Self-Esteem and Self-Compassion

Okay, so for most of us the idea of self- esteem is something we pay a little amount of attention to, for instance, we may be aware that we have a critical, self-defeating dialogue, or for some reason never feel good enough. And maybe we think we don’t have the time or mental energy to figure out why it’s happening.  Also, we may think it will just take too much effort to make any lasting changes in the way we think about ourselves or that we just can’t muster up any positive feelings about ourselves.  After all, with the idea of self-esteem comes comparison and it’s difficult to experience self-esteem when you feel you will just never measure up to other peoples standards or what the next person is doing.  So maybe next time feelings of judgment start hooking you in, and you start speaking to yourself with that negative self-talk you have gotten so used to, I would encourage you to evaluate the situation.

-How would you treat your best friend if they were in a similar situation? (Self-Compassion)

-Is there a way to change the story (Narrative) about this topic?

-Is this self-talk attached to a core belief?

I attended a fantastic workshop a little while ago by Dr.Kristen Neff, and interestingly she encourages us to choose self-compassion over self-esteem.  Dr. Neff rationalizes that self-compassion is there for us when self-esteem fails.  For example, when we don’t meet our own expectations or fail in some way self-compassion reminds us that no one is perfect and we all fail sometimes. If you are having problems dealing with critical self- talk, self-judgment, blame and feelings of worthlessness or what we normally call low self-esteem you can read more about self-compassion on this link:

Read more about self-compassion here

 

Video Introduction!

Hello,

I thought it was about time I posted a video so please click on this link to see my video introduction.

Crystal Gerlach RSW RP

Psychotherapy and Clinical Social Work
Anxiety, Depression, Stress, PTSD, Life Transitions, Chronic Pain and more
5063 North Service Road, Suite 200
Burlington, ON L7L 5H6
Direct Line) 905-399-0808
 
“Social Workers. Real Experts for Real Life”
 

Stress – The Single Most Important Thing You Can Do

I wanted to add this video because it is really something that everyone can benefit from watching.

Click on this link for the video by Doctor Mike Evans for some basic and practical stress management tools;

The Single Most Important Thing You Can Do For Stress

One of the most important things we can do for stress is change the way we think, and this can be done using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Have a fantastic day!

Crystal Gerlach RSW RP

Psychotherapy and Clinical Social Work
Anxiety, Depression, Stress, PTSD, Life Transitions, Chronic Pain and more
5063 North Service Road, Suite 200
Burlington, ON L7L 5H6
Direct Line) 905-399-0808
 
“Social Workers. Real Experts for Real Life”

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

So you may be asking what the heck is Acceptance & Commitment Therapy?

“Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) gets it name from one of its core messages: accept what is out of your personal control, and commit to action that improves and enriches your life.” Dr. Russ Harris (www.actmindfully.com)

The aim of ACT is to help you live a more meaningful life even with the hard stuff that gets in the way. In sessions, we will work together to teach you skills to help you cope and manage your painful thoughts and feelings more effectively.  That way they will have less impact on you because when they do come up you will have some ways (or an emotional toolbox) to deal with them (i.e. the symptoms).

One of the ways we can do this is to build on your mindfulness skills.  I will talk more about mindfulness later, but in the most basic way, mindfulness is to just be aware of any thoughts, emotions, sensations happening in the here and now.  I encourage you to be especially tuned into the uncomfortable thoughts, emotions and sensations since those are the ones that can be most troubling and get in the way of stuff you want to do.

Using ACT we can also work collaboratively to clarify what is important and meaningful to you (values) and use that as a guide.  In ACT we compare values to a compass and by using values as a guide we will work together to move you towards the life you really want! 

P.S. I will share more about Mindfulness in my next post:)

Crystal Gerlach RSW RP

Psychotherapy and Clinical Social Work
Anxiety, Depression, Stress, PTSD, Life Transitions, Chronic Pain and more
5063 North Service Road, Suite 200
Burlington, ON L7L 5H6
Direct Line) 905-399-0808
 
“Social Workers. Real Experts for Real Life”

Skype Therapy

For some people, the thought of having that first initial therapy session may be especially difficult. In that case using Skype may be a helpful first step to being comfortable with therapy or a therapist.

Let me know if you are considering Skype therapy services in some cases, it may not be recommended for example if you are experiencing serious a serious mental illness.

Skype services are also offered along with telephone, and in person therapy so you may want to use it as a compliment to in-office sessions.

If you are a new client, I will call you prior to our Skype appointment for an initial free consultation.

You can also click this link to book to book a consultation or appointment.

Crystal Gerlach RSW RP

Psychotherapy and Clinical Social Work
Anxiety, Depression, Stress, PTSD, Life Transitions, Chronic Pain and more
5063 North Service Road, Suite 200
Burlington, ON L7L 5H6
Direct Line) 905-399-0808
 
“Social Workers. Real Experts for Real Life”

 

 

 

Best Advice for People Taking Opioid Medication-Video DocMikeEvans

Please see the video below as it relates to both chronic pain and taking opioid medications. If you have been taking opioid medications do not try to stop taking them on your own (this goes for all prescribed medications).  It is very difficult to taper medication and the gradual discontinuation or reduction of a therapeutic dosage of opioids must be monitored.  If this is something that you are considering, it is possible with the help of a qualified therapist and a family doctor.  I am ready to support you in the journey and have worked with other people just like you suffering from chronic pain, and needing help to reduce or stop opioid medications.  You can click this link to book to book a free consultation or appointment with me today.

Crystal Gerlach RSW RP

Psychotherapy and Clinical Social Work
Anxiety, Depression, Stress, PTSD, Life Transitions, Chronic Pain and more
5063 North Service Road, Suite 200
Burlington, ON L7L 5H6
Direct Line) 905-399-0808
 
“Social Workers. Real Experts for Real Life”

Weather Changes Got You Down?

As summer ends and sunny days turn longer, darker and cooler, some people may notice a slight change in their mood.  You may feel a little “blah” or “blue”, and for most of us this adjustment to the weather is normal.  Over time we settle back into our fall and winter routines of school or work, spending time with family and friends, and holiday planning.  If this is not the case and you find that seasonal changes impact your ability to cope with daily life, you may have a type of clinical depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.  

The Canadian Mental Health Association recognises Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) as “a type of clinical depression that can last until Spring” (2016).  If you think you may have SAD, start by speaking to your doctor or mental health provider.  Therapy techniques such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy have been shown to be very helpful when done with a regulated professional (CMHA, 2016).  Also, light therapy has been found helpful in 70% of people with diagnosed with SAD (MDAO, n.d.)

Cause

Although there is no confirmed cause of SAD, changes in light that regulate our daily rhythms can impact our mood (CMHA, 2016).

Risk

On average, 2%-6% of Canadians will experience SAD in their lifetime and 15% will experience a milder type of SAD (MDAO, n.d.).  Also, SAD tends to impact people over the age of 20 years old, and the condition is more common in women than in men (CMHA, 2016).  SAD is also more common in Northern countries where the winter day is shorter and for those living in urban areas or for shift workers who experience less daytime light at work (CMHA, 2016).

What to look for

  • change in appetite
  • weight gain
  • fatigue
  • a tendency to oversleep
  • difficulty concentrating
  • irritability
  • avoidance of social situations
  • feelings of anxiety and despair (CMHA, 2016)

Treatment

Speak to your doctor or a qualified mental health professional such as a registered social worker or psychotherapist. I offer Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to help cope and manage such symptoms.  In some cases, medication may also be recommended and I will provide a referral for a psychiatrist for you to discuss as required.

Helpful Tips

If you think you have SAD, the first step is to speak with someone.  You may want to write down any changes you have noticed in how you are feeling so you don’t forget once you attend your medical or therapy appointment.  Also, it will be helpful to increase your exposure to daytime light, and you can do this by working near a window where you are exposed to sunlight and getting outside during daytime hours.  Try to stay in a regular routine and pay attention to how much sleep you are getting; for example, is it too much or too little?  Both of these will impact the way you feel.  Exercise is also a fantastic way to help regulate your moods.  You may want to ask a friend or family member to go for a walk, meet for a hike, or join a fitness class.  Lastly, since SAD is a type of clinical depression, it would be helpful to check out some of the other resources listed on the website.

Crystal Gerlach RSW RP

Psychotherapy and Clinical Social Work
Anxiety, Depression, Stress, PTSD, Life Transitions, Chronic Pain and more
5063 North Service Road, Suite 200
Burlington, ON L7L 5H6
Direct Line) 905-399-0808
 
“Social Workers. Real Experts for Real Life”

 

Resources

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).  (2016).  Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Retrieved from http://ontario.cmha.ca/mental_health/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad/#.WBeQmC0rKUl

Mood Disorders Association of Ontario (MDAO).  (n.d.).  Frequently Asked Questions – Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.).  Retrieved from https://www.mooddisorders.ca/faq/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad

Mental Health Apps

I know that for most of us we could spend a little less time on our cell phones. But the truth is that since most of us have our phone with us majority of the time, it can be a helpful tool.

There are quite a few apps available for download on iPhone or android to help you cope with mental health issues from day to day. These resources can help you learn more about symptoms related to mental illness or even provide ideas for activities to help get you going when you are feeling depressed as well as give you an idea of how to start a crisis plan for when you are feeling really unwell. Also, they could provide you with a guided meditation or relaxation techniques if you are feeling anxiety or panic.

Please keep in mind that these apps do not eliminate the need to see a therapist or take medication but can be an important part of self-help and symptom management.

Feel free to try out the apps as listed below and even consider making using them part of your daily wellness routine.

Crystal Gerlach RSW RP

Psychotherapy and Clinical Social Work
Anxiety, Depression, Stress, PTSD, Life Transitions, Chronic Pain and more
5063 North Service Road, Suite 200
Burlington, ON L7L 5H6
Direct Line) 905-399-0808
 
“Social Workers. Real Experts for Real Life”