Notable New Mexico psychotherapist Dr. Elaine Casquarelli is featured in this episode. Elaine is a counselor, instructor, and an author. She's a certified EMDR therapist, as well as an IFS (Internal Family Systems)-trained practitioner.
IFS "is an approach to psychotherapy that identifies and addresses multiple sub-personalities or families within each person’s mental system. These sub-personalities consist of wounded parts and painful emotions such as anger and shame, and parts that try to control and protect the person from the pain of the wounded parts. The sub-personalities are often in conflict with each other and with one’s core Self, a concept that describes the confident, compassionate, whole person that is at the core of every individual. IFS focuses on healing the wounded parts and restoring mental balance and harmony by changing the dynamics that create discord among the sub-personalities and the Self." [from www.psychologytoday.com]
Don't freak out if that sounds too headsy, or complicated, or weird -- Elaine is masterful at helping us understand how IFS works!
She's even co-authored a book about it with Dr. Karin Lubin (stay tuned for a show with both of these amazing women in just a couple of weeks). The book is "Living From Your Centered Self: An IFS Wisdom Journal."
Elaine and Melanie talk about how IFS can help us recognize the internal voices that can either help us move into greater health or sabotage us, strategies to navigate the Covid-19 pandemic, how to define happiness and wellbeing, and much more.
note: Elaine and Dr. Karin Lubin are co-facilitating a 6-week virtual journaling circle Oct 8 - Nov 12, 2021. They'll incorporate their book, and teach you how to connect with your centered Self and help the wounded and overworked parts of you to heal. You'll reconnect with your body, mind, and spirit through guided meditations, journaling and the sharing of your experiences and inner wisdom with one another.
"Normal is broken," Melanie and guest Erin Doerwald agree. Erin's a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, mindfulness facilitator, and mindfulness program developer based in Santa Fe, NM. She was the Program Director for The Sky Center of the New Mexico Suicide Intervention Project for many years and developed the core programming of Sky’s Toolkit for Wellbeing model. Finally, she's a member of the Board of Directors of Vallecitos Mountain Retreat Center.
Erin's an expert when it comes to mindfulness and how to manage when normal is broken.
She's also an incredibly articulate and compassionate psychotherapist who shares insights on life in a (sort of) post-pandemic world.
What does the process of meaning-making look like? What's resiliency? What's that "skillful place in the middle" that Erin mentions?
This conversation is wide-ranging, in-depth, full of curiosity and insights and laughter and hope.
For the truth is, there's always hope. There is always a way to create a little more space in our nervous systems and psyches. Which allows us to adapt to an ever-changing world, deepening into what's real and true and good and possible.
Erin mentions the internationally respected resiliency researcher, Dr. Ann Masten.* Resilience is basically the capacity of a system, whether that be an individual, a family, an organization, or a culture, to adapt in adverse circumstances.
One of the ways to strengthen our ability to adapt in adverse circumstances, to strengthen our resiliency muscle, is by practicing mindfulness.
How that works is a big part of this episode.
Among other things, Erin works with individuals and families in therapy, and teaches virtual affiliated mindfulness classes from UCLA.
Mindfulness, "normal," successfully adapting to an insane world ... so much in this 25-minute show!
David Bedrick, JD, psychotherapist specializing in process psychology, teacher, founder of the Santa Fe Institute for Shame-Based Studies, author, and all-around cool guy, is featured in this episode.
He and Melanie talk about his newest book, "You Can't Judge a Body by its Cover: 17 Women's Stories of Hunger, Body Shame, and Redemption."
David's insights into disordered eating, why diet programs fail, shame and self-hatred, and "the desire behind the desire, the hunger behind the hunger" are fascinating.
He explains that "failing at dieting masquerades as a problem of willpower and discipline, but it’s just as potent and complex as any other psychological issue or physical illness. My research has shown that resistance to dieting is a healthy response to the shaming that is baked into what drives people to try to lose weight. Because people naturally resist shame and self-hatred, they subconsciously undermine diets motivated by these feelings.”
Another quote from David regarding shame is, "What desire are you trying to satisfy behind the desire for nachos, or ice cream, or pie? You can’t love the parts of yourself you’re not yet aware of. These parts of you are waiting for you to notice them and let wisdom launch you forward. These parts need a loving not a shaming witness."
David brings deep insight, many years of clinical research and work with clients, as well as a real passion for making a difference in people's lives.
Part of his clinical and healing work includes diving into and re-working "the assumption that the thing that is wrong with me is not me. I can get rid of it and become the pure me, the right me, the “healed” me. But psychological difficulties are different. If we get angry but try to get rid of it, we only end up suppressing parts of ourselves. I can’t get rid of myself; I must become myself. I can’t get rid of my hungers and body size; I must become them—not the size and eating habits themselves, but the intelligence expressed in my size and habits."
This episode is terrific for anyone who's curious about how psychology works, how to develop and use self-insights and self-awareness, and some of the components of happiness and wellbeing.
Making choices can feel overwhelming. Diane Tegmeyer, professional travel and food writer and new resident of Santa Fe, has been through a lot of changes in the last few years.
She and Melanie get personal as they talk about what it means to leave one life for another, making choices, taking risks, and choosing new beginnings.
In her professional life as a travel writer, Diane was constantly faced with making choices. And in her personal life, she was living in New York City during the pandemic year, facing challenging medical issues on her own.
And she's now living in a brand-new city, navigating a multitude of decisions every day (not to mention moving to Santa Fe from New York City, and before that from Aspen to New York City).
The truth is that, in the larger collective conversation, each of us is now being called to adapt, to innovate, to make better choices. It's part of the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the tremendous changes we're facing, whether or not we want to.
It is what we're facing as we hurtle into ramifications of the climate crisis.
Each of us has the choice to step into healthy adaptive solutions, whether that's on a very personal level as Diane talks about or on the larger systemic levels of family, community, culture, even humanity.
When the yucky stuff hits the fan, there's always a choice: to either step forward, toward growth, or backward, where it only feels safe.
These are not times to sit on the couch watching TV. In this era of accelerating demands for innovative adaptation, we must pay a new sort-of attention to the choices we're making. For growth, adaptation, and transformation begin with one person at a time, moving outward to collective tipping points and game-changing social movements.
We can ride this wave together if we choose to do so. You ready? Let's go!