Winnipeg Counselling services

Ask The Counsellor


If you are looking for expert advice or helpful resources for a problem or situation you are facing, we can help. “Ask The Counsellor” is designed to provide help through our Web site.

There is no fee or obligation to use this service. Simply contact us with your concern and one of our Counsellors will address it. No names are used (it’s all anonymous) so confidentiality is kept, while at the same time, you and many others receive thoughtful expert advice.
Following each answer is the responding Counsellor and information to lead you to their credentials and expertise.

There is no fee or obligation to use this service.  Simply contact us with your concern and one of our Counsellors will address it.  No names are used (it’s all anonymous) so confidentiality is kept, while at the same time, you and many others receive thoughtful expert advice.
Following each answer is the responding Counsellor and information to lead you to their credentials and expertise.

Mary-Ann Roy BFA,  MA
Founder and Director

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Dear Counsellor,
I hope you can help me. This letter is really hard to write, everything is so hopeless! I can’t sleep or eat and for no reason I want to cry. Yesterday I forgot to pack a lunch for work and could’nt handle one more problem. My mom thinks I’m depressed. What should I do?

Anonymous
Dear Anonymous,

Life can be very difficult and confusing at times. You did the right thing in looking for help. I hope you have some supportive people that can give you encouragement and help you in this situation.Many people don’t know the signs and symptoms of depression. There are also different types of depression. Approximately 8% of Canadians will be depressed at some point in their lives. The good news is that with some help it can be treated. If you experience at least 5 of the following symptoms most everyday for the majority of the day and for longer than two weeks you may be depressed.

  • sleep disturbance (too little/too much);
  • change in appetite (too little/too much);
  • difficulty making decisons, trouble thinking or concentrating;
  • body aches and pains;
  • feeling tired and having no energy, constantly fatigued;
  • irritable sadness and feeling “down”;
  • loss of interest in things you used to find fulfilling (families, hobbies, friendships);
  • thoughts of death or suicide;
  • feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty.

Recognizing the problem is a good first step toward dealing with it. If you see yourself here you would be wise to get treatment which could be in the form of either medication or counselling or both. There are many things you can do to help yourself in the meantime. Here are a few:

  • try not to isolate yourself but rather reach out to others;
  • recognize your negative thinking as part of the depression;
  • don’t expect too much of yourself too soon because feeling better takes time;
  • try mild exercise like relaxing walks and set some priorities for each day.

Above all remember that God loves you and reminds us that He is the Great Physician and Counsellor. Focus on Him and ask Him to use this time in your life to do the good work He wants to do in your life. The depression is His built in signal to you that something needs healing and this may be the turning point for you to live the abundant life He intends for you.

Take care and God bless you,
Mary-Ann Roy (to learn more about Mary-Ann click here)

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Dear Counsellor,

My husband has just entered a residential addiction rehabilitation center. How can I support him during this time?

Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,
It is so encouraging to see a spouse walking alongside their partner. Your husband is in good hands. My advice would be for you and the rest of the immediate family to start your own healing journey. For instance, when is the last time you did something for yourself? Do you have any hurt in your heart related to situations revolving around your husband’s addiction? Have your children had an opportunity to express what is going on emotionally and mentally?

However well loved, one unhealthy person within a family affects the whole family. Professional and/or pastoral counselling, support groups, and information sessions from a variety of agencies are available to you. These will help you see areas of your life you may want to work on and tell you more about your husbands journey. Start your own journey. This is the best way you can support your husband.
Shon Louise McLaren
October 2008
(to learn more about Shon click here)
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Dear Counsellor,
I’m concerned about my son. We bought him a video system for Christmas last year and it’s become a constant distraction for him. He wakes up only to play, goes right to play after school and late past his bed time. Am I overreacting?
Gamed Out

Dear Gamed Out,
You are wise to be concerned. Most parents have an uneasy “gut feeling” about the effects of video and computer games on their children. They, like yourself, monitor the types, themes and the time allotted to playing. What they are not aware of however is the addictive nature associated with these types of games. Your question reminded me of an article I’ve read in Focus on the Family Magazine (October ‘07). The following is what they discovered as they researched this issue.

“Research shows that the chemicals triggered by about 30 minutes of play rival an amphetamine high. Eventually a process called ‘habituation’ takes over – rewiring the brain and creating a physiological dependence similar to cocaine addiction.” Frightening, isn’t it?

Some guidelines to protect your children: Learn all you can and then tell your children. Be aware that children learn from example so examine any over use by the adults in the family. Encourage interactive play with others instead of the electronic kind. Don’t make it easy for children to have access to video games. Be aware of using video games as a special activity or reward. That sends the wrong message. And, finally, know your own motives for allowing too much play time – if it’s too easy to use it as an instant ‘baby sitter’ or a way to avoid conflict you may want to reconsider the cost to your children.

Thank you for writing and God bless,
Mary-Ann Roy
(to learn more about Mary-Ann click here)
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Ask The Counsellor
My wife and I seem to argue lately at the drop of a hat, even over seemingly insignificant things. Many times both of us try to prove to each other who is right. We have not been able to prevent arguments from happening. This is causing a real strain on our marriage. What would you suggest to resolve this dilemma?
Counsellor Response
I would start by stating that these power struggles are universal within marriages. Every marriage has conflict, with disagreements on some level being inevitable. The true danger of marital fighting involves disputes that never get fully resolved combined with negative interactions based upon insensitive remarks that intend to wound one’s partner rather than amicably resolving issues with united and mutual fulfillment. Recurring dissension can many times cause much unspoken unhappiness and sorrow, which could lead to increasing bitterness and resentment that will certainly undermine and may eventually destroy the relationship.
There are numerous books, articles and studies available to provide healthy conflict resolution/ management. The most effective strategy is based upon the principle of mutual respect and submission through love and personal sacrifice. This should never be misunderstood as a sign of weakness or entitlement but rather be observed as instituted by spiritual qualities such as goodness, encompassing courage, dedication, devotion, maturity and an overcoming of any self-centredness. Eventually damaged trust can be renewed and reconciliation can then begin with mutual forgiveness, which leads to the ongoing process of restoration through the positive transformation of both partners.

David G. Delf
(to learn more about Dave click here)
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Ask The Counsellor

I have lately realized that I get angry and frustrated more frequently. I also get irritated for longer periods of time. This is starting to have an effect on my wife, children and friendships. I’m also worried about responding irritatingly at work. How can I reduce the stress that I am feeling related to my anger?
Counsellor Response
My first thought is to better understand where this kind of negative anger has its origin. Such anger is generally categorized into three major areas. Very intense anger can result from feeling hurt, misunderstood or rejected with many times this not being the intention of the people involved. The cause of such anger is the result of unmet needs and acute self-centeredness. This can be resolved as we renew our viewpoint that those around us, especially our loved ones, are not “there” to specifically cater to our needs nor to deliberately harm us.
Secondly, severe frustration results from unmet expectations, things not going as planned and blocked goals. When we experience disappointments and setbacks, prolonged aggravation can set into our thoughts and prevent spontaneity and creativity. One must become aware of unrealistic objectives/ desires and adjust accordingly. Also the changing of one’s attitude to incorporate flexibility while simultaneously viewing resistant situations, as a positive challenge will result in less dissatisfaction.
The third major area of extreme anger is the result of one’s personal worth being threatened, whether a personal attack is real or perceived. This area of anger can originate from a deep agitation within us, which is a consequence of guilt and shame. One’s woundedness, feelings of disapproval and not feeling accepted fuel further misunderstandings in relation to others. The extreme of this anger results in almost every action/word spoken by others constantly triggering our personal pain. Forgiveness from the heart is the only solution to this severe form of misplaced anger. By releasing those who have hurt us we have true freedom from such ongoing anger.

David G. Delf (to learn more about Dave click here)