Managing "Screen Time"

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Thirty years ago, experts were concerned about the amount of television children were watching. These days, the concern is not just television, but all “screen time.” This includes video games, tablets, computers, cell phones and other devices. A recent survey shows that Canadian preteens average six to seven hours of screen time a day. That does leave much time for other things that growing children need to do, like playing outdoors, reading books and interacting with people face to face.

Reducing children’s screen time is a challenge, but it pays off. Less screen time is linked to better behavior, better school achievement, more physical activity and less risk of being overweight. Consider whether any of these strategies will work for your family:

  • Set Restrictions on your children’s screen time. Even if you can’t meet the two hours a day some experts recommend, research shows that children whose parents set some limits have less screen time than children whose parents set no limits.
  • Have screen less meals. Kids (and adults) don’t really need to be answering texts, checking Facebook or watching TV at the dinner table. Why not make mealtime family time?
  • Set a good example. Don’t text or watch TV during meals or while you are playing with your kids.
  • Trade it. Consider having children earn screen time by doing more desirable activities, such as playing outside, playing with friends, reading, or exercising.
  • Take TV out of the bedroom. Children who have TVs in their bedrooms log more time on TV and video games.
  • Put cell phones away at night. When preteens and teens take their cell phones to bed, they get less sleep as a result. Make it your family policy to park (or charge) cell phones at night.
  • Offer fun alternatives to screen time. Children enjoy physical activity and playing with friends. But sometimes they need adult help to think of fun things to do or to make them possible.
  • Trade it. Consider having children earn screen time by doing more desirable activities, such as playing outside, playing with friends, reading, or exercising.

Many parents share experts’ concern about the type of material children today are exposed to. Young children don’t have the ability to understand and process the violent, frightening or sexualized content of some television programs, videos and films.

  • Make it clear to your children what types of media content is acceptable. Make use of parental controls if necessary. This will reduce your child’s exposure to inappropriate content.
  • Watch with your children. Talking to children about troubling media content can reduce it negative impact.

REMEMBER that children need lots of face-to-face interaction in order to develop social skills, emotional skills and thinking skills. Screens should not take priority over face-to-face activities

Power of Intention

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Goals + Intention + Imagination + Action = Success

Life Changes Need Deliberate Intention, Attention and
Commitment to make the CHANGES you Want

Where to begin??? First step is to embrace the idea of making changes! BE EXCITED and proud of yourself for taking these steps. So many goals and “wish lists” are dragged down by lack of energy or knowing the “how” to get there…Whether it be about a dream job, health, fitness, financial, relationships or even simply de-cluttering your home, it can be a challenge to take the right steps towards success. Setting the goals themselves are often the easiest part (just like New Year’s Resolutions)…but then what???

I have come to believe that a very specific action plan is needed to meet the goals we set. The initial process itself of setting the goals, is a great step, but, then needs the SECOND step. Wayne Dyer speaks to the “Power of Intention” as does Noah St. John in his book “The Book of Afformations”, which emphasizes the importance of establishing a clear and deliberate INTENTION. We need an action plan since, simply, good intentions are not enough.

I like the analogy of setting a destination point (an intention), much like a GPS – once the targeted destination point is set, then the directions on “how to get there” are provided, along with several options of routes so that you can choose the one you prefer. There are many ways to climb a mountain and each of us has our own unique path. And we need to have a great deal of focus, humor, and enthusiasm along this road trip.

For example, my INTENTION – my long term vision for my near future – may be to find time to focus on my physical and emotional health; creating better balance between work, home, and personal time. Then, I create a statement that reflects my intention, such as “I want to live my life with peaceful balance and energized health allowing me to be happier and more “game-on”.

Next step, utilize the art of envisioning and imagination. As I IMAGINE what this would “look” like, “feel” like and allow yourself to absorb the peacefulness and joy to be experienced when this INTENTION is fulfilled. Then a sense of commitment and passion and motivation is 

evoked. Imagery is extremely powerful! World leaders, Olympic athletes, poets, artists, etc.…all speak to the power of imagining the success and focusing on the vision in order to make it all come true. Creating daily quiet times or meditation to visualize and deeply feel your INTENTION as though it is already your reality is the foundation towards the second step, setting goals.

Once again, with INTENTION, set target dates – book the first three goals into your Smart Phone or Outlook Schedule with either a specific appointment or a “check-in” date to assess the lay of the land with that particular goal. Otherwise, goals become “lovely ideas and thoughts” that never transpire – just as we would not cancel an important work meeting or our kids’ dentist appointments, we make the promise and commitment to ourselves to treat our intentions and goals as top priority.

Often there are stumbling blocks that then may need to be assessed and perhaps different goals will become the focus. In my experience, there are usually very good reasons our intentions and goals do not move to fruition….most of us are not lazy (well, sometimes I am) We need to identify the barriers – what is getting in the way?

For example, one of the barriers in the example used in this article, is time. With the hours worked and the hours required by important family obligations, how am I going to find the time to follow through with the goals? Perhaps, I may need to reassess my goals: Set the doctor’s appointment for the earliest appointment possible, start taking multi-vitamins and a short ten minute walk to give me a boost of energy to eventually target the bigger goals….the key is to not give up! Work through the barriers and problem solve; being creative and resist the “all or nothing” thinking that sometimes gets in the way.

I suggest to keep setting target dates to “check-in” how you are doing on your MapQuest and adjust the GPS if need be…Also setting small realistic goals that set the stage for success.

What is MY MAPQUEST? For example, what goals do I need to set in order to “live my life with peaceful balance and energized health allowing me to be happier and ‘game-on’.

1. Make a doctor’s appointment for the long overdue check-up
2. Complete health questionnaires about whether I am eating and sleeping properly
3. Develop a list of my favorite de-stressors – massage, Reiki, naturopathy
4. Who is a great friend I have not seen in a long time! Book dates with family and friends.
5. Create a list of what gives me a sense of “peace”
6. What in the past has fueled my energy?
7. What in the past has helped me feel “game on”
8. What makes me laugh? Who makes me laugh? Be sure to include humour in our lives.

“Laughter is the Spiritual Glue to our Sanity”

The goal list could go on and on for me and I would suggest that, whatever your INTENTION may be, to allow the list to grow to its fullest capacity – without judgement or doubt, write it down! Take the list and prioritize it with number one being the most important first step, to number two being the second most important step, etc.

Goals + Intention + Imagination + Action = Success

Let’s Make 2018 More FUN!
You CAN Do It! :)

Sherry Campbell M.A. RP RSW ®
Professional Speaker and Workshop Presenter & Registered Psychotherapist

You Have the Power- How to Embrace Change

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How can we positivity embrace change and make the best of the process?

Changes in our lives are certainly inevitable; whether it is getting married, having children, moving homes, changing careers, getting older, a health situation or an economic situation. Some changes are perceived as positive and others are perceived as negative. However, the bottom line is that for most of us, the mere idea of change makes us feel stressed and uncomfortable.

In my office, clients often report feeling anxious and frightened and don’t know how to prepare, accept or deal with the changes needed in their lives. From psychology perspective, this is a very normal reactions! It has been proven in research that the concept of change usually triggers a sense of loss of control and uncertainty- basically fear. This, therefore, will trigger the primal response to stress of fight or flight which subsequently may lead to some unnecessary and unhealthy reactions and decisions as we avoid dealing with the inevitable.

Why do some people resist change?

1. Even positive changes, move us into new and unknown territory and it is easier, though not as exciting, to stay within our comfort zone

2. A perceived loss of control of the situation which threatens our sense of autonomy and may trigger feelings of unease and malaise.

3. A belief that the change may be painful

4. Concern that we are not ready for the change or that we do not have ability to deal with it or competently hand it- lack of belief in self.

5. Sometimes people just simply don’t want the change! They may feel frustrated and angry that they are forced to deal with a change they didn’t desire or “sign up for.”

Understandable… so how can we positively embrace change and make the best of the process? First of all, we need to remind ourselves from past experience that after the process of change, usually positive outcomes are yielded. Also, embrace change! I often recommend to my clients that when there is a “pink elephant” in the room- jump on it, take control and deal with the situation directly. Change is necessary for growth and renewal: imagine our lives without any change. So, let’s find ways to embrace it and not fear or avoid it.

1. Control the change rather than have it control you! Take charge- you can control how you react to the changes in front of you and you can deliberately and intentionally steer the process. As the old saying goes, “be part of the solution instead of the problem.” This will provide you with a sense of direction and will ease feelings of discomfort

2. Be positive- remind yourself of the possible positive outcomes of the change in front of you, which sometimes may be challenging when dealing with difficult or sad changes…but, again if it is happening with or without cooperation, then positively embrace the situation and develop strategies to make that happen.

Resiliency in the Workplace

What is Resiliency? Bottom line, it is your fine-tuned capacity to recover from difficult situations (and people) in your life. Resilience is a tendency to be buoyant, recoil, and spring back. If you are resilient you can withstand adversity and personal challenge and are able to rejuvenate, benefit from the lessons learned and renew yourself.

Many of my clients describe the struggles of dealing with difficult people and problems in the workplace and though there isn’t a single “magic dust” answer, building on your Resiliency Skills is Career Saving Wisdom. A major problem today is juggling time, energy, and priorities into balance between home, social life, and work life. When we are “game-on” we are better able to navigate through the punches life may throw at us. We truly are living in the age of adversity.

The good news is that YOU have the power to choose how you react! There will always be so many legitimate sources of irritation and annoyances; anyone or anything can ruin a moment, only YOU can ruin the day. The three principles of Resiliency include:

1. Finding a Way Through

2. Choosing Your Personal Response

3. Noticing Your Thoughts

Think of it as a means of developing some immunity to the inevitable, unnecessary and avoidable distress of life. “Stuff” (for the lack of a better word) happens – we all have had a bad day and we will again! We need to be adaptive, less reactive, and prioritize what really matters for the sake of our health and happiness. “You cannot go through life, without life going through you” and “You cannot go through this work, without this work going through you”. It is far better to develop the wisdom to handle life’s problems than to hope you never have any.

“The Most Common Way People Give up their Power is by Thinking they don’t have Any” ~ Alice Walker

We need to foster and encourage work-life balance. We know that we can’t do the work that we do each day, developing and maintaining a healthy community, without developing a balanced lifestyle that will keep us well. It’s that simple.

Take care,

Sherry Campbell M.A. RP RSW OACCPP ®

How is Your Job Affecting Your Health? How to Dodge the Risk of Secondary Stress Reactions?

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After a recent workshop I provided, I was reminded of the importance of recognizing the toll our jobs may take on own personal and physical well-being. In our best efforts to help others, sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves. Self-Care is no longer considered a privilege, it is, bottom line, a necessity.

The vast majority of our jobs involve dealing with PEOPLE…. And let’s face it; this in itself can be a challenge. We all have good days, bad days, so-so” days and, in dealing with difficult people, sometimes we are one of them! Maintaining the busy schedule most of us live leads to irritability and being easily bothered. Utilizing our resiliency tools and implementing emotion regulation skills is essential in effectively communicating and problem solving with people and situations.

There are the more obvious sources of stress and negativity in our lives that are more easily identified; however, the less obvious influences are the secondary stress we can unconsciously absorb as a result of our jobs. Research has proven that our mind and physical functioning can be compromised by constantly dealing with other people’s traumatic experiences and events. It is difficult to separate other peoples’ stresses and worries from our own lives; creating self-awareness and boundaries will make a significant difference.

In my Workshop “What is Secondary Traumatic Stress?, Tips and Tools to Dodge the Hazards” discusses issues on a deeper level. “Secondary traumatic stress is the emotional duress that results when an individual hears about the first-hand trauma experiences of another. Its symptoms mimic those of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)” (The National Child Stress Network). We cannot provide trauma work without some of it impacting our own psyche. Many workers experience low energy, nightmares, headaches, anxiety, fears, social withdrawal as a direct result of re-experiencing the traumas of others in our own minds.

Education regarding self-awareness is the first step towards dodging the hazards that come along in careers that help others. Learning how to effectively and consciously recognize the impact of secondary trauma is the next step. Developing concrete strategies in the workplace (case management and de-briefing as a couple of examples) can make a significant difference in all of our overall wellbeing.

Ensuring our own health and welfare allows all of us to continue to provide the valuable and appreciated work provided. Helping others is an incredibly rewarding and imperative service and taking care of YOU allows the opportunity to continue making remarkable differences in the lives of others.

Sherry Campbell M.A. RSW OACCPP ®

Cell Phone Craze! Not Healthy!


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Don’t get me wrong! I embrace and enjoy all the aspects of technology and use them gratefully each and every day. However, cell phones have become our oxygen tanks! They are attached to most of our hips; at the kitchen table, at work, while watching a movie, in the bedroom, in the bathroom, in the car…. And the list goes on.

One of the most frequently requested workshop topics is “Effective Communication”. Other popular workshop topics include “How to Deal with Different Personalities”, “Personal Resiliency During Challenging Times”, and “Raising Resilient Children”. The underlying theme inside all of these topics highlights the importance of being “present”. As Eckhart Tolle says, “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life”.

Communicating face-to-face, observing body language, and ACTIVE listening. When you are truly listening to someone it shows that person respect. In healthy relationships, both at home and work, clarifying is so important. In my experience, most conflicts arise from misinterpretation of what is actually being expressed. Also, HOW the words are expressed – is it calm and timely? And cell phone communication breaks both these essential ingredients! We assume tone and misinterpret intentions - we are hiding behind technology to deal with the problems we fear dealing with in person.

Even if we are merely enjoying the social media on our cell phones, how does this make the other people you are with feel? What is the message? Are relationships a priority? In my clinical practice, which includes marital and family counselling, communication issues and problem-solving skills are usually the heart of the matter. We are losing the opportunities to connect with each other in meaningful ways.

The number one source of happiness (happiness research proven!) is the

Quality of our Relationships. Turning of cell phones, laptops, iPad and TV will improve the quality of our Relationships. This reminds me of the winter nights when the power has gone out due to a storm, and we are forced to pull out the candles and board games. So much fun and laughs. Feeling connected to our friends and family improves our emotional and physical well-being; shared experiences brings moments of joy. Laughter is the Glue of Sanity.

Cell phones have become a habit and I too have been guilty of carrying it around with me and checking for the darn flashing lights! Let’s try to break this obsession together! Keep me posted on how you are doing too!

Yesterday is History, Tomorrow is a Mystery, Today is a Gift, that’s why it’s called the Present.

Ontario Music Therapy Academy & Sherry Campbell Group

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Music Therapy and Psychotherapy Connection: Resources for Professionals

On September 16th, I had the great pleasure of presenting with Rachael Finnerty at the YWCA on Elm Street, Toronto and it was such a delight!  I considered myself fairly well educated about the benefits of Music Therapy, yet, Rachael’s knowledge and clinical examples have gained me an even deeper value and appreciation of the therapeutic value of music.

When we think about music, it makes sense, right?  We all have favourite songs!  Songs that have special meaning. There are also songs across the timelines of our life that ignite memories and emotions.  I vividly recall my Mom listening to “Cher” on the, yes, I am giving my age away, record player!!  Also, I recall my grandparents listening to Bing Crosby and Bob Hope.  Sharon, Lois and Bram for sure bring back memories of my children as they were little ones then and the list goes on.  Music evokes emotion and heals; it wakes up the soul.

Rachael and I presented in tandem; I talked about psychotherapy techniques and reviewed the Psychotherapy Act, 2007 and collectively we had an educational discussion around the parameters of working within our scope of expertise.  The participants were exceptionally skilled and eager and energetically contributed their thoughts into the activities of the workshop. 

Basic concepts of Freud and Jung were reviewed and in keeping with the exercises of Free Association, Rachael facilitated the lyric writing of our own “group” song!  It’s all about bringing the unconscious to the conscious and moving forward again towards optimal well-being; overcoming issues and feelings that “get in the way” of being present in life.

Examples of how working with children, cancer patients, elderly, trauma victims, mental health issues demonstrated the value of a holistic approach; both ‘talking” therapy and “music” therapy offer incredible treatment results and value.  It was such an incredible honour to be part of this workshop!

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Ninth Anniversary

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Thank You so very much for all the congrats received on the 9th year anniversary of the Sherry Campbell Group. I was just talking with family and friends this past weekend on the interesting journey of becoming an entrepreneur. After leaving the Niagara Health System, I initially had the natural trepidation and thoughts of “oh wow, I actually am doing this!” Thrilled to add, it was the best decision I ever made. Bottom line, trying not to be corny, but, following your dream is truly the path I continue to honour and reinforce in my work as a counsellor and professional speaker.

Many years prior to opening my own business, I had always planned on creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere to create the best therapeutic setting. How fortunate am I to have an office on Pleasant Avenue in beautiful Ridgeway, Ontario? Services are provided for individuals, families, couples, children, and adolescents who are requesting therapy and support regarding a wide variety of issues; personal, mental health, relationship, and personal growth.

Our clinical team continues to grow as we expand our services and I am so grateful to Jen Drury, our most recent addition to the team. She provides counselling services and is at our office two days per week; she is very skilled and relates well to clients. Don Campbell continues to counsel every Thursday and offers a wealth of many years of experience and knowledge; he has been on the team since the beginning! Cassandra Martin is our new Executive Assistant - the voice of the Sherry Campbell Group and her warm and supportive style is valued and appreciated by our clients and, of course, myself. Cassandra is also efficient and skilled in working with the bookings of workshops and keynote presentations and welcomes any questions and inquiries. 

As my intention had always been to expand our services into professional speaking engagements and workshops, Kyle Campbell joined our team as our Corporate Director three years ago. Kyle manages all of the corporate opportunities and is the key lead on communicating and planning with our presentation services. He also leads all marketing plans and owns a vast amount of incredible vision and knowledge. Another excellent team member.

As the company has developed over the past 9 years, so have I. The experiences I have gained through my clinical studies, along with my passion for mental health awareness and Resiliency lead to me extending my presence into the Professional Keynote Motivational Speaking role. I have had the pleasure of presenting all across Canada and also to our neighbours in the United States. Acknowledging that our youth of today will be our leaders of tomorrow I provide a key note presentation called “Raising Resilient Children”. I have since been to numerous schools every year in Ontario delivering this presentation and must say that I am joyed and overwhelmed with the positive feedback from not only the parents but also the children.

As hoped, the topic of resiliency has sparked interest in the corporate world and we have since created a corporate workshop series, called “Developing a resilient culture” that is presented to our business cliental and is continuously growing. One of our more popular presentation topics by organizations is “Resiliency and Mental Health in the Workplace” but also consists of 15 other workshops along with tailored options for certain events. For example, “Effective Communication & Conflict Management, “How to Deliver Bad News in Sales”, and “How to Sharpen your Intuitive Edge in the Workplace”, just to mention a few.

I am also extremely proud and honoured to have joined Dick O’Brien on his “The Resilient Journey” which covers many topics including “Personal Resiliency in Challenging Times”, “The Balancing Act: Balancing Your Home and Work Life”, “In the Fog of Change” and “Creating a Resilient Workplace” and many more.

Hopefully I have not bored you too much with my quick reflection of the Sherry Campbell Group but please do stay tuned as our marketing team is currently revamping our website and we continue creating greater workshop material for all of you! Lastly, I want to take a minute to thank each and every one of you. The positive feedback, referrals and encouragement do not go unnoticed and I wouldn’t be here without your support!

Here’s to many more great years, Cheers, Sherry

Toronto Seminars


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In Toronto for two days (September 18 & 19th) attending Learning Edge Seminar’s workshop by Dr. Norman Doidge, MD, FRCPC. Discussing “The Brain’s Way of Healing”, Clinical Applications of Neuroplasticity”.  So, I have completed the first day and all I can say is, “wow!”; so much knowledge and information. You may recall his well recognized and respected book, “The Brain’s Way of Healing” and he talked today also about the additional research, to date.

Dr. Norman Doidge talked about the brain’s Neuroplasticity, which describes the brain’s ability to adapt and re-wire throughout our whole lives; cradle to grave.  Radical improvements are possible in the cognitive functioning and re-routing.  Numerous studies were discussed and the future of so many brain disorder treatment is encouraging.  Not only were positive results demonstrated with Alzheimer’s and MS, but also mental disorders, such as Bipolar Disorder and Depression.  The brain heals when challenged!

The research on the benefits of cardio and strength training has consistently sent the same message.  Yet, the presentation today takes this information to a new level. With MS patients, they were taught “conscious walking”; heel to toe and specific thinking strategies which dramatically reversed the symptoms.  On one video, the patient went from very difficult walking and control to almost a skip; truly amazing and encouraging.

The difficult part with depression is that motivation is often at it’s lowest and even 10 minutes can be a challenge.  Though, other contributing variables were noted, which I will list below, the power of physical movement and conscious changes show that the brain can be re-trained towards positive outcomes.  Please know, I am not judging, I too find it so hard to push myself to go for walks and eat healthy; but, I have to say, the news of this workshop has motivated even me – it’s a journey but let start together.

To keep our brains healthy, active, and healing, this mornings take-aways from Dr. Doidge included:

  • Exercise 30-40 minutes, within the heart rate zone, 6 days per week
  • Add at least one day per week of weights
  • Filtered H20
  • Diet:  no wheat/gluten, dairy, sugar (very limited), no food you are sensitive to
  • Brain activating and stimulating hobbies, exercises – challenge the brain in new and different ways
  • Go for heavy metal and toxin assessment – Read Pizzomo’s The Toxin Solution
  • Vitamins B12, B2, C, D3

Apparently, only one glass of wine is recommended as well (☹) …….

Having said that, most importantly, challenge your mind, body and soul!!  We Can Re-Train the Brain,

Best, Sherry

Drug Addiction + Overdose

I have worked with countless families over the years that struggle with addiction issues and, in my personal experience; these have been my most challenging cases. Addiction is very multi-layered and complicated and effects so many people in a wide variety of ways.

Words cannot describe the struggle of the person addicted and the family and friends watching.  When you find out a loved one is struggling with addiction to prescription pills, heroin, alcohol or any other drug, it can be absolutely overwhelming and heart wrenching.

As the mother or father of a person you’ve cared for and raised to your best ability, it can weigh heavier than any other challenge you’ve faced in your life.  A wide variety of emotions are often associated with the realization and it takes a long time to move from shock, denial to acceptance. 

When our children are younger, we have a pseudo sense of control.  We can give time-outs, take things away, assign chores and sometimes even actually “fix” their problems. Regardless of whether or not the outcome was what you intended, you at least felt as though you were able to do something.

When a child is a grown adult, we don’t have that same power or control – but we still have the same maternal or paternal instincts.  Also, if our loved one becomes romantically involved and has children, all of the same emotions transfer to them.  It is also the same with grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends. We want to help but can also feel helpless and even sometimes hopeless.

This article is a brief summary of some basic tips and strategies to best help when a family member or friend is struggling with an addiction.  Keeping in mind, there is not a perfect recipe and every situation has its unique variables. Also, as much as all family and friends WISH (including the person with the addiction), We Can’t Make Them Quit!

First:  There is something you can do!

1. Get Educated about Addictions and access your local community resources as soon as possible.  Family and friends need to know that it is almost impossible to deal with this alone.  Why? Information, support and a plan is essential.

  • Cannot fight a disease we don’t understand; just like any other medical diagnoses.  We need professional and peer support.
  • There are so many myths and misinformation about addictions and how to effectively deal with the problem – being informed will improve your ability to help.  Addiction affects men, women, rich, poor, the working, the non-working and the list goes on. It could happen to any one of us and any certain given point in time.

    Getting sober and help is a tough process and it may take many times to become sober – also knowing that relapse isn’t failure.
  • Mental health services and addictions services work now in tandem together -as it is no surprise that though genetics play a significant role, so does anxiety, depression, and other mental health illnesses – addiction is not a choice – no person I have ever met has wanted to be an ‘addict’ but as we have learned today how slippery that road is – looking for the early signs since the earlier the intervention the better
  • There always differences in every family dynamic, but I often see families that feel as though they need to “fix” the problem and this reaction can push your loved one away.  Feelings of guilt self-blame, and responsibility emerge and then we are more likely to become anxious, emotional and even angry.  Support by professionals and peers will help you deal with the natural emotional reactions. Notice your thoughts before they become reactions. Most reactions are regretted – human but not helpful.

2. So important to talk care of you… as I often share in my sessions, we need to keep our own oxygen tank full before we can help anyone else, even our families and friends.  We cannot control so many things in our life, but others but we can control our reactions to the person and event; this is super challenging.  Accessing your own personal support and recognizing what you realistically can do to help and knowing there isn’t a way to “rescue”.

3. Fear can be very gripping and crippling for families and friends; terrified their loved one may lose their jobs, lose their families, or even die.  The more out of control we feel, the more we try to gain it – leaving feelings of being held hostage.  It is difficult to implement healthy boundaries – tough balance between helping and enabling.  Though there isn’t a “perfect” balance, we need to aim for it.

4. Following through with rules and expectations; being consistent; offering as much to access professional services with them,

  • Listening, encouraging, offering to go with them to counselling if they want. Knowing that SHAME doesn’t ever work –  as natural as it is to become angry and frustrated, shaming and blaming 100% doesn’t work
  • Do not accept behavior that violates your boundaries.  Boundaries can be simple, such as you cannot be at home unless you are sober.  This is not being cruel, it is letting your loved one know how serious your concerns are about their disease.
  • Following through calmly with your boundaries is so essential, otherwise, your words do not mean anything and you will again feel steam rolled or handcuffed and frustrated.  As the old expression says, say what you mean and do what you say.
  • Also, knowing that it is important we don’t start blaming ourselves and each other; sadly, I see families divide and argue over what “should” or “should not” be done – we need to have compassion for each other and recognize we are all doing the best we can – also that there isn’t the perfect recipe.
  • In taking care of yourselves, also noting the time and energy your concerns take over your life.  Sadly, addiction issues are an ongoing battle, so ensuring that your life is not put on hold is important for resiliency.  Also, ensuring other family members are not being unintentionally left out and not “seen”, which many family members express in counselling sessions.

5. Knowing you CANNOT do the recovery for them – but only WITH them. 

Unfortunately, many family and friends lose their loved one to overdose and this is a terrible tragedy.  Much more education, research and support is needed to address the disease of addiction.  In the event a loss occurs, please family and friends seek counselling support – you cannot heal alone.  Watch that the “inner critic” voice doesn’t internalize guilt – “what more could I have done?”  “did I do it wrong?”; these thoughts can lead to hours of torture.  As family and friends, support and be there for each other.

YOU DID LOTS!  We can only do so much.

Instead, talk about your experiences and stories, continue to advocate and educate.  Learn to forgive yourself and your loved one.  You did the best you could with what you had and knew…and so did your loved one.

The Resilient Journey - What is a Life Anchor?

It is inevitable that we will face challenges in our life, but it is how you train your mind that will allow you to overcome each situation. By training yourself to live a resilient life you will be prepared to conquer life’s most difficult times. A life anchor is a tool that you can say to yourself during those difficult moments that holds you strong. It’s the ability to be aware, present and in charge during the moments of chaos. Sometimes our own worst enemy lives on top of our shoulders and I can’t emphasize enough the importance of noticing our thoughts. Stress originates in your thinking. Being caught up in your thinking is actually more relevant to the stress you feel than is what actually happened to you. We cannot always control the events and experiences around us, but, we can control how we react to them.

Noticing our own thoughts allows the self-awareness to make a shift – a pivot point – towards more positive and realistic thinking. A life anchor can be an actual phrase, word or sentence that is short and succinct. It can be a prayer, poem or quote and this one life anchor renews perspective and gives proportion to all matters.

Resiliency is about how we weather the inevitable storms in life and bounce back and then forward again. Resiliency is about having the tools ready to navigate through any situation and finding a way through. Resilient people tend to have several life anchors always available to them. It may be as simple as, “This too shall pass “or “I can deal with this” along with a few deep breathes to help you access the logical side of your thinking. One of my favourite quotes is from the famous Alice Walker and it goes like this,

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any”

All lesser things fall into a different light when viewed through such a powerful thought. I encourage you to develop a few of your own life anchors and write them out on a piece of paper to have at your fingertips when needed. A combination of simple tools can make a BIG difference in your ability to manage the inevitable adversities in life.

For more information and insight on creating your own life anchors or exploring more about the Resilient Journey please visit my website at or contact me directly at 905-894-3084.

Second Hand Stress in the Workplace


Through media, education and/or personal experience, many of us are familiar with the terrible effects of “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” (PTSD).  When someone has experienced a significant trauma, there is a risk of dealing with short term or long term symptoms, such as flashbacks, nightmares, depression, anxiety, and social withdrawal to mention just a few.

Having worked with many professionals, through my clinical practice and corporate presentations, I have gained hands on understanding and insight into the often dramatic second hand stress effects when helping others.  Empathy and compassion are valued characteristics; however, as is the case with all traits, it is a double edged sword.  It is difficult, if not impossible, to completely remove yourself from the emotional impact of dealing with someone else’s traumas and crisis.

I have developed a workshops that cultivates awareness that professionals are at risk to develop stress symptoms as a result of indirect exposure to trauma through a first-hand account of a traumatic event.  It encourages professionals to strengthen their own personal resiliency knowing that helping others may take its toll on their own wellbeing.  Information and education on the importance of self-awareness, personal self-care and workplace strategies to effectively manage the risk of Second Hand Stress symptoms are discussed.

  • The symptoms may include
  • Nightmares
  • Re-experiencing mentally the feelings and experiences of the other’s event
  • Increased illness and fatigue
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Social withdrawal
  • Emotional numbing
  • Hyper-arousal

It may also be observed, in the workplace, avoidance of certain clients or tasks, missed appointments, absenteeism, and lack of motivation.

There are strategies that can be implemented in the workplace and in the personal lives of employees that effectively reduce the risks.  It is important to be prepared for the possible stress effects and be committed to your own personal resiliency – you cannot always control an event, but, you CAN control how you react to it.  Being pro-active instead of reactive is the first step.

Often, police agencies, crisis workers, emergency service agencies request this workshop, but, in my opinion, any career that works with people, in any capacity, can benefit from this information in order to keep your capacity to deal with any adversity at its best possible.

In my clinical practice, I also often see the effects of second hand stress with individuals that are helping loved ones through crisis, such as health issues and chronic disorders.  Taking care of ailing parents, palliative family members, or children and teens with psychological and/or physical health problems takes its toll on all of us.

Bottom line is that each and every one of us needs to ensure our own personal oxygen tank is at its fullest.  You cannot give what you do not have, therefore, recharging and charging yourself is vital.

Feel free to contact me for more information on Second hand stress and preventative strategies.



Professional Speaker and Workshop Presenter
Sherry Campbell, M.A. RSW OACCPP
Owner & Principal Counsellor, Sherry Campbell Group








The Inner Critic

The Inner Critic

Do you feel like you are your own worst critic?  In my workshops, I encourage clients to become aware of the negative self-talk happening in the background of our minds. When we are aware of our current state we are able to properly and realistically assess the current situation. We all have that inner voice inside and for some people the voice of the inner critic can be very harsh and detrimental to our well being.

Do you find yourself criticizing your abilities, your decisions, your true self: 

When we are tired
When we have low self esteem
When we are stressed
When we are depressed
When we are going through changes
When we are going through relationship challenges

The inner critic is intended to provide a level of consciousness and self-reflection, but, if it is not balanced with our rational side, then we over identify with the negative self-destructive thoughts.  The key is to separate yourself from the voice of the inner critic; be aware that it is a PART of you, but, it is not all of you. It is valuable to observe it, think about it, write it down, talk about it with friends and/or loved ones and then objectively and consciously decide what to learn from it.

Once we recognize the inner critic is one of many parts of us, we can challenge it, assess it and even change it!  For example, if the internal critic is telling you that you are not worthy enough to apply for that dream job recently posted, you can ask yourself, "Where did that belief come from? Is it based on real evidence?", sometimes we recognize the inner critic voice as someone else's negative belief or it can be based on fear. Other times, we can honestly acknowledge that we need to take a course or two to meet the criteria of the dream job. Once clarified and adjusted, our thoughts become clear, balanced, productive, helpful and positive. Ultimately leading to positive self-esteem and connection to True Self.

Always remember, sometimes our biggest critic is resting on our shoulders! Please feel free to reach out if you have further questions or details on workshops I provide.

Sherry Campbell M.A. RSW OACCPP (R)

The Resilient Journey


Being in the industry for over 20 years, serving both the private and corporate sector, I have faced numerous dynamic situations and vital questions. One of the questions that I commonly receive is “How do I balance my work and personal life?” The unique complexity of this question impacts both employers and employees on a daily basis. We want (and need) to be as productive, insightful and tentative as possible in both situations, but how? The answer is not simple but it is effective. From firsthand experience, training and feedback I can confidently say resiliency is a key to life. Resiliency is about navigating the situation and finding a way through. By becoming resilient you will be able to adapt to changing times, manage second hand stress, learn to cope with a bad day, find your calm factor, evaluate your mental health, and manage workplace stress and different personalities. These are just a few of many tailored training sessions I deliver to corporations, managers, employees, professional athletes and individuals throughout their journeys to becoming resilient. By adapting and training your brain to become resilient, you will witness significant advancements on critical decision-making, productivity, stress relief, increased energy, mental happiness and life goal achievements.

The Resilient Journey - What is a Life Anchor?

It is inevitable that we will face challenges in our life, but it is how you train your mind that will allow you to overcome each situation. By training yourself to live a resilient life you will be prepared to conquer life’s most difficult times. A life anchor is a tool that you can say to yourself during those difficult moments that holds you strong. It’s the ability to be aware, present and in charge during the moments of chaos. Sometimes our own worst enemy lives on top of our shoulders and I can’t emphasize enough the importance of noticing our thoughts.  Stress originates in your thinking.  Being caught up in your thinking is actually more relevant to the stress you feel than is what actually happened to you.  We cannot always control the events and experiences around us, but, we can control how we react to them.

Noticing our own thoughts allows the self-awareness to make a shift – a pivot point – towards more positive and realistic thinking.  A life anchor can be an actual phrase, word or sentence that is short and succinct.  It can be a prayer, poem or quote and this one life anchor renews perspective and gives proportion to all matters. 

Resiliency is about how we weather the inevitable storms in life and bounce back and then forward again.  Resiliency is about having the tools ready to navigate through any situation and finding a way through.  Resilient people tend to have several life anchors always available to them.  It may be as simple as, “This too shall pass “or “I can deal with this” along with a few deep breathes to help you access the logical side of your thinking. One of my favourite quotes is from the famous Alice Walker and it goes like this “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any”.

All lesser things fall into a different light when viewed through such a powerful thought.  I encourage you to develop a few of your own life anchors and write them out on a piece of paper to have at your fingertips when needed.  A combination of simple tools can make a BIG difference in your ability to manage the inevitable adversities in life.  For more information and insight on creating your own life anchors or exploring more about the Resilient Journey please visit my website at or contact me directly at 905-894-3084.



Professional Speaker and Workshop Presenter

Parenting in the Age of Diversity


Parenting In the Age of Adversity

“Toto, I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore.”

The Wizard of Oz

Awaken - Everything has changed!

There are no experts, there are no guarantees.

We do not know what the future holds.

There are only loving parents doing the best they can with what they have. It is the “what you have” that has to change so you can prepare your children for whatever the future holds for them!


Resiliency and Education

Personal resiliency is the single most important indicator of success for students in the 21st century. Any school that makes resiliency a centre point in their students’ education is truly a light in a difficult world. A solid education based on good marks and an approved curriculum does not prepare students for life any more. High school graduation, a college diploma or university degree do not guarantee success in life.

We are now in an information based economy with restricted career paths and a globally competitive market.  We need to prepare our children to find their way in this new world economy with their old world education. The primary purpose of education is to prepare the student for a meaningful life physically, mentally, socially and academically.  Resiliency must be one of those factors in the process.

In order to survive in the 21st century, our children need inner strength to deal competently with the many challenges and demands they will encounter. We call this capacity to cope and feel competent, resilience. Although the word resilience has typically been applied to children who have overcome tragedy and hardship, it should be considered as a vital set of qualities for every child. Resiliency is highly correlated to success in the Age of Adversity.  Too many parents over-rescue their children and deprive them of some vital lessons in life.

Co-partnership with Parents


Parents need to know that the school is not the end purpose. It is the means of preparing their children for life. The world has changed and is very different from when they were children.  The day will come when their children must face life on their own and we need to prepare them properly for this transition. 


Have you ever watched plants and trees in a big windstorm? Some of them barely move and others sway under the pressure of the wind and can be seen bending to the earth.  Resiliency is all about how we weather the storms of life, adapt to change, flex and bounce back after a fall, and cope with fluctuations in the journey of life.


The qualities of a resilient mindset are essential.  For hundreds of millions of children worldwide, daily adversities compromise their current and future well-being. A Resilient Mindset is a necessity for life in the 21st century.   Instilling the qualities of a resilient outlook is perhaps the most important role of educators and parents. A Resilient Mindset is an investment in a child's future. I cannot think of a more important capacity to give our children than the ability to bounce back from whatever life sends them.  This is called AQ or Adversity Quotient and it is frequently more important than IQ in determining the future happiness of our children. 


Often I find that we are bringing our children up to be victims.  I don’t mean real victims here but rather victims of their own thoughts. Many parents tend to over plan and under prepare their children for life. Too often parents buffer their children from the reasonable and natural consequences of their own actions.  Parents that over protect or rescue their children rob them of the opportunity to develop a track record of success in dealing with the pitfalls of life. This often leaves a child without the self-worth and problem solving skills necessary to function in society.


Many children today cannot cope with disappointment, frustration or failure. They see these events as caused by something external to themselves and outside of their control. They look for something outside of themselves such as alcohol, drugs, entertainment or technology to make this go away.

Unnecessary parental intervention in the ordinary experiences of a child’s life can undermine their child’s emotional maturity and attempts at life mastery. These activities inadvertently reinforce messages to young people about being victims.


Every time a parent interferes with the reasonable and natural consequences of their child's own behavior they rob them of their destiny to grow.  Way too many parents over rescue their children from the consequences of their own behaviour. I don’t want parents to totally stop rescuing their children.  I only want them to cut back a little on it so the child can develop a track record of dealing with the challenges of life.


“Everything is here to teach us”

We must look for and find those Teachers in our own lives

and in the lives of our Children

Children need to experience the struggles of life within the protection and love of the family.  In this manner they develop some experience in dealing with the inevitable vicissitudes of life and begin to realize that they can handle it without the need to escape.

Two of the most powerful things we can say to our children are: "I love you!” (and my love for you is not tied to your behaviour) and "You can deal with life."  ( as a matter of fact, dear, you are going to have to deal with life) 

Two of the greatest gifts we can give our children are Roots and Wings.   Roots are character and Wings is encouragement.   In other words we need to give our children the tools and the incentives to be able to deal with life. There will be peaks and valleys, good days and bad days, success and failures, and they are all part of the decision to choose life and everything that goes with it.

We need additional teachers of life to support people in the challenges of parenting in the 21st century. These people can supplement and support what your students are learning in the classroom and at home with real time information and wisdom reflective of what is really happening in our society.

We can no longer seek the advice of doctors, scientists, therapists and spiritual leaders as our only source of guidance. We must also have an avenue or connection to what is happening right now and what can we learn from it. We need shopkeepers, counsellors, police officers, classroom teachers’ business people and grandparents to share their insights, wisdom and advice with us.



The Wisdom of Ascend and Descend

We have a crisis of wisdom in North America.

Many people have information but few seem to have wisdom. Our children are growing up informed but unwise. They are trying to cope without being able to navigate.

Life is not about the socially approved continuing road of success, goals, achievements and victories. It is instead, a cycle of good days and bad days, peaks and valleys, personal victories and private defeats and they are all there to teach us. Somewhere we have forgotten this wisdom.  An expectation of a continuous ascent without the lesson of the inevitable descent, does not prepare anyone for life. It only crashes the stock market, devastates the environment and leads to an expectation of an unsustainable future.

Growth only takes place outside our comfort zone. Our children need a dose of occasional discomfort, a pinch of insecurity and a large measure of struggle to develop the character and strength to navigate in the valleys of life. Circumstances don’t determine us, they reveal us.

We give assurances too quickly, remove pain too easily and are too quick to satisfy, entertain or numb out the mind. Often we just have too much and we over satisfy our needs avoiding the necessary learning in life. We get rid of the pain before we have learned what it has to teach us.

We cannot avoid the difficult periods of life. The dark moments are necessary, inevitable and are good teachers.

Ultimately, only life teaches. Instruction, theories, games and simulations are guides but life in the real word is always the test. It includes struggle, stumbling and failure as well as success and advances.

Resiliency is the ability to stay with the pain of life without answers, without conclusions and some days without meaning but never without hope.

Presentations for Parents

Raising Resilient Children:  How and when to stop over-rescuing your children and start preparing them for life.

Raising Resilient Children 2:  Specific effectivestrategies that create resiliency in children.

Have You Ever Had A Bad Day? Stress management and Personal Resiliency for Parents.

Parenting Teens: Mission Possible - key reality based parenting strategies that will effectively prepare your teens for the challenges of today’s world.  Relationship building and keeping the doors of communication open.

How to Live Your Life When Your Children Can’t Live Theirs:
Parenting for people with developmentally delayed and physically challenged children.

Preparing your children for the Real World Reality of Real time Living: Key reality-based parenting strategies that will prepare your teens for the realities of post-secondary life at school or in the work place.

Conscious Parenting - becoming aware of your own thoughts, emotions and behaviors that influence the life of your child.

Keeping Your Children Safe in your communities: This presentation includes important things to discuss with your child when to talk to your child about their safety and specific tips for keeping your child safe

Cyber safety for adults and children: This presentation will provide parents some insight to the perils of the Internet. It will also discuss ways to keep your kids safe when they are using the Internet or Smartphones.

Individual and family consultation for developing Resilient Children.