Deirdre’s Blog

The Art of Play in Therapy

Some time ago I was speaking with one of my academic mentors about therapeutic approaches and he said, "You should be experimenting in therapy." I was surprised to hear this, even a little unsettled. At the time, I was working for a governmental organization and…

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The Language of Sexual Assault

Warning: Sensitive Material You would think it was the act itself, but more often it's the other thing that tears a life apart: the aftermath of being a survivor in a rape-condoning world. Awaiting or avoiding trials that are certain to dehumanize. Ruminating, dissociating. Feeling…

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(C)Lit Review: The Top 3 Sex Books I Read in 2019

I’ve done my share of sexy reading in 2019. Most of it has been for educational purposes, so I’ll save the discussion on ancient Persian erotic poetry for another day. And what a day it’ll be. However, here’s my roundup for 2019: the best sexuality…

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Sexual Debut

A fitting way to start a conversation about sex is with a debut. After all, a debut marks a beginning - a premiere event - and that's what I want to do here. Have some healthy conversations about sex and sexuality. So what is a…

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3 Mental Health Websites with a Social Justice Lens

Down by the Riverside motel It's ten below and falling By a ninety-nine cent store She closed her eyes and started swaying But it's so hard to dance that way When it's cold and there's no music ~ Hold On, Tom Waits It’s hard to…

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A Letter to My Daughter in Birmingham, Alabama

Dearest daughter, Guard your uterus in these darkening days. Gather your wits as you go into the belly of the beast. Your lifelong dream of travelling to the South has dovetailed with a moment in history. Find a rally. Don’t get shot. Memes of fallopian…

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The Art of Truth-Telling

For most of us honesty is a quality that we value, though when it comes right down to it, telling the truth isn't always easy. If it were, we would do it all the time, and we don't. On a large scale, many environmental, political,…

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Three DBT Skills To Help a Suicidal Teen

Living in the Kootenays, we are isolated from acute care facilities that help teenagers who struggle with serious mental health issues. The closest adolescent psychiatric hospital is in Kelowna; the closest eating disorder hospital is on the coast. If a teenager struggles profoundly with a…

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Anorexia, Bulimia, and the Starving of Saints

There is an idiom about the canary in the coal mine, dating back to when miners brought caged canaries underground with them. If the canary died, signalling toxic levels of methane or carbon monoxide which were undetectable by smell, the miners knew to get out.…

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What's the Difference Between Borderline and Bipolar?

That’s the question that begat this article, but it mushroomed into more than that. You see, to talk about how borderline and bipolar are different, we also need to talk about how they’re similar. And to talk about how they’re similar, we need to talk…

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Standing on the Shore of a Loved One’s Addiction

Not infrequently, I will receive a call from someone who is looking for help with addiction. In these calls I’m thinking about, it’s not the person suffering the addiction who calls - it’s a loved one. They want to know a few things: What can…

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How To Find The Right Counsellor

When I began my master’s degree in counselling, the first thing that struck me was how genuinely warm and kind my classmates were. In a roomful of people that supportive, I thought to myself, “I’m home!” It’s pretty true that, by and large, counsellors are…

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Curious Questions

"There’s no such thing as a stupid question.” Or, as one of my teachers said, “Yes there are, but those are outliers and they don’t count.” The simple truth is that we often don’t know where an encounter will take us, and that’s the good…

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How to Say No

When my daughter was little, I posted some affirmations up around her room. On heart-shaped post-it notes were statements like, “I am funny” and “I am kind.” In return, she made some affirmations for me. I walked into my bedroom to find the walls plastered…

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The Wonder of Wonder

I love the quality of wonder. It evokes curiosity, exploration, and the humility to simply not have all the answers. When we wonder, we ask questions. We open our hearts and minds. We are as children. Clinically, wonder is a very useful tool. When first…

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Healing Sexual Shame

When a client shares some sexual shame that they’re struggling with, I’m always filled with such awe at their strength. Maybe they're using porn more than they want to, or they fear intimacy. Maybe they’ve just received a diagnosis of a sexually transmitted infection. Whatever…

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Slowing Anger Down

Anger has a fast, hot, destructive quality, and those that struggle with it know all too well the remorse and shame that result when they have let it get the better of them. The trick with anger is to slow it down. One of the…

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Grandmother Wisdom

Years ago a healer said to me, “Go home. Nurture your inner grandmother. Put on a bathrobe. Make yourself some tea.” In high school Sister Josephine started her lessons with, “Listen to your grandmother.” Since then, I have learned all sorts of things about what…

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