"What's the F***ing Point?" — ep 29 — Lisa Olivera on being human first

Lisa Olivera is not the therapist that's going to "help" you or fix your problems... and that's exactly why she's your dream therapist.

When I started following Lisa on Instagram (@lisaoliveratherapy), I was immediately drawn to her energy and her content. We are definitely on the same wavelength in a lot of ways, which made for a really fun conversation.

I so admire how Lisa is navigating the tricky territory of self-disclosure as a therapist on a public platform, and we have a rich discussion in this episode about how the old model of rigidity around self-disclosure in the therapy room is outdated and not as beneficial in creating the kind of genuine relationship that facilitates the most healing and supportive work between clinician and client.

Lisa's personal story as an adoptee, which she shares about in the episode, will likely make you want to throw things, and then hug people... which is a testament to the work that she has done both with her own healing, and how she's been able to bring the universal themes from her experiences into a career of holding sacred space for others who are on their own paths of healing.

To listen to the episode, stream from the player below, or subscribe in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your fave podcast app.

And remember that taking 30 seconds to leave a review right from your phone gives you major karma points :D

About Lisa Olivera

Lisa Olivera is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist— but you might also call her an encourager of self-acceptance, a listening (like, truly listening) ear, an advocate for vulnerability, and a holder of space for hope and healing. She believes we require less fixing and more accepting – less perfectionism and more good-enough – less criticism and more self-compassion.

In her practice, Lisa supports people who want to find more acceptance in who they are, but feel suffocated by self-criticism, doubt, sadness, anxiety, overwhelm, or fear. Through holistic and integrative practices, she helps clients create more compassion for themselves, more capacity to feel the hard stuff, and more understanding of how to manage the stressors and impacts of our history, our environment, and our daily life.

You can find Lisa online at www.lisaoliveratherapy.com and on Instagram @lisaoliveratherapy.

Additional Resources + Stuff Mentioned on This Episode:

"What's the F***ing Point?" — ep 27 —Timothy Gordon on weaving a life of meaning

Hot damn, y'all. Words do not suffice to describe my interview with The Zen Social Worker, Timothy Gordon. This was probably my favorite conversation yet.

Grab your notebook, your tissues, and get ready for your brain to explode onto the ceiling as mine did during our call. (I am happy to report that I am now back in one piece.💁‍♀️🧠)

I can already say Tim will be a repeat guest — and on this episode, here's what we dig into:

  • How the universe kicked him out of the “safe” path and into entrepreneurship

  • Mindsets of collaboration versus scarcity

  • The impact that his adoption and trying to connect with his birth family has had on his self worth

  • The value of befriending our difficult/painful thoughts and feelings, and recognizing when that it can also be adaptive to distract or avoid

  • The importance of unhooking from our unhelpful stories and beliefs to chase the life that you want

  • Why we need to acknowledge cultural appropriation within yoga and how we can become part of the solution rather than the problem

  • The issue with viewing yoga as primarily an athletic, physical practice

  • The basics of Tantra yoga philosophy

  • How we can create a false hierarchy and patriarchy if we misinterpret yoga (or anything else for that matter)

  • Universal versus individual consciousness

  • The epistemology of yoga - why do we do what we do?

  • Ontological versus a-ontological philosophy - how do we structure our beliefs about reality?

I strongly encourage you to check out Tim's YouTube Channel, and his book (co-authored with Jessica Borushok) The ACT Approach, which won the 2018 Benjamin Franklin Award for editorial and design excellence in the Psychology category.

To listen to the episode, stream from the player below, or subscribe in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your fave podcast app.

And remember that taking 30 seconds to leave a review right from your phone gives you major karma points :D

About Tim Gordon

Timothy Gordon, MSW, is a social worker in Canada and internationally recognized ACT trainer. He specializes in treating attachment and trauma related disorders. Tim is also a yoga teacher who integrates movement and yoga practices into his work. Tim's research has included yoga as a mental health intervention, ACT for chronic pain, and ACT with neonatal intensive care units. Tim is passionate about empowering people in various settings to use ACT, he has worked with Canada's Parliament and is involved in bringing ACT to subsaharan African countries with his colleagues at Commit and Act.

Additional Resources + Stuff Mentioned on This Episode:

What's the F***ing Point episode 16: Lauren Martin on Embracing "Petty Problems"

Y’ALL. Lauren Martin is a force of nature, and by the end of this episode I know you’ll adore her as much as I do.

We talk about everything from emo music to keeping it real as a new mom, her transition to Orthodox Christianity to what it means to embrace and validate the idea that "if it matters to YOU, then it matters."

To listen to this episode, you can stream or download from the embedded player below, or find and subscribe in your fave podcast listening app. 

Thanks for listening, and if you dig, please share it with a friend and review the podcast on iTunes because it helps more people find it! xx

About Lauren Martin, LPC-MHSP

Lauren Ruth Martin is a psychotherapist at a group practice in Nashville, TN, and she believes that therapy should be anything but boring. Lauren practices from the philosophy that feeling "stuck" is actually good news because it is a signal that something needs to change. She loves, loves to help clients with severe and pervasive depression in addition to working with anxiety, phase of life issues, codependency, self-harm, suicidality, eating disorders, and self-esteem issues. 

Lauren is intensively trained Radically-Open DBT (RO-DBT), a specialized treatment for disorders of Over-Control (OC) . Radically-Open DBT promotes openness, flexibility, and direct communication. Lauren practices DBT and Cognitive Behavior Therapy to fidelity, specializing in Adolescents.

In addition to her mental health practice, Lauren shares her personal practice of coping skills with a dash of sarcasm on Instagram at @allthepettyproblems. With the philosophy of "if it matters to you, then it matters" she addresses the big meanings behind the small stuff that get to her (which means it might also get to you too). The concept of duality is a constant in her life...whether it is loving rap and emo music, practicing Christianity and cussing, or eating cupcakes and doing yoga...she is all about living the life that works not the one that "should" be done. 

Mentioned on This Episode:

WholeYou episode #3 - dealing with difficult thoughts


We're now on episode 3 of WholeYou!

Thank you all for your comments and thoughts on our first two episodes. We really appreciate you taking the time to listen and connect with us on these topics so far. If you like the show, remember to subscribe on iTunes so you don't miss one!

In Episode 3, we’re talking about how to deal with difficult or 'unhelpful' thoughts. Just like emotional literacy, this is stuff that we usually are NOT taught in school or as a part of growing up , which is why it’s such an important topic for channels like this podcast.

What we cover in episode 3:

  • Why we don't label unhelpful thoughts as "negative"
  • How avoidance can make things worse - "What we resist persists."
  • Does “thought-stopping” work?
  • Why you can't just “affirm” your way out of painful experiences
  • Physical, mental, and spiritual tools to help you “defuse” from unhelpful thoughts
  • The power of curiosity and just observing your thoughts
  • Lauren's experience in a float tank

We’re interested in how you relate to this topic and what resonates with you from this episode — so if you take a listen, please leave a comment with your thoughts, questions, or as always, ideas for future episodes. You can also share your thoughts on social media with the hashtag #wholeyoushow!

So, go ahead and take a listen:

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Things we mention in this episode:

More from Valerie

More from Lauren

*Music credit for our mini theme song is Little Idea from Bensound.com. Thanks, Ben!

4 ways to jump-start a change in your life {stop an old habit or start a new one}

behavior-change-habit Making changes as a human is not easy. I often tell my clients it's like trying to swim against the current, because we truly are creatures of habit, and the more we do something one way, the deeper the neural pathway grooves are, and the more difficult it is to make lasting change. Our brains love autopilot, and stubbornly resist when we try to switch to manual control.

On the upside, we do know that it's certainly possible to end old habits and form new ones; and when a new behavior becomes a habit, the amount of required willpower and decision-making to do it decreases, and your new habit can become more a part of your autopilot setting. (But of course, continuing to be intentional about living your desired values and actions day-to-day is the best recipe for long-term success.)

In this post, I'll share 4 strategies that could apply to a variety of different behavior changes, offering you some tools that can help you jump-start a change you want to make in your life.

1 // Make an impact inventory. 

How is your current behavior -- the one you want to change -- really impacting your life? Often, we know that something is hurting us (or taking us further from our goals or the life we want), but we can be really good about keeping our heads in the sand about the details. Take a cue from the 12-step fellowships by making an inventory of all the ways that behavior is impacting every area of your life: physical health, emotional and mental health, financial, family, intimate relationships, career/education, spirituality, and legal/ethical. Don't just do this in your head -- write it down in as much detail as you can. I've seen over and over again how powerful and motivational this kind of inventory (part of step 1 of the 12 steps) can be for my clients.

2 // Get to the root of the function of your behavior, and how that function will be served when your behavior changes. 

This one is critical. I'll illustrate with an example from my own life: I sometimes go through periods where I waste a couple hours out of the week window-shopping online and aimlessly wandering into Target on my way home from work. I've gotten better than I used to be about actually buying stuff I don't need, but the temptation is huge, and I end up regretting the time spent that I could have used much more productively. When I notice this starting to happen, I have to take a step back and ask myself: what is going on with me? Usually, that behavior serves a couple of functions*: it allows me to procrastinate things I really need to do, and it allows me to live in a fantasy world where I look "totally put together" and everyone loves and accepts (and maybe even envies) me. So underneath that are two needs: to organize my tasks so I don't feel as overwhelmed by them, and to have meaningful connections with the people in my life who already love and accept me without all the fancy clothes or decor. Once I can identify those needs, I can take responsibility for meeting them instead of using shopping as a decoy/quick fix solution.

*The focus on function rather than "form" that a particular behavior may take is one of the reasons why Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) is one of my favorite therapy philosophies/models; the geeky scientific underpinnings are all about "functional contextualism."

3 // You need an accountability partner. 

I'm sure there are people out there who have made lasting change totally on their own, and kudos to them -- I bet they are the same ones whose morning breath smells like roses. I don't use the word "need" here lightly. Again, in the 12-step fellowship -- arguably the largest model for behavior change in the world -- one of the things that makes it so successful is the use of sponsorship. Having a sponsor as a key accountability partner is life-saving for a person newly in recovery, especially anytime they face a particularly stressful or triggering situation. Therapists, coaches, or friends who really "get" your goals and desired changes can also be great accountability partners. Having a group of cheerleaders online can be great, too, as I've discovered via a Facebook group for the online streaming barre workout service I use. I credit interaction with the group, which involves publicly committing to my goals, and a sense of accountability to other group members, as one of the major reasons I have worked out more consistently in the past few months than I have in years.

4 // Just START. 

Don't wait for the "perfect" time or to feel "ready" to make a behavior change. One of my work colleagues calls people who use this rationale "Monday people." ("I'm gonna quit smoking! I'm really gonna do it. I'll start the patch Monday." Does Monday ever come?) Ambivalence fuels more ambivalence-- but once you just get started, the power of inertia will work in your favor. You can get a rush of energy from feeling excited that you're moving in the right direction, and you can prove your mind wrong that you're incapable of doing anything different until all the stars and planets are aligned in your favor.

These are just a few ways to get you energized and motivated to make a change you've considered for a while, but needed an extra nudge to put into action.

What has helped you make lasting behavior change in the past? What mental traps get in your way?