A-Z List


Abuse is where your treatment by others becomes harmful to you. Abuse can be demonstrated in many forms including emotionally, physically or sexually. Getting involved with therapy can help you address how this has made you feel and work through these feelings so that you feel better about yourself.

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) usually appears in early childhood. It makes it difficult for people to control their responses. These can be wide ranging, from movement to speech to attentiveness. A variety of therapeutic techniques may be helpful, including CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) or Behavioural Therapy which can change behavioural patterns.

Addiction happens when you become abnormally dependant on something, often when you’re trying to escape from other problems you are experiencing. You can be addicted to many things including: alcohol, drugs, gambling,  sex, the internet, shopping. Therapy can help you address the causes of addiction to help you stop your addictive behaviour.

HIV is the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). This virus weakens your ability to fight infections. Having HIV does not always mean that you have AIDS. It can take many years for people with the virus to develop AIDS. HIV and AIDS cannot be cured. This clearly can be very serious but there are many ways you can stay healthy and live longer. Therapy can help by supporting those affected in dealing with the symptoms and reactions.

Anger is a normal emotion, but it can become uncontrollable and lead to problems for you, your family and your personal relationships. Anger can show itself as aggression if you become violent and threatening to others. This type of anger can quickly lead to trouble for you and can sometimes cause a breakdown in relationships. Anger can disrupt your ability to think and act clearly and can lead you to behave impulsively. Anger is sometimes used as a defence barrier against hurt or embarrassment. When anger is suppressed or turned inwards, it can lead to other problems such as: eating disorders, self harm,  drugs, alcohol addictions. You may suppress the anger if you find it difficult to talk about how you feel. Therapy can often help with finding the root of your anger and providing ways to control and change your behaviour patterns.

The acute physical signs of anxiety can be: sleeplessness, rapid heartbeat, palpitations, dizziness, irritability. These signs can often accompany feelings of intense apprehension or worry. These can be common in mental illness or after extreme or distressing experiences. Therapy can help you with feelings of general anxiousness, panic attacks and phobias, by providing you with ways of dealing with certain situations as they occur and exploring the cause of these.

This is an autistic spectrum disorder. If you have this, you may have significant difficulty with social interaction, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviour and interests. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is often a useful tool when working with people with Asperger Syndrome.

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability. It is sometimes referred to as an ‘autism spectrum disorder’ or an ASD. While all people with autism may share some common areas of difficulty, the degree of their condition will affect them in very different ways. Some are able to live relatively ‘everyday’ lives. Others will need a lifetime of specialist support. Therapy can provide support for those living with autism while possibly providing help with coping strategies.


The experience of bereavement or loss can be very varied and your response to it is unique to you. It is quite normal to feel angry or sad when a loved one dies or leaves. Even the loss of a pet can have a major psychological effect, as they are often like a family member. You may feel grief, anger, loneliness or denial as a result of loss and bereavement. Working through these feelings with a therapist could help you come to terms with your loss.

Bullying occurs when a person or a group of people are able to seriously affect you, causing you pain and distress. It not only happens in the playground but can happen in many workplaces, education facilities and families. It operates at all levels of society, within all age groups and can be both emotional and physical. Once acknowledged, therapy can be helpful for the person affected by bullying and by the person who bullies others.


Therapy  can help you with many of the problems you may face when you have cancer. There are many reactions to cancer: you may feel fear, have strong reactions to the changes in your body, or be anxious about your treatment, you may feel very angry, or find it difficult to cope with a feeling of loss of control, you may also feel stressed about having to cope with the side effects of the treatments involved.  It can help to talk through these feelings with someone outside your friends and family because they may be too close to the issues to see them clearly. Therapy can provide you with someone independent to talk with.

You may need to access career counselling when you feel you could benefit from some confidential guidance and help. This could be about areas of study and possible career movements or changes. This support involves meeting with an appropriate counsellor who will ask a variety of questions about your life and career intentions. They will also discuss factors that are likely to influence your decisions or that could affect your goals. Your answers to these questions will hopefully help you in establishing your career objectives. The sessions may also involve setting personal goals and learning skills to allow you to make positive career choices. A counsellor will help ensure you are setting realistic targets for yourself and help you choose a career to suit your expectations and not others.

Children, young people and their families can sometimes need extra support if they are finding it difficult to deal with or understand their emotions and / or behaviour. There is a wide range of issues that affect children. They can find it difficult to express their worries, meaning that problems are left unresolved and undetected and can stretch into their adult lives. Unfortunately, abuse and mistreatment are the more serious issues and often require urgent specialist attention.

Canada has become an increasingly multi-cultural and a multi-racial society. First, second and third generations are bringing their own unique language, cultures, beliefs and traditions into other cultures. Experiencing ’culture shock’ may mean you need help adjusting to your own and other cultures. Personal and professional relationships between two sets of cultures challenge and put pressure on people to maintain their own identity and values which can be traumatic at times. These issues may cause: anger, anxiety, isolation, low self-esteem, negative self image, feelings of being different. Cultural therapy acknowledges the impact these issues can have on your wellbeing and help you to cope with them.


Living with dementia can raise many difficult feelings and thoughts. You may find it hard to make sense of what is happening to you and how your life is changing. There are feelings of anger, confusion, fear and anxiety. Concerns about your family and friends may be tied to how you are feeling and you may find it difficult to discuss your feelings frankly with those who are close to you. If you are faced with dementia yourself, or for a close family member, you may find therapy gives you the opportunity to speak honestly about your feelings and work out ways to live with the condition.

Depression affects the way a person: functions, thinks, sleeps, eats, feels. The symptoms can be mild, with a low mood that soon picks up, or it can be a consistent low mood that lasts for several weeks or more. This prevents a person from functioning to their full ability. This is not something that can be changed overnight; it isn’t a sign of weakness or failure. Depression can be a particularly devastating illness that affects your body, mood, behaviour and thoughts. If treatment does not occur, symptoms can be present for years. Particularly concerning is the potential for suicidal thoughts. A range of psychological interventions can be used for the treatment of depression including: cognitive behavioural therapy, interpersonal therapy, behavioural activation, behavioural couples therapy, and psychodynamic psychotherapy.

Therapy aims to help you explore and clarify issues that matter to you. It can help you develop coping skills, which you can utilize if or when future problems arise. Therapy can give you the opportunity to work in ways which promote your ability to resolve problems, or to cope with things which cannot be changed. It can help you get to know yourself better and develop your potential.


Eating disorders are extremely common and can be serious or maybe even life threatening if they are not treated appropriately. The main characteristic of an eating disorder is an obsession with weight. These thoughts can lead to severe consequences concerning health and behaviour. People with eating disorders often use food, and the control of food intake, in an attempt to compensate for feelings and emotions that may otherwise seem overwhelming. For some, dieting, bingeing, and purging, may begin as a way to cope with painful emotions and to take control. If these behaviours continue, they will ultimately damage your physical and emotional health and self-esteem. Therapy can be helpful in changing thoughts and expectations and by providing support and encouragement.

Sometimes you may feel that simply sitting down with someone who can help you put your feelings into perspective may be beneficial. If you can’t put your finger on an exact problem and just want to chat with someone who isn’t involved in your life, therapy may be useful. The sessions would take place in a private and confidential setting where there is an opportunity to focus on personal difficulties or general feelings of dissatisfaction. In therapy, you can explore aspects of your life and talk about them openly in a way that may not be possible with friends or family. You may seek therapy to help you discover what is important to you so that you are able to live the kind of life you really want and improve your health and well being.


It is very easy for anyone to get into debt. If you have financial problems, don’t just ignore them and hope they will go away – they won’t. It can be helpful to discuss the emotional difficulties that debt may raise with a therapist, while seeking financial advice as soon as possible.


Therapy can help anyone who is generally worried about their health, or who needs help in coming to terms with being diagnosed with an illness. Often there can be a feeling of ‘Why Me’? Working through the feelings that may accompany such a diagnosis can be beneficial to your quality of life.


Most experts define infertility as the inability to get pregnant after at least one year of trying. Women who are able to get pregnant but then have repeated miscarriages may also be considered infertile. Infertility treatments can be physically uncomfortable, time-consuming and exhausting, all of which impose great demands on the emotional and physical self of those involved. Talking to someone who is not directly involved can help you to come to terms with the situation.


Layoffs are a form of dismissal. It happens when you are dismissed because the work you do is no longer needed. This can lead to many different issues including a concern about how to pay your bills, or a feeling of loss and confusion. Working on the practicalities of layoffs through therapy, as well as your self-esteem and confidence, can help.

By developing certain skills, you can become more able to change things to: make your life run better, realize ambitions, fulfil your potential, be happier, be less stressed, become more profitable, become more peaceful, sociable, or fun. Therapy can help you to identify the skills and capabilities that you have, and allow you to use them to the best of your ability.

Losing someone or something you love is very painful. After a loss of any kind, you may experience all kinds of difficult and surprising emotions, such as shock, anger, and guilt. Grief is a natural response to loss. It’s the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is taken away. Loss is not just about death; you could also lose a relationship, a job or your health. Therapy can be used to help and provide support through this difficult period of your life.


Ideas or mental images occassionally pop into our minds without warning. They may be completely senseless, or something that shouldn’t be acted on, but often these thoughts don’t bother us and we are able to easily forget them. Intrusive thoughts, or obsessions, affect everyone, but some people can’t get rid of them as easily as others. Therapy, and particularly Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), can help put things into perspective and help you develop coping mechanisms to deal with the triggers of OCD and obsessions.

If you have OCD, you may have repeated obsessions and/or compulsions that make you feel anxious. Most people have unwanted, troubling thoughts occasionally (such as worrying that the oven has been left on). If you have OCD, these thoughts are more common and can seem more important. Obsessions can be defined as thoughts, pictures or impulses which are usually unpleasant and come into mind when we don’t want them. Compulsions describe the behaviours used in order to ‘put right’ or act on the obsession. It is most common to have both obsessions and compulsions, but you can have them on their own. You could also have more than one obsession and/or compulsion. Looking at patterns of behaviour with a therapist can be helpful.


Therapy can help you use knowledge, skills and experience to develop your self-esteem. This enables you to take responsibility for things like your: health, career, finances, relationships, emotions, habits and spiritual beliefs.

A phobia is an irrational, intense, persistent fear of certain situations, activities, things or people. The main symptom of this disorder is the excessive and unreasonable desire to avoid the feared subject. Therapy can help you manage these thoughts and put them into perspective.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychological and physical condition that is caused by a very frightening or distressing event. If you have PTSD, you may often re-live the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks. You may also have problems concentrating and sleeping, and feel isolated and detached. These symptoms are often persistent and can be severe enough to have a significant impact on your day-to-day life. Therapy that has been found to be helpful in coping with PTSD includes: Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), Hypnosis, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Rational Emotive Behavioural therapies. Find out more about different types of therapy.

The experience of pregnancy, whether it was planned or unplanned, can be confusing and stressful, and can cause you to have mixed feelings. For example, you may have concerns about how it may change your relationships. Therapy can help you understand your feelings towards your pregnancy, or explore difficult emotions following the loss of a pregnancy through a miscarriage, stillbirth or an abortion.


Relationship therapy can help improve the way you relate to those people around you, and allow you to break free from old patterns. This can cover all areas including families and couples. There are therapists who work specifically with couples, and others who work specifically with families.


If you have low self-esteem, you may tend to view life in a very negative way which can make things seem hopeless or pointless. You might see yourself as being worthless, and think other people are better than you. You may have difficulty in saying what you really feel and want, or you may lack confidence and find it difficult to be assertive. Consequently, you may feel that people take advantage of you and treat you badly. Therapy can enable you to explore the way you feel and help you to change your view of yourself and others.

For some people, self-harm is a way of coping with painful and difficult feelings and distress. You may harm yourself because you feel overwhelmed and don’t know how else to deal with things. It is usually a very private issue and the motivations and methods used will differ from person to person. Some forms of self-harm can carry a serious risk, but this doesn’t mean that if you self-harm you always intend to cause yourself serious injury. Therapy may help you discover and deal with the feelings that are causing you to self-harm.

Sexual difficulties can occur at any time, especially during times of stress and change. If sex used to be exciting, but no longer seems so, therapy can help you look at why the change happened. In a good relationship, getting help should give you an opportunity to find some answers.

When you are pressured to do something sexual against your will, it is sexual abuse. This can include unwanted touching, photographing and rape. You may have suffered abuse and it may be that you blame yourself and did not report it. You may have been influenced to trust your abusers or feel you will be punished for reporting the abuse. Childhood abuse is not always addressed until sexual problems emerge in adulthood. Talking to a therapist could help you.

Part of our sexual identity is to work out whether we are more comfortable in same sex or opposite sex relationships. You may feel really sure about your sexual identity or it can feel more fluid and changeable, but neither is wrong. Talking to a therapist helps to explore these feelings.

Many people are confused about their sexuality and this can cause a lot of anxiety and heartache. You may know from an early age that you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transsexual and have stronger feelings for the same sex rather than the opposite sex. You may take longer to work out your feelings and feel confused about your sexuality. You need to give yourself time for your feelings to develop. In time you will know what feels right for you. Therapy may help you come to a decision or help you deal with a decision that you have already made.

Issues of spirituality often impact people. Spirituality is about how you make sense of the world and find meaning in your life. At times, it can also involve specific religious beliefs. Sensitivity and respect rather than judgement will enable you to build a trust with your therapist.

Daily life can be stressful. Stress can be a positive thing and help you achieve your goals. However, too much stress can put your health at risk and leave you unable to function. Everyone reacts differently to stress. Some people may have a higher threshold than others. Too much stress can often lead to physical, mental and emotional problems. You may seek therapy in order to manage your life differently or support you in developing coping strategies for your day-to-day life.

Many kinds of emotional pain can lead to thoughts of suicide. Your responses to pain are unique. You may reach a point at which you feel you can no longer cope. You may or may not truly wish to die, but you may need help to cope at that moment. Therapy could help by sharing your thoughts and feelings and working on ways to find a way through your pain and transform negative thoughts into more positive ones.


Emotional and psychological trauma can be the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, which can make you feel helpless and vulnerable in a dangerous world. Emotional and psychological trauma can be caused by a one-time event, such as: a horrible accident, a natural disaster or a violent attack. It can also stem from ongoing, relentless stress, such as living in a crime-ridden neighbourhood or struggling with major health issues. Talking to a therapist could help you.


The average person spends almost a quarter of their adult life at work. Work can give people a sense of purpose, structure and satisfaction while also providing the means to finance daily life. It can however also cause: stress, frustration, poor health, self-esteem issues. If you have started to lose sleep, constantly dread work, drink heavily, or you notice any repeating patterns, it may be useful to seek help from a therapist.