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Words To Live By

Sara Alia, MC R. Psych (provisional) – Refresh Counselling

With so many words in the English language, it can be difficult to find the ‘right words’ in describing a feeling, an experience or one’s insight when delivering a message – particularly in the counselling context. Some words are positive life-giving ones, while others are draining and harmful to one’s mental and emotional well-being.

A psychologist could listen for the choice of words used by clients in describing their lived experience to understand—are they life giving or harmful ones? Such words as “I can’t” or “I don’t “or significant phrases like “Either I do x, y and z or else I am a failure…” and “I should be perfect at …” reveal what one’s self-perception is and unfortunately, it appears that for many the reality is an unpleasant one, extending to a vast population even for those who don’t struggle with anxiety and depression.

In lots of cases, when the negativity that sits in one’s mind is brought to the surface, a psychologist could embark in the process of sharing that such thoughts often coincide with something Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) titles, cognitive distortions. Many clients are intrigued when learning about such thinking patterns and yet feel a strong comfort in realizing that they are very common. Awareness of such negative thoughts is the first step in creating change, on various levels.

So, what’s so important about doing this?

Well, the basic premise of CBT outlines that thoughts influence one’s feelings and in turn their behaviour. So, if you have been feeling down and not acting like your usual or ideal self, it is possible that these feelings and behaviours can be explained by your thought process, according to CBT.

The good news is there are various ways to work with such harmful thoughts that can and do impact one’s lived experience. With the aid of a mental health professional, one can learn to adopt a healthier mental space, one that engages words to live by.

We welcome you to contact Refresh Counselling today if this blog interests you to learn more as all of our therapists are able to offer the CBT approach, along with others!


For all Video sessions, we strongly recommend finding a private place where you can speak freely and hear the communication from your psychologist clearly – in some cases you may want to consider using headphones with a microphone to better communicate in your session.

Our video sessions utilize the same online booking platform we use called “Jane”. 30 minutes before your appointment, Jane will email you a clickable link which you will use to get connected to your Psychologist.  We recommend logging in 5 mins prior to your session to ensure that you begin on time.  As soon as your Psychologist is ready to begin, the Video chat will begin.

  • Laptops & Desktop Computers: Our beta release is best experienced using Chrome or Opera, Firefox unfortunately does not allow to reduce the quality of the video so it will gobble up all your bandwidth. Safari is audio-only.
  • Android Devices: Android devices work best with Chrome.
  • iPhone & iPad: If you’re on an iOS device (iPhone, iPad) you will need the Jane Online Appointments app which is available on the app store.

For a Step-by-step walkthrough – please click the link below to learn how to join a Video Session:

How To Join a Video Session

Yes! The Online Appointments feature was built exclusively within Jane and it is all provided within our secure infrastructure that meets our privacy standards. We are not white labeling a 3rd-party solution behind the scenes.

We are using a standard that provides peer-to-peer audiovisual communication in most cases. This means that all the traffic flows directly between each user’s web browser and completely bypasses our servers. The traffic is also encrypted in transit and none of the data is stored anywhere at any time.

This approach ensures our online appointments are PIPEDA and HIPAA and address the major privacy concerns clinics and patients have around telehealth.

Both! In light of recent events, our psychologists have adapted to providing effective group and individual services online but in-person appointments are also available. Your psychologist can discuss both options with you and your family and provide some direction for what might be good for your family.

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