Anxiety & Mood Disorders

Mood and anxiety difficulties are some of the most common forms of psychological difficulty, and they can be truly debilitating. They can occur separately, but they do also often occur together.

Anxiety disorders is a broad term capturing psychological difficulties such as excessive worry, social fear and anxiety, panic symptoms, and specific fears (e.g, fear of flying, driving, etc), among others. Anxiety preoccupies us with a sense of imminent danger, and can get in the way of the things we want most in life (such as applying for a promotion, pursuing a romantic relationship, or travelling to new places) and our enjoyment of our lives.

Mood difficulties (e.g., depression) impact our motivation and energy, our mood and outlook, and other aspects of our functioning, Mood disorders can occur in episodes of weeks or months, or in a more chronic and long-lasting form. Crucially, mood disorders can make us feel hopeless that things that challenge us will ever get better or that therapy can help us.

While anxiety and mood difficulties can profoundly interfere with the lives of those who live with them, the good news is that powerful Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) tools have been developed that are highly effective in treating these difficulties. We encourage you to believe that relief from anxiety and/or mood difficulties is possible, and to take the first step toward your own recovery by reaching out to Wise Mind Psychology.

By Dr. Tania Bielak, C.Psych. For informational purposes only.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorders

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and related disorders can feel like an endless, frustrating wrestling match between ourselves and our own minds. Intrusive thoughts, impulses, and images enter our minds repeatedly, distract us when we try to engage in our daily activities, and can even make us act in ways that go against our own values and goals. At Wise Mind Psychology, we have seen first-hand how hard OCD can make it for individuals to thrive. OCD robs patients of precious time, energy, and perhaps most importantly, self-confidence. The good news is that excellent and highly effective treatments for OCD, based in Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy (CBT), are available. These highly effective treatments are available at Wise Mind Psychology. If OCD has negatively impacted your life, and if you are ready to take steps in the service of defeating it with the guidance of an experienced clinician, please reach out – we look forward to explore whether our clinic we can be of service on your path to recovery.

By Dr. Tania Bielak, C. Psych. For informational purposes only.

Operational and Service-Related Stress

Specific professions can exert tremendous stress on individuals, through exposing them to situations of significant danger, pain, and/or suffering. Some such occupations include individuals serving or veterans of the military, police officers, paramedics, firefighters, individuals working in corrections, medical professionals, among others. For individuals who are used to serving, protecting, and/or caring for others, the act of seeking help can be especially challenging. It often takes a clinician who is both experienced with the unique challenges faced by these professionals, and one who is also highly attuned to the systemic challenges and mental health-related stigma often faced by those working in these occupations. If you have been impacted by experiences (one or many) related to your work, and need support in coping with them, please reach out. Our clinic is experienced with helping individuals who have experienced operational or occupational stress and injuries recover and thrive once again.

By Dr. Tania Bielak, C. Psych. For informational purposes only.

Trauma and Traumatic Stress Disorders

Traumatic experiences, such as an assault or a car accident (and many others), can truly happen to anyone. When they do occur, they have the potential to disrupt many aspects of our lives. Traumatic events can impact how we see ourselves and the world around us, disturb our sleep, make us feel perpetually “on edge” and unsafe, and disrupt our closest relationships. If you’ve been through an event (or events) that have had a lasting impact on your life, please know that you are not alone, and effective psychological treatments are available. While the pain that trauma can bring can be immense, the healing and growth that can arise from proper support and guidance, too, can be remarkable. If you are interested in help to overcome the impacts of a traumatic event (or events), please reach out to Wise Mind Psychology. Recovery is possible.

By Dr. Tania Bielak, C. Psych. For informational purposes only.

Sleep Difficulties

Our bodies and minds rely greatly on the restorative effects of sleep. Poor sleep can be associated with additional mental health difficulties (e.g., anxiety), or can be triggered by times of significant stress. In some cases, sleep difficulties occur on their own and begin seemingly out of the blue. In any case, if you are struggling to get adequate and restful sleep, please be aware that psychological treatments for sleep difficulties are powerful, and can often have a significant impact on your sleep in just a modest number of sessions. Not all sleep difficulties are psychological – if a biological mechanism is suspected based on our assessment, you’ll be directed to follow up with the appropriate professionals. In many cases, however, longstanding sleep difficulties can be overcome with a few targeted sessions of sleep-focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

By Dr. Tania Bielak, C. Psych. For informational purposes only.

Transitions, Relationship Challenges, & Stress

Changes in our lives can be immensely challenging – they force us to stray from what is known into unchartered, uncertain waters. Some changes can be predicted (e.g., becoming a parent), while others may surprise us and impose themselves on us uninvited (e.g., death of a loved one, coping with an illness). We may also be contemplating a change (e.g., in our career) but feel stuck and unsure how to proceed. Speaking with a psychologist can be immensely helpful in navigating unchartered territory in a way that protects and promotes psychological wellbeing.

We may also be experiencing challenges within our close relationships that are impacting on our wellbeing. Some of these include challenges within romantic relationships, caregiving for an aging parent, conflict with a sibling, the impact of infidelity, miscarriage or loss, difficulties with intimacy, and many other types of difficulties. Therapy can then be a safe, private, and non-judgmental haven to explore relationship challenges, a space to obtain insight, support, or another perspective, as well as guidance or skills for how to cope and move forward effectively.

Any and all of these (and others) are valid reasons and goals for seeking and engaging in therapy. At Wise Mind Psychology, the support you will receive will be uniquely tailored to your needs, preferences, and treatment goals.

By Dr. Tania Bielak, C. Psych. For informational purposes only.

Internal Family Systems (IFS): Getting to Know Your ‘Parts’

You might be surprised to find out that we each have multiple parts or sub-personalities that help us cope and manage the demands of a wide array of situations. The creator of Internal Family Systems (IFS), Dr. Richard Schwartz, was surprised to find parts both in his patients and in his own psyche. For many of us, especially if we have endured significant traumatic or adverse life experiences, our parts tend to have conflictual (or “polarized”) relationships that create distress, confusion, and often, considerable shame. For example, after a stressful day at work, many of us have parts that feel drawn to eating, drinking, shopping or other soothing behaviours, while other more self-critical parts judge and berate us internally for doing this. Parts may also hold differing opinions on important life decisions, such as changing a relationship or job situation, leading us to feel frozen and unable to make changes. Finally, when we have experienced trauma and adversity, we may have dissociated from (or “exiled”) the wounded parts of ourselves, and the difficult emotions and pain continue to be held in our system and impact our quality of life. Internal Family Systems (IFS) is an innovative mindfulness-based, research-supported intervention that allows us to get to know the parts of ourselves that may be trying to protect or otherwise help us in ways that are no longer serving us. Through developing greater insight about and compassion for the various parts of ourselves, we begin to feel more unified, present, and confident in confronting the challenges that we are faced in our lives. If Internal Family Systems (IFS) sounds like a modality you may wish to try, please reach out to us to find out more.

By Dr. Tania Bielak, C. Psych. For informational purposes only.



Supervision and Consultation

If you require supervision or consultation and would like to discuss your specific needs, please reach out. Please note, we are currently offering supervision only to trainees registered with, or eligible for registration with the College of Psychologists of Ontario.