Counselling Services in Calgary

Sometimes, on the pathway of life, you may encounter challenges or obstacles that interfere with your enjoyment of the journey. At times like this, it can be very helpful to work with a psychologist – a travel companion – who can help you discover new ways of looking at things, new skills to manage situations and new resources that can add to the richness of your experience.

Individual or couple therapy can be a gift you give yourself. I would welcome your call if you would like to speak with me about how I might be able to help.

Depression Counselling in Calgary

Almost everyone can feel sad or "down in the dumps" from time to time, especially in response to some kind of disappointment or loss. Depression is different from normal sadness, however, both in its duration and its intensity. Depression is a "disorder of perception" — people who are depressed have a persistent negative filter through which they experience life, seeing only the clouds and not the silver lining. They often feel discouraged, hopeless, worthless and inadequate and tend to feel guilty and blame themselves for their failures. Depressed individuals frequently have a lot of regret about the past and don't expect the future to look any better. Part of the challenge of depression is that it is often accompanied by a lack of motivation to do things that can help a person feel good, creating a vicious circle. They either don't have the energy to engage in helpful activities or they convince themselves that it won't make a difference. People who are seriously depressed sometimes consider ending their lives because they fear that there is no hope of ever feeling happy. If you have been feeling down for a period of at least two weeks and you don't seem able to pull yourself out of it, you might find that meeting with a psychologist can be a first step in turning things around.

I have been working as therapist in Calgary since 1988 and have worked successfully with a large number of clients who were depressed. I may be able to offer some tools to help you overcome your depression.

Dealing with Depression

The causes of depression are multi-faceted and can include social, physical and psychological components. In some cases, experiences of childhood trauma, sexual abuse, loss, marital breakdown and divorce can contribute to depression. The treatment of depression needs to take all these factors into account. A good place to start is to have a complete medical examination to rule out any physical conditions that might be contributing to lack of motivation, low energy, sleep problems, irritability or depressed mood (e.g., vitamin B12 deficiency, hypoactive thyroid, celiac disease or gluten intolerance).

People who are depressed may not have an understanding of their own mood disorder so part of treating depression is giving clients information about the thoughts, core beliefs and behaviors that can affect how they feel. Treatments that include learning new skills and involve taking action have the best chance of making a difference. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been well-researched as an effective way of treating depression. Clinical hypnosis and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing can also be very helpful interventions.

To discuss some options for addressing your depression, please contact Calgary Psychologist Dr. Beth Balshaw.

Anxiety Counselling in Calgary

People who suffer with anxiety often find themselves getting caught up in worrying about the future. They tend to over-estimate the dangers or challenges they might face and imagine the worst possible outcomes. At the same time, they tend to under-estimate their ability to manage the challenges. This results in feeling stressed, overwhelmed and uptight. There is a big difference between obsessive worry, that can be paralyzing, and effective problem-solving.

Feelings of anxiety typically go with fixated thinking patterns and physical symptoms that can include rapid or shallow breathing, tight or tense muscles, feeling off balance, shaking or trembling and sometimes feelings of tightness in the chest. When anxiety escalates to panic, people sometimes become afraid that they might be having a heart attack.

Dealing with Anxiety

There are very effective treatments to address anxiety. It can be liberating for people to discover that they can substitute their feelings of anxiety with calmness and confidence, knowing that they have the tools they need to manage whatever they might encounter. Anxiety treatment includes identifying and changing the thoughts and beliefs that contribute to worry and learning relaxation skills. Clinical hypnosis can be a very effective therapy technique for addressing anxiety. Sometimes people have more general anxiety, feeling nervous and worried about many things, and sometimes they experience anxiety about very specific things (e.g., public speaking, going to the dentist). People who have experienced some kind of trauma in the past often feel anxious when they think about the event or when they are in a new situation that reminds them of the past trauma. For some people, the impact of the past trauma leaves them with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a particular type of anxiety disorder. In this case, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) can be a very useful intervention to help clients recover from the trauma and build confidence for dealing with situations in the future.

Please contact Calgary Psychologist Dr. Beth Balshaw if you would like to discuss treatment options for dealing with anxiety.