“John is a Good Guy.”

John Koop Harder

counselling, counsellor, therapy, therapist, mental health, mental illness, anxiety, depression, self-care

My career as a counsellor and trainer has taught me a lot. In fact, some of my greatest teachers have been the people I have worked with. One teaching I have been reflecting a lot on lately comes from Dave. Dave is a former client I invited to co-present with me at a training for working with men who have … Read More

Tips for Using Laughter in Counselling

John Koop Harder

laughter, humour, counselling, counseling, therapy, mental health, well-being

Dave always begins and ends with a joke. However, the conversations between such bookends are anything but funny. In our meetings, Dave talks about his experiences of the chaos he survived growing up, and the intense effort it takes to leave this in the past. As I get to know Dave, he tells me humour is his way of dealing … Read More

3 Tips for Working with Grief

John Koop Harder

“How do I work with people who are stuck in their grief? You know, those people that are just not able to move on.” This is a common question people ask during my grief workshops. To tell you the truth, I don’t like the term “stuck” – especially when it comes to grief. The language of “stuckness” is rooted in … Read More

The Art of Asking Good Questions

John Koop Harder

“So John, what ideas have been important to you these last few years?” My first response was, “What a great question!” This was asked of me by my old friend Hektor when we recently reconnected after almost 20 years. I was stopped a bit short by the question and its depth, and I continue to reflect on it – to … Read More

4 Effective Ways to Help Children Cope with Loss

John Koop Harder

child coping with grief, grief and loss, well-being, mental health

Years ago our family took a trip. Four of us left for Toronto. Three of us returned. My son Nicholas’ (age 2 at the time) favourite stuffy – Tbear – unexpectedly found a new home after he was accidentally left behind in the twisted bedding of our hotel room. So began Nicholas’ relationship with loss. He was devastated. Flowing tears … Read More

How to Engage Dads in the Counselling Process

John Koop Harder

“Anyone can be a father (well, almost anyone). It can be as simple as having a bit of fun on a Friday night because being a father is merely being a part of creating life. However, there is a difference in being a dad. For me, being a dad means being involved, active, and engaged in the child’s life. The … Read More

Reflections on Grief and Continuation

John Koop Harder

In loss we are asked to learn how to be in a relationship with an unseen being. We have to open our minds to our imagination and then want the imaginal relationship to develop. – Deborah Morris Coryell Years ago, I remember getting the call that my partner’s grandmother was dying. Being young and flexible, we got in the car … Read More

Teens and Technology: 6 Strategies to Curb the Compulsion

John Koop Harder

My parents are so stupid. I can’t believe they are making me meet with you. This f..king sucks. They think I am addicted to video games. She’s on her phone all the time! So begin many of my initial meetings with families.  Parental and caregiver concerns over their child’s relationship with technology is a very common theme in my practice … Read More

What’s Your Relationship with Alcohol?

John Koop Harder

relationship with alcohol, alcoholism, addiction, substance use, substance abuse, self-care, resolution, mental health, counselling, therapy

Recently my family had a fantastic new experience – an all-inclusive trip to a resort in Mexico where a great time was had by all. Near the end of the trip, my 15-year-old son expressed his need to eat nothing but kale and carrots after overeating during the trip. For many people, vacations can encourage over-indulgence in both food and … Read More

How Do You Look After Yourself?

John Koop Harder

resilience, self-care, trauma, trauma-informed, helper, helping profession

Awhile back, a new client asked me an important question (a question I encourage all people to ask their counsellors): “How do you look after yourself”? He then proceeded to tell me that if he was to work with me regarding his experience of trauma, he needed to know I was healthy. As helpers, we often ask our clients about … Read More