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Okanagan Clinical Counselling Services Blog - Page 2 of 6 -

16
Aug

Unique Journeys

Grieving is a unique journey for every individual who experiences it. There is not a “normal” amount of time to “get over” any loss, especially one as significant as a parent or child. Normal or typical grieving often has multiple symptoms (please note this is not an exclusive list):

Physiologically/in the body, many (or some) folks experience:

• Heart ache, general aches and pains, extreme fatigue, choked sensations, and sometimes even feeling like they are outside of their own bodies–kind of disconnected;

Psychologically/in the mind, many (or some) folks experience:

• Memory loss, or decreased ability to focus and concentrate, mood swings, or sometimes complete emotional numbness (not feeling anything), racing thoughts, decreased or absent motivation;

Emotionally, many (or some) folks experience:

• Sadness, anger, loneliness, at moments or time periods feeling “fine” (like everything feels normal/typical as they did prior to the loss); confusion (how could this happen?), acceptance, peace, relief, calm;

Spiritually, many (or some) folks experience:

• Questioning their religion/spirituality/God;

Many individuals experience heightened grief as they are reminded on holidays, anniversary, and other significant dates. Folks also are often reminded by the one who has died by scents (their favorite flower or perfume for example), sounds (music), objects (clothes, sentimental items), and so on. You cannot always anticipate when these reminders will happen, or how you will react/respond to them. There are individuals who have felt “fine” for several years, and one day something reminded them of their loved one who had passed and significant grief overcame them. This is completely okay and normal*.

Expressions of grief differ from individual to individual and this is absolutely okay. For some individuals, they find healing in talking about the person who has died, either with loved ones, a support group, a religious leader, and/or a counsellor. They may also be more comfortable with crying, expressing how they feel, etc. These individuals likely will not find increased support and healing if you force them to “deal with it alone” or ask them to “stop expressing your emotions (crying, anger, etc.)”. Other individuals find healing in processing the death alone or quietly. They may not appear to be feeling anything and/or have a lack of emotions, but very rarely is this case. These individuals likely will not find increased support and healing if you force them to “talk about it” with others and groups. Please note, sometimes talking to an important and trusted person can be very supportive for individuals who typically grieve alone and quietly.

It’s also important to consider cultural factors when folks are grieving. Depending on your culture, expressions and practices around grief may differ.

I personally don’t believe you “get over” a loss of a loved one. I do believe that typically over time, the pain becomes less acute when you are able to accept the loss, find personal coping skills, support, and healing that works for you. Eventually, there will be more “good” days.

I encourage you to not label the pain of loss as “bad”. Pain is your reminder that who you lost has meaning and significance in your life. Be gentle with yourself and your process.

*If you are finding that you are having difficulty in your daily life due to loss seek professional help from a mental health provider.

This blog post was written by OCCS’s Clinical Counsellor:

e: info@okclinical.com

t: 250.718.9291

16
Jun

Know Your Symptoms: How Stress Affects Your Health

At any age, and especially as we grow older, we face many challenges in our lives that can bring stress upon our minds and bodies. Whether you are facing the loss of a spouse for the first time or have just moved to a new home, confronting changes after being comfortable with certain routines can lead to a sense of unsettled angst.

Knowing the signs of stress therefore becomes increasingly important to maintaining our health as senior citizens. In the long term, stress can lead to very serious medical issues like cancer, a weakened immune system, or heart disease. Thus, it is key to recognize the short-term effects of stress that you may be experiencing, such as:

·         High blood pressure

·         High blood sugar

·         Headaches or migraines

·         Hair loss

·         Skin issues, such as acne, dryness, or rashes

·         Amplified asthmatic symptoms

·         Sleeplessness or fatigue

·         Digestive problems

By recognizing the physical effects of stress as early as they begin, you can change your ways and put your best foot forward in promoting a harmonious mind, body, and spirit in your golden years.

Written by: Sally Writes

25
Jan

4 Ways to Bolster Your Self-Esteem

 Sometimes we all have those days where we just don’t feel okay- but an important thing to remember is that when you fall seven times- you can always stand up eight. That’s when you make progress: when you are able to open yourself up to feelings of vulnerability, worthiness, and self-acceptance. However, it doesn’t always come easy, which is why we’ve compiled a short list of tips that you can use as self-esteem boosters when you’re having a day that’s blue.

 

    1. Quit playing the comparison game

Playing the comparison game takes a serious toll on your self-esteem.  In such a visual world, it can be tricky to drown out the feeling of “keeping up with the Jones’.” But once you stop caring about at what others have, how far ahead they are and what they look like- you’ll start to love your story for what it is… uniquely yours!

 

    2. Give yourself permission to feel your worth

Often we try not to be conceded and are downgrading our potential and worthiness as a false attempt at humbleness. But knowing your worth does not mean that you think you are better than anyone else, it means you respect for self and what you have to offer the world. By giving yourself permission to feel just how wonderful you are, you might just see a dramatic shift in your self esteem over the next little while.

 

    3. Create a healthy environment

Toxicity is a huge contributor to low self-esteem and feeling worthless. Rid those poisonous people and circumstances out of your life that do not serve you in a positive way. When you surround yourself with a positive environment, constructive to who you are, you will be able to grow stronger and healthier in both body and mind. Remember, no one is capable of growing a plant when it’s left in the dark.

 

    4. Know it’s ok to not be ok

We have this preconceived notion that we for some reason always have to be “on”. We are told to be smiling and happy; thinking that life is a bowl of cherries. But truth is- it’s okay to not be okay. Sometimes the best thing is to just accept our circumstances for what they are and learn to love the way things can be at our worst, before we can appreciate them at our best.

 

These tips are not only about bolstering self-esteem, but how to be vulnerable. It takes time, courage and practice to become vulnerable and allow ourselves to feel what we’re feeling- but it makes all the difference. In fact, the well-respected Dr. Brené Brown (research and NY Times Bestseller) has dedicated thirteen years of her life studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. She has many books just for you that are devoted to helping you over come those hopeless times and turn them into something magnificent. If you’d like a good read when you need encouragement, please check out her New York Times Bestsellers: Rising StrongDaring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection.  Stay tuned as our clinic intends to focus on these elements in the coming months. 

If you are interested in learning more about self-esteem, worthiness, and vulnerability, please do not hesitate to contact us.  Okanagan Clinical Counselling Serves has 3 locations in downtown Kelowna, West Kelowna, and Penticton to best serve you.  Our counsellors specialize in numerous mental health, relationship, and life concerns. Online counselling, evening and weekend appointments, and a sliding fee scale is available.

16
Aug

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

 

Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a relaxation technique in which you intentionally tense and release certain muscles in the body. With practice, you learn to notice the difference between tension and relaxation in the body. Studies have shown that this awareness and control can help those who deal with anxiety and insomnia.

How To

Before you begin, ensure that you are in a comfortable and distraction-free space where you will be able to focus on this process for around 15 minutes. Sit or lie down, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a two-step process: first the tension and then the release.

Step 1 – Tense

Think about and focus on the particular body part. Inhale and apply tension to the muscles of that particular body part by squeezing it for about 5 seconds while continuing to breathe. Really work to only allow the muscles of that body part to tense and not any surrounding muscles.

Step 2 – Release

Now release the muscles of the particular body part as quickly as you can while exhaling. Allow the muscles to become loose and the body part to go limp. Focus on this feeling and the difference between the previous feeling of tension. Stay released for about 15 seconds before moving on to the next body part’s muscle group.

Order of Muscle Groups

Begin at the bottom of your body and work your way up as follows:
-foot
-lower leg
-entire leg
-repeat on the other side of the body
-hand
-arm
-repeat on the other side
-abdomen
-chest
-neck and shoulders
-face

Once you’ve gone through all the muscle groups, allow yourself to enjoy this state of deep relaxation. It is recommended when beginning Progressive Muscle Relaxation to practice this process twice a day for a couple weeks. There are CDs and YouTube videos which can guide you through the process as well if desired.

Okanagan Clinical Counselling Services provides comprehensive counselling services as well as a wide variety of specialty programs, subsidies, and workshops to best help our patients. Our counsellors specialize in concerns such as depression, anxiety, addictions, eating disorders and more. Please contact us today to learn more about our services, weekend/evening appointments, and sliding fee scale.  Okanagan Clinical Counselling Services has three locations throughout the Okanagan in Penticton, Kelowna, and West Kelowna for your convenience.

This blog post was written by OCCS’s Clinical Counsellor:

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e: info@okclinical.com

t: 250.718.9291

1
Aug

10 Ways to Cope with Trauma

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Trauma can be caused by extremely frightening, upsetting, or stressful experiences. Everyone responds to experiences in life differently, so something that upsets one person may not be that big of a deal to another. This is why it is unhelpful to compare yourself to anyone else. If you have gone through an upsetting event and are struggling to deal with it, it may have been traumatic. Here are examples, symptoms, and 10 ways to cope with the effects of trauma to help you understand and move forward.

Some examples of traumatic experiences include:

  • Accident
  • Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
  • Alcoholism or other addiction
  • Unsafe living environment
  • Life-threatening illness
  • Natural disaster
  • Surgery
  • Victim of or witness to a crime
  • Death of a loved one
  • Breakup or loss of other close relationship

Symptoms resulting from a traumatic experience may include:

  • Fear and anxiety
  • Anger and irritability
  • Guilt and shame
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep problems
  • Avoidance
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Body aches

Here are 10 ways to cope with the effects of trauma.

  1. Get some exercise even if it’s as simple as going for a walk. Find a way to move your body that you enjoy.
  2. Continue to engage with friends and family, but don’t feel pressured to talk about the trauma if you are not ready.
  3. Join a support group to connect with others. You are not alone in your experience.
  4. Be patient. The process of healing can be a slow, and you will work through it at your own pace.
  5. Employ mindfulness by acknowledging and experiencing your thoughts and emotions without judgment.
  6. Practice meditation, yoga, or other stress reducing relaxation techniques.
  7. Get out your thoughts and feelings by writing freely in a journal.
  8. Nourish yourself with a healthful, balanced diet. Avoid using “junk” food, alcohol, or drugs to feel better.
  9. Prioritize getting adequate rest during the day and enough sleep at night.
  10. Seek professional help. Cognitive-behavioural therapy and EMDR therapy have been shown to be effective in treating symptoms resulting from trauma.

If you have experienced a traumatic event, the staff at OCCS are here to help. OCCS provides comprehensive counselling services as well as a wide variety of specialty programs, subsidies, and workshops to best help our patients. Our counsellors specialize in concerns such as depression, anxiety, trauma, addictions and more. Please contact us today to learn more about our services, weekend/evening appointments, and sliding fee scale.  Okanagan Clinical Counselling Services has three locations throughout the Okanagan in Penticton, Kelowna, and West Kelowna for your convenience.

This blog post was written by OCCS’s Clinical Counsellor:

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e: info@okclinical.com

t: 250.718.9291

 

16
Jul

Signs of Internet Addiction

 

The internet has become an integral part of modern life. Between emailing, posting on social media, streaming TV and movies, playing games online, and general browsing, time can seem to get away from us. It’s not surprising that the amount of time people spend online has doubled between 2005 and 2015.

For some people this preoccupation with the internet can lead into an addiction which will have detrimental effects. Here are 10 warning signs of internet addiction you may need to look out for in yourself or your loved ones.

  1. Having an inability to get things done during the day due to a preoccupation with either being on the internet or thinking about the internet.
  2. Gradually increasing the amount of time which is spent online. Also, spending more time online in one sitting than what was originally intended.
  3. Turning to the internet as a coping mechanism when experiencing uncomfortable situations or difficult emotions such as guilt, sadness, or anger.
  4. Becoming isolated from friends and family by spending less time with them and more time online. Also, choosing online friends over in-person relationships.
  5. Experiencing feelings of irritability or depression while not on the internet or when trying to cut back on time spent online.
  6. Spending time online at the expense of other areas of life, e.g., not engaging in personal relationships, missing deadlines at work, showing up late to school
  7. Having a fear of missing out (FOMO) on what is happening online, especially with social media, resulting in a compulsive desire to check your phone.
  8. Lying to others about the amount of time which is spent on the internet. Also, going into another room to go online in order to hide it.
  9. Experiencing feelings of anxiety or dread when your phone has been left at home or the battery dies.
  10. Having problems falling asleep. Also, spending time online while staying up excessively late into the night.

If you think you may be struggling with an internet addiction or any other life or mental health concern, the counsellors at OCCS can help. OCCS provides comprehensive counselling services as well as a wide variety of specialty programs, subsidies, and workshops to best help our patients. Our counsellors specialize in concerns such as depression, anxiety, addictions, relationships, and more. Please contact us today to learn more about our services, weekend/evening appointments, and sliding fee scale.  Okanagan Clinical Counselling Services has three locations throughout the Okanagan in Penticton, Kelowna, and West Kelowna for your convenience.

This blog post was written by OCCS’s Clinical Counsellor:

Screen Shot 2016-02-27 at 11.28.01 PM

e: info@okclinical.com

t: 250.718.9291

1
Jul

Ways to Cope During Divorce

 

The decision for you and your partner to separate and divorce is a difficult and life-changing one. There are a lot of hurt feelings, resentment, and uncomfortable emotions involved. Going through a divorce is traumatic, and the upheaval can cause stress, anxiety, and depression. Here are four ways to manage and cope during a divorce.

  1. Own the Decision

You may not have had control over all of the events that led to this divorce, but you do have control over your responses and reactions to it. Remember that ending the marriage is a choice, and own the decision you have made. Acceptance can change your perspective from that of a victim into that of a powerful individual.

  1. Develop a Plan

Brainstorm solutions for how you can handle different aspects of the divorce. Are you going to implement mediation, litigation, or collaborative divorce? If you have children, what will you do to maintain a healthy relationship with them? How are you going to invest in your friendships? Setting your intentions beforehand increases your ability to see them through.

  1. Make Your Needs Known

As you and your partner make decisions throughout the divorce process, ensure that you are honest about your needs and make them known in a respectful manner. No one is a mind reader, so you have to advocate for yourself. Finding compromises to fulfill the needs of you both will prevent future resentment from building.

  1. Have Compassion

While it can be very challenging, having compassion for your partner will help prevent you from getting caught up in feelings of resentment and anger toward them. This will also help you let go and move forward with your life. Self-compassion is important as well to combat any unhelpful feelings of shame. We are all human, and we all make mistakes. This divorce is just one sliver of who you are; it does not define you.

If you are going through a separation, divorce, or other difficult life transition, the staff at OCCS are here to help. OCCS provides comprehensive counselling services as well as a wide variety of specialty programs, subsidies, and workshops to best help our patients. Our counsellors specialize in concerns such as depression, anxiety, relationships and more. Please contact us today to learn more about our services, weekend/evening appointments, and sliding fee scale.  Okanagan Clinical Counselling Services has three locations throughout the Okanagan in Penticton, Kelowna, and West Kelowna for your convenience.

This blog post was written by OCCS’s Clinical Counsellor :

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e: info@okclinical.com

t: 250.718.9291

20
Jun

Thinking about Counselling?

 

Are you thinking about counselling, but aren’t sure where to turn? Our team of clinicians at Okanagan Clinical Counselling Services (OCCS) is both diverse and and skillful as their range in experience, education, and specializations ensures that our clients are provided with the best suited care possible. Our team includes registered clinical counsellors and social workers who are passionate about the work that they do.

Our counsellors specialize in a range of concerns including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, trauma, relationship concerns, family therapy, grief and much more.  The counsellors at OCCS are also experienced and knowledgeable about the unique concerns of the elderly, First Nations, and transgender populations.  We offer a 20 minute free consultation to assess your needs and provide direction for your next steps in receiving support.

Beyond individual, couples, group and family counselling services, OCCS offers a wide range of assessments and workshops.  Substance abuse, outpatient treatment, crime victim assistance, and views of the child assessments and reports are all available.  OCCS offers a variety of workshops throughout the year.

OCCS is also excited to offer online counselling services, along with evening/weekend appointments, a sliding fee scale, and 3 locations throughout the Okanagan for your convenience (Kelowna, West Kelowna, and Penticton). OCCS is one of the largest and most comprehensive counselling clinics within the Okanagan ensuring that we can meet your needs, no matter the concern.

Recently, our Clinical Counsellor Julia Gerlitz, who specializes in Narrative Therapy (see our blog post about what narrative therapy here) was published in the International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work.  Our counsellors are the very best at what they do, as compassion, professionalism, and creating a safe and open space for you is our mandate.  Click the link below to read Julia’s exceptional article.

Linking-Lives-by-Julia-Gerlitz

For more information about our team and services at Okanagan Clinical Counselling, call us at 250.718.9291 for a free consultation, or email us at info@okclinical.com.

16
Jun

3 Misconceptions About Introverts

 

Introversion and extroversion are the two poles of the personality spectrum. They have been popularized by psychotherapist Carl Jung and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test. Typically extraverts are outgoing and act before they think. Introverts are often reflective and like to engage in deep conversation. Ambiversion represents the precise middle of the spectrum. Everyone engages in some behaviours from all parts of the scale, but it appears that the vast majority of us have a distinct preference to one side or the other.

Even though introverts make up one-third to one-half of the population in the United States, society is geared towards extroverts. Because of this cultural bias, there are many misconceptions about introverts. Whether you’re an extrovert, ambivert, or introvert, correcting these misconceptions will help your interactions with other introverts. Here are three common misconceptions about introverts.

Misconception 1: Introverts are shy or have social anxiety.

While some introverts certainly can be shy, the two traits are not the same nor does either one cause the other. Many introverts are perfectly comfortable in social settings. They may be slower to speak up, but this is not out of fear or anxiety the way it is with shyness. It is because introverts are often reflective and spend a lot of time thinking before they are comfortable speaking.

Misconception 2: Introverts don’t like other people.

While introverts generally do spend more time alone than extroverts, it is not out of a dislike for others. Introverts can feel drained from highly stimulating environments or prolonged social interactions and prefer to re-energize with quiet. Regardless, they still highly value other people and especially their friends. Also, introverts will often prioritize quality or quantity in their relationships.

Misconception 3: Introverts are rude and aloof.

As mentioned before, introverts spend time thinking and processing before speaking. This may come across to others as disinterest or even passive aggressive behaviour, but it is not. Introverts also have a preference for deep, meaningful conversation. Because of this they often find small talk not only pointless and boring but possibly also challenging.

You can take a short and free version of this test here to find out where you land in the Myers-Briggs personality types. Then keep your insights and these misconceptions in mind in your future interactions.

OCCS provides comprehensive counselling services as well as a wide variety of specialty programs, subsidies, and workshops to best help our patients. Our counsellors specialize in concerns such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, relationships and more. Please contact us today to learn more about our services, weekend/evening appointments, and sliding fee scale.  Okanagan Clinical Counselling Services has three locations throughout the Okanagan in Penticton, Kelowna, and West Kelowna for your convenience.

This blog post was written by OCCS’s Clinical Counsellor:

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e: info@okclinical.com

t: 250.718.9291

1
Jun

Which Yoga Pose Helps to Manage Anxiety?

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Everyone experiences anxiety at some point in the lives as it is our body’s normal response to danger. For some people, anxiety can become an issue that interferes with daily living if their body reacts as though they are in a dangerous situation, when actually they are not. In Canada, just over one in 10 adults have experienced the symptoms of an anxiety disorder during their life.

Whether you have an anxiety disorder or just want a strategy for dealing with the normal anxiety that everyone experiences, the yoga pose Child’s Pose can help. Even if you don’t participate in a regular yoga practice, just implementing this one pose can be helpful in managing anxiety. Here is how to do child’s pose and five reasons why it’s an effective strategy to deal with anxiety.

How To

Go onto your hands and knees on the floor. Hands should be under the shoulders and knees should be under the hips. Bring your big toes together.
Lay your body down bringing your belly onto or between your thighs and hips onto your heels.
With hands stretched out in front of you, relax your forehead onto the floor.
You can keep your hands palm down in front of you or lay them beside your body with palms facing upward.
Relax into child’s pose by releasing the tension in your muscles. Breathe calmly in the nose and out through your mouth.
Stay here for as long as necessary.

Why It Works

  1. Studies have shown that practicing yoga in general can reduce stress and anxietywhile improving quality of life.
  2. Child’s pose is a common resting pose between other more challenging poses during yoga, and thus it makes sense that it would be a restorative pose for the mind and body.
  3. Having the body folded in with your head on the floor creates a sense of safety to the body.
  4. Child’s pose promotes conscious breathing which is calming to the nervous system and combats feelings of anxiety.
  5. Physically, child’s pose releases tension in the neck, shoulders, and back which is a common area for people to carry stress and anxiety.

OCCS provides comprehensive counselling services for individuals, couples, families, and groups, as well as a wide variety of specialty programs, subsidies, and workshops to best help our patients. Our counsellors specialize in concerns such as depression, anxiety, and more. Please contact us today to learn more about our services, weekend/evening appointments, and sliding fee scale.  Okanagan Clinical Counselling Services has three locations throughout the Okanagan in Penticton, Kelowna, and West Kelowna for your convenience.

This blog post was written by OCCS’s Clinical Counsellor:

Screen Shot 2016-02-27 at 11.28.01 PM

e: info@okclinical.com

t: 250.718.9291

 

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