I can’t sleep – should I get up or stay in bed?

  The question:   When I can’t sleep, is it better to get up and try to take my mind off things or stay in bed?   The answer:   One of my favourite quotes is from writer Edgar Watson Howe: “There is only one thing people like that is good for them; a good […]

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How do I have the coming out talk – especially with mom?

The question:   I’m gay, and no one in my life knows. Not my family, not my best friend – no one. I’m okay with who I am, but I am terrified to talk about it. I’d like to start with my mom – she’s going to be the most difficult, I think – very […]

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I think my boss has an eating disorder – should I approach her?

The question:   My boss is incredibly skinny – I think she has an eating disorder (she only has one or two bites at any lunch that I’ve seen). Is it wildly inappropriate for me to ask her about that? I’m worried about her.   The answer:   Lower than average body weight (less than […]

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Can you explain male psychology to me? What am I doing wrong?

The question: Can you explain male psychology to me? This always happens: I date a guy for a month or so, we sleep together, and things change. I feel powerless, and it soon falls apart. Do I need to get him to commit before we sleep together? What’s the deal?   The answer: Yikes – […]

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I love being single every day – except Valentine’s

The question: I love being single, every day of the year except Valentine’s Day. For 24 hours I feel like I need another person in my life. It’s an awful feeling. What do you recommend I do to avoid this? I can’t do another ‘single’s party’ or first date. It all seems so fake.   […]

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My father-in-law admits he’s depressed but refuses treatment

The question:   My father-in-law suffers from depression. He admits this but he hates what he calls the “medical model”, including psychologists, and refuses to see a professional. Is there any way to help him with his depression?   The answer: Although as a society we are gradually improving in our awareness and understanding of […]

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I had a service for my miscarried baby. Is this normal?

The question: I had a service for my miscarried baby. My family members think that is unacceptable. What’s your take?   The answer: I am sorry to hear that individuals who at this time should be supportive to you are either implicitly or explicitly conveying disapproval with the way you have chosen to cope with […]

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The woman I love is a hoarder

The question: The woman I love is a hoarder. She refuses to even talk about it – we always spend time together at my house and go out, but just bringing up the subject is too much for her. Do I have to leave this relationship?  

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Are these ‘baby blues’ normal? I feel so overwhelmed

The question: I just had a baby and despite support from my husband and family, I feel completely overwhelmed. My doctor says these “baby blues” are normal. Are they?   The answer: Having a baby falls at the top of the list when it comes to major life stressors, and feeling completely overwhelmed after the […]

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Fail: I’ve already given up on my New Year’s resolution

The question: I’ve already failed at my New Year’s resolution (to lose weight – I’ve caved to my dessert addiction and gained a pound since January 1). I can’t stop kicking myself and feel like I will never be able to stop gaining. What can I do psychologically to help my willpower?   The answer: […]

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I’ve been casually smoking for 10 years

The question: I’ve been a very casual smoker for about 10 years – but I only do it around my friends who smoke. This ends up being about 3 cigarettes a week. There’s something about my friends smoking that triggers a mental response for me to join them. What mental strategies can I use to […]

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I’m just going to say it: I hate Christmas gifts

The question: I hate giving and receiving gifts. It seems so materialistic to me – but everyone around me seems to just love it at this time of year. Is there something wrong with me? How can I mentally get behind the idea of gift giving?   The answer: Christmas has become an increasingly commercialized […]

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Help: My 12-year-old still believes in Santa

The question: My 12-year-old still believes in Santa. It’s embarrassing, but he’s still so hopeful and it’s endearing. I feel responsible. How do I tell him without crushing his spirit?   The answer: The short answer? Tell him the truth. The longer answer is that, for me, one of the most amazing things about children […]

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Is my boyfriend’s psychologist sabotaging our relationship?

The question: My boyfriend is in therapy, which I encouraged him to do. But sometimes I worry about the psychologist saying disparaging things about our relationship. Would a professional do this or am I being paranoid?   The answer: One of the most important roles for a competent psychologist is to be objective, neutral, and […]

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My husband’s family won’t talk about mental illness

The question: My husband’s family keeps psychological illness in the closet. How do I discuss openly with my children their cousin’s illness without antagonizing my in-laws?   The answer: Unfortunately, there continues to be a significant degree of stigma around psychological health issues. Statistics indicate that 1 out of 4 Canadian adults will struggle with […]

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My mother has perfected the guilt trip

The question: My mother has perfected the guilt trip. Nothing I do is ever good enough. If I visit for a day, I should be spending the night, for example. I’m an adult woman with a life of my own. How do I get her to back off without hurting her feelings? She’s very sensitive. […]

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My friend can’t stop pining for the wrong guy

The question: My friend has been pining over a guy who is stringing her along. It’s been over a year now. How do I convince her it’s time to move on?   The answer: Unfortunately, when it comes to matters of the heart, there is very little if anything that any of us can do […]

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My wife is inconsolable after three miscarriages

The question: My wife is inconsolable after three miscarriages. What can I do?   The answer: There are a number of things that may be help your wife through this difficult and understandably emotional time.   First, resist the tendency to problem-solve. Let her know that you love and care about her, and that you […]

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Help! My husband is overprotective of our teen daughter

The question: My husband is overprotective of our teen daughter. I worry about her as well but he is downright irrational. How can I get him to relax and give her independence?   The answer: The reality is that there are some worries about a teenage daughter that are different than the concerns that come […]

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After 30 years together, I’m not in love with my husband

The question: I’m considering a divorce. My husband and I have fallen out of love, it feels, after 30 lovely years together. I couldn’t ask for a better friend – but I don’t see him as a soul mate anymore. We’re not intimate, I’m not tickled by him, and I’m not sure I can live […]

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I’m always after a promotion. Is there anything wrong with that?

The question: At 29, I’m what you’d call “on-paper” successful. I’m in advertising, and I’ve jumped companies more than I count, because I’m always seeking a better pay, better title. Is there anything wrong with that? I just got a promotion, but I’ve already applied at another competing agency. My friends say this is an […]

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