Overhauling The Helping Profession: A Guide To Good Counselling

Posted by Alyson Jones.

We live in a busy world with a glut of information and “self-help” advice being thrown at us though social media. Along the way traditional therapy seems to be getting lost in the mix. As a professional therapist and professor I often tell my psychology students that therapy is at risk of becoming irrelevant if we do not find a way to bring the ‘practical’ back to counselling.

Many people envision therapy as the answer to some sort of problem-based experience, in which they recline on a couch and talk about their past. The entertainment industry loves to characterize this aspect of therapy, right down to the stoic therapist saying, “How do you feel about that?” The client lays on a well-upholstered sofa, or at the very least sits on a large comfy chair, and talks endlessly about his or her feelings or past. In these portrayals, the therapist is a dispassionate, neutral being who asks occasional questions and shares academic-sounding insights. Another popular depiction of counselling is a room filled with wind chimes and incense, and a woman in flowing robes encouraging you to get in touch with your inner child. Neither of these are my experience of counselling, nor would I think my clients would describe anything close to these circumstances — except for the fact that as a tall woman I tend to wear long skirts and I do have some comfortable furniture that I prefer my clients not lie on!

It’s Time To Abandon New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by Alyson Jones.

With all the glitter and dazzle that surrounds our New Year’s celebrations, there also comes the inevitable question: “So, what are your New Year’s resolutions?” I generally have dreaded this question, and have usually found ways to give vague or ambiguous answers. When I was younger I did not know why this question made me feel uncomfortable. But as I grew in my life and my practice as a therapist I began to figure out why this particular tradition did not rest well with my personal and professional philosophy.

How To Talk to your Children About Acts of Terrorism

Posted by Alyson Jones.

Friday Nov.13, 2015, became another day of shock and outrage in this world, and none were more shocked than the population of Paris, France. As the tragedy of the multiple terrorist attacks in Paris unfolded, these senseless acts of violence left so many heartbroken. Stories of concert-goers, restaurant patrons and innocent civilians being killed took terrorism to a new level. Life is short, and many of us grappled with why anyone would want to make life shorter for others. What should have been a fun Friday in Paris ended in the worst way possible. My heart goes out to the family and friends of all of the victims of these attacks.

5 Tips to Improve Your Emotional Fitness

Posted by Alyson Jones.

There are many obvious benefits to being physically fit. Movement and exercise are good for us, and an active lifestyle is commonly recognized as a healthy goal. Our bodies are the vehicles we use to move through the world, and it makes a lot of sense to have our vehicles in good shape. This does not mean that there won’t be any challenging roadways in life, but a well-maintained vehicle will better equip us to handle the twists and turns along the way. However, as well as physical fitness, emotional fitness is just as important to our life satisfaction, if not more so.

How to Bully-Proof Your Child for School

Posted by Alyson Jones.

With Fall upon us parents are busy preparing their children for school. We are making the last minute dash to get school supplies, trying to figure out all of the fall sports and activities, and hoping we can somehow balance everything. For children the return to school is the beginning of a new year and is filled with mixed feelings. There is the excitement of seeing friends again and sharing summer stories, but the social world of children also has its perils. For many children the return to school means the return to bullying. For others there is the fear that they may become the target of a bully this school year. There are many children who are afraid of having to deal with bullies, and feel unsafe at their schools.

There has been a lot of attention on bullying over the last few years, and we have become familiar with how tragic the results of bullying can be for some children and their families. Fortunately there has been a shift in how schools are treating bullying; rather than just discounting it as childish behaviour most schools have developed progressive anti-bullying polices and implemented proactive protocols. This is progress, and it is important that educators and parents continue this conversation. But we also need to talk with our children about bullying and provide them with tools on how to deal with it.