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Do you ever feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to accomplish all the things you NEED to do, let alone enough time for the things you WANT to do?  Don’t worry, although many people are often in the same boat as you, there are some tips you can start using today to help encourage values-based decision making (AKA: making time for what is important to you)!

Step 1:

Start off by working on clarifying what is important to you.  Ask yourself who and what matters to you.  Many of us will begin by listing the people or things that others or society think should matter to us, but this exercise is really to help you reflect within on who and what actually matters to you.

Step 2:

Once you have begun clarifying who and what actually matters to you, then you can begin to mindfully notice the choices you are making on a daily basis.  Notice if these choices are bringing you closer to fulfilling your values (also known as “towards moves”) or further away (also known as “away moves”).

Step 3:

Once you get a sense of how often you make towards/away moves, you can start to actively challenge barriers that come in the way of making more “towards moves” (including thoughts!).


I have identified from Step 1 that my health is important to me.

In Step 2 I notice that I’m really good at making excuses to not to go to the gym.

For Step 3 I would begin to challenge any barriers or thoughts that may come up as I make my plans for the gym.

For example, I am driving home from work and was planning on attending the gym right after I got home, but tricky thoughts began to appear like “I deserve a night off” or “I am too tired”.  I would begin to challenge these thoughts by asking myself – would skipping the gym bring me closer to the life I want? Or further away? Most likely – if I did skip the gym – I would be going home and watching TV on the couch instead.  Thus, I begin to challenge these thoughts and realize in the short term that avoiding the gym may make me feel good, but in the long term – to me – watching TV is not that important and is not bringing me closer to making time for what actually matters to me!

So go ahead and get started! Begin implementing the above tips, and see if making time for what matters to you contributes to a more fulfilling and rewarding life!




I love the Buddhist quote, “pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional”.  The damage we do to ourselves in our minds often far exceeds that of the actual events.

We can’t avoid pain in life, be it physical pain or mental pain, but how much we suffer along the way can be minimized.

While going through change and experiencing pain is an inevitable part of life, we can learn to become aware of the present moment rather than grieve the past or fear the future and to accept (acknowledge and not resign to) what is already here rather than resist or avoid it.  We can choose to focus on our values in the face of adversity.  We can reduce our suffering and engage with life challenges in a more encouraging and productive manner.


At JMA we embrace the values that allow individuals to lead their lives with meaning and purpose; to manage the suffering and improve the levels of happiness and fulfillment that we are able to squeeze out of our time.  Our JMA counsellors will help you to bring your goals and values into focus and will introduce you to new ways of managing the hurdles that life may throw in your way.

Let us remember the words of Victor Frankl “Between stimulus and response there is a space.  In that space is our power to choose our response.  In our response lies our growth and our freedom”.  Frankl, V. E. (1984).  Man’s search for meaning: An introduction to logotherapy.  New York: Simon & Schuster.

At the end of the day, we do have a choice.


The JMA team is waiting to help you.


CIBC Run for the Cure on Sunday, October 2, 2016



J Marlin and Associates Inc. offers Cognitive Behavioural Therapy services to help individuals increase their sense of vitality, well-being, and fulfillment.

Head Office1100 Burloak Drive, Suite 603 Burlington, ON L7L 6B2

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