In this episode, Doug and Meredith talk about finding self confidence, compassion for self, and having a support system - while also being okay with being alone. Doug and his client, Andrew, explore Andrew’s challenges with anxiety about his relationship, and the interdependence he needs in order to feel safe and loveable. Andrew discusses key examples within his relationship that have been causing doubt lately, and Doug gives some great analogies to help process it.
Bonnie is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Los Angeles. She is an instructor for graduate students in the LGBT Specialization Psychology program at Antioch University. Although her specialty is working with the LGBTQ community and people in the entertainment industry, she also assists clients in managing and/or overcoming anxiety, depression, trauma, stress, painful relationship patterns, creative blocks, co-dependency, love and sex addiction, issues with intimacy and low self-esteem.
Bonnie received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Emerson College and a Masters in Clinical Psychology degree from Antioch University with a specialization in LGBT psychology.
Doug Friedman is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker that has spent nearly 20 years working with adults, adolescents and families with issues ranging from depression and anxiety to substance abuse, bipolar disorder and PTSD. He has supervised a program at a community mental health agency that serves severely emotionally disturbed youth and their families in Los Angeles. He continues to provide clinical supervision to therapists and associates in his private group practice, Clear Mind Full Heart in Los Angeles.
Doug received a Masters in Social Work from The Catholic University of America and a BA in Study of Religion from UCLA. Before becoming a psychotherapist, Doug worked for a music management company that oversaw bands like Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Beastie Boys, and Bonnie Raitt. Doug is also the artist and songwriter behind all the music heard on the podcast.
Meredith Levy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of California and holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University. Over the last ten years she has worked with many different populations, and feels most at home working in addiction, personality disorders and mood disorders. Meredith specializes in Dialectical
Behavioral Therapy (DBT). Meredith worked with inner-city youth as a bi-lingual therapist for the Department of Mental Health in Los Angeles County. Not only has Meredith worked at a variety of different drug and alcohol treatment centers throughout California, she was also the co- founder of a large treatment facility in Northern California.
Meredith's extensive education and background as an attorney and an MBA gives her a unique perspective and a fresh approach to elevating personal growth. In addition, she is a certified yoga instructor and believes that the spiritual, physical and emotional aspects of the self are important components of the therapeutic process.
[5:02] A big piece of being a therapist (and a person in general) is knowing yourself, which can often help create a sense of confidence. When clients feel confidence from their therapist, they are more easily able to relax into their sessions and know that they are in good hands.
[5:41] To recap, Andrew’s girlfriend was out of town, and that has been causing him anxiety and insecurity. He observes himself needing reassurance, and brings up confidence as the biggest thing he is dealing with right now both in their relationship, and his life in general.
[6:03] Session begins.
[6:52] Andrew often plays the “what if” game - thinking about things that might happen and go wrong in his relationship. This can lead to feeling out of control like a snowball turning into an avalanche. Doug agrees that it can be tough to stop and find what’s true, but suggests initially using the anxiety as extra energy for productive activities.
[10:29] Knowing you are okay and feeling okay are two different things.
[11:22] Andrew’s relationship is kept pretty much a secret because he and his girlfriend work together. While he doesn’t need the whole world to know, he is ready to not have it be so concealed and hidden.
[22:11] Andrew has come to an awareness that he needs to help himself and be the best him in order to fully be present and help others.
[25:25] Doug encourages Andrew to be aware of using Black or White Thinking terms like “always” and “everything.” Andrew feels like he is always asking for help or needing reassurance, and Doug explains it may feel that way as the pendulum swings to the other side in the process of finding the middle and more balance in life.
[28:14] Doug asks Andrew what compassion means to him, and about compassion in general, and then connects the dots on how he can have compassion towards himself.
[37:09] Session Ends and Breakdown Begins.
[37:46] Meredith appreciates that Doug’s sessions give Andrew a space to say what he is focusing on and to identify the biggest things for him to tackle each week.
[40:48] There are multiple sides to every story, but it raises a red flag for Meredith that Andrew’s girlfriend makes the relationship a secret and intentionally edges him out of photos she posts on social media.
[44:50] A healthy relationship is when both people are happy and supportive of each other, AND they also don’t need another partner to realize they are worthy and loveable.
[52:08] The more we can find compassion for ourselves, the more we can find it for others.
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