All posts by Parul Shah

Empowering Through Sharing Our Story

Parul Shah is the Founder & Psychotherapist of Embracing Empowerment Counselling Services

On November 28, 2018, I received a private message on Twitter. It was from Silken Laumann. For those who are not aware of who she is, Silken Laumann is a Four Time Canadian Olympian throughout the 1990’s. The message to me went like this ” I am launching a Social Impact Platform next year and I would love for you to be featured as one of our experts”.  It took me awhile to ensure that this was the real deal. We live in an era where someone can pose as a look alike, I was once accused of also being an “imposter”. So after viewing her Twitter profile, I responded with my contact information. With no wasted space in between, I received a phone call from Silken’s team and they told me of what the platform will look like and how I can contribute to it. This platform is like no other, as it is the First Canadian Online Social Impact Forum, where various people including Margaret Trudeau sharing their stories of mental health, physical health and social health struggles and resiliency.

I was honoured to have been asked to be part of something bigger than myself.

On April 3, 2019 – Silken’s Online Social Impact Platform was launched and it is called “Unsinkable”  . 50 Stories from various Canadians being shared on a National level.

Silken Laumann’s mission of this platform, aligned to what I practice and teach inside and outside of my office, that sharing our story may feel very vulnerable but it opens the door to self healing and allow others to know that They Are Not Alone!

As a Mental Health Professional and In the era of technology we’ve opened up the conversation of mental health, but I believe that we need to do so much more!

So, we do more than a conversation, we share, because vulnerability is not a sign of weakness! It’s a sign, an indicator of strength. That even though through your own darkness, there is hope, waiting for you to see it, to believe it, to touch it, to reach it, to grab it and to share it, no matter who you are, what you do, and where you came from! Because…YOU MATTER!

To read more unsinkable stories you can go to : weareunsinkable.com

#GetLouderOnMentalHealth #WeAreUnsinkable #Unsinkable #MentalHealth #DigitalHealth #NationalSharingStories #SilkenLaumann

Understanding Mental Health Injury as a Family

  Imagine having a family member away from home for  days, weeks, months at a time. Imagine the feeling we get when they return home from a shift, or time away. Imagine feeling something changed. Imagine feeling that a parent or loved one, is no longer happy. Imagine seeing the changes the war, or a traumatic event does to someone you love.   Imagine being that person who left to serve their country and see how their changes in thoughts and behaviours changes the dynamics in a household. Imagine. What do we do? How do we approach? What should we say? Can we handle talking about it?

At Embracing Empowerment Counselling Services we provide a feeling of safeness, guidance and resources on these very questions.  We continue to empower those who have lost their way through trauma.

Here are a few resources we provide for our Military, Veterans, and First Responders families.  A great reference in helping your loved ones understand what trauma can do without feeling it’s your fault or theirs.

#CollaborativeWork #BootsOnTheGround #ReturningHome #TransformingToCivilianLife #StrengthInNumbers #WeveGotYourBack

Beyond the Definitions & Diagnosis – Post Traumatic Stress Injuries

 We often explore mental health definitions, signs and symptoms. PTSD is no exception, yet what happens after we figure out that it is a possibility we have endured trauma and a mental health injury.  Frontline workers whether it be First Responders, Military, Veterans, Corrections,Probation and Parole often question this to Mental Health Professionals.  For instance most have advised us ” I have PTSD, how can you help me”  We often advise Frontline that PTSD is a diagnosis and it is one part of the healing process.  We often advise Frontline, that we change the lingo from PTSD to PTSI – Post Traumatic Stress Injury, as that is what we are focusing on, in a therapeutic setting.  Even changing the lingos can alter how we manage our own trauma.

We are often asked questions on how to seek help with a mental health injuries like PTSI.   First and foremost, Mental Health Professionals must be well equipped of understanding Frontline Trauma. Everyone can provide assistance, but understanding First Responders, Military, Veterans, Corrections, Probation and Parole role in their community or country, what that entails, the jargon, the evolution of protecting, serving and saving is one big step that is not only essential but necessary.

At Embracing Empowerment Counselling Services, we have that expertise and we are  affliliated with a number of Frontline Organizations.  We just don’t provide therapy, we provide the essence of understanding the root of trauma, and how you can manage life beyond the badge and the uniform. #BootsOnTheGround #Mission #Training #Grounding #TransformingIntoCivilianLife #WeRemember #StrengthInNumbers

 

Is Anyone Out There? – Grieving Survivors of Suicide

 The Scars You Can’t See Are The Hardest To Heal – Unknown

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Peer Support – A Mental Health Circle

 I Accept You For Who You Are

What is exactly peer support?  Peer support was designed to fill in the gaps in our mental health support system. It is not an replacement of therapy, or any form of medical profession. Peer support is a way to share our story and knowing that there are others around us that have gone through a similar story. Peer support isn’t about dishing every detail of our own mental health challenges, it’s about the ability to lend a hand, a listening ear and a compassionate heart .

The Balancing Act – School and Anxiety

As beginning of a school year quickly approaches, many students whether in primary, secondary or post secondary are excited to start a new year of learning, yet there are many students who don’t feel the same way about school. According to a 2016 survey that was conducted by the Ontario Secondary, College and University Association, about 65 percent of students reported experiencing the feeling of being overwhelmed by anxiety.  Anxiety is often defined as apprehensive about performing normal daily routines, fear, nervousness that can manifest into physical symptoms.  So how do we help students to overcome their anxiety?  We provide tools to assist in helping them cope, called the “coping box”

 

  So what is a coping box? It’s a box of any size where you can place stuff that provides calmness during stages of nervousness, being overwhelmed and feeling fearful.

So where do you begin in creating a coping box? You can start by placing comforting things that carries through your 5 senses, for instance, something to smell, such as candles, something to hear such as music.

What does a coping box do?  It keeps your mind off things while focusing on something that provides simplicity such as creating art, putting together a puzzle. It also brings in emotional awareness, such as expressing your feelings through drawing, journaling, poetry writing. In addition coping box also provides the ability of creating mindfulness and grounding tools such as breathing exercises, yoga, meditation.

Keeping a safety plan cue cards are also essential in your coping box such as contact information of support and resources when coping skills aren’t enough such as connecting with a therapist, a doctor, a friend, and/or crisis line.

When your outside world is in chaos,know that you still have the power to create calmness.

 

When We Band Aid Trauma

 Mental health/illnesses are rising everyday and services are growing at a rapid pace, however when the demand is so high and supply becomes full, we become the band-aid society. What does that mean?

When issues are only dealt with on a surface level .

What happens if we continue to band-aid? We continue to see the same stigma, the same struggles over and over and over again with no resolution.

At Embracing Empowerment we truly believe “peeling the onion (layers) ” meaning, getting to the “root” of struggles is the only way to reduce stigma and help those who continue to struggle with their own mental health/illness.

Trauma changes people, period. To  understand that every struggle has a root, and in order to omit or diminish the pain we must understand the wounds within.

H.O.P.E – Hold On Pain Ends

 Hope is always hard to spot in the wreckage. But it’s always there – Demi Lovato

You’ve seen the word; you’ve heard it many times and you’ve used the word – Hope. A word so powerful that it can omit pain. The catch, hope only provides its magical being when you feel it, when you speak it, and when you truly hear it. Hope brings us the belief system that there is still good when we are feeling down, or unsure where to turn. Hope makes us feel whole when our world is falling apart. Is it worth it? Absolutely! So Start the conversation, lend a hand, a listening ear and a compassionate heart.

We Believe In You!

 

Social Anxiety: Is It Real?

It’s so easy to feel “you’re losing it” when you have social anxiety.

You’re heart races, your body tenses up, you become quite confused, and you feel every ache in your body.

After hours later, you analyze the scenario you were in, dissecting how you should have handled the situation or environment. You feel quite alone, as you see friends and family moving forward with their day.

We’re here to tell you , You’re Not Alone!

In the era of information overload, it can sometimes be counterproductive to our own anxiety.

We are providing tips by stating the reality :

There is no quick fix, yet embracing the fact that there is no “one” way to reduce or manage social anxiety gives you the ability to know you have the power to engage what tips works for your specific anxiety.

Examining your social anxiety from within – meaning there is always a deeper root to everything – self discovery, self-love, self-care gives you the opportunity to explore more of how it all began- as we say at Embracing Empowerment CS- ” peeling the onion”

Understanding that we are imperfect beings is a very powerful tool. Social anxiety teaches us that we are suppose to be perfect, in a perfect situation, in perfect clothing, perfect outlook on life. We are here to say – there is beauty in imperfection. It’s okay to not be okay.  no matter who you are, your economical status, your gender, your culture, your race – you are Worthy and Valued to have all the tools and guidance to help you become a healthier & stronger selves.

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