Psychology

If at first you don’t succeed in therapy: Try another therapy approach

In this article, I discuss the importance of finding a therapist whose approach is a good fit for you.In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often help clients using the theoretical approach known as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This form of therapy focuses on the client making changes in thinking and behaviour to facilitate improvement in mood and daily functioning.When I trained to become a psychologist, I chose CBT as the primary perspective to guide me in helping clients. Although CBT has substantial research supporting its effectiveness in helping people address many issues, the fact that several other perspectives also had research substantiating their value meant that this was not the primary factor leading me to choose it over the alternatives.The factor which made the difference in my selecting CBT over other perspectives was that its focus on practicing skills to change thoughts and behaviours fit my personality like a glove...[more]

2019-05-19T22:25:11-06:00By |Categories: Psychology|

Decisions…decisions: How to make the right decision when it’s not an easy one to make

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]

2019-02-11T17:35:43-06:00By |Categories: Psychology, Stress|

Dealing with distracting thoughts: A good way and a bad way

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]

2019-01-27T20:28:47-06:00By |Categories: Psychology, Sport & Performance|

How to increase closeness in a relationship: Use the principles of self-disclosure

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]

2019-01-13T21:51:46-06:00By |Categories: Psychology, Relationships|

How to improve your social life: Do what the best baseball hitters do

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]

2018-12-02T22:08:30-06:00By |Categories: Psychology, Relationships|

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]

2018-11-18T21:27:07-06:00By |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]

2018-09-23T21:30:53-06:00By |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]

2018-07-29T22:41:48-06:00By |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]

2018-06-04T15:17:36-06:00By |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]

2018-05-20T21:22:38-06:00By |Categories: Psychology, Stress|
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