Psychotherapy  & Naturopathic Services in Etobicoke

Hours
Mon - Thurs: 10AM - 9PM | Fri: 10AM - 7PM | Sat - Sun: 10AM - 5PM

Making the First Therapy Appointment

Even if you are a supporter of the benefits of therapy, actually finding a therapist can be anxiety-inducing itself. You can be passionate about something and still have to face a challenge when advocating ‘for you’. It can be hard enough to share your struggles with a trusted friend, let alone a stranger or therapist. Also, the second we commit to therapy, we realize we are also committing to making a change. And let’s face it, change is scary!

It is uncomfortable; however, we need to feel this uncomfortable feeling before getting to that ‘good’ or ‘happy place’. What if that awkward or uncomfortable feeling could be that breaking point for you?

 

Let us help you in clarifying that you are not alone if you have these thoughts pre-therapy:

– I don’t know what to expect

– Will it be awkward?

– Will they ask me tons of personal questions?

– Will I have to talk about stuff I do not want to talk about?

– How do I know if they will be the right fit for me?

– How do I share my story with a stranger?

– Will they even help me feel better?

– How do I pay for it?

– How do I fit it into my schedule?

– …when I am already feeling so low and/ or anxious that it’s hard to do the simplest things

– It’s hard to admit I need help, and can’t figure it out myself

 

You do not have to figure out all of these answers beforehand. That is why we are here for you – to guide you through the process. We do not expect you to know all of this – how could you?

 

Instead of focusing on all the reasons why you should put off making an appointment, focus on what you hope to gain from it.

 

Acknowledge that making the call, or even booking online, is not easy… and feel compassion for yourself. Pick a time and date, and we will walk you through the rest of it.

Think about those nights you could not fall asleep because your mind is racing. Now, imagine you were able to quiet that part of your brain. We can help you slow those thoughts, and find some sense of calm. Getting there means taking the first step. Change typically happens with small steps; however, a step still needs to be taken.

Even though your psychotherapist is there to help support you, YOU are in control of your mental health journey. If the therapist or style of therapy is not a good fit for you, you can and should leave and try someone else. That is why we, and most practices, offer a free consultation to ensure you feel comfortable with the therapist of your choice. A quick call lets you ask any questions you might have, tell us about what you are looking for, and/ or let us tell you how we think we can help you/ what therapy could look like for you.

 

You can start your therapy now – your only commitment and effort is picking a time and date, and we we help you from there!

 

Written by Carly Clifton, Director & Registered Psychotherapist at Balanced Mind and Wellness Inc.

To learn more about how we can support you in starting your therapy journey, contact us at 647-961-9669, book online, or email us at info@balancedmindandwellness.com.

8 Ways to Stop Negative Thought Patterns

Negative thinking is the easiest way to slow down your progress and goals. But how do you get rid of negative thoughts? Here are 8 ways that can be helpful to shift your thoughts, and as a result, improve your mood.

 

1. BE CURIOUS

Practice curiosity, in trying to be aware of what else is going on when the thought comes up. Are you tired, stressed, or worried about something else?  When we try to ignore or push away negative thoughts, they hide for a small period of time, and then return. To counteract them, acknowledge them. A strategy that might be helpful is written or vocal recognition of the thought (to yourself).

2. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVE PEOPLE

Your energy, and others’ energy, is contagious. Just as we know someone’s laugh can be infectious, it is most certainly true of positive and negative attitudes and conversations that we have around us or participate in. Notice who is around you – are their views and perspectives they project filled with optimism or pessimism?

3. REMOVE PERFECTION FROM YOUR EXPECTATIONS

Expecting everything to be perfect can be exhausting. Why continually feel as though you are disappointing yourself by failing your unrealistic expectations? It can be liberating to find a way to live on your own terms while not expecting a flawless path or end result.

4. POSITIVE MORNING ROUTINE

Thinking starts early in the morning. Negative thinking can slow you, your tasks, and your day down. What can be helpful and effective here is to start your day by replacing thoughts of fear with thoughts of hope and belief. A way to kick-start these thoughts is by reading something encouraging and positive every morning. If you prefer to listen to something instead, there are many podcasts that serve as quick mindful reminders, such as one from here or here.

5. JUST BREATHE

Building reminders and scheduling time in your calendar  to relax or to just breathe will bring you more self-awareness. In order to stop negative thoughts, it is important to first acknowledge and recognize which thoughts are negative or judgmental. The trick is not to judge yourself or get caught up in your negative thoughts. Here are some helpful relaxation strategies and techniques that may be helpful.

6. BE INTENTIONAL

Assuming a positive attitude is an intentional action that starts as soon as you wake up in the morning. You have the ability to acknowledge and remove negative thoughts, by shifting your attitude. You are able to choose to attract what you focus on, and to let go of that which does not serve your goals. The more you practice positive mind-shifts, the easier it becomes. For example, it may be helpful to create a 2 column chart, write the negative thoughts in the left column, and replace them with a positive thought in the right column. After both are complete, cross out the statements in the left column.

7. THE GOAL > WHAT IF

No matter where you are in your life path, there will always be room to let negative thoughts exist. When you start to feel negative, try to remember why you are there (at that time, doing that task, in that moment). Focus on where you are headed and why that is important to you. Think about the goal you have set, and where you want to be.

8. THE ROOT PROBLEM

Most negative thinking stems from a problem is hard to determine from the surface. These negative thought patterns are sometimes ingrained in us early on and have become part of our way of life. In order to overcome these negative thought patterns, it is helpful to figure out the underlying reason these patterns continue to show up. It is only then that you will be able to address and solve the issue. Therapists can help you with this.

 

You can’t get rid of negative thought patterns unless you can understand what they are. Get to know your negative thinking and how it gets triggered. Only with that self-awareness can you begin to identify when it is happening and make a choice to shift your perspective in time

 

Written by Carly Clifton, Director & Registered Psychotherapist at Balanced Mind and Wellness Inc.

 

To learn more about how we can support you with developing positive thought patterns, and shift away from those unrealistic expectations, contact us at 647-961-9669 or info@balancedmindandwellness.com.

Understanding Trauma and PTSD

Traumatic events are situations that are shocking and emotionally overwhelming. They may involve actual or threaten death, serious injury, or threat to physical integrity. Such traumatic events may include a hurricane, car accident, physical assault or abuse in childhood. The way people react to such events can vary from being mild to debilitating. In the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event, it is common to experience shock or denial. It is also common to have feelings of helplessness or vulnerability.

Many people commonly associate Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with combat veterans, but this can occur in anyone who has experienced trauma. The exposure to trauma can also be indirect such as learning about the violent death of a loved one or from repeated exposure to trauma details as a police officer.

 

There are four categories of PTSD symptoms that you may identify with:

 

  • Intrusive Thoughts; recurring and unwanted memories, nightmares or flashbacks of the traumatic event

 

  • Avoidance; avoiding people or places that are reminders of the trauma or avoiding remembering anything about the event

 

  • Negative Thoughts and Feelings; distorted beliefs about oneself or the world (ex. “no one can be trusted,” prolonged anger, guilt, shame, feeling detached from others

 

  • Arousal/ Reactivity; irritability, angry outbursts, reckless or self-destructive behaviour, easily startled, and difficulty sleeping

 

It is important to understand that not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will develop PTSD. There are so many factors to account for including prior trauma exposure and how well that was dealt with as well as current life stressors and supports. Intentional interpersonal trauma (including child abuse and neglect) tends to have the greatest impact in terms of harmful psychological consequences. This is often referred to by many professionals as complex post-traumatic stress disorder.

 

For a diagnosis of PTSD, symptoms must last for more than a month, often persisting for many months and sometimes years. Many people develop some symptoms within 3 months of the original trauma but it is not uncommon for other symptoms to appear later on. For those with PTSD, symptoms cause significant distress or impact their ability to function. Many people with PTSD need professional treatment to recover. The distress caused by trauma is not someone’s fault, and PTSD is treatable with counselling.

 

Written by Kennedy McLean, Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) at Balanced Mind and Wellness Inc.

 

To learn more about how we can support you with building trust in your current and/ or future relationships, contact us at 647-961-9669 or info@balancedmindandwellness.com.