Basic Human Needs

Family and Relationship Counselling
Anne rose early every morning to make breakfast and lunch for her family, get the kids ready and off to school and then worked for eight hours as a customer service representative. After work she raced to pick up her kids at daycare and take them to soccer practice, swimming or karate. They ate in the car on the way there. During practice Anne rushed to do errands. Typically the family arrived home after 8:30 when she had to do laundry and get ready for the next day. On the weekends Anne took her mother shopping, sewed for extra money and tried to spend some time with her family.

Anne was having a hard time getting up, was feeling depressed and she and her husband were fighting a lot.

Jeremy worked for a large corporation and since it took over his old company the work pressures and targets had mounted significantly. He felt under pressure to perform, went in early, stayed late and was constantly on his phone or computer not wanting to miss opportunities for a sale. His partner felt like he was never present even when he was there. He started having chest pains and back aches. As this continued he realized he was getting increasingly short tempered and overly angry with his family.

When life pressures dictate unsustainable patters we fail to meet our own basic needs. The absence of our basic human needs very often results in emotional and physical symptoms.
Allow me to help you learn how to understand and meet your own needs so that you can enjoy a fulfilled life including positive relationships.

If you feel like you are not meeting your own needs, contact Jill.

Technology vs Emotional Connection

It is no secret that technology is impacting our lives at rapid speed. In many ways technology is making your life easier but in some areas it is shifting the quality of our experience resulting in a  palpable disconnection.

How many times of you seen people out to dinner where one or the other is on their phone?

The other day I drove past a mom , two young children on bikes laughing and their dad was walking and was on his phone.  He was physically present for a valuable family experience yet he was completely disconnected from what was going on.

When we look into someone’s eyes and focus on them while talking, we signal to them that they matter, you are important and valuable to me is the message we convey.  Unfortunately the allure of technology seems to shrinking the positive connecting experiences that people, family, friends, partners are having.

If you are a parent please consider that your child’s sense of value and worth is developing right now.  That sense of self that they are developing will be with them for a lifetime.  When you interact with them take time to focus on engaging with them and put down your devices.

For a husband or wife, give your partner time at the beginning, middle or end of them day when you focus on them for a conversation, a walk or another activity that is free of technology.

For a friend if you are meeting up, turn off your phone and enjoy being present in the experience of your friends.

Relationships grown stronger when we signal that we are engaged and interested, and they shrink when people are made to feel unimportant.


What is the magical ingredient that keeps people moving forward when their circumstances appears bleak? The answer is hope. Hope is the spark that ignites resilience in people. Whether they are struggling with a physical, emotional or spiritual challenge, the essence of hope keeps them moving forward.

I have seen these situations played out time and time again with clients who live with painful chronic conditions, serious family challenges and situations that have tested their faith. When they could easily have drifted down the easy path to depression, despair and helplessness, they instead chose a path of courage, hard work and discovery. Their hope is like a beacon that very often enables them to turn their situations around and create remarkable lives.

If you are struggling to find that spark, persevere and connect with someone like me, who will never give up encouraging you and working with you to discover the next possibility.

Childhood shyness can lead to anxiety

Child Shyness

Recent studies have uncovered a link between childhood shyness and anxiety later in life .

These findings highlight the importance of helping our children increase their sense of self, understand their world of feelings and gain knowledge and experience managing their worry.

If you notice your child shying away from social activities like play dates or birthday parties, isolating themselves and other changes in their normal behaviour, they need help. Introduce them to a counsellor like myself who is trained in cognitive (conscious thinking mind) and mind/body ( subconscious feeling mind) techniques. Helping your child overcome their shyness can prevent them from suffering from future anxiety.

Do you struggle with going to sleep or staying asleep?

It’s approaching bedtime and you are starting to get nervous, worrying if you are going to be able to get to sleep. You check your phone for messages and a few last emails, finish watching the news and then get into bed. Your mind is racing and you are thinking about all of the important things that you have to do tomorrow and you need to be able to think. Throughout the night you keep looking at your clock counting the hours of sleep you can get if only you fall asleep now! In the morning you are tired, cranky and feeling less than resilient.

Does this sound like you?

A good night sleep I essential for allowing both your body and your mind to heal. Lack of sleep is correlated to decreased immunity, mood issues, poor concentration and relationship challenges.

Depriving humans of sleep is often used as an interrogation technique, a means of torture and “brainwashing”. It is very difficult to feel sharp, oriented and capable when you just want to cry because you are so exhausted.

After a short time of being in this cycle, not sleeping and the expectation of not sleeping can actually become a habit formed through repetition.

Through a combination of sleep hygiene, cognitive and mind body work we can release the pattern that has kept you awake and relearn a healthy process of going to sleep and sleeping well.

Random Acts of Kindness are Priceless

I recently broke a bone in my foot and have been on crutches. It has been an incredible opportunity to feel the kindness of others.  A young lady in the middle of a transaction at a cash machine stopped what she was doing to open the door for me.  How wonderful it felt to know there was such a kind person out there. Rather than  being “plugged in”, she was aware of the difficulty I was having opening the door and put her business aside to help me out.

Today I decided to put on my backpack and crutch to the mailbox for exercise when a woman I have never met pulled over to ask me if I needed a ride somewhere.  She explained a few years ago she had been in a similar situation and knew how hard it was.  That situation created empathy-she understood my experience and wanted to help.

Multiple people I have never met approach me in the grocery store to ask what happened and to share their own story, often ending with advice to look after my foot better than they did as it still affects them today.  A commonality created an opening for them to approach a stranger and give support.

I know after each of these encounters how happy and at peace I felt. It will encourage me to continue to do the same with others.

Imagine how many lives you can touch in a positive way just by taking the time to reach out.


Take Charge of Your Emotional Eating

Eating in response to uncomfortable emotions seems like an out of control roller coaster.  You keep telling yourself that this time it is going to be different!  You find yourself  triggered by a person or an event which leads to binge eating.  This pattern continues with emotional pressure building up, binging and then  feeling remorse or guilt.  Over time, this unhealthy pattern takes a huge chunk out of your self esteem. It feels like there is no way out….but there is a way.

Understanding the connection between your conscious, thinking mind and subconscious, feeling mind is the answer.  Our conscious thoughts can ignite  uncomfortable feelings that lead to out of control eating.  Also our subconscious feelings influence our thoughts that lead to out of control eating.

Change happens when you are able to tune in and refocus your conscious, thinking mind, become fluent in your body’s language, allowing you to fulfill your emotional needs, and engage both the conscious, thinking world and subconscious, feeling world in cooperation to change the pattern.

Learning to understand our needs emotionally, consciously and subconsciously, allows us to “rewire” the old habit, resulting in a sense of calm control and choice.


How to Help Create Confident Happy People

In my practice I see a wide variety of clients from many backgrounds facing different challenges, yet when they speak about their pain, it is often expressed in a similar way.

I repeatedly hear people sharing that when they were children, they were made to feel small, unimportant and not good enough.  Those painful feelings often carry over into adulthood.

I have heard these expressions of painful memories enough times to realize it is not a coincidence.

It is human nature to notice negative behaviours or situations, leading us to criticize or reprimand. It requires effort to refrain from making a negative comment and to consciously choose to express something positive, but the very act and intention of making that effort is what helps to encourage children to be confident and whole people.

This can also apply to the way you interact with friends, co-workers/employees, partners, family, and even pets.

So the next time you notice something that bothers you, take a deep breath and move on until you are able to find and express the positive.


Top 6 Tips for Stress Free Family Gatherings

Holiday gatherings can be a very stressful time when unresolved family dynamics are in the mix.  Physical and emotional distance often seem to smooth out unpleasant family relationships, yet when you get together all the “old stuff” comes back.  Rather than letting family issues ruin your holidays, follow these simple tips.

  1. Holidays are not the time to work through old hurts. Decide what you are hoping to accomplish, for example, getting through a pleasant dinner without feeling tense. That might require steering away from patterns that trigger tension. Stick to this plan.
  2. Accept your family for who they are without expecting them to be different.  Unrealistic expectations are disappointing.  You might be working through your “stuff”, but others might not be.
  3. Limit your intake of alcohol to ensure you are able to stick to your plan.  Overindulging in alcohol has a way of bringing intense emotions to the surface.
  4. Enjoy the moments that are pleasant and let everything else go.
  5. Have a positive mantra you repeat to yourself before and throughout the event to keep you on track. For example, I feel great about myself.  I am making wonderful changes.  Focus on the positive things in your life.
  6. Stick to the present, enjoying each moment as it comes, rather than dragging up past incidents or worrying about the future.

If you believe your family situation is so unpleasant that it will compromise your well-being it is perfectly ok to let your family know that this year you will be unavailable.

Go into the event with a positive mind and energy, understanding that you can choose how to manage yourself in any situation.

Weight Management During the Holidays



Holidays can be a stressful time of year as far as weight is concerned.  However, there are many practical steps you can take to make sure that you enjoy the holidays and stay healthy.    If you have been wanting to lose weight but have not yet committed to doing things differently or if you have been making a serious effort to feed your body healthy food, follow these guidelines for simple suggestions.

1.  When you attend a party focus on enjoying the people or the event as the main attraction rather than the food.  Try to learn at least one thing you did not know each person you talk to and you will keep your mind engaged.

2. The idea of “skipping” meals so that you can eat later is really not effective.  Make sure you eat regularly spaced meals throughout the day rather than waiting for food at the party.  That way you can ensure you are eating healthy proportioned meals and can add in one or two extras at the party.  Going to an event already fed allows you to be choosy about what you select.

3. Have a mental picture of what you would like to eat at a party even if it includes something salty, fatty or sweet.  Give yourself permission to eat that special treat, taking your time to choose it, taste it and enjoy it.

4. Alcohol always makes it more challenging to stick to your mental plan so limit your consumption by simply having a glass of water for every drink you have, choosing a wine spritzer or a light beer.

5. Continue to exercise throughout the party season. Adding a nice walk before or after an event, going to a yoga class or riding your bike feels good, burns calories and lifts your mood.

Following these practical solutions will go a long way towards making your holiday season empowering and enjoyable.