Quinte Counselling Services Newsletter Spring 2017

Getting Help with Addiction and Substance Abuse

Paula Buskard, M.A.

Money and Stress go well together like
pain and a headache!
Financial Freedom through Budgeting 101
Help is here!

Sandra Valks, CLU

Biases in Decision Making

Bob Kitcher, M.A., RP

Winter is over and we are all in spring cleaning mode, or know we should be! In any case, it is a time of renewal and growth, and if we put off some issues over the cold, dark and dreary winter Spring is a perfect time to address them before summer. Your Employee Assistance Program can help.
This month we are focusing on Getting Help with Addiction and Substance Abuse in an article by Paula Buskard; Bob Kitcher shows us his Biases in Decision Making; and Sandra Valks provides a lesson on Budgeting.

If you or a family member are struggling with an addiction issue, money problems, or relationship issue; feeling anxious, depressed or stressed; trying to get along better with a co-worker; experiencing grief, loss or bereavement; or concerned about a child’s behaviour, your Employee Assistance Program can help. If you have any questions about your EAP or about who might be best to help address your specific issues feel free to discuss this with our reception at any time.

Virginia Palmer, RP, Clinical Coordinator

Getting Help with Addiction and Substance Abuse

Paula Buskard, M.A.

Addiction and Substance Abuse

Addiction, Substance Abuse, Drug Addict, Alcoholic – all words that are easily voiced but not easily lived – behind the words there is someone feeling pain, shame, guilt, regret, grief, anger and a host of other emotions. Alcohol and/or drugs are often used to cope in life. Whether we use them recreationally to enjoy a night out and forget about our tough week or use them daily to cope with our lives, substance abuse can come with heavy, life altering consequences.

Consequences, the outcome of substance abuse, can change your life. People have lost their jobs, families, friends, homes, spiritual beliefs, emotional stability, finances, physical health, etc. because of choices related to alcohol and/or drug use. Some have not experienced these losses but risk them because as they continue to use, the consequences continue to build.

Often the intention of using a substance is to feel better, we seek the effects, but after time the intention can get lost and the consequences take over. Nobody starts out in life thinking “when I grow up I am going to use alcohol and/or drugs to cope.”

We learn that substances can bring positive outcomes. Possibly you are more social when you drink, more active, maybe you think you dance better when you drink or play pool better or you’re a better ball player – what you are is less fearful because alcohol lowers your inhibitions. There are no dancing shoes or pool cues in your alcohol
bottle – that is all you. Possibly you have tried a new recreational drug and experienced a great night out and now you find yourself wanting to continue that great night experience. Maybe alcohol and/or drugs have helped you manage or cope with the unmanageable. Whatever the reasons, substances may have served a purpose in your life. Then comes the question, “so what is the problem?”

The problem – we can come to depend on substances physically and/or psychologically to walk through our lives. When we are physically dependent on a substance, meaning it now takes more of that substance to reach the desired effects or our bodies no longer function without the substance present (shakes, headaches, sweats, nausea), then our days start to revolve around using the substance to “just feel normal.”

When we are psychologically dependent on a substance we believe that we can no longer “do life” without that substance present. The substance is needed to make decisions, talk to people, interact with our world, manage our emotions, give us courage and face our insecurities. Of course, consequences are not just about what happens physically or psychologically to the person using the substance/s, consequences


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can be the losses (or threat of losses) that are experienced by family members, employers and friends.

Now comes the question, “what can I do about my drinking and/or drug use?”

What you can do is – learn new ways to cope in life, learn new ways to think about alcohol/drugs, learn how to reduce the harm of substance use, heal from past or present traumas, mend broken relationships, find supports, regain your power and control so that you can be present in your life.

I can help you with this. As a counsellor in the field of substance use/abuse/addiction (whatever words you choose) I come to Quinte Counselling Services with over 30 years of experience. Working together, we can learn a new and better way to do life.

Paula Buskard, M.A. is an Employee Assistance Program therapist who provides services to adults, couples and families for addictions, PTSD, depression, anxiety, relationship issues and stress management.

Did you know…

→Appointments are scheduled at a time that is convenient for you and usually within two to three days?

→No one at your place of employment will know that you have used your EAP unless you tell them?

→Counselling is provided for a broad range of services, including marital and relationship; parenting; stress; separation/divorce trauma; workplace; and personal issues?

→Counsellors can help you access community resources and support groups?

→A comprehensive description of the services provided through your EAP is available through your EAP brochure
or on our website at www.qxplore.com?

Money And Stress Go Well Together
Like – Pain And Headache

Financial Freedom Through Budgeting 101
– Help Is Here!

Sandra Valks, CLU

Have you found yourself with too much month left at the end of your money?

Have you scratched your head and wondered where the money went?

Have you run away from a budget because it feels like a dirty word? Like it might spoil your life and your fun? And then the fun disappears because the money has run out way too soon. Ouch!

So often, I find that our fear of the unknown paints us into corners. If we actually consider the purpose of a budget, we’ll find that it is simply a way to become aware of what our choices could be – a financial road map. By listing exactly our expenses and our income, we have the

freedom to plan our personal financial success. It becomes simple to understand our financial priorities, places we can negotiate better deals, and of course, an opportunity to really examine the difference between
Wants and Needs.

Start listing those items that have no flexibility, continuing into those you can adjust:

HOUSING COSTS: mortgage payment, property taxes, Insurance, heat, hydro, water, trash … .

COMMUNICATION: phones, internet, cable, TV

TRANSPORTATION: car insurances, licenses, tires, maintenance,
gas, parking

WORK EXPENSES: lunches, daycare, special work clothes

LOANS: vehicles, credit cards, lines of credit, student loans

LIVING EXPENSES: food, entertainment, laundry, clothing, child support, alimony, bank fees

PERSONAL EXPENSES: tobacco, alcohol, recreation, kids’ activities, entertainment, fitness memberships, haircuts, gifts, donations


Keep going until you have listed everything you spend monthly and throughout the year. Then compare your income to your outgo, and develop a realistic budget! The next step is of course to track and review your accounts on a weekly or monthly basis to see how closely you are actually following your budget- then adjust accordingly.

If debt has crept in, it’s time to examine how and why that occurred. Are we simply living beyond our means? Are we really enjoying it or just keeping up to what we feel are expectations of others? Time for making some tough choices, don’t you think?

Now it’s time to explore all the ways of paying that debt down. Do we sell assets? Do we rent out a room? Do we get a second job? Do we simply cut our spending to find ways of enjoying a rich life without the expensive hobbies and costly entertainment?

Getting your finances under control can be a very difficult thing to do and it can be very helpful to have a financial consultant assist with the financial plan and budgeting and also developing the motivation to rigorously follow the Plan.

There is always a way out. Let’s find it. Call for a time to review your financial circumstances and relieve your stress around money!

Sandra Valks is a Chartered Life Underwriter who has been providing financial services since 1982 and who provides Financial Counselling through the Employee Assistance Program


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Biases in Decision Making

Bob Kitcher, M.A, RP

Kitcher development - Biases in decision making

I have an irrational passion for dispassionate rationality!

All of us operate with emotional and behavioural biases when we make decisions. Understanding these biases can help us at work, at home and particularly in our financial planning. Ask yourself these questions when you are confronting a difficult or emotional decision.

Am I more afraid of losing what I have than risking what I have in order to get something better? Loss aversion biases us against embracing risk. Staying in a bad relationship is easier than risking leaving and finding a new one. Keeping your savings in a GIC is easier than accepting the risks and likely higher returns long term in the stock market.

Do I favour the information concerning this decision because it confirms my beliefs? Confirmation bias on emotionally charged issues, like love and money, leads to misplaced confidence in the decision. I am undesirable and so no-one will ever desire me. Investors who believe the stock market is going to crash have focused on the doom and gloom articles, ignored articles to the contrary and missed a bull market in stocks for the last seven years.

Do I put undue weight on recent events and extrapolate them into the future. Recency bias – Work has been overwhelming since the beginning of January and will continue that way through the whole year, ignores the predictable up and down cycles of a regular work year. Gold has just gone up 10% and is going to go up another 25%!

Do I generalize the attributes of someone based on the limited information I really have about them. The Halo Effect describes our tendency to like (or dislike) everything about a person (including things you have not observed) based on your basic impression. If you like (dislike) the politics of the Prime Minister you also like (dislike) his style and appearance and vice versa. If you like the style of your investment advisor and the layout of her office you also think that she is making good investment recommendations and not asking about her fees.

Here is my personal favourite demon. Do I over-estimate my planning, timing and execution skills? This Planning Fallacy Bias is a tendency to underestimate the cost, time, effort and risks of an action while overestimating the benefits. Did anyone anywhere, ever, have a house renovation done on time and within budget? Or consistently make the optimistic 7% annual investment returns (after inflation, fees and taxes) in their retirement fund as estimated by many in the retirement planning industry?

Biases, fears and beliefs are part of our make-up and are inevitable – all we can do is be aware of them and manage them. Big decisions are best discussed and made in consultation with an intelligent, insightful, experienced and objective advisor. There are really no exceptions to this rule.

“Be careful how you interpret the world: It is like that.”
— Erich Heller

“The hardest part about gaining any new idea is sweeping out the false idea occupying that niche. As long as that niche is occupied, evidence and proof and logical demonstration get nowhere. But once the niche is emptied of the wrong idea that has been filling it – once you can honestly say, I don’t know, then it becomes possible to get at the truth.“
— Robert A. Heinlein

Bob Kitcher M.A., RP is the Managing Director of the Qxplore Group of
companies which includes Quinte Counselling Services, Quinte Assessment and Treatment Group, and Qxplore Inc.

What Kinds of Services are Provided Through the EAP?

Separation Counselling
Counselling for Work Issues
Grief and Bereavement Counselling
Addiction Assessment and Counselling
Chronic Pain Management
Counselling for Seniors’ Placement Issues
Referral Co-ordination
Financial Counselling
Individual Solution Focused Therapy
Marriage and Relationship Counselling
Family Therapy
Play Therapy
Counselling for Child and Adolescent Issues
Counselling for Survivors of Sexual Abuse
Trauma Debriefing
Assertiveness Training
Stress Management
Family Life Education
Weight Management Counselling


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Are you a worried parent whose child or adolescent is experiencing difficulty with:

Early childhood development
*Not achieving at the expected level?
*Mathematics, Reading, Spelling, or Writing skills?
*managing emotions and getting along with others?
*Motivation, paying attention and/or concentrating?
*Transitioning to college or university

A Psychoeducational Assessment by Quinte Assessment and Treatment Group Inc. can identify causes of your child’s problems and recommend what can help.

Donna Boulton, M.Sc., C.Psych.; Shara Highgate., Ph.D., C.Psych.;
Eva Mourelatos, M.A.; Shannon Mossip, M.A., C.Psych.;
Mohammad Nikkhou, Ph.D., C.Psych.;Anita Ramani, PH.D. BCBA-D, C.Pysch.

Quinte Counselling Services Inc.

208 John Street
Belleville, Ontario, K8N 3G1
Tel: 613-966-4262
Fax: 613-966-4265
Toll Free: 1-800-527-7793
qcs@qxplore.com www.qxplore.com


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Serving clients in Central and Eastern Ontario with a focus on Napanee, Belleville, Trenton, Quinte West, Prince Edward County, Hastings County, Lennox and Addington County and Northumberland County.