Recommended Reading: My Diary Unlocked

by Lucie Hemmen on September 29, 2014

When I mentioned “cutting” to a group of parents concerned about high levels of academic stress, one dad in the audience assumed I was talking about cutting class.  When it was explained to him, he looked as if he might need to leave the room.
Janet Larsons new book My Diary Unlocked is packed with very personal, powerful, touching accounts from the lives of teen girls.  I was honored be quoted on the subject of self-cutting.
“When Lucie Hemmen, PhD, author of Parenting a Teen Girl, introduced the toic of “cutting” in one of her lectures, some parents assumed she meant cutting classes at school. Jaws dropped when these parents discovered the word’s actual meaning. It is an alarming fact that more and more teenagers are cutting themselves, burning their skin or engaging other forms of self-injury as a way to make physical, and therefore more manageable, their painful or uncontrollable emotions. As Dr. Hemmen explained:
“Cutting is a coping mechanism, which means it is a way to regulate feelings. Unfortunately, it “works” in that teens report it makes them feel better. They feel like that they can control it, keep it secret, see and feel a “result,” and express emotions people don’t seem to like, especially anger and sadness. To make things worse, the brain wires quickly for this behavior, creating a stress + cutting = relief circuit that becomes harder and harder to break over time.”

To learn more about Janet Larsen’s book, My Diary Unlocked, visit  A diary for girls with awesome quotes on each page is sold with the book.


Teens and Anxiety: Coping Tools

September 27, 2014

Helping your teen transition from summer back to school. Anxiety is MUCH more common in teenagers today and a big trigger for that anxiety is academic pressure. As your teen transitions out of summer and into the school year, let her know that you want to work with her to keep her schedule and lifestyle […]

Read the full article →

Yelling at Teens

March 9, 2014

Understanding the impact that yelling has on teens. Early in my private practice work with teens, a 16-year-old client explained: “I know my mom loves me but she’s a yeller.  When she yells at me, I feel worthless.  I feel like I’ve never done anything right in my life.  The only way I could possibly […]

Read the full article →

Dr. Lucie Hemmen Appearing on the Steve Harvey Show

May 14, 2013

Episode covering the topic “Fourteen is the New Eighteen” features Dr. Hemmen as Featured Expert A few months ago, I had a huge, unexpected adventure. It started with a message on my phone left by a woman identifying herself as “Julie from the The Steve Harvey Show in Chicago. We’re looking for an expert on […]

Read the full article →

Beauty Fads Put Teen Girls at Risk

April 7, 2013

“Tumblr is the worst” states my teen client, with a facial expression of dread mixed with horror.  “There is just the sickest stuff on that site that girls post and re-post.   ‘Thinspiration’ garbage that makes you feel like you’re a pathetic loser if your thighs touch.  It’s sick sh#@ but it gets in your head […]

Read the full article →

Media’s Influence on Teen Girls

February 11, 2013

Last week Gateway School in my hometown of Santa Cruz showed the documentary Miss Representation to its parent population. I was asked to moderate a discussion afterwards. The documentary by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, and later aired on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.  It explores how the media’s misrepresentations of […]

Read the full article →

Why Do Teen Girls Cut Themselves

November 28, 2012

Over the years, I’ve seen a tremendous increase in self-harming behaviors among my teen girl clients. I’m not the only one. School counselors, therapists, coaches, teachers and parents across the nation note a significant increase in self-cutting. While reckless behavior is well know to parents of teens, intentional, ritualistic, self-injury tends to be a mindblower. Why are […]

Read the full article →

Question: How Do You Talk to Your Prickly Teen?

October 1, 2012

Answering One Parent’s Question and Introducing the 10 Minute Talk I love this parent’s use of the word PRICKLY! It perfectly describes the demeanor teen girls often show parents but not the rest of the world. The teen years are a great time for parents to make friends with being together without necessarily communicating verbally. […]

Read the full article →

Pacific Collegiate School Parent Education Forum

September 28, 2012

I had a great time presenting this week at the Pacific Collegiate School in Santa Cruz. Although I’ve presented at their parent education forums in years past, this talk on conflict, communication, and connection with teens was the most fun for me. Instead of a lecture-first format, I mixed it up this year by basing the presentation […]

Read the full article →

Preview of “Parenting a Teen Girl”

September 24, 2012

Lucie’s first book, Parenting a Teen Girl, is divided into 10 chapters, each addressing a key topic area. Here’s a chapter-by-chapter outline of the book with a sample of what you can expect from start to finish: Chapter 1 – Talking Trash About Teens: A Reality Check Pessimism is exchanged for optimism and parents receive a […]

Read the full article →