Category: Stress & Anxiety

EMDR: A Client and Therapist Perspective

EMDR has been used and researched for 25 years, and is considered a highly effective therapy for resolving trauma. Nevertheless, it remains somewhat mysterious and misunderstood. Written explanations can become jargon filled very quickly. Visual demonstrations of the process can raise concerns as it looks strange. In an effort to shed some light on the EMDR process, we offer a personal account of EMDR therapy and a discussion of some common questions about EMDR. Mia: My husband and I suffered

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Male Midlife Crisis? Is It a Myth?

Do men go through a midlife crisis? Is there research to support such a concept or is this an “urban legend?” The books “Passages” and “Seasons of a Man’s Life” were published several years ago but were based on small samples of investigation. Yet, men in their early 50s or 60s arrive in my counselling office convinced that they are having a mid life crisis. Often they have been sent by their wives or families who are convinced that their

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Serenity

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.” (Reinhold Niebuhr) Many know that the Serenity Prayer is recited at the end of each meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. Few realize that one need not be an alcoholic to gain much from applying this simple philosophy to our daily lives. We all experience unwanted events that we profoundly wish would never occur. Difficult parents or

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Face fears: Walk toward the lion’s roar!

Freud said anxiety is the most frequent psychological symptom, and it’s true: not only are there disorders where anxiety is the main symptom, but virtually all other mental health syndromes include anxiety somehow. Only psychopaths, we’re told, don’t experience normal fears. Cognitive therapy for depression, a widely used approach, is based on the notion that depressive symptoms—sadness, loss of enjoyment, fatigue—are actually products of fear. That is, the person has allowed anxieties and doubts to take over, and to become

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Therapeutic Writing

As the counselling session was winding up, Jack’s counsellor discussed recommendations for Jack to follow up with before their next scheduled session together. “Jack, please read this handout, it relates to a number of the points we talked about in our session.” “Also, I would like you to do some writing.” “Writing?” said Jack. “I want you to do something called ‘stream of consciousness journaling’” replied his counsellor.  “It’s a form of writing we often use in therapy to give

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Health Anxiety

People with health anxiety focus on specific sensations such as feeling dizzy, fatigue, joint pain,  digestive problems, a headache or a quick and sudden heartbeat.  Such physiological symptoms are typically not harmful if they are short lived and do not re-occur on a repeated basis. The difficulty that people with health anxiety have is that they misattribute these symptoms as indicating there MUST be significant disease lurking. Like many people, they will make an appointment with their doctor to have these symptoms

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When Loved Ones are Hurting

Kathy’s friend Laurie breaks down in deep sobs while sharing that her favorite aunt has recently passed away. Kathy looks at her friend, “speechless” and “paralyzed,” not knowing what to say or do. In this moment, Kathy wants so much to “make it better,” but fears that anything she says will be the “wrong” thing and will make Laurie feel worse. Maria’s husband Zollie relays that his brother has decided to permanently “cut him off,” after years of trying to

Posted in Personal Growth, Stress & Anxiety

Children Anxiety Strategies (Part II)

In the last issue of Psychealth we were introduced to ten year old David who was experiencing anxiety in anticipation of returning to school. Three basic strategies to help David better cope with his anxiety were introduced: the expression of feelings, controlling self-talk and practicing courage by facing one’s fears. In this issue I will introduce three additional strategies which are useful in helping children manage their feelings of anxiety: RECOGNIZE AND PREPARE FOR TRIGGERS – Triggers are the starting

Posted in Family & Parenting, Stress & Anxiety

Where Were You When I Needed You Most?

Mark and Rachel are in their mid 40’s and have been married for 20 years. They have been attending couples therapy following a “drifting apart” from each other over several years. In the sessions, they are gradually sharing their feelings to try to regain a greater sense of closeness that they had previously experienced. In one session, Rachel erupts into anger, indicating that she doesn’t think that she can continue the couples therapy as she has not trusted Mark for

Posted in Marriage & Relationships, Stress & Anxiety

Teens Who Cut

Maria is 14 years old. Two years ago she began to injure herself, dropped out of school, began using drugs and alcohol and eventually isolated all of her friends. Self injury involves the deliberate damaging of ones body. Cutting the skin with razor blades or broken glass is the most commonly seen method, while burning, interference with wound healing, self punching and scratching are among other examples. Maria notes that when her peers discovered she was cutting she was ridiculed

Posted in Depression, Family & Parenting, Grief, Personal Growth, Stress & Anxiety