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Episode 2: Treating Mental Illness in Canada

Episode 2 - Treating Mental Illness in Canada
In episode 2, David Willows (GSC's chief innovation & marketing officer) interviews Dr. Peter Farvolden (clinical director of CBT Associates and BEACON) about his insider take on mental health treatment in Canada and then challenges Peter Gove (GSC’s health innovation leader) to define Mindfulness and defend the science behind it.
And now for something completely indifferent

And now for something completely indifferent

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Episode 2 Transcript


[0:00:14.9] SM: Hello and welcome to another episode of GSC’s Podcast; And Now For Something Completely Indifferent. My name is Sarah Murphy and I lead GSC’s marketing and product development functions. I can say that we are all very excited about this podcast. Even though we know that this is filling a void that no one really thinks exists.

Anyway, in this podcast we’ll be discussing the hottest topics and trends in Canadian health benefits. Before we get stated with today’s episode, we would like to remind our faithful listeners that the views expressed in this podcast are those of the individuals speaking and not necessarily the views of GSC, the company. We will sometimes talk about sensitive and possibly controversial subjects and we therefore reserve the right to potentially offend and are apologizing for it upfront.

You can download this podcast from our website at, or subscribe to it from wherever you get your podcasts. We also encourage you to read our publications, the inside story and follow the script, which you can also download from our website. Please be sure to follow the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Now let’s get started. Today’s episode is hosted by David Willows, GSC’s Chief Innovation and Marketing Officer. Hello David.

[0:01:29.3] DW: Hi, Sarah. Thanks for coming back and doing this. I’m never sure whether you’re going to actually –

[0:01:34.8] SM: Show up.

[0:01:35.4] DW: Show up or resign.

[0:01:38.8] SM: So far so good.

[0:01:39.8] DW: So good. Yes. In our first podcast, we talked about your building of this podcast studio, and the fact that we reside in really what you call a stick room is now called a wellness room. We went through that in excruciating detail for our listeners. Never sure if I should use the plural of listeners.

[0:01:58.7] SM: We’ll know soon.

[0:01:59.7] DW: We’ll know soon. The numbers won’t lie. But one other interesting part of putting together a podcast that people probably in our line of work haven’t thought a lot about is it cannot just be you and me, but not necessarily droning on. We actually needed music to layer in, to sound like a cool real podcast, like you would find out in the stores. You would think that would be easy for us, but I think it’s safe to say we overthink everything.

[0:02:29.6] SM: That’s true. We do.

[0:02:30.8] DW: Yes. We are obsessed with our brand, and we use that obsession with our brand as an excuse to overthink everything.

[0:02:38.9] SM: Yes, we do.

[0:02:41.0] DW: That music that we hear there – I mean, we went through a phase where we’re listening to many snippets of music, not of which meant our very high but ill-defined standards. I know you’re a YouTube fan that management company did not return your calls –

[0:02:56.1] SM: No, they did not.

[0:02:56.3] DW: - about the use of beautiful day liberally throughout the podcast. I don’t think that was going to happen. But to our rescue came our friend and colleague Steve Moffat who is an accomplished musician, who is the leader of the GSC band, of which you’re a key member. Can I call you the lead singer?

[0:03:15.6] SM: I mean, I guess so for a few listeners that’s okay. But don’t let my other colleagues know that, because I think there is a few other singers that might get offended.

[0:03:22.8] DW: Yes, I know. That’s why I said that. But I know you think of yourself as the lead singer, so just live with that.

[0:03:27.6] SM: Definitely the star.

[0:03:29.1] DW: How did we go about coming to the selection of this song?

[0:03:35.2] SM: We engaged our colleague, as you said, our leader Steve Moffatt and said, “You’re a cool cat.” We really want to make this thing stand out. We want some pretty, funky, cool music. What do you got? What do you suggest? We said, “There’s a lot of music out there that we could, but it just doesn’t suit our tastes. Should we record our own song? Is that an option, Mr. Moffatt?”

[0:04:01.6] DW: We seriously talked about going to the lengths of writing and recording our own song.

[0:04:06.2] SM: Yes. We were going to bring the GSC band into this small podcast recording studio, also known as the wellness room and we were going to ask them to record our own song about this podcast. Mr. Moffatt, he was gung-ho for that, I think. But before –

[0:04:19.7] DW: I’m not sure.

[0:04:22.3] SM: No, maybe not. I think he maybe thought it was going to be a waste of time. But instead, he reached out to his networks and was able to suggest a pretty funky song by some Canadian, Toronto area musicians that we think suits us quite well.

[0:04:38.8] DW: Let’s give a shout out to the composer.

[0:04:41.2] SM: That would be Matthew Bailey. Yes.

[0:04:44.4] DW: The song is called?

[0:04:45.3] SM: The song is called Planktone Special. It’s a play on a music joke, like quite a nerdy science music joke, so plankton.

[0:04:54.2] DW: You get him likely. Nobody else.

[0:04:54.4] SM: But nobody else is going to get. But Planktone, tone being a music term. Anyway, you get it. Yeah, so that’s the song that we have for our podcast.

[0:05:02.4] DW: Great. We will not speak of this again.

[0:05:03.7] SM: No. We will never speak of this again.

[0:05:05.5] DW: Today, we have two guests. The first being a fellow named Peter Farvolden. He is a psychologist who works for a company called CBT Associates. He’s going to give us a very frank conversation about the state of the mental health system in Canada.

We’re going to follow that with an old friend of the podcast, Mr. Peter Gove our colleague, again an expert in the field of mental health, certainly self-described. We’ll be the judge of that at the end of today’s conversation. He was on our first podcast and he’s coming back for another discussion of mindfulness, a very trendy term right now and one that we’re writing about in the inside story in November. He’s going to tell us what that’s all about.

First, we’re going to talk to Peter Farvolden.


[0:05:57.7] DW: As promised, we have with us here today Peter Farvolden in our podcast studio/wellness room. Welcome.

Peter, you are a clinical psychologist and you work for an organization called CBT Associates. Give us a bit of your background, so our listeners understand the space that you’re coming from.

[0:06:17.8] PF: My background is in the treatment of people with mood and anxiety disorders. That kind of treatment that I provide is cognitive behavioral therapy. I spent the first part of my career in the academic teaching hospital setting. Lastly, at Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, whereas I’m in the mood and anxiety program clinical research department.

I ran a program called the psychological trauma program. I left CAMH about eight years ago for fulltime private practice, and I am part of a large private practice in Toronto Network of Clinics. I’ve been doing research on web-based assessment and treatment of mood and anxiety disorders since about 2001.

[0:06:55.9] DW: Okay. Great. We’re going to get to a conversation about the web and finding different avenues to get some people some treat. Let me start with a big eye-level hairy question. If you’re a Canadian and you’re entering the mental health system, and perhaps you have at this point just sort of mild to moderate symptoms; could be depression, could be anxiety, what do you face entering the system? What kind of treatment are you likely to get?

[0:07:24.9] PF: The good news is that over the last decade or more, a lot of people have done a lot of good work in raising awareness about mental health, the scope of the problem, the need for access to treatment.

The bad news is that for most Canadians, there are still significant barriers to access to appropriate treatment, for whatever the problem is that they have. The problem we’re facing now, I think we’ve crossed the awareness barrier. We’re mostly all aware of the problem. What Canadians face now are barriers to access to appropriate treatment.

For example, recent study in BC demonstrated that only 13% of people with depression were able to access appropriate treatment for their depression. The problem, although health is a provincial mandate so things vary across the country somewhat. The problem across the country is access to appropriate treatment and even appropriate treatment for common problems, like mood and anxiety disorders.

We know there is a problem, we know there are effective treatments for most problems. That’s not the problem. The problem is people accessing that treatment in the system. For example, evidence-based psychotherapy is like cognitive behavioral therapy, are largely unavailable outside of teaching hospitals, treasury care hospitals.

If you go, another number would be on Ontario, there are I think two million visits to primary care last year that were primarily about a mental health concern. If you go into primary care with a mental health concern, there is a real lack of access to appropriate treatment.

[0:09:16.8] DW: In the end, are most people ending up in their family physician’s office and we’re trying to navigate them from there. What happens there?

[0:09:27.2] PF: If you look at the data, that is in fact true. The majority of people seek help through their GP, or through their family health network. What happens there is typically there will be an assessment of some sort. Then most often, what people are offered is a prescription for anti-depressant medication. Canadians are I think the largest consumer per capita of anti-depressant medication worldwide. That is most often the solution that’s offered.

[0:09:57.2] DW: Do you have a theory in why Canadians would be number one with a bullet for that?

[0:10:01.8] PF: I think there are number of reasons. I think that there is good evidence for the effectiveness of anti-depressant medication and the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders of mild to moderate severity for example. Most expert can consensus guideline say, for mood an anxiety problems of a mild to moderate severity, cognitive behavioral therapy, or anti-depressant medication is recommended as first lying treatment.

It’s not that anti-depressant medication is bad, or prescribing it is bad. I think the problem is that if that most GPs don’t have another option, so patients aren’t presented with, “Well, there is a couple things we can do here that are effective. Would you like to try this, or would you like to try that? Would you prefer this, or would you prefer that?”

If there was that choice, some people would indeed prefer a medication. There are a number of reasons for people preferring medication over psychotherapy. It’s like psychotherapy is work, psychotherapy is commitment. Some people prefer what they perceive as a relatively quick solution to at least part of their problem.

On the other hand, there are clearly a lot of people who would prefer psychotherapy over medication for a variety of reasons. But they’re unable to access that because of they’re in the public or private system because of barriers, of stigma, cost, geography, scheduling and time.

[0:11:32.8] DW: Now certainly, our colleague and somebody you know Peter Gove has traveled the country the last year with a presentation by our company called Medicalization of Unhappiness. He certainly pointed out some observations from our data and what you talked about there that anti-depressants are often used as a first line therapy for mild to moderate depression or anxiety.

We have been saying, like you just said, “Boy, it would be better if there were other options for those family physicians.” In our world, we’ve also seen some people taking on that calling, some employers in Canada, and really drastically increasing the dollars available to their employees for counseling, psychotherapy, etc.

We do wonder however, saying okay we’ll the spend from pharmaceuticals to counseling. Are there natural concerns on the counseling side as well in terms of what are people getting? Is it research and evidence-based? Or is there a lot of interesting variety of treatment out there, some of it not those things?

[0:12:35.3] PF: I think for any healthcare provider, any healthcare they’re receiving there is going to be variation in what you’re receiving. I think in mental healthcare you want to be looking for the same things. I think big picture 30 or 40 years ago, psychotherapy was very much an art. There wasn’t a lot of data. There wasn’t a lot of data from controlled trials of one psychotherapy versus another and so on.

I think 30 or 40 years ago, there wasn’t a lot of evidence for what one should do with whom. I think that’s very much changed over the last 30 or 40 years. Now we actually have a science of psychotherapy. There is such a thing as evidence-based practice. There is clearly research and there are clearly data that tell us what to do with whom, at least under some circumstances.

There are clearly some things that you should do and some things that you should not do. There is clearly a more compelling evidence for some things, like cognitive behavioral therapy, there is a lot of research, a lot of solid research that supports CBT as evidence-based therapy. Then there is less evidence for doing some other things, I think, but a little good evidence. Then for some things that people do, there’s probably no evidence.

Then the psychotherapy world, there is a debate that’s not a debate about yes, there are some non-specific factors in psychotherapy that very much contribute to the success of psychotherapy that don’t depend on the orientation or techniques of the therapist as much.

However, I think the research also says that clinicians who have a model, who do their work based out of an evidence-based model with proven effectiveness and protocols and strategies and techniques and so on get better results.

That’s a long-winded answer, but the answer is there is evidence for doing some things. There is great evidence for cognitive behavioral therapy. There is a great variance in what people get when they go to see somebody for psychotherapy. I think that’s going to change over time. I think as it’s true for all of healthcare, I think people need to advocate for themselves. They need to be informed consumers.

I’d suggest to people and providers who are trying to find evidence-based psychotherapy for people I’d first say good questions to ask any provider are, “Are you trained and credentialed in some – in the provision of one or more kinds of evidence-based therapy, like CBT?” Training and credentialing is a good first step.

Then B, “Do you provide that evidence-based treatment? Can you tell me what you’re going to do, how you’re going to work with me, what strategies and techniques you’re going to use and what your rationale for doing that with me is?” If they can do that, that’s very promising.

Then finally, I think for any healthcare provider what are your results? “Can you share with me the data on the results for the last 10 or 20 or a 100 people that you’ve treated with depression?” If they can do all of those three things, then I’d be pretty confident that they’re some kind of evidence-based psychotherapy.

I think the last is a pretty high bar, most psychotherapist do not roll at all to collect outcome data, even know what’s best practice. A lot of people don’t. That’s a very high bar. But the first two things are very important. Are you trained in a model? Then if I ask you questions about that model, can you talk to me in a way that convinces me that yes, you have a model, you’re going to apply it and you have an idea there is a map here for what we’re going to do together.

[0:16:32.2] DW: I love that advice and boy, I would love to live long enough to see a Canadian healthcare system where patients were used to asking any treat, or tell me about your outcomes. Imagine that. Imagine the look on their faces over the next five years if that started taking hold.

Are there systems in the world that are doing this better than us in terms of mental health? Do we have some markers that we could learn from?

[0:16:55.8] PF: For sure. I think there is lots of promising news, I think in Canada, again I think because of the work of the mental health commission and others, there is an awareness of the problem. Now the mental health commission is talking about access to treatment as being the problem.

We’re moving down this road and governments are all paying attention. For example, in Ontario they have announced – the Ontario government has announced specific funding to increase access to structured psychotherapy. There is good stuff going on. We are moving down this road.

Other people, there are some great models to look to in the UK, for example there is the improving access to psychological treatment initiative, where they have in the national health system they’ve implemented guideline-driven, evidence-based care for common problems system-wide. So when you go into primary care and you present with mild to moderate depression or anxiety, you get access, or you’re offered the opportunity to access individual psychotherapy that’s evidence-based psychotherapy CBT for depression or anxiety.

It’s been an amazing experiment there, that the system has been accessed by a lot of people and they have – they collect outcome data and the outcome data are very compelling. If you don’t respond to that first line treatment of psychotherapy, then they have a model of stepped care where they can step you up in terms of intensity of treatment and options and so on.

In Australia, they’ve done something a little different. I think the Australia example is interesting, because the distribution of their population and their geography is somewhat similar to Canada. They have a few people spread over a lot of area.

What they have done there is they have embraced technology and they’ve used the web and they’ve used options like therapists assisted internet delivered CBT as part of their step care national plan, so that they can deliver evidence-based, protocol-driven cognitive behavioral therapy for common problems to people in remote areas using the web and therapists who do therapy over the web through messaging, for example.

[0:19:21.2] DW: Is there any action in the medical world that is resistant to the concept of moving technology into mental health like this, that human connection will be lost and can the same impact happen over the web?

[0:19:39.7] PF: I have two responses to that really. One is that, no. I think the certain answer is no. Most people in the profession psychiatrist, psychologist, social workers and others are so acutely aware of this access problem that they’re mostly willing to embrace any reasonable solution.

I think people who know about therapist assisted ICBT in other options are not – nobody says that there’s not a place for face-to-face therapy. Nobody is saying that in therapist-assisted ICBT is going to replace face-to-face therapy. There is a place for it. Most people are so aware of the access problem that they’re willing to embrace any solution. They don’t see it as emptying out their waiting rooms and being out of work. I think that’s one aspect of it.

The other aspect is that there are effective web-based therapist-assisted ICBT solutions out there. People have been doing research on this kind of technology for 10 or 15 years. What you find is that if you survey people, most lay people, most people outside of the professions, or the mental health professions aren’t even aware that these technologies and solutions exist.

If you ask them, “Well, what do you think about that?” Most people say, “I don’t know.” But if you increase their knowledge about it and you say, “Well, here is what the research says.” For example, therapist-assisted ICBT works just as well as face-to-face therapy for people with mild to moderate symptoms of mood and anxiety, then people start to say, “Okay. I might be open to that. In fact, I might prefer to do that rather than drive across town to see Peter in his office for an hour a week.”

I think as people learn more – as the research evidence becomes more disseminated about the effectiveness of the solution, or these kinds of solutions then I think professionals and consumers get more open to it.

[0:21:39.6] DW: Okay. The only barrier we have at this point really is awareness?

[0:21:42.4] PF: I think that’s a significant barrier at this point. There is a insider group of people who do research on internet-delivered treatments and so on who know what the data say. We’re to the point now where there have been some meta-analysis on this kind of technology, so there is group of people who know.

Then there’s a lot more people who just simply aren’t aware that this effective solution is available. I’d like to emphasize that there is a place for technology in a step care approach. I think there is things like therapist-assisted ICBT, there is a great place for that kind of technology in the step care approach. You can provide appropriate treatment to a lot of people, then free up resources to provide appropriate treatment to a whole bunch of other people who need face-to-face therapy, for example.

[0:22:37.6] DW: I want to thank you for sharing all of these with us. I fear sometimes on our podcast, we lay out a lot of problems with not a lot of solutions. Clearly evident, but certainly in the last few minutes you’ve given us certainly some hope that we have some real tangible strategies available to get to some of the access issues that we have in the area of mental health. Thank you for spending this time with us.

[0:22:59.4] PF: You’re very welcome. Thank you.



[0:23:07.8] DW: Peter, thank you for coming back. You were on our very first podcast –

[0:23:11.6] PG: I was.

[0:23:12.3] DW: - talking about mental health under the guise of a presentation you had done called The Medicalization of Unhappiness. You’re back very quickly. That I think that suggests that that was a successful podcast and people reacted positively to it.

[0:23:27.4] PG: One person did.

[0:23:28.9] DW: One person, our listener. Yes, we’ve stopped using the plural. It also suggests that no one else will agree to do this podcast, so thank you. Thank you for putting your career on the line, yet again.

In that last podcast, you had talked a bit about the landscape of mental health in Canada and had some pointed critiques. But we won’t go over that. We will tell people to go back and listen to that podcast, which features you talking about The Medicalization of Unhappiness. Today we’re going to talk very specifically about mindfulness, and it’s a trendy word right now.

[0:24:02.3] PG: Very trendy.

[0:24:03.5] DW: It’s a very trendy idea. I know we are often have mixed feelings about things that are too trendy, unless it’s us, that I think is right. But can you, for our listeners, define mindfulness in your own words?

[0:24:20.2] PG: Yeah. Well, you know there are a number of definitions floating around up there. Probably the most well-known one is by Jon Kabat-Zinn, who probably is the godfather of mindfulness. In my view, it’s about paying attention in the present moment to your feelings and your emotions and your experiences without judgment. I think the key piece there is without judgment.

[0:24:44.6] DW: We all go to – is that often a negative place?

[0:24:51.1] PG: Well, I think that, you know, we can talk with this in-depth, but I think that what we tend to do is spend most of our time in an automatic pilot mode, which can take us to some very bad places, I think. But also, you need to function on an automatic pilot, because you couldn’t get through the day if you didn’t.

If you look at some of the common mental illnesses like depression for example, rumination or going over and over and over negative things in your head is an automatic pilot sort of state that people’s depression tend to get into. One of the ideas with mindfulness is to sort of assist people to observe that automatic pilot state and begins to move out into the present moment.

[0:25:35.2] DW: I should mention this going for those listeners that were not present for our first podcast, or who haven’t listened to it yet. Peter’s background is as a psychiatric social worker and has worked in our benefits industry for quite a long period of time. He comes with some training in mental health and obviously a great curiosity about it. What attracted you to mindfulness as a potential strategy for our plan members?

[0:26:03.5] PG: Yeah, that’s a good question. This probably goes back to the mid-90s when some folks from CAMH, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto produced a book called Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. At that point, I was very interested in cognitive therapy.

This was an approach that weighted the cognitive therapy to mindfulness practices. It was demonstrated to be an effective approach to helping people with depression. It was a relapse prevention approach.

It was very effective and it was very, very interesting. That led me to a mindfulness-based stress reduction, which was Jon Kabat-Zinn’s program and he originally developed that to assist people largely with chronic illnesses and chronic pain.

He originally was a Buddhist, but he stripped the Buddhism out of it and made it into a scientific practice that seemed to be quite effective for these folks. You layer on top of that the burdening issues we have with stressed out people who appear to be sick, and it seems to fit together with that and maybe we can be of assistance to those folks by helping with this kind of a practice for sure.

[0:27:15.3] DW: When you first brought this up around the table in our team here at GSC as a potential strategy, I think I was a person that pushed back a bit. It seemed to be around the word.

[0:27:28.7] PG: Yeah, you didn’t like the branding, so to speak.

[0:27:29.9] DW: I didn’t like the branding. Just that word, it immediately struck me as, is this some flaky or new age thing? What was interesting was this was being put forward by you. In our team, you were the ultimate voice of clinical reason who researches everything. We’re quite infamous in our team for having sort of Shawn light on some interesting trends in Canadian healthcare, and most famously the teenage massage had lined on the babies getting chiropractic headline, and no one was more outraged by those things than you.

[0:28:07.7] PG: Than me. That’s true. Yes. Poorly offended by all of those things.

[0:28:12.5] DW: You have posters of Tim Coffee on your wall, like a teenage girl looking at One Direction or something.

[0:28:18.5] PG: Yes, we call it a man-crush I think these days.

[0:28:22.6] DW: With that as the background to Peter Gove and how his mind works, defend the science behind mindfulness.

[0:28:31.4] PG: It’s interesting. When the folks from CAMH went down to UMass to meet with Jon Kabat-Zinn, they were of the same worldview that this is some flaky, new-agy practice. What came out of that was their treatment strategy, which has proved to be effective, the reality is that in the past probably five or six years, the research on mindfulness is [inaudible 0:28:53.2].

These hundreds and hundreds of studies on mindfulness in a variety of context, most of them seem to indicate that this practice has value for a lot of people and a lot of ways. That’s interesting. The most interesting stuff for me is the brain imaging studies, which show that experienced meditators, their amygdala actually shrinks and amygdala is a part of the brain that drives anxiety and those over-responsiveness.

For us, in terms of fight or flight, that kind of hereditary, evolutionary, protective mechanism, you expect a big fat amygdala, this actually makes it get smaller, which means you become less reactive, or less negatively reactive the better you get at this. That’s really fascinating and you can actually see physiologic changes in the brain from practicing this stuff. That’s really interesting for sure.

[0:29:46.6] DW: One of the things I asked too at that time was can you give me some common, every day mundane situations in our lives where this can clearly be useful?

[0:30:01.4] PF: Yeah. That’s interesting. We have this – what people are calling a crisis in mental health. I’m not convinced this crisis is about mental illness, so much as about people who are stressed out and can’t cope, and don’t think that they can deal with any kind of emotional difficulties, what mindfulness does I think for these kinds of people, I think that these are the kinds of people for whom this practice is really useful is it allows you to supposedly get some distance from these kinds of emotional responses. It allows them to see them as sort of fluctuating intermittent states that come and go.

In doing that, it gives them much more healthy outlook on the states, and perhaps ultimately can help them become less overcome by these emotions. I think it can be very, very useful for that kind of population. That’s a big part of the people who are struggling these days, I think.

[0:30:54.2] DW: I mean, the example that you and I talked about was like, there’s usually somebody at work that triggers us. Their behavior and sometimes they talk too loud, or they just talk to you, which I know you don’t like.

[0:31:04.2] PG: I don’t like that. I try to avoid people who talk too loud.

[0:31:07.1] DW: This is a thing that, I mean you can’t remove that person from your life, but you can learn to react to it in a different way.

[0:31:15.3] PG: What you can do is you can look at your reactions, you can look at your reactions without judgment. I’m thinking about this the other day. I had somebody who had really pissed me off. I’d be –

[0:31:24.0] DW: I did apologize.

[0:31:25.6] PG: That’s right. Well, it didn’t sit well with me. It was sitting with me for days and days and days. The question was what was I going to do with this? Mindfulness practices teaches us that these are temporary states. This is not real. It’s not real. It comes and it goes, it’s there, it goes away.

Indeed with people who irritate you, you can change your emotional response to that person, you can’t easily change that person, but you can look at your response more objectively, you can really learn that it is it’s only you – it’s only response. The response is not you. You’re you, the response is the response. By long, this is creating the space between you and the response. You can begin to decide whether it’s useful or not.

[0:32:09.6] DW: Ideally not beating up on yourself so much with that.

[0:32:12.1] PG: Exactly. Yeah, a lot of the mindfulness practice is about acceptance for sure. There’s actually a therapy based on these kinds of ideas that goes – it’s called third level, or something like that; cognitive therapy, and it’s about acceptance of emotions and recognizing what they are. These kinds of things – this is what’s different than cognitive therapy for sure. Third wave therapy, excuse me.

[0:32:32.4] DW: Okay. I think we want to position this podcast is that we’re not on here talking about our products and services and not pitching GSC, but you have built an interesting piece on mindfulness, which we do intend on getting out to our plan members. Tell me about the approach you took to that and how we’re trying to bring it.

[0:32:49.7] PG: To some degree, to the –

[0:32:51.2] DW: To the masses.

[0:32:51.6] PG: Yeah, yeah, for sure. There’s any number of mindfulness apps out there and those mindfulness apps, some of them are quite good and they have meditations and that kind of thing. You click on and then you get to meditate your 10-minute deal meditation, this thing is much broader than that. What we’ve tried to do is have meditative practices, which people need to do in order to get good at. It’s like working your muscles is the same kind of thing.

In addition to that, we’ve got a lot of content in there that helps people understand better about how this is supposed to work. It’s a much bigger thing than just an app. You can work through this program, you can learn about mindfulness, you got mindfulness practice. If you do it, by the end of it – it’s six sessions long, which we would maybe do once every week or once every two weeks and do the practices in between. You would actually have enough there to develop your own practice going forward.

It’s based on – it’s a combination of cognitive, or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction. It sits in the middle there. It’s like a six-session version of what is typically an eight-session program. So truly, we developed it with an expert in the field and you’re quite looking for to launching it. A lot of our clients, we’ve been talking to them about it and are quite excited about it as well.

[0:34:02.5] DW: Great. Great. We’re going to leave it at that. Undoubtedly, we will be speaking to you again from the studio. Thank you again for your time.

[0:34:08.7] PG: Well, thanks for having me. Appreciate it.


[0:34:18.0] SM: Just a quick thank you to our listeners for tuning in to another episode of And Now for Something Completely Indifferent: A Canadian Health Benefits Podcast.

To be sure to get feature episodes, assuming we do this again, please subscribe to this podcast wherever you get your podcasts, or you can visit our website at\podcast to download.

As a reminder, we do talk about these issues consistently in our publications, which are available on our website. Specifically for today’s episode, you can check out our November issue of The Inside Story.

Thanks for listening, and we’ll talk again soon.