We’re here to help! Ring us at 226-647-6000.

Sexy Friday: How to Ask for the Sex You Want in 8 Completely Practical Tips

Is your sex life only, “pretty good”? Do you wish your partner(s) would do something a little (or a lot) different in bed? Maybe you’ve fallen into a rut with the same old positions, or your routine looks the same every time, leaving you craving a little variety.

Whatever your sensual desires, wanting something more or even completely different is totally normal. Approaching these topics with a partner can feel a little uncomfortable and awkward at first, but the more you flex those communication muscles, the easier it will be to spark a discussion about sex.

Know that you’re responsible for your pleasure, so if you’d like to heighten, diversify, or intensify your sexual experience, you’ve got to ask for it!

As nice as it would be, your partner(s) can’t read your mind. It’s time to ask for the sex you want. Here are some ideas to broach the topic:


  1. Change can be uncomfortable—embrace it!

When you maintain the status quo, it can be all too easy to fall into a rut—the bedroom included! In our practice, we’ve worked with many people who have been enduring sex that doesn’t light their fire—sometimes for years, all because they were too afraid to speak up and ask for what they needed. While it may feel awkward at first, we promise you that it will get easier the more you embrace the discomfort—because that’s where you’ll find the most significant growth.

  1. Build trust.

You may be nervous to ask for the sex that you want out of fear of being judged. At the foundation of your relationship, you should find trust, respect, and open communication. And with a solid foundation in your relationship, you can approach sexual discussions with honesty. If you trust that your partner(s) won’t hold judgments in other areas of your life, then it’s vital to trust that they also won’t judge when it comes to sex. By being courageous and forthcoming in your relationship, you’re giving your partner permission to do the same—further setting the precedent for trust and vulnerability in your relationship.

  1. The time and place matters.

When you’re in the moment and want your partner to make a quick adjustment—more of that, less of this, slower, faster—that’s totally cool to bring it up while you’re between the sheets. If you’re bringing up an entirely new topic or a potentially sensitive topic, the best time to ask is when you’re not in the middle of sex.

Approach the discussion when you’re both feeling relaxed and comfortable—perhaps while settling in for an evening on the couch, you’re out to dinner or going for a bike ride. This way, you can offer your partner a pressure-free environment to process and respond to your request. Even when you’re relaxed, mention that you would like to plan a time that works for both you to talk about your sex life… so you are both prepared and in the right frame of mind to be vulnerable and listen… really hear one another

  1. Be crystal clear.

Before beginning your conversation, consider if what you’re asking for is clear. Get specific with your request. Instead of asking for “more foreplay,” you could suggest that you kiss and play for 30 minutes before getting down to it. By telling your partner(s) precisely what you’re craving, you’ll leave less room for miscommunication. Allow your partner to ask clarifying questions too—if they need to understand better where your request is coming from, spend the time to help them properly understand.

  1. Keep it positive.

Approach your sexy requests with positivity. You can try out a “compliment sandwich.” Begin by saying something along the lines of, “I love how good you feel when you’re on top of me. And it would feel incredible for me if we could spend a little more time in that position. I feel so alive when we’re done.” This is a much friendlier approach than only throwing criticisms their way. Make sure you also focus on what’s working great—because you want more of that! Even if you’re asking for what you want while you’re in the act, focus on what’s working and not only on what’s not turning you on.

  1. Give more than you get.

After you’ve asked your partner for something, make sure you leave it open so that you can return the favour. Ask them what they’d love in bed. What more can you do to enhance their pleasure? For every ask, encourage your partner to make a request as well to keep building those emotional bonds and practicing give-and-take.

  1. Show Appreciation.

When it’s working well—say so. Notice and express your appreciation where your partner is trying to fulfill your requests. Instead of responding with more demands, first, focus on what you loved and make sure they know that you appreciate their efforts. Your relationship can continue to grow when you both learn to ask each other for what you want and need without condemning them.

  1. Practice Makes It Easier

Asking for what we crave takes practice. As you start to settle into expressing your desires regularly, every ask won’t feel so awkward or uncomfortable. And remember, if your partner isn’t ready to fulfill your request (yet), be okay with hearing, “no,” and move on.


Keep the dialogue going regarding your sex life to make sure you’re all on the same page, and everyone feels secure enough to speak up when the urge strikes.

Regularly set time aside to focus on strengthening your bond by building trust and honing your communication skills in your relationship. Make sure you’re having regular heart-to-heart conversations to express each of your relationship needs. As you get more practice expressing what you want, these conversations will start to feel easier to approach over time.


Written by Bliss sexologist Kelly McDonnell-Arnold. Learn more about Kelly and get her secret “Tips From the Couch” here.

Are you a new Sexy Friday reader? We don’t want you to miss anything! Check out some of our previous Sexy Friday blog posts:



Others Will Treat You The Way You Let Them —3 Keys To Boundary-Setting

You know those people, the ones that when you’re having a conversation with them, you find yourself taking a few steps back because they’re all up in your face? That’s a physical boundary that they just crossed.

Boundaries are physical and emotional. Think of emotional boundaries like your invisible bubble of how close (or far) you prefer people to hang out in. Our boundaries help define who we are, determine what we’ll put up with, and keep us safe from undesirable behaviour from others. Your job is to communicate your boundaries with others clearly. Your boundaries will vary from relationship to relationship, while you can’t change people, you can encourage them to change how they behave around and interact with you.

Halting undesirable behaviour

As an example, let’s say your new love interest has been late for your past three dates. You can’t control if they’re late for all their appointments, but you can make it clear that dates with you need to begin on time. The unwanted behaviour is about what’s not cool with you — “It’s not okay for me when people aren’t on time.”

Often, people react with their emotions first and respond with complaining, anger, or nagging. They’re often responding in one of three ways; passive, aggressive, or everyone’s favourite—passive-aggressive.

A passive response would be to let the unwanted behaviour continue, staying hush on the outside while a storm is raging inside of you. The boundary-breaker is none the wiser and you feel bent out of shape on the inside.

If you were responding with aggression, you might counter with blame, or attack them. Imagine lecturing your date with a tirade while you stomp your feet. You look like a fool and they might be completely bewildered.

In a passive-aggressive response, you’d be responding with aggression, but your body language would appear non-threatening. Think sarcasm, guilt-trips, and half-smiles. People often engage in passive-aggressive behaviour so that they can be subtle in their attack. It communicates their unhappiness but doesn’t share what they want and need.


Instead of reacting, choose to respond with confidence with kindness.

You still have emotions around the event and might be angry, and this is entirely okay. It’s your response that you can control, and when you communicate your boundaries effectively and kindly, others will be more likely to hear and respect them.

Your intention here is to build or grow a relationship in a way that avoids shaming or blaming your partner(s). It’s not about being right. It’s about the other person changing their actions around you.

The next time someone crosses your boundaries, here are some positive and constructive ways to respond:

  1. Make others aware of their actions.
    The offender may not even realize that they’ve offended you, so responding in this way helps make them aware. You could say with your late date, “When you’re late for our dinner dates, I feel slighted.”
  2. Ask for what you want.
    It’s all too easy to think people can read our minds (wouldn’t that be so much easier?) You can ask for what you want calmly and specifically. As an example, you could state, “I’d really love it if you’d arrive for dinner on time, or let me know in advance if you are running late.”
  3. Head for the door.
    If the other person is too emotional to handle a calm and adult conversation, your best bet may be to remove yourself from the situation. If you’ve stated your displeasure and asked for what you want and the response makes you uncomfortable, you have permission to leave.


Others treat you the way you let them.

This is fantastic news, because you have the power to ask for what you want. Showing others how to treat you and what behaviour you accept is essential to set up healthy boundaries. Don’t be alarmed if some people feel offended. Continue to hold your ground politely. The more you make boundary-setting a habit, the easier and more natural it will feel to you.


Written by Bliss therapist, Kelly McDonnell-Arnold. Learn more about Kelly and get her secret “Tips From the Couch” here.

If you enjoyed this article you might like these too:


Do you have any questions for us, or need some help setting up healthy boundaries? Maybe there is someone in your life who makes boundary-setting a challenge? We’re happy to help! Get in touch with us here.

If you’re interested in booking your first appointment with Bliss, you can do that here



Sexy Friday: Sexual Trauma, Divorce and FAQ!

Welcome to another Sexy Friday at Bliss Counselling! We are confident that you are going to love what we have in store for you this week! Today we are sharing another fun and informative episode of Sex Talk with Kelly on Rogers TV! On this episode, Kelly is joined by special guests Keri Martin Vrbanac, a registered physiotherapist and pelvic health physiotherapist, as well as Roger Macintosh, a lawyer at Rabideau Law. Before the episode is over, Kelly will be joined by Jo Flannery to answer some of their most frequently asked questions!

Keri joins Kelly to talk about sexual trauma and pelvic health, explaining that sexual trauma is quite common for all genders. On this episode, Keri provides some insight on how she works with survivors, emphasizing the importance of creating a survivor friendly environment in order to ensure that everyone receives a positive medical experience that supports healing from past abuse.

Roger Macintosh is on Sex Talk with Kelly to talk about mediation and litigation divorce, explaining that separation agreements will help set the expectaions clear so that there are no surprises when it comes to child support, custody, assests, and so on. He also explains the difference between mediation and court, explaining that mediation can be a helpful way to resolve issues in a much less aggressive arena and in a way that can ultimately be cheaper for both parties. However, he explains that this process will require significant cooperation between spouses.

Lastly, the moment you’ve all been waiting for! Jo Flannery and Kelly answer the most frequently asked questions about size, porn, fantasies and more! Are you interested in hearing what these experts have to say? Check out the full video HERE!


Guest Information:

Keri Martin Vrbanac

Facebook page: A Body In Motion Rehabilitation

Twitter: @ABIMpelvicPT and @abodyinmotion1

Roger Macintosh

Twitter: @rabideaulaw

Instagram: @rabideaulawcanada

Jo Flannery

Twitter: @SEXOLOGYMag

Instagram: @sexologyin


Tips for Managing Back to School Anxiety

Back to school season – for some parents, it’s “the most wonderful time of the year” (do you remember that commercial too?). However, for those of us with anxious children, the back to school season can be seriously tough. Children and teens who regularly experience anxiety often struggle with changes and transitions, and switching suddenly from summer mode to school mode is a significant change (even more so if they are switching schools or dealing with new situations at home simultaneously). Returning to school often leaves them with a lot of unanswered questions, such as: Who will my teacher be? Will I have friends in my class? What if I get lost and can’t find my classroom? Teens might also be worrying about taking on new responsibilities, balancing school with hobbies or part-time jobs, and beginning to think about their future beyond secondary school, on top of the regular back to school concerns.

While it is normal to have some fears about returning to school, for an anxious child these fears can become overwhelming and place stress on the entire family. If you are struggling to help your anxious child through this back to school season, here are some strategies that might help you ease the stress for your child – and yourself!

  1. Establish a routine. Children and teens who struggle with anxiety often benefit from established routines. For younger children especially, it can help to slowly ease into or begin a back-to-school routine a few days before school actually begins. Ensure that they are eating healthy foods, maybe making lunches similar to what you would give them for school lunches, and that they are getting appropriate amounts of sleep for their age or individual sleep needs. I suggest starting to build a routine with them at least a week prior to the start of school, if at all possible.
  2. Talk to your child. Validate their fears, listen to them, and establish a routine or ritual where they can openly discuss their concerns with you. For example, teens are more likely to open up if you are doing something with them, such as going for a walk or taking a drive. Making it a regular thing can help keep you connected and encourage them to open up to you without the pressure of a sit-down conversation.
  3. Familiarize them with the environment. Take your child to the school, especially if it is a new school. You could walk or drive past the school a few times, or even spend some time together making use of the school grounds if possible (soccer? tag? duck-duck-goose?). Get them acquainted with their new surroundings so that it doesn’t feel so overwhelming.
  4. Be prepared. Come up with a plan so that your child feels prepared for their first day or week. Have them describe their fears, and walk through how they could manage each situation if it did occur. This will help them to feel empowered rather than frightened. Or have them imagine other possible outcomes. When children/teens are anxious they often think of the worst case scenario – help them see that the worst case scenario is not the only possible scenario.
  5. Provide healthy distractions. If your child is focusing on their anxiety, and you are struggling to help ease their worry or help them think through it productively, try to provide a healthy distraction until they are able to reach a more relaxed state. Encourage them to think of other things, come up with as special end of first day snack or dinner, ask them about what they are excited about with returning to school (seeing friends, playing on the playground, the lunch cafeteria).
  6. Parents, watch your own behaviour. If you are also worried or nervous about your child’s first day this will have an impact on them. Practice your tried and true self care techniques to help ease your own worries, or try to use some of the above techniques on yourself. Sending your child to school can be just as stressful for you – if you ignore your own needs, you won’t be in a good position to help your child. Get your oxygen mask on first!
  7. Say goodbye and leave. This just may be the hardest thing to do, especially for first time parents dropping their children off. Saying goodbye several times or returning after you have left will not be helpful for your child. Rest assured that most of the time, your child will be fine without you – maybe not instantly, but it is perfectly normal if it takes them some time.


Written by Bliss therapist, Tammy Benwell. This post originally appeared on The Coach House Blog. 


Tammy Benwell is a Registered Social Worker who holds an undergraduate degree in Social Work from the University of Waterloo and Master’s degree in Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University. She believes in fostering a collaborative, therapeutic relationship within which clients are best able to direct their own care. Tammy’s philosophy is best described as one which helps clients understand their role and their ability to achieve their desired happiness. In addition to providing therapy to individuals, couples, and families, Tammy’s work has also involved finding community supports for clients in distress, assisting with life transitions, and enhancing effective interpersonal communication styles.

Sexy Friday: 9 Secrets of Becoming an Epic Lover


The grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence; it’s greener where you water it. Where you direct your attention matters when it comes to grass and sex. If you want to be an epic lover, you need to put focused intention on being just that—an epic lover.

With your consistent investment in love, attention, and time, your relationship with your partner(s) will grow and flourish.

Maybe you’ve heard that great lovers are made? It’s true.

“Great lovers are made, not born.” – Dr. Peggy Kleinplatz

Becoming a great lover is a learned skill. Do you recall your very first sexual encounter? Maybe you’d describe it as awkward, clumsy, different. Or perhaps it was the stuff of daydreams on the very first go. Either way, becoming a fantastic lover is not only attainable, it’s also very doable.

If you want to serve your partner(s), and be a wonderfully, wholehearted lover—here are our favorite recommendations. Please don’t look at this as a checklist, but rather a list of ideas to play with.


  1. Get to know (and love on) your body
    The more you know your body, the more sexual satisfaction you can experience. Start by looking after yourself—body, mind, and soul. Maybe you’ll pick up some new healthy habits such as exercise, nourishing food, taking long baths, and enjoying massages. Keep in mind the voice you use when you’re talking about your body. Both out loud and in your head. Celebrate all the amazing things your body can do, feel, and experience and focus less on negative self-talk.
  2. Tune into the desire channel
    You know which radio stations make you dance and sing in the car, so learn which of your body’s channels get you feeling sensual. By tuning into what you crave and what makes you feel good, it’s easier to go after it in your relationship too.
  3. Tell a new sexual story
    Whether we realize it or not, we all have stories about sex that may or may not be true. Some of these scripts may no longer be serving us. These are messages from our upbringing and past experiences, the media, advertising, and our culture. The great news is that you have the power to decide if these stories will continue to define your sexual experience and write a new sexual story—one that feels good and boosts your confidence.
  4. Get your sexy on
    It can be hard to feel sexy if we’re struggling with old sex stories or a lack of body confidence. Consider, if you were a confident and skilled lover, what would you wear? Where would you shop? What kinds of things would this person say about themselves? Once you have an image of what this sexy person feels, acts, and talks like, consider turning this into your reality to play with your sensual side. You’ve heard about faking it until you make it—this works between the sheets too. Act as if—as if you’re already your utterly fabulous, sexy, and desirable self.
  5. It’s not a game of solitary
    You and your partner(s) are not on opposing sides. You’re on the same team working towards common relationship goals. Avoid falling into the trap of keeping score on what household chores you’ve taken on, who makes more money, or acting as if your partner owes you. This can lead to resentment in the long run. Look at your relationship as a team sport so that you can be aiming for constant improvement, for the sake of the unit.
  6. Be a lover you’d desire
    It’s easy to fall into the habit of leaning back and requesting our partner(s) please us in a particular way. Here’s your permission slip to take the lead and be the person you’d love to love. This is also where being a flirt can pay off. If you love to be flirted with, then embrace being the flirter.
  7. Your lover can’t be everything
    Chances are, you still need various people to fill the many roles in your life. Expecting your partner to fill all your needs for conversation, connection, support, and companionship might be too tall of an order to fill. Keep in touch with your friends, reconnect with your family, revisit an old passion project that used to bring you joy.
  8. Random acts of goodness
    There are so many opportunities to give just a little each day to keep the spark alive. You can leave love notes in sneaky places, go on regular dates, do a chore that’s normally theirs without being asked for help, cook up a favorite meal, or send surprises to your home or their office.
  9. Make the time
    We’re all busy and have neverending to-do lists. We’re never going to be “done” so we may as well focus on the areas of our life that bring us pleasure. By making your intimate relationship a priority, you can help it to deepen. Even if the idea of scheduling date nights and intimacy feels a little funny at first, play with it. By making the time to prioritize your personal life, you’re sending the message loud and clear that you care. And epic lovers care.


By placing our focus first on ourselves so that we can become a better lover, we give our partner(s) the opportunity to rise to the occasion and match our sexy efforts. Sounds like a win-win, right?


Written by Bliss sexologist, Kelly McDonnell-Arnold.

Did you enjoy this article? If so, you might like these too:


Couples Therapy for Preventative Maintenance? Why It Works

Navigating the relationship we have with ourselves is tricky enough, add in a partner, and relationships can be downright hard. In a partnership, you’re merging differing backgrounds, stories, possible triggers, preferences, and experiences. No wonder relationships are so much work.

In the past, you may have heard of couples going to therapy together to do some repair work on their relationship after something had been “broken.” Maybe there were huge communication issues, abuse, mistrust, or a betrayal. Couples therapy has often had a certain seriousness surrounding it, since it used to be commonly viewed as a last resort to save a failing marriage.

Today, however, many couples are happily stepping into therapy together when they don’t have any concerns. Whether they’re partnered, dating, or common-law, these couples are taking a proactive step to help figure out how to “do” relationships better before any problems arise.

Couples therapy can help to address any communication patterns that leave us feeling stuck, or keep us from feeling happy and secure in a relationship. Therapy encourages us to develop new and healthy patterns that can help those in a relationship feel more intimacy and closeness with their partner(s).

As a population, we’re getting better at looking after ourselves, but relationships can still get the cold shoulder in our long list of rituals we use to look after our appearance, mind, health, and bodies. People may go to couples therapy long before anything “significant” is going on, like marriage or kids. They do this to understand more about each other’s communication styles, and how they can chat about the small stuff before it can become big stuff.

You may be worrying that this is a little dramatic. Even if you already get along great, the fact that you’re taking a stand to make your relationship even better tells your partner how much you care. Rest assured that many couples are sitting down on our therapists’ couches to learn to become better as individuals, as a partner, and as a parent or friend.


Here are some reasons why attending couples therapy before you think you need to is a great idea:

Personal growth

If you love a good self-development book or enjoy moving your body, improving your relationship can also help you to grow as a person. Since couples therapy focuses heavily on learning how to communicate better—anyone can benefit from this! You could even think of it as physical therapy, like a regular trip to the gym to help strengthen a particular muscle.

Learn to solve conflict efficiently

You’re always going to have conflict and problems throughout your life, so learning smart problem-solving techniques sooner rather than later can save you headaches in the long run. And when problems pop up in the future, you’ll have new tools to handle them.

Communicate better for a lifetime

Therapy can help you learn how to truly listen to each other and understand what’s behind your latest argument. Often, the source of your conflict is something that’s just on the surface and isn’t a true issue. These are skills you’ll take with you for a lifetime of rock-solid relationship success.

Feel like part of a team

Couples therapy can help you feel like you’re working together as part of a team to create a relationship that feels happy and healthy for everyone. And when you put each other first and prioritize your relationship, this puts the relationship in the spotlight.

It’s like a tune-up for your car

You may decide that visiting a couples therapist regularly is a fantastic way to check-in with each other and your progress as a couple. You could even look at it as an occasional tune-up, to help keep your relationship working in a way that’s healthy for you both. Many couples decide that engaging in brief stints of couples therapy offers them a chance to check in with each other in a safe space. Looking after your relationship can fall behind our growing list of responsibilities—work, parenting, and being a good friend. When you nurture your relationship, this allows other areas to thrive as well.

It doesn’t have to be forever

Therapy that is. After some time you may both decide that you’ve come a long way and no longer need a mediator anymore. You could continue setting time aside each week to check in as a couple, and communicating what’s working well and what’s not. The skills and communication tools you have at your fingertips from therapy will serve you for life.

When you’re ready, go into couples therapy with intention. Visiting with a couples therapist can help you create a better relationship or give you a clearer vision of the kind of person or people you want to be.


If you’re ready to explore the idea of regular couples therapy, get in touch! We’re happy to help you figure out if therapy is right for you.

Written by Bliss Therapist Kelly McDonnell-Arnold


If you enjoyed this article, you might like these too:


Sexy Friday: Open Relationships, Masturbation and Sex Toys

It’s another Sexy Friday! This week, catch another episode of Sex Talk with Kelly, where Kelly and her guests talk about open relationships, masturbation and sex toys!


Karen joins Kelly again this week to continue the discussion on open relationships, stating that, “We assume that love is finite, but love isn’t necessarily finite”. Karen explains that there are different types of open relationships including swinging, which entails exploring sexual relationships with others, as well as polymaory, which generally involves an emotional attachment that accompanies the sexual component.

Jo is also back this week, sharing valuable information about masturbation, encouraging us to “Feel empowered when getting to know your body!” You don’t want to miss Jo’s insightful tips for self-pleasure, and Kelly’s hilarious childhood story!

Finally, we catch up on the latest and greatest sex toys with Dianne from the Stag Shop! She shares some of the top vibrators, gels and lubricants, and also emphasizes the importance of a proper toy cleaning system. Keep in mind; the best toy for you is completely dependent on your own personal preference! Want to learn about which new gadgets would be best for you to try? Watch the full episode HERE!


Are you a new Sexy Friday reader? We don’t want you to miss anything! Check out our previous Sexy Friday blog posts:


Guest Information:


Twitter: @stagshop

Instagram: @stagshop

Jo Flannery

Twitter: @SEXOLOGYMag

Instagram: @sexologyin

Bliss psychotherapist, Karen Grierson




Why Integrated Treatment with Co-Occurring Disorders is Essential

The national institute of health estimates that half of the patients who are in abuse rehabilitation centers also struggle with mental health problems in addition to their addiction. In the past, treatment centers which deal with these problems have always looked at them as separate entities, and there were no programs which involved dealing with the co-occurring disorders. As a result, patients ended up with an increased risk of poor compliance with medication, relapses, violence and even suicide attempts. Studies that have been conducted in recent years show that patients who receive integrated medication which involves behavioral therapy and other related psychosocial interventions have a higher chance of beating addiction than those who just go to the regular old school rehab.

The Components of An Effective Integrated Approach Program

There are certain criteria that a certain substance abuse and rehabilitation program must meet for it to qualify as an integrated approach:

  • A multidisciplinary team will be involved. This includes rehab experts and mental health experts.
  • The patients will get stage-wise interventions with comprehensive access to the services.
  • There are motivational interventions and participation in self-help groups.
  • Pharmacological treatments and interventions whose aim is to improve health are also common.


Dual diagnosis 

The treatment starts with a diagnosis. The diagnosis comes after the patient admits that they have a substance abuse problem. It is good that most of the substance abuse therapists are now asking the right questions which lead up to a dual diagnosis. It is now quite standard to have the practitioners asking about a patient’s mental and emotional health when they are approached for a solution to substance abuse. When it is established that substance abuse is coupled with an emotional health disorder, practitioners come up with an integrated treatment program which does not separate the addiction from the mental health issue.

Why Dual Diagnosis Is Important

Statistics show that people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder are five times more likely to have substance abuse problems than their mentally healthy counterparts. 37 percent of people who abuse alcohol and 53 percent of people who abuse other drugs also suffer from a co-occurring mental condition. These statistics show that mental health issues cannot be ignored when offering treatment for substance abuse. Other mental health issues which co-occur with substance abuse include anxiety, PTSD, borderline personality disorder and major depression. These people normally abuse drugs like alcohol, opiates, nicotine, prescription drugs, sedatives, hallucinogens and stimulants. With close to ten million Americans struggling with co-occurring disorders, according to SAMHSA, it is important to adopt an integrated approach in treatment.

Benefit of An Integrated Approach 

It is essential to note that when a patient has these two co-occurring disorders, and one is left untreated, it will hamper any progress that would be made with the other one. Also, in most cases, the two conditions end up being related to each other in complex ways and treating them together gives the health care practitioners insights on how to handle both on a day to day basis. In addition to these benefits to the patient, the society benefits in the following ways:

  • Reduction of arrests and incarcerations among the patients.
  • Reduced rates of hospitalization over substance abuse or mental health episodes.
  • Fewer service costs and reduced instances where services are duplicated.


Patients have also been proven to increase their ability to afford and maintain independent living, stable housing, improved quality of life and achievement of continuity of care.

The Treatment Process Followed

There are a number of steps that are followed in the addiction treatment process for people who have received a dual diagnosis. The steps include:

  • Encouraging the patient to get psyche for the treatment process.
  • Identifying how severe the addiction process.
  • Offering rehabilitation and psychotherapy sessions which are appropriately intense to the patient.
  • Providing follow up support after the main treatment and giving referrals to community-based support groups that the patient can count on as they recover.


This approach is, therefore, a better way of dealing with substance abuse than the traditional setup where the two were dealt with as separate entities. The evidence clearly indicates that patients will gain more from an integrated treatment approach than when they deal with these two issues separately, which means that the program is worth a try.


About the Author

Ruben Lopez is a freelance writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for addiction treatment. He is committed to helping those who are in recovery, and he occasionally writes for The Recovery Village.

Sexy Friday: Kink, BDSM and Polyamory

Thanks for joining us for another Sexy Friday at Bliss! This week, check out another link to Rogers TV for a Sex Talk with Kelly episode that is sure to WOW you!

Kelly invites Headmistress Shahrazad, professional dominatrix and owner of the Ritual Chamber Dungeon in Toronto, Ontario to join her this week. Kelly asks Headmistress Shahrazad to share some advice for individuals who are curious about the realm of BDSM and kink, and also asks her to provide some information about the workshops, events and training schedules at the Ritual Chamber. Headmistress Shahrazad shares that there are a variety of people who are interested in BDSM and kink. Some individuals simply enjoy being tied up in the bedroom occasionally, for others, it is a lifestyle. She explains that all are present and welcome at the Ritual Chamber Dungeon!

Later, Kelly speaks with Karen Grierson about polyamory, and later invites Joanne Flannery to talk about how to start a conversation with your partner about opening up your relationship. Karen asserts that although some polyamorous folk do engage in the kink and BDSM community, not all polyamorous individuals are interested in BDSM and kink, just like not all monogamous individuals are interested in it!

To learn more, watch the full video linked HERE!!



Guest Information:

Headmistress Shahrazad

Twitter: @ShahrazadTRC and @RitualChamberTO

Instagram: @thealchemicalseductress

Jo Flannery

Twitter: @SEXOLOGYMag

Instagram: @sexologyin

Last but certainly not least, Bliss Counselling’s very own Karen Grierson!



Sexy Friday: Gender and Sex Research


Let’s talk about sex and gender! This Sexy Friday, we share another brief summary of a Sex Talk with Kelly episode on Rogers TV. Find the link to the full episode below! 


This week Kelly chats with Dr. Shayna Sparling from the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition at the University of Guelph. Dr. Sparling shares some of her new sex research with us, explaining that sexual arousal impacts our ability to make decisions, and can even influence us to become bigger risk-takers! She explains that when we are sexually aroused we are often more impulsive and display lower levels of self-control, influencing us to be much more likely to say YES to fun things that we might normally be too shy to try! In a moment of sexual arousal, she explains that we are much more willing to let go and focus on the moment.

Jo Flannery and Kelly also talk about gender, covering gender fluidity, proper terminology and more! Are you interested in learning more about what Jo, Kelly and Dr. Sparling had to say? Watch the full episode HERE!


Wishing you a very sexy weekend. You never know, this might just be the weekend that you decide to try that new thing you’ve been curious about! 😉


Guest Information:

Dr. Shayna Sparling

Twitter: @Shaynagram

Jo Flannery

Twitter: @SEXOLOGYMag

Instagram: @sexologyint


Good News: There’s No Such Thing As “Bad” Feelings

Have you ever screwed up in your relationship, or have done something that you immediately felt terrible about? Perhaps your stomach started doing backflips and you were filled with a sense of dread, anxiety, and maybe even anger or shame. However you choose to describe the feeling, it probably didn’t feel awesome.

Many folks might immediately label these feelings as, “bad.” We hear this a lot in our therapy work with clients, and our response is almost always the same:

Feelings aren’t good or bad—they just are.

These feelings? They’re distinctly uncomfortable. Not bad, wrong, or inappropriate, but simply not comfortable and an important aspect of being human. Feelings give us information that’s impossible to perceive in any other way than with judgment. However, we can only use this valuable information when we stop pushing them away, ignoring them, or becoming numb to them.

To help the difficult feelings feel better, people sometimes turn to the blame game, pointing a finger at someone else for what happened. People often place blame on others to ease the pain in the moment, but it hardly works in the long run. In addition to blame, we often want to stop the uncomfortable feeling right away and move on to a better-feeling one, searching for a quick fix to our feelings.

Just feel it

Whether it’s distracting, minimizing, or turning our backs and sprinting away from uneasy feelings, this could be causing more suffering. Instead, just feel your feelings. It may feel a little overwhelming at first, to feel them all at once, because it might feel too heavy. However, you can give yourself the permission to feel them, do what you need to do, wallow for a while and then move on.

It can be all too easy to pretend something didn’t happen, or even ignore our feelings entirely. However, this doesn’t serve us well in the future because our feelings need to move through us. We can sit in the discomfort of an unpleasant feeling and feel our way through it, staring our feelings directly in the eye in the name of being able to move on.

Feelings can also give us clues about our current physical and emotional well-being. They offer us insight into what feelings bring us closer to, or further away from joy, helping us spot problems before they happen. Feelings can also help provide us with motivationto make a change, try something new, or make a decision. They can be a helpful “heads up” for figuring out our lives.

Keep in mind, they don’t always give us answers. We need our cognitive skills for understanding what feelings mean, and to do this, we need to first register what the feeling is so that we can feel it fully. Once we do this, then we can get to the business of figuring out what this clue means.

The good or bad measuring stick

Many people grow up judging our emotions as either “good” or “bad.” Maybe it looks a lot like this:

“Good” feelings:

  • Happy
  • Glad
  • Funny
  • Calm


“Bad” feelings:

  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Lonely
  • Displeased


Think about some of the labels you’ve applied to feelings in the past. Perhaps you could add some to this list.

Instead, celebrate your feelings

Here’s a fresh take on how to look at your feelings, no matter what they are: your feelings are proof that you have feelings and that you’re a feeling person! That’s fantastic! It means you’re present, you’re here and living out a rich human experience. Life as a human means that we get to experience a full spectrum of emotion, not just good and bad emotions. Sure, some of these sentiments will feel more uncomfortable than others, but once you recognize this simple truth, it can be easier to move on.

Therapy isn’t about fixing feelings

When you tap into the power of your emotional system and put the information to proper use, this can give you an advantage when it comes to making decisions. Many people see their emotions as something they have to control or keep in check, rather than something they could capitalize on to strengthen their lives.

Visiting a therapist isn’t about helping clients to stop feeling their feelings, learning how to manage them, or going through emotions previously described as “bad” or “wrong.” Instead, consider therapy as a practical, judgment-free space to help people feel safe enough to allow the feelings to pop up and incorporate the less comfortable feelings. As therapists, we’re not here to “fix” anyone, but rather, set up a space to just feel and explore feelings.

Amp up your emotional intelligence

Using your feelings as a learning opportunity is the key to making better life choices. What would happen if you decided to see your feelings as information? What might that change in your life?

The next time you notice an uncomfortable or distressing feeling knocking on your door, try pivoting from thinking, “this is bad” to “this feeling is uncomfortable,” and notice what happens to your demeanor and interactions with others.

Are you ready to dig into your feelings and learn the clues they might be offering you to help live your best life? We’d love to hear more! Get in touch and book an appointment here.


Written by Bliss therapist Kelly McDonnell-Arnold. Learn more about Kelly and get her secret “Tips From the Couch” here.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like these too:

Boardroom To Bedroom: C-level Advice For A Thriving Sex Life


You can have it all. Including (and especially) between the sheets. We believe everyone deserves a great, passionate, loving, caring connection with their partners.

As a society, we’re failing at this.

We’ve spent thousands of hours working with people just like you who sit on our therapist couches and say they want to want sex again. And they want good sex.

What’s going on behind the bedroom doors is just as important as what’s going on in the boardroom—same goes for being a good parent or friend, professional development, and your overall health.

If you’re a professional or are running a thriving business, you know that to be successful at any level; you need to have a plan, a vision and a goal. You researched your industry; you see the ladder and know what you need to do to climb to the top. You focus on what’s working well, what isn’t, and what needs to be improved and changed immediately. Climbing the ladder in business is often known to be hard, fast, and relentless.

Does that remind you of anything else? AHEM. Like maybe your intimate relationships?

Are you aware of the following in your personal partnership?

  • What could go wrong?
  • What you need to work on?
  • When to regularly check in?
  • What your partner really wants and needs?
  • What about your own satisfaction?
  • What do you need to do to innovate?


Your life plan needs another pillar—and that pillar is a robust sex life.

Can you combine your business intelligence with your emotional intelligence and apply it to your love life?

Here are some ideas to consider as you make your way to C-level executive sex:

What problem are you solving?

The secret to a successful business idea is finding a problem and a solution that people want to buy. As a sexologist, I see this concern often—partners don’t always know what’s causing the problem in their sex life. They wonder, “Where did the desire go? The passion? How can we find a solution?” Often, people want sex with someone who’s fun, connected, erotic, playful. Romance, anticipation, flirting, and seduction are essential ingredients to a thriving sex life.


How can we craft a sex life that’s satisfying, fun, and pleasurable for BOTH (or more) of you?

When it comes to desire, let’s look to one of the world’s experts. Esther Perel (author of Mating in Captivity and State of Affairs). She says that we have to own the wanting. Partners tend to put the responsibility on each other, but we need to start identifying how we awaken our own desires and understand how we turn ourselves on and off. It can be as simple as exploring two questions: (1) What turns you on? (2) What turns you off?

As important as knowing what turns you on, you also need to know what turns you off. For instance, how can you be in the mood if you’re telling yourself you’re flabby? Being self-critical? Or you may feel that you’re just too darn busy—emails 24/7, sleep deprived, and overeating. You’re not alone—we all fall into the busy trap from time to time. Our sexual appetites fluctuate; work, stress, kids, illness, aging parents, and life can all get in the way.

Your sexual mission and vision

Once you understand your sexual motivations and roadblocks, it’s time to create your vision for your intimate life. Great entrepreneurs are known for their hustle, perseverance, and dedication. What does that mean for your sex life? You’re a professional, and you’re always looking for new areas of growth. Can the business expand? Is it time to restructure? What new market can we explore? How do we grow our revenue stream?

Ask the same questions about your sex life and your relationship. Consider where you can grow and where you could use some new experiences. Stay open to restructuring and developing a new routine. What may have started out as hot sex could start to feel tiresome over time. Remaining curious, exploring each other, and redefining your relationship is a sure way to heat up the bedroom.

The average person will have two to three committed relationships throughout their lifetime. Some will do it with the same person and some will find new partners. Over time, we redefine ourselves and restructure our businesses, and the same is true of our relationships and sex lives. What works in our 20s looks different than what works in our 50s. Restructuring needs to take place pre and post kids, with a new career, a life transition, or death.

Relationship strategy session

You have an opportunity to rewrite your story and be a better partner. Every so often, sit down and discuss the strengths of your relationship. Perhaps at an annual summit or monthly huddle to discuss your sex life with your partner. This is a fantastic way to prioritize the intimate relationship in your life. You can ask:

  • Where are we at?
  • How are we doing?
  • What has been good in our lives?
  • Are we meeting essential needs?
  • What’s changing in our lives?

Most often, couples wait until a crisis arises before they discuss big topics, but this type of pressurized situation doesn’t always lend itself to the best discussions or solutions. While it’s true that there’s less incentive to change when no tangible “problem” has emerged, there’s also more creative energy. It’s about being proactive.

Relationship revenue growth

Yes, there are always the big ticket items, but sometimes the small ones add up to BIG growth.

Understanding that our sexuality will ebb and flow is essential. Face it, every time you make love, it isn’t going to be all fireworks and earthquakes. (Sorry!)

Maintenance sex is key. This is semi-regular, planned sex that keeps the wheels greased and the spark alive. The key here is to make it work for both of you. Think of it like going to the gym. You’re tired after a long day of work and the last thing you want to do is lace up your sneakers and walk through those doors. But once you get started, the blood starts flowing, you break a sweat, and your brain releases endorphins. You walk out of there feeling like a champ every time.

You have a shared vision, mission, and values

Your shared values about things like money, emotional expressiveness, and power can be the glue that holds your relationship together. You can have a beautiful love story with someone that you only have strong feelings for, and it takes more to create a world with someone. Consider if you spent 20% more time on your relationship instead of your career. We think nothing of spending more time on professional development or personal trainers, going to conferences. Both cost time and money, yet we expect our relationships to thrive with very little of that attention and effort.

The value of your relationships quantifies the value of your life—Great sex has limitless value.

Your life partner is the person you’ve committed to growing and creating a life with. You’ve built a successful business using your skills and talents—now, let’s use those skills on the most important pillar, your love life.

Whether we’re talking about role play, sharing an erotic fantasy, or steaming up the bedroom with a new sex toy, being courageous and taking risks is the key to taking your relationship from employee to C-level executive!


Written by Bliss sexologist Kelly McDonnell-Arnold. Learn more about Kelly and get her secret “Tips From the Couch” here.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like these too:


Do you have any questions for us? We’re happy to help! Feel free to get in touch with us here.

If you’re interested in booking your first appointment with Bliss, you can do that here.

Let us help you find your perfect match.

General Contact
Will you be submitting your receipts to your extended health benefits or insurance provider?