Pyxis Counselling Services Newsletter Articles

The Joy of Counselling

As I was revising my About page to include some of the story as to how I became a counsellor, I was also thinking about what I get out of being a therapist. It might seem like a selfless profession, listening to and focusing fully on helping others. Although this is what happens in counselling, the other reality is that when clients are benefiting from the therapy process, so am I… Read more

Leaving Space: Creating Margins in Life

In the toolbox for navigating life is our ability to create margins or space in our lives. Generally our lives here in the first world consist of busy, complex, multi-tasking days. How do we keep from feeling overwhelmed by everything we are juggling? By having a margin – physically, emotionally, mentally, financially…. Read more

Being in Control – Or Too Controlling?

Generally having control is a good thing. We like to be able to say “I’ve got it under control”, or “That’s within my control to do”. Basically, having control comes down to feeling like we can direct and take charge of what is happening. We feel competent, masterful, and even powerful if we have control, or at times the illusion of control. … Read more

Core Beliefs – What Are They and Can We Change Them?

I have a counted cross-stitch project that I’m working on (for those unfamiliar with this it involves stitching a picture with different colored thread) and recently was alarmed to realize that a whole section of it was out of alignment. I had made a mistake and then was counting onward from that mistake, not realizing it of course, and then needed to go back and take out a big section of my work.

This process made me think of our core beliefs, and how we may build on a mistaken idea about ourselves or the world in such a way that things will end up out of sync, until at some point we need to go back and look at the original “mistake” or belief….Read more

Understanding Introversion (For Introverts and the Extroverts That Love Them)

Possibly the most important point to be made about this topic right off the top is that introversion is not a flaw that needs to be fixed. Unfortunately, the word itself has a negative connotation and is often used as a synonym for antisocial, shy, or even pathological. It has only been in the last year or so that it is not (thankfully) appearing in diagnostic manuals… Read more

Boundaries in Relationships

What does it mean to have good boundaries in relationships? Where is that line between what’s my “stuff” and what’s someone else’s “stuff”? This issue comes up in all our interactions to some degree and can become more challenging in our closer relationships… Read more

More Than a Bad Day: When a Loved One is Depressed

Depression can be a debilitating, bewildering illness for those that go through it, but what about the people around them? If you suspect – or know – that someone close to you is depressed, there are some things to keep in mind in order to support them through this challenging time. If you’re not sure whether or not it’s depression, here is a checklist of the major symptoms that people experience… Read more

Attachment in Relationships: What’s Your Style?

How do you behave in a relationship? Do you feel the need to have lots of close contact with your partner, or do you tend to keep a bit of distance, especially emotionally? We all have an attachment style, for better or worse, and it can be helpful to have some idea of our style as it affects the quality of our intimate relationships….Read more

Check Your Pulse: What Makes You Feel Alive?

Invigorated, inspired, energized, enlivened, fascinated, animated, engrossed. Have you felt any of these things lately? When was the last time you felt really excited or passionate about something? Maybe you’ve come across the opposite of this – “ennui”, which is defined as “Listlessness and dissatisfaction resulting from lack of interest; boredom” ( It is easy enough to slip into feeling generally blah about life, not necessarily in the sense of being depressed…Read more

Happy New Year and a Poem

In lieu of an article for December, I would like to share a poem. It is “The Guest House” by the 13th century Sufi mystic, Rumi. I have read this poem at different times over the past few years and it has meant something slightly different upon each reading. Rather than give my reflections on it, I will leave it to you to read and take from it what you will. That is the lovely thing about poetry, there is no right or wrong way to read and gain from it. …Read more

A Go-To Guide for Managing Anxiety

Anxiety is something that we all experience to a greater or lesser degree, but at times it may be at a level where it gets in the way of living life. The following is a reminder checklist to use in order to provide the best chance for managing anxiety. The items are general in the sense that they do not directly address specific fears such as phobias or social anxiety, but they are a good place to start for these issues as well.

Self-Care Check

  • Am I eating reasonably healthy meals and snacks each day? Am I minimizing (or even eliminating) my intake of caffeine?
  • Am I getting enough sleep? Things always seem worse when going short on sleep. If insomnia is a challenge, have a look at this list regarding practicing good sleep hygiene.
  • Am I getting some down time/rest time each day, or am I running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off? (Having seen this first hand I can say that it’s not pretty, but it makes a good comparison with the idea of frantically expending energy and not getting anywhere.)…Read more

Anger Insight – Use It, Don’t Lose It!

Biting someone’s head off. Jumping down someone’s throat. Blowing a gasket. Flying off the handle. Losing your sh*t. Ah, anger. It is the troublesome yet necessary emotion that may be more challenging to manage than any other feeling. As far as I know, no one has committed crimes in a “fit of sadness”.

Why is anger necessary?
Anger has a bad rap, mostly because of the ways that it can potentially be destructive….Read more

Why Bring Up the Past?: Talking About Childhood in Counselling

Let’s say you have been feeling anxious and depressed since the unexpected loss of your job, and you are coming to counselling to feel better and move forward in your life. How would bringing up anything from your childhood be relevant in the counselling process? At first glance, one doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the other. Without our realizing it at the time, our fundamental beliefs about ourselves and others and the world are learned in childhood; “formative years” is an apt term.

Core beliefs are developed in childhood, such as “It’s OK to make mistakes” or “I have something to valuable to contribute”, and these beliefs impact how we go about our lives. It’s obvious then that negative beliefs such as “Making mistakes means I’m a failure”, or “My feelings and needs don’t count” can be part of what gets in the way of us living well mentally and emotionally in the present. The following points will help clarify what talking about childhood in counselling might and might not involve:…Read more

Self-Sabotage: How We Get In (and How to Get Out of) Our Own Way

Recently I was reading a novel in which the main character is reflecting on how he prevented himself from loving a woman that loves him and that he has known for a long time. When an opportunity arises for him to meet with her again and let her into his heart, he avoids the meeting at the last minute, leaving her waiting for him. About this event he says, “I panicked in the face of the possibility of happiness.” (p. 334, “The Underpainter” by Jane Urquhart). This profoundly sad and insightful statement made me think of self-sabotage – the ways in which we unconsciously resist the things we say we want, and end up getting in the way of our own happiness.

What exactly is self-sabotage?
Anything that we do to get in the way of accomplishing what we want can be self-sabotage.Read more

Resilience – a.k.a Keeping the Boat Afloat

There is bamboo growing behind the building that I live in, and recently some sections of it had been cut back – and when I say cut back I mean cut off almost to the ground. Within days, there were new shoots growing (at an astounding rate), and not only that, when someone again cleared these new shoots away, more have since sprouted up.

This prompted thoughts of resilience, the perpetual energy that exists in nature to survive, renew, and regenerate no matter what adversity there has been. People are also amazingly resilient….Read more

Move Over Self-Esteem, How About Self-Acceptance

The Quest for Work/Life Balance

Addiction Q and A

Communication: How and Why it Can Go Awry

5 Elements of Self-Care

The Pleasure of Not Being Perfect

Time for Change

Tis the Season!’ (Already??)