December 2021 Newsletter

It is hard to believe that it is already December and CCO is starting its Christmas campaign.  2021 has been a busy and blessed year (check out our highlights of 2021 below).  A huge thank you to all our ministry partners  – we could not have accomplished as much without your prayers and donations.  You have been a blessing! 

 However, like most people have experienced,  2021 was not without difficulties – we have a long waiting list and due to Covid-19 we were not able to hold in-person fundraisers. This has put a strain on our financial resources, limiting our ability to offer subsidies and to see clients on the waiting list in a more timely manner.

Please help us finish 2021 well! 
Help us reach our fundraising goal of $10 000

  • Give the gift of mental health by making a donation today

  • Reach out to a business partner, colleague or friend and ask if they would be willing to support us

  • Need a Christmas gift for someone who has everything? Consider making a donation in their name

  • Pledge to become a monthly donor

  • Share our posts on social media with your circle of friends

  • Continue to support us in prayer 

We are looking forward to all that God has in store for us in 2022.  Merry Christmas from the Board and Staff at CCO!

Rosanne Wall, Chair



CCO Highlights of 2021

  • God is transforming lives, relationships, families as they get counselling and therapy through our compassionate and dedicated staff. People are experiencing the difference Jesus can make in their lives.
  • Our therapists have helped people in over 4300 sessions in 2021 alone. This marked increase from previous year gives evidence to the growing need for mental health support as a result of the pandemic and other life challenges. 
  • At a one-day prayer retreat in June, the board of directors clearly heard from God to trust Him, to continue to heal the broken, and to make prayer a priority.
  • We have developed a team of prayer partners who pray regularly for CCO.
  • We increased our staff, hiring Karen Duval as Client Care Coordinator, and Kerri Guther as Business Director and increased our team of therapists to better meet the needs of our growing practice.
  • We have benefited from a team of interns from Tyndale, St. Paul, Liberty and Yorkville who help us substantially in caring for clients, and who also benefit themselves from training and supervision from CCO. Amy, upon completing her internship, is now a staff member with us. Lori, who was an intern in 2020, returned to join the team.
  • Therapists and office staff have successfully adapted to an entirely new way of working. We continue to see some clients safely in person, in the office.
  • We implemented a new website format and had a promotional video made.
  • Despite decreased fundraising and fewer donations in 2021, God provided the means for us to subsidize over 700 sessions this year for those who would not have otherwise  received the help they needed.

Navigating the Stress of the Holiday Season

By Jennifer LeBlanc

‘Tis the season to be… stressed? That’s not how it’s supposed to go! But most of us do experience stress of some sort as Christmas approaches. For some, it is an endless “to do” list of preparations and activities, and for others, the weight of wondering how to cope with challenging family dynamics throughout the season. Still others carry financial stress and the heaviness of not being able to afford the Christmas they would like. And for many, the holiday season is a time of loneliness and grief or remembering better times. The list goes on, leaving us wondering how we can navigate the seemingly inevitable stress of the season. 

Here are four quick steps to consider practicing this coming month, or during any time of stress.

First, let yourself STOP and NOTICE your stress. How do you know when you are getting stressed – what are your “red flags”? Maybe you engage in some unhealthy behaviours, or are quick tempered with everyone around you. Maybe you just can’t get your mind to slow down, or feel so overwhelmed you don’t even know where to start. Or maybe it’s a literal pain in the neck that just won’t go away. Take a minute now to write down a few changes you notice in your emotions, your thought patterns, your behaviours, your daily habits, or your physical body that indicate rising stress levels.

This next one is easy. BREATHE. We hear it all the time, but it can seem so hard to actually put into practice. Take 1-2 minutes to pay attention to your breath – breathing in through your nose to the count of 4, holding for the count of 4, and breathing out through your mouth to a count of 8. Count at a pace that is comfortable for you. As you do the exercise, notice your lungs filling with air and your belly expanding as you breathe in, and notice the tension leaving your body as you exhale. While this can seem overly simplistic, physiologically this deep breathing sends a critical message to your brain that it’s OK to slow down and step away from a place of stress.

Once you are feeling a bit calmer, ASK yourself, “What do I actually need right now, in this moment?” There is an endless list of possible answers to that question, and it might change from day to day, from one stress to another. Start with physical needs – do you need to take a nap, drink some water, eat a nutritious snack, have a cup of tea, go for a walk outside, do some gentle stretching, take a warm bath or shower, do more deep breathing, etc… ? Then consider your emotional and spiritual needs – maybe you want to spend time in prayer with God, reach out to a friend, meditate on a Scripture, say no to a task, get a hug, listen to worship music, ask for help, snuggle with a pet, etc… Challenge yourself to check in regularly with your physical, spiritual and emotional needs through any season of stress, and make self-care a priority.

The final step is arguably the most important – REFOCUS on Jesus. In the busyness or emotional charge of the season, too often we lose sight of the Prince of Peace, Immanuel – God with us. Jesus brings peace and His presence into a sometimes painful and chaotic world. He will meet us in our Christmas stress – whatever it looks like. We just need to remember to look for Him. During Jesus’ ministry, life got very busy and emotionally overwhelming for His disciples. He noticed their stress and fatigue and invited them to “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31, NIV). While that rest is sometimes short-lived, it is always valuable and restorative. Jesus’ invitation to His disciples applies to us even today. So challenge yourself to find a way this season to build in a daily practice of turning your attention back to Jesus; to the peace and presence He brings to your life. Allow yourself to enter a quiet space to rest with Him, and to notice His presence even as you walk through whatever stress arises as you prepare to celebrate His birth.  

So let’s start again – ‘Tis the season to be jolly! Jesus gives us a reason to have joy in spite of our circumstances. We just need to stop, breathe, and quiet ourselves enough to hear His call to receive His peace and to rest with Him. 

 “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Isaiah 26:3 (NLT).


Sandy

Why am I Still Here?

by Alexander (Sandy) Davidson

Over the years, a number of my friends have told me how they benefited from the counselling they received at Christian Counselling Ottawa. I became an invited guest at board meetings some 15 years ago and am happy to say that I am still here.

So why am I still helping CCO? In my role, I contribute to board discussions by drawing on my legal background and experience with the charitable community. I spent over 33 years as a federal Department of Justice lawyer helping the Canada Revenue Agency develop policies regulating charities. I know how significant the charitable sector is to the community, especially to those who are vulnerable. In retirement, I am able to draw on my knowledge of a number of statutory and common law rules that govern charities like CCO, and I eagerly collaborate with highly-skilled board members and employees who have diverse and interesting backgrounds.

I have seen CCO grow over the years under strong leadership. But the real strength of CCO is its office staff and psychotherapists. CCO’s committed psychotherapists all have really solid counselling credentials. Each of the therapists is a registered psychotherapist or has qualifying status with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO), holds a Masters Degree in counselling and has membership in a professional association of psychotherapists. And their commitment stands out! They see CCO as a ministry, serving God and the community, rather than merely a job.

The various therapists specialize in different needs, but collectively are able to offer a wide range of support to clients struggling with depression, anxiety, grief, isolation and loneliness, sexual and pornography addictions, family issues, emotional trauma, and other life challenges. The therapists serve the entire community, from any or no religious background, but have a particular awareness of the challenges facing those called to church leadership, including pastors and their families.

I have been amazed how the therapists have helped clients find peace and hope during the incredibly difficult time we are all experiencing as a result of the pandemic. CCO still offers in-person appointments, but has pivoted to online counselling using safe and convenient (and expensive!) software. I find it hard to fathom how it can work so well, given my experiences with technology (“You’re muted, Sandy.  No, we still can’t hear you.”)  But the growing number of very satisfied clients attest that the therapists have made a remarkable difference in a lot of people’s lives despite the current challenges. 

If I can continue to make a difference in the life of this dynamic organization and ministry, I am here to stay for a while. 


WE WELCOME YOUR HELP

Are you wondering how you can give  your time, expertise and talents back to the community?  We are looking for people interested in serving on the Board of Directors. If interested, please contact Rosanne at wall.rosanne@gmail.com

CCO believes strongly in the power of people praying together to accomplish God’s purposes. If you would like to partner with us to pray for CCO, our Prayer Team will send you monthly emails with specific prayer requests. Connect with us at prayercco@gmail.com

We are looking to hire new Therapists, especially those qualified to see couples and or children. If you, or someone you know is a qualified psychotherapist and a member of CRPO, we’d love to hear from you. office@ccottawa.ca

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