Dr. Pat's Psychology Blog

Dr. Pat’s Psychology Blog2018-08-20T13:43:38+00:00
  • Video: Strategies for Improving Self-Esteem

    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.

  • Managing stress: Two approaches are better than one

    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]

  • Video: How to Manage Stress

    Registered psychologist Dr. Patrick Keelan discusses two categories of strategies to help you manage stress: Taking action to address sources of stress in your life while using skills and activities to make it easier to handle them emotionally.

Relationship rules for managing conflict

In this article, I discuss how you and your partner can make and follow ‘relationship rules’ to manage conflict effectively. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often work with couples in relationship counselling who have challenges in managing conflict. One of the reasons couples have difficulties is that they often lack agreed upon ‘relationship rules’ for how to proceed in particular conflict management situations.  Trying to address these situations without agreed upon rules is challenging for several reasons...[more]

Guilty as charged: How to manage a complicated emotion

In this article, I discuss skills and strategies you can use to help you deal effectively with feelings of guilt. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often work with people seeking help to manage their emotions. Most people are on board with my giving them strategies to help them reduce the intensity of these emotions so that they feel less distress. This occurs with emotions such as sadness, anxiety, anger, frustration, and embarrassment. When clients learn and apply these strategies, they feel better. These strategies are also effective in helping people alleviate the distress they experience from the emotion of guilt.  However, with this emotion there is an often an additional challenge I encounter in working with clients...[more]

After the affair: When the unreasonable becomes reasonable

In this article, I discuss how relationship requests which are unreasonable become reasonable in the wake of an affair. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often work with couples in relationship counselling whose goal is to rebuild their relationship in the wake of one partner having had an affair. In these situations, one of the biggest challenges is for both partners to be patient with the healing process. For the hurt partner, this means understanding that it will necessarily take a lot of time to heal from the hurt and to regain trust in the unfaithful partner. For the unfaithful partner, patience entails understanding that the hurt partner is not likely to quickly get over the hurt and regain trust in them. Having said that, there are strategies both partners can follow to facilitate this slow process of healing and rebuilding trust...[more]

How to catch hot thoughts so that you can check and change them to feel better

In this article, I discuss several techniques to help you pinpoint the negative thoughts which are causing your emotional distress. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often have clients who can benefit from skills from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). One of the most beneficial CBT skills is a thought record. The use of thought records helps a person to feel better by catching, checking and changing ‘hot thoughts’. Hot thoughts are negatively skewed beliefs which people have when they are experiencing strong and unpleasant moods like sadness, anxiety, anger, frustration, guilt, shame and embarrassment, among others...[more]

Video: Strategies for Improving Self-Esteem

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.

Inspiration from M*A*S*H: How to persevere to overcome adversity

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]

Managing stress: Two approaches are better than one

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]

Stress, Video|

A common misconception about cognitive behavioural therapy: It’s just about positive thinking

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]

Overcoming obsessive-compulsive disorder by using exposure and response prevention

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]

Anxiety|

How to use CBT skills to keep your relationship on track

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]