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Monday, September 26, 2022

Brain Retraining or How-to Renew Your Mind

Monday, September 26, 2022 @ 8:01 PM

Anxiety, Depression, Chronic Illness, Traumatic Memories, Poverty, and Stubborn Weight are in complete opposition to God and His will for your life. “Beloved friend, I pray that you are prospering in every way and that you continually enjoy good health, just as your soul (your mind and emotions) is prospering. (3 John 1:2 TPT)

If you want to be transformed emotionally, spiritually, physically, and financially, you've got to do your part and renew your mind. How? By taking every thought, emotion, and belief captive, retraining them to obey Jesus Christ. This is how we renew our minds! (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 10:5)

In this book, you will understand exactly:
How to dismantle your emotional and mental defenses against trusting God’s blessings are for you.
How to demolish every deceptive fantasy of thought and imagination that opposes God’s blessings for you.
How to get breakthrough from every arrogant attitude and false belief that defies the true knowledge of God’s love for you.
How-to capture every thought and retrain it so it obeys Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

I want to teach you exactly how to get out of your own way. Consider how Jesus faced such intense opposition from sinners who opposed their own souls, who were their own stumbling blocks.” (Hebrews 12:3a)

Brain Retrain is for anyone who wants to experience the life of power, joy, abundance, and love that God intended for us through our relationship with Jesus Christ. This is for anyone willing to exchange their self-limiting patterns of thoughts, beliefs, and behavior for new responses that create, and allow you to receive abundance in every area of life. It’s for people like you and me who are excited about replacing negative and disempowering beliefs with those that are not only positive but rooted in Truth! It’s for those who want to experience every promise we’ve read in the Word of God. It’s for those who want to feel loved, valued, protected, blessed, and then inspired to act on that wisdom.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

What are some benefits of seeing a counselor?

Tuesday, September 20, 2022 @ 12:38 PM

What happens during an Assessment Session.

An empathetic ear…
Reaching out to a counselor can be a very scary thing for most of us. I mean, “I’m going to unload all of my troubles and fears to this complete stranger?!!” It can feel very overwhelming.

The reality is, we don’t know, what we don’t know. Removing some of that mystery may make things easier for the client. (I, personally use the term client, because the image of a patient is not very empowering.) Therefore, I want to walk you through an Intake Session.

Remember that every counselor is going to have their own methods, this is simply what I do.

After you first reach out to me expressing an interest in having a first session, I reply with the following 2 assignments for you to do:

Before we meet, I would like you to do these two assignments and send them to me. You can keep them very simple if you like:

First; I would like you to draw up a baseball diamond and name the most pressing presenting problem(s) in your life at home plate (at the bottom of the page). As you move to the pitcher’s mound (Center), name other problems that are also serious, but not as urgent. As you move along the bases (Counter-clockwise at 3, 12 and 9), name other issues in your life that you want to work on. Finally, in the outfield (at the very top), name other issues that are not as pressing~ more like they’re on the “back-burner” that you would like to address someday in the future. If baseball is a foreign concept, then just make a list and that’ll be fine.

Second; Write down 10 goals~ what you want to achieve in your life between now and when you turn 75. Begin each one of them with: I want to … Do your best, but don’t worry if you don’t have 10 at this time. Send the assignments to me before the session. Thank you.

The first exercise examines the past and the second one examines the future. We will also look at issues of “self-care” during the first session. Change is painful~ but it is necessary to go through the pain of change.

So we begin our first session. I tend to prefer meeting via Skype video. I explain that everything discussed is covered by Canadian Confidentiality Laws. We also discuss fees and how we deal with sudden cancelations, etc.

So we begin with either questions they may have, or the two assignments, or their own story beginning in childhood, growing up. That is up to the client to decide. In the beginning, I’m mostly listening, posing the odd question for clarification. I explain that I am here to assess, and not to judge. My focus as an inter-faith pastoral counselor is on both mystery and grace. The pastoral side looks at the power of stories in religious or secular literature that touch us, that we resonate with.

After 30 minutes, I inform them that their free block of time has run out. They may elect to continue, and we turn on the “meter” or they may elect to end the session. If they end it, I try and ascertain if they might want to set up an appointment another time, or not. If not, that is fine. I only ask that if they found the session helpful, that they might refer me to others. If they do wish to have a session in the near future, then let me know when would be best. (It does not need to be written down in stone at this time.)

Finally, how I and a few other fellow counselors are different than more traditional therapists.

First, I am very eclectic in my approach and methodology.

Second, When possible, I let the client decide how long the session will be. Typically it will end at a half-hour mark, but they decide when they are finished. It’s not always ideal, but we do what we can. (I have had very long sessions with certain clients…they have found it to be beneficial.)

Third, like many therapists, I offer a “sliding scale”. If a person cannot afford to pay the full fee, we will come to an agreement on a lower fee. I do not do “free therapy”, I think that is most unhelpful. A client needs to feel that s/he is giving and receiving something from the work they are doing.

Counseling is hard work. There is much pain. Journeying together is a healing art. I hope that you have found this to be helpful in taking the first step in getting in touch. Remember, there is hope!

Yvon


https://harpo.ca/index.html


by Yvon Malenfant | Medium

Monday, September 19, 2022

“I” Versus “We” In A Healthy Relationship

Monday, September 19, 2022 @ 6:31 PM

Most people have a pretty well-developed sense of self before they enter a romantic relationship. Christians in particular have a strong sense of identity based upon the foundation of their faith. This is valuable in entering a relationship because a strong sense of identity and a balanced ego are fundamental to personal mental health and well-being. Bu then, after you enter a relationship, another process begins: your sense of self evolves, whether you often stop to reflect on the change or not.

After a divorce or the death of a partner, people are often struck by the effect of the loss on their personal identity. This often happens because people had not realized just how much their sense of self had evolved. For example, therapists illustrate the point by asking someone to imagine their identity before entering a romantic relationship as a circle — and their partner’s identity as a similar, separate circle. As their relationship develops, the circles begin to overlap one another. This is the development of a sense of identity as a couple. After a divorce or death of a partner, the now lone partner is often struck by another loss: the loss of their identity as a couple.

How much the circles should overlap, so to speak, is a matter that deserves reflection. If you think of the extremes, it’s fair to say that two people in a healthy relationship should not retain two completely separate individual identities without creating a shared identity as a couple. Likewise, it’s fair to say that people should not completely lose their identities as individuals.

Which brings up a vital, related question: What’s a healthy balance between independence and interdependence in a relationship? Completely retaining your independence has its drawbacks. That’s especially true if the partners are out of sync — if one person is overly dependent while the other is overly independent. On the flip side, interdependence is sometimes negatively but unfairly described as “co-dependence,” which as a concept is almost intuitively negative.

To understand the balance, it might help to start by considering what a healthy balance of dependency and independence might look like. Healthy dependency in a relation means sharing with your partner your most private sorrows, doubts and fears — and depending on them to respect your feelings. And that just might require more courage than many people might imagine. Obviously, it’s a tough balancing act. But if you reflect long on hard on your own sense of self in a relationship, and invite your partner in on your reflections, you may be delighted with the reward.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

The Brain and the Bible: Requirements for Recovery

Thursday, August 25, 2022 @ 1:58 PM

Dr. Dave Stephens

All of us know our brain controls our body and itself, but we don't often think about what that really means. In short, if our brain is not functioning as it should our bodies, our emotions, our thinking, our behaviors, and even our relationships with God and others will be challenged or compromised.

In much the same way, we all know that the Bible is the guide for our lives but we don't always know what that means or how it looks in everyday living. It was much simpler in the Old Testament. Jews knew that the law as given to Moses provided detailed instructions about much of everyday life. As time went on rabbis and Jewish leaders kept expanding the law and soon microscopic details like how many steps you could take on the Sabbath were prescribed for you. Jesus came to fulfill the law, but he did not provide detailed instructions on how to live your life.

The best treatment for life problems and training on how to love God and others well does not come from either psychological theories or Biblical platitudes. Contrary to popular belief, psychology does not address brain functioning in any meaningful way, and brain functioning must be addressed if life problems are to be resolved. If we were to put it in computer terms, brain functioning is the hardware and psychological theories are one type of software. The hardware must be functional if any of the software is going to run effectively and be helpful.

A recovered, fully functioning brain results in emotional stability, reduction or elimination of problem behaviors of all kinds, and the ability to know you are loved fully and to fully love others. The hardware problems of compromised brain functioning come from a variety of life events, including the head injuries or trauma many have experienced. Despite developing hardware problems in the form of a less than fully functioning brain, full brain functionioning can be restored. Once this occurs and the hardware problems have been eliminated the software can run as it should.

To continue the computer analogy, the Bible is the hardware and how we apply it to any given situation is the software. Learning to manage life problems, being able to demonstrate and express God's love and image to others, and living in the security of being fully loved come from counseling conversations that are guided by the Biblical hardware. We don't have to specifically reference the hardware in every conversation, but we do need to do make sure our software conversations and actions are incorporating the principles of the hardware.

By combining restored brain hardware and accurate Bible hardware, and creating software applications that come from each of these hardware sources, you can achieve the fulfilling life God created for you.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Enjoying the Journey

Tuesday, August 16, 2022 @ 1:25 PM

Enjoying the Journey
Is life living you or are you living life?
So often we get caught up in the daily grind and forget to slow down…look around and realize all that we have in this life…
Take a minute today and enjoy the beauty of the sunrise or the glorious stars that blanket our night sky…
Hug your family…laugh with them…call your sister, mother, brother…
Tell your friend how much you appreciate them…
Seek those things that feed your soul…
Especially your relationship with the Creator of all...
Just do something…
If you feel like you’ve lost your way…seek out a good counselor to help you get back to the life you desire…
And remember…I’m here to help if you’re nearby…
Wishing you a glorious life…
Tamra 💜💙💛💚

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Are You Trapped in Your Own Story?

Saturday, August 13, 2022 @ 10:19 AM

The stories you tell yourself abut what needs to change and why, can make all the difference. Because HOW you think about your life, shapes your life. So, to get familiar with HOW you think, here's two questions to ask yourself:

1. Can I switch from having an issue with my circumstance to having an issue with what I believe about my circumstance? Thoughts like, "This will never change." "I can't do this." "He/she should be better than this." limit your ability to move forward. To get unstuck, you need to start recognizing the thoughts that are keeping you here.

2. What if I were interpreting this from a perspective of strength, instead of weakness; how might that feel different? If you believed your life is unfolding from God’s desire to bless you, what would you make this circumstance mean? Anxiety produces tunnel vision and you miss other (better) options that are available.

You can change your story! But first, you need to change yourself. Sound impossible? Nothing is impossible with God!

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

RIGHT KIND OF CANDY (GOOD COMMUNICATION IS SO SWEET!)

Wednesday, July 27, 2022 @ 8:34 PM

“Everything you say and do, AND everything you don’t say or do, is communication.”
(Clifton Fuller)

Today, let’s talk about Learning to Communicate in the language your partner speaks.

But first, let's look at the wrong kind of candy...

When I was in grad school, my wife and I worked long hours to make ends meet financially. During that time, we decided that, for our family, which included two young sons, my wife would be a stay-at-home-mom rather than work outside the home (she is an educator). This would allow her to be with and teach our two children while they were young. Any income she brought would come from the home, as I was working full-time and attending grad school full-time. It was a busy time for all of us.

Because we only had one car, I did the weekly grocery shopping on my way home from work, based on a list we would compile during the week. This was decades before mobile phones, so I’d clutch my paper shopping list, rapidly work my way through the grocery store, then come home to enlist the kids’ help carrying in the shopping bags.

I grew up poor in the 1950s. For me, candy was a fairly rare luxury, even the crummy stuff. Time and money were tight in grad school, but my wife has always been happy with simple expressions of love. A flower was picked for her along a walk, discovering a heart-shaped rock and special hand-made notes from the boys. She also loves chocolate. So, I would pick up a candy bar for her every once in a while. It wasn’t one of those cheap kinds, no way! I’d buy her one of the GOOD ones. The big name, high-roller confections, a King-Sized bar, caramel, nougat, topped with peanuts, chocolate, THE WORKS. I’d go all out; I knew that she knew how proud I was to be able to do that; childhood poverty has a way of making even small gestures carry fairly major emotional rewards. I also knew she’d love the thought that I had been thinking about her while in that store.

One evening, while the kids attempted to load each other with grocery bags like competitive sherpas, I started putting the groceries away with my wife, and that big king-sized candy bar was in my grocery bag. I proudly showed it to her, she smiled, and I asked her where to hide the candy bar from our young, rowdy sons. She quickly told me there was a little box on our kitchen's top shelf of an antique built-in wall-hutch. That out-of-the-way hutch was where she stashed sweets away from our freakishly tall kids. I opened the top cabinet door, and a bunch of candy bars tumbled out, much to my surprise.

I asked, “What are all these candy bars doing here? Why are you stockpiling the candy bars?”

My wife responded, “I just didn’t want the kids to have candy too often.”

“Honey,” I replied, “I haven’t been buying these for the kids; I’m buying them for YOU.”

“But I don’t like peanuts in my candy.”

Can you imagine my shock? And honestly,…a little hurt, as well. I had made this incredibly sweet gesture, had built a habit of a performative, concrete action that showed that I cared about the woman, this soulmate I had found by the grace of God, the love of my life and mother to my children. As I gathered up the candy bars, it suddenly hit me that I’d never thought to ask HER what kind of candy SHE liked! I had bought the kind of candy bar I thought she’d like…the kind of candy bar I liked.

All my effort into months of affectionate action wasn’t wasted; my wife thought it was still very caring and loving. She understood me and knew how important it was for me to perform the gesture. She thought it was directed at the children (who, disclaimer, I also love) instead of her. I was being a sweet and caring father when I was trying to be a sweet and caring husband. Fortunately, it was an easy fix; the kids quickly volunteered to help us get rid of the stuff topped with peanuts. From that time on, I started buying the kind of candy she loved. And we never told the kids where the candy bars were hidden:)

I’m a big believer in learning from my mistakes, and there was certainly a lesson here.

We do not naturally communicate what we want, what makes us feel cared about, and what we need; we’re often caught up in the fear that our partner will see us as too needy, too weak, or too picky. That’s a LIE.

We also don’t ask! Sometimes we don’t know things because we don’t think to ask.

When we commit to a relationship, we need to commit. Something as simple as making a list, and being honest, without fearing ridicule, is one of the simplest things we can do.

My youngest son, who helps type these articles for me and is objectively the better-looking of my children (editor’s note; Don’t push it, Jonathan:) said that on his first date with the woman who would become his wife, she approached dinner like a contract situation; as soon as the sushi arrived, she asked him, straight-faced, “Where do you see this date going? What is it that you’re hoping to achieve?” It caught him off-guard but also intrigued him that this woman was so forthright and open to genuine discussion of who they were and their expectations without any facades. They’ve been married for over a decade now. They’re still nuts about each other and know each other well. They are committed to the person they knew before marriage, as there were no artifices from day one. Whether they agree or disagree with each other’s views, they try to work things out as they care more about their partner than personal or others' views. They know each other well.

Give it a try! No matter how goofy you feel, get together, sit down, and make a list for each other. Start with “I FEEL CARED ABOUT WHEN…” and

Write down the things that make your heart flutter.

This part is essential: make sure that the things you write down are positive (no room for ‘dirty positives’ here…as those are like paper slices that wound). Be specific and list small things. We want actions and gestures that are simple enough to be performed daily, not financially burdensome or intensely time-consuming, and can be built into positive habits.

Make sure that the action is NOT the subject of a recent conflict; if there was a spat about something in the past couple of weeks, don’t include it on the list, no matter how good it would feel to push that button.

Good examples are actions such as “kiss me goodnight,” or “keep a can of soda in the fridge for me,” instead of dead-in-the-water entries like “buy me a new car,” “solve the conflict in the Middle East,” or “convince our more aesthetically pleasing son not to get a degree in theatre.” (another Jon comment:) The first two hit all our criteria; the last three are functionally impossible.

Now… list a bunch of items! Like… fifteen. Twenty, if you feel like you want to wow your partner.

The goal is to give your partner a list with many options, enough that they can do multiple actions a day, not necessarily every one of them. You can also choose different daily items to create variety to show caring acts of love toward your partner.

Do the same for your partner, as this is a two-way street. Make sure you both make lists. If you both followed the criteria, you’ll be AMAZED at how easy it is to do and how much it means to your partner... and you! And to top it off, if it’s positive and focused on making your partner happy, it can also be a lot of fun for both of you!

Add to the list as your relationship deepens and you realize that the #1 person in the world is your partner. It’s renewing to a relationship if you both seek simple ways to show and reinforce your love for each other in the ways the other understands is totally for them.

Carry the list with you. Do the little things as part of your life… not as big grand gestures, but as simple acts of love toward them.

Make sure you’re giving your loved ones the right kind of candy.

P.S. This also works with others, including children. Listen to what they are trying to tell you about themselves.

HUMOR! (LEARNING TO LAUGH AT OURSELVES)

Wednesday, July 27, 2022 @ 7:57 PM

Even though it may be a rough time for many folks, we all need to experience humor. Not just laughter, either… we need laughter for physical and mental health.

I want to share how important it is to learn how to laugh… at ourselves.

That’s a LOT harder than it sounds. It requires a tremendous amount of confidence, a huge brain, and a powerful sense of belief in our sense of self. It takes bravery, honesty, and, most critically, patience. For some, it may be a lot of work, but it is worth every second of it. Pulling it off allows us to find a sense of joy even in our darkest times. It will enable us to hang on and even pull ourselves back up… because it’s FUN.

It’s really easy these days to forget how to laugh at ourselves or things. Political strife, war, the pandemic… it is a time of chaos and conflict, and if we are ever going to regain and rebuild a sense of peace, we will need to learn how to take ourselves much less seriously. We need to remember that not every single thing is always a matter of life-and-death, of absolutely critical importance, or seriousness. We must give ourselves permission to enjoy our lives. We admire people who are in difficult times yet can always seem to find something positive or funny they can laugh or comment about.

We’ve got first to change how we see ourselves.

Start here… what is it that you find funny? When was the last time you laughed, full and loud, and felt joy rising within you without restraint or inhibition? Seriously, try and remember, write it down. We may have to become introspective for a while because everybody’s sense of humor is different, so different approaches may be necessary. Humor changes and evolves with time, which is why we get confused by what “the kids” are into these days. It’s also why we tolerate and repeatedly laugh each time a 4-year-old tells us another joke (or the same joke) about why the chicken crossed the road. That’s ok… we need to know what we find funny to determine the style.

There are generally four “styles” of humor that we’ll get into in a bit, based not on what we find funny but on how we use the feeling of “funny” to change our emotions. Our brains are complicated, and we unconsciously seek humor to help ourselves process the emotions that come from stress. It’s why, when we’ve come through a particularly rough patch, we eventually hear something that cracks us up. We laugh, not because we want to, but because psychologically, we NEED to.

Humor works because there is an expectation, and then something that subverts that expectation. For instance, a knock-knock joke is often funny because I have absolutely no intention of opening the door. There are bears outside. One of my favorite comedians, Steve Martin, said that he would sometimes set up a joke that had no punch line; he would continually increase the tension of the story with tangents and irrelevant details, delaying the set-up and the expectation of an expectation for so long, that eventually someone would laugh because of the innate absurdity of the “joke.”

Once you know what you find funny, could you look at it? Strip it down to the barest parts, and examine it intellectually. Compare it to the ‘Four Styles of Humor’; Affiliative, Aggressive, Self-Defeating, and Self-Enhancing. When we do that, we can figure out what motivates our humor and then use THAT knowledge to find it intentionally. We can teach ourselves to get the joke!

Let’s break down the Four Styles. Keep in mind that our personal senses of humor are often a mix of two or three of the styles:

Affiliative Humor is the kind of fun that we use to fit ourselves in with a group of other people. Inside jokes are the kind that develops organically within the family, friend group, or workplace, for instance. I have a partner in my therapy practice that I have been messing with for decades, constantly attempting to get him to laugh. He’s a tough nut to crack, very stone-faced, sooooo professional, but he gives as good as he gets. We’ve pranked each other through the mail, through gifts left in each other’s offices, we traded a whale sculpted from lard back and forth for a few years… Affiliative humor can get REALLY weird on a long enough timeline. Another example from my family is the ritual of giving a can of soup as a gift for Christmas. It’s heart-warming and affirming because it relies on a previously set expectation; it cements acceptance as a part of that social unit and tends to build a sense of camaraderie and unity.

Aggressive Humor is the spiciest of humor. Aggressive humor points out subversion of expectation through mockery, either of an event or a person involved. Think about most late-night shows and an AWFUL lot of stand-up sets. Usually, someone else is the butt of the joke. This type of humor is tricky, and we need to be careful how we use it; there is a psychological rush in landing a good quip at someone’s expense because it alters the power dynamics of that situation, and not always in a positive way. Terry Pratchett, an excellent author, said, “Satire is meant to ridicule power. If you’re laughing at people who are hurting, it’s not satire, it’s bullying.” (Read about bullying here). We must make sure that our use of the aggressive style doesn’t get away from us… use it to equalize power, not affirm it.

Self-Defeating Humor is a bit harshly named, but I didn’t name ‘em, so here we are. This kind of humor is the self-deprecating joking that takes one’s own position in the power dynamic and subverts it. My kids are both voracious readers, and for many years, they have joked with each other by giving book recommendations for the weirdest stuff, trying to “out read” the other, not to prove that they’re the wiser brother, but to prove that they’re not. This is another style that can be tricky; it requires the person to use humor to know that it’s not true and not dig too deep into their insecurities to get the laugh. Some things are joking matters, and some are not; it takes a good deal of nuance for someone using Self-defeating humor to know the difference and weigh the value of self- mockery. Groucho Marx was the KING of this style, and his line “I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members” is a beautiful example.

Self-Enhancing Humor is the Holy Grail, the brass ring we’re reaching for. It’s humor that bolsters our sense of self and reassures us that we can handle the stress we experience. We reach pure Self-enhancing style mastery when we can appreciate and find amusement in the subversion of expectations in our lives and laugh at how absurd and silly everything really is. When we don’t take ourselves so seriously, we can let stress and negativity roll off of us because it’s just ridiculous! Every one of us is a complicated and intricate miracle, molded by experiences and perspectives that nobody else can fully comprehend, full of ideas about heritage, culture, faith, and everything that makes us human. Are we worried about a traffic jam? That’s ludicrous. That’s silly. We’re incredible, and if we ease up on ourselves (and others), we can remember that. We can find humor, even in dark times, and find the will and drive to go on, to experience more, and mold ourselves into more peaceful people.

We have to laugh at ourselves sometimes. Just like in the Steve Martin example we mentioned above, as the tensions in our lives continue and increase, it will eventually become a necessity. So, take a look at the things that make you laugh, and, if you can, try and engage in more Self-Enhancing humor rather than poking fun at others. Look at how wonderful and hilarious and incredible you are. Rejoice and enjoy it! Revel in it! Laugh at yourself, and you’ll never miss the punch line.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Somebody Shoulda Told Me, Marriage Do We Really Know What It's About?

Thursday, July 21, 2022 @ 1:57 AM

We Will Win

After the “I do’s” and honeymoon, creating a new life with another person can become challenging.
When you get married you see what you want to see. Either you picture it exactly like you saw it growing up or the exact opposite. Then you make a conscious decision to bring it in or leave it out of your marriage.

Once you start hitting the bumps in the road, you will find yourself saying SOMEBODY SHOULDA TOLD ME (marriage would be like this). Follow our journey as we learned what no one told us— but now we will tell you—about issues experts say are the most common reasons for divorce, and how battling them made our marriage stronger than ever.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

10 Tips For Prioritizing Your Mental Health

Wednesday, July 6, 2022 @ 8:50 PM

During the Covid-19 pandemic, as lockdowns were enforced globally, we saw one of the greatest mental health crises in history.

What caused this? the vast majority of society was forced to isolate, change daily habits and many people lost their jobs. With these sudden and significant changes, general society struggled to understand or appreciate the connection between these changes and how they impacted this thing called our 'mental health'.

Up until relatively recently general acceptance or recognition of one’s mental health was limited and often misunderstood. The phrase 'Mental Health', historically, was very rarely used and synonymized with extreme psychiatric cases like schizophrenia or PTSD.

So as you further learn to understand what mental health is, what are some of the ways that we can prioritize our mental health to ensure that our emotional/psychological state is healthy?

This article looks to provide practical tips that you can use to prioritize your mental health.

Tip 1: Awareness and appreciation of your mental health.

Until relatively recently, the concept of one’s mental health was not widely understood or appreciated. Many of us have exerted incredible stress and strain on ourselves psychologically (Whether we have done this knowingly or unknowingly), and when the negative affects of that strain start to appear, we don’t understand how to resolve or appreciate the connection between what is causing the negative affects.

"Recognition is half the battle"

For us to prioritize our mental health, we must first recognize that we have a “mental health” and that it is highly impacted by how we live our lives. Our mental health can be impacted by many things, below is a list of some of examples:
- how and what we think, especially what we think about ourselves.
- how we spend our time: Are you working excessively
- the amount of conflict in our life
- the stress we apply to ourselves (even physically)

Tip 2: Set and enforce boundaries

One of the number one causes of poor mental health is a lack of boundaries.

Here are some examples of where someone may lack boundaries (Potential justification in brackets):
- You work well into the evening after your official ‘work-day’ is over (“I want to be seen as a good employee”)
- You let anyone call you at anytime. (“I want people to know that they are important to me”)
- You let people take advantage of you(“I don’t want to have conflict”)

Establishing boundaries allows you to set expectations with yourself and those around you on what is OK and what is not OK for you and your mental health.

This can be incredibly difficult to do. You may worry how those around you will interpret these boundaries. Boundaries may also limit your ability to get as much done as before which in the case of work may have a monetary impact.

Does setting boundaries have consequences? Yes. Like all decisions, every decision made has positive and negative outcomes. So our recommendation is to define and understand your current boundaries and consider whether ‘stricter’ boundaries in certain areas have benefits that outweigh the negatives.

As you read the remaining tips of this article, consider how boundaries can be utilized or adjusted to prioritize your mental health.

Tip 3: Tap into things that bring you joy

As we get older and the responsibilities of life build up, it can be easy to forget to find things that bring you joy and happiness.

Joy and happiness are critical to having a a healthy and happy life.

Whether thats completing activities or simply being with close friends or family, tapping into things that bring you joy is an incredibly powerful way to prioritize your mental health.

Practically speaking when you are joy-filled, you have reduced stress and increased general happiness, anxiety affects you less and you are less likely to be depressed.

Operating out of a state of joy and happiness also has a large impact on the neurological state of your brain: Less stress reduces your cortisol levels (stress hormone) and can increases the levels of serotonin and dopamine which can have compounding benefits on the rest of your body.

Tip 4: Play

Play, as defined by Brené brown, is doing something enjoyable for no other reason than it’s enjoyable. Play is activity that is in direct contrast to what we would define as strenuous or work related activities. Some examples of play could be playing a game, sports and dancing.

Play has huge positive mental health benefits. Play can help your body and mind rest and relax from strenuous work activities that you may have recently experienced.

Similar to tip 3, playing helps to re-adjust the hormones in your brain and your general neurological/psyhcological state. This supports your body in relaxing which makes it easier to enter into a parasympathetic state. In this state our body and mind are able to heal faster from where any strain/stress damage may have occurred.

Completing ‘play’ activities with others is also a great way to connect with others and support your relational desires, increasing your sense of connectedness (which is a great segway into tip #5)

Tip 5: Connect with others

Humans are relational beings. We crave, desire and ultimately require connection with other beings.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, as lockdowns were enforced globally, we saw one of the greatest mental health crises in history. One of the major contributors to this was the sudden and extreme disconnection that was felt by many.

Studies have shown that, in children, neglect (lack of connection or attention) by parents and family can have equal levels of trauma to that of physical or sexual assault. Connection is paramount to our mental health.

“But I’m an introvert and find my alone time restorative and regenerative”.

As you will hear in tip 7, alone time is equally important for your mental health and we recognize that there are individuals who find social environments exhausting and taxing. You may be a naturally introverted person who finds alone time recharging, but ultimately it's a human need and desire to have some level of connection with other beings though maybe in less quantities than others.

Not all connection is healthy:
You may reflect on recent social interaction and recall that you left feeling anxious, depressed or insecure which are all signs of decreased mental health. The reality is, many relationships can be toxic and not supportive of you as a person. In this case, by spending time and connecting in these relationships, you are actually not prioritizing your mental health.

In these circumstances you may need to exercise boundaries (refer to tip 2) to protect your mental health. That may look like one of the following:
- Limiting the frequency you connect with an individual.
- Limiting the conversation topics discussed with that individual to ‘safe’ topics.
- all-together ending the relationship for the sake of your health and psychological state.

Healthy connection is paramount to a positive mental state. If you are struggling with this over an extended period of time, we recommend you connect with a counsellor to discuss why this may be.

Tip 6: Get outside into fresh air and nature

Getting outside can have a wonderfully positive impact on your mental health. Fresh air and being in nature can reduce levels of stress and anxiety. Getting outside can remove distractions like work and household chores that may be plaguing your mind and causing stress.

‘Fresh air naturally has higher levels of oxygen than that of our homes and offices. Higher oxygen levels support better respiration and breathing which ultimately has a huge impact on overall brain functioning.

Being outside can also be a great place to connect with other people (as discussed in tip 5) and, conversely, can be a great place to get away from people to spend time with yourself (as discussed in tip 7).

Tip 7: Spend time with yourself alone

Spending time with yourself is a powerful way to positively improve your mental health.

Space to be by ourselves allows us to prioritize what we want or need for us during that time. We may need to relax after a stressful period; We may need to recover from a busy socially filled week. Whatever the reason, time by yourself allows you to focus on your needs without having to worry about anyone else’s concerns or considerations. This ties in huge to our next tip.

Tip 8: Remove distractions, give yourself time to think and reflect

When we remove all distractions (other people, social media, tv, etc) this can be a great time to process our thoughts and emotions of the day/week/month and understand how we are doing: physically, psychologically, spritually, etc. This is a powerful way of prioritizing our mental health.

“I distract myself so that I don’t feel the pain”

For many of us, we don’t want to remove the distractions. Sometimes, we actually look for distractions. For many of us, we may have been struggling with negative mental health symptoms (anxiety, depression, insecurity) for decades but use distractions to avoid these feelings. If this is you, we recommend for the sake of your mental health, and the enjoyment of your future, that you find ways to work through any psychological pain you may be feeling. A very practical way to do this is to connect with a counsellor to discuss the pain that you feel when you remove the distractions.

Tip 9: Limit multi-tasking

For those of us who get a great sense of achievement and identity from getting lots done, multi-tasking can be an attractive way to try and achieve more! Alternatively, you may feel so overwhelmed with everything on the go that musti-tasking is a requirement.

Whatever is the justification, multi-tasking is very taxing on the brain and actually results in less effective decision making and thinking which can ultimately reduce productivity and the quality of your work.

Practically speaking, your brain cannot process multiple items at the same time. What your brain is doing is processing intermittently between the different tasks.

When you exert this type of strain on your brain for long periods of time, your brain will need time to recover. If you don’t give your brain time to recover, your mental health may suffer and you may start to exhibit signs of poor mental health: Foggy thinking, anxiety, struggling to sleep, etc.

Tip 10: Eat good food

Eating well can have a large impact on your mental health. A rounded diet provides the necessary calories, minerals and vitamins your body and brain needs to function properly. When your body and brain is healthy, it is much easier to have a healthier emotional state.

Conversely, eating poorly can have a lot of mental health implications:
high sugar intake can lead to blood sugar highs and lows which can have significant impacts on your mood.
A lack of vitamins or nutrients can limit the brain’s ability to produce necessary hormones.
Eating highly processed foods can leave you feeling bloated and fatigued.

Additionally, there can be great joy and happiness found in the process of making and eating great food. Making food can be a great way of giving yourself space and time to think about your day. Eating food with friends and family can be a wonderful time of connection.
Counselling Calgary: 10 tips for prioritizing your mental health

Summary: Do you need extra support?

Prioritizing your mental health is paramount to living a joyful, happy life. If you are struggling in your mental health journey or having difficulty applying some of the above tips, our counsellors at Master’s can support you in your journey towards positive mental health.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Souled Out Volume 2

Tuesday, July 5, 2022 @ 5:36 PM

When unopposed pain, loss, and tragedies can leave us distressed broken, shattered, and hopeless. Yet knowing who we are in Christ and taking hold of His best for us will change every aspect of our being and position us to live unabridged lives without limits.

Do You Want To Be Made Whole? A Biblical Guide to Mastering Your Purpose

Tuesday, July 5, 2022 @ 5:01 PM

God has a purpose for mankind, and we have been created to fit into His tailor-made frame. You may have only scratched the surface of living out your God-given purpose. Now, is the time to dig deeper. This book is intended to inspire, challenge, and encourage all followers of Christ Jesus to pursue biblical wholeness. Stop merely existing. Take action. Turn the pages of this book and master God's purpose for your life.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Getting Frank About Leadership With Frank

Wednesday, June 29, 2022 @ 11:24 PM

Frank Reagan, the family assistant patriarch and chief of police for NYPD (played by Tom Selleck) on Blue Bloods, displays great qualities of leadership with balance and poise.

Frank knows the difference between grace and truth and keeps a good balance as a leader and family man.

He also knows the difference between the letter of law and the spirit of the law.

Frank understands the balance between loyalty to people and loyalty to the truth.

He has possessed with great patience but knows when he's been patient enough.

Frank stands behind his people.

You will frequently find him seeking and listening to good counsel from his family or his staff.

He does not see people as all good or all bad

He tries to avoid nepotism and favorites.

You will find him being true to himself and having good boundaries.

Balancing work and family is one of his most important priorities.

He invites and listens to disagreement.

Although he certainly could be, he is not intrusive with his wants or desires.

His honor and morals is what keeps him afloat in a murky environment.

His faith gives him values and direction

He listens to problems without giving immediate solutions.

He has a low respect for image management.

The people he admires are good leaders themselves.

Only when needed will he do close-in leadership

He has a sense of humor about himself and life as well as spirit of celebration.

Walking in grace, he can hear the truth about himself and try to make corrections.

Do you possess some of these qualities? Would you like to? Ask for help to grow these characteristics. They may be ideal, but the more of them you have as leader the more effective you will be.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

See our blog and website

Sunday, June 26, 2022 @ 3:16 PM

We seek to always encourage and love all. See us at therapyhearttalk.com

Saturday, June 25, 2022

A Daily Dose: A Seed Devotional for Winners

Saturday, June 25, 2022 @ 8:04 PM

Taking Pre-orders only!!!!

Strengthen your prayer life in 10 minutes a day in 30 days.

In this book, you will discover how to apply the Word of God in an easy, fun, and practical manner. As well as develop a habit of seeing God in your everyday life. In addition to finding ways to help you fill your life with fabulous, fearless, and faith-filled moments. I wrote this book to help you overcome discouragement when your days look dark.

Lessons from a Teacher's Heart

Saturday, June 25, 2022 @ 7:06 PM

Lessons from a Teacher’s Heart (Audiobook) Price: $9.98

Lessons from a Teacher’s heart is a funny, heart-stopping, and heart-tugging book that allows you to share the many moments that I experienced during my 16 and a half years of teaching in the South Florida area.

In a Teacher's Heart you will learn:

*How to find joys in the many moments of frustration

*Many relatable funny moments that will let you know that you are not alone in the madness

*What it is like to really be a teacher in a world of uncertainty in the classroom

***Each audiobook purchased allows us to give back to the men and women in the educational field a portion of the proceeds in the local and global teaching communities.***

Payment Option: www.sssmovement.org website.

SN: When you order the audiobook please include the following information your full name, address, email address, and the word “Teacher”. By doing this it will enter you in a raffle for a mystery surprise.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Father Wound, Father Blessing 1

Sunday, June 19, 2022 @ 3:02 AM

How does dad’s interaction with mom makes the difference?
We are born symbiotic with our mother. and at about two years old we learn the word no. This is our first attempt at individuation. Then around five years old dad is, hopefully, there to reach into our life and take us out of orbit around mom and bridge us into the world. He then puts the fire in our belly and or the lion in our heart. Dad also helps us learn to love two people at the same time. This process also helps us have boundaries, lead and not shrink back from challenges in the world. It helps us have appropriate aggression
Identity and self-esteem: how dad contributes to these important building blocks.
Our self-esteem comes from our opposite gender parent and our identity comes from our same gender parent. that self-esteem or identity is enhanced or shut down by what our parents say about each other and about themselves. this can happen either implicitly or explicitly.
Four Roles of fathers and how it relates to our developmental stages and can give us great blessings
Nurturer: This role is of primary importance to the child between birth and age five.
Law Giver: This role is of primary importance to the child between the ages of six and twelve.
Warrior/Protector: The role is of primary importance to the child between the ages of twelve and eighteen.
Spiritual Mentor: This role is of primary importance to the older child as he or she moves into adulthood.

See Making Peace With Your Father by David Stoop, Ph.D.



See Making Peace With Your Father by David Stoop, Ph.D.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

What is Christian Counselling?

Thursday, May 26, 2022 @ 11:59 PM

What is Christian Counselling?


You may have a faith background and are interested in understanding what Christian counselling is. This article introduces what Christian Counselling is and how it may be different from other aspects of your faith journey.


What is Christian Counselling?

Christian counselling, or faith-based counselling, supports you, the client, to better understand who you are, focusing more intently on the emotional/psychological part of your Christian transformation.

Typically, Christian counselling supports the client in working though some form of mental health struggle with a focus: 25 Signs You May Benefit From a ‘Mental Health Checkup’
It’s centred around Christ’s love for us
Christian counselling is Christ-focused. The counsellor looks to support you through the lens of Jesus’s love. Jesus was one of the greatest demonstrators of unconditional love and that is how our Christian Counsellors look to model their sessions and the discussions.

Christian Counselling focuses on the psychological/emotional aspects of who we are
Many times, our traditional Christian experience focuses solely on theological understanding and/or spiritual and faith development. This can, at times, leave us undeveloped in the area of psychological/ emotional maturity.

Imagine a body builder who only works out one arm or one leg and how lopsided they would look; That is a great analogy for those of us that overly prioritize theological/spiritual development over our psychological maturing. This can also lead to bad habits such as legalism and hyper-spiritualization.

Christian Counsellors/ Psychologists are professionally trained:

Just like how a doctor is trained to recognize concerns, then diagnose and then support; counsellors/psychologists are professionally trained and accredited to support your mental health journey in a similar fashion.

One of the greatest ways this is evident is how counsellors are trained to look past their own personal bias and feelings so they can have clear insight into a client’s situation. Additionally, they are trained in many proven psychological treatment systems to support psychological growth and healing.

It’s safe, loving and accepting:

Christian counselling is safe, loving and accepting! Christian counselling is a non-judgemental space where the individual can dig into deep, and sensitive topics that the individual, would otherwise not feel comfortable talking about.

It is not a bible study or church service:

Christian counselling is dynamically different from our typical Christian experience (bible studies, life groups, church services, bible school, summer camps, etc.):

The key difference, is that you, the client, are not a spectator, you are an active participant in the conversation. In fact, the person who will be chatting the most and expressing feelings is you, not the counsellor. The counsellor is there to help you explore your emotions and feelings, and support your journey to psychological wellness.

It’s Confidential:

Legally, ethically and practically, the counsellor is required to keep the contents of the conversation completely confidential*. This supports building safety and trust to know that, not only are you valued and supported, but your comments are kept safe and private.

*Legally, there are certain topics that will require the counsellor to notify some levels of local authorities. Please feel free to discuss this with your counsellor.

Take Action: Connect with a Christian Counsellor

Are you interested in connecting with a counsellor now? Check out our counsellors’ page to watch videos and read their bios.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

The Power of Hope

Saturday, May 21, 2022 @ 9:32 AM

Join Elisha's Space as we speak with mental health advocate and motivational speaker Chris Massey. He shares his story of how having hope helped him in a difficult time in his life.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

The Un-Mom Factor: For Moms And Other Executives

Tuesday, May 10, 2022 @ 11:21 PM

With Mother’s Day behind us, I thought this could help moms or other leaders in charge of an organization. Whether you are a domestic engineer (mom) or CEO of a corporation you can learn about leadership by flipping The Mom Factor on it’s head. This book by Henry Cloud and John Townsend listed six different areas that can be problematic for mothers. By looking at the opposite of these characteristics you can find good ways for moms and other leaders to act towards their charges that can really make a difference.

1 Be present but not intrusive,
2 Be stable and be able to take problems and crisis in stride.
3 Know where your staff (or kids) are developmentally (See Blanchard’s Situational Leadership)
4 Be able to lift up your staff and help them be the best employee that can be for them.
5 Realize when an person needs to have more independence from you.
6 Allow an individual under you to experience natural consequences of both their good and irresponsible behavior.

Need help making this happen? Reach out and get feed back about how you lead (or parent). We’re here to help.

Friday, May 6, 2022

The Thought

Friday, May 6, 2022 @ 12:37 PM

Dr Corey Boren

Have you ever said or heard the expression “Stop and think before you think” or tell your children who was in time out to “think” about what they did? Every day all day long. At some point in our busy day, we are thinking of something. Thinking of what we want to eat, what is for dinner, did you turn the coffee pot off when you left, so on and so forth. But what is a thought? A thought is developed from feelings. How we feel about someone, or something will govern how we think. Feelings are just that. Feeling, they are neither right nor wrong, they are personal. They can make us happy. sad, fearful, excited. Upset or even angry at someone or a situation that has happened. What ever or how ever we are feeling governs our thoughts. Our thoughts can be positive or negative, depending on how we are feeling in that moment. If we sit with our feelings just for a brief moment, we can recognize how we feel therefore we can change how we are thinking. We can change a negative thought into a positive thought. In doing so, when we change our thought, we can change our decisions and choices we make there for we can change our actions. We can turn something that is potentially negative and make it a positive action. All by simply being still for a brief moment to sit with how we feel so we can change our thoughts.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Understanding vs Excusing Behaviors in Relationships and Conflicts

Wednesday, April 20, 2022 @ 2:00 PM

I've worked in the field of Mental Health Counseling for over eleven years and here is some of what I've learned regarding how we handle conflicts: How well or appropriately we are able to respond to the behaviors of others, draw boundaries and practice self care says a lot about our Emotional Intelligence (EQ), self esteem, self worth, personal identity and overall interpersonal effectiveness.

All too often when interacting with others we may be quick to judge a behavior, or on the other end of the extreme, we may be quick to excuse it away. Both can be equally destructive responses to those with whom we come in contact with. We often land on either of these extremes based on our own emotional overload, unresolved issues, negative thinking, or cognitive distortions. This is why its dangerous to react to another's behavior before examining our own emotions, thoughts and potential biases about what's happening.

Admittedly, there are exceptions to this rule. One determining factor that I like to use is, Safety. Safety includes protecting oneself or others from life threatening circumstances. In these instances, we would be remised not to take swift actions, quickly judging a behavior, in order to react in a way that keeps us safe.

Of course in this day and age we must be careful when using safety to make this distinction. There are currently to many cases where this determiner has been used as well as misused by powerful external forces to exact broad over reaching control on, and over, large masses and populations of people. This has been done with the claims to be in the best interest of public health and safety while stealing and ridding individuals of their inalienable rights. The former would be referring to a macro misuse of how such forces have dealt with and approached what has been deemed as life threatening, dangerous or risky behaviors. For the sake of this article, I am referring to individuals who are affected on a micro level as in interpersonal relationships.

For us as individuals, (outside of safety concerns) before we can either judge or excuse a behavior we must seek to understand it. Once we have done an thorough assessment (both long-term self work as well as briefly in the moment) of our own internal world, we then will stand in a powerful position to seek to understand another's corresponding behavior.

Before we can understand their behavior we must first acknowledge it, describing it in an objective, calm. rational, balanced way. We may only embark on this endeavor once we have properly addressed our own emotions, thoughts and biases using our EQ Skills. By unemotionally observing, accurately describing and properly labeling what actions we see, we help defuse the emotional charge that is often misappropriated towards said behaviors.

Ultimately, its not about their behavior but our reaction to them that prevents this required, needed process. Unfortunately, we may miss our chance to objectively observe and describe, when we overcloud and over look their behaviors with our own gross over reactions which prevent it. When we aren't Emotionally Intelligent we deny the other party, as well as ourselves, the opportunity to learn and grow from these experiences.

It's also important and worth noting that we need to clearly decipher and differentiate between thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Seems simple enough, but try explaining the difference between concepts such as "anger" and "aggression," "crying" vs "sadness" or "happiness" vs "laughter." If you ever have or requested others too, you would understand the dilemma. However in order to proceed there can be no ambiguity in the matter. We must be clear that one category represents actions and the other feelings.

Once we accurately describe and label the observable behavior, we then have a few choices. We can either examine it on our own to better understand it. This may involve a type of grope in the dark of the "why's." We also on the other hand could examine it in a way that helps us determine our next steps. Our next steps may be to accept, overlook, ignore it or confront it with the party involved addressing it head on.

It should be noted that "overlooking," is often seen in many of those with "Self Sacrificing Schemas" described in the Other Directness category found in my Schema Therapy Course. It can also be identified in what's known as the Subjugation Schema. Either Schemas may result in deep seated anger, resentment and even health issues. No doubt the result of not confronting, identifying, expressing or addressing personal wants, needs, desires or feelings in emotionally healthy ways.

On the other hand we may choose to present (where safe to do so) our observations to the other party. Here, our decision would be to confront it, giving the other party the chance and opportunity to help us make sense of it. In this step of the process we may want to share (using "I" statements) how the behavior has affected us.

We could then decide if we need to draw a boundary around that behavior in order to stay safe or hold the person accountable. Drawing boundaries however isn't about controlling others. Boundaries are about loving, respecting, and honoring ourselves. Boundaries are about controlling ourselves, our own actions, our movements, and our willingness to receive or ingest what is being offered or submitted towards us, (including our emotions, mental cognitions/processes, energy, time, personal space, bodies, dwelling space, money, possessions or belongings). In fact, we must avoid all attempts at controlling the behaviors of others. We must understand that we only control ourselves. We must hold others accountable to control themselves.

In some instances (where its safe to do so), we can help and assist others in controlling their own behaviors by having open honest effective communications and dialogue as well as putting proper boundaries (in some instances consequences) in place. When doing so we must be absolutely sure to follow through on them.

However, because so many of us avoid, hate confrontation, or worse, its not safe, we often rob others and ourselves of the potential growth and development opportunities that could happen within us supportively challenging their negative behaviors. We also rob ourselves of potential valuable relationship strengthening, building and connection experiences when we work together to resolve impasses. At the very least or even best we may miss an opportunity to untangle and free ourselves, while escaping toxic situations.

Long story short, EQ and the related skills presented in my Emotional Intelligence Course will help and acts as a starting place to accomplish our Interpersonal Relationship Goals. If you are interested in learning more about how to successfully learn and practice these skills go to https://linktr.ee/epiphanytanya and click on courses.

Thank you for reading. Send me a message to share your thoughts. I look forward to hearing of and seeing your work in this area.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

It's a Virtual Women's Retreat!

Wednesday, April 13, 2022 @ 10:34 PM

Are you looking forward to being renewed? Are you seeking a life changing experience? Guess what?
You are invited!

It's a Virtual Women's Retreat: Renew You in 2022!

I hope to see you there!

Friday, April 8, 2022

Upcoming weekly podcasts

Friday, April 8, 2022 @ 7:44 AM

Stay tuned for upcoming podcasts concerning topics ranging from Mental Health to Parenting tips. Guest speakers will include therapists, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and Pastors. Podcasts will be available on Facebook, Youtube, and http://RejuvenationHouse.com

Support Group: Women Surviving Toxic Mothers

Friday, April 8, 2022 @ 12:44 AM

This support Group is for Women Surviving toxic Mothers. This group will be a 6 week support group to teach skills on forgiveness, self-love, worth, value, and creating a space of healing. The foundation of this group is based on Christian and Biblical principles to guide each woman through their journey of healing.

There are 10 spots available. Register by April 30, 2022 by emailing contact@bitofhopehealing.com or by calling the practice at (770)765-5602

Monday, April 4, 2022

The Troubled Leader: Seven Keys To Leadership Renewal

Monday, April 4, 2022 @ 9:45 PM

You're burned out, mad, tired and thinking about becoming a short-order cook. Is this your life as a leader? Parents, pastors, and all leaders get frazzled at some point. Here's a way to find renewal. (Based on The Seven Keys To Spiritual Renewal)

The Troubled Leader: Seven Keys To Leadership Renewal
1. Surrender. Seek out God and safe others and surrender to them by being vulnerable about what you're struggling with as a leader.
2. Acceptance. See the truth about who you are and your difficulties as a leader and a person. Asking for honest feedback is an important part of this process.
3. Confession. Speaking the truth about what you're struggling with to trusted others and going to God and asking him to help make a fearless inventory is a key to finding healing and growth.
4. Ownership. Taking responsibility for your part in whatever trouble you're having is a leader is another key to turning things around. Not that you're responsible for people but you are responsible to people no matter what type of stakeholder they are.
5. Forgiveness. Forgiving others, forgiving yourself, grieving and letting go are important steps again for moving forward. Forgiving is merely cancelling debt and it does not mean trusting and it comes before the feeling of forgiveness.
6. Transformation. This is where we really start to work on ourselves and our character as a leader. Here we go to God and others and begin to look at how we can make real changes.
7. Preservation. Staying at it or persistence is key to this step. Preserving the new changes you've made by consistently practicing the other steps will keep you on the road to recovery. Remember that recovery is not a destination: it's a journey.

Friday, April 1, 2022

New Beginnings: Biblical Framework considerations for coping with Bipolar Disorder

Friday, April 1, 2022 @ 12:27 PM

MedCentre PLLC

Bipolar Disorder is the term for a set mental health conditions as defined in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition).

Common bipolar symptoms, of which 3 or more are present representing a significant change from usual behavior in frequency and/or intensity, and impacting activities of daily living or relationships:
• Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
• Decreased need for sleep
• Increased talkativeness
• Racing thoughts
• Distracted easily
• Increase in goal-directed activity or psychomotor agitation
• Engaging in activities that can result in detrimental outcomes (eg. shopping spree, promiscuity)


From a Biblical Framework standpoint, common bipolar symptoms as described by DSM-5 would be categorized as follows:
• Lack of Love (LOL) towards God and others (e.g. unloving attitudes, words and behaviors such as unforgiveness, irritability, hostile comments, anger, aggression or assaultiveness, unnecessary risk taking, recklessness, sexual immorality, unethical practices, etc.)
• Guilt (eg. insomnia or decreased need for sleep, fear of judgment, lack of peace, etc.)
• Apparently Uncaused (AU) Fear (e.g. anxiety, insomnia, racing thoughts, pressured speech, increased talkativeness, flight of ideas, lack of peace, psychomotor agitation, restlessness, etc.)
• AU Fleeing (e.g. inflated self-esteem or grandiose thoughts, reckless or excessive involvement in pleasurable activities, behaviors, substance use, extravagant purchases, distractibility, etc.)


Examples of Treatment options for Bipolar Disorder include:
• Lifestyle Interventions: Adequate Exercise, Nutrition (e.g. Mediterranean diet), Sleep, Stress Reduction
• Psychotherapy/Psycho-Educational Programs: (e.g. Individual or Group therapy, Counseling, etc.)
• Pharmacotherapy (Medications): Help to alleviate the bad feelings, provide symptom management. Some examples are Lithium, Valproate, Aripiprazole, Risperidone, Olanzapine, Ziprasidone, Olanzapine-Fluoxetine combination, Quetiapine, Lurasidone, etc… depending on whether one is treating an acute episode or follow-up maintenance, if the most recent episode being treated is described as acute manic, depressive, or mixed, as per expert consensus guidelines and health provider findings and impressions, among other considerations (e.g. additional symptom features, comorbid conditions, seasonal onset, pregnancy/immediate post-delivery onset, etc…).
• BFC (Biblical Framework Coaching/Counseling): Help to mature in Christ, grow in His Word, bathe the mind with the truth of the forgiveness one has in Jesus Christ, be continually filled with God’s spirit, become a channel of His love back to God and to others (Thomson, 2012).
• Bright-light Therapy
• ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy)
• Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS)


For more in-depth discussions on this topic, please schedule to join one of our:

“Beh-Best” Ladies Mental Health Peer Group 2-Day-2-Session “Deep Chat” groups of 10-12 ladies for an in-depth 90-minute chat session on each day. There is a modest cost that will reap great benefits if you or your loved ones have ever grappled with bipolar disorder, divorce, domestic abuse, or similar kinds of mood disorders and/or life traumas.

Contact me at medgal8@gmail.com or DM me at medgal, check out our FB group at bit.ly/behbest

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Conflict and Repair for Couples According to Star Trek

Thursday, March 31, 2022 @ 12:07 PM

All relationships, even the best ones, have conflict. Couples can be encouraged that it is not the absence of conflict which predicts a healthy relationship, but how that conflict is consistently managed that can indicate relationship longevity and mastery. When it comes to couples counselling, conflict provides helpful opportunities for growth and evaluation as you and your partner learn to manage conflict in a healthy way. If you feel like your relationship stumbles into problematic conflict on regular basis, this article will help you identify four unhelpful patterns of conflict and their cure utilizing imagery that will stick in your memory banks for when it matters most.

Dr. John Gottman coined four predictors of relational unhealth and poor relationship conflict as the Four Horsemen: criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling (Lisitsa, 2013). The presence of one or more of these horsemen within conflict serve to gradually erode relationships that could be made stronger through meaningful conflict resolution and repair. So, how do we watch for these predictors and, more importantly, manage them when they arise? Think of Star Trek. Yes, Start Trek – it may provide a fun adaptation to these predictors and their solutions to help you move forward in successful conflict repair.

Deactivate Weapons:

Criticism is emotional weaponry and it signals that you are ready for a fight, and couples need to disarm to manage conflict. Coming into a difficult or emotionally charged conversation with an aggressive tone or statement is like locking your missiles on the target and being surprised when your partner fires back. Instead, by utilizing a soft start up and gentle tone invites your partner to match your tone when engaging in difficult conversations.

Peaceful Exploration ("I come in peace"):

Okay, this one is a bit of stretch, but consider the mission of the Starfleet exhibited in nearly every episode - exploration and discovery (“to boldly go where no man has gone before”). Admittedly, if you prefer lots of explosions and action sequences, Star Trek may not have been the show for you. However, having contempt (or a sense that your partner has nothing valuable to bring to the table) is among the highest predictors for divorce. Contempt shuts things down through mockery and a demeaning attitude towards one’s partner.

Contempt assumes the worst of one’s partner and tears down little by little, but an attitude of peaceful exploration helps promote respect and provide opportunities to express appreciation. Begin looking for the many and little ways you can express gratitude and appreciation to amass a bank account of respect for one-another instead of running into emotional overdraft brought about by contempt.

Shields Down:

In conflict, we can be quick to put our shields up. Any action of defensiveness means that we anticipate an attack and demonstrates an inability to take responsibility for one’s actions and conveys blame. Shields deflect and treat our partner’s well-meaning attempts of repair as unwelcome.

This posture, however, is understanding if one’s partner is being overly critical or attacking but, ultimately, supports a cycle of unhealthy conflict. In keeping with our analogy, it is understandable to have shields up when our partner enters a conflict with weapons locked and firing, but when this is not the case it is necessary to acknowledge there is no benefit to this posture in trying to promote healthy conflict. In keeping shields down, one is invited to accept responsibility for their words and behaviours and receive their partner’s perspective in a conflict.

Hailing frequencies open:

This refers to the open lines of communication between two groups – it serves as Star Trek’s equivalent of answering your phone. Stonewalling refers to an unwillingness to receive a partner’s influence. This is when someone shuts someone else out. It may mean that person is emotionally overwhelmed and needs to take a break. That’s okay but, eventually, lines of healthy communication need to reopen. When hailing frequencies are down, no messages are being received or responded to whatsoever.

This sort of behaviour conveys avoidance and may escalate conflict as well. We avoid when we want to escape an uncomfortable situation. So what do we do? The remedy is to engage in self-soothing, calming, exercises individually and re-open hailing frequencies for communication when you are ready. Take a break. Read a book or go for a walk. Breathe. Re-engage when you are calm and ready to implement the tools listed above.

Summary:

Conflict is an unavoidable part of relationships that provides opportunity for couples to grow closer together and promote understanding. If you are feeling stuck in some of these patterns of conflict in your relationship, it may be beneficial to meet with a counsellor Calgary to practice and enhance the skills needed to promote healthy conflict resolution in your relationship.

Lisistsa, E. (2013). The Four Horsemen: Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness, and Stonewalling. The Gottman Institute. https://www.gottman.com/blog/the-four-horsemen-recognizing-criticism-contempt-defensiveness-and-stonewalling/

Renewing Your Mind: How to Break Through Cycles of Stress and Anxiety and Start Living The Life You Deserve

Thursday, March 31, 2022 @ 10:19 AM

Learn the tools and tips needed to renew your mind in Paulishia's best seller! Renewing Your Mind is dedicated to anyone who has struggled with feeling overwhelmed in their everyday life. Those who wake up every day with new challenges that never seem to end. These challenges include but are not limited to struggling with finances, parenting, marriage, family, or simply your next step in life.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Coping with Grief Through Christian Counseling

Wednesday, March 23, 2022 @ 2:15 PM

Anne Hedelius LCPC

Life often showers us with wonderful blessings in the form of family, good friends, and joyous fun! But at some point in our lives, most of us will also be affected by loss and grief. During these times, it can be immensely helpful to receive help and guidance from a trained and trusted therapist.

But there are many Christians who wonder and worry if working with a therapist will somehow go against their religious beliefs, or if the therapist will eschew those beliefs. This is never a concern when working with a Christian counselor.

Christian counselors understand firsthand that when dealing with the loss of a loved one, a job loss, divorce, or a health crisis, a strong and resilient faith is the VERY THING that can get you through the darkness and back into the light.

What is Christian Counseling Exactly?

Christian counseling combines an individual’s faith with the traditional principles of psychology, with the ultimate goal of improving the individual’s mental health and interpersonal relationships. Christian counselors often use scripture and biblical teachings to help their clients deal with the challenges they are facing.

What are the Main Differences Between Christian Counseling and Secular Counseling?

Perhaps one of the biggest differences between the two types of counseling is that Christian counselors, in addition to mainstream cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, use a wide variety of tools and resources such as prayer, bible study, and affirmations to help their clients deal with grief.

Christian counselors also take more of a holistic approach to mental health, understanding that your spiritual health is directly linked to your mental health and emotional well-being.

And, while secular therapy may focus on the “problem” you are facing, Christian counseling focuses on your relationship with God.

If you or someone you know is suffering from grief and would like to work with a Christian counselor, please be in touch with me.

SOURCES:

https://www.ccu.edu/blogs/cags/2010/11/christian-counseling-vs-secular-counseling/
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-therapy/201111/the-varieties-religious-therapy-christian-psychology