Connected But Alone? A Closer Look At Our Relationship With Our Phone

Connected But Alone? A Closer Look At Our Relationship With Our Phone


In the 1950s, my grandfather’s family didn’t have a landline and when they were ready for one, it had to be ordered two years in advance! When I learned this recently, I immediately thought of my relationship with my phone. I take it with me everywhere I go. It’s by my side when I go to sleep and when I wake up. As soon as it breaks, I must repair it or replace it right away. It’s hard to remember that people lived without technology and that they were just fine. Did you know that in those days, if you wanted to see someone you would just show up at their door hoping that they were home?!

I’d like to challenge you to think about your relationship with your phone, think about what you would do in the following situations:

- You’re in the middle of a great conversation with a friend and your phone buzzes.
- You’re at the dinner table and your phone rings.
- You’re in a business meeting and you receive an email.

If you’re like me, you are inclined to see who it is and what they want. Maybe you are even tempted to respond right away? What is it that makes us so attached to our devices? That urges us to see who it is right away? A survey by Asurion, a global tech support and protection company actually found that, on average, we check our phones 80 times a day!

There are many things that make technology so appealing, like having an entire world at our fingertips and having a constant outlet through which we are “connected” to others. Don’t forget about the fact that on our phones, we can edit, retouch and control any information we disclose about ourselves. The thing is, real life is messy, demanding and it’s often times uncomfortable as Sherry Turkle elaborates on in her popular Ted Talk, “Connected, but Alone?”. Do we turn to technology to escape reality? Maybe we turn to technology as a safe space where we only do what feels good? Are we really “connected” when we are on our phones?

I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”

― Brené Brown

In that same Ted Talk, “Connected, but Alone?”, Sherry Turkle addresses our problematic relationship to technology and explains that although technology is exciting, we are letting it take us places that we don’t want to go. She asks the question, “as we expect more from technology, do we expect less from each other?”. She expresses that what a lot of people are feeling when they reach for their phone to see the latest post is “no one is listening”. It seems some people turn to technology in order to fill a void of loneliness. Is that true, have we come to a place where we are not prepared to put others before ourselves and engage in genuine conversations? I challenge you to think about this, even if just briefly before using your phone. Ask yourself, is there a reason I am picking it up? Do I need to reach someone? Am I waiting for a call? Awareness in this area can motivate you to change your habits. Sherry Turkle discusses these issues and some possible solutions extensively in her books Alone Together and Reclaiming Conversation, the Power of Talk in the Digital Age.

We may think that it is just our relationships that are affected, but researchers from the University of Oxford (1) list more things that can result from problematic smartphone use. Their list includes psychological effects like anxiety, depression, memory problems, sleep problems and a poor ability to make decisions. Moreover, there are also physical effects, like poor posture.

It is believed today that smartphone use can become addictive (2) and therapeutic approaches can be used to help individuals get over this. Velthoven, Powell and Powell (2018) give us some suggestions for how we can control our smartphone use.

1. Don’t always answer your phone. Turn off your ringer and notifications when you are about to engage in a task that requires your full attention. Trust me, whoever called will be ok and you can always call them back.

2. Create sacred spaces: set limits about not using any devices in certain places (like in your bedroom or bathroom), situations (playing with the kids) and at certain times (like at dinner).

3. Unfollow. Some newsfeeds and friends don’t contribute to you in a positive way. Make sure that the content on your feeds is relevant to your life and goals.

4. Regulate your smartphone use. There are many helpful apps that can help with this. In fact, a list of the best ones has been created, and you can access it here.

5. Be Mindful. Engage in things that you enjoy and be aware of what you do on your device and for how long. The issues with technology are real, but don’t forget they are also relatively new and it’s up to us to nip them in the bud, since life is about connecting, not just living together. Good luck!

The issues with technology are real, but don’t forget they are also relatively new and it’s up to us to nip them in the bud, since life is about connecting, not just living together. Good luck!

Orly Dayan is an undergraduate student at Concordia University who worked as a summer intern at Connecte Montreal Psychology Group located in Westmount, Montreal, Quebec. The team at Connecte loves writing about ways to boost our mental health and bring psychology into our everyday lives. For more helpful tips, check out Connecte’s blogs, podcast, follow @connectepsychology on Instagram or like us on Facebook.

References and Resources

1. Van Velthoven, M. H., Powell, J., & Powell, G. (2018). Problematic smartphone use: Digital approaches to an emerging public health problem. DIGITAL HEALTH.

2. Billieux, J . Problematic use of the mobile phone: A literature review and a pathways model. Curr Psychiatry Rev 2012; 8: 299–307.

Alone Together, by Sherry Turkle

Reclaiming Conversation, the Power of Talk in the Digital Age, by Sherry Turkle

How do I critique thee? Let me count the ways

How do I critique thee? Let me count the ways

sim's post 1.png

I often hear clients put themselves down. And I think it’s fair to say we all do this to some degree, that is, we speak to ourselves in ways that we wouldn’t talk to our loved ones. However, these statements can vary in severity, ranging from criticizing our behaviors (e.g. well that was stupid) to our traits (e.g. I’m stupid) and even to ourselves globally (e.g. I’m worthless).

Some clients express a belief that criticizing themselves in this way can motivate them to avoid making mistakes or to try harder in the future, and that speaking to themselves more gently would let them off the hook by promoting self-indulgence or laziness. In reality, self-compassion can bolster coping in the face of struggles (see 1). Indeed, some clients recognize that their self-critical language isn’t helpful, and that it actually leaves them feeling depleted, helpless or even hopeless. Their struggle lies in how to change this way of speaking to themselves.

Interestingly, clients with highly self-critical thoughts often describe feeling uncomfortable, skeptical or even disgusted when they receive a compliment. This can seem confusing at first; why wouldn’t someone want to hear a compliment that might make them feel better about themselves? Indeed, self-enhancement theory (see 2,3) proposed that people would like to hear messages that could make them feel better about themselves (e.g. compliments, praise). However, the results were mixed; although some people did like to hear positive feedback, others did not respond as well. Self-verification theory (see 4) can help us to understand this. The theory proposes that people do not just like to hear things that make them feel good about themselves; rather, they gravitate toward feedback that verifies how they view themselves. That is, those who view themselves positively may enjoy praise, whereas those who view themselves negatively may feel uncomfortable when offered a compliment. Now let’s think about this for a minute: Where does this leave those struggling with self-critical thoughts if they are speaking to themselves harshly, while zooming in on potential criticism but negating positive feedback from others?

If this feels like it applies to you, here are some exercises you might consider trying:

1. Keep in mind that things can come to feel true after a lot of repetition, without necessarily being true. Over time, the automaticity of self-critical thoughts can make them feel ‘true’, and the scarcity of self-compassion speech can lead it to feel false or forced.

2. Try to distinguish thought (which may feel true) from fact (which is true): Think of a self-critical thought that has come up recently (maybe you told yourself that you were lazy or stupid after getting a disappointing grade or not landing a job you wanted). That thought may have felt very true in the moment – it may have even felt obvious and factual. Now ask yourself if you always feel this way, or if the degree to which you believe it varies over time (Do you believe it more when your mood is low? When you’re tired, hungry or otherwise depleted? When you’re around certain people or following a disappointing outcome?). If so, that’s a sign that you’re dealing with a thought and not a fact. Indeed, a fact does not feel more or less true from one day or from one context to the next (e.g. 2 plus 2 always equals 4, no matter what mood we are in).

3. Ask yourself how you would respond to a close friend in a similar situation. This might involve framing our mistakes or struggles as a normal part of the human experience, as well as highlighting the beauty in vulnerability or the courage that it took to try regardless of the outcome.

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4. Now notice the discomfort that arises. Notice the sense that these kind words would apply to your friend but don’t fit for you. Call out the double-standard.

5. Continue to talk to yourself as you would to your close friend even though it feels wrong.

6. Practice this regularly. We need practice on the side of self-compassionate speech if we are going to make headway against all of the repetition that the self-critical thoughts have gotten. Doing this alongside a trained mental health professional can be helpful as well.

This kind of work is not easy, but I believe that learning to speak to ourselves more compassionately (essentially becoming a good friend to ourselves) is one of the greatest investments we can make, and one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves. And when we love ourselves, in a true empathic, gentle and loving way, we are better positioned to share this with others. It starts from within.

Simcha Samuel is a clinical psychologist in Westmount, Montreal, Quebec, at Connecte Montreal Psychology Group. The team at Connecte loves writing about ways to boost our mental health and bring psychology into our everyday lives. For more helpful tips, check out Connecte’s blogs, podcast, follow @connectepsychology on Instagram or like us on Facebook.


Note: The title of this blog is a play on words from the line “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways” (in Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning).

1. Neff, K. & Germer, C. (2018). The mindful self-compassion workbook: A proven way to accept yourself, build inner strength, and thrive. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

2. Allport, G. W (1937). Personality: A psychological interpretation. New York: Holt.

3. Leary, M. R., (2007). Motivational and emotional aspects of the self. Annual Review of Psychology, 58, 317-344.

4. Swann, W. B., Jr. (1983). Self-verification: Bringing social reality into harmony with the self. In J. Suls & A. G. Greenwald (Eds.), Social psychological perspectives on the self (Vol. 2, pp. 33-66). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

4 Steps to Break the Anxiety Cycle

4 Steps to Break the Anxiety Cycle


"Get a sofa bed." This unassuming project has been patiently biding its time in the murky depths of my Non-Urgent-Things-To-Do list. After having the girls, there's no extra room in our apartment to welcome the occasional guest.

In a classic two-birds-one-stone maneuver, I thought I would do a little online browsing for sofa beds (Yay! The satisfaction of progress!) while also procrastinating writing this blog post (Yay! The sweet sweet relief of avoidance!). Excellent. But then, in a paradoxical victory of sorts, looking at sofa bed videos brought me right back to writing this post.

More thrilling sofa bed updates in a moment. First, a little primer about fear vs. anxiety.

Fear vs. Anxiety

Fear is the emotional state that arises in response to an immediate perceived threat. It's basically nature's alarm to help you survive when your safety is threatened. Your body and brain change gears to give you the means to fight, flee, freeze, or take cover. To help you take protective action, your mind becomes more able to detect and focus on sources of danger (Barlow, 2002).

Anxiety is the emotional state that arises in response to an anticipated threat. You may feel apprehension, worry, and muscle tension. The experience of anxiety may be less intense compared to a state of acute fear, but it might be much longer lasting. This depends, in part, on what stories your mind is telling you (Forsyth and Eifert, 2007).

While fear is oriented towards the present moment ("The house is on FIRE!"), anxiety is focused on an imagined future (1) ("What if I make a mistake and the house catches on fire?!"). Used adaptively, anxiety can help motivate us to plan appropriately for the future and take action.

However, the creative human mind can also come up with brilliantly compelling stories about potential threats that are so distant or so beyond our realm of control that there’s nothing we can really do to take action right now. Like a deer in headlights, we can fixate on those disturbing stories and forget about any adaptive problem-solving. We can even get stuck in a maladaptive cycle of anxiety that feeds into itself without resolution.

The Anxiety Cycle: Mind-Body Looping

Clinical psychologist and meditation teacher Tara Brach describes stuck anxiety as a cycle of mind-body looping (Brach, 2013). Let's say the mind focuses on the perception that something might go wrong (e.g., “What if I write this blog post and it's stupid and irrelevant?”). If we get tangled up and carried away by that threatening thought, it generates physical sensations in the body as well (e.g., a slight tension and quivering in my stomach; my heart beat quickens a bit and my breathing is slightly more shallow).

In turn, the mind picks up these physical signals. The body’s felt-sense of fear tricks the mind into confirming that the potential threats are true stories (“Of course there’s some real danger here! Why else would I feel like this?”). With the mind on high alert for threats, we detect and focus even more on anxious thoughts...and the cycle continues.


If the looping becomes habitual we might feel chronically anxious. Fixated on an imagined future we start missing out on anything enjoyable, useful, or interesting that’s available to us right here, right now in the present moment. So how do we break the cycle?

Experiential acceptance vs. experiential avoidance

There’s a kind of futon-type sofa bed I was checking out. If you want to open it up into a bed, you have to do something a little counter-intuitive. Just pulling outwards to try to pry it open won’t work. It just locks in place. You actually have to push the backrest inward, towards the seat first. This activates some kind of release mechanism and voila! The sofa opens up and you’ve just created some bonus space to rest.

Understandably, we want to avoid what we perceive as the aversive, unpleasant experience of anxiety. We want to NOT feel what we are feeling and we instinctively pull away from it. But this experiential avoidance doesn't actually get us away from the anxiety. If anything, it seems to lock the anxiety into place! So what if we try turning inward, towards the anxiety instead?

RAIN: A mindful 4-step practice

You can see for yourself what it’s like to turn towards your anxiety, lean in, and stay present using Dr. Tara Brach’s (2013) 4-step RAIN practice:

1) Recognize what is happening

Close your eyes and bring to mind something that arouses anxiety. To build confidence as you begin to practice these steps, start by choosing something that is only mildly or moderately anxiety provoking.

Become mindful of your anxious or worried thoughts and notice the different forms they take: planning, rehearsing, trying to figure something out, a voice or some sort of mental commentary or judgment, or some visual images. Once you've identified your worry thoughts, whisper "fear thinking."

2) Allow the experience to be there, just as it is

Instead of avoiding or struggling against your inner experience, experiment with just letting it be. You might even experiment with saying “yes” or “I consent” as if you are giving yourself permission to fully experience and mindfully explore whatever is there.

3) Investigate with interest and care

Drop into your body, bringing your awareness below the neck with curiosity, openness, and kindness. Where does the worry and anxiety show up in your body right now? Bring your awareness to wherever you feel the anxiety most strongly in your body and notice the physical sensations: any pressure, tightness, ache, heat, movement, or other sensations?

It takes a lot of courage and willingness to stay present with unpleasant sensations. You can support yourself through this exploration with slow, gentle breaths.

4- Nurture with self-compassion

What does the anxious part of yourself most need to hear to feel comforted at this time? You can explore the ways you might deliver a message of kindness and care to the vulnerable part of you. Using a gentle tone of voice, you might offer some words like “it’s ok, I’m with you” or “that’s then and this is now”. You can also offer a caring physical gesture of some sort, like softly placing your hand on your heart.

After completing the four RAIN steps, use your senses to ground yourself in the here and now. Feel your feet on the floor or feel any other points of contact where your body is physically supported in this moment. See the light, shapes, and colours around you. Hear the sounds and let them flow through you. Take some time to notice what has changed in your body and your mind.

Each time you practice these steps, you’ll be further de-conditioning the tendency to get stuck in a useless anxiety cycle. Unlike the “false refuge” of distraction or rumination, we can lean in and open up a “true refuge” (Brach, 2013)—an inner space that’s always available to us… even in the midst of suffering and discomfort. Even when special guests like anxiety show up.

Maryann Joseph is a clinical psychologist in Westmount, Montreal, Quebec, at Connecte Montreal Psychology Group. The team at Connecte loves writing about ways to boost our mental health and bring psychology into our everyday lives. For more helpful tips, check out Connecte’s blogspodcast, follow @connectepsychology on Instagram or @ConnecteMTL on Twitter, or like us on Facebook.


Barlow, D. H. (2002). Anxiety and its disorders: The nature and treatment of anxiety and panic (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.

Forsyth, J. P. & Eifert, G. H. (2007). The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety: A guide to breaking free from anxiety, phobias, and worry using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.

Brach, T. (2013). True refuge: Finding peace and freedom in your own awakened heart. New York: Bantam Books.

T. Steimer (2002). The biology of fear- and anxiety-related behaviors. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 4(3), 231-249.


1) Although this is an important conceptual difference, there may be a great deal of overlap in the body’s physical response: the basic fear-based brain and behavioural mechanisms that evolved to protect us from imminent danger may be re-used to some extent for the fancier task of protecting us from distant or virtual threats (Steimer, 2002).

Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder: Part 2—BPD Treatment and How to Use It

Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder: Part 2—BPD Treatment and How to Use It

Photography by      Joanna Rosciszewska

Photography by Joanna Rosciszewska

In part I, I wrote about receiving a BPD diagnosis. A diagnosis opens the door to treatments that fit. This is an important first step, but what’s next? What do we know about treatments and how can they be helpful?

What we know about working with BPD

At its heart, BPD is pattern of strained relationships. This means that people with BPD have difficulty with relationships within themselves, with others, and with the world. At the root of these problems is a troubled relationship with emotions. People with BPD experience their feelings as more intense, urgent, and often unbearable. It is common for these individuals to experience a lot of distress, and come to mental health professionals feeling desperate for some relief.

As mentioned in Part 1, the intensity of the distress can have an impact on the relationship with health care professionals, leaving the parties involved feeling frustrated and helpless. As a result, and in an attempt to reduce the suffering, the person seeking help may end up being prescribed lots of different medications—many with unpleasant side effects. Although in some cases, certain medications might help with some of the symptoms, we have more recently learned that the best approach for treating BPD is not pharmacological, but rather involves effective psychotherapy (Paris, 2017).

In the 1990s, Marsha Linehan developed a treatment specifically to help individuals with BPD understand and change their relationship with themselves and the emotions they experience as mixed and intense. She called it Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), to highlight the importance of the “dialectical”, or “the plaid” which refers to working with opposite forces. For example, this can mean accepting one’s emotions and experiences as valid, while simultaneously working to change behaviours that have negative consequences (to read more about the “Plaid” and DBT, check out Michelle’s Blog post). With robust research support, DBT has gained significant recognition. It is effective, accessible, and popular, which has led many health care professionals and people seeking therapy to equate BPD treatment with DBT.

Although DBT has virtually become synonymous with BPD treatment, it is not the only psychological treatment available and appropriate for BPD. Many other approaches to therapy use other lenses to address BPD difficulties and have been shown to be effective. Mentalization-based therapy (MBT) is a particularly good fit because it aims to help people understand their internal experiences in order to change their relationships with themselves, with others, and the world. Similarly, approaches that focus on emotions (e.g., Emotion-Focused Therapy-EFT) or relationships (e.g., Transference-Focused Psychotherapy-TFP) have also garnered research support as effective in addressing the challenges that arise with BPD (Paris, 2017).

While there are lots of 3-letter treatment options, each with its own angle, there is not much evidence to suggest that one unique type of therapy addressing personality-related difficulties is actually superior than others for BPD (Livesley, Dimaggio & Clarkin, 2015). Among many researchers and clinicians specializing in BPD, there is some consensus that the best approach is to offer therapy that integrates relevant ideas from all approaches (Livesley, 2017; Nelson et al., 2017). When it comes to therapies addressing personality disorders, no one “brand name” does better than others (Paris, 2017). This is good news, because it means most therapy approaches for BPD work, and integrating more than one is even better.

Photography by      Joanna Rosciszewska

Photography by Joanna Rosciszewska

What’s important in BPD treatment

Knowing that integrating relevant ideas from different approaches is what seems to work best, how do we know which ideas to integrate?

First, since an intense experience of emotions is often what drives a lot of the difficulties, working to identify, understand and manage emotions is critical. Managing emotions might mean learning to take a step back, observe, and experience—survive the emotion without reacting. This process also helps reduce impulsivity by creating a space to be purposeful rather than immediately acting on urge. I like to think of it as having conversations with emotions. With time, these conversations shift the relationship with one’s internal experience and reduce the chaos.

Another piece of the puzzle is shifting one’s relationship with other people. This may involve learning about other people’s emotions and intentions, and about the subtleties of relationships more broadly. It often involves understanding physical, personal, and emotional boundaries (For more on boundaries, check out this blog post) as well as what makes a relationship sustainable.

There are other elements that we know contribute to progress in therapy for BPD regardless of the content of therapy or approach. This list includes having a consistent and predictable structure (e.g., regular, weekly therapy sessions), building motivation for change, and working toward self-reflection (Livesley, 2017).

Beyond all these factors, if you are looking for therapy that works, good fit with a therapist and investment in the journey itself are crucial to making therapy work. What does this therapeutic effort look like and what does this all mean about being in therapy when you have BPD?

How to be in therapy when you have BPD

  1. Give the process a chance. Lots of big feelings might come up as you begin, challenge yourself to get started even when it’s a substantial effort that feels uncomfortable at first.

  2. Once you’ve found a fit, stick to it and be consistent in order to build momentum. At the beginning, go weekly—even when you don’t feel like it, or if you have some other reason not to go. Therapy is a big investment of time, money, and emotional energy. If you allow yourself to build momentum and persevere, you will make it a valuable (and cost-effective) experience of personal growth.

  3. Tolerate difficult emotions as they come up: Showing yourself you can survive intense and difficult emotions is an important part of the process.

  4. Trust your gut, yet still challenge yourself. Ask yourself what your emotion is telling you, and whether rolling with the discomfort could possibly be beneficial to you. For example, it might look like facing your fear, giving a person a chance even if you’re angry, or getting out of bed even though you’re sad.

  5. Focus less on the what and more on the how. Listen to the words of your stories and take a step back to understand the big picture in what’s going on. Use this often in your therapy.

  6. Open up to talking about your emotions in therapy, especially when they have to do with your therapist. Tell them if you’re scared to talk about something, if you’ve felt sad or hurt after they said something, if you’re angry with them, etc. Lots of old and new feelings can come up in the therapeutic relationship. It’s your opportunity to work out the messy parts with someone who is qualified to help you.

Danit Nitka received her PhD from the Clinical and Research Psychology program at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, and is a psychologist at Connecte Montreal Psychology Group. The team at Connecte loves writing about ways to boost our mental health and bring psychology into our everyday lives. For more helpful tips, check out Connecte’s blogspodcast, follow @connectepsychology on Instagram or like us on Facebook.


Livesley, W. J., Dimaggio, G., & Clarkin, J. F. (Eds.). (2015). Integrated treatment for personality disorder: A modular approach. Guilford Publications.

Livesley, W. J. (2017). Integrated modular treatment for borderline personality disorder: A practical guide to combining effective treatment methods. Cambridge University Press.

Nelson, D. L., Beutler, L. E., & Castonguay, L. G. (2012). Psychotherapy integration in the treatment of personality disorders: A commentary. Journal of personality disorders, 26(1), 7-16.

Paris, J. (2017). Stepped care for borderline personality disorder: making treatment brief, effective, and accessible. Academic Press.

对精神疾病的偏见阻止了亚洲移民寻求帮助 – 怎样才能克服障碍并寻求他们所需要的帮助呢?

对精神疾病的偏见阻止了亚洲移民寻求帮助 – 怎样才能克服障碍并寻求他们所需要的帮助呢?


试想一下,要是我们生活在那样一个世界,每个人都可以公开而无顾虑地谈论他们的心理治疗过程,就像他们谈论看牙医或理疗一样(那该多好啊!)。虽然心理治疗在某些文化中非常常见,但这些在亚洲移民社区是闻所未闻的,对他们来说,讨论心理健康是很忌讳的,他们回避治聊,寻求帮助那是需要巨大的勇气的!严重的障碍不仅与精神疾病有关,而且因为精神疾病使人感到羞愧和负罪感,使得亚洲移民不愿意寻求帮助。此外,文化方面的挑战,例如“家丑不外扬”或“丑事不出门”的观念(以防止外人发现自己的心理健康问题),害怕受到社区的排斥,寻求帮助被视为一个人的“弱点”,对隐私的担忧,以及失去“面子”或给家人带来耻辱的可能性,可以进一步阻止他们承认/认可他们正在经历心理健康问题 (Chen, Kazanjian, & Wong, 2009; Thomson et al., 2018; CBC/Radio Canada; 2018)。

说起他们的原籍国,他们的主要支持网络由亲密的家庭成员,朋友和同事构成。移民到新的国度,原籍国的支持网络可望而不可及,这可能大大增加他们出现精神健康问题的可能性。本来在新的国度寻找新的支持来源就很困难,更何况许多人却不愿意获取帮助。已经有科研证据表明,亚洲种族的加拿大人最不愿意在他们的社区中使用心理健康服务 (Durbin et al., 2015; Li & Browne, 2009; Tiwani & Wang, 2008)。

由于可能存在语言障碍,强烈的羞耻感,内疚感和他们文化价值观中根深蒂固的抵触感,寻诊心理医生通常对亚洲移民族群来说,实在是不得已而为之。在他们看来,接受专业帮助通常被视为禁忌,经历心理健康问题的人,害怕被贴上“疯狂”或“不正常”的标签,因而常常有人讳疾忌医,或者擅停前期的心理治疗。那些亚裔移民,一旦寻诊心理医生,病情症状就要比其它族裔的加拿大人要严重的多, 因而治疗起来更加困难 (Fang, 2010)。此外,亚洲移民可能会把心理疾病病症误认为是身体疾病,那是他们更为重视、关注身体疾病,而忽视心理健康(或可能是因为羞耻而回避)。更为糟糕的是,由于媒体或文化观念的原因,亚洲族群可能存在许多误区,他们不知道临床心理学家所做的治疗,以及他/她可以提供的心理治疗服务。对于许多亚洲移民来说,心理学是西方人崇尚的东西,治疗的价值和效用是源自西方个人主义文化,都是以改善个人生活为重点的。这可能与集体主义文化价值形成鲜明对比,后者是更典型的亚洲文化,其中关注自我改善可能被视为自私,甚至使人感觉内疚。

最后,与加拿大相比,他们原籍国心理医生所起的作用可能大相径庭。在有些国家,心理学专业年轻, 且行业规范化管理也不是太好。来自这些国家的移民可能经历过不同的,也许是不怎么有效的心理治疗,这些会误导他们,使他们不理解接受心理服务的益处。其实,在加拿大,临床心理学家必须获得其省级监管委员会的许可(例如,魁北克的Order  of Psychologists),并且必须具备严格的学术资质和临床资质才有资格获得。如果您正在寻找符合您需求的心理治疗师,请访问魁北克 Order of Psychologists of Quebec / Ordre des Psychologues du Québec (O.P.Q.)的官方网站寻找你中意的临床心理治疗师:


1)规范如何从加拿大心理服务寻求帮助,并鼓励他们在省级监管委员会内寻找心理治疗师(例如,魁北克Order of Psychologists)


3)鼓励移民人群寻求社区支持 – 例如,在当地社区和文化中心,用他们的语言提供支持服务



6)遇到不同文化背景的患者时,要有文化敏感性。 好奇并愿意了解患者的问题,并尝试了解他们的文化背景



Zhen Xu is a Ph.D. candidate in clinical psychology at McGill University and a therapist at Connecte Montreal Psychology Group. The team at Connecte loves writing about ways to boost our mental health and bring psychology into our everyday lives. For more helpful tips, check out Connecte’s blogspodcast, follow @connectepsychology on Instagram, or like us on Facebook.


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