You Mean I Have a Choice?

Drew #5
Published on
Mar 5, 2020
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In this episode...

This week, Doug and Meredith dig deeper into Doug’s use of sweet analogies (hello car gears and Harry Potter!) and discuss reframing the difference between choice and obligation. Andrew’s session reveals where he is currently with the idea of attending his estranged brother’s bachelor party, and he and Doug work on expressing vulnerability and reframing the narrative to work better for him.


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

[3:20] The people have spoken, and they love Doug’s analogies. Don’t worry fine folks, Doug will keep it shifted in high gear and won’t stop anytime soon!

[6:03] Doug and Meredith talk about starting where the client is (at) when beginning a session. Starting in the middle of the client’s narrative is a way to get them in the present moment without focusing too much on the past or worrying about the future.

[10:27] Just to recap: Andrew is the client and has agreed to have his therapy sessions recorded. He is 24 years old and from a small town near Seattle, and moved to LA for his career. He is working with Doug to find his own way in the world, get consistent support, and try to repair some trauma history with his mother and brother.

[11:11] Session Part 1 begins.

[11:26] Andrew’s brother invited him to the bachelor party before his wedding, and he discusses his mixed feelings about it. Doug works with him to see that instead of it feeling like an obligation, it can actually be a choice that he makes.

[17:03] Session Part 1 ends. Breakdown begins.
Doug and Meredith breakdown the first part of the session—only 6 minutes but lots there to dissect.

[21:01] Session Part 2 begins.

[25:30] Many times, things that we feel we are obligated to do can possibly be a choice we make. Doug goes over Choice vs. Obligation, and Andrew realizes it’s important to be at the party to show his solidarity in family, but he would also feel more comfortable if his dad or someone he knew was there too. Sharing this with his dad would be vulnerable and while not a quick fix, it opens up the discussion for actual resolution and understanding.

[51:55] Session Part 2 ends. Breakdown begins.

[1:01:35] Meredith notes that Doug reframing what Andrew says is a way of helping him organize his thoughts, an outcome we have heard in past sessions is important to him.

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