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7 Truths about Commitment

As the leaves begin to fall and the chill sets into the air, I am reminded that another summer wedding season has drawn to a close.  In the spirit of celebrating committed relationships, I enlisted the help of anonymous participants (ages 25-40) to complete a survey on marriage and commitment.  On today’s blog, I share 7 Truths about Commitment, inspired by their responses as well as my experiences with clients.  A big thank you to all who contributed.

1. Commitment means more than saying ‘I do’

Weddings are an excellent opportunity for couples to celebrate their love and also vocalize their intentions in front of friends and family – who they want to be as a partner as well as what they cherish in the other.

It’s been said over and over, but I’ll repeat it here, that a wedding is a day and a marriage is a lifetime.  Practically, I believe this to mean that true commitment has to be demonstrated on an ongoing basis, and not just when things are going well.  This may be small gestures like thanking your partner, showing appreciation, and apologizing first, or it could be more significant moments such as buying a home together, supporting your partner through a difficult time, and making efforts to integrate into each other’s families.

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7 Signs that you may be Ready for Counselling

One of the most important questions I ask when someone comes in to see me is, “what has brought you into counselling now?”  The answer not only allows me to understand what is going on in someone’s life, but has helped me realize there are specific reasons why people decide it is time to get the help of a professional counsellor.  Below I’ve summarized the 7 signs that you may be ready to do the same.

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Succeeding in Your OCD Treatment

For sufferers of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), the intrusive thoughts and accompanying compulsions can be an inconvenience at best and devastating at their worse.  That said, OCD is HIGHLY treatable with CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and other complementary techniques. Obsessive thoughts

In the article linked below, Fred Penzel, PhD, discusses the 25 Tips for Succeeding in Your OCD Treatment.

 

I wanted to share these, as reading them before starting counselling (and throughout the process) may make a big difference in the success that you achieve.

By getting on the same page as your therapist, you are working as a team to minimize the impact that OCD or obsessive thinking is having on your life.

Click here to read the article – I hope you find it useful.

A Counsellor’s Struggle with Vulnerability

As a newcomer to the field of public writing, and well-aware of how uncomfortable this can feel, I thought it would be appropriate to talk openly about my own struggle with vulnerability, and maybe inspire a few people to be open too.

A few years ago, when I was first starting into private practice, I had convinced myself that I didn’t need a website for people to find me (and in my defence, was told by a colleague that this was the case).  I probably just really wanted to believe this.  It is so much more comfortable hiding in the shadows than being vulnerable. 

It didn’t take long to realize that having a website was absolutely necessary to a successful business.  Of course, I now know how ridiculous that sounds.  But I remember having a really hard time defining myself.  What my values are, how I work, what I believe in.  Even though I knew I could help people, and I know myself well, putting it in black and white seemed so final, so self-involved, and so arrogant.  I think it was also hard for me to take the risk and “be seen” because it meant also opening myself up to criticism and judgment.  Especially hard when you are first starting out.

Anyways, I finally got over that and realized that I could endure the discomfort of publishing some basic information for people to read, and even have a picture or two of myself.  Read more

Reduce Your Anxiety by Taking Chances

Avoidance: Fueling the Fire of Anxiety

It is human nature to want to avoid things that feel unpleasant or uncomfortable.  For example, if you were electrocuted every time you touched your toaster, would you keep your finger on it?  I’m guessing that you’d pull away.  We are wired to respond to our environment and learn ways of avoiding anxiety, pain or discomfort, as it has helped us to survive.  

 

I can think of many people who seem to actually love the adrenaline that comes with risk and/or pain, and have no difficulties with the inherent uncertainty that comes from taking chances.  But this is probably not the crowd who would be prone to the type of anxiety I am talking about here.

 

How Avoidance Contributes to AnxietyCycle of Avoidance & Anxiety

In the case of people who do struggle with certain types of anxiety, an association is established where a place or situation is seen as a threat, and avoided at all costs.  For someone with social anxiety, for example, there is usually a core fear of being judged by others, and so that person will avoid situations where there is a possibility for this to happen (parties, dating, job interviews).

 

But this approach can cause problems in the long-term.  As people avoid, the associated fear grows stronger.  Avoidance perpetuates the fear because it leads to reduced confidence in their ability to deal with the situation next time.  It keeps them stuck in the cycle and prevents progress from being made, as they are not allowing the chance to prove themselves wrong.

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What is Your “Love Language”?

You may have heard your friends talk about it at a dinner party.  Or you may have seen it written in a relationship column somewhere.  Love Languages – what’s it all about?

This concept comes from the influential work of Dr. Gary Chapman and his book, The 5 Love Languages, which has become a staple in the world of couples counselling (and has since been extended to other relationships as well).  According to Dr. Chapman, one of the main issues between couples stems from our tendency to speak different ‘Love Languages’ than our partner.

 

The 5 Love Languages

Let me explain.  According to this theory, there are five Love Languages, or ways that we communicate love.  Most of us have one or two that for us, best indicate a gesture of love.  These include:  acts of service, quality time, receiving gifts, words of affirmation, and physical touch, and although they are distinct categories, how they are defined are quite personal.  To give you a better understand of how they are different, below are some examples:

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7 Tips for Managing Anger

Anger is a powerful emotion that many individuals struggle with.  When we are angry, we disconnect from the caring part of ourselves that is able to show empathy and understanding for another person.  The result is often saying or doing things that are damaging to ourselves or to those closest to us.

 

The good news is that anger doesn’t have to control your life – there are very specific skills that can be learned and implemented with practice.  My top 7 tips for managing anger are below to help get you started on a more peaceful path.

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Rebuilding after an Affair

An affair is one of the most difficult situations a relationship may face.  It almost always involves feelings of hurt, betrayal, and violation of trust to one or both parties.  After an affair is disclosed or discovered, couples are left to determine what is left of their relationship.  They must decide whether to pick up the pieces and rebuild, or begin the process of separating and moving beyond the pain. Read more

7 Truths about Commitment

As the leaves begin to fall and the chill sets into the air, I am reminded that another summer wedding season has drawn …

7 Signs that you may be Ready for Counselling

One of the most important questions I ask when someone comes in to see me is, “what has brought you into counselling now?”  …

Succeeding in Your OCD Treatment

For sufferers of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), the intrusive thoughts and accompanying compulsions can be an inconvenience …