Blog

Collaborative Mind/Body Sessions

We at Around the Corner Counselling Ltd. are delighted to announce that we are now offering a collaborative mind/body therapeutic experience for clients seeking to process and integrate difficult experiences. Both Dr. Johnson and Ms. Chavez-Harrison are now working with Trauma-Informed Yoga Therapist, Shari Arial, to offer these powerful, one-of-a-kind collaborative therapeutic sessions. Each session lasts 1.5-2 hours and involves clients spending 45-60 minutes with a psychologist to engage in psychological processing of their experiences and 45-60 minutes with Shari to engage in somatic (body-based) processing. Clients describe these sessions as powerful and effective, allowing them to develop a variety of skills to be able to tolerate distress, reduce symptoms, and improve quality of life.

For more information about the therapeutic benefits of yoga therapy, please feel free to read this article as a simple introduction: Why More Western Doctors Are Now Prescribing Yoga Therapy.

Additionally, this article provides a bit more information about how yoga therapy can be used to help treat PTSD in particular: Can Yoga Help Treat PTSD?.

If you are interested in booking an appointment for yourself, or would like to speak with someone about whether this may be a good fit for you, please feel free to call us at 780-318-1480 or e-mail at info@aroundthecornercounselling.com to connect with us.

 

Pain Management

In the midst of the opioid crisis, some people are experiencing greater hesitation in accepting prescriptions for powerful painkillers, and physicians are more reluctant to provide the prescriptions in the first place. For these reasons, many people are looking for other methods to manage pain. Though pain is very much a biological phenomenon, many people do not realize that there is also a fairly significant psychological component to pain as well. Furthermore, the rapid rate of new information coming out of the neurosciences is constantly updating us on how the brain and body both sense and perceive pain. Indeed, a recent article in Psychology Today tells us about how brain imaging demonstrates that we can actually unlearn chronic pain. And even some new apps, such as Curable, are proving to be remarkably effective in helping people manage their chronic pain symptoms. What a time to be alive!

If you’re experiencing pain, you may want to look into psychological methods of pain management. If you’ve done your research and are interested in starting a round of pain management therapy, consider giving us a call.

The Sadness of the World

Today, I feel deeply connected with the sadness of the world.

What an awful couple of days it has been in the news. Locally, we in Edmonton experienced what may be our first terrorist attack, while reports are streaming in from south of the border that the US just experienced its most deadly mass shooting yet. The comments sections on news articles online are full of hatred, vitriol, anger, and fear. There are so many reasons your heart may feel heavy with all this, and to feel as though all the pain and suffering in the world is all too real – all too close – for you.

You’re not alone. I feel it, too. The air seems thick with sadness and fear. The emotional part of me understands that this deep empathy we feel for others, near and far, is not a bad thing, as it serves to keep us connected with the greater world around us, and can sometimes motivate us to take action towards meaningful changes we’d like to see in the world. And yet, it still hurts, and sometimes the emotions are so overwhelming that they can feel paralyzing.

There is no easy solution to any of this. Not the feelings, and not the events that caused them. So where can you go from here?

I recommend this as your first step: recognize you’re absolutely not alone. Put a hand on your chest, feel your heart beating beneath it, take a deep breath, feel your rib cage and your heart rate rise and fall with your breath and remind yourself that you are feeling exactly what a lot of people are feeling about this. Give yourself permission to feel these things, because it is perfectly human to connect with the sadness of the world. Second step: feel your feet on the ground, notice the muscles in your legs that are working subtly to keep you upright, feel the sturdiness of the ground beneath you and imagine the miles of earth and rock underneath that support your feet, and remember that in this moment you are safe. You are safe. Remember this any time your mind wanders to the awful things that exist in this world – you are safe right here and now. Third step: connect with others in positive ways: look for the helpers in the moments of tragedy, reach out to the ones you love, hug your partner or your children a bit longer today, and allow your eyes to linger just a moment longer than usual when you make eye contact with someone and smile. And, finally, be kind to yourself, because it hurts. It can be crushing. Pain is pain is pain, and if you’re feeling emotional pain it can be helpful to treat yourself as though you sustained an injury. Rest, soothe, take care of yourself, and provide yourself the time and resources you need to recover. Try to avoid the tendency to ignore or “push through” emotional pain, because that can be about as productive as trying to walk on a broken ankle. You have permission to need and accept care, both from yourself and others.

Doing these small things isn’t going to make the problems of the world or your intense feelings about them go away, necessarily. But it might help, and maybe when you start to feel a little more like yourself you’ll feel motivated to do something to help change the sadness in the world. And with every bit of action you take, you’ll feel more powerful and hopeful and in control, and when enough people meet you at this place you’ll actually change the world. But until then – breathe, get grounded, connect, and be kind to yourself.

 

Mindful Body Scan

I have found that the first step towards learning how to cope with your thoughts and feelings is to become more aware of them. Because people are born thinkers you may notice that it’s much easier to notice your thoughts than your feelings. And yet, so many of the problems people come to see me about are problems that are primarily felt in the body: the heart-racing, shaking tension of anxiety, or the heavy weight of depression that can leave people feeling slowed and exhausted. Our stress, depression, anxiety, trauma, and many other emotional experiences are intimately connected with the physical sensations of our bodies.

The first step in helping address the physical side of these experiences is to become more aware of how they manifest in you as an individual. To that end, I recommend checking out this guided meditation to bring attention to your body sensations through a mindful body scan. It’s a great way to learn about what you’re feeling and where, which is a necessary first step to being able to identify coping strategies that will best work for you.

Give it a try; what did you think of it?

https://youtu.be/EXneYUCddHE

New Group: Mindful Movement Through Anxiety

We are excited to announce that we are taking registrations for a new group called Mindful Movement Through Anxiety. Developed and facilitated by Dr. J. Lauren Johnson (psychologist) and Carolyn Box (physical training expert), this small group (maximum five participants per cohort) uses mindfulness and physical movement to help process anxious distress and develop coping skills. It runs on Friday afternoons at a personal training studio in Riverbend (south Edmonton) beginning November 10. If you or anyone you know may benefit from this powerful mind-body anxiety group, please direct them to contact our office at 780-318-1480 for information or to register. Thank you!!

Mindful Movement Anxiety Group Information