- Alcohol & Drug Addiction
- Anger Management
- Anxiety & Phobias
- Body Image
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Grief & Loss
- Life Transition
- Low Self-Esteem
- Self-Care & Stress Management
- Sex Addiction
- Trauma & Abuse
Some people are able to use alcohol, recreational or prescription drugs without experiencing negative consequences or addiction. For many others, substance use can negatively affect their functioning at work, home, school, and in relationships, leaving you feeling socially isolated, helpless, or ashamed.
People who experiment with drugs continue to use them because the substance makes them feel good, or stops them from feeling bad. In many cases, there is a fine line between regular use and drug abuse and addiction. Very few individuals are able to identify when they have crossed that line. Frequency or the amount of drugs consumed does not establish drug abuse or addiction, but they can often be indicators of drug-related problems. Being aware that you have a problem is the first step on the road to recovery, one that takes incredible courage and strength. Facing your addiction without making excuses or minimizing the problem can be overwhelming. If you’re ready to make a change and eager to seek help, you can overcome your addiction and build a satisfying life for yourself.
Anger is a normal human emotion. But when it becomes out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to problems in various aspects of life such as at work, in personal relationships, and in the overall quality of life. Memories of traumatic or infuriating events can also trigger angry feelings.
The three main approaches to deal with anger are expressing, suppressing, and calming. Expressing your anger in an assertive manner is the healthiest way to express anger. Being assertive means that you have to learn how to express what your needs are, and how to get them met without hurting others. Anger can be suppressed and then converted into more constructive behavior. The danger in this type of response is that if the individual isn’t allowed outward expression, the anger can turn inward—on themselves. Anger turned inward can cause many physical and mental health problems. Passive-aggression (getting back at people indirectly, without telling them why, rather than challenging them head-on) or a personality that seems continually sarcastic.
The goal of anger management is to reduce the emotional feelings and the physiological arousal that anger causes. Anger management provides individuals insight on how to control their reactions to triggering individuals or situations, with the use of relaxation techniques, cognitive restructuring, problem solving, and better communication. The anger management sessions are structured according to the individual’s case, which includes both psycho-education and individual counselling. Once the sessions are complete, a Letter of Completion will be provided for court or personal purposes.
Everyone worries or gets afraid sometimes. But if you feel intense worry or fear much of the time during the day, or if you repeatedly feel panicky, you may have an anxiety disorder. Phobias are an extreme or irrational fear of something that are also common and can become troublesome. The fear is out of proportion to the reality of the situation. Coming near or into contact with the feared situation causes anxiety. Hence, you end up avoiding the feared situation, which can limit your life and may cause anguish. Individuals suffering from chronic anxiety often report the following symptoms:
- Muscle tension
- Physical weakness
- Poor memory
- Sweaty hands
- Fear or confusion
- Inability to relax
- Constant worry
- Shortness of breath
- Poor concentration
Anxiety is normal in stressful situations, and can even be helpful. However, anxiety is irregular if it is out of proportion to the stressful situation, or continues when a stressful situation has ceased, or appears for no apparent reason when there is no trigger.
The extreme highs and lows of mania and depression can affect an individual’s work and school performance, damage relationships, and can disrupt the person’s daily life. Bipolar disorder can look very different in different people. The symptoms vary widely in their pattern, severity, and frequency. Triggers can set off new episodes of mania or depression or make existing symptoms worse. Some triggers can be stress, sleep deprivation, seasonal changes, medication, and substance abuse. However, many bipolar disorder episodes can occur without an obvious trigger. Living with untreated bipolar disorder can lead to problems in the individual’s lifestyle. Diagnosing the problem as early as possible and getting into treatment can help avoid these complications.
How we feel about our appearance is part of our body image and self-image. Many people have some kind of discontent with their bodies. While many people feel unhappy with some aspect of their appearance, these worries usually don’t continually occupy their thoughts or cause them to feel tortured. For some individuals, concerns about appearance become quite extreme and upsetting. Therapy for body image issues would include focusing on: building a new attitude towards yourself, reduce distress of body anxiety, cognitive restructuring, and psychological aspects of the use of cosmetic products and procedures.
Borderline Personality Disorder is characterized by a tendency to act impulsively, hostile, and have unstable emotions. The mood is unpredictable and there is a tendency for the individual to have many conflicts with others. Individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder struggle with disturbances in self-image, aims, and internal preferences, chronic feelings of emptiness, intense and unstable interpersonal relationships, and a tendency for self-destructive behavior (suicide gestures and attempts). Individuals make frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Therapy involves focusing on coping mechanisms and distress tolerance to effectively deal with the intensity and frequency of unstable emotions. Short-term and long-term goals would be discussed with the individual regarding treatment and their lifestyle.
- Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
- Loss of interest and or pleasure in daily activities
- Appetite or weight changes
- Sleep changes
- Anger or irritability
- Loss of energy
- Reckless behavior
- Concentration problems
The key to recovery is to start with small changes and take things one day at a time. Feeling better takes time, but you can get there if you make positive choices for yourself each day and draw on the support of other people.
Problem gambling can strain relationships, interfere with work, and lead to financial difficulties. You may even do things you never anticipated you would, like stealing money to gamble or pay your debts. Compulsive gamblers keep gambling despite if they’re up or down, broke or flush, happy or depressed. Individuals with a gambling problem become preoccupied with gambling, spend increasingly more time and money on it, chase losses, or gamble despite serious consequences. You may think you can’t stop but, with the right help, you can overcome a gambling problem or addiction and reclaim control of your life. The first step is recognizing and acknowledging the problem. The goal of treatment is to change your thoughts and beliefs about gambling.
People generally associate grief with the death of a loved one, but any loss can cause grief, including the loss of a relationship, your health, and or your job. Individuals may experience all kinds of difficult emotions, such as shock, anger, and guilt. Sometimes it may feel like the sadness won’t stop. These emotions can be very painful, accepting them as part of the grieving process and allowing yourself to feel what you feel is important for healing. Grieving depends on many factors such as personality and coping style, life experiences, faith, and the nature of the loss. The grieving process takes time. Therapy focuses on providing support, coping mechanisms, and planning ahead for “grief” triggers.
Dealing with issues such as coming out, homophobia, gender identity, relationship difficulties, and transitioning is not easy. You don’t have to go through it alone. Therapy focuses on providing resources, coping strategies and appropriate referrals to centers.
We all go through numerous transitions in our lives – leaving high school to go to college or work, changing jobs, getting married, having children, etc. During those times there are difficult emotional spaces where we have cut ties with what we know and have not settled into what is new. When you are feeling overwhelmed, support from others can help you keep perspective and move forward. While the circumstances are always different, the skills and attitudes needed to move ahead are always the same, which are being positive, patient, and proactive.
Low self-esteem refers to an individual’s negative view about their worth. It is characterized by a lack of confidence, negative thinking, and difficulty making decisions and communicating one’s needs effectively. A person’s sense of competence and self-worth influences their ability to face new challenges. Those with low self-esteem can experience anxiety and self-criticism that can lead to negative thinking, a lack of satisfying relationships, and hesitancy in pursuing future goals. Therapy emphasizes and acknowledges the individual’s strengths, recognizing self-critical thinking, coping strategies, and cognitive restructuring.
Couples seek to break the negative emotion cycles that occur within relationships. Restoring the marriage or couple friendship in order to decrease the loneliness each individual feels in the relationship can be a challenge, but not impossible. Therapy for relationship issues helps the two individuals explore the root causes of what is affecting their relationship. Therapy focuses on better communication, sexual intimacy, conflict resolution, and emotional distance. The aim is to help the couple gain a better understanding of themselves and their partner, to decide if they need and want to make changes.
When stress becomes overwhelming, it can damage an individual’s health, productivity, mood, relationships, and quality of life. Stress can sneak up on you so that being drained and overwhelmed starts to feel normal. The person may not recognize how much it’s affecting them, even as it takes a heavy toll on their mind, body, and behavior. The modern life is full of frustrations, deadlines, and demands. The stress response is the body’s way of protecting the individual, and helps them rise to meet challenges. Self-care involves changing the stressful situation, changing responses when you can’t change the stressful situation, taking care of yourself, and making time for rest and relaxation. Therapy focuses on replacing old emotional habits with healthier ways of thinking, feeling, behaving, and relating to others.
Identifying the obvious signs of sexual addiction can help the individual recognize if they have crossed the thin line from normal enjoyment of sex to an addiction. Problematic sexual behavior is characterized as loss of control, preoccupation with sexual acting out behaviours, significant adverse consequences, and continuation despite consequences. The therapist with the client unhealthy sexual patterns and behaviours that impact their ability to connect with another individual in healthy ways. Most times childhood relational trauma and negative beliefs perpetuate the addiction to sex. The ability to differentiate the behavior from one’s worth will offer the individual a greater understanding and compassion for themselves.
PATHOS is a brief sexual addiction screening questionnaire. The aforementioned clinical study from Carnes, et. al., found PATHOS as clinically significant for effectively classifying patient’s appropriateness for entering treatment as potential sex addicts.
PATHOS stands for the six assessment questions:
- Preoccupied – Do you often find yourself preoccupied with sexual thoughts?
- Ashamed – Do you hide some of your sexual behavior from others?
- Treatment – Have you ever sought therapy for sexual behavior you did not like?
- Hurt others – Has anyone been hurt emotionally because of your sexual behavior?
- Out of control – Do you feel controlled by your sexual desire?
- Sad – When you have sex, do you feel depressed afterwards?
A positive response to just one of the six questions would indicate a need for additional assessment with a certified sex addiction therapist. Two or more are considered to certainly indicate sexual addiction.
Abuse can affect anyone from all walks of life, but trauma isn’t a life sentence. It can take the form of physical abuse, emotional bullying, sexual abuse, neglect, or self-harm. An individual who has gone through a traumatic experience may be struggle with upsetting emotions, frightening memories, or a sense of constant danger. They may feel numb, disconnected, and unable to trust others. By learning about the various types of abuse and what you can do to stop or avoid it, you can make a massive difference in your own or someone else’s life. Recovering from a traumatic event takes time, and everyone heals at their own pace. Therapy focuses on processing trauma-related memories and feelings, regulating emotions, and re-building the ability to trust people.
A sliding fee scale is available to ensure that those who need help have access to counselling services at an affordable rate.