Posts by drmerrylin


»Posted on Dec 16, 2014 in Family Life, Marriage and Relationships, Personal Growth | 0 comments


Do you ever find yourself in a pattern of rescuing or taking care of the emotional needs of others? Do you ever feel like it’s up to you to stop them from doing irresponsible or harmful things? Do you find yourself placing a lower priority on your own needs, while being preoccupied with the needs of others?

While this is an issue of boundaries, it’s actually a deeper issue of co-dependency between you and your spouse or friend. This type of relationship is not uncommon when one person struggles with an addiction, an unhealthy habit, or troubling behaviour that the other person tries to help them overcome. Often, one partner may have trouble controlling their impulses or addictions, or simply not show much interest in the partnership. Then the other partner — who is the codependent one — goes all-out to try to “fix” the problem. Continuing to step in to “help” your loved one is a classic pattern of codependency.

Take the time now to be honest with yourself if you find yourself in an unhealthy relationship with someone in your life.  Here are some questions to ask yourself:  Am I finding myself exhausted and frustrated after spending time with a friend, spouse or family member? Do I sometimes feel as if I am working harder than they are to deal with their problems? Am I finding myself stuck in a pattern of doing things for others that deep down, I know isn’t healthy? Do I secretly find my sense of worth and identity in what I do for others? If you answered yes to any of these questions, please watch the video below.  You CAN change.  Freedom is awaiting you!


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Emotionally Safe Marriage

»Posted on Dec 2, 2014 in Marriage and Relationships | 0 comments


All of us are designed by God to have strong and secure attachments to people we love. From the time that we are conceived, we are being shaped by our attachment relationships. We develop a sense of safety and security from these important relationships. These are questions of ATTACHMENT – this isn’t about STEPS you take to be closer to your spouse, but it’s more about “ways of being” with your spouse. These qualities mean that you are someone with whom your spouse can feel safe and secure.

An emotionally safe marriage is one in which you feel safe enough to say what you feel, knowing that your spouse will respect or at least attempt to understand your point of view. You feel confident that at the end of an argument, you can come back together and re-establish your emotional connection and warmth.  To find out more about the three essential ingredients to a safe marriage, watch the video below.

Regardless of the current health of your marriage, please know that if there’s physical, sexual or emotional abuse, there can never be safety. The damage that has been done has to be dealt with before you can even try to move towards emotional safety with your spouse. It also requires BOTH partners to be willing to move forward, and if you don’t believe that your spouse is safe for you right now, then you need to take steps to protect yourself and get some help to navigate through this difficult challenge. Please reach out for support and help for your own (and perhaps your kids’) well-being and safety.


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Stress and Burnout

»Posted on Nov 18, 2014 in Family Life, Mental Health, Personal Growth | 0 comments

stress and burnout

I’m seeing an alarming trend of clients coming into my office: Overworked, overtired, and stressed-out. They come complaining of depression and anxiety symptoms, but when I assess what’s going on in their lives, it sounds a lot like they’re well on the way to burn-out. Stress is becoming one of the number one killers in North America today.  We all know that, I think.  We’ve certainly all heard the warnings and likely most of us know at least one person who died prematurely due to stress-related diseases.  Many of us are now living at an unsustainable pace but we don’t know how to stop.

I have kids as young as 6 coming into my office suffering from stress symptoms.  Families suffer, marriages break down and kids fail out of school because of stress.  Corporations lose billions of dollars each year due to stress-related illnesses.  It costs all of us. So take heed and make some healthy changes before it’s too late.  Not only is this important to your life expectancy, your health and your happiness, but it’s also God-honouring to live a life that is paced according to the way our bodies were designed to live. So what can you do?


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Parenting Principles

»Posted on Nov 4, 2014 in Family Life, Parenting | 0 comments


When I talk to parents about their kids, it often seems like their focus is on external indicators of “right” behaviour. They will ask me for help in changing their kids’ behaviour, or disciplining tips to get them to be well-behaved. I know that they love their kids, but I think they are looking at the wrong things to change.

The truth is how kids turn out is far more dependent on what’s going on inside their hearts than on their outside behaviour. That means that as a parent, my capacity to connect with my kids’ hearts is more important than just the rules I set and how I discipline them. Our job as parents is to ultimately help our kids internalize a sense of security that is rooted in their capacity to love others and receive love from other people. With that sense of attachment and security, our kids will be able to explore, try new challenges, face difficulties, set tough personal goals and become effective influencers of others.

That means that my choice to focus on their emotional needs with empathy, be a safe person for them to come to with their problems, accept how God has wired them with delight, model the love of Jesus Christ for them, and treasure the gifts that they are, is far more powerful than anything I can teach them or discipline them to do.

For more sound parenting principles, watch this video.  And if you have specific questions about your kids, feel free to contact me for more information.


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Healthy Boundaries

»Posted on Oct 30, 2014 in Family Life, Marriage and Relationships, Mental Health, Personal Growth | 0 comments


One of the biggest issues that crop up time and time again when I work with people is that of boundaries. As Christians, we often confuse the mandate to love others with tolerating all sorts of boundary violations.

Learning to set healthy boundaries is essential for maintaining a positive self-image. It is our way of communicating to others that we have self-respect, and we will not allow others to define us. They are the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual limits we establish to protect ourselves from being manipulated, used, or violated by others. They allow us to separate who we are, and what we think and feel, from the thoughts and feelings of others.

Without boundaries and our willingness to communicate those limits directly and honestly with others, it would not be possible to enjoy healthy relationships. Respecting ourselves in this way is honouring the worth that God sees in each one of us. To set personal boundaries means to preserve your God-given identity and integrity, to take responsibility for who you are, and to take control of your life.  So what should you do?

Here’s a short video clip to get you started on setting healthy boundaries!


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