Helpful links and recommendations

From time to time I am asked for links and recommendations for books, contacts and resources that may be helpful to my clients and friends.  I believe in empowering people and giving them the resources that they ask for.  I believe that if someone is meant to be a client they will be and if someone is meant to work things out on their own then it is my privileage to offer them a starting place.  Here are some of the links and resources that I have found to be helpful.  I will update this from time to time and if there is something in particular that you are looking for please let me know so I can add it for you and others. 

These are meant to provide you with helpful links, books and recommendations for living an optimal life.  Check back often for updates and changes
Websites excellent resource in the Burlington area for your health and wellness.  Owned and operated by Roslyn Gordon, Registered Nutritionist inspirational speaker, motivator, coach, author and overall Goddess Positive Psychology My Blog

Wherever you Go, There you Are.  By Jon Kabat-Zinn

Take the Step,  The Bridge will Be There.  By Grace Cirocco

The Miracle of Mindfulness.  By Thich Nhat Hanh

The Mindful Way Through Depression.  By Mark Williams

Flourish By Martin E.P. Seligman

Anxiety Resources
As requested here is some to learn more about Anxiety and treatment.  If you feel you are suffering from Anxiety please call me to see how we can work together.  Anxiety is a very treatable problem, but left untreated can create considerable pain and suffering.  If you aren’t ready to call me see your family doctor for support and ideas.  I don’t want you to suffer.

The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety By John P Forsyth and Georg H Eifert


Take a look at your thoughts

I am a firm believer that if you want something in your life, or want to change something in your life you have to DO something about it. Very few clients or friends of mine have ever told me that the great new job (love of their life, home, car, relationship . . . ) just showed up at their front door, knocked and asked to come in. If this has happened to you please tell us about it!! 🙂

One simple way to start making changes in your life is to change the way you think about the thing/person/event that you want in your life. If you are telling yourself “I’ll never find a new job (partner, home, car, friendship . . . )” then likely you won’t. Why? Because you will be so focused on what you don’t want that you may just miss what is right in front of you. You will be telling yourself that you don’t have the skills, money, qualities to attract those things into your life and in turn you will be either emphasizing the very things you don’t want to others or ignoring these things when they are right in front of you. For example, if you don’t think you have the skills to get your dream job, then you either won’t look for it or won’t apply for it when you see the job posting. I mean why would you even bother applying for the job if you keep telling yourself you won’t get it anyways? I suggest that instead of focusing on the negative thoughts you have about yourself and the world you focus on the positive. Instead of negative affirmations (which trust me we all have enough of in our minds and external world) focus on positive affirmations.

Insert here the doubters, the naysayers. Insert here- “oh great more new age psycho-babble!” I know how many people feel and think about affirmations. They think it is hooky, flakey and pretty much dismiss it. “I don’t believe in positive affirmations”. Well believe it or not you are using affirmations every day. Affirmations are really a form of self-talk or thought. How many times do you say “I can’t do that”. “Oh what an idiot I am”. “I’m not a good enough friend, partner, parent . . .”. “I’ll never get ABC”. These are all affirmations, albeit negative affirmations. And I would bet that you aren’t getting “ABC”. When I talk about affirmations I don’t mean to put up with an awful life situation by lying to yourself and mindlessly saying things like “I love my job” when really you don’t.** I mean instead of focusing on what you don’t want in your life, decide what you DO want, be specific about what you want and then find a positive affirmation and focus on that.

So instead of saying “I’ll never get my dream job” (negative affirmation) or instead of saying “I love my job” (fake positive affirmation that no one would believe), try “I deserve great things” (positive affirmation). Or “I expect great things”. Or “Wonderful new opportunities that match my skills and needs are presented to me all the time”. When you do this you will be planting seeds of good things to come. You will be focusing on your skills and be on the lookout for great things (instead of assuming that it will never happen). You will be injecting some balance of positive thoughts into your automatic negative thought patterns. You will, in essence, be attracting a different experience to you. If you focus on negative you will get more negative. And by nature we are programmed to focus on the negative, it is in fact a survival skills, just a very over developed survival skill in my opinion. So make it your intention to inject more of what you want in your life into your thoughts. And if you are still a naysayer contact me or engage me in a conversation about it, or even better- give it a try. What do you have to lose?

What positive affirmations do you use? Today I am using “I am open and receptive to all the good and abundance in the universe”!!


January Wilson MSW RSW

**P.S. I don’t think affirmations are the solution to serious problems, I think they are a healthy life skill to use in a balanced “diet” of taking good care of your mental health. If you are really struggling with negative thought patterns, depression, anxiety, relationship issues or life in general feel free to contact me to make an appointment to address these issues. You don’t have to struggle.

J.W. Counselling Services
Therapy for Lasting Change
(905) 581-7450
(647) 287-4096

Happy Mother’s Day- what makes a Mother

Happy Mothers Day to my mom, my mother-in-law, my step-mom and all women. 

I am very honoured to be a mom, it is the greatest role in my life and I hold the job very dear to my heart.  Being told I am a good mom is one of the greatest compliments someone can give me.  I am also very lucky to have three fabulous moms in my life, my mom, my step-mom and my mother in law.  They all enrich my life in countless ways.  I hope today and every day I honour you by being a good mom to your grand-children. 

Today I also want to honour all women because I think there is a “mom” in us all, whether you have children or not.  I also think that we need mothering from lots of different women in our lives.  Sometimes for whatever reason our mom can’t “mother” us, be it distance, death, life circumstances or relationship difficulties, and we need many women in our lives to help share the task.  We need our friends, our Aunts and even ourselved to take care of and “mother” ourselves.   To me a mom is someone that loves unconditionally, leads by example and puts others before herself biological or not.  I think there are many women in our lives that fufill the role of mom from time to time or when we need it.  Those “mom’s” met a need in us, take care of us and give us essential “mothering” that help us to feel loved, help us to grow and help us be better mom’s to our “children”- biological or otherwise. 

So in addition to my mom, my step-mom and my mother-in-law and in honour of mother’s day I would like to remember all the “mom’s” of my life and let them know that they are loved and special and valued to me.  And that their “mothering” and love has helped me to become the woman, and mother, that I am.  To list a few: thank you to my friend-“mom” that brings me chicken noodle soup when I am sick; my friend-“mom” who spent the day with me at the baby-show when I was pregnant with my first because my mom was unable to go; thank-you to my Aunt-“mom” who coached me through labour with my second and third child; thank-you to my teacher-“mom” who believed in me and helped me to believe in myself; thank-you to my sister-“mom” who inspired me and has shown me about strength; thank-you to my cousin-“mom” who has always given me unconditional, endless love and support. 

Thank you to my mom, my step-mom (who has always just been a mom to me), my mother-in-law (who has been a great mother-in-law and raised me a great husband) and to all my women who “mother” me- thank-you for your love and when I needed it putting me first. 

I hope to be a good mom to my children and when needed to my neices, nephews, friends, cousins and any other woman in my life. 

Who are the “moms” in your life that you treasure? 

Happy Mother’s Day to us all




Hello everyone,

this past week I took the plunge and J.W. Counselling Services joined the world of Facebook.  This was a long thought out decision for me.  I want to be able to reach and help as many people as possible, but I am always keenly aware of issues of confidentiality and privacy.  I had in fact only been testing out a page to determine if it would be a good fit for the clients I serve when people already starting finding and liking the page.  I decided that this must be a sign that it’s valuable and needed out there.  And so the page stays.  I hope that you will find it useful too.  Please feel free to share this blog and the page with others who may benefit. 


Have a great day

January Wilson

Mental Health Awareness – addressing stigma

Mental health Awareness Week is coming next week. I think this is an important time, as always to talk about stigma. I would like to believe that social stigma about mental health did not still exist but sadly it still does. There are still many misconceptions about mental health and wellness and about seeing a therapist. Too many times people think that having a struggle with a mental health issue means you are “weak”, or “crazy” and seeing a therapist seems to be proof of that. 

Everyone has mental health issues in their life!!!  Yes you read that right-  everyone has mental health issues in their life- they have joy, sadness, grief, loss, relationship problems, problems with friends, kids, spouses, employers.  They have difficulty with anxiety, with wondering what they want to do with their life, with what the point of life is. Everyone questions the monotony of life at times.  And when these things and feelings become too much, some people are brave enough to admit this, if not to the world, to themselves. These people are strong enough to get help.

We are all strong enough to get help but because of social stigma, lack of awareness and lack of understanding that mental health issues are simply a part of life and NOT a sign of being “weak” or “crazy” too many people suffer needlessly in silence.  

I almost expect backlash from this. That I am being so brazen to say everyone has mental health issues but in reality we do. There is no one who is immune from pain, suffering, sadness, grief, loss, relationship struggles – that is what mental health issues are. But because we attach social value and judgement to mental health issues people often feel that to struggle with these issues is weakness: “Jane or John also (insert here – lost their mom, has many stressors etc) but she/he can handle it so I must be weak”. 

There are so many things wrong with that way of thinking.  Maybe they are getting therapy. Maybe they are walking around numb all day avoiding the pain. Maybe they are numbing the pain with drugs or alcohol. Maybe this is something they can handle but something else they couldn’t. We are all built differently. We would never expect someone with a broken leg to live with the pain – we’d insist that they got it fixed and take extra care of them while they were in a cast healing. 

I witnessed this first hand recently. I had surgery for carpal tunnel, which required a large, intrusive bandage half way to my elbow. People everywhere (and I mean everywhere, drive through at Tim Hortons, grocery stores, strangers on he street) asked what happened, expressed care and concern and offered unsolicited help. Would the reaction had been the same had I been crying from an emotional pain?  I’m doubtful. Perhaps 1 out of the 20 interactions would have said something or offered support. We are uncomfortable with other people’s emotional pain. Perhaps because we cannot see the pain or we are triggered by our own emotional vulnerabilities. Or perhaps because we don’t know what to do. I can tell you no one said to me that having carpal tunnel or the surgery was a sign of weakness or shamed me for not “coping with, living with or dealing with the pain”. No one made me feel lesser for “succumbing” to needing surgery. 

One day I hope we bestow the same attitude towards our own mental health – we lovingly accept we have reached our threshold of suffering with something, we are supported to get help and supported to heal. We put our hearts and minds in an emotional cast until it is better and we and those around us take extra care of us while healing. 

Yours in lasting Change
January Wilson, MSW RSW
J.W. Counselling Services
Therapy for Lasting Change
(905) 581-7450
(647) 287-4096

Thankful Thursday – Saturday edition!!

This week has been an amazing, whirlwind week.  So much so that I am only getting the chance to sit down now, on Saturday, to complete my Thankful Thursday post.  Thanks for being patient with me 😉

Have you had a chance to think about the things that make you thankful?  If not why not stop right now and think of 5 things that you are or have been thankful for this week.  I can wait . . . And?  What was that like for you?  Every week (when I remember) I write a Thankful post in one of my private online mom’s groups.  Here is a comment from one of the mom’s this week:

“I am thankful January takes the time to make us stop and reflect on the positive things in life!  Love ya mama!  XO”

WOW.  I am extremely Thankful for that comment and that something so small can have such a positive impact on the life of others.  Give it a try- you won’t regret it. 

Here are just a few of the things I am Thankful for this week:

-I am Thankful for the wonderful new clients that I met, who have placed their trust in me as they share their personal lives with me

-I am Thankful for my “old” clients who continue to work with me to make Lasting Changes in their lives and continue to trust me and the process of Change

– I am Thankful for the rain.  I happen to love the rain (for a while anyways 😉 )  When it rains the world seems peaceful, relaxed and like nothing bad could happen.  It’s a bit childish of me to feel this way, but every once and a while it’s nice to be childish and innocent.

– I am Thankful to good friends who reached out, jumped in and helped me complete a difficult project in a 6-hour time span.

-I am Thankful for a new woman I met this week who gave me the opportunity to have the above mentioned project.  What a wonderful woman and a blessing she offered me.

– I am Thankful for my husband and children who continue to be the loves of my life and the greatest support I could ask for.

– I am Thankful for some wonderful visits with friends this week

– I am Thankful to my mom and her excellent baking skills. 

I am Thankful for you, for reading my posts and being my cyber supports.

Wow, well I said, it’s been a great week. There was so much more to be Thankful for but I’ll stop to get back to Saturday life.  Hope you have a Thankful week.


January Wilson MSW RSW
J.W. Counselling Services
Therapy for Lasting Change

Thankful Thursday April 4th, 2013

I thought I would start this Thankful Thursday with some thoughts on why it is important to be thankful or express gratitude.  What is important about being thankful?  How is it helpful?  As I mentioned last week focusing on what you are thankful for makes you more likely to notice the things you have in your life to be thankful for and in turn makes you notice more good and so on and so on.  This becomes a positive cycle that can only lead to you feeling better.   Practicing being thankful on a regular basis actually has been extensively studied and thought through by many scholars (I do not propose to be a scholar) but here are some ways that practicing gratitude can benefit your life:

– You feel better.  You have more peace because you accept what you have in your life and are thankful for that, instead of focusing on what you don’t have and feeling angry or resentful.  My oldest son has started saying “I am happy with what I get”, particularly when he doesn’t get what he wants.  We are working hard to instill a sense of gratitude in our three children because we believe it is a good life skill.

– Being thankful improves your social life!!  Being thankful makes you a kinder, happier, nicer person.  Who wouldn’t want to have more people like that in their lives?  It also improves existing relationships because you are focused on what is good in those relationships instead of what isn’t working. 

-Being thankful can increase your emotional stability and well being.  You feel good when you are being thankful for what you have.  You are more relaxed, less stressed (particularly because you are not wasting energy on what you don’t have or envy).

– Thankful people are more resilient, more optismtic, have better self-esteem, are less materialistic and are less self-centred, all things that increase over all well-being and happiness.

– Being thankful is believed to have health benefits including better sleep, less illness, increased energy and longevity. 

There are probably many more reasons to be thankful but these are a few.  Another time I will share ways I have found to increase your level of gratitude (hint journalling is one of them).  Now onto Thankful Thursday . . .

Today I am Thankful for . . .

– I am thankful for the sunshine, it is a much needed boost

-I am thankful for a well timed text from a friend

-I am thankful for my morning coffee, so lovingly made by my husband

-I am thankful my daughter had her best friend over today, they both enjoy hanging out together and it gives everyone else in the house a break

-I am thankful for a phone call with a new “friend” and an old friend

-I am thankful for all the good and abundance in the Universe.  Thank you life!!

I’d be Thankful if you’d share what you are thankful for . . .

Have a great day


Grounding places

Grounding places

This picture was taken in Stratford Ontario, Canada. Its on the Avon River, by the Stratford Festival. And it is one of my favourite places in the world. There is something special to me about Stratford. Something calming. Something that feels like . . . home. It isn’t my home, and hasn’t been since I was 3-years old, but it always feels like home to me when I go there or even think about going there. Just thinking of spending time or day dreaming about Stratford can calm and ground me. I don’t get to go as often as I would like so I ended up taking mini vacations in my mind. I highly recommend doing this. It does wonders for your mood and your stress level and is a very simple tool that you can use to help calm and ground you whether you are feeling anxious, stressed or overwhelmed. If you can take a picture to remind you of a place and to help you with visulization that’s great. You can also use other senses as your form of grounding. And it doesn’t have to be a place, it can be the smell of a cup of coffee/tea, the sound of laughter, the smell or sound of rain, picturing the face of a loved one (alive or passed away).

It is worthwhile spending time to figure out what helps ground you (whether that means to calm you, make you smile, bring you pleasure or joy). Once you figure something out you can take it with you wherever you are (while driving in a stressful commute, becoming anxious meeting new people, feeling stressed about work/life/holidays, feeling blue or down and so on). Its just another way to take care of your – a mini vacation, recharge and feel grounded. And I recommend you doing this regularly, not just when you are stressed but as a daily habit to inject some peace into your day.

So excuse me for a while I am “going to Stratford for a visit”. Have a nice trip

Being Thankful

Being Thankful.  I believe in the power of being thankful.  I believe that you have to be thankful for what you already have in your life, particularly if you want more good to come into your life.  I believe that when you are focused on being thankful you find more and more to be thankful for.  Some people call this manifestation, some call it praying, some call it abundance.  No matter what you call it I believe it works like this; if you are focused on positive things and being thankful for the good in your life then you will notice it.  The more you notice things you are thankful for the more you will notice things that you are thankful for and so on and so on.  So I think it “pays” in dividens to your mental health to be thankful (particularly when you are not feeling very thankful- but that might be an entirely different post).  I try everyday to thinks of things I am thankful for.  Periodically I write these things in a journal.  And each day at dinner my family and I say at least one thing that was good about our days, a form of being thankful.  I recommend this practice to my friends and clients. 

One of the things that I do with some mommy friends is a Thankful Thursday post on our private facebook page.  It is great to have a place to write what I am thankful for.  But even more so it is great to hear what my friends are thankful for.  We are all thankful for our family, children and friends but we don’t forget about the small pleasures in life either and to remember to be thankful for that as well (my good friend said yesterday that at that exact moment she was thankful for the Cadbury creme egg that a friend had given her and how delicious it was in her mouth- that’s something to be thankful for!!) 

I encourage you to think about, look for and focus on the things in your life that you are thankful for.  I think I will continue the Thankful Thursday post here as well.  I hope you will join me.

Yours in good mental health

January Wilson

Theresa Brereton Photograpghy

Theresa Brereton Photograpghy

My Friend Theresa has been taking my personal and my family photos for the last several years. Theresa and I met while I was pregnant with my first child and she had started a New Mom’s of Mississauga 2007 mommy’s group. I have been lucky enough to have made some great friendships from that group and to be honoured to watch our children grow together. I love the work that Theresa does and don’t really know where else to share this picture so here it is. To see more of her work go to her website or check her out on Facebook