The more the merrier? When it is good and not good to have others participate in your therapy

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]

2018-11-18T21:27:07+00:00By |Categories: Psychology, Relationships|

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]

2018-09-23T21:30:53+00:00By |Categories: Psychology, Stress|

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]

2018-07-29T22:41:48+00:00By |Categories: Psychology, Self-Esteem, Stress|

How to get through the day when you’re ‘not on’

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]

2018-06-04T15:17:36+00:00By |Categories: Depression, Psychology|

How to manage feelings of guilt: Normalize, think it through and take action

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]

2018-05-20T21:22:38+00:00By |Categories: Psychology, Stress|

What to do if you’ve decided that therapy doesn’t work for you

In this article, I discuss how to proceed when you’ve determined that therapy doesn’t work for you. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often get clients or prospective clients who are reluctant to proceed with therapy, a particular form of therapy or a specific therapy technique because they have determined either that ‘it doesn’t work’ or ‘it doesn’t work for me’. Such beliefs about therapy, forms of therapy or therapy techniques not working at all or not working for the individual may be in many instances inaccurate. More importantly, these negative beliefs can interfere with the individual making progress in therapy going forward. In the following sections, I will discuss why these negative beliefs about therapy can interfere with progress and how to change them to beliefs which are more conducive to success...[more]

2018-02-25T21:38:54+00:00By |Categories: Psychology, Sport & Performance|

My experience at Ironman Coeur d’Alene: Lessons I learned which apply to many areas of life

In this article, I discuss lessons which I learned in training for and completing my third Ironman triathlon. I recently succeeded in completing my third Ironman triathlon and first since 2011 in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Completing the 4 kilometer swim followed by the 180 kilometer bike ride and 42.2 kilometer marathon run gave me a tremendous feeling of accomplishment. The experience also taught me several valuable lessons which can be applied to many areas of life...[more]

2017-09-11T08:48:03+00:00By |Categories: Psychology, Sport & Performance|

Knowledge is power: Educate yourself about your issues to make progress in therapy

In this article, I discuss why clients who immerse themselves in knowledge about their issues are more likely to make progress in therapy. At a talk I attended by psychologist Dr. Michael Yapko, I heard a statement which strongly resonated with me in my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist. Dr. Yapko, author of Breaking the Patterns of Depression, said, “Clients who are knowledgeable and educated about their depression make better and faster progress than uneducated clients”. Dr. Yapko’s statement struck a chord because I noticed that my clients who made the best progress in addressing their depression tended to be those who...[more]

2017-08-22T18:29:37+00:00By |Categories: Psychology|

Chicken and egg: Quality of the therapeutic relationship and progress in therapy

In this article, I discuss how the quality of the relationship with your therapist can affect your progress in therapy – and vice-versa. A well-established positive correlation exists between the quality of a client’s relationship with their therapist and the client’s progress in therapy. That is, research indicates that clients who have a good relationship with their therapists are more likely to make progress in therapy compared with clients who have a bad relationship with their therapists. Many people assume this research finding necessarily means that therapists should focus on taking steps to improve the quality the therapy relationship...[more]

2017-08-13T22:51:59+00:00By |Categories: Psychology|

To vent or not to vent: That is the question

In this article, I discuss whether venting about difficult people and situations is helpful in and out of your psychologist’s office. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often encounter clients who choose to spend some or all of the time in a counselling session ‘venting’. This typically involves complaining about difficult people and/or situations affecting them. Given that people pay to see psychologists and that psychologists are ethically obligated to attempt to ensure that clients are benefiting from their services, it is reasonable to consider whether venting is a productive use of time in therapy. A related concern is whether it is beneficial to the client to vent to people other than their psychologist outside of therapy sessions. I will explore these questions in the following paragraphs...[more]

2017-07-17T11:35:58+00:00By |Categories: Psychology|
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