Your Mental Wellness Podcast for Your Voice and Sanity

Using Your Voice for Sanity- And Why it Matters

March 22, 2022 Dr. Sibylle Georgianna's Leadership Practice Season 3 Episode 6
Your Mental Wellness Podcast for Your Voice and Sanity
Using Your Voice for Sanity- And Why it Matters
Show Notes Transcript

I am so excited to have  another shperpa joining in this episode: my dear colleague Dr. Courtney Harkins. Let's dialogue why using your voice is such a vital ingredient to your mental wellness and sanity and HOW you can do it!

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Sibylle Georgianna:

Hi there, I'm so excited to talk about another very inspiring topic today is we have much looked at mental wellness for our voice and sanity. We've focused so far on our mental fitness, for example, we talked about focus and attention. We looked at stress, resilience, how we can keep our reptilian brain like our brain that keeps us in stress and overload, how we can keep that in check. And we talked about also about different ways how we can for example, even with our physical workouts, little bit of exercise can strengthen the ability for us to be at our best for best decision making and our confidence. And today, I am so excited to talk about how our beliefs get to influence our mental wellness. And for example, if we worry about our finances and impairs our mental wellness, as we get like with like stress or anxiety, really into a very different mindset that is contrary to our mindset of sanity, sanity and mental wellness. And I couldn't pick a better brain as to when it comes to our beliefs that influence our mental wellness. Ben, the brain of my dear colleague and sure prize I call these experts here on my podcast, Dr. Courtney Harkins, I am so excited to have you on our podcast today. Hello, and welcome.

Unknown:

And sorry for the phone. It doesn't ring often

Sibylle Georgianna:

does like at the right time, so no worries about that. So Dr. Courtney is a clinical supervisor and personal counselor as well as licensed marriage and family therapist here in Southern California. And first I was introduced to you according by my dear colleague, and I really love that passion that you have for you really what we think about sound mindedness, a healthy thinking, I know we both do the same type of therapy that's called EMDR therapy that allows our clients to really attend to and let go of our negative beliefs about ourselves. As those are so often standing in the way of having a sound mind, you know, on negative beliefs about ourselves. So really, I just want to pick your brain, for example is how or why and when did you even get so you know, interested? And then passionate about helping those around you with that mindset?

Unknown:

Oh, well, thank you so much for having me today. I'm excited for this conversation. Um, you know, I've always I've always loved therapy. And my, in my family, people have struggled with ADHD and things I've just I've always loved the idea of you can help people and you can do things differently, and being resilient. So that's just, I don't know, I from a very young age. I think it was third grade, my mom found an old journal that said, What do you want to be when you grow up? And I wrote a psychologist I had just, yeah, I don't know, if certain people love different things. I loved people. I've been fascinated. I've been really fascinated about resiliency. How did how do people come out of bad situations and make a good life for themselves. So my focus was just kind of always been there. But about seven years ago, I went to an EMDR training. And, you know, I had kind of poo pooed it, I kind of heard about it. And I thought it was a little bougie to be honest. So I have my other friends are getting trained in it. And I didn't, I did other great trainings like PCIT parent child interactive therapy, which I love. So I finally went to EMDR training, and I just had, have you just so happen, um, that movie Inside and out that just Oh, I love that movie. So I remember I had just watched that movie. And that really just grabbed my attention. And then I go to the EMDR training. And it's like these two worlds just merged in all of these different ideas I had had in my head, I think some things even in my training didn't quite make sense to me, they finally all started to make sense. And so with EMDR, you know, we always ask our clients, what is their negative belief about a certain situation? And I thought that the Disney inside out, they did such a beautiful job of depicting, you know, we have these core memories. And if they're, let's say, if we're in a depressed state, so we have this depression covering or Yeah, it's covering our outlook of what happened. It literally can change this beautiful situation that happened in our life, and it can tint it to be depressed because we go into those negative cognitions of ourselves like maybe I'm not worthy, or I'm unlovable or I can't do anything, right. And then we see the world from that lens. And so when EMDR came in, and they said, Well, if you get stuck into that negative belief about yourself, you actually You have a choice, you have power, you don't, it doesn't have to be that way, you can actually decide, hey, I can look at that same situation that happened. And I can choose, I have the power, I'm actually in control, I can choose to look at it differently from a different lens from a different perspective. And when I don't know, when I was taught that, and I really understood it, I was like, This is so powerful, and so amazing. And then again, reminds me at the inside and out at the end scene when Riley the main character, you know, joy and depression, they were fighting over what the what actually happened. And it wasn't as if depression was right and joy was wrong, or joy was right and depression was wrong. It was that it was all integrated. It was this integrated, it was a fullness of what actually happened. And that's what our clients need, when we can create as a therapist help them see the fullness of even bad things in their life, or things that they wouldn't choose, they can have good things for themselves, they don't have to be stuck. Sorry, was that that was a

Sibylle Georgianna:

good I mean, that's, that's usually, I mean, you put it so nicely, but that integration with the ability that the mind can can acknowledge and accept both sides, you know, the beautiful and the and the hard stuff. That is such a precious thing. And I do believe that doing a more of a, what we call somatic focus, something that helps the body to deal with the stress response, and with the trauma that may impair with it, that's really the key, you know, to get to get really to that fullness is really to move with that more than with you know, with the work such as with EMDR therapy that allows us to, to really be that integrative I am as it was funny, it's similar to me, I was like, why are they asking you to get like, having two people who vouch for you, and all the why a man's you know, and you go, they are kind of, like checking it out. And the mechanism was like, so simple, but so powerful. It just, it just you can't but want this for all people to work with, right? I mean, especially in these times, right and, and really strengthen our ability to be in our best, you know, be our own best representative in a way and I feel that has had such a strong hit with everything going on in the world that we've been so challenged and really needing to be able to what we call self regulate, like being aware of our beliefs, and then managing how we feel about them our beliefs, attitudes, and yeah, so yeah, I mean, so I wanted to pick your brain. Because like, if you're in this in with all the tension from what has been going on the world for the last couple of years, like what's your experience? What would you I mean, how do you help those that you work with? That with that tension between what we see and what our body tells us and online? how we feel about ourselves?

Unknown:

That's a big question. I'm going to try and answer that. What I am seeing, you know, I've only lived in America. And I've lived here I've always I've always been proud to be an American and I have felt like we have great institutions. But over the past couple of years, I've been sad and a little bit because I'm literally watching including our board our psychological board, I've been really disheartened by some of the the stances that they have been taking and even some of the psychological theories that they are teaching younger therapists, I think that it's harmful, like the ideas out there. You know, the word gaslighting is coming up to my mind, I feel like so many of our institutions and our school settings, they are gasp, like they're gaslighting their people. And I'm sitting here going, oh my gosh, this is so bizarre, to people not see that they're actually being manipulated. They're being manipulated to the point where people like, their sanity, like, Am I saying that the reality testing like I'm questioning myself of what is true, is it is it true anymore? For instance, um there are some social How would I say so social. You know, the word social, social justice has come up a lot, which is a beautiful thing. I mean, we want we want goodness for all, but to be teaching people that there is a group that is good and then a group that is not that is not good based on certain characteristics. I find that so psychologically damaging, so damaging. I don't know why we're doing it, but I'm sitting here scratching my head. The reason why People go into therapy, right is when they believe that there's something wrong with them. Us as therapists, we're trying to teach them to know that they're not bad, they have these good qualities and for them to see themselves differently. But when then you have schools and governmental agencies, literally teaching people, those negative cognitive distortions. I don't even know what to do with myself anymore. I'm besides myself,

Sibylle Georgianna:

well, and, and I couldn't agree more with that. I, you know, having been raised, born and raised, went to school in Germany. So I lived in West Germany, and I was in Germany, when they did the unit reunification, and this whole idea of a certain way of thinking, kind of being, you know, going down not being able to sustain itself, you know, I watched it from that, and that the things, you know, taking themselves down, that are, you know, to dichotomy, you know, in terms of the things that we know, observe that are being now discussed as what we want, you know, and that's what the question mark, as you say, you know, it's so contrary to, to what the psychological sciences have have studied examiner across culture as being as being you know, beneficent. So when you talk about when you say a cognitive distortion, what does that mean? What are you referring to when you say that

Unknown:

a cognitive distortion? Okay, um, so, you know, when our clients come to us, and they something happens to them? Or? I don't want to, I don't know, maybe we just get into the weeds here. Oh, yeah, I, I have had clients come in. And because of the color of their skin that they have no control over. They believe that they are inherently bad. And a victim. And that breaks my heart, okay? If I, if I truly believe that I am bad, like, I am not good enough. I don't deserve love. And I'm not in control. So those are called negative negative cognitives. Beliefs, right? Like there's so there's so dark they trap you. It's like you've gotten into this deep, deep, dark, well, and you don't have any light to get out? Well, as therapists, we don't want anyone to be stuck in that deep dark. Well, we want to shine that light and say there is light you can get out there. There's hope. So I'm seeing clients come in. Yeah, based on that they are they feel like they're inherently bad. And culturally, for us to be teaching individuals, that what they look like, makes them bad and not good enough, and that they're a victim. We are literally teaching people a victim mentality. And what is that? That's not good, that's not helpful. That's not empowering at all. Why are we doing this? I don't understand why as a nation, why we would say, hey, let's teach people negative cognitions. So they feel terrible about who they are, I scratched my head because I you know, you that that's not why they come see a therapist, that's not healthy. So So that's what's happening, they come in, they come into my office with these terrible beliefs that are untrue. And yet they have decided that it is true for themselves.

Sibylle Georgianna:

Mm hmm. So when I work with whatever reminds me of that, you know, when we work with a person who kind of emerges from like, let's say childhood, to a middle childhood, adolescence into adulthood, sometimes the ways how we look at the world is limited by how, you know, how old we are, how how old, you know, her mind is able to understand and I, I think that, you know, that type of overgeneralization, right, it's an all bad, worthy at all. That's kind of from this, I always asked him, like, how old? Do you know, something? Yes, was it first grade is it like eighth grade, you know, and in so even, you know, the, the capacity to then, you know, practice or looking at it from the lens of like, as, as an adult looking back into those years where we didn't have the resources we didn't have people advocating. But as you say, you know, there's so much now, even as we just you know, are being exposed by going through the world, how it is being presented to us, is that it wants to put us into like an underdeveloped view on ourselves. And, and then understandably, that gives us feelings of unrest, anxiety, yeah, we can't sleep and all of that. And so when when you look at all of these, these influences, so do you feel I mean, you've gone to school here and all of that, is there something that you could recognize as what made this such such a hot topic? And it's such an influence in our everyday world now? In the last 15 years, is there anything Because for me, it's, you know, a very different notion that I have moving here and then seeing it kind of go backwards. So it's just I have a different lens here. So I don't know, anything that you would have observed or something I don't know.

Unknown:

Are you asking? What are the underpinnings?

Sibylle Georgianna:

Or what's not? Maybe like, what do you notice? Like? How does it come about that suddenly these things are so strongly, you know, emphasized in the culture

Unknown:

and our culture? Well, you know, a lot of it comes from the theories that are being taught at our universities. So I don't um, did you? Did you do your Did you do your masters? Or your your graduate level training here in America? Did you do it in Germany,

Sibylle Georgianna:

I only did my research in the States. And I did all my, my all my education in Germany,

Unknown:

in Germany. so fabulous. So, I don't know, 2030 years ago, there's, there's been a shift into this postmodern thoughts, which I don't really know, to be honest, I didn't really understand what that meant when I was going through my education. So I heard the word postmodern, you know, a lot of the theories that we were learning about how to treat people were based on postmodern thinking. And, you know, I'm all embarrassed at the time that I didn't delve into what does that really even mean? But I've delved into it now, because I took some of these ideas that I had heard in graduate school. And funny enough, they popped up into my daughter's sixth grade English class. And, you know, like, how would an idea and psychology then end up years later into my eldest daughter's sixth grade English class, and that's what we were talking about earlier was they literally were teaching her how to view herself as a victim, which is part of the post modern thought. And this might sound a little bit bizarre for some people, but it's really this Marxist way, or this Marxist worldview, where you have the oppressor, and the oppressed. And so you look at life through this is the only lens where you can, where you're allowed to make an interpretation of life. And so a lot of this postmodern, I don't want to call it postmodern theory, that's in a lot of our universities, which they're teaching, you know, education, major psychology, major sociology majors, even in English majors, it comes from this Marxist worldview, which is, I don't know, it blows my mind. It's like, I don't know how we got here. But that's, those are the underpinning those things. Well, and

Sibylle Georgianna:

that's brings me right back to growing up in Germany. So I think I was eighth grade or something when the wall came down, and living on the western side, and then moving or like traveling into the East Germany. Yeah, just too. So. So that idea that there that more of a communist Marxist idea of looking at the, you know, the white man was the West man at the time, you know, great mad, right. So if West German television, you could literally get into severe trouble. So and then I, you know, studied with, with colleagues, I mean, you know, graduate student colleagues, who had left the east to move to West Germany, went to West Germany in school. And that's the first time where I kind of even got confronted with this notion of what if you believed in something for X amount of years? And then overnight, they're telling them? It's no longer right. I mean, yes. So even that, that type of philosophy, right, is that the ability and so I feel the things that are making it so. So that you have two opposing ideas that can very extremes, but no, no conclusion that you come to, it's just either this or the other. It's even that is that we learned part of that type of reasoning in high school, but we always had to come to it, synthesis like something where you, you come to a conclusion, and you have more than two point of views. But you know, so, so, and I think what may have happened, and again, living in Germany, you know, during the Cold War, I remember very hotly debated it was a lot of 1987, you know, everything was very heightened. So and at the same time, I think they, they focused on the geographic, just, you know, the geographic constellation of forces, but not necessarily as to how that if we think about our mind that our minds everywhere we go, right, so if we have a school that has pursuing we had that in Germany as well i pursuing certain stronger, you know, to more extreme ideas. And unless that is somehow being challenged, you know, that's where you believe that the dissemination of information through schooling was not looked As as problematic were say, you know, geographically we find maybe like, again, Germany being so squished in the middle of, of, you know, Western east or, you know, you felt that they are geographically but then they I don't think they they attended to the mindset and to the thing that, you know, if we look at it, you know that it can turn into this very polarized. And very, I don't know if it's callous is the right word, but a very, it's just not an, there's so much more to life in most most situations than to opinion that are diametrically opposed to each other, make us feel we are not valid, or we are not preferable, or we have to go with one and that's it or the other. But there is no other choice. Right. So, so that's probably like me wondering how, you know, the mindset that may not have been questioned, you know, was not guarded or harnessed to then include more than two, you know, points. Right, you know, and then it's probably this way that it kind of kept, kept developing. So for us, as a listener, who wants to work practice voice, which is when I'm trying to think about everything, while I practice my voice, how do I do it, even if I have what I call an average day, you know, you do certain things you have maybe errands to run you, you try to be at your best with anybody you meet? How would we practice that, you know, soundness of mind or the ability for us to, to to not be limited by beliefs that make us feel that we don't matter? Right? What would you say?

Unknown:

Well, I want to I, I hope I did not forget, we'll get back to that. But as you were talking, I couldn't help. But think about the word propaganda, is you were saying that your experience, you know, I'm in Western Germany, just like the beliefs, it's either this or that. It reminds me what Well, that's propaganda when people only a lot, right, and I feel like our American citizens right now, we need to think about that word propaganda. And to really understand what that means. And to actually just start and ask ourselves, is propaganda happening to me? Are they sending out information that kind of fits this mold of, you can only look at it, you can only have this one belief set, and you're not able to even question it. So as you were talking, so what would I tell people to help them? I think you should always question things. I mean, who, who? Who are these people that say that this is absolute fact? I don't know about you, but my, my Christian faith is very important to me. And so with that, it's like we have absolute truth. Right? And so when the forces that be right now, when they're questioning, Absolute Truth, have you find that at pushback, like I guess I want everyone right now, to push back on the messages that are being sent to them, when you feel like you're in that mindset, where it can only be a or b, there's no other C, D, E, or F. And so I hope I'm answering your question, what do we do with that? i Right now everyone has to they, it's like, you can't take things at face value, or what's easy, you have to go out and search and look for opposing ideas and opposing views right now. You have to challenge yourself.

Sibylle Georgianna:

Yes. And I think so. Let's see. And that's, I think I noticed that like, so in high school and Western and we, yeah, we had to do the one the other and then you know, do like your own conclusion is everything to it, right. So what what they call critical thinking at the time, I'm laughing, but so, it was very hard in high school, they really like that wanted us to be like more diverse in opinion. And, and then you have also more attention, you know, because you have different, you know, pieces of information to go from I remember specifically at the onset of this whole you know, public health topic in Germany, it was slow going because they had two very different councils to the chancellor at the time to miracle so the point was, they had really diametrically opposed pieces of information that they had to sift through and then find you know, some common ground to go with but he you know, in a way you know, it promoted more of a diversity I read if we do anything about diversity, what that means is like, you know, and more you know, with more more gradients in the choices mindset so to speak. So I love how you say to to be you know, self evaluating to question and to, you know, overcome our, I don't want to call it laziness of mind, but the mind wants to go for like a little shortcut, make it like something that I'm with Yeah, values, and then I can keep going. And the rest is kind of annoying. And I set it to the side. So it's kind of like us needing to be smarter than our brain, as we've talked, previous episodes, that we have to harness the brain to be as it. That's right. I mean, it's, I wish I could just always rely on my brain but not be as vague, as seen as I would want to believe. So yeah, so that's great to really do put the foot on the brake, slow it down tick. Is that is that it? Is that really just two opinions on on a subject? Or, or what is being presented to me? You got this

Unknown:

week, it was you're talking, you made the statement, you have different pieces of information. And I feel like that that is the crux of what we can do to really help our mindset, right? So we find ourselves stuck in this negative worldview, or this mindset, where we feel trapped or not, are not good enough. There is there are different pieces of information. So I'm asking people to go and search for those, and then to integrate them so that there's a more fullness or more complete way of viewing the situation. Because yeah, that's dichotomies, either this or that, then we get stuck. But there really are, there's other ways of filling in the gaps between this and this. And we've got to go out and search for it. Um, and challenging, but it's, I'm like with you sometimes. I don't know, that takes an extra work, and maybe I'm tired. I don't know. Yeah. I don't have the time to do that. But yeah,

Sibylle Georgianna:

I mean, really, it's not an it's not an easy. It's, it's, it's requiring a lot of hard work. And maybe even for me, it's to be slow enough, in my way, oh, I'm going through my day, that I'm even picking up what I'm uncomfortable with. I have to go with like my physical feeling like, ooh, it's comfortable, or I got to evaluate myself talk. You know, when I see a lot of shoulds, this shouldn't happen. This shouldn't be, you know, that I'm like slowing it down and say, Okay, let's, let's figure out what's going on. What's clashing here? So, yeah, I love that we get to chat about this, because I feel it's so important to every day that we have on this planet to use our voice to make the difference that we uniquely have the opportunities for, right. And so I'm just so grateful to hear how you inspire with, you know, with this notion of just to, to be aware and to to to be a true researcher. Really, I mean, that's the nature of research. Is this inquiry. Yeah. To really be curious, and to then, you know, be maybe even going for some course correction as necessary. Yeah. Yeah. So voicing So so how if you know, the listener want to reach you, how can they best reach you apart from maybe reaching me, and then I forward them to you, but how, what's your best way to contact?

Unknown:

Thank you for asking this question, because it was just recently told to me that if you were to search my name, Courtney Harkins in Google, my old where I worked a long time ago. Sorry, Alexa is speaking to me right now. Is actually yeah, it's actually hard to find me. I didn't know this, but I'm just not tech savvy enough. But if you do search, Courtney Harkins, maybe Orange County, the phone number that should pop up the correct one would be 949-916-6277. That is the best way to call me. If there's a 714 number that pops up on the internet, that is my old office, but the 949 number, they can contact you and they can. I like to talk to people. I'm totally old school. So a phone call works great for me.

Sibylle Georgianna:

Yes, the human voice right. That's,

Unknown:

I love that. Yes,

Sibylle Georgianna:

I feel it. There's many things that you can't match to that one. So I feel it's very continued school, I should call it. So thank you so much. I feel there's so much inspirational in your message here that that I want us to as the listeners to ponder how we can even you know, even if it's just one action a day that we can use Dr. Courtney really inspired us to to promote here so I love and maybe you can pick your brain at a later time on more on this idea of how does the average person do research? Right? I mean, we're, you know, we feel we're like, you know, we we think we have to go to school for research. But yeah, we can just maybe have adult at our fingertips. But anyways, I pick your brain another time about one.

Unknown:

Thank you so much. It was such a pleasure. Okay, likewise, yeah, if

Sibylle Georgianna:

we talk again soon, um, so yes. Talk to you that Take care