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What is Cognitive Therapy?

Often clients are referred to my office to for Cognitive Therapy or Cognitive Behavioral (CBT).  Once they arrive at my office it is not uncommon for these clients to ask what CBT is. Having said that I thought it would be appropriate to write this blog to help educate clients.

Cognitive Therapy was pioneered by Dr Aaron T. Beck in the 1950’s and is the most widely used form of psychotherapy to date.  Cognitive Therapy can be used for a number of problems such as; depression, anxiety, panic disorder, phobias, eating disorders, stress, just to name a few.

What is Cognitive Therapy?  Well “cognitive” means the way we think or our thought process.  This includes our perception of how we view events in our lives and our historical experiences. It also includes our worldly knowledge, how we understand the world around us.

How is this model applied?  Typically the therapist and client would explore the client’s thoughts and beliefs attached to the mood, physical experiences, behaviors (hence the B in CBT), and historical experiences or events in our lives.  So what are the nuts and bolts of this concept? Cognitive therapy would suggest that our perception of a particular experience or event has a profound affect on our emotional, physiological and behavioral response to that event.  An example of this might be, you are waiting in the Doctor’s office.  Your appointment was at 10 a.m. but it is now 11 a.m.  Now you have a choice. If you believe that the Doctor is really busy this day and working hard to see patients you might grab a magazine read a few articles and wait until your name is called. However if you think the Doctor’s office overbooked and that this has put you out, you may complain, get agitated, angered, and fidgety and feel you mood changing.  Cognitive therapy helps clients challenge their way of thinking and subsequently changing their reaction to the thought or event thus improving mood.

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Gambling “Will I ever get out of the hole?”

As with other addictions, the first step is admitting there is a problem.When is it a problem?
Can you answer yes to any of these questions?

Have you gambled more often or higher stakes to win back your lost money?
Does gambling cause you to have sleep difficulties?
Have you ever lost time from work or school to gamble?
Lying, borrowing or criminal activity to finance gambling?
Spending long or increasing amounts of time in gambling venues?
Gambling to escape the daily pressures of life?
Has gambling ever caused your home life to be unhappy?
Have you ever gambled until you lost your last dollar?
Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling?
Constantly thinking about or preparing for gambling?
Neglecting family, nutrition, or general well-being?

For most people, gambling is simply a form of recreation, something fun to do occasionally but for others it can be a devastating and life-threatening addiction.

A very serious effect of problem gambling is what is called “the loss of hope”.  Compared to other addictive disorders, the rate of attempted suicide is highest among compulsive gamblers.

Grief – sorrow or mental suffering resulting from loss, affliction, regret, death…

David James and Associates

David James Cockman - BSW, MSW, RSW

David James and Associates Professional Counselling Services
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Grief is a normal human reaction to loss and change.  Sharing our grief allows us to heal quicker.  To go through the many layers of grief takes time, the bigger the loss the longer the time.  For minor losses the grieving process could take a few hours, days or even weeks.  For moderate loss the time could be months to a year and for severe loss the grieving time could take 2 to 4 years for healthy completion.

There are as many ways to grieve as there are personalities, everyone grieves differently and at different paces.

One model based on Kubler-Ross’s stages of accepting death is as follows:

Numbness:
This reaction often follows the death of a loved one and may last for seven to ten days.  Some have referred to numbing as the body’s way for protecting itself from the shock of the loss.

Denial and Isolation:
Here the bereaved person has difficulty accepting their loss.  Although acceptance is part of the complete grief process more acute difficulties with acceptance are included in this stage.

Anger:
In this phase the bereaved feels anger with everyone.  A strong feeling of “Why me?” ensues here and bargaining with God for the return of the deceased may be a part of this phase.

Depression:
As the bereaved accepts their loss and the reality of that loss sets in they may experience extreme sadness or depression.

Acceptance:
The bereaved person comes to terms with their loss and is able to return to life on a daily basis with an absence of the extremes of emotion previously experienced.

Trauma – “Understanding Why You Feel this Way”

DAVID JAMES & ASSOCIATES
http://www.davidjamesandassociates.com
Feburary, 2011

Counselling, Counsellor, Niagara Region, St. Catharines, Therapist, Thorold, Welland, Niagara Falls, Beamsville, Lincoln, Grimsby, Stoney Creek, Port Colborne, Psychotherapy, Psychologist, addictions, chronic pain, hypno therapy, marriage, divorce
Visit our Website for more information and locations

At some point in your life you have probably cut your finger with a knife.  Depending on the sharpness of that knife and the force behind it you either bled a little or a lot.  Even if you had extremely tough skin, you would bleed.  There are events in life that can make you bleed all over on a psychological level.  It is these events that make people susceptible to developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

You should talk to a counsellor if you have re-experienced the trauma in the form of dreams, flashbacks or intrusive memories, if you experience a numbing of emotions and reduced interest in others and your surrounding.  Also if you are experiencing insomnia, agitation, irritability or outbursts of rage that persist for at least one month.

Secondary Traumatization

Professions such as doctors, nursing staff, fire workers, police and search and rescue are at risk for secondary traumatization, which is known also as compassion fatigue, secondary or vicarious traumatization, and “burn-out”.  The symptoms are usually less severe than PTSD but can still affect the livelihoods of these professionals.  There are 3 risk factors for secondary traumatization, the first is exposure to the stories (or images) of multiple disaster victims.  Secondly your empathic sensitivity to their suffering and lastly your unresolved emotional issues that relate to the suffering seen.

Critical incident stress

Critical Incident Stress is the natural reactions of a person to an extreme situation.  They may occur immediately or in days, weeks or even months.  People that have experienced an extreme  situation often benefit from a critical incident debriefing,  which is a meeting held for those individuals that were directly affected by the event.

Learning Disabilities

Counselling, Counsellor, Niagara Region, St. Catharines, Therapist, Thorold, Welland, Niagara Falls, Beamsville, Lincoln, Grimsby, Stoney Creek, Port Colborne, Psychotherapy, Psychologist, addictions, chronic pain, hypno therapy, marriage, divorce
Visit our Website for more information and locations

DAVID JAMES & ASSOCIATES
http://www.davidjamesandassociates.com
December 6, 2010

 

REMEMBER:  “People with learning disabilities are smart, they just learn differently.”

 

Why is it some students struggle while most have no difficulty?

Some believe the problems with children who do not succeed at school are:

 

Temporary:  The problem will go away with time; they will pull out of it

Home Environment:  The parents must be doing something wrong.

Intellect:  They are simply not smart enough or not fit for school.

Motivational:  They are simply not motivated and do not apply themselves.

School Environment:  The teacher must be doing something wrong.

 

While each of these is a possibility, it is likely that the particular student is suffering from Learning Disabilities.

 

The Facts

.

A learning disability is a disorder that interferes with an individual’s ability to interpret what they see and hear or to link information from different parts of the brain.

Left unaddressed, people may suffer unnecessary hardships such as low self-esteem .

Learning disabilities cannot be cured, however they can be lessened through  interventions and helpful learning strategies.

Bright and gifted children who are under-achieving  may have learning disabilities and those who do often fall between the cracks in our educational system.

It is important to identify whether or not a person has a learning disability in order to determine

the strategies to compensate for it.

 

If difficulties in several of the following items pertain to you or your child, learning disabilities may apply.

-Planning or organizing work

-Completing homework

-Basic reading and reading comprehension

Listening comprehension

-Math calculations and reasoning

-Language skills

Spelling

Note taking

-Class participation

-Following verbal direction

-Easily frustrated with school work   

Time management

Remembering facts and school-related content

 

Learning disabilities are assessed in 5 areas:  Visual, Auditory, Motor, Organizational and Conceptual.

Boundaries – “What is All This Talk About?”

 

DAVID JAMES & ASSOCIATES
http://www.davidjamesandassociates.com
Topic Chess Series
November 5, 2010

 The concept of boundaries is one the most important tools in the area of interpersonal relationships.  Most of our significant relationship problems in our lives are a result in having “poor boundaries”.

What are Boundaries?

Boundaries are the imaginary lines that that tell people your limits and how close they can get to you.  Boundaries can be considered the “shield” you create around yourself such as Limits around time, who you allow into your life and limits around what activities you let take up your attention.

Boundaries are for protection.

Boundaries are the fundamental things that keep you safe and support your well-being.
If you were parented well, you learned to say “NO” firmly and resolutely and to resist people that are “boundary invaders”.  By doing this you learned to keep yourself safe and well.
When our interpersonal boundaries are working well they help us to filter out the negative or harmful people and allow the positive or good people in. Firm boundaries allow us yo enter into sexual relationships that are fulfilling, avoiding those that would be disastrous.  Healthy boundaries  give us a firm sense of who we are, which leads us to treat loved ones well, yet resist attempted abuse or exploitation.

Some unhealthy situations:

The first common unhealthy boundary is attempting the rescue the “unrecoverable.”  Rescuing is doing something for someone that they should be doing for themselves.  An example is loaning money to someone that is always in need and never pays back.

Another common example of poor boundaries is saying yes to every request to things that we don’t have time for nor interest in.  Like the parent that agrees to anything that involves their children because they feel too guilty to say no.

A very damaging lack-of-boundaries is to stay involved with anyone that diminishes our self esteem in any way.

Caring for others and showing compassion is important, but constant care and rescuing are not healthy for either party.  Sometimes saying no is the most loving and healthy action to take.

Abuse, the most serious form of boundary-encroaching is a major source of the life difficulties that lead many people to seek assistance in managing stress and poor relationships.

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