Coping with Feelings of Anxiety and Uncertainty During Covid-19

Kerry Moller & Associates - Therapy in Vancouver - Coping with Feelings of Anxiety and Uncertainty During Covid-19

There is so much uncertainty in the world right now.

Job security, layoffs, and worries over the market…

Not knowing if our lives will ever return to what they once were…

Parents wondering if it’s safe to have their kids at school and how long the kids will continue to go there…

People juggling full-time jobs with little or no childcare…

Unknowns and uncertainties (such as the many we are experiencing during Covid-19) tend to bring up a lot of overwhelming emotions.

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Struggling to cope with the global pandemic? We’re here to help.

Kerry Moller & Associates - Therapy in Vancouver - Struggling to cope with the global pandemic? We're here to help.

These past few weeks have seen unprecedented change with the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19. Many people are suddenly spending the majority of time at home – either in voluntary or mandated quarantine. Trying to adjust to this new reality of global pandemic has had far-reaching effects on people’s emotional, financial and physical health.

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A fresh start

Kerry Moller & Associates: The Power of Awareness

September always comes with the promise of a new beginning. Summer offers its final hoorah. The air has a subtle crispness to it. Days become shorter. A few rogue leaves start to turn yellow. All around us, there are signs of change. Once Labour Day is past, we find ourselves looking at a blank page, a new chapter—a fresh start.

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Spring out of your shell

Spring out of your shell with Kerry Moller and Associates

“And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

―Anaïs Nin

Today marks the Spring Solstice—the first day of spring—celebrated all across the globe. Cultures from all around the world have rituals and holidays around this time that mark and honour this season of rebirth—Easter, Passover, Ramadan.

Naturally, this is a time of year for renewal and growth. Just as we plant bulbs in our gardens at this auspicious time of year, so too can we seize this opportunity to instil new seeds in our life, and slowly grow into the people we are meant to be. Below is a suggested self-care ritual that will support you to spring out of your old shell and into new experiences. Through this ritual, you can begin cultivating new ways of being that support your inborn capacity for growth and transformation—no matter where you are in your personal journey.

Plant a seed—literally, and figuratively!

Whether you have a big garden, a tiny balcony, or just a windowsill—get your hands into soil and plant some seeds of your favourite plants or flowers. Several studies have documented that soil contains phytochemicals that have anti-depressive effects on human beings—this is a good reason to get your hands dirty. You can also make this activity into a ritual. As you are preparing the plot or the pot, take time to connect with yourself and envision what it is you want to plant in your life. Envision the change you want to see, and take a moment to do a visualization of what your life might actually look life should you begin to bud, or even blossom! Then, as you plant your seed(s), you will also be figuratively planting the seed for the growth you wish to experience. Don’t forget to give ample water and sunlight to your seeds—again, both literally and figuratively!

Happy Spring!

From all of us at Kerry Moller & Associates

photo: Kristin Horsman

Introducing Arunima Sharma

Arunima Sharma - Registered Clinical Counsellor in Vancouver, BC

We are pleased to announce the addition of Arunima Sharma to our practice. Arunima is a Registered Clinical Counsellor with a Master’s degree in Integral Counselling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco and a Bachelor degree in Psychology from University of British Columbia. She is passionate about helping clients from all walks of life discover inner strength, resilience, and a deeper connection to self and others.

Over the last 6 years, Arunima has worked with individuals, couples and families struggling with issues including anxiety, depression, addictions, eating disorders, trauma, grief, concerns around intimacy and sexuality, and those embarking on existential inquiry. Her counselling approach is mindfulness-based, humanistic, body-focused and relational; she blends various modalities into a unique alchemy based on the needs and goals of each client.

As an immigrant and global citizen, Arunima intimately understands the struggles of belonging, acculturation, the sense of separation, and resulting feelings of loss, anxiety and social isolation. Using a systems, multi-cultural, and transpersonal approach, Arunima helps people discover their truth. In the process, her clients feel more resilient, resourceful, independent, connected with themselves and others. With years of experience working across the globe, Arunima has a deep appreciation for human diversity, and for the universality that exists in our human needs, aspirations and longings.

To make an appointment with Arunima or to ask any questions you might have, please call 604-314-1839 or email

The Power of Awareness

Kerry Moller & Associates: The Power of Awareness

“Clearly recognizing what is happening inside us, and regarding what we see with an open, kind and loving heart, is what I call Radical Acceptance. If we are holding back from any part of our experience, if our heart shuts out any part of who we are and what we feel, we are fueling the fears and feelings of separation that sustain the trance of unworthiness. Radical Acceptance directly dismantles the very foundations of this trance.”
―Tara Brach

The third and last podcast we will share this month is a series on mindfulness from renowned Buddhist teacher, Tara Brach. Mindfulness is a practice of awareness and radical acceptance of all that arises in our minds and relationships. By becoming more aware and more accepting of what arises in our life, we enhance our natural capacity to cope with life’s challenges with dignity, courage, and ease. Psychologists and counsellors have begun to adapt the use of mindfulness to therapy, since decades of research has proven that mindfulness is highly effective in treating anxiety, depression, stress, trauma, and even more complicated psychological problems like schizophrenia.

Meditation teacher and psychotherapist, Tara Brach, has spent decades teaching and practicing mindfulness. She has dedicated her life to bringing the practices and principles of mindfulness to those struggling with addiction and mental illness, and to those fighting against issues like racial injustice, environmental destruction, and inequality. In that spirit of generosity, Tara shares her teachings online for free through this podcast. Listen to them in your car, on the bus, while you are making dinner, or sit down on the couch and savour her teachings instead of watching a movie or television show.

The therapists at Kerry Moller and Associates regularly incorporate mindfulness practices into sessions with clients. Whether clients are struggling with anxiety, depression, relationship issues, stress or trauma, we have found that mindfulness practices are incredibly effective in facilitating change and other positive outcomes. If you are looking to begin or deepen your mindfulness practice outside of the therapy room, Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield offer a 7-week, online mindfulness-training program called The Power of Awareness. It will be offered again in Spring 2017, so sign up now!

photo: Kristin Horsman

Having a Quest for your life

Kerry Moller & Associates: Having a Quest for your life

For the second blog post in our February podcast series, we would like to share this podcast from Gretchen Rubin, the New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project. In this episode, she reflects on the importance of having a quest for your life. A quest is not simply a collection of personal goals; a quest is an adventure, a journey toward something that will always remain a little bit out of reach. While goals are oriented around achievements or milestones, quests are experiential and ongoing. In this podcast, Gretchen talks about what distinguishes a quest from a mission, and explains why having a quest is an essential ingredient for happiness and satisfaction.

One of the reasons having a quest brings zest to our lives is because all quests are inherently challenging. It is only through embracing and overcoming challenges that we gain a sense of reward.

Quests are also thoroughly mysterious; and it is this sense of elusiveness that pulls us forward toward something we may never quite approach, and gives us something to look forward to, something to build towards.

The principles behind Grechen’s reflections are similar to those used in Existential therapy. In existential therapy, the therapist aims to help the client orient their life toward meaning. It is believed that happiness, and the resolution of troubling neurotic symptoms, can only occur as a side effect of a meaningful, engaged life.

Existential psychotherapist, Viktor Frankl, wrote: “For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.”

If you are reading this and are wondering, what is my quest? Have I found one yet? It’s never too late to begin! We hope you will find some inspiration for your personal quest in this uplifting podcast: Happier with Gretchen Rubin

If you are interested in learning more about existential therapy, we recommend these books to start:

  • Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
  • Irvin Yalom, The Gift of Therapy
  • Rollo May, Freedom & Destiny

photo: Kristin Horsman

Sparkle Stories — An Alternative to Screen Time

Kerry Moller & Associates - Sparkle Stories

Over the next month, we at Kerry Moller at Associates have decided to share a series of blog posts about some of our most recent, favourite podcasts. Podcasts are like pre-recorded radio shows without the commercials or live callers—it’s just you, quietly listening to your favourite author, public figure, or spiritual teacher while in transit or resting at home. Listening to podcasts is a great alternative to spending idle time in front of a screen, especially for your children.

Screen time is defined as the amount of time you spend in front of an electronic screen: texting, updating your social media, watching TV, streaming movies from Netflix, or checking and responding to emails. Many people in our society are becoming increasingly aware of the feelings of disconnection and fatigue that arise from too much screen time. Notably, the risks that come with extended screen time are far greater when it comes to children and youth.

Statistics say that more than half of all the one year old babies in America spend an average of 2 hours a day in front of television or iPad screens. By the time these babies are preschool-aged, hours of screen time double. Some data suggests that children from 2-5 years in age spend as much as 4-4.6 hours a day in front of a screen.

Studies show that screen time is habit-forming: the more time young children spend in front of screens, the harder it is for them to turn them off and engage their brains in different ways as they become older. In pre-teens and adolescents, excessive screen time is linked to psychological challenges including hyperactivity, emotional and social challenges, and poor performance at school.

Enter Sparkle Stories. Sparkle Stories is an independent media company that offers hundreds of original audio stories for children through their website and podcast. These stories are simple, but engaging. Busy parents find relief knowing they can play these commercial-free stories for their children while preparing dinner or attending to household chores. Other parents love sitting down with their kids and savouring these tender tales together.

We hope all the parents out there reading this will enjoy this resource: Sparkle Stories

Additionally, here is some research on the benefits of reduced screen time:

  • Reducing screen time can help prevent childhood obesity
  • Children who spend less time in front of screens in early years tend to do better in school, have healthier eating habits, and be more physically active
  • Screen time at a young age is associated with later behavioural problems, but not if heavy viewing is discontinued before age six
  • Limiting exposure to television during the first 4 years of life may decrease children’s interest in it in later years

photo: Kristin Horsman