Job Fair

How can I pursue my dreams if I’m stuck doing this job instead?

“Do you dread running into acquaintances from your past, like I do, because of the questions they may ask about your life successes? You know they are really looking to dive into your failures, right?  At family gatherings, relatives may inquire if you’ve put any your academic credentials to any good use, in hopes you are doing something ‘worthwhile’; asking “Have you found a job in your field yet?”

The ugly truth is that life has been difficult. We have credentials that make us qualified. We have personalities to blow our future employers away. However the calls aren’t coming in and interviews aren’t taking place. The phrase “looking for a job is like having a full time job” just doesn’t cut it for us. Sometimes we have to put those “dream career aspirations” on hold because we have other responsibilities to take care of: family, bills, mortgage/rent payments, and OSAP/line of credit loans to name a few. As much as we are thankful to be able to meet our basic needs at the temporary job, we are not happy, and it is difficult to view our dream career as remotely within our reach.

So what do we do?

The first thing is to shift our thoughts in order to believe in our full potential pushing away from thoughts like; “I’m not good enough!”, ” I can’t do this”, I’ll never get there or amount to anything”… Sound familiar? Where did these negative sayings come from?  How did it get into our minds? At what point was it whispered or even yelled at us (by strangers, our peers, from media or even by members of our family)?

Counselling helps us discover thoughts and thinking patterns (schemata) that have contributed to feelings of low self-worth, incompetence and insecurity. Further, professional counsellors can assist with developing an understanding about the events and life situations that may have contributed to negative self perceptions. Of course, discovering how we got into a particular problem can both help us avoid it in the future and help us find solutions to get “unstuck”.

Gaining insight into ourselves helps develop more positive and affirming attitudes that fuel increased energy and productivity. When we adopt new, more optimistic thought patterns, self-worth and confidence rise, positive emotional states emerge and then behaviours change positively as well. These proactive behaviour changes are necessary to keep our dreams alive and to takes the steps required to achieve them.

Get started today? Call our registered, confidential counsellors to book your appointment!


Photo credit: ardelfin from morguefile.com

Many families will come to counselling as a sign of support to help a loved one through a difficult time (e.g. addiction, cooperative parenting, disordered eating, anxiety, depression, OCD, etc.). Sometimes families will provide financial support for a treatment program while others may attend sessions to improve overall teamwork. Still, other family members will change habits in the household to reduce the chance of addictive behaviours reoccurring.

How much family support is too much or not enough? This question is difficult to answer. As parents, we want to help our children (even if they are adults) to the best of our ability. However, sometimes this means we may be doing too much for them. Doing too much can often prevent individual growth and development. Parents may also want to take responsibility for the child/adult’s behaviour.

This is where family therapy helps, drawing upon family systems research and practice. It helps families clarify when to take responsibility or ownership and when not to, how to set clear boundaries and opportunities for change. Families can also establish new roles and expectations along with accountability measures for noncompliance and strategies for encouraging and increasing the behaviours desired.

Insufficient family support can be very debilitating for a person with mental health concerns and, thus, for the family as a whole. Strained and inconsistent communication is very common when there have been hurt feelings and years of promises broken.  As the support of loved ones grows thin, the person with mental health concerns can become even more distant and make even more harmful decisions. Balancing relationships within the family and keeping supportive connections while in treatment is a very important topic to discuss with a professional counsellor.

There are many ways in which a family can support one another through the difficult times. Start with this LISTEN acronym:

L: Learn to hear each other out more, increasing understanding and Love for one another.

I:  Inspire one another by having Integrity with your word and authenticity in your actions.

S: Solution-oriented state of mind helps focus on positive steps forward, finding solutions.

T: Treat others with respect, Teach caringly, Talk calmly and with Teamwork language.

E: Establish family goals together, Empower action and Encourage achievement.

N: Never give up on each other.


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What is Going Through Your Mind?

How am I going to pay the bills this month?

Am I spending enough time with my family?

What do I really want to do with my life?

Sometimes our daily routine can gradually appear redundant, unpleasant, and lacking excitement. But we’re in the real world, aren’t we? We have to go to work to make ends meet. We’re supposed to get along with others, build relationships, reproduce and have offspring. Right?

At times, we make choices that, at other times, we think are not what we really wanted to do. We may later think we went to college to please our parents or we did. We might attain a “good standing” job so that we don’t have to feel embarrassed when people ask us what we’re up to. We could possibly even fill our wallets and office walls with photos of a “picture-perfect” family fostering the appearance we have it all together? Are we genuine? Are we “for real”?

Is this what we worry about? Why do questions like those above flood our minds day in and day out? Should we not be happy with the choices we’ve made? How is it that after making decisions of the heart we can so readily abandon them?

What if those questions causing doubt are nothing more than thoughts floating around in our minds… like data on a computer hard drive? Increased focus on negative thinking quickly leads to more negative emotional and behavioural experiences. Of course, many of us will choose to just ignore these negatives, pushing them to the back of our minds, and go on with our daily routine. This can, however, leave us with little to moderate satisfaction.

Others may dwell on these negative thoughts, fueling feelings of dissatisfaction, disappointment and doubt. Eventually these feelings can seem to consume hope and joy, at which point many push away and leave behind the lives and people previously chosen. Still, there are other people who chose ways to manage their thoughts in a mindful and intentional way, finding information to help them develop a positive action plan. Taking the first step acknowledges the desire to change. Finding ways to improve our mental health by changing our thoughts goes a long way to boost confidence, integrity and authenticity.

Steps forward often require us to go back, waaaaaaay back, to discover what led us to make certain decisions and historical strategies that can help prevent problems. Unsure how far back to go? Counselling gives us that safe, confidential space to sort through our thoughts, emotions and behaviours. Trained counselors ask questions to help guide us through both historical and current events, related thoughts and experiences in order to develop behaviours, relationships and goals fitting with our innermost desires.

Rather than harboring thoughts that lead to giving up on our families and our responsibilities, we can become agents of healthier change by making positive cognitive adjustments. Healthier constructs, precepts and schemata can then become foremost in our minds, fostering improved mental health and improving relationships with everyone in our lives. Counselling helps coach skills to think, feel and behave in a more satisfying and happy way. Call us today !


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“My brother stays home Sunday to Wednesday, and parties the remaining days of the week. Sounds like fun, right? Sometimes he’s attending multiple parties per night. He stumbles into the house. On occasions, I find him passed out in the car in our driveway. He came to me once, the morning after a night out, shaking his head saying, ‘My tolerance has gone waaay down.’ ‘Really, bro? How much did you drink last night?’ Six shots, four beers, and five cocktails later, he doesn’t come to the realization that that amount is not normal drinking behavior. ‘Face it brother, you’re a binge drinker!’”

Like this person’s brother, many of us may justify the alcohol intake because it evens out the days that we don’t drink. Nonetheless, binge drinking is a serious problem and has become a socially obsessed phenomenon. The death toll in the UK has been rising due to a growing culture of self-filming binge-drinking activities (Misstear, 2014, walesonline.co.uk). Several deaths have been linked to drinkers binging on large quantities of alcohol while filming themselves and daring others to do the same. This social media game “encourages people to accept dares from friends to drink alcohol before nominating someone else to follow suit,” (Misstear, 2014). The term peer pressure has now gone to new heights via social media. As well, a strong culture of alcohol over-use has developed. People may now feel a huge sense of urgency to play out these activities because their name has gone viral or perhaps they would like it to. The repercussions of not abiding to the dare are unknown.

According to Statistics Canada:

  • Males were about 2.5 times more likely than females to report having engaged in heavy drinking (5 or more drinks on one occasion).

  • Including both sexes, people aged 18 to 34 were more likely to engage in heavy drinking.

Dealing with the pressure from friends, family, and social media can cause stress and difficulty to cope. The risks and costs involved with heavy drinking may seem obvious, yet rarely appear to deter habitual substance misuse. Financial, interpersonal, social, cognitive and physical impact my develop quite slowly, over time, initially being denied as “not a big deal”. At first this is probably true, however, as the body requires more and more alcohol, and becomes addicted, the costs rise. Social connections begin to decline, bills pile up, family becomes increasingly concerned and the person’s ability to change themselves deteriorates. Defensiveness toward those who request change is common. Resources with local hospitals, Alcoholics Anonymous groups and addictions counselors are essential components, along with family, to support recovery. Our professional counsellors in Durham Region are trained to assist family and loved ones find and utilize effective resources to support the person struggling with binge-drinking and other types of substance misuse. In addition, the person can discover ways to effectively change and regain control and efficacy in their lives. To have an objective assessment of current substance misuse levels and to determine next steps toward health Call us today .

Keep Your Eye On The Job

Photo credit: LukeDavison from morguefile.com

Here are just a few reasons why hiring external counselling support for your business can be a great investment:

  • Objective assessment of human resource, personal strengths and areas for growth
  • Increase productivity and profit through improved working relationships
  • Improve corporate morale and job performance
  • Team building through training
  • Improve group cohesiveness and thus, improve performance
  • Assess job satisfaction, on an individual and group basis, and potential adjustments
  • Coach/conduct a variety of workshops (e.g., how to cope with work-related stress)
  • Address work conflict appropriately, effectively and in a timely fashion
  • Decrease biases when restructuring work roles & responsibilities

Counsellors in the workplace have shown to reduce overall costs, while still being able to improve employees’ well being (allaboutcounselling.com).

An additional benefit for a company to hire professional, registered counsellors on their team is to effectively coach how to provide candid and constructive feedback to each other (cross-training culture). The thought of giving feedback constructively is often seen as a daunting task. Many employees may fear losing their jobs, being scrutinized or treated differently as a result of providing feedback and may simply just fear any form of confrontation altogether.

As a result, management may end up with numerous unresolved or poorly resolved issues with their staff. Employees can then bottle up their concerns, which can lead to:

  • Increased work-related stress
  • Inhibition to concentrate or remain focused with job responsibilities
  • Decreased overall well being
  • Increased health-related concerns (e.g., hypertension, insomnia)
  • Increased conflict at home (displacement of the stress at work is very common).
  • Emotional outbursts

Photo credit: click from morguefile.com

The apprehension about providing feedback to others is often because people are concerned about communicating clearly and constructively without damaging the relationship. A workplace counsellor providing a non-judgmental and confidential forum can coach both management and front-line workers on how to provide constructive and candid feedback helping to create a workplace culture of openness and mutual respect.

Here are two starter tips when giving feedback: (1) offer a few words of encouragement and then describe what concerns you are observing, (2) communicate the impact of what you are observing, and 3) comment on the behavioural concerns and not about the person. To learn more, give us a call today!

 

Learning To Express Anger Well

Growing up, I used to think some feelings are bad and some are good. We are supposed to have a whole wide range of emotions. While it may be common to believe some are better than others, all emotions are essential to our human experience. How we express emotions is key. Depending on our manner, our expression of feelings can either be good or bad, hurtful or helpful.

“Emotions serve an important role in human learning and development, guiding us toward and away from actions and situations. Our emotional system might be thought of like the GPS is to driving. I like to call our emotional system our EGS: Emotional Guidance System.

Research suggests most of us tend to describe our emotional experience using around five to seven feeling words… like: happy, sad, angry, love, excited and maybe even “blah”. We really have quite a vast array of emotions. Improving our understanding of these builds emotional intelligence, awareness and “expression ability”, qualities that improve our way of relating to others.

Many counselling and community resources tend to focus programs on anger management, due in part to the destructive and hurtful actions that can accompany this emotion. The poorest and most unbridled expressions of anger have resulted in abusive, aggressive and even violent behaviours, literally contributing to millions of “broken” relationships.  Learning how to express our emotions well is a skill that most of us develop over time, usually from experiencing a multitude of negative consequences from poorer expression.

As we mature, it becomes clear that our choice of thought drives feelings and actions. When we put little effort and time into self-reflection and introspection, we can easily be unaware, or under aware, of the actual thoughts fueling our anger and hostility. An examined life and mindfulness helps us choose healthier, more positive viewpoints, however it is rather easy to just unconsciously and unthoughtfully follow negative thoughts or “stinkin thinkin”.

Some examples might include;

“How could he/she do this to us?”,  “I can’t ever forgive that!”, “We will not put up with that.”, “This is absolute @!%!**$ !  , “He never…”, She always …” , or “I can’t believe he/she could betray me like that after all we’ve been through.” 

Holding onto these negative thoughts and repeating them in our heads over and over again, we can actually feel our heartbeat racing, our blood pressure rising and knots in our stomach. We may even start to sweat and feel like we are about to “freak out” or “lose it”! This can be the source of extreme “potty mouth”… quite embarrassing to say the least. When we feel these sensations, and experience poor behaviour, our body has likely moved into “fight or flight” mode. Solution #1 is…

                                        … breathe, breathe and breathe again

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Management of our emotions begins with management of our bodies, our faces and the tone in our voice. Oxygen is essential. Once calm, we can move into a process of learning to better understand ourselves and others, finding ways to better cope with troubling situations and feelings.

Our core beliefs also have an immense impact upon the outcome: values that involve concepts like forgiveness, love, equality, acceptance and empathy. When faced with stressful, difficult and frustrating situations, when the actions of others seem to be overwhelming and uncaring, when the pain and hurt caused feels unbearable, we must strive to express value in those hurting us, displaying a loving, compassionate and forgiving spirit and moving closer to them rather than farther apart.

Getting training, support and coaching as well as practicing the new skills learned can really help you more readily access a calm and assertive approach when under fire. Such an approach is indeed a developing skill, an art if you will. Are you ready to get the support and coaching to better manage your emotions and move forward in relationships/life?  Call us today!

Perhaps This Is Normal

In life we are faced with many challenges and obstacles to overcome. At these difficult times and during trying situations, it is imperative to have people to assist us, to provide support and guidance and to encourage our efforts to improve. In our families, at least ideally, we hope that we can come together and support each other through the tough times. This is not always the case, however, as our family members may also be struggling and, thus, are less able or unable to help. Of course, the stress we carry can be brought into the family and our loved ones can certainly add stress to our lives.

Family members may become more negative;

  • “We can’t cope as a family.”
  • “No one respects anyone else.”
  • “If I don’t raise my voice no one will listen.”
  • “We are a failure.”
  • “My parents could not possibly understand what I’m going through.”
  • “I have no power as a parent.”

Stress is a normal part of living and of any family experience. Life is hard on this planet and families constantly face a multitude of difficulties or stressors. How we handle stressful moments is the key to healthier and happier outcomes and relationships. When a family is in crisis, it is very difficult to get to a positive resolution without getting professional help.

Reading materials, joining community or on-line training courses and using counselling can provide the guidance and support families require. Registered, professional family therapists (“coaches”) can help identify areas for change together with the family and incorporate a wide variety of strategies to help families achieve their goals.

“Family counselling can be done in a lighthearted way, with an accepting and encouraging style that helps all family members feel accepted and valued.”

Additionally, drawing upon family members’ current strengths and resources, the counsellor can fairly quickly help the family improve teamwork, re-negotiate roles, expectations and boundaries, making it easier to resolve issues and function well.  Knowledge bases used include cognitive-behavioural, developmental, attachment, family structure, narrative, and family systems theory. Bringing these tools into the family arena allows for better clarity, communication and compassion through a more understanding and accepting view.

New strategies are introduced, in these “coaching” sessions, to overcome some of the negativity or “Stinkin Thinkin” that has developed and recover from past hurt. Through the therapeutic process, families can grow closer and develop more satisfying relations with each other. They redefine goals, assess and clarify shared values and beliefs and develop new ways to love, support and care for each other.

For more information on family “coaching”, call us today!