The following resources are intended to be helpful and informative but they cannot replace the care and guidance of a qualified psychologist, counselor or health care practitioner. Each of the resources below can help you function better regardless of whether you have a disorder that can be diagnosed. Some, however, are specifically aimed at treating a specific diagnosis.  If you have a problem that is causing significant distress or negative impact upon your functioning, your best course of action is to discuss the problem as soon as possible with your family doctor and/or with a qualified mental health practitioner.  A medical doctor is a good place to begin in order to rule out medical or biological factors that may be contributing to the problem.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Most of the resources listed below are workbooks written from an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) perspective and if they are not explicitly written from that perspective, they are compatible with that perspective.

The goals of ACT therapy are psychological flexibility and value-guided action, rather than feeling better or avoiding distress.   An important idea within ACT therapy is that the struggle against unwanted thoughts and feelings is what really leads to suffering.  Psychological flexibility refers to the ability to respond to life’s challenges with flexible and effective thinking and behavior – as opposed to inflexible and ineffective responses – even as we are experiencing unpleasant thoughts and feelings or counter-productive urges.

We can develop psychological flexibility by working on six processes, as described by Stephen Hayes: 

  1. Present-moment, non-judgmental awareness
  2. De-fusing from thoughts: noticing, observing, perhaps understanding them without necessarily buying into them or being “pushed around by them”
  3. Accepting and being willing to have unpleasant feelings and bodily sensations
  4. Understanding your “self” as the context for experience, rather than being fused with the content of experience, and equating “self” with your thoughts and beliefs about your your self (e.g., “I’m a kind person”; or, “I’m a damaged person”)
  5. Getting clear on your values, or the things you want your life to be about; often reflecting on your values
  6. Committing to actions that serve your values, even when your thoughts, feelings and behavioral tendencies would take you in other directions!
Therapy Resources for Vancouver, Port Moody & BC

The resources below are generally recommended but not all will be appropriate or sufficient to effectively deal with an individual’s particular problem. Again, these suggested “first steps” or supplemental resources are not meant to substitute the guidance of a qualified mental health professional.

Finding a qualified psychologist in the Vancouver Area:

If you have talked to your family doctor and ruled out medical causes for your problem, you might begin by seeking information and treatment from your local Child and Youth Mental Health office or adult community mental health offices in Vancouver Coastal , or Fraser Health regions.

Port Moody & Vancouver Psychologist
General resources for functioning better:
  1. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) resources for the public: more information about the ACT approach and how to get started putting these principles into practice.
  2. Psychology Today article that explains how Analyzing Your Problems May Be Counterproductive!
  3. A smartphone application that uses CBT methods to help you notice your patterns of Situation / Thoughts / Feelings / Action Tendencies, reflect on your thoughts, shift attention to your goals and values, and move towards them!
  4. smartphone application  that helps you put ACT Therapy strategies into day-to-day life!
  5. A smartphone application designed primarily for persons suffering from PTSD symptoms, but which can be used for depression, anxiety, panic, and somatic symptom problems as well.
  6. The PsychCentral website that lists a number of smartphone applications based on ACT and/or Cognitive-Behavioral approaches to mental health.
  7. An article written by our own Niamh Allen, providing useful information and strategies for meeting needs through Assertive Communication Skills 
Stress management and behavioral medicine resources:
  1. In 1979, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn introduced a Mindfulness-based stress reduction program (MBSR) that significantly reduces medical symptoms (including symptoms of heart disease) and psychological distress while helping participants live more fully.   Read Dr. Zinn’s book or visit the UMass Center for Mindfulness  for more information.
  2. Check out this workbook for a self- or therapist-administered program that will help you apply the MBSR skills to your own life.
  3. An informational brochure and useful strategies for Coping with Stress, written by Ms. Niamh Allen
Vancouver Anxiety resources:
  1. An informational brochure and useful strategies in Dealing with Generalized-Anxiety Disorder and with worry and anxiety that interferes with life
  2. An informational brochure and useful strategies in Coping with Panic Disorder
  3. An informational brochure and useful strategies in Coping with Social Anxiety
  4. An informational brochure for Living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  5. An informational brochure for Living with PTSD
  6. Contact Anxiety BC for affiliation and resources related to understanding and treating problematic fear, anxiety and panic.
  7. I recommend the following workbook for a self- or therapist-administered program that will help you apply the tools of ACT therapy to your anxiety issue.
  8. This workbook is aimed at sufferers of social anxiety. Social anxiety involves processes that are distinct from as well as common to other kinds of anxiety issues.  In particular, sufferers of social anxiety appear to have atypical processing of social information ( i.e., misinterpreting other people’s body language and other communications in ways that feed the anxiety).
Mood disorder resources – depression and dysthymia:
  1. Some useful strategies in Coping-with-Depression
  2. An ACT Workbook for depression 
  3.  Another excellent workbook for depression can be found here.   This workbook utilizes mindfulness-based cognitive therapy principles, which are very similar to those of ACT Therapy above.  More information, including an informative book by the same authors, can be found here.
  4. For an excellent depression workbook that is based on traditional Cognitive-Behavioral principles, click here.
  5. Here you will find information about the differences between ACT-based and mindfulness based approaches and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.
  6. It can be helpful to keep a journal to record and reflect on your mood when you are feeling low. This Daily Mood and Mindfulness Log link provides a step-by-step guide in how to set up an online journal using google calendar. This can be used in conjunction with the 6 Weeks of 7 Daily Commitments Program for dealing with depression.
Anger Management resources:
  1. Information about anger from the American Psychological Association and Psychology Today.
  2. A helpful workbook aimed at helping you to manage problem anger.
ADHD and “acting out behavior problems” resources:
  1. For up-to-date and accurate information about ADHD, consult the website of the Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance.  Summaries of the most essential information about ADHD for parents, for educators, and for adults with the condition can be found on the CADDRA website.
  2. For affiliation and resources closer to home, visit the website of Children and Adults with ADD, Vancouver chapter.
  3. Adults with ADHD – related issues can improve their functioning with self, or Adult ADHD therapist led, interventions. Workbooks that can be helpful in pursuing positive change include those by Safren and Barkley.
  4. Dr. Ross Greene’s books, including The Explosive Child and his website provide parents, educators and even therapists with “Plan B” –a new and effective method for responding to “acting out” behavior problems and communicating where there is potential for conflict.  Dr. Greene’s approach absolutely improves parent-child communication, builds healthy parent-child relationships, and changes behavior for the better.  Dr. Greene’s approach is very helpful for parenting children with ADHD, but applies to parenting any child and in fact provides a framework for communication between any two persons where there is potential for conflict.
Vancouver Learning difficulties and disabilities:
  1. The Learning Disabilities Association of Vancouver offers affiliation with others who are coping with learning difficulties as well as useful information and tools
  2. LD Online is a great source of useful information for persons and parents of persons with learning difficulties.
  3. Many children, including very bright children, struggle with the “executive” or self-regulatory skills that are needed for success in school.  Peg Dawson’s book Smart but Scattered provides parents and educators with useful information and effective strategies to teach these skills to children.
Mindfulness resources:
  1. The Free Mindfulness Project provides a number of free resources for mindful meditation practice.   Many people try a few guiding voices before they find one they like (although non-judgmentally noticing your reactions to this or that voice could be a mindfulness exercise in itself!)
  2. Here, you will find a summary of the current state of research on links between mindfulness and mental health, and between mindfulness and human performance
Additional resources:
  1. Some information about Eating Disorders and how they are treated can be found here.
  2. A guide to understanding Psychosis and how it is treated can be accessed here.

 

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