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57 Pathfinder Level 1

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    Youth and adults facing substance misuse and mental health challenges.

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  1. Great question. A pastor of mine once made this point in one of his messages - "sometimes we hear... but we don't listen". One of my 'quirks' is that if conversation is going on around me, a person I'm conversing with can be sitting right in front of me, yet I can't hear them. I'm trying to listen and be attentive, but what I "hear" - what gets through - is all the meaningless chatter of the people in the environment around me; so I need to often ask the person I'm speaking with if we can go to another room so I can hear and really take in (listen) to what they're saying. I wonder how often we get caught up in our own mental 'chatter' so that the person in front of us gets filtered out (gee, I should really say 'ABC' next..., I wonder when my car will be ready..., I could really use a coffee..., wait - what did they just say?). For me, that's a key difference. Of course, we should be aware and attuned to the person, keeping track of key points and responses; but when my mind wanders, or I start thinking of 'brilliant' things to say that would 'fix' their situation, I'm lo longer listening.
  2. JRAyres

    Observe the sense of humour...

    I think my sense of humor is rather dry. I appreciate a lot of older comedies - character actors such as Peter Sellers. I've watched the old "Pink Panther/Inspector Clouseau" movies too many times to count. His sense of improv was next to none. There's an older BBC comedy "Fawlty Towers" that I enjoy for the same reason - wonderful character actors and dry wit. Then again "Minions" have me on the floor in a laughing fit, and I love old Warner Bro's shorts, so I guess my sense of humor isn't all that dry 😄
  3. JRAyres

    Read any good books lately?

    Absolutely. He addresses this right at the beginning - the idea that research supports what appears to be exactly that - a disease model. He recognizes that when something is wrong with an organ in the body, then a disease model makes sense on the surface; there should then follow an accepted treatment (of which there are a plethora!). So his slant is not to dispute the research evidence, but to look at other root causes for changes in the brain. He sees "recovery" (also a term he does not choose to use) as further brain development; it's more of the same - allowing the brain to do what it does naturally in adapting to new information The format for the book is much the same as his previous book. He'll be relating the stories of five persons who've struggled with addiction, and will be looking at the neuroscience behind it
  4. JRAyres

    Read any good books lately?

    Starting on "The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction Is Not A Disease" by Marc Lewis. The premise is that addiction is not a 'disease', but a process of the brain doing what it is designed to do - adapting and restructuring (i.e. brain "plasticity") based on new learning. I'd read his memoir previously - also a great read as he shares about 'addiction' from the perspective of lived experience as well as Neuroscience.
  5. A goal that has been so long in coming was gaining some meaningful employment. When I say "meaningful" I'm referring to something that doesn't feel like a paycheck or something to make ends meet, but somewhere that I have a passion for doing the work, and am enthused to "get my hands dirty". The time it's taken, however, led to the loss of a significant relationship - one for which I came to Canada in the first place. So that will take time to process and heal. The position itself is working with Indigenous populations in Canada - something that I've little direct experience with, so it will be a learning process in relating to and learning from their culture. So much of what we do is based on setting aside out "professional" hat and allowing those we serve to lead us. Really excited to get started
  6. JRAyres

    The Coffee Lounge

    Back at my favorite leisure activity (coffee!) after starting a new position last week. Was out of work for four months (!!) It's good to get back in the swing of things.
  7. JRAyres

    The Coffee Lounge

    Oooh, I like that one 🙂
  8. Frankly, it would depend on the resources of said "older, fatter, unemployed guy living in a single room". And, from my experience, many of them do recover when given resources, just as your friend was able to do.
  9. I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say all problems are thinking problems. My belief is that the mind and body are so inextricably linked that it's hard to disengage one from the other. A few years back I began having extreme anxiety leading to panic attacks when highway driving. It was rather intolerable to the point that I'd have to pull off and stop. I'd recognize the mental and physical anxiety symptoms (racing thoughts, panic, breathing rate, etc.), but the anxiety could not be ignored. Part of overcoming that, for sure, was learning to question my thinking when I'd first recognize the anxious thoughts (is this a 'dangerous' situation for me? Why is this different from city driving - or is it so different?). Consciously asking myself these things went a long way in resolving the anxiety, and I've not had those episodes in some time, thankfully. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk is a researcher who has done work on trauma, and its connection to neurological and physiological changes. These changes are manifested outwardly in how we respond to stress, and can be examined in our clients by subjective reports of their thought processes. So in that respect "thinking problems" are part of the problem - and we can/should certainly use the tools we have to address thinking errors and the like - but not at the expense of considering neurological and physiological changes that may affect our thought process.
  10. JRAyres

    The Coffee Lounge

    I wondered where you were 😄 How do you take it?
  11. JRAyres

    What is Branding?

    One person I think about as far as branding is 'Mark Zuckerberg'. Aside from "Facebook", (whose values, vision, and mission I don't know), Mr. Zuckerberg hit a branding goldmine, in my opinion, with his dress - it's the same T-shirt, jeans, and casual shoes. Every picture I see of him is the same - and I don't believe the explanation that it's just a style choice that helps him focus on more important things. It's 'Facebook' branding that sells. it's simple, but it's genius. And, perhaps, that style reflects an overall image of 'Facebook' that attracts its users. So, to me, branding has to do with that overall image - what do we want to project - who do we want people to believe we are (and is that really who we are)? If Mr. Zuckerberg portrayed one image publicly, but ran his business dealings another way, he wouldn't be true to his branding. And it's the same for us. One small change I made about six months ago was to start placing a "mission statement" at the top of any resume I sent out. In a sense, it's my 'brand'. It's who I am as an individual and professional, and the attitude and values I hope to bring to a team. It also serves as a reminder for me of the goal I've set for myself professionally - what I'm striving for, and constantly seeking ways I can grow toward the ideal expressed in that statement.
  12. JRAyres

    The Coffee Lounge

    Garlic. Coffee. Garlic. Coffee...
  13. JRAyres

    The Coffee Lounge

    Well now I have "sugar guilt" (is there a coach around to help me? :D) Having an "Iced Java" - sounds good until you realize it's just a sugary coffee flavored syrup with milk. There is coffee in it, so it counts, right?
  14. I know what some might be thinking - oh great, another catch-phrase that does nothing for those we're working with except for them to blow smoke at us. But what I learned early on is that I could look at this another way; a way that made sense in the coaching or counselling relationship. Typically when I'm working with someone who expresses self-doubt or some other expression of defeat or being unsure about a step they're considering, I share this with them - with an explanation. Let's say there's a person I'm working with who says "I'd like to cut down on my soda intake, but I'm not sure I can do it". Now, I can go back and forth with yes you can, no I can't, yes you can, no I can't - or I can suggest they "fake it 'til (they) make it". In other words, if they have doubt about whether something can be accomplished, act as if! Go ahead and try it anyway. Sometimes, the "proof" we need that something can be done, is to do it in spite of doubt. Take the one day away from soda, then check in with us as to how it worked out. Keep trying the experiment and checking in as to whether the change is possible in spite of doubt. Become convinced by doing. Fake it 'til you make it.
  15. JRAyres

    The Coffee Lounge

    That actually does sound good, a bit more of a mellow taste than white. Raw sugar works well for that, too