Monthly Archives: October 2012

How to deal with harassment at work


How to deal with workplace harassment

Many of us spend more waking hours at work than we do with family and friends. Since we spend most of our waking life at work, it is crucial that any form of harassment be addressed when it happens. Do not ignore the situation and leave it to fester as it can seriously affect your morale, job satisfaction, and even your health.

What is harassment?

The Canadian Human Rights Commission defines harassment as “unwelcome behaviour that demeans, humiliates or embarrasses.” This can include:

  • Comments (jokes, name-calling, or sexually suggestive language)
  • Displays or actions (touching, pushing)
  • Shunning/ignoring (pointedly leaving a colleague out of group functions, ignoring their contribution at meetings)
  • Unwanted sexual behaviour
  • An abuse of power or authority

What can

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Tired of being called co-dependent? There’s more to it than that


Tired of being called co-dependent? There’s more to it than thatAs the human race has evolved, individuals who became attached to their partners seemed to have the genetic competitive edge.

In addition to a survival advantage, they passed on a preference for forming intimate bonds to their offspring. This results in attachment theory, which is based on the assertion that the need to be in a close relationship is natural because the tendency is genetic. As with other genetic traits, however, there are variants within the population.

Attachment comes in three different styles, none of which is pathological:

  • Secure: Individuals with this attachment style feel comfortable with intimacy. They are generally warm and loving within their relationships.
  • Avoidant: Individuals with this attachment style equate intimacy with a loss of independence.
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The impact of job strain on employees’ mental health


Employees stressed at workAbout 12 years ago I was asked to prepare a booklet for counsellors called Understanding the Workplace. During my research I became particularly interested in the topic of job strain.

Job strain is likely to occur when individuals find themselves in environments with specific objective characteristics. Research has demonstrated that there is an increase in the incidence of inflammatory diseases and poor mental health when these characteristics are present.

Key factors that create a stressful work environment:

  • High production demand and low opportunity to control work conditions
  • Minimal rewards for high degree of effort
  • Lack of fairness, respect, trust, and support

Reasons why some workplaces are particularly difficult to function in:

  • Rapid change
  • Profit driven culture
  • Downsizing of workforce
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Some actions you can take to mark Mental Illness Awareness Week


Some actions you can take to mark Mental Illness Awareness WeekAccording to the Oxford Dictionary, the mind is the “seat of awareness, thought, volition and feeling.” Mental illness is a disorder or upset of the mind. One out of five suffers from a disorder of the mind at some point in their life.

During the 35 years of my professional career I have been in awe of the resiliency of individuals who struggled with mental illness. Individuals recover, learn ways to manage their vulnerabilities, and lead satisfying lives.

Mental Illness Awareness Week is a time of reflection and education. I encourage you to join the awareness movement by taking these three actions:

  1. Look no farther than your own family. Mental illness is closer than you think. We may fail to
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