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

Diversity and Mental Health

In September 2017, Founder and Therapist of Embracing Empowerment Counselling Services, Parul Shah was interviewed for 3 separate episodes for Mental Health Matters through CMHA Champlain East Division.

The 1st episode of our Founder's interview aired on November 22nd.   Mental Health Matters is a local TV program in Cornwall, Ontario, where various topics about Mental Health are discussed.  Season 4 of Mental Health Matters themed around Diversity.  

There are 11 episodes for this Season and it began to air  on October 10th,  World Mental Health Day. Our Founder will be seen again on YourTV Cornwall  in the middle of December for two episodes as she discusses Cultural Sensitivity ,Diversity when it comes to Mental Health and how to facilitate services within your community.

Note:

Full interviews will be posted once the Season is uploaded on Mental Health Matters website.

Anxiety, Depression & PTSI – The Silent & Dark Nights During The Holiday Season

 Honour The Space You're In

Beautiful colours, the smell of fresh Christmas trees, Carolers singing, the malls filled with people, the ceremonous get togethers with family and friends. Sounds like the most wonderful time of year, but is it really?

Bright lights that shines on our faces constricts ones vision; the smell of fireplaces are a reminder of what the crackling noises meant in our heads, the filled in rooms with people with hundreds of conversations going all at once; the room filled with love, yet constantly noticing ignorance. "Can anyone see me?"

A few examples of how one may look at the holiday season is not necessarily easy for another. The impact of what Anxiety, Depression and PTSI can greatly affect someone's ability to see the beauty of a holiday season. So how do we manage ourselves or help the ones we love during the stressors of the holiday? Here are a few but effective suggestions:

  • Acknowledging The Emotion We Are In
  • Owning the Emotion We Are Feeling
  • Grounding Ourselves with Affirmations of Safeness
  • Scaling Out Our Fears, Frustration, Depression, Anxiety, with the ones with love
  • Excusing ourselves from the situation without apologizing on How We Feel
  • Recognizing that Pre-Triggers exist - Your Body is Telling You Something - even before your triggers rise up.
  • Creating a "on the go" Coping Box when you are unable to remove yourself from the location you are at.
  • Repeating To Yourself That "It's Okay To Not Be Okay Right Now"
  • Close Your Eyes, Open Your Arms, And Breathe - bringing back and grounding back to simplicity can be more effective than planning.

Creating a Tool Box – One Creative Way To Manage Anxiety

When the outside world is in chaos, how do we center ourselves from the noise? 

We call it "The Coping Box" .  A box filled with certain things that would be able to assist in managing any form anxiety.  The box can be big, small and it can even be a compact box for you to travel with.   Here are a few ideas on what to add in your coping box:

  • Self Smoothness- comforting things that carries the 5 senses for instance, something to smell like candles; something to hear like music, something to touch like lava beads.
  • Distraction: keeping your mind off things while focusing on something like putting together a puzzle, artwork, inspiring quotes
  • Emotional Awareness : expressing your feelings such as journaling, drawing, poetry writing.
  • Crisis Plan - contact information of support and resources when coping skills aren't enough such as connecting with a Therapist, A Doctor, a Friend, A Distress Line and 911.

Anxiousness often subsides, but when we are in the moment, it feels like an eternity. Validate that feeling! It's okay to not be okay right now. Your emotions are part of you, therefore it is meaningful no matter how big or small.

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

 

What Do Therapists Provide? – A Perspective From A Registered Social Worker

 A recent article from The Global News theorized the differences between a Psychiatrist, a Psychologist and a Therapist.  The article came from a perspective of a Psychologist who is through a regulated body.  What is a regulated body? Regulated body is a place where Professionals are under an Affiliated College that provides code of conducts, ethics, guidelines, educational workshops when a person is providing a professional service.  For instance, Physicians are affiliated with their Province (Ontario as an example)/State College, like Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.  Another example , there are different forms of Therapists that are under different Colleges as well, like Psychotherapists are often affiliated with College of Registered Psychotherapists in Ontario and Therapists that have a Social Work background are affiliated with the College of Social Workers and Social Services Workers of Ontario.

But what are the differences?  Besides the Affiliated College, it depends on what a Professional is specializing in. For the purpose of keeping this simple, we are taking the perspective of a Therapist who has a Social Work background.

Social Workers have often been associated with Child Protection Services, Hospital settings and schools. However, there is another perspective of Social Workers that are often ignored.  Social Workers who successfully obtain a Graduate Degree in Psychology or Social Work, can also become a Registered Therapist.

Social Workers who become Therapist are allowed by their affiliated College to call themselves varies Professional Names, such as Registered Social Workers, Therapist, and  Mental Health Counsellor.

Social Workers have the knowledge and training in providing various forms of Therapy such as, Individual, Couple, Family, Group Therapy.  Therapy approaches that a Social Worker can also use but not limited are as follows:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Exposure Therapy

Play Therapy

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

Mindfulness

EMDR

Person-Centered Therapy (Client-Centered)

 

Therapists comes from all walks of life and provides numerous areas of expertise.  Clients have always a choice in choosing what kind of Mental Health Professional they require in becoming a better and stronger individuals.

 

Education is the key to Awareness and Awareness is the key to Accepting Who You Are!

 

 

 

The Truth About Human Trafficking in Canada

80 percent of Airbnb in Vancouver are being used for exploitation.  

 

On Friday October 27, 2017 Founder and Therapist of Embracing Empowerment Counselling Services, Parul Shah attended a Full Day Seminar on Working with Trafficked Persons:  Dynamics and Best Practices.  Director of Anti-Human Trafficking Program Larissa Maxwell was the Guest Speaker for the Day.  Larissa spoke a lot about the difference between Trauma Informed Care  and the necessity of Mental Health Professionals to use Trauma Sensitive Care especially dealing with victims and survivors of Human Trafficking. Trauma Sensitive Care includes specifically designed Therapeutic strategies, building autonomy, compassion are a few examples.

There are three forms of Human Trafficking:

Sexual Exploitation,

Labour, and Organ.

The most known is Sexual Human Trafficking.  A 2005 Canadian Statistics study showed numbers in regards to Human Trafficking that were before the Courts are astonishing!  Out of 360 identifed 341 were Canadians related cases; 111 were underage and the numbers are rising.

 

Human Trafficking often has a result where some victims become the one who victimizes another. The cycle can continue, however Trauma Sensitive Care, can bring back the humanity in the horrific human acts placed upon them.

 

We often hear “walk a mile in my shoes” when we describe our own hardships, hurdles, complexity of life, trauma, but what happens when we actually understand that phrase. We build empathy, we learn there are two truths, we learn about someone’s trigger, or as Larissa Maxwell suggested “activating thoughts/emotions”; we learn to listen when someone tells their story; we learn to unravel the pain, and we learn to heal.

Excerpt: Information provided through Larissa Maxwell and her Organization Deborah’s Gate that is located in an undisclosed Location for those who have been traumatized through Human Trafficking.

 

Attachment and Trauma Conference

Healing Is Much More Than Words – Daniel Seigel

Founder and Therapist of Embracing Empowerment Counselling Services, Parul Shah recently attended an International Conference regarding Attachment and Trauma: The Neurobiology of Healing. The Conference had 11 Speakers and over 1200 Professionals from various backgrounds attended the Conference.  The main theme throughout the 3 days was that there is a neurobiology connection between attachment, trauma and healing.

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