Affordable Anxiety, Depression and Grief Therapy in HRM

Life can become overwhelming. Anxiety, depression, a stalled career and relationship issues can take their toll on our ability to thrive every day. If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’ve misplaced the ability to feel great – to feel vital and alive. You’re likely stuck and not sure where to turn.

What’s worse, mental health services here leave a lot to be desired. Long waiting lists, sporadic appointments and inconvenient appointment times get in the way of getting help. Sure, there are therapists out there that you could see more quickly and they cost upwards of $150 per hour. You don’t have insurance, nor do you have that kind of money. At the same time, you know you want help. You don’t know where to find it.

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I know what it’s like to struggle

Twenty years ago I was in Toronto. Alone, overwhelmed and disappointed by my life, I was struggling. I struggled to keep a job. I struggled to have relationships. I struggled to go to the post office to pick up my mail. Every day was a struggle. I didn’t realize that I had issues with anger, depression and anxiety.

A mentor of mine recognized my struggles. They suggested that I might want ‘to talk to someone’ – someone professional – like a psychotherapist or counselor. At first I was appalled. I balked at the suggestion. What? I’m not crazy. I don’t need a therapist… I slowly learned that getting help didn’t mean that I was crazy or broken. I just needed help.

So I opened up the yellow pages, found a psychologist and made an appointment. I went. It was terrible. She was terrible. She wore flowing clothes like a character from the lord of the rings. Everything was soft colors and floral patterns. He voice was airy, soft and kind of arrogant sounding. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. What’s worse? It cost me a hundred and fifty dollars – and that was twenty years ago!

The next day I went to the duty doctor. I figured I could just go and get some pills and feel better. The doctor started asking questions. I felt my face turn red. My eyes started to get wet. I kept talking, still hoping for pills. I was there in his walk-in clinic talking for a half an hour. I felt exhausted. In the end, he took out his pad and scrawled on it. The words were not what I had expected to see. It was a phone number with the words ‘group therapy’ written below it.

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No pills?

No pills? I asked. No pills he replied. He explained that he figured I might want to try talking to someone first. I told him about my objections to the first mental health professional I saw. He assured me this would be different. I objected to the fact that this would be in a group setting and that my story wouldn’t be private. I told him that I was really uncomfortable with the idea of group therapy. That’s exactly why you should go to group, he replied.

So I went to group therapy to deal with depression and anxiety. My first thought on group therapy? It was affordable. It cost only twenty dollars a session. Sure, it was awkward at first. Over time I began to appreciate the people in the group. Sometimes, they would notice something about me, or understand something differently than the therapist did. It felt great to be seen. Other times I would find myself irritated or ‘triggered’ by members of the group. This gave both myself, the person and the therapist plenty of work on.

I progressed quickly with group therapy. Anxiety fell away. I woke up from my depression. I felt more comfortable in my own skin. My emotions, reactions to things and my ability to get along in life improved. I worked more. I began making more money. My quality of life improved.

Jim challenges you to look into the root of problems from a genuine place. Like any agent of change, he would not get a person to look squarely on at their trials and tribulations, fostering ownership of their frailties if he had not gone through that process himself. His own self discovery gives him the insight to push people to their potential, sometimes to uncomfortable places. Jim is at once curious and present. It is this infectious curiosity which makes people want to talk to him, but also makes him strive to find the ‘realness’ in every person and situation.

Lucy Decoutere
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Now I’m a therapist

I work with people with anxiety, depression and relationship problems every day. I get regular calls from people who want help and can not afford my services. I’m here to help those people with affordable, regular, professional group therapy on Tuesday nights from 7 until 8:30. Sessions are $25 each and take place in my studio at 2 Wallace Street in Dartmouth.

Jim has taught me that I am of value and that I have a voice that is worth being heard. He brightens a room with authenticity and enthusiasm; his willingness and acceptance to travel alongside me through my own growth have been a source of comfort I could depend on throughout many years. His passion for life reminds me that this is a life worth living. It seems evident to me that Jim’s approach to life is composed of both love and hard work and approaching both with dedication and commitment.”

Cristal Laberee OCT

This might be a fit if:

  • You are suffering from anxiety or depression
  • You feel ‘stuck’
  • You struggle with anger
  • You have difficulties in your relationships
  • You are ready to make lasting changes in your life
  • You are ready to step up and take responsibility for what you can
  • You understand that the cure for anxiety and depression is connection and meaning
  • You have twenty five dollars to spend on therapy every week
  • You find the notion of group therapy a bit uncomfortable, but you’re willing to try
  • You can turn your damn cell phone off for an hour and a half
  • You have the ability to respect the privacy and confidentiality of the other members of the group

This might not work if

  • Your mental health issues are such that you can not leave your home
  • You are heavily medicated and under the supervision of a psychiatrist
  • You believe that groups are way too much for you
  • You think therapy should be free
  • You don’t have twenty five dollars per week for therapy
  • You believe that if you just ‘stay positive’ your reality will change
  • You think therapy is bullshit
  • You are so attached to your phone that you are unwilling to turn it off completely for an hour and a half
  • You are big on gossip and you do not have the ability to respect the privacy and confidentiality of group members

Jim is a compassionate professional with high integrity, professionalism, and knowledge on how to promote the psychological well being of individuals. He has great insight and expertise into human relationships and behavior. I recommend him to any adults and youth who are looking to talk to someone who can provide guidance in a practical and nurturing manner. 

Dr. Kiran Pure, Psychologist

What will it be like?

Over time you grow more comfortable with yourself. You start making different choices. You slowly get unstuck. Things are moving so slowly that you don’t notice right away. Spring arrives and people begin to see you differently. They can’t quite say what has changed but they notice something ‘different’ about you – something they can’t put their finger on. Touched by the compliment, you wonder to yourself why you waited so long.

Group therapy is not a situation where you go once and it is over. With time and dedication however, you can connect, learn and grow. By working in a group you have an opportunity develop the ability to overcome social anxiety, get unstuck and improve your relationships. As part of a group of people dedicated to changing and growing together, it’s difficult to stay stuck.

Unfortunately I can only host so many people at a time. This therapy group is limited to fourteen people. The first group begins on November 12. Change takes time. I don’t know when I’ll offer another group like this.

Heard enough? Sign up now

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