Tag Archives: psychotherapy

Thera-spraining Psychotherapy: What it is and What it is not.

Posted by: Denise Hall on June 13, 2016 12:34 pm

This blog post is meant to unravel the puzzle that is therapy. In the past therapy was considered only for people with serious
mental health issues. Therapy has become much more accepted as a way of changing one’s life,
recovering from grief and trauma, relationship breakups and family and parenting issues. In
fact, there is evidence to suggest that it can be very beneficial in relieving depression and other
issues. It also is effective in reducing the need for pharmaceutical intervention in some
situations.

What does the therapy process look like? Contrary to what some people think, therapy is an
active process requiring work, openness and cooperation on the part of the person seeking
therapy. The therapist does not change you, they are, in effect, a facilitator of change. How
much you change (or even whether you change) is up to you.

Well what does therapy do? Therapy changes the brain as Norman Doidge the author of The
Brain That Changes Itself” aptly illustrates. Having a skilled person validating your experience,
listening with nonjudgement, and focusing on your strengths does wonders for most brains that
have a tendency to focus on the negative side of any experience and produce emotions such as
shame and guilt. Therapy can help you think differently about your situation and with
understanding comes clarity. It also helps you remember who you truly are and encourages you
to accept your strengths as well as your human flaws.

Knowing you are not alone and that someone really understands what you are going through
has immense therapeutic value. Family and friends can be supportive too but most of us would
rather not burden friends too much and usually most people just keep their feelings to
themselves.

Therapy is also preventative. It prevents and/or mitigates conditions such as high stress,
depression, anxiety, chronic pain and PTSD that left untreated can cause associated physical
conditions such as stomach ulcers, cardio/vascular events, panic attacks, isolation, suicide,
physical deterioration, musculoskeletal challenges and debilitating pain, and addiction
to opioid medication.

What therapy does not do? Most of us in our ever increasingly complex and fast-paced world
are looking for a magic bullet or a quick solution that will alleviate or solve a difficulty. Therapy
is not a quick fix for many reasons including that situations are usually complex and accrue over
time. Healing takes time. Untangling the many factors in a situation is a process and our
defense mechanisms often get in the way. We usually need a safe place to freely explore the
landscape around issues causing frustration and pain. Many people have never had a safe place
to do this.

Another thing therapy costs money, upwards from $100.00 to $200.00 per hour. Depending on
the qualifications of the therapist. Most psychotherapists have a Master’s degree and are certified by
provincial or national bodies (for more information on practice requirements for psychotherapists
across Canada, please see https://www.ccpa-accp.ca/profession/regulation-across-canada/).
Psychologists are regulated provincially as are registered social workers. I definitely would
recommend counselling or therapy with someone who has had rigorous education, training and
supervision.

The good news is that it might not take a lot of sessions to get you feeling better about your
situation and feel like you are gaining more control over your life. For complex issues involving
trauma it can take much longer. I remember a therapist telling me that if personal growth was a
priority then I would find the money to pay for therapy. I do not see it as simple as that now
that I have been a therapist for years. Most people have competing priorities these days and
therapy is usually put on the back burner. Although it is likely to be beneficial, managing a
household, paying rent and food costs are a high priority in most everyone’s life.

Although there are some options for therapy with psychiatrists that practice therapy, employer
funded programs and government and community organizations, there are usually wait lists,
number of sessions is time-limited, and acute conditions take priority. The Globe and Mail
published an article last fall that made the case very well for government funded mental health
services accessible to everyone. Many countries do provide therapy and the cost to taxpayers is
outweighed by the reduction in cost in the general health budget and employer funded
disability plans.

A word of caution about therapy though; growing as a person can change your life priorities
and the relationships with those around you. It also can be challenging! Opening yourself up to
someone maybe for the first time is scary. We are afraid usually of being judged by others. The
evidence for addressing issues rather than suppressing them is strong. Unexpressed feelings
can manifest themselves in health conditions, chronic pain and addictions. Many people have
tried self-medicating when issues have become too much leading them into a dangerous
trajectory.

I am hoping this blog post helps you understand what therapy can do for you. Remember you
are the captain of your own life when you take part in psychotherapy. What you get out of it is
up to you and I encourage you to shop for a therapist that fits for you and that you feel safe
with. In case you would like to speak to me further about your situation, I am available for free
30-minute telephone consultations if you would like to explore it for yourself at 604-562-9130
or email [email protected].




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

How To Make Meaning of Political Violence Directed at Innocent Civilians When it Hits Your Home in Paris on a Random Friday Night?

Posted by: Barry D'Souza on November 18, 2015 4:05 pm

Please note that this blog article was written on November 16th

EiffelTowerThe title of this blog entry follows what I wondered as I came home on the TGV this morning. When the carnage began to unfold Friday night, I was hosting my therapist meditation group. It was only when my son-in-law who texted me to check that I was alright much later – he’d heard of me going to the Bataclan to see concerts many times before – that I had any inkling of war coming to Paris.

I turned on the TV and began to watch news coverage of what was a momentary hiatus in the bloody assault as I cleaned up plates from the potluck that we have after our blissful meditations. I thought, this is the essence of shock! Parisiens, in all variations from the “furthest away” of thinking that anything like that could possibly happen in our streets – were being pulled into something very awful of which only the first few dimensions were perceived.

Most of the restaurant killing had been completed but there were hundreds of hostages in the concert hall. I stayed awake as long as I could. Casualty figures were modest at 1am, but, I knew that when I woke, countless of those hostages would be among the freshly dead that Paris would mourn. When I had to go to bed I felt some nibbling guilt – for weeks I had had plans to catch up with an old friend down in Montpellier. I had a train to catch the next morning. Already, I wasn’t the slightest aware of the killing as it happened, and then when the rest of my Paris would start to reel, I’d be away.

This weekend, as I realized the randomness of who happened to be in the places where ISIS chose to slaughter, and felt amongst other things, political worries for what would come next, I yearned for many things. I wanted to have an expression of solidarity with those who lost their lives, their families and those who just felt the pain of the meaning of Friday night in Paris. I wanted to commemorate all of those who were unknown to me and to whom up until Friday were living their ordinary lives. I wanted to feel a little vicarious pain, imagine and connect with the loss, from all sorts of personal angles.

With the friends in Montpellier, amidst our ‘catching-up’, we shared on many aspects of the human side of processing. Sunday afternoon, when it was so beautifully blue skied, sunny and warm, I went for a walk, sat in the Parc de Peyrou and falling into a sublime moment of peace, felt no nibbling of guilt. Coming together as friends, as a group, as societies, to feel and to make gestures confirming our humanity is part of the meaning-making in the short term, I am sure. We Parisiens might do well to take our time here. Attempts to make more absolute meaning of Friday, November 13 in Paris, in what is the long, ideological war of attrition between opposite sides of the war on/of terrorism, (where civilian casualty and trauma is bountiful), might end up choosing anger and fear as the basis for a response…not that anger and fear are not understandable and rightful responses just now. So here then is my immediate decision to make meaning of weekend events over the longer term – I hope to be a ‘present’ force of humanity-confirming senses in the midst of crazy violence.




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

When we Stumble, it is Simply Part of the Dance

Posted by: Bonney Elliott on November 3, 2015 12:55 pm

tangodanceAs we struggle to wrap minds and bodies around a new sequence, our wise dance teacher asserts that Argentine tango is not complicated, but complex. His words give me pause, and hope. Tango looks complicated, and takes years of practice to master. Yet, even the most dazzling choreography is essentially a pattern of basic steps.

As a psychotherapist, this distinction seems quite relevant beyond the dance floor. Helping clients who are suffering to make sense out their lives can feel complicated, but perhaps the intricate dance of psychotherapy is, like tango, a layering of steps and patterns.

A few concepts that simplify therapeutic relationship for me are connection, presence, self-awareness, humility and perspective. When a dance goes well, the partners are in sync. They have a strong, tangible connection that transcends the alchemy of physical chemistry or attraction. Dancers communicate with each other, often nonverbally. Therapists deliberately cultivate and maintain empathetic attunement with our clients. Connection is the fulcrum for therapy. When Ego steps into the space between us, connection wavers. Miscommunications happen. Insecurity and perfectionism complicate relationships.

As dance partners need to be fully present to each other to coordinate their steps and negotiate the space of the dance floor, the therapeutic process flows when we manage to stay together in the moment with our clients. Mindful presence helps us to keep in step and rhythm, to focus on what is actually happening. Staying centered in any complex relationship takes self-awareness. Partner dancing is not about one controlling the lead or the other blindly following. They work together, each learning to maintain individual frame and axis of balance. Similarly, therapy evolves when both partners are able to keep their feet under them, therapist self-awareness nurturing client self-awareness.

To grow and learn is to be vulnerable. Good dancers expect to make mistakes, to fall in and out of sync and rhythm. As the saying goes, when you stumble, make it part of the dance. Err graciously. They improve over time at stepping back to figure out how a small step gone awry threw off the entire pattern. Similarly, therapy is rarely a linear process. One step forward, two steps back. Creating new patterns of being requires patience and practice. It takes humility to own our fears and foibles while gently calling our clients on theirs.

Keeping perspective is important. The essence of any dance is simply expressive movement to music. Good dancers attend to the technical details while keeping in mind the bigger picture they are co-creating. Whatever theoretical methodologies we subscribe to and creative counselling techniques we weave in to help our clients wade through the intricacies of human feeling, thought and circumstance, the essence of our work is the co-creation of meaningful, compassionate dialogue. Simply put, psychotherapy is a therapeutic conversation. Inherently complex, but not necessarily complicated.




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

Pinterest Strikes again

Posted by: Dawn Schell on October 26, 2015 5:00 am

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Picture this.   There are four teams of three eleven year olds each gathered around a table.   Each team has a piece of paper with four parallel lines, a plastic knife and a tube of toothpaste. Their mission? In 20 seconds squeeze as much toothpaste as possible out of the tube to cover the lines.

Thirty other students are there to watch and cheerlead.

The excitement of having a “squeeze the toothpaste out of the tube to cover the lines” contest was superseded only by the second instruction – “Now put the toothpaste back in the tube with the plastic knife”.   I heard one of them say, “You’ve got to be kidding”.

What could possibly go wrong?

If you don’t count the students who ate the toothpaste it all went well.

There was a point to this.   And I’m sure, thanks to the viral nature of social networking, that you already know what it is.

When we speak it’s like squeezing out the toothpaste. Our words are out there and, like trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube, words are hard to take back once they’ve been spoken.

Moments later I was blowing up a balloon – a breath into the balloon for each negative way to resolve a conflict that a child could think of.   Of course the inevitable happened.   There was a huge noise as the balloon popped and lots of delighted laughter.   As I blew up another balloon and let out air each time the students named a positive way to resolve a conflict everyone was paying attention.   No mean feat in a room full of 44 eleven year olds.

Why would I be doing these types of activities? Well, this is where Pinterest came to the rescue again.   I needed lessons for grade five students about treating each other well and finding ways to resolve their issues more peacefully.   As I have mentioned previously on this blog, I follow a number of other counsellors on Pinterest and they never fail to inspire me with wonderfully engaging activities that made serious points.

It’s not just activities. It’s ideas for group sessions, ways to organize my files, communicate with parents, and fabulous ideas for promoting positive mental health on campus. Whether it’s the elementary school or the university I work at.

 

Next up on my list?

Erasing Meanness.

http://www.erasemeanness.org/the-lesson.html

I can’t wait to see how that one turns out.

Dawn M. Schell, MA, CCC, CCDP is a school counsellor and an affiliate of Worldwide Therapy Online Inc. http://www.therapyonline.ca




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

Self-Care Is Not a Luxury

Posted by: Lisa Shouldice on October 23, 2015 5:00 am

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I am so excited at this time of year when I open my Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts to see lots of articles, links and Blogs circulating about self-care. But I do think we lose sight of self-care as an all-day, everyday practice, including the times we need a bit extra. So let’s open up about the concept of self-care in our lives.

Self-care is many things from stopping our work at 4:00 to make a hot, immune-boosting tea as the days get longer and colder, do Yoga stretches at our desk so our backs muscles stay limber and so much more. On the weekend we may take time to connect with family, go on a hike etc. This is self-care all-day, everyday.

I think the piece, a lot of people slip on is when self-care needs to become deeper, more frequent and healing in our lives. It is so easy for us to ignore signs of fatigue, burnout and sadness and just keep going. But it does not work. Depression and Anxiety are on the rise. It will become physical in our bodies; our feelings will not be ignored. So instead of not sleeping, having another fight with your partner, and drinking 6 cups of coffee tomorrow, let’s STOP, and practice some deeper self-care. Otherwise you get sick and have to take stress leave anyway. So let’s be proactive. Deeper self-care or healing can be practiced on a more regular basis as well, and fit in you life. Continue reading




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

How 23-year-old Eleni became an MP candidate

Posted by: Mark Franklin on October 20, 2015 5:00 am

Career Buzz Podcast: Underemployed youth? Imagine what you’ll gain by becoming an MP candidate!

eleni“After I get more experience,” was the response 23-year-old Eleni MacDonald gave after receiving an email asking who was interested in becoming a candidate in this federal election (Sept. 30, 2105). However, after a 30-minute conversation with the Ontario Green Party organizer who said, “I think you’d make an excellent candidate,” Eleni replied, “Okay, let’s do this!”

That’s how Eleni added ‘Member of Parliament Candidate’ to her resume, concurrent with her job at Lenscrafters, and after a degree and a post-grad diploma. Imagine how future prospective employers will respond to the skills she’s developing: communication, leadership, debating, initiative, media relations, and more.

How the clues apply to you: Opportunities pop up all the time yet so often we feel unprepared. Take a page out of Eleni MacDonald’s playbook, and next opportunity, just say, yes. Also, as you consider where to put your vote, consider all the parties’ jobs and youth employment platforms. Eleni talked about the Greens national Community and Environment Service Corps, which would provide $1 billion per year to municipalities to hire Canadian youth. Tell your candidates you care, and support #VoteYouthJobs by contacting your candidates through www.voteyouthjobs.ca

Download and enjoy learning from the Sept. 30, 2015 podcast, also featuring Emil Boychuk and Janice Chappell-Traimer of Association of Career Educators. Or, listen to any of our 300+ archived Career Buzz podcasts. (Hint: Use SEARCH at bottom right of any CareerCycles.com webpage for your topic, e.g. “circus”).




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

TruReach Health App Revisited

Posted by: Dawn Schell on October 19, 2015 2:56 pm

 

A short while ago I reviewed a new app – TruReach Health (you can check out my initial review here – https://www.ccpa-accp.ca/hot-off-the-app-press-trureach-health/ ).   Shortly after my review went live I was contacted by the developer, Jeff Perron, thanking me for my review and offering to chat with me about my concerns.

Impressive!

App developers of the world, listen up! This is how you do it. Being responsive to feedback is crucial to the ongoing success of any app and especially one that’s about improving our mental health.

My concerns were:

  • The positioning of the privacy policy after one had given contact information
  • This issue is being resolved on both the Android and iPhone versions. The link to the privacy policy will now be on the download page. Which means you can read it before you download.
  • Report progress email was pre-filled in with the TruReach email address
  • This issue is being resolved on both the Android and iPhone versions. The email address section will now be blank offering the user the opportunity to make a clear decision about who they send their progress report to.
  • Lack of contact information on the accompanying website

As I suspected, this is a cost issue. The decision was made to concentrate more on the development of the app. As TruReach has more financial resources they will build out the website more fully.   Given the other issues have been addressed I see this as less of an issue.

In addition to the app there is now this short video from TruReach explaining what it’s all about. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCSOhnWSe0w

TruReach is being piloted through the Royal in Ottawa. The Royal has an app titled “Health Minds” which I have reviewed previously. Dr. Simon Hatcher, a psychiatrist who has been involved with providing clinical input into an e-Therapy website in New Zealand for people experiencing depression, will be involved in testing TruReach with two different patient populations.   I look forward to hearing the results.

Jeff said his aim is to “get help to as many people as possible”.

So, if like me, you feel that these fixes to the app will address any concerns you have then please do encourage people to use it. If you have any lingering questions don’t hesitate to ask. You can reach Jeff at [email protected].

 

Dawn M. Schell, MA, CCC, CCDP is an affiliate of Worldwide Therapy Online Inc. http://www.therapyonline.ca




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

Tree of Life

Posted by: Priya Senroy on October 2, 2015 7:00 am

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I have always been a fan of trees-specially the big sprawling ones like banyan trees, with their ever embracing branches, deep roots and lots of nurturing shades. These trees are embodiment of different kinds of lives. So when the metaphor is used as a therapeutic tool or approach, it gains different dimensions, different identity not only for the tree itself but also for the artists.

This approach enables people to speak about their lives in ways that make them stronger. It involves people drawing their own ‘tree of life’ in which they get to speak of their ‘roots’ (where they come from), their skills and knowledges, their hopes and dreams, as well as the special people in their lives. The clients then join their trees into a ‘forest of life’ and, in groups, discuss some of the ‘storms’ that affect their lives and ways that they respond to these storms, protect themselves, and each other.

This metaphor can be used with clients experiencing different issues, whether on individual or collective levels. The beauty of the tree is that it is approachable, non-judgemental and life giving. And so is the metaphor, when used appropriately, this creative art technique is a great counselling technique and can be used complimenting genograms, exploring self as well as family dynamics.

To learn more about its specific uses, http://www.lifecoachingwithlindsay.com/downloads/Prosperity_Tree_Handouts.pdf isa starting point.

 




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

Where is the Father in Attachment Theory?

Posted by: Trudi Wyatt on October 1, 2015 7:00 am

 

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“Attachment theory” is very popular in the field of mental health. In the context of infants, it suggests that some are “secure,” certain that the primary attachment figure (usually conceptualized as the mother) will be there following exploration of the external environment, and that some are “insecure” (sometimes described as anxious, avoidant, resistant, disorganized, or disoriented), uncertain of this, and displaying unresponsive, clinging, or confused behaviours towards the primary caregiver.(1) Continue reading




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

Conscious Couples

Posted by: Lisa Shouldice on September 30, 2015 7:00 am

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The idea of “Conscious Couples” has been getting thrown around a lot lately. I even use the idea/concept in my work with couples now, including a quick article if I feel the couple I am working with may be receptive to it.

A Conscious Couple in a nutshell, is the idea that personal growth and healing are a part of coupling and even a goal that is important to the couple and their relationship. These are couples that recognize they came to the relationship with a history, including personal triggers and experiences. They recognize that they need to own these triggers and experiences to be in healthy relationship, and most importantly they are committed to both themselves and their partner thriving and contributing in the world beyond themselves. Continue reading




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