Why Blame? – Part 1 of Demon Dialogues

Posted by: Danielle Lambrecht on October 27, 2016 1:56 pm

manandwomanDr. Sue Johnson, developer of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (2008), explains that couples get stuck in three different demon dialogue patterns, one she named   the “Find the Bad Guy” pattern that she states leads to a dead end for couples. Johnson describes the Find the Bad Guy as a “blame game” that leads nowhere but to more conflict, disengagement behaviors, and eventually creates a lack of security and trust in the couple’s relationship.

Why do couples engage in this type of behavior? Johnson purports that couples engage in this type of behavior as a way to be in a mutual attack mode, a win-lose dialogue and for self-protection from the real issue(s). Couples can for the moment feel less vulnerable and more in control when taking the stance or role of the “blamer”. This way the blamer(s) does not have to take responsibility for his or her behaviors, thoughts or emotions by pointing fingers at their partner as if to say,  “you are at fault, not me!”

Blaming behaviors can also escalate the other partner to engage in the same role and behaviors. Each person can both emotionally and verbally attack each other until one backs down. The one that emotionally disengages or shuts down usually does so for self-preservation. It is a natural response for the blamed partner to divert negative attention away from himself or herself as a way to cope the ongoing relationship distress. Over time, couples can become entrenched in Find the Bad Guy dialogue and it becomes an automatic interaction that leads to insecure bonding in couples.

The way couples can work on stopping the Find the Bad Guy pattern is to find a trained couples therapist who will point out this demon dialogue to the couple. The therapist needs to explain how this dialogue only detracts from the actual issue(s) and creates ongoing emotional distress. The therapist teaches the couple to come from a new level of communication that encourages language that creates safety, trust, and a willingness to take ownership of past behaviors. The therapist also facilitates couples’ dialogues assisting them to show their vulnerable emotions to their partner demonstrating their ability to express a “softer exchange”. Overtime, and with ongoing practice the Find the Bad Guy dialogue is replaced with an emotionally bonded couple that is able to deal with and find solutions to relationship issues.

Danielle Lambrecht, RSW, M.C., CCC.,Trained in Emotional Focused Therapy at Danielle Lambrecht Counselling

Please feel free to reply, it would be great to hear from you!




*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Searching for other players…

Posted by: Sherry Law on September 26, 2016 8:22 am

732016_149For as long as I can recall, I have had access to the internet. From the time I was a young teenager, I had reached out to friends through chat, created profiles on multiple social media sites, and enjoyed expressing who I was to the world. These social media sites were rudimentary at the time, providing image upload limits, having low traffic, unattractive aesthetics, and unsophisticated platforms for spreading information. However, they sufficed at the time and I created friendships with people from all across the world.

I remember playing a MUD while I was a teen, or a Multi-User Dungeon, one of the first online gaming platforms of the internet. You would be asked to type what your character would do; go n, go w, k goblin, get all… these were the inputs that would help your character navigate north, navigate west, kill a goblin, and get all of the corpse’s inventory for possible weapon upgrades or magical items. I was drawn to these online worlds and soon came to meet other users who would play with me, sharing their experience points as we adventured. The people I had encountered often became my Facebook friends, though seldom became conversational.

Later, I remember posting on an online art exhibit platform. There I shared my traditional and digital drawings with the world and pretty soon I started receiving comments. One particular user and I happened to get along and we not only became Facebook friends, but actually called each other on occasion as well!

Fast forward a decade, I now spend time in virtual reality (VR), where online gaming flourishes. While playing virtual billiards, I quickly found an opponent with the built in match-making. By the end of it, we spent nearly two hours talking and shooting billiards, and the experience was unlike anything I had encountered before. Although the MUD allowed we to interact with others, it was purely text based so the presence of another was unconvincing; and my friend on the art exhibit site and I shared dialogue over the phone, it was short lived and our lives naturally drifted apart as the exhibit became less popular. In contrast to this, VR allowed me to see this person’s height compared to my eye level. I saw that he would move his hands while talking to me, and fold them while he listened. I could see his head tilting upward while thinking over what was just discussed, and teleporting around each other made it feel like we were truly in a room together. This created a certain bond unlike anything I had ever experienced before by simply using a computer. I felt like I was with a whole person, even if he was thousands of miles away. I knew immediately that I had made a friend.

The friendship has moved to other platforms and we share experiences together regularly. We have played billiards together, played disc golf, enjoyed some air hockey, hung out in a tennis ball arena and shot selfies with our avatars, and we have even turned into robots and killed drones with our boomerang katanas. I have learned about his personal life beyond the screen, his history, and I have shared my own story with him. The bond between him and I could not have existed without VR, and this fact has profound implications for our evolving social dynamics. I shared various experiences with this new friend of mine. We worked together to battle evil forces, and were able to discuss our experience as we maneuvered and strategized within these simulations. What other experiences could people share together? How does this change the way we perceive and think about others? What other sides of a person could be observed through exploring, as Gene Wilder once said “a world of pure imagination”.

VR is more than fun. VR enhances empathy and understanding. We now have the ability to bond with a mind without the distractions of judgement by using the VR interface to mask irrelevant information, and instead select what our consciousness wishes to share with others.




*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Managing Your Career While Going Through Cancer Treatment

Posted by: Mark Franklin on September 23, 2016 3:46 pm

Listen to this episode of CareerBuzz at CareerCycles.com

Cancer strikes without prejudice – but people from all walks of life and within all levels of the cancer community can be united in a common goal of coping with this life-altering event. People living with cancer can and do play a significant and powerful role in their own journey. Kim Adlard has first hand experience witnessing how involvement impacts experience. And involvement starts with developing awareness of what’s available in terms of support, services, programs and activities. Hear Kim share her story and the new resource she founded, One Access Space, Kim also shared these valuable resources: Cancer and Careers and Working with Cancer

CareerBuzz is hosted by Mark Franklin, president and practice leader of CareerCycles.




*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

6 Books Every New Therapist Should Read: As Recommended by Other Therapists

Posted by: Natasha Minor on August 30, 2016 3:03 pm

Recently, I’ve been exploring various books that might give new therapists some of what they didn’t get in graduate school – less theory and more insight into what it’s really like to be a practicing therapist.

Below are a few of the books that have been recommended to counsellors and psychotherapists by other therapists in the profession.

The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients by Irvin D. YalomBooks

This book offers 85 chapters and each consists of no more than a few pages. Based on his 45 years of clinical experience, Yalom addressed many practical issues that all therapists have encountered and struggled with, providing readers with profound insight into the therapeutic process.

On Being a Therapist by Jeffrey A. Kottler

“Kottler talks about situations therapists encounter that I found very relatable” says Samantha Greene, a LCSW in private practice from Plano, TX. Being able to relate to the same situations with clients in her own practice, Samantha feels the book “normalizes the experiences therapists may have while treating clients and really encouraged me to continue my professional and personal growth,” she said.

Love’s Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy by Irvin D. Yalom

Another book by Yalom, Love’s Executioner is an account of real interactions he had with clients (edited for confidentiality of course). Many of the therapists I asked recommended this book, feeling that it speaks to the insights and relational moments that are at the core of our profession.

The Healing Path: How the Hurts in Your Past Can Lead You to a More Abundant Life by Dan B. Allender

Although not written specifically for therapists, Tamara Lynn-Hanna Feightner, LPC, says that it shaped her framework for counselling. The Healing Path “normalized the wounded heart, acknowledged the ramifications of betrayal, and talked about hope as risky, brave, and not a simple Hallmark card with a bow on it” The content in this book “confirmed for me the beauty in the resiliency of the human spirit and grace for being a glorious mess – the goal is the journey, not perfection or destination of having arrived,” she said.

Creativity as Co-Therapist: The Practitioner’s Guide to the Art of Psychotherapy by Lisa Mitchell

Joy Elizabeth recommends this book as she says it “speaks to training your brain to get outside the box and be a more present, effective therapist.” Viewing therapy as an art form, this book helps therapists to become more authentic, flexible and to trust in the therapeutic process.

Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky and Connie Burk

Lauren Gourley, LCSW, believes that Trauma Stewardship should be “mandatory reading” for anyone who has experienced trauma or works with people who have experienced trauma. The author offers readers practical ways to help prevent secondary trauma, paths for healing and discusses the importance of self-care.

The titles listed above are just a starting point. I invite you to explore the many books that are specifically written to normalize and speak to the unique experiences of therapists.

I’d love to hear what your favorite books are in the comments below.

Natasha Minor, MA, CCC, RP provides counselling and psychotherapy in London Ontario where she specializes in helping overwhelmed women find their voice and believe in their worth so they can create a more authentic, satisfying life.




*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Proximity- How Close Are You?

Posted by: Danielle Lambrecht on August 26, 2016 11:55 am

Proximity is a felt sense of connection to another and is not just within the physical realm, but is also emotional and spiritual. According to Sue Johnson, proximity is one of the laws of attachment. It is not an idea, but a primal need that is built within each of us. We all need a solid attachment to at least one main figure and if we had that in our childhoods, most likely we would have a secure attachment to others as we grow up.sistersclose

When we have safety in connection with others we can grow and develop and live healthy lives. We grow up to be adults who are flexible, creative, balanced and trust those who are either in our lives or entering in. We can develop solid attachments with others without loosing our sense of personal power. We give ourselves permission to live from an authentic place without worry of disapproval and loss of self.

The opposite is true if we did not experience proximity that felt sense of connection, we may fear people and see love as dangerous. We may fear rejection and have difficulty getting close to other people even when we want or need to. We may not be able to calm ourselves from fear of loss and struggle with feeling emotional imbalanced when what we really want is to feel safe and loved.

As a couple’s counselor, it is important to help clients see their relationship through the attachment lens. This attachment point of view allows couples to be encouraged to talk about their longing for attachment with their partner without their own fears of abandonment or rejection getting in their way. Couples learn strategies on how to seek proximity and deal with triggers as they arise. Couples can also develop secure attachments to one another by learning how to be emotional available, responsive to another, and practice ways that encourage continued emotional engagement.

Danielle Lambrecht, RSW, MCC.CCC

Danielle Lambrecht Counselling

©2016

Please submit any comments and I will gladly respond. Thank you.




*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Don’t Make Any Assumptions: Inside U of T Mississauga’s Career Centre

Posted by: Mark Franklin on August 26, 2016 11:44 am

Listen to this episode of CareerBuzz at CareerCycles.com

“Don’t make any assumptions,” said self-confessed career geek, Felicity Morgan, “about what you think about any career area.” Felicity is director of the career center at the University of Toronto at Mississauga. The UTM career centre serves over 13,000 students, with 15 staff. When we make assumptions we risk “not see your own biases and not identify career opportunities.” Instead, Felicity recommended career exploration: “Check it out, talk to people, check yourself out internally if it’s the right thing for you. You can only make the best decision with the info you have in front of you. So get that info in front of you.” Hear the whole interview with Felicity Morgan.

CareerBuzz is hosted by Mark Franklin, president and practice leader of CareerCycles.




*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Positive Psychology experts discuss Hedonia, Eudaimonia and the Virtuous Organization

Posted by: Mark Franklin on August 25, 2016 12:48 pm

Listen to this episode of CareerBuzz at CareerCycles.com

With so much interest in positive psychology, how can we use it to enrich our careers and lives? How can it help us to flourish?

These are questions that today’s podcast guests help answer. Guests were speakers and exhibitors at the recent Canadian Positive Psychology Association’s national conference held in Niagara on the Lake, June 2016.

First up: Kim Cameron is Professor of Management and Organizations in University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. His past research on organizational virtuousness, downsizing, effectiveness, and the development of leadership excellence has been published in more than 130 academic articles and 15 scholarly books. His current research focuses on virtuousness in organizations–such as forgiveness, gratitude, kindness, and compassion–and their relationship to performance. He is one of the co-founders of the Center for Positive Organizations at the University of Michigan. Kim was recognized as among the top ten organizational scholars in the world whose work has been most frequently downloaded on Google. Kim Cameron is today’s first guest.

Today’s second guest is Veronika Huta. Professor Huta obtained her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at McGill University. At the University of Ottawa, she teaches statistics and positive psychology. Her research compares different ways of defining and pursuing the good life, or eudaimonia (which is the pursuit of excellence, virtue, personal growth), and hedonia (which is the pursuit of pleasure, enjoyment, comfort). She studies these pursuits in relation to personal well-being, the well-being of the surrounding world, cognitive and physiological responses, and predictors (such as, parenting styles, worldviews). She is a founder of the Canadian Positive Psychology Association, and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Happiness Studies.

Finally… frustrated after a workplace accident, Hardy Premsukh started focusing on whole-body health as part of his recovery plan. Unable to find the proper tools to help him with this goal, he started working with psychologists, medical doctors, mathematicians, and other experts to develop a comprehensive platform that could create a more complete picture of how the body and mind work together. That platform – the FlourishiQ platform – knows how behavior and lifestyle choices impact health.

CareerBuzz is hosted by Mark Franklin, president and practice leader of CareerCycles.




*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

6 Easy Steps to Optimize your LinkedIn Profile: Tell your Story and Own your Brand

Posted by: Mark Franklin on August 23, 2016 12:29 pm

Listen to this episode of CareerBuzz at CareerCycles.com

“LinkedIn is the site where we’re investing time, not wasting time,” Leslie Hughes, LinkedIn optimization specialist and owner of PunchMedia, told Career Buzz listeners. “Linkedin is not the sexy social media site, it’s not the one everyone goes to gleefully every morning,” said Leslie, but it is the business network, so it pays to make it good. How?

Leslie highlighted 6 steps to start optimizing your online presence and improving your LinkedIn profile:

  1. Do a digital audit. Find out your “online first impression,” Leslie recommended. Conduct a search on yourself to see how you are being perceived by potential hiring managers or clients. Make changes to remove unflattering content.
  2. Get a professional head shot. “If you do nothing else, focus on a really good head shot so you appear confident, smiling and approachable.”
  3. Craft a strong headline that’s not your job title. Bypass LinkedIn’s default headline which is your most recent job title, and go for this formula: _[descriptive title]_ helping _[these clients]_ deliver _[these results]_, for example, Career management leader helping individuals and employees manage their careers for the future
  4. Understand the Summary is the most important content. “You have 2000 characters to effectively tell your story.” Need ideas? Leslie recommended watching Simon Senik’s TEDTalk, Start with Why.
  5. Go long on copy. In your Experience and Volunteer and other sections, “long copy outperforms short copy,” Leslie said.
  6. “Put the ‘social’ in social media.” Don’t just rely on a static profile, engage with others through Shares, Posts, and interactions in Groups.

Leslie Hughes recommended listeners use these social media tools and steps “to own their brand and to become their own digital media agency.”

Also in the show Denise Raposa discusses the careers of older adults in our changing work environment.

CareerBuzz is hosted by Mark Franklin, president and practice leader of CareerCycles.




*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Inspiring Motivation For Career Growth/Change

Posted by: Jamie Dovedoff on August 23, 2016 11:22 am

ChangeisprocessIf you ask someone if they like their job, truthfully of untruthfully the majority of the time they are going to say they love or like their position. But just how often are we actually being truthful? Where my parents have stayed in the same career their entire work lives, I have changed careers and jobs frequently throughout my relatively short time in my work because I was bored and needed something new to inspire me. However, I know many people (professionally and personally) who have stayed so long in an occupation they despise, that they have lost touch with what they are motivated to spend 40 hours/week and 52 weeks/year doing. They go to work for the paycheck and hate every minute of it!

I participated in a workshop with Mr. Michael Kerr in June 2016 on creating inspiring workplaces/cultures and he addressed the topic of the “Six Powerful P’s of Motivation and Engagement”. Though his lecture was on workplaces, these concepts are also applicable to the individual and may be particularly important to our clients (or even ourselves) who are so dissatisfied with their career that this dissatisfaction has crept into their personal lives, perhaps even in the form of mental illness.

1) Passion: The destination. If they could have any position, what would it be? Finding passion may take some real digging and involves exploring core belief systems to determine what it is that your client is truly driven by, what do they ultimately want in a job?

2) Purpose:  If passion is the destination, purpose is the journey toward that destination. The purpose is building the pathway towards their passion. The tasks they complete and the challenges they maneuver to “follow the yellow brick road” to their purpose.

3) Progress: Achievement. This concept involves creating measurable short term goals so that they can acknowledge the actions they have taken toward reaching their passion. Acknowledging their achievements, creates motivation to continue on the purpose/journey toward the purpose/destination.

4) Pride: The engine. Pride is an intrinsic motivator which fuels the journey and keeps your client’s moving along their path towards their purpose.

5) Play: This adventure should be fun!!!Any change throws the equilibrium off balance which is not always fun and can be downright stressful. However, when your client is working towards their passion, they should be enjoying the path to get there. If they aren’t, perhaps they haven’t dug deep enough into their core beliefs to find their true driving force.

6) Personal: To cultivate daily motivation to make changes in their life, the journey should be theirs and theirs alone. Not a journey they “should” take but one they have chosen to take. If they “own” the journey, their motivation will continue despite being met with challenges/obstacles along the way.




*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Benefits to Starting a Private Practice

Posted by: Natasha Minor on July 8, 2016 3:49 pm

I’d like to challenge the widely held perception that it is not easy for therapists, and especially recent graduates, to find success in private practice. Most of the existing negative opinions on private practice come from a place of fear. An example of this is when I heard a colleague say they didn’t think that the market could sustain another person in private practice. If I hadn’t done my research, I might have believed what I heard and been drawn into their place of fear – believing that I wouldn’t be successful if I started a private practice.

Well, I do not want to live in fear! I choose to operate my practice from an abundance mindset. I truly believe there are enough clients for those who are able to help them – and I believe these clients can be ideal clients you love to work with. Doesn’t that sound great?!

I’ve put together a few reasons that I feel have made my decision to start a private practice worth all of the hard work.

Freedom and FlexibilityPrivatePracticeWoman

Running your own business is a lot of work. This is especially true in regards to a private practice as you have to market yourself to the world so they notice you and the amazing service you provide. However, being your own boss means that you get to set your own hours, choose the message you are sending and choose the population you want to work with.

It was so exciting to pick my own office space and decorate it the way I wanted. I was the one who decided what my practice policies would be. I continue to make decisions for my business that I am comfortable with as a therapist. Yes, there is a learning curve with this (like if and how you should charge for a late cancel or no show) but once you do it a few times it becomes a lot easier to stick to your policies.

Less Chance of Burnout

Sometimes, working for agencies or other clinicians can be challenging and exhausting. They may require that you work long hours, give you little control over who you see and you might not agree with all of their policies. This can lead to burnout or compassion fatigue and your clients might not get the best care you are able to give them. Since running your own private practice gives you the freedom to choose who you work with and how often, going into the office can be quite enjoyable. In addition, your work week will likely be less than 30 hours which leaves a lot of time for family, friends and self-care activities.

The Money

I know – we didn’t get into this profession to get rich. However, we also didn’t put all that time and effort into grad school so that we could live paycheck to paycheck either. Working for an agency means you may be salaried which limits your earning potential.

In private practice you have the ability to set your own fees and choose the number of hours you wish to work. You can also take on a speaking gig or run a workshop to increase your income. Working for an agency may limit your ability to develop additional streams of income if a non-compete clause is in place. In addition, you might not have the time or energy to put into such things if you are working 40 hours a week at an agency.

I’m not saying starting and running a private practice is an easy endeavor. I’m saying if it is what you have dreamed of then you should not let fear hold you back. I encourage you to take the leap and start living your dream sooner rather than later.

If you have any questions or would like to connect, I’d love to hear from you!


Natasha Minor, MA, CCC, RP runs a private practice in London Ontario where she specializes in helping overwhelmed women find their voice and believe in their worth so they can create a more authentic and satisfying life.




*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA