My Philosophy

Mental Maintenance is about taking care of that thing we call the brain between our ears.

Taking care of our brain is like maintaining a vehicle. If it doesn’t receive the appropriate fuel, regular tune ups, maintenance, oil changes and get regular trips to warm up the engine things start to break down. At first it could be something small like a broken windshield wiper but over time as things get ignored or overworked without proper care larger and bigger problems start to pop up. Pretty soon a small inexpensive repair becomes a larger project that takes more time and tools. In order to do maintenance we require tools and parts that are unique to each vehicle. If you go into the oil filter section in Canadian tire how many choices do you see? There is no one size fits all in taking care of mental health either. If its time to invest in the toolbox and maybe do a little overhaul I can work with you to tailor your own personal toolbox.

Our brain needs care just like the engine in your vehicle. If we do not eat regular meals, sleep properly and use tools to keep it running smoothly we start to see difficulties arise. Just like engines, not all brains are wired the same. The tools you would use on a Ford Model T and 2018 Ford 350 are not the same.  At first, it may be like a car that hasn’t had regular maintenance and could take longer. With time, as your own personal toolbox gets bigger the need to attend sessions will lessen because you can provide your own maintenance using the tools you gained.

My job as your mental health consultant is to help you build a toolbox so that you can do your own mental health maintenance on an ongoing basis.  If you are struggling right now or maybe there is just so much pressure in your life then it could be time to add some tools to your toolbox.

How superheroes can help you manage stress

I recently attended the Association for Contextual Behavioural Science conference in Montreal and attended a workshop on Superheroes. I learned about how identifying with our own personal superhero can help us to view ourselves in a balanced way.  Yes I am a bit of a nerd. I love science, nature, science fiction, mechanical things and I admit I’m somewhat of a technophile.  So when the conference I attended had a workshop on the relevance of Superheroes in the therapy room I couldn’t miss it.After completing post-secondary, Janina Scarlet began her work in mental health with war veterans. She was a child survivor of the chernobyl disaster. After moving to the USA she encountered bullies and after watching x-men she found solace in identifying with Storm. She has side-effects of the radiation exposure that make her extra sensitive to barometric pressure. In her work with veterans she discovered that we all desire to be heroes in one way or another. Almost all of her clients related how much they ” wanted to be a superhero. . . . . . But failed.”  She often asked them to consider Superman who had phenomenal strength but even he had a weakness – kryptonite.Our deepest fears can be strongly rooted to our personal kryptonite. The things that we value most, want to protect and hold close are often linked to our softest spots. It can be our deepest desire to be strong and protect those we love but still there is a vulnerability within. That doesn’t mean we can’t be a superhero. We can because when we have awareness of our kryptonite we can strengthen ourselves through a combination of things. Taking care and letting go.

My own journey to finding ACT and why I believe in it

Somehow Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) found me in a google search. From there I stumbled upon Russ Harris videos on YouTube and then I listened to many podcasts to learn more about it. The interesting part was, as I was doing all of this, the words and exercises I was learning about were influencing me. While I was doing this, a friend and I dabbled in Russ Harris’ book “ACT made simple.” The hands-on exercises and metaphors were the nail in the coffin.

In truth, my friend and I were learning these tools together and improving our lives in various ways. ACT, at times, can be quite a hands-on method. This is why I am so passionate about it, who doesn’t want to just “do” something. After a while we tire of talking. Sometimes we just need to try something different from we’ve tried before. ACT approaches things in a variety of ways and makes it flexible to use despite how different we all are.