Sh*t You Wish You Learned in Grad School with Jennifer Agee, LCPC

Episode 11: Burnt the Eff Out! Using Creativity to Heal, featuring TJ Walsh

June 29, 2022 Jennifer Agee, LCPC Season 1 Episode 11
Sh*t You Wish You Learned in Grad School with Jennifer Agee, LCPC
Episode 11: Burnt the Eff Out! Using Creativity to Heal, featuring TJ Walsh
Show Notes Transcript

During this episode, TJ Walsh (he/him), LPC NCC CCTP Clini-Coach and I talk very openly and honestly about our experiences of burnout and the tools and rituals we use to get our energy back in balance. This episode is raw, real and offers real solutions. 

TJ Walsh is an internationally exhibited artist who has nurtured creativity in heARTs and minds for decades. He regularly writes and speaks about art, culture, faith & mental health and is an expert in human relationships, human creativity, the creative process, fear, and procrastination. TJ owns a group private practice and is on faculty at Eastern University, where he provides supervision for doctoral candidates. 

Over the past 20 years, TJ has worked at the colorful intersection of creativity, art, therapy, and education. He is an innovative, out-of-the-box, creative clinician turned coach (Clini-Coach®) and Licensed Professional Counselor who helps others nurture their creative life so that they can be whole heARTed life healers. He currently lives in Philadelphia, PA, with his partner and two sons, where together they share 65 houseplants and a very robust and growing collection of artwork from emerging Philadelphia-based artists.


TOPICS IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Paying the price of getting behind the burnout cue ball
  • Burnout tells for therapists 
  • Questioning our worth and value
  • Managing your energy to reduce burnout
  • Childhood narratives that affect our views of “self-sacrifice”
  • Therapy groups, the good, the bad and the ugly when you're burned out
  • Using different types of creativity and rituals to support life balance
  • How to Etch A Sketch the “should”
  • Getting in touch with your playful parts of self to realign 

 

OFFERS & HELPFUL LINKS:

·       TJ’s website

·       Jennifer Agee coaching page

·       Counseling Community Facebook community

·       Counseling Community Instagram

·       Alaskan Cruise: Experiential Therapeutic Intervention Training for Therapists June 3-10, 2023

·       Cabo, Mexico: Dreamer’s Retreat for Entrepreneurial Therapists October 6-8, 2022

Jennifer Agee: Hello. Hello and welcome to Sh*t You Wished You Learned in Grad School. I'm your host, Jennifer Agee, licensed clinical professional counselor. With me today is TJ Walsh. TJ is also a licensed professional counselor. He owns a group private practice in Philadelphia. He's on the faculty of Eastern University supervising doctoral candidates. And he's also an internationally exhibited artist. His art is phenomenal, y'all. You need to check it out. I'll put his links down below. So welcome, TJ. I'm really glad that you're here today. 

TJ Walsh: My gosh, I'm so excited to be here, Jennifer. It's really, really great. I'm thankful that you invited me on your podcast. I'm so excited that you're doing it. I know you've been kinda working on it for a while, and it's so exciting to see that it's launching. Um, but thanks so much for the introduction. I'm excited. 

Jennifer Agee: The fulfillment of dreams coming true is like the scariest and most exciting thing ever. 

TJ Walsh: Isn't it? 

Jennifer Agee: Yeah, it is. Um, so I invited TJ on to talk about the intersection of burnout and creativity, and there's a lot I think we need to dig into, so let me ask you a question. What do you wish you learned in grad school? 

TJ Walsh: What I wished I learned in grad school? Oh my God. I wish that they told me that burnout is inevitable if you're not kind of looking out for it, you know? Like I think, it's that thing that everybody knows is kind of out there and possible, but we don't really wanna talk about it because we're not supposed to, we're not supposed to burn out. But I think we would all be much better off if they're just straight up with us, right? And say, hey, y'all you gotta take care of yourself or else it's gonna be hellacious. 

Jennifer Agee: Absolutely. Yeah. If you get behind the burnout cue ball, you pay a pretty big price tag, and it takes a while to dig out of that hole. 

TJ Walsh: Yeah, there's no cheap burnout. Like if it's burnout, you're, you got, you got a while to go. And I think I definitely experienced burnout, like, I don't know, midway through the fiasco that we just lived through, midway through the pandemic. Like I finally like just hit that point where everything just culminated and layered on itself. And I just realized I am not enjoying myself. I am irritable shit. You know, I, I have no energy. Is this depression? No, it's not depression. What it really is, is just like, I am tired and burnt the fuck out, you know? 

Jennifer Agee: Yeah, that tiredness is definitely a hallmark symptom. And one of the things that they really, again, don't talk about in grad school is the specifics of what burnout looks like for mental health professionals because we have some very unique tells that other people wouldn't necessarily have in their jobs. Like, getting behind on notes, um, wanting a session to end earlier, really hoping people cancel, you know. 

TJ Walsh: Yeah. 

Jennifer Agee: Things that are very specific that if someone had told us those were cues, we might have tuned into that way earlier. 

TJ Walsh: Right. Instead, like, we ask ourselves different questions that, you know, make, you know, like for me, the questions I started asking myself were more- less questions and more statements about like my worth, and my goodness, and my, you know... Just like, am I doing what I'm supposed to be doing? Because if I, if I was supposed to be doing this, you know, I would love getting up every morning and love, you know, talking to all these people and, you know, I would want sessions to go full. I would want everybody to show up, and certainly, if that's not the case, you know, I'm a horrible therapist, right? 

Jennifer Agee: Yeah. Which is a freaking lie. That's a heck of a lie. 

TJ Walsh: Right. It's a lie. It's just like, I, I've just, I'm just doing too much and pushing myself too hard and taking, taking off more than I can chew, you know? 

Jennifer Agee: Mm-hmm. The older I get, the more I have this internal recognition that a lot of life is the management of energy. Your intake, your outflow, you're filling your cup, you're emptying your cup. Like just the management of that. And I wish that I would've understood that earlier because I think it would've helped me judge myself less for the times that I was starting to feel depleted and just recognize. I'm starting to go into a season where my energy is a little bit lower, so I have to be mindful and intentional of where I spend the energy that I do have, and not force myself into situations that I don't really have the energy for, that it's okay to say no. 

TJ Walsh: Right. Yeah. Wow. It's okay to say no. I mean, that's a huge, at least for me where I come from, um, like no, saying no to things and working and helping and all of that kind of self-sacrificial stuff, no was never allowed, even today. You know, I, I look at my mom and my dad really as well, and they're just, yes, people. You know, I grew up with, I grew up with yes, people. We like to help people. We like to serve people. We like to show up. We like to take it on and like, you know, take it off somebody else's shoulders, right? And I watched my mother do this and I'm like, mom, you gotta stop. That is not your job. That is not this. That is not that. It's okay. You're however old. You're allowed to slow down a little bit, right? Um, but can I say that same thing to me? No. 

Jennifer Agee: Right, right. That's the point is we can recognize it in other people, and we can go, dang, you're taking on way too much. Chill out, man. It's all right. Life's a journey. It's a, it's a, a marathon, not a sprint. But then for ourselves, it's very hard, I think as helper-healers to, say no to people, to sometimes set boundaries. And a lot of times our own crap is why we got into this field. And it becomes harder to say no. 

TJ Walsh: Oh yeah. Yeah. I know a hundred percent. And you know, the apple does not fall far from the tree, does it, either, you know? And so, if you got that going on in your background, in your family, um, wherever you came from, it's gonna be even that much harder, right, on top of, on top of things. 

Jennifer Agee: Absolutely. And what I also, I think about even the cultural narrative I grew up with, um, I, I am a Christian. I grew up in a Christian home, right? And this self-sacrifice is kind of built into the narrative that has been spoken over me since I was a child. And to some extent, healthy, valuable, true, but taken to an extreme is extremely unhealthy for you, the person. 

TJ Walsh: Right, right, exactly. And the part that they don't tell us, and this isn't necessarily the church, I grew up in the church as well, and, um, you know, what you're saying is totally true. Um, and we even got, you know, verses to prove it, right, if we want to like, you know, you know, point to something and say, this is how you should be. Um, but what they, what people also don't tell you is that if you're not pouring into yourself first, right, you're not, you're not gonna have anything to pour back out into other people. Um, and it's kind of, you know, that, that thing they tell us when we get on the airplane, right? Gotta put your own mask on first before you can help other people. Um, and yeah, I, I suck at that. I would be like putting the mask on everybody before, and I pass out. 

Jennifer Agee: Right, right. But you know, one of the things I think we can do when we start to have this awareness is role model that for the next generation. Um, we're both clinical supervisors, so role modeling that for our supervises, role modeling that for our children and within our families, that hearing the word, no, does not mean that I do not care about you, value you, or think that time spent with you is not important, but sometimes it's okay that the answer is just no, because I need time, downtime. I need to refill my cup. 

TJ Walsh: Yeah. Yeah. For sure. I was just having, um, like an informal conversation with, um, a therapist out here in Philadelphia, yesterday, um, about something that, uh, they went into one of the social media therapist groups, which I don't know why they would choose to do this, to look for support in this particular area that I'm gonna talk about. But anyway, they did. Um, and it was around boundary setting, right? Boundary setting for themselves and what they're willing, where they're willing to flex and not flex. And in particular, it was around charging late cancellation fee, right? And having a really firm 24-hour boundary or policy, um, and a person canceled, like, you know, I think four hours after the, I think they canceled 20 hours in advance instead of 24. 

Jennifer Agee: Oh, right on the line. 

TJ Walsh: Right. And it was, and it was because I think the person was saying that they were, they weren't feeling well or something. And this, this therapist has a very firm policy because, um, they say, you know, if I move that boundary, um, then, then I'm going to suffer in terms of how I take care of myself, right, outside of fear, and I really need to hold firm. And so, I charge, um, cancellation fees, even if the person is saying that they're sick. And oh my gosh, like this therapist got eaten alive, and I might like do this informal conversation with him. And I'm like, this is, you're perfectly fine to, to hold this boundary. And people were telling him that he is, like, so unempathetic and lacking compassion, and I'm like, hold on. You can still have empathy and compassion while maintaining your boundaries so that you don't burn out, right? 

Jennifer Agee: 100%. And you, you are tapping into something, which is if you are starting to get to a place of burnout, a therapy group is usually not the place you wanna go. You need places that are gonna revitalize your energy. Yeah.

TJ Walsh: Yeah. Like you're not gonna want... 

Jennifer Agee: Cause everybody's got an opinion. 

TJ Walsh: Everyone has an opinion. And I, you know, I know we're not here to, like, psychoanalyze like whole, um, whole Facebook groups of therapists because that will just take all day and, and some more, but we really need to find that empathy that we, and compassion that we claim to have for everybody else, and apply it to our, uh, brother and sister therapists, right? We really eat each other alive. And you know, I am not perfect. I get into some squabbles in these groups as well, if you're seeing me or listening to me on this, and you're like, was he talking about, and we've got into a thing, I'm sorry. I've had bad days too. But yeah, I think we really need to find that compassion for ourselves and, uh, give our, give each other grace, right? 

Jennifer Agee: Absolutely. And late fees is actually one of those places that I think is specific to burnout that tends to come up when our energy is lower. We don't have it in us to fight that internal battle of whether or not we're gonna charge or not charge, so we let more things go or let things slide that we normally wouldn't otherwise. My cancellation policy is I let one "life happens" a year, right? Because life does happen. And for me, that felt better. And I set my cancellation fee at a rate that I legitimately felt comfortable charging. Some people charge their full rate. Good for you. That's amazing. I found that when I charged my full rate, I battled myself too much and so. 

TJ Walsh: Gotcha. Right. 

Jennifer Agee: It's a little bit lesser, but I charge it consistently. So now if the client calls in with that less than 24 hours, they'll usually say to me, okay, well, charge my card because I got it, I had a meeting that came up at work. All right. Cool. 

TJ Walsh: Yep. Yeah. And that's the thing is this consistency piece, right? That is so important. I think, you know, if you're inconsistent with your policies and your expectations, um, around any number of things, if you're, if you're that way, a client can't predict, a client, can't anticipate what's going to happen, and that's when they become reactive, right? That's when they show up and say, uh, you know, you're such an awful therapist, how do you not care about me, kind of stuff. But when you kind of teach them, model for them, um, healthy boundaries, uh, good reparenting um, all of these things that we learn, uh, and know, you know, that's when they say, I totally understand. This is shitty of me not to show up. I should have been better with my calendar. So go ahead and charge that fee. 

Jennifer Agee: Absolutely. So now we're kind of heading into territory that I think... Let's talk about the antidote to burnout. Cuz for me, I've always said like the antidote to burnout for me is balance, that balance of energy. And you are a much more artistically creative person than I will ever dream to be. I'm creative in my own ways, but like you create phenomenal artwork and stuff. So, tell me a little bit about your process of starting to rebalance that. 

TJ Walsh: Yeah. That's thank you for that. Thank you for that compliment. First of all, you know, I like to really clarify that creativity, um, is different from, is like, you know, it's like correlation is not necessarily causation kind of thing, right? We're all creative. We're made creative. So yeah, Jennifer, you have, you're probably creative in so many different ways than I am, like you were mentioning. Um, so you don't have to be an artist to be creative. Let's just put that out there, kind of separate the, the pieces. But for me, my creativity is most often expressed through, um, making artwork, um, painting, specifically. Um, and also idea generating and stuff like that, kind of vomiting stuff out of my brain and seeing if it, if it works. Um, but my main thing is when I start, I know that I'm not taking care of myself, and painting, and getting into the studio the way I need to be when I start feeling burnout in the other areas of my work. Um, and for me, that's indication that I need to get upstairs. So, I'm really, really lucky right now that, um, my office is in the bottom of my house, um, my living is with my family in the middle, and then up at the top of the house is my, is my painting studio. And this hasn't always been the case, but it's been the case for the past few years. And it's really, really helped me a lot because I know that even, um, in the 15 or 20 minutes that I have between sessions, if I'm feeling a particular kind of way about something, like if it was a really heavy session or, um, just something that I'm having trouble shifting gears from, I can just run upstairs really quickly and do a little bit of painting. And the way I paint specifically, um, is a lot like how I do therapy. Um, it's, uh, what I call process experiential. It's in the moment. It's in the here and now. It's a call and a response. And, um, increasingly as I've been more and more, as I spent more and more of my life as a therapist, the painting, uh, has been a way of taking kind of the residue that is left behind because I kind of have, I don't know if it's a gross picture or I don't know, but I kind of think that when we sit with people, they leave their mark and they leave their, their, uh, parts of themselves all on us. Um, and if we don't, if we don't do something about that, either after every session or definitely after every clinical day, um, it's not gonna go anywhere. It just lays there like a film. And so, the way I, I deal with it is by going upstairs and painting it off. Um, and either the painting is kind of speaking life back into me, or I'm taking it out on, on the painting. Uh... 

Jennifer Agee: Yeah, like a vent. 

TJ Walsh: Yes, like, it's like a vent. Um, and then the paintings aren't necessarily, uh, representative of any one client. Um, a lot of people have asked me because I talk about this a lot. Uh, in different ways, they ask me, well, you know, are these paintings representative of your client? Are they all that? No, it's more representative of about like my emotional state and where I am in my life. And so they can be, the paintings can be really kind of difficult to get through. They can be dense, they can be heavy, they can be dark or they can be like easier to get through with more navigate, navigatable, nav, whatever, pathways. 

Jennifer Agee: Sounds like a word to me. Sounds like a word to me. 

TJ Walsh: Yeah. So, so it's, it's this, it's this process for me that helps me recalibrate and decompress. Um, other people similarly to get rid of that, um, residue will take showers like right away after work, right? Um, that climbing into water... 

Jennifer Agee: Yeah, you're tapping into habits. 

TJ Walsh: Yeah. 

Jennifer Agee: What are the habits that we have to, to keep balance in our life? And I think that's super important, and especially those that are listening that happen to be clinical supervisors, of making sure that the people that you are mentoring or those of us who are coaches, that we're coaching understands that our habits around our practice matter a lot. I made a decision years ago that I did not want the energy of my work to cross the threshold of my home. That was very easy pre-COVID, right? If I had a particularly heavy day, I would drive past our, our lake. I'd sit with a Cherry Limeade from Sonic, and I would just sit there. I'd watch the water. I'd let the day just wash off of me.

TJ Walsh: Yeah. 

Jennifer Agee: Now with COVID, we've all work in our home. I don't ever go in the office anymore. I mean, I'm 90% at home. So, it's now become my guest bedroom door. When I leave my guest bedroom door, I try and picture this film that comes down over the door that just kind of every, all the gunk gets to stay back, and I get to move forward. But having those habits and those processes to help keep your balance is really important. 

TJ Walsh: Yeah. I like to call them habits. Habit is a great word. For me, I like to use the word ritual. I consider — this is a little of my spirituality coming out, a little bit, um, I think — but like I consider most, many of the things that I do, um, to be really, to be sacred work. You know, holding space for another human being, um, being willing to walk alongside of them in some of their most difficult and some of their most happy, joyful things too, is a really special honor that not many people get to have. Um, and I consider that sacred, sacred work, work that I'm called to do. Um, I have never known any other way, even before I was trained in this thing called psychotherapy. Um, I've never known any other way than listening to people and talking to people and, you know, helping them understand themselves more. It's just who I am, but it really takes a big, big toll, um, on me. And so, I try and find these rituals. And as soon as the rituals kind of start falling off or falling to the wayside. Um, I know that I'm going in a direction that is, isn't going to be sustainable for much longer, and I really need to, to figure it out. And yeah, I, I didn't realize for me when I was going to the office before COVID how important that drive was, right? 

Jennifer Agee: Yeah. 

TJ Walsh: And the type of music that I might listen to and all of that. 

Jennifer Agee: Well, I think even in the office, I agree with you. It, it's a, it's a privilege to walk with people along their journeys in life. And that doesn't mean though that sometimes the energy of the session isn't particularly heavy or difficult, or, um, you know, you feel like somebody's taken a lot of years and, and your cup gets kind of depleted. I do silly things in the office to shift the energy. You know, I'll open the windows, I'll crank music, I'll do little shake dance therapy for myself. 

TJ Walsh: Mm-hmm. 

Jennifer Agee: You know, because you've kind of got to shift that energy because for most of us that are busy, we have butts in the seat one after the other, you know?

TJ Walsh: Yeah. 

Jennifer Agee: And so, there's not a lot of time in between, and you've gotta get that energy shifted, get your own energy shifted back into a place where you can be fully present and aren't coming from that place of drain. 

TJ Walsh: Yeah. Yeah. It's, that is so true. I mean, back-to-back sessions, back-to-back days are like our killer. When I was first starting out, like, I had like 10-session days back-to-back, right? Like, like it was a lot, and I didn't think anything of it. You know, as a young therapist, I had like a lot of energy. Um, it was before I had kids. Um, you know, and I was just like nothing, but now, especially with what we've gone through, um, over the course of the last couple of years, you know, I am struggling with six a day, you know, and, I'm just trying to really figure out, how do I need to take care of myself? You know, it took me a long time to be okay with even reducing my caseload, um, because I just felt really guilty about that. How can I be, you know, a good therapist if I'm not only seeing people all day every day, right? 

Jennifer Agee: Right. 

TJ Walsh: And I'm again in that struggle with myself to say, can I, you know, is six too many for me right now in this, in this particular season of life that I'm in? Um... 

Jennifer Agee: Yeah, that "can I," that's the, that's the, the trap we all fall into in the beginning, right? What can I do? Like, like how far can I take this to earn enough money to pay off my student loans and my mortgage and my, you know, all of those very practical, life-y things. And one of the things I know I like to do for people, because I did this exercise for myself, is I Etch A Sketched the "shoulds." And I said, what is it that I actually want my days to look like? What is the schedule if I was beholden to no one that I would realistically want to have? And then when I really thought that through, for me, Monday through Thursday, nine to four is what I work Friday is for all the admin stuff, and I call it, build your empire day. But when I put that out, I thought, actually, that's very realistic. Like, so why am I expecting myself to have to be at the office till seven o'clock when I can see the number of clients I need to see and want to see and be done at four o'clock and be able to go for a walk and make dinner and all that good stuff? 

TJ Walsh: Right, right. Totally. Yeah. I think we have, we have like a really like skewed, a skewed perspective of like what a healthy, what a healthy therapist looks like, right? 

Jennifer Agee: Mm-hmm. 

TJ Walsh: You know, a little like therapist dysmorphia there or something, right, that comes up. You know, we start comparing ourselves to everybody else. That's the other thing that I really do not enjoy, uh, in, in some of the groups that we're all a part of is these questions that ask for, you know, how much, like how many sessions is full time, or how much should I be charging, or, you know, anything that is looking for some kind of like, comparison, uh, thing that you can kind of put down and like make some assessment of, of what is right for you in your practice. There are so many variables, um, you know, not, not even, you know, even without taking into account your own personal health and wellbeing. Um... 

Jennifer Agee: We wouldn't ask that of a client, right? We would ask our clients, what is it that you need? Not what, what do you feel like you have to do to be in comparison to other people? 

TJ Walsh: Right. 

Jennifer Agee: We wouldn't allow that to slide with the client, but we let it slide with ourselves all the time. 

TJ Walsh: Right. Exactly. Exactly. And that's why I have a therapist. I have my therapist that I've seen, um, so — all of you short term, uh, treatment people are going to like, you know, maybe blow, blow a gasket or something — but I've been with my therapist since 2013. And she's psychoanalytic. I do a form of modern psychoanalysis. Um, but anyway, yeah, that is really important to my self-care, and it also help forms my creative practice, too, the stuff that comes up in my psychodynamic work with my therapist, the work that I do with my, uh, clients, all comes out in the studio and allows me to feel, um, like a whole person. 

Jennifer Agee: I think that's a part of why people, I guess I'll speak for myself. For me, a huge antidote to burnout, and that balance, is usually travel-related. I plan for a minimum of four weeks off a year. I know other people take more. But budget-wise, like, I budget on four weeks off a year. And I have to flee the scene, man, like, I gotta get outta here. I gotta go sit at the ocean. I've got, I have to go be someplace where my logical brain can go offline and my playful parts can come back out. And when those playful parts come back out, a lot of times my system will just realign itself. 

TJ Walsh: I think the, the word there that I can relate to a lot is playful or playful parts. Um, how can we get in touch with those playful parts? How can we, uh, what do we need to do to invite that childlike part of us out, the one that has joy and fun and, and life to them. Those are the parts that kind, that those are the pieces, uh, that kind of recede into the background, right? And get swallowed up if we're not, uh, careful to remember that they're there and to respect that. Um, and so, yeah, maybe the habits or the rituals or the self-care mechanisms that we have are really about the, the playful, the playful parts of us, right?

Jennifer Agee: Mm-hmm. 

TJ Walsh: Um, inviting play, however that looks in, into our life. And with creatives and with artists, when I work with them, either they’re in a coaching session, uh, in the coaching realm or in the clinical realm, right? It's about- this is exactly about finding the playful self. Uh, scheduling play is really important. And, you know, I think that, um, that can kind of sound a bit, um, like, like opposites there, schedule and play. But the reality is our life is run by a clock and a calendar, uh, and we're not going to play if we're so focused on, you know, getting to the next thing or seeing more clients or making more money, right?

Jennifer Agee: Yeah. Task mode.

TJ Walsh: Yeah. And you budgeting those four weeks, um, a year, at least to get out of town, um, and allow yourself to, um, you know, put on a different hat for a while is, is so important. And it sounds like it's vital to your ability to do the stuff that you do. 

Jennifer Agee: It really is. And I think what was helpful for me again, I, I really had like a come-to-Jesus time with myself where when I, like I said, I Etch A Sketch my everything and just decided I don't have to fit a mold of what I thought I had to be. What is it that I want life to be? And I really mapped, started mapping that out. And the question that I ask myself is, what am I craving more of? Because usually what you're craving more of is exactly what you need to get yourself back in balance. The mind and the body are phenomenal in working together for our health, our healing, and I would encourage you if you're listening and you've been in a state of burnout before, ask yourself, what is it that you're craving more of right now, and can you give that to yourself? Can you offer that to yourself? 

TJ Walsh: Yeah. 

Jennifer Agee: Or can you plan for that? 

TJ Walsh: Yeah. Wow. I mean, you're- as you're speaking, I'm like, man, like the, the stuff that comes up for me, you know, when you're, when you're saying like, uh, you know, I ask myself the question, what do I want out of life, or how do I want my life to look, or what am I craving right now? The stuff that automatically comes up in me that I have to kind of, you know, tackle to the ground real fast and kind of redirect is I'm not allowed to do that, right? Like, who am I to be able to say, you know, this is what I want out of my life, right? 

Jennifer Agee: Mm-hmm. 

TJ Walsh: Um, that is so, it's something that I have been tackling for or battling for a really long time. Um, and so you saying that is just like, wow, like, it sounds so good and reasonable and, like, obvious, right? But I think for so many of us, um, especially if we, I think oftentimes if we're not, if we're the healing type, the healer type who hasn't done work in the way that you've done it, um, have the tendency to like say no, no, no, right? Like that's, I'm not allowed to be there for myself cuz I need to be there for everybody else. 

Jennifer Agee: And I'll be honest, that part of myself did not kick in until I hit middle age. So there, there is this, your give-a-damn gets busted kind of thing that happens that is so freaking amazing. You all are gonna love it when you get here, like, I love this stage of life. But there was this kind of moment, kids left home, all the shoulds of what you think are supposed to be, all the boxes you think you're supposed to be checking, which is like, why the heck am I still acting as though I'm prescribed all of these things because I'm not? 

TJ Walsh: Mm-hmm. 

Jennifer Agee: So, knock it off. I call myself Jennifer Marie when I do internal, uh, correction. Jennifer Marie, just knock it off. I'm like, Etch A Sketch it. Let's start at the drawing board and see what you really want. 

TJ Walsh: Yeah. That's so important. That's such a message for me right now. I really, so thank you for talking to me about that. Um, yeah. And the other thing I wanted to say that, you know, in what you were saying a few minutes ago. You were talking about, you know, paying attention to your body, right, um, and how our mind and our body, uh, ourselves are so, um, keenly aware of what it needs. And it will communicate. They will communicate to us. It's just whether or not we are in touch enough, uh, with them to, to know it. And again, going back to my creative practice of painting, I'm not the type of painter that like sits there at an easel and like paints and stuff. I'm a, I'm a painter who stands and moves and, uh, steps back and steps forward and steps to the side. And, uh, you’ll never see it. Um, even on TikTok that I'm trying to learn right now, you'll never see me — or you probably will because I'm desperate to have TikTok people, but — uh, dance around. Like I will dance. I'm not graceful, but I will dance around, right? And what I'm saying is I think to be more in touch with our bodies, we have to actually like use our bodies, right? Um... 

Jennifer Agee: Kinesthetic part of, of connecting the mind and the body through movement is- You are hitting the nail on the head. I think that's a really important part. How many times have you gone for a walk, and you get the solution, right? Just through movement, that bilateral stimulation even, like your brain and your body want to help you. We just need to slow the F down sometimes enough to get out of its way and go, all right, I'm, I'm trusting you're working together for my good, so like, can you just sort this out and gimme some answers? Um, I'm just gonna be still for a minute, or I'll be quiet for a minute, and let's go for a walk, and can you just download me with some, what I need to do here? And a lot of times answers come. 

TJ Walsh: Yeah, for sure. And we're, so we're such disembodied heads, right? We're these floating heads that, you know, just, you know, happen to, like, be somehow loosely connected to this body. Um, you know, that's so much of our- I think our problem in the west, as far as mental healthcare goes and physical healthcare and how they're separated, you know, and, and then how our creativity is even separate from that, so like our soul and our be- and our being the other part of us. Um, we need to integrate all of those things in order to really be a whole person, which I, it's a lot of what we do as therapists, right? Um, and, um, you know, we need to allow that to happen for ourselves.

Jennifer Agee: Yeah, that old saying, physician heal thyself, right? We've gotta do our own work. TJ, I've really enjoyed talking to you, speaking with you, and I'm thankful that you came on. Tell people how they can connect with you. 

TJ Walsh: Sure. So, there's a, there's a bunch of ways that people can connect with me. I'm very, very present on social media. Um, so the ways that you can connect with me, if you are a therapist who is an artist or an artist who happens to be a therapist, uh, and you wanna get some help with your creativity and your art, you can go to tjwalshcoaching.com and find out what I have going on over there. Um, I don't know when this episode is dropping, probably not before this happens, but I will be running it again. It's called, Mindfulness Mindset and Mapping Your Story. Uh, right now it's going to be, uh, it's a workshop, a two, two-part workshop where people, uh, really can get in touch with, you know, their artist self, and how can we be vulnerable with ourselves. You get in touch with that artist self so that we can bring it to, uh, all of the other places in our lives that we, that we have going on. Um, if you wanna learn more about my private practice, you go to tjwalshtherapy.com. And you can learn about my private practice there, or connect with me on Facebook. I'm under Timothy Walsh there, and there's 8,000 of us, but you will find me. 

Jennifer Agee: And I'll provide your links below as well.

TJ Walsh: Cool. 

Jennifer Agee: So, um, if you wanna connect more with the podcast or with me, counselingcommunity.com. You can also find me and the practice information about retreats, coaching, trainings that are coming up on Facebook, Instagram, and ugh, lord, I'm dipping my toe in TikTok too, and it is a hot mess, but, um... 

TJ Walsh: It is scary. I said I wouldn't do it. 

Jennifer Agee: I know me too. And here we are here, we are doing it. All right. So as, uh, as we leave, some parting words, I want you to be willing to Etch A Sketch your life if it's not working for you. Figure out what does work and make that happen. Life is too short to live it miserable. So, get out there and live your best dang life. Thanks for listening.