Whether you’ve made a New Year’s Resolution to focus on your wellbeing, or simply feel like now is the right time, you may be contemplating speaking with a therapist. You might have come to this decision easily, or maybe it’s something you have contemplated for a long time. Whatever the reason, sometimes the jump from deciding to speak to someone to scheduling your first appointment can be daunting. You may ask yourself: what is the therapist going to ask me to do? How much should I share about myself? How can I trust a total stranger? What if they judge me?
By: Kelly Halonen, MSW, RSW
Everyone has different things they love about the holidays. This could be the decorations, spending time with loved ones, the snow, the food, getting gifts, or giving gifts. Have you ever noticed how some people just love gift giving? They want to find the perfect present and get joy just from you receiving this gift. But why? Isn’t this just buying into the materialistic culture of the holidays? Not always. A lot of the time it isn’t about what the gift is, but how happy it makes the person getting the gift. Let’s explore some reasons some people love gift giving.
Written By: Kelly Halonen, MSW, RSW
With the spooky season upon us, you may be wondering why a mental health article is talking about witchcraft, more specifically, the kind of modern-day witchcraft that I have personally seen and learned about.
Important Note: The following has been written as an opinion related to current events and does not necessarily represent the views of Kelly Magazine, Kelly Mental Health, or related entities. As an opinion, it can also be wrong, and that’s okay. It’s meant to be helpful, thoughtful, and hopeful. This writer is open to criticism and education at any time, as long as it helps make our world a little better
As a rule, I don't like jumping on trends in the media. I've been around long enough to see that hashtagging, hanging decals and signs, or making poignant posts are all well-intentioned. But eventually the posts fade, our collective attention span shifts, and the decals lose their charm so someone has to scrape them off into the garbage since we're all onto something new.
It is well known that trauma can impact a person mentally and emotionally. However, what is less talked about is the physical impact trauma can have. Trauma can manifest itself in our body and can even be triggered by touch.
It has been a popular trend on social media about how to ruthlessly cut out and eliminate toxic people, suggesting that this toxic person is a poison that needs to be eradicated from our lives altogether. While I have considered the idea and have somewhat enjoyed the idea of living free from guilt or shame in not having a person in my life who has hurt me, something about this just does not feel right. Do you ever wonder that by cutting toxic people out of your life, whether you have become a little toxic yourself?
In any relationship it is important to consider how open and transparent you may want to be within that relationship. Sometimes there are expectations that I will be open with you if you are open with me, or if I am open with you, then you ought to be open with me, as if this is some kind of mutual exchange of goods.
Yes! But... is a phrase I hear often. When I hear somebody saying this, especially in counselling, the message I am taking on is this: I hear you and what you’re saying makes sense, but here are the reasons why I cannot take on that perspective myself, followed by that person sharing unbalanced thought patterns and/or barriers to seeing another perspective.
Like many other women out there, I have a love-hate relationship with my body. Sometimes I love it, but the majority of the time there is something I want to change about it. Even though we logically know that the expectations society puts on us are unrealistic, we still feel the need to try and live up to them.
There are a number of different modalities or types of counselling and therapy. Here is information on some common types.
This phrase, so commonly uttered during therapy sessions can represent weeks, months and even years of misery for some.
By: Kristen Sohlman, MACP, RP
A quality that makes a human, a human, is the ability to feel empathy.
I love talking about mental wellness!
By definition Mental Wellness is the awareness of one’s own ability to cope with stressors of day-to-day life while maintaining the ability to function effectively while socializing, working, learning and taking care of your personal health and hygiene.
By: Laurie Vance, MSW, RSW, Cert. Forest Guide
Investing in a mentally healthy workforce is good for business!
The data tells us 1 in 5 Adults will experience a diagnosable mental illness in any given year and more than 50% of those will go untreated.
Respecting and treating mental illness on par with other medical illnesses like diabetes or heart disease is the first step to improving employee quality of life, which is the foundation of an effective workplace. As a clinical counsellor, I have worked with a global Employee Assistance Provider (EAP), I know full well the harsh impact of work-related stress and in turn the physical, mental, psychological and financial damage that many people experience.
By: Seija Grant, MEd CP, RP
When I talk about ‘finding a good fit’ I am referring to the therapeutic relationship between client and therapist. One of the most important factors of therapeutic success is having a strong therapeutic alliance. The importance of this is significant, as you (the client) need to be able to trust the therapist enough to share some of the most vulnerable parts of yourself.
I have always loved spending time outdoors in nature.
As a child I have fond memories of catching tadpoles in buckets, and noticing ones that had started to develop tiny little legs and the ones that hadn’t. A few years later I recall building a “girls only” fort in the trees behind my family home and running and playing in the forest with child-like wonder and natural curiosity.
By: Lara Hollway, MSW,RSW
Has your partner ever come to you with a problem and you offer advice, only to have them seem to get upset and/or frustrated with you? Do you find yourself getting frustrated because your partner keeps complaining about a problem but doesn’t seem to want to listen to your solutions? Or does your partner ever say things like “you never listen to me”, when you feel like you are listening and trying to help?
If so, you are not alone. This is a common theme in relationships, and a perfect example of how the best intentions do not always equate to the best results. Read on for a breakdown of this situation, and some suggestions for changing this dynamic.
By: Laura Groulx, MSW, RSW
I talk to a lot of people. Like really talk. Typically, in my first meeting with a new client, I’ll ask what their goals are for counselling. As in, what is it that they are looking to change about themselves, or what can I support them through.
An answer I often encounter is this: I want to be happy. This is a big goal. What does this even mean??
By: Seija Grant, Med CP, RP
Wow! Things are feeling a little chaotic and overwhelming, and certainly anxiety-provoking out there. I am not immune to that as a therapist, and was thinking about what can be done to ease some of the mental (and physical) tension in our community. One such skill that can be cultivated and applied during these tough times is ‘Mindful Self-Compassion’ (MSC). I realize this may be a new concept for many of you, so I will give a brief overview of what this is and how this may be helpful during this tense time.
Resiliency means not dwelling on failures, acknowledging situations for what they are, learning from mistakes, and moving forward.
Recent studies in the US show that one-third to one-half of teenagers have engaged in some type of self harming behavior.
Do you ever notice that you struggle with a low mood, that you are lacking energy, or are moodier in the fall and winter seasons? Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs seasonally and is related to the changes in level of sunlight that you are exposed to during seasons of low daylight. It is important to realize that SAD can occur at other times of the year, for example, for those who work nightshifts who may not have access to as much natural light as those that are awake during the day. Some of the reasons that SAD may occur involves a lack of natural light that may actually affect your biological clock or circadian rhythm and may influence the release of chemicals in your body such as serotonin, dopamine, and melatonin, affecting your mood.
So I realize that counselling and psychotherapy can be a very intimidating process for many, and can feel almost too scary to even consider as an option. Well I am here try to calm your nerves, hopefully answer some questions, and break things down a bit.
What type of counselling is right for me?
First of all, there are a few different types of counselling and many different styles. A few of the types are: individual, couples, family and group.
Individual counselling is one to one, and likely the most common type. If you want to work on getting along with others, maybe couples or family counselling is for you. The dynamics of these types are all quite different, as there are different personalities at play. The other type you might come across is group counselling, which means a group of (usually) unknown to each other individuals who all have a common thread. It is usually led by two co-counsellors.
Group counselling is sometimes more accessible than individual, and can be extremely valuable. They all have their benefits, but only you can decide what is right for you at the moment. Some people may see different counsellors for different purposes at different times in their life. This makes sense if you consider that humans are complex beings with multiple dynamic relationships and are constantly changing over the lifespan.
In terms of the different styles – well there are so many that I couldn’t even list them all here. However, some of the main groupings of approaches on the scene these days are: Psychodynamic, Cognitive-Behavioural, Humanistic and Neuroscience-Informed. Within these groups there are a myriad of different styles. Each therapist is unique in their own approach and will often have multiple influences within the work that they do with their clients. I know this seems like things are getting pretty complicated, BUT there is a silver lining here. There are several factors unifying counselling styles that are common across the board. Counselling is collaborative, meaning you work directly with your counsellor to achieve your goals. It is a safe-place to be yourself and to talk about your concerns, issues in your life, and your feelings regarding these events or occurrences. Also, you can speak openly and confidentially while having someone listen to you non-judgmentally.
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