Panic Attacks and How to Cope

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Panic attacks are terrifying and can seriously interfere with daily activities and quality of life. If you've ever had a panic attack, you know the intense feelings that completely overwhelm your body and brain. In this post, we'll discuss what panic attacks are, how they work, and give you some tips and tricks for both treatment and prevention of these upsetting episodes.  While panic attacks are extremely unpleasant, they are both treatable and often preventable. Learning more about how panic attacks happen and what to do to manage them can be useful in preventing these incidents from disrupting life more than necessary. We'll outline some strategies to help understand the attacks, reduce the unpleasant symptoms, and regain control over these disruptive episodes.

We’ve all had the experience of feeling anxious at times and probably even feeling panicked. Recall for a moment what that feels like in your body- heart racing, palms sweating, dry mouth, your whole body on "high alert." This activation of a particular branch of our nervous system is an evolutionary advantage, commonly called “fight or flight” and helps to ramp up the body's defenses when faced with danger. There are times where this state of alertness serves us well- like when there is a threat to our lives or when we are faced with an imminent attack. For some people, however, the activation of fight or flight system gets out of whack, and the result can be an overwhelming bodily response that is not commensurate with the situation at hand. These incidents are called panic attacks. One of the hallmark signs of a panic attack is that is doesn't necessarily come about in a threatening situation, though it might. Some people have panic attacks seemingly out of the blue; some have reported even having them while sleeping!

Panic attacks come on suddenly and may recur. Some people only have one panic attack in their lifetimes, and others suffer from repeated attacks in what is known as Panic Disorder. Recurrent panic attacks are often triggered in a particular situation or environment. Panic attacks may occur in people that have no history of other mental health problems, or they might be part of another disorder such as anxiety, social phobia, or depression. They tend to run in families, suggesting a genetic component and typically emerge in teen years or early adulthood. Interestingly, women are twice as likely to suffer from panic disorder than men. Panic Disorder is relatively common, affecting as many as one in 75 people.

Some people who experience panic attacks report that they feel like they are literally dying. An immensely strong wave of both physiological and psychological sensations overtakes them, and they find themselves debilitated, completely immobilized by the intensity of the episodes. The following are common symptoms of panic attacks:

        1. Shortness of breath or hyperventilation

        2. Heart palpitations or racing heart

        3. Chest pain or discomfort

        4. Trembling or shaking

        5. Choking feeling

        6. Feeling unreal or detached from your surroundings

        7. Sweating

        8. Nausea or upset stomach

        9. Feeling dizzy, light-headed or faint

        10. Numbness or tingling sensations

        11. Hot or cold flashes

        12. Fear of dying, losing control or going crazy

There are many lifestyle changes you can make to help reduce the likelihood of panic attacks, and most of these changes are common sense tips that make for good health regardless of if you are suffering from panic attacks: 

1. Learn about panic attacks and how anxiety manifests itself physically. The references listed here are a great place to start. Sometimes understanding how and why panic attacks occur can really help to reframe the disorder and take some of the fear out of the experience. 

2. Avoid smoking, alcohol, and caffeine. These drugs can be harmful to anyone but particularly for people who suffer from panic attacks. Also, avoid any stimulants such as those sometimes found in cold medication as they can provoke attacks.

3. Learn how to control your breathing and practice mindfulness and meditation. Try taking a yoga class or downloading a mindfulness or meditation app. Controlled deep breathing can directly and instantly counteract the overwhelming physical symptoms of a panic attack. The more you practice using this important tool, the easier it is to employ it when you need it most.

4. Exercise regularly. Exercise is perhaps the single best health-promoting behavior we can practice. Particularly for anxiety and other mental health issues that manifest themselves physically, the benefits of regular aerobic exercise cannot be overstated. 

5. Stay on top of your sleep and your stress. Too little sleep and/or too much stress can leave you frazzled and vulnerable for an attack. Try to keep your hours of sleep up and your daily stress level down to keep yourself on an even keel.

6. Set up a support system. Be sure your loved ones know about your panic attacks and how to help you if you suffer from one. Let your support system know if there are particular situations or times that you are likely to suffer from an attack so they can be there for you to help.

These tips are a great place to start to help manage panic attacks but often times they are not enough and need to be paired with the guidance and supervision of a trained professional. Only a trained professional can diagnose panic disorder and can help to get a treatment plan in place. Please reach out for help if you or someone you love is suffering from panic attacks or struggling with something else. Many proven effective therapeutic techniques specifically work for people with panic attacks and panic disorder and can be tailored to suit each individual's needs. In most cases, through lifestyle and behavioral changes, therapy, and sometimes medications, people can reduce or even eliminate panic attacks from their lives.

References and Further Reading

Importance of communication in love relationships

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Communication is a cornerstone of the foundation of a healthy romantic relationship. Honest, open, and frequent communication is an essential ingredient in the making of joyful and long-lasting love. No matter how well you know someone or how “in sync” you are, no one can read the other’s mind. Even couples that are great at communicating could almost always learn how to communicate better. Effective communication is a skill you refine and hone over a lifetime and can be useful outside of your romantic relationships as well. All relationships have ups and downs and learning to communicate effectively and kindly can help your relationship weather even the toughest situations. Excellent communication skills and habits can help to foster trust, intimacy, and profound feelings of love an acceptance in a secure and happy love relationship. Clear communication can also help to avoid misunderstandings and hurt feelings. It truly is one of the best tools that couples have at their disposal to enact proactive and meaningful change in their lives and their relationship.

Communication can help to strengthen mutual trust, honesty, and respect. It can make you feel closer to your partner and significantly impact the happiness and enjoyment you feel in your relationship. Be sure to communicate good things to your partner as well as bad ones! Sometimes people think that communication is only essential for resolving disputes or airing grievances. This approach is a bad habit to get into and can make communication something that has negative and unhappy connotations. Try to practice communicating love and praise and other positive feelings to your partner often. It feels great to feel appreciated and supported, and the more you convey supportive, kind, and loving things to your partner, the more likely they are to do so in return. An excellent exercise to try to make this type of positive communication a habit is to make sure you say one kind, affirmative, or supportive thing to your partner each day. It doesn't always have to be something big or deep (though it can be!) sometimes saying thank you and "I appreciate you" for taking out the trash or doing the dishes can go a long way. Saying kind things to one another can help to foster intimacy and build a robust framework of mutual admiration and respect.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that communicating is all about expressing your thoughts/feelings/desires. While you should absolutely make sure that you express your needs and desires, make sure that is not the only part of your communication strategy. It is imperative to remember that communication is a two-way street and one of the most important parts of communicating is really, truly listening to your partner. I'm not talking about hearing them and waiting for them to finish talking so you can say what you want to say but consciously slowing down and listening to what they are saying and trying to see things from their point of view. Active listening takes skill and patience and will serve you well in all relationships, romantic or not. Lack of effective communication can set you up for a host of unwanted problems. Misunderstanding can foster hurt, anger, resentment, and confusion.

Here are some tips for communication in your love relationship:

  • Set aside time to talk to your partner without interruption, free from other people or distractions like phones, computers or television.

  • When possible, try to communicate face to face and not through text or on the phone

  • Think about what you want to say before you say it

  • Make your message clear, so that your partner hears it accurately and understands what you mean

  • Don’t say things out of anger or spite to hurt your partner as you cannot take these things back

  • Sleep on it! The old adage of not going to bed angry does not work for a lot of couples. If things get heated, take some time and space to cool down and regroup.

  • Accept responsibility for your own feelings and behaviors

  • Talk about what you want, need, and feel. Use "I" statements such as "I need" "I want" and "I feel."

  • LISTEN to your partner. Try to put aside your own thoughts and really try to understand their intentions, feelings, wants, and needs. Put yourself in their shoes as much as possible.

  • Share positive feelings with your partner, such as what you appreciate or admire, and how important they are to you.

  • Be aware of your tone of voice and body language

  • Negotiate and remember that you don’t have to be right all the time.

  • Let it go. Ask yourself if the issue or grievance you have is truly that important. If it is not, let it go, or agree to disagree.

  • Don’t look at disagreements with your partner as a battle to “won” You both win when you engage in healthy, kind, communication.

If you’ve tried these tips and you’re still struggling, you may find that having a neutral third party to help facilitate the communication between you and your partner can be very useful. If you’re having trouble with communication in your relationship or something else, please reach out to us at Rivers Edge Counselling Centre. 

Genuine, honest, open communication is hard work! Communication requires practice and openness and willingness, and it is impossible to get it right 100% of the time. Nobody is perfect, and even the healthiest couples fight and sometimes communicate in ways that are not useful or empathic. Like any behavior, however, the more you can get into the habit of communicating kindly and effectively, the easier it is for that to become your default mode of operation. The important thing is that you both feel that healthy, open, honest communication is an essential goal for you and that you strive to work towards it together. 

References and Further Reading:

Perfectionism

 
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Perfectionism is a problem a lot of people struggle with. Having high standards is great but having standards that are too high can leave you feeling like nothing is ever good enough. Have you ever heard the old adage that perfectionism is the enemy of done? Sometimes productivity can really suffer when we’re too focused on getting something “just right” instead of getting it finished and moving on to the next thing. This obsession with perfection can actually hold you back from accomplishing great things. The first step is realizing that things are not always going to be perfect and that’s okay. Try creating more realistic goals and expectations for yourself and remember to be kind to yourself. Try challenging your inner critic and ask yourself if you would criticize someone else the way you criticize yourself. Being a perfectionist can be exhausting, and sometimes lead to stress, anxiety and other problems like procrastination. It can also keep you from celebrating your accomplishments because you’re so focused on what is wrong instead of what is right. Realize that you have the power to change your perfectionist habits through compassionate self-love and radical acceptance of the fact that everything is imperfect - and that’s perfectly okay.

Take a Deep Breath. Here's Why.

“Take a deep breath.” We’ve all heard this old adage at some point, but you may not know that it is grounded in some really solid science. Deep breathing is one of the best tools we all have at our disposal to center the body and mind and regain composure. You can do it anytime, anywhere, it is completely free and easy to master. While many ancient cultures have extolled the virtues of deep breathing for centuries, modern scientists are now shedding light on how this fundamental technique can almost instantly benefit your body, mind, and spirit. Sometimes it feels like we’re not in control of the way our body and brain react to a situation, but deep breathing reminds us that our behaviors can have profound influence over our heart rate, blood pressure, and mood. 

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Good Stress vs. Bad Stress

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The very word “stress” can instantly evoke feelings of anxiety and tension. These negative connotations arise as we are constantly hearing how stress is bad for the body and brain. We’re told that stress can damage everything from the heart to the brain and even the immune system, elevating our risks of cardiovascular disease and even cancer. There is no doubt chronic, overwhelming, and negative stress is harmful and a persistent and growing problem in today's society. What you may not know, however, is that a little bit of the right kind of stress can actually be genuinely good for you! Scientists call this ‘good’ stress eustress, from the Latin ‘eu’ meaning “well” and it is different from the bad stress, sometimes referred to as "distress" in several ways. Researchers think that having a healthy dose of the right kind of stress can, in fact, be beneficial to your body, mind, and spirit. This healthy stress surprisingly improves both our focus and performance and may be an essential part of living a fulfilling and meaningful life.

There are several important distinctions between healthy, positive stress and toxic negative stress. Healthy stressors often elicit some or all of the following characteristics:

  1. They motivate and focus energy

  2. They are short-term

  3. They  are perceived as within our coping abilities

  4. They feel exciting

  5. They improve performance and focus

These qualities may help you reframe a stressor as something stimulating and challenging but ultimately enjoyable. Meeting these positive stressors head on can result in immense feelings of euphoria, success, invigoration, and accomplishment. Small doses of beneficial stress can be motivating, revitalizing and encouraging. In the absence of any stress at all, we can feel listless, bored and without direction or purpose. Good stress can kick us into high gear, exciting the body and brain to tackle new challenges. There is even evidence it can help to improve memory and performance on both cognitive and physical tasks. Good stress may even help to fortify the immune system and improve cardiovascular health!

The nature of a positive stressor is in stark contrast to the characteristics of a negative stressor, the kind of things we typically associate with the word "stress". Negative stressors usually check some or all of the following boxes:

  1. They cause anxiety or concern

  2. They can be short or long term

  3. They are perceived as outside of our coping abilities

  4. They feel unpleasant

  5. They decrease performance

  6. They can lead to mental and physical problems. 

It is sometimes hard to concretely categorize what makes stressors "good" or "bad" because different people can have very different stress responses to the exact same situation. Public speaking is a great example of this. What is thrilling and exciting to one person can be absolutely debilitatingly stressful to another. This wide variety of individualized stress responses truly illustrates how much of the manifestation of stress is not in the experience itself, but in how you perceive it. We do also have to be careful of oversimplifying this, however, and resist the urge to put each stressful experience in a discrete box of "good" or "bad." Some experiences are both good and bad stressors, vacillating between the two and containing a healthy mix of both. The experience of having a new baby, for example, can bring immense joy but the physical toll of giving birth and the inevitable sleep deprivation can be very negative stressors. Additionally, the anxiety over having a new set of responsibilities can sometimes almost overwhelm the feelings of joy and love. Much of the stressfulness of experiences like these are dependent on a variety of other factors as well, such as social support and the individual's outlook and mindset.

 

There are some pretty clear-cut examples of both positive and negative stressors, however, like the death of a friend or family member which is almost always a negative stress experience. Profound losses of any kind typically fall into the harmful stress category, including divorce or separation, loss of a job or other meaningful relationship. Instances of abuse, neglect, severe injury or illness are all negative stress experiences as well. Alternatively, there can be life events that are exciting and joyful, yet still taxing. These full into the category of positive stressors. Examples include new relationships, marriage, children, buying a home, moving, starting a new job or getting a raise or promotion. Going on a first date is an excellent example of a positive stressor. Your heart races, your palms sweat, and your body has a clear cut stress response, though typically it is an enjoyable one! These positive stress experiences can be profoundly stressful in the way that they alter our lives and require more of us, yet they are often immensely satisfying and give us great feelings of accomplishment. Once the experience is no longer stressful, we typically look back on these memories with fondness and even pride.

There is some emerging evidence that the way that you think about stress can actually change the way it manifests itself in the body. Notice that one of the most significant differences between eustress and distress is whether or not the challenge is perceived as within our coping abilities. When we believe that we have the capacity to overcome a stressor it can be seen as a challenge and even be fun. When we feel that a stressor is outside of our abilities, it seems unmanageable and scary. In this instance, we tend to project failure and become overwhelmed by the experience.  

In addition to trying to reframe the stressor as within our capabilities, here are a few more tips for managing stress:

  1. Take care of yourself: exercise, eat healthy whole foods and sleep

  2. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and other drugs

  3. Try mindfulness, meditation or other deep breathing or relaxation techniques

  4. Try to set up a support network of friends and family you can turn to in stressful times

  5. Try to get ahead of things by setting up a time management system that works for you.

  6. Go easy on yourself! Sometimes we can be our own harshest critics. Try reframing your accomplishments.

Both negative and positive stress can be overwhelming at times. If you are struggling with stress or something else in your life, please reach out to us at Rivers Edge Counselling Centre. Building the right support structure for your mental and physical health is essential, no matter what life throws at you. 


REFERENCES & FURTHER READING

We are looking for a new member of our team!

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River’s Edge Counselling Centre is seeking a Registered Psychologist to join our team. The successful candidate should have at least 3 years experience providing counselling services to adults and adolescents, as well as specific training and experience in the areas of addictions and trauma. Couples referrals can also be provided, if desired. Therapists may find unique opportunities to pursue interests in groups, workshops, teaching, community outreach and supervision at our Centre.

River's Edge Counselling Centre is located in a beautiful, bright office space along the river in downtown St. Albert. We value excellence in practice and service to the community. Candidates should have a strong interest in being part of a collaborative, supportive team of therapists and demonstrate a passion for continued education and growth in their practice. An interest in practicing client feedback informed therapy is also required.

River’s Edge offers administrative support that contributes to the flexibility, independence, and healthy work/life balance that our therapists value. Therapist compensation is offered at competitive rates. Candidates should be willing to see at least 15-20 clients per week and work at least one evening or weekend shift. We are hoping to commence orientation with a successful candidate in mid-March.

Our therapists are passionate, warm, and experienced professionals who understand that when we work together, we best serve the individuals and families who come to us for help. We look forward to welcoming and supporting the successful applicant for this position!

Interested applicants should submit a letter of expression of interest and their CV to Nicole Imgrund at nicole@riversedgecounselling.com.


in the news: The Mental Health Services Protection Act introduced in Legislature

The Mental Health Services Protection Act was introduced in the Alberta Legislature yesterday. If passed, it will create a new college of Counselling Therapy and set standards for Counselling Therapists, Addiction Counsellors and Child and Youth Care Counsellors.

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in the news: Business tough on mental health

“Our identities are often what help us determine our career paths,” said Lori Tiemer, registered psychologist at Rivers Edge Counselling Centre. “When our careers (and) jobs are in line with our identities – so our interests, our abilities, personality, values – people often do have a greater sense of job satisfaction.”

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Reflection

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The other day I noticed some small pansies growing from a seam in my neighbor’s driveway. I thought what an amazing thing. These little flowers are growing in a difficult environment. They could grow in a more hospitable place, but somehow ended up there and chose to grow in a tough situation. Similar to the flowers, we as humans also grow when circumstances are hard. We learn things about ourselves, and how to be resilient, and often how to live our lives a little differently, or make changes or choices for a better or healthy path. It’s always hard when we face difficulties and struggles, but in the end there is learning and growth. I will think of the pansies on a tough day and remember how they grew.

-Anonymous RECC client

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Renew & Restore Event

River's Edge Counselling Centre was proud to host an invigorating day of talks, workshops, self-care practices, and connection with other helping professionals in the community. With deep appreciation for the commitment and care that you offer to the St. Albert community, we have created a relaxing, rejuvenating, and fun retreat from your daily routine.


keynote address

when you are looking after others, who is looking after you?

Georgette Reed, OLY, ChPC, MA, BPE, CSCS TSAC-F

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Georgette will discuss the synergy between physical and mental health. Many of us are in positions to help others and spend a lot of time and effort doing so…but when we are helping others who is helping us.

Georgette’s presentation discusses some of the pitfalls we all come across leading busy lives and she discusses ways in which participants can make and create a more balanced approach to being of service.

Georgette Reed has had a keen interest in Sport, Fitness, Health and Wellness all of her life. A certified track and field and strength and conditioning, coach with 43 years of competitive experience under her belt in the sports of athletics, bobsleigh, swimming and water polo, Georgette now puts all of the knowledge and expertise to good use as the Health and Wellness Coordinator for Edmonton Fire Rescue Services and Mental Health First Aid, Psychological First Aid and R2MR (first responder) instructor for the City of Edmonton.

During her athletic career, Georgette represented Canada in the Olympic Games, the World Athletics Championships, The World Bobsleigh Championships, The Pan American Games, The Commonwealth Games and many other international events. As a competitor, Georgette won 17 national titles (15 in the shot put and two discus titles). Upon retiring from competing, Georgette was the head cross country, track and field coach for the U of A for 10 years, and helped develop champions at the provincial, national and international levels and was a mentor/coach for Special Olympics Athletics athletes and coaches in Alberta.


ted-style talks

burnout: why the risk is real, and finding your own path towards healing

Jasmine Fulks

the courage of innovation

Petal Murti

the process of becoming vulnerable

Petrina Runke

splashing in the fountain of hope

Wendy Edey

Wendy Edey is a counselling psychologist whose favourite tools are hope, humour and storytelling. All three of these have unfailingly fostered healthy connections between work and her personal life. In recent years she has developed hope and strengths groups for people with chronic pain and Parkinson’s disease. She helps train family care partners at the Alzheimer Society of Edmonton. Wendy is a Practice affiliate with Hope Studies Central at the University of Alberta.


workshops

the gift of self-compassion:
learning to soothe yourself with love and kindness

Facilitator: Grant Wardlow

When navigating the road of life we are often faced with confronting the less desirable parts of ourselves, including our personal failures and shameful behaviour, among other inadequacies. This often comes at a cost to our self-worth, as we become governed by the belief that we are unworthy of life’s pleasures, or of love and respect.
 
Our reaction when faced with these parts of our being is to either go to war with ourselves, or to lash out at others, or to turn to alcohol, or drugs, or food, in an attempt to help soothe our pain and suffering. However, instead of continuing down the same path of destruction, the mindfulness practice of self-compassion offers us the opportunity to respond to ourselves with kindness rather than harsh self-judgement, recognizing that imperfection is part of our shared human experience.
 
Please join me in learning about the mindfulness gift that is self-compassion, where you will learn to soothe yourself with love and tenderness. This workshop includes a guided self-compassion meditation.


contemplation and connection through art making

Mary Norton & Janet Stalenhoef

  • AM Workshop: Follow the ebb and flow of watercolour

  • PM Workshop: Moving breath into modelling clay

Step out of day to day busyness and into some time for quiet  contemplation and renewal. These workshops will invite you to connect with your creative self as you engage with materials. You may also gain insights about the possibilities of art-making for self-care and creative exploration for yourself. All materials provided. No experience necessary.

Mary Norton values art making as a pathway to serious play and as a way to address life challenges and imagine possibilities for change. Mary is engaged in community-based and private practice as a professional Art Therapist, Expressive Arts Facilitator, and Certified Hakomi Therapist.

Janet Stalenhoef came to her interest in art therapy as a result of her experiences as an artist. She has a Masters in psychotherapy from St. Stephen’s with specialization in art therapy. Her practice is also informed by her studies in expressive arts therapy. Janet is certified with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association and has advanced training in Self Regulation Therapy (SRT). She currently works private practice in Edmonton.


satisfied or stressed: thriving in hectic times

Kathleen Johnston

Personal and work-related stress is at an all-time high. We’ve had to adapt to relentless change and ever increasing demands on our time. E-mails, cell phones and PDA’s have moved us to instant response and 24-7 expectations. Although some stress in our lives is inevitable, feeling consistently “stressed out” and miserable is not. This seminar will increase your knowledge and your ability to mitigate and manage the stressors in your life. It will give you the facts about stress as energy. You will understand the impact of stress overload and how to offset that by increasing satisfaction. Learning Objectives include: To explore the effects of increased demands on your work/life To recognize warning signs of distress To assess current personal wellness and create a vision for peak wellness To comprehend the concept of stress as energy To realize the impact of stress overload on personal wellbeing To understand the difference between stress overload and burnout.

Kathleen JohnstonCareer Strategist, is a Professional Certified Coach, Canadian Certified Counselling Therapist and Certified Stress Consultant. Her enthusiasm and energy for career development supports and inspires individuals to be successful in their careers without compromising their health and well-being.


communicating your boundaries: learning how to say “no”

Facilitators: Laura Byrtus

It’s important, but often difficult to keep your self-care sacred. Establishing boundaries can help us make space for self-care. This workshop is designed to provide practical strategies to develop and communicate healthy boundaries in both personal and professional lives.


stress busters

River’s Edge Counselling Centre team

In this workshop, therapists from the team will share with you some of our favourite tools, tips and techniques to manage stress and anxiety. You will come away with practical resources for a more relaxed, stress free life!


music

a live concert with ann vriend

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Ann Vriend is known most for her soaring, evocative, Aretha-eque vocals, as well as her abilities as a songwriter, both lyrically and melodically. With a compelling combination of defiant resilience and heartfelt vulnerability she delivers her unique brand of gritty, inner-city soul-- and sometimes quite the funky old-school dance party.

Coming from a humble background on Edmonton’s east side, and for the past decade calling Edmonton’s troubled and somewhat notorious inner city neighborhood of McCauley home Vriend does not shy away from difficult social issues. Instead, she contributes her own Canadian brand of RnB in the rich tradition of soul artists who have delivered stunning recordings and performances that are both contagiously fun AND socially thought provoking, while never preachy or simplistic.

Often compared to her vocal hero, Aretha Franklin, Ann Vriend also kills it live, having sold 18,000 albums off the stage independently. We are thrilled to have Ann, an award award-winning performer and songwriter, perform for us at this event!

Nicole Imgrund on Global Edmonton

As demand for counselling in Alberta grows, the Federation of Associations of Counselling Therapists is urging the government to regulate the industry. Nicole Imgrund joined Erin Chalmers on Global News Morning Edmonton to talk about the need for regulation, explaining that right now anyone can call themselves a counsellor – and that needs to change.



 

We are in the news: "Parents warned to keep a close eye on what children see online"

Our registered psychologist, Andrea Thrall, speaks to St. Albert Gazelle about the danger of children viewing disturbing video content online. Andrea said parents should always be present whenever young children are viewing videos. Read the full article here:

https://www.stalbertgazette.com/article/parents-warned-keep-close-eye-children-see-online-20180113

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12 Tips for Keeping You and Your Relationships Healthy Through the Holiday Season

Of the many spiritual or cultural holidays that are celebrated at this time of year, most are in some way a reflection of overcoming the toils and injustices of life to reconnect with positive human values and emotions. It is all too easy though, for the time, energy, and preparation of the traditions with which we mark this re-connection to reinforce the toil instead of the celebration. Here are a few ideas to keep the stress from taking over.

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Understanding Gender and Sexuality in a Non-Binary World

If you want to learn what the difference is between sex and gender, what it means to be pansexual or genderqueer, what the components are that comprise our sexuality, or you are just curious about the different ways in which people today understand and express themselves as sexual and gendered beings, please watch this wellness webinarabout understanding sexuality and gender in a non-binary world

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Manage Your Pain - wellness webinar

Living with pain can be debilitating not only physically, but psychologically as well. During this mental wellness webinarLori Tiemer explores the mind-body connection and discusses various strategies, including cognitive and relaxation techniques, for managing your pain and improving your quality of life. 

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River’s Edge Counselling Centre named as the recipient of the St. Albert Chamber of Commerce 2016 Ignite Award.

River’s Edge Counselling Centre is excited to be named as the recipient of the St. Albert Chamber of Commerce 2016 Ignite Award. Sponsored by Athabasca University Faculty of Business, the Ignite Award recognizes a small business that has demonstrated itself as the most dynamic start-up business in the St. Albert community. It is an honour to for us to be recognized in this way. We believe it is our commitment to excellence in care, service to the community, teaching, and working as a team, that has allowed River’s Edge to grow into a strong and healthy business that will continue to serve the mental health needs of St. Albert for many years to come.