Echo Bullying

Posted by: Jonathan Delisle on August 19, 2015 10:17 am



Echo bullying is a term I’ve developed based on both personal and clinical experiences. It is a phenomenon that occurs long after the bullying ends. It is an internal self-depreciation that continually underlies the former victim’s self-perception. The depreciating internal dialogue perpetuates the past bullying (usually sub-consciously). This internal dialogue is the echo of the bully’s message to his former victim.

Bullies direct hurtful comments or behaviours at you, and then you walk away and think nothing more of it or you may even try to repress or distort the memory of it while trying to convince yourself that you don’t care. Continue reading

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

Your Mental Health At Work

Posted by: Dawn Schell on July 22, 2015 12:02 pm

couch-21431_640Where do you spend most of your time? I don’t know about you but I spend it at work.   Don’t we all spend more of our waking hours at work than anywhere else? Wouldn’t it be great if our workplaces were places where mental health and wellbeing was a priority?

The statistics on workplace mental health issues are sobering. According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, in any given week close to 500,000 Canadians will miss work because of a mental health concern or illness. 30 % of disability claims in Canada are related to mental health issues. The cost to the economy is in the billions. The cost in human terms is incalculable. Much of this could be avoided by ensuring our workplaces are mentally healthy places to be.

How do we go about doing that? In January 2013 Canada launched The National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard) is the first of its kind in the world. “The Standard is a document that outlines a systematic approach to develop and sustain a psychologically healthy and safe workplace. It focuses on mental illness prevention and mental health promotion. The Standard is intended for everyone, whether or not they live with a mental illness”. [1]

The Mental Health Commission has resources, evaluation tools, webinars and video testimonials from champion organizations that have adopted the Standard.   It’s practical and offers sensible easy suggestions for implementation.

Continue reading

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

Critical Thinking: A Key Career and Life Skill

Posted by: Denise Hall on July 8, 2015 2:00 pm

Have you ever said to yourself “What was I thinking?” You realize that you ignored all the red flags at the beginning when you went for the job interview and took the job or you have somehow forgotten that you have tried that route before and now you are here in a similar setting that did not work before. We sometimes do not do the analysis before we agree to a situation or have come to some faulty assumptions that we wonder how we could be so confused and make a poor decision.

Faulty thinking is one of hazards that we, in our humanness are prone, to. What I am meaning is that simply going by our intuition can send us down the wrong track. An article title133d the “Pitfalls of Doing What Comes Naturally” by Diane Cole (2011) in the Psychotherapy Networker provides a counter to the “extraordinary influence wielded by the intuitive mind” in current thinking (p. 1). The author references Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell as a popular work that suggests the decision making power of the intuition is stronger than rational and logical reasoning.

Cole (2011) suggests that the cognitive research cited in The Invisible Gorilla by Chabri and Simons (2010) and On Second Thought by Herbert (2010) provide counter arguments to the “overly positive” view of using intuition as a guide. Their take on cognitive psychology is that our intuition is sometimes helpful and sometimes not. What we remember intuitively largely from our unconscious is influenced by heuristics, “hard-wired mental –shortcuts and cognitive “rules of thumb” that we use in our daily decision-making. The study of heuristics is on the forefront of cognitive research today.

Coasting along on autopilot making decisions, the authors suggest, can cause serious errors in judgment. In this case the information we remember and use for our decision-making sometimes can be considered a “heuristic distortion”. The article suggests that because our mind simplifies and categorizes information it produces these distortions. The premise of the article is that this sometimes erroneous automatic process must be over-ridden by more conscious processes. We need to “tune-in and decipher our brain chatter” (p. 2). What we remember and attend to gets simplified and categorized into schemas or mental maps and they need to be reprogrammed according to the author. Continue reading

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

“Willful Blindness”: Is Your Workplace at Risk Psychologically?

Posted by: Denise Hall on June 8, 2015 8:30 am

The subject of my upcoming book is the psychological health of professional helpers’ workplaces. The material used for this blog is partly from the manuscript completed in 2013 for my Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. My purpose is to bring more awareness to workers and their supervisors in hopes of preventing psychological injuries at work.

energy-73336_640Recent initiatives by progressive thinking agencies, government, and health and safety organizations establishing guidelines for psychologically healthy workplaces are the topic of conferences and workshops. Discussion is beginning to happen in workplaces and with health care providers. One of the main reasons for this initiative is the recognition that psychologically unhealthy workplaces cost money in terms of absenteeism, high turnover, lost productivity, health care, and insurance costs.

This initiative is largely in its infancy similarly with physically unsafe workplaces years ago. In British Columbia WorkSafe BC and the provincial government developed Bill14 in this regard. This piece of legislation also encompasses bullying and harassment in the workplace. The legislation came about because of the potential for losses to employers if employees filed suits in court over mental stress. In essence, this came about because it was going to cost $$, not necessarily because it is the best thing for workplaces.

Continue reading

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

Mental Health in the Workplace

Posted by: Peter Persad on May 28, 2015 12:09 pm

Following the horrific crash of Germanwings Flight 4U9525 on March 25, 2015, the subject of mental health in the workplace has, once again, become a hot topic. Unfortunately, discussions around mental health seem to happen reactively and as a function of tragedy which, in my opinion, bespeaks the current social mood regarding mental health and discussions about mental health. Namely, we still ‘don’t want to talk about it.’ The stigma associated with mental health issues prevails despite public education campaigns and attempts to renorm social mores regarding living with mental health and talking about mental health. Interestingly enough, as demonstrated by the Germanwings disaster, it is the workplace that is increasingly becoming the crucible for this discussion. Our workplaces have increasingly become the intersection where the rights and responsibilities of society (here represented by the employer) and the individuals that make up that society (the employees) are meeting and ultimately framing our personal and public values regarding mental health.

Continue reading

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

What is a Psychologically Healthy Workplace?

Posted by: Denise Hall on May 28, 2015 8:00 am

“A psychologically safe and healthy workplace is one that actively works to prevent harm to employees’ psychological health and promotes mental well-being. A healthy workplace is not simply attained by individuals practicing a healthy lifestyle and self-care, but also by managers and co-workers supporting one another and fostering the creation of a positive and inclusive work environment.”
~Nick Smith, Project Coordinator, Health Promotion, Workplace Health; published on: 10/2/2014

Current discussion about workplace health is centering around promoting psychologically healthy workplaces. This national movement is really at the beginning of implementing strategies to improve workplaces much like the movement for physically safe workplaces was years ago. The out-of-control costs of worker’s compensation claims, long term disability insurance and absenteeism are the catalyst for focusing on this issue.The conversation is shifting, and rightly so, to organizational solutions. Bill 14 enacted in 2011 on mental stress has changed how WorksafeBC is approaching the issue and one that requires employers to demonstrate that they are implementing prevention strategies in this area.connection-647217_640

My 2013 Graduate project and upcoming book In Harm’s Way: Professional Helper’s at Risk focuses on the physical and psychological health of professional helpers from an organizational perspective. The project included a comprehensive literature review of research that examined the occupational health and safety of counsellors and therapists and other health care professionals. It is apparent from the research that there is abundant information focusing on the individual responsibility for health and safety and much less from an organizational focus.

Continue reading

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