Therapy Talks

How To Avoid A Toxic Family Dynamic with Licensed Therapist Mary-Beth Somich

May 02, 2022 Switch Research Season 1 Episode 14
Therapy Talks
How To Avoid A Toxic Family Dynamic with Licensed Therapist Mary-Beth Somich
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Watch Along on YouTube

  • Mary-Beth discusses diversifying income, and social media for clinicians for the first 10 mins of the podcast.
  • Skip to 10:26  for boundaries and family conflict

Whether you are trying to create healthy family dynamics at home or looking for work-life balance, we all need to learn where our emotional and physical limits are and how we can set boundaries.

In this episode of Therapy Talks, Mary-Beth Somich joins us to discuss boundary-setting for clinicians and how they can diversify their income through social media. Many therapists are trained to adopt a sort of “martyr mentality” in which working long hours and neglecting their own needs can be glorified. Diversifying can help therapists show up in a greater capacity for their clients and take care of themselves.

Mary-Beth also guides us through “enmeshment” vs “healthy differentiation” in families, introducing helpful ways to maintain closeness with your family while introducing boundaries and individuality.

Mary-Beth is a Licenced Professional Counselor with a focus in Family Therapy and the creator of InstaGrowth for Therapists.

Find Out More About Mary-Beth:
instagram:  @yourjourneythrough

Learn More About Switch Research:

Disclaimer: Therapy Talks does NOT provide medical services or professional counseling, and it is NOT a substitute for professional medical care.

Episode 14 - Mary Beth Somich

[00:00:00] Mary Beth joins us today to talk about how clinicians can diversify their income, whether it's through Instagram, different social media platforms, speaking engagements. She also shares about her practice within family conflict and measurement, and how to manage the boundaries.

[00:00:23] Hi, Mary Beth. I'm Haley. Nice to meet you. Nice to meet you. Yeah, maybe you could share a little bit about yourself and like your clinical practice. Absolutely. So I'm a licensed professional counselor in North Carolina. I have my own practice. It's now a group practice. Um, and I, myself specialize in working with teens, young adults, um, in the realm of family dynamics.

[00:00:46] So boundaries and measurement differentiation, uh, communication, healthy conflict, all kinds of things. Okay. So more of like that family conflict kind of areas. [00:01:00] Definitely. Yeah. And so has that always been your passion or your niche within counseling? No, always. I really thought I wanted to do more developmental work with younger kids when I first became a.

[00:01:12] And I did do that, um, a lot of play therapy. And then I realized that working with kids that young you're really working with parents, and that can be really difficult at times. Um, and I found that I really just left the sessions with my teens and college age population. And, um, even the family sessions feeling really energized by that work.

[00:01:34] And so. That's always how I recommend picking a niche is what work do you feel energized by what sessions do you leave on like a therapy? Hi, thinking to yourself. Oh, that was good. So yeah, that's kind of how I've found my route lead by how you feel instead of what you think would be best. Exactly. And it might surprise you too.

[00:01:56] I have so many therapists that are like, oh gosh, no, I cannot work with [00:02:00] teens. Take them all. And I'm like, sure. For sure. So, um, I was doing a little bit of checking out your website and what, from my perspective, as a clinician, I saw that you were really someone who diversified your business. Maybe you could share a little bit about the different sorts of things that you do within your clinical practice and in your.

[00:02:18] Yeah, absolutely. So I guess it started in 2020 when the pandemic hit and I just saw such a mental health crisis and a need, um, for people to be connected with accessible mental health resources. And in the past year prior, I had really grown my social media presence specifically on Instagram and just felt like.

[00:02:38] Such a service and kind of like a modern mental health capacity to connect with people that way, even if they can't afford therapy and Instagram is not therapy by any means. However, I think it can provide really helpful, useful psycho-education and access to resources potentially. So what I did was I created my course Instagram for [00:03:00] therapists, which teaches therapists.

[00:03:02] How to go about really optimizing their profile and connecting with ideal clients, filling their practice, and also really sets them up to diversify their income outside of one-on-one client work, which we know, you know, there's only one you, so you can burn out pretty easily that way. Um, so if they have, you know, if they see in the future writing a book, creating a course themselves, creating workbooks, hosting workshops, um, public speaking engagements, Um, paid collaborations, anything in that capacity, this is a really great place to start foundational.

[00:03:37] And building that community, getting your name out there, building a presence. Um, and now actually I've had so many of those. So there's about 180 therapists in that course now, um, which has been really cool to watch their growth. Um, and now I'm receiving DMS asking, okay, now these opportunities are coming my way.

[00:03:58] Specifically even paid [00:04:00] collaborations or partnerships and how do I navigate this? So that's the second course I'm working on currently. Um, it's going to be called the connected collab and it comes out, um, early summer. So that will help therapists diversify more specifically in. Wonderful. So a lot of just like growing the online presence, making sure mental health is more approachable and accessible and then transitioning to help the clinicians to do different types of work because they think you make a really good point.

[00:04:26] Like all clinicians can't just do therapy every day. Yeah. And there's this almost martyr mentality that I think we're trained in of, you know, the burnout rate is so high for therapists. It's like the, if you. Work long hours for little pay. It's almost glorified that you're such a helper and you're so giving.

[00:04:46] But my belief is that you can be all of those things and still have boundaries, still make a good living. And so I really wanted to help other therapists do that because when you do that, you can show up in a greater capacity for your client. And you can [00:05:00] model those things to them and it feels better for everyone.

[00:05:03] Definitely. Okay. So I'm going to tip toe into a little bit of a controversial idea, but you believe that private practice in some way. So like in BC for us, we have free mental health care through like our health authorities. So basically for the government, but that is very stretched and not very accessible.

[00:05:20] Such long waits and whatnot. So in private practice, I'm going to tend to Tivoli tiptoe and say this, do you feel as though you're only their syrup or serving a population that could afford mental health care and maybe have the jobs that could have that benefits or, you know, like, do you feel like we're maybe not necessarily making as accessible?

[00:05:39] Yeah. So you could make that argument. Um, I think in a way of challenging that you can accept. In your private practice and make things more accessible. That way I have partnered with specific non-profits to help, you know, create a portion of my caseload that is very affordable, even less than insurance rates, just out of [00:06:00] like my values, not all therapists use to do that.

[00:06:03] Um, you can offer sliding scale. Of course. Um, and I, even if you're an out of network provider, something that I do in my practices offer superbills so that clients can still submit to insurance, even if you're out of network, um, and potentially almost have them receive a reimbursement back. So making it.

[00:06:23] As affordable as insurance, but it's true. Even insurance can be a barrier, which is why I always like to have, um, a referral network of low cost options, um, Medicaid, Medicare options, um, something tailored for everyone, for sure. And the only reason I say that because I, myself fall victim to that is I do try to offer sliding scale or be flexible in payment plans or insurance and whatnot, but I find it.

[00:06:47] A lot of clients are just really privileged and their ability to attend private therapy. So the roundabout way I'm trying to get about is isn't it wonderful that we can have like a medium such as social media or other ways to advocate or workbooks or [00:07:00] podcasts so that we can erase that awareness. Do some bit of education, all of that kind of stuff.

[00:07:05] Yes, absolutely. That's right. So modern mental health to me is accessible. It's relatable and it's relevant. And I think that some of our doctrine and our grad school programs is very outdated and culturally it's very white male centered. That's kind of how our profession came about, um, was it was founded on those principles.

[00:07:26] And so I think really challenging that and changing it, um, making it more relevant, more accessible, more modernized is so important to act. Connect with your clients in a meaningful way. Definitely. And humorous of course, yes. That too. That helps for sure. So what would you recommend to any therapist? I know this is part of your course, but say they're interested in stepping into the Instagram world.

[00:07:50] Um, what would you recommend that they, they do. Yeah, getting started. Um, I think there's so much imposter syndrome when you first get started. Like what do [00:08:00] I, I mean, I hear these things. I also offer consulting for Instagram growth and, and private practice and so many clinicians, even if they've been practicing for a while, but they're just now stepping into this.

[00:08:12] As a therapist, um, there's this scarcity mindset, imposter syndrome of, you know, it's all been done before. Um, what can I possibly contribute or just fear of showing up fear of being seen, um, in photos or in stories or on camera. Um, and so really challenging those mindsets and showing up, um, again, in our grad school programs were told to be this blank slate and not show pieces of ourselves, but I think ultimately that's really a.

[00:08:41] It's to your client. Um, it can be a real therapeutic benefit to connect with someone on a certain level. Um, and of course with boundaries, professional boundaries, but, um, and I have an entire module on ethics on Instagram for therapists, because we also just can't [00:09:00] show up like your basic influencer. Like we have ethics codes to abide by and specific disclaimers to include, for example, Really making clear that Instagram is not by any means therapy.

[00:09:12] It's not a client counselor relationship. You're forming. That's very different, but like you said, it can really provide access where there hasn't been before. So yeah, I would, um, my first thought would be to challenge any scarcity or imposter syndrome that you're feeling, um, and get out of that comfort zone in order to do.

[00:09:33] For sure. So it's like a twofold approach. It's like making it more accessible, approachable, but it's also a marketing opportunity, right. To get those clients because I was supposed to help anyone if nobody's lining up. Yeah. And there are specific strategies you want to use in terms of growth and marketing.

[00:09:49] If your goal is to, um, to obtain more clients and fill your practice versus a goal of creating a course or writing a book someday, those are. Growth [00:10:00] strategies. But I will say for therapists who have dreams of diversifying and writing a book or creating a course, having an engaged and like loyal, committed community that you have cultivated, um, over weeks, months, years to roll those offerings out to makes them so much more successful in the long run.

[00:10:20] And, um, just people know like, and trust you. Definitely for sure. So you mentioned earlier that one of your focuses within family conflict, so maybe you could share some examples of things that you've seen, or maybe some tips and suggestions for just anyone that could take along with them. Yeah. So I see a lot of inmeshment and I do a lot of work around inmeshment and families, and some people are like, what is that?

[00:10:47] I have never heard of that. So essentially it is, um, like boundary. Family system where a lot of times we see families and we're like, oh my gosh, they're so close. They're so tight knit, [00:11:00] but they're in these inmeshed families, it's almost to their detriment and people can really lose themselves in a mesh system.

[00:11:07] It's all around these like unspoken rules, um, that have consequences if you don't follow them. So, you know, the phrase it's always been this way. This is how we do things. Don't challenge. It comes up lot. And the inmeshed family system, the opposite of enmeshment is differentiation. So healthy differentiation typically happens in adolescents where develop, it's done developmentally appropriate for teens to start separating themselves from the family and becoming an individual and setting their own boundaries.

[00:11:42] Um, and when that doesn't happen, it can create a. And so a lot of times I'm either working with teens through differentiation and occasionally their families are like, I don't like this. I don't like what they're doing, but ultimately it is healthy for the system as a whole. And so supporting the family through [00:12:00] that process or.

[00:12:02] I have adults coming to me and saying this process never happened. And there's a lot of issues that are arising because of that, maybe in their own marriage now, because they haven't really, um, disconnected from their role as the child in their family of origin. So it's very interesting work. I do. Yeah.

[00:12:21] Could you give maybe like a specific example of what inmeshment would look like? Sure. So let's say, um, you're now an adult and you're married and you know, you want to spend a holiday with your family, your new family. Maybe you have a wife and children and your family says absolutely not. You're coming too.

[00:12:42] I mean, we just had Easter last week, so I'll use Easter. Um, you're coming to Easter and you're not allowed to spend a family or a holiday away from. Cause this is how we do things. And if you don't come to Easter, we're not going to talk to you, um, for this amount of time or, you know, this must be [00:13:00] your wife's fault that you're, she's taking you from us.

[00:13:03] And so there's a lot of unwritten rules. Like you better come to Easter. And if you don't, there's a consequence attached, usually an emotional consequence and it puts a lot of. On that let's say the child in this instance, um, and then can create conflict within their marriage because they're now torn between their family of origin and the new family they've created.

[00:13:27] Um, and so that's just a very traditional, like heterosexual nuclear family example, but this. So many different ways throughout all kinds of contexts, for sure. Do you notice any cultural undertones? Yes. Um, so there are definitely specific cultures that are more in mesh than others. Um, and so I always like to bring that into the mix.

[00:13:54] Um, Graduate program at Columbia was, um, the focus of it was cultural competency. And that [00:14:00] was such a gift because I was also a sociology double major. And I think that like, you have to bring in culture and sociology into this because people don't exist in a vacuum and it's all cultural. So I'm always curious.

[00:14:16] I think curiosity is one of the best approaches you can take of. Tell me how this may be cultural for you. Um, what themes you've noticed in your culture. Help me understand that because I never want to assume, but then, you know, we do see patterns in specifically. Definitely. I think that's, I'm also a sociology major.

[00:14:35] So I'm like, I'm like, definitely like the culture piece, because I think that it's normal in some ways are more normalized, like different cultures. It's like, of course you have that autonomy or the ability to say no, but some cultures are like, well, no, I can definitely not say that. I can have to go along with what's what's prescribed for me.

[00:14:53] Yeah, definitely. And there's this cultural piece and then this. Family specific based [00:15:00] individual piece to each family, if that makes sense. And so, you know, considering both and the context is so important, for sure. So with boundaries, any tips or suggestions? Yes. So I actually have a great resource for this.

[00:15:13] Maybe we can link it in the. But, um, I call it the three-step boundary setting blueprint. So the first step is to really, um, validate and kind of lean in and say, you know, we'll use the same example, mom and dad. I love that you want to spend this time together on Easter and you know, I know it's really important to you.

[00:15:35] Um, you know, whatever else is kind of shows that you're hearing them validating their desire. Um, and then the step two is setting the boundary. So this year we'll be spending it together and no California, instead of Pennsylvania, let's say, um, and for this reason, or you don't even have to give a reason, right?

[00:15:55] Because no, as a full sentence and you can just. State your boundary. [00:16:00] And then the third step would be to come toward. So whatever you are comfortable offering, whether it's, we'll see you, um, for the next holiday here, um, in this many months, or we can call you on Easter. Um, we can FaceTime you. But something that you're comfortable with not coming too far toward the other person to where you're still feeling resentful or, you know, it doesn't work for your family, but, um, yeah, so those are the three steps and I have a freebie worksheet that can help kind of guide you through them for whatever situation you mean.

[00:16:37] So say someone wants to set a boundary. And I noticed that often with clients, it's like, I can't, I want to, and I have an idea of what I would want to say, but there's that apprehension or nervousness or fear, how would you suggest that they kind of work through those emotions before setting that boundary?

[00:16:52] I always like to remind my clients that. Because it is usually fear, right? It's usually fear of the person's [00:17:00] response, the other person's response or the consequence, the emotional consequence they're going to receive or otherwise. Um, and I always like to remind them prior to setting it, if someone is pushing back on your boundary, if they're disrespecting it, or if they're not accepting it, consider that validation that you are absolutely on the right track and that it needed to be.

[00:17:18] Because people that love and respect, you will also respect your boundaries and your needs and your desires, um, you know, as an individual. So I think that helps them kind of lead with more confidence. And even if they do receive some residual backlash from that person who didn't like their boundary, they can say, okay, this is validation that I really did need to set it rather than just absorbing.

[00:17:44] All of that kind of negativity that they're fearful of, for sure. I think let's make a really good point. It's like that backlash isn't necessarily a justification for the boundary. It's more of just saying like, Hey Lisa, they needed to happen. You need to go [00:18:00] forward. Right. And I love when Bernay brown goes like a boundary just avoids lifelong resentment.

[00:18:04] Like that's the best boundaries are so protective of your relationship. And, you know, people fear that it's going to ruin the relationship when honestly, I think it can make it so much stronger. So there's real potential there. Don't you think you also, with clients, you have to help them to conceptualize a boundary differently instead of a bad thing.

[00:18:25] And I like to really use even visual markers, like a question that I'll often ask is what kind of boundary do you need with this person? And even likening it to. Okay. Do you need like, um, a cement wall where you just can't ever have contact with this person again? Or do you need like a window or maybe like a glass door where you can see through and open it when you're ready to join them again?

[00:18:48] Like what does this look like for you and what do you feel like you need? And you'll be okay. It really helps them conceptualize just how strong of a boundary is required and maybe why. [00:19:00] Definitely. For sure. And so when you do family works, like, do you do any couples or mostly just like the fellow family system.

[00:19:07] I prefer the. So I have a couple of therapists within my practice. She's wonderful. She's a marriage and family therapist. So I always send couples her way cause that's her expertise. Um, and I definitely like to focus on more of the family systems and the adolescent and college population stuff. So. It's my forte.

[00:19:26] Yeah, for sure. Um, so we've talked a little bit about like diversifying your practice, building your online presence, the boundaries, the family systems. What else kind of, are you passionate about or like to share with us today? Yeah, so. I feel like right now, I'm in the realm of just helping other therapists, therapists, diversify their income.

[00:19:47] Like that is kind of my side passion away from clients. Um, I love client work. I always want to do client work. Um, but finding that work-life balance that is sustainable. So right now I [00:20:00] see clients three days a week and then focus on either consultation or content creation or other special projects. Um, For a few hours, Monday in a few hours, Friday.

[00:20:10] Um, but I had my daughter last year and I said, this, I really want to, um, have more of a balanced, weekly schedule. That's sustainable. That allows me to be with her too. And so helping other therapists get to the place that they desire to be in, in terms of work-life balance and discuss their options and exactly how they can get there.

[00:20:31] Um, I think. Has really become an unexpected passion of mine, um, because they used to say, you can't have it all, but it sounds like you're doing great. Like sounds like you've got your family, you're diversifying your business through the online presence, growing courses. And then you're still seeing the clients and having those wonderful experiences and it's breaking it up into ways that feel manageable and really kind of time batching time blocking having systems of support in place, um, to.[00:21:00] 

[00:21:00] Yeah, you can do it all, but you can't do it all well. So at some point you need to set boundaries with yourself right now. We kind of like looped all the way around to how boundaries with yourself are so important, how to model those. Um, and just, yeah, prioritizing self-care in the mix professionally.

[00:21:19] Because I think it's breaking that mold that I think a lot of women are like, we have to work or not work, and then we'll have to, we'll take a break and return to work, but it sounds like you're finding a way with those boundaries of self to go, Hey, I'm going to time block and have this and the system and the support, and still be able to manage all of these different passions.

[00:21:36] Yes. And you do have to say no sometimes definitely. Um, but you can also say yes and do so confidently when you have that type of balance. So wonderful. I can just really see that sense, that passion of yours being like, Hey therapist, you can have the lifestyle that you're looking for. It doesn't just have to be those long lists of client every week.

[00:21:56] And that's it, it can be a lot of different things. Yeah, because [00:22:00] I've been there. Right. I am kind of that heart-centered helper where when the pandemic hit, I was like, I'm a first responder to my clients need me and I need to show up for them. And I was seeing way too many clients a week feeling burnt out.

[00:22:12] I was also pregnant. Like it was a lot. And then I created my first course, cause I was like, this needs to change. And I see an avenue that can help them. Achieve this change and feels really important. And so it's been really cool to watch that happen for sure. Wonderful. Um, I'm trying to think if I have any other questions for you, I'm just learning.

[00:22:40] I know. I feel. Do you all the questions like the natural interviewer? Yeah, totally feel free to ask anything like, so do you have a specialization? I'm more in the trauma field and anxiety when we're things, it are all on my alley and I'm really pursuing EMDR training right now. So I have. I'm pursuing certification EMDR.

[00:22:59] And so [00:23:00] that's been really huge and wonderful. And a lot of times I just blow people by surprise. Like what's EMDR. Like I've never heard of that. And, um, seeing people change, I think that's my therapy high because there's this moment with the bilateral stimulation and you can just see their positive belief come through.

[00:23:16] And it's a complete shift in the way that they see the world and themselves. And that's, that's what I really enjoy. So incredible. I see it in your face or feel it in your voice, like yeah. Switch like that moment of insight, it sticks with you and you leave and you're like driving home and you're like, oh, that was so cool.

[00:23:37] Um, and EMDR is an incredible tool for healing specifically in trauma too. Um, I am not trained in EMDR, so I always like to refer clients who I feel like could really benefit. Um, and it's such an intense. And long training, so kudos to you. Um, and, but so valuable, so valuable. Definitely. And, um, I, like you [00:24:00] said earlier, like the diversifying, so we have this podcast and then, um, the client work and so different things like that.

[00:24:05] And so I'm always plugging EMDR because I think I'm definitely too biased on. I love it. It's wonderful. And so seeing your work and how you've diversified and my myself, I'm in the first little bit of my career per se. And so it's like interesting to see that and like growing up with like social media and all of that.

[00:24:22] And I'm like, wow, like I could really reach a lot more clients and have a lot other form of marketing or, um, another way to make things more tangible because so many of my clients to go to me, they're like, so I saw this on Tik TOK and I'm there. Like, I'm not self-diagnosing, but like, what do you think of.

[00:24:38] And that discussion comes up and I always go, Kate, let's just like, talk about what you heard and let's take it with a grain of salt, but I'm glad that that sparked you to have more awareness of self and what that means for you or your experience. Absolutely. It's starting so many things, discussions and meaningful discussions.

[00:24:55] And with that said, I mean, like I said, a whole module of my course is how do we [00:25:00] show up ethically? Because I saw a statistic recently that 50% of information around ADHD that's on Tik TOK is false. And like you said, so many clients will come in and say, I saw this tech talk and you're like, okay, let's talk about this.

[00:25:14] Um, because it's both right. It's a wonderful way to provide psycho-education for people and they're absorbing it and they're taking it in and really thinking insightfully and, um, taking new perspective. And we want to make sure that the information that they're receiving from us is accurate, um, that they understand that not all things we say will apply to them and their specific situation.

[00:25:38] And also that we're just operating ethically. Licensed professionals. Definitely. Cause we want to make sure that they're digesting appropriate information. And also, is it too much Tik, TOK time or Instagram as well? Like that's a very common discussion I have. It's like, okay, like, I'm glad that you learned something, but like, let's see if you can also immense yourself more into your day to [00:26:00] day activities, the things that are going to really regulate you and help you to feel really balanced.

[00:26:05] That's a great point. Yeah. I'm like check your accessibility. Like how long have you been on your phone, on these things and is it helpful for you or is it creating a lot of like self-image challenges or questioning things in an unhelpful way instead of just being inspired to maybe look deeper at yourself and like have that awareness of what you're feeling and noticing, right.

[00:26:27] Absolutely. I heard the term doom scrolling at one point. Yeah. Oh, my gosh. That is so on point. So yeah, having that conversation about whether it is healthy, curiosity or doom scrolling, do you think it's just going to be the norm for a clinician to be on social media? I think it's becoming the norm and.

[00:26:51] Clinicians ask me all the time, like, is this absolutely necessary? And I say, no, like if you don't like this, if you don't love showing up or [00:27:00] in this capacity, and you're just not a social media person, if you feel like it's draining your energy to the point where you don't show up for clients as well as you could.

[00:27:08] Absolutely not. Um, but it can be an amazing tool to diversify and get your name out there. For sure. If you had a dream of like another form of medium for like therapy, what would it be like, how would you, what have we, another platform? You know what I mean, uh, platform for actual therapy like with clients?

[00:27:28] Well, it's just interesting because it's like, I think that as clinicians, like you said, ethically, we have to show up and everything. So we're almost like just jumping on to this as a way to keep on pace. Yeah. Yeah. I don't know if it exists. I am traditional when it comes to therapy in the sense that I really love to be in the room.

[00:27:47] Like even in the pandemic, I've struggled with virtual therapy because it's like, I couldn't feel the energy and the differing energies of each client and to be able to really attune [00:28:00] in that way. Um, and then just body language is not. As prevalent, like I can really only see their face, maybe their shoulders are.

[00:28:09] So, um, so there's definitely aspects that I just really appreciate in person that you can't capture over a screen or through social media. Um, which is why I always emphasize like this isn't therapy. Like if you want a true transformative experience, sit in the room with a trained professional, um, who can really.

[00:28:29] Yeah, so for sure. Wonderful. Yeah, definitely. I know what you mean, but at least we had the option. Right. And then, but still totally in-person you can just, it just is that I know it's so weird when we say energy, cause it's like, what's happening. It's not like we're plugged into the wall or something. Um, it's like, you can really feel the people and the clients in front of you and what they're experiencing.

[00:28:49] And it's kind of hard because you have to really almost engage into your computer in a different way. So yes and I am definitely. Someone who gets zoom fatigue after [00:29:00] several back-to-back zoom meetings or sessions, or I actually use simple practice for my online sessions, but it's very similar to zoom.

[00:29:07] So yeah, it was an amazing tool to have during the pandemic for people. Um, and I'm very grateful to be back in person with about, I would say probably 60 to 70% of my case load is back in person. Some just, they feel safe at this point. You know, it's been a couple of years, um, However, they are like, this is so convenient.

[00:29:29] Like I don't have to drive to the office during rush hour, so let's keep doing virtual and I respect that too. So for sure. Did you notice a change in enmeshment after the pandemic? Oh gosh. Yes. So many people were back with their families because you know, they moved back to be closer. Um, they were just feeling threatened.

[00:29:52] Like their nervous systems were feeling threatened all around. There was heightened anxiety, height, high tensions within households. [00:30:00] So yeah, I mean, absolutely. That was definitely, I think even even increased then I would assume as such, because it's like that fear again and sometimes fear forces that control.

[00:30:12] Yes. The control. Yep, exactly, exactly. So much anxiety and rightfully so. Like it was a legitimate threat. Um, and I think, you know, the mental health need was exacerbated during that. And do you notice that, um, now that we're kind of NBC riff, lifted a lot of our restrictions and things recently, but do you notice like a shift of people now, looking back over those two years in the way that they described them?

[00:30:36] Yes. I feel like I'm just, we're just starting to get there. Um, I even just today, I think. Mandates were lifted for, um, airplanes and Uber's I got those notifications today. So it still just feels very new, um, that we're starting to slowly feel safer and maybe a little more regulated. [00:31:00] On that as time in the past.

[00:31:03] Um, and then I think there are some people that aren't ready to do that yet. Um, so kind of meeting each client where they're at, because this has impacted them so differently just based on, I mean, so many factors, so. Yeah. Cause like, through like that trauma-informed lens or like the, the AMD model, we always look at like, what are the things that maybe were hurtful or traumatic or upsetting that kind of sparked the experience that's existing today.

[00:31:31] And so it's interesting now because. Where quarantine period in like early 2020 in BC was like, just literally couldn't do much and which was reasonable and fair for whatever it was. But that was kind of that moment that really sparked a lot of people's anxieties to increase. And that kind of continue that over the last couple of years.

[00:31:51] And so some of the targeting I'm actually doing with the EMDR is of the lack of engagement through a quarantine period. Wow. That's incredible too, [00:32:00] even while it was happening and. For feeling so dysregulated, I was trying to kind of almost normalize the dysregulation. Like we are not meant to feel trapped in our homes and have our day-to-day lives taken away from us.

[00:32:14] Like if you think of our nervous system, when we experience threat, we usually go into fight or flight and we couldn't fight this pandemic ourselves. And we couldn't flee our homes were actually stuck in them or feeling trapped potentially. Um, and so then you go into this freeze state where. You know, you don't feel much motivation.

[00:32:33] You may start to feel depressed more of like a dorsal nervous system, state mentality. And so trying to kind of provide that psycho-education to, to normalize some of what their bodies were doing and what was kind of contributing to them, feeling that way amongst other things, and was a big part of my work during the.

[00:32:52] Definitely. Cause I think they're like, well, I don't feel well. And they're just expecting that to be okay. I'm like, no, no, like you're meant to, to stuff. [00:33:00] Yeah. Well, your system is actually appropriately responding to this. If you can believe it or not. I know it feels awful. And um, and again, It's kind of, this is why it makes sense.

[00:33:13] For sure. We just had such a wonderful energy. I can feel it. I know you too. I was like, I want to know more about her. I can like, you know, I can like feel the energy. So I had to remind myself a couple times, no she's supposed to interview you. Well, feel free to ask. I suppose the vision, the part of this podcast, and my understanding is just really having relatable conversations, not only for clients, but also for clinicians.

[00:33:37] Right. And having that ability for everyone to see both sides of that therapeutic process. Mm. I love that because that's, I mean, we're humans first at heart, right? Definitely. Yeah. So where can we find you, Mary Beth? Yes. So my Instagram account is at your journey. Um, and then my website is your journey

[00:33:57] But for any therapist really interested in [00:34:00] the diversification piece or a social media presence, I also have my course Instagram for therapists, which they can find it. Instagram and then the connected collab is, um, my collaboration course. Launching this summer. So look out for that. Yeah.

[00:34:17] Make sure you check Mary Beth out. It's been wonderful having you today. Absolutely. Thanks for having me.

Social Media for Clinicians
Boundaries & Family Dynamics