Victoria BC Therapy Blog

A Tip from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Worry or Anxiety

A student in the tradition of Kabbalah complained to his teacher that he could not pray with pure devotion because of improper thoughts that were intruding during his prayer. His teacher referred him to Rabbi Wolf of Zhitomir for help with this. On arriving in Zhitomir, the man sought out Rabbi Wolf’s house and knocked on the door, but there was no answer. After repeatedly knocking on the front door, rear door, and shutters, the man concluded that Rabbi Wolf was not at home. He sat in the doorway to wait for him and fell asleep.

Hours later, Rabbi Wolf opened the door and invited him into the house. “Have you learned anything yet, young man?” Rabbi Wolf asked. The man shook his head in bewilderment. “You knocked incessantly on my doors and shutters seeking entrance. But since I am master of my house, I chose to refuse you entrance. You can be master of your mind. If you are determined to keep some thoughts out of your mind, you can do so. You can refuse them entrance, regardless of how much they try to intrude.” Read more…


Why Grief Counselling?

Yesterday I watched the DVD Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.  It is the moving story of a young boy named Oskar and his journey through intense grief at the loss of his father on 9/11.  The story is told through the eyes of this 11 year old boy…. a very bright child with some unusual gifts and ways of being in the world.

What struck me, as a therapist who has worked extensively with clients who are grieving and mourning significant loss, was how well the movie showed the truth of what I’ve observed over and over with clients:  When we dont try to get past the pain, when we consciously choose to experience our heartbreaking loss, it leads to the healing power of self discovery. Read more…


Coping with Sleep Disorders

The worst thing in the world is to try to sleep and not to. 
-F. Scott Fitzgerald

I’m struck lately with how many of my casual conversations have to do with sleep!  Just about everyone I know, myself  included, seems to be having difficulty with sleep. Research shows about one-third of Canadians struggle with chronic sleep difficulties, but I’d bet the incidence is actually higher.

When I have a good, solid sleep, the next day is golden: my mood is better, my energy is high, and I’m much more focused and attentive.  There’s nothing like a good night’s sleep!

But when I go though a period of sleeplessness, I feel irritable or annoyed more easily.  I feel like I’m living in perpetual jet lag!

You may have difficulty falling asleep, you may not being able to stay asleep or you may awaken too early in the morning.

The sleep experts advise: if you can’t fall asleep within 15-20 minutes, get out of bed and don’t go back until you are sleepy.  I have to confess, this wouldn’t work for me.  I always take longer than 20 minutes to fall asleep!  So I’ve set the bar a little higher for myself. Read more…


The Shift to Daylight Savings Time

A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine discusses how the incidence of acute myocardial infarction (heart attack!) was significantly increased for the first 3 weekdays after the transition to daylight saving time in the spring.  The effects of losing even one hour of sleep can impact in serious ways.

It can be helpful to take some steps to prepare for the time change.  Below is an article I share with therapy clients and friends here in Victoria.

Read more…


The Pride of Inadequacy

The problems and suffering that bring people into therapy is thousand-fold.  Each is different, and their set of circumstances is different.  Despite their uniqueness, one ingrained, behavioral pattern in common to all the clients I see in my counselling practice here in Victoria (and, I’ll count myself in on this!).  At some basic level we believe that we are inadequate, insufficient or incomplete.

It requires a shift of perspective to see that the inadequacy we cultivate, often under the guise of humility, is really a form of pride, the other side of the same coin.

“In his private heart, said the writer, Mark Twain, “no man respects himself.”  We believe we’re not good enough, we feel ashamed of who we are and we spend a good part of our lives looking for someone or something to make us change our minds.

This is more than just a question of self-esteem or self-confidence. It is part of the human condition.  We all live from a mistaken belief we are unworthy.

Read more…