Call: 403.690.2663  Location: Calgary, AB

What to expect from Therapy with a Psychologist

IMG_6814.JPG

 

What to expect from Therapy with a Psychologist

 

Have you ever wondered what is would be like to actually be in therapy? Sure, you can see what the movies show about therapists and everybody knows that Dr. Phil has plenty of experience, but what is it like for everyday people, without a video camera rolling? Well, look no further! In the spirit of easing your mind, here is a basic outline of the structure of therapy and what you can expect from working with me. Each therapist is different, but we have similarities in our structure. Most therapy sessions are 50 minutes in length. Some offer 80 minutes for more in-depth sessions, though you will likely need to ask for that if you prefer more time. 

Introduction- Hello, Nice to Meet You!

 

 Clients usually find me through the internet or through a referral from someone. You can contact me via email or phone and I will respond as quickly as I am able to, usually within 24 hours. Remember that therapists are in sessions with clients and will not answer phone and email when in session- that would just be rude- so sometimes we can be a little difficult to reach. Once I receive a message from you, I will offer a free 20 minute consultation. As much as I would love to take credit for being the only psychologist to do this, most psychologists are willing to offer a free phone consultation. I prefer mine in person, since you can get a much better sense of what it would be like to work with me, in person.

The Consultation

The point of the consultation is for us to get a sense of whether we would work well together. You get to give me a synopsis of what you are struggling with and I give you an idea of how I would likely approach it. I share relevant therapeutic perspectives, give examples of the kinds of exercises we might do and the homework you can expect from me. This is also an opportunity for you to ask any questions you might have. Duration of therapy and the costs involved sometimes come up in this session. 

Read more ...

Love Your Body

How to Love Your Body

                                                                                                         Happy_Older_Woman.jpg

  • Do you dislike your body?
  • Do you see all of your flaws when you look in the mirror?
  • Is it difficult to believe people when they compliment you?

How many of you can honestly say that you love your body, just the way it is? Out of the hundreds, if not thousands, of clients I have worked with over the years, only two of them stand out as being comfortable with their bodies. One is a 60 year old woman who miraculously feels comfortable with her body as it is. She keeps it healthy and reasonably fit, but does not obsess about it. The other is a 30 year old man who was seriously injured and had to fight to stay alive. He beat the odds and managed to be active in sports and regular workouts by refusing to believe the doctors when they said he would never walk again. He worked hard to love his body and has succeeded. Unfortunately, these two are highly unusual. The rest of us need some help learning to be comfortable and happy in our bodies.

Read more ...

A Piece of Peace (Part 2)

I Would Like a Piece of Peace, Please (Part 2)

      lotus-nature-plants-flowers-39024-large.jpeg

Photo is property of “Pricenfees” at (https://www.pricenfees.com/)

 

Active Peace: A Beginner's Guide


The idea of finding inner peace sounds pretty good, doesn't it? All you have to do is begin practicing Awareness, Mindfulness, Acceptance, and Compassion (see my last blog: I Would Like a Piece of Peace, Please, Part 1) and you not only find your own inner peace, but you actually make a change in our world. Practicing inner peace affects every person you come into contact with, therefore contributing to world peace. 

You might look at these simple concepts of awareness, mindfulness, acceptance, and compassion and think, "yeah, I can do that." If you already have a plan for how to use these ideas, I congratulate you and encourage you to go for it. If you look at this and say, "um...these ideas are great, but what do I DO? How do I incorporate these into my daily living?", I'm happy to tell you that I have some specific actions you can take to begin your journey to Inner Peace today.

images.jpg

This is an ongoing, integrative process. You find inner peace for moments, hours, sometimes days, but most of us do not stay there indefinitely. It requires intention and practice, which means you must find the method that works best for you. You do not have to follow these steps in any particular order because they all work together. As you increase your awareness, you find that mindfulness increases. As you increase mindfulness, you become more aware and it is easier to accept reality. Once you accept reality, you become more aware. As you develop awareness and mindfulness, it becomes easier to practice compassion, and as you practice compassion, it becomes easier to accept reality. With that in mind, start with whichever step you prefer. If you are unsure where to begin, you can use the order I have. If you prefer your own way, by all means, honour your own way. In the spirit of releasing judgment, there is no "right" or "wrong" way to do this.

Read more ...

I Would Like a Piece of Peace, Please (Part 1)

I Would Like a Piece of Peace, Please (Part 1)

lotus-nature-plants-flowers-39024-large.jpeg

Photo is property of “Pricenfees” at (https://www.pricenfees.com/)

Would You Like a Piece of Peace?

 

  • Do you suffer?
  • Are you kept awake at night, worrying about the fate of the world?
  • Is your life chaotic?
  • Would you like to make a real difference in the world?

Searching for Wisdom 

I stumbled across stories of White Tara this morning. She is an aspect of the Hindu and Buddhist goddess, Tara. White Tara symbolizes compassion, long life, healing, and serenity. She is peaceful and powerful, loving and strong. In our world, we often associate peaceful and loving as weak, yet Tara is the essence of compassion and love made strong.She is a teacher of peace. How can we learn from her?

                                                                                    free-shipping-USPS-to-USA-S3054-Tibet-Bronze-inlay-turquoise-coral-ruby-beryl-White-Tara-padma.jpg_640x640.jpg

 (A note: I am not an expert on Hindu or Buddhist deities, so please forgive any inaccuracies. I am happy to receive comments regarding this lovely goddess). 

Read more ...

What can squirrels teach us about persistence?

The Power of Persistence

squirrel.jpg

What can this squirrel teach us about persistence?

 

I went camping last weekend, out in the mountains among pine trees, campfires, and squirrels. As I sat in full, mindful enjoyment of the environment, I noticed that the squirrels around me never stopped. They paused to chatter at me or each other, they kept their awareness of their environment, avoiding the fire and the humans. They were focused on gathering food for the winter and they never lost their objective, even when distracted for a moment by other squirrels or curious dogs.

Did you know that there are an estimated 1.12 biliion squirrels in the U.S., alone? I may not be a biologist, but I am willing to hazard a guess that it has something to do with their persistence. They never stop. They are constantly looking for, storing, or carrying food. They aren't particularly smart, or careful, or even secretive about where they store their food. They're talkative, so you know where they are. Even when they forget where they have hidden their cache, it works in their favour because they are basically planting the seeds, so they grow a food source for their future generations. Squirrels are persistent.

Read more ...

Internal Understanding + External Expertise = Wisdom

 

Internal Understanding + External Expertise = Inner/Outer Wisdom

  • How many times has the doctor told you to do something and it just didn't feel "right" to you?
  • Do you have a few tricks that always work for you to make you feel better?

 

      stock-photo-86469861-nerd-girl-smiling-at-camera.jpg                       +                     stock-photo-86526353-boy-puts-light-bulb-on-top-head-and-gets-idea.jpg                                                                  

How many times have you asked an "expert" for advice and found that it didn't work for you? Or maybe you discovered some unconventional method for making you feel better that doesn't fit what you are told you "should" do. The thing is, you have been you all of your life. You know things about how you work that no expert can ever know. You know that the smell of mint makes you want to vomit, even though it isn't one of the typical aversions. You know that going for a ten minute walk will fix any problem you encounter in your day. You know that no amount of novacaine will keep the dental pain at bay. And the list goes on. This internal understanding is what I like to call Inner Wisdom.

On the other hand, sometimes you get stuck and you find that an expert can get you out of a rut. Maybe you have tried everything to rid yourself of an addiction, and nothing works. You need help, so you hire someone to help you. That expert is able to provide you with information about techniques, ideas, and solutions that have worked for many people. Finally, you get the support you need, and you use that information to make a positive change in your life. This is an example of Outer Wisdom.

Putting both Inner and Outer Wisdom together leads to a Wisdom that can help you through any difficulty and help you grow and reach your full potential. It's a balance that works like magic, when you get it right. 

Read more ...

Making a Living and Living your Dream

Making a Living and Living Your Dream

  • Have you recently been downsized?
  • Is the current economy making it hard to find a job?
  • Are you stressed out about paying bills?

Making a Living...

The current economy in North America is affecting almost everyone. We're tightening our belts, putting on a brave face, and keeping any complaints to ourselves, just so we can keep our mediocre jobs. You used to be able to go out to a nice dinner for your anniversary or for a birthday. Now, you end up at Tim Hortons. Okay, maybe it isn't quite that bad. You do see your work place getting emptier and emptier and you wonder how much longer you can hold on to your job. You might not have had a raise in years, but you certainly don't want to mention it for fear that you will be the next one on the downsizing list. Maybe you already have been downsized and you're trying to figure out where you can go for a job, any job. The thing is, most of them will not pay enough to pay your bills and they certainly will not help you feel good about yourself.

Everyone is struggling to pay bills these days. It's a great time to buy a house- if you can afford it- because people are having to downsize their homes. Nice cars are cheap, if you don't mind second-hand from someone who cannot afford to keep it any more. It looks pretty bleak for most of us.

...or Living Your Dream?

But wait! It doesn't mean all hope is lost. Within the loss of the familiar is room for the new. This is an opportunity to create that dream you've been wanting to live. No, I don't mean winning the lottery. I mean the one you had when you were young. The one in which you loved your life because your work was something that you found exciting, fun, thrilling, challenging. Loss leads to opportunity. It's an opportunity to start again, with a clean slate. You've gained wisdom during your work and you now have a clearer picture of what kind of work environment fits you, how you like to work, and with whom. You probably enjoyed some aspect of your work. Keep that in mind as you build your plan for your next career.

Read more ...

Not a Fragile Flower

Not a Fragile Flower

I have the most amazing clients. Lara is brilliant, emotional, artistic. In the throes of her emotional intensity, she sends me heartbreakingly beautiful poetry and drawings worthy of a Tim Burton film. It took her a year and a half of weekly therapy to be able to draw again, after being told all of her life that her art was useless. Selena is a round peg living in a world of square holes. Her ability to see things from a different perspective make her particularly talented at finding beauty in places others would never see it. She has lived most of her life desperately trying to fit in. Sophie is a free spirit, caged by the expectations of society that she live a stable, productive life. She has an adventurous spirit, ready to explore the world.

Read more ...

Surviving or Thriving?

Many people call themselves “survivors,” whether because of a specific incident, or because of a pattern in their lives in which they have managed to keep living under circumstances that are less than optimal.  Surviving is sometimes all we can manage, but wouldn’t you rather thrive?

Read more ...

New Year, New You

New Year, New You



Every year, people make resolutions to change something in their lives, whether it is weight, health, relationships, or kicking a bad habit.  Unfortunately, resolutions don’t always lead to results.  Lifestyle changes can be difficult to implement, so here is a guide to making and keeping your resolutions.

Read more ...

Need Help Identifying Your Current State of Mind? GET A FREE 20 MIN CONSULTATION