Posts Tagged ‘mental health’

In simple terms it is a way to look at how thoughts affect mood and behaviour.

CBT has been used to help people successfully with depression, anxiety, panic, sleep disorders and pain management.

We have hundreds of random thoughts every minute, some of our thoughts are “automatic” (core beliefs, assumptions)”I feel fat” or “People don’t like me” “I always fail”  which often trigger negative feelings and can cause mood to decline and behaviour to change.

An example would be;

I won’t go to the party because I don’t think anyone likes me (thought) I feel sad (emotion) I am going to stay inside all weekend (behaviour) – the isolating behaviour then reinforces the negative thinking and emotional distress.

CBT interventions promote awareness of thought distortions, improve emotional regulation and behavioural strategies for coping.

A therapist with training in CBT is a must.  A good workbook is “Mind Over Mood; Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think” Greenberger/Padesky

Contact Barb Larkin, 604-785-4359, for more information.

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Anger is “just” an emotion that is telling us that we are perceiving something in our outside world as a “wrong”

Anger can be positive if we use it to understand ourselves better and be constructive with it

Anger is not just a male emotion – females get angry too and that is normal

Anger can harmful if there is “too much”; it is affecting our relationships with others, too frequent, too intense, too long, leads to aggressive behaviour, disrupts work/ and relationships

Is your anger caused by external and/or internal causes? – everyone has stressors – do you have too much stress? it is often how we interpret and cope that will result in anger

There are lots of great things you can do to minimize anger and increase your wellbeing (which by association improves relationships).

Don’t bottle things up or continually blame others – own your emotions, a first step to positive change

If you are struggling with anger ask for help!  There is a lot of good information on the internet and a therapist can help to explore causes and provide strategies for change

Barb Larkin, MSW, RSW


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The Clash sing “Should I stay or should I go?”  and for many of us we can relate to the back and forth that can occur in our thinking when we are faced with a decision to be made.

Why is it so hard to make decisions sometimes?

When we are overwhelmed we may be looking at decision-making from a fear based perspective “what will I lose” rather than from the possibilities that can occur through change.

Often decisions we reach will be of a black and white nature – stay or go – and has elements of fear which may keep thinking we are “safe” from the unknown while keeping us stuck in a current situation.

Within the song by the Clash the lyrics suggest that the “other” should decide if the relationship should continue, another way we often avoid making our own decisions – let others do it for us.

Separating interests from actual issues involved in the decisions is important and can be challenging; what are we holding on to?  what are our fears about the decision to be made?  Are we unable to make a decision because we think “others” will condemn us?  How will our decisions affect the self and others?  Is our thinking realistic?

It is helpful to talk to a friend, supportive person or therapist to help unravel our decision-making and look at situations we are facing from a broader perspective.

Self care in the way of breathing, relaxation technique, mindfulness,  talking to supportive others and walking in nature can be helpful to quiet our thinking and help us open our mind to possibilities.

Get help if you are unable to make the simplest of decisions – a clear symptom of stress and possible depression and one that should not be ignored.

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As the baby boomers get older and their parents get even older the generation that had it all is now looking after it all!  Often still parenting they are now faced with caregiving aging parents; making financial, medical, household and a myriad of other decisions while dealing with a rollercoaster of emotions concerning their changing relationship and managing a glimpse or two of their own mortality – an exhausting bittersweet time of life.

I recently was quoted in a MORE magazine article (October 2012) on the topic of how the spouse/partner/ or others can be helpful to a caregiver and there are one or two key pieces that I’d like to share from my own perspective and experiences.

Caregiver stress can affect a person physically and emotionally.  Stress/overload will often show up in a persons thinking and behaviour (they may be not wanting to do things they used to enjoy, be irritable, be worrying excessively, have poor sleep and/or eating habits etc.).  A partner, friend or professional support person can often observe symptoms of overload before the caregiver is able to recognize what is happening.

Some tips;

Be supportive in chores/tasks and perhaps encourage outside support/resources to fill the gaps

Help with decision making, have the “clearer head” when needed

Encourage healthy coping strategies; taking time for self, exercise, diet, self care, enjoyable activities, laughter

Support outlet for emotions; let the caregiver have a cry, encourage joining a support group or seeking professional help if needed

Give frequent hugs, gestures of caring, “you are doing a great job”

Realize this is putting stress on you and your relationship as well

For more information or to book a counselling session contact me, Barb Larkin at 604-785-4359, or email

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