Well-being and healthAn overview of many of the issues that affect health and well-being
Mental Health & Mental Illness
The World Health Organization defines mental health as a state of well-being. Good mental health involves coping with normal life stressors, working productively, realizing ones potential, and enjoying life. It is not uncommon to experience some type of mental un-wellness, such as stress, anger, and sadness. If left untreated this can lead to more serious illness, which can disrupt ones ability to work, function, and cope with personal relationships.
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, all Canadians will at some point in time be indirectly affected by mental illness and 1 in 5 Canadians will personally experience mental illness. People personally affected may have difficulty thinking clearly, controlling emotions, and maintaining normal relationships. Mental illness can affect a persons thoughts, emotions, behaviour, and the way they interact with others. Experiencing mental illness indirectly can be very stressful and upsetting to witness. Most common forms of mental illness are depression and anxiety.
What is Depression?
Depression is characterized by severe sadness. This can be caused by a situation such as the loss of a loved one or job, a break-up or divorce, or even a decline in health or even medication being taken. Depression can cause chronic fatigue, insomnia, physical pain, and can even lower the bodys immune system. It can also cause a decrease in both appetite and interest in sex as well as low mood and social withdrawal. The activities in life that were once enjoyable become a burden and do not bring the same happiness that they once did.
Depression negatively affects a persons life and interferes with daily functioning. It is also hard on those around you and can significantly affect your partner and your family. It is important to understand that depression is not a choice, weakness, or laziness. It can be understood as a common illness such as the flu or a broken bone. No one would expect a broken bone to heal correctly without a doctor to reset it and treat it with a cast. So like a bone, depression needs to be treated like an illness.
How we can help
At Elpizo Counselling Services we can help you discover the source of your low moods and learn to change unhelpful thought patterns. With our effective treatments such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Rapid Resolution Therapy (RRT), your peace of mind and passion for life can soon return. We can also support your partner and family members through this process so that they are able to better understand how depression has affected you and work through their own issues in dealing with a family member who is depressed.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is defined as a state of distress caused by fear and perceptions of danger. Although it is helpful to be cautious and to plan for anticipated danger it can make life unnecessarily difficult when feelings of anxiety cause irrational fear and interfere with daily functioning. Symptoms of anxiety include muscle tension, headaches, sleeping issues, changes in appetite, and a lack of interest in sexual activities. Severe and prolonged anxiety can lead to depression and interfere with concentration, interpersonal relationships, and physical health.
Anxiety can have an effect on both children and adults. It can stem from irrational fears that are based on a negative event from the past, or an irrational fear of something bad happening in the future. It can also be triggered by unrealistic thoughts about something being experienced in the present. Whatever the case may be anxiety can be disruptive to the family setting if there is at least one person affected by it. Anxiety affects the way an individual thinks and perceives their world. It also affects how they feel and behave. They will have excessive worry, tension, and an unrealistic view of problems. Non-affected family members may have trouble seeing the world through the perspective of the affected family member.
What is an Anxiety Attack?
An anxiety attack is the response to a perceived stressor. Anxiety attacks can occur at any moment, randomly or within everyday circumstances. These attacks are generally associated with intense worry over something that may not necessarily be a threat but is perceived as one by the affected individual. When an individual is having an anxiety attack they may also experience flushing, sweating, increased heart rate, trembling, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, dizziness, fear of dying, and a strong desire to escape.
How we can help
If anxiety is affecting you, your spouse or your children we can help. We understand the impact that anxiety disorders can have on individuals, children, and families. The affected individual will have the opportunity to explore the root of their fears and their negative ways of thinking with a trained professional. We understand that most anxiety stems from negative, stress induced thought patterns that lead to feelings of anxiety, which in turn will lead to the symptoms of an anxiety attack. We offer methods that will lead to positive thinking, positive view of the self, and a more realistic view of the world.
Non-affected family members will be educated about anxiety and how to appropriately address it with their affected family member. They will also have the opportunity to express how their lives are being impacted. Addressing the family as a whole, and involving the entire unit in the therapeutic process helps to make the journey towards healing more achievable.
What are Panic Attacks?
Panic attacks are not the result of stressors but rather occur randomly without provocation. Although panic attacks typically only last 10-30 minutes it can be a very distressing experience. The symptoms of a panic attack include chest pain, shortness of breath, sweating, feeling cold or hot, dizziness, sense of being detached from reality or the body, numbness or tingling, and fear of death. In fact, many people visit the emergency room because the symptoms of a panic attack resemble a heart attack. Once serious illness has been ruled out, the panic attack sufferer may be ashamed to seek further treatment due to shame and others dismissing their suffering.
How we can help
Our highly trained and compassionate therapists understand the impact that panic attacks can have on a persons life. We can help you examine the underlying thoughts and anxieties, as well as teach you to recognize and neutralize approaching panic attacks so that you no longer have to live in fear of experiencing another panic attack.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder occurs after experiencing a distressing or catastrophic event. It can involve exposure or the experience of death, serious injuries, sexual violence, child abuse, car accident, train wreck, plane crash, bombing, crime, war or conflict, natural disaster, mugging, and/or kidnapping, etc.
A traumatic event or situation can happen to anyone and people are more likely to develop PTSD if their response to the traumatic event involves intense fear, vulnerability or horror. Many people have vivid nightmares, flashbacks, or thoughts of the event that seem to come from nowhere. Symptoms may include:
- Recurrent dreams of the event, flashbacks and intrusive memories
- Avoidance of things associated with the event
- Reduced interest in others and the outside world
- Nervousness and irritability
- Disconnection from body and thoughts
- Emotional numbing
- Outbursts of rage
- Constant vigilance
How we can help
At Elpizo Counselling Services, we have therapists who are trained in Rapid Resolution Therapy (RRT), which clears trauma in a non-invasive and painless way. In traumatic events, the mind stores the event as if its still happening, therefore invoking the emotions that go with it. We use Rapid Resolution Therapy to help clear how the mind is reading and registering data, clearing the mind to work at its highest potential. Some clients see results in as few as five sessions.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
What is ADHD?
There are three types of ADHD:
This type of ADHD is commonly referred to as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Individuals with a predominately inattentive presentation are easily distracted but do not exhibit signs of hyperactivity or impulsiveness. Common symptoms include:
- Easily distracted
- Unable to follow instructions
- Difficulty focusing on one task
- Dislikes activities or tasks that require long periods of mental effort
- Difficulty with organization
A hyperactive and impulsive presentation of ADHD does not exhibit symptoms of inattention. Common symptoms include:
- Fidgety and squirmy
- Moves about frequently (always on the go or running around)
- Excessive talking
- Difficulty waiting their turn
- Interrupts others constantly
- Unable to quietly take part in leisure activities
Combined ADHD includes symptoms of intention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
How Does ADHD Affect Individuals?
Are you very intelligent but are always underachieving? Are you always getting things done at the last minute? Do you often misplace important items? If so, you may be one of the many Canadians with ADHD. Unfortunately, ADHD can make it difficult to stay ahead of your to-do list. It is very difficult to prioritize and complete tasks in the right order when competing tasks occupy your mind all at once. When many different thoughts are screaming out for your attention, it can be difficult to tune out the noise and focus on the important stuff.
Hoes Does ADHD Affect Couples?
Having ADHD can damage personal relationships. This is because the non-affected spouse may become overwhelmed with the distractibility, disorganization, and impulsivity of their partner. It may also make the affected spouse feel as if they are not fully understood or supported by their partner.
How Does ADHD Affect Families?
When a child has ADHD it affects the entire family unit. Are you receiving frequent calls from your childs school? Are you afraid of taking your child out in public for fear of out of control behaviour? Something as simple as taking your child to a restaurant can turn into a very stressful event when you have a child who has difficulties focusing. It affects the familys ability to do things that other non-affected families take for granted. Many families become isolated from their communities because of the stigma attached to having a child who is impulsive and fidgety in public. Within the family home, particularly when non-affected siblings are involved, there is conflict, often stemming from just simply not knowing what to do.
How we can help
At Elpizo Counselling Services our experienced and highly trained therapists help clients examine treatment options and teach strategies in how to take advantage of their unique thinking style to get things done and achieve success. This includes teaching coping strategies, communication skills, and behaviour management skills that are necessary for building healthy relationships.
We recognize that one affected person affects the entire family unit. Therefore the therapy process includes working with both the child and their family. The child will learn how to recognize when he/she is being overstimulated and what to do with all their pent up energy. We will also teach focusing techniques and how to manage impulses. Group work, where the child has the opportunity to be with other children in a learning setting may also be suggested if appropriate.
For the rest of the family, we provide tools and methods of coping, learning how to use available resources, and education around medication and therapy, which will assist you in living with someone with ADHD. The therapy process will also include sessions with the entire family so that each family member will have the opportunity to both express to each other their own feelings and find support that will lead to healing.
What is Abuse?
Abuse is defined as any action that intentionally harms or injures another person. We can also say that it is a pattern of behaviour intended to control another person. Abuse also includes the misuse of any substance such as alcohol or drugs.
At Elpizo Counselling Services we specialize in the treatment of sexual abuse and also treat clients who have suffered from domestic abuse, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, and spiritual abuse.
Sexual abuse unfortunately is quite prevalent in our society, 1 in 3 females and 1 in 6 males in Canada experience some form of sexual abuse before the age of 18 according to Statistics Canada. Sexual abuse or sexual assault is any form of non-consensual sexual contact. When that force is immediate, of short duration, or infrequent, it is called sexual assault.
If you have experienced sexual abuse as a child and have not sought treatment, you may encounter some of these concerns that are typical of survivors:
- Blame, guilt and shame. Often survivors blame themselves for what happened to them or feel guilt and shame for any pleasure they may have experienced. Know that the body naturally responds to physical emotions and it is not your fault.
- Low confidence and low self-esteem. You may struggle with low self-esteem and low confidence as a result of the negative messages received from the abuser. Without proper treatment these issues can affect your health, career, future relationships, and setting healthy boundaries.
- Intimacy and relationships. Intimacy can become a challenge where flashbacks and recurring memories are concerned. Trust issues can affect relationships. Sometimes sexual dysfunction and/or sexual identity can also affect the survivor.
Domestic abuse can take many forms. It can involve physical violence, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and verbal abuse such as yelling, shaming or threats of punishment. Your partners explosive anger or their excessive control over your movements and relationships with your family and friends is also a form of abuse. All types of abuse are wrong and can cause distress beyond the actual abuse. You and your children deserve to be in a safe and respectful environment. An abuser will repeatedly apologize and then hurt you again.
Emotional abuse also called bullying, occurs when someone in a position of power, such as a spouse, employer or respected professional (doctor, clergy) in an attempt to control the emotions of another person, repeatedly causes emotional pain. The abuse can occur in person and via electronic communication (email, text, or social media). Blaming, shaming, threats, and insults are all forms of emotional abuse. Over time the victim may lose their self-identity and independence. The victim can also develop symptoms of trauma such as PTSD, depression, and diminished self-esteem.
Similar to other forms of abuse, verbal abusers use abusive words and conversations to control their victims. According to interpersonal relationship expert, Patricia Evans, verbal abuse can include repeatedly discounting or countering the victims feelings, silent treatment, and insults disguised as jokes amongst other controlling tactics. Because verbal abuse does not always include yelling or name calling, it is not always easy to identify the abuse. However, if the result is that the victims self-concept and self-esteem is diminished then it is verbal abuse.
Spiritual abuse happens when a spiritual authority, such as a clergy, pastor, religious leader or any religious person seeks to control individuals and ensure obedience through the use of scriptures. Spiritual abuse can also be seen as spiritual manipulation and it is not part of Gods plan for enhancing spiritual health. Some examples of spiritual abuse include:
- Citing scripture to justify abusive, controlling, or manipulative behaviour
- Making oppressive demands based on interpretation of scriptures or other religious teachings
- Instilling religious guilt in victims for not doing what they want them to do
- Dominating by claiming a superior understanding of scripture
How we can help
If you are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse or any form of abuse, we at Elpizo Counselling Services understand that you have survived a serious life changing trauma and you do not need to go through it again in therapy. We use Rapid Resolution Therapy (RRT) to painlessly, gently, and respectfully work with you without subjecting you to needless pain and possible re-traumatization. Practical and powerful tools will be used to maximize your success in dealing with the painful and debilitating effects of abuse.
If you are a parent who is concerned about the safety and wellbeing of your children Elpizo Counseling Services can help you implement strategies to promote the safety and healthy development of your children. Helping them grow into healthy, loving, and fulfilled adults.
Grief & Loss
What is Grief & Loss?
Grief is a natural and human response to a significant loss. It is the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is taken away. You may associate grief with the death of a loved one and this type of loss often causes intense feelings of grief.
According to Dr. Bill Webster, some emotional responses to grief include numbness, crying, confusion, panic, anger, guilt, and grief attacks. Some people experience all or some of the physical distress during early stages of grief, which include chest pains, fatigue, tension, restlessness, tightness in the throat, difficulty swallowing or speaking, awareness of shakiness, and aching in your body. Certain changes in life can also cause grief and loss:
- Unemployment, redundancy
- Relationship/marital breakdown
- Moving (For example: change in housing, city, country, or school)
- Serious illness or disability
- Loss of cherished dreams
- Rejection and failure (For example: exams, driving test, or job)
- Death of a pet
- Relationship breakdowns
- Loss of childhood
How we can help
At Elpizo Counselling Services, we care about our clients well-being. We offer empathy and encouragement in these painful moments when you feel overwhelmed with your emotions and your grief. We help you transition to your current status using tools and techniques and incorporating art therapy and symbolic activities which allows you to mourn, celebrate and embrace your circumstances.
What is Anger?
Anger is an emotional state of readiness and a state induced by an impulse to attack, defend, or protect as a response to a perceived threat or challenge. When someone feels violated or experiences rude actions they release emotions of anger. Perceived threat or fear can be triggered by an injustice, unfairness, criticism, frustration, insult, or any form of abuse. When anger is out of control, we are incapable of effectively communicating our true feelings. The further away true emotions are communicated, the more blinded to the mask of anger we will become.
When an individual becomes angry, it triggers their adrenal gland to flood their body with stress hormones. Feelings of anxiety and excitement become overwhelming and the body goes into a fight or flight response. An explosive burst of anger may cause an individual to act in a manner that can cause great harm to either themselves or to others around them. It may cause irrational behaviours and intense uncontrollable emotions. Prolonged anger is also unhealthy as it can have a serious effect on the daily functioning of the individual involved. This includes poor interpersonal relationships, difficulties focusing at work, difficulties feeling happy, sleep disturbances, and either increased or decreased appetites.
Children learn behaviours, thought patterns, and coping skills from their parents or caregivers and are impacted directly by anger. Anger may trigger fear, avoidance, anxiety, or depression in a child that is constantly exposed to it, which may in turn lead to many problems in adulthood. Anger can manifest itself in behaviour, including physical aggression causing harm, destructive communication, including the use of threatening or hurtful words or giving the silent treatment, and internalization of negative thoughts, including feelings of inadequacy, which can lead to withdrawal and a general sense of unhappiness. Families experiencing any of these issues should seek help in order to develop a more healthy way of interacting with each other.
According to Maxine Marsolini, many things have the potential to bring about unhealthy anger. Recognizing points of personal vulnerability is the first step. Do any of the following sound familiar?
- Wounding words
- Physical discomfort (health issues, weather, abuse, etc.)
- Defending others
- Peer pressure
- Work-related unfairness
- Difficulty in family relationships
- Unmet expectations
- Silent treatment or rejection from others
- Financial woes or greed
- A sudden or unexpected change or crises
How we can help
Individuals who find themselves challenged with either explosive or prolonged anger should seek help in order for them to find a more effective way to express their feelings of hurt, pain, or discontent.
At Elpizo Counselling Services, individuals will receive the adequate tools and coaching that will assist them in recognizing their source of anger and how to manage it effectively. We recognize that each person has a different narrative and therefore should be treated as the unique individual that they are. The approach that we take is customized to fit the specific needs of each individual. By the end of their involvement, each person will be able to have a fuller understanding of who they are, what their emotional triggers have been and how to control and manage their feelings of anger. We also understand that each person within the family plays an important role in the overall functioning of the family. Each family member is given an equal opportunity to express themselves in a safe and therapeutic environment.
Elpizo Counselling Services provides you with tools to manage your anger in a constructive manner. We can also provide a completion certificate should you need it for a mandated court order.
What is Conflict?
Conflict can occur in any area of life and can cause friction within ourselves, at home, and in the workplace. Not all conflicts can be avoided so it is important that we understand how to resolve conflicts in a respectful way. Conflict resolution is important for every individual in order to maintain positive relationships. Conflict resolution is necessary for children, youth, and adults. Learning how to resolve conflicts is a skill, and sometimes it takes time and support to learn how to get better at this. There are a number of ways to resolve conflicts:
If you are a child or youth you can:
- Ask an adult for support
- Use the words I feel…
- Try to resolve the conflict using an alternative solution
- Use assertive language
- Use a talking stick
If you are an adult you can:
- Use assertive language
- Use the words I feel
- Take time away and consider your thoughts and feelings and how the other person may be feeling before approaching the person you are having a conflict with
- Create a list of things you want to say and ask for a time to meet with the other person to discuss the issue
How we can help
Elpizo Counselling Services we will identify your conflict style and teach you with effective communication skills to resolve conflict in a healthy way. We can also support you or your child learn these and other skills so that conflicts can be resolved more peacefully, and you are more satisfied and feeling happier with the resolutions created.
Family structures have changed over the years. More than one-third of Canadians are in some form of a stepfamily/blended family situation. The rising divorce population and remarriages has created blended families as the modern norm and of course the increase in children living in stepfamilies rather than in nuclear family structures. This modern structure though a reality still comes with many challenges not only on the family as a whole but also on the couple as more attention is dispersed with managing the children than on the health of the marriage.
Co-parenting may be challenging at first, but it can get easier. Co-parenting in a positive, child-centred way can help families create successful bridges for children’s emotional well-being.
Co-parenting strategies can also help in the following situations if:
- You are feeling lost and hopeless about you or your child’s future
- You and your previous partner cannot agree on what is in your child’s best interest
- You feel that you may be talking negatively about your previous partner more frequently than you feel is right
- You are starting to feel angry or resentful about your partner
- You feel like involving other agencies or a lawyer
How we can help
To assist in these life-changing adjustments, Elpizo Counselling Services offers assistance in navigating through this phase of your life. We offer family sessions, parenting classes, and couple sessions to address areas of concern, conflict, and communication skills. We offer practical solutions to help strengthen and grow your family where there’s some semblance of peace, joy, and happiness all around. We all know that how we parent our kids can affect them in adulthood, which will likely bring growth, strength, and continued resiliency. Sometimes, however, how we parent our children can affect him or her negatively. Learning more about your parenting style can help you learn about yourself and your child.