Hi everybody and welcome to RESILIENT PEOPLE. Today I’m joined by Dana Kyminas from Peabody, Massachusetts.
Dana reached out to me to share the story of her husband George who passed away of congenital heart failure, a condition he had since birth.
George was given a couple of years to live, but defied the odds and continued to defy them until he passed at only 27 years of age.
Dana shared their story, his resilience in living with a heart defect and how she continues to honour his legacy.
RESILIENT PEOPLE: How did you and George meet?
DANA KYMINAS: I was a freshman and George was a junior in high school. I didn’t want to take gym and he couldn’t so we met in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corp program.
George made you smile no matter how bad your day was. You’d never know that he had a heart condition. When he told me about it I didn’t quite understand it. When he was 12 he had 2 valves replaced along with a pacemaker put in. They gave him a 20% chance of survival.
In high school his pacemaker was replaced and he always seemed to be fine. He developed endocarditis which eats away at your valves, as well as pulmonary hypertension where he couldn’t walk long distances but his doctors kept track of his condition to make sure he was okay.
We got married ten years later and I joked that we should have put ‘its about time’ on the invitation. About a year later we decided to try to have a family. We were told by doctors to go ahead because they didn’t feel anything major would happen within the next 5 years.
In November 2013, we found out we were pregnant and the following January his health condition declined rapidly. Till February he was in the hospital for a month. Tests were done to assess the chances of getting a heart transplant but because of all of the scar tissue from previous surgeries he was not put on a list. Instead he went on hospice care.
On April 17, 2014 George peacefully passed away.
Tell me about the award in his honor.
The award is given to fifth graders who write an essay on strength and perseverance. They either need to know someone or have gone through something themselves that is bad and kept a positive attitude. For example, one child wrote about being in foster care and meeting their adoptive family. Or a boy wrote about his twin brother who had a heart condition and how he made it through.
You think that you’re the only one going through a hard time but you’re not alone. Sometimes the happiest people you meet are the ones going through the hardest times.
I’ve always loved the saying, “Life is 10% what’s given to you and 90% what you do with it.” I lost my husband when I was 27 weeks pregnant and my daughter arrived a month early, spending time in special care nursery. Now she’s healthy and we’re doing okay. You can be in any situation and come out of it.
How was the award established?
A friend of his mother’s set it up. She wanted to do something to honour him so we had a plaque designed with a photo of George as a kid and also as an adult. The winner gets their name engraved on it and the top 3 winners get a gift card to the local book store.
The essay is optional because not every kid wants to write it. These are 10 and 11 year olds. Many children will read their essay aloud but many times they want us to read it. It’s hard for us because we need that box of tissues.
Kids will go up to the winner afterwards and say that they went through that same thing too. It’s nice to show them that they’re not the only one having a hard day. It might be about a dog passing away or a brother’s heart surgeries but its understanding what strength and perseverance means.
What does that award do for you?
It doesn’t matter how old you are or what you look like on the outside, everyone can have a hard day or life. It could be the happiest person but you’d never know it. Like George, people were shocked that he even had a condition. It shows that you never know what someone’s going through.
Where does your strength come from?
Most of my strength was trying to make it for my daughter. I did it for her and not me. The hospital sent bereavement information to me and recommended a place close to me for grief counselling. They had a young widow’s meeting group and I got to meet people with shared experiences. I met 3 ladies who I still talk to and see to this day. It’s nice knowing someone who has gone through the same thing.
One woman is the same age as me and her husband died in a freak accident. My daughter is now 5 and said, “I want you to have another baby.” I can ask my friend what she’s told her daughter in that same situation. It’s great to connect with her.
You need those blocks beneath you for stability. Community.
Yes. When George passed away I worked in a hospital’s OR where he had also once worked. They knew him and were almost like family. If they saw me crying they’d give me a hug and understand.
How is life for you and Leila today?
I went back to school and got my associates in accounting. We’re doing good. Emotionally I have my days. I have her 24/7 and don’t have someone to pass her to so that can be a little hard. I’m learning and she’s learning.
Do you have a message for others?
Try and stay happy. If someone’s having a bad day, give them a chance. You never know what the reason is. Give one little smile and you’ve made someone’s day.
Thank you, Dana.
I live my life by plans. They help steer me in the right direction and maintain my focus.
When our parents age and reach a point where they are physically weak, cognitive thinking is fuzzy and you see that living on their own is a challenge it's time to come up with a plan for them.
It's a difficult subject to broach but one that needs to be had - what to do when you can't live at home alone anymore.
Take the time to have a long and serious discussion about moving out or getting in-home care. Assisted living residence, a seniors home or in-home nursing care?
One way resilience is achieved is by planning so have the conversation with your parents and understand their options - visit retirement or assisted living homes in their neighbourhood or meet with at-home nursing care while your mom or dad is still well and welcomes the idea.
The last thing you want is to be planning when your parent is in crisis and the options are limited or moves need to be done in a rush.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Shaun O’Gorman of Brisbane, Australia. He is an author, motivational speaker, creator of The Strong Life Project, father and former police officer in Queensland, Australia.
Being a police officer was a difficult profession. Shaun came to it from having a father and uncle in the force so he idolized them and what they did for a living.
But in “the job” Shaun saw the worst of life and it took its toll on him. He struggled with thoughts of suicide and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and eventually left the force.
He speaks to police academies, business leaders, first responders and athletes about his struggles and now his goal is to help them with their hardships.
We spoke about "the job", PTSD, mental illness and injury, embracing vulnerability and maintaining resilience.
TELL ME ABOUT GROWING UP IN A POLICE FAMILY
My dad was with the force for 42 years and he even ran the police union. He was a cop in the 70s and 80s and the second most decorated cop in Australia. I worshiped him and wanted to do something that significantly helped people.
The impact of the job had him diagnosed with PTSD. The impact is real on cops and not a lot of people talk about it.
My goal was to join the force, be on the canine unit and I thought that my life would be fulfilled.
Canine officers go to the most dangerous scenes. I’d be doing 6-8 violent jobs in one shift, chasing through the brush, running after people quickly...it’s a very dangerous and lonely job.
WHAT PREPARES YOU FOR THAT TYPE OF WORK?
The answer is nothing. Unless you’re doing the work to prepare yourself for it, like through things like proper sleep, exercise, nutrition, meditation, then the effects of the job will really impact your life.
My dad had a great mask and pretended like things didn’t affect him. The job was where he was the most comfortable, he got a lot of attention and people loved him. But it’s when you’re in your normal life that life can be overwhelming.
I was too scared to ask for help. My goal is to have the conversations that help people.
TOUCH ON WHEN THINGS WERE AT THEIR WORST FOR YOU
I was on canine for 9 years and then went to covert surveillance. I went there because it’s a slower pace, not the constant action. I was getting to the point where I was getting more affected by the job, like engaging in violence if it was available.
You need to identify when something is dramatically impacting us. I call it a mental injury not mental illness. In my case, I was working harder and drank more, engaging in violence.
I lay in bed with a glock pistol pointed in my mouth and stood on a ledge outside of building on the Gold Coast. The suicide rate is double the road toll rate in Australia. This means that double the amount of people killed in road accidents die by their own hand.
Men and women are terrified to be vulnerable and speak up. It’s not a gender specific problem it’s a societal problem. The biggest impact came for me by thinking that if I raised my hand, people would judge me. All of my darkest secrets are now out in the world, I’m an open book. Now that I’ve put my secrets out I don’t care. There’s a benefit and freedom in not having secrets to hide.
WHEN YOU WERE COMING TO TERMS WITH YOUR DIFFICULTIES, HOW DID YOU COPE? WHAT WAS YOUR PATH TO RESILIENCE?
I didn’t cope, I dealt with it with alcohol and as I left the police I had a loss of identity.
In 2002 I left and 2005 my daughter was born. I did a Dale Carnegie course which opened the door for me. I spoke with psychologists and psychiatrists. It was when one psychiatrist told me that I had PTSD like a Vietnam veteran. He said, “Your 13 years on the force was like 30 years.”
I saw an opportunity to speak to first responders as someone who was on the force for many years. I now mentor people all around the world, speak to police and military on mental health impact, how to look after people, look after themselves, why they need to care for themselves and leadership. My resilience comes from helping other people.
It’s important for people to know that anything that happens in your life that’s impactful and difficult, you can recover from. If you’re still breathing there’s an opportunity to recover. Resilience is a skill which comes from practicing resilient behaviour and from not giving in.
TELL ME ABOUT THE STRONG LIFE PROJECT
The message is living with Strength, Tenacity, Resilience, Optimism, Nurture and Generosity. It’s about being the best person first and then being the best man, father, husband, etc. If we live with these, it’s a pretty good plan for life.
The Strong Life Project is podcasts, books, leadership mentoring, critical stress training, personal coaching, resilience training, and mentoring sessions. People can find me on Instagram, Linkedin and Youtube.
The big thing for me is to not sit back and wait for things to change. Get off your ass to change things because there is no one else coming to do it. It is totally up to you. We are the masters of our own destiny. If your life is shit that’s because you’ve chosen to stay where you are.
To reach Shaun O'Gorman and learn more about his story go to The Strong Life Project.
Watching Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip perform their final concert from the Revue Cinema in Toronto
Today marks three years since The Tragically Hip performed their final concert. An event that millions of people around the world would watch - from cottage docks, backyard patios and, for the lucky ones, in person in the band’s hometown of Kingston, Ontario.
My friends and I went to a Toronto movie theatre to see it on the big screen. Whether or not you were a Hip fan, it was the Canadian thing to do.
The Tragically Hip were one of the country’s most beloved bands. Although I couldn’t count myself as one of their lifelong fans I did get caught up in the farewell fandemonium.
Part of my reason for wanting to watch the show was to see the band’s lead singer Gord Downie perform that night. Only a few months earlier it was announced that he had stage 4 brain cancer, specifically called glioblastoma (GBM).
A terminal cancer with no cure, I was curious to watch how he would do under the pressure of performing to the country.
Back in May I was driving in my car listening to the breaking news of Downie’s brain cancer diagnosis. His oncologist, Dr. James Perry at Toronto's Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, described “the incurable disease” and what lay ahead for his patient as some of us were learning about glioblastoma for the first time.
The most common and aggressive cancerous primary brain tumour, it affects 2 to 3 per 100,000 adults every year and accounts for 52% of all primary brain tumours. (American Association of Neurological Surgeons)
A day after the announcement the band would announce a cross-country farewell tour.
Canada went crazy. The shows would sell out in every city, while the final one would take place on August 20.
The day of the final show, my husband wasn’t feeling himself and chose to stay home instead of joining us at the theatre. A summer marred by exhaustion and personality changes I chalked these traits up to him overworking himself.
Little did we know that while Gord Downie was performing the show of his life, my husband would also learn that had the same disease.
Looking back it would be art imitating life for us.
Two weeks later we were preparing for a trip to see the US Open in New York City. It would be the first time attending the celebrity-filled tennis event and we were very excited about it.
Realizing that his symptoms were still prevalent, my husband decided to press for in-depth medical testing.
A CT followed by MRI scan would confirm that his behaviour was being caused by a cancerous tumour, growing in the healthy tissue of his brain.
A full craniotomy would be performed only 2 weeks later with weeks of rest, and then months of radiation and chemotherapy treatments.
Our children were in Grades 9 and 12 at the time. Important years for both with the start of high school and university applications in the midst.
As we focussed on his treatment and rest, I gave our children one job. To focus their best on school and maintaining good scores because we couldn’t manage it if that failed.
As we continued on this new cancer treatment path, I followed any of Gord Downie’s public appearances and interviews.
Despite a television interview with CBC where he divulged that he could no longer drive and experienced seizures, he had a year celebrated with the release of a new album, performed 3 live shows for his solo work and published a book.
He made what would become his final year really count.
That year made me think that he could make all of the doctors wrong and he would beat brain cancer.
Then on October 17, 2017 it was announced that he passed away.
Again, I was in the car when the news broke. Radio stations played The Hip’s music throughout the day. Social media filled with posts honouring Downie for his courage and thanking him for the music and inspiration.
My husband was already back at work at this point in time. He called me while I was driving and said, “Did you hear the news?” “Yes”, I said with tears in my eyes.
I didn’t know Gord Downie but felt that he was our beacon of light on these stormy waters. Now that light was permanently out.
The average life expectancy with glioblastoma is 14 months. My husband has surpassed this number thanks to the amazing efforts of Dr. Perry and this team at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Dr. Sunit Das at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.
It’s been two years since Downie’s death.
Since then The Gord Downie Fund has raised over $2.2 million dollars for brain cancer care at Sunnybrook.
According to Danielle Stonehouse with the hospital’s Advancement office, “Donations supporting this fund have gone towards ‘The Gord Downie Fellowship in Brain Oncology’ and the construction of the G. Hurvitz Brain Sciences Centre, a new clinical and research space for neurologists who care for patients with brain cancer.”
Recently, the Downie family decided to direct funds and future donations to support Dr. Arjun Sahgal’s work in Image Guided Research for glioblastoma.
It’s thanks to developments in research and patient care that our family is able to benefit from the personalized treatments to treat glioblastoma.
The future is uncertain where this disease will lead us, but I take a page out of Gord Downie’s songbook using courage to live our lives to the fullest, regardless of what may hold us back.
RESILIENT PEOPLE Contributor Marshalee Facey with some of her students at Transparent Mathematics Center, Montego Bay, Jamaica
My name is Marshalee Facey and I am a teacher who loves to teach.
I am originally from the rural parish of St. Elizabeth, Jamaica where I lived with my mother Janice Edwards. She was a single parent and made me the woman I am today - ambitious, hardworking and always committed to your dream.
I completed schooling at Bethlehem Teachers College in Malvern, Jamaica. It was difficult securing a permanent job in this rural area, so I decided to move to Montego Bay.
After struggling for months I finally found employment as a secretary and part-time math teacher at a private school. I had my own passion for teaching and business and was determined to eventually start my own school.
When I left the private educational institute, I took a 6-month contract job at the National Water Commission (NWC) where I worked as a field inspection officer. From this job I committed to go after my goal and start my own school.
It was very difficult to get my business off the ground but I saved most of my salary from NWC, bought some second-hand school chairs and desks, advertised in the local newspaper and gave out flyers to promote my school.
Discouragement came from a few friends and family members but self-determination was my main motivator. My mother and others helped encourage me along the way.
In 2014 I opened the Transparent Mathematics Center in Montego Bay with only 9 students. They were all preparing for the national Caribbean examination, which is officially called the Caribbean Secondary Examination certificate (CSEC) examination.
Over time our population increased to 114 students.
Sadly in 2018 the school was forced to close due to high costs and delinquent tuition payments.
This was very disheartening but I reflect on the positives - the amazing students that I have met and their accomplishments. I now teach in a government primary school.
After teaching all these years I realized that students continue to struggle in developing their mathematical skills nationally. One of the ways to alleviate this crisis is to have trained and highly proficient teachers in the area of mathematics and provide suitable educational materials.
I just completed writing an educational mathematics book to help students develop their critical thinking skills.
Despite all of my obstacles what makes me most proud are the amazing students I have met and how I helped them to accomplish their goals.
I’ll end with my two of my favourite mantras:
“Nothing try, nothing done” and “He who makes you angry control you”.
Thank you for reading.
For more information on Marshalee Facey, please contact email@example.com or (876) 836-4712.
Isobel Fanaki at Toronto's Pearson International Airport
My baby, my first born, the one who has trained me in parenting. She's left on her first solo flight.
Albeit on a school credit trip, with many others studying the same marine biology course, but she is not travelling with us.
As many times as I have encouraged her to take advantage of these opportunities, I couldn't deny the mixed feelings I had while leaving her at the airport.
I reflected on the story that Alana Salsberg contributed to RESILIENT PEOPLE on motherhood. As she put it, "This is what I wanted: happy, excited, confident, resilient kids who have become happy, excited, confident, resilient young adults."
I know that she'll be okay because she's already been tested in ways that I did not plan nor would have wanted her to be.
Back in 2016 her dad was diagnosed with glioblastoma, the most aggressive brain cancer.
Isobel was entering her final year of high school. A year that would be filled in the first few months alone with campus tours, heavy assignments and exams, applications and the nervous anticipation of rejections and acceptances.
Not to mention the normal highs and lows of being 17 years old.
At the time our son was starting Grade 9 and this brought its own set of excitement and nerves for all of us.
I don't even remember when or how I told our children about my husband's diagnosis.
Some things I clearly remember like breaking down in tears over the phone in the middle of a shopping mall as he told me that the initial scan results weren't good. And dropping them off at home so I could pack an overnight bag for him for the hospital, not knowing what lay ahead.
I remember calling him from the car to say I was on my way, hearing him say that the cancer was terminal, and the sound of our convulsing sobs.
And after meeting with the neurosurgeon, listening to the grim statistics, I remember holding my husband tight and telling him "now that we know what we've got in front of us, we'll get the best team around us and deal with it."
But I don't remember telling the kids.
What I do remember is being in the car with them and talking about his condition. What stands out the most for me from that conversation was saying, "The best thing the two of you can do is to stay focussed in school and keep doing your best."
Maybe I felt that they needed a purpose in this crazy experience - something to do to help us.
They both lived up to their end of the bargain. Isobel rocked Grade 12 and received acceptances from several top-ranked universities. Now she's entering her third year and beginning to experience the world on her own.
I wouldn't begin to take any amount of credit for what she or her brother have achieved in the face of watching their father battle through this horrible disease. I give thanks to their schools, friends, our family and their own determination for the support that has sustained us all.
From seeing him come home with dozens of staples in the side of his scalp after a full craniotomy, to endless days of exhaustion and the look of worry across his face.
He has never given up the pride that he feels in both of his kids and feeling grateful to still be here witnessing it all.
He has surpassed the grim numbers and over these last three years we have had some of the most memorable family holidays, work experiences and celebrations.
And now she is continuing her path in life as a strong and resilient young woman. Armed with the idea that anything in life can happen but it's how you deal with it that counts.
by Janet Fanaki, Creator of RESILIENT PEOPLE
100 Resilient Cities aims to get cities around the world to be - well, more resilient. Funded by The Rockefeller Foundation, the goal of 100RC is to help them bounce back from environmental, economic and social challenges.
Toronto is one of three Canadian cities chosen to be a part of this dynamic initiative.
On June 4, 2019 the City of Toronto, through Resilient Toronto unveiled its first Resilience Strategy to a packed auditorium of academics, media, and city stakeholders including residents and program participants.
Climate change and social equity are the two main areas of focus in this report.
Toronto’s Resilience Strategy aims to give city planners and other departments a direction in helping to prepare for extreme changing climates while also assisting a growing group of marginalized residents.
Elliott Cappell, Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Toronto, explained the findings and where he hopes it will go.
“Toronto has a mindset that isn’t modern. It needs to catch-up to how big the city is going to get and today we are lighting a spark.”
According to Toronto’s city manager, Chris Murray, “The city is growing by 35,000 people per year, with a projection in the next 20 years of an additional one million residents.”
Mix this type of rapid growth with an aging infrastructure, the report sheds light on ways to prepare the city for the shocks and stresses to follow.
As the report states, “The city is getting hotter, wetter and wilder” and it needs a resilience framework to deal with climate change and how this affects different socioeconomic groups.
Flooding is a major challenge.
Anyone living in the city can confirm that Toronto has seen a record number of rain days in 2019 with flooding posing serious hazards, especially to the Toronto islands.
Elliott Cappell said, “Currently, it is difficult to point to which department within the City of Toronto is responsible for flooding” But, “through the new resilience strategy better partnerships would ensure that the right departments and agencies are working together. These could include water utility, transportation, Toronto Transit Commission and city planning.”
The second area of focus in the strategy is to help the equity-seeking (or better known as marginalized) residents.
These groups are more vulnerable to climate change and other societal stresses and shocks. Outdoor workers are a good example of this, or residents living in one of Toronto’s many low-income and aging high-rise apartments.
Currently over 50,000 Torontonians live in buildings that are 35 yrs old or older.
We see when a shock happens to such a structure, it comes with catastrophic consequences. Take for example 650 Parliament Street.
Earlier in the year, this building experienced an electrical fire to its outdated system which displaced 1,500 occupants for an indefinite amount of time. Their experience would be vastly different to that of a luxury condominium residence and its occupants.
One finding of the research showed that the city has underinvested in physical structures. With 45% of its rental stock in such buildings, the city needs to prepare for future shocks and stresses.
8,000 Torontonians participated in the research. In the beginning only white middle-class residents participated, but a move was made to engage more marginalized groups. They needed to learn how all residents experience resilience in different ways.
Being a part of The Rockefeller Foundation’s network allowed the City of Toronto to collaborate with other global cities and learn best practices.
Amy Buitenhuis, Senior Policy Advisor with the City of Toronto added her pick for a city doing things well. “Rotterdam is a city that faces challenges with water. They have installed public water parks that get filled with collected rain. When it’s not raining the spaces are turned into community space. It’s very inspiring.”
Elliott Cappell sites Boston as an inspiration. The city established an Office of Resilience and Racial Equity.
“Boston recognized that racial equity must be considered when implementing city services. Case in point, when potholes needed to be filled the protocol required a call to 311. The neighbourhoods with the most potholes distrusted government the most and would not call. The city needed to change the way that repair requests were done to address barriers to racial lines.”
The researchers admit that the document will not solve all of Toronto’s problems. But it does hope to light a spark for ideas and to start doing things differently.
by Jane Kristoffy, Right Track Educational Services
What will it be like at your house when final report cards arrive?
Joy, celebration and rewards? Or shock, tears and disappointment?
If it’s the latter, don’t dismay. Some of the best opportunities for a student’s growth come from academic failure and setbacks.
Failures at school present kids with the opportunity to learn from them, set goals, and to move forward. They can perform better next time. They can build resilience.
A couple of years ago, a Grade 10 boy’s mother contacted me in a panic, seeking help for her son who was amid final exams. He was struggling and stress-ridden, clueless as to how he could prepare for his last difficult exam. It was the eleventh hour. She wanted me to swoop in and help him turn things around.
In our discussion, I learned her son’s efforts were barely satisfactory in the course thus far. He hadn’t put enough work into the class and therefore wasn’t set up well for his final exam.
I suggested to the Mom that she step back and let her son figure it out; perhaps the best outcome was for him to do his best under circumstances, and face the consequences afterwards.
It sounds harsh, but sometimes a reality check is the best way to get a student to wake up. After a failure like this, one can build resilience - a crucial life skill.
Resilience is a muscle we can build, and the earlier we start, the better. Students need to get used to it!
Elementary and middle school is the best time, so that responding to setbacks in high school (and beyond) is old hat! Resilience helps students “get up” and try again after failing a test.
What if this happens at your house?
Here’s what students can do to build their vital resilience “muscle” if they don’t achieve their desired grades:
If your child is upset about undesirable grades this June, this is an opportunity to encourage the growth of resilience. See the lemonade (not just the lemons) in this situation!
Developing resilience will serve your child well in school, the workplace, and life.
Wishing you the best news (or “teachable moments”) when you open report card envelopes this month!
If your child needs a boost to turn things around after academic disappointment or failure, Right Track can help. We can work with your child or teen on the steps to make positive changes, and develop effective learning skills - not to mention resilience.
For more information, check out our website to read about our 'Study Skills Bootcamps', to subscribe to our newsletter, or follow on social media.
Visit www.righttrackeducation.ca for more information.
* What happened with the grade 10 student I described in this article? Not surprisingly, he bombed his last exam. It was a wake-up call for him! The following September, we worked with him on setting goals for Grade 11, and on implementing effective learning & study strategies. Grade 11 is not too late to turn study habits and attitudes around, and build resilience. It’s never too late!
When my husband was diagnosed with brain cancer and our family was in crisis mode, I really leaned on my circle of support.
Having the right positive people around me was everything to keep me sane. First and foremost, it was the negativity that I needed to avoid.
Following her treatment for breast cancer, a clinical psychologist named Dr. Susan Silk coined the term "The Ring Theory" to help others identify their own support network.
She recalls a colleague coming to visit her in the hospital even though she had said that she did not want to see anyone.
The visitor said, “This isn’t about you” to which Dr. Silk replied, “My breast cancer isn’t about me, it’s about you?”
This is a classic situation where the wrong thing was said to the wrong person. Dr. Silk created a solution to solve this problem. Here it is in her words:
“Draw a circle - this is the center ring. In it, put the name of the person at the center of the current trauma. Now draw a larger circle around the first one. In that ring put the name of the person next closest to the trauma. Repeat as many times as you need to. In each larger ring put the next closest people. Parents and children before distant relatives. Intimate friends in smaller rings. When you are done you have a Kvetching Order.”
The idea is meant to protect the person in the centre ring – the one who is most vulnerable and in crisis.
They are allowed to complain, cry and scream about their frustration to anyone in the other circles, but no one in the outer circles can 'dump' back in.
People in crisis don’t need someone’s complaints or to hear things like, “Be grateful...” or “You should hear what happened to me.”
The person in the centre needs to be heard and believe that someone is really there for them. By having their closest and most trusted ally in the ring beside them ensures that they will get the right support.
Complaining and frustration is still allowed from those in the outer rings, but only to those in bigger rings.
Bring comfort in and dump negativity out.
For more information on The Ring Theory
by Janet Fanaki
BetterHelp provides online connections to licensed behaviour therapists and counsellors via text or phone conversations.
I came across this site while doing some research and it immediately intrigued me. Having been a fan of in-person therapy for a number of years now, I wanted to give online counselling a go.
The registration is simple with straightforward questions. All are meant to gauge the client's needs, history of counselling services and risk level.
Some of the questions relate to the type of counselling that's requested (ie individual or family), issues that you'd like to work on, whether you have had counselling before, sexual orientation and marital status, thoughts of suicide, as well as alcohol consumption.
Within an hour I was contacted by a counsellor. Here is his first message to me...
"My name is Dr. xxx xxxx and I am a licensed therapist (license number LPC xxx).
Welcome to the online counseling room, which will be our private and secure place to communicate. This room is open 24/7, and you can enter it at any time, from any Internet-connected device wherever you are.
To help us get started, can you please tell me what brought you here? Just write a few short sentences about the challenges you're experiencing or what you would like to talk about and we will go from there.
Looking forward to working with you,"
Personal and approachable is how I would characterize it.
For some people, the idea of anonymously sharing their personal feelings through a website is very appealing especially in the age of social media. After all, we live in a time where people post their most intimate sad moments to thousands of strangers in the hope of getting back encouragement and a sense of belonging.
BetterHelp goes beyond that in actually connecting users with a professional who recommends solid action plans and advice for a relatively low fee.
For $49 US/week (approximately $65 CDN) clients can video or audio message with a therapist. This is a lower option to in-person therapy with the average price being $250/session for a licensed psychotherapist, with many recommending weekly visits.
When he did not receive a reply from me from his initial note, my therapist even followed up to check-in and make sure I was alright. That was comforting.
I would recommend BetterHelp to someone who was curious about therapy or is looking for a different method of receiving it. It certainly turns traditional therapy on it's head but I would argue that getting any kind of help from a licensed practitioner is better than getting none at all.
I'd love to know what you think of it.