Pandemic

Pandemic

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.
 
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
 
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
 
–Lynn Ungar 3/11/20

Current COVID-19 Concerns

To our clients and friends,

With concerns around COVID-19 (“coronavirus”), Carole and I want to provide you with our response to meeting with you and your family over the coming weeks. Almost all of our sessions will be changed from in-office meeting to meeting online through Doxy.me. Doxy is much more secure than Skype or FaceTime and does not require a download on your side. We take care of all the admin.

Here are our current thoughts about visiting with you in our home office:

If you are unwell, please stay at home! We will not charge you for appointments cancelled due to sickness – but still, give us a day or two if you can. We can connect on Doxy.me if you wish. Just let us know.

Please do not bring your infant and toddler children to appointments. I (Paddy) will miss your little people but I shall overcome!

We will sanitize throughout the day and between appointments. The bathroom has disposable paper towels and single-use cloth towels. Between appointments (usually 15 minutes), we will sanitize surfaces where germs may collect. We have hand sanitizer available for your use as well.

Sorry but no hugs or handshakes for a while. We can bump elbows, bow reverently or kick boots! And you can bring your own slippers if you would like.

That’s it! If you have any questions, please email us at life@theducklows.ca and we will respond ASAP.

  • Carole’s Doxy waiting room is called Carole’s place (“carolesplace”) and you can find it here.
  • Paddy’s Doxy waiting room is called Paddy’s place (“paddysplace”) and you can find it here.
  • For more information on telepsychology with Paddy and Carole, click here.

 

Be well,

Paddy and Carole Ducklow

 

Please Change (David Ducklow)

As I was waiting for the 240 bus at Georgia and Granville in downtown Vancouver this evening, a street person walked in front of each transit traveller in our line. As he walked along the edge of the curb, like a gymnast on a balance beam, he looked at us in the eye and asked: “Please change.” Because we were at a central travel hub in Vancouver, and his bare hands were cupped open, we all understood his question as “Please give me some change” though he did not utter the three words in the middle.

But after a few minutes, I thought of his plea as a different request. “You, don’t act in your normal way, please change.” “You, well-dressed business-woman, please change. Don’t just be concerned about your busy-ness, be concerned about mine too.” “You, cool, self-focussed teenager, who is on his way home after a night of partying, please change. Can you contribute to my party?” “You, well-dressed chaplain, please change. Don’t simply be a bringer of religious gobbledygook – as you were a few hours ago. Please bring true good news, and you can start with me.”

About a minute after he asked me this simple but penetrating question, I regretted how I thought, “I don’t need to change as much as you do.” Thankfully, my mouth is not as fast at expressing what my mind is thinking.

But as I sat on the bus, now many miles away from the man who changed the thought pattern of my evening, I realized “I am the one who needs to change.” I need to change to become more caring, I need to change to become poorer in spirit, I need to change to become more like the beggar who asks for small things.

Now, these questions linger: How do I need to change? What do I need to change into? Who may be able to help me change? Do I want to become more like the one who asks me to change? Or maybe more importantly, can I watch the change around me and join in it?

(This post is by David Ducklow, spiritual director, chaplain and a bringer of religious gobbledygook. You can read his other blogs at https://davidducklow.blogspot.com. If you wish to question or correct this post or anything on this website, please contact Paddy at life@theducklows.ca.)

My Counselling Sessions with Paddy

You can think of this blog as self-promotion and I am not-so-secretly delighted that this client thinks so well of Carole and me. And… there are some great ideas about how to approach counselling in his ideas. It was written in his blog space in 2014 and, 5 years later, he continues to see me on occasion. He offered his approval for posting his letter on my site.

 

I have come to appreciate what a privilege it is to be able to meet with a psychologist on a regular basis. The insights that I receive help to balance my own attempts to figure out what parts of my life require concerted attention, and to receive tools to master life-skills essential for personal success — however you want to define that.

In 2009, I made the life-long awaited choice to begin seeing a counsellor. Beginning to recognize some anomalies in my social interactions, I wanted a chance to speak with a professional one on one about my specific personal concerns. On a recommendation from a trusted friend, I first contacted Carole Ducklow, a Registered Clinical Counsellor. In my first meeting, she read me like a familiar book and identified immediately the issues I was wrestling with the most, unbeknownst to me. Since then it has been a long battle to attend to that personal issue.

My father was diagnosed with cancer two weeks after I first met with Carole. It was as if my decision to start seeing a counsellor was meant to be. Eventually, I turned to Paddy Ducklow, Carole’s husband, essentially to get the appointments covered by my insurance company by meeting with a Registered Psychologist. I knew Paddy as a faculty member in grad school and heard him speak once at church. But I never knew him in person.

On my first meeting, the chemistry clicked for me. He, like Carole, was an attentive listener, allowing me to speak freely without passing any judgments or interrupting me with his diagnosis. He is also a graduate university professor — and that’s what came home for me.

For me, counselling is all about being a student, and the role of student fits me like a glove. I am eager to learn, delve deep with my inquisitions, and I keep in mind the goal for what it is I want to learn. In grad school, it was to master Koine Greek or to understand the technique of orchestration (music school). In this counselling context, it wasn’t “what” I wanted to learn, but “who” — indeed, I, myself, would be the object of my study. The severe depressive episodes, particularly since my father’s passing in March 2010, my relationship with my family and friends, the absence of coping mechanisms for stress — they are all both experienced and analyzed in my daily life. And Paddy has become my personal tutor in the academic study of myself.

I never went to Carole or Paddy to have them tell me how to live my life. I always knew that was my decision to make. Sometimes he would make an observation, and the accuracy would feel slightly off. And so he would try something else. You see, what I have discovered in Paddy these last two years is a trusted guide who brings experience and education to help me form accurate thoughts that allow me to implement change with hope. But in the end, they are formed with me, not for me. I want to change. And that’s why counselling works for me. In fact, there are times when Paddy spends so much time just listening, that I wonder if he is just there so I can talk out the discoveries that I have made and come to my own conclusions. But when I look back, he’s definitely guiding my thinking, even if it is just to confirm that I am thinking along the right track. It’s like seeing a friend on a regular basis, who I willingly pay for the services he provides as I would do any friend that I respect.

There still exists in today’s society such a stigma attached to “seeing a Psychologist” that makes me rather sad to see. It is almost as if you need to be suffering major trauma, or severely mentally sick enough to see a qualified expert. But the truth is, my decision to seek counselling didn’t start with trauma. It started because I was ready to make changes in my life and to understand the background that led me to who I am today. And when a major life change came around, like the death of my Dad, I already had a support system in place to speak plainly about my grief to someone who knows my history and disposition.

Counselling doesn’t have to be expensive. Even in this area where I live, there are several sources that assist those who may not be able to financially afford regular appointments. Honestly, all you need to do is decide that you want to change. Once you make the decision, you will be motivated to find sources of help. Ask trusted friends for references, and do your research into the backgrounds of different counsellors or psychologists. Find one that seems to fit who you are and just give them a call. Then when you go, go prepared. Think about the questions you want to ask about yourself. And bring examples of behaviour that you want to change. Be truthful. These are confidential meetings. There’s no need to impress them. Just relax, even cry if you have to (I do!), and let it all hang out there.

One last word of advice — and this is important. I have been in counselling for 3 years now, and I am convinced that if you decide to start seeking professional counselling, go the distance. Don’t decide to get counselling for a few sessions just to try it out or just get a perspective. Go for a minimum of 12 sessions and really go for it. Try to go weekly for the first month, just so you can establish a working relationship with your counsellor, or figure out if this is the counsellor you want to see. Different counsellors specialize in different areas, and you will want to work with your counsellor to figure out if what you are dealing with could be best tackled by someone else with expertise in that field.

My doctor once asked me why I thought that Paddy was helping me. I simply said, “Because Paddy doesn’t tell me things I already know. He seems to recognize what I need to hear, and what I can figure out for myself.”

 

[You are welcome to comment on this blog or anything else you see on my website. Please suggest improvements or ideas, or just dialogue. Contact me at life@theducklows. Hear from you soon. Thanks.]