a client may ask me can be a topic for therapeutic growth for the client.

I’m rooting for you,



Posted by on September 16, 2011 in Ask Eric!, Random Musing

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Reality is really the greatest teacher

I’m probably going to lose a lot of clients because of this, but here goes.

When you have kids, sometimes you are not the best teacher; Reality is.

I’m my estimation, your job as a parent is to make sure that your kid is a solid member of society. They know how to ‘play the game’ as my mother used to tell me. They also become good societal citizens, they don’t break the law, they play well with others and are generally ‘good’ people.

That’s it… that’s your job.

As one of my favorite author (Dr. Kevin Leman) would suggest, things like grades, money and friendships are not your problem as parents.

You can find his book here – Here

I know I just infuriated and shocked a bunch of people, so I’ll let that settle in and talk more about it after the break. If you wish to email me about how I’m wrong or if you agree, feel free at

I’m rooting for you,



Posted by on September 7, 2011 in Ask Eric!, Parenting

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Anger: The secondary emotion.

Anger is a very easily identifiable emotion to deal with. It’s immediate, it’s swift and it makes its presence very well known. However, more times than not, anger is often the result of another emotion that triggers the anger.

This is the part where you’ll need to be honest with yourself. You’ll need to channel a time in which you were quite angry. Think hard, because what came right before you got angry?

Fear? Jealousy? Hurt?

Anger is easier to deal with. It allows us to lash out in a quasi-cathartic retribution that feels good to get out, but doesn’t really convey the entire message.

If you come from a place that is the first emotion rather than the secondary anger stage, I can almost guarantee a different result when dealing with others.

I’m rooting for you,



Posted by on August 25, 2011 in Ask Eric!, Epiphanies, Questions to Ponder

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Saying ‘NO’; The amazing power it holds!

Recently someone reminded me that I should really talk about the power of ‘NO’.

The word often conjures up a stern ‘Nurse Ratchet’ type figure with her hair in a bun so tight that it cuts off circulation to the logical side of the brain. I’m here to tell you that it has amazing power for good as well!!

I could go on and on with the virtues of saying ‘no’, but sufficed to say that it works to control kids, gain respect, set boundaries and gain friends. It’s true… read on.

I’ve worked with a lot of people who consider themselves “people pleasers”. These are the types of folks who are so in need of friends that they are willing to do almost anything to gain friends. I’ve heard of teenagers hold drugs for people or cover up for others when they know its wrong just so they can gain friends. Others are willing to bake entire meals for a party so the host can invite them next time and give them praise. In other instances, some people are just trying to use you and you need to say ‘no’ consistently enough times for them to get the message.

In kids, saying ‘no’ creates a boundary for them. It shows them what you expect from them rightly or wrongly. Letting kids get their way on everything does nothing for them, it doesn’t help them learn or grow. How many times have you watched a “behind the scenes” documentary on kid celebrities after they’ve hit rehab for the 10th time? What do they typically say?

“No one ever told me no”.

Now, let’s be honest. I’m not saying you get to go around and say ‘no’ to everything. You need to also say ‘yes’, but what I want for you to do is to be extremely judicious with both of those words. What are trying to solve with each ‘yes’ and ‘no’.

I’m rooting for you,



Dreams: How important they can be.

I’ve heard a lot of versions from people about why we have dreams. Some say it’s practice for our brains for when we are in certain situations we can handle ourselves. Others believe they are meaningless and yet others say they predict the future.

I feel that dreams have a lot to offer us. I believe they tell us about ourselves and our situations if we pay attention to them. Recently I had an odd dream in which I was a WWII soldier destine to carry around trinkets from other soldiers. I didn’t have any guns or weapons, just a satchel of random junk.

To me, this is an allegory to my life as a therapist. I carry around the memories of others and hold them dearly.

What do your dreams tell you?



Posted by on August 10, 2011 in Epiphanies, Random Musing

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