In this episode of Dr. Pat's video tips, I discuss two categories of strategies to help you improve your self-esteem: 1. Cognitive strategies which help you to think more positively about yourself. 2. Behavioural strategies in which you engage in activities which help you to feel good about yourself.
In this article, I discuss how the key to success is often continuing to try ideas until you find the ones that work. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often get inspired by ideas from the media to help clients. One memorable example came from the long-running television show based on the Korean war called M*A*S*H which is set in a mobile army surgical hospital. Although the program originally aired many years ago, it still appears in reruns. One M*A*S*H episode was so moving in its focus on resilience and perseverance that it inspires me to keep going when I feel like giving up...[more]
In this article, I discuss why using both problem-focused and self-focused approaches to manage stress is more effective than using only one of these approaches. One of the most basic concepts I try to convey to my clients is how to manage stress. Once you realize that effective stress management boils down to using two categories of approaches, what can seemingly be a daunting task becomes much easier...[more]
In this article, I discuss the actual focus of cognitive behavioural therapy—on the power of balanced thinking. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often encounter people who have misconceptions about cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). One of the most common misconceptions is that CBT is all about just having people think positively in the manner of the baseless positive affirmations made by the Saturday Night Live character Stuart Smalley. This misconception is typically accompanied by the erroneous notion that CBT requires clients not to think about or deal with genuine negative events in their lives. Not surprisingly, people with these views usually have a negative attitude toward CBT...[more]
In this article, I discuss how you can use principles from cognitive behavioural therapy to address obsessive compulsive disorder. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often see clients who suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). This disorder is characterized by a person experiencing: (1) Obsessive thoughts—These are typically disturbing and overly negative beliefs which drive up their anxiety; and (2) Compulsive behaviours—These are repetitive and ritualistic actions the person performs to lower the anxiety created by their obsessive thoughts. The compulsive behaviours typically work in the short run for the OCD sufferer by temporarily lowering the anxiety which stems from their obsessive thoughts. Unfortunately, these behaviours can be so time- consuming that they often interfere significantly with the person’s daily life...[more]
In this article, I discuss how you can use cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to keep your relationship strong by focusing on your thinking patterns. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often see clients in couples counselling whose relationships are in a bad state. These relationships are often characterized by one or both partners disliking the other—sometimes intensely. The dislike is often associated with each partner having general negative beliefs about the other’s character. Beliefs such as “He’s insensitive” and “She doesn’t respect me” are typical of the negative beliefs which fuel dislike in such relationships. Surprisingly, with many of these couples I discover that earlier in their relationships their feelings toward each other were completely opposite to the strong dislike they currently experience...[more]
In this article, I discuss how to avert and address burnout at work, sports and other activities. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often encounter clients who are suffering from burnout as a result of activities they are engaged in including work and sports. The primary symptoms of burnout are physical and mental exhaustion, actual and perceived decreases in effectiveness and negative attitudes toward the activity. These symptoms often lead to people quitting activities...[more]
The June 2nd episode of The Arena Podcast with co-Hosts Joe McFarland and Dave McIvor features a conversation with former Stampeders quarterback Andrew Buckley about how being a football player was kind of his Plan B. Also, psychologist Dr. Patrick Keelan discusses burnout in athletes.
In this article, I discuss how to cope with those days when you’re not feeling good emotionally. There are some days when you’re ‘on’ and other days when you’re ‘not on’. When you’re on, you feel relaxed, have positive thoughts and emotions and things just seem often seem to flow along effortlessly. When you’re not on, it’s just the opposite. You don’t feel good emotionally, you frequently have negative thoughts, you feel tense instead of relaxed, you lack energy and feel like getting even the smallest tasks accomplished is a grind. Sometimes you’re on or not on because of what happened to you that day or because of your ongoing life circumstances. At other times, being on or not on is an internal state unrelated to what’s going on in your life or what happened during your day. Whatever the reason, it can be challenging to get through the day when you’re not on...[more]
In this article, I discuss how you can use skills from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to manage guilt. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often help clients whose goal is to deal with guilt they are experiencing over something they have done. These clients typically feel remorse for the harm they believe they have caused. They also often feel helpless because, although they regret their actions which may have caused harm, they cannot undo them. The result is that they spend much of the time ‘beating themselves up’ over what they have done...[more]