My Year of Living Dangerously Psychologically Healthy! #DoingWhatScaresMe


This is My Year!

Sabbatical 2020

I have been given this opportunity from the college I work at, to take a year to focus on advanced training in Mindfulness Meditation and bring the psychological benefits to people in my community. I want to take on some of my personal life challenges, such as my ever present Imposter Syndrome.

  …sigh…yes even therapist’s feel this way….sometimes…#YouAreNotAlone 🙂

So, I am starting up my own business, Changing Minds, a concept based on a study that I created and ran last year, with the goal of expanding the scope, lens and understanding of mental health, beyond just a BioMedical model approach. So, I am taking on a “Yes Man” approach, within reason 😉 and saying yes to opportunities that scare me a little. 

I recently was invited to run a full day workshop at a college around the topic of Compassion Fatigue, a workshop designed for “Humans working with Humans”. Yes, I was a little nervous, I could have said no to avoid the “icky’ emotions brought on by a touch of self-doubt and flying solo without the credibility of my employer, but I didn’t…and that made all the difference. I leaned in, I didn’t avoid the emotions and I received the most valuable compliment, left on a table by a workshop participant.

Heather, Thank you for your energy and great workshop. I needed to hear your hopeful message today. Enjoy your year “off”!

What this note did for me was take me out of the grip of imposter syndrome and kicked my butt out of emotional reasoning and let me hear what was true. I am so grateful for this note because it has propelled me forward into this year of psychological wellness in a way that makes leaning in a little less scary. I said, “a little less”, I am definitely not out of the woods yet 😉

So, with this blog this year, I want to share what I am doing to foster my mental health and wellbeing, through a BioPsychoSocial Mental Health lens, by sharing the PsychNerdy science and strategies that actually change your brain and promote positive mental health.


I want to take this opportunity to clarify that I am NOT challenging the BioMedical, illness/disorder based, model of Mental Health, that has pervaded our western culture.

My goal this year is to shine a light on the, research supported, little known and understood, BioPsychoSocial approach to mental health and wellbeing. This is where research shows that mental health, wellbeing and healing resides. If you choose to follow me, to participate in Changing Minds services, I want you to understand that this PsychNerd is endeavouring to help people understand that there are other ways of conceptualizing and treating mental health issues. That’s it! Research supported, non-stigmatizing, self knowledge oriented, mental health for the 80% of the human population who are struggling with mental health issues and maintenance 🙂

Mental Health Conceptual/Treatment Models

  • BioMedical Mental Health Model: “The biological approach of the medical model focuses on genetics, neurotransmitters, neurophysiology, neuroanatomy etc. Psychopathology says that disorders have an organic or physical cause. The approach suggests that mental conditions are related to the brain’s physical structure and functioning. Source: VeryWell Mind
  • BioPsychoSocial Mental Health Model: This approach to mental health introduces the idea that there are biological, psychological and social determinants of mental health. This approach suggests that mental health issues have a psychological cause as well. Sources: Babalola, Noel & White, 2017) and Wikipedia for a great overview that is easy to read.


Here are some articles, blogs and videos to help support the BioPsychoSocial approach to Mental Health. 

#BeingHuman   #NeuroPlasticity  #SocialDeterminantsOfHealth

  • It is my concern and professional experience that the focus on only the BioMedical Model of Mental Health…
    • reduces access to counselling and psychotherapy, a heavily empirical supported mental health care, in favour of a cost-effective BioMedical approach (incomplete mental healthcare).
    • reduces access to grants that support research in the BioPsychoSocial realm of mental health.
    • ignores the mechanism of change associated with the Social Determinants of health.
    • stigmatizes by pathologizing what the brain is designed to do (evolutionary protection & learning) and ignores the capacity for change (neuroplasticity) that the brain has. #NotBrokenForLife


Join me on this mental heath literacy adventure!

I will begin this journey with my next post sharing a little bit about how your brain works, how that little frienemy is doing what it was designed to do, despite being a wee bit of a trouble maker in your life, at times. 

Your brain really is doing it’s best to survive, doing what it was designed to do, but sometimes it just wires itself in a way that can be terrifying for you. 

Good News! You can do things that actually change the wiring!



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