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Mental Health and Chronic Illness

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Approximately 10% of Canadians have mental health challenges.  If you find yourself struggling with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or other mental health issues, it’s very important to get support. Having an experienced therapist at this time can accelerate your return to a healthy state of mind.

With your consent, I can use my extensive experience as a counsellor, case manager, and social worker to collaborate with health care providers and community service agencies if necessary to build a strong support network for your success.

How Does Psychotherapy Help?

  • Gain coping and problem-solving skills
  • Gain understanding and insight into how your thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and behaviours may be distressing to your health, and learn how to change those negative patterns so that you enjoy greater peace and wellbeing.
  • Put life’s events, transitions and problems into a context in which you can broaden your perspective and draw on strengths and possibilities.  Find solutions and manage the impact that these challenging events may have on your mental health and balance.
  • Create balance and a sense of peace, happiness, and success in life.
  • Have an experienced professional on your team, someone who knows you well and is available to support you in maintaining balance.

Therapy approaches often used may include:

Psychodynamic Therapy – where an individual learns to understand and better cope with his or her painful history and how it impacts their ability to function and succeed in the present.

Interpersonal Therapy – provides a framework for improving communications and self-esteem.  Exploring behaviours and interactions with one’s family and social support network is the basis for this approach.  New interpersonal skills are practiced and integrated into habits and behaviours.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – we’ll focus on the tasks of restructuring thought patterns and taking actions for increased satisfaction and enjoyment in life. We’ll focus more on present thoughts and actions rather than the past.


When living with chronic pain and medical illnesses, it can be very important to have a professional to talk to about the medical, emotional and personal challenges that you’re facing. These complex issues may require a lot of careful exploration and decision making that is often not allowed time for when talking to medical specialists. Caretakers and those who love someone with a chronic illness often find it helpful to talk to a professional about struggles with supporting a loved one.

Whether you’re ill, in pain, or caring for someone who is, having a place to express your feelings and reactions while seeking relief and a way forward is a valuable opportunity. Having a confidential, and neutral environment in which to benefit from this support is key. Individual, couple and family counselling can all prove helpful when there’s ongoing illness and pain.

To live life fully with chronic illness it’s important to learn to accept and adapt to the realities that illness may bring. Often longstanding habits and behaviours may need to be adjusted so that new ways of living can be embraced.  Some of the areas that can be supported through counselling include grieving losses and adapting to change, enhancing motivation, enhancing healthy behaviours and letting go of risky behaviours, maintaining exercise, learning relaxation and using mindfulness to support body and mind for greater peace.