Category: Family & Parenting

Adolescent Depression

Sophia was concerned about her son. Danny, normally an out-going and energetic sixteen-year-old, had been down in the dumps since he and his girlfriend Lucy broke up just over two weeks ago. Since then he stopped seeing his friends and hardly left his room. At meal times he hardly ate anything and was visibly losing weight. His sleep was erratic and he seemed to lack the energy or interest to do anything – even those things he was usually passionate

Posted in Depression, Family & Parenting, General, Stress & Anxiety

How to Talk About Suicide

Suicide is an emotional word. Feelings of confusion, fear, anger, and even disgust are common responses when the topic comes up in conversation, rare as that might be. As a clinical counsellor, I have felt all of these emotions when discussing suicide with clients and will continue to do so. But over years of working with people at some of the lowest points of their lives, I’ve learned not to let those emotions get in the way of compassion. I

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Up In Flames – part 2

About three and a half years ago I wrote the article: ‘Up In Flames’ that can be found at Psychealth.com. It was written shortly after my apartment burned down and shares my experience navigating through that challenging life event. This article is the follow-up. It took over three years to rebuild my home. I recall the first few weeks as the most difficult, as I was coming to terms with the scope of the loss. As time went on, I

Posted in Depression, Family & Parenting, General, Grief, Marriage & Relationships, Personal Growth, Stress & Anxiety, Therapy

My Child Won’t Listen

Parents often complain that their children “do not listen” and that is frequently a concern parents describe when they visit a child psychologist. When I met the parents of six year old Charlotte, they described daily power struggles over routine tasks – getting ready for bed at night – and essentially whenever they asked her to do something. Charlotte’s resistance often escalated into full-blown tantrums that occurred several times a week. This behaviour was disruptive to the whole family and

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Smartphone Addiction

The headline in the Globe and Mail read, “Your smartphone is making you stupid, antisocial and unhealthy. So why can’t you put it down?” by Eric Andrew-Gee. As I began to read the article I became alarmed by the research quoted. Internet companies have spent “billions of dollars” trying o figure out how to hook people into their programs. They have come up with strategies which access the same neural pathways as those affecting gambling and drug usage. The natural

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Empathy and Mirror Neurons

Empathy differs from sympathy. Sympathy reflects an understanding of another person’ situation- but viewed through your own eyes. In contrast, empathy is what you feel when you can step outside of yourself and enter the internal world of another person. You experience the other’s emotions and conflict without abandoning or losing your own perspective. It involves being able “to see with the eyes of another, to hear with the ears of another, to feel with the heart of another” (Alfred

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Using Pop Culture to Impact Positive Change – Part 2

Welcome back! In Pop Culture Part 1, I discussed how, when connecting with children/youth, I utilize pop culture to: 1) develop and enhance rapport, and 2) gather information in regard to values, traits and indicators of resiliency. Please go to www.psychealth.com if you haven’t had a chance to read Part 1; it would be like watching the Empire Strikes Back without watching Star Wars! In Part 2 I will discuss the third way I have utilized pop culture: to help

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Using Pop Culture to Impact Positive Change

Seven years ago, a colleague and I attended an annual conference in Washington DC called the Psychotherapy Networker Symposium. We were excited about meeting one of the key note speakers, John Gottman, a marriage and relationship researcher and expert whom we learned about while in grad school. We kept seeing a man of similar stature walking through the hallways of the hotel but were disappointed each time to realize that he wasn’t John. Upon arriving home and looking at the

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Marriage Can Be Miserable

When a couple marries, they can be truly miserable if they follow a few simple rules! When life is busy and stress levels are high, it is important to “do one’s own thing.”  Take time to unwind and relax; this is far more important than conversing with your spouse. If a conversation should happen to break out, be sure to react and avoid understanding what is being said to you. Feel free to be upset or annoyed; it is their

Posted in Depression, Family & Parenting, General, Marriage & Relationships, Personal Growth, Stress & Anxiety

Caught in the Middle: Supporting the Child Through Parental Divorce

Last week I learned that a young couple I know had recently separated.  I remembered their wedding and the promising future they imagined together.  I don’t know the circumstances of their separation but I do hope that they have tried hard to make their marriage work; that knowledge will be important to their children.  I also hope that they are committed to working on an effective partnership as co-parents to their two young girls.  I hope that they are supported

Posted in Family & Parenting, General, Marriage & Relationships