From an evolutionary perspective, the human mind is hardwired to try to predict its environment. From there, our minds will fill in gaps to the unknown, which may have negative consequences.
Last week, we posed a question on social media and in our weekly newsletter.
The question was simple: What's the most powerful thing you've learned about improving your mental health?
Your responses were fascinating and served as a reminder that sometimes the most powerful things are also the simplest.
Here are some that stood out to us. (Note that some were edited for grammar or clarity.)
- Start every day with something that makes me laugh!
- Slow progress is still progress.
- Everything is temporary. Both happiness and, more importantly, pain.
- If I keep replaying things over and over, I need to talk it out with someone.
- So far you’ve survived 100% of your worst days. You’re doing great!
- Say it out loud. Sometimes just putting it out into the world helps you find a jumping off point to tackle the overwhelming.
- Set hard boundaries.
- In order to help others around me, I had to look after myself first. And in starting to do self-care to improve my mental health, I am beginning to learn more about myself which helps.
- Surrounding myself in reminders of the good things in my life.
- Exercise really does make you happy!
- There’s too many to name just one, but finding ways to put yourself first.
- I come first. If I am not going to take care of myself, no one will. Also how am I suppose to support others if I am not ok?
- Realizing it's not about being the person you used to be, but instead becoming the person you want to be.
- When in doubt, talk to someone.
- All the power is inside of you.
- You aren't your thoughts. You are enough regardless of what your thoughts about yourself may be.
- Just because you have a thought, doesn’t make it true. So, why not just choose another?
- I always try to remember that the things that frustrate me are really trying to teach me something.
- That I'm not actually as stuck as I feel sometimes.
- Learning about how Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) impacts the developing brain and body; and how "trauma informed care" can help. Knowing this science gave me more empathy for myself, and to see past the shame and seek medical help, including mindfulness training and psychotherapy.
- I am not alone and when I share my thoughts with others it reinforces this!
- Doing things that I want to do, not things that people around me want me to do.
- Journalling allows you to transfer the weight of your thoughts onto paper and alleviate the stress.
And last, but certainly not least, this: "Improvement is a marathon, not a sprint."
Thank you to everyone who shared! For those of you that haven't yet, we'd love to hear your response. Click here to share and we'll curate the responses to update this post periodically.
The classic hour-long therapy session works in a lot of situations, however, it isn’t the only way that therapy can be delivered.
With Shift’s most recent partnership with Maple, we are excited to be offering 25-minute long sessions over video when you need it the most. This new form of therapy will hopefully be more convenient and approachable to people who find hour-long sessions to be too cumbersome.
With on-demand sessions the focus is on quality over quantity. But how can you make sure your session is high quality?
Follow these five strategies to get the most of your time!
1. Plan ahead
Prior to your session, think about what you want to cover. Spending the first ten or fifteen minutes making small talk while you consider what you want to talk about will cut into the time you have to actually dive into the issue.
2. Focus on one issue
While it can be tempting to try to talk about many related issues, on-demand sessions work best when you are able to identify a specific area to focus on. For ideas and examples of common topics addressed in on-demand sessions see this article on “What Can Be Tackled in 25 Minutes”.
3. Set an agenda
Now that you’ve planned ahead and identified a key issue to talk about, it’s important to communicate this clearly to the therapist at the start of your session. By being direct at the onset you can make sure you focus on the issues that matter to you the most.
4. Focus on the now
When possible, try to focus on your current situation, rather than your past experiences. Remember that your therapist is trained in short-term counselling and should be able to make sense of your story without needing extensive detail about your childhood or past experiences. Feel comfortable giving some information without detailed stories. For example, it can be helpful to say, “my parents’ divorce was very hard on me and I think it contributes to my issues with intimacy” or “I feel nervous with my team at work and believe it relates to being bullied in high school”. From there, you’ll be able to focus on your particular struggle today and how to best cope or address your concern.
5. Feel free to take notes
Anticipating there will be a lot covered, some people find it helpful to take notes either in their session or immediately afterwards. This will allow you to hold on to key insights you gained or helpful advice you received from the therapist.
Curious to try on-demand video therapy? Our therapists are available ever day from 8am to 8pm EST.
Sign up for free today at getmaple.ca.
Answers to your questions about on-demand therapy!
Why are the sessions 25-minutes?
The traditional length of a therapy session is 50-minutes to an hour long and can cost on average between $140 to $180. However, in today’s fast paced world, we believe that 25-minutes of focused time together can address a specific challenge and provide tools to lessen mental strain. Plus, a 25 minute video session is easier to fit into your packed schedule and can save you time and money.
What can be accomplished in a 25-minute session?
There are many things that can be covered in a 25-minute session, but in general it’s best to focus on one issue per session. Whether it’s workplace stress, an argument with your spouse or trouble sleeping, talking to a trained therapist can help you quickly uncover solutions to help you start feeling better today. If you’re new to therapy, it can be a great way to “try it on” to see how it can help you. For more on this, check out Shift therapist Jaylin Bradbury's blog post on 14 common issues that could be tackled in this time!
Is on-demand therapy right for me?
If you find yourself needing a mental health boost during a busy week but can’t find the time to visit a therapist, or perhaps you don’t feel ready to start longer-term therapy, this service is perfect for you. Access to great therapists can be hard to find, so we have spared no effort to find exceptional practitioners that are able to support you through everyday life challenges.
Is video therapy effective?
Yes, it is! Many studies have shown that video counselling is just as effective as in-person counselling.
Is the video platform secure?
Yes! Maple is extremely secure and is compliant with all Canadian healthcare information laws regarding privacy.
What devices will sessions be available on?
On-demand therapy sessions will be available only on desktop or laptop computers for right now, though Maple’s mobile applications will support therapy in the months ahead. For best results, we recommend using Chrome or Firefox as a browser.
Can I rebook with a specific therapist?
During this initial pilot phase, it is not possible to rebook with the same therapist through Maple. However, if you hit it off with your therapist and would like to book a follow-up session, please write to email@example.com and we’ll be happy to set you up for another video session with that same therapist.
Will my insurance cover the session?
While you are responsible for reviewing your own coverage, many insurance companies cover social work and psychotherapy services. If you wish to claim your session, please review your benefits package.
What are the credentials of the therapists?
All of the therapists are Social Workers with a Masters in Social Work and registered with their regulatory college within their province. Each of our therapists have extensive clinical experience. Why? We have found that clinical social workers offer exceptional value to clients while also having wide support for coverage from insurance companies. Plus, all of our therapists are trained specifically for video sessions, and are extremely relatable and caring.
Will I get a receipt after my session?
Yes! It will be emailed to you as soon as the session is completed. Additionally, if you have coverage through your insurance benefits, it will have the required information on it for you to claim it. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have coverage and we do not guarantee that your session will be covered by your benefits plan.
When is the service available?
Our therapists are available every day between 8:00am and 8:00pm EST!
When will the service be available outside of Ontario?
Depending on regional demand, we’ll be rolling out the service to other parts of Canada in the months ahead. Again, stay tuned!
Is on-demand therapy the same as crisis support?
On-demand therapy is not intended to replace crisis or distress lines, but instead is designed to be something different all together. On-demand therapy was created to provide therapeutic solutions early on, before the situation can grow to become a crisis.
If you or someone you care about are in crisis, feeling suicidal, or at risk of hurting yourself or someone else we strongly encourage you to contact your local distress line (which can be found here: http://www.dcontario.org/centres.html for people in Ontario) or go immediately to your nearest hospital. Help is available to you and it’s important to remember that no matter how overwhelming it may feel, things can get better.
Can I use this service if I already have a therapist?
Yes! Many people who are already connected with a therapist choose to use Maple. If your current therapist is away on vacation, off on parental leave, or just booked solid for the next month, it can be helpful to talk to another trained professional in the interim. At your next session with your regular therapist you can let them know what you discussed or you can request a copy of your notes from Maple to be shared directly with your regular therapist!
As you may have heard, we've partnered with Maple to offer on-demand video therapy. As if that wasn’t unique enough, we also decided to make all of the sessions are 25 minutes long!
Why? Because we believe that certain challenges can be tackled in as little as 25 minutes.
Here are 14 common issues people can address within 25 minutes:
Reduce your anxiety before a big date
Sort out hurt feelings after an argument with your partner
Learn how to ask what you need from your boss
Connect with someone when feeling lonely on maternity leave
Find out how to calm down after an anxiety attack
Explore how to uphold boundaries at work
Discover strategies for better sleep
Learn easy strategies to become more present-focused at home with your family
Talk to someone after a recent set-back
Improve your confidence and self-esteem
Gain motivation to start a new project
Calm down after an exceptionally frustrating meeting
Learn a strategy to stop replaying that awkward conversation you had
Talk through a big decision with someone impartial
What are some of the reasons you could see on-demand therapy being helpful? Comment below!
Give it a try beginning on July 11 using Maple.
Sign up for free today at getmaple.ca
We’ve all experienced some version of this story. You’re unhappy with an aspect of your life and decide to do something about it. You make a change to your habits with the expectation that things will get better. After a short while, things are not improving but, in fact, become more difficult and upsetting, in general causing you to feel worse not better.
We all do it; you aren’t alone. We all have that voice in the back of our heads that tells us constantly all the things we do wrong or the ways that we don’t measure up. It sounds like our voice but the truth is that voice belongs to someone else. To those who have doubted us before. To those who have said mean things that we have carried with us. It belongs to our experiences and our memories.