Throughout our childhoods, teen years and adulthood, we humans are walking, talking manifestations of countless probabilities, all exquisitely coordinated — except when they’re not.  As living systems, we both build and repair ourselves to an extent that’s only recently been discovered, through developmental science.  Psychology is just one way for the whole being; the whole living system; to regain its balance — but it’s a good way — especially combined with others like the right kind of exercise, yoga and mindfulness, and the insight and influence of a great educator. I’ve had the honour of working with quite a few.

Having worked most of my career in the public sector (schools, children’s mental health and before that, youth corrections) I look to public-private teamwork  whenever and wherever it will help you, the client.  Not only does it save the client money but, moreover, service is more comprehensive and effective.  As one of my University of Toronto mentors, Joe Ducharme says, ‘office psychology’ on its own is never the full deal (or words to that effect).

Now that I’ve  specifically been practicing child and adolescent psychology (both school and clinical) for 10 years, my perspective has been shaped by several  forces.  One is the the ‘fifth wave’ which we can call attachment work.  It too is a proud product of U of T — and Toronto’s Hospital for Sick children — as well as the United Kingdom — thanks to Sir John Bowlby and Toronto’s own Dr. Mary Ainsworth.  One of my posts on this blog outlines attachment work, for parents at least.

Having personally trained in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, I include mindfulness in almost all therapeutic work, combining it with the more specific, evidence-based therapies are most highly tuned to your presenting problem. Usually mindfulness adds an extra comfort level with the work; and boosts its effectiveness.

Another major influence on me has been the fresh new view of psychiatry as we better understand our own, unique, human, individual neuro-biological natures.  This is already gaining us some freedom from the awkward categorizing of people just by pure disorder types, alone.  (If you want to know more, see this seismic announcement by the US National Institute of Mental Health:http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/side-effects/201305/the-nimh-withdraws-support-dsm-5 )

Above all, I use a living systems approach, both in assessment and to therapies.  You can web-search it but you’ll most likely land back here. Living systems means that client, practitioner and any other professionals involved, all closely coordinate in three ways:

  • treatment priorities/prerequisites
  • any co-requisite treatments that work best when given together
  • the relative urgency or timeliness of each treatment aspect

Breakthroughs in developmental science, over the past 20 years, mean that we now understand HOW AND WHY two, three or four tightly coordinated treatments all given promptly work far better than years of one-single-shot ‘best practice’ treatments when given alone. In the end, this approach benefits you, the healthcare system, and society in terms of time, money, effort and above all, quality of life.  If you want to know more about a living systems approach; or about this practice; just use the contact form at the end of this post.

Yours in health and development,

Ken McCallion, Registered, MA, CPsych Assoc

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