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.

Article archive

You Can’t Cheat The System

When cutting corners leads to nervous system consequences.

Taking a Break in a Counselling Session

May 2024 In Therapy & You

Obscure topic? Yes! Can it happen? Yes!

How To Choose a Clinical Supervisor

For therapists searching for a clinical supervisor, this can be hard! Let’s look at factors to help clarify the process.

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Managing While Your Therapist Is Away

January 2024 In Therapy & You

Therapists’ scheduled time can impact clients. Proactive steps can help reduce the impact.

10 Things I’ve Been Grateful For in 2023

Megan decides that it’s time for another end-of-year reflection.

Putting In a Solid C- Effort

Tackling perfectionism with a distinctly underwhelming approach.

The Higgledy-Piggledy Therapy Schedule

October 2023 In Therapy & You

When random therapy schedules don’t support your growth (and what to do instead).

How Often Should I Go To Therapy?

September 2023 In Therapy & You

Addressing the common question of how often should you ideally be meeting with your therapist.

In Arrears: When You Owe Your Therapist Money

August 2023 In Therapy & You

A dive into the generally untalked-about world of unpaid counselling sessions.

I Updated My Website Photos and Discovered How Old I Really Am

Me getting vulnerable about why seeing myself as old, or at least older, has been difficult, but maybe a little interesting too.

Zoom Fatigue in the Counselling Context

Understanding how Zoom fatigue can show up in the counselling context and exploring strategies to mitigate its effects.

Self-Help vs. Therapy: How to Choose

An exploration of some of the reasons why you might choose self-help, therapy, or a combination of both.

Go Slow

Can slowness ease anxiety? This counsellor thinks so.

3 Hours and a Jumble of Yarn

Life lessons learned from a jumble of yarn.

The Dark Side of Online Booking

February 2023 In Therapy & You

Could there possibly be anything negative about online booking? It’s complicated.

Is In-Person Counselling Dead?

The rise of virtual therapy leaves an old-time counsellor continuing to contemplate the future of in-person counselling.

Why I Hate Gratitude Lists (But I’m Writing One Anyway)

An article in contradictions: being challenged by gratitude lists’ tricky bits, but seeing their value just the same. Megan also reveals her 2022 list.

When A Client Dies

An unexpected client death leaves this counsellor trying to process a loss, so very difficult to comprehend.

Multitasking In Counselling Sessions

The changing counselling landscape has also witnessed an uptick in multitasking during counselling appointments. We explore that here, without judgement.

What is a Vacation Anyways?

A therapist’s personal account and reckoning about the meaning of vacations.

Rare, But Aware: Client Exploitation in the Counselling Relationship

An in-depth look at the relatively uncommon problem of client exploitation by therapists. Next steps for accessing help are also discussed.

Stuck in a Rut? Understanding Stuck-ness And Strategies For Change

Exploring the common phenomenon of feeling stuck, with some strategies to encourage taking the next step.

Counsellor or Clinic: What’s Right For You?

June 2022 In Therapy & You

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.

Can I Contact My Therapist In-Between Sessions?

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.

Finding a Therapist, Version 2.0

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.

Do Counsellors Have It All Together?

Counsellors have their own life issues: it’s part of being human. What does this mean for counselling clients?

The Normalization of Therapy

February 2022 In Personal Growth, Therapy & You

The normalization of therapy in our society, including “proactive therapy,” is all good, right? Yes! (mostly).

Ho, Ho, No! When the Holiday Season Doesn’t Work For You

A closer look at some of the reasons why the holiday season might not work for you.

Counselling Appointments: Who Needs Them Most?

November 2021 In Therapy & You

When you’re wondering whether you should give up your counselling appointment for another client you don’t even know.

The Hard of Hearing Therapist

This counsellor officially opens up about her hearing loss for the first time.

Counselling Consent Forms: Just a Bunch of Gobbledegook?

September 2021 In Therapy & You

Everything you ever wanted to know (or not) about counselling consent forms.

The Therapy Threat: Counselling Ultimatums and Why They Suck

When engaging in counselling is, or feels forced, it’s rarely a good thing.

Why Is My Therapist Taking Time Off Again?!

Reasons for counsellor absences with some possible benefits for clients too.

When Loved Ones Are a Focus in Counselling

Navigating the sometimes-difficult choice of talking about a loved one in counselling.

Catching a Counselling Appointment

May 2021 In Anxiety, Therapy & You

Tips and tricks for securing a counselling appointment when times are tough.

The Architect of Overwhelm

A counsellor takes a stab at understanding her own experience with overwhelm, including her part in it.

What To Expect When You Reach Out To A Counsellor

March 2021 In Anxiety, Therapy & You

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.

How To Book A Counselling Appointment

February 2021 In Anxiety, Therapy & You

An in-depth look at how to contact a counsellor and book a counselling session.

Decisions, Decisions: When You Don’t Know What To Talk About In Counselling

January 2021 In Anxiety, Therapy & You

When we don’t know what to talk about in a counselling session: reasons and solutions.

Mind Your Mind

December 2020 In Life Transitions, Personal Growth

Musings on mental self care during the holidays.

Sourdough or Sour-no? Coping and Critiquing During The Pandemic

November 2020 In Personal Growth

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?

Boo! I Got Spooked By My Counsellor!

October 2020 In Anxiety, Therapy & You

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 Do Therapists Become Therapists?

Why counsellors get into the profession, including the qualities that can help them be of service to clients.

Virtual Is Reality: The Changing Counselling Office

August 2020 In Therapy & You

What happens to the counselling room when we take the therapy experience online or by phone?

Walking To Nowhere

A reluctant, self-confessed exercise-hater takes another kick at the can with a boring-as-hell exercise plan.

The Merit of Discomfort

Exploring the merits of connecting with emotional discomfort.

My Screen Time Is Up By 246%

This counsellor is shocked when her previous standard of of minimal screen time is blown wide open.

The Delusion of Productivity

A sobering reflection on how lofty personal expectations during COVID-19 have yielded some very human results.

Living In A Box

My reflections on coping with COVID-19 self-confinement.

Session-Talk or Session, Talk?

February 2020 In Therapy & You

The decision to talk about what happens in your counselling sessions with another human being is a personal one.

Boundaries: Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy?

If healthy interpersonal boundaries were easy, we’d all be doing it! But it’s a reward that’s worth it.

The Smallest “Goals” In My World

Reflecting on “goals,” Willow Tree Counselling-style.

Why Waiting Lists?

November 2019 In Anxiety, Depression, Therapy & You

A deep dive into why counselling waiting lists exist and how to navigate them.

When You’re Seeing More Than One Therapist At A Time

The pluses and perils of seeing more than one counsellor at a time.

Talking Turkey About Couples Counselling

September 2019 In Relationship Issues, Therapy & You

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.

“I’m Too Upset To Go To Counselling!”

Understanding the seemingly paradoxical, yet common, dilemma of being too upset to go to counselling.

“My Counsellor Fired Me!”

When your therapist suggests that your counselling end: why this can happen and what to do next.

I Wanna Fire My Therapist!

June 2019 In Therapy & You

Understanding when and why it might be appropriate to fire your therapist.

When Your First Counselling Appointment Doesn’t Work Out

May 2019 In Therapy & You

Understanding the single-session phenomenon and how to proceed to session two.

“Who Me?” How To Beat Imposter Syndrome

April 2019 In Anxiety, Personal Growth

Most of us feel like imposters at some point in our lives. But it doesn’t have to stay that way.

Taking Out The Slop

March 2019 In Anxiety, Personal Growth

A baking episode-gone-bad prompts me to take out the slop both literally and emotionally.

Welcome To My (Counselling) World

February 2019 In Anxiety, Therapy & You

Enter (and be comfortable) in the Willow Tree Counselling world.

“What Kind of Counsellor Do I Need?”

Figuring out what ‘type’ of counsellor or counselling you need is often not as straightforward as it would initially seem.

Reflections On Twenty Years in Social Work

A social worker is surprised to find herself ‘suddenly’ mid-career.

Tick Tock, Tick Tock: What’s Up With Your Counsellor’s Clock?

October 2018 In Therapy & You

The clock in your counsellor’s office: what it’s about and why it matters to your therapy.

Perfectionism: From Fairy Tale to Real Life

September 2018 In Anxiety, Personal Growth

Getting personal about a breadmaking day gone bad (and what I did about it).

How to Save Bags of Money On Counselling (Or, How To Stop Making Your Counselling More Expensive Than It Needs To Be)

August 2018 In Therapy & You, Uncategorized

My lowdown on strategies that will help you save money on counselling costs and maximize the value you receive from your counselling.

The Dilemma of Dual: Dual Relationships in Counselling

An in-depth look at the situation of dual relationships in a counselling context.

Counselling: Picture Perfect?

June 2018 In Therapy & You

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 […]

Choosing Counselling: What Does This Say About Me?

May 2018 In Therapy & You

Self-stigmatization can be a big barrier when seeking counselling. We can move through these feelings and surprise ourselves along the way!

Therapist 911?

April 2018 In Therapy & You

Understanding the differences and similarities between getting help from a counsellor versus a crisis service.

The Big Drain: What To Do When Counselling Leaves Us Feeling Wiped Out

March 2018 In Therapy & You

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.

I Took A Photo of Two Chocolate Chips (Yes I Did) – Some Thoughts on Mindful Eating

February 2018 In Eating Issues

A personal account of my experience using YouAte, a mindful eating app.

Taking Care of My Future Self

January 2018 In Personal Growth

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

December 2017 In Personal Growth

“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.

Taking Stock: When to Try Counselling?

November 2017 In Therapy & You

There are a number of components that can influence the choice to proceed with therapy.

The Counsellor’s Door is Closed, And They’re Not Counselling. What Gives?

October 2017 In The Counselling Life

A light-hearted take on what counsellors get up to when their counselling door is closed and they’re not counselling.

Going On A Therapy Vacation?

September 2017 In Therapy & You

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.

So You Want To Be a Counsellor?

Pathways to becoming a counsellor in British Columbia.

Under New Management

July 2017 In Personal Growth

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.

Confessions of a Recovering Sorry-aholic

June 2017 In Personal Growth

Recognizing over-apologizing and what to do about it.

What’s Up Doc? Psychologists and Psychiatrists Are Not The Same!

May 2017 In The Counselling Life

An attempt to clarify the differences between psychologists and psychiatrists.

The Seduction of Avoidance

April 2017 In Personal Growth

For those who are intrigued, and want to consider alternative options to avoidance, there may be something in this article for you.

Social Work: Who and What?

March 2017 In The Counselling Life

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.

Understanding Angry Incidents: The “WTF?” Model

February 2017 In Anger Management

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 Sanctity of the Counselling Receipt

January 2017 In The Counselling Life

The ins and outs of the counselling receipt.

Searching For Gratitude

December 2016 In Personal Growth

Gratitude does not depend on getting, or possessing, despite the fact that it is often experienced as a state of abundance.

Self-Care Ain’t Necessarily Fun!

November 2016 In Personal Growth

Just because actions are self-caring doesn’t necessarily mean that they feel self-caring.

Coping with Anxiety: One Size Does Not Fit All!

October 2016 In Anxiety

Once we have sifted through known coping strategies, there is also the need to be specific.

There’s a Bug in My Water! (And Other Unexpected Things)

September 2016 In Personal Growth

Coping with the unexpected in our day-to-day.

Seeking Challenge in Counselling: How Much is Right For You?

August 2016 In Therapy & You

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?

Who Goes For Counselling?

July 2016 In Therapy & You

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. 

The Shackles That Bind: Breaking Free From Stigma

June 2016 In Therapy & You

Understanding and moving past stigma.

Open, Closed or Somewhere In-Between? Self-Disclosure in Counselling

May 2016 In Therapy & You

The fear of self-disclosure may be one of the biggest barriers to choosing counselling. But there are options.

Asking For Help: Risk and Reward

If seeking help were easy, people would just do it; it takes a lot of fortitude to reach out to a therapist. 

Counsellors: Are They The Real Deal?

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.

Counselling Confidentiality: An In-Depth Look

Digging deep into the topic of confidentiality in counselling.

Digging Deeper: Understanding Therapeutic Fit

January 2016 In Therapy & You

What makes a counselling relationship strong, why that’s so important and what to do when the fit isn’t right.

Counselling: More Than Just Feeling Better?

December 2015 In Therapy & You

People are diverse and their emotional responses to counselling are just as diverse.

Emotional Eating: Let’s Talk Strategy

November 2015 In Eating Issues

A strategic approach to emotional eating.

Dr. Google: Friend or Foe?

October 2015 In Anxiety

An article about health anxiety and its relationship to the Internet.

Hello Screen Time, Goodbye Sleep?

September 2015 In Sleep Strategy

Reflections on the hazards of screen time too close to bed and strategies for making changes.

The Therapist Floats

August 2015 In The Counselling Life

Guest writer and counsellor Susie Merz reflects on her experience in a therapeutic flotation tank.

Are We There Yet? (Is My Counselling Done?)

July 2015 In Therapy & You

When and how to know when your counselling is done.

Phone Counselling: Emotional Barrier Buster?

June 2015 In Therapy & You

Phone counselling may have the power to break down the emotional barriers that keep some of us out of counselling offices.

When Crisis Hits

May 2015 In Personal Growth

A sudden crisis and how I worked through it.

Counselling Ruptures: Crisis or Opportunity?

April 2015 In Therapy & You

Ruptures in the therapy relationship do happen. What’s a client to do?

Counselling Homework: Shame Magnet or Road to Success?

March 2015 In Therapy & You

Deciding which option works best for you–whether it be homework or homeworklessness–can spark self-reflection around what you want out of counselling.

Self Pity: Pillow or Prison?

February 2015 In Personal Growth

Exploring the psychological dilemma between letting go of the comfort of self-pity and challenging oneself with new, healthier alternatives.

Feeling Bad About Feeling Bad

January 2015 In Personal Growth

Feeling bad about so-called “unacceptable” feelings and what to do about them.

Cutting the Cord: When to Say Goodbye to Your Therapist

December 2014 In Therapy & You

When your counselling has gone well but you’re not sure when to end things.

How to Get the Most Out of a Counselling Consultation

November 2014 In Therapy & You

How to prepare for an initial meet-and-greet with a therapist.

It Took Selling My Home in Order to Clean It Up

Moving house on a short timeline prompted questions to myself about clutter, housework, motivation and personality.

Therapeutic Fit: What to Look For

October 2014 In Therapy & You

Things to look for in finding a counsellor who is the right fit for you.

Counselling: How Weird Is That?!

September 2014 In Therapy & You

On making the mental leap to discuss deeper, personal issues with the counsellor, who is also technically a stranger.

Mindfulness: A Boring Pursuit?

August 2014 In Personal Growth

Mindfulness practice. Not fancy, not easy but it works!

“Am I Covered?” : Understanding Your Counselling Options

July 2014 In Therapy & You

Knowing your coverage options when it comes to counselling.

When Your Loved One Won’t Get Help

June 2014 In Therapy & You

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.

Why Your Counsellor Is Not Your Friend

Understanding boundaries in the therapeutic relationship.

Counsellors Are People Too

April 2014 In The Counselling Life

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.

Why Hire a Social Worker?

March 2014 In The Counselling Life

The glory of the social work profession. Yes, really!

Counselling’s Million Dollar Question

February 2014 In Therapy & You

How much counselling do you need?

A Resolution For LIFE

January 2014 In Personal Growth

Resolutions should be lifestyle-workable, interesting, fun and engaging….and an option any time of year!

Overcoming The “Disease to Please”

December 2013 In Personal Growth

Understanding the tendency to please and how to work on it.

Perfection Pursuit: When Parenting Becomes Self-Tyranny

November 2013 In Parenting, Personal Growth

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.

When Worry Takes Hold – Part 2

October 2013 In Personal Growth

Talking about ways of working with worry so that it doesn’t overwhelm. A follow up article to When Worry Takes Hold, Part 1.

When Worry Takes Hold – Part 1

September 2013 In Personal Growth

Some observations about worry and some options for change.

Counselling Is Not For Everyone

August 2013 In Therapy & You

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.

The Psychology of Missed Appointments

July 2013 In The Counselling Life

Cancelling an appointment should be a straightforward process and is always better than just not showing up.

Truth Talking: The Role of Honesty in Counselling

June 2013 In Therapy & You

How client and counsellor honesty affects the counselling experience.

Facing the Fear of Judgement in Counselling

May 2013 In Therapy & You

You may feel tremendous fear that your counsellor will judge you, but will they?

Please Tell Me What to Do!! The Role of Advice in Counselling

April 2013 In Therapy & You

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.

Your Counselling Bill of Rights

February 2013 In Therapy & You

When committing to counselling, it is important to know your rights.

Intermittent Therapy: Is it For You?

January 2013 In Therapy & You

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.

Coping With Loneliness and the Holiday Season

December 2012 In Personal Growth

Understanding loneliness during the holiday season and adopting some practical workarounds.

Cracking the Code: A Guide to Understanding Counselling Credentials (Or, What Do All Those Letters Behind Their Names Mean, Anyway?)

November 2012 In The Counselling Life

Lost in the acronyms? Read here to find out what the letters behind your counsellor’s name really mean.

Change!? Why Change?

Dealing with an unanticipated office change and meditating on the reality of impermanence.

Listening 101

September 2012 In Personal Growth

How to be a better listener.

Helping the Helper

When you help people for a living, it can be difficult to ask for help.

How To Fire Your Therapist

July 2012 In Therapy & You

If I’ve done my job correctly, I will have helped clients help themselves, ultimately rendering my role as a counsellor obsolete.

Therapist Burnout (And Why it Matters to Clients)

June 2012 In The Counselling Life

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.

Are You a Counselling Virgin? – What You Need to Know About Starting Therapy

May 2012 In Therapy & You

So you’ve gone to all the hard work of finding a therapist. Now what?

Assumptions for Therapy: Can You Relate?

April 2012 In Therapy & You

I’m writing about the attitudes that many of us bring to the start of therapy.

Top Tips for Eating Well When You’re Depressed

March 2012 In Depression

Practical suggestions for eating when your mood is low.

Counselling vs. Psychotherapy: What’s The Diff?

February 2012 In The Counselling Life

Understanding differences and similarities between ‘counselling’ and ‘psychotherapy.’

The Sad Little Poinsettia

January 2012 In Personal Growth

Everything around us in a state of flux and change constantly.  Most of us prefer not to think about this.

Perfectionism and the Holiday Season

December 2011 In Personal Growth

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!

Parenting With Consistency

November 2011 In Parenting

Some thoughts on applying consistency in parenting.

The Joy of Letting Go

October 2011 In Personal Growth

Emotional and physical attachments are by nature rigid and inflexible.  The more we hold on, the more we suffer. There is an alternative.

It Took Selling My Home In Order to Clean it Up

September 2011 In Personal Growth

A recovering messy-holic asks some philosophical and psychological questions about the problem.

Dealing With Difficult Co-Workers

August 2011 In Relationship Issues

Dealing with colleagues who challenge us emotionally can play a big part in our overall work satisfaction and our general sense of wellbeing.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

July 2011 In Personal Growth

An article about how I chose to spend my two week vacation in a way that would benefit my own mind.

Counselling the Counsellor

June 2011 In The Counselling Life

The counsellor sits on the client couch and learns a thing or two.

Ten Tips For Getting the Most Out of Therapy

May 2011 In Therapy & You

Strategies to augment your therapy experience.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

May 2011 In Anxiety, Depression

A rundown on one of my favourite therapies.

Social Signs of Depression

May 2011 In Depression

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.

Depression: Help and Treatment

May 2011 In Depression

Understanding treatment options for depression.

Depression Tips

May 2011 In 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 Attack Tips

May 2011 In Anxiety

Panic attacks are terrifying in their intensity!  But the good news is is that they can be helped! 

Help for Substance Misuse: Why Willow Tree Counselling?

April 2011 In Addictions

Addictions help, the Willow Tree way.

Postpartum Tips

April 2011 In Postpartum Issues

A variety of strategies for navigating the postpartum period.

The Benefits of Anxiety

January 2011 In Anxiety

When we are in the throws of anxiety, we want immediate relief. How can there be a silver lining in all of this?

The Power of a Smile

December 2010 In Personal Growth

A bus ride like no other.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Health Care Experience

August 2010 In Therapy & You

Whether you are seeing a physician, counsellor, physiotherapist or other health professional, here are my tips for getting the most out of your visits.

Children and Failure: Risk or Benefit?

May 2010 In Parenting

What is the balance between being protective and encouraging autonomy?

Finding A Therapist

January 2010 In Therapy & You

Things to look for in your search for a therapist who is right for you.

The Seasonal Blues: Understanding and Helping Seasonal Affective Disorder

December 2009 In Depression

Understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder + strategies to help.

Making New Year’s Resolutions That Stick

December 2009 In Personal Growth

Many of us choose New Year’s resolutions which are doomed to fail. There is another way!

Surviving the Holiday Season

December 2009 In Personal Growth

Experiencing the holiday season differently.