Psychology

The Law of Attraction: How to use it to your benefit

In this article, I discuss how you can use the principles of ‘like attracts like’ and ‘matching vibrations’ to enhance your well-being and achieve your goals. The law of attraction is a concept featured in the best-selling books The Secret by Rhonda Byrne and The Law of Attraction by Michael Losier. In both books, the authors focus on how a person’s thoughts and emotions can play a major role in their enjoyment of life in general and in whether they achieve their goals in areas such as work and relationships. Because this law is based on psychological principles and has key elements of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) as part of it, I find it fascinating. In particular, I enjoy the easily understandable ways people are told in both books how to apply the law to their benefit...[more}

2019-11-03T21:26:33-07:00By |Categories: Psychology|

The importance of attributions: A political example

In this article, I discuss how Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent troubles illustrate the emotional and behavioural consequences of the attributions we make for our own and other people’s behaviours. The 2019 Canadian federal election campaign was rocked recently by online publication of photos and a video showing Liberal party leader and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appearing in brown-face and black-face. Some of the photos dated back to a 2001 ‘Arabian Nights’ costume party at a school where the then 29-year old was a teacher. Other photos and the video dated back to Mr. Trudeau’s high school days and shortly thereafter. Although reaction to the images from the public was understandably negative across the board (including from the apologetic Mr. Trudeau), the degree of negativity varied markedly ranging from those who were disappointed but forgiving to others who were irate and said that his actions would cost him their votes. How the same behaviour can generate different emotional and behavioural reactions from observers is the focus of attribution theory...[more}

2019-09-22T22:00:50-07:00By |Categories: Psychology|

Lessons from an historic tennis match: Strategies you can use in your life

In this article, I discuss psychological skills used in the 2019 US Women’s Open tennis final which can help you succeed in many endeavours. I was riveted watching the historic 2019 US Women’s Open tennis final between Canadian Bianca Andreescu and American Serena Williams. Ms. Andreescu was seeking to make history by becoming the first Canadian of either gender to win a Grand Slam tennis tournament while Ms. Williams was vying to win her 24th Grand Slam title to tie the all-time women’s record. As much as I respect Ms. Williams for her talent and accomplishments, I proudly admit that I was cheering for my fellow Canadian to beat her. The 19 year old did so in impressive fashion, toppling in her first US Open a tennis legend who had the home-court advantage with the crowds squarely behind her. Although Ms. Andreescu won in straight sets 6-3, 7-5, the match was very entertaining and full of dramatic twists. As a psychologist, I found the match particularly intriguing because...[more]

2019-09-08T21:37:39-07:00By |Categories: Psychology, Sport & Performance|

Happiness: To pursue it or not to pursue it—that is the question

In this article, I discuss whether it is reasonable to pursue happiness as a goal. The title of this article may raise some Spockian eyebrows, to borrow a phrase from one of my favourite sports commentators. That is, it may seem obvious that pursuing happiness as a goal is both a worthwhile and reasonable endeavour. After all, doesn’t almost everyone want to be happy or happier? And are there not many steps people can take to make it more likely they will be happy or happier? Despite evidence pointing to an affirmative answer to these questions, it is not a foregone conclusion that people should pursue happiness as a goal...[more]

2019-08-11T21:56:19-07:00By |Categories: Depression, 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]

2019-05-19T22:25:11-07:00By |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]

2019-02-11T17:35:43-07:00By |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]

2019-01-27T20:28:47-07:00By |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]

2019-01-13T21:51:46-07:00By |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]

2018-12-02T22:08:30-07:00By |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]

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