When you have been in the field as long as I have, it is plain to see that people need time, support, and kindness when deciding next steps on matters of most importance.
Saying “yes” or “no” to a person’s overtures for romance, friendship, or companionship requires a lot of steps. Some of the ways you land on a decision are clear to you, and other factors may be less so.
Deciding to move on with your career, earn another diploma or certificate, or gain a new skill also involves conscious and unconscious problem solving steps.
Easy factors to understand major life moves are usually practical and include reasons like an increase in salary, gaining new skills, meeting new people, and professional growth and advancement.
More deeply held reasons for making decisions are values-based. Your values do shape the ways you make decisions even where these values are hidden from view.
What is a value and how does it impact your problem solving may require some time to re-surface. Values are core principles that provide you with your own guide for healthy living. Your personal values are usually formed in your early years and reflect your ancestry, culture, and traditions.
When you are immersed in situations, relationships, workplaces, or perspectives that are fundamentally contrary to your value-systems, your health may suffer.
Counselling often reveals the ways your core perspectives have been compromised, misused, or undervalued. It is only when you take the time to deeply think about your next steps in relation to your personal values that solutions to problems reveal themselves.
Life is like a game of chess. People however are not pawns to be played with in a game of life. Instead, every person has a right to speak up when personal values are infringed upon and to act in your own best interests when your values are not shared or honoured.
Health and wellness happens when you live in congruence with your deeply held values of honesty, loyalty, hospitality, respect, equity, justice, and charity. What will your next move entail and why is it important for you to make this decision ?
A ray of sunshine is the best representation of happiness or feeling-good experiences. A simple mindful activity that really makes a difference to your mood and overall health and wellness is actively cultivating joyful life giving encounters each day. These may include simple gestures of kindness with the people we meet at work or in the community. It may also include personalized treats you plan for yourself such as listening to favourite music or videos on a short two minute break from your computer monitor or screen.
Most people are familiar with the positivity and happy feelings that result from daily doses of happiness and joy. Sharing some of your positivity builds a health environment for everyone and increases your own feelings of gratitude.
Sunshine hunting is a simple wellness strategy that is far too often taken for granted. Remind those who brighten up your day about the difference their smile, affirmation or warmth makes to your day.
Micro-resilience strategies are effective and help to maintain the health and wellness of all. We owe it to each other to think, feel and do wellness. Share a ray of sunshine today and brighten up someone else’s hardships, which may be hidden from view.
Finding a life coach is an excellent idea, especially during important milestones. Securing a mentor or coach following your graduation, promotion, or transition to retirement offers a new way to process your plans with a trusted helper.
Coaching is uniquely different from consulting, mentoring, or counseling. Although talk-based and usually didactic, coaching is best provided by a person’s whose professional and personal achievements align with your own. Akin to sports-based approaches, a coach is someone with implicit and explicit understanding of the areas you intend to improve, move towards, or achieve.
Paying for a coach ensures that you are invested in the work. A mentor is usually based on a voluntary relationship where a seasoned professional offers to counsel and support newer team members. Mentoring does not typically involve any financial reconciling.
Your relationship with your coach requires trust, respect, and motivation. Your sessions should be results oriented and inspiring. Tasks identified and steps required to achieve them are planned in purposeful and manageable ways.
A relationship with your coach may continue for months or years. The indicators of success include improved mood, increased confidence, and overall satisfaction with your lifestyle and professional career.
Finding the right coach takes time and may include meeting with a few before you find the right one for you. Coaches bring different skills to the work. A health and wellness coach with a proven track record offers professionals a coaching model that centralizes your personal and family values in your overall plans for success. Health and Wellness Coaching is values-based, and offers professionals opportunities to explore your goals without compromising your beliefs or integrity.
Find the right coach today and increase your overall happiness and success at the same time. You are worth it!
One the key elements of counselling is the transformational power of words used to describe events, feelings, and memories. The role of your therapist is to be keenly aware of the details you share about the problem you are experiencing.
Where you opt to engage in couples counselling, this listening role of your therapist intensifies. The ways you speak about your problems constitutes the “evidentiary support” for mood, poor health, or generalised unhappiness and problem resolution.
Healing begins as soon as you speak, write, or share your views about the problem you are experiencing. The process of articulating a problem for another person to understand also helps you to further process and understand the problem for yourself. In this way, talking about your problem develops a framework for understanding it.
Therapeutic or counselling conversations are different from causal discussions with friends or family. A third party listener who is dispassionate that is, uninvested in your problem offers a neutral listening ground for the articulation of your problem-based perspective to take place. This is often an important first step, although not really needed to heal. Solution-Focused Therapy SFT begins by exploring times when the problem is different, less intense, or absent and never really enters the problem per se.
Once stated or articulated, your problem may be viewed, analysed, explored, and investigated by your therapist and yourself.
Of course, conversations are dynamic and transactional, such that your therapist contributes words or perspectives during the initial sharing of your problem. Some therapists and models only listen during this initial session. Others trained in single session or solution focused models, use even this first session to enter or join in the ways you tell your story, so to offer plausible words or perspectives for understanding your problem.
You will decide which models of therapy work best for you by how you feel at the end of your session and over the first couple of weeks of treatment.
You will also begin to feel better as the words and perspectives used to describe your problem change. As your heart heals, your words and perspectives do as well. Remaining open to the views of your therapist and those involved in counselling with you guarantees improvement.
Opening a private practice in Toronto has been an exciting new beginning to a long career in Clinical Social Work. Listen to this interview to learn more about wellness and the role of counseling in achieving and sustaining your health goals.
Call to schedule an appointment today and feel better after each session.
Finding the right therapist is a really important step to getting better. It seems that people search online for an extended period of time before making the call to schedule an appointment. In fact, the number of searches to one site might number in the thousands. Yet, the frequency of calls is much lower.
People who have invested so much time in researching for a caring, reliable, honest, and effective counselor and psychotherapist online have a right to meet with a few certified mental health counselors to decide who you feel is best suited to work with you.
Independent practitioners offer the best options for completely confidential services without compromising professional expectations around standards of practice.
Take the initiative and make that call. You will know immediately if the therapist is the one for you. Similar to finding the right dentist, masseuse or acupuncturist, your process in choosing a counselor is important and may take some time.
Some people feel problems are resolved after a single session while others find it helpful to meet over a few weeks and months. Even longer term options exist for people seeking professional coaching or in-depth analytical therapies.
Feeling better is one click or call away!
#clinical social work #counseling #therapy #mental health #wellness
Some people wonder about the practicality of philosophy in modern times. What is the point of philosophical humanism in an age dominated by mechanically enhanced mathematical formulae?
In my view, this dawn of mechanized thinking has trapped free thinking, human metaphysical spaces, or more simply put, the mind into a tight binary of two dimensional thinking.
It is true that the mind typically has a limited capacity to hold several ideas at one time. Advanced mathematics require that people use pencil paper and/or computerized support to solve problems. The human brain also requires an externalizing process that helps us to list, view, contemplate, analyze and examine the multiple layers to problems.
Increased “binarization” of code to solve problems for us has resulted in the neglect of higher order nuanced thinking required to creatively solve problems that directly impact all of us. In my naive experience of technology, computer coding is based on a simple 0-1 formula. I like to remind folks that I began my social work career before the technological revolution. I worked with people before the dawn of emails, platform based clinical recordings, and computer generated assessment tools.
Of course, there have been some benefits to the explosion of apps, assessment and recording platforms, emails, digitally enhanced voice recording systems, and more. There have also been new problems that we are only now learning more about.
I have always found the people need safe spaces to contemplate various options they have in life and a person with whom they trust to talk through these various options without judgment or prejudice.
This externalizing function of talk-based counselling offers the mind an objective human interaction that helps people to develop a framework for first understanding what is going on and what they feel and understand about it, followed by how to move forward on what to do about it.
This sophisticated process of human problem solving is never binary. People always have more than a couple of ways to “think” about a problem and to solve personal issues. The cognitive overload created by too many options, too much text, and too much sensory information is clearly compromising the mental and psychological wellbeing of people.
The binary framework created by computer dominated coding has also stressed the natural problem solving processes that we all use when confronted with emotionally intense situations, ideas, or experiences.
An integrated health model recognizes that people benefit from a continuum of care that includes counselling, physical exercises, diet, sleep, and spiritual practices. A binary perspective of health views people as well or unwell; healthy or sick; mentally healthy or mentally unhealthy; addictive or non-addictive. A binary perspective is identified by the word “or” and the exclusion of “and” in conversation and in printed form. It never truly reflects the reality of a person’s situation.
The reality of health however is more akin to a seesaw or teeter totter where some areas of health are compromised at specific times and under certain situations. The goal of health is to ensure that we have access to services when needed to help maintain or restore balance in all areas of wellness including sleep, diet, attitude, and relationships at home, school, work or in the community.
As a seasoned therapist, I am not at all surprised by the increase in anxiety and depression created by the pace and limited metaphysical space for the human mind and brain to thrive. I am totally pro-technology. But we are NOT there yet!
We have created a brave new world for our children and grandchildren. A highly sensory sensitive environment that increases pressure on healthy brains without developing health services to address new problems that appear as trauma related symptoms, increased anxiety and depression, decreased physical movement, and poorer eating habits and family meal times. Is it ethical to continue to use tools, devices, or processes that may harm otherwise healthy brains?
Integrative health models offer individuals and families with a continuum of care providers when needed that work to restore balance before an injury or illness interferes with work, family, or personal functioning.
All people deserve access to a range of health services that help all of us maintain our wellness in all areas over a lifetime. I believe it is time that we respond accordingly.