Toronto-based psychotherapist and coach, specializing in helping people with mood disorders, anxiety and depression

British Psychiatrists Under Attack

July 14, 2014 | Posted in bipolar, Fraud, psychotherapy | By

British Psychological Society to launch attack on rival profession, casting doubt on biomedical model of mental illness

There is no scientific evidence that psychiatric diagnoses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are valid or useful, according to the leading body representing Britain's clinical psychologists. The Guardian reported that the British Psychological Society it's time for a paradigm shift in how mental health is understood and is particularly critical of how psychiatrists treat mental illness. In a groundbreaking move that has already prompted a fierce backlash from psychiatrists, the British Psychological Society's division of clinical psychology (DCP) will on Monday issue a statement declaring that, given the lack of evidence, it is time for a "paradigm shift" in how the issues of mental health are understood. The statement effectively casts doubt on psychiatry's predominantly biomedical model of mental distress – the idea that people are suffering from illnesses that are treatable by doctors using drugs. The DCP said its decision to speak out "reflects fundamental concerns about the development, personal impact and core assumptions of the (diagnosis) systems", used by psychiatry. Read the rest of the article...

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Sorry!

July 6, 2014 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

This is a great video, even though it is trying to sell you shampoo. Enjoy! http://youtu.be/rzL-vdQ3ObA http://www.fastcompany.com/3032112/strong-female-lead/sorry-not-sorry-why-women-need-to-stop-apologizing-for-everything

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Anatomy of An Epidemic

June 27, 2014 | Posted in bipolar, psychotherapy, Uncategorized | By

AnaotmyEpidemic_20cThis is a must read for anyone who takes a psychoactive drug. It's brilliantly written and well researched. I think he makes some excellent points on the nature of how Mental Illness is diagnosed and treated in western countries. Could the meds actually be causing mental illness? Read it and find out what he says... Anatomy of an Epidemic investigates a medical mystery: Why has the number of adults and children disabled by mental illness skyrocketed over the past fifty years? There are now more than four million people in the United States who receive a government disability check because of a mental illness, and the number continues to soar. Every day, 850 adults and 250 children with a mental illness are added to the government disability rolls. What is going on? Read the full post from Robert Whitaker's website, where you can also download the first chapter: http://robertwhitaker.org/robertwhitaker.org/Anatomy%20of%20an%20Epidemic.html

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A Simple Guide to Reframing

reframe toronto psychotherapist

June 5, 2014 | Posted in reframe, Uncategorized | By

Reframing is a simple, yet powerful way to boost your self esteem, defeat negative self talk and even see events in your life in a clearer way. When something happens in our life, we ascribe meaning to it, whether we are conscious of this or not. Upon investigation, we may find that the event is loaded with beliefs that may be skewing our perception of ourselves of the world around us. Reframing helps bring awareness and perspective to undo any negativity or misperception when an event reflects negatively on up. In short:
      Reframing involves changing your perspective on a given situation to give it a more positive or beneficial meaning to you.
      Reframing can be used to help remove limiting beliefs, to help appreciate positive moments that you might otherwise miss, or for any other negative thought you would like to change.
      Our assumptions help us provide meaning to events that don’t have any inherent meaning. Even when our inner voice has something negative to say, there is a positive intention behind it.
      The first step in reframing is to observe your negative thoughts. Keep a thought journal and use the rubber band technique to help you better understand your own internal dialogue.
      The second step is to replace the negative thoughts with a more positive one. It helps here to challenge the implied assumptions behind your thoughts.
      There are a lot of common negative thought patterns, and you can arm yourself against them in advance.
To read the full piece click on the link: http://feelhappiness.com/reframing-your-thoughts-make-yourself-happier/

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Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy

April 8, 2014 | Posted in bipolar, Blog posts | By

balanceClinical studies of Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT) show that it is a very effective treatment for bipolar disorder type I and type II.  As a Toronto-based psychotherapist and coach, I have developed many of the same techniques as Ellen Frank, the originator of the IPSR Therapy. It has to do with modelling effective behaviour and habits in my clients, including good diet, exercise, impulse control, sleep, balance and moderation in life habits. The following is an excerpt from a brochure from Ellen Frank. Please excuse the clinical language.... IPSRT is an empirically-supported individual psychotherapy for the treatment of adults with bipolar disorder. This innovative approach to the management of bipolar disorder was developed by Ellen Frank and colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh and has now been shown to be efficacious in preventing relapse of mania and depression and in treating acute episodes of bipolar depression when used in combination with pharmacotherapy. Open studies suggest that it has utility as a monotherapy for adults with bipolar II disorder and for adolescents with bipolar I or II illness. IPSRT combines a behavioral approach to increasing the regularity of daily routines (social rhythms) with an interpersonal approach to coping with the stresses of the bipolar illness itself, as well as with common interpersonal stressors and social role problems. This approach has now been expanded to include group models for inpatient, intensive outpatient (day-hospital) and standard outpatient treatment.

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Bipolar and Circadian Rhythms

February 24, 2014 | Posted in bipolar, Integrative | By

In my experience as a therapist who helps people with bipolar disorder stabilize themselves, one of the challenges has to do with getting them to be more in tune with their circadian rhythms. This is the body's internal chemical clock whose impulses regulate the our sleep and waking cycles, our appetites and our moods. Most of us stay tuned to our clock, especially if we have a regular schedule, and have good habits around diet, exercise and imbibe with moderation. When we get out of sync, it's usually not by much and we seem to adjust accordingly. People who have bipolar seem to be more out of touch with their circadian rhythm and when they do, it's much harder for them to adjust. In this light, mania can be seen as a complete breakdown of the regulation of our internal clock, or at least ignoring the signals. This is why it's extremely important for people with bipolar disorder to keep to a schedule and to listen more closely to signals our clocks send us. There is a very good, concise article about this at Psych Central by John Grohol.

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Stephen Fry on Bipolar

February 18, 2014 | Posted in bipolar, Blog posts | By

Stephen Fry is a fabulously gifted British comedy actor. He starred in a two part BBC documentary about his experiences with Bipolar Disorder. In it he interviews other famous and not so famous people with the disorder. It's a fabulous introduction to not only living with it but thriving with it. See it here... http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/stephen-fry-the-secret-life-of-the-manic-depressive/

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Bipolar: The ‘New Normal’

February 18, 2014 | Posted in bipolar, Integrative, psychotherapy, reframe | By

Robin Flanigan wrote a very good piece in BP Canada in which she discusses how people suffering from bipolar disorder can adapt and have the power to decide where to set your goalposts for a fulfilling future. She quotes me based on an interview we did last year. Here is an except from the article: It took a long time for Gretchen B. to come to terms with having a chronic mental illness. But lately, the 41-year-old from Illinois has been looking beyond her bipolar. With the skills and support to manage her symptoms, she’s ready to make the most of her life and her abilities. “There’s an end point to ‘I survived the day,’” she says, referring to her post-diagnosis bunker mentality. “Now I’m more focused on what I can do to thrive. “I’m not necessarily letting go of my struggle with bipolar disorder, but I am learning to thrive inside of it.… I feel more optimistic than I have in a long time.” In other words, Gretchen has embraced her “new normal.” The phrase describes a foundational shift that creates a new baseline moving forward—which is what happens when bipolar symptoms turn our expectations upside down. Basic milestones like getting a degree, keeping a job, sustaining a relationship, and buying a home can begin to feel out of reach. A bipolar diagnosis doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to your hopes and dreams. Mental health experts agree that with patience, commitment, and a plan for setting realistic goals, you can still map out a deeply satisfying existence. And sometimes, the difficult process of re-evaluation can yield new and more meaningful aims. Read the full excert here: http://www.bphope.com/Item.aspx/1124/redefining-your-own-future To read more you will have to subscribe to the magazine...

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Huffington Post Blog

February 18, 2014 | Posted in Blog posts, Gestalt, Integrative, Intuitive, psychotherapy, reframe | By

I submit most of my writing and articles on Huffington Post where I've been writing for the past year. They are on a variety of topics. Have a look at a sample of the most recent posts:
IMG_2861tinyBradley Foster MA, is the founder of Giant Steps Coaching, a Toronto-based life coaching practice and BradleyFoster.ca, his psychotherapy practice. He partners with his international clients to help them re-invent themselves, to become more choice-full and authentic.
He earned his Master’s Degree at the University of Toronto and undergraduate degree at McGill University and Columbia University. He completed the three year training program in leadership and psychotherapy at the Gestalt Institute of Toronto. He runs a men’s group and lead workshops and train future coaches. He has also been writing semi-professionally for over thirty years.He worked 15 years as a consultant to major international corporations including Reuters and Thomson Corp. His coaching clients include executives of Fortune 500 companies, CEO’s and lawyers in leadership and communication skills that have helped them reach their peak performance both personally and professionally.He brings balance, perspective, creativity and judgement that help his clients reframe their situations. He is active in his community, serving on several boards and currently volunteers as an executive coach for Save the Children. He is the author of  Deep Coaching: A Guide to Self Directed Living as well as a hundreds of articles related to therapy and coaching. You can read more about his coaching services at: http://giantstepscoaching.com

Entries by Bradley Foster

Where Have All the Good Times Gone? Why Boomers Are So Miserable

(4) Comments | Posted November 26, 2013 | 9:26 PM
Well, once we had an easy ride and always felt the same Time was on our side and I had everything to gain Let it be like yesterday Please let me have happy days Won't you tell me Where have...

The Torture of Insomnia: How to Get a Good Night's Sleep

(2) Comments | Posted September 24, 2013 | 12:31 PM
Experts are divided on why we sleep, but the consequences of not getting enough are well-known. Sleep deprivation is an effective torture technique. It's used by cults to break new recruits. It can decrease your life span and it is increasingly being linked to a contributing factor in

Border Defense for Personal Development

(0) Comments | Posted July 7, 2013 | 10:16 PM
Boundaries are as vital for us as they are for nations. Just as nations have political or natural borders, we are bounded by skin, but it's the psychological violations at the fringes that are the hairiest for country and person alike. A foreign warship off the coast can create an...

Cultivating Self-Awareness

(3) Comments | Posted June 25, 2013 | 1:38 AM
Awareness is what makes humans unique from all other species. No other species, as far as we are aware, has the same degree of awareness that humans are capable of, and it's what drives us to delve into our minds and into outer space. Self-awareness is a tremendous tool for...

Great Expectations = Great Disappointments

(0) Comments | Posted June 11, 2013 | 4:33 PM
It's human to feel disappointed now and then. As an optimist I tend to hope for the best in situations. It doesn't always work out the way I want. Having had my share of disappointments, I've become more aware of my expectations and learned how to hold them in check....

Rob Ford: The Myth Behind the Tragedy

(10) Comments | Posted May 27, 2013 | 12:48 PM
Mayor Rob Ford, caught on camera as he wheels his Escalade out of Toronto City Hall, looks a bit like a bug under a microscope. Ford, and now his brother, have riveted the world's attention for their real and alleged antics. When Rob Ford was accused of smoking crack with...

Uncomfortable Truths: Where Are The Great Leaders?

(42) Comments | Posted May 22, 2013 | 5:08 PM
You don't have to be an expert in leadership to see that there is a critical shortage of great leaders in the world today. Problems we face are not being addressed by "leaders" we have. No one wants to rock the boat in ways that Gandhi or Martin Luther King...

Impediments to Creativity

(4) Comments | Posted May 13, 2013 | 6:10 PM
Creativity is one of the best strengths to have. It helps you solve problems, and keeps you versatile and able to roll with change, which in this world is a real plus. My creative clientstell me that they are usually good at anything they put their hand...

10 Steps to Successful Goal Setting

(4) Comments | Posted May 7, 2013 | 1:34 PM
As a life and executive coach I work with a lot of people on their goals. Setting goals puts you in the driver's seat, giving you the power to transform your life or take a company into the future. As enticing as that sounds, it is more common...

Joy Management: How to Have a Great Week

(5) Comments | Posted April 29, 2013 | 12:26 PM
How many times have your heard, "Have a good week!" We typically have a good week, or not, depending on the whims of fate. Unless you are a fatalist, let's imagine that you can organize your time so you will have a great week. I call this technique "joy management."...

Change Your Life With This Simple Exercise

(9) Comments | Posted April 22, 2013 | 12:53 PM
Gratitude is the thankful appreciation of things received, whether tangible or intangible. It helps us connect with something outside ourselves, often transcendent and larger than ourselves. I have been practicing a gratitude exercise, and you can do it too. It's very simple. Each night I reflect on my day. I...

Little White Lies: A Guide to Everyday Lying

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2013 | 4:53 PM
We lie to ourselves and to others every day. It's what we do to get through our day. Lying can be thought of as a spectrum from being brutally honest on one side to being psychopathically dishonest on the other. Somewhere along that line is a healthy balance of authenticity,...

Yoga: Restorative Medicine for Body, Mind and Soul

(2) Comments | Posted April 9, 2013 | 4:45 PM
Yoga has been around for several millennia, and North Americans are relative newcomers to its practice. Yoga is a holistic technology that balances mind, spirit, and body and is central to Indian health practice. Many North Americans consider yoga to be a substitute for Pilates or a good workout --...

Taking Back Control

(0) Comments | Posted April 3, 2013 | 6:04 PM
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference. -- Reinhold Niebuhr
And therein lies the root of much of our stress. When we accept that there are few things we...

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