I Love Homework

Drew #52
Published on
May 6, 2021
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In this episode...

Mer Mer keeps her mind fresh and young by doing Sudoku. She and Doug give the update that they still have yet to shut down their computers at the end of each work day. Then, a very packed session with Drew uncovers a few big reasons why he has trust issues. Drew eases his burden by sharing some stories he’s never told before. As Drew becomes more financially independent from his parents, more anxiety is kicked up about attachment and connection. They explore the conflict about cutting the cord to parents, which Drew then likens to cutting the red ribbon at a grand opening. Drew gets homework from Doug to look for the weight of stress he takes on that belongs to other people vs. his own.


Kenzie Jenest
Bonnie Rae

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

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

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.

Key Takeaways

[2:02] Meredith watches the Joker and plays Sudoku, while Doug reads a great book on attachment. 

[6:30] If at first you don’t succeed, keep trying to shut the computer down - one of these days, Mer and Doug will do it! 

[7:11] Session Begins. 

[10:02] Drew is dealing with cutting the financial cord between himself and his parents. He and Doug discuss the difference between connection and attachment. Healthy attachment is fine and enhances our lives, but it can be unhealthy when we are dependent on the attachment for our well being.

[13:40] Drew notices that he is on the all or nothing spectrum of having his parents all in or all out of his life. Doug reminds him that there is a lot of gray middle area. If his parents aren’t his safety net, will they still love him and have a reason to reach out to him?  

[14:38] Drew feels like he hasn’t experienced life by himself yet. He finds himself wanting to push his parents away and feeling anxiety about them not being close enough. 

[15:51] A lot of psychologists believe that the first trauma we experience is being ripped away from our mothers. We are in a secure womb and have everything we need, and then ripped away and thrust out into the scary overwhelming world. Drew sees how this concept may be affecting his relationships presently. He see how with romantic partners and with his own mother they function as each other’s complete and primary support system. 

[19:50] Drew is feeling a lack of community, especially from his church. He joined the church to feel connected and accepted, but he feels a lot of judgement. 

[23:59] We are alone, but we don’t have to go through life lonely. Drew is affected deeply when people don’t follow through with their word. Drew acknowledges his tendency to overreact when this triggers his thoughts of being unworthy or scared of the attachment being lost. 

[25:33] Drew shares a story about his mom breaking his trust when she blurted out some details to his friends after promising she would keep it private. While Drew held onto the anger about this betrayal, she attempted to commit suicide a week later. Drew has been holding onto this and wanting to share this with Doug for a while. 

[38:37] Doug reminds Drew that even taking care of himself is an act of independence. His homework is to be aware of what stress that comes to him is his own “weight” that he takes on and what’s someone else’s weight that he doesn’t have to take on. 

[41:23] Session Ends. 

[42:39] Meredith can relate to Drew’s style of dependence, and is impressed with how he is able to see where a lot of his trust issues stem from. 

[44:39] Doug explains a little more about the church component, and why Drew feels they are not welcoming to him. 

[48:53] Meredith and Doug discuss the tendency for the triggered person to have a big reaction that seems disproportionate to what actually happened, and that can take the other person by surprise - thus creating a cycle of reactivity in the relationship. 

[51:02] Drew’s story about his mom betraying his trust, along with not saying goodbye to his family dog and witnessing his mom be cared for by the parademics are each huge and a big piece of why he has issues with trust today. 

[53:30] Meredith asks why Doug didn’t bring up the passing of his wife to Drew in this context. Doug explains how as a therapist that utilizes transparency, you have to do it in a way that serves your client. When you recognize that being transparent would shift the dynamic and focus of a session, it is not necessary. 

[56:26] You never really know when it’s the last conversation, and being able to express that love now is so important. Meredith loved the saying that it’s not about saying goodbye, it’s about saying hello while we are here. 

[59:02] Meredith loved that Drew loves getting homework in therapy! This is like the advanced course of “Feathers and Bricks” where we start recognizing that some of the stressors we take on aren’t our stress to take.

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