THE OUTDOORS, A GREAT PLACE TO UNWIND AND MANAGE STRESS AND ANXIETY

Michael Dadson, PhD, Counselling Psychology, March 2020

An outdoor environment with fresh air, be it in cultivated gardens, or a more natural setting, can help bring calm to both our bodies and minds, and is especially great when we suffer from stress, anxiety, and depression. Walking, or finding a quiet place to sit and breath naturally, allows nature to reach out to us with calming benefits. This is also true when we are around water sources.

A favourite outdoor source for relaxation is fishing, sitting on a boat in a pond or lake, or even off the end of the local dock. Being near water is calming, and the rhythm of casting out the line and watching it break the surface of the water and waiting is enough. Catching a fish is just a bonus. 

We start to relax when we breathe when we are in natural environments, especially around water sources such as lakes, beaches, waterfalls and even in the rain. The air smells so fresh after a rain, or outdoors in nature, and around water. When we feel good it helps to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and boosts our energy levels. Making regular trips to our favourite spots in nature can help us in our journey to wellness, and in maintaining a healthy, positive perspective on life. #today #life #unwind #calm #mentalhealth #anxiety

Choosing a Therapist

Michael Dadson Ph.D. Counselling Psychology, operates his clinic out of Langley, BC.

http://www.gentlecurrentstherapy.com

Michael Dadson Website

See Dr. Michael Dadson’s YouTube Videos at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLnx2V8zK9VEg60V5NH2fDQ

Why Therapy Can Be Helpful

There are many reasons for deciding to see a professional counselor or therapist. There are the most common reasons, which include grief, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, mood management, relationship difficulties, trauma and PTSD. A more subtle and common reason that we don’t often consider is dissatisfaction. Sometimes we are not getting what we want out of life and the direction our lives are going in. In fact, long term dissatisfaction is also a sign of depression, but we often fail to see it as depression.

Sometimes our level of dissatisfaction, anxiety, grief, depression, or PTSD symptoms do not seem to get better in spite of our efforts to pull ourselves out of a slump. In these cases, therapy can not only be very helpful, but it can change our lives, so we become happier and more productive and experience a deeper sense of purpose and meaning. In order for this shift to take place we need to choose the right professional. In fact, research shows the quality of the therapeutic relationship is the most important factor contributing to growth and change, and is more important than the theoretical orientation or interventions. So how do we choose? Online searches help and certainly personal recommendations for a clinic are also a great start, but eventually the best indicator will that first session. 

What To Expect In The First Session

In that first session, notice if the therapist can build a foundation of trust. Trust is fundamental and is necessary to building a therapeutic relationship. It is the trust in the relationship that creates a sense of safety and confidence in the process. The relationship with the counsellor must permeate each session with the sense that the client can move to a place in themselves where they gain insight, are able to see options, or to use a common euphemism, “see the light at the end of the tunnel”. The journey begins when the client can have a comfort level to open up and naturally share with their therapist.

Building trust with your therapist

What helps develop this comfort level? What helps are reassurances of confidentiality, openness, congruence, and a non-judgemental perspective,  along with the ability of the professional to really listen and hear what the client is saying so that the client feels heard and understood. What we all need to trust is understanding and empathy coupled with acceptance and support in the way of encouragement.

If the therapist gives advice, or too quickly thinks they have identified the “problem” or the “problem person”, or has the cure, these are indicators of a therapist taking up too much space with their own perspectives. Through the qualities that build trust, the therapist creates the space for the client to express, feel, and see themselves. If in that first session you discover the therapist is not a good fit, don’t give up. If the first person you visit is not a fit consider this experience can be helpful identifying what you don’t want.  Keep going in your search, and don’t let a poor or bad first experience discourage you. 

The Types Of Therapy

The modality of therapy makes a difference and it is important, but most important is that the therapist can be flexible and adapt to the person and the person’s in the moment needs. For instance, it can be emotionally focused, process oriented, sensory motor, observed experiential integration (OEI), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDr), neurofeedback, cognitive therapy, or other modality which combines science with compassion and human understanding. If these modalities are research based and demonstrated to be effective by science that is important. It is the application of the modality and the ‘in the moment’ tracking of the individual that adapts the therapy to the client’s current state of mind, which makes the difference. This is made possible when the therapist engages the client with the qualities that build and maintain trust.

If we change the way we think about things, then the way we feel can change. Conversely, if we change the way we feel about things then the way we think can change. Cognitive therapy is evidence based and explores with the client how the way we think can change how we feel. Emotionally focused therapy is evidenced based and experiences with the client how the way we feel can change how we think.  These are two approaches, but what is most important is not the theory rather it is how it is applied. What is most important for individual mental health is, ‘where the client is at in the process of their growth’, and their ‘in the moment process of change’. 

Insights Into Behaviour

How we think and feel about things provides insights into our behaviour. As a person arrives at their own insights and conclusions they are then empowered and able, with the help of the therapist as a guide, to strategize around shifts in behaviour.  The beauty of this type of therapy is that over time the client can start to identify how to manage their own thoughts and feelings to become their own counsel, although it is always important to have that that reflective presence when we go through those life defining moments. Once again, it is important to choose what is best for each client in that moment, for their unique situation.

What Research Has Shown Us About Therapy

Michael Dadson believes that being compassionately present with others and using fine-tuned clinical skills helps create the space and place necessary for growth. He has a deep belief in the human capacity to find real-life resolutions to injuries and challenges.  Research has shown that this happens best when we have access to understanding, support, respect and skilled therapeutic interventions.

Guiding Principles In Therapy

Dr. Dadson and the Gentle Currents Therapy clinic are guided by the following principles:

•             All people possess intrinsic worth and have the capacity to realize this.

•             All individuals are worthy of respect. The therapy space is one of acceptance and safety. Gender, race, sexual orientation, age, religion, relationship and family status pose no barrier to the therapy process.

•             Everyone has the capacity to grow and change; readiness depends on each individual.

•             Clients are the experts of their experience and take responsibility for their gains in counselling and for their personal successes; the counselor’s role is that of attune, facilitate and guide.

•             Understanding comes first. If we jump prematurely to tools and strategies, clients are left with generic, depersonalized interventions.

•             Most people benefit from counselling at some point in their lives. This includes counselors too! At its best, counselling is a healthy dialogue that identifies, promotes, and mobilizes clients’ strengths to reach personal goals.

#depression #anxiety #mentalhealth #trauma #PTSD #Langley #counselling #psychology #clinic #eatingdisorder #michaeldadson

www.gentlecurrentstherapy.com

See Dr. Michael Dadson’s YouTube Videos at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLnx2V8zK9VEg60V5NH2fDQ

Topics Include:

Male Depression: Michael Dadson, PhD on Therapy for Men

Treating Depression & Anxiety: Michael Dadson, PhD on Treating Depression

What Couples Really Want: Michael Dadson, PhD on Couples on Couples, Relationship and Family Therapy

PTSD in Veterans & First Responders: Michael Dadson, PhD on PTSD Therapy

Front Line Workers PTSD Assessment and Support – Putting Our Own Oxygen Mask on First, Before Helping Those Around Us Is More Important Now Than Ever. : michaeldadson

Our Courageous First Responders and Military are being exposed now more than ever to extremely stressful and traumatic exposure. We are doing our best to get out as many resources as possible on our Youtube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLnx2V8zK9VEg60V5NH2fDQ?view_as=subscriber and Website https://www.gentlecurrentstherapy.com/. If you or anyone you know is working on the front lines and experiencing unusual stress or signs of PTSD, we are here to help. We offer both neurofeedback the best known resource for supporting PTSD along with specialized Virtual counselling in the area. Here is a link to do a self assessment if you are experiencing any PTSD symptoms https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355967. Additional work by B.C. Clinical Counsellor Michael Dadson in Langley, who specializes in this area, can be found by following the following link https://guilfordjournals.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1521/ijgp.2014.64.3.367). Flight Attendants take the crucial time to stress the importance of putting our own oxygen mask on before helping those around us. It is even more vital that our front line workers physical and mental well being are looked after, to be able to help those in need. We can’t stress enough the importance of taking care of yourself during this time. If you or any of your loved ones are showing any signs of the PTSD or extreme stress, do not hesitate to reach out to our office or your local counsellor specializing in this area. Stress and Post Traumatic Stress exposure during these unusual times is a very real but treatable thing. Let us work together to end the stigma around Mental Health and get our courageous Front Line Workers the support they need, to protect civilians who are depending on them during this time.

Michael Dadson: Bar examiners are asking law students about their mental health. Many aren’t getting help because of it – CNN

We have been doing a better job over the past few years of improving on removing the stigma from Mental Health in Canada. It is so important work and we still have a long way to go. The stories that continue to surface are tragic and have had such an extreme impact on society at large. Here is what CNN is reporting on how the stigma around mental health is stopping our young law students on getting the support they need in becoming tomorrow’s equipped attorneys.

Finding Calm During the Pandemic

A sunset over a body of water

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How we think about things is very powerful. Shifting how we think about self-isolation and feeling lonely and unable to do what we normally do, to a powerful perspective will not only help keep our own spirits up, but help curb the spread of the cornonavirus.

Here are some of my thoughts:

1) It’s NORMAL to feel anxious, everyone feels the uncertainty of the situation, you are not alone in feeling this way. You are not alone, we are in this together.

2) We can REDUCE feelings of powerlessness by seeing it as our job to help lower the curve. By isolating at home, we are taking a powerful step in combating this disease. We can own our situation and know we are contributing to a positive outcome.

3) HELP, rather than judge or blame. We all have a different response to stress. We are all in a learning curve, have patience with each other and help each other understand and support each other through phone calls, video calls, and other on-line activities. Look at what we are doing well and do more of it and encourage those around you by noticing what they are doing well. Work to support the positive in what you are seeing around you.

​4) Ask, “how can we help others in our community?”. If we are well, and considering social distancing and taking health precautions, how can we help others?​​

5) Take advantage of the situation by DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY. We can socialize through video calls, and offer business services on-line. #Langley #michaeldadson #onlinecounselling

Uncertainty During the Coronavirus Pandemic

During this time of uncertainty with the Coronavirus, I have had many conversations with people about how we can handle the uncertainty for ourselves and family. Here are some of my thoughts:

1) It’s NORMAL to feel anxious, everyone feels the uncertainty of the situation, you are not alone in feeling this way.

2) We can REDUCE feelings of powerlessness by seeing it as our job to help lower the curve. By isolating at home we are taking a powerful step in combating this disease.

3) HELP, rather than judge or blame. We all have a different response to stress.

4) Take advantage of the situation by DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY. We can socialize through video calls, and offer business services on-line. #Langley #michaeldadson #onlinecounselling