The Benefit of Listening, Connection, and Touch

| Jeff McKillop |

I read a lot of journal articles.  Most are dull and sometimes hard to slog through. Every now and then, however, I come across an article that is somewhat beautiful and charming.  One such article is a recent one by Alan Bonsteel published in the November 2013 edition of the Canadian Family Physician.

In this short article, Dr. Bonsteel reflects on his relationship with an early mentor, Dr. Zane Kime, and how that relationship shaped Dr. Bonsteel’s future practice.  What struck Dr. Bonsteel the most was Dr. Kime’s capacity to provide a kind and gentle approach to all that he helped.   Dr. Zane had the ability to understand and listen to the needs of those he was helping and he understood that the prerequisite to any change is to first establish a caring human connection.

Dr. Bonsteel also described a brief clinical study that he and Dr. Zane conducted.  Dr. Zane asked those he was helping if they might consider possibly improving their diet and level of exercise.  For one-third of these people, the request was face to face.  The next third, Dr. Zane sat beside each person when making his request.  And for the last third, Dr. Zane placed his hand on each person’s shoulder when asking for a change in diet and exercise.  The best outcome was with those whom Dr. Zane touched on the shoulder.

The point here is to highlight the importance of a caring relationship and the role of both verbal and nonverbal communication.  Touch, within a caring and nonthreatening relationship, serves as an emphasis and a method of collecting the other person’s attention.  It is a way of focusing the other person and highlighting that this message I am sending you is important.  It is a simple, yet powerful, way of communicating.

Keep in mind that we rarely change or alter our behavior for just ourselves.  Instead we change for others and in their presence, because they have asked us to and it is important to them.

All change begins with and within a relationship.

hug

Unmet Mental Health Care Needs in Canada

| Jeff McKillop |

On Wednesday September 18, 2013, Statistics Canada released new data stemming from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey – Mental Health.

In this survey, Statistics Canada reviewed the degree to which mental health care needs were being met in Canada based on a sample of 25,000 people.  This sample focused on Canadians living within the community but excluded Aboriginal communities, Canadian Forces personnel, and individuals in long-term care, hospitals, and correctional facilities.

Among those surveyed, approximately 1 in 10 Canadians reported mental health symptoms or substance abuse issues in the past 12 months.  Overall, 1 in 3 Canadians will experience a mental health or substance abuse issue in their lifetime.

The most commonly reported need was the need for counselling.  Unfortunately, this need was also the most likely not to be met.  Barriers to accessing mental health counselling were due to lack of information regarding how to get help, affordability, absence of insurance coverage, and stigma.

Recent Publication

| Jeff McKillop |

Recently, I had the pleasure of working with two exceptional students: Vanessa Hazelwood from Western University and Maha Alvai who is attending Brescia University College.  The project that we worked on was a review of websites of psychologists in private practices across Southern Ontario.  That review has been recently published in the Summer edition of Psynopsis.  Psynopsis is a quarterly news magazine published by the Canadian Psychological Association and is available both in print and online.

Welcome to Our Practice

Welcome to the psychology practice of Dr. Karen Scarth and Dr. Jeff McKillop.  Our offices are located in London and Woodstock Ontario.  We are pleased to offer assistance to individuals, couples, and families.

karenscarth

Dr. Karen Scarth

I graduated from Queen’s University in 1994 with my doctorate in clinical psychology. I came to London Ontario in 1993 to complete my pre-doctoral internship at the London Health Sciences Center and stayed on to work in the community. I am interested in working with individuals across the lifespan and I have a broad range of clinical interests.

I started a private practice in 1996, providing treatment and assessment services to children, adolescents and adults as well as couples and families. In 1999 my husband Dr. Jeff McKillop (also a psychologist…..I know….) joined my practice and since 2002 as our practice expanded we have been pleased to work with very talented associates.

In addition to my private practice, I have worked with The Centre for Children and Families in the Justice System, Madame Vanier Children’s Services, the Child and Parent Resource Institute as well as the Prison for Women in Kingston. I have co-authored a treatment manual for Conduct Disorder and resource manuals for individuals working with Child Witnesses. I have provided consultation and supervision services to local treatment agencies as well as supervision of psychologists entering the profession. I have also conducted workshops and training seminars on a variety of topics including trauma, domestic violence, anger management, stress management and Conduct Disorder.

My primary interest is providing treatment services. My approach could best be described as integrated. I use a client centered approach which is informed by cognitive behavioural and psychodynamic theory. I make use of techniques associated with experiential and mindfulness approaches. With young clients I use play and art therapy techniques to facilitate expression.

I see clients who experience difficulties with depression, stress, anxiety, intimate relationships and parenting. I work with many individuals who are dealing with traumatic experiences ranging from accidents to child abuse. I provide couples counselling and I work with families undergoing separation and divorce. I provide treatment to children and adolescents dealing with anxiety, depression, trauma, and social/peer issues.

jeffmckillop

Dr. Jeff McKillop

I completed my PhD in clinical psychology at Queen’s University. In 1993, I moved to London Ontario for my residency at University Hospital. Following residency, I was fortunate to join the practice of Dr. Michael MacDonald. In 1999, I was doubly-fortunate to join the practice of Dr. Karen Scarth.

I have worked for the St. Thomas-Elgin Association of Community Living, Queen’s Counselling Services, Lennox-Addington Addiction Services, St. Joseph’s Health Centre, and the Homeless Outreach Clinic at the London InterCommunity Health Centre. I have served on the Board at Changing Ways, the London InterCommunity Health Centre, and the London Regional Psychological Association.

My approach to treatment is strongly influenced by client-centered theory, attachment theory, and existential theory. Most of the people that I help are experiencing distress due to past, current, or pending loss. I try to help people identify their strengths and then use those strengths to gain resilience when coping with challenges. I believe our capacity to withstand and rise above is enhanced through choice, responsibility, and support from those we love.

wendylewis

Wendy Lewis MA

I completed my Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology in 2000. Prior to graduating with my M.A., I also completed my Ph.D. course work, published a number of articles, and received scholarships and grants to support my research. I have a broad range of experience and interests which include pain management, rehabilitation psychology, forensic psychology, and the psychology of human sexuality. During the past ten years, much of my clinical work has involved helping individuals and their families recover from the loss associated with injury, chronic pain, and accident-related trauma. I also have experience in conducting psychovocational and medical-legal assessments.

My clinical orientation to intervention is primarily cognitive behavioural, informed by mindfulness, with a healthy dose of humour. I see my role as that of therapist-coach. I am currently developing and expanding my clinical practice to include working with children, adolescents, families, and couples. Outside of work, I maintain (with the occasional lapse…) my own meditation practice and, since 2008, I have been volunteering annually at a youth leadership program at a yoga retreat in Northern Michigan.

tatianamurkin

Tatiana Murkin MA

My doctoral training in Clinical Psychology and Health Sciences has prepared me for working with individuals experiencing crisis, providing individual and group psychotherapy, and facilitating personal, professional and academic development. Having completed a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology, as well as all pre-dissertation requirements for a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology at the Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago, I began a Ph.D in Health Promotion at Western University, where I am currently studying resilience within individuals exposed to trauma. I am registered as a Psychological Associate with the College of Psychologists of Ontario.

Guided by insight-oriented therapy, cognitive behavioural principles, and mindfulness practice, I work with adults experiencing depression, anxiety, panic, trauma, grief, anger, irritability and impulsivity. I am also interested in working with individuals focusing on stress management/burnout prevention, academic success, self-esteem enhancement, interpersonal effectiveness and mindful living. I am experienced in conducting group psychotherapy for anxiety, stress, performance enhancement, emotion regulation and distress tolerance. I also offer psycho-educational seminars on a variety of topics related to mental health and personal success.

I believe that physical and mental health are interconnected and therefore take a holistic approach to helping people access health-promoting resources within themselves, their families, their work environments and their communities. In both individual and group contexts, I support my clients while they navigate a path toward health.