Individual therapy for children, teens, adults of all ages, and their families
Anxiety is normal at a limited level, we all feel anxious from time to time. Anxiety that provokes a strong sense of fear, and an inability to move forward past this fear, unable to engage in activities we once enjoyed, limiting our ability to make or maintain relationships and live a healthy day to day life, requires you to seek help. Together we will work on creating a better understanding of underlying causes of anxious symptoms, learn relaxation techniques and ways to cope, and change your perceptions of the anxiety provoking events, enabling you to live a “normal” healthy life again.
Stress and some anxiety is normal, it can motivate us, keep us alert and can be brought on by negative and positive events. At times stress becomes too much to handle, leads to anxiety and depression and/or changes your behaviour and affects your physical health. Working on coping strategies, self-care, relaxation and changing perceptions can help us with present stressors and prepare us for future stressors.
Like anxiety, depression is often misunderstood. There is a misconception that you should just “snap out of it” or “work through it”, or those with depression believe they will never get out of it, and their life “will never be normal again”. Together we can learn about underlying factors which may have led to your depression (genetics, pre-disposition, childhood, past neglect or abuse, excessive stress, etc.) and then work on coping strategies, behaviour and cognitive strategies, and mindfulness activities to help improve your emotional, social ,and mental health.
Health and Wellness
Everywhere we turn we are reminded of how we should look and feel, and everything is about doing it “quickly” and “right now”. We see “lose 10 pounds in 3 days “, “change your body and your life in 3 weeks without exercise, and by eating whatever you want”, “never smoke another cigarette again by just taking this…” These messages fill us with hope and when we do not meet the expectation, or gain the weight, or start smoking again we feel like failures, and are consumed with self-doubt and negative self-talk. The problem is, anyone can lose weight or stop doing something in, or for, a short period of time, but if you don’t change your relationship with food or cigarettes, or a healthy lifestyle there is a high chance of relapse. We will work together individually (also a group therapy) to change how your perceive food or cigarettes and the role they have in your life. You will modify your thoughts and perceptions, learn strategies for stress management, and identify triggers to help you prepare for “high risk” events.
Chronic & Terminal Illness
Many changes occur during serious illness which continue to challenge those with illness and their families. The accumulation of loss and changes, the unknowns and uncertainty can increase fear, and create further stress . While caring for your or your family member’s physical, medical, legal and emotional needs and trying to manage your own world, it is normal to feel confused, frightened, and overwhelmed. You may be experiencing a number of emotions; anger, sadness, confusion, guilt, finding that you’re forgetting things, unsure of yourself and your world, self-doubting your thoughts and decisions; this is a natural way our mind’s react. Together we will work through your feelings, use mindfulness and other cognitive approaches to get to a level of acceptance and coping that will help you manage your illness and all the changes which accompany it.
Grief & Bereavement
We often only associate grief & loss with death, however loss can mean many things. Some non-death related losses may include, end of a relationship, job loss, retirement, moving (leaving what was familiar), empty nest, illness or new medical diagnosis, having to give a pet away, financial loss… Grief encompasses one’s reaction to loss and these reactions are unique to each individual. Society and the media want us to believe that there is a correct way to grieve; this is false. Each individual grieves in his or her own way. Some grieve outwardly (tears, anger and/or other emotions), and some keep their emotions inside and grieve inwardly. Whether the loss is death or non-death related we work together to help you process your individual emotions and thoughts, and help you live in a life which is your “new normal”.
Divorce & Separation (on an individual level for one member of couple and/or child(ren) of the couple)
Please see group and family therapy regarding divorce and separation as we will use much of the same approach but on a more individual level. Helping the individual learn to live a different way of life, accept the changes, learn to parent as a single parent, or co-parent, and become more able to cope and live a healthy, fulfilled life. Children and adolescents also benefit from a neutral third party with whom they can express feelings and thoughts they often do not feel they are able to express with family members for fear of upsetting others. It also provides children and adolescents with the opportunity to learn new skills to communicate with each parent, to understand that all feelings are okay, they do not have to choose between parents, and to cope with a new life they often feel they have no control over.
At times situations, events, or life circumstances occur which have a profound impact on our emotional and psychological well-being. The event plays over in our minds like a movie, triggers illicit serious behavioural and emotional reactions and fear and anxiety can take over. We will work together to understand the reactions you are experiencing, to learn strategies to work through the reactions and change your perception of the traumatic event. This will increase your feelings of safety and ability to cope and live a healthy life.
Relationships do not only refer to romantic connections. We have relationships with family, friends, co-workers, employers, community members, etc. Sometimes we have difficulty navigating these relationships, or communicating with others or sometimes work is stressful, and you feel you are not being valued or heard. We will work collaboratively to learn communication skills, learn to understand your role in the relationship and how your (and/or others’) perceptions, thoughts, feelings and behaviours can enhance or hinder the relationship or communication within that relationship and work towards improve the relationship or understanding of the dynamics.
Behaviour in children and adolescents encompasses many different aspects and strategies. Behaviour may look like a temper tantrum (or frequent tantrums), moods swings that make you feel like you’re on a rollercoaster, withdrawing from people and activities that were once interesting, non-compliance, defiance, oppositional, attentional issues, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) or behaviours which resemble this disorder, i.e. inattention, high distractibility, impulsivity and a overactive need to move. My extensive experience in assessing and addressing behavioural needs can help you understand the function of the behaviour, or the need it is serving and implement strategies to help modify, replace or extinguish the behaviour. I can also provide strategies for use at school to help with learning and social situations.