If you have depression, things that once gave you joy may now seem meaningless. A depressed person often has a sense of purposelessness, accompanied by a lack of energy, feelings of hopelessness and despair, and a belief that life is pointless. Low self-worth is often an integral part of depression.
Often, depression comes on slowly, with no known triggering event. Depression is not the same as sadness, which is a normal, healthy response to a major loss in one’s life. Depression may have no triggering event, and it may be hard to pinpoint a cause.
Depending on the severity of the depression, you may benefit from therapy on its own or a combination of therapy and medication. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a common and highly effective treatment of choice for depression.
CBT addresses the link between emotions, thoughts, and behaviours, with a focus on identifying and changing the faulty, negative, and exaggerated thinking patterns that lead to negative emotions and depression.
To take a depression self-assessment test, click here. If you are concerned about your score, speak with your doctor to rule out any physical reasons for your symptoms.
To find a counsellor specializing in depression, please visit our Counsellors page.
While there is a close link between fear and anxiety, they are different. Fear is a healthy response to a real and imminent threat. Fear prepares us to fight or flight and helps keep us safe. Anxiety on the other hand, is not caused by a real threat in our environment. Instead, it is based on thoughts of what could happen.
Anxiety focuses on what is possible, not on what is probable. Since virtually anything could happen, anxiety can have a crippling effect on someone caught in the grips of worst-case-scenario thinking.
Because anxiety is routed in our thoughts, the treatment for anxiety is often Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which focuses on the link between our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours.
If you have anxiety, you can learn skills to challenge your anxious thoughts and think more accurately.
To take an anxiety self-assessment test, click here. If you are concerned about your results, speak with your doctor to rule out any physical reasons for your symptoms.
To find a counsellor specializing in anxiety, please visit our Counsellors page.
Stress is an unavoidable part of life. On the positive side, it can help motivate us to get things done. However, chronic, unrelenting stress can have serious consequences for our mental and physical health.
Often, an effective treatment for stress is to learn to set boundaries, develop healthy coping strategies, and manage negative self-talk. If chronic stress is not treated, it can lead to burnout, depression, anxiety, and a variety of physical symptoms.
To check your stress level, click here.
To find a counsellor specializing in stress management, please visit our Counsellors page.
GRIEF & LOSS
Grief and loss are normal life events and do not necessarily require the intervention of a therapist. Normal grief and loss ebb and flow, decreasing in intensity given enough space and time to adjust and heal. Grief and loss are not the same as depression, but grief and loss can turn into depression if we experience associated guilt, remorse, shame, fear, helplessness, or hopelessness.
If your grief and loss is not lessening over time, and instead, is becoming more intense, your grief may have turned into depression.
Often, the chance to talk through your painful and often complex emotions with a skilled and caring counsellor can help you process and move through your grief.
To learn more about grief and loss, click here.
To find a counsellor specializing in grief and loss, please visit our Counsellors page.
DIFFICULTY MANAGING EMOTIONS
Some people have a difficult time managing their emotions. If you experience excessive anger, sadness, or fear, out of proportion to what others might feel in the same situation, you may have difficulty regulating your emotions. Not only do you feel your emotions more deeply than others, you are more reactive and impulsive when your emotions get activated. You may also have a harder time returning to your normal state once your emotions become intense.
This “emotion dysregulation” is often caused by a combination of genetic predisposition and a chronically invalidating childhood environment. Constantly being told that your emotions are wrong results in an inability to trust your emotions. This lack of trust results in negative thoughts, self-doubt, and over-dependence on the opinions of others.
The treatment for emotion dysregulation is learning skills to help you validate and reassure yourself, working through negative emotions, and challenging faulty thinking.
To learn more about emotion dysregulation, click here.
To find a counsellor specializing in emotion dysregulation, please visit our Counsellors page.
BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is primarily seen in adults between 18 and 35 years old. BPD is characterized by mood instability, impulsivity, fears of being alone or abandoned, and poor self-image.
For people with BPD, every perceived slight can trigger extreme emotional pain and reactive behaviour. People with BPD tend to have unstable relationships, exaggerated thinking, impulsivity, self-injurious behaviors, eating disorders, and/or frequent suicide attempts.
BPD is often caused by a combination of a biological predisposition to high-sensitivity, along with a chronically invalidating childhood environment. The environment may not be abusive, but there is often an inability to understand, acknowledge, or meet the needs of a highly sensitive child. As a result, the child receives the message that their emotions are wrong and can not be trusted.
This inability to trust your emotions leads to an over-reliance on what others think. It can also cause you to have extreme emotional reactions to any perceived disapproval or rejection from others.
Dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) is the most recognized and evidence-based treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder. DBT is a multi-faceted treatment that involves a combination of individual counselling and a DBT skills group.
To learn more about DBT and/or DBT skills group, please visit our FAQ page.
To find a counsellor specializing in DBT, please visit our Counsellors page.
TRAUMA & PTSD
Trauma is caused by an emotionally distressing event. A traumatic event can be difficult to define because the same event may be experienced as more traumatic by some people than by others.
Traumatic events experienced early in life can have long-lasting and devastating impacts. However, many adults also experience trauma, such as from a serious accident, being the victim of violence, living through war or natural disaster, or experiencing a sudden, unexpected loss.
When thoughts and memories of the traumatic event do not go away, they may worsen over time and lead to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
All our counsellors work from a trauma-informed perspective, which validates the experience of a person coping with PTSD. Symptoms are recognized as coping strategies that have developed in response to a traumatic experience.
A person with PTSD may have behavioural, emotional, and/or physical responses that have emerged to help them deal with overwhelming stressors (though often in an ineffective way).
Some common approaches to trauma therapy include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement & Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), and pharmacological treatment.
To learn more about trauma and PTSD, click here.
To find a counsellor specializing in trauma and PTSD, please visit our Counsellors page.
Having relationships that are supportive, nurturing, and accepting is the cornerstone of a satisfying life. Conflict, tension, misunderstandings, and being invalidated can make anyone’s life more stressful.
We provide skill-based counselling focused on being effective in your relationships, with a focus on deepening your connections with the people who are most important to you.
To find a counsellor specializing in relationships,
please visit our Counsellors page.