What is Trauma?


Trauma, flashbacks and reoccurrence of trauma make us feel like a snow bombarded forest where all you see is white, cold, frozen, stubborn and immovable snow. Pain occupies and spreads in your whole body and mind. You feel numb, confused, betrayed, shocked, disappointed, guilty, scared and off ground. You feel as if you have lost yourself and your destination in this forest of heavy snow. You feel stuck, helpless and foolish to come this far. Sometime you also wonder how come you couldn’t act on your intuitive feelings sooner and faster.

“PTSD is a whole-body tragedy, an integral human event of enormous proportions with massive repercussions.”

― Susan Pease Banitt

Despite of feeling stuck in this forest of snow, you know this forest is not spread in whole universe, there is an ending too. All you have to do is walk slowly and gently in an open area.

Fortunately, processing trauma with a professional helper make this sensitive internal journey easier than walking alone in snow forest. Please love yourself and ask for help!

-By Rhea Jacobs

How to get over a breakup?

Stabbed Heart

Researches have revealed that divorce, separation and breakup can be equally traumatizing like a death. Breakup becomes harder because the former partner is still on this earth and incidentally may come across anytime. Even if the relationship was destructive and negative it may still cause feelings of loss, grief, guilt (why I was stuck so long), confusion, frustration, anger, resentment, changes in mood, Insomnia, weaker immune system and dysfunctionality in regular life.

A breakup can turn someone’s life upside down temporarily or for long-term in the form of trauma. Try and find out if any of these ways could be helpful for you:

  1. Think over and write down the causes why this relationship was formed in the first place. If those causes are still left unresolved, most probably you will not be able to maintain this breakup and may return to the same person or rush to another one.
  2. Write down those events/incidents when you felt isolated, insulted, rejected, ignored and abused by your ex.
  3. Write down the expectations and goals of the relationship which were agreed upon in the beginning. Give a rating in between 1-10 to your expectations being fulfilled.
  4. If this relationship evolved from your side over a period of time (which is common and natural), do you felt other person also reciprocated in the same manner or not?
  5. OR you can ask yourself if this relationship gets deeper and stronger over a period of time or was worsened?
  6. To get over a breakup it is very important to dissect the relationship in an as much neutral way as possible. It may be very hard initially but try to see your ex’s perspective and approach too to this relationship. Think over how much you contributed to this relationship and break up. This will be your lesson learnt from this relationship and will help in laying the balanced foundation for the next relationship in the future.
  7. Share your pain with someone who can listen to you in a non-judgmental manner. Let it out.
  8. Do healthy activities which you have always enjoyed.
  9. Focus on self-care. Reward yourself each day for winning over your weak moments and not contacting the ex.
  10. Maintain your health and daily life schedules. You will feel lighter every week.
  11. Make a list of the activities which you were not able to participate before due to the ex but have the freedom to enjoy them currently. Feel the freedom.

In a small new study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, researchers tested a variety of cognitive strategies which might be helpful to overcome the pain of breakup over a period of time:

  1. Analyzing and writing down the former partner’s negative qualities in a microscopic manner.
  2. Accepting your own feelings towards the ex. It could be:
  • I can still love someone without getting anything back from them. It’s my choice and I am going to be OK with this choice.
  • Ex was driving me crazy most of the time. I am glad I quit, otherwise, I could have harmed them or myself someday.
  1. Distract yourself by trying new activities. Trying new stuff will help in breaking the old pattern, habits and will reinforce the belief that there is so much fun material still available and possible in life.

Researchers observed that the first strategy may ignite bad mood but in the long run your emotional brain will finally accept the fact that both of you were not a healthy match and breakup was the right step.

The second strategy may make person obsessive but lack of regular interaction from ex may slowly help the person to settle down with their own choices.

The third strategy could be Escapism and brings only temporary relief but the idea is to let you experience and enjoy the life without ex.

Anyone of us is not a superwoman or superman. The breakup is like an invisible wound which may take time to heal. Acceptance of loss and application of cognition may help you to sail through the emotional storm of a breakup.

Resources and references:

-Dealing with a Breakup or Divorce. Grieving and Moving on After a Relationship Ends (HELPGUIDE.ORG Trusted guide to mental & emotional health).

-The Best Way To Get Over a Breakup, According to Science (TIME)

By Rhea Jacobs (MCP, RCC, EMDR Psychotherapist) @ # FIREFOX COUNSELLING


What are your fears and Why?

Fear is a negative emotion which we often learn to live with, but it really work as a strong barrier in our personality development and flourishing as a unique human being.

While working on multiple issues, most of my clients expressed their ‘fear of loneliness or fear of getting rejected and left alone or fear of ending up as Single’.

These assumed fears actually kept them stuck either in a bad relationship (s) or make them mindlessly follow the pattern of unhealthy lifestyle or make them surrender to the peer pressure. Their fears also teach them it’s not safe and good decision to express your real emotions and feelings to others. Slowly they learnt how to suppress emotions and display fake behaviours because that will reward them popularity and appreciation. Also, they will not end up alone (winning their worst fear)!

Digging deeper into “fear of loneliness”, it’s not just present-oriented. Like most of the emotional issues, this also has roots in the past. Everyone has its own reason and definition of their fears based on their life journey.

A person who is fearful of loneliness could be reflecting avoidance of their past, memories (good as well as bad), shame, guilt or wrong-doing act. For these people, socialization is a tool to create a distraction from the past.

An individual who is fearful of rejection and abandoned could be reflecting their own lack of self-confidence, desperate need of validation and needy feeling of recognition by loved ones and their community.

Sitting with an experienced professional may help you to recognize your fears and their roots. A lot can be achieved in every area of life when a person becomes fearless. Then person feels confident to reflect their true self to others. Also, act honestly in relationships.

Live fearlessly and freely!

  • By Rhea Jacobs


Are you in an abusive relationship?

Many people may ignore this question right away and may choose not to read this blog. They may feel this is not applicable over me or I would have known it by now!

And these are exactly the reasons that I choose to write this blog by presenting the research-oriented information at this forum. These facts are collected by the psychologists and researchers after spending years in the observation of abusive relationships and working with the victims of all kind of abuses.

Today I thought of presenting POWER AND CONTROL WHEEL in abusive relationships to spread awareness about all kind of abuses in a relationship. Most of the people are only aware of the verbal, emotional, physical and sexual abuse. But the truth discovered by the researchers is, there are 12 kinds of abuses:

Verbal abuse

Physical abuse

Psychological abuse

Sexual abuse

Spiritual abuse

Financial abuse

Pets and property abuse

Intellectual abuse

Emotional abuse

Using culture

Social abuse

Using children

The prime motive of the abuser is to create, force and maintain their Power and Control over the other person (s). Some of the abusive behaviors are so prevalent in some cultures and families that it is not even considered as “abuse” but named as “that’s what ….do in our culture”, “his/her habit” or “his/her personality”. Some people may believe that only sexual and physical abuses are the worst ones and should be considered objectionable and not acceptable. Some people will teach the victim that “every relationship have some problems, this is regular fight/argument among all couples” OR “you are just overreacting” OR “you are oversensitive”. Such kind of unscientific and discouraging comments keep victims stuck in an abusive relationship for years and sometimes a lifetime. A wonderful human being spends his/her valuable years in pain and never-ending struggle which keeps growing as time goes by.

That’s why I thought of briefing about 12 kinds of abuses:

Physical abuse: Blocking exits, Driving too fast, Locking me out of the house, Intimidating me, Punching me, Kicking me, Spitting me, Choking me, Hitting me, Restraining me.

Verbal abuse: Name calling, Swearing, Yelling, Insulting, Being condescending, Being sarcastic.

Psychological abuse: Intimidating gestures or actions, Threatening suicide, Threatening to kill another person, Displaying weapons, Denying he/she said things, Minimizing own abusive behavior towards me.

Sexual abuse: Threatening to or having an affair, Forcing or manipulating sex, Sexual put-downs, Criticizing how I dress, Withholding sex, Comparing me to others, Using pornography, Demanding sex as payment.

Spiritual abuse: Putting down my faith, Cutting me off from my religious place, Using religion to his/her advantage, Soul-destroying behavior, Using scripture against me.

Financial abuse: Calling welfare, Limiting access to money, Making me account for every penny, Controlling the money, Closing bank accounts, Wasting, Creating debt, Not paying child support, Using money only for personal needs but another person is not allowed to do same.

Pets and property abuse: Killing or threatening pets, Punching walls and doors, Throwing things, Damaging vehicles, Smashing or breaking things.

Intellectual abuse: Making me prove things to him/her, Mind games, Demanding perfection, Making me feel stupid, Attacking my ideas and opinions, Manipulation of information, Telling me that I am crazy.

Emotional abuse: Teasing, Invalidating my feelings, Using guilt, Blaming me for everything, Being jealous, Threatening, Withholding affection, Waking me up during my rest hours, Silent treatment, Stalking.

Using culture: Using his/her culture as an excuse for abuse, Putting down my culture, Forcing me to adapt to his/her cultural practices and language, Not allowing me to participate in mainstream culture.

Social abuse: Isolating me from my family and friends, Monitoring phone calls or mileage, Dictating who I can see, Preventing me from working or doing group activities which I enjoy.

Using children: Abusing children, Threatening to harm or take children away, Refusing to make support payments, Belittling me in front of children, Using visitation (as per custody order) as leverage.

Depending on several internal and external factors everyone tries to deal/cope with abuse differently. Everyone gets affected by abuse differently and you are the only one who knows how much destruction or hurt is being caused by the abuser. It might be a normal everyday issue for someone but it might have severely affected and traumatized you. You are your own judge and your verdict matters most.

This is a well-known fact that abusive relationships have a close connection with trauma, addiction and eruption of mental health disorders including stress disorder. Knowledge is the first step on the ladder of success. If you feel that you are in any type of abusive relationship currently or have lived with an abuser in past which is affecting and has affected your personality, perspective and trust in general, please don’t hesitate to contact me at info@rheacounselling.com. You and I will discuss your abusive relationship at your comfort level, process your experiences/memories and create a treatment plan to help you be a stronger and happier person!

(Ref: When Love Hurts, book written by Jill Cory and Karen McAndless-Davis)

– By Rhea Jacobs


How to develop self-compassion?

We have heard this word quite often but do we really know or understand the exact meaning of this word ‘Compassion’. It is good to begin with the definition so that we can delve into it as we try to develop self-compassion.

As per dictionary.com, Compassion is a “feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering”. In short form, it can be said that the compassion means “to feel with….” For most of us, it’s easy to understand or ignore or forgive or be caring towards others rather than ourselves. Interestingly, if we work on developing the self-compassion it will also help us to remain compassionate towards others and perform better in life. It’s almost like, when we nurture and focus on the roots of the plant its flowers, leaves, branches, stem, and fruits will also grow well.

So how can we learn to be kind to ourselves? First of all, taking out some time and indulging in positive but realistic self-talk, such as:

  1. Acknowledging that you are a human. Despite extensive education, experience or maturity there is always a possibility for error because success is the result of a calculated combination of multiple factors, not just you or your performance.
  2. To counterargue some perceived or real failure, think about your successes in chronological order. Don’t be shy or underrate your performances and successes.
  3. Take responsibility for your actions, accept it but also think over why did it happen? Were you stressed out? Were you burnt out? Did you receive help on time? Did you receive expected support from team/management/family/friends? Did you take on some work which was beyond your competency? By digging deeper, you will be able to realize that you focused more on the goal, not on yourself!
  4. Make a list of your strengths and good qualities. Embrace and enjoy reading this list. Now ask yourself what am I doing to upgrade and polish myself?
  5. If you still feel low about yourself, look for real-life examples when you displayed those qualities/strengths at an extraordinary level. Feel proud of yourself and plan how will you take care of yourself so that goodness in you do not die.
  6. Make a list of activities which you always wanted to do but couldn’t do. Categorize these activities or dreams into short-term goals or long-term goals. Plan, how will you get closer to your dream.
  7. At home, pick one wall or corner which should display your rewards, letters of appreciation, certificates, prizes, pictures of any accomplishment (such as completed project) and notes of gratitude or praise conveyed by others to you. Look at them, feel proud of yourself and fall in love with yourself J

This is just a small list. There could be many more ways to develop self-compassion depending on one’s creativity and perspective.

At the same time, you may also feel some mental blocks to value, respect and care for yourself. You may find yourself questioning too. If so happened, please feel free to explore deeper with a psychotherapist like me. You and I will sit together and look into the possible causes of you finding it hard to develop self-compassion and self-love.

Please feel free to reach me at 604-377-6033 or info@rheacounselling.com

-By Rhea Jacobs


Who is an effective counsellor?


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Looking for help can be a tough task especially looking for a counsellor of your match. Numerous research have identified that feeling connected with therapist is one of the significant factor for the effectiveness of therapy and long lasting positive change in client’s life. Therefore, it’s relevant and important to spend some time to identify/understand qualities of an effective counsellor. An effective counsellor is:

◾Someone who is competent and skilled in delivering one or more therapeutic approaches as per their interest and expertise.

◾Someone who is non-judgemental, empathetic and insightful in recognising and helping you to overcome your weaknesses, self-imposed limitations and negative beliefs.

◾Someone who is supportive and knows how to develop your strengths.

◾Someone who is professional and reliable to provide a safe atmosphere where painful memories could be shared unhesitatingly.

◾Someone who is able to understand and respect your cultural values and help you to steer around those values.

◾Someone who is inherently dedicated and passionate to help you on this journey of inner transformation. A therapeutic journey with a right counsellor can really be life changing.

Of course, you need to meet and spend some sessions (on average 3-6 sessions) to recognise and feel above mentioned qualities in your counsellor. It is equally possible that you felt the need to meet a new counsellor every couple of months in this search for right match for yourself but you will be learning new skills and different perspectives from each one of them which is not bad at all.

Please allow me to offer you my helping hand on your path of self-discovery and see how far we can walk together. It’s time to call (+1 604-377-6033)

-By Rhea Jacobs


Love yourself!

In my practice as mental health practitioner, I noticed that most of my clients are unaware about significance of self-care. I often ask them this question – if you have only one car, how long will you be able to use it without paying any attention to its maintenance or oil change or by keep ignoring any weird signs, sounds etc.….We all know the reply here.

Then why are we so hard on ourselves, so ignorant or “selectively ignorant” to pay any attention to our needs (physical, emotional, sexual and intellectual). We are so much untruthful especially to our emotional needs. We do not go to see psychologist/counsellor until our symptoms get worsened and declared as some mental disorder by the psychiatrist/physician. We keep avoiding issues. We keep dragging and living life in same manner no matter how we feel about ourselves. Why?

Well, there could be various reasons behind lack of self-care regime which differs with every individual. Some of these could be:

  • That’s how I was raised;
  • That’s what I believe about myself such as I am strong enough OR I have been through many things before;
  • That’s my personality putting others first;
  • Negative beliefs such as it’s selfish to pay too much attention on myself OR I don’t need it, I will be fine etc.
  • Self-created excuses such as I don’t have time, I don’t care, what difference it makes.

All of above mentioned causeswhich decline self-care are there, less or more, in each one of us; but there is one more hidden factor which is closely related to lack of self-compassion and low self-esteem. This factor is “our inner critic”. This inner critic is nothing but our own “self”. It is the statements of this inner critic which discourage us from doing anything for ourselves until we break down. Many of us might have heard this inner critic, especially before doing anything new in our life, such as – “You are fat or _ _ _, Nothing is gonna work for you. Everyone hates you anyways, what’s the point of doing it. You tried it many times and failed every time, why are you doing it again. You are born like this, nothing could change it etc. etc.”

Interestingly, if you think deeper, all of these statements are not originally created by you. They were created by others at some point of your life; may be your mom or dad or sibling or friend or partner. Then how come it becomes your statement, which is coming from your head now? Because you believed in them, you believed in those people, you believed in their judgements-more than yourself. It occurred due to low self-confidence or may be you were too young to argue or challenge their statements. It further loweredyour self-confidence and efforts of self-care. Slowly these statements resided inside you as a belief and created that inner critic who keep destroying your self-confidence, self-image and self-esteem. This inner critic keep prohibiting you from doing anything for yourself?

So now, how to get rid of this inner critic or lifelong negative beliefs about self? How to learn self-care and develop self-compassion? How to build self-confidence and self-esteem?

Well, it’s not as hard as it sounds. There are many therapeutic interventions which can help you challenge your deep negative beliefs and start loving yourself, indulge you in self-care and make that inner critic your best friend. It will be an internal journey where I will walk with you to help you explore, connect and love yourself!

-Rhea Jacobs