Starting counselling, for many of us, is a freaky enough proposition: why add to the stress by keeping the counselling process secret? Writing about counselling and its myriad facets is at the heart of my articles, fuelled by a drive to make information about counselling transparent and accessible. I write about other things psychology-related too, to mix things up.
As private counselling options have increased to meet public demand, some of us wonder whether we should see a solo therapist or alternatively, choose a counselling clinic.
There’s no rule that says that you can’t contact a therapist in between sessions. But it’s not always clear about whether or not this is the best course of action.
I revisit this topic 12 years later and in the process learn that teaching others how to find a therapist and finding one myself are two very different experiences.
Counsellors have their own life issues: it’s part of being human. What does this mean for counselling clients?
The normalization of therapy in our society, including “proactive therapy,” is all good, right? Yes! (mostly).
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The many aspects of crying (or not) in therapy.
A closer look at some of the reasons why the holiday season might not work for you.
When you’re wondering whether you should give up your counselling appointment for another client you don’t even know.
This counsellor officially opens up about her hearing loss for the first time.
Everything you ever wanted to know (or not) about counselling consent forms.
When engaging in counselling is, or feels forced, it’s rarely a good thing.
Reasons for counsellor absences with some possible benefits for clients too.
Navigating the sometimes-difficult choice of talking about a loved one in counselling.
Tips and tricks for securing a counselling appointment when times are tough.
A counsellor takes a stab at understanding her own experience with overwhelm, including her part in it.
A counsellor’s attempt to take the mystery out of what happens after you reach out to a therapist. Possible solutions to common problems are provided too.
An in-depth look at how to contact a counsellor and book a counselling session.
When we don’t know what to talk about in a counselling session: reasons and solutions.
Musings on mental self care during the holidays.
The impact of COVID-19 has stretched us to the max: physically, emotionally, socially and practically. As we cope with all of this, should our coping be subject to scrutiny too?
What do you do when you spot your counsellor in public? The answer has more to do with your counsellor’s response, than yours.
Why counsellors get into the profession, including the qualities that can help them be of service to clients.
What happens to the counselling room when we take the therapy experience online or by phone?
A reluctant, self-confessed exercise-hater takes another kick at the can with a boring-as-hell exercise plan.
Exploring the merits of connecting with emotional discomfort.
This counsellor is shocked when her previous standard of of minimal screen time is blown wide open.
A sobering reflection on how lofty personal expectations during COVID-19 have yielded some very human results.
My reflections on coping with COVID-19 self-confinement.
The decision to talk about what happens in your counselling sessions with another human being is a personal one.
If healthy interpersonal boundaries were easy, we’d all be doing it! But it’s a reward that’s worth it.
Reflecting on “goals,” Willow Tree Counselling-style.
A deep dive into why counselling waiting lists exist and how to navigate them.
The pluses and perils of seeing more than one counsellor at a time.
A counsellor’s lowdown on some hard truths about couples counselling; when we’re aware of our biases we can change up couples counselling in positive ways.
Understanding the seemingly paradoxical, yet common, dilemma of being too upset to go to counselling.
When your therapist suggests that your counselling end: why this can happen and what to do next.
Understanding when and why it might be appropriate to fire your therapist.
Understanding the single-session phenomenon and how to proceed to session two.
Most of us feel like imposters at some point in our lives. But it doesn’t have to stay that way.
A baking episode-gone-bad prompts me to take out the slop both literally and emotionally.
Enter (and be comfortable) in the Willow Tree Counselling world.
Figuring out what ‘type’ of counsellor or counselling you need is often not as straightforward as it would initially seem.
A social worker is surprised to find herself ‘suddenly’ mid-career.
A checklist to help you navigate the adventure of finding a counsellor.
The clock in your counsellor’s office: what it’s about and why it matters to your therapy.
Getting personal about a breadmaking day gone bad (and what I did about it).
My lowdown on strategies that will help you save money on counselling costs and maximize the value you receive from your counselling.
An in-depth look at the situation of dual relationships in a counselling context.
It can be common to approach counselling thinking that one has to present a curated image—the kind of image we might pull out when company’s […]
Self-stigmatization can be a big barrier when seeking counselling. We can move through these feelings and surprise ourselves along the way!
Understanding the differences and similarities between getting help from a counsellor versus a crisis service.
This article is for anyone who has felt wiped by a counselling session and wondered about it, or for those who might be holding back from counselling because of this fear.
A personal account of my experience using YouAte, a mindful eating app.
I’m interested in the question of whether present actions can have implications for our future self, particularly when such actions are done with the mindset and foresight of caring for our future self.
“Nothing will interfere with my…happiness.” I’ve learned a lot from that quote, referencing it many times in my own sessions, as it has caused me to think about the meaning of happiness and its role in life.
There are a number of components that can influence the choice to proceed with therapy.
A light-hearted take on what counsellors get up to when their counselling door is closed and they’re not counselling.
Defining a therapy vacation may seem a little obvious, as in, it’s time away from therapy…But when I ponder this question, I pick up on a number of elements that make this question more nuanced than it actually seems at first glance.
Pathways to becoming a counsellor in British Columbia.
I recently heard someone using the term ‘under new management’ to reflect the idea of doing life differently—in new and healthier ways. I liked this idea and sought to expand on it.
Recognizing over-apologizing and what to do about it.
An attempt to clarify the differences between psychologists and psychiatrists.
For those who are intrigued, and want to consider alternative options to avoidance, there may be something in this article for you.
Touching on basic information about social work and social workers that might be relevant to the public, with apologies to social work historians and academics.
Angry incidents of all shapes and sizes—mild, moderate or severe—have something to offer us in terms of insight, if we’re willing to take a look.
The ins and outs of the counselling receipt.
Gratitude does not depend on getting, or possessing, despite the fact that it is often experienced as a state of abundance.
Just because actions are self-caring doesn’t necessarily mean that they feel self-caring.
Once we have sifted through known coping strategies, there is also the need to be specific.
Coping with the unexpected in our day-to-day.
In assessing therapeutic fit, a key question is whether you wish your thoughts, feelings, behaviours and experiences to be challenged by the counsellor and if so, how much?
The question of what ‘kind’ of person goes to counselling is one that may come up when trying to decide if counselling is right for you. It is, however, a question with no definitive answer, because there is no typical counselling client: it could be anyone.
Understanding and moving past stigma.
The fear of self-disclosure may be one of the biggest barriers to choosing counselling. But there are options.
If seeking help were easy, people would just do it; it takes a lot of fortitude to reach out to a therapist.
Is wondering about your counsellor’s life outside the therapy office just a question of curiosity? At the heart of this question are some deeper ones.
Digging deep into the topic of confidentiality in counselling.
What makes a counselling relationship strong, why that’s so important and what to do when the fit isn’t right.
People are diverse and their emotional responses to counselling are just as diverse.
A strategic approach to emotional eating.
An article about health anxiety and its relationship to the Internet.
Reflections on the hazards of screen time too close to bed and strategies for making changes.
Guest writer and counsellor Susie Merz reflects on her experience in a therapeutic flotation tank.
When and how to know when your counselling is done.
Phone counselling may have the power to break down the emotional barriers that keep some of us out of counselling offices.
A sudden crisis and how I worked through it.
Ruptures in the therapy relationship do happen. What’s a client to do?
Deciding which option works best for you–whether it be homework or homeworklessness–can spark self-reflection around what you want out of counselling.
Exploring the psychological dilemma between letting go of the comfort of self-pity and challenging oneself with new, healthier alternatives.
Feeling bad about so-called “unacceptable” feelings and what to do about them.
When your counselling has gone well but you’re not sure when to end things.
How to prepare for an initial meet-and-greet with a therapist.
Moving house on a short timeline prompted questions to myself about clutter, housework, motivation and personality.
Things to look for in finding a counsellor who is the right fit for you.
On making the mental leap to discuss deeper, personal issues with the counsellor, who is also technically a stranger.
Mindfulness practice. Not fancy, not easy but it works!
Knowing your coverage options when it comes to counselling.
You’ve begged, you’ve cajoled, you’ve reasoned, you’ve researched and you’ve even offered to call yourself and transport them there. And still they say no.
Understanding boundaries in the therapeutic relationship.
If in addition to the clinical benefit you receive from therapy, you connect with your counsellor on a human level, odds are that counselling will be a more positive experience for you.
The glory of the social work profession. Yes, really!
How much counselling do you need?
Resolutions should be lifestyle-workable, interesting, fun and engaging….and an option any time of year!
Understanding the tendency to please and how to work on it.
It takes guts to parent in a way that is genuine for you personally while also living in a world where the concept of the parent who can “do it all” is celebrated.
Talking about ways of working with worry so that it doesn’t overwhelm. A follow up article to When Worry Takes Hold, Part 1.
Some observations about worry and some options for change.
Counselling is not for everyone; it works best when the person believes that it could help them or is an approach that inherently makes sense to them.
Cancelling an appointment should be a straightforward process and is always better than just not showing up.
How client and counsellor honesty affects the counselling experience.
You may feel tremendous fear that your counsellor will judge you, but will they?
Because distress is often high when we start counselling, it’s normal to say to the therapist, “Please tell me what to do!” You want things to be better. Yesterday.
When committing to counselling, it is important to know your rights.
This article is intended to speak to those who may benefit from counselling off and on throughout the life cycle, whether that is twice or several times.
Understanding loneliness during the holiday season and adopting some practical workarounds.
Lost in the acronyms? Read here to find out what the letters behind your counsellor’s name really mean.
Dealing with an unanticipated office change and meditating on the reality of impermanence.
How to be a better listener.
When you help people for a living, it can be difficult to ask for help.
If I’ve done my job correctly, I will have helped clients help themselves, ultimately rendering my role as a counsellor obsolete.
Why it is in clients’ best interest to understand what counsellor burnout looks like so that steps can be taken to avoid it in the therapy relationship.
So you’ve gone to all the hard work of finding a therapist. Now what?
I’m writing about the attitudes that many of us bring to the start of therapy.
Practical suggestions for eating when your mood is low.
Understanding differences and similarities between ‘counselling’ and ‘psychotherapy.’
Everything around us in a state of flux and change constantly. Most of us prefer not to think about this.
When it comes to holidays, there are a lot of ideals to “live up to.” Sometimes we react to these messages by trying to attain them…perfectly!
Some thoughts on applying consistency in parenting.
Emotional and physical attachments are by nature rigid and inflexible. The more we hold on, the more we suffer. There is an alternative.
A recovering messy-holic asks some philosophical and psychological questions about the problem.
Dealing with colleagues who challenge us emotionally can play a big part in our overall work satisfaction and our general sense of wellbeing.
An article about how I chose to spend my two week vacation in a way that would benefit my own mind.
The counsellor sits on the client couch and learns a thing or two.
Strategies to augment your therapy experience.
A rundown on one of my favourite therapies.
Much of the information on depression highlights its signs and symptoms. While important, what is often missing is the impact of these symptoms on the affected person’s life.
Understanding treatment options for depression.
The best strategies for dealing with depression often come from those with lived experience and have wisdom to share. A few counsellor tips are thrown in too.
Panic attacks are terrifying in their intensity! But the good news is is that they can be helped!
Addictions help, the Willow Tree way.
A variety of strategies for navigating the postpartum period.
When we are in the throws of anxiety, we want immediate relief. How can there be a silver lining in all of this?
A bus ride like no other.
Whether you are seeing a physician, counsellor, physiotherapist or other health professional, here are my tips for getting the most out of your visits.
What is the balance between being protective and encouraging autonomy?
Things to look for in your search for a therapist who is right for you.
Understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder + strategies to help.
Many of us choose New Year’s resolutions which are doomed to fail. There is another way!
Experiencing the holiday season differently.