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|

Managing stress: Two approaches are better than one

In this article, I discuss why using both problem-focused and self-focused approaches to manage stress is more effective than using only one of these approaches. One of the most basic concepts I try to convey to my clients is how to manage stress. Once you realize that effective stress management boils down to using two categories of approaches, what can seemingly be a daunting task becomes much easier...[more]

2018-08-10T16:46:17+00:00By |Categories: Stress, Video|

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|

Burnout: How to prevent it and recover from it

In this article, I discuss how to avert and address burnout at work, sports and other activities. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often encounter clients who are suffering from burnout as a result of activities they are engaged in including work and sports. The primary symptoms of burnout are physical and mental exhaustion, actual and perceived decreases in effectiveness and negative attitudes toward the activity. These symptoms often lead to people quitting activities...[more]

2018-06-17T22:22:41+00:00By |Categories: Sport & Performance, Stress|

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|

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+00:00By |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]

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