Long Distance Interventions from Sons of Helaman

Long Distance Interventions from Sons of Helaman

Below you will find a discussion between me and a mother via email that may give you a few ideas of what we can do for you and your young men even if you live far away.

A friend of mine told me about your program. My 17-year-old son, has been struggling with an unwanted masturbation addiction for nearly 4 years now. He is a self-disciplined kid with a testimony, who really wants to go on a mission and attend BYU but fears that those won’t be possible for him. He has a lot of trepidation about participating in this. He did go to LDS social services for a while, but he says it didn’t help. He feels that signing up for this program is admitting defeat.

We live in Illinois so he would not be able to attend group meetings. How would the distance program work?

Please help my boy!


Hello Mother,

I am very sad for your pain. I am sure it does not surprise you to learn that almost every young man we work with comes to us having similar thoughts and feelings as your son.

I have attached the most complete version we have of the training manual for how we fight these addictive behaviors. Read the first dozen or so pages, then share them with him.

For young men who live too far away to attend groups, we have found great success with our Text-coaching program.

After reading through these two things, let me know and we will talk about the next steps.

Maurice (Director)

I read the entire manual and found myself in tears. It describes my son perfectly, and helped me better understand why this has been so difficult for him. He and I read the scriptures together every night and talk about his struggles then, if he wants to. Just recently he told me that he felt that all of the barriers he was putting in place were like being at the top of the cliff saying “No, I won’t jump” as he was in the process of falling off. He said he needs barriers farther away from the cliff edge. The chemical spill explanation in this document made lots of sense.

My son does have a cell phone, but it’s a T-Mobile ToGo phone for emergencies. He has never texted, although the phone has the capabilities to do so. There is a per text charge (incoming and outgoing). Of course we are willing to pay for that if it would be most effective, but since he rarely carries his phone while at home and cannot use it while at school, he would only be able to use the program during July and some of August. Is there another method?

I do have some cases, where I have done email therapy. Of course, it is not as good as it would be in person, but it has still proven to be effective.

The way it works is I give the young man some questions or assignments, and he replies as soon as and as sincerely as he can. Because he is only charged for the time it takes me to read and reply to his emails (prorated current rate $100/hr), he can take all the time he needs to carefully write what he sends to me. This careful mental work is also good for his brain. The usual reply time is 20-30 minutes but can take as much as an hour if necessary. The family decides how to pace this in order to respect the finances of the family. Once an email is sent to me at mwharkertherapy@gmail.com from the client, the family calls/texts Judy, my secretary, asking her to set aside time on my schedule to attend to the email. For instance, if the family can only afford to invest $50 this week, they can ask her to set up a time that is no more than 30 minutes. I will then keep my answer time to less than 30 minutes. If I finish in less than 30 minutes, the client is charged for the less amount of time.

If you would like to try this idea, I have attached the application for services with my office. Near the back of the paperwork there are two questionnaires. We would start by having him reply to both pages in an email to me. That would be our first session. The application part of the paperwork can be scanned and email to sofhoutreach@gmail.com.

If you want to try the text coaching system, it would be wise for him to have a cell service with unlimited texting. Many young men who are in school are not able to use phones in school, and because most of the texts come before and after school hours, the system has not conflicted with school attendance.

Let me know what you want to do and/or if you have any further questions.

About Maurice W. Harker, LPC

Director of Life Changing Services, Director of Sons of Helaman, Facilitator of the WORTH group, Consultant for the Daughters of Light program.