When a person makes the decision to improve their mental-emotional health, courage is required. Our team at Alive would like to thank those who have allowed their stories to be shared - it provides encouragement to those who are beginning or continuing their journey.
My visit to Alive gave me the same feeling you get when you've come home for the holidays to your parents' place. You find yourself nestled inside a healthy hush of glorious scenery, surrounded on all sides by tall trees covering rolling green hills.
What we have here is an honest-to-goodness retreat: a place one goes to reflect on whatever it is their dogging in life.
We also come to disconnect from e-mail and phones, or, more precisely, from the entire outside world.
Phil a facilitator encouraged me to place my chemical-laced body into the capable, holistic hands of the small, committed staff.
He loves the stuff he's learned about living longer and feeling better so much that he wants to give it away, as though it belongs to everyone. Vic's mission as clinical director was much the same as Phil's: teach guests how to increase awareness of your psychological function in order to optimize them to reduce stress and increase quality of life. So Phil and Vic combined their forces, in such a way that I was the perfect person to visit a place like this. Not young, but not exactly old either. Not dying, but on the other hand, I could never be accused of living well. Having been a substance-abusing, smoking person with way to much stress. I'm everything the good people at Alive want to help heal. To that end, after I arrived and put my bags into my room, I was rushed in to have a consultation with the resort doctor as he scanned my medical history. "I see here you take rather a lot of medications," he said, looking up quizzically through wire-rimmed glasses. I exhaled deeply. "Perhaps the people here can find you some healthy alternatives to one of these mood stabilizers." Before the first of my day was over, I got word that Vic was determined to have my daily session ; I had been earmarked for a visit. Somehow I managed to successfully avoid a one-on-one with Vic for a few more days-but eventually it happened and to my surprise it was friendly and good.
Each day Vic or Phil, would guide us through the trees, around rocks, or up to a small alpine clearing and by waterfalls. And the group would talk (visit!) as we meandered there. The purpose of this was both physical and mental and I certainly can say that daily cardio did relive stress and help me see things more positively . In the afternoon, we'd either attend a group session or have one of those tempting detoxifying European treatments on the spa menu.
"Today we are going on a rafting jaunt down the beautiful Shushwap River," Vic said over breakfast on the second morning. "Who's ready for it, eh?" Most of us were eventually rounded up by Vic's boundless enthusiasm and then herded into two blue rubber rafts to float slowly down the clear, cold river. The sun broke through the overcast sky every so often. We even spotted an eagle soaring over the trees. It was like summer camp as a child - It was even joyful.
Another day, we all gathered in an upstairs room for a group session with a local therapist. "Are you ready to have fun?" she asked. She pulled out a bag of plastic clown noses and passed them out to us. I rolled my eyes and groaned. "We're going to begin with a simple laugh," she told us. "And then we'll move on to something a little more challenging." Kim and I looked at each other, baffled. Challenging laughter? That's not even an oxymoron. It's just oxyoddness. "Now do what I do." Suddenly serious, she filled her diaphragm with oxygen, breathing through her nose. After holding a beat she exploded in measured, artificial laughter. "Now you try," she cheered. "Sure!" roared Wilbert, ready to jump on the happy wagon (one of my favorite haunts, as it happens). "First we inhale deeply," she advised. "Here we go! Now hold it and release." "HAHAHAHOHOHOHEHEHE." I am sitting on a couch in the Canadian hinterlands, I thought, wearing a plastic clown nose, learning to fake laugh from, presumably, Lumby's only accredited artificial laugh therapist.
After a few tries, most of us were laughing in earnest. I had never felt like that big of a, well, I suppose the word would be dork. The rest of my memories of the evening are a bit hazy, but I have a sneaking suspicion that we danced around the room with our red noses firmly on. There may even have been some hugging. You have to love a bunch of people long past the blush of youth dancing around a room wearing red noses and noisily chanting "HAHAHAHAHA," some slick with sweat, acting like special-needs kids. We all collapsed in exhaustion, flushed, most of us wondering what had just happened. Whatever it was, it was sure fun to do and it had a lightening-up effect on me that made me sleep like a baby.
So, yes, eventually I let Vic have more visits with me. We talked about self care, stress and how my phycology is much like my physical body and capable of change.
What I wanted from Vic and the Alive staff was some sort of epiphany that would blast me with an all-powerful light and make me a changed person—with little effort. In the end, I can't say I'm a transformed person since my visit, but, more than ever, I plan to be, and that counts for something, doesn't it? I drink a little less caffeine and a little more water and I have a standing appointment with a Pilates instructor and aim to make improvements to my mental health .
So, though it wasn't exactly a success, it was a failure in the right direction. And that's all because of Vic and Phil and the Alive for Wellness.
I completed the Alive program to help me overcome some mental health struggles that began over 12 years ago. I worked with Vic LeBouthillier during this time and found his skills combined with his dedication to my health to be the impetus that allowed me to not only regain a strong state of mental health, but have recently gained strong leadership competencies with employee in a new phase of leadership training pertaining to my work as a business owner.
Currently my partner and I retain Vic's management consulting experience together with his training to include our staff towards increasing the Emotional Intelligence of our workplace. I want to thank Vic and the Alive team for their dedication and the support they have provided.
Over the past 3 years I have received great benefit from the wisdom and guidance of Vic LeBouthillier and his Alive program. As the President and CEO of Unlimited Contracting Inc. I have come to see the close relationship between my personal growth and development and the success of my business and team. Vic has anchored me with practical results-driven advice that is suited to my needs and built on his experience in the corporate world and behavioural health.
The strong personal connection that Vic has established with me personally as well as our team is the driving factor for the continued success in our working relationship. My trust in Vic and his professionalism has been built in the trenches of growing our company through a tough recession. The Mentoring and guidance that Vic has shared has helped us double our corporate revenue for the past 3 consecutive years!
I am thankful to have met Vic LeBouthillier, who has helped me evolve as a person and a leader. I would not be the leader I am today apart from his guidance - and I can also say, that neither would my relationship skills be where they are without his mentoring.
Without hesitation I recommend Vic LeBouthillier as a High-Value asset in a competitive and evolving global marketplace.
I first started working with Vic and the Alive program to help my husband both in his personal and work life. My intent was to be there for support. My husband was dealing with a lot of stress, so our marriage was suffering in every area and his business was about to go under.
I felt that if my husband received the help he needed everything would work out. I had done a lot of work on myself in the past years and thought that I was fine in dealing with all the stress around me. Well, I was so wrong. It didn't take long for Vic to see that I was shut down, I was angry and blaming my husband for the situation we were in, I was also gaining a lot of weight and not taking care of myself, I was surviving but not by much. Looking back, I can see now that I had given up on being in a loving nurturing relationship with my husband. I was settling, this was affecting the relationships with my children, my friends and my co-workers.
Vic worked with us one on one and as a couple, looking at what was important to each of us in our relationship what was important to us as individuals. He put a strategy together providing me with tools that helped to regulate the anger and deal with the stress, taught us to check in with each other when things aren't going right or if one of us is having a bad day. In the past we would be upset and take it out on each other because we did not understand how to communicate what was really going on to one another.
Working with Vic I also realized that I needed to be committed to changing the way I lived my life otherwise nothing was going to change.
Working with Vic has given my marriage the love and tenderness it was missing, I enjoy being with my husband, we communicate, we have more intimacy, life is fun again. Vic kept me accountable in a positive nurturing way providing me with examples of ways to deal with my issues, he taught me how to communicate with my husband so that he would understand me. I continue to work with Vic because I want to be the best that I can be.
Thank you Vic
My husband and I retained Alive to make improvements in our business and to deal with our stress. The first thing that occurred was for me to realize that I struggled to assert myself. The first thing I learned through their mentoring process was to increase my confidence and as I did, the respect from my husband and employees increased. It was a powerful experience to see my self-confidence and emotional intelligence increase. Thanks to all of you at Alive for your support
I hired Vic back in 2010 because I believed my business and my marriage were on the rocks, and somehow the whole thing was connected. Vic first taught me how to handle my stress so that I could focus my mind to the difficulties in front of me, and find solutions not wallow in despair. Since then, I have right-sided my business and we are moving forward with a much better plan for the future, and much happier employees. My wife and I are also moving in a much more cohesive and loving way. By regulating my emotions, I communicate much deeper with my wife and clearer with my employees.
The experience working with Vic, I believe, has saved my company and my marriage. Vic was nurturing as I discovered my pain, and direct in letting me know when it was time to take action.
I began working with Vic at the Alive program at a time when everything in my life was unravelling. Marriage, family, career, were all in broken pieces around me. It was Vic's coaching that cut through pain and confusion, providing some light to the path ahead. Vic has a tremendous ability to really listen, to understand the uniqueness of a situation, to embrace the complexity, and boil things down to the simple core truths, that become anchors and navigation in the storm of confusion and turmoil.
Vic's coaching is characterized by humility, intelligence, "real-life" experience, authority, and deep care for the individual he's working with. He is well-read and knowledgeable in the academic side of counselling, business and human behaviour, he applies it - and yet his coaching is always customized to the individual, practical and "down to earth". I would highly recommend Vic's coaching - I have personally benefited from it and I continue to rely on it.
I have completed the Alive in-house and after-care program. It was an amazing experience. I feel extremely confident that now as I continue the after-care program each week i will be able to continue my progress. Vic has a way of making certain feeling surface in me that I obviously need to look at.
When i began the Alive program i was not really sure what what to expect - but i knew i needed to make changes in my life and take action but was not sure how to start or where to get support. Very early into the program i was challenged to observe my thought and emotional process as to how i perceived myself and my circumstances around me. The fact that the challenge was given in empathy and gentleness allowed me for the first time in my life to receive this brutally candid feedback…i was enlightened. i was then left with the decision to stay in this place or move on. Working with Vic my mentor has been a powerful experience for me as an Immigrant lower social economic 35 year old women . I am in my 3rd mth of aftercare and a summary statement to share my experience would be: my self confidence has been significantly increased and i don't fall into the hole of discouragement as often, but when i do - i have the strength, skills and support from the team at Alive to climb out. My next step is starting my own book keeping business which is a new wall for me to climb- but being i have climbed so many other walls in the last 3 mths i am confident i can climb this one. Thanks to all the staff at the Alive for my new lease on life.
My Partner and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary. . It's been so nice and peaceful.
I am doing much better these days. I saw Judy in Van a couple of weeks ago and she is doing better too. That's always encouraging to see.
I'm keeping myself busy with lots of fun summer activities planned.
When I start to feel down I find I am a lot more aware of it and try to understand the root of it, and if I can't make myself feel better to just go with it.
I starting taking an online classes through Yorkville university. Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology. I have always been fascinated by psychology, and to turn a negative into a positive, I have learned so much through my mental health struggles, especially with PTSD and the Alive program. So thanks for all your support along the way. It makes a big difference! I have been focusing on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for depression and finding this is the most powerful approach for me (depression wise). My PTSD symptoms have decreased so drastically that instead of PTSD taking control over my life, I have taken control over it. Sure, symptoms arise here and there, but I am much more aware of it, and am usually able to deescalate quickly. It’s pretty amazing. I am def on the healing path, but damn I wish it wouldn’t be so slow! I can see the little glimpses of hope that I have now that I didn’t -- and making more solid plans for Participant in the Alive PTS recovery program
Participant of the PTSD recovery program