Cheryl Stewart

This blog is my own thoughts and opinions on topics related to counselling and psychotherapy.

Loving Yourself

Loving yourself. Do you actually love yourself or actually like yourself? It’s an important question to ask yourself at any point in time in your life. But why is it important to ask this seemingly easy question.

Well, because interestingly enough many people are not behaving like they love or like who they are. For example if you stop and think about how you treat others do you actually treat them better than you treat yourself. This is more commonplace than you might realize. People seem to be better at being kind, caring and compassionate with others than they do with themselves.

If you find in asking this question that you feel you are not loving yourself, here are some tips on how to start to treat yourself better.

1) Make sure your inner dialogue is kind towards yourself. If you find yourself being critical or down on yourself, start to change that. When you notice yourself saying something negative or bad about yourself, change that to something positive. Remember to be kind to yourself.

2) Do something nice for yourself - buy yourself some flowers, a special food that you love, or treat yourself in some other way. Often doing something nice is not about spending money but rather the message in the action.

3) Take an inventory of the great things about you. If you find this difficult ask friends, family or colleagues for input on  what they love about you. This is often a touching experience as we often don’t recognize in ourselves what others might see.

Start with these tasks and then come up with some of your own ideas of how to be loving and kind towards yourself. Have a great day loving yourself.

Posted 320 weeks ago


How many hugs have you had today? That may seem like a simple question but the answer may have to do with your physical and mental health. Family therapist Virginia Satir said we need four hugs a day for survival, eight for maintenance and 12 for growth.

What this all means is that we should be getting and giving many hugs a day to be healthy ourselves and to ensure those around us are healthy as well.

Hugging several times a day can benefit us in many ways.

1) We feel loved and those who feel loved are happier throughout their day. We may smile more and approach life from a more positive perspective. Hugging can release serotonin which elevates our mood helping combat depression. Depression is one of the main reasons for individuals seeking therapy.

2) Hugging releases oxytocin levels which heal feelings of loneliness and isolation. This is a common complaint from my clients. Even with social media many are reporting feeling lonely in their life.

3) Hugs can help us to relax and release tension in our bodies. Many people today are stressed and carry a lot of tension in their bodies. Additionally hugs can soothe the central nervous system which helps combat anxiety, another common complaint among clients.

So do yourself a favor and give lots of hugs today so you can feel better physically and emotionally. You will also be giving a huge gift to those in your life.

Posted 326 weeks ago


Everyone wants it. But not everyone figures it out. In fact in my line of work as a psychotherapist I mostly see people who are not happy. They are not happy with themselves, with their relationships, with their job or career, with their financial situation. The list is quite lengthy.

The reasons for not being happy are an individual thing and yet this group of unhappy people often have some things in common. One commonality I often see and work on with individuals is their sense of self. 

We all have what I refer to as “our inner GPS” or our “spidey sense”. It is that part of us (the self) that guides us in our lives. It tells us yes or no, good or bad, what we like and don’t like. And it is certainly an individual thing. When we listen to it our lives will feel content, in line, even happy. When we don’t listen to it, we feel unhappy, out of sorts, unable to make decisions.

So how do we get in touch with this inner GPS? We need to spend time with ourselves, in quiet, and start a relationship with that part of ourselves. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? However, in today’s busy world, most people don’t take the time for this part of their lives.

So if you are unhappy, start getting to know yourself and get on the road to happiness.

Posted 359 weeks ago

Reducing stress

Stress. Everyone talks about it. Pretty much everyone has some level of it in their life. But no one seems to know how to handle it or change it. Most people think that to reduce it they must have to spend hours doing something to make it different. I would like to suggest otherwise.

Reducing stress does not take a lot of time nor a lot of thought. Its not rocket science nor is it particularly difficult. It requires one thing and one thing only. SLOW DOWN.

Now those are just two little words but they can have a lot of impact on your life. Going faster doesn’t mean you will get there faster. Often in the city it means you get there in the same amount of time but you have the illusion of getting there quicker.

Those two little words can change your life. So take a breath, slow down and be less stressed. Add to that taking a moment to say good morning or smile at someone and you have the recipe for a less stressful life.


Be less stressed.

Posted 361 weeks ago

ImTT training

In June I participated in a weekend training seminar called Image Transformation Therapy. It is a new therapeutic technique developed by Robert Miller from the U.S. It is designed to relieve and reduce stressful and distressing emotions while also deconstructing stressful images from the psyche.

This treatment is easier for both the therapist and client. The client does not have to feel the stressful feelings in order to get relief. It is faster than some other types of treatment and can be used for psychological and emotional problems that have often been too difficult to resolve.

This technique uses visualization and breathing. Clients often feel relief from their emotions and more relaxed with just one treatment. Once the stressful emotions and images have been reduced the client’s more natural sense of self can shine through and they often then begin to make changes in their life that reflect their more natural self.

As a psychotherapist it is wonderful when tools and treatment such as ImTT come along which offer relief for clients and also make the work less stressful for the therapist. There is less chance of burnout and compassion fatigue when we are able to use these types of techniques.

Posted 377 weeks ago

New college in town.

Yes, there is is a new college in town. It is not an academic institution but rather the newly proclaimed College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. It has been a long time coming but was finally proclaimed on April 1, 2015. Many individuals in the province put in years of hard work and dedication to make this happen. Many mental health practitioners who previously did not have a professional college to belong to now have a common umbrella with the CRPO.

I am now officially a Registered Psychotherapist in the Province of Ontario and a regulated health professional. There are benefits for me and for my clients.The college outlines ethics and guidelines as to how I must practice as a psychotherapist. Individuals seeking counselling from a regulated professional now have more choice of therapist. Clients may now  be able to utilize their extended health care or work benefits and have their fees covered. Potentially this means more people will get help when they need it and everyone benefits from that.

Posted 441 weeks ago

Parenting wisdom

A regular part of my practice is to help parents delve into what is happening with their children. Any stresses or difficulties with children is often seen in their behavior and is labelled as “acting out”. And parents often feel confused and overwhelmed with unusual behavior from their children.

In some of my recent reading on the topic of parenting, I came across a gem of a book with not a novel idea but one that maybe many parents have forgotten about. In our present world, children are often shuffled around to various activities and the whole family is on a super fast pace.

The book “Simplicity Parenting” by Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross, posits that children’s lives need to be simple and less stressed. They propose turning off the technology including the television and letting children just play. They also suggest paring down their “stuff” and most of all their toys. Having a few things to choose from is better for them. They also discuss the value of a routine that is the same every day which provides a sense of safety and reliability for children.

These authors who work with children and families have seen many positive changes in children who have been struggling with such issues as acting out, attention deficit, and hyperactivity. They claim that less in their lives raises calmer, happier and more secure children.

It’s just a thought. But maybe today’s families could benefit from their wisdom and their ideas. 

Posted 447 weeks ago

How is Your Love Life?

Seems like a simple enough question, doesn’t it? However for most people it is often complicated and conjures a lot of different feelings.

With Valentine’s Day this weekend, it is the topic on most people’s minds whether they are in a relationship or not.

However, I would like to suggest that instead of focusing just on your love relationship with another this weekend that you take some time to get to know yourself. When an individual knows themselves well and has spent some time on their own self-development they are more likely to be a happier and well-adjusted person.

Ok but by self-development I don’t necessarily mean just taking another course or working out more. I am suggesting that everyone should spend some time in solitude looking inward at who they are, what emotional wounds are still not healed, and what they can do to be the best that they can be in their life and in their relationships.

There are plenty of books out there where you can begin. There are also lots of online sites and information to do with self-growth. For those of you wanting to start the process of getting to know what makes you feel good within a relationship you can start with the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. At the following link you can take a quiz to help you determine what fills your love tank. Have fun with it.

But most of all, have a great Valentine’s Day and enjoy getting to know yourself better. 

Posted 449 weeks ago

Another cold January day.

It’s January in Southwestern Ontario and its cold outside. For most people, their holiday bills have caught up with them and so the days may seem even colder and gloomier. This is the time of year when people suffer most with feelings of sadness, negativity and maybe even depression and anxiety.

So what is the cure?

Here’s what can help. When you find yourself struggling ask yourself these questions - What are 3 things that are right in my life? What am I most grateful for?

By asking one of these questions you can start to put a positive spin on your life and find a new perspective. This then allows the brain’s problem-solving ability to open up in order to find solutions to problems. You may find yourself smiling or saying hi to a stranger.

Enjoy your day and find some gratitude. It goes a long way towards making life much happier and simpler.

Posted 452 weeks ago

Happy New Year.

Happy New Year. It’s 2015. Another opportunity to take a look at our lives and make changes if we wish. So what do you want for the upcoming year? What will make your life better? 

In order to make change in our lives we have to take the time to sit in the quiet and take stock of where we are at and what we might want to change or bring into our lives. I suggest setting aside time on a regular basis whether it be daily or weekly to think about how your life is going. Think about what you have, what you want to manifest, and what kind of relationships you have with yourself, others, and the world.

Start a journal as writing about all of this can be powerful. Consider this a ritual in your life that is bound to bring good things. Make a visionboard if you are creative and put pictures and sayings on it that represent what you would like to have your life look and feel like. If you have other creative ideas, great, follow through on them. Follow your heart and soul.

Let’s all make 2015 the year to be kinder, wiser, gentler, and most of all more content in our lives.

Posted 455 weeks ago
Cheryl Stewart Counselling,
678 Grenfell Drive, London, ON. N5X 2C5