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+00:00 By |Categories: Psychology, Stress|

How two categories of stress management skills complement each other

In this article, I discuss how using each category of stress management skills is improved by using skills from the other category. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, clients often ask for my help in managing stress. My plan to help them typically involves using two categories of strategies—(1) Problem-focused coping in which they take action to reduce or eliminate sources of stress like problems at work or school, relationship issues, and financial difficulties; and (2) Self-focused coping in which they use skills and activities to improve their emotional reaction to sources of stress. In turn, self-focused coping strategies are of three kinds...[more]

2018-03-11T22:51:39+00:00 By |Categories: Anxiety, Stress|

Pleasure and mastery: Two kinds of activities are better than one

In this article, I discuss why it is important to include both pleasure and mastery activities in your routine. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I encourage my clients to have two types of activities in their spare-time routines--pleasure and mastery. Pleasure activities are enjoyable and relaxing ones which help you to de-stress and typically do not involve performing or being evaluated. These can be individual pleasure activities like meditation, listening to music, watching a movie or reading a novel. Pleasure activities can also include social interaction such as having coffee with a friend or going to a movie with a group. Mastery activities are those which entail performance of a task which requires use of your skills and talents.,,[more]

2017-09-24T23:45:35+00:00 By |Categories: Depression, Self-Esteem, Sport & Performance, Stress|

The prediction log: A tool to manage anxiety

In this article, I discuss how predicting negative events you may encounter and tracking those predictions can help you to manage the anxiety you experience in anticipation of these events. Difficulties in managing anxiety are rooted in negative thinking patterns known as cognitive distortions. These distortions skew our perceptions of events in a negative direction which is not consistent the available evidence. In anxiety, these distortions involve skewed perceptions regarding negative events which may occur in our lives in the near or distant future. There are two cognitive distortions which drive anxiety to uncomfortable levels in anticipation of these events—‘overestimating danger’ and ‘underestimating coping’...[more]

2016-11-09T12:03:42+00:00 By |Categories: Anxiety, Stress|

Your burnout prevention plan: Building R & R into your schedule at three levels

In this article, I discuss the importance of scheduling rest & relaxation into your life on a daily, weekly and longer-term basis. I always look forward to the Christmas holiday season. One reason is that I get a chance to spend time with family members who I don’t get to see during much of the year. A second reason is that it gives me time off to recharge my physical and emotional batteries by taking two weeks off from work. Although I love the work I do as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, setting aside time for rest and relaxation is important in order for me to maintain my enjoyment of work and to perform at the high level which my clients expect of me in helping them...[more]

2016-11-09T12:03:42+00:00 By |Categories: Anxiety, Stress|

Three options to choose from when you’re in a difficult situation: Two good, one bad

In this article, I discuss the importance of being mindful of three options to choose from when you’re in the midst of difficult work and relationship situations as well as which of these options are preferred. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often have clients dealing with ongoing difficult and stressful situations involving their work or their relationships. In my experience with these clients, I’ve concluded that it can be very helpful to be aware of three options in dealing with these difficult situations. I refer to these as Options A, B and C...[more]

2016-11-09T12:03:42+00:00 By |Categories: Anxiety, Depression, Relationships, Self-Esteem, Stress|

Reduce self-injury behaviours by addressing what lies beneath them

In this article, I discuss ways to reduce non-suicidal self-injury behaviours by targeting the factors leading to the behaviours. It may seem puzzling to an observer that someone would regularly choose to harm themselves through behaviours such as cutting, burning or head-banging. In reality, self-injury behaviours often represent ways of coping with various life issues much as many people use drinking, drugs, gambling, sex and various eating disorder behaviours for this purpose...[more]

Work on yourself to improve your relationships…and vice versa

In this article, I discuss how you can benefit from the bidirectional relationship between individual and relationship well-being. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I encounter both individuals and couples as clients. Individuals typically have the goal of addressing an individual issue to improve their emotional well-being and I teach them skills from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help them in this endeavour. Couples usually have goals to improve their relationship well-being in various ways. To this end, I typically give them skills from Dr. John Gottman’s sound relationship house model to help them improve their relationship friendship and learn skills to discuss issues more constructively...[more]

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