You don’t (always) need a therapist if you’re dealing with anxiety or depression.
That from Bonnie Skinner, a Sault-based registered psychotherapist and counsellor, who will be hosting a mental health workshop entitled Therapist not Required - A New Look at Treating Anxiety and Depression from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29 at the Two-Brain Business Workshop located at 96 White Oak Drive East.
“As we talk more about mental health, I think it’s really important how we talk about it…we haven’t done a fantastic job of doing that (regarding the transmission of information about anxiety and depression),” Skinner said, speaking to SooToday.
“I have clients who come in and the general understanding people are having is ‘if I am anxious or depressed, there’s something wrong with me.’”
However, Skinner said that isn’t the case.
Rather, Skinner said anxiety and depression are understandable responses to stressful experiences, stressful environments and trauma, proof that one’s brain and body are working properly.
“We have financial stress, relationship stress or traumatic stress...we have one system that lets us know we’re not okay, and when that system is activated we have the (physical) symptoms we define and describe as anxiety (such as changes in heartbeat and breathing).”
“(In addition), there is a depression activation that happens where you have low energy, where you feel you want to disconnect, you withdraw socially, and that means our brains are trying to conserve energy.”
“In this workshop, I want to help people reframe how they see anxiety and depression so they can understand there are things they can do...to get them out of that cycle,” Skinner said.
Is Skinner advocating non-use of medications such as antidepressants?
“No. Whether or not somebody takes medication is between them and their doctor. Medication plays its role. There are lots of times when medications play a very important role.”
However, Skinner said there are thought processes people can use that can be just as effective as medication.
“One of the things we’ll be looking at in the group is helping participants identify and self assess...where I start is to get people to be able to identify what pressures people are putting on themselves, without judgement, self-defeat or blame or shame, to help them understand how they got there, the next logical question being ‘what do I need to help myself restore or recover the energy I’ve lost in trying to deal with life?’”
Skinner said the workshop will be for mental health professionals, doctors and educators to better understand anxiety and depression, and to take what they learn and apply it to helping others in their professional practices and workplaces.
The workshop is also open to the general public.
Therapist not Required - A New Look at Treating Anxiety and Depression will be the first in a series of five monthly workshops, subsequent workshops to focus on mood disorders, trauma, compassion fatigue (for caregivers), relationships and parenting.
Information regarding the purchase of tickets to attend the workshop may be found online