Tag Archives: Mental Illness

SAD and Creativity

Posted by: Priya Senroy on December 16, 2015 10:26 am

Nearly the end of the year and it has been an eye opening time for me both personally and professionally. The number of my clients who are experiencing SAD or seasonal affective disorder is on the rise and I am choosing to take a different and more creative intervention approach to address this issue. Clients have mentioned that they are able to cope better with their indisposition when they are being more creative.

We know that there is a direct relation between mood and creativity. I know that when I am sad, I want to listen to upbeat music to help bring me out of the funk. However, crayonshere is what I found after doing some research as part of my work.

The first finding is that our fleeting feelings can change the way we think. Because sadness makes us more focused and diligent, it sharpens attention. The second takeaway is that many of our creative challenges involve tasks that require diligence, persistence and focus. It’s not easy making a collage, writing a poem or solving a hard technical problem. Sometimes, being a little miserable can improve our creative performance.

While there has been speculation that there’s some correlation between sadness and creativity, I am finding that as my clients are reaching rock bottom, they are reaching creative peaks. Some of their expressions have been more creative and cathartic than at times when they were not SAD-emotionally and diagnostically.

There are numerous blogs and articles which offer some rich information on this subject, including the following article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/prescriptions-life/201204/little-weird-prone-depression-blame-your-creative-brain.

So the next time there is SADness in the air, open the windows and let it fuel your creativity.

*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.

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

Blog #12

Posted by: Curtis Stevens on October 24, 2011 12:00 pm

O.k. now, after an extended tangent, my second observation as a counsellor attending counselling as a client; the stigma of going to counselling. 

I felt strange going to counselling at first.  I got caught up in the shoulds.  “I’m a therapist, I should be able to know how to deal with things.”  “I help people through their own depression, anxiety, worries, troubles, I should just use the same things I teach them.”  Truth is, I was embarrassed to be going to counselling.  I was telling people I had a doctor’s appointment when they asked where I was going or to get time off work to go.  Not aware of what possessed me, but I did mention it to a colleague, and she informed me she was also going to counselling.  As I talked to my colleagues and my friends about it, the more natural it seemed that I would be going for counselling. The stigma it seems, was coming from me; not some external source.  In an article produced by Alberta Health Services, “Stigma is the reason two-thirds of Candadians living with mental illness donot seek help. (Seto, 2011).  The same article also stated that “…one in five Canadians experience some measure of mental illness every year (Seto, 2011).”  That same article talks about the negative image that media portrays of people with mental illness, that one is looked down upon for taking time off work due to mental illness.  I don’t know that that is always the case.  I’m sure it still exists, but have an idealistic sense of hope that it has diminished.  As a therapist, I should be a steward of the profession.  I should be trumpeting the benefits to all.  I should be talking about what counsellors do.  After all, if I truly believe that counselling is helpful to others, am I not somewhat hypocritical for not seeking the same help myself, the same way I would seek out a doctor or a massage?  As a matter of fact, attending counselling may give me a better understanding  of the counsellor/client relationship.  Having had this experience, I can foresee addressing a client’s feelings around coming to see me; the support they have from their significant others.

 Seto, Colleen 2011; Confronting the Stigma of Mental Illness; Apple magazine; Fall 2011/Issue 5:  Alberta Health Services  (forgive me for not adhering to APA… it would take me forever to find my old manual).

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

A Multicultural Tale of Mistrust

Posted by: Guest on March 29, 2011 1:39 pm

“And you will not put the mental illness on my son…” said the woman with a heavy African accent and an angry voice. That was a message left over the weekend on my work phone. A few weeks into my new job as a multicultural liaison for an agency in greater Vancouver, this was what I encountered on a Monday morning, as I arrived at my office. The woman was a recent refugee from Africa. She came with her baby and a boy in Grade 3 – my client.   This boy was having a lot of trouble in school; he would not stay in class, but wander around the patio sometimes leaving school grounds, often showing aggression towards other students during recess. Various staff had attempted to make contact with him but he would withdraw, hiding under tables and hugging himself as he rocked back and fourth.

I had a meeting on Friday with the school counsellor, teacher, school liaison, my client’s mother and grandmother, and  the mother had agreed that her son would start seeing me.

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