Struggling with Life Stress and Anxiety?
The events of the past two years have given a whole new meaning to the concept of “life stress”, incomparable to what most of us have experienced in our lifetime. For many, particularly those who already struggle with stress, anxiety and burnout, the global pandemic and associated economic uncertainty created overwhelming feelings of fear, vulnerability, and uncertainty, and seeking the help and support of a mental health professional, perhaps for the very first time, became the only viable option for coping adequately. Mental health has recently become a more common topic of discussion, however the pandemic pushed this dialogue into the spotlight even further, both in the mainstream media, and in our own homes and social circles.
Do I need therapy? How can it help me with my anxiety?
The decision to reach out for help can be a big one. Maybe you have personally been thinking about it for a long time. Maybe your friends and family have finally convinced you to give it a try. Perhaps you have sought help before and have generally been managing okay, but your anxiety attacks have become more frequent and scary. You courageously decide to take the first step, only to discover that searching for the “right” clinic or therapist can be a daunting task in its own right.
As Clinic Coordinator at The Mindful Living Centre, I am cognizant of these challenges, and I do my very best to respond to inquiries quickly, and with the utmost of care and sensitivity. I recognize that reaching out for help can make one feel vulnerable, and that waiting for a response from providers can cause a lot of additional stress and anxiety. As the first point of contact at The Mindful Living Centre, I make it my goal to make your interaction with us a positive experience.
How do I decide what therapist will best meet my needs?
In my former role as a front-line Social Worker in downtown Toronto, I had the opportunity to work with a diverse group of clients from a wide variety of cultural, racial, and ethnic backgrounds, as well as unique and wide-ranging personal circumstances. This experience exposed me to some of society’s most pressing issues and struggles, and taught me the importance of meeting individuals where they are at, in order to listen compassionately and non-judgmentally, and really hear them. As such, I welcome and appreciate the opportunity I have in my current role at The Mindful Living Centre to hear peoples’ stories, to interact with individuals from a wide variety of communities in the Halton region and surrounding areas, and to connect people in need with one of our amazing clinicians!
At The Mindful Living Centre, we know that finding the right “fit” with a therapist is key to a successful therapeutic relationship. My role is to learn a bit about what led you to call us, and to suggest which of our team members is likely to be the best fit for you, based on their clinical expertise and ability to relate to your personal circumstances. However, if you also have a sense of the type of therapist you’re looking for, whether that’s based on gender, clinical/therapeutic orientation, cultural considerations, or any other criteria you identify, I will always discuss your preferences in search of the best match. If you’ve never done therapy before or are unsure of what to expect, I’m more than happy to guide you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Together, we will come to a decision you can feel good about.
What can I expect in therapy?
It can be a little scary to think about opening up to a complete stranger, especially when discussing matters you might not have previously shared with anyone. Sometimes you know you need to talk to someone, but you really aren’t sure what you’ll say. Thankfully, we have a wonderful team of genuinely kind and welcoming Psychologists and Social Workers who will not only listen attentively and compassionately, but who will also help guide you in developing therapy goals and a treatment plan that you’re comfortable with — one that is supported by research and many years of collective clinical experience.
What is CBT and how will it help me?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a highly-effective, evidence-based approach to mental health treatment that aims to provide clients with strategies to cope more effectively with life’s inevitable struggles, and all of our clinicians at The Mindful Living Centre are well-versed in its application. In a nutshell, CBT is based on the idea that our thoughts influence, and are influenced by, our feelings and behaviour. When negative thoughts and feelings prevail and feed into one another, it can be difficult to become “unstuck” from that vicious cycle and address unhelpful patterns of behaviour without someone to guide you. CBT-oriented psychotherapy teaches you how to recognize negative thoughts and feelings in the moment, enabling you to break the cycle and move towards desired goals and behaviour/s. The skills you learn are intended to be transferable to a variety of situations, enabling you to cope more effectively with whatever challenges may come your way going forward.
How many appointments will I need?
Beginning in the very first session, our therapists will communicate openly with you to explore your needs and goals, and to help you to define them more clearly if needed. Once they have had an opportunity to review your personal history and complete an assessment (generally in the first 1-3 sessions), they will be in a position to provide you with an idea of treatment length, and to discuss what therapeutic approaches are most likely to benefit you (in addition to CBT, many of our therapists have specialized training and experience with other modalities such as Emotion-Focused Therapy [EFT], Dialectical Behaviour Therapy [DBT], Acceptance and Commitment Therapy [ACT], and mindfulness-based interventions). We understand that private insurance coverage limitations and scheduling challenges can sometimes influence the number of sessions clients are able to attend, and we will work with you to establish a treatment plan that takes into account these factors.
If you are considering reaching out for support, it is my hope that this article has addressed some of the queries and hesitations you may have, and provided you with some reassurance. I chose to outline the information above based on the questions I’m most frequently asked as Clinic Coordinator at The Mindful Living Centre, however it is by no means an exhaustive overview of our services, and the many ways in which we seek to help our clients. Each individual and situation is unique, and our entire team is committed to empowering our clients to achieve the best quality of life possible. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions — we hope to hear from you soon!
Ms. Neeta Patni
Please note: this article is for informational purposes only, and is not intended as a substitute for therapy or advice from a qualified professional.