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Mental Health Q&A with Dr. Josh Kruse

If there is something we've learned over the years, it's that is is SOOO important to normalize conversations about mental health. Large percentages of our Montage generations have reported that they are struggling with mental health and wellness concerns. So what better way to address these concerns than with sitting down with a professional to talk about them!


In honor on mental health awareness month back in May, we sat down with Dr. Josh Kruse, a registered Psychologist and owner of Dr. Josh Kruse & Associates based in British Columbia, and answered all of your burning mental health questions.


Is therapy the end all be all? Sometimes it seems like people in the worst states end up ok without it?


Therapy can be very helpful and I think most people could benefit from good therapy. However, not everybody needs therapy. We are relational beings, so good friend and family support can help carry us through a lot. There are times where good friend and family support may not suffice, such as trauma, some relationship issues, and mental illness including high anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders. So, if you’re wondering if you should lean into therapy, then I recommend giving it a shot and see how much benefit you get from it. You may need to try a couple therapists out as it is important to find the right fit for you.


How to overcome imposter syndrome?


Imposter syndrome is fairly common, especially when we stretch ourselves into new areas. It can be more prominent in people who are self-critical and/or struggle with perfectionism. A few ways to push back on imposter syndrome are to challenge your conclusions about yourself, seek genuine affirmation from people you trust, and keep doing what you feel like an impostor in. First, put your thoughts on trial. Are your conclusions about yourself and/or your performance true. Chances are that you are judging yourself and you may need to develop self compassion. Second, this flows from the first way in that you need to gather evidence from those you trust. When we step into new areas then we haven’t developed a lot of data about ourself in that area. This means that we need more encouragement and affirmation to build us up. It needs to be genuine though; otherwise, that critical voice will chop it right down. Third, don’t let your doubts of who you are and/or how you are doing lead to avoidance. Keep walking the path you are on and challenging yourself. There is some truth to the saying “fake it until you make it.”


How many times do people go through depression? Does it ever fully end?


Some people have an episode of depression and then it never shows up again. Some people stay in a state of depression for a long time. And everything in between. Depression can be caused by our biology in that our neurochemistry predisposes us to depression. It can be caused by circumstances where we go through difficulties in life and those difficulties depress us. It can also be caused by a combination of biology and circumstances–this is the whole nature vs nurture debate. If you keep cycling back to depression and there are common themes in your life that lead you there, then I recommend getting good therapy support to process it and get tools to manage. If it is more biologically based then consider talking with your doctor about whether medication might be worth trying, lean into activities to get your system going, and lean into social support including therapy.


Is happiness a product of something or is it a mentality?


There are many factors that contribute to happiness. Behavioral geneticists and psychologists attribute about 50 percent of happiness to genetics, 10 percent to life circumstances, and 40 percent to personal choices.* Happiness can be found by living in alignment with our values, having meaningful relationships, experiencing adventure, experiencing peace and calm, and more. When it comes to mentality, we have some influence, yet not full influence. If you wake up in the morning and expect the day to go horrible, reflect on life with negativity, and isolate from everyone, then there is a good chance that you will experience low levels of happiness. However, if you practice gratitude, put on rose coloured glasses (while still acknowledging difficulties), and live out your values, then there is a good chance you’ll experience more happiness. Lastly, research has shown that smiling increases levels of happiness, whether that is choosing to smile or taping your cheeks to mimic a smile (I wouldn’t recommend doing that, but apparently it makes a difference). So, we can shift the tides towards happiness in what we think and what we do.


What if I tried therapy or counselling once and didn’t like it?


First off, it’s ok if you didn’t like therapy as it’s not for everyone. I would encourage you to reflect on what you didn’t like about it as it could be less about therapy and more about specific factors. Were you younger and it wasn’t something you didn’t sign up for, did you not find it to be a good fit with your therapist in terms of their relatability, style, and/or how helpful they were? If you are considering therapy then it might be good to reflect on what you would be looking to get out of therapy, what type of a therapist might you feel most comfortable with, whether you want to meet in-person or virtually, what you can afford, and go from there. You can check out web pages of therapists in your area and get a sense of them. You can also do a phone call and/or a first session and let them know what you are looking for and see how you experience them. A good therapist is able to create a safe place to connect with you, understand you, and support you towards whatever your goals are for therapy. If you ever feel that you are struggling, remember that we are always here for you :)


If you are ever feeling nervous about your mental health, the first step is to talk to someone, whether that is a trusted family member, health care professional, mentor, or therapist. You can follow Dr. Kruse on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. He also created some amazing podcast episodes that are available on Apple Podcasts, and you can also book virtual counselling with him through Dr. Josh Kruse & Associates.


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