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  • Writer's pictureDr. Kris Boksman, C.Psych

What is FOOBS? (or, The Story of My Favourite Therapy Acronym)

Updated: Aug 20, 2021

Hi! I'm Dr. Kris Boksman. I'm a psychologist here at Limestone Clinic in good old Kingston, Ontario, Canada. I like words and I like to invent new ones. I have a story to share with you about how one of my favourite words I use in therapy came to be.

A while back I was at a business coaching retreat with several other therapists. We were talking about some of the difficulties we were noticing coming up in our businesses. I was able to see that a lot of our business obstacles (mindset issues, stress, doing too much, overwhelm, guilt, fear of success) were coming up from our earlier lives.

As each therapist shared what they were struggling with, time and time again, the themes that were noted sounded like: 'Oh my mom always used to say....' or 'I have felt like this since I was a kid' or 'My family takes a pretty hard-line-view on...'.

Every one of us was struggling, on one level or another, with Family Of Origin stuff.

Family Of Origin struggles (FOO; or, if you are Brene Brown, you call it Family Of Origin Issues, FOOI for short) are as common in the counselling world as coffee grinds are at a coffee shop. Most of you have likely heard of a similar concept called 'dysfunctional family' or something like 'daddy issues' or 'mommy issues.' Or maybe you call it 'family FUBAR.' It doesn't necessarily mean that your FOO was dysfunctional, just how your family's culture and messaging affected you, for good or ill.

Our Family of Origin is the family we grew up in. This is the place where we pick up expressed or implied messages about who we are supposed to be in the world, how to relate to others, how we should feel about ourselves, how we are supposed to handle or hide strong emotions, et cetera. Our Family of Origin is our initial learning ground for relationships and feelings. So, Family of Origin information is often super helpful in psychotherapy.

Flashback to me, sitting in my meeting with all of these amazing business owners dealing with their dysfunctional family crap. They were admitting to lots of struggles, and these were people I really looked up to and admired in the therapy business community. Feeling like my struggles were less “atypical” or “weird” after hearing about many others in the same boat, I suddenly exclaimed: “Oh my God! We all have FOOBS!!!”

And I was promptly looked at sideways with confusion.

“What?” said the woman who I had kind of rudely interrupted. “Did you say I have... FOOBS?” she asked, glancing down at her chest region in bewilderment.

“YES! You have FOOBS!!! We all have it!! Isn't that great?!!”

Everyone in the room looked at me, curious but certainly confused, now, if they weren't before.

“FOOBS!” I yelled happily. “Family Of Origin Bull-Shit! That’s what we are really learning how to overcome.”

And this is how one of our favourite therapy acronyms was born.

At Limestone Clinic, We are FOOBS Fighters

Are you dealing with your own FOOBS? We have a team full of super therapists ready to help you with anything, even FOOBS. If you are interested to become more FOOBS-free, call our office at (613) 877-4148 to set up a free 15 minute phone consultation to help you get started. A brief conversation such as this can help you get a great sense about a therapist, and help you feel comfortable pressing "go" on the next chapter in your wellness plan. '

Phone shy? No worries! Shoot us an email at We're here to help.

About the Author

The Grand Poobah, herself, Dr. Kris is a licensed Doctoral level Clinical Psychologist, a Kingston Ontario resident, Limestone Clinic's founder, and she leads the crew with laughs and an encouraging learning environment.

Mom to two loud little (and not so little!) boys, and a husband who would rather hit himself with a hammer than talk about his feelings, she escapes the pressure of lockdowns and running a clinic with swimming, napping, painting, embroidery, reading fantasy novels, and thinking up her next new hairdo. 🏊‍♀️ The connection she derives from providing her clients with emotional relief is energizing and life-affirming.

Therapeutically, she specializes in helping folks who suffer with anxiety and depression, or those who have experienced narcissistic abuse and general trauma through Brainspotting - a method of therapy that allows for intense, quick resolution of underlying issues. Dr. Kris also helps high achievers and people under hellacious pressure get back to living healthful and enjoyable lives. Always an out-of-the-box thinker, Dr. Kris leads the region in offering a special Intensive Service model of care instead of the more typical weekly sessions traditionally offered.

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