February 8, 2019

Culture’s Impact

I would like this blog post to begin a conversation among (but not limited to) clinicians/therapists/psychologists about the impact of culture on our selves and in turn, our clients. It’s a conversation that is long on questions and not so long on answers. This is so vast and broad a topic, it’s impossible to cover it with any depth in one post, or two or five. So I’ll begin somewhere…. As an example of what I am talking about… if you were born and raised in Quebec, are you aware of the impact that the Quiet Revolution in Quebec had on our culture and by extension on you? How do you imagine the new sense of independence and freedom from […]
January 21, 2019

The Struggle with Family

Most of us show up in therapy because of complicated and painful family relationships. Sometimes it’s about our family of origin – the one where I was a child, and sometimes it’s about the families we have created where I’m the partner and/or parent. Family relationships are tough. Those of us that have grown up with dysfunction – addiction, violence, divorce, mental illness – have had to figure out how to tease apart what is healthy and what isn’t when it comes to relationships. A common problem I often see is “wanting to help” – our alcoholic parent, our mentally ill child. We want to end their suffering. We want to stop feeling “held hostage” by their misery. We want […]
January 16, 2018

Projection and us…

Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. (//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection) I have a sneaking suspicion that if many of us understood more about projection – and its use as a defence by the person in front of us, we would be a lot happier, and communication would be a lot easier. And the thing that we need to hang on to about projection, is it’s the root of why different people see you in a different way .. because most of what they are seeing is a reflection or aspect of THEMSELVES. As therapists, we are taught about […]
July 20, 2017

Boundaries… the most important work you will ever do.

One of the things I do when working with a client is an interpretive exercise about boundaries. It’s an exercise that was originally developed and taught to me by Mia Lobel, back in my university days. It has morphed pretty significantly since then, but I would not have had this tool if it weren’t for her. Thanks Mia! So, clients are given a roll of masking tape, my chair is moved out of the way to give them as wide a berth as possible, and they are asked to “give us a visual representation of your psychological/emotional boundaries”. I almost always get a “what?” kind of look, confusion, worry about “getting it right”, and lots of questions. I leave the […]