Our Principles and Philosophy
Our mission statement is simple: Improving the mental health and wellness of our clients. We do not operate by the biomedical model; we operate by the biopsychosocial model.
We are an independent organization and it is important to us to maintain an objective stance. The terms of our treatment programs are the same for everyone. We are not affiliated with any organizations, and we receive no private or government funding or grants from outside entities. We do not favour any one referral source over another. We accept referrals from all professionals and organizations equally.
We are concerned about having our practice strongly grounded in empirically supported therapies (supported by science). Our group therapy, relaxation/yoga, aerobic/physical, etc. are theoretically grounded in sound principles and accepted standards.
Privacy and confidentiality is very important to us. We do not release any information, unless the client provides us direct written permission. We create an environment of comfort and safety.
Our primary aim is to focus on your treatment.
Through our organization, you are assured that any individual you work with is properly certified/licensed in their profession.
We strongly believe that psychological treatment/therapy alone is not the key. Research shows that therapy combined with relaxation/calming and physical exercise is the best chance of recovering from many mental health problems. For real change to take place, we believe that practical/active components are required to augment therapy.
Therefore, our Group therapy (psychological component) is accompanied by two additional aspects and this is a requirement of all of our participants. These two additional components are:
- Relaxation activity (yoga)
- Physical activity (fitness)
Group therapy alone is great. But we know that therapy paired with improved management over the autonomic nervous system and physical exercise, particularly aerobic activity, is even greater. In addition to attending weekly group therapy for eight weeks, clients must attend two weekly yoga/relaxation/breathing classes and two days in a physical activity component. This will be with physical training and yoga instructors (our teams have specialized knowledge in group work and mental health).
By adding a regular schedule of yoga/guided breathing to your week, and physical exercise, you will have the best chance of improving your life functioning. If you also improve your nutrition, you will be giving yourself the best chance to improve in terms of your mental health. This is what science and research have taught us to this point.
The process is simple; for meaningful change to happen you have to address various aspects of functioning, not just one area (thus the biopsychosocial model). However one has to put in the work. You have to be ready to make a commitment to yourself and your health, both physical and mental. Think of it as a 6 or 8 week mental health treatment program.
Stressful situations make the sympathetic nervous system fire, causing increased heart rate, breathing changes, muscle tension, sweating, etc. Pairing of the physiological response with negative cognitions often leads people to experience anxiety and panic attacks, and over the long run, feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and helplessness. The human experience can be improved through guidance and commitment to self-improvement; endless cycles of emotional deterioration are not necessary.
For example a "panic attack" is simply the sympathetic nervous system flooding the body with hormonal and physiological changes - as if the person were in an actual emergency situation where "fight or flight" is immediately required. But the person usually has nothing to physically fight or escape from and they simply do nothing and their body absorbs that huge influx of biochemicals and energy that was meant for the fight or the flight. This is why for the last 50 years a major message from scientists and clinicians has been that "stress kills." It won't kill you overnight, but it will decrease the quality of your life by directly deteriorating mental and physical functioning.
But through regular relaxation practices, a physical/exercise routine (and nutrition knowledge), and of course weekly group therapy, decreasing suffering and increasing success is possible.
At the end of the day if you are unable to regulate your body and thoughts, which means not managing the firing of the sympathetic nervous system (stress system), a downward spiral inevitably maintains mental illness in one form or another.
If you have anxiety or depression, just like a person with diabetes needs to use insulin to manage sugar levels, you must use relaxation strategies (i.e. yoga, deep breathing) and exercise regularly to manage your stress levels. Not just lip service, but actual time devoted to learning how to regulate your body. It is not rocket science, and it is an easy skill to gain in a couple of months, as you continue doing it into the future.
Mastering control over your body, you will be able to de-escalate your emotions and learn how to maintain the body in a calm homeostatic balance, which allows cognitive functioning to normalize. If you correct your thinking and approach to life at the same time, this is how change happens.
Calm body = Calm mind (and vice versa). We address both aspects.
Sleep problems plague humanity in a significant way. Weekly therapy, increased physical activity, and regular relaxation practice will provide a corrective feature in your life on various levels.
We believe that extremism of most kinds is unhealthy. We promote an environment of equality, openness, logic and rationality, curiosity, creativity, and kindness. Our programs are for anyone eligible. We strive to create a welcoming compassionate environment.