Brave Beginnings Counselling Services

Brave Beginnings Counselling Services Providing counselling services in the Calgary and surrounding areas. Specializing in depression, anxiety and marital/premarital issues.
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Today is bell let’s talk day, a day where we strive to reduce the stigma around mental health. My contribution to today ...
01/29/2021

Today is bell let’s talk day, a day where we strive to reduce the stigma around mental health. My contribution to today is to talk about therapy/counselling. What the process entails from my perspective as a therapist.

From a therapist who has been practicing for over 10 years, to me therapy is a very sacred place. A place of vulnerability that I am honoured to be invited into. A place where I sit with someone as they share moments, thoughts and feelings that perhaps they haven’t shared with anyone else.

A place where someone can be assured to feel safe, supported and guided through their process. A place where you can grow and build your inner resilience.

Typically we don’t physically suffer alone; we go to a doctor and no one needs to suffer alone with their mental health.



I wanted to quickly share this quick reframe of thinking when it comes to saying no. Sometimes we may find ourselves rid...
01/20/2021

I wanted to quickly share this quick reframe of thinking when it comes to saying no. Sometimes we may find ourselves ridden with feelings guilt or anxiety around the thought of having to say no to someone or something.

Instead, try reframing your thoughts to mean you are saying yes to yourself! Yes to your own needs and yes they are important.

Let’s talk wellness check ins today for self care Monday. For our physical health we do routine check ups with a general...
01/19/2021

Let’s talk wellness check ins today for self care Monday. For our physical health we do routine check ups with a general practitioner/family physician.

Similarly doing a quick emotional wellness check in with ourselves can be beneficial. A quick self wellness check in could look like how has my sleep been in the last week? How is my appetite in the last week? How is my social connections with others? Stress levels?

How you answer some of these questions could help you decide on checking in with a mental health therapist to help you gain insight and understanding into your emotional wellness.

Have a great start to the week everyone!

First day back in the office for 2021. After a nice break off for the holiday season, it’s great to be back in the offic...
01/04/2021

First day back in the office for 2021. After a nice break off for the holiday season, it’s great to be back in the office. I look forward to the year ahead as we all work towards breaking the stigma down even more around mental health.

#2021

The next holiday wellness tip is dedicated to couples. Take time over the holidays to connect as a couple. Talk about wh...
12/24/2020

The next holiday wellness tip is dedicated to couples. Take time over the holidays to connect as a couple. Talk about what this season means to you, ask open ended questions and just be in that moment with each other. In turn, you will be making deposits into your emotional bank account as a couple.

Holiday Wellness Tip  #4!!!!! Today’s tip is about managing expectations this holiday season. Sometimes we take on too m...
12/23/2020

Holiday Wellness Tip #4!!!!! Today’s tip is about managing expectations this holiday season. Sometimes we take on too much not evening knowing it’s out of our capacity. Whether it’s physically or emotionally, we have to adjust those expectations to reflect what’s realistic of where we are at now in this moment.

Here in AB (and perhaps other parts of the country and world) this holiday season is definitely looking differently than others. It’s important we shift our expectations to reflect that. Think of it as a way to cope ahead of time.

#2020

Holiday Wellness tip  #3 is here! Let’s talk about what mindfulness can look like over the holiday season.It is very eas...
12/22/2020

Holiday Wellness tip #3 is here! Let’s talk about what mindfulness can look like over the holiday season.

It is very easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. You may be focused on the to do list and feeling overwhelmed. Jumping from task to task.

Over the holidays set time aside to immerse yourself in the moments of the the season. Take in all the sights and sounds of the season. Notice the sensations in your body was you absorb these sights and sounds. Allow yourself to just be. Whether that’s for a min or 10 min, give as much as you can to that moment.

Holiday Tip  #2 is a reminder to allow yourself to feel what you are feeling. Whatever the emotion you are feeling this ...
12/22/2020

Holiday Tip #2 is a reminder to allow yourself to feel what you are feeling. Whatever the emotion you are feeling this holiday season take time to feel that emotion. Whether it is joy, excitement, loss, loneliness take the time you need to process the emotion and the meaning behind that emotion.

Have a great start to your week!

Today’s self care Monday post is going to kick off a series of holiday wellness tips. I will share a series of posts to ...
12/15/2020

Today’s self care Monday post is going to kick off a series of holiday wellness tips. I will share a series of posts to discuss how we can maintain our emotional wellness over the holiday season.

The first tip of the holiday wellness series is about devising a plan to help you stay balanced this holiday season. Plan out the to do list. Perhaps divide up tasks within your household or social network.

For some people this holiday season is looking very differently. Perhaps the extra time in your schedule is a reminder of the loss of connection this holiday season. Look at planning a pleasurable activity to give you something to look forward to.

Stay tune for more tips!

*Disclaimer: The information provided in these posts are strictly for educational purposes only. If you are struggling please reach out for help or call the distress centre at 403-266-4357.

#2020

My fellow Albertans, I don’t know about you but I woke up feeling a sense of heaviness this am with the new measures bei...
12/09/2020

My fellow Albertans, I don’t know about you but I woke up feeling a sense of heaviness this am with the new measures being announced. A general sense of sadness, grief and loss.

I said to myself “Michelle it’s JUST a Santa photo.” Yes of course it’s just a Santa photo. At the same time I am feeling the loss of creating that memory with my son in this moment in his life. That loss needs to be honoured.

I want to open up the conversation to talk about how we all may be feeling right now. To let you know it’s ok to feel these emotions. I hear your loss of connection. I understand the disappointment of the cancelled Xmas event. Most importantly, to let you know you are not alone. Talk about those feelings whether it’s a friend, family member or a health professional.

In summary of the words of the famous Berne Brown, it’s the feeling of connection that makes a difficult moment better.

***If you are struggling do not hesitate to reach out to the mental health resources available in your community. In Alberta, the distress centre has a 24 hour crisis line (403-466-4357). The Calgary Counselling Centre offer services on a sliding fee scale and has no waitlist.

12/08/2020

The #1 thing couples fight about is not about money or in-laws or s*x. According to Dr. John Gottman, most arguments in relationships are about a failure to connect emotionally.

In relationships, people offer a “bid” for each other’s attention, affection, or support. This can be as insignificant as mentioning you'd like a cup of coffee to start your day to something as significant as helping a partner deal with the struggles of a sick parent.

There is a profound opportunity to respond to your partner's bids in the micro-moments of love. In these moments, you have a choice to turn towards your partner or away from them. If you turn towards, you build trust, emotional connection, and intimacy. If you turn away, the fabric of your relationship can erode over time.

Dr. John Gottman discovered that couples who divorced an average of 6 years after their wedding turned toward each other 33% of the time in his lab, while the couples who were together after 6 years turned toward each other 86% of the time. That’s a big difference.

Discover the three steps to reconnect: https://bit.ly/31jD4la

Today’s feature on self care Monday is devoted to social media use. Have you ever spent an hour scrolling on social medi...
12/07/2020

Today’s feature on self care Monday is devoted to social media use. Have you ever spent an hour scrolling on social media and not even realize you completely zone out? After scrolling social media have you ever left feeling heavy emotions in your body or even experiencing brain fog?

When you saw this image did you feel overwhelmed or overloaded with everything going on? I intentionally overloaded this image to bring awareness to what happens when we overload our mind. When we spend hours on end scrolling it’s can be a lot for the mind to process. Also, we are absorbing this information.

Social media can be a great tool. And like any tool it functions better with intentionality. This post isn’t to judge or shame your use of social media. Instead it is to educate you around being intentional with your social media use. This is something I have been striving to do. What do you want your social media use to look like? How much time do you want to spend on social media a day? Asking yourself these questions will help you think about your intentionality behind your social media use.

In summary of this long winded post, Here are some helpful tips:

1. Take time to evaluate your social media use. Are you content with how much time you spend on social media?

2. Next observe your feelings before you use social media and then observe how feel after.

3. Thirdly, ask your self what is the purpose of my social media use? Is it for work? Is to go educate or inform myself? Is it to escape from the daily stressors and zone out?

4. Lastly, perhaps look at setting a limit around your social media use. Set an hour aide of no social media use. Try using the controls on your phone to shut down your social media apps.

Happy Monday and scrolling everyone!

I”m back! This last week I had to take a breather which meant take a break from social media. This gave me inspiration f...
11/30/2020

I”m back! This last week I had to take a breather which meant take a break from social media. This gave me inspiration for today’s self care Monday’s post.

The times we are in today can weigh heavily on us emotionally, mentally and physically. Taking a break is essential right now. Whether it is a break to have a coffee, to catch your breath, or to get outside, go ahead and take it. Grant yourself that permission that it’s ok to have the break that you need.

Being a bit of a perfectionist myself I struggle with taking a break at times. Naps are impossible for me as I lie there thinking about all the things I “should” or “could” be doing.

Taking a break can give you body and mind that time it needs to refocused and get back to you.

Have you taken a break today? Look for the signs that tell you, you need a break.

Today’s post is coming a little late after a very busy and grateful day over here. This self care Monday’s post is about...
11/17/2020

Today’s post is coming a little late after a very busy and grateful day over here. This self care Monday’s post is about the significance of goal setting for our self care.

How are the two link? By establishing goals it can help give you a sense of meaning and purpose. Aligning your actions throughout your day to align with what gives you meaning can fill your “cup.”

Whether you check in yearly or quarterly, take a moment to look at your long term and short terms goals. Then set your intention for the day around those goals.

Have a great week!

Taking a moment of silence to remember the soldiers that have fought for our freedom today. Lest we forget.
11/11/2020

Taking a moment of silence to remember the soldiers that have fought for our freedom today. Lest we forget.

It’s been a quite week as I work on more behind the scenes tasks. Lots more exciting posts to come.Today’s feature of Se...
11/09/2020

It’s been a quite week as I work on more behind the scenes tasks. Lots more exciting posts to come.

Today’s feature of Self Care Monday is about the significance of connection to our self care. I will start by saying everyone’s needs around connection varies from person to person. Some people need the day to day social connection with others to fulfill their emotional tanks. While others needs for connecting with others is different.

Start by asking what are you needs of connection. Then ask yourself what have you done to fulfill those needs of connection. For example, if your needs of connection are higher have you connected with others today? Whether a coffee date or virtual zoom meeting or even making an effort to talk to a stranger can add to your cup.

Happy Monday Everyone!

Today’s self care Monday is all about positive affirmations. A short definition of positive affirmation is a positive st...
11/02/2020

Today’s self care Monday is all about positive affirmations. A short definition of positive affirmation is a positive statement that we say to ourselves. I like to think of positive affirmations as affirming our truth and admiration about ourselves.

Take a moment to reflect on your value and truth. What do you admire about yourself? How would you describe yourself in 3 characteristics? Then take one of those and build your positive affirmations statement around that characteristic.

For example, if you admire your empathy you express to others. Then a positive affirmation statement you could say to yourself is that “I am a compassionate and empathetic person.” Then say that statement to yourself every morning. Post it on your mirror, planner or desk to be reminded of your truth.

Have a great start to the week everyone!

When are we ever taught about intimate relationships? Conflict management? Yet miraculously we are expected to know how ...
10/28/2020

When are we ever taught about intimate relationships? Conflict management? Yet miraculously we are expected to know how to navigate conflict in our intimate relationship. I really want to dedicate some of this space to providing psycho-ed and reduce the stigma for couples struggling in their relationship to reach out for guidance.

One of the areas of the common areas for couples to struggle in is conflict. One of the common conflict patterns couples can get stuck in is the attack-defend pattern. This pattern occurs when one partner attacks and the other defends their position. And you to tend to go back and forth weaving in and out of this cycle.

This pattern gets in the way of you truly being able to listen to your partner needs and wants and reach understanding in your relationship.

***Disclaimer the information in this post is not to replace couples therapy, and is strictly psycho educational. Reach out to a therapist specializing in couples counselling if you are struggling in your relationship.

10/27/2020

Keep it in mind and good things will come your way.

Today’s self care Monday post is all about sleep. Have you stopped and thought about the quality of your sleep? If I wer...
10/26/2020

Today’s self care Monday post is all about sleep. Have you stopped and thought about the quality of your sleep? If I were to ask you how long it takes you to fall asleep at night what would your response be?

Sleep is a very complex issue. One of the many possibilities that may be impacting your sleep is your hygiene. The research around sleep indicates that an hour leading up to your bedtime is ideal to have a good bedtime routine. The physical parts of the bedtime routine (getting pyjamas on, brushing teeth, washing a face) signals the body it is time for bed. The psychological parts of bedtime (i.e. mind calming/soothing techniques such as reading, light stretching) helps your mind prepare for that transition to sleep.

Oftentimes what happens when our head hits the pillow we run through our day. This processing of the mind makes it difficult for our mind to quiet enough to fall asleep.

***Disclaimer the information on this post is strictly for psycho educational purposes. If you are struggling with mental health issues, and if sleep is one of those, please consult with a medical/mental health professional.

This post is for the couples, whether you are a heteros*xual or same s*x couple don’t underestimate the value behind a k...
10/24/2020

This post is for the couples, whether you are a heteros*xual or same s*x couple don’t underestimate the value behind a kiss. The research revealed that one of the many things that couples who report more satisfaction/happy feelings in there relationship did is a 6 second kiss everyday.

Devise a ritual with your partner to incorporate your six second kiss. Whether it’s parting ways for the day or reuniting, be deliberate with showing your partner that undivided attention and affection. Put that phone down, stop thinking about the to do lists or any other responsibilities and dedicated yourself to your partner for those 6 seconds.

Head over to the Gottman Institute Blog to read more about their research and the 6 second kiss.

Happy Friday Everyone!

Sometimes we use words towards ourselves and we are not aware of the weight that they bare. Should is definitely one of ...
10/22/2020

Sometimes we use words towards ourselves and we are not aware of the weight that they bare. Should is definitely one of those words, especially if they tend to show up similarly to the statements in this image.

Should keeps us stuck in the past and holds us back from acceptance. Most importantly, should robs us from self compassion. I like to explain that when we should ourselves we are essentially shaming ourselves. How can we access self compassion and empathy if we stuck in shame of our actions or decisions.

Acknowledge, accept, be compassionate and move onward.

10/22/2020
Happy Monday everyone! Today’s feature on self care Monday is all about the power of our breath. Breathing can be a powe...
10/19/2020

Happy Monday everyone! Today’s feature on self care Monday is all about the power of our breath. Breathing can be a power self regulation tool in a moment of emotional distress. Breathing allows us to re-focus, grounds our mind and body and centres us.

There are many different breathing exercises to try. I highly recommend working with a therapist to find the one that works best for you.

Today, I want you to take a moment to just breathe. Take a full breath in from you belly, hold it and savour that breath, then release. Notice the sensations you feel as you release that breath. Visualize yourself releasing the tension physically from your body. Have a great start to your day Everyone 🙏🏻

10/16/2020

"You can’t avoid conflict, but you can practice mindfulness to hear your partner and work towards resolving the situation."

Gillian Florence Sanger of Mindfulness Exercises explores how, through mindful listening techniques, we strengthen our capacity to listen to others and start to receive the same in return: https://bit.ly/3dwPdsz

Fear is one of the many strongest emotions we feel. Oftentimes we find ourselves turning away from something in our life...
10/15/2020

Fear is one of the many strongest emotions we feel. Oftentimes we find ourselves turning away from something in our life because of fear. For example, we may want to make a career change but find ourselves stuck in a place of deciding where to go due to the fear of failure.

What if instead we tried to reframe fear as legitimate versus illegitimate fear. Specifically what I mean is next time you are face with fear as yourself what part of this fear is legitimate and what part is illegitimate. Instead of reacting to the fear take a moment to reflect on what is the meaning behind the fear. What is the fear trying to teach you about this moment?

Happy Thanksgiving Day! This feature on self care Monday is dedicated to giving thanks. Personally myself today I reflec...
10/12/2020

Happy Thanksgiving Day! This feature on self care Monday is dedicated to giving thanks. Personally myself today I reflected on what it means to be thankful and give thanks. I encourage you all today to take a few moments to do the same on this special holiday.

When depression and anxiety takes over it can be hard for a person to access that gratitude. Specifically, making it difficult to express what exactly you are thankful for. It might be helpful to make a list of the various categories you can be grateful for.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

- giving thanks for the food in front of you
- pick a moment to savour and give thanks
- yours or someone else’s safety and security
- thank a neighbour
- thank a friend
- thank a stranger
- most importantly, thank yourself

Thank yourself for showing up every day and facing the day ahead. Thank yourself for dusting yourself off and getting back up when you feel like life has knocked you down. Lastly, thank yourself for being yourself.

10/09/2020

Repression is an emergency skill, not a blanket strategy for life.

Have you ever stop and thought about how you are thinking is effecting how you feel and what you do? Have you ever asked...
10/09/2020

Have you ever stop and thought about how you are thinking is effecting how you feel and what you do? Have you ever asked yourself what is the quality of my thinking?

The words we use hold significant power. If we say to ourselves “ugh I am so stupid for making that mistake” that holds us in a place of judgement. In term takes you away from a space of compassion and empathy.

10/09/2020

Trust and commitment are built in a relationship every time we choose our partner.

10/07/2020

Marriage is one of the oldest social, economic, religious and legal institutions in the world, and there’s no shortage of opinions on what makes it work. But much of the conventional wisdom is not based on evidence, and some is flat-out wrong.

10/07/2020

When I look at my life, family, and community, I wonder: which patterns are authentically ours, and which are a result of cultural PTSD?

10/05/2020

Protect your relationships from unnecessary stressors and weather the storms that come by making emotional connection a priority.

Today’s feature on self care Monday is going to be about embracing the moment.  I have mentioned before that at times we...
10/05/2020

Today’s feature on self care Monday is going to be about embracing the moment. I have mentioned before that at times we go through life on auto-pilot. Jumping from task to task on the to do list. Let’s all just take one moment from our day today to embrace with openness and curiosity. Observe the sensations in your body and mind as you savour that moment. Have a great Monday!

What if I told you that effective and healthy conflict in your marriage is ok and in fact a good thing. Conflict isn’t a...
09/30/2020

What if I told you that effective and healthy conflict in your marriage is ok and in fact a good thing. Conflict isn’t about quantity, it’s about quality. It’s all about the HOW. How you manage conflict in your marriage will in fact help bring you closer to your partner.

Oftentimes in conflict we find ourselves lost in the defence-offence position. We tend to become so focus on our re-buttal we loose sight of actively listening to our partner needs/wants, hopes and dreams.

Today for Self Care, we are going to discuss meditation. There are various interpretations regarding meditation. First o...
09/28/2020

Today for Self Care, we are going to discuss meditation. There are various interpretations regarding meditation. First off, what exactly is meditation? One explanation refers to it as the practice of training the mind to focus, bring awareness and attention. In turn bringing a calm emotional state to the mind and body.

There are various forms of meditation, here are a few of types: mindfulness meditation, guided meditation, spiritual meditation, transcendental meditation.

When I teach meditation skills I tell my clients it’s like running a marathon. You don’t just go and run a half or full marathon. You physically have to train your body. Similarly we need to do the same for our mind. I tell clients to start with 1-2 minutes of meditation. Then begin increasing your time. Enjoy the start to your week!

09/28/2020

It doesn’t matter how old you are, or how long you’ve been married. It always feels good to have your partner pursue you.

Given that it is Su***de Prevention Month, I think it’s important to de-bunk some myths about su***de. One of those myth...
09/27/2020

Given that it is Su***de Prevention Month, I think it’s important to de-bunk some myths about su***de. One of those myths is that people who die by su***de are selfish and are taking the easy way out. Su***de is NEVER the easy way out. Rarely do people who experience suicidal ideation want to actually end their lives. They want to end the emotional pain they are in. People who experience su***de ideation are often sitting alone in isolation with this emotional pain. Partly due to a fear in seeking help. The more we talk about su***de the more these myths will be de-bunked in our society.

***deprevention ***deawarness ***depreventionmonth

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