Doing Yourself a FAVR

I find myself talking about FAVR a lot. Usually, the people I visit with are treating themselves and others poorly, without FAVR. They have been taught to listen to themselves (what self they are not so sure) and usually the self they listen to is condemning and critical. This internalized hurt bubbles over like volcano flow into other relationships and work. I would love these folk to do themselves a FAVR.

Looking inside often does me no favours. In fact, it may well lead to rumination and regret. You know rumination, don’t you? Repetitive, self-scourging assaults that seem to never end. The victim is usually you or your closest intimate. You might wake up with dreams of discouragement. These are ruminations too.

Looking inward can lead to deep contentment and change. You can look inwards to pray and meditate and wonder. But rumination is the opposite way of looking in. Rumination compares and criticises. These are verbs that make one feel sick and tired, perhaps depressed.

Looking outwards is to do oneself a FAVR. It is to turn the focus of your energy from faults, unhappy history, relationship regret and the like to 4 distinct visions. Future. Abilities, Values. Relationships.

Future: when you look outwards to your future, I am not talking 5 years or 6 months. Consider looking ahead for 24 or 48 hours. Can you look to see what is possible for the next 2 days? What excites you, frightens you? Can you connect with your work or your partner or your kids in the next several hours? Plan a short-term future.

Abilities: the resources to accomplish your 24-hour future are yours to exercise. Knowing your skills for living are what keeps you going. List them. Think about them. Practice them. These are things you do. What do you need to do? Will you do it?

Values: these are the up-and-out qualities of hope or kindness or gratitude. And these are just 3 values of dozens that you construct your life on. Values create an “upward slope” for your future. I ask some of my client-friends to shout values in the morning. (“Yes, and out loud” though try not to wake your roommate.) Why shout? Because when you ruminate you shout your short-comings in your head. Shouting values is a commitment to eliminate the inside crud.

Relationships: I think that everyone needs 3 intimate friends, 12 closer friends and 70 associative friendships. Intimate friends are people you turn to without thought or worry. Closer friends join you for dinner and drinks and may well have your best at heart. Associative friendships are people you know to talk to and high-5 but not necessarily much more. If you don’t have friends, start with the associative ones. Join a woodworking club and build birdhouses. How about Toastmasters and make a few speeches? Maybe those senior walkers — the funny old people (like me) who stride off with a walking stick or 2, a flagon of tea, a Tilley hat and a backpack to hike the hills of Horseshoe Bay. It is about being friends, not about style.

Doing yourself a FAVR is about mental wellbeing and social health.

Tele-Psych with Paddy and Carole (Video-Counselling with Doxy.me)

[Updated August 2020]

For the Fall of 2020, Paddy and Carole will be counselling, cajoling and comforting over Doxy.me, a hyper-secure teleconferencing system. (Did you see the pun? “Doc-see-me.”) As of September 1, Paddy will visit with some of his clients in-person and continue with others online.

Using Doxy, you don’t need to download anything — you just get an email from me on the time you have booked. Click that and you are in.

To go directly to Carole’s Doxy waiting room, click here.

To go directly to Paddy’s Doxy waiting, click here.

We are moving from Skype and FaceTime to something that is simpler and more secure. You can look up Doxy.me here. It will take you a couple of minutes to orient, but it is pretty basic and easy to use.

Having said this, if you wish to visit Paddy at our office, this is again being offered on his Monday and Thursday appointments and not on his Tuesday and Wednesday off-time mornings (“What the heck are those?”). In this case, please read my blog “Current Covid-19 Concerns.” This will explain our approach to minimizing contact and thwarting this disease should you visit our home office.

Prior to starting video-counselling, I want to go over a few things with you. Here is my list.

  • There are obvious benefits to video-counselling. If you are out of the Vancouver area or if you have some sickness. Some busy business folk who are trapped in meetings video-call me from their offices and cars!
  • There are some risks too. We are using technology (and wires and stuff, that I don’t know much about) to make this work. This is why we are switching to Doxy.me. It is just more secure.
  • Confidentiality still applies to all telepsychology services.
  • We will not record our sessions and I can’t see why we would wish a recording – so we won’t record. We hope that you won’t either.
  • Note that you need to use a webcam or smartphone during the session. Otherwise, it is much more difficult with simply voice.
  • It is important to be in a quiet, private space that is free of distractions (including a cell phone or other devices) during the session. Kids can be a problem too.
  • It is important to use a secure internet connection rather than public/free Wi-Fi (eg Starbucks).
  • It is important to be on time. If you need to cancel or change your tele-appointment, you must notify us in advance by phone or email. Can you give us a day or so? Sure helps us.
  • We need a back-up plan (e.g., a phone number where you can be reached) to restart the session or to reschedule it, in the event of technical problems. Make sure we have your phone number.
  • You should confirm with your insurance company that the video sessions will be reimbursed; if they are not reimbursed, you are responsible for the payment.
  • As your psychologist, I may determine that due to certain circumstances, telepsychology is no longer appropriate and that we should resume our sessions in-person.
  • Get your coffee or pour your tea and let’s get going. Connect with Doxy.me.

Best to you all and stay healthy.

Paddy and Carole

Current COVID-19 Concerns (Updated Aug. 2020)

[Updated August 30, 2020]

To our clients and friends,

With concerns around COVID-19, Carole and I will continue to meet online and Paddy will offer some sessions in-person as well. We have been using Doxy.me but we will also use Zoom Professional or another format. 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. Please bring your own masks if you wish them.

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.

More information about in-person therapy can be found on my website in the blog entitled “Opening the Office Door.”

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

 

Booking “A-Head,” Cancellation-Watching, Headaches and Other Painful Stuff

If you have tried to make appointments with me (Paddy), you will see a busy online calendar. Most of the folk I visit with book several weeks or a couple of months in advance. And, they book 3-5 sequential appointments to make sure that they get the times they wish.

I recommend that couples, families and individuals work to obtain appointments every 2nd week for several months. Booking ahead is the only way this works. This takes planning. It is head-work. Since I only work Mondays and Thursdays (and some other mornings as it suits me), my limited schedule makes it difficult for some to get the time they wish. If you use your head, it should work out okay.

I know that not getting hoped-for appointments is frustrating. I have had a few headaches over this as well. I respect your time and the effort it takes to create these visits. And you do create the visits – I don’t.

Some kindly folk ask, “Why don’t you add a day or so?” I go on and on about my grandchildren and how they need me (etc.), or how old I am and how I like my folding e-bikes. So don’t ask. You will get a sermon.

Did you notice that I don’t have a lovely admin person answering your calls? But the good news is that my online booking pro never sleeps or takes lunch breaks and works on stat holidays. You can book into my schedule at any time of the day or evening that you want. My booking system will never get mad at you. You can also cancel appointments without guilt (but give me 48 hours or time to replace the hour) and reschedule around your exercise class.

Here is some stuff you need to know to make working with me a bit easier, therefore, fewer headaches for both of us.

#1 Book online for the first appointment you can get, and then book a bunch later (say 3 or 4) when time works on my calendar and your schedule. By the way, it is a lot easier to cancel or reschedule than it is to book – you do this through the emails you receive from my booking machine.

#2 Book “a-head.” If you need crisis counselling (urgent care within a couple of days) you will need to contact a crisis care line or Family Services. I used to supervise at a crisis line in Coquitlam and was a therapist with Family Services in West and North Van, and they are great. But for me, plan ahead. (Now read #3.)

#3 Now that I have said all this about crises and urgencies, you can ask if I can make an exception for you (you ask by email rather than phoning). For these urgent times, I prioritize families I am already seeing, not newbies. But whatever your circumstance, email me and I will do my best to refer or guide your next steps.

#4 Watch for cancellations once a day and especially on weekends when most people reschedule. Today is a Monday and I have had 3 cancellations for the coming week and 2 have been filled. So I had an extra hour that was visible on my calendar. Go ahead and grab it.

#5 If you cancel without giving me 48 hours notice, or if I cannot fill the time, 2 things will happen. You will get charged for the missed time (sorry), and somebody else misses their chance for the spot. This is where headaches happen. I ponder and ruminate and then send an invoice. Shoot! I hate to do this. But I do. Then you get pissed off and start dissing me. I hate that too.

Finally, my “book a-head” photo tells you that I am on holiday — you can tell by what I am reading including “Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire”.

Back to vacating. See you soon.

[This was first written in 2017 and has been updated.]

[You can respond to this blog or anything else you see on my web site by emailing life@theducklows.ca.]