Dear Beth


Happiness is: gorgeous wild flowers adorn Ontario meadow

Dear Beth,
My life is like running after a bus all the time and never catching up. I did a stress management workshop, but afterwards I did not have the time or energy to do any of the things I was supposed to do. I did learn in the workshop that part of my problem is not being able to say no. So I took an assertiveness course--and flunked it. Nothing has changed. Is there any way out?

Beth responds: Yes.

Assertiveness: Most people who have difficulty asserting themselves have an emotional block. Typically an assertiveness training course will not be sufficient to overcome it, and psychotherapy is required. The type used needs to suit both the task and the individual. In my experience a combination of short term dynamic psychotherapy and/or cognitive therapy with practical help (behavioral counseling) works best for most people.

Stress: A stress management workshop can give you an overview of the problem and the sorts of solutions that are generally used, but it is usually not sufficient to correct a serious stress problem. What works is step-by-step practical counseling and support over several months, usually given in weekly or alternate-week one-hour sessions. If your counsellor knows how and when to supplement practical counselling with techniques such as hypnotherapy and N.L.P. that mobilize the resources of the unconscious, so much the better. While counsellors and psychotherapists in the public sector tend to stick to one method, in the private sector there are people skilled in all the methods mentioned here.