Eating Disorders

Delay and distract: A tool to help you act reflectively rather than reflexively

In this article, I discuss a technique to manage urges to engage in unhelpful behaviours in a variety of situations. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, many clients seek help with issues in which they ‘act out’ quickly and reflexively in response to urges, leading to negative consequences. The list includes people acting out with verbal or physical aggression in response to anger, acting out with eating issues including binge-eating and purging, as well as acting out through the use of alcohol, drugs and gambling...[more]

How to change your negative core beliefs

In this article, I discuss how to change thought patterns called negative core beliefs which often play a role in many psychological issues. In my last article, I discussed how to identify negative core beliefs--long-standing negative views people may have about themselves, other people in their lives or the world. These negative views usually originate from people’s difficult experiences and predispose them to think negatively about themselves, other people or the world in the present. They also play a major role in causing and maintaining various psychological issues including depression, the anxiety disorders, substance use disorders and eating disorders. In the following sections, I will discuss how to change negative core beliefs once they have been identified so that their negative influence on current thinking and mood can be reduced...[more]

How to identify your negative core beliefs

In this article, I discuss how to identify thought patterns called negative core beliefs which often play a role in many psychological issues. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, much of my focus in helping clients is on identifying and changing negative thought patterns which contribute to their emotional distress. This ‘cognitive restructuring’ work typically entails examining clients’ negative thoughts in response to particular situations and events in their everyday lives. However, on some occasions I help my clients address negative thinking patterns which are rooted in their pasts...[more]

Want to stop engaging in negative behaviours? Increase your awareness of the advantages of alternative positive behaviours

In this article, I discuss the importance of making yourself aware of the advantages of positive behaviours as a way of changing negative behaviours and some ideas on how to accomplish this goal. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often have clients who have the goal of stopping a behaviour which has negative effects on themselves and people in their lives. Alcohol or drug use, gambling, procrastination as well as eating issues such as bulimia and binge-eating are a few examples. Most clients struggle with being tempted to engage in these behaviours because of their perceived benefits. In contrast, they report that when they engage in these behaviours they are not thinking of the disadvantages...[more]

Reduce self-injury behaviours by addressing what lies beneath them

In this article, I discuss ways to reduce non-suicidal self-injury behaviours by targeting the factors leading to the behaviours. It may seem puzzling to an observer that someone would regularly choose to harm themselves through behaviours such as cutting, burning or head-banging. In reality, self-injury behaviours often represent ways of coping with various life issues much as many people use drinking, drugs, gambling, sex and various eating disorder behaviours for this purpose...[more]

Practice tolerating uncertainty to improve your moods

In this article, I discuss how moving away from the tendency toward reducing uncertainty can help you feel better in response to negative situations. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I have been influenced by the statements of many prominent people in my field. One such occasion was when I attended a talk given to the public by depression expert Dr. Michael Yapko. Dr. Yapko said that being able to tolerate uncertainty and ambiguity is one of the most important skills a person can practice to overcome depression...[more]

Work on yourself to improve your relationships…and vice versa

In this article, I discuss how you can benefit from the bidirectional relationship between individual and relationship well-being. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I encounter both individuals and couples as clients. Individuals typically have the goal of addressing an individual issue to improve their emotional well-being and I teach them skills from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help them in this endeavour. Couples usually have goals to improve their relationship well-being in various ways. To this end, I typically give them skills from Dr. John Gottman’s sound relationship house model to help them improve their relationship friendship and learn skills to discuss issues more constructively...[more]

How self-help books can help you

In this article, I discuss how you can use self-help books to improve your life. I’ve been a big fan of self-help books ever since I read the best-selling Your Erroneous Zones by Dr. Wayne Dyer when I was a teenager. Reading that book was my first exposure to how we can use our thoughts to lessen the impact of negative events, behaviours and comments. It was a life-changing experience for me to realize that a big contributor to my being upset was my thinking and interpretation of situations and behaviours...[more]

Thought records: Great antidotes to ruminating

In this article, I discuss a tool you can use to feel better by changing your thinking when you’re dwelling on negative thoughts. If you’re like me, you sometimes find yourself ruminating—dwelling on negative thoughts which lead to you to feel upset. For example, you can ruminate on worrisome thoughts leading you to experience intense anxiety such as...[more]

The time-limited nature of urges and cravings in addictions and eating disorders

Realizing that urges and cravings eventually pass can make the battle against addictions and eating disorders much easier to win. One of the biggest challenges in addiction counselling and eating disorders counselling is dealing with urges and cravings. These urges and cravings to engage in addiction or eating disorder behaviours can sometimes feel so strong that giving in to them may seem like the only way to reduce their intensities...[more]