The Pillow Fort Sessions Podcast

Sara the Trauma Therapist

February 23, 2020 Nicole Fortune Season 1 Episode 6
The Pillow Fort Sessions Podcast
Sara the Trauma Therapist
The Pillow Fort Sessions Podcast
Sara the Trauma Therapist
Feb 23, 2020 Season 1 Episode 6
Nicole Fortune

Nicole talks to an old friend about her new life as a trauma therapist. 

Show Notes Transcript

Nicole talks to an old friend about her new life as a trauma therapist. 

spk_0:   0:00
you know, through trauma therapy and stuff, too. And I'm sure you can attest to this as well. You really learn how to just sit with people and just kind of allow them Teoh process and say what it is they need to say a lot of times, there's not much you need

spk_1:   0:16
to say in session. All right, everybody welcome, Teoh. The really know episode of Philip Four Sessions. Podcast number. This is, um the bad news is that median miles are not here to make adorable sounds in the background. But the good news is that we have gone on the road. We're in Chuck Town, my adopted hometown, and we are with somebody I literally haven't seen, like, five years. That's right. Yeah. Hey. Hey.

spk_0:   1:12
How are you?

spk_1:   1:13
I'm not right. I mean, this conversation that we're about to have is gonna be and I'm super excited. Me too. Thank you for doing this of court notice. Yeah. Um, So you are therapist now? How is that going? It's,

spk_0:   1:32
uh I guess I, to be honest, could not tell you how I expected it to go. Um, but how it's going so far, It's kind of you know, getting in session and then kind of doing what you think is kind of appropriate or might be helpful, and then checking Indian obsession and asking your client how it's going. And they can kind of give me the feedback so far from what they said, it's been find good. Yeah, so I still feel the like, Fake it till you make it kind of thing. But, um, it's good. I really find myself like when I walk away from seeing clients or, you know, kind of making lesson plans or whatever it ISS for a session, feeling like good about it, like feeling like it's something I should be doing. It's something I enjoy. So

spk_1:   2:32
do you feel like you made there?

spk_0:   2:34
Yeah, like, I kind of reaffirms that for me each time. So it's been good. It's been good, Interesting. It's always something new. Each time you kind of meet with somebody, even if you know them already

spk_1:   2:47
from a

spk_0:   2:47
few sessions. But I think that's what I like about it is the newness, the kind of you know, it's never boring. It's never un interesting, and I think that's kind of what drives me is just the level of interest. I have it in kind of the feeling at home in your job, like feeling like you got to a place where you feel like you should have been this whole time. You know that so beautifully. So it's been great. I mean, there's obviously been hiccups and stuff. Not everything's perfect, but

spk_1:   3:20
But again, you're fine.

spk_0:   3:22
Yeah, everybody's still walking around and talking, Teoh.

spk_1:   3:26
So, uh, why that brings me to the main question. Which is, Why did you do there be instead of becoming a a taxi driver?

spk_0:   3:38
So I wouldn't say that those two things air seriously different. Probably. That's good. But, you know, I've thought about that too. It seems at times where I guess that being a therapist or engaging in these sessions with people who are pouring out emotions or kind of letting you into their deepest, darkest depths of their thinking and behavior, you kind of feel like, wow, this is a lot at time. So, um, that feeling does creep up, but then at the same time having a more monotonous job or something, that was not, as you know, enriching for me. I can't imagine doing something that didn't challenge me on. Bring me out of my comfort zone. Like I know, going into session Riel wanna kind of appear like we're comfortable and we're confident and all those things, and at times, you know, you're not gonna feel that way, and that's okay. But I think at the end of the day, it's something that I feel like I'm constantly learning from and learning how to navigate. And I feel like that's kind of what keeps me engaged keeps me interested in you know, it also doesn't hurt that were kind of helping people along the way as we kind of figure things out for ourselves, too. So I think sharing that journey with people and like, you know, them allowing us on the process with them and trusting us with, you know, their mental health is kind of really something that draws me closer to the profession versus even doing psychiatry. Like I can't imagine having to, you know, regulate someone medication or prescribe something that be kind of like primary for

spk_1:   5:20

spk_0:   5:21
So I think the, you know, conversation, the getting to know people, helping them through really difficult things because we have the tools is what drives me to kind of engage in this type

spk_1:   5:33
of profession. So is that always something you wanted to dio?

spk_0:   5:38
I think it always has been something where I work with human beings primarily but therapy. You know, looking back, I could not have told you that that's what I was gonna be doing or what I would want even want to be doing in my twenties, you know? And then I found the grad school program that I got into and kind of, you know, really felt like that's where I should be when I started So it was a really good feeling. Like I felt like it was a good decision, even from the beginning. And it's become even more so. The more have gotten into it. So

spk_1:   6:12
So you do. Trauma would be That is the maintenance.

spk_0:   6:18
Yes. So currently, I'm doing a few different evidence based trauma treatments and I guess kind of a newer treatment for adolescent grief and loss. Um, it's kind of like trauma focused cognitive behavior therapy or its main tenants kind of revolve around that hole process. But it also adds in like a grief and loss piece so kind of acknowledging your loss and kind of working through it and, you know, coming out of therapy feeling, I guess a little bit more hole or a little bit less empty.

spk_1:   6:55
And you do this with teenagers.

spk_0:   6:56
Yeah, so that's adolescents. Kind of probably about 12 inch 2 18 or so.

spk_1:   7:02
That's heavy. Yes, how do you care?

spk_0:   7:09
I think for me, like self care starts in the moment with a client kind of allowing yourself to be empathetic, but kind of from a place of, you know, I'll be there, you know, like burn a Brown says local, You know, crawl down into the hole with you and be there with you. But then at the end of your session, kind of crawling back out and doing what you have to do. Teoh kind of preserve what you have in your mental health and yourself care so outside of section. What that might look like is getting enough sleep or not making planes on the weekend. If it's a week where it's been kind of rough, and I just want to like, relax and be in my own thoughts and, you know, tease out things for myself, on my own time, then that's what I'll do and then start my next work. We kind of reinvigorated and ready toe tackle it all again that next week. But I think staying grounded in myself in protecting my time and my emotions and a lot

spk_1:   8:08
of ways were again work. Yes,

spk_0:   8:10
absolutely. Yeah. So, like leaving work, turning off my work cell phone, like not allowing myself to engage in my email if I'm not on the clock, those kinds of things really help me continue to enjoy

spk_1:   8:23
what I do. I think, Yeah, I could see any really emotionally heavy feel like trying, because there be how you could really easily get burned, like, very quickly,

spk_0:   8:37
right? Yeah, we do. Luckily at the clinic that I work out, we have a lot of really good safeguards in place. We have a lot of, you know, talk about self care. We have a lot of people keeping us accountable with what we're working on in terms of our own individual self care. We have lots of groups where we can kind of debrief and talk with each other, or if we had a rough session or something go even going to your supervisor, checking in or even a colleague and checking in, checking in on each other, too. That could be self care for me to helping out colleagues who maybe are having a rough time or had a rough session can kind of help me. I feel better to

spk_1:   9:18
does. I think there's they're luckily working in a clinic. You get a lot of like camaraderie. Where is in private practice? I've heard some people say, because you're on your own, you don't always. Sometimes you do. But don't always have those people that you can step off like. Man, that was a rough our That was around 45 minutes,

spk_0:   9:41
right? Yeah. It is nice to kind of even having like an office mate, like we don't have a lot office space. And so sometimes we're kind of a few of us pushed into an office together and during down time, even kind of like just joking around with your office made or, you know, talking about lighter things and kind of peppering things into your day that, you know, help. You kind of center yourself and remember who you are. You know, you sometimes get lost in our clients and wanting to help out. And I feel like, you know, kind of making sure there's pieces of your day that, you know, focus on you. And what you need are super important, at least for me in the work that I do. Whether it's having pictures on your dad score, decorating your office a certain way or having like a diffuser going with lavender,

spk_1:   10:28
you stuff like that, it makes a huge difference. Um, I have a question about school because how long have you been done?

spk_0:   10:40
Um, let's see. May. But 67 months. Yeah.

spk_1:   10:46
So we're new. There is rate has school stuff away. Do you remember so short school being like this super emotional thing for you? Because I feel like for me, I had moments where I was like, I really doing a lot of self reflecting, and I really just want to write a paper. I don't wanna be doing all this thinking about myself.

spk_0:   11:11
Yeah, yes. So and I think that and I often wonder that's unique toe like counseling programs and social programs. Where, like, are we the only professions who are asked Teoh, you know, not only dive into a topic but also reflect on how we feel about said Topic or reflect on our reflections about said Topic. A band like Yeah, and so it kind of I feel like when you're in the program, you're so like in messenger in your Coursework, which is great. But then also your personal life, your kind of starting to have that same mindset going through, like outside of school time and, like, you know, rehashing all of these things. And I think for me getting back to your question, the emotional peace and like the heavy piece for me comes from like learning about populations that are kind of, you know, underserved again for lack of a better term in and just seeing the systemic effect of, you know, our world are smaller society, our cities, our towns, our neighborhoods and just seeing the pervasiveness of the issues that were presented. And then we're in school and we're like, Okay, so how are we going to affect change? And I think that's where I would get like, overwhelmed time.

spk_1:   12:34
Yeah, because they're like, Welcome to our program. It's 2.5 years, three years. Here's all the bad stuff in the world. The world is terrible. Please go out and fix all of it. After you graduate like the next day, you're like, Wow. Okay, Well, first of all, you just asked me about my horrible childhood. So let me that and then I'll go out and work Gentrification, poverty and that. And it was good. It's good to know that I was the only person I know. I didn't I should have got like, chemistry is probably not this emotionally draining.

spk_0:   13:14
Unless you don't know what you're doing. Probably, you know,

spk_1:   13:17
true, I've never taken the chemistry a college commission. It's,

spk_0:   13:22
uh I've been there. It's not the best, but yes, exactly. I feel the same way and kind of, you know, go out and do it with a smile on your face and go out and be the positivity that your client might need that day. Or in that moment, be that role model. Be that everything that you want them to become in terms of, you know, advocating for yourself in power in yourself, all these things, also, while knowing that the entire system is working against them,

spk_1:   13:54
you know, right. I work with teenagers to, And a lot of them are like, you're telling me all this stuff. One you're telling me to be something that I'm not too. I don't really get the point of, like changing myself, because nothing is gonna change. I'm still gonna get have more charges. I'm still gonna be poor. You're not gonna get me back in the right grade. And you're just like that is all true. Tried by this and have really struggled. I'm really struggling with that,

spk_0:   14:24
and it's and I don't have answers for you, but I can say I've been to you and it's frustrating because at times it's, you know, you have to get so creative around if this child or adolescent or individual has no kind of hope toe just to kind of be comfortable in, or you know something to keep them going naturally or or something that's unique or, you know, authentic to their life. How are we going to provide that kind of nugget for them if they don't have anything toe to begin with? You know, like, how do we tell them what's important to them or what should be without losing them in the process?

spk_1:   15:10
Yeah, you know, I just had a realization. Work are hard. Yeah, just pick up from there. It's super stressful. We work with us and I feel like because I used to work as you. That's how we know each other.

spk_0:   15:26
We do start out is how

spk_1:   15:28
at the beginning. But yeah, we worked with some harder populations who are really going through it. And I feel like that's the stuff that I take more because not only his assistant failing. But there's not a lot I can do for, like they're more a parent. Issues like I can give you travel focused in every possibly Or I can give you some deep breathing exercises, but I can't like, keep your lights on. Yeah, I A. Keeps me up at night

spk_0:   16:02
in dreams. And even though I think what fresh rates made a lot lately with kind of current, uh, people that I'm seeing is, you know, everyone's human and everybody has many dimensions Teoh who they are as a person, and just knowing that human beings have the ability Teoh share certain things with you and not share other things. And so it's like if we don't have the full picture and you kind of know when you don't have the full picture because the pieces aren't fitting together in a full puzzle. But there's only so much you can do. Teoh. You know, garner that information from your clients, and then there's only so much you can do with what you have. So,

spk_1:   16:48
yeah, I think that people higher ups expect us to do everything and knew everything. But I mean, one of the reasons I wanted to start this is to make there be less scary, right if you get to hear from a therapist, But for some people, they're just not gonna open up to some random person. So I am working off the fact that they're telling me that everything is fine. This is all that they have a problem with, and then they're done with the baby. When we know that, that's I think he's

spk_0:   17:18
right. Yeah, and just knowing that things usually honest, simple as we kind of sometimes tend to make them out to be to fit them into a therapeutic intervention, to fit them into what we see for these people's future, or you know what we see happening in therapy and I feel like, you know, while evidence based interventions work a lot for textbook cases, there's also the times when you kind of do provide or I dio at least like a nuanced version of the intervention to fidelity. But like you add in little flares and at those times it's kind of like I guess that's when supervision is good. But you can never being creative as a person and having to kind of go with that and be comfortable with that. And just let your client kind give you the natural feedback of you know they're receptive to it. Or they're not like this or don't, right? Yeah, and that, you know, for the majority of the people I see. And maybe it is just, you know, working with young adults. They really do align with the idea like you know, you being authentic in wanting them to give you, you know, their honest feedback. They seem to appreciate that a lot, but then there also where the kids who really want to please you and kind of do what you want them to do in therapy, even if it's not something necessarily working for them and those tend to be, honestly, the most frustrating cases, and I never saw myself saying that. You know, a people thinking of people pleaser kind of person would be the most difficult to kind of work with, but

spk_1:   18:51
it makes if

spk_0:   18:52
you have a more, you know, verbal and vocal and kind about spoken child who maybe doesn't agree with everything you say or doesn't agree with every piece of the intervention that can often be way more helpful to know what's working, what's not versus a person who was just telling you like, Yeah, this is greater. This is working in your noticing that there's not a lot of change happening. You know,

spk_1:   19:13
that's good for people to know. I feel like that's it. That's another about this is that therapist. Once you're in that room sometimes and even in my personal experience with their you just want that person to No, I think it live. You or you want Teoh then to think that they're doing a good job. So you're like, Yeah, I feel great after talking team, Even if you're like I'm never talking personally, I will definitely never go to that person again, right, because you don't want to make anybody feel bad about the job that they're doing. I'm sure kids, right and hope none of my kids,

spk_0:   19:49
especially because we go in as nice people. We go in, you know, wanting to get along with them and wanting to align with them and kind of be that person that they can open up. Teoh. And I think a lot of times kids seeing that is, you know where we're comforting and maybe allowing them to be to feel comfortable and so they, like you mentioned, are feeling the transactional nature and one also make you feel good, even if it's not helpful to that. So I guess, like laying that out more on the front end for people that are listening, that I'm curious about how we kind of deal with that, you know, laying out on the front end that these sessions are for the person that we're seeing there for the patient there for the client, so encouraging them to speak up, even if it's uncomfortable, or even if they feel like it's something we may not want to hear, letting them know that that's exactly what we want.

spk_1:   20:39
Here is things that are uncomfortable or Yeah, yeah, it this is inviting you. Please

spk_0:   20:46
write. And at times it's hard to say that because I don't really feel like I want to hear it, but I know I need Teoh, you know? So

spk_1:   20:55
my worst fear is for them to be like you don't really way have work. Yeah, we have these assessments that we give them at the end of, like every other section. That is like, How much do you like, what your deafness is doing and how much do you trust your Davis and I always like, rush to look at those. And some kids are just like I'm not reading. This is Europe. I don't trust her or like her. So they do. And they're just like she's okay. Like, I just want to be the best. Tell me what I could do to it prove, but I do like that you. But I do tell them that, like, because the parents are always, like, just like your your job. Not really. It's mostly just for me. So I'm not coming into your home doing something that you don't right,

spk_0:   21:43
because that's you know, especially with kids. It's a really good opportunity if they don't enjoy what you're doing, or they don't feel like they have a connection with you for them to just shut you out, and then

spk_1:   21:52
you're kind

spk_0:   21:52
of talking to yourself. Yeah, and it's just not helpful to anybody. So even like you said, reading that feedback, even if it is uncomfortable, is room for us to grow. And I feel like we are in a profession where you constantly know about yourself, and that's sitting with nothing. This, yes, sitting with that's hard at times.

spk_1:   22:13
Yeah. So yeah, and I'm learning a lot about myself. Do this job, right? Some things I like it. Some things I don't. And I wasn't really prepared for that so much. And I don't think they told me that, at least explicitly. Yeah, I don't appreciate that. Yeah, but it's they've already been paid, kind of. Um, So you said earlier that you bring like a player to your treatment. What is your flair look like? How do you like How do you bring your seriousness into practice?

spk_0:   22:53
So I think, um well, I guess two things kind of come to mind first and foremost the first thing that kind of popped into my head was especially with kids and kind of understanding that I'm not in the same space that they are anymore. Unfortunately, I've grown a little bit, at least probably. And I grew up in a different decade, at least if not 20 years later. So are obviously 20 years before they came 20 years later, whatever the case, but essentially allowing the kids or whoever it is to kind of show their personality and kind of, you know, grasping onto things that they show me. So, for instance, we were kind of talking earlier about me seeing a client who's into a certain animals show because it reminds them of themselves. And so yeah, and having him in session pick one of the episodes that he feels like it's most aligned with who he is as a person. We watched pieces of it and together and kind of, you know, processed afterwards. What about that episode he relates to and why? And it was a really good opening session. Teoh, help me understand who he is and help me understand who he is through his eyes. And so just even especially with young ones, allowing them to see you enjoying something that they enjoy. ISS so cool and so they seem to enjoy that. And I think another piece and I'll do that with adults. Teoh. On a certain level, obviously there's something they're interested in, or a certain even if it's kind of like a different medium that they communicate through. So if it's you know, them writing or them, you know, painting or whatever it ISS allowing those kinds of forms of expression and therapy while also getting to all of the components of the treatment. But another piece quickly is, um especially. I guess this is more of like a trauma kind of peace. So you know people telling us some of the worst things that they've experienced or, you know, just the discomfort you can see on people's faces as they're the words are coming out of their mouth about something that happened to them, something they did something they feel guilty about something. They find the most difficult thing to talk about and being able to just take it and not have a reaction on my face

spk_1:   25:19
that IHS

spk_0:   25:20
helpful at times and also it kind of is you know, helps rain people. And at times, when, you know, maybe you have a client who is looking for a reaction from you by acting out or saying off the wall things Teoh, You know, dis rail, the therapy session or whatever it ISS because, you know, we're all we all different, difficult days. But, um, that kind of thing can help to your body language, your facial expressions, things like that. So, you

spk_1:   25:52
know, that's a really good point. I imagine that in your in your line of work that people have, Maybe Maybe you're the first person ever told this to you. Or maybe you're the first person that ever told us to Who didn't say, Oh, my God, like that must make a huge difference in somebody's whether or not they're coming back, whether or not they're going to engage in treatment. What? It makes a huge difference whether you run out the door right in the fact that you stay there. You're like, OK, let's power through it.

spk_0:   26:27
Like what else?

spk_1:   26:28
Yeah. What do you mean? What else? You don't What if you're okay with that? What I just said, right. It's really amazing. Beautiful I think people under great the power of just getting something off your chest for the first time with somebody who's job is to be like, all right,

spk_0:   26:49
yes. And I think, you know, through trauma therapy and stuff, too. And I'm sure you can attest to this as well. You really learn how to just sit with people and just kind of allow them Teoh process and say what it is they need to say. A lot of times there's not much you need to say in session if it is a tougher session where someone wants to event or they want to get some feelings off their chest where they want to process themselves around a thought or an experience, or you know something that's been bothering them, and so you just kind of let them process and they're out some moves and years and allow them. Teoh say what they need to say without interrupting or, you know, without leading anything. And sometimes those are the most powerful sessions and they don't feel that way. The first few you're kind of like, did I do anything but often times those air. The sessions I found that I get the best feedback.

spk_1:   27:44
It's like Thank you for

spk_0:   27:45
listening. Thank you for being there. You know,

spk_1:   27:47
you did something that nobody else has done. Just let speak and be heard and did not come in with your opinions or your judgments or anything that must be extremely powerful in trauma therapy. I'm sure you know I don't know how you're doing.

spk_0:   28:08
It's not something that comes naturally to me. I am very much a talker, and I love to chat, and I love to be. I think for me instinctually as a person. What comes to me is, you know, if there is an awkward silence or a moment where there's not talking happening or conversation flowing, I'm the person that fills the space. So it took a lot, took a lot for me toe learn that that's not always helpful. In that times, it's harmful. And then once I kind of figured that out. I was like, OK, I will try this islands.

spk_1:   28:41
It's very grudgingly,

spk_0:   28:43
you know, it's exactly it's been fine. It's been good time. So

spk_1:   28:47
taking notes here myself Shut up. You're good, says the person doing back it because they love people. They hear the family boys. Yeah, actually, what is it? Actually, um, in a little bit of time that we had left. And when I ask you about your super adorable to you, Well, you nobody can see it because,

spk_0:   29:09
you know, this is so you can check it out more. Um,

spk_1:   29:13
we'll take a victory. It'll be

spk_0:   29:14
honest. So essentially, I knew every like, traditional I one of my best friends is completely covered in tattoos, and she and I have known each other since we were about three or four, and it's it's ah, traditional skeleton sitting on a beach with, like, a sunrise sunset situation. There's a palm tree, the skeletons leaning up against, um, course they have sunglasses on on and the skeleton has a drink in their hand. In my drink on my piece of art is red because that's my good friends. Favorite color in her. She got the same tattoo on her leg, and her drink is blue because that's my favorite color. But essentially, it's like you know we'll be together until the death of us.

spk_1:   30:02
That's adorable. Drinks on the beach,

spk_0:   30:05
right? And I love the beach. Obviously, I grew up in a beachy place. So I will never not live somewhere. That has water. Um, thanks in part to make it. Yeah, it's worth, you know, but yeah. So that's where that came from. It's It's cool. It was kind of did not expect it to be as low on my upper arm as it is so at work. At times, you kind of see some skeleton legs

spk_1:   30:30
and intricate

spk_0:   30:31
trunk of a tree. But, you know, it's it's cool. I like it a lot. It's got some cool colors on it that turned out really well. Can't complain. Thank you.

spk_1:   30:42
I really like. And I like the story behind it. I think people appreciate those human touches, and I think that people don't usually expect that from people in our field. But you're right. Have tats. Yeah, we could have for pets, you know. Um, Emily, I hope you know that this means we have to get magic. Yes, you should. It's happening.

spk_0:   31:09
Really should. Because you know what? You know what the best part about it is is that when you guys are apart and someone asked you about your tattoo, it literally gives you an excuse to talk about your best friend. You know what I mean? Like you are thinking about Emily inherently by just explaining her. Teoh, the people that are asking about

spk_1:   31:30
would you met with

spk_0:   31:31
her name is Amber. This is one of my best friends. I would like a trio of people, but she's my tattoo girl. So every girl Amber, tattoo girl,

spk_1:   31:41
he's That's beautiful. That's beautiful weight. And they give you listening. Teoh.

spk_0:   31:47
Thanks for having me. I

spk_1:   31:49
appreciate it. Yeah, it was great. Thank you. Gonna get gonna touch you now, please, Dio. Thanks for listening to another episode of Pillow for Sessions Podcasts. We so appreciate your curiosity. This show was edited and produced by me, Nicole Fortune and my partner Myka. Background sounds in general acuteness provided by manager on the dock and mob Morales the cat. If you're listening on iTunes, please describe in leave us review. It helps people find us. You want to see video versions of sessions and or follow us on social medias? Check out our website pillow, fort pie dot com. Do you or someone you know want to be in the pillow? Fort Go email is right now. A pillow port pot at gmail dot com Second. Yeah. Yeah. Bio