B Gilmore Counselling
Victoria region, Vancouver Island BC
778 350 3281      

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Just One Visit to Make a Change

Posted on 21 September, 2017 at 16:45 Comments comments (2)
One Visit May be Enough Seeing a Counsellor just once can help with CHANGE. That is because you have CONTEMPLATED and PREPARED. You have put your thoughts and feelings into physical action and initiated a counselling session. A good counsellor sees that you have already done the first two stages of change. Then, processes such as looking at old or new perspectives; making decisions to accept and understand; and learning how to �??connect YOUR dots�?? can happen at that first meeting. In just an hour you can feel enabled to manage change. With the many changes expected of us during October (such as cool wet weather, much less daylight, Thanksgiving and Halloween social expectations), you may benefit from connecting with a counsellor for help, even just once. A single session with a counsellor can give you confidence with changes you have decided to make, and the ability to make the change where it appears without a choice. Here are some types of change and the stages we need to process through. Perspectives of Change - Change happens in different ways. Thoughtful consideration and contemplation, and being able to prepare a plan is always part of the process, however action happens in different ways. Sometimes very large significant changes are planned and occur over a long period of time such as quitting your job and going back to school for 2 or 3 years to start or enhance your career focus. Other changes are very quickly decided and happen over a short period of time, such as responses to physical injuries, dentist needs, or your car or mode of transportation. Changes can affect many people; just a few; or maybe only one person. Making change is affected by choice. Whether the change is 0ur own idea or someone elses�?? makes a difference. This in turn creates enthusiasm or reluctance. Transitioning Change - Talking about someone that is no longer in your life, (whether death, divorce or relocation), with a counsellor and other people that care about you is necessary. They may or may not care as much as you about the person, loss and change, but because they care about you, they will want to �??hear�?? your thoughts, memories and emotions. Life changes can be accepted with a sense of transition and completion when the change is talked about. Expected Change - There are environments where expected changes occur continuously. For example, working in a senior�??s residential setting where staff provide a caring and healthy setting for people that are quickly becoming less well both mentally and physically. Although it is sad when a resident dies and they will be missed, it is still a very big part of what is expected in this setting. After all, they have chosen this place to live and be cared for in their final days of life. Unexpected Change Even when you are managing well in your life, unexpected events happen and you may be forced to accept a change as soon as possible. Unexpected and sudden events, accidents, trauma, illness can suddenly present to us and we feel have very little choice about what must happen. It may be difficult to accept and we can often feel like a victim�?�.�?�why me?�?� Generally we all still go through the stages of change, but with a very different perspective and motivation. We can feel surprised or shocked; angry; unsafe or unstable; confused; or doubtful about decisions. This is understandable and when we talk about these feelings with someone, it often helps. Planned Change A variety of both internal and external influences stimulates thoughts of making changes in your life. It is common and healthy to make a decision to change something that significantly affects you and this often includes starting or stopping a particular action. There are some well-known stages of change (Prochaska & DeClemente, 2983) and recognizing them is important. Pre-contemplation: The time in your life when you are NOT thinking about a change. For example your co-worker may be talking about their success at quitting smoking, but the idea is NOT in your thoughts. Contemplation: You notice you ARE thinking about change. Perhaps someone else�??s experience has impacted you and you see a more urgent reason to change something within your life. Ideas of change start to occupy your mind and behaviours. Preparation / Determination: You develop your plan and prepare for setting it in motion with your motivation and intention. You talk about it and set the stage for success with your planned change. Action: You implement your change in your actions and thoughts. This may be a new experience and your feelings will be affected. You may need to modify plans if need be to continue your change. Maintenance: With a good plan you may be able to maintain your changed behaviour and way of thinking for many weeks, months, or forever. However if you cannot, a RELAPSE may occur and you go back to old behaviours and thoughts. A relapse can provide us with another opportunity to contemplate the change and modify plans to try the change again. Once again you act and implement new actions or thoughts into your life. You may relapse, contemplate, prepare and act a few times before getting the change to be a consistent part of your life long term. Termination: A change is considered as terminated when the change �??new thoughts, feelings and behaviours are a part of your life, without thinking about it. Think about the last significant change you made to your actions and thoughts and have you made it a normal part of your life? Did you contemplate how you relapsed or how you had to modify the plan? How long did it take? One year? Finally, the process of change always offers an outcome. It is not necessarily a success or failure, rather simply an outcome that offers an experience in the present and a worthy memory for the future. Barbara Gilmore October 2017

September 10th World Suicide Prevention Day

Posted on 28 August, 2017 at 17:50 Comments comments (0)
WHO THINKS ABOUT SUICIDE? September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. How common is it to think about suicide? About a plan to stop your life; to die and leave all of this? Do you suddenly find yourself thinking about suicide and wonder how you got there? Well, you are not alone. Many people report they think about suicide and possible plans. It is estimated that 5% of the Canadian population has thoughts of suicide at one time or another (ASIST -Crisis Intervention & Suicide Prevention Centre of BC). Does that mean we are all depressed? Or doing such a bad job of managing of our lives that we need to escape? No. We are certainly not all depressed and most people with depression do not die by suicide or think about it all the time. And no, most of us may have one or two things in our lives we are struggling with, but our life overall is normal and acceptable. Thinking about suicide may start with thinking of a way to escape difficulty, sorrow, shame or guilt. Loss of people we love, relationships, jobs and money are all possible reasons to want to escape the feeling and the problem. We are wired to find solutions to our problems and for most of we naturally reach out, talk to someone, and together we have the ability to find solutions other than death. Some people, however, do not have someone that will listen to them when they mention their thoughts of suicide as a way to end the problem. September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. I urge you to become aware of the commonness of thinking about suicide and seriously listen to someone that is hinting or talking about suicide, ending it all, or not having a choice. We absolutely cannot make someone suicide by asking them if they are thinking about killing themselves. Think about yourself. If you have had thoughts of suicide, it started long before someone asked about it. It was your idea and not theirs. Let us try to prevent a suicide by LISTENING to someone and their story, and trying to find a solution other than death. Talk about suicide in your life. Why did someone die? Why do I want to die? www.bgilmorecounselling.com

Being Part of the Plan

Posted on 9 February, 2017 at 18:55 Comments comments (0)
Being Part of the 'Plan' Have you ever been asked to be part of someone's personal plan? I have! And it always feels like a combination of honour because they asked me instead of someone else, and deep responsibility because they are counting on me to support them and immediately, directly help them through a crisis. Many people have a 'plan' of what to do when the stability of their physical, emotional or mental health deteriorates and they have lost personal control. They are faced with an acute crisis, panic attack, or absolute absorption of illness symptoms that could have dire consequences if left alone. They create the plan when they are well and in full control and can make personal decisions of who the people should be that take over when they cannot look after themselves. How do they decide? What kind of attributes does the chosen helper have? Well, think about if it was you? It depends on the details doesn't it? For example if you have children, the plan will need to include one or two people that can immediately care for them. Someone living close by that they trust. If you live alone and have pets, plants and responsibilities to your neighbours, who could best take on that task? What about your closest friends knowing the best way to manage a panic attack that takes you all by surprise? And financial matters? Who could quickly take that on? Is there someone at work that could look after your responsibilities? Now...what don't you want? Maybe past experiences have determined that you definitely do not need or want an ambulance, or a specific medication, or two particular doctors at one specific hospital. Perhaps not your older brother because he would not be trusted to follow-through the way you are intending, and if you had to call the police there is just one officer to ask for. The list of questions goes on and on. But who takes over the most important things in your life; your personal wellbeing; and with careful consideration? There are words that jump right out: trustful, respectful, and dependable to name a few. These qualities are what I think of when someone asks me to be part of their 'plan'. Now think again about being asked to be part of someone's 'plan'. If you need some time to decide if you should or should not agree, remember you have it. It took them a long time to decide who is going to be a helper when the time comes. They asked themselves a number of detailed questions and you in turn should ask them about those details before you say yes. My reasons to write my thoughts on this are directed toward the importance of this moment. To absolutely feel honoured they asked you and to truly feel responsible to fulfill the details of the plan the way they intended. It is about you valuing each other and the personal right to make this decision to include you, trust you, and depend on you when they are in a crisis. Think about being included. Barbara Gilmore RPC WRAP facilitator

Should I Call?

Posted on 2 January, 2017 at 18:55 Comments comments (0)
Thanks, but should I call? When? What do you do when someone you know says you should talk to a counsellor, and even suggests a name or gives you a business card? Do you act on the suggestion and call the counsellor? Or, should you wait? It is very typical (and wonderful) for a friend or colleague to care enough to help you find a counsellor to talk through your difficulties. They know you need more than a friendly ear so they give you the business card or contact details of a counsellor they know and say call intending you to follow-up sooner rather than later. As a counsellor, I agree with them! (I am not saying this simply to drum up business but), if someone else is thinking you should talk to a counsellor then it is very likely the thought has crossed your mind as well. Somehow our subconscious knows when it is time to seek help and makes it obvious. First, if possible view the counsellor's website before you call (it will be on the business card). It will tell you if they offer any free consultation time, how accessible they are to you, and that they are registered and qualified to practise clinical counselling. Do they have experience and interest in the situation or issue that affects you? If so, contact the counsellor and set up that first meeting right away. Yes, right at that moment you feel she or he looks like someone who will listen to you and help you work through your difficulties. Taking this action completes your decision and first step to change your situation. When you do call and engage with the counsellor, what can you expect? Simply said, expect confidentiality and to be genuinely listened to from the counsellor. Counselling is about expressive and receptive communication; it is often a talking & listening therapy. When you have been heard, the counsellor will likely offer some information and assistance that may resonate with you, and can be acted upon together. If you are not comfortable with that counsellor, you must be honest and not continue with future sessions. Confirm their confidentiality and then seek out another counsellor that may be a better fit for you and your difficulties. Is counselling really worth the money? You might be thinking I don't have a benefit plan and it seems expensive. Ask yourself what IS worth the money you pay for it? Generally we feel it is worth it when it positively affects our: 1. Happiness (such as entertainment, new clothes, socializing, eating out, or a vacation); 2.Health (such as the dentist, acupuncturist, massage or gym membership); 3.Investment in Future (such as education, professional development, or financial advice/ assistance); or 4.Personal Wellbeing (such as feeling safe in life and in relationships, feeling calm and less stressed, feeling confident with decisions and actions, feeling valued, and contributing to the world around us). I venture to say counselling for difficulties, issues and change affects all four! Yes, worth the money! Is counselling therapy? Will I need counselling all of my life? Yes, there are a variety of therapies that are used in counselling sessions to help you reach individual goals. Often goals and self-management tools can be successful within 3 to 12 weekly sessions and then you and your counsellor will decide on the frequency of sessions after that. It is good to know a counsellor can help at various times in your life for various issues and goals in your life. Finally, is counselling a secret? Are you thinking what will people say if they know I am talking to a counsellor? This is a good question and answered according to your own personal attitudes and perceptions. It is interesting that you might perceive yourself to be sick if you start working through change with a mental health counsellor, yet you perceive yourself to be doing really well if you seek out a career counsellor, financial counsellor, or personal trainer/weight counsellor, etc. to work through a change. Indeed! Counsellors do talk about perceptions: how they affect us and how we can use them effectively. So, when someone offers friendly advice and suggests you talk to a counsellor; even gives you the business card, accept it as a gift of caring. It's not a card or name to discard. It is a card or name that may be the start of the change you are seeking now. Importantly, if the counsellor's card or name has been given to you because your changes are associated with recurring thoughts of escaping or suicide plans, please call the counsellor or a crisis line right away. Your friend or colleague is giving you the important gift of caring. Barbara Gilmore RPC Clinical Counselling, InnerLife Health Services 101-4475 Viewmont Ave., Victoria BC 778 350 3281

Lighten Up Your Life! Seasonal Affective Disorder

Posted on 17 November, 2016 at 19:00 Comments comments (0)
Lighten up Your Life! Seasonal Affective Disorder It is really difficult for most of us to get through the grey, dark winter days of November to March in this part of the world. And not surprisingly, if symptoms of depression are a part of your life, this is an extremely difficult time of the year and you have to live through a lot of invisible pain that many people cannot understand. Feeling changes such as a loss in energy, focus, concentration, passions, and hope; and increases in feelings of stress, worry and guilt, are typical symptoms. Knowing about Seasonal Affective (or Adjustment) Disorder SAD - may be a key to happier days. For example, do you feel better in the spring and summer when the days are longer and brighter and there is increased light to soak up? Accessing more light into your life is quite possible and can be done with light bulbs/boxes (compared to several expensive vacations in the tropics)! Women and the presence of SAD in your family appear to be a higher risk for developing SAD. Dr. Norman Rosenthal and his associates looked at SAD and published their findings in 1984. Check out his website www.normanrosental.com It is important to know if your symptoms of depression are related to bipolar mood disorder and if so, treatment is not quite the same. Adjusting just the right amount of light into your day differs between individuals. Interventions for Seasonal Affective Disorder include Introducing more light with light boxes; Talking to a counsellor; Acknowledging and managing stress; Doing your best to maintain healthy daily routines with sleeping, eating, exercising; Discussing short term antidepressant medication with your GP As well, check out the Canadian Mental Health Association site www.cmha.bc.ca . The information makes SAD easier to understand which in turn, makes it easier to talk to your GP or a counsellor about the symptoms you are experiencing and your ideas to brighten your days. Introducing a light therapy box into your life may not be difficult or too expensive. Again the internet has information for you to begin your understanding and start a discussion with your counsellor or doctor. (Just google Seasonal Affective Disorder light therapy boxes). There are great Canadian and American companies to find and order a light box; Amazon displays some prices for you. So....while the grey days of November to March are upon us, if you are experiencing symptoms of depression that you do not seem to have in the spring and summer, talk to your GP or counsellor about Seasonal Affective Disorder. Barbara Gilmore

A Change in Perspective

Posted on 6 September, 2016 at 13:05 Comments comments (0)

Many of you that know me recognize my familiar dialogue about perspective and choice.

But what do we do with a day like today? Was it just me or was I being forced to change my total perspective on the day? Where were my choices? I still planned with my summer perspective!

I know we anticipate the day after the Labor Day weekend as one of those special days. It isn’t officially autumn, but it feels like it (and it really did today!) Big things like school get started, and smaller things like planning meetings are scheduled and posted. Most of us have something new to wear and it all feels non-leisurely and much more important and official.

However, I thought about today and planned not to change into September. I would not get up too early. I would go to my same old exercise class with my usual outfit and bag. I would walk the same route and eat the same breakfast food, etc. I was not starting any type of academic endeavour and my work responsibilities were the same as last week….August and summertime.

The day suddenly forced me to change! It was cold and wet. I had to wear a hooded jacket and rubber boots. There were other people on my walking path – going to school – and for the first time – so with great enthusiasm. Not that I was unhappy, but they were really happy. Here we were…both on the same path at the same time, feeling the same rain on our head & shoulders. I felt inconvenienced and forced to change my regular actions. They obviously felt different to me. They were in the midst of new planned and anticipated actions.

“We’re going to school” the little boy said as I started to walk around them on the path. I looked at him and his Mom and sister. They were beaming; almost laughing. I instantly thought about perspectives and wanted theirs! It looked so much more fun. I suddenly wanted to change my thoughts and actions to be like theirs. I said “ I thought so by the look of your new backpack and clothes. You look awesome!” I slowed down and walked with them for a few moments as the rain came down on all four of us together. I was suddenly beaming; almost laughing too.

I then walked on to my class and let them get to their new class. I didn’t notice the rain at all. My exercise class seemed different in some way. I thought about change and choice. All it had taken was recognizing that a new (and better) perspective was right in front of my eyes.

It only took a moment to choose to a new perspective, yet here I sit four hours later still feeling rather ‘joyous’! Moral of the story…..there is always another perspective and you have a choice to take it.