Happy International Women’s Day

Charity FlemingCognitive Behavioural Therapy

International Women’s Day is an event that never ceases to amaze me. The very first #InternationalWomensDay that I was part of was while I was working at a #WomensShelter in #SaultSteMarie. I remember being in such awe then as I considered that this event started in the early 1900s with a group of women determined to see better working conditions in garment factories in New York.

In the over 100 years that this event has continued it has honoured outstanding achievements of women and has served as a focal point of unity and action to continue striving for equality and rights for women all over the world. What an awe inspiring, magnificent and fantastic #WomensDay. Throughout the more than century it has persisted, women around the globe #unwomen have united together to claim rights to: political voice and participation, education, employment and income equity, and freedom from: violence, gender discrimination, poverty and hunger.

One of the reasons why I especially revere this day is because of what it represents to me. To me it is the face of women internationally who can rightfully claim characters with qualities of endurance, perseverance, unity, profound strength, courage, and freedom. To me it embodies the essence of what we at Qualia Counselling Services have developed our mission to be: To Unlock Human Potential. It also embodies one of our core values – Anti Oppression.

The theme of this International Women’s Day, “Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!” (See more at: http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/international-womens-day#sthash.FRmaMUJl.dpuf) has also been inspiring me. Since I have read this thrilling theme I have indeed been ‘picturing it’. What would our world look like with humanity empowered? What would our relationships, homes and communities look like without violence of any kind, with deep respect of one another’s rights and freedoms, and unison in our desire to empower not only ourselves but others too?

I am proud to say that I am lucky enough to work with colleagues and clients alike who do have a vision like this, and are actively working towards it. Today I tip my hat off to you – yes probably you who at this very moment is reading this – and say a great big THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for the effort you are exerting and contributing to this brilliant vision for humanity’s future.

My hope is that as we recognize past and present achievements towards liberty and equality that we continue our individual and group efforts towards this noble goal. Happy International Women’s Day!

IWD post

Charity FlemingHappy International Women’s Day

Let’s Talk: Moving Past Shame and Stigma

Thomas BrownCognitive Behavioural Therapy

As I’m getting older I’m finding that I’m getting more emotional – more prone to tear up. These tears show up in interesting places – in meaningful moments with my kids; in conversations with close friends and family; and in meetings where I’m interviewing potential staff for Qualia. Yup, that’s right, I often get choked up right in the middle of an interview, with the candidate looking on wide-eyed.

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Thomas BrownLet’s Talk: Moving Past Shame and Stigma

Let’s Talk – Correcting Wrong Assumptions

Charity FlemingCognitive Behavioural Therapy

Today is an amazing day. Across the nation people everywhere will be participating in Bell’s Let’s Talk Day, a day to reduce stigma and create social space to discuss the important subject of Mental Health. As I considered what it was I wanted to dedicate my voice to for this day, I also considered the tremendous progress that having such a day as today means. It means that as a society we are improving. It means that those who have been suffering in silence for generations, or all their lives, can begin to emerge from the isolation and connect to and be understood by others. It means that the cloak and fog of fear, misunderstanding, prejudice and discrimination can begin to shed from the topic of mental illness. So congratulations to this generation, congratulations to all those who contributed to this progress and who together with the leaders of this movement have taken a stand for justice and anti oppression for this population. Woo hoo!!

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Charity FlemingLet’s Talk – Correcting Wrong Assumptions

Let’s Talk: How Labels Promote Stigma

Brett FlemingCognitive Behavioural Therapy

January 28th begins Bell’s “Let’s talk” campaign aimed at reducing stigma around mental health issues. Here at Qualia, we are committed to providing a warm and safe atmosphere for those struggling with mental health concerns. Part of our mission is to provide education to people so that mental health stigma will be reduced. As part of this initiative, I would like to provide some education on labels, stigma and mental health issues.

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Brett FlemingLet’s Talk: How Labels Promote Stigma

Let It In to Let It Go.

Raechel PefanisCognitive Behavioural Therapy

The “Positive Data Log” is something us Therapists like to use with Clients who are just simply not giving themselves enough credit. One common “thought trap” we humans tend to fall into is to simply ignore information that disproves what we already believe…and keeping our bad mood in place. For example, if I get to work and see someone well dressed, I may think to myself “wow, I am so unattractive…why don’t I ever look like that?” And, to no one’s surprise, my mood is likely to deflate. Depending how the rest of my day goes, I may find myself in a mood of discouragement, envy, or even sadness. If I am someone who struggles with low self-esteem, I am likely to find my belief that “I am less than others” now firing on all cylinders, and wrecking my day.

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Raechel PefanisLet It In to Let It Go.

Financial health: Keeping a budget

Qualia StaffSelf Improvement

Setting a budget is actually freeing! You may think that it is going to restrict you. However I hae found just the opposite to be true. I am fairly good with my money (I am a bookkeeper, after all). In my earlier life, I never set a budget or really needed to worry about money. However, once kids came along things changed. I began to say to them, “we can’t buy that toy, we don’t have enough money” or “No I can’t buy you that candy, money doesn’t grow on trees”

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Qualia StaffFinancial health: Keeping a budget

The Death of Indecision

Raechel PefanisInspiration

I heard a great quote a week ago, and it’s had my wheels spinning: “Indecision is paralysis.” Indecision. Is. Paralysis. So, so true. To start the new career path….or stay in this one. To end the toxic relationship….or stay in fear of the fallout. To start moving toward financial health…or keep on avoiding it. To finally see a Therapist about that personal flaw that keeps hurting me…or just think about it. The situations are endless. All of us will experience the struggle of indecision at some point in our lives. Probably multiple times.

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Raechel PefanisThe Death of Indecision

Sacred Moments & Self Actualization

Charity FlemingCognitive Behavioural Therapy

At our last Qualia Group Clinical Staff Meeting one of the many fabulous clinicians that work here shared of a clients recent moment of triumph  which the Clinician had the privilege of witnessing and partially facilitating. The Clinician shared of the CBT techniques he and the client had used to uncover truth and gain insight into the clients life. He described the “Eureka!” moment the client had and the deep emotional and cognitive growth that occurred in that moment. To me he described what I commented to be a Sacred Moment.

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Charity FlemingSacred Moments & Self Actualization

Your Heart Be Light

Kristina SchwalmCognitive Behavioural Therapy, Self-Care

Amidst the flurries, the smell of pine, the twinkling lights and the red bows, there is no denying that the holiday season is upon us. While for some this time of year is full of giving, sharing and love; for many others, whether we celebrate it or not, it is truly difficult. Whether it’s the former, the latter, or somewhere in between, it can be a time of self-neglect for many. Often, even when it is joyous, we are rushing, worried about gifts, family issues and MONEY. When it is difficult, we may feel lonely or disconnected, remembering a lost loved one, feeling nostalgic for a happier time, or watching other people, but not ourselves, rejoicing in one another’s company.

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Kristina SchwalmYour Heart Be Light

The Cost of Van Gogh

Raechel PefanisInspiration

I’m quaking in my boots. I’m having a deeply human experience that is very, very common, and I thought I’d take you with me through it for a few minutes.

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Raechel PefanisThe Cost of Van Gogh