We often hear that we need to be kinder and less critical of ourselves, but that’s easier said than done. Often, our self-critical thoughts have been developed over so many years that we hardly even notice them happening anymore. Or, at times, we may believe we need this type of ‘tough love’ in order to motivate ourselves to be better (that we will be ‘soft’ if we are too kind to ourselves). This is untrue. Repeated criticism results in increased levels of cortisol and adrenaline, which leads to the body trying to protect itself by beginning to shut down (e.g., depression). So, it’s important to be aware of those critical voices and challenge them when they come up. Engaging in the practice of challenging those self-critical voices is an act of self-c
What is Self-Compassion?
Self-compassion is expressing kindness towards oneself, especially during times of pain and suffering. It includes:
There are three elements to self-compassion:
What’s the difference between self-compassion and self-esteem?
Sometimes people equate self-compassion with self-esteem which can make it difficult to believe that one can improve their skills when it comes to self-compassion. So, it’s important to know the difference.
Self-esteem is typically used to describe a person’s feeling of self-worth, and while this is important, many people have a challenging time making significant changes to their self-esteem. Self-compassion on the other hand isn’t a judgement of self-worth or rooted in your value, it’s simply the act of treating yourself with kindness, care, and support. These are things you can do independent of self-esteem.
Self-compassion offers the same well-being benefits without all the pitfalls such as fewer social comparisons, is less contingent on self-worth, has no association with narcissism, and buffers against negative effects of low self-esteem in adolescents.
Self-compassion is also linked to better overall coping and resilience, as well as provides individuals with some of the following benefits:
It’s important to remember that self-compassion is going to take practice – it isn’t something you are going to develop or improve on overnight. That being said, it’s a practice that is worth investing in knowing the numerous benefits for your overall physical and psychological health, wellness and resilience. But how do we start practicing self-compassion?
A great place to start is with mindfulness. To be compassionate towards yourself, you need to be mindful of your pain and suffering; recognize it, allow yourself to feel it, and embrace it. Mindfulness is a practice that helps you to become more attuned with your emotions and will help you to more easily identify the moments where self-compassion is needed and where your voice is the most self-critical.
Online Counselling Security: Is it Secure and Confidential?
Online counselling provides people with a unique opportunity to easily and efficiently access therapy sessions from the comfort of their own home.
In some cases, it may encourage people to seek support who may not otherwise – because of a busy life and logistical demands. We talk more in-depth about the benefits of virtual therapy in another article. But here we are addressing the concerns of online counselling security and the big question – is online counselling secure and confidential?
Having a therapy session from the comfort of your own couch is appealing to many, it also brings up natural concerns around security. Security and confidentiality are both important aspects of therapy so it’s a good thing to be thinking about when considering virtual sessions.
At Dr. Joti Samra, R.Psych. & Associates, security and confidentiality are very important to us and here we will discuss how we approach these topics in our practice.
Confidentiality, for anyone who has not previously been to therapy, is a critical aspect of the therapeutic relationship. Best practice and ethical guidelines for psychologists and counsellors are very clear that information between a client and a therapist cannot be shared with anyone, barring any concerns of safety or acute risk.
Confidentiality is an important part of therapy as it ensures people are comfortable sharing personal details about their lives without fear of that information being shared elsewhere.
Before starting therapy, the therapist ensures the client understands what confidentiality means, as well as what the limits to confidentiality are and an informed consent form is signed.
Just because virtual counselling services are conducted online does not mean they cannot be held to the same standards. We are committed to protecting our patients’ privacy and ensuring that our telehealth services meet the standards for psychological health services via telecommunications, as set out by the Canadian Psychological Association. This includes ensuring that information is kept confidential and that clients fully understand and provide informed consent to treatment.
Online Counselling Security
When it comes to online services it’s impossible to completely mitigate security risk, but it’s important everyone understands the risks before making a choice.
We utilize encrypted secure platforms for the storage of all clinical and identifying information (client’s name, personal information, and clinical charts). We are happy to ensure our clients are comfortable with the process and welcome any questions or concerns about how we approach security.
Are you ready to book your online therapy session? If so, get it touch! We’re also happy to provide more information if you have any questions.
The Benefits of Online Counselling Services: Is Online Therapy Effective?
Online counselling has emerged as a response to a need that people have been expressing: Almost everything these days can be done through our phone or our computer, so why not health services as well?
But the question we continue to receive: Is online therapy effective? Not only is online therapy as effective as in-office sessions but there are many added benefits of online counselling that we will outline here.
Who is online counselling for?
Online counselling is a unique service that allows people to access regular counselling services from the comfort of their own home. It increases the level of accessibility for clients and Dr. Joti Samra, R.Psych. & Associates is proud to be able to offer these services with the same level of care as would be expected from in-office appointments.
Online counselling, however, is not just for people with busy schedules who struggle to make in-office appointments. Online counselling also benefits people who:
What are the benefits of online counselling?
Of course the main, and most obvious, benefit of online counselling is convenience. We save both time and money. We’re not required to spend time on hold or call during office hours to make an appointment. We don’t have to spend any extra time or cost travelling to a physical location and are less likely to be required to take time off work to attend appointments. And, of course, we’re able to do therapy from wherever we are able to get access to a computer and an internet connection. That even means we can have an appointment in our pyjamas if we’d like to!
Reduced wait times, broader options for appointment times (including evenings and weekends), and increased access to the counsellor of your choice are all additional benefits of online counselling. Not having to force your choice of therapist (which is a very important consideration in therapy) based on where you live is also a fantastic advantage – it allows you to select the therapist who would be the best fit for you, regardless of where you or they live. This is particularly attractive for individuals who live in smaller or more remote communities where options for counsellors are limited.
The specific nature of therapy itself (as opposed to other physical/medical treatments) is the added comfort of being able to have the appointment from the privacy and security of your own home. In therapy, it is common to discuss extremely emotional topics and people are often required to be vulnerable. For many, this is easier to do via video conference in comparison to an office setting that one is unfamiliar with. Being in your own home when a therapy session ends can also often facilitate a more conducive way to regroup and settle emotions post-therapy.
Benefits of Online Counselling – Removing Barriers
Another major benefit of online counselling services is to help remove barriers for people seeking services. Not having to travel to a physical location is often a preferred choice for many people, particularly for those who: