Michelle is very active in the diabetes community across Canada. She was diagnosed with diabetes in 1999, during her graduate school studies. After graduating and starting her private practice, she began to use cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) with clients. She saw how much it helped her clients with anxiety or depression when they balanced their thoughts and could then regulate their mood. She couldn’t help but notice her own negative thoughts about her diabetes care and the impact on how she felt. She began to apply her CBT skills to her own thoughts. This led to new insights about the way one’s thoughts about diabetes impact mood and therefore behaviour. Over the years, Michelle began to work
with more clients struggling with the psychological impact of diabetes and has used her CBT approach to help them change their thoughts, moods, and behaviour.
Diabetes usually affects everything happening in one’s life (both personally and professionally) and in turn, everything happening in one’s life impacts diabetes care! Many people with diabetes who seek counselling support are working on interpersonal issues, anxiety or depression so that they can then attend to their diabetes care. However, there are also diabetes-specific issues such as: anxiety about hypoglycemia, fear of future complications, self-esteem issues, grief and the development of assertiveness skills in communicating with others about diabetes.
Michelle also speaks across Canada, as a professional and an individual living with Type 1 diabetes, to groups of health care professionals as well as individuals and families living with diabetes. This work allows her to reach more people, by supporting the health care teams and families who support those living with diabetes. She speaks at conferences, diabetes education centres, medical resident training sessions, events sponsored by pharmaceutical and device companies, and for other diabetes organizations.