Posted by Ellie Lathrop on January 16, 2021
For Bell Let’s Talk on Thursday, January 28th. Toronto Counselling Centre for Teens therapist and social worker Ellie Lathrop shares her reflections on what it means to have good mental health.
Written by Ellie Lathrop, MSW, RSW
Good mental health does not mean always feeling happy or calm. In fact there are many times when it makes SO much sense to be angry, anxious or sad. In my work as a social worker and therapist, I often have discussions with my clients about how their feelings make sense. The ability to notice how you are feeling, to acknowledge and make space for your emotions is healing.
We need to allow for our emotions and express them in order to move through them. Self-compassion is essential in this as we can often get stuck in cycles of criticism for feeling anxious or labelling our behaviour as ‘lazy’. As Kristin Neff has said “Through self-compassion we become an inner ally instead of an inner enemy”. I believe one of the keys to good mental health is accepting your feelings and connecting with what is important to you; living a life of meaning.
I am working with a group of grade five students for a photography group I am running and I asked them to take pictures of things in their environment that build their resiliency. My photo that represents what builds my resiliency is of the path in High Park with my dog Friday (yes, the dog’s name is Friday). It is not always this pretty and in fact, the morning I wrote this it was muddy and icy, but I always return feeling renewed. I think it is the combination of being outside, in nature, and watching the dogs play always brings a smile to my face.
We all are having more challenging days recently. Find time to think about what you find restorative. It doesn’t have to be a daily thing, but making time for moments and practices where you are taking care of yourself is beneficial for your mental health.
If you are looking to connect with a therapist, one of the most important things I always say when I meet with a new client is that you need to feel comfortable with the person you are working with. Research shows that the relationship with your therapist is one of the most important factors for therapeutic change. In the work with your therapist you should feel heard, understood and respected. It may take some time, and it is not always easy to talk about things that you are struggling with, but reaching out for support is worth it.
The Toronto Counselling Centre for Teens is offering online therapy, and in-person therapy for those whom online or over the phone is not an option.
If you are in an adult exploring the idea of therapy for yourself, please visit us over at Jessica Zeyl Psychotherapy and Associates.
All consultation calls are confidential and commitment free. If we believe you need help that we are not equipped to provide we are happy to refer you.
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