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Paige Abbott (Psychologist)

In your opinion, what are the essential components of trust?

For me, trust is built on a foundation of honesty, openness, and respect. Healthy, assertive communication where people share their thoughts, feelings, and perspective, alongside empathy, understanding, and compassion are essential building blocks for trust in any relationship. If there is a lack of respect, and/or the presence of secrecy, manipulation, and/or conditional acceptance, there will be limited trust in the relationship.

How did you choose your current profession?

In a nutshell, I became a Registered Psychologist through a series of serendipitous events that led me to where I am today.

For the longer story, I grew up in a household where there were Addiction and Mental Health issues and, me being me, I was curious to make sense of and understand myself, my family, and that took me on a journey to understanding others too.

I took my first psychology course in high school and was instantly curious and wanted to learn more. I heard from peers that I was a great listener and my boyfriend, now husband, suggested the direction of being a therapist and I thought it sounded like a great fit. Thankfully, it was and continues to be to this day! I absolutely love the work that I do.

What do you do outside of work that helps you maintain a healthy, well-balanced life?

Lots! I work four days per week with set hours and no evenings or weekends to allow me to attend to my personal life priorities. I take time every day to move my body (whether through yoga, stretching, cardio, pilates, or walking), quiet relaxation time, periodic journal writing, and balancing my energetic needs.

I am an introvert so I need times of quiet and times to process. I also need authentic, deep, quality connection so the people I keep in my life are in alignment with these needs.

I practice what I encourage others to do. I'm 'straight edge', meaning that I don't consume any alcohol, drugs, or nicotine, and I'm mindful of balance and boundaries with behaviours I do engage with.

Looking after one's self isn't always easy but it comes with great reward. For me, it allows me to deal with my internal issues and also to be able to be there and show up to support others with theirs.

What are you the most proud of?

I actually don't think about pride very often, as I've been tempted to use pride in the past to cover up feelings of shame, self-doubt and insecurity. I'm happy with my accomplishment of being a small business owner, a therapist, a mom, a wife, and trying every day to be the best version of myself.

What event in your life has shaped you most as a person, and how did it do so?

Two ongoing events that shape me everyday are my experience as a parent (there's no greater teacher than having a young being to respond to and raise) as well as my husband having a chronic neurological disease.

These things have taught, and continue to teach me, humility, gratitude, mindfulness, empathy, and compassion.

If you could have a conversation with anyone living or dead, who would it be and why?

Oh man, I used to hate questions about who was your idol and role model growing up as, for whatever reason, my brain doesn't really think that way. I get to have conversations with so many different types of people everyday that I don't know if I could cherry pick one specific person who is missing from those discussions.

I think it would be interesting to hang out with some celebrities in recovery for a day (like Samuel Jackson, Robert Downey Jr., Demi Lovato) to see how they take care of themselves amongst the pressures of fame and public image.

What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received?

Just one? That's hard! For me, the best advice comes from the addiction recovery community and the wisdom to take things one step, or day, at a time. It's easy for my mind to fly ahead and want to script the future, but all this does is leave me stressed out and worried about things I cannot control. Keep it simple, be present, be humble, and be kind.

What Comes To Mind When You Hear The Word 'Life'?

Experience. Love. Connection. Self-development and exploration. I love to introspect and learn about myself, this is a driving force for me in life. I also think life needs to have rest, fun, laughter, and sunshine.

How has the Covid-10 pandemic affected your life and how did you cope with the changes?

COVID has changed my life significantly and, actually, for the better. The start of the pandemic created a domino chain of change in my life that I'm just adjusting to today. In a big part because of the pandemic, I was shown that my previous workplace was no longer healthy for me so I worked hard to set myself up to venture out on my own, which I have been doing for over a year.

My whole family got COVID which brought me back to mindfulness, humility, and gratitude. I got COVID which brought forward my own vulnerability and mortality. It's been earth shattering for me, as it has for many.

I'm grateful for it, while also being angry at it. I've coped as best I can, as the rest of us are. I wake up every day, use my tools and knowledge to support myself and keep my focus on the next steps rather than getting caught up in the craziness of the world or politics (that stuff never really interested me anyway).

All we can do is our best.


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