How to find the right counsellor for you

Making the decision to take care of your mental health is often a courageous action. Stepping into the office of a counsellor to share your story can sometimes be very daunting, even scary. It is essential that there is a match with your counsellor, that you feel safe and supported throughout the process, and have access to strategies and guidance towards meaningful change. The article below recommends allowing 6 sessions in order for a client to determine if the counsellor is a match to your needs. For practicality of time as well as benefit plans, I recommend a minimum of 2 sessions. This allows for enough time to see if therapeutic rapport is possible and for you to understand if the counsellor’s therapeutic framework suits you. By the end of session two, ideally you and the counsellor can formulate a treatment goal together which guides the work. It is important for you to let the counsellor know if this is not the right fit and they will happily refer you on to another counsellor. The goal is for you to find the right person to support your journey towards positive mental health.

Honouring the need for rest

As we navigate the demands of day to day life, stillness and the physical and mental benefits of rest seem to have a low rank on the list of priorities. However, if we fail to honour the need for rest, the quality of our performance, relationships, and wellness will reflect this neglect back to us in a myriad of ways. Where can you find space in your days and weeks to find rest? Sleep (8 hours or a nap?) physical (slow down) , mental (meditation, counselling), sensory (turn off the phone), creative (allow space for inward expression), emotional (time to self-reflect), and spiritual (prayer, silence, meditation, nature walk). I encourage you to welcome the value of rest.

How about aging joyfully rather than gracefully?

I choose joy. Joyful aging for me includes love, family, healthy living, connection, celebration, adventures, and more! “Aging gracefully” entails walking a tightrope between a youth-obsessed society, which tells us that our value declines as we age, and a culture that says nothing is as uncool as desperation, the fervent desire for something we can’t have. Marketers stoke our desire for youthfulness as the ticket to remaining relevant, then shame us when our efforts to preserve that youth go awry.” How would you like your present day, next year, three, five, ten, twenty years and beyond- look and feel? I choose joy.

Anxiety and Depression – a holistic approach

Dr. Gabor Mate writes and lectures on expanding our understanding of mental illness and addictions. He states, “physical and mental illness are not aberrations but natural outcomes of a way of life inimical to genuine human needs. Treatment, therefore, must go beyond a focus on symptoms and diagnoses to address the causes of dysfunction from a bio-psycho-social perspective.” When I sit with a client who is struggling with anxiety and depression, I seek to understand all the facets of their past and daily life. We are not engines that need a simple tweak and we are ready to run at full capacity. We are complex individuals that require a holistic check up of all the areas of our life. Biology and Physical health – nutrition, sleep, vitamins, exercise, time in nature, massage, yoga, meditation, diagnosis and medication if needed. Psychological – identity, sense of self, purpose, learning, passion, joy. Social – love, connection, belonging (the antidotes to loneliness). If you are seeking this approach, please connect with me.

And for those of you who are considering some life changes…..

If you are nervous about making the plunge into a major and exciting life change — whether professional or personal — or simply putting it off out of fear of the unknown, making yourself answer these seven questions can be your antidote. Write down your answers, and keep in mind that thinking a lot may not prove as fruitful or as prolific as simply brain-vomiting on the page.

1. Define your nightmare, the absolute worst that could happen if you did what you are considering.

What doubt, fears and “what-ifs” pop up as you consider the big changes you can — or need to — make? Envision them in painstaking detail. Would it be the end of your life? What would be the permanent impact, if any, on a scale of 1 to 10? Are these things really permanent? How likely do you think it is that they would actually happen?

2. What steps could you take to repair the damage or get things back on the upswing, even if temporarily? 

Chances are, it’s easier than you imagine. How could you get things back under control?

3. What are the outcomes or benefits, both temporary and permanent, of more probable scenarios?

Now that you’ve defined the nightmare, what are the more probable or definite positive outcomes, whether internal (confidence, self-esteem, etc.) or external? What would the impact of these more-likely outcomes be on a scale of 1 to 10? How likely is it that you could produce at least a moderately good outcome? Have other people done this before and pulled it off?

4. If you were fired from your job today, what would you do to get things under financial control?

Imagine this scenario and run through questions 1 to 3 above. If you quit your job to test other options, how could you later get back on the same career track if you absolutely had to?

5. What are you putting off out of fear? 

Usually, what we most fear doing is what we most need to do. That phone call, that conversation, whatever the action might be — it is fear of unknown outcomes that prevents us from doing what we need to do. Define the worst case, accept it and do it. I’ll repeat something you might consider tattooing on your forehead: What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do. As I have heard said, a person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.

6. What is it costing you — financially, emotionally, and physically — to postpone action? Don’t only evaluate the potential downside of action.

It is equally important to measure the atrocious cost of inaction. If you don’t pursue those things that excite you, where will you be in 1 year, 5 years and 10 years? How will you feel having allowed circumstance to impose itself upon you and having allowed 10 more years of your finite life to pass doing what you know will not fulfill you? If you telescope out 10 years and know with 100 percent certainty that it is a path of disappointment and regret, and if we define risk as “the likelihood of an irreversible negative outcome,” inaction is the greatest risk of all.

7. What are you waiting for?

If you cannot answer this without resorting to the BS answer of “good timing,” the answer is simple: You’re afraid, just like the rest of the world. Measure the cost of inaction, realize the unlikelihood and repairability of most missteps, and develop the most important habit of those who excel and enjoy doing so: action.

Excerpted from Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferriss. Copyright © 2017 by Tim Ferriss. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.