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December 4, 2017

Seasonal Affective Disorder, Depression and feeling down …

I want to take some time to talk about the change of season and what we can expect, how to potentially help ourselves, what is it exactly that is going on. In the more Northernly hemisphere where we live here in Canada, November is a tough month for many of us. The shorter daylight, the colder temperatures, the oncoming holiday season, the long road before Spring that follows… can make it tough for some of us to feel good. In yoga class some years ago, we always talked about November as the time for turning inward, for slowing down. It is of course the time of the great hibernation for some animals. It’s dark. It’s cold. It’s easy to feel […]
November 21, 2017

The Seduction of Stress…..

It’s standard practice for any doctor to ask what level of stress a patient is under. I have begun to wonder how people might come to understand the answer to that question. Most of us work hard, have kids, busy lives, complicated families, difficult co-workers and the list goes on. Add to that – many of us live in noisy, crowded cities with lots of traffic, construction and pollution. We are bombarded daily by television, email, advertising, pressure to spend, save, buy, advance, get educated, get richer, parent better, be a better partner and the list goes on… feeling stressed yet? The funny thing is many of us experience all of the above, on any given day, and do NOT […]
November 8, 2017

What Love Looks Like..

What did love look like when it first came to you? Was it anxious? Was it cool and remote? Was it warm, protective and soothing? Was it chaotic? Was it overwhelming? I have been pondering of late what happens to us as we grow up with our different models of love. Do we seek out the same? If the love that you received as a child was wrapped up in anxiety, do you recognize that in your adult love relationships? Is your present day love interest aloof – like your caretaker in your youth may have been? Sometimes we find ourselves in relationships in our adulthood that are “comfortable”. Sometimes we say we “click” with someone, it’s like an old […]
October 30, 2017

The problem with the Narcissist

Some time ago, I was invited to discuss the psychological themes in the play Lies My Father Told Me, with the director for a production at a local theatre. Without getting too much into the story – “Lies” revolves around a family growing up in post-depression Montreal, where the father could be classified as suffering from “Narcissistic Personality Disorder”.  According to the DSM IV, Narcissistic Personality Disorder is described as being “excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power and prestige and includes a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy”; this lack of empathy being the hallmark, in my opinion, of the Narcissistic Personality Disorder. In Co-Narcissism: How We Accommodate to Narcissistic Parents by Alan Rappoport, he states that a large […]
October 24, 2017

Speaking from the Heart

What are you really saying when you’re saying what you’re saying….. Ah, communication. Is there anything more necessary, and yet more convoluted as honest communication? We have so many ways of expressing our unhappiness, our needs, our longing – yet for the most part we fall into unconscious, unauthentic, and fearful ways to say what we really want to say. This kind of communicating usually results in us not getting our needs met,  creating resentment, and building greater and greater obstacles to loving, respectful, and supportive relationships. Couples often present in couple therapy arguing about a specific situation: money, child-rearing, sex, yet almost always, the underlying issues are about attachment. “I don’t trust you about money” can be translated into […]
October 16, 2017

On Receiving Care

There is a whole population out there of parentified, uber-responsible, probably over-functioning people who have missed the boat on being taken care of. One of the hallmarks of this population is the absolute misery experienced when asking for help ….if they even permit themselves to do that. That’s kind of a sin isn’t it, this asking for help? It demonstrates some sort of flaw or weakness when we finally face the fact we can’t do it alone. And it never ever occurs to us that we shouldn’t face it alone! And if any one of our loved ones presented themselves to us the way we present ourselves to the world (stoic, self-contained, but suffering, miserable) we would tell them why aren’t you asking […]
October 12, 2017

The Precipice

I’ve been listening to Tony Robbins lately. He’s pretty inspiring I have to say. He is also exhausting to watch and to listen to if you ask me. On the other hand I felt that way after a Paul McCartney concert – please, stop, I can’t handle any more! Where do some people get their drive? How do they get the energy to do the things they do? It’s obvious these men are living out their passions. They believe in what they do with every fiber of their being – they know they are doing what they are meant and want to do. But that’s Tony Robbins and Paul McCartney… I want to figure this out for us ordinary folk. […]
September 27, 2017

The Language of Connection

In Gary Chapman’s, New York Times bestseller The 5 Love Languages: the Secret to Love that Lasts, he explores the different ways couples communicate their positive feelings for each other. He rightly argues that knowing your own and your partner’s preferred way of communicating love significantly improves your relationship’s chance of survival. Can you recognize yourself among these five approaches? Remember, while we probably use a bit of all, there is usually one approach, one language that is dominant: Do you let your partner know you care through affection or physical touch or do you tend to show your appreciation and care through gift giving? Some of us do so by offering service or taking care of; some of us through […]
September 20, 2017

Some help for depression…

For those of you struggling, there are voices on the internet that can help, that can reflect your experience and perhaps pull you out of feeling so alone in this struggle. I hope some of this is useful. Click here for an account of someone’s experience. Click here for a possible approach to moving out of depression.
September 18, 2017

All about My Daily Dose…

The My Daily Dose project on this site, or here on Instagram, is really all about looking everyday, for what makes me grateful, for what keeps me healthy, for what is beautiful in the world. I choose to do this because I want to be able to get through life without anxiety or depression at best, and without the need for medication for these afflictions at worst. And I am so very fortunate that it works for me. How I understand what I am doing is this: I am intentionally looking for something to be grateful for, and then reporting – whether to you, the world, or myself. Doing the work of looking – actually keeps me in the moment. Whether looking […]
September 12, 2017

A question of intent ..

Intent… intent can be understood as the motive, not necessarily conscious, behind our behaviour and communication. Often times in challenging relationships there appears to be a tendency towards ascribing intent which may not necessarily exist. A common enough complaint in relationship is that our loved one is ignoring us. It is sometimes easier to believe that than to come to an understanding that we were never thought of in the first place. In order for the intent of ignoring me to be there, my partner needs to be thinking of me, and dismissing me to some extent.  In order for me to be ignored, someone has to be doing the ignoring… that’s a conscious act. Rather than consider you and your needs, […]
August 24, 2017

What I learned while riding my bike…

Sometimes I don’t always make the best of decisions. This past weekend for example might have been one of those times. Husband and I decided we would cycle the Nordet … A daunting 80km ride that is pretty much as challenging as the Cabot Trail – which, by the way, when we cycled that, we trained for months! Not only did we decide on the Nordet, but it was our first cycle of the season. I knew something was wrong when a few kilometres in all I ever saw on the road were spandex clad young men and women, on racer bikes, with their Ironman competition numbers on their backs and bikes. Yet… we persevered! I’m sure it didn’t take […]
August 14, 2017

PTSD – a change in perspective

I found this essay on PTSD called The Bonds Of Battle, written by Sebastian Junger, in The BEST American Essays, edited and with an introduction by Jonathan Franzen, Robert Atwan Series Editor, 2016. It’s an intriguing and helpful look at how and why PTSD persists, in Junger’s estimation, due to isolation. I have seen clients come into my practice suffering from PTSD for different reasons.The common theme among these clients was their desire to be left alone. Yet, they suffered tremendously for the lack of connection and contact – even if they strongly believed that contact would be the worst thing for them. I find it hard to argue with Junger, who posits that what is needed, desperately, is not […]
August 14, 2017

The Click’s the Thing

The Click.. So often, couples report, when talking about how they met, that “we just clicked“. Its worth taking a moment to understand that click. What we call clicking with someone, is actually the experience of being seen and understood. If you come from a European background, chances are high that you will “click” with someone who also has a European background. You “get” each other, you “recognize” the shared cultural values, the language, the nuances of unwritten rules first generation kids had to learn, for example. If you click because you both come from solid family backgrounds, imbued with respect, an understanding of empathic attunement, whether you call it that or not .. You again will feel seen and understood and […]
August 8, 2017

Money and mental/emotional health? Yes!

Mind over Money, by Klontz and Klontz, is an excellent exploration into the emotional and psychological relationship we all have to money. Understand how pivotal moments in your early years may be affecting how you handle money now. If you struggle with money, or it causes conflicts in your couple or family, this is the book for you.
August 7, 2017

Radio Days….

I am sharing several radio segments I was invited to do on Montreal’s CJAD .. Boomer’s View with Elizabeth Stafiej. This particular segment was about the Sandwich Generation, and how to cope.
August 6, 2017

Suffer from Anxiety? There’s help!

If you struggle with anxiety, the Anxiety and Phobia Workbook is a must. Understand the physiology, learn strategies… feel better! Never underestimate the power of information!
August 6, 2017

Relief for Struggling Couples!

Sue Johnson’s Hold Me Tight is the road map we use in couple’s therapy to help you get back to the couple you want to be. I ask all my couples to read this before we start on our work together. Learn what you are really saying when you get stuck in your familiar patterns and learn how to hear it from your partner.
August 4, 2017

Reading for Self-Esteem

Bibliotherapy is a fabulous adjunct to face-to-face talk therapy. There is so much information and wisdom out there why not take advantage! Under The Library section of My Blog, you will find titles I regularly recommend to my clients. Struggling with self-esteem? Nathaniel Branden’s seminal work The Six Pillars of Self Esteem has helped countless clients regain a sense of themselves, change negative thoughts – through the act of writing, an important part of the work in this book –  and allowed for the sense of competency and mastery of self needed to live fully and happily. You will not regret using this book.
August 4, 2017

For the Couples!

Important information from the Gottman Institute! Read this to understand the benefits of Couple Therapy. Have a wonderful day!  

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