Shyness And Social Anxiety Category

Own It

Own is defined as- Belonging to oneself

What does it mean to belong to oneself?

I randomly came across a documentary on Diana Vreeland. She was a powerful force in art, fashion, media, and overall American culture from the 1920’s until 1989 when she died. She was extremely innovative and powerful. She was never formally educated, was not “traditionally beautiful”, and didn’t have a remarkable amount of advantage or privilege in her life. Yet she is AMAZING. Watching footage of her was mesmerizing. She was a truth-teller, truly creative, and an ideal example of someone who “owned” herself.

In the 60’s she was associate editor for Vogue and made “embracing your flaws” a fashion statement. She took physical characteristics that are not considered ideal, decorated them, and celebrated them. Diana is a person who owned it. She owned herself, her life, her strengths, and her flaws. She was captivating to others because she embraced the...

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Stoic Men, Weak Men

[From the Downtown Therapy blog]


A common issue many men face is that they often have few examples in their life of being vulnerable – and having that be ok (i.e. not criticized). By vulnerable, I mean sticking your neck out and opening yourself up emotionally to others, even if that means taking a risk of embarrassment or having what you share not accepted as readily as you would like. Risk. But not the sort of risk that men are traditionally expected to aspire to (you know, the testosterone-hued kinds we read about in magazines or see in films: climbing treacherous mountains, bare knuckle fighting in a basement). Vulnerability is a different sort of risk-taking. It means extending yourself outward, sometimes a little beyond your day-to-day comfort level.

Many men find themselves fighting against a dichotomy: the self-sufficient, emotionally stoic man vs. the weak, needy child. What kind of a choice is that? Sheesh. And yet, this perspective is prevalent and infused in...

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Seen, Heard, and Understood

(From the Downtown Therapy blog. Check it out to see more)


I found myself on vacation recently. My partner and I went to France. It was equal parts charming and idyllic. It was also curiously stressful.

You see, in Toronto – at the best of times – when I go out I will inevitably have a selection of personalities to encounter: the barista making my americano, the TTC operator at the front of the streetcar, the person operating the cash register at the local grocery store. Ideally, in this sequence of events, even if I’m not consciously aware of it, I’ll be seen, heard, and understood.

These are three very important things to experience in day-to-day life: it feels good to be recognized, to be listened to, and to feel that the person on the other side of our dealings-with acknowledges our existence. Sadly, this doesn’t always come to be. The barista may get my order wrong, the TTC operator might be a bit gruff, the person operating the cash might...

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Studies have revealed that anxious parents are seven times more likely to have anxious kids. Chances are that the combination of genes and environment... To read more, please visit

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Studies have shown that anxiety, a common emotion among human beings, can have negative effects on school performance... To read more, please visit


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Do People Truly Ever Change?

(From the Downtown Therapy blog. Check it out to see more)

I bumped into an old acquaintance the other day. We had both worked for a rather chaotic company years earlier. The so-called “survivors” met for dinner once a year to catch-up and share stories of our time in that company. He asked why I couldn’t attend the most recent dinner. I guessed that, because I’d changed my email address a while back, the invitations were being sent to an account that was no longer in service.

When I asked him how it went, he shrugged and smiled. He said: “Oh, you know, (x) is still high-strung. (y) is still gloomy. (z) still acts like everyone’s Mom.”

“People don’t change.” he said, shaking his head. It felt like a definitive statement for him.

We parted ways and his words echoed with me. After all, what’s my purpose as a therapist if that statement were true? I believe in change: I’ve experienced it myself and have seen it s...

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Benefits of Group Therapy

How group therapy can help you improve with others:

Safety and comfort in commonality

Increased speed of healing breakthroughs

Support of othersInvolvement in positive change for others

Group counseling is a very powerful and effective way to engage in personal change. While some people are initially hesitant to share their struggles or concerns with a group of strangers, participants in group counseling soon understand that the group is intentionally set up so that all members of the group are accountable to being respectful and keeping all information confidential. This allows members to quickly become comfortable within the safety of the group, and therefore gain tremendous benefit from the support of not just a therapist but an entire group of people. Common benefits of group therapy include the speed with which breakthroughs and change can happen, the knowledge for each member that he/she is not alone in their struggles, the growth that comes from being able to receive support ...

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Is it Emotional Eating or Atypical Depression?

You can feel great at time, even for long stretches, but then, often after a difficult encounter with someone, you feel sad or anxious. The sadness or anxiety is like background music, always there, though sometimes at a low level. Where most depressed people have insomnia, you LOVE sleep. Where most people with depression can't eat, you can't stop eating, especially carbs. And you struggle with your weight.

I call this "anxi-pression," or emotional eating. The clinical name for it is Atypical Depression. The full list of symptoms includes:

  • Feelings of sadness, emptiness or feeling tearful
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities
  • Increased appetite
  • Unintentional weight gain
  • Increased desire to sleep
  • Heavy, leaden feeling in the arms and legs
  • Sensitivity to rejection or criticism that interferes with your social life or job
  • Fear of rejection that leads to avoiding relationships
  • Having depression that temporarily lifts with good news or positive events but returns la...

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Depression and Anxiety


What is depression?  It is a common and sometimes serious mood disorder that can be quite intense.  It affects and mind and the body at the same time.   It may be associated with an imbalance of chemicals in the brain that carry communications between nerve calls which control mood and other basic bodily functions, such as appetite and sleep.  Other factors may also come into play, such as negative life experiences such as stress or loss, medical illnesses, and genetic factors.

What are the symptoms of depression?  It can include the following:  persistent sad or empty mood, loss of interest in usual activities, changes in appetite or weight, inability to sleep or oversleeping, restlessness or sluggishness, decreased energy or fatigue, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, feelings of guilt/hopelessness/, or worthlessness, thoughts of death or suicide.

The extent of the problem: between 17 and 20 million Americans develop...

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The 2 Most Common Mistakes Made by People with ADHD in Maintaining Friendships

Given our busy lives, it is no wonder that many of us have difficulty keeping up with friendships. But for individuals with ADHD, maintaining healthy friendships can be even a bigger struggle than for most. How does one balance the many demands that life puts upon us while keeping our vital connections to those people we truly value? The following article takes a look at 2 of the most common mistakes made by those with ADHD when it comes to maintaining these close friendships.

Many individuals with ADHD attract many friends due to their zany sense of humor, high energy, and creative fun loving nature. However, for many people with ADHD, maintaining good friendships over a sustained period of time may be difficult, due to a variety of reasons including boredom, poor time management, problems with memory and behaviors that may be interpreted as being selfish or unresponsive to other's needs. Out of all the difficulties one faces in maintaining good friendships, the 2 most common mistake...

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