How to discern between black, white, and shades of grey.

Rear view of themis statue with balance scales
Rear view of themis statue with balance scales
Rearview of justice statue with balance scales | Image By Oleksandr Berezko

In 2004 I engaged in a potential unethical action at work. When I moved from London, UK, back to Toronto, the tech bubble had burst, and jobs were scarce. The only place that was willing to hire a young, semi-inexperienced woman such as me was AT&T Canada’s call center for business accounts. I felt deflated. While it was a step back in my career, I took the position to pay the rent. Once inside the call center, I quickly learned how every Call Center Agent’s action was observed and turn into performance metrics. Statistics appeared far more important than developing long-standing client relationships. …

Lessons from a psychotherapist in training on how to prepare yourself to work with clients

Man with arms open towards morning sunlight rays
Man with arms open towards morning sunlight rays
Reaching For The Sun | Image By Ioana Catalina E, Shutterstock

If the objective of Gestalt psychotherapy is to learn how to use “self” in embodied relational practice, the first step in the process is the ability to develop presence. A personal, conscious experience is imperative to establish before entering into contact with clients.

In the book “Therapeutic presence: a mindful approach to effective therapy,” Toronto therapists and academics Shari Geller and Leslie Greenberg describe presence as:

the state of having one’s whole self in the encounter with a client by being completely in the moment on a multiplicity of levels — physically, emotionally, cognitively, and spiritually.

While discussing my intentions for the academic year, it is impossible to leave out the pandemic's repercussions and the immediate need to understand how to build and maintain strong therapeutic relationships while navigating in our new online environment. …

A candid discussion with two grads on social, technological, and psychological impacts.

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Home workspace | Image By Creative Lab, Shutterstock

Our chances of meeting in person are the same as a freak snowfall in July. We’re video screen work colleagues for a global pension fund company based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Angela Yang, Nick Goulet and I, all began our careers after the Covid-19 lockdown was in full swing. The difference being, Yang and Goulet are university graduates entering the workforce for their first time. …

A tool for therapists and coaches to inspire appreciation with clients

Thanksgiving wallpaper image
Thanksgiving wallpaper image
Thanksgiving Fall Scene | Image By Dream Ideas

Thanksgiving season inspires us to focus on what we have to be grateful for. Canada celebrates in mid-October, and the United States is later, toward the end of November. For coaches, therapists, meditators, and mindfulness practitioners who seek to inspire clients to appreciate what has been given, I created a special Thanksgiving meditation of gratitude centered on the five senses; sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.

Combining Gestalt theory delivers fresh perspectives.

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An indoor cozy garden full of life | Image By DimaBerlin, Shutterstock

If you google fixed versus growth mindset, you will find an explosion of blogs, articles and academic papers on the topic. What’s left to be said? Rather than repackage what you already know, let’s explore this subject through the lens of Gestalt Psychotherapy to gain fresh insights.

Back to Basics

First, a quick refresher to level set on terminology. Wikipedia defines mindset as:

a set of assumptions, methods, or notions held by one or more people or groups of people. A mindset can also be seen as arising out of a person’s world view or philosophy of life.

Carol Dweck, an American psychologist, best known for her work on the mindset psychological trait, states…

The psychology behind the habit and strategies to stop

Two seagulls calling
Two seagulls calling
Two Gulls Calling | By Sue Harper Photography

Oops, it’s 9:00 AM, and I’ve done it again. That’s right. I cut off my work colleague right when she started her sentence. Our voices became a garbled, mixed bag of marbles, preventing others on the other side of the screen to hear our words. An awkward silence prevailed before my coworker tried, for the second time to get her point across.

Do you interrupt people or interact with a person who has this habit? If you answered yes to either of these questions, let’s explore why people exhibit this behavior and examine strategies to stop.

Skills psychotherapy teaches us to improve connections with others

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Girl in a field | Image By Radharani, Shutterstock

Margaret, a friend of the family, visited us this past week. While her presence started off as an annoying house guest, she became one of my greatest lessons on how to build empathy for others.

When you think of a loud, raspy-voiced woman, this is Margaret. Decades of heavy nicotine and liquor use and abuse have left their battle scars. Margaret ends each sentence with a high-pitched intonation at a frequency that hurt my ears. She also has a way of cutting off people’s sentences to ensure her voice gets heard. Margaret’s in her late sixties, yet, her partner Scott is my age; in his early forties. The couple moved into our home for a week to help my step-dad reinforce cement walls in his workshop. While it wasn’t my intent to be rude to Margaret, I chose to keep our interactions to the bare minimum and wore a poker face to hide my genuine emotions rather than show a perpetual irritable state. When Margaret arrived, I didn’t know much about her, except that her dishevelled appearance and constant sneezing provided me with the belief she’d lived a hard life and wasn’t physically well. Despite this knowledge, at the onset of Margaret’s time with us, I felt little compassion. And this bothered me. …

And understand your body response through Gestalt Psychotherapy

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Be Honest Text On Paper | Image By SNeG17, Shutterstock

Have you ever noticed when rushed, you’re more prone to making mistakes? And when mistakes happen, there may be a need to be answerable to others. Yes. I experienced this challenge in more recent days. How do we know when we must be accountable to others? What is the best approach to ensure personal accountability? Let’s explore these questions using a recent personal example through the lens of a psychotherapeutic process.

A few weeks ago, I coached a software development team on a new process. We required technical knowledge from another development team, and I made the assumption the transfer of information had already taken place. When I was added to the Microsoft Chat by our Development Team Lead, I removed the other team’s developers and included more of our own to talk about the process. …

Become the star facilitator you’ve always wanted to be

The musician plays on a large rock guitar in a great smoke, rock music, concert and festival
The musician plays on a large rock guitar in a great smoke, rock music, concert and festival
Image By YaroslavUrban | Shutterstock

From the boardroom to the kindergarten class, in-person or video conferencing — facilitating can cause anxiety and trigger flight-or-fight stress responses.

In the past, my sole strategy was to “fake it to you make it.” I wore an expensive dark suit jacket to hide the sweat stains and thought that having the right hair cut and the perfect color was half the battle. The other side of the coin included cracking mild jokes in the hopes of establishing a connection with the audience as if we were in a comedy bar at 2:00 PM minus any alcohol. …

One man’s fortune is another man’s demise.

Young man solo on street
Young man solo on street
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Billy was a wanderer in our hamlet; I remember seeing him when I was young. Later in life, I learned the truth, how Billy’s story wasn’t an urban myth and what happened to him on that summer evening in the early 1960s. In learning about Billy’s story, we will examine current issues of environmental damage, opportunities for pharmaceutical returns, and the perils of self-medicating.

When my Mom was a child, she grew up in a little hole in the wall called Caesarea, a spec on the map on the south shore of Lake Scugog in Southern Ontario. She knew a boy named Billy Clements, who was the middle child of seven. The Clement family lived 15 minutes away from Caesarea on the outskirts of the hamlet. By all accounts, the fourteen-year-old was a good looking, regular kid, with sandy blonde hair and crisp blue eyes. Billy took great care of his younger siblings, possessed a laid-back and joyful nature. …


Lisa Bradburn

Agile Coach and Psychotherapist-In-Training at the intersection of technology and the human condition. Let’s chat:

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