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Truth Byte # 34

I am sitting in the lobby of my 7-year-old daughter’s ballet class.   I am new to this whole classical-dance world, and I think I am just excited as she is (okay, maybe a little more!) for the little pink tights and tiny leotard.   It’s our first day, and we started a month after everyone else.   The class is 45…

Truth Byte # 33

I am sitting on an airplane.   All around me people chatter, meeting the strangers they will spend the next four hours with, while hurtling through the air in an airtight tin tube.   And I am that writer, with my laptop out on my tray table as people stuff suitcases into overhead compartments, gleefully continuing my people watching from…

Truth Byte # 32

I swim on Monday evenings.   Ok, let’s be honest, I don’t really swim. Actually, my kids swim on Monday evenings.   And I have to take them.   So every Monday evening, I get into my sexy/mom bathing suit, swim one laborious lap in the slow lane, and then hang out in the hot-tub (which is only slightly hotter than a warm…

Truth Byte # 31

I have grown up in a digital world.   Whatever I want to know I can find out with a click of a few keys.   I remember a time very different than this one. I remember in fifth grade I had to write a report on any animal I wanted.   I choose the blue whale.   Something about the fact that it was the biggest mammal on earth and…

Truth Byte # 30

Life is not fair.   I learned this at a tender age through a variety of stomp-your-feet-with-frustration experiences and it was reinforced by my nobody-really-cares-anyways writing purges as a teenager.   Life is not fair. And yet, our lives unfold perfectly. Seems contradictory, right? And yet, it rings true.   Because when you…

Truth Byte# 29

I come from heartbreak.     If your parents divorced or you had some family tragedy before you turned 20, you can probably relate.   Most of us who have pain in our childhoods have marinated in the jagged shards of heartbreak.   The happily-ever-after got snatched away by the realties of life and imperfect partners and difficult…

Truth Byte #28

Judgment is a curious thing.   Very little children don’t judge.   They ask questions (Mommy, why is that man wearing a dress? Daddy, what is that chair with wheels for? Grandma, why doesn’t Maya have a dad? ) but until they are taught, they don’t really know what is acceptable and what is unacceptable, what is the…

Truth Byte #27

I was a pretty even-tempered child.   That is, until my feelings got hurt.     Growing up in the 80’s in a large, close-knit extended family that loved to tease, that happened often.   When I felt that lump in my throat, I would quickly change the subject and try to blink back the tears.   I was never very good at…

Truth Byte # 26

I stepped on the scale the other day, and I had gained three pounds.   I thought back over the past few weeks and realized there have been a lot more restaurant lunches, ice-cream truck treats with the kids, and late-night dinners.   I remembered the afternoon snacks of chips and slurpee that the heat seemed to justify and the lazy laying…

Truth Byte #25

People tell me they are lonely.   That they have no friends.   That no one supports them.   And maybe to a point, this is true.   But let’s get honest: if you have no one to turn to, it’s probably your own fault. I know that sounds harsh, especially when you are used to me being kind and loving and hopeful.   But…

Truth Byte #24

You keep talking and talking.   And no one seems to hearing a word you say.   Sound familiar?   I have this experience when we are running late for something.   I tell them and tell them that we are late, but my kids just don’t seem to hear me!  And neither do their grandparents.   For different reasons, I…

Truth Byte #23

The end is coming.   But we don’t really like endings.   I remember being ten years old and getting hooked on a novel series called Sweet Valley High.   Every book stood alone, and the characters were consistent and predictable. They didn’t really evolve much.   Each book was about something fascinating happening…

Truth Byte # 22

In the animal kingdom, males are granted with special features to attract the females of their species.   In the human kingdom, it seems these roles are reversed.   Many women in cultures all over the world spend hundreds of hours and dollars a year engaging in a variety of beauty rituals from hair removal to exfoliation to make-up…

Truth Byte #21

For years, my friends and family had me on a pedestal.   I was the straight A student that was destined for great things, that shining star that made people smile and made people proud.   I was the eldest daughter of a single mom, and I was wise beyond my years.   The pedestal they had me on was a tall one. So when I fell off, it was…

Truth Byte #20

It happened a long time ago, and maybe so early in your life that you don’t remember it.   Maybe you were patting your baby brother on the head and he whacked you in the face.   Maybe you were cuddling your cat and she clawed you.   Maybe you offered something to a playground buddy and were rejected.   Maybe you were…

Truth Byte #19

Yesterday, I had a moment.   It was one of those moments I always imagined my “lucky-bitch-self” to be having.   I had the usual part-time working mom morning with lunches to pack and beds to make and assisting with tooth-brushing and picking out clothes for my seven-year old boy while negotiating outfits with my three-year…

Truth Byte #18

I spend my work day listening to people complain.   They actually pay me to sit there and listen to them complain.   For a while.   Then I speak.   And when I speak, I lovingly but firmly let them know that I get their story, but it’s time for a change.   That’s when the true work of therapy begins.   In a few…

Truth Byte #17

You have been holding on to something.   Something that still brings you pain or sadness after all these years.   And I am not talking about the ultimate loss of someone you loved dying, because really, there is not much you can do about that, and we know that even time won’t fully repair that fracture.   What I am talking about…

Truth Byte #16

I used to thrive on drama.   I would live for it and even hunt it out.   If a friend or family member would be going through a rough patch, I would be the first one there, front and centre, to listen and support and get in there with my tools to fix it.   I loved each and every juicy detail about what went wrong and what went wrong…

Truth Byte #15

Yesterday, I hired a house cleaner.   After years of complaining about dirty toilets, I finally figured out I could simply pay someone else to solve that one for me. Let’s back-track a minute.   I come from an immigrant family.   Sure, we speak English fluently and we know how to barbecue and sometimes…

Truth Byte #14

I know it’s tempting.   It’s tempting to end the day with numbness and Netflix.   It’s tempting to eat that extra slice of cake.   It’s tempting to check your social media page in the passenger seat of a parent’s car.   It’s tempting to disengage with the people who need you and keep asking more…

Truth Byte # 13

We are all working way too hard.   Well, most of of are.   We wake up earlier than we want to, go to bed later than we should, and drink coffee all day to keep us going.   And for what? Work. I am tired of hearing people complain about work. Work was never supposed to be this hard. Do you remember those lazy summer days of your…

Truth Byte # 12

Life was meant to be easy and simple.   How do I know? I learned that from nature.   Nature doesn’t try so hard.   It doesn’t wrinkle it’s forehead in worry and confusion.   In nature, it’s always the path of least resistance that wins.   In the natural world, animals conserve their energy just in case…

Asking for Help

Many of us wait too long before asking for help. When we are used to being able to solve things on our own, it can be hard to enlist the support of others. Now, more than ever, we have to be willing to reach out and connect with each other so that we can maintain our well-being and protect our mental health. Join Dr. Saira as she explores the…

3 Tips For Managing Change

It's natural to change, but we don't always change on purpose with intentionality. Also, the process of change doesn't always feel very graceful. If you can acknowledge you have changed, identify the areas in your life have changed, and make peace with how the change has impacted your relationships, you are well on your way to…

Truth Byte #11

Have you ever wanted to truly know yourself, from the inside?   Do you look around sometimes and feel like you are stuck on a hamster wheel where everyone is running really fast and getting nowhere? Do you kinda sorta believe in yoga, veganism, inner peace, and meditation but think it would take too much effort to really live like that? We…

How To ACTUALLY Get To Your Goals

Are you a planner or a doer? So many of us have incredible goals of our lives, yet we don't seem to be able to reach them. Why not? What are we missing? Here's the missing key for how to not just talk about the life you want, but actually live it.

What Psychology Says About Parenting

This week's question: What if my partner and I have different parenting styles? This is a really common question! Many parents argue over how best to raise their children. If you want kids who are resilient, confident, and caring, there are certain things you should never do. Ever.   Resource: "Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to…

What To Do When You Don't Like Your Child

This week's question for Ask Dr. Saira was asked by a very brave viewer: "What do you do if you don't like your kid?" That's a tough spot to be in, and I am so glad I get to answer this honest question.

Recap of a few questions

Recap of a few questions. Three topics: how to stay optimistic, how to stay present, and how to be "nice" without getting drained.

Tips to Support Someone with Body Issues

On this episode of Ask Dr. Saira, the question is how to help a friend with body issues. This is a fair question, asked from a caring place. However, it is hard to help someone who doesn't know or believe that they have a problem.

When Your Mother-In-Law is Driving You Crazy

In South Asian families, marriage brings a whole host of new relationships, some of them more difficult than others. How do we get along when there are historical challenges within certain extended family relationships? Learn why you are not getting along with your mother-in-law, and what to do about it.

When Food is Love

This week's question: I can't stop eating and I think it's psychological.

Truth Byte #10

Finally, I confessed.   After standing in front of the crowd for three hours in my heels, watching them laugh and resist and quickly wipe away the stray tear, I confessed.   I had been holding back.   Here I was, the facilitator of a personal development workshop on Boundaries, and people were supposed to be letting go and opening up,…

This Is Why You Are Stuck

We say we want change, but do we? Why is it so hard to move forward to the things we really want?

What is the difference between therapy and coaching?

Coaching or therapy? What's the difference? In a time when many people are interesting in both mental health support and overall wellness tips, it's important to know that you are working with the right professional.

Affirmations and the Unconscious Mind

Are you curious about affirmations? What is the unconscious mind? How are the two linked? In this episode of Ask Dr. Saira, we discuss the link between affirmations and the unconscious mind. An advanced question for personal-development lovers!

Managing Burnout

Burn-out is a real thing, with real consequences to your mental, emotional, physical, and social well-being. It can creep up on you quickly, especially when you are managing competing demands on your time and attention. Learn what burn-out is and how to prevent it or respond to it. 

Coming Out

How to support a family member who is gong through the coming out process.

Truth Byte #9

(Throwback to February 2017. . . . )   Have you ever wanted to be a princess? How about a super-hero? I have. And it hasn’t really gone away as I grow older. Take Sunday, for example. I was over-booked into family commitments: Beavers for the boy followed immediately (and in another part of town) by a birthday party for the girl.  …

Being Nice

How can I be nice and not feel drained?

Being an Optimist

How do I maintain a positive outlook on life?

Is the friendship over?

How do you know when friendship has fizzled away?

"What Will People Say?"

Looking back over the last few segments of this show, a theme that connects through the month is "what will people say". Join psychotherapist and Registered Clinical Counsellor, Dr. Saira, as she explores the expectations our societies have on us, and how to find balance between other people's needs and your own.

Finding "the One"

Do you believe in "the one"? Join me as I take a no-nonsense approach to this age-old question of how to find true love partnership.

How to Help (Other People's) Kids Get Help

The question for this week's episode is: How do I tell someone I think their child needs mental health support? Parents, for the most part, are doing the best that they can, and can sometimes overlook things that are obvious to others, or be defensive and angry if you bring it up. I have some simple tips that can keep your adult relationships…

Truth Byte #8

Ten minutes until appointment time. The room is ready, I am taking my mandatory ten deep breathes to clear my head and get aligned for the next client. Bracing myself as I am about to launch into five more back-to-back counselling sessions, followed by a movie night at the local elementary school and a sleepover at my house.   It’s…

How to Consistently Make the Right Decisions

Do you know what to do when your heart and your mind are saying different things? How do you know you are making the best decision when you are conflicted? Watch on for some surprising answers, and let me know what you do when your heart and head are saying different things.

Stop guessing and use the right words: sadness or depression?

Question: What is mental health? Have you heard someone say “I’m so depressed” when something upsetting happens? How about “My anxiety is kicking in.”? For people with an actual clinical diagnosis, the words depression and anxiety need to be used in context and only when required.

How to Tell the Difference Between PTSD and Complex PTSD

The question of the week: what is the difference between PTSD and Complex PTSD? What you learn may surprise you.

How to Deal with Parents Who Just Don't Get You

It's tough when you are in the same home with people who rub you the wrong way. This week's question addresses how to approach your parents when they see the world differently than you do, while keeping family harmony at the forefront.

Negative Thinking

Many of us pay attention to the negative thoughts more than positive thoughts. Why? What does our childhood have to do with it? Join Dr. Saira, pscyhotherapist and Registered Clinical Counsellor, as she answers a question about changing negative thinking.

When You Feel Jealous....

Jealousy is a natural response, but for those who are trying to enrich themselves, jealousy can hold us back and keep us small. Here are some simple tips on what to do when jealousy strikes.

Can I Be Happy If My Parents Suck?

This week's question addresses the impact of childhood trauma. If you had a hard childhood and still don't get along with your parents, can you ever be truly happy? Let me explain the three versions of your parents and how to get to a better place with them, even if they never decide to change.

How Do You Detect Depression?

This week's question for Ask Dr. Saira is "How can I tell if I have depression?" Here are 5 areas you want to watch out for.

Truth Byte #7

This weekend, I witnessed a tidal wave of miracles. I watched a man who had bad luck most of his life, fall to his knees and ask to know God. I watched women who were bent over by the weight of their lives stand up straight and claim partnership with the Goddess. I saw children literally grow up before my eyes as the adults that they had become…

Your Depression Survival Guide

How do you get moving when you can't even get out of bed? Here are eight tips to keep your head above water during a depressive episode, and the 5 pillars to keep you moving through the hard times.  

Truth Byte #6

(originally published in winter of 2016) It is flu season.   Around me, friends, family, and clients are dropping like flies, even those who were diligent enough to get the flu shot.   This got me to thinking: why does it take a total- body-drama for us to be willing to just stop and lay in bed for a couple of days? The reality is, most…

Truth Byte #5

I am going to let you in on a little secret: there is no other shoe. Rather than anticipating the next disaster, what if instead each one of us were to concentrate on what is really working right now?  What a refreshing perspective that would be for our colleagues, our family members, and even those strangers we haven’t met yet. …

Truth Byte #4:

How do you measure the success of your relationships?   Is it by how many likes or followers you have on a particular social media site? Is it how many missed calls you have when you turn your phone on silent?   Is it how many people light up when they see you?   Is it how many times a week your mother tries to reach you?   It is…

Truth Byte #3:

I am tired of people telling me they are fine when they are so clearly NOT fine.   Your marriage is breaking apart at the seams. That equals not fine.   You are grumpy when you start work, and grumpy after you're done. That equals not fine.   The only time you can relax is after you have had a drink or two, and only if…

Truth Byte #2:

I have spent years feeling bad about not starting.  I finally finished my Ph. D. and it was time to hang up my shingle and get to work.  I had all the resources, all the book knowledge, all the cheerleaders I needed, but something just wasn't working.   My business wasn't launching the way I knew it could.   I…

Truth Byte #1:

This morning, I was angry. At everyone. But mostly at myself. I knew I should have gone to bed earlier, and I woke up cranky with a full day ahead of me.   I rushed around, getting the kids bathed and fed and out the door, only to remember as we were getting into the car that it was pyjama day at my son’s school. So I ran back into…

Dr. Saira Sabzaali

Dr. Saira Sabzaali

Dr. Saira (she/her) provides mental health support through individual counselling, groups, immersive workshops/courses, and free educational content. Over the last 14 years, we have helped men and women of many backgrounds find answers to their questions about work, life, love, and meaning. Much mainstream psychology overlooks spirituality, family values, and community context, so we have decided to specialize in serving clients who are ready for change and also want to include their cultural values and spiritual beliefs into therapy.

You don't need to carry this pain forever.

Offering both online and in-person sessions, we are here to help you feel, heal, and grow with grace. Send us a question or book in your free telephone consultation now!

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