Canadian Writer & Researcher | Aspiring Therapist | Crisis Responder | Writing about mental health, psychology, etc.

Canadian Researcher & Writer | MA Candidate in Counselling Psychology | Aspiring Therapist | Crisis Responder

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Hello Medium writers,

My name is Synthia Satkuna and I’m a female in her mid-twenties who is born and raised in Canada. My cultural ancestry is Sri Lankan. Currently, I’m doing my second rodeo of graduate school in Counselling Psychology. I have plans to potentially become a therapist in the future.

For a bit of context, I did my Bachelor’s degree in Biopsychology and did my first master’s degree in Developmental Psychology. …

Exploring Thoughts Surrounding Emotional Abuse

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As an aspiring therapist in Canada and as a female undergoing her second rodeo of graduate school, I’ve had many opportunities to work closely with people who had undergone a variety of distressing situations, including power differentials, miscommunication, gaslighting, and many more.

While I have written about gaslighting in the past, I wanted to explore the topic from other angles, especially if you’re unable to escape such situations right away.

A Quick Run-Down on Gaslighting

Gaslighting can be a slow-burner type of situation, where the gaslighter doubts the veracity of another’s person claims, even if those claims are logically sound.

After a while, gaslighting can cause even the greatest and smartest of people to doubt their sanity and question their sense of identity, normalcy, and self-worth. …

Task Switching Reduces Efficiency and Raises Fatigue

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As an aspiring therapist doing her second rodeo of graduate school, I’ve worked, volunteered, and studied across multiple interdisciplinary projects that required consultations with many business-savvy professionals.

I also once worked in human resources, where my psychological research skills came in handy, especially where business processes were often blended with employee engagement and retention.

When we are busy, we sometimes find ourselves doing a lot of different things at the same time. However, contemporary research shows that over a long period of time, doing many tasks at once can actually lower your overall productivity.

This shouldn’t be a great surprise.

When you’re focussed on one thing exclusively, your attention reserves are satiated long enough to get it done. …

4 Tips on Making It Happen

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It’s hard to believe that it’s still January 2021. It feels like a lifetime passed since News Years Day. Since we’re still in the first month, perhaps you are maintaining your earlier resolutions, like wanting to cut back on the alcohol.

I mean, it’s okay to drink once in a while, but it’s also okay to want to drink less, especially if it's interfering with our ability to make decisions and is impacting our professional and interpersonal relationships.

Either way, it’s good that you want to take steps to drink less frequently. Just as you gradually increased drinking until it became unbearable, you likely have it within you to gradually scale it back in the other direction. …

A Simple Way To Stay Focussed

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You’ve probably heard about this technique many times before. Maybe it’s been hammered down by thousands of people who swear by it — I’m not going to be the one to claim that it works wonders.

However, it does work for many people, and that’s good enough for me.

I’m a crisis responder. I spend a certain number of hours per week, talking and texting to people who are vulnerable and are in immediate need of mental health support. …

Help Is a Two-Way Street and I’m Drowning Inside

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My body and brain yearn to help those in need. It’s like an itch that needs to be scratched.

I could be working on a dozen things and this itch will come alive, at the oddest of times, and I will need the need to set aside time for others. Nay, I feel compelled to.

It just feels correct, like putting on a well-worn shoe. I fall into this habit, and I spend my time helping those in the best way that I can. …

Yes, This Is My Guilty Pleasure

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Okay, okay — I’ll admit it. I don’t really have the time, money or equipment to play videogames. I’m doing the best that I can with my time, prioritizing graduate coursework, clinical practicum, writing, volunteerism, and so much more.

Plus with the pandemic and all, I ended up finding other things to keep myself satiated, whether it is jogging through quiet nature trails, watching a good movie, listening to music, and doodling.

I also grew up in a household where I wasn’t really allowed to play videogames. Imagine that. My folks are quite gentle these days, where they kind of don’t care what I do these days, as long as I’m happy. …

Internalizing happiness in baby steps

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I’m no happiness coach, but I’ve spent a lot of time working with vulnerable people across a variety of contexts, whether it was as a peer supporter, a crisis responder, or even as a counseling psychology graduate student. Along the way, bits and pieces have helped me to continue helping others, even when most people would often throw in the towel.

Happiness is often what we make it out to be. Some of us are constantly in a state of perpetual anxiety and distress, while others are able to make the most out of their turbulent situations.

While we have a myriad of unfortunate circumstances, the way we react towards these situations will vary from person to person. At the end of the day, when you’re struggling, it is you that ends up having to push forward, and not other people. …

Ramblings From an Unwitting Workaholic

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It’s a long day and I worked my behind off. I have a tendency to tackle the largest tasks first, and then slowly crawl my way into the more simplistic tasks at the end of the day.

As my physical and mental reserves dwindle, I take plenty of short breaks to sustain my energy, and I still get my work done. It’s kind of neat that I can manipulate my personal candle in this manner, but I wonder how long this strategy will last.

Sometimes, I switch it up — I do the easiest stuff first and then work the night away. By default, I’m a night owl. I tried my best to fight the desire to sleep in all day and work during the night. …

The Unique Calamity for Healthcare Professionals

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I’m a graduate student in counselling psychology, and I know that in the mental health field, compassion burnout is a very real thing, even for those who are well-established therapists. For example, if you spend a prolonged amount of time with other people and attend to their socioemotional and physical needs, you’re more likely to have lower energy reserves than most.

These types of emotionally-charged situations force healthcare professionals to pad themselves with dozens of coping mechanisms. This means that those wonderful therapists you talk to have vetted systems set in place, such as supervisors to talk to and breaks in between clients. …

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