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Navigating Change & Diagnosis

At times, trauma, transitions and medical diagnoses overlap.
This can feel confusing. Let's help you sort it out.



Treatments are available for trauma, transition, & psychological conditions

Counselling psychotherapy with a skilled clinician experienced in treating these conditions is immensely helpful. Along with medication and behavioural interventions, counselling is the recommended treatment for these conditions listed below.

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  • Burnout
  • Compassion Fatigue
  • Vicarious Trauma

These three terms are interrelated and yet different from one another.  Burnout describes the physical and emotional exhaustion workers experience when they have low job satisfaction and feel powerless and overwhelmed. Burnout is usually easily resolved through self care and time off. Compassion Fatigue is the "cost of caring" for others in emotional pain when the helper or responder is unable to refuel and regenerate.  Vicarious trauma refers to the way repeated exposure to other people's traumas can alter and even damage fundamental beliefs about the world that helping professionals hold dear.

  • Motor vehicle incidents
  • Death or injury to self or other
  • All forms of assault, including:
  • Sexual violence
  • Domestic violence
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Fires
  • Natural disasters, etc.

Trauma is broadly defined as a deeply distressing or emotionally disturbing experience. Trauma is diagnosed based on symptoms, and the degree it negatively impacts thoughts, emotions, and overall quality of life.

Intergenerational trauma

Intergenerational trauma acknowledges the lingering impact of war, famine, and violence on a family system, over generations. What is merely an unpleasant event for one person might be deeply traumatic to another. Especially heinous are the multiple traumas of colonization upon Indigenous people through institutions such as the residential school system.


    Transitions are episodic and brief changes to psychological wellbeing, often stress-induced. At the heart of the matter is difficulty in coping, and a shortage of resiliency.

    Transitions, when they induce stress, may result in an Adjustment Disorder diagnosis. Transitions can sometimes become traumatizing, but perhaps not become a diagnosable mental health condition. Your healthcare professional can best advise you.

    Transitions can include:

    • Changes to Psychological Wellbeing:  
    • Acute stress
    • Chronic stress
    • Depression caused by: environment, job loss, etc.
    • Aging:
    • Disability
    • Chronic disease
    • Cognitive deficits
    • Existential fears
    • Health-Related:  
    • Acute illness
    • Chronic illness
    • Chronic pain
    • Romantic
    • Communication difficulties
    • Financial stressors
    • Intimacy and sexuality issues
    • Sexual dysfunction
    • Separation
    • Divorce
    • End of long-term partnership
    • Death of partner/spouse/family member
    • Eldercare and Caregiving in general
    • Palliative care, and end of life decisions
    • Parenting
    • Becoming a new parent
    • Parenting challenges
    • Coparenting
    • LGBTQI2S+
    • issues Sexuality and Sexual Orientation:
    • Coming out/exploring/questioning
    • Sexual orientation
    • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, queer, two spirit
    • Gender Identity / Transitions
    • Coming out/exploring/questioning/transitioning
    • Gender Identity
    • Trans, transgender, genderqueer, intersex, nonbinary
    • Disability
    • Palliative care

    Psychological disorders can cause major impairment in daily functioning, work, school, and virtually all aspects of living, including the quality of our interpersonal relationships.

    With appropriate diagnosis and treatment, however, people can find relief from their symptoms and, through psychotherapy, learn new ways to better cope

    • Neurodevelopmental Disorders:
    • Intellectual Disability
    • Global Developmental Delay
    • Communication Disorders
    • Autism Spectrum Disorder
    • Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity (ADHD)
    • Bipolar and Related Disorders:
    • Mania
    • Depressive Episodes
    • Dissociative Disorders:
    • Dissociative Amnesia
    • Dissociative Identity
    • Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder
    • Somatic Symptom Disorders:
    • Somatic Symptom Disorder
    • Illness Anxiety Disorder
    • Conversion Disorder
    • Factitious Disorder
    • Disruptive Disorders:
    • Kleptomania
    • Pyromania
    • Intermittent Explosive Disorder
    • Conduct Disorder
    • Oppositional Defiant Disorder
    • Substance-Related Disorders:
    • Alcohol-Related Disorders
    • Cannabis-Related Disorders
    • Inhalant-Use Disorders
    • Stimulant Use disorder
    • Tobacco Use Disorder
    • Gambling Disorder
    • Neurocognitive Disorders:
    • Delirium
    • Major and Mild Neurocognitive Disorders
    • Personality Disorders:
    • Antisocial
    • Avoidant
    • Borderline
    • Dependent
    • Histrionic
    • Narcissistic
    • Obsessive-Compulsive (OCDPD)
    • Paranoid
    • Schizoid
    • Schizotypal
    THE DSM: How MDs Diagnose and Treat Mental Health

    The DSM is one of the most widely used systems for classifying mental disorders and provides standardized diagnostic criteria. A diangosis can be the first step in determining a treatment plan.

    The following list includes some of the major categories of disorders described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The latest edition of the diagnostic manual was released in 2022.

    • Anxiety Disorders:
    • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
    • Agoraphobia
    • Social Anxiety Disorder
    • Specific Phobias
    • Panic Disorder
    • Separation Anxiety Disorder
    • Stress-Related Disorders:
    • Acute Stress Disorder
    • Adjustment Disorders
    • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
    • Reactive Attachment Disorder
    • Eating Disorders:
    • Anorexia Nervosa
    • Bulimia Nervosa
    • Pica
    • Binge-Eating Disorder
    • Sleep Disorders:
    • NarcolepsyInsomnia Disorder
    • Hypersomnolence
    • Breathing-Related Sleep Disorders
    • Parasomnias, Restless Legs Syndrome
    • Depressive Disorders:
    • Disruptive Mood Disregulation Disorder
    • Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
    • Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)
    • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD, PMS)
    • Substance/Medication-Induced Depressive Disorder
    • Depressive Disorder due to Other Medical Condition
    • Other or Unspecified Depressive Disorder
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    • Paranoid Schizophrenia
    • Catatonic Schizophrenia
    • Residual Schizophrenia
    • Disorganized Schizophrenia
    • Undifferentiated Schizophrenia
    • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
    • Body-Dysmorphic Disorder
    • Hoarding Disorder
    • Trichotillomania (Hair Pulling Disorder)
    • Excoriation Disorder (Skin Picking)
    • Substance/Medication-Induced OCD
    • OCD and Related Disorder due to onother Medical Condition

    Counselling psychotherapy with a skilled clinician experienced in treating these conditions is immensely helpful, and, along with medication and behavioural interventions, psychotherapy is the recommended treatment for these conditions.We will tap into your strengths, in order to unleash your innate wisdom, and capacity to be well. We believe that you, and only you,  truly know the healing path forward.

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