One thing that people often tell me when they come to my Bedford Counselling Office is that they worry that I am sitting in my therapist chair looking down on them, judging them for their failures or shortcomings.
It’s understandable that you might feel that way. It makes perfect sense to me, that as you open up to a stranger, you might wonder that kind of a thing. I hope that by giving you some glimpses into my life, that I might seem more human and that it might help us build a better working relationship, should you decide to see me for counselling.
I love the metaphor that Russ Harris-acclaimed ACT therapist and trainer- uses to describe the perspective he has as a helper.
What’s it like is, you’re climbing your mountain over there and I am climbing my mountain over here.
From where I am on my mountain I can see stuff on your mountain that you can’t see. For example, I might be able to see an alternative pathway that’s easier, or you’re using your pickaxe incorrectly, or there’s an avalanche about to happen.
But I’d hate you to think that I’m sitting on the top of my mountain, no problems, no issues, just sitting back and enjoying life.
I’m climbing my own mountain, over here. And we’re all climbing our mountain till the day we die. But what we can learn to do here is to climb more effectively, climb more efficiently; learn how to enjoy the climbing.
These words resonate with me. I approach my work counselling women and couples in Bedford, NS, with the perspective of a guide. I am here to help you as you climb this tough stretch of mountain you’re on. I can equip you with some of the skills and tools you need. I can loan you some hope when things seem impossible, that you’ll get through this tough place.
So in the spirit of us both being on a journey, once a month I want to use this blog to share with you some of the things that I’ve learned or that have been impactful for me. It’s my hope they’ll be helpful for you too.
What I’m listening to
I’ve been doing a lot of writing lately with the launch of this new website. I read this interesting article, Music That Focuses the Brain, and it talked about how certain types of music increase your concentration. I didn’t get around to testing out Mozart yet, but this music by Piano Guys has been amazing. If you need to concentrate, try it out and see if it helps your focus. You can even take a mindfulness break and listen to the melody with intention for a couple of minutes and every time your mind tries to pull you away, turn back to the melody and your breath.
What I’m Reading
Anyone who knows me, knows that I love books. I love the feeling of picking up a paper back, sitting with a cup of coffee and reading a few pages. But most often, these days, my ‘reading’ is Audible audiobooks being read to me while I drive my kiddos all over the place!
I’m really digging into research and brain science on self-compassion this month. So, I was thrilled to find the audio version of a book I’ve been reading by Dr. Kristen Neff ‘Self-Compassion’
She talks about how high self esteem requires us to compare ourselves to others, and to feel like we measure up in order to feel good about ourselves. But, she’s got a great point! There is always going to be someone who is ‘more’ than we are. Always striving to measure up is an exhausting pursuit.
Self-Compassion, research and experts believe, is more effective for our well being because it does not depend on how we measure up in comparison to someone else. Self-Compassion is acknowledging that as humans we can all wind up in some disappointing and difficult places and responding to ourselves in those moments with the same kindness we’d extend to someone we love.
In her essay, Dr. Neff cites a survey with over 3,000 people that found self-compassion to be associated with much more stable feelings of self-worth (assessed 12 different times over an 8 month period) than self-esteem. This may be related to the fact that self-compassion was also found to be less contingent on things like physical attractiveness or successful performances than self-esteem.
Check out last week’s blog post on Why Self-Compassion Matters to find out more.
What I’m hooked on
A friend took me for coffee to The Nook in Bedford the other day. If you haven’t been there….you need to go! I love what they stand for as a company. It really appeals to my sense of compassion and empathy for others. They have awesome locally roasted coffee from North Mountain Roasters and I’m hooked on the peanut butter cups. I *may* have been back a few times since to indulge.
I just finished up writing my ‘7 Days to Live a More Purposeful Life‘ course. I think you should go check it out.
After all, I think we all need to recalibrate from time to time.
If after checking out this blog post you find out more about what it would be like to come for counselling in my Bedford office, or online if you live outside of Halifax (but still in Nova Scotia), you can book a free 15 minute consultation call online at or call Stephanie at (902) 702-7722 to book an appointment. I look forward to hearing from you.
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