What's the F***ing Point episode 13: Dr. Allison Devers on Accessing the Subconscious

How often do you meet a smart-as-hell MD who's also into chakra healing, tarot, and intuitive brainstorming sessions and is not Deepak Chopra? 

Over the past six days, I have come to know one of these unicorns, and her name is Dr. Allison Devers. I'm gonna keep these show notes pretty short and sweet, because I'm still at the training where I met Allison last week, and want to soak up every last minute before heading back to the real world. 

But man, you guys are in for SUCH a treat with this conversation. I sprung the idea of an interview on her pretty last-minute, so this is a very organic conversation. And since there is so much that I want her to share with y'all, I already know she will be a repeat guest, either when her book comes out or before then! 

In this episode, we talk about everything from hypnotherapy (since we're at a wonderful training at The Wellness Institute right now) and TM to intuitive writing and navigating the integration of self-care and contributing to justice-oriented work.

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 Allison Devers, MD

Dr. Allison Devers has always been drawn to healing work. She first trained and worked in the conventional medical world. Then, frustrated by how little this had to offer conditions like chronic pain, chronic fatigue and other difficult to treat medical problems, she became an integrative functional medicine practitioner using nutrition, gut healing and treating inflammation. This helped improve patients' symptoms maybe about 60%, but didn't get them all the way better. It was in the study and practice of the subconscious state where she found that this was really the key to deep healing. She now spends her time teaching others how to access the subconscious state in workshops and through her writing.

Dr. Devers sees patients in one on one sessions using powerful subconscious tools such as hypnotherapy and mind-body medicine to help people heal and transform themselves. She has a passion for the intersection of the subconscious state, the metaphysical, spirituality, and healing. Allison lives and practices in the San Francisco area, where she enjoys hiking in the redwoods and taking her dog Frankie to Stinson Beach.

Mentioned on This Episode:

why I want to hide but am sharing this instead

why I want to hide but am sharing this instead

I’m writing this post with a queasy stomach, because I’ve told myself all kinds of stories about “what people will think” (quotes because I can see how that’s a ridiculous construct, though unfortunately that doesn’t make it vanish): that I’m lazy, can’t make a decision, can’t follow through, cowardly, not “trusting the universe,” etc. I won’t bore you with the rest— y’all know these stories. 

Here’s why: I’ve decided not to do (or at the very least, to significantly delay) the doctoral program I was enrolling in for the fall.

Even writing this right now is an exercise in decision-making and trusting my intuition as I notice how it feels to write those words. Though I can look back at the long pros-and-cons list in my journal and still acknowledge plenty of pro’s of forging ahead with it, my gut is telling me that the cons are more significant right now, and writing these words feels true and right. 

I realize at one level that I don’t have to explain or justify this choice to anyone— this is my decision. 

“But you told the whole internet!” 
“But the people who wrote your letters of recommendation will be upset with you for wasting their time!” 
“But your friends were proud of you and excited for you!”

Blah, blah, blah. 

I am not writing this post for those reasons. I am writing it because a big part of my life’s work so far involves helping others learn how to share their truth and their stories as a way of practicing authenticity and not allowing shame to breed in the darkness of isolation. It’s nice to share when the truth is shiny and exciting— but what about when it’s kind of embarrassing and makes you want to hide? 

Don’t hide. That’s the most important time not to hide. 

I’m also freshly inspired by the bold truth-telling of Glennon Doyle, whose first memoir I finally read on a long drive over the past few days. I have followed Glennon some on Instagram and heard her interviewed on a few podcasts, so knew a little about her, but hadn’t gotten around to reading either of her books (or many of her blog posts) until now. 

Carry On, Warrior is about Glennon’s journey through recovery from alcoholism, bulimia, drug abuse, and unhealthy relationships, into a life of radical authenticity. She learned that one of the greatest gifts she has to offer the world is sharing all parts of her story— especially the messy ones. After finishing the book, I was curious about what she shared publicly about her divorce, since she and her husband were still married at the time the first book was published in 2014, but I know she is now married to former US soccer player Abby Wambach

What I found was a post Glennon shared in August 2016 on her blog, Momastery (which is the platform that led to her first book deal) about the separation. She wrote about how, with her second book Love Warrior so close to its release date, pretty much everyone in her life was telling her to wait until after its publication to share the news.

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What's the F***ing Point episode 02: Sarah Rodgers on Drama Therapy, Everything, and Nothing

For episode 2 of the podcast, I had a wonderful free-flowing conversation with fellow Nashville psychotherapist, Sarah Rodgers

I'm lucky to call Sarah a friend, and she's a kindred spirit in that she's unapologetically into all kinds of holistic (is "new age" still a thing?) stuff, with plenty of science and healthy skepticism to balance it out.

In this episode, Sarah and I chat about:

  • why our companion animals can be our best spiritual guides
  • how we each think of and approach tarot and divination
  • what drama therapy is and the relationship to psychodrama and other expressive therapies
  • the magic of intuition, tele, and neuroception — how we know things to be true

To listen to today's episode, you can stream or download from the embedded player below, or find and subscribe in your fave podcast listening app. (And just a note, Apple is being slow AF with getting my new podcast art updated in iTunes, so if you're finding the pod that way, you'll still see art for WholeYou, a former mini podcast venture I did.)

Thanks for listening, and if you dig, please share it with a friend and review the podcast on iTunes

About Sarah Rodgers (MA, LMFT, RDT)

Sarah holds a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Drama Therapy from California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. She received her Bachelor's in Theatre and Community Outreach from Skidmore College.

Sarah has a background as an actor and theater educator. It was her passion for the cathartic power of self-expression that led her to psychology and to studying the application of creative forms for therapeutic means. We could all use little more fun and playfulness in our lives, and healing is only enhanced by creative thinking and a touch of humor.

When not attending to her clients or furthering her clinical education, Sarah enjoys hikes and yoga, cooking, taking acting classes, making crafty things, and quality time with her friends and family. Sarah has called both New York City and San Francisco home, and she is now at home in Nashville with her husband, stepdaughter, and their dog Dennis.

You can learn more about Sarah and her work at www.creativecounselingnashville and follow her on Instagram @creativecounselingnashville.

Mentioned in Today's Show:

confidence, intuition, and shame pops

Intuition-Self-Esteem In my recent giveaway over on Facebook, I asked readers about what kinds of topics they'd like to see covered on the blog. One of them, not surprisingly, was confidence (*hat-tip to Susannah*), so I wanted to address that topic in today's post. (FYI, I'll use "confidence" and "self-esteem" interchangeably here; I'm sure we could split hairs on the distinction, but I consider them to be more or less the same concept.)

My journey to confidence has been much like my journey to this career: very windy. And as I write that, I'm laughing because my biggest struggles with confidence in recent years have been about my competency as a therapist. It is a tough business to be a young person in, y'all. Probably the best words of advice I have gotten on that topic came from my supervisor (a very wise woman), who told me, "You just have to allow yourself to be a young therapist." I think that comment applies in a much broader way, too:

"You just have to allow yourself to be __________."

Who you are.

Where you are.

At THIS moment.

A lot of people fear that if they give themselves this permission, they will become complacent. It's okay to want to become more skilled or more experienced or more healthy. But it has to also be paired with some level of acceptance of where you are today. This is the critical difference between acceptance and settling.

Self-Esteem and Intuition

I have written about how I believe that having a strong practice of self-compassion is more important than having high self-esteem. And while I do still believe that, some of what I've been reading in Caroline Myss' Anatomy of Spirit has reminded me of the critical importance of self-esteem, too, at least when defined in a spiritual context. She writes,

As we develop a sense of self, our intuitive voice becomes a natural and constant source of guidance. How we feel about ourselves, whether we respect ourselves, determines the quality of our life, our capacity to succeed in business, relationships, healing, and intuitive skills ... Intuitive guidance means having the self-esteem to recognize that the discomfort or confusion that a person feels is actually directing him to take charge of his life and make choices that will break him out of stagnation or misery. If a person suffers from low self-esteem, she cannot act on her intuitive impulses because her fear of failure is too intense. Intuition, like all meditative disciplines, can be enormously effective, if and only if, one has the courage and personal power to follow through on the guidance it provides.

She does such a good job at articulating something I feel like I already knew inside (intuitively!), but couldn't find the words to explain. Of course self-esteem is critical in this sense. It's about becoming intimate with your sense of self and having faith in your gut instincts (intuition), not about giving yourself mental gold stars for being the best/strongest/smartest.

So How Do You Get There?

Myss also notes that "No one is born with healthy self-esteem. We must earn this quality in the process of living, as we face challenges one at a time." I believe that everyone is born inherently good, and will more or less believe that they are good until confronted with external circumstances (i.e. a highly critical parent, media messages, bullying) that challenge this. However, developing a deeper trust in oneself and a sense of self-efficacy only come with experience. With doing the miles, and often learning the hard way.

For me, it was about both: first, coming to believe that I am already whole (which only happened when I connected spiritually), and second, giving myself many opportunities to learn, try, fail, try again, succeed, celebrate, fall, learn, try again. And the longer I'm on this planet, the more I expect and am okay with this sometimes-painful process, because in the end I get to know that guiding voice inside me a little bit better.

Fear is always part of the equation, but when you do not try, the cold, hard reality is that you deny yourself the opportunity to be proud of your efforts, which is necessary for building confidence. This also involves the spiritual challenge of working to let go of outcomes, or at least to be able to move through the grief or shame a non-ideal outcome rather than living in it for days or months or longer.

Shame Pops and "Not Good Enough"

I'm not sure where the term originated (neither is Google), but some of my colleagues and I refer to those sudden cringe-worthy, nauseating moments of shame as "getting hit by the shame pop." I visualize either a big-ass bat or an actual huge lollipop that comes out of nowhere and smacks you across the face. It's visceral, and it sucks. I believe that shame is really the only emotion that is not productive or helpful. (Some camps separate "toxic shame" and "healthy shame," while Brené Brown and others classify it into "shame" and "guilt", the latter of which actually can be helpful because it gives you a signal that you're straying form your core values.) However, I also believe that just like the experience of vulnerability, we cannot opt out of shame, as much as we might want to. And efforts to avoid it altogether often mean that we also avoid taking the kind of risks that would be life-expanding. Rather than avoid shame, we just need to have an action plan in place (shame resiliency, in Brené's terms) to help us shake it off as quickly as possible when we get hit by the shame pop. Not to numb it, but to reach out quickly for support and take actions of true self-care (not the same as self-indulgence, which usually end in regret!)

One of the most liberating ideas that I learned as I developed my sense of self and learned how to better handle shame was that you don't have to hate even the darkest parts of yourself. After I swung from anorexia into binge eating, I used to L-O-A-T-H-E the part of me that binged. It felt like a monster literally taking over my body, and when it was over, it was pure self-hatred, because I was just digging myself deeper into my existing hole of body-hatred. I learned from Geneen Roth about the Internal Family Systems model of therapy, and this was the first time that I could recognize that this part of me who binged was just a part that was trying to help me put out a fire but wasn't doing it in the right way. Rather than hatred, that part needed love and understanding, and to be told, "hey, I can see what you're trying to do and I appreciate that, but I've learned some things and have a way we can do it better now." I'll never forget the first time that I crawled into a hot bath afterwards and cried, finally not from a place of self-hatred, but from sadness and acceptance of this lost and scared part of me. Learning this fact and feeling it in my heart was a major turning point for me in truly recovering from my eating disorder.

The second liberating idea is to recognize that you will always have "not good enough" thoughts. I still have them regularly, but they no longer paralyze me (or lead me down a path of self-destructive behavior) because I've learned to use Defusion skills to name the story ("Yep, there's the 'not good enough' story again. Thanks, mind. I can take it from here because I actually want to do this thing anyway because it's important to me.") Sometimes we think that the people who are really good (worthy, talented, pretty, successful, confident, etc.) don't have these thoughts anymore. That's just plain wrong. They still have the "not good enough" thoughts like you and me, but they have learned to relate to them differently so the thoughts don't get in the way of doing what matters to them. If you think something's wrong with you because you still have these thoughts, I beg of you, please release yourself of that expectation and instead work to have a different relationship with the thoughts when they show up. Even just naming the story will help you get some distance from it.

And when you do that, you'll be more likely to follow through on whatever it is you're scared to do, and that is how confidence is built. Brick, by brick, by brick.

What does confidence mean to you? Do you agree with the connection between self-esteem and intuition? Please share your thoughts in the comments, on Facebook, or wherever else you're connecting. Much love to you all!