World of Psychology

Holiday Coping

When the Holidays Are Emotionally Fraught

There are many myths about how families and holidays should be. Families should love each other. Families should get along. Holidays should be fun… To name but a few. But reality is much more complex and when we use the word should, what we often mean is how we wish things would be. Truthfully, many people do not have loving families, happy families, happy family memories, or happy holidays. As a result, the holidays cause anxiety, shame, and bring up upsetting and traumatic memories. 

Podcast | Psychiatric Ward: First Hand Account (Part 2 of 2)

In part two of this series, we go into more detail about Gabe’s inpatient hospital stay and focus on what he was thinking while he was hospitalized and what he learned after he was discharged.  We talked about what to do if you feel like you need to be hospitalized, the steps you need to take in order to be admitted and the obstacles involved with getting the help you may need.


Looking Back: My Advice on Starting Eating Disorder Recovery

I dial the number hastily written on a post-it note that I’ve had shoved in my wallet for two weeks. Sweat starts to bead on my palms as I wait for the line to ring. “Hello,” a soft spoken woman answers. “I’d like to make an appointment,” I utter as my voice shakes. “Okay, let's do that,” she says as she trails off into a line of questions to see what exactly I need an appointment for and whether she’s the one to help me or not.

I’m in my thirties, a mother of three, with ten years of recovery under my belt. I thought all of this was behind me. But it crept back into my life when I had arrogantly thought I was above it after so many years. In the depths of a relapse that no one in my life knew about I combed through search engines and reviews to find a therapist. I knew it needed to happen sooner rather than later. 
Grief and Loss

Healing After Suicide

Suicide crosses all boundaries: age, race, gender, economic and social. No one is immune. Sometimes, there are no warning signs. Often, families have tried for years to get help. But suicide also can be an impulsive action, influenced by substance abuse or extreme stress. Partly due to misinformation or jokes surrounding mental illness and suicidal impulses, individuals with undiagnosed health issues of the mind and personality may not understand what is wrong.  

People with a variety of cultural and religious beliefs, in every conceivable circumstance, lose loved ones to suicide. They may have set boundaries or decided to leave to protect themselves and their children. Maybe they stayed, putting their own emotional, physical and mental health at risk. 

Why Women in Recovery Must Combat the Diet Culture

Diet culture is insidious. We spend our lives obsessed with our bodies -- always wishing for a smaller shape, scrutinizing the size of the portions on our plates, and unscrupulously comparing ourselves to thinner people. It’s damaging because it leads us to equate our worth with our appearance. For people in recovery, that is especially harmful. We experience physiological changes quickly -- including weight gain -- once we find recovery, and we can often leap to the assumption that we have a food addiction and reach for harmful, quick-fix solutions. But what if that weight gain is actually the inevitable evolution of our bodies in early recovery?

Art Therapy: A Crash Course

Many adults shy away from artistic activities because they believe themselves to be lacking in this skillset. While you may not be able to duplicate The Starry Night, I believe Van Gogh himself would agree that anyone could benefit from artistic expression and exploration. 

Art Therapy is widely used as a tool for expression and also exploration in therapeutic environments. It has the ability to provide opportunity for reflection that can be very revealing or make way for conversations that are very difficult. Individuals can attempt art activities with a therapeutic intent, keeping these basic things in mind:

Love, Grief and Gratitude: A Reflection of Loss in the First Year

I picked up the book The Grief Club by Melody Beattie a few days after my dad died. I had a plan for my grief.  This book would be my solution for navigating the immense heartache and anxiety that I felt. I am an expert at navigating my way through trauma and hard times and have coached many in my years as a Crisis Counsellor, so this would be a piece of cake, right? I thought that being solution-focused and pushing myself right in the middle of my grief would help me get through it faster and get back to that place of feeling like life was manageable again. I was going to dive right into the pain, allow the healing to begin and soon enough my pain would barely even be noticeable. Instead of navigating through the grief like an expert though, I became stuck. I tried to read the book a few more times, but I couldn’t get past those first few pages.