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Season 3 | Episode 4

Why We Do Therapy

Taking care of our mental health is a key part of living a thriving, balanced life.

January 24, 2023 | 37 minutes

Episode 4: Roxanne Battle and Chez Chesak

In this episode, our hosts dig into the societal shift of talking more openly about seeing a therapist, how you can find a therapist who meets you where you’re at and the rise of app-based therapy and teletherapy with Roxane Battle and Chez Chesak.

Speaker 1: I am learning to be able to talk about how I'm feeling, talk about what I'm going through so that isn't build up over time. Really sort of breaking free of those self-limiting beliefs, thinking that I can't do this, I can't do that. But through therapy, gaining the courage to really say, maybe I can't, or maybe I'll try

Speaker 2: Welcome back to until it's fixed, where we explore new ideas and work underway to make healthcare simpler and [00:00:30] more effective for everyone. I'm your host, Callie Chamberlain.

Speaker 3: And I'm Dr. Kenny Poole. So Callie, I think it's fitting for today's episode that I check in and see. How are you doing?

Speaker 2: Yes, I'm great. How are you?

Speaker 3: I'm doing pretty good. You know, I've heard some people start meetings or even podcasts with asking how people are doing on a scale and people use sometimes numerical scales or sometimes they'll use [00:01:00] these scales that have like smiley faces and things like that. I think today I'm on like the high end of the scale for the most part.

Speaker 2: Good. Me too. I'm excited to be here today with you and to be having this conversation about something that's really important in my life and maybe something interesting or important in your life, which is therapy. So before we kind of dive in, I'd love to just hear any experiences or thoughts you have on this topic.

Speaker 3: Yeah, it, you know, I've always been intrigued by therapy on multiple different [00:01:30] levels. Um, professionally as a primary care physician, seeing the benefits and the value that therapy has provided to many of the patients that I've cared for has been something that's been encouraging and has made me an advocate of therapy more personally. I've never gone to therapy or had a therapist for any type of, uh, [00:02:00] reason, but when I was at Mayo, I got an executive coach as part of leadership development, and the coach that I got was a psychologist. And so we met regularly for about nine to 12 months and it was a really transformative experience because essentially it was therapy, you know, and we talked through not just things that I had gone through professionally, but we [00:02:30] talked through things socially and personally and it was very enlightening and helped me learn myself in a way that was, oh no, just really refreshing and really empowering. And one of the things that I learned from that experience was that therapy could provide value even if you're not in the midst of crisis. And so I, again, I've been a big advocate of therapy and it's something that hasn't intrigued [00:03:00] me. And like I said, I haven't had personal formal therapy, but it's something that I think I wanna look into a little bit more.

Speaker 2: Oh, that's great. I love that. And I love how you were able to feel supported through a coach, because I think coaching, mentorship, and therapy are all kind of similar to me in the sense that if you have the right people, they're sort of part of your team and can help you step back to reflect on your life. And so I go to therapy every week. I've had a lot of different kinds of therapists depending on where I was living or what I was going through, but [00:03:30] to your point, it's not always that there's some sort of crisis or something I need help working through at the moment. It's a lot of thinking about our lives are so busy. How often do I get a chance to step back and really think about the way I'm showing up to my life and my relationships and being mindful about the things I wanna shift or aligning into the things that I really think are important.

Speaker 2: And so therapy to me is a really important way that I feel like I work toward becoming the person that I wanna be. And so I know that there's a lot of stigma out there. [00:04:00] There's a lot of barriers to access, and I think there's a lot of ways that therapy can be thought about and accessed in a way that works, you know, depending on the individual. It doesn't have to be this one size fits all thing. It really is at the core of a thriving, balanced life. And I do see a cultural shift happening where people are speaking up more about it and they're trying to again, fight the stigma and the secrecy around mental health in general. So today we wanted to have a conversation about therapy, exploring all these different sides of the experience. We got a chance to speak with two [00:04:30] people who are working to do just that. And they are encouraging people to make use of a number of different resources. So the first person is Roxanne Battle. She's the vice president of advocacy and community at AbleTo. And Cheche, an outdoors writer who is also a passionate therapy advocate. Let's listen in.

Speaker 3: Roxanne. Chaz, we wanna thank you guys for talking to us today. Roxanne, I want to start with you and ask for an introduction and as it pertains [00:05:00] to how you got involved in mental health and then also, um, a little bit of information about able to,

Speaker 1: Yeah, thanks Kenny. Pleasure to be here. Kelly, great to be with the both of you. And thanks for the invitation to be on until it's fixed. Uh, background is, I am a former television news anchor and reporter, and when I left television news after many, many, many years in the decades really in the business, I wrote a book about my own mental health struggles, my own issues with anxiety, stress, and depression, and how I overcame them. [00:05:30] A book was called Pockets of Joy, sort of looking for those moments of joy in your life, those pockets or of joy or those joy snacks, those little moments that will, uh, you can string together when you're looking for the joy. And so anyway, the book did really well. Launched a speaking career where I started talking about this to people about my own mental health struggles and how I address them.

Speaker 1: And that literally led me to united in Optum and able to where I work as a behavioral health advocate, normalizing the conversation [00:06:00] about mental health. We've got to start talking about it and keep talking about it. And I'm thrilled to be able to work with a host of therapists and coaches and sort of rap stories around their earned expertise to really make mental health accessible at AbleTo. AbleTo is a leading digital health company. We, uh, provide a full spectrum of mental health tools in the digital space to help people cope with [00:06:30] their mental health. Uh, whether it's anxiety, stress, depression, we help people look at the relationship between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and through self-care tools or structured one-on-one sessions with a coach, a therapist, or sometimes both. We help people feel better and we're really proud of the quality of our services and proven outcomes.

Speaker 3: Oh, great. Chase, uh, could you do the same? Why don't you introduce yourself and, and how you [00:07:00] got involved in mental health?

Speaker 4: Sure. Uh, happy to be here. Thanks to you all. Ya. I'm Chaz, I'm the Executive director of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. I've worked in the outdoor industry for a couple decades now, and I'm also a freelance writer who specializes in outdoor adventure. I struggled with various mental health issues growing up as a kid and was able to relatively effectively work with therapists, still a work in progress, but relatively effectively work with therapists to help address some of those issues.

Speaker 2: Wonderful. [00:07:30] Thank you for being with us today and talking about this topic. Can you share a little bit more about the landscape of therapy?

Speaker 1: I'd be happy to take that question on. Uh, the landscape of therapy is that one size does not fit all. There seems to be the stereotype that you're, you know, in a doctor's office laying on a couch, you know, telling them your dark and dirty secrets when the truth of the matter is, therapy can be everything from self-care to, you know, breathing exercises and grounding exercises to counting to five, you know, before [00:08:00] you speak. Just taking a pause in a moment when you feel triggered to everything from working with a therapist or a coach to help you understand and unpack your feelings and emotions. And I think that given what we've been through, there's a need for therapy and there's an awareness for therapy that there's nothing wrong with you if you need professional help, you are not odd or a terrible person seeking help. It's actually a sign of strength rather than weakness [00:08:30] just to reach out and say, I need, I'm struggling with something. I've got a life event that I'm dealing with. Uh, I'm struggling with this depression to really rely on and partner with the expertise of clinicians and therapists who can help you feel better.

Speaker 3: As you've alluded to, there's more people interested in therapy, particularly with what's been going on over the last couple years in society and coming off the pandemic. How has [00:09:00] the supply side in terms of therapists been able to meet the demand for therapy? Are people able to find therapy readily?

Speaker 1: Short answer, no. People aren't able to get the therapy that they need. There's a vast shortage of therapists, particularly therapists of color, able to did his own investigation about the availability of therapists and being able to get therapy appointments when people needed them. And we did this experiment where we called [00:09:30] 500 therapists across nine health plans, I think it was. And we tried to schedule an appointment. 13% of those calls went to a non-working number, 36% of the calls connected to an administrator or a therapist, and less than 2% of those calls resulted in an appointment within 72 hours. So about 20% of the time you were able to get an appointment within a month. So that shows you if someone is dealing with something and it's, it [00:10:00] could be semi-urgent or not, you can see just from our own in-house study, the need for therapy is there.

Speaker 4: I work, as I mentioned, in the outdoor industry. I've been in outdoor industry for many years. I've actually just heard about higher cases of guide suicide. So you have guides who take people out, say whitewater rafting and things like that. And a friend of mine works for an organization called, uh, the Red Side Foundation. They're based out of Boise, Idaho. Yeah. So she's just kind of opened my eyes to some [00:10:30] things that are even going on in the outdoor industry, which we were just talking about. Forest bathing, getting outside. I'm a huge proponent for getting outside in terms of its calming effects in terms of its, I don't know, sort of centering someone, releasing stress, all that good stuff. So to hear that some of the professionals that are out there, these guides who are taking people out on these fantastic trips, wonderful vacations and helping them lower their stress levels, they've got the exact opposite problem apparently, some of them. Uh, that was just really fascinating to me. So, uh, just [00:11:00] wanted to bring that up in terms of, you know, understanding the landscape from the outdoor industry perspective.

Speaker 2: All right, so therapy is such a big topic and there's so many things that can be classified as therapy. Can you tell me a little bit more, Roxanne, about how you think about therapy and anything that you're seeing as we start to bring this word into more of a lexicon in the public space?

Speaker 1: Yes, that's the key right there, Kelly, is bringing it into the lexicon, making it part of normal everyday conversation, destigmatizing the conversation [00:11:30] about mental health. We've gotta get to the point where we can talk about mental health the same way we talk about physical health. If I sprained my ankle, you would ask me, Hey, are you feeling better? But if I recently expressed to you I've got a little bottle of depression, would you follow up with me and see if I'm feeling better? It's those kinds of conversations that will result in making mental health relatable and accessible to people. And mental health care is not necessarily going to a room and, and laying flat on your back [00:12:00] on a stuffy couch and having someone tell you what's wrong with you. That is a stereotype that I'd like to do away with. Yes, therapists talk and they listen and they do a lot of listening to get you to the place you need to be.

Speaker 1: But mental healthcare is everything from self-care, which could be journaling, breathing exercises, going for a walk. I'm a huge daily walker. I call it forest bathing where I get out and I look at the sun, the trees, the fresh air. It's just wonderful. That's my go-to and that's a form [00:12:30] of mental health. Self care is going out for a walk. Then everything from working with a coach and a therapist to help you unpack some of the behaviors that you're doing and understand the relationship between your behaviors and your thoughts and your actions and feelings. Um, and it takes a professional to help you to do that, to get you to the place you wanna be so that you're feeling a little better and really getting you to that place of wellbeing.

Speaker 2: Yeah, I love that spectrum cuz so much of what I think about with self-care now is about consumerism. [00:13:00] So the example of walking outdoors and having all these different things available to you on a spectrum of care is so important. And Chaz, for you, I'd love to hear more about your own experiences with therapy and anything you might be hearing or seeing as it relates to trends across the field.

Speaker 4: Sure. Um, yeah, where to begin? It's been a 50 year journey? No, uh, I grew up in a sort of a challenging environment in that, um, my dad was Vietnam Vet, had pretty significant P T S D. Um, my mother had some traumatic [00:13:30] childhood experiences as well. My siblings were older than I was, so it ended up being a situation where I was just alone a lot. Also, there were food issues, uh, not a lot of food. The food that was there was often rotten, moldy, uh, well past expiration dates, things like that. So as I grew, uh, into my twenties and thirties, I basically have what I'll call, for lack of a professional term, food issues. You know, I could not really kind of control myself like, like around a buffet. I would feel [00:14:00] a need to try to get, you know, I, I'd want to eat as much food as possible because I wouldn't know where the next meal is coming from, let's say.

Speaker 4: And so at that point, my then fiance now wife wisely told me I should go talk to someone. Uh, I talked to the therapist and just really had a very pleasant experience. It just really helped me so much. Just really opened up so many of my own, I don't know, mental doorways, let's say, that have been closed off or I equated it to having gotten into a patterns of behavior. I'd kind [00:14:30] of like run a very similar track through my brain. And I was used to always running down that track. Well, she helped me and, and showed me just how to kind of get off that. And I remember she had me do sort of a, uh, deep breathing exercise, really relax me, talk me through a lot of things, and then basically invited me to talk to myself as like an eight year old.

Speaker 4: And I'm there in this kind of bli out state. And I remember as she said that I just, I just blurred out. That's a great idea. Cause I knew she exactly where she was going with that. But it of course was me talking to [00:15:00] myself and basically saying, you know, it's okay. It gets better. Plenty of food. don't need to worry about it so much anymore. So that was exceptionally beneficial for me in a number of ways. And so afterwards I just, I just sort of felt lighter, calmer. I was just better able to just deal with those anxieties that would build up around, like I said, various food issues.

Speaker 1: You know, Chaz, um, you said some marvelous things there, uh, starting with your therapist asked you to talk to yourself as if you [00:15:30] were eight years old. And that's one of the things a therapists are able to talk a lot about is talk to yourself the way you would a good friend. Right? If a friend of yours was going through something really difficult, you wouldn't look at them and say, oh, you idiot, what's wrong with you? How come you can't get it together? You wouldn't say that to someone you loved. So don't say that to yourself. And so that's a perfect example of self-compassion and how that gets us to a place of wellbeing. And then, you know, several times through your stories [00:16:00] you talked about talking about it, giving what you're feeling, giving what you're going through a name. Because by naming it and hearing it out loud, that starts to process to be able to, to cope with it. And again, it just goes back to being able to normalize this conversation and destigmatize the talking about what's going on inside of us.

Speaker 3: I wanna ask you guys both the question and I thank you for your insight so far and, and both of your comments have triggered [00:16:30] a thought that I have of what exactly is therapy? Like what happens when people go to therapy? Because a lot of times we talk to people about, Hey, you should talk to someone, whether it be in a professional space or a personal space, but a lot of us don't really understand what happens when you get there. What is that experience of therapy? So I'd love to hear from both of you how you would define that experience.

Speaker 1: You learn that you're not alone. [00:17:00] That's the broader answer. And you learn that there's a reason for certain types of behavior. I would equate it to baking. Uh, I, I see the cake, but I don't know how the kick got here. And if I took a cooking course, they would talk about how the baking soda is a leveling agent and that's why the cake rises and falls. And they would talk about how you have to cream the butter because that's what makes the frosting delicious and delectable. [00:17:30] And in therapy you learn about what's going on inside of you. You know, once you've given it a name, we can cope with it and we can deal with it because we've identified it. That's how I see therapy working.

Speaker 3: Chance, what about you?

Speaker 4: Yeah, for me there is kind of a multi-layered process. I, one, just having an appointment, just going to an appointment, just forcing myself to stop with the day-to-day, you know, everything's fine. I'm just gonna keep working. Maybe I'm depressed or blue or whatever. [00:18:00] I work out through it or I work too much or something like that. To finally just have that moment to stop. And even just going to the therapist office, just that process starts to get me into that mindset of just like, all right, I'm gonna talk to someone today and I know, you know, here's my challenge or here's the things I want to address or mulling over maybe what we talked about last time. And then just, you know, generally having that just quiet space really, as far as I'm concerned, kind of to myself, . But then of course with a professional sounding board. So [00:18:30] you're there, you're able to just, you know, vent, get some of these things out and then have somebody who is guaranteed to listen one but two. Yeah, can really open up those doors in terms of, you know, okay, here's what you've been doing over your life, or here's that pattern you've gotten into, here's why and here's how you can get out of it. They then provide you that roadmap to break those previous behaviors that you may have developed over years.

Speaker 3: Besides the internal struggles that people have in getting started, were there any [00:19:00] logistical challenges that you had chance when your fiance said, Hey, you should probably go talk to somebody or you should get some help and you made that first appointment?

Speaker 4: No, not necessarily. Well, I mean, I just recall, uh, whenever I've looked up a therapist, it's always a little bit daunting when you just see sort of a list of names. Here are your providers, you know, here are the people you're supposed to be allowed to go talk to as far as your insurance says. I always look at those names and I'm like, you know, who are these people ? Um, which one do I pick? [00:19:30] Uh, so more often than not I just try to pick someone that's convenient to me, someone that's easily accessible and easy drive, uh, relatively close to my house, things like that. And then I just, you just dive in really.

Speaker 2: I know I've heard friends talk about interviewing their therapists as well to make sure that it's a good fit. Do either of you any, have any feedback on finding the right person? Cuz I think to your point Chaz, it is just a list names and that can be hard to narrow down. What's a good relationship with a therapist?

Speaker 1: The relationship is everything I know, not able [00:20:00] to. Uh, we pride ourselves in having, you know, we look at the years of experience for a therapist. I think the average is about 15 years of experience. We cannot hire therapists of color fast enough. I think what comes to mind is cultural competency. Uh, really being able to understand what that individual is going through because of their ethnic background or their history. And one of the phrases that I really like when we talk about cultural competency is cultural humanity. [00:20:30] I may not be you, I may not look like you, I may not have your same experiences, but I believe you and I'm going to validate your journey and get you to a place of wellbeing.

Speaker 2: I know there's also multiple different kinds of therapy, right? So we're talking about C B T, which is cognitive behavioral therapy. There's E M D R. Can you shed a little bit of light into the different modalities that are available to people?

Speaker 1: I'm familiar with cognitive behavioral therapy because that is able tos bread [00:21:00] and butter where we look at our thoughts, feelings and behaviors and how they're all interrelated and tied together. We kind of call it the cognitive triad. And then our therapists and coaches work with individuals to help them understand those behaviors as they work towards getting and feeling better. Um, coaches kind of look back, therapists kind of look forward to sort of help you understand and do some behavioral adjustments to get to a place where you're no longer triggered, where you're no longer struggling [00:21:30] with this particular issue. So again, there are different approaches. I'm familiar with cognitive behavioral therapy because that's able to bread and butter.

Speaker 2: Yeah, that makes sense. And when we think about successful therapy, how should we be thinking about that as people who are pursuing these services?

Speaker 1: For my money, it's breaking the silence, first of all, and getting into therapy. That's a big win. And I think that success and we have to be careful about that, looks different for everyone. As I said earlier, giving [00:22:00] it a name is a first step towards solutioning, you know, and the little it bitty baby steps can be celebrated along the way. Practicing self-care, practicing self-compassion, as Chaz says, making the appointment, going to the first appointment, seeking help is a success. Making your mental health a priority. And then learning ways to cope no matter what life throws at you, I'm a gunny, acker, I'm someone who stuffs my feelings, stuff. My feelings stuffs my feelings. And [00:22:30] I'm, I'm learning to the point where, you know, to be able to talk about how I'm feeling, talk about what I'm going through so that isn't build up over time. Really sort of breaking free of those self-limiting beliefs, believing that, thinking that rather, I can't do this, I can't do that. But through therapy, gaining the courage to really say, maybe I can or maybe I'll try. Yeah. And that of course, uh, uh, one of the biggest successes in, in therapy is a breakthrough where people are able to really face [00:23:00] their fears and having some things, you know, no longer dogging their tracks. And then ultimately feeling that you can live an honest, authentic, and joyful life no matter what is thrown at you.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Shez, what would you say?

Speaker 4: Yeah, well it just got me thinking, uh, in terms of communities that could certainly use more therapy and also the inability of some people just to step up and say, I need help. I think about the military community. I'm in Iraq, I served [00:23:30] in Iraq in 2005 with the Army National Guard. We were a line unit and you know, some of the things, I think I was relatively well prepared for that environment since my, my dad was a Vietnam vet. I got to grow up with this P T S D and see how it affected him on a day-to-day basis. Some of the, the real limits that it put on the rest of his life. But then deploying and seeing some of the things that we saw, you know, that I feel like the military and the army and even the va, they, they do a relatively good job of putting [00:24:00] the resources out there and reminding veterans that those resources are out there.

Speaker 4: But in the end, it's the vet who has to say, I'm gonna step forward. I'm gonna make the appointment, I'm gonna put my hand up. I'm going to admit to my line leaders that I have an issue and I wanna talk to someone about it. And from my own experience, some of the troops that I served with who had maybe the most traumatic experiences or release prepared to deal with it, were also the ones who never just said, I need help. And unfortunately I lost a very good high school friend of mine who had a, a career in the army. [00:24:30] He had multiple deployments, multiple probable traumatic brain injuries and took his own life a few years ago. And he wasn't uh, you know, a lower echelon guy. He was a colonel and uh, it was just tragic. He had, you know, a wife and kids and I know that he stood in front of his troops and he told him, seek help. We have these resources. Go out there, talk to someone. And he was probably maybe just being too busy, whatever it was to raise his hand himself and just say, I need to talk to someone.

Speaker 2: Wow. Yeah, I think about shame and stigma so [00:25:00] much when we have these conversations because I do feel like it's changing a lot. And also that's still exists, especially within certain kinds of communities or certain ethnic backgrounds. I know for example, in Korean culture we don't talk about this. Like there's not really words to describe mental health and the idea of going to speak to someone is not acceptable. Really. It's not normalized the way that it is in other communities. And I think one of the things that's really interesting that is an edge that's being introduced to this conversation is the mind body connection. [00:25:30] And so I think it's interesting to reflect on people who maybe wouldn't seek help because mentally they're not in a good space, but it's showing up physically for them and that might prompt a conversation with a therapist. So I'm curious if either of you have any thoughts on that mind body connection, any reflections that you'd like to share?

Speaker 1: I think you have to listen to your body and you have to listen to your mind. And I think that there's a correlation between what's going on with us mentally and physically. And you know, just looking at [00:26:00] some stats I pulled from able to, I think I saw that individuals who are dealing with depression and some comorbidity, their healthcare costs are three to four times as much because of the mental health issue. So you've gotta be able to address both and feel comfortable addressing both. And Kelly, I'm so glad you mentioned about your experience with the stigmatization of mental health. I mean that's something that we work every day to try to overcome across multiple populations. [00:26:30] But yes, there is a very strong connection between the mind and the body.

Speaker 2: So when we look across the industry and the field and the conversation about mental health, I'm curious what both of you would see promising trends, what feels the most hopeful to you

Speaker 1: That we're talking about it, that this conversation right here that we're talking about, that I can get up on the stage at a company town hall or do a virtual presentation and use words like depression, anxiety, and stress, and validate [00:27:00] what people are feeling on the inside. It's easy to talk about physical maladies because they're visible. It's a lot harder to talk about what's going on inside of us. And so to be able to normalize that, to be able to say things like, Hey, my therapist gave me this really dope playlist. I'd love to share it with you. It's, those kinds of conversations are gonna lead to people getting the help they need. We've done a study through the suite of services offered through able to, and across the board, 50% of those [00:27:30] who came into some form of digital therapy that we offer able to, 50% of people reported that they started feeling better within 60 days.

Speaker 2: Wow.

Speaker 1: And that's very encouraging.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Can you talk a little bit more about online therapy? Cuz I know that there's a rise in that, especially during the pandemic and there's questions about legitimacy and benefits and how popular it is.

Speaker 1: Yes, yes. And thank you for asking me that. I'm proud to say that Able Tools, we've, we were in the business long before the pandemic, long before mental [00:28:00] therapy or digital therapy, online therapy became a trend, if you will. I don't think it's a trend. I think it's here to stay. I think we've got all kinds of new delivery options, whether it's on the phone or through a virtual call with a therapist at a two are working very hard to make those calls, to get those appointments in so that people can get the help they need when they need it. Again, I, I mentioned that most of our therapists, uh, have about 15 years worth of experience. And I think it's really important that you look at the training of a therapist, [00:28:30] to your point, Kenny, about, you know, where they've gone to school, what their credentials are, how long they've been in the business, and also look at how long the company that's offering therapy has been around. You know, you've got a lot of pop-ups and then you've got a lot of people that are disappearing and going away. So I'm proud to say that we've been in the game a long time and we're continuing to grow as part of the Optum family. And I think that that goes a long way towards helping people.

Speaker 3: Are you aware of any efforts to increase [00:29:00] the number of therapists or pipeline programs just like we have in healthcare or in education?

Speaker 1: Last summer, United Health Group announced 100 million that they're dedicating over the course of the next 10 years to train doctors and nurses and clinicians of color to really fill that pipeline with providers who can address people where they're at. There's another 3.1 million going to nurses and women of color on the front lines to deal with depression, [00:29:30] which is wonderful because we're taking step to help those who are helping others. And that's very encouraging.

Speaker 2: Chaz, Roxanne, is there anything that didn't cover that you wanna make sure we get in?

Speaker 1: I think you all are wonderful and if I could just say it again and again and again. Let's keep talking about it. Let's keep making mental healthcare relatable and understandable and breaking that stigma so people can get the help they need.

Speaker 4: Yeah, as Roxanne was saying, you know, just having the conversation is a huge part of that. You [00:30:00] know, uh, peer-to-peer would be amazing to have a soldier, for example, or a Marine to be able to say, Hey man, I see you're struggling and let me tell you about my experience. I went to therapy, it helped me with my nightmares or helped me with, you know, a lot of vets, uh, are uncomfortable in crowds and things like that after being deployed. So being able to have that conversation on a one-to-one basis, effectively, word of mouth marketing, if you will, that would be incredible. You know, guides could be the same way. You know, they're also like kind of a, a tough group who kind [00:30:30] of, kind of pushed through and everything's fine. And to be able to talk to each other about it and to be able to share their experiences without fear of repercussions or being made fun of or, and there's other things. And to be able to share their stories of success through therapy with each other would be amazing to get to that point.

Speaker 1: Yeah, thanks. Absolutely.

Speaker 2: The biggest thing I'm taking away from this conversation is just that it's okay not to be okay.

Speaker 1: It's okay not, not to be okay. , yay. It's both,

Speaker 2: Both [00:31:00] of what you're describing. It's like we encounter so many traumatic things that are in our personal lives and in society, and it's actually wild to think that the expectation culturally is that we just, we're all good and we wouldn't be impacted by those things. That doesn't make sense.

Speaker 1: It's one in four, one in four individuals is dealing with some sort of mental health concern, which means if you look at a room of people, we're all touched by it in some way. So let's talk about it. All

Speaker 2: Right. So we're gonna move into the lightning round, [00:31:30] which is, we'll ask a question and then we'd love responses from both of you. They can just be quick, top of mind, personal, professional, whatever you wanna reflect on. So the first question is, what's an impactful professional lesson that you've had to learn?

Speaker 1: Listen first, speak second, listen more than you talk.

Speaker 4: Yeah, I think for me it's really sort of complete listening. Really listening to what someone's saying instead of prepping to say your response and thinking about what you're gonna say next. Really just listening to what they're actually saying. And don't be afraid to then [00:32:00] ask follow up questions. There's too many people who just don't.

Speaker 2: What's something that has surprised you in a good way recently?

Speaker 1: Peanut butter. I, I ditched the avocado toast. I hadn't had a peanut butter in a while, so skipped the avocado toast. Had a peanut butter sandwich and it's like, how, how come I haven't been doing this? ? I, I mean, it's like, why haven't I been buying peanut butter?

Speaker 2: I love it.

Speaker 1: Yeah, , if you like it, I love it. chances hard when the top [00:32:30] , I'm just,

Speaker 4: Uh, I'm, I'm just thinking about a peanut butter and jelly now cause I'm

Speaker 1: Still peanut

Speaker 4: Butteries. Um, something surprised me. Um, there's so many bad things in the pandemic. One good thing that came out of it is a lot of people just were either introduced or reintroduced to nature and just getting outdoors in various ways, whatever that was. And, uh, I hope that trend just continues. I hope a lot of those people just recognize that it's just a great activity for health, both physical and mental and keep doing it.

Speaker 2: [00:33:00] That's great. All right. Thank you both for joining us today.

Speaker 3: As we reflect on the interviews that we had. I'm really encouraged and really excited about being a part of this narrative that therapy is something that is normal, right? I mean, it's something that people [00:33:30] can use as a tool in order to be empowered, in order to be whole, in order to be comfortable. And I really enjoyed the conversation that we had.

Speaker 2: Yeah, me too. And I think the other thing I wanna emphasize is that it takes a minute sometimes to find the right person. And it's like all things, you know, you might need to interview somebody before you get into a relationship with them. You might need to kind of feel out a couple of the sessions and see if it makes sense in terms [00:34:00] of the formatting. But I know for me there have been multiple times where I've needed to maybe keep going when I wanted to find somebody because the initial person or people that I was working with didn't feel like it was gonna make the most sense. And I know that that can be another challenge, but ultimately I do think it's worth it to be able to get to a point where you have a really strong relationship with a person you're working with a lot of things to think about, and I really appreciated the vulnerability that Shez Sheridan sharing his story in Roxanne as well.

Speaker 3: Yep. I agree. [00:34:30] Some other highlights I think that we could call out first this thought that it's okay to not be okay. And I know that's something that people have talked a lot about in the last maybe year or so, um, particularly given the pandemic and, you know, the social unrest that have been taking place is people providing a safe space for others to express their discomfort. And so I think that's a good thing. Another thing [00:35:00] that could be called out is really this piece around self-judgment and giving yourself a break and really kind of breaking through social awkwardness and knowing that, again, it's okay if you find yourself struggling, then it's just a matter of working through that and getting better and moving forward.

Speaker 2: Yeah, I mean, with everything happening in our world right now, it's amazing to me if people wouldn't be struggling, right? Like it seems just as if something [00:35:30] that's just like a normal expected thing with how much is happening in the world right now. The other thing that I'm thinking about as you're speaking is, you know, we say in doula ship a lot, like this is really innate, is for us to be living in communities and to have this built-in sense of support. And now that we live in a world where we're much more isolated just by nature of how our living environments are set up, our cities are built, it's harder to have those moments of intentional reflection and connection. And so you're right, there's no judgment, there's no shame, [00:36:00] there's nothing awkward about needing that human connection and wanting to be, you know, surrounded with people who can bear witness to your life. And therapy is definitely a part of that. So that's it for today. We hope we've given you all a lot to think about as well. Thank you for listening and as we've been doing this season, we'll be back next week with a bonus episode, which will be focused on one thing you can do to support your own mental health. So be sure to follow us and subscribe wherever you listen so you can get notified when a new episode is live. Catch you next time.