Helpful hints and discussion about mental health and mental health issues as it relates to
news, popular culture and day-to-day life.


Tuesday 30 September 2014

Addressing the "I.P.", The I.P. Address or Dealing with The Identified Patient

by Stephen B.Chadwick, MA Counselling Psychology.

In common computer lingo, an "I.P." or "I.P." address is a term used to describe your "internet protocol" address, so I am told. For anybody with a computer it identifies and pinpoints where you personally  are within the world and on the web or internet.  This quirky series of numbers basically identifies you and your location geographically on the globe.
Moreover, information that you send out or receive can be identified or traced back to that spot or that computer from where or to where the information was transmitted.
"I.P.'s" for counsellors or psychotherapist though have a totally different meaning but curiously, a metaphor for one can be seen for the other. I.P.'s  are the "identified patient". Now, you're probably asking yourself: "What does that mean?" or even "Wow, that sounds a bit clinical and maybe even a bit scary!"  -- Don't worry. It's not.

Thursday 25 September 2014

Survivor's Guilt: Overcoming Remorse

by Stephen B.Chadwick, MA Counselling Psychology.

Survivor guilt is typical in persons who have experienced a major (traumatic usually) event wherein they were the sole survivor or one of the few survivors. The after-effects mostly involve reviewing or going over the event(s) and while most survivors of the event consider themselves grateful  and fortunate to have survived, they are also often left with feelings of guilt, (over)concern about the the fate of the victims and the victims' families and like other survivors of truama, needing to understand why and how to put the event into perspective.

And this phenomenon applies whether it is a major catastrophe  or even it is just simply an organizational reshuffle or downsizing within a business, where an entire staff is let go and only 2 or 3 people are left.

In these situations, the survivors look to find meaning for their survival, sometimes to "justify" it in their own minds, to make an existential rationale for their survival and often to memorialize those who did not survive.

Thursday 11 September 2014

Oscar Pistorius, Janay Rice and Doug Guyatt: The complicated nature of Domestic Violence

by Stephen B.Chadwick, MA Counselling Psychology.

Reeva Steenkamp & Oscar Pistorius (The Blade Runner)
With the announcement today of Oscar Pistorius' verdict in South Africa, (on September 11th, no less! )which is for the most part not guilty, however the courts are awaiting a hearing on "culpability",  many are reeling with the decision. It comes on the heels of no more than a week where Janay Rice, wife of yet another athlete, this time in America who "stood by her man" and yet has been criticized soundly and she in her turn has struck back.

Here in Canada, specifically, Victoria, in the province of British Columbia, The Victoria Colonist newspaper wrote today that a man by the name of Doug Guyatt, who murdered his wife by beheading years ago has finally died in jail.

It makes one wonder why some women "put up with this abuse" (almost) to the point of death. What is behind it? In a nutshell, "connection, relationship and history" and those who look from the outside cannot understand why the abusee does not simply leave. It is complicated. It is not black and white. And without minimizing, excusing, or condoning the violence, it is also useful to understand how sometimes it is hard to leave such relationships even when the individual KNOWS it is dysfunctional.

Sunday 7 September 2014

The Isis Beheadings:James Foley, Steven Sotloff and Joan Rivers -- Laughing at Tragedy

by Stephen B.Chadwick, MA Counselling Psychology.

James Foley
This last week, dear friends, has been rather an unfortunate mix of misery in the news. There have been of course the beheading of James Foley
and then Steven Sotloff.
Steven Sotloff

 And of course there has been the ongoing concern of the situation in the Middle East.

I would like to address why perhaps for some people, when thinking about the beheadings of Foley and Sotloff, that it strikes us as particularly savage. First of all.... it is meant to!

But the question is why? If we can examine it for a moment, we can see why the beheadings are so very shocking to the public and if we can examine it and (hopefully) understand it, then we might be able to weather it.

And why should we try to weather it? In order to understand it, but more importantly in order not to "terrorized" by the act and left immobilized by this horrid action.

If we are then not paralyzed by the situation, we can act intelligently -- while simultaneously understanding our emotional reaction to it without being drawn into the misery, it can help us to act in a manner that will be the most logical, sane and humane.

Monday 1 September 2014

Our Lips Are Sealed: Why counsellors and psychotherapists maintain (or try to maintain) Confidentiality

by Stephen B.Chadwick, MA Counselling Psychology.

Of course I would have to start off this post with the classic Gogo’s song and a video insert from the same. However, I think I will leave that towards the end of the post.  This is kind of, sort of, a heavy “intellectual” post so it might be nice to finish off with something light and silly or carefree.

Okay, the other day someone mentioned to me that they had read on another blog somewhere that counsellors and psychotherapists/psychiatrists/psychologists/psychoanalysts are generally considered to be (gasp!) a bit aloof and ridiculous. And mainly this is because they are perceived as being very secretive, in other words they don’t reveal (or shouldn’t) very much about themselves when clients come in for therapy sessions. As a result, there is a belief within the larger (non-mental health) world that counsellors are a bit buffoonish. So ultra-concerned about confidentiality. They have reason to be. And there is reason for it.