Struggling in making progress toward a goal? Start by forming keystone habits

In this article, I discuss how achieving small successes by forming particular habits can lead you to make significant progress toward your goals. In my last article, I discussed how to form good habits and eliminate bad habits. I defined habits as behaviours or sequences of behaviours which a person performs regularly by focusing on the three components of a habit--cue, routine and reward. In this article, I focus on the value of forming keystone habits. These are habits which have the additional value of spurring you to form additional habits which can lead you to make significant progress toward your goals in different areas of life...[more]

2020-02-02T21:32:37-07:00By |Categories: Addictions, Psychology, Relationships|

How to improve your children’s behaviours: Focus on the positives and ignore the negatives

In this article, I discuss how you can address behavioural issues with your children by paying attention to their favourable behaviours and ignoring their unfavourable behaviours. In relationships of various kinds, it is unfortunately common for us to pay more attention to the other person’s negative behaviours than to their positive behaviours. Although it makes sense to some degree to follow this pattern, there are also many disadvantages of doing so. In this article, I will focus on the benefits of reversing this pattern so that you pay more attention to the other person’s positive behaviours than to their negative behaviours..[more]

2020-01-05T21:48:23-07:00By |Categories: Children & Teens, Relationships|

How to address your child’s behaviour issues in a separation or divorce situation

In this article, I discuss how to identify the cause of these issues which points to steps you can take to address them. I sometimes work with parents who are separated or divorced and who have children with behaviour issues. These issues typically manifest themselves at home, at school and/or daycare, during recreational activities and in other settings. Addressing these concerns is best done by taking a two-step approach. First, use strategies to identify the source of the child’s behaviour issues...[more]

2019-08-25T21:53:11-06:00By |Categories: Relationships|

Nothing is certain except death and taxes…and relationships?

In this article, I discuss how to cope with uncertainty about the future of your relationships. I once had a session with a couple in relationship counselling in which the focus was the negative impact of one partner’s individual issues on the relationship. The issue was one that the partner had been dealing with throughout her life. Not surprisingly, the issue had manifest itself in their relationship. In exploring ways to help the couple get their relationship back on track, we discussed steps that the partner could take to address her issue including meeting with a therapist in individual counselling. Near the end of the session, the second partner asked me what assurance I could give him that his partner would not slip back into having difficulty as result of her individual issue. He expressed concern about committing to a relationship and a partner for which the possibility existed that the struggles they were facing as a result of her issue may reemerge. The best way I found to respond to him was with the adage, “Nothing is certain in life except death and taxes.”...[more]

2019-06-30T22:25:33-06:00By |Categories: Relationships|

Agreement on goals: An additional challenge of couples counselling

In this article, I discuss why one of the keys to success in therapy is more difficult to achieve in couples counselling. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I work with many clients in individual counselling as well as helping many people with their relationships in couples counselling. One of the keys to helping all these clients is for the clients and me to agree on what goals we should pursue in counselling. Reaching agreement on goals is typically easier to achieve in individual counselling compared with couples counselling...[more]

2019-06-16T21:45:50-06:00By |Categories: Relationships|

CNN’s Crossfire: A model for constructive communication?

In this article, I discuss what features of the program couples should and should not model when discussing their issues. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I sometimes help clients by referring to material in the media such as television, radio, books, and the internet. A television show I often discuss when helping couples with constructive communication is the CNN program Crossfire. Crossfire was a political program which originally ran from 1988 until 2005 and then had a brief second run between 2013 and 2014. It featured discussions of issues...[more]

2019-06-02T22:28:13-06:00By |Categories: Relationships|

How to address abuse in a relationship: Take the right approach in counselling

In this article, I discuss the relative merits of different options clients can take to address issues involving abusive behaviour in relationships.In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I sometimes work with individuals and couples whose goal is to address abusive behaviour in relationships. This is an issue often entails a pattern in which one partner in a relationship engages in behaviours intended to dominate and control the other partner. This leads to abuse in various forms including verbal and physical.There are different counselling options for addressing the issue of abuse in relationships...[more]

2019-03-24T22:05:01-06:00By |Categories: Anger, Relationships|

How to address social anxiety issues:  Be aware of and target self-fulfilling prophecies

In this article, I discuss how you can become less anxious in social situations by recognizing how your beliefs affect your and other people’s behaviour. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often work with clients who become overly anxious in social situations. The discomfort these people experience can be so strong that will often avoid social situations or leave social events prematurely. A key factor which contributes to excess anxiety in social situations is negative thinking the person has regarding how others are likely to respond to them when they enter such situations. This negative thinking sets in motion a negative self-fulfilling prophecy in which...[more]

2019-03-12T09:49:18-06:00By |Categories: Anxiety, Relationships|

How to deal with difficult people: Use strategies from cognitive behavioural therapy

In this article, I discuss ways of thinking and behaving which can make it easier for you to deal with difficult people. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I sometimes have clients who have who want help in dealing with difficult people. The people in question could be friends, co-workers, family members, supervisors or intimate relationship partners, to name a few. The problem of dealing with such people is often tied to clients being required to interact with them—sometimes on a regular basis. Given that a significant amount of your time is consequently occupied in interacting with people you find unpleasant, it is important to have strategies to decrease this unpleasantness and thereby make dealing with such people more manageable...[more]

2019-02-24T22:14:37-07:00By |Categories: Relationships, Stress|
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