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

Episode 27: Relentless Empathy in the Therapeutic Relationship featuring Dr. Belle

October 19, 2022 Jennifer Agee, LCPC Season 1 Episode 27
Sh*t You Wish You Learned in Grad School with Jennifer Agee, LCPC
Episode 27: Relentless Empathy in the Therapeutic Relationship featuring Dr. Belle
Show Notes Transcript

Dr. Belle and I dig into what it takes to have relentless empathy in the therapeutic relationship. With some clients, empathy comes easily and others challenge our ability to maintain compassion. Dr. Belle and I have an open and honest discussion about working with clients the world defines as “difficult”. 

Dr. Belle is also a well known business and executive success coach, helping therapists, entrepreneurs and leaders reach their full potential in business and relationships. In addition to her private practice, Dr. Belle is President and Director of the Southern Nevada Community for Emotionally Focused Therapy, helping to train & supervise local therapists in excellence in EFT, the Gold Standard of Couples counseling.

Dr. Belle has authored two books, the most recent being, Using Relentless Empathy in Therapeutic Relationships, Connecting with Challenging and Difficult Clients.



Jennifer Agee: Hello. Hello. And welcome to Sh*t You Wish You Learned in Grad School. I am your host, Jennifer Agee, licensed clinical professional counselor. And with me today is Dr. Anabelle Bugatti, also known as Dr. Belle. Anabelle is in the Las Vegas area. She specializes in EFT and training other therapists and clinicians on how to use emotionally-focused therapy. She also is a business coach, an executive success coach helping therapists, entrepreneurs and leaders reach their full potential both in business and in relationships. So welcome to the show.

Dr. Belle:
Thank you for having me.

Jennifer Agee: Yeah. Well, thank you for coming on. So, tell me what is something that you wish you learned in grad school?

Dr. Belle: Gosh. And this is such a wonderful topic because there really is so much, and I'm super passionate about especially letting interns and associates know that you can really make a success out of things before you get your license. And so along that passion of Sh*t You Wish You Learned in Grad School, one of the things comes from my book which is really-- the whole book is a self of the therapist book. And it is about the use of self in session. And for those of you that don't know or aren't familiar with my book, my book is called Using Relentless Empathy in the Therapeutic Relationship: Connecting with Challenging and Resistant Clients. And in grad school, they teach us a lot about neutrality and sort of almost like keeping a distance. And I do understand for good reason because you want to make sure your own stuff doesn't come forward and impede the therapeutic process. And at the same time, what they really didn't teach us is that you, the person, as the therapist, are the most powerful instrument in the room. And that's such an important piece. And when we can do our own work and be really healthy and recognize the power of use of self, then we really are able to harness that power for the benefit of the therapeutic alliance, especially when it comes to the types of clients that therapists find particularly more challenging to work with.

Jennifer Agee: Yeah. And I think that's an excellent point. What they're teaching in grad school does not necessarily-- it's not necessarily in alignment with what's happening in the therapy room itself. I think what therapists have found is it's no longer better for a client for us to be truly a blank slate, right? We are not Tabula rasa. Most of our clients have looked us up before they've seen us. They've probably even seen you in your swimsuit on somebody who tagged you in something and didn't mark it as private, right? So, this illusion that, now, we're some great mystery that is a blank slate that then they just project everything upon, those days are really gone. And coming into authenticity and being in the room rings truer for health and healing for most of the clients that we work with, being appropriate with the sharing, of course. But pretending who we are isn't a part of that process as we work together, it really was always an illusion.

Dr. Belle: Yeah. And I love that point too. And really, it comes out of sort of the early roots of psychotherapy when the first actual psychotherapists were psychoanalysts. And so, for them, it felt important to be that blank slate where they didn't, again, kind of interfere with what was going on with the client in their process, so that they really could project things onto us. And that was before they would be up close. I think Adler, who was a pupil of Freud, was the one who actually got us out from behind the desk and sitting on a couch, whereas with Freud was keeping this distance. And he was the father of psychoanalysis. And we've come so much further than that. And we understand humans and how the mind works, how our neurology works and how we are social relational creatures. And so that we really can't be neutral even if we try, not to say that we shouldn't try. I think the crux of it is important is that we want to make sure our stuff does not impede. And that's part of what I talk about in my book is how to work through your stuff so that it doesn't impede, so that you can be an authentic congruent vessel through which emotion, through which empathy can flow. And if we struggle with our own stuff, our own stuff will also hold up the process.

Jennifer Agee: Yes, absolutely, absolutely. So, what inspired you to write the book?

Dr. Belle: So, I spend a lot of time really listening to other therapists in their chatter and what they talk about. And I started seeing on social media this rise of even more pop psychology in the armchair psychologists, people who aren't even psychologists or therapists, writing blog articles and memes and sharing a lot of things on social media that felt really hurtful. And kind of the antithesis to our field, as psychotherapists, is that we're in the business of change. We are the keepers of hope even when something may feel or appear hopeless. And so, I would see therapists and non-therapists-- and not everybody. Just I started to notice this trend where there would be a lot of articles going around like, Seven Signs You're Dating a Narcissist or how to identify if you're in a relationship with someone with borderline personality disorders. A lot of these memes that were aimed at judgment, pathology and the tone of the pieces being shared or written was, basically, that these people were beyond hope for change or didn't deserve to be in a relationship, didn't deserve to be loved, or that their pain had no validity. And then these people would get kind of passed off. And I would even have clients that would come into session saying, "My previous therapist said my partner was a narcissist, and I should leave them," which is super unethical by the way.

Jennifer Agee: Oh, wow. Yeah. Yeah. I think we've all heard those stories, though, more than once.

Dr. Belle: And it happens more often than we think, which really, really touches my heart. Because I'm thinking if we write these people off as beyond change, if they can't come to the therapist for hope for change, then what hope do they have? Because this is our job.

Jennifer Agee: Yes. That's a great point. Yeah. We do try to hold up for our clients even when they can't hold it for themselves sometimes. That is an important role that we do sometimes play. And you're also tapping into something that I've definitely seen through my clinical supervision or coaching of other therapists, which is we all have clients that we work better with than others. And that's just a fact, Jack, based on our personality and their personalities. Some work better than others. But there's a lot of, "Oh, I do not work with this type of therapist," right, or a client, insert diagnosis here. I hear borderline personality disorder mentioned the most, I would say, in terms of, "I just don't work with those clients." And what you're bringing up is if this sense of judgment is already out there coming from the therapeutic community, how much harder does it even make that client to reach out for services or trust that we can hang with them as they work through these very difficult and complex feelings?

Dr. Belle: And what's so good about what you said, too, is that passing them off ends up reinforcing the very feelings that create the symptoms that we would diagnose as borderline or narcissism. So, if somebody turns to you and says, "You're beyond hope," because you have x, y, z label, then what is that going to do to your heart and your feeling? And then we end up doing that to the clients. And we want to say that it's client blocks. But really, it's not a client block. It's a therapist block. And a lot of times, with supervisees, with therapists that I work with, sometimes they're saying, "This client brings up too many of my own unhealed wounds, and I'm not ready to heal my wounds," or "I just don't want to work that hard," right, "This client challenges me in ways that I'm not willing or ready to grow yet." And we kind of think about ourselves. And we don't really think about the impact that has on the client who is hearing, "You don't deserve to be loved. You don't deserve to be heard." You may be doing something that's toxic or hurtful or maladaptive, as we like to hear. But we're saying, "You don't deserve a second chance," or "There's no hope for you to be different. So, everybody in your life should just leave you, including the therapist."

Jennifer Agee: Both of the points that you made were excellent. And the first one being clients do touch on our own crap, right, and especially some of these clients where their wounding is almost palpable. We've all sat with clients before where you can feel their need of you coming off of them, right. What parts of you come up for me when I'm with certain clients. It's my extremely strong maternal protector part. And that's when I usually always-- certain diagnoses make me feel certain types of ways when I'm with clients. And a lot of times, if my really strong maternal nurturing parts are really getting engaged, I also know that this is a client that even though I'm not going to refer them elsewhere, I can't have too many of them on my caseload at any one point in time for my own balance of energy. And so, I try to be careful with how I edit my profiles and different things to make sure I'm attracting enough of a variety that my system doesn't necessarily get drained either. So, I think it's okay to both honor the fact that we don't want to abandon clients and reinforce something negative. But as a therapist, you can be proactive, and try and balance your caseload so that you're also maintaining your own healthy energy balance when you're with clients.

Dr. Belle: Yes, of course, because the more challenging clients are just going to take a little bit more energy. We do have to work a little bit harder. Part of my book is helping the therapist work within their own window of tolerance and how to even understand their own window of tolerance. And you can think of that as like your gas tank. Basically, you want to work within the gas that's in your tank and not be running on fumes. And so, by offering a framework that kind of reframes how we think of more challenging and resisting clients in a more humanistic way can help us feel less drudgery, feel less energy being poured out. You still need to understand. As I've become a lot more advanced in just my specialty, emotionally-focused therapy-- and I'm super, super highly specialized. I trained so much. I'm the president of our local community chapter. I help supervise and lead the local community. And I'm the highest trained at what I do just in my area. So, a lot of the therapists who are newer, or they are maybe outside of EFT, they want to send their clients to someone who is going to be the best of the best. So that means I'm getting the harder clients, the ones that stick around longer, the ones with more trauma, the more reactive couples. And so, I know if I have a highly escalated couple, it's the last one on my caseload. And it's probably going to ratchet up my nervous system. And I'm going to go home with a lot of noise in my head. And it's going to take me a lot longer for my nervous system to come down. So, I may schedule them more early in my day. So then maybe I end with an individual client that I know is going to help my nervous system kind of come down off of that. But part of what also helps buffer that is just getting highly trained in whatever model that you use. And again, really making sure that we've done our own work so that we can really be with the client so that when we have a therapeutic relationship where somebody seems more difficult, we're able to be with them more empathically. It doesn't feel like as much of a drain on us. It doesn't make us work as hard.

Jennifer Agee:
Yeah. That work is hard. This is the second time you mentioned that idea that, sometimes, therapists just don't want to work that hard because, certain clients, they make you work for your money for sure, yeah. [laughter]

Dr. Belle: Absolutely. Especially with couples where you have to build alliance with not just one person, but two people, and two people who have two different truths. That's why I really love EFT as we really honed the art of bringing two truths together and making space for both and to where it's not competing with each other, where it has to be one or the other. It's how can we bring both alongside each other and hold space for both? But it does take a lot of training, a lot of energy, to get there. And again, I know that when I lose empathy, if their blocks-- they're just better at their blocks than I am at my empathy. Then I know that my nervous system is starting to get ratcheted up, and I'm expending more energy. So, I just know that finding that channel for empathy-- and again, empathy does not mean saying whatever reactive or hurtful behavior they're doing is okay. It's nowhere near the same thing. What I'm saying is that if a client feels judged, right, then their defenses and their walls and protections are going to go up. And the likelihood of getting underneath those where we need change to happen is going to go way down. So, if we can sort of see the humanity underneath that's driving the reactive behavior, then, A, that helps our heart from cranking the wheels too hard to where we're not working quite as hard just to be with that person and build alliance. We may still be working harder than our clients who just kind of follow the therapy script. That's what I like to say, "They played along with the script. It just flowed, and it was perfect," as if I had scripted it in a Hollywood movie. But the ones that have more blocks, if we're able to hold on to that empathy, it's a lot easier for us to not work as hard. And it's very disarming for the client, right?

Jennifer Agee:

Dr. Belle: It's not saying that what they're doing is okay. But if you try to go through that front door and you say, "You're a toxic abuser," do you think they're going to say, "Well, thank you. My life is so different. And I'm going to change my behavior because you said that." Probably not. They're going to feel super judged, and their defensive system is going to come on line. They're going to start defending themself. So, we can access the hurt human being who's underneath. It's like finding a back window. And then we can get into that place, and say, "I see that there's a hurting person underneath there," who has really good reasons to feel what they feel. And then when you feel what you feel, this is what you do. And then when you do what you do, how does that impact others around you? And then does that bring you closer towards the thing that you want, or get you farther away? So, we start to see the dilemma. But we've come in through a place of non-judgment, and it's so much easier for their defenses to go down. And it makes an otherwise intolerable or harder-to-tolerate interaction much more tolerable and, sometimes, even more fulfilling and enjoyable to see that transformation happen.

Jennifer Agee:
Absolutely. One of the techniques that I use when I'm finding that I'm finding myself frustrated in a session, or that I do find my empathy, is going where I'm wanting to go more into problem-solving mode or those kinds of things because I work more from an inner-child lens. I mean, all of these things, really, we kind of blend together nicely. We have different vehicles to get there. But I do try to picture them as a child. Where is that small child within them that's throwing the tantrum in order to be seen or that's manipulating in order to have their emotional needs met. And it helps me to keep my compassion if I think about the fact that it's not their wise adult mind who's really driving the ship when there's a lot of reactivity going on. It's usually a hurt other part of self that's driving the ship and doing whatever it can to get their needs met in whatever way has ever worked for them before in the past.

Dr. Belle: Yeah. And really, reactivity is just a human thing in general. It's not just like a child throwing a temper tantrum. It's not just a person misbehaving. I love what you said, and that hits on the heart of attachment, is our earliest relationships are our foundation. They're our blueprint for all the other relationships in the world. And whatever strategies do or don't work becomes our template. So even as adults, it hurts. Science is very clear that when the human brain experiences rejection, it encodes that as a danger signal and a pain response. Our brain actually encodes that viscerally the same as being stabbed. That's how painful that is. So of course, people are going to get reactive. And if they're not feeling heard, pain demands to be felt. The word emotion comes from the Latin word, emovere, which means to move out. So, if we don't give it that chance, it has to fight harder and protest harder, so recognizing—I love what you said—that there's this part of this person who's really hurting, right, that learns that this is the only way I can get my point across even though it doesn't always bode well for relationships. Sometimes, it's just the one strategy I've learned like a one-note samba, right? And it's their survival strategy, and it helps them survive the night. And so, it reinforces itself over time in some ways until it becomes-- I kind of say it's where surviving and thriving clash together, right, where this strategy helped them survive. But now, they're at a point where they're trying to thrive, and the lack of thriving is also causing them to no longer survive. That strategy that used to work is no longer working for them. And so, we got to help them see that by meeting them in that place and having that heart. I love what you said about really seeing that there's this hurt part of themselves underneath that really is just trying to be heard and understood. Really, it kind of just changes your heart stance, right? Empathy is a heart stance. A lot of it has to do with our own relationship with emotions. And society has taught us pump the brakes on emotions. Emotions are bad. Really, we're talking about reactive behavior, not emotions. And people get those two entangled. And when we can sort of separate, "Hey, there's a difference between angry feelings and angry behavior," then we can start to see, yeah, emotions are actually good. They're pain signals. It's just data points, right, when we can kind of pull out the data. What is the information the emotion is trying to teach us? Then we can help people feel empowered to do something else with that information. So, it really can be helpful. And we don't want to get-- we get too blocked by the behavior that we failed to see the legitimacy of the painful emotion driving it.

Jennifer Agee: And that, I love "you failed to see the legitimacy of the painful emotion driving it" because what comes up for a lot of us, if we're honest, when we feel the manipulation that sometimes comes with these more difficult clients is an automatic shutdown internally of not wanting to give them what they're trying to manipulatively receive from us or take from us or however you want to say that. And rather or not, you're consciously aware of it. Watch your energy when you're with some of these clients. Watch what's coming up in you because I know that's one of the first things. I'm highly sensitive to manipulation. I think it's part of being Gen X. We generally just don't trust anyone to really have our best interests [laughter] at heart anyway, but.

Dr. Belle: [inaudible]. But people who manipulate also don't trust others to have their best interests. That's why they've had to resort to manipulation, right?

Jennifer Agee: Yeah. That's right. Absolutely. But notice what's coming up with you. And if you find that you are not wanting to give them, really, the one thing that their system is craving from you, pay attention to the dance of that dynamic in the room as well.

Dr. Belle: Yes. And that's what it boils back down to, is how does what happened in the room affect you internally? And then whatever happens to you, how does that fuel back into sort of the dance between you and the client? What's happening? And if you have a avoidant relationship with emotions, it's going to be hard to do empathy really well. Because empathy, it's not just a feeling. It's an emotional muscle memory, right? It's being able to channel a part of you that remembers what it's like to feel a certain way. You've probably not gone through the same situation that client has gone through, or you're not acting it out in the same way that they are. But it's really not-- that's like a smoke screen. Go underneath to the emotion. What is the emotion really saying? Maybe this person is feeling humiliated or unloved or not a sense of belonging. So, empathy would be channeling any muscle memory that remembers what it's like to feel that way and how bad it felt and the things you might have resorted to doing. Some human beings will respond similarly. Others may have different responses to the same stimulus. Some will go away. Some will move towards. So just because your stance might be different, it's all about can my nervous system remember how awful that feels, what it's like, and maybe even the desperation depending on how deep that wound is, where I might have found myself. I mean, who has not reacted in a way that was different than how their character would have chosen had it really been in the right frame of mind, right? How many of us have ever cut somebody else down or said something hurtful when we were really hurt? It doesn't mean that we're really bad people. But we've all been there, you know.

Jennifer Agee: Yeah. We're human. And even that old saying, "Hurt people hurt people," right? And so, we all have been reactive before when those buttons get pushed. It's just being human.

Dr. Belle: Yeah, so just being able to get curious about yourself. Get curious about your client. And when you can-- I kind of see us as echo chambers, or I think of the concept of refraction with light. We allow the emotion to come to us and channel through us but back out to the other person. Because empathy is a pro-relationship-building behavior. It's in service of a relationship. It's not about us. And there's a huge difference between being an empath and having empathy.

Jennifer Agee: Tell me a little more about that.

Dr. Belle:
Something I talk about in my book. So being an empath just means you're really sensitive to the energy of people around you. You're able to really pick it up. And a lot of times you own it as your responsibility which, when you absorb other people's emotion, is your own responsibility. It becomes yours. It is no longer theirs, and it is no longer about them. That is not having empathy. That's just owning their emotions, right, being sensitive to their emotions. Having empathy means I can channel what it's like viscerally in my own body, in my own heart, in my own experience, what it's like to be in that place. And I can offer you the deepest form of understanding that a human can possibly have for this experience. And I'm just going to meet you in that place and helping you find another way.

Jennifer Agee: The phrase holding space for a client really comes to mind when you're talking about that, right? The goal is not for us to take on whatever's going on with them, but to hold space where it becomes a safe place to be able to fully express whatever that is and to know that you can be met with compassion for whatever they're bringing into the room.

Dr. Belle: Yeah. And so, sort of the reframes I offer in my book is just a way to help therapists think about the kinds of clients or dynamics that might challenge their heart, and trigger their own issues, and help them find a way to work through it to find any ground you can to have empathy for someone rather than getting hijacked into your own stuff. And you mentioned the maternal instinct that comes out. And I find some of my clients, they may work with a couple where one partner is an alcoholic. And it brings up, "Oh, I had an alcoholic parent." And so, my challenge to them would be like, "So if your alcoholic parent would have chosen therapy, wouldn't that have been a good thing?" And they're like, "Well, yeah." So, here's the chance. Maybe your parent didn't choose therapy, but this person is. So, here's an access point where this client is saying, "Yeah, I'm an alcoholic. But something in my life needs to change. That's why I'm here, even if I'm not fully ready to acknowledge all the ways that I need to change." And if you could have been that person who climbed inside the mind, inside the heart of your alcoholic family member, wouldn't you love the opportunity to do that? Well, if you send them away, you don't get the opportunity to do that. And sometimes, finding your way into these can really help you heal some of those wounds within your own family because it offers a front row chair, a front row seat, an insight to something you never got to learn about before.

Jennifer Agee: When you are working with clients that maybe are a little more challenging for you, are there any additional boundaries or awarenesses that you think therapists would be wise to have?

Dr. Belle: I think, first and foremost, is know thyself. And when I see a client that challenges me, I pay attention, and I notice when it comes up. And I don't allow myself to get hijacked by it. I actually take it as a personal challenge to allow this person to stretch me. I say this person is showing me where the limits of my empathy are at in this moment. And I need to learn. And this client is going to teach me how to have more empathy. And in my book, I do talk about how to, instead of absorb clients emotions, how to become more of that echo chamber. I call it the sponge versus the mirror where we want a more mirror. Again, allowing it to come through us, to us and through us, but bounce back off to them rather than a sponge who absorbs it and feels weighed down by it. Because really, when you do get weighed down, you're not your best self. You're not going to be your best self for your clients. You are going to feel far more taxed. And you're going to come home, and it's going to be harder for you to be present and available for your family who might need you. We don't stop being spouses or significant others or parents or siblings just because we're a therapist, right?

Jennifer Agee: That's right.

Dr. Belle: We're tapped out because we are in a job where people need us constantly. We're professional caretakers. And we're bled dry, then there's nothing left in the tank for those who are actually most important to us, the ones that we love.

Jennifer Agee: Yeah. And I mean, statistics would show the highest boundary violations come when therapists are experiencing burnout themselves. So that self-care component is important, period, but especially if you're going to be working with clients who do have more of an emotional need of you in the room. Making sure that you are doing your self-care is going to be the number one way that you can not only be great with your client in the room, but also continue to be fully present with yourself and with your loved ones outside of session.

Dr. Belle:
Yes. And I find when it comes to self-care, I think the biggest problem is in therapists’ own blocks to realistically doing self-care, which means a lot of therapists not doing the self of the therapist work. What are my own blocks to working on the inside to noticing where is my highest energy expenditure with clients? And is it certain types of clients, and do I just end up sending them out, or am I actually doing the work? Because sending them out can create avoidance, right? Now, I'm not saying that you should take on someone who's outside of your scope. I think you definitely need to work on getting trained and knowing where your limits are at the same time. Is this a difference between, "I'm going to harm them more because they're not my skill set," versus, "I just don't want to grow, and I'm avoiding. And sending the clients out is causing me to stay in that place of avoidance rather than doing my own work." And again, working within our own window of tolerance, for a lot of therapists, they know that they're not working in their window of tolerance. And they kind of go into what I call symptom reduction which, really, if you're not treating the underlying disease, you can keep chasing symptoms forever. But the disease is just going to keep growing, right?

Jennifer Agee: Absolutely.

Dr. Belle: I have a lot of therapists who they're like, "Okay, I'll do 10 minutes of meditation before I go into the office." And then they run out of their window of tolerance and wonder why they're still feeling exhausted and burned out. I'm like, "Well, imagine a cup of water that's full with water." And you take a straw, and you dip it into the cup. And you just put your finger on the edge and take a straw amount size out. Guess what? Yeah, you just took a little bit out, but your cup is still full. You need to work within your window of tolerance. We weren't designed to run at that rate. And you can meditate all you want or take a two-week vacation, but if you're not working within your window of tolerance, those aren't going to have the therapeutic impact that they need to have to help buffer that energy and keep it in the tank.

Jennifer Agee: Yeah. And going back to-- you've got to pay attention to who you are as a therapist. What do you need to know about yourself in order to know when to say yes, when to say no, what a well-balanced caseload looks like for you? When you do find that you are able to have empathy more easily, what parts are more difficult? And can I challenge myself or look at that as areas for growth? But getting to know yourself and being honest about that is going to be one of the greatest blessings you can give to yourself, and then, of course, doing the good self-care as well. But I love talking about just using our empathy with clients instead of our judgment. Because some of the behaviors that these clients come in with aren't easy to judge. They could be so easy to judge if we're honest, and we-- stepping back and trying to look at them as their whole person, the whole part of self, too, the child that was mistreated, the teen who was rejected, the adult who feels overlooked. Seeing them as a whole person allows us to have more empathy, I think, for those clients.

Dr. Belle: Absolutely. Beautifully, beautifully said.

Jennifer Agee:
Thank you so much for coming on today. How can people connect with you? And I'll put your link to the book and everything below, but how can people connect with you?

Dr. Belle:
Absolutely. So, you guys can find my book on Amazon, Using Relentless Empathy in the Therapeutic Relationship. You can look up Anabelle Bugatti, Bugatti like the car, or you can find me on my website. So, I have Also, is my backdrop if you're watching the video version of this. I do have a podcast and a YouTube channel for therapists called We Heart Therapy. And We Heart Therapy is now doing retreats. And I'm excited that we're going to do a therapist summer camp where we're going to--

Jennifer Agee: It's going to be so fun.

Dr. Belle: Yeah. And it's going to be some self of the therapist and self-care, really addressing blocks to self-care, and creating a safe space where we can come back together and explore compassion fatigue. Explore some of the parts about being a therapist that it doesn't always feel safe for us to talk about in other circles because people just don't get it, and creating a space for us to be able to commiserate together, get connection. Building a therapy practice, doing podcast, doing all the things that comes along with the therapist life can take on so much serious energy that we forget how to let our hair down. We forget how to play. And so, it's really a place for us to come back and really get connection, address compassion, fatigue and burnout through play and creativity and reconnecting to ourself, right. If you're feeling the burn and burnout, or maybe you're close to feeling the out and burnout. We definitely need to reconnect with ourself and remember why we got into this. You may love your clients, but if you're burned out, you may hate people temporarily. [laughter] Let's remember that we do like people. And we do love our clients, which is the truth, but just reconnecting back to that energy in an authentic way and addressing any blocks to practicing self-care. Because sometimes, the things that we need to do to really authentically be taking care of ourself presents some inconvenient truths like needing to take less clients or rearrange our schedule. And for some, they may feel that pressure of earning or income that say, "I need to prioritize that over my sanity." And then you burn out. And it's then you want to quit and become an accountant or a realtor or something else. And how good is that going to be if you quit the very thing that you paid all this money to get an advanced degree to do?

Jennifer Agee: Yeah. And if you just heard her make that comment and you chuckled, you're in good company. I don't know a single therapist who hasn't, at some point in time, googled other jobs that they can do with this degree. That's super, super normal. Well, thank you, Dr. Belle, for being on. If you'd like to connect more with me or with this podcast or with the retreats that we have coming up, You can also find us on all of the socials. I'll link those below, but get out there and live your best dang life.