The Grief Ball in the Box

Drew #39
Published on
Feb 18, 2021
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In this episode...

Before Drew’s session this week, Meredith and Doug give a wrap up of their Valentine's Day experiences, Drew talks about going home for his friend’s funeral; and he walks through both the horror movie version and Disney version of how the weekend could go. Doug helps Drew identify how he can show up authentically rather than trying to match his online persona or a more people-pleasing version of himself. Drew works on going through his emotions rather than just going through the motions, and setting boundaries for seeing both his mother and ex-girlfriend.


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

[3:14] If the weather could just stay somewhere in between -6° and 110° that would be great, thanks. Meredith gives her hack for frying an egg outside in the scorching heat while Doug’s world in Colorado got so cold that the kitchen sink froze. 

[5:40] Meredith and Doug give their Valentine’s Day thoughts. While Meredith celebrates the Hallmark holiday for the first time in a while with a partner, Doug talks about going through holidays with grief. 

[11:35] Session Begins. 

[11:59] Drew prepares to go back home for the funeral of his friend. He realizes this was the first death of a person in his life with whom he had a close relationship and long history. 

[17:00] Doug helps Drew reframe his tendency to take care of others first and put himself last as a tool he can choose to not feel the emotions in the moment. Doug compares this to a tool on a Swiss Army knife that you may not use all the time, but it’s there when you need it. 

[20:12] Drew explores his feelings about drinking during this trip. He tries to balance bonding with his friends at a bar vs. condoning his mom’s behavior and then punishing himself for drinking. 

[21:57] Drew acknowledges that showing up authentically means both feeling deep painful emotions and also bonding with his friends. 

[26:24] Drew tells Doug the “Horror Story” version of how the weekend could go. His mom may not give him any space, he won’t be accepted by others, and the fear of the unknown will be all consuming. 

[32:33] Drew is defining boundaries with his ex-girlfriend by letting her know that he may spend more time with his friends instead of focusing on her needs. 

[37:35] Doug compares the build up of the weekend to the build up of sex. Sometimes it’s incredible and worth the wait, other times it wasn’t worth it and it’s a let down. 

[42:42] Drew is honest about not wanting to go to the funeral because his emotions may make it too real. 

[44:08] The “Disney Version” of the weekend involves his mom giving him space, and him being authentic and present with everyone there. 

[46:10] Session Ends. 

[46:32] Meredith loves the Swiss Army Knife analogy. They note that caring for others can be a coping mechanism for a healthy denial of painful and overwhelming emotions in the moment. 

[49:16] Meredith was super down with Doug’s explanation of going through the motions vs. going through the emotions. 

[50:12] Not everyone is going to experience grief the same way at the exact same time. Everyone is on their own journey, and sometimes that can look vastly different. 

[52:34] Meredith was impressed that Drew cut out drinking for 5 years and notes that he holds himself to a very high standard. 

[54:02] Our social media persona can be very different than how things are in our real life. Drew often posts about being this LA guy on the scene, but he is working on showing up as his authentic self. 

[56:12] Meredith appreciated that instead of just giving Drew a motivational talk and feeding him a new way of thinking, Doug probed Drew to think for himself about whether or not he was justifying an alcoholic.

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