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Therapy Blog

Fidget tools for stimulation regulation

Fidget tools for stimulation regulation

Stimming. Fidgeting. Playing. Focusing. 

In a world that's constantly buzzing with stimuli, finding effective ways to balance that stimuli to stay focused, regulated, and/or relaxed can be a challenge - especially for folks who find themselves over-stimulated or under-stimulated often. Neurodivergent people all have varying needs, of course, but stimulation is often at the centre of struggles with regulating. (yes, the same object or tool can be both stimulating when you need it, and also calming & supportive when you have too much of other kinds of stimulation. MAGIC!)

Enter fidget toys, stim toys, or as I prefer to refer to them - stim tools. A diverse range of tools designed to provide sensory stimulation and support for anyone really! Just like that fibbing poncho that said ‘one size fits all’, stim tools are no exception to the lie! Our needs and desires vary. Here are some ideas of tools that might be useful and what their primary purposes are.

Also included? A few links to where you might buy or learn more about these toys. Please note, these are not affiliate links, and I neither promote nor boycott big box stores and giants like the big A. I believe that, for those of us with a variety of access needs, it’s best that we make our individual choices based on those needs and sometimes that means convenience, price, method of delivery, etc. 

*** if the categories and multiple links are overwhelming, scroll to the bottom for a small menu of options on where to find them in general, along with a DIY bonus for making your own --- scroll to the >< >< >< >< >< >< >< 

Fidget Spinners

Classic. These simple, handheld devices have gained popularity for their calming effects and ability to enhance concentration. Fidget spinners are perfect for those who find relief in repetitive motions, aiding in stress reduction and promoting a sense of calm. They’re made of different materials and shapes, but my personal favourite is something metal with a little weight to it for smoother spinning. Like this one, here. 

Stress Balls

Another stim tool staple. Squeezing a stress ball provides both tactile and proprioceptive input (learn more about what that even means, here). They help to release tension and improve focus. You can find ALL KINDS of these with varying degrees of squish, resistance, materials, etc. My personal favourite is anything made by NeeDoh and you can find these at a number of stores from Mastermind and Indigo to the La-di-da Boutique store on the Danforth (for all my Toronto peeps) 

Tactile Puzzles & tangles

These are you more intricate tactile experiences with infinite loops and loads of texture-y fidgeting. Also probably one of the more common categories of stim tools. Not really always a ‘puzzle’ in the traditional sense, they may include textured puzzles, shape-sorting or shifting toys, or anything really that engages the sense of touch.

Sometimes they’re extremely quiet toys, like the aptly named Tangle or they can also have accompanying clicking or clacking for those desiring a bit of auditory stim, too. Rotate and slide puzzles like these ones, or even a rubiks cube can fall into this category. Can’t leave out the cubes (the multi-sided ones that have some clicks and clacks like this one, and the very different but also pleasant infinity style cube like this.)

Chewable Jewellery

Designed for discreet sensory input, chewable jewellery is ideal for those who find comfort in oral stimulation. Did/do you chew on pencils and pens? Or your zipper pull? These tools can be both functional and stylish, serving as both a sensory tool and a fashion accessory. Here are some cool options found at this Canadian store ->  Chewigem.

Sand, slime, slop, goop, floam, fun!

These are easy to come by anywhere toys are sold. Kids LOVE this stuff, but grown ups can play with them all too. They’re less convenient than some of the above options, as they often require more space, or a surface, and are generally not as pocket friendly as a spinner might be, but they’re a real good time for people who like to knead/scrunch/pop/slap/mould/separate/play. And what’s more is that, although I’ve lumped these things together, none of them provide the same feel. While slime might be a sensory no, kinetic sand might give you joy, for example. 

>< >< >< >< >< >< >< >< >< ><

Best places to find fidgets?

A lot of the above links have loads of other suggested & similar options that could lead you down the rabbit hole of your dopamine-seeking dreams - or could overwhelm you significantly. SO here are THREE resources to find fidgets and ONE link to DIY it

Bonus: You can DIY lots of fidgets. Let this guide inspire you, while also remembering that ANYTHING that helps you regulate, regardless of it's actual purpose, counts as a tool if you use it as one. And if you have a 3D printer you can print them, too! (or search Etsy or a local craft market for ones made by others)




  • Jenn Seeley
The Many Benefits of Regular Therapy Sessions

The Many Benefits of Regular Therapy Sessions

Often times, people book a therapy session as a 'one-off' because of life stressors of feelings of being unwell emotionally, only to stop abruptly the minute they feel close enough to 'ok' again.

Look. I get it! Therapy costs time and money - and it's really hard work! But as luck (or research!) may have it, this approach may land you in the same situation repeatedly if there isn't amble effort put into stopping the band-aid style scenario. Regular therapy sessions have many positive benefits. Longer term goals are achieved, and deeply ingrained habits are managed in a shorter timeframe.

Let's look at some of the benefits of attending regular weekly or bi-weekly sessions with your therapist.

Regular therapy leads to a stronger rapport with your therapist. 

Having a stronger rapport will help it be easier to get comfortable with your therapist. As a side-effect? You'll be more likely to open up in a session, allowing you to get to the hard stuff. When we build trust with others we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and this vulnerability is exactly what needs to happen for your counselling sessions to have the strongest impact.

Sticking to a set weekly (or bi-weekly) time creates an expected routine. 

When your therapy appointments are regular and consistent you’re less likely to forget about them. Setting up a regular schedule will also help you to avoid feelings that your counselling appointments are less important than your other responsibilities. Incorporating therapy as a part of your weekly routine will create continuity in your work with your therapist.

Seeing your therapist when you feel 'good' also has its benefits. 

People tend to feel less engaged in their regular sessions when their acute symptoms have been alleviated but a lot of long term progress toward your mental health goals can be achieved when you’re feeling more at your baseline. You’ll have more resources to work on deeper personal challenges than you do when you are in crisis mode.

Attending therapy regularly means you'll get more of what you came for.

When you decided to start therapy, you had a goal in mind. To achieve what you set out to do, consistency is important, especially if you’re not the type of person who wants to attend therapy for years and years. (although there are benefits to that, too!)  Giving your stress and challenges an hour each week allows you to rest emotionally and focus on you! If you’re ready for self improvement, it’s time to commit!

I get asked about this a lot, but sadly there isn’t a magic amount of time or number of sessions that you should see a therapist for. Regular and consistent sessions over a period will likely result in achieving your goals and meeting your needs in less time than if you were to only schedule counselling sessions when you aren’t feeling like your best self. 

  • Jenn Seeley
Could it be Childhood Emotional Neglect?

Could it be Childhood Emotional Neglect?

Are you struggling to understand your feelings? Are your emotions a mystery - or maybe even seemingly non-existent? Maybe it's due to something called Childhood Emotional Neglect.

I see many clients who tell stories of their childhood that include tales of loving, providing parents. Sometimes, despite the best of intentions and even affectionate actions, kids grow up to be adults who lacked something very important - the modelling of and/or space for feelings. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this is often a big driving force behind them coming to therapy in the first place - somewhere to safely explore and be with years of feelings left unheard. 

Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN) is something I learned about in my own exploration of feelings when I stumbled upon a book called Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect by Dr Jonice Webb. When I talk about the possibility of CEN applying to the lives of clients, the word neglect can feel like a big pill to swallow. I like how Webb outlines early in her first book that, while abuse is something happening to you, neglect is really about something you're missing. Chances are really great, in fact, that if you've grown up without the emotional support you needed, your parents may have also. 

If you're curious about your own childhood and possible misses with emotions, Webb has a great tool on her website to let you assess for yourself if this fits your experience. And if it is fitting for you? Her books are intended as self help tools that anyone can access. It might also be a good idea to seek out therapy for help doing that deep feelings dive! (Or talking to your current therapist about CEN)

Check out these resources for more info: 


  • Jenn Seeley
Is Positive Thinking Really Your Goal?

Is Positive Thinking Really Your Goal?

"I'm trying to be positive." These are probably some of the most spoken words inside the walls of my office. I hear so many folks who, upon sharing about some of the tough stuff they're up against, are quick to blurt out about their difficulties staying positive as if negative experiences and feelings are inherently bad. 

Being seen as negative is shame-filled for some people, but I am the furthest from judgemental when those least desirable 'non-positive' feelings show up. In fact, I believe there are loads of feelings calling out to be seen in the words that we choose and feel as negative. Feelings that are every bit as important as the positive ones. Feelings that, with exploration, provide keys and clues to ways that we may struggle in our day-to-day. Feelings that, with recognition, can become more tolerable with more experience paying attention to them. 

Anger or disappointment, for example, won't just vanish because you repeat a mantra from a self-help book. It may become silenced for a time, or lessened in the moment - stuffed down and ignored until it tries to get your attention another time. Just do a quick Google search for the problem with positive thinking. You'll get a lot of hits. 

These thoughts were sparked by an image I saw while scrolling through social media apps on my phone. This image, shown in this post, doesn't quite capture my feelings about the matter, but I'm glad it created an opportunity to say a few words here. 

What if next time you're tempted to say "I'm trying to be positive", you said "I'm trying to understand these negative feelings and let them have a little space to tell me what they have to say"? If that feels too scary, maybe explore negative and negativity with a therapist you trust, and find out a little more about what's beneath the emotions you're so quick to dress up as something that they're not. 

  • Jenn Seeley
Who Needs Therapy?

Who Needs Therapy?

"Why should I go to therapy?" is a question I get asked lots by people who have never tried it before. Reasons for going to therapy are as varied as the folks who go, and anyone can benefit from it. Caring for your mental health is no different than getting regular checkups at the dentist or hitting the gym to keep strong. Here are just a few reasons to go: 

Life transitions

Whether the transitions are good, bad, or neutral - a therapist can help process changing careers, going back to school, moving to a new city, or an upcoming adoption. Or maybe you’re feeling stuck at a fork in the road and are having to make a tough decision. Talking about it out loud with someone whose job it is to help you make sense of it all can help. 


Relationship woes


It can help to talk out the ways a relationship gets stuck (or ends), or discover where you feel blocked in communicating with your loved one(s). This isn’t limited to a significant other. Therapy is a great place to take struggles with your friends, your co-workers, and your family of origin, too. And for some people, a lack of a relationship is distressing and also an excellent reason to seek therapy. 




Grief is not linear and unfortunately there’s no magic timeline for when it ends. Sometimes, just when you think you’ve dealt with all there is to deal with around a loss, grief crops back up again. A therapist can hear that and sit with you in it




Does your job come with mental health days? Do you find yourself needing lots of them? Maybe it’s a good idea to also talk that stress out with someone. 


Identity questions


Whether you’re asking yourself about parts of your identity you can’t change but want to connect more to (like race), or curious about exploring parts of your identity that may fluctuate (like sexual orientation or gender), big feelings around “who even am I?” may come up for you - and they’re great feelings to share in therapy. Maybe you just need someone to confide in?




Whether you’re living with a diagnosis of ADHD or struggling to choose which pile of hard stuff to tackle first, talking out the long list of to-dos can help bring perspective. Perhaps your inability to concentrate is coming from specific influences, like difficulty at home or work. No matter the cause of focus troubles, talking about it with a therapist can help. 




It’s possible you’ve had a low mood for a while and just keep hoping it will shift on its own. If nothing makes you happy anymore - not even the things that you could always count on delighting in - a therapist might be a good next plan. 


“Negative” coping strategies


If you’re coping with hard stuff, who really gets to label the ways you cope as negative? You’re a genius and you’re doing the best you can! If you wish you weren’t looking to those same strategies any longer, or feel that they’re not serving the same purpose and are becoming an issue all of their own, maybe it’s time to talk to someone. (these strategies may include alcohol, drugs, shopping…) 




Being overwhelmed with anxiety is not much fun at all. Whether it shows up in the form of worries and fears, or full blown panic attacks, a therapist can help you process and cope with anxiety if it's interfering with your everyday life. 




Whether you’ve gone through a singular traumatic event, or a series of traumas, trauma informed therapy can help you cope and not feel so alone. A therapist can help you improve your skills in surviving it. 


Chronic pain/health issues 

Having ongoing medical struggles brings about a lot of big feelings that are equally as important to address and manage. Particularly when you feel as though you’re fighting a battle alone, it can be really useful to have a steady person to talk to about your journey. 


Just because you want to

Just being human is hard work. Everyone can benefit from talking about their goals and fears - no matter how big or small they may seem. Therapy doesn't have to be about any of the struggles listed above (or many that weren't listed). Just being able to talk about who you are, where you came from, how you got to where you are today, can simply improve your esteem and support further growth. 

Of course, this list isn't complete, but if you find yourself curious about giving therapy a try for any reason - mentioned or not - perhaps it's time to make that call. If you're in the Toronto area and looking for a therapist (or in Ontario and looking for video therapy), feel free to connect with me at - if I'm not who you need, I'll happily help direct you to other resources. 

  • Jenn Seeley
Too Many Feelings!

Too Many Feelings!

Having a lot of feelings and struggles at once is hard. How do you sort through them all? Where do you begin?
  • Jenn Seeley