Welcome & Tips for a better Vacation Experience


Welcome everyone. I have recently returned to private practice both in Canmore and Calgary. This is my official first blog and the launch of my website. The website and blogs are intended to be a venue for sharing information and ideas. I will be writing regularly and look forward to hearing from you on this. I hope this goes far and wide as I love hearing how you are doing.

The process of writing and honing material for the website was a challenge, both positively and negatively.  My great website designer, Norja Vanderelst of Colour Infusion Web Design, was infinitely patient and had good humour with my careful, measured speed toward the process. That means I took a long time to write the content by virtue of putting it off and then had several rewrites. My friends Dr. Matt Graham and Kelly Green did the critique for me… And they’re still friends. Lol. It was overwhelming at times to figure out what to include so that it could be most helpful to you in deciding if my counselling services fit your needs. In the end, it was rewarding to go through the process.  I highly recommend it. And have Norja do a website for you and with you.

I have my practice both in Canmore and Calgary.

In Canmore: my practice is on Thursday evenings and Saturdays during the day at Ridgeview Medical Centre.

I am in Calgary on Wednesdays all day at Bow Valley Counselling and Mediation on the Second Floor, Suite  200,  2120 Kensington Road. I hope to meet you sometime. Now that the commercial is over I do have some thoughts to share about having a positive family or couple or friend holiday this summer… that is if we ever see some warm weather.

For this first information blog, I have some thoughts to share about summer vacations away from home and four ways to improve your chances of having an enjoyable time, free of meltdowns and/or relationship difficulties.

To make the most of your holiday time, in your planning include thoughts about how you will deal with spending more time together with family, friends, spouses and partners. This can be difficult because we all have the tendency to think that if we have a change of scenery, things with our relationships will improve automatically. This is not necessarily going to happen. I think one of the things that people can avoid planning for in their vacation time is the relationship matters that will come up during that time.

To have you have the best experience possible in your time away from your regular routine I have the following four tips:

  1. Identify any relationship difficulties you are having currently and either clear them up prior to leaving on vacation or make time for talking about them while away.
  2. Remember that it is possible to get too much of one another no matter how much you love and enjoy one another. Take some time to think about your trip, the amount of together time it will entail and to plan for some time apart, even if it means sitting at separate tables in a restaurant for a while. Another way to get alone time is by bringing an enjoyable individual activity to  do sitting side by side ( a kind of on your own together) such as reading a book, listening to movies or music, knitting, drawing or painting.
  3. As the inevitable disagreements arise, make time to chill out before talking over and resolving the difficulty. One chill out technique which you can start before leaving home is to focus on your breathing and gradually breathe deeply and easily into your belly (diaphragm) and do this for three to five minutes. Even a few seconds of this can calm your tension. The more you use this, the better you become at it, so start right now. It’s like learning to play an instrument… lots of practice makes for improvement. Make sure you come back to one another to work out the issue to clear the air. Unaddressed matters can ferment underneath and come out later.
  4. Focus on the positive of what you are experiencing. This can be a particular challenge if you are in a place where language, culture and customs are different. Remind yourself of why you chose this vacation and make the most of a new experience, which does involve discomfort and fun in varying degrees.
  5. And if everything goes sideways, make your best efforts to work out the issues and focus on what you have gained from the experience of this time. Not all holidays are the stuff of dreams.

The main point is to anticipate possible stressors on your relationships before you go on vacation and deal with them as much as possible before leaving home. Recognize that conflict is normal and that difficulties come up, even when you are visiting the most beautiful places in the world. Make a plan for handling these and remember to take steps to make your vacation a positive, memorable experience. If it is not, chock it up to experience and learn from it for the next time.


For consultations with Patricia, please contact her at: Ph. 403.675.5379 or email

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