Free Story Book about COVID-19 for Children


Free Story Book about COVID-19 for Children

March 27, 2020
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Ana M. Gomez, MC, LPC is a psychotherapist in private practice, author of several books, chapters and articles, and a lecturer internationally known for her innovative work with children and adolescents.

She has recently created a free children’s book designed to help our children during this time of COVID-19. It’s a beautiful story titled, ““The Story of the Oyster and the Butterfly: The Coronavirus and Me”, that I think both children and adults will enjoy doing together. Hope you find it helpful!

To All Essential Service Providers and Front Line Workers…

March 25, 2020
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As a Certified EMDR Therapist and trauma-informed therapist, I have experience working with Acute Stress Disorder, PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, Life Transitions, and Grief and Loss.

To give thanks to those working in essential services such as in health care, banks, grocery stores, etc., I am providing counselling support with short-term, reduced fee sessions of $75.00 per session. Please feel free to reach out to me with inquiries.

If Dr. Seuss was alive today…

March 24, 2020
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Here is a beautiful poem that was shared by a colleague.

(Read with Dr. Seuss book rhythm)

The buildings were big and people would smile
And travel they would mile by mile.
But sick they become. in numbers it grew.
Businesses worried, communities too.
Things stopped for a bit, the world slowed its roll.
The virus had certainly taken its toll.
But what they then saw from slowing things down,
Is in fact they now had less reasons to frown.
Families now gathered, what game shall we play?
Pass me the blue crayon, give mommy the grey.
Dad’s home guys! He’ll read us a book
then all us together will cook.
The lungs of the planet caught a small break
less travel want less pollution to make.
People did realize they’d all be okay.
They don’t need so much to get through the day.
Maybe this virus that caused so much stress
Showed the whole world that more can mean less

Written by xxxxxxx
Inspired by Dr. Seuss

UPDATE: Video Counselling and Telephone Counselling

March 22, 2020
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In light of the heightened precautions due to COVID-19, video counselling and telephone sessions are being offered and in-person sessions are postponed until further notice. A PIPEDA and PHIPA-compliant platform, Zoom, will be used for video counselling.

This was a difficult decision to make since I know that the in-person, human-to-human experience is such an important ingredient in counselling therapy. However, remote counselling is undeniably the best choice at this time in order to ensure the health and safety of clients and our community.

Since I am partial to the in-person experience of counselling, I have been pleasantly surprised by the video sessions I have had so far. What’s interesting is that video counselling has allowed clients to experience a different type of connection and therapy. For some, clients appear at ease being in the comfort of their own homes, beautifully bare-faced and in cozy wear. For others, they are able to instinctively reach out to their pets and become soothed when exploring difficult topics. It has shifted my perspective on “virtual therapy” – I can see that effective work can be done in this new setting. I guess it’s not too surprising because we, humans, are highly adaptable, resilient, and resourceful. We do what we need to do!

So I am excited to be able to support in this new way and I hope that it can be helpful during this unprecedented time.



EMDR Therapy: A Way to Heal and Let Go

October 3, 2015
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Anxiety. Depression. Shame. Anger. Pain. No matter what we do to shake these away, it feels like one or more of them have a powerful hold on us. Discouragement can be added to that list if we feel like we have tried everything to feel better without success.

EMDR therapy may be helpful for those who have tried traditional talk therapy but still feel stuck in negative habits, patterns, and emotions that hold them back from experiencing joy and enjoying success. It can help individuals overcome their fear of fully loving and trusting their partners. It can help parents overcome barriers that might be keeping them from being attuned to their children. It can help professionals overcome their insecurities and help them achieve their full potential (peak performance EMDR).

EMDR is an accelerated form of therapy that helps painful memories and experiences become “unstuck”. EMDR facilitates our natural ability to heal and helps process our past events so that we can learn from them and use the positive learning to move forward in our lives.

It has shown to help people with the following experiences and memories:

  • Being shamed and criticized by others (parents, teachers, etc.)
  • Growing up in a home with an emotionally unavailable parent (substance use, depression, medical illness, “workaholic”, etc.)
  • Being spanked, hit, or physically injured by others (parents, siblings, teachers, peers, etc.)
  • Growing up in a home with a parent who would easily get angry
  • Being sexually assaulted or abused
  • Losing someone you love
  • Being left out or socially rejected by others (siblings, peers, colleagues, etc.)
  • Other critical events such as car accidents, medical and health issues, incidents when you thought you were going to die, etc.

After successful processing, clients report the following:

  • Inner peace and calm
  • Positive beliefs about themselves such as “I am lovable”, “I am capable”, and “I am okay”
  • Feelings of empowerment and control

For further information, feel free to contact Jenny or visit

Respond Rather than React: A Benefit of Deep Breathing

March 12, 2013
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As babies and young children, we breathe deeply by expanding our diaphragms. Rather than our chests rising and falling with each breath, our stomachs expand and contract. However, we seem to lose this extremely beneficial ability when we enter our school years. As we continue to mature and become more wrapped up in our daily stresses, we become less connected to the single activity that is simple to do and has many health benefits – deep breathing.

Although there is a long list of benefits to deep breathing, the one benefit that is worth highlighting is its ability to help us respond rather than react to stressful situations.

When we are experiencing stress, our body reacts by entering a “fight or flight” state. While in this state, our body gets ready to fight (attack the suspected opponent), flee (run away from the situation), or freeze (avoid being noticed) to cope with the distressing situation. These reactions often lead us to take quick, shallow breaths and to tighten our muscles in preparation. Thanks to these automatic and adaptive skills, we were able to face many life-threatening situations during our more primitive years in the wild!

March 2013Now that we no longer live in the wild and hunt for our own food, we do not always need to prepare for “fight or flight”. But because our body is so used to reacting to stress in this manner, these states can be triggered in situations where we SENSE that it is life threatening.  This may include situations such as a deadline at work or an argument with a loved one. Taking deep breaths can help our body ease its way out of the fight, flight, or freeze state; deep breathing can release some of the muscle tension and help our bodies understand that we are not in physical danger. So it can be very helpful to notice your breathing and to take longer and deeper breaths. By giving our bodies a break in this way, we may be able to see the situation differently and allow ourselves to respond (rather than react) to the stress more appropriately. Not only can our state of mind influence our body, our body can also influence our state of mind.

With Spring just around the corner, this might be a good time for you to brush up on your deep breathing techniques and to reconnect with your natural ability to breathe deeply.  Take a moment to enjoy the fresh scent of Spring AND to help yourself RESPOND rather than REACT to stressful situations!

For Teens and Adults:

(1) Over a count of 4 seconds, slowly inhale through your nose as you feel your stomach expanding

(2) Hold your breath for 2 seconds

(3) Over a count of 4 seconds, slowly exhale through your mouth as you feel your stomach shrinking

(4) Hold your breath for 2 seconds

* Repeat 4-8 times (or more)

For Children:

Children can also benefit from deep breathing. A fun way to help them learn to breathe deeply is by using  ideas that are familiar to them.

(1) Ask the child to imagine a rose and to slowly breathe in the scent of the rose for 4 seconds. Encourage the child to notice his/her belly becoming large like an expanding balloon.

(2) Hold in the scent for 2 seconds

(3) Then ask the child to pretend to slowly blow out birthday candles for 4 seconds. Encourage the child to notice his/her belly becoming small like a shrinking balloon.

(4) Pause for 2 seconds

* Repeat 3-5 times (or more)

Don’t Let the Vancouver Rain Hold You Back!

February 11, 2013
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Feb 2013Could it simply be a coincidence that Say Hi Vancouver, Family Day, and Valentines Day all fall within a week in February? Not for Vancouverites. By the time February has arrived, we have endured month after month of cold, darkness, and rain. Many of us tend to hibernate during these months and wonder if Mr. Sun will ever show his face again.

However, when we look at those around us who are thriving (not just surviving) during the cold winter months, they are taking advantage of this down time to rejuvenate themselves. They may not be as energetic or active as they were during the summer months, but they certainly do not freeze and wait for the sun to thaw them to life. People who beat the blues of the rainy season embrace the following C’s to take advantage of this down time:

(1) CARE

We are often in the habit of caring for and meeting the needs of others. How about modifying that habit to include yourself? Think about healthy activities that meet your needs. Making this time a priority does not mean that it needs to take a lot of time. When it comes to self-care, quality over quantity is what’s best. Just try to carve out some time in your schedule and give yourself the permission to enjoy a healthy activity without guilt!


As mentioned earlier, we tend to isolate ourselves and hibernate during the cold, winter months. Although some alone time can be quite rejuvenating and comforting, there is a fine line between meaningful solitude and meaningless isolation. Meaningful solitude provides freedom from distractions and allows time for contemplation. By doing so, we can become better connected to ourselves and others. However, meaningless isolation does not provide the same freedom. Instead, we feel alone and we lose sight of the meaningful connections in our lives. So try to stay connected with your social support AND with yourself. We are all social beings who need to belong somewhere or with someone. Just one meaningful connection to someone is all that it takes for some people. If you are feeling disconnected, there’s someone else in your life who may be feeling the same way so trying reaching out!


As much as we are all social beings, we are also creative beings. We all enjoy creating something new and different. Whether it is trying out a new dinner recipe, starting a new art project, or developing a new business idea, aim to create new experiences for yourself. Rather than focusing on the end result, enjoy the act of trying something new and different. These fresh experiences may provide opportunities for you to challenge yourself, think outside the box, learn something new, and (most importantly) have fun!

And so it is no surprise that Vancouverites are enjoying three events this month that encourage us to use our CREATIVITY to CARE and CONNECT. I hope you not only get a chance to apply the 3 C’s to these events but to apply them in your daily life. Rather than waiting for the sun to come out to play, appreciate the opportunity to challenge yourself to (dare I say?) enjoy and thrive during these cold, dark, and rainy months!

A Farewell Before a Hello…

January 5, 2013
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Many of us enjoy starting the new year with fresh goals and resolutions. We are inspired by the idea of starting anew or building upon past achievements. But before dreaming up new goals and looking ahead to 2013, it may be fruitful and insightful to take a moment to acknowledge and reflect on our year in 2012.

So the following is a list of phrases which may help you do just that as we close 2012 and look forward to 2013…and maybe this exercise will help you create your resolutions for 2013!

(1) My biggest triumph in 2012 was…

(2) The smartest decision I made in 2012 was…3193886965_523396d287_z

(3) The one word that sums up and describes 2012 is…

(4) The greatest lesson I learned in 2012 is…

(5) The most loving service I performed in 2012 was…

(6) The biggest pieces of unfinished business is…

(7) I am most happy about…

(8) The 3 people who had the most impact on me in 2012 was…

(9) The biggest risk I took in 2012 was…

(10) The biggest surprise of 2012 was…

(11) The relationship that improved the most for 2012 was…

(12) I would like to be acknowledged for…

(13) The compliment I would like to give this year is…

Cheers to a new year!


April 6, 2012
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Welcome to Points to Ponder. This is a blog on personal growth, parenting guidance, and relationship enhancement. Blogs will be posted on a monthly basis so check back regularly and take a moment to ponder!

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