The Wit & Delight Podcast

26 -Do You Need Therapy?

September 24, 2019 Wit and Delight Season 1 Episode 26
The Wit & Delight Podcast
26 -Do You Need Therapy?
Show Notes Transcript

I'm so excited to have Dr. Anna Roth here with us! As an ongoing guest, she will be providing the perspective of a licensed psychologist on topics ranging from mental health to ADHD, relationships and body image, and so much more. Today we will be discussing what it means to be a holistic therapist, how to find the right therapist, and what to expect as you begin the healing process.

More about Dr. Anna Roth:
Dr. Anna Roth is a Holistic PhD Psychologist and Registered Yoga Teacher passionate about integrative and embodied treatment approaches to mental health. She thrives at identifying root causes and providing strategic intervention that is as multidimensional as the humans she helps. Heartfelt and holistic, Dr. Roth’s method folds in the best of psychology, somatics, spirituality, mindfulness, functional medicine, and yoga to bring about deep and lasting healing. Often in therapy, mental health practitioners focus on the neck up—examining what people think, rather than what they feel. Anna advocates for a wider lens, digging into the cues people get from their mind, body and spirit to reimagine healing from a fresh perspective. She is currently working in private practice in Minneapolis and accepting new clients both in person and on-line. To learn more about her modern mental health program for women click here or check out her website for more info. 


Resources:
Website: https://www.drannaroth.com
Insta: @drannaroth
Work with Anna:  https://www.drannaroth.com/truth-tellers


Promotion:
First month free for the online program using code: W&D
$50 off the in person offering using code: W&D1

Kate:

Okay. Now for today's episode, we are having a marathon recording session with Dr. Anna Roth . I am so excited for you to be here. I think this is a long time coming for Wit and Delight in particular. Mostly because we talk a lot about mental health topics. A lot of it stems from my own personal experience and as it's become less taboo to talk about more personally I've had a lot of conversations with you, one on one about your own struggles and now that we have a professional with us, I'm hoping that I can glean a little bit more insight from someone who really understands how to use exploring your mental health and taking care of your mental health as a way to improve life in more ways than I think a lot of us can realize. So Anna , I love for you to tell us a little bit about yourself and your background and what brought you to your work today.

Dr. Anna:

Thanks Kate. And hi everybody. I am so, so excited to be here. My name is Dr. Anna Roth and I am a holistic psychologist and also a registered yoga teacher. Super, super passionate about mental health advocacy , um, but mostly about bringing mental health information to people, especially women in a way that is accessible and relatable and actionable. So that's one of the reasons I'm so pumped to be doing these podcasts is I hope that I can , use some of the information that I have both from my education and also my personal experience and you can use it to make your life easier both inside and outside.

Kate:

Therapist. I think that's a very important definition to kind of understand and our initial conversations that really I think , helped me open up to the different ways that you kind of connect your mind and your body. So I'll let you take it away.

Dr. Anna:

So to me what it means to be a holistic therapist or a holistic psychologist is it's meant to, it's not necessarily a term that's recognized in my field, but it's meant to be kind of a cue to the general public or someone who's interested in working with me that I really prioritize and emphasize seeing things holistically. What that means to me is that the way that traditional mental health works is you kind of look at things from the neck up. What are people thinking? How are they working with their thoughts? How can we reframe their narrative, things like that. But what I found in my own experience of ADD also some, you know, autoimmune stuff, chronic depression, is that I wasn't solving anything in my head and I needed to go down into my body and , and find some cues there. and that's ultimately through kind of going at it through every Avenue spiritually through the body, epigenetics, my nervous system , my microbiome, all these different places. The more places we can come at our mental health, the more true and sustainable and long lasting our healing can be in that we can learn to maintain it ourselves. That's what I strive for and that's what really excites me is how we can look at the whole picture and it's almost like this idea of functional mental health. So functional medicine is going upstream. What is the cause for all of these symptoms versus just treating the symptoms? And so I think about the same thing with mental health, but I don't just think about it in terms of the thought process. I think about it as the, the big picture and I think we're moving that direction in general.

Kate:

Yeah. And I think that's very exciting, especially when we don't know a whole lot about the brain and as someone who was in therapy for many, many, many years, we got to a point in my treatment and my evolution with her where I did have to go and look at the physical aspects of things. I have like processed my past I, there's not much left to uncover and what's left is your future and dealing with your physical manifestation. And I've realized that when I've started thinking about my feelings as physically manifesting in my body, I've realized that I'm not at all can I, those two things were not connecting. Even when I'm journaling now I have to look at a feelings wheel and like, and it's helped me identify what I'm feeling because it was like I have shame, I have like rage and I have like just tiredness and I felt joy and feeling empowered and all that. But within my negative emotions, which were coming up a lot, I couldn't decipher like the vast majority of how they were feeling. So I was like, okay , my pulse is quickening my fists are clenching, why does my jaw hurt so much? And I've realized that, okay, now we've got this new, this new way of thinking we're, we're, we're future-based in the way that we're thinking about how I'm gonna react to my feelings but then I've got this whole physical aspect of how I'm manifesting my, that I'm, I don't really have a clue how to deal with yet.

Dr. Anna:

That kind of brings to mind for me, this idea of embodiment. And a lot of times when I ask my clients initially in the beginning of our work, what are you feeling? They look up at the ceiling and they, it's like they're looking to their mind, what am I feeling? But actually our emotions are a physical experience, they are a, a body based experience and that is one of the most, I think healing things is to reconnect head to body, head to gut , and use our, that connection to kind of help us navigate the world because our body is, I think the most, one of the most valid sources of information. It doesn't lie to us and we don't listen to it so often.

Kate:

I was completely out of touch with signals of tiredness, of hunger, all the things I'm teaching my children and it's like my children have taught me so much about getting in touch with how to take care of myself because that's just the basic things you do for them. I'm like, Oh, o kay, we need a b ed t ime. And like we need, we need to like figure out how to recalibrate our signals of when I'm truly hungry or when I'm distracting. There's aspects of, I've realized that I can't because I can't rationalize with them because I can't say, Oh well this is, you know, we're going to do this. Or sometimes we have to wait. I've watched Joe and I kind of come at my t oddler's m eltdowns with reason and when I start with what he does understand, which is what he's feeling, then we can talk about how to like leaving, give him two choices to help, you know, h e'd be like, I'm angry. I was like, okay , well do we need, do you want to have some alone time or should we go and go on , you know, please do something that you like to do. And sometimes he, he knows how to make that choice and the meltdown stops. And to me, I'm like, like, Whoa, but it takes this, like it takes retraining my own brain because you just go exactly to like, Oh, if I just reason with him, like he'll figure it out and he doesn't know how to stop that feeling. So we were like, we're , missing this whole step of like connecting this feeling to an action that he's got a choice, you know? And he just feels so empowered by that. So like, do you have any tips on how we can do that for ourselves?

Dr. Anna:

I just had this conversation with a client yesterday who is asking for some parenting tips and it is the same whether it's with our children or with ourselves. And what we really want is to have our emotions , um, seen and validated before we get to any steps of action or solving or doing what we first, what tends to be the most soothing and the most kind of like ha is just like, I see it. I see you're feeling angry. I see that you're sad, that makes sense. And then moving on to the, to the next thing. We just want to be seen. Yeah.

Kate:

Do you think the fact that most of the times we don't stop to see feelings? That's kind of a reason why so many of us don't even know what to call our feelings. Absolutely (Dr. Anna). Yeah. How can y ou, can we do that? It doesn't work to do that within our, like o ur, our romantic relationships too. Cause I like, I feel like I like if I was like, Joe, I see that you're angry, he would be like, don't try to like get in my head lady or is there a way that we can kind of like, is that a way that we maybe diffuse us being triggered by what t hey're doing b y like remembering that like they're just having an emotional experience.

Dr. Anna:

Yeah. I, it's, it can be tricky because this is something that I don't believe that our parents, generations or the generations before us had the vocabulary for. They didn't have the training in it and so they couldn't necessarily train us. And with the partner for instance, I do think we don't tend to react well when people name it for us. So it's ideal if we can just ask what are you feeling? But sometimes people don't know. And so then you know, language like I could imagine you might feel blank because of this. It's kind of gently suggesting what someone might feel. A lot of things come into play tone and um, non-verbals and things like that.

Kate:

I did something and I go back to like old things that has happened in my past where it's been, you know, my fault and like I'm a bad person and what I've, what I've come to realize is that he doesn't, he's not processing the feelings as fast as I am. He's feeling like I'm just going to get my stuff done. So what I've had to do is just not say anything and like walk through what he might be going through in my head and take myself out of the equation and it's kind of hard to do and I found like, okay, now's not the time to talk about this because I know it just adds more stress onto his plate because he's someone who likes everyone to be happy. So then if he feels like, and I don't want to like project his feeling, you know, like the , that I, that he can't handle his own emotions, which I'm definitely kind of doing here. But I realized like if I can just be okay with him not being okay, we get over these things so much faster and then we can talk about it when he's feeling better. Like last week he was super stressed out and I was kind of like getting the , the brunt of it . He was kind of being short with me and I'm like, you wanna know what I'm to , I'm not going to take it personally by the end of the weekend. He was, man, this week was awful. Thank you so much for like sticking with me and I'm sorry I was so short and I was like, wow, like just being quiet did so much. It was so hard for me to do it. So yeah, I mean that might also might be something that you kind of have to find out how to do and I think that that's a very, it seems like a very advanced thing. I know it felt very uncomfortable, but knowing that that was the best thing for our relationship, definitely like validated that I can do it again in the future.

Dr. Anna:

Well, I imagine that you were really working against this gravitational pull that so many people feel, especially women, which is that we are responsible for other people's feelings. And if they are uncomfortable, we need to act. We need to do something to make it better. We need to do something to fix it.

Kate:

Let's talk it out right now. You cannot leave this house until I know that we're okay.

Dr. Anna:

Right and that I think that that can, you know, talk about that more in a , another episode too , but , um, that can result in like feeling uncomfortable a lot of the time when you feel like you're responsible for other people's feelings. So what I hear is you're just really let him have his process. You kind of witnessed it and you let him come to you when he was ready.

Kate:

yeah. And that was hard. That was really hard. But, you know, and then I looked at the kids and I'm like, well, you know, I know when I'm having a hard time, I use my energy to make it as normal as possible for my children. You know? And, and that's just, that's me being a parent, not, you know, I don't need them to be perfect for my day to get better, you know, and really trying to not put that burden on them, but then when I, then when it's just Joe and I, I'm so tired and I'm like, I don't have the emotional energy to like put on a happy face and like I crave to be able to be seen exactly who I am in that situation and I know that's been hard for him to , to kind of just witness that. And, and I know that I feel respected when I'm given the time and space and you know, he's kind of, we had this conversation in the car about he's turning 35 I turned 35 last year and I'm like, he's kind of signaling that he wanted to talk about it. He's like, and so I'm like, Oh yeah, you know, how are you feeling? And I was like, yeah, you didn't really ask me about it. And he goes Kate I know you'll give me a signal if it's something you want to talk about. And at first I was like, well, I want you to ask me about it. But then I remember sitting at dinner and being like, the last thing I want to talk about. And he was so right, you know? And it was like, Oh yeah. I'm like, I was kind of projecting this, like needing to connect with him at that moment with something in the past. Like it's just interesting how, how you remember things can shift based on how you're feeling right now. And that's what's so interesting about being more future focused or like focusing on what you're doing right now versus comparing how things are now versus how they were in the past. Because I don't think we remember it all that accurately. No . Yeah, that's a good, that's, I mean, that's helpful. Do you work with couples often?

Dr. Anna:

Y ou k now, I don't, I don't, I do, u m, more individual work, but I sometimes, actually I saw a couple this week. Sometimes I will. And I , I do talk with people a lot about their marriages and their partnerships and how to navigate that. U m, i t just never something I've really done.

Kate:

Yeah. Yeah. How , um, how often do you see people like, let's , okay , so this is a good, a good segue. There are a lot of questions about how to find the right therapist, but I think that even before finding the right therapist, figuring out when did to go see someone, what are the signs? What are the signs that therapy is something that is right for where you're at right now. Can you just help help us kind of figure out when the optimal time is, you know, I'm sure there's no optimal time, but that whole process, I know mine was about hitting rock bottom, so it was like, okay, we have no other choice. This is the thing you're doing, but it doesn't have to be that way for everyone. Yeah .

Dr. Anna:

Yeah. It'd be ideal if that wasn't the case. Research says that most people go to therapy after it's gotten horribly bad and it's gotten just a little bit better. So that they have enough energy to get themselves into the therapy door and to find the person and to do all the things. So that's typically the time when people seek it out. And that's hard. That energy. Right? (Kate) It's hard. Yeah . That's the, that's the number one thing I want to say and when I think about telling people now about finding a therapist is it's not like going to the doctor, the medical doctor in general. You go to a medical doctor, you can be pretty assured that most of them are basically trained essentially the same way. And when it comes to therapists, there are thousands of different theoretical orientations. That means thousands of different ways. Therapist may have to view your concern. So that interfaces with their personality and like that can just mean like everyone is so different. So you really, unfortunately, and fortunately depending on how you look at it, you need to do work to find the right fit. This isn't just like going into a primary care, you know, do I have strep throat or not? This is basically like how long would it take you potentially to find your best friend or your greatest confidant or someone who is this suburb mentor to you in your life. That can take time. And unfortunately I hear people saying a lot, they'll go to a therapist, they have a bad experience and they think therapy's bad or they think it's not going to work for them so they never go again. That was one person. Maybe it was just a bad day that that therapist had. I mean who knows? There's so many factors, but it can be, it can be a completely transformative, incredible experience. If you find the right person and you commit and you're willing to work at it. So don't give up and you've got, you really got to fight to find the right person. Interview, I would say interview people. So that's a thing you can do. You can ask to have a conversation, ask to have a free 20 minute consultation, get a feel for their vibe. You also need to do the, unfortunately the annoying work of figuring out the insurance piece. If that is something that you want to go with, that's a whole, we could do a whole episode just on insurance.

Kate:

Do you have any suggestions for, for how it should feel? I mean it's obviously very different per individual, but when you click with the right therapist, because I, I knew when my therapist challenged me on things that I felt that were like, it was very much my ego. I was like, my relationship should be this I am this. And they were like, if he was like, okay, now why do you feel that you are entitled to that. And it just like, I can see in a lot of ways if I was in a different, if I, if I took criticism differently or if I didn't like constructive criticism, I would have been like, alright , see you later. But that was the best part of our relationship was that she can check me on thoughts that were really not who I was. It was kind of as protective side of myself that was like about who I thought I needed to be in order to feel safe. So do you have any advice on like, should it be uncomfortable? How should you feel in moments of like having hard converts ? Like how does that look? Some people think, you know, I hated the experience, but sometimes that discomfort might be a sign that you're with the right person.

Dr. Anna:

Really good question. I think that there's a very key difference between discomfort and, Ooh , I think they're onto something. And discomfort of, Ugh, that didn't feel good. I feel bad leaving. I feel , um , I don't feel seen. I don't feel heard. I feel less hopeful about my future in general, I think it's a gut feeling of this, this feels good for me or this doesn't. In general too, I think you should, you should have a sense that you are making progress. Different people, different therapists have different styles, but I, and we want different things. But like I think sometimes , um, therapists can have a style where they do just kind of sit and listen. And I personally have the belief that , um, if we just show up and talk at somebody, we can do that for years and nothing could change. So I think a little bit of challenge and active engagement on the part of a therapist is important. That is what you are paying them for. You are making all these sacrifices and your time and your resources. I look for somebody who is really with me really present really engaged kind of trying to help me shake things up. But we all have our different preferences on like how it feels interpersonally. But those are some, some general benchmarks I would say.

Kate:

And have you had clients that you've realized that just have shown up at ? They are not quite ready to do the work. Yeah (dr. Anna) And what are some signs that they're not quite ready?

Dr. Anna:

it can be hard to predict. Um, but I think that it's in general , um, someone, you know, they just keep coming or they don't, they get spooked. And they, you know, they're just not ready and it's, it's not even necessarily always a conscious process. I think it can be kind of reflexive . Like, Oh , I didn't like that. I didn't like feeling that I'm not coming back.

Kate:

Yeah. Yeah. And I'm not ready to feel that. Yeah. I mean , I remember there were, there were my ADD, actually it was brought up in some of my first sessions and I was like, come on, like even though it was like the writing was like so clear and it took a year and for me to come back and be like, so remember when you said that I think I'm ready to go speak to the specialist. And um, and that's really was like, I was not ready to face that part of the equation yet. And, I think that, that, that's okay . And some of us will need therapy longer than others. You know, I think that I have this , this friend who, she's never seen a therapist but she, you know, she's gone through a lot of really intense stuff and I asked her, I'm like, how do you deal with this? And she goes by , I spend a lot of time with myself, like reflecting on why I did that. What could it have meant? What do I need? And I'm like, Oh my gosh you naturally do that. Like some people can naturally work through it. I would just go drink and shop and like, you know, get married and then get divorced, you know ? But like I had no clue how to do that. So how do you know when you're ready to graduate? Or is it something that you suggest or is it sort of, is it a self realization? Like when you're ready to be done with therapy?

Dr. Anna:

I'll start with how do you know you need to do therapy and then how do you know it's time to end. Because there are a lot of ways to heal. Their therapy is not the only way. Some people find their healing through music or through art or through, you know, their friendships. I mean, there's so many ways. So that's one thing is like you don't even have to do therapy. It's not like it's the only way but I think some, some ways that you know is that you are not functioning in several areas of life. Like you're finding it hard. Your work performance is suffering your hygiene. It's like you're not taking care of that as well. You're, you're starting to get like comments from friends and family, people are starting to feel concerned about you. You have done everything you know how to do to make it better. You've exhausted all of your options and things continue to get worse, whether it's your depression or your drinking or whatever it is and a big, big red flag is if you're having thoughts about wanting to die , that's, and then, you know, it's definitely time to, to see someone. Those are kind of some of the benchmarks for mental health. And how do you know when you're done? I think people just generallly, you kind of know, you're like, okay , the reasons I came in, I know how to manage them now I'm ready to try some of this out on my own. And that's kind of an intuitive process too .

Kate:

Yeah. I found that when I knew I was ready to graduate or what not , I mean I was, I was doing it more to practice my new way of thinking about some of my problems and it was a lot about, I did a couple sessions where it was about, you know, validation or it was like once a quarter I called my therapist up when I got pregnant both times, you know, and just was like, all right , I know some of these things might get, you know, kind of flared up. I didn't want to have kids before therapy. Having them was like a big shift in understanding what I wanted out of life. So I, yeah, that's when I realized, I was like, Oh. And I asked her , I felt like she was more of a business mentor at some point where she was kind of helping me through some things that I knew that I needed to, I think, you know, find someone with a different set of skills, you know, to get there. And it , it started to feel more like she was another mother figure, you know? And I'm like, Oh yeah, this doesn't feel so much like a, like a, like a patient relationship, you know? And I think that that was, that was one of the reasons why I was like, okay , I think it's, you know, you always can have them in your back pocket. You know, you might not be on the roster, but I know with , at least with my therapist, I said, Hey, can I like schedule time with you if I feel like I need it? And she said, you bet.

Dr. Anna:

That tends to happen for me too, that the work will start maybe in a more intense place, but then as things resolve, it'll turn into more like business coaching or entrepreneurial coaching or it'll go into two different areas. So that's, that's kind of fun.

Kate:

Yeah, that's great. Yeah . And what is, what do you , what's like the typical length that you usually see patients? I know that people are going to have , there's , there's not a definitive answer, but I know there are people who are going to kind of wonder how long will this, will I be going through this emotional, you know?

Dr. Anna:

Yeah. It, you know, it really does depend on, it depends on what your goal is. It depends on what you're bringing in. I have people who can kind of wrap up what their concern is in five sessions and then I have other people who , take about three years of weekly time. But it's like, are you wanting to deal with a single relationship or a single incident? Maybe it's shorter term versus a, you know, a whole childhood of the neglect or something like that that takes years to unpack. But , I would go into it. I think sometimes people, they try to predict the future that like, I'm going to have to do this forever. And so then they don't start. I wouldn't, I wouldn't put that on it. Like, just go into it with an open mind. You like so much change . So much transformation can happen so quickly. You can just, so don't, don't like not do it because you think it could be yours . Yeah . It's, it can be pretty amazing how quickly things can shift. Yeah.

Kate:

It's, it is like there are our body's ability to heal itself once you kind of see and notice what's going on. I found to be really amazing and I , you know, it took a lot of years of therapy and I had a much more of a, like a long unwinding process of some things that had happened, you know, in my life. It was pretty clear it was going to take me awhile when I went in and I was like really ready to look at life differently. But now that I've done that work, I remember my therapist saying, Kate this hurts now, but it's such a gift to yourself and I'm reaping that benefit now because I'm able to to one just know that this discomfort and like when I see myself working through something, like I had a whole year of some pretty serious depression. I knew that I could get myself through it if I, if I was just able to understand how it was physically manifesting, understand that my life circumstances have a lot to do with it and that nothing lasts forever and that also knowing that if some of the signs that you talked about got to a place I had people to call and I knew where the levels were for when it might, when I might need to either look at different medications and stuff. And so having that blueprint of knowing how my body reacts to certain life situations. I mean, I would say that the stressors in my life are much greater than they were in my twenties, but I didn't, my life didn't fall apart. And , and that, and that's the benefit of investing in that type of practice is because you learn, you learn how to think, you know? And I would say that just like when I took my ADD medication for the first time and I saw clearly it isn't that instant, but I see life very differently now. You know, thanks to that word .

Dr. Anna:

Yeah. I think sometimes people that come in and they're like, how long is this going to take? Why aren't I better yet? You know, sometimes there's even this desire for like, just like a pill. Like, I want to move on, let's go, go, go but the longer term work, even though you don't see the fruits of it right away, it is, you will reap the, like the fruit for like the rest of your life. Right ? Like you're doing now. I think it's one of the most important investments that we can make.

Kate + Dr. Anna:

Yeah. Well, I think that that, this is like the perfect place to wrap up our first conversation together. If you guys had any questions , um, I, you know, I want you to tell to tell people where to find you. We're obviously gonna be talking a lot more on more specific topics. Um, but where, where can they find your work? Where can they, you know , get more inspiration on how to heal physically and mentally from Dr. Anna Ross . Sure, sure. So , um , you can go to my website, dr Anna roth.com. I'm also on Instagram at Dr. Anna Roth, a N N a R O T H. and post lots of videos, love to write. So just trying to keep everyone informed and inspired. I'm also offering some programs, a six month online , um, mental health program for women called truth tellers where I'm bringing some of my most passionate topics once a month online. So I'm really pumped about that. That's going to be starting soon. Check out my gram . Yes. Well, thanks for being here and for helping so many of us. You know, for, for some people it's a reminder to either get back on the train , um , for others. You know, it's , um, it's, it's scary to be vulnerable enough to say that you need help, but it is also the beginning of an entire new way of looking at your life and stepping through that threshold and asking for help is, is incredibly powerful. So thanks for giving us the inspiration to do that. We're going to talk to you next week. Be sure to share this episode with anyone that you know, that is particularly talking about therapy, looking to find their own therapist . I think this is incredibly helpful. Please be sure to share this with anyone that you think would enjoy it. And thanks again for your support and we will talk to you guys next time.