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 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]
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.
In this article, I discuss a systematic way to make effective decisions. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I sometimes have clients who have difficulty making decisions. These cases typically involve the person being torn between two or more alternative courses of action. Examples include deciding whether to remain in or leave a relationship, to remain in one’s current job or take a different one, and choosing among two or more university or college programs. In these instances, I usually provide the client with a decision-making tool which helps them to consider all information relevant to each alternative in making the decision...[more]
In this article, I discuss the advantages of parking over thought suppression as a concentration tool. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I sometimes have clients who have difficulty concentrating because of distracting thoughts. These thoughts may be about worries regarding some upcoming event or challenge or could involve ruminating over some event or interaction which recently occurred. In these instances, the thoughts may distract the person from being able to focus on work or school tasks or from immersing themselves in an enjoyable activity which is intended to take their mind off their problems and the negative thoughts associated with them. There are two ways to deal with these distracting thoughts so that they become less of a distraction...[more]
In this article, I discuss how you can use self-disclosure to turn casual relationships into close ones. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I sometimes have clients whose goal is to have closer relationships. In many instances, these clients already have some interaction with people in ‘casual’ relationships and are seeking to move from the ‘small talk’ of these encounters into closer and more fulfilling relationships with more substantive conversations. A pivotal step which can take relationships to the next level entails using the principles of self-disclosure...[more]
In this article, I discuss how comparing yourself negatively to others is an example of distorted thinking which you can address with skills from cognitive behavioural therapy. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often work with clients who engage in negative social comparisons. This involves having thoughts which focus on not doing well compared with another person, a group of people, or people in general. Negative social comparisons can focus on beliefs regarding coming up short relative to others in areas such as abilities, personal characteristics and performance at work or school, finances, sports and relationships...[more]
In this article, I discuss how focusing on the boundary-setting benefits to your self-esteem and mood can help you to be consistent at this activity. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often have clients who have challenges in setting boundaries in social interactions and relationships. The most common difficulties involve managing the stress involved in letting others know when they have crossed a boundary and the fact that the stress involved does not appear to be worth enduring based on the limited benefits. That is, clients commonly report that on most occasions the party toward whom they have set boundaries does not respond positively to their boundary-setting attempts. The stress involved in setting boundaries and the lack of positive results which appear to occur when doing so leads many people to give up on setting boundaries...[more]
In this article, I discuss why making frequent contact with a good swing leads to hits in baseball and in one’s social life. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often have clients whose goal is to improve their social lives by having more friends or people to date. My advice to help these clients is to do what the best baseball players do in order to get on base: Make frequent contact with a ‘good swing’ and the hits will come on the baseball field as well as in your social life...[more]
In this article, I discuss circumstances under which having other people attend therapy with you is recommended and when it is better to attend by yourself. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, most of my sessions with clients are individual ones in which I meet with one client dealing with particular issues. However, a significant minority of my sessions with clients are those in which more than one person attends and participates...[more]
In this article, I discuss why it is important to schedule activities which are good for your self-esteem. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often have clients with issues involving low self-esteem or low self-confidence. One of my go-to strategies to help these clients is to have them incorporate mastery activities into their lives. Mastery activities are those in which a person accomplishes something and uses their talents and skills...lmore]
Recently I was interviewed by sports journalist Ryan Ballantine of 3DownNation to look at how the Calgary Stampeders can stay focused on their road to winning the Grey Cup. We go over strategies on how [...]
The irresistible force meets the immovable object: How to proceed when you become stuck during discussions of relationship issues
In this article, I discuss how you and your partner can proceed when you have reached an impasse while discussing an issue. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often work with couples in relationship counselling who become stuck when discussing issues. This can lead to frustration, anger and other difficult emotions. Experiencing these emotions is often followed by the two partners making negative comments toward each other. This is followed by more of the aforementioned emotions as well as some additional difficult ones like hurt and sadness. The partners may then withdraw from each other, leading their relationship friendship to suffer. This can then result in the relationship as a whole moving in a negative direction. In the following sections, I will discuss several strategies you and your partner can use when you are stuck on an issue you are discussing...[more]