Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” Tony Overbay, LMFT, welcomes Nate Christensen, APCC, back to the Virtual Couch for his 6th appearance. Tony and Nate discuss David Robson’s book “The Expectation Effect: How Your Mindset Can Change Your Word,” https://amzn.to/3vbtTCl 

Robson calls our brains “prediction machines” and says, “It turns out our brains constantly anticipate what will happen next, and this script is incredibly powerful. This does not mean, as some self-help exponents suggest, anything bad is the fault of the individual or that we can just ask the universe for whatever outcome we want; however, there appears to be some benefit in reframing experiences when our beliefs may not be helping us.” Tony and Nate give several examples from the book on the power of mindset, both positive and negative, and then give some tips on how to set yourself up best to take advantage of the power of the brain. 

Nate Christensen hosts a podcast called “Working Change” along with his wife Marla, and you can contact Nate through Tony’s website using the contact form at http://tonyoverbay.com

If you are interested in being coached in Tony's upcoming "Magnetic Marriage Podcast," please email him for more information. You will receive free marriage coaching and remain anonymous when the episode airs. 

Go to http://tonyoverbay.com/workshop to sign up for Tony's "Magnetize Your Marriage" virtual workshop. The cost is only $19, and you'll learn the top 3 things you can do NOW to create a Magnetic Marriage. 

You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program, The Path Back, by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs and podcasts.

Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript, click here https://descript.com?lmref=bSWcEQ

Expectation Effect with Nate- Transcript

Tony: Nate Christensen. Welcome to the Virtual Couch. And what is now an unprecedented sixth, or seventh time, I believe. And the fans go crazy when they see that Nate's on the podcast because we're going to talk about smart things and I'm going to step back and I'm going to let you do a lot of the driving. So I'm excited about that too. But to begin with, have you ever thought you knew a quote so well, and then it turns out it isn't from who you said it was?

Nate: Probably not. And the reason, 

Tony: I love it. Right. Stepping into your healthy ego. Here we go. Yeah. 

Nate: Well, so I love quotes and some things just really stick, but I never remember who says them.

Tony: Oh, okay. So it's, but you don't necessarily misattribute them. 

Nate: I'm sure that I have done that. Yeah, because, and I think sometimes I actually attribute them to myself. 

Tony: That's even better. Yeah. Yeah. There's one that I don't, we have so much to get to today. One of my best examples of this, I used to say the “seek first to understand before being understood” quote and I assumed it was from the Bible and then I confabulated my memory so many times that I was assuming, well, if it's the Bible it's got to be the New Testament. If it's the New Testament, it's probably Paul. And at one point I even remember saying to a couple, well, as Paul said, and I'm probably assuming to the Corinthians, seek first to understand before being understood, only to find a quick Google search that it was Steven Covey.

So today we're gonna talk about a quote that I have, I could not remember, and I want to attribute it to yoda. And it turns out that it is actually Henry Ford who said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right.” 

Nate: Love that quote. Okay. I mean, it’s a little cliche, right? Because maybe there are certain things that we can't accomplish. But there's probably plenty of things we could, but if we just don't believe we can, we don't do it. 

Tony: So, that is a segue to today. So today we are talking about a book called The Expectation Effect by David Robson. So do you want to do a little introduction on where and, and I do, I want you to go wherever you want to go. You drive. I've got some notes prepared as well. I listened to the book on audiobook, and it's been in my head ever since. So, but I would love to hear, where are we going today, Nate? 

Nate: Well, I think we'll just kind of meander along. I think we both have our notes and an outline, and we'll see where it goes. It's like two dudes with ADHD and a book. 

Tony: Need you more? And as I literally went for my squishy brain to squeeze and I dropped it behind my desk. So I feel like now I'm distracted, but it's okay. I'm going to leave it there. I'm going to be very mindful. 

Nate: Okay, I like it. So the expectation effect, actually, the author never explicitly defines. So I was looking last night all over the place and I was like, where's the definition? And doesn't actually totally define it. He uses some studies to kind of define it early in the book. And there was one study that I thought was interesting, that we could kind of throw out there from the beginning. It was from Crum and Langer in 2007 and they approached seven hotels and they basically had 88 employees in housekeeping. And they cleaned something in the neighborhood of like 15 rooms a day. And then they divided them up and then they asked each group, how much do you exercise? And they got everybody's answers. And then they said, don't do anything different over the next four weeks we're going to come back and talk to you, and I guess another important piece to this is, they measured everybody's height and weight and BMI and all that stuff. So then they took this one group though and they primed them. And that's a word we'll use a couple times. So priming is the process of giving information that would kind of get the brain to think a particular way. And what they did with this group is they talked to them about how research indicates that certain tasks like vacuuming or cleaning the bathroom actually increases heart rate and is akin to exercise, like taking a walk or something like that and that was all they did. So then they come back in four weeks and they ask them again, how much they exercise and they found the group that they primed reported a higher level of exercise and they didn't do anything different but they were viewing their work as exercise where they hadn't before. And, they started poking and prodding the participants and discovered those that came to believe through the priming that their work was exercise, actually lost weight and lost BMI and said they generally felt healthier. No explanation. They checked with the managers, hey, are these people working overtime? Is anything unusual? Has anything changed? No change. It's just, their mind started to believe that they were healthier and exercised and whatever set of cascading decisions that followed caused them to lose weight and feel better.

Tony: And I love what you talk about there, the cascading, whatever happened next. Because what I appreciated is, he makes a really big point that this is, and I love what he says. The author himself tells you many times that you need to be careful how you read the book and that it is absolutely not some version of The Secret, which was a book I remember early in my therapy career that came out, and he even said it sold 35 or 40 million copies. And, it was this, it was like the law of attraction or if you think it, it will become, and I had people that would literally tell me, and they were, they were people I'd been working with for a while that said, and it was this time of year holidays, one person said, I went to the mall and I determined I would get a front row parking spot. And he put that out to the universe, and it happened. And so I wanted to say, okay, that one, how about a little bit of chance, a little bit of luck, and he said, no, it's because I put it out there. And so I love the fact that, David Robinson says, that every single one of these examples we give, and there's some pretty crazy ones, that he can find the data to back it up. Whether it is, then that expectation leads to this effect and this effect, and this effect, but that power of the mind is pretty impressive. 

Nate: It is, it's really impressive. And, my own experience having been diagnosed in my early twenties with depression and anxiety and struggling with that, and then my own expectations about what I could do and what I couldn't do, and being told by medical doctors that I just had a chemical imbalance, and there really wasn't probably much I could do, just take these pills, which was, I mean, I know that that was where science was at that moment. But was probably the worst thing for me because I had no incentive to try to do things differently, make lifestyle changes, which I have since done. And I, after 20 years of medication, no longer need it because, well maybe life implodes on me and I might find myself in a difficult situation and go back to the doctor and I need some.

Tony: Hey, so I'll mark the time at this one. This is at the whatever minute mark. Right? 

Nate: No, no. I think that's an important thing to recognize that I still have my limitations and I still do have my mental propensities but when I'm living life in a way that's known to be healthy, I feel better. And I don't feel that I need those other things.

Tony: And then it has that, like you said earlier, that cascading effect which I feel like is such a good principle. Do we start going down some of the studies or do you have some other things to kind of set the table? 

Nate: Yeah. So I think maybe the best thing to set the table would be understanding what is the basis. Like, so what, what is this expectation effect built on, why does this exist? And the author talks early on about an idea concept called “the prediction machine”.  

Tony: This is one of those where I feel like if you hear this in listening, right now, just starting to be aware that this is what the brain is starts to make sense. 

Nate: Yeah, yeah, and so the prediction machine or the brain, and as you talk about our brain is a don't get killed device. And the way that it does that is by creating stories. And the stories that it creates are around the ideas of what the world is like, who we are in the world, who the people are around us, and what matters and what doesn't matter, it's why you can at least, you know, here in the US you know, you have people, with political belief systems that are polar opposites that they feel like both feel equally strongly about, it's just the way that we view the world and ultimately, these belief systems can ultimately determine what we believe is possible. And so that's where the expectation effect essentially comes from. Our brain's desire to make sense of everything and then to build on that because that will tell us what we're capable of, what other people are capable of and, you know, hence our expectations.

Tony: So then I know he talks about,  and I'm looking at our notes here too, well, I love, first let me just hit the, when the brain tries to make sense of the world, create stories and belief systems, Michael Twohig that was on a few weeks ago, talked about that concept of where we make stories and then we just believe that's the way the world works. And then if we aren't actively trying to look outside of ourselves or do our own work, then we just over 20, 30 years, well, that's just the way it works. And so then if anybody even tries to question, well, why do we do things? Or, why don't you do something different? Then it seems like we get offended because, well, because this is what I do. This is the way it works.

Nate: Right, and you have the idea of cognitive dissonance. So yeah, so cognitive dissonance is when someone, when you have a belief system and someone gives you information that actually challenges that belief system, it can really be shaky for people. Now this goes back to a book that I love that I mentioned a lot, which is Buddha's Brain. Which one of the things I took from it is to stop trying to make sense of everything. Just let things be and I love it.

Tony: Which sounds so counterintuitive. And it's funny, that's where I was going too. The Buddha’s Brain talks about that, the book On Being Certain in essence says, well, I think I've created that, how adorable part. But just, we spend so much time and I feel like wasting emotional calories and energy, trying to make sense of things that happened. And then it's almost as if we're seeking this, well, if I can make sense of it, then what? Then I will be better. Then I can move on from it. But then we actually get caught up in trying to make sense of things. Which is so mind blowing. I did an episode a couple weeks ago on limiting beliefs. And I thought that was a really interesting concept because I haven't really explored what that is for quite a while. But just really quick, I love that this one article I found said that these, underlying, or these self-limiting beliefs are particularly vulnerable because they're shaped during our early development from the messages that we receive from our parents and caregivers about our self-worth, the potential, the deservingness of unconditional love. And because these self-limiting beliefs are kind of there before we even knew that we were choosing, or thinking or that then they tend to constitute these global judgements about who we are and what we're capable of achieving, and then they trickle down into all these different aspects of our life.

So I feel like even right now, if somebody finds themselves saying, well, yeah, but, I mean, really challenge the yeah, buts, because those yeah buts come from the programming that we got in our childhood.

Nate: And that dovetails really nicely. I'm going to jump ahead a little bit based on where I had this in our outline, but I think it really ties in nicely with a study in the chapter called “Untapped Genius” where Robson starts off talking about a study in San Francisco in 19, I think it was 1964, and the researchers identified a bunch of children that were ready to bloom elementary, I think they were all elementary school kids. And then, they identified these children to the teachers and told the teachers, these kids are ready to explode academically and take a big step intellectually. And so the teachers were primed to expect these students to do well. And at the end of the year, they went through and got a bunch of IQ scores and found that these students had done about double, like twice as well as their peers. The non-identified students, I guess the students that were not ready to bloom and of course, as you can imagine, because researchers like to pull their little pranks, the students that were identified as ready to bloom were all random.

Tony: Oh, okay. I did not see that coming.

Nate: That's funny, and the interesting thing was when they talked to the teachers, the teacher said, the teacher's own belief system was, they didn't work more with these kids.

Tony: I remember when you were talking about this, and that was what I was blown away by. Because even if you look at that, it's almost like the teacher said, well, they're good. They're ready to bloom. 

Nate: I mean, imagine if there's a student that comes to you and your belief system is, they're ready, they're ready for this, and they're like, I don't understand this, how much time are you going to spend with them? Are you going to say, you know what, you're smart. I know you can figure this out. You'll figure it out. And then they just do that.

Tony: It almost shows you when you have those students that supposedly are, they're bored because they are so smart. I mean, I wonder if that would make some sense. Here I am trying to make sense of who knows, but, where if that person isn't challenged, and maybe one of the reasons they're not challenged is because the teacher does know they're smart, and so says, well, you just sit back. I'm trying to teach these other kids because you should get it.

Nate: Yeah. There's other studies in that particular chapter where research indicates that teachers are inherent for whatever reason, again, based on our belief systems because we're trying to make sense of the world. You know, teachers that are aware that certain students are poor are more likely to view those students as not good students that they'll struggle, and the author brings up the possibility that maybe these people are just meeting the expectations of those around them. Again, going back to what you said about what we experienced in childhood.

Tony: Right. And it's funny, I was in the airport yesterday and just walking around and you do, you just make these inherent observations and judgements that just go hand in hand. And somebody just because maybe of the way they look or present or it's the brain just continually making predictions. If this person's safe, this person's not. I could probably have a conversation with this person, maybe this person I couldn't. And I feel like we don't even recognize that we're doing that constantly.

Nate: Yeah. There's evidence that this is going outside of the book. There's evidence that a lot of these things are just inherently built into us. There was a study that I was, I was listening to a presentation and the, the presenter was talking about this study that they were showing a bunch of pictures and then looking at what was going on in the brain, and what they found is me as a white man, if you show me a picture of someone non-white, my amygdala , just lights up a little bit. So I immediately feel a little bit weird. It's possibly the in-group, out-group bias. But, but, there's, I have no control over that. Right. It just happens, which is fascinating in and of itself. Like why would the brain associate that with potential danger? I don’t know.

Tony: Well, and then, and then what I like about that example is then the book On Being Certain in essence says at that moment not to try to make sense of, but then say, oh, I'm noticing that and now is when you can take action on something of, okay, now I can address this bias, or that sort of thing. But I feel like so much of our experience in life but this is how I feel so I need to then, I need to figure it out and then I'm not doing the work and I don't want to be uncomfortable because if I have to then self confront, then that might be uncomfortable. And I might realize that I might not have a very open mind about a situation and that's the part that I don't know if you, and as a therapist, that's the part that I don't want to say is frustrating, but boy, sometimes I just want people to be able to fast track their way to accountability and then this self confrontation and know that it's okay. It's actually, we all need to recognize the areas where we don't, we didn't know what we didn't know. 

Nate: Yeah, and that certainly is a challenge in therapy, and I think that it might go back at least partially to how entrenched are people in their belief systems. Like my experience, I don't know if you, if you see this, when people come in and they have a certain amount of openness to not only what I'm saying, but to the possibility that maybe there's things that they don't understand, or whatever, I feel like those clients tend to do better. What do you think?

Tony: Oh, yeah, I'll sometimes jokingly say that if somebody comes in and they're willing to be pretty open or take ownership of their behavior or they even recognize that, okay, I obviously don't know what I don't know, or I continue to repeat the same pattern over and over again, that then I love to make the joke of, okay, you just saved yourself four to six sessions of therapy, so that's a money saver which is a good thing. Should we talk about some more of the, I think this had so many good examples that I think are pretty mind blowing. Okay there's, and I think everybody's heard about the placebo effect. I want to also talk about the nocebo effect because that was fascinating. Do you want to talk about that?  

Nate: Okay. Well, do you want me to talk about placebo or nocebo?. Yeah. Give both. Okay. Okay. So the placebo effect is the belief that something positive will happen because you do this thing and the example that they brought up, which I thought was just incredible in the book was an experiment where, again, you know, as you can imagine, experimenters are playing their little tricks and trying to see what happens, they gave a bunch of quote unquote painkillers to people to kind of see what happens. And of course, half the people actually took painkillers and half the people took sugar pills. And what they discovered was the people that took sugar pills that believed they were taking painkillers, their bodies actually released endorphins, which is insane. I don't even know, I don't even know how, so for anybody that's not sure what an endorphin is, that's the body's natural painkillers. So it's endogenous morphine essentially. I mean, your body released painkillers, like the body's natural painkillers when you popped what you thought as a Tylenol or an ibuprofen or something. That is amazing. 

Tony: Can I tell you, a client of mine actually sent me a funny video. There's a comedian, I think his name's Pete Holmes and my client was saying that I always talk about, oh, the brain bless its heart. It means, well. And this comedian said the brain's kind of a jerk because it has access to all those chemicals. But it's saying, no. Do you know what you need to do to use them? Go run. So, but when, and it could literally conjure that up. And I remember in my psycho-pharmacology class in grad school that the instructor did an amazing job of just describing an orange. To the point where it made us pretty much all salivate. And then he was just saying, power the brain. Yeah. It's amazing. It is. So that placebo, and I remember there's a book called You Are The Placebo. And this is where I, boy, now that I understand the way our memory works, that it probably wasn't even in that book. It was probably just in some random article that I googled at the time when I did a podcast about it. But, there was even some stuff, and I don't think they could get away with this today, but it was where half the people were given ACL surgeries and then another half were put under, and then they created the scars and the knee and then they followed up. And the people that didn't get the surgery but were told they did, and that they came through it well, showed stability in their ACL. Like, that is crazy. It is, yeah, it is. That is really fascinating. So what's nocebo then?

Nate: So the nocebo effect is essentially where the patient or client or whomever has a negative belief system built around whatever is going to happen. And they had a really just, again, fascinating studies and stories in this book. 

Tony: This one's almost scary now that I remember what this one was. I can literally remember where I was running at the time and I was thinking about, oh my gosh. It made me immediately think of how many things do I worry about? Because what can happen, Nate? What's the story? 

Nate: Yeah. Okay, in the 1970s was a man in Tennessee that was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. I don't know my cancers very well, so I don't know if it's really serious or relatively minor. So they operated and the surgery was successful. However, further scans showed that the cancer had spread to his liver, and the doctors told him that he was going to be lucky to make it to Christmas that year, and he actually beat the odds. He survived until January. So during the autopsy they took a look at his liver. Turns out, the cancer or the tumor is not only small, but operable. And could not have killed him, they have no idea how he died, and so basically the assumption kind of became, he just believed that he was going to die and died.

Tony: You know, the reason I remember this one so well is it kind of freaked me out a little bit. And I went on a deep dive on Google and I don't even know how many websites I clicked links to, but I found some, somebody that even hypothesized that the, some chemical that the body excretes at very low levels is non-toxic and it helps clear the bloodstream of blood clots. And I mean, but then again, I don't even think this is a real thing. But this was somebody trying to make sense of it. And then they were saying, so this guy then must have just activated this part of his brain that just dumped this toxic chemical into his bloodstream. Which I mean, but then I even realized, oh, that was somebody trying to make sense of this, because it's mind blowing. I think that you could just think your way through to this point where now you know, thank goodness he made it till what, January, but instead of Christmas. So he beat the odds. But he didn't really need to die at all. 

Nate: No. Yeah. It's fascinating. I have a non-human example. My stepson was watching my brother's house and they have a bunch of animals and a couple of hunting dogs. And these dogs are, they're not aggressive to people, but they're like chasing animals all over the place. So my brother and his family got a couple of sheep, like rams, and they're really wild and they took off and they didn't mean for that to happen, but they just left. So anyway, my stepson calls me and he's like, I don't know what's going on. The dogs are attacking an animal and he's freaking out and then they stop and the animal's dead. And so my wife and I run over to figure it out, and I call my brother and I send him a picture and he is like, oh, that's one of the sheep that we had actually bought. And I guess it came back, but the dogs were out and they attacked it. So we're looking at the sheep, and it does have injuries, but there's no obvious like, it's not its throat like it didn't get it, didn't look like the dogs had gotten it anywhere in a place that would've killed it. And so I just was like, this thing was just so terrified. I asked my brother about that and he was kind of thinking the same thing, like it just scared it to death to the point that it died. 

Tony: Wow. Yeah, it's really interesting. Honestly, I was waiting for you to say, and then it looked around, no dogs around, and it popped up and ran away. I was ready for a happy version.

Nate: It was a sad ending. Sad for the ram.

Tony: Okay I want to make sure, because I know we're going to run out of time because this is very, very easy to talk about. But let's talk about how I can live forever, because that's my hope. So the things around aging, I think there's some stuff around aging.

Nate: Yeah so the last chapter is about aging and it's really interesting, so researchers basically got a bunch of retirees, and I think they were early retirees, so maybe in their sixties, and they went through and I don't remember if they gave them a bunch of words or they asked them to describe what getting older is like, and, and then they divided them based on their responses. So you had some people that saw getting older as painful, right. As difficult, things like that. You had other people that saw it as, you know, they associate it with wisdom, freedom, and opportunities to do new things. So they divided these people and what they found is, the people that had a positive view of getting older lived on average, seven and a half years long.

Tony: That is a long time. That was exciting to me. 

Nate: You’re like, I’m going to live until 90 now.

Tony: Or 110.

Nate: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I don't know if I want to live that long, which I don’t know what that means.

Tony: There’s so much fun stuff to do though, Nate, right? Okay. Go lay on the couch right now and tell me more about that. I was in Salt Lake over the weekend. I flew back there to help my daughter get a car, and our salesperson was Fred, he was amazing. He was 81 and I immediately exclaimed when he told me this. Fred, you look amazing. I want to be you when I'm 81. And he already had a career retired, was bored and was just doing this kind of as a hobby, but then just sharp as a tack. And we talked about all kinds of things, not just car things, but life things. And I just, I was thinking about our interview, I was thinking about this book and I was just thinking about the fact that, you know, his implicit memory or what it feels like to be Fred is just somebody that is constantly moving, challenging, thinking, doing, learning. And so he looked the part and then also was incredibly just. And then I know that I want to be that 80 year old that's still, I don't know, running races or that sort of thing. But then I think it's funny because I also look at, though, I'm also afraid of things like Alzheimer's or that sort of thing. So then this book caused me such cognitive dissonance because in one sense I think, okay, I am convinced I'm going to live forever and be able to exercise as long as I don't go crazy. And so which one's going to win? I need you to tell me, Nate. 

Nate: Your expectations are going to win. 

Tony: But I expect them both.

Nate: If you go back to Buddha's brain. The negative is like Velcro. 

Tony: Yep. And the positive like Teflon. And, I am turning my, I'm putting a bunch of sock fuzz in the Velcro of my negativity and therefore the negative things are starting to slide right past. So were there other examples of things that you thought were pretty interesting?

Nate: Yeah you know, I think for me the one that, I mean, it hit me like quite, quite heavily was around stress and anxiety. 

Tony: Talk about this. So, did it just say, knock it off? 

Nate: It was really fascinating. So they looked at some kind of societal changes that started happening around the early 1900s and maybe it was late 1800s. And so there was kind of this social movement to de-stress your life. And it was like people could do these things to kind of live a stress-free life. And there seemed to be this shift in society where it started to view stress and anxiety from more of a negative perspective. And the reason why that's interesting is because, again, going back to the science of what they found, what happens when you stop looking at stress and anxiety as a negative, in this particular instance, what the researchers found is they got a bunch of students together taking the GRE. So you take the GRE to get into graduate school. And then they primed half of them going back to that priming word. So they gave them a blurb previous to taking this exam and then the other half, they just had them take the exam. So listen to this blurb that they gave to people. I wrote it down exactly because I wanted to do it. Hopefully it'll pick me up because my head is turned a little bit. 

So, the blurb reads, “People think that feeling anxious while taking a standardized test will make them do poorly on the test. However, recent research suggests that arousal doesn't hurt performance on these tests and can even help performance. People who feel anxious during a test might actually do better. This means that you shouldn't feel concerned, if you do feel anxious while taking today's GRE test. If you find yourself feeling anxious, simply remind yourself that your arousal could be helping you do well.”

So, that's the only difference between these two groups. The group that got that did 10% better. Like, put yourself back in school and every time you take a test, for 15 seconds or whatever it was, you read that and every test you do 10% better.

Tony: Well, because, I mean boy, you're getting ready for the big licensing exams and those sorts of things. And I can't even tell you that stress and people would continually, I mean, if you fail it, you think, what if I was one or two off? I mean, so in that scenario, boy, 10% out of a four hour test of 200 questions, that's a lot of questions you could get, right. That's 20 questions. 20 questions from what you just read. And what is that saying though? That 's saying, oh, it's normal and I'm okay. Right. Yeah. Which I love because in the world of ACT, which, you know, I go on and on about is this acceptance that of course I feel this way. I'm a human being. That's part of the human experience. So, now what? Now I will bring it along with me while I do things of value. 

Nate: Yeah. And I love that approach because for me, the reason my anxiety was so bad, or at least again, the story that I'm creating. The reason my anxiety was so bad is because I was trying to run from it. Every time I felt elevated, I just saw like there was a problem. And I'm like, oh, there's a problem. I need to find the problem. So I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety, which essentially, the emotion comes, going back to Buddha's Brain, right? The emotion hits first, then it's the brain's decision. What am I going to do with this? My brain decided I needed to make sense of it, which again, is why I love Buddha's Brain. It was like, that was where you went wrong. And guess what? In life, you will always be able to find problems. Always. If you are looking for problems, you're going to find them. Absolutely. And the way to handle that is like, everything is fine. It's okay. It's not a problem. It's like that blurb they gave. This might help you.

Tony: That's a nice reframing too. Another one of the things that Mike Twohig talked about is he said, one of the lines I say is, “I think healthy, happy people are probably spending 80% of their day doing things that are important.” He said, “I didn't say fun, but I said important. And then people who are maybe less healthy are probably spending 80% of their day working hard to feel good.” And I think we could add in there and avoid discomfort and move away from anxiety, and beat themselves up about what's wrong with me because I feel depressed and then people feel like but I need to figure it out. And so then that's what they've been trying to do for 20 or 30 years. And then that's what it feels like to be them and then that's the stuff that breaks my heart is then somebody can even hear what we're talking about now and their brain's going to just slap them up and down with the “yeah, butts”. Well yeah, but you don't understand my situation and we don't, so tell me more. And now let's normalize, and then now bring that along with you while you do things of value. 

Nate: Right, and this is a long process by the way.

Tony: I don’t know if we've talked about this yet. I've been saying this on podcasts, the Buddha Brain, there's a couple other things that I've read that have really led me to believe that that implicit memory or the gradual shift of your inner landscape is, you know, and he says it's based off of the residue of your life experiences. All of that is a, it's a long process and, but long processes don't sell books, and they don't sell courses and programs. So we're conditioned to try to tell people that, no you can do this. You can turn things around right away. And I almost feel like that's doing a disservice because then people feel like, oh, what's wrong with me if I haven't changed in 21 days or six months, or that sort of thing. And people will say, well, how long is it going to take? And I feel so dismissive of saying, well, as long as it takes. But that doesn't sound very hopeful. 

Nate: No, it doesn't. And it's interesting you brought that up when I was 35. I will be 45 next year. When I was 35, for New Years, there was some chaos going on in my life and I was like, I've gotta do some things differently. So for my New Year's resolution, I was like, I'm going to think more positively and I'm not going to change this resolution until I get it. Okay. I feel like I'm just starting to get it. It's taken me almost 10 years. Now, I'm not saying that that's normal for everybody, right? But that's what it was for me.  

Tony: But I think that's a pretty normal process, although that might make people not very excited to hear this. When I was working with a guy that does a lot of work with, a lot of research around pornography recovery and not turning to pornography as an unhealthy coping mechanism, he used to say that you can kind of count on a three to five year process. And we've talked about this, I've been pretty intentional about not necessarily laying that out there at the beginning cause I think people feel like then that sounds overwhelming. But then the reality is within the first year, there is so much of just trying to make sense of things. And then it's almost like this comes with a little existential crisis of, oh man, what if nothing really does make sense or I can't make sense of things, or things aren't the way that I thought they would be or were, and then once you get through that though, now I feel like there's this world of just acceptance and now start to just do and be. And, but then you've got the whole need for validation. And that's another podcast. Willpower, talk about that because I feel like this is, not that I'm trying to debunk positive psychology but I feel like what I love about ACT or this expectation effect is so much of just, it isn't that you aren't to think positive. I feel like having the right positive messages are really helpful. Not the ones of, you know, I'm a handsome man that everybody finds attractive. I'm sorry, that's not been the case for me. So that's gonna be something my brain will say. Really? You're buying that? But I can make changes. I am capable, I am lovable. Those sort of things. But talk about willpower. 

Nate: This is a really interesting one. So willpower in the way that it's specifically looked at in the book, has probably more to do with what we might associate with focus. Which, you know, you and I, we have our own expectations. 

Tony: I’ve heard of this focus. Sounds cute

Nate: Yeah. We have our own expectations around focus because of ADHD or how it manifests for people. So when I was reading this, I was like, oh, that's very interesting. And I was having my own kind of ego defenses coming up because, well see  and one of the things about this book that I think I should probably caution people if they really like some of this stuff and then go get it. I think you have, the best way to commit this is open to the fact that we might be kind of hosing ourselves. It's kind of some victim blaming here.

Tony: Well that's funny and you're speaking this much better than I am because that's where I'm trying to say, oh, how about a little existential crisis that comes when we start to realize. I think at some point people feel like, whoa, I could have done this different a long time ago. And that's where just prepare for some radical acceptance. We didn't know what we didn't know. Now we know it. So that's cool. 

Nate: Yeah. Yeah. So the willpower is again, a really interesting concept. So what do they do for this? They get a bunch of people, as they always do. They divide them up in two groups, and then they kind of see the differences. And so the way that they divided these groups were based on tests that they gave them and it was like, how do you feel about accomplishing things? So one group feels, you know, I think most people feel good about accomplishing things, but again, turning to focus. One group, when they felt like they accomplished something, they felt like they exerted a lot of energy and felt kind of drained. The other group said that they felt energized. So then after they divided everybody, they then gave everyone a pretest. It's meant to kind of drain some focus. And then they gave them an actual task that could be scored. It was something that had to do with colors and letters. And then the test was, scored and as you can probably imagine, those that believed that completing tasks depleted energy and focus scored much worse than those that believed completing tasks energized them. 

Tony: That's so funny because sometimes I mean, I have people that say by the end of the day, I'm shot, and then the next person can walk in and right behind him and say, and you know, by the end of the day, I'm really getting rolling.

Nate: Yeah and I've kind of wondered a little bit, I'm more introverted, so I've been like can introverts and extroversion have something to do with that? Because there you know, again, is this my brain being like, oh, I don't know if I want to, am I setting myself up for having to make the decision? Well, I guess you're just gonna have to work harder because you have more time.

Tony: I was gonna say, is this a self confrontation moment? Right? Although, I will tell you one of the podcasts I did on, are you a morning lark or a night owl? There was a database of chess people where they get all that data from. Do you know of this? It was so fascinating. So in essence, and I don't know chess well enough to know that apparently there are just some moves that you make every time when you see a certain setup. And so then you could time how quickly people made these moves, and it's all part of some international chess database that tracks all of this data. So then researchers go mine that data often. And one of them was saying, okay, this move is the move that is made. So if you look at the people that are in theory, what champion level chess players, they make it much quicker in the morning than they do in the late afternoon. Or they make it much quicker in the evening. And so there was literally this data that showed you're either this morning lark or this night owl, but not in between. And so then I thought, okay, where does the expectation effect come into play there? Because, and it probably does because by that time, I know I'm a morning person, and so I have told myself that by the nighttime I'm pretty shut down. But then I've got clients that come in often and say, if I could just wake up at one o'clock every afternoon, I'm rolling by midnight. and I think yeah, but you could be more efficient if you were doing it at a different time, says me because I wanna make sure that my way is the right way. Did we leave any of these out? I know there was some stuff around food that I thought was interesting that I also wanted to ignore. Because apparently I don't need to impulsively eat yummy, tasty food all the time. 

Nate: Yeah. So this, this one was fascinating also. I mean, they're all just so interesting. So researchers, they got some people together and they were looking at how the brain breaks down belief systems regarding food, and so they had participants again broken up into two groups, your control in your experimental group. And they are each given these shakes. And so one shake was labeled “decadence you deserve”. And then there was a little bit more of a blurb. It was like, you know, whole milk, like rich, rich and creamy, all the buzzwords that go with that. And then one was called a shake for guilt-free satisfaction. No added sugar and this and that.

Tony: Boring, right? 

Nate: Right, right, right. So anyway, these people drink these shakes and then they do some blood work and they get in there and they're looking at ghrelin. So I don't know a lot about this hormone, this supplies a little bit less to therapy, so I'm more familiar with dopamine. But ghrelin apparently is a hormone that the body uses to encourage eating. So as ghrelin goes up, your body starts to fill the need to eat. Ghrelin goes down, you're satiated. Okay. So as you would expect, the people that drank the indulgent shake, their ghrelin levels were low. Or lower than the people that had the guilt-free satisfaction healthy shake. 

Tony: So the guilt-free satisfaction, the ghrelin levels were higher? So then that meant that they were hungry sooner. Even though, surprise, shakes were the same. 

Nate: Exactly. So the same amount of calories. I mean, there was nothing different in the shakes.

Tony: So people listening, every shake that you drink from this day forward is very satisfying. Absolutely. And, it is very indulgent. And because you deserve it. Because you're a very good person and you feel very full. 

Nate: Yeah. Do you, I don't know if you, it's so interesting. Did you catch the story about the man that had the damaged hippocampus? I mean, what in the world?

Tony: Yeah. It's funny, I just said that and then I immediately thought, I don't remember the exact story. Confabulation, sorry. So I'm like, I do, but tell it to me and then I'll tell you what I made up around it. 

Nate: So in this story, this guy, they had to do some kind of brain surgery and damaged his hippocampus, which is really around memory formation. And so, he could never remember the last time he ate. Do you remember this now? And so experiments around this guy were really interesting. So they'd sit him down at a table and then they'd give him a bunch of food and he'd eat it, and then they'd take it away. And he has no idea that he just ate. So they'd bring him another meal and he'd eat it and then they'd take it away and, but they kept asking him if he was hungry or not on like a scale of zero to a hundred, zero being not hungry at all. A hundred being starving. And he always answered 50. He didn't know if he was hungry or not hungry.

Tony: So he was playing it safe. I mean really. Right? Because he didn't, I mean I even thought about, I do remember that one cause I thought about even around the world of validation and he wants to just play it safe, like nah. Yeah I could eat but I'm pretty full. Almost like playing because that's probably, I don't want people to tell me I’m crazy or something's wrong with me. 

Nate: Yeah. So his memory around when he ate last and apparently even based on the shake thing, what you eat last totally can influence when you feel like you need to eat again. For a lot of people they feel like that's really biological and apparently studies are indicating that that's partly mental.

Tony: It’s funny and I love that we just had that exchange because I did, I confabulated the story and then I was thinking, I don't remember it completely. And then I remember the validation piece and I made so many jokes in my brain about what you could do with that guy, you know, when they're, you're bringing, no, you ate this already or you like this and you're giving him something he hates, or something like that. So, and that's, and that's even. Boy, talk about we're all having our own experiences and then even have to get to the fact where you can have expectations and are they positive, are they negative? And then it's based on what your cognitive bias is and what are the stories that you grew up with? And now as I'm saying it, it sounds like it's so overwhelming, but I'm saying, isn't that awesome Nate? 

Nate: It's awesome. It’s awesome that you can change that.

Tony: Yeah, exactly. Well, and that's on the self-limiting beliefs, I pulled up some stuff out of the ADHD 2.0 book again, and talked about the authors talking about the neuroplasticity of the brain, like drop. It's formed at 3 5, 12 25. Any. It's not. It's just, I think that part where we have to, we get so deeply dug into the things that we think are the way that things work. So you have to self confront and challenge yourself, but then we absolutely can make change, it just takes a little while. And it's even better when you're doing things that matter to you. So says acceptance and commitment therapy. Nate, what a blast. This is fun. We're still the world's worst salespeople, go listen to Nate on his podcast Working Change. I probably should have said that up front. Where else can people find you?

Nate: I don't have a website. I do have an email, if people want to reach out to me, Nate Christensen counseling and that's a mouthful. And if it's not, if it's not getting to me, email Tony and he can connect you to me. 

Tony: Yeah, exactly. Go through my website, or contact@tonyoverbay.com and I know at times, yeah, we all will have an opening or two in our schedule and sometimes I think people will assume that they could never get into somebody. But, I don't know. I think a lot of people resonate with the way that you communicate and yeah, Nate does a nice job working with clients as well. So if this is your approach, if you like the brain stuff, yeah maybe reach out to Nate, go check out his podcast. And there's a lot of good stuff over there too. So, Nate Christensen, till we have you on again. We'll see you next time on the Virtual Couch.

Nate Christensen, APCC, joins Tony to discuss attachment styles and how they relate to addiction, and how attachment shows up in marriage. Out of the various attachment styles, what does it look like when an anxious attachment style meets up with an avoidant attachment style in relationships where trust has been broken? If you are interested in working with Nate you can contact him through the contact form on Tony's website http://tonyoverbay.com. Tony and Nate are also facilitating Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back, find out more at http://pathbackrecovery.com

This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to https://www.tonyoverbay.com/courses-2/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.

Tony's new best-selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo

Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.

You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ

---------- TRANSCRIPT ----------

[00:00:00] Hey, everybody, welcome to Episode 270 of The Virtual Couch, I am your host, Tony Overbay, and today, prepare to go to school. You're going to learn a lot today, and I have no doubt about that. And my associate, my friend, my colleague, Nate Christianson, back on live because a few weeks ago I reran an episode that Nate did on giving his Ten Commandments of dealing with depression. And that went absolutely fantastic. But in this episode, Nate was back in the studio and as I shared in that best of Nate is my new associate and associates. All were formerly known as interns. And he and I talk very briefly about that in the beginning. But an intern or an associate in a therapy and counseling world is basically somebody who has received their master's degree in counseling. They've been seeing clients as part of their practicum or is their coursework. And now they're able to work out in the private practice setting or in a clinic or a nonprofit. But they have a clinical supervisor that they can turn to to discuss clients and cases and get advice or support those kinds of things. So I am Nate's clinical supervisor. So if you're looking for help and you like the cut of Nate's jib, it just just for fun. I love a good turn of phrase. And I use that one from time to time. The cut of one's jib fun fact that is a nautical reference. In the 17th century, the shape of the jib sail was often what I identified a boat's nationality. So hence whether it was hostile or friendly. If you saw the Jolly Roger or the skull and crossbones coming at you in the middle of the ocean, well, most likely you'd report to the captain that, in fact, you did not like the cut of that ship's jib.

[00:01:26] But anyway, that term was being used figuratively by and I think it was like the 1400's to express a like or a dislike for somebody. But I like the coordinates, a jib. So if you like what Nate is offering, you can contact him through the contact form on my website, Tony Overbay Dotcom to see about working with him. And we do reference my online pornography recovery course, the path back a couple of times in this episode. So if you are interested in more, you can head over to Pathbackrecovery.com to learn more about that. And before you hear the music come in, if you're struggling to find a counselor or therapist in your area, but you're ready to get help processing or dealing with challenges in your life, then please do go to Betterhelp.com virtual couch for 10 percent off your first month services of online counseling. Betterhelp.com intake process is really easy and they will have you speaking with or emailing with or texting with or zooming with a therapist who can help you with a variety of challenges from anxiety and depression, those sort of things that you might be struggling with. And if you don't feel like you're connecting with your therapist, Betterhelp.com makes the process of switching a therapist very simple. So you owe it to yourself to at the very least, give counseling a try. And if doing it online is the way to make it happen for you, then by all means go to Betterhelp.com virtual couch today. So let's get to this episode on talking about attachments and and addictions, betrayal, trauma, all of those things with Nate Kristiansen.

[00:03:03] So, Nate, we're back.

[00:03:07] Yes, how are you doing?

[00:03:08] I'm doing great. I'm seriously giddy and excited. We are sitting beside each other and we are recording a podcast again. I ran the one of the best of episodes on the Ten Commandments of Depression. Right. And you get people that are saying they heard you on the virtual couch and you better say yes right now.

[00:03:24] I think just people that I'm related to. OK.

[00:03:26] All right. In there, they say, man, you don't need that Tony guy. You need to venture out on your own. That guy's a boat anchor. They say they know they love you. But I was really excited. And you are now officially your title is

[00:03:38] Associate Professional Clinical Counselor, which sounds

[00:03:41] Really cool.

[00:03:43] It's probably sounds cooler than

[00:03:46] Nate is working. And I don't know why I was telling Nate before. Why do I feel like I don't want to date is working for me? I don't like any of that. But the way the process works is when you are an associate professional clinical counselor, you must have a clinical supervisor. Yes. And that happens to be me. That's correct. Yeah. So Nate is in an office right beside mine, which I'm just giddy about, and I get to work with Nate. We get to see each other on a daily basis. And then the theory is that what every ten clients you see in a week, I get to talk with you for an hour. Right now it is well.

[00:04:19] So we'll have the we have our normal supervision and then you have additional hours based on how many clients I see. So the more clients I get, the more we get to see each other.

[00:04:29] So I'm very excited, which now it sounds like I'm telling to this shameless plug. Natus is open for business. Yes. So if you're in our area, are actually doing telehealth or that sort of thing, please reach out through Tony Overbay dot com. The contact is funny. I didn't even say or contact me directly, but it sounds like I would like all the control and I will filter through what gets the name, but I'm not really saying that. So I don't know if you do have contact information right now or just get me through my website or anything.

[00:04:52] So I did set up the email. It's just a Gmail. Nate Kristiansen counseling at Gmail dot com.

[00:04:58] Are there like five hundred ways to spell Kristiansen?

[00:05:00] Surely there are soldiers. So what's your RISC?

[00:05:04] And this seems like a pretty standard one

[00:05:08] Could be sure people still do so many different ways that I'm not even sure

[00:05:12] It's so neat. And I wanted to get together again and I want to get to the content, but I feel like I could go on and on. But Nate has joined me on my pathbackrecovery.com calls, the weekly group calls, and I love that group call. And so you've been on there for a couple of weeks now. And so because Nate has some background experience we're going to talk about today on the podcast, and then he's also there because there was a time to go to my son's basketball game. Nate took over, which is really nice. And and Nate's interested in working with the population of men who are women that are struggling with addictions, compulsive sexual behavior, impulse control disorder, that sort of thing. So it's been really nice to have not only Nate here, but also with a lot of the skills that you bring to the table. So we want to talk about

[00:05:54] That today, right? Yes. What are we talking about? Well, I guess a quick intro. So I'm this is like a second career for me. Probably third, actually, but I'm in my early forties, so this isn't where I started in life. But it's kind of where I've ended up. I've struggled with, like my own mental health issues for a long time. So I was really interested in mental health. It's kind of that stereotype that every therapist has their own problems are working out, and that's why they're in the field.

[00:06:18] Do it's funny, I would hear that. And I was like, not me. I just I just feel a love of this draw. I think it was two, three years. And I'm like, oh, that was exactly one hundred percent. Yeah.

[00:06:28] Eventually you'll find some skills in the closet, you know,

[00:06:32] Where there were quite a few.

[00:06:34] Yeah. So anyway, I recently completed my coursework at Northwestern University and thank you, Tony, for accepting me as an associate. I'm super excited to learn under somebody that really knows the ins and outs of the areas that I'm hoping to work with people in.

[00:06:50] And if you've heard Nate on previous episodes, Nate, now we've had a nice friendship, a good relationship, and we would win. I would I would talk to Nate. I mean, we get right into the the thick of the psychological theories and those sort of things. And that's why when you were in college or in getting your graduate degree where I had you on a couple of those podcast episodes, and I feel like you are very comfortable with this. And so when you talk about it being a second or third career, does this feel different already?

[00:07:17] Yeah, it does, because any career job that you do, you come in usually with kind of a low knowledge base. And so you're learning as you go. And in grad school, you do a lot of work with people in a clinical setting before you graduate, but then you have the personal experience layer. And so I have issues. I was diagnosed in my early 20s with anxiety disorder, also with depressive disorder. I think the most accurate term now in the DSM is major depressive disorder, and that's something that's been on and off. The anxiety feels like it's always there. So it's more of a management thing. And then actually, just a few years ago, I went down the road to the Aymond Clinic down in the. Bay Area, and because they're still having some questions, what's going on, and so they had me take a bunch of assessments and did a brain scan and congratulations, you have ADHD. Welcome to the club. Yes, thank you. Very excited to be in.

[00:08:13] And it's funny I forget that you have been to the Aymond Clinic because I talk about that constantly. I mean, that brain scan technology is fascinating to me. And I love the fact that you came away from that with the brand new and exciting diagnosis, because it was what led me down my own path was working with a client that got a brain scan and he showed the scan. And this Dr. Amena there had circled an area of the brain and said, basically, there's your ADHD. And I thought, that is fascinating. And then I thought about eight other things at the same time.

[00:08:42] Yeah, yeah. So that's my. Well, and I guess the other issue that we will talk more about is I've struggle with addiction. And so thankfully things are really come together for me in the last couple of years have been able to really move past these addictions and experience sobriety for the first time in 20 plus years. And my mental health is is finally in a really solid place. And and so that's why I'm excited to be here and do this. It's definitely something that I'm I know you're passionate about. I feel really passionate about.

[00:09:15] And I feel like that's the thing where I was going there, too, of does this feel different now? And it's one of those I didn't realize what I didn't realize in my previous career in computer software that it felt more like I'm checking a box and I'm just doing a thing. And now this is where, man, I love it and I can't wait to work with clients and come to work. And if you are struggling with any of the things that needs talking about and are thinking about seeing a therapist, I really would love for you to keep your eyes and ears open or mind open, as you hear, because I feel like one of the things that we talk about often is you need to have a good fit with your therapist. And and I find that a lot of people that will resonate with something, maybe for the first time they're hearing it on a podcast. And I really want people that are listening to take that as a cue to reach out and maybe get some help. And if it's Nate or whoever it is, yeah, let's deep dove into where we go in today.

[00:10:06] Yeah. So I brought in some material which was actually my capstone project and my capstone project was on attachment theory and how attachment theory intersects with the idea of addiction. And I was particularly looking at compulsive sexual behavior. I don't know how much you've talked to on your podcast. Within the clinical world, there's a lot of debate going on about whether or not sexual behavior should be classified as an addiction, as OK.

[00:10:33] Yes. And it's funny when you go first, because I do a little bit with this and it's interesting and we continue to make it about myself. But when I even started the virtual couch, it was the talk about my path back pornography recovery program. And but then I realized quickly I didn't want to be pigeonholed into just talking about it. But I've swung so far to the other side that I don't talk about it enough. So, yeah, so talk about that. Is it an addiction

[00:10:55] Or so I don't know, getting into my own past and my own issues. I've had multiple like truly what are considered addictions and conquering those were a big challenge. But I can tell you, looking specifically at pornography that felt every bit the addiction that any of the other addictions do. And I understand that from a clinical setting, especially for sex therapists, they want to keep that window open. A lot of what I read when I was putting together my paper was they weren't ready to say it was an addiction. And it almost sounds like when you read differing opinions that different people in that same field could feel very different about it, depending on who you talk to.

[00:11:39] Yeah, and I totally agree. And I have. So where I've gone with this is and I've even been very clear about now calling my pet back program a pornography recovery program instead of a pornography addiction program. But I want to meet my client wherever they're at. So some people feel like that label of addiction is really heavy and it's shaming and which can even make things worse. But I also found people that they say, no, I need to know that this is a thing in order for me to feel like I can get help for it. But lately I've been talking a lot about the concept of impulse and compulsion. And just simply, when you look at compulsive sexual behavior or impulse control disorder, that in a nutshell, a compulsion is premeditated and then an impulse is not. And so I'll talk often about you can especially with things like turn into pornography as a coping mechanism that people can get the compulsion maybe under control, so to speak, and then they can still find themselves the acronym Hault, hungry, angry, lonely, tired and maybe fall prey to an impulse and then act out, relapse, have a set back and then beat themselves up. And sometimes I feel like the brain's just waiting for that so it can jump back on and say, OK, can we start doing this again, can we get the dopamine fix and that sort of thing. But what I love is that your paper and you though, really dig deeper and look at the attachment piece to that. Yes. OK, so that's why I'm excited to talk about that, because, again, the. Recovery programs or or those sort of things are wonderful, but I really do believe that if you want to if you want to get to the core of this, this is very good. A really good counselor therapist is going to be worth their weight in gold because it's it's not just about when I feel triggered. I do some push ups or I sing a song or that sort of thing. We've got to figure out what are some of those unmet needs.

[00:13:17] Yeah, yeah, yeah. I totally agree with that. And that's I think one of the pieces I really like about the path back is it gives you like a clear direction of things that you can not only explore within yourself the self awareness piece, but also the tasks that you can do in order to. They're obviously based on values and things like that to get you towards going towards the direction that you really want to be in. I'm going to commit the cardinal sin right now and quote something that I can't that I don't know who said it. I found it when I was writing my paper and I lost it and I couldn't find it again. But I know what they said. It was in a research paper and it was beautiful. And they said and because of what I was doing at that point, as I was researching how attachment relates to addiction generally, not necessarily just compulsive sexual behavior, but just addiction generally. And what this researcher said was people don't have an addiction problem. They have an attachment problem. And I thought, holy cow, OK, there's so much here. What am I going? I was just getting into that rabbit hole. So I don't know if you have any thoughts about that, if you would, in your.

[00:14:20] Oh, OK. So that is awesome. I wanted to quickly I wanted to say I said that. Oh. But I've been through I mean I really do that but but I feel like that so and this is not supposed to be an ad for the path back I promise. But I can make it an app for my book. And I feel like this is the part where I really feel like when I started working in this area that it was more about the behavioral mechanisms to overcome turning to pornography. So it was. So when you have a thought, you just need to do this or you just need to do this. And I was trained a little bit in that and then I felt that is just not holding water. And so I what I call these five voids that when people feel like they aren't connected in their parenting or their marriage or their faith or their health or their career, that then they turn to a coping mechanism. So like pornography. So then I feel like then when you start looking at how to become a better parent or a better in your relationship or your career, then all of a sudden at the core of those is attachment, which is right of how do I show up to get my needs met? And then we get some nice abandonment side issues there. And I love everything about what you're talking about, but back to you.

[00:15:29] Yeah, I know. So attachment is super fascinating. There's a few different ways to view attachment. I divide divided. It is simply as possible. There are different terms that people use. So when I broke attachment up, I had secure attachment, which is the positive attachment that we want everyone to experience. So you hopefully had a good childhood with parents that were attentive, that help you help meet your needs, that maybe denied you some things that you shouldn't need, because also a part of attachment is understanding boundaries and differentiation, which is the idea that this is where I start and and where you begin. So we're not overlapping too much. Then we get into the other parts of attachment, which this is where problems start to come up. One is defined, are known as anxious attachment, one is known as avoiding attachment, and the other is sometimes called avoidant, anxious, anxious, avoidant or mixed attachment as some combination of the the two. And what we tend to see is people with each of these attachment styles often have similar experiences at some point in their life and often when they're young. So the program that Northwestern I went through was psychodynamic. And what that means is we're highly focused on what happens in early childhood experiences. I know you're really big to act and I love act.

[00:16:46] But what's funny, though, you say this is it is funny because I remember. Yeah. And I do love act and bring yourself back to present and those sort of things and turn to values. But those are all determined by your childhood experience. Right. And I remember I was going to come out and be the therapist that was going to just deal with the present until you literally start working with clients. And then it's OK. We got to go back to the past.

[00:17:05] Yeah. And to me, act is like the if you're going to make the Disney movie, it's frozen because it's a let it go. You have an emotion show up and then you just kind of let it go. But there's some beauty to that because even in work as a psychodynamic therapist, when you're working with someone and they're stuck in something about their past, they can't change and they also can't let it go. They're not able to progress.

[00:17:28] And that's a very good point, because I do feel like and I think my wife has brought great awareness to me where I do maybe because I love ACT so much and I've seen it change people's lives, that then where I'm saying, oh, it's normal to have that thought or feeling or emotion. And that's cool. Right? So now just make room for it, acknowledge it, don't fused to it. Move toward Value-Based Goal, in essence, let it go. And I do feel like people are like, yeah. And then like but what if I can't. Right. And so now here comes back to attachment psychodynamic going to figure this out.

[00:17:58] Ok, so with attachment theory, I really identify strongly with anxious attachments, so anxious attachments come typically when a young person doesn't have consistency from their primary caregivers. And by consistency, what I mean because no parent is perfect. Right. So what you have is you have parents that are maybe with one hand loving you and with another hand maybe acting violent towards you. So what you end up having is they don't know if they're coming or going with their parent. Now, that's not to say that parents always have to be perfect, but parents that are better at apologizing when they do something wrong, that are better at changing and allowing children to see them change, parents that are better at acknowledging their faults. Those seem to help with those kind of attachment wounds. Parents that are this is your fault. I'm only doing this because of you. And then five minutes later, they're loving on them like it never happened. It never gets brought up. Sometimes that's really what we're talking about. We're talking more of

[00:18:59] A lay down on the couch while you do this, because I've always identified as anxious attachment as well. And then I feel like when that shows up into adulthood, it really I love how you said it's like I really don't know if I'm coming or going or where I stand. And so then if I feel like my wife is if something's off, then I'm like, it must be me, right.

[00:19:16] Right. So we internalize things. Sometimes what you see is a pattern with people with anxious attachment. And this is not always true. But if you think of attachment, a spectrum on one end, someone being highly anxiously attached on the other one, some. So not being actually attached at all, the closer you get to the end of the spectrum where someone is highly anxiously attached, you tend to see more and more people with a low self-image and you tend to see people that are seeking they have more of a positive or hopeful worldview, hopeful that the world can help the help tell them they're OK.

[00:19:48] Ok, so can you see the tears in my eyes, as you say this, are they typically about five foot eight bald the set? I mean,

[00:19:55] I'm six foot ball anywhere between there. OK, yeah. So that's typically what we'd see from people that are anxiously attached, shifting over to people that have more of an avoidant attachment. Typically what you see with people that are buoyantly attached is they would come from childhood homes where they didn't they were neglected. They weren't necessarily given much attention. And sometimes they're very independent, but they really struggle with incorporating emotion because no one really train them. They never really learn. They never really saw or maybe they just saw at a distance. And when they get older, they struggle to know what to do with any kind of emotion. If you look again on the spectrum example, someone that's very far to the to that attachment of being avoidant versus the other side being not very avoidant, someone that's very, very avoidant in their attachment might resemble someone that you could classify as a narcissist. OK, they really struggle to hear when anyone offers any kind of criticism, even if it's constructive and positive, they have a difficult time taking responsibility. They tend to just do their own thing and feel like they're fine. They have more of a positive, like maybe even over accounting for for what they actually are. Or really a grandiose perhaps. Yes. Yes. So a really high positive sense of self. And they tend to view the world in a negative way. So they're like everything that's wrong in the world is outside of me.

[00:21:21] I'm good. And I can give you a perfect example of this. Hopefully my wife will forgive me this because she was telling me the story. So she has someone that that that's that's been in her life for a long time. And this person did something that she didn't love. And so she sent them an email and let them know, hey, this is what happened. And I don't think this is trying to smooth the situation out, share how she felt while also getting to see the person was willing to maybe change. So it didn't happen again in the future. And the person's response to her was, I don't make mistakes, boy. So she was like, OK, that person just shut the conversation down. And they're not even willing to consider the fact that they may have done something and maybe not even intentionally, but they did something that was problematic for someone else. The sad part when you get into these highly emotionally attached people is because they have such a hard time with self-awareness, because they struggle with that emotional component of feeling there's something wrong with them. Like that's that's their strategy. Yeah. I'm not going to allow anything to tell in the world to tell me there's anything wrong with me. They really have a difficult time improving themselves in certain areas because they just don't feel like there's anything wrong.

[00:22:34] So they take no accountability. And what's fascinating, so I talk about gaslighting often, and I read once that gaslighting is a childhood defense mechanism in childhood. If I admit that anything is wrong, then I may be booted out of my home. There's abandonment and abandonment equals death, and so I will. And so when that pattern has always, literally always been there of I'm not going to I'm not going to admit to anything, then I learned stall, I learned to turn it back around and somebody learn to get overly emotional so that I can get out of a situation, I learned to control it with anger, but anything other than take responsibility. Right. So I appreciate. Yeah.

[00:23:09] So anyway, and then the mixed attachment style is people who vacillate between the avoiding peace and the anxious peace. Generally speaking, those are considered relatively rare, like five to 10 percent of the population. And it's the hardest to try and treat. But those are all areas that relate to compulsive sexual behavior. People with anxious attachment are more likely to engage in sexual behavior with multiple partners because they're constantly worried that somebody is going to drop off. So they got plenty in their back pocket. People that are avoidant are more likely to engage in paid sex or in pornography. They want control of the relationship. And then obviously people that are mixed are going back and forth. So it may not look like obviously one or the other. It might be all of the above that they're engaging in. So that takes us back to the compulsive sexual behavior piece. So my paper, which and this is where it becomes a very tough sell. My paper was if someone is in a relationship and they are discovered. What then does do both parties do if they want to try and continue the relationship, because what you have is you have a broken attachment already in one party. Then you now have a damaged attachment and betrayal, trauma in the other party that just discovered this. So how do you fix that? Yeah. So I'll I'll throw this at you real quick. What do you do in this kind of a situation?

[00:24:38] And so this is where I have I go back to those identifying those voids and then in this scenario. So someone is definitely going to not feel connected in their marriage. Yes. And so I don't know if you did you you didn't in your program. There wasn't a lot of couples.

[00:24:53] No. So clinical counselors are more specific to individuals. So I can actually see couples because I'm working under a marriage and family therapist. You and you can give me supervision on that. But if I were to not take additional coursework and not get enough hours under you and get licensed as a clinical counselor, state of California will not allow me to see couples. OK, so there are some restrictions if I want to do that and I have to go on

[00:25:17] And I and it's funny because I know we were talking earlier, I wasn't necessarily aware of that. But I even feel it's funny because I feel like the couples therapy training that I received even as a marriage and family therapist and just being authentic and real and stuff, I felt like it was more of just this reflective listening kind of a piece. And the reason I say that is because I feel like bringing reflective listening into this betrayal, trauma, anxious attachment issue. And I didn't know early on in my career at the time is not fun. That's right. Because it's really saying, OK, what do you hear this person saying? All right, can you reflect that back when you hear this person saying, I feel like you would sit back and say so, is that how you fix that? And so I in part of my own work, I found E.F.T. emotionally focused therapy, which is no surprise based on attachment, and it is a framework. So when you're saying, OK, throw it back and what do I do with it? It's so important. I feel like they have a framework because the people are the anxious attachment once the once the validation of the therapist as well. Right. And then the avoidant attachment is probably feeling like there's I can't trust anybody. And I've heard that before. I can't even trust this therapist. And so sometimes that can they can really hunker down in their bunker. And then the anxious attachment now naturally is going to try to go and rescue, but then also then feel like this lack of validation when that person isn't responding. Right. And then the therapist is sitting there saying, OK, I'm not the referee. And so this framework of EFT is beautiful and I talk often. That's the basis of my magnetic marriage course and with these four pillars of a conversation. And so I feel like it's imperative that you find a a framework to operate from because you it's almost like you have to get people back on to the goal of being heard not to resolve. And then you will watch attachment and abandonment wounds come up like crazy.

[00:27:04] Yeah, yeah, yeah. And the other thing that I thought was important with this is it's important for couples to understand their partners attachment style, because if you have someone that's say avoidant and they're trying to work on that by the worst thing you can do is constantly chase them, that's going to push them further away. So you have to find a way where you're able to give them space, but you're still connecting regularly. If someone is anxiously attached by, the worst thing you can do is give them tons of space. Absolutely. Because they're just going to feel more and more like you have to understand, like from an anxious attachment standpoint, if someone is giving you space, what they're communicating to you is they don't want to be around

[00:27:42] You, which then that's where. So I had had an episode that I think I just reran it recently with Jennifer Finless. And before where I threw out that, I really felt like I had cracked some code. And in finding a pattern of a lot of the men I was working with had that anxious attachment style. And then add to that maybe a nice love language of words, of affirmation and physical touch. And a lot of the women then I was I felt like men identifying that there's a lot of avoidant attachment and then a lot of love, language of quality time and acts of service. And then I felt like a lot of that led to is a guy feeling like seeing his wife withdrawn and then wanting to go pursue. And then when she doesn't respond, he's saying, OK, are you are we good? And if she's saying, yeah, we're fine. And then ten minutes later, she's not jumping up and down and telling him he's awesome and wanting to have sex with him, then he's saying, are you sure? Is this me or are we sure you OK? And then I and then here comes I believe in that middle is exactly what you're saying, psychological reactance of that instant negative reaction to being told what to do. So I feel like the guy is basically saying, look, validate me. Right? And I feel like that is what drives that avoidant attachment even further away. And then they are both just so far away from each other. And then I feel like, OK, now they're in their bunkers and who is going to come out first? And I do wonder and I'm having a little bit of an aha moment thanks to you right now. So then would it be safe to say that anxious attachment when given that space, then that's where that maybe that impulsive behavior may kick in?

[00:29:05] Yes. And so this is the fascinating thing about pornography. Covenant Eyes, who produces some software to help people, has a pretty big white paper. And I was reviewing it. Not long ago, and they talked about one of the one of the struggles with people that that compulsively use pornography is what they're viewing is someone in the vast majority of cases that is always available for sex. Yeah. And then they start to be like, well, why can't I have that? Well, you now have an unrealistic expectation because you've conditioned yourself over who knows how many years of pornography or whatever it may be into believing that that is what a relationship is when it's not.

[00:29:43] Yeah, and it's so funny they say that because I, I have a lot of the men that I do work with, when you really start to do a bit of an assessment around the type of pornography, the viewing, that then they almost get emotional or there's a soft side of them says, man, I just know I'm watching. I'm look at it. It's really about the connection or about the desire or about the. And so to them, I think that speaks to what you're saying, where they're feeling like this is all I need. If I just had this, I'd be fine.

[00:30:08] Well, and there's a whole nother set of issues behind if I just had this line, because every time people get what they want and they discover that they're not,

[00:30:16] If I only had a six pack, I had the cool car, if I had the hair plugs, that was great.

[00:30:21] Well, that's the beauty of the human condition, which is we're never really satisfied unless we train ourselves to be satisfied. Which takes a lot of work. Yeah. And so for me, this was all fascinating. And the reason, again, going back to the reason why this all started was was the reason I was able to finally kick this was I met my now wife and she was so open and she was understanding and she was nonjudgmental. And it got to me to a place where all of a sudden I didn't need this other stuff anymore because I had a real person. There was a woman whose paper I quoted a few times. Her name was Annabel who Ugalde and her dissertation in two thousand nineteen, I think it was was on what she called competing attachments. And Sue Johnson, who pioneered EFT, was a big part of her putting together. And what she what she described is in life, we have a lot of different things. We attach to we attach to people, we attach to addictions. We attach to hobbies. We might attach to video. I mean, we're attaching to all sorts of things. And what her whole premise was, is, are we giving the time to the most important attachments? Are we willing to acknowledge what attachments mean the most to us and then give them the appropriate time? Because we might say my most important attachment is my wife and then go spend five hours playing video games? Yes, well, that's you're saying one thing, but you're doing another. What can we do to bring awareness to what you're saying is your actual value and then get you to that place where you're actually behaving that way?

[00:31:54] When I really like about that is you're almost then asking your spouse to validate a version of you that you believe is accurate, right? That they don't. And I've got to quote by this is by they would start from passionate marriage, I would say, and invariably poorly differentiated people hold on to a part of themselves that constructed the distorted self portrait. So they demand that their partner understand them, in part because they really don't understand themselves and they feel understood, except that invalidated when their partner sees them the way they picture themselves. And then he says their partners refusal to see them the way that they want to be seen is upsetting. But the problem isn't a failure to communicate. Their spouse can't understand them the way they demand because they view their own behavior and the details of their life differently than their partner does. And then that discrepancy challenges there an accurate picture of themselves, which they have a difficulty maintaining to begin with. And Alison, I think that can lead to that feeling of not feeling attached.

[00:32:43] Right. And I love that because that also goes back again to that piece, though little mentioned is a big part of your path back program, which is increasing self awareness. Yeah. Like you're saying, or you believe one thing about yourself, but are you actually doing the things to support that belief? Yeah. And so my paper really ended in the admission that the person some people would call it the resolute spouse, the person that has been faithful and has done everything that they could do to support the marriage. Obviously no one's perfect, but tried to be there. Then discovers this betrayal and they have their own now damage their own attachment damage. Now what you have is somebody who was probably already damaged within their attachment, more than likely because of childhood experiences. Now you have someone that's damaged in their primary relationship because of that person and like you mentioned before, with who's going to come out of the foxhole first. Yeah, now we have this game of chicken where it's like who's in my in my thought process being the former addict, like, you're the one that's you caused the problem.

[00:33:46] You're right. But at the same time, you still have other damage. That's not your spouse's fault. And I don't know who you want to blame that on. Maybe your parents fault, maybe your own fault, maybe there's enough blame to go around for everybody here. But the spouse is left picking up the pieces. And how fair is that? You can imagine how that person feels like I didn't create this mess, but I'm now in the middle of it. So that's ultimately why I I felt like this was an interesting path to go down, because I wanted to try and see if someone's like, you know what, I didn't create this mess, but I want to try and do what I can to fix this. How can we do that? And attachment made the most sense working on attachment for me when people have damage in their relationship due to compulsive sexual behavior, I'm a big believer that they really need some kind of couples instruction or therapy because they have to relearn some of these attachment styles or reestablish that secure attachment that's so important to overall healthy living.

[00:34:46] And I wonder, tell me if you had this experience in grad school of when you would say, here's my treatment plan for there are some fictitious person or a couple that it was like, OK, each one of the individuals needs therapy, they need couples therapy, they need the therapy with their animal, they need therapy, and then they get in the real world. That's why that's expensive and time consuming. Yes, but to your point, which I really like, is as a couples therapist and as someone who works with individuals struggling with compulsive behaviors, man, in a perfect world, you really do need both because you have to figure out your own attachment wounds to be able to show up and then not to have those often play out in a couple's therapy setting. Now, I feel like a good couples therapist can be very aware of that. And that's why, again, I feel like a framework is so important. But I really like what you said about the person who lets the betrayer will say in the scenario that then the betrayed all of a sudden does say, wait, I this isn't about me. Even if there is there was some attachment wound issues they weren't even aware of, because then I feel like sometimes the betrayer will say, well, technically there's a little bit that I think it is, but they're not if they say that at that point is not going to go well.

[00:35:51] Right. So I feel like that's some of the things that need to be navigated in a couples therapy setting. But that was the where I was going. So I got a little distracted there. But so that's the point where I feel like at times I love what you said about the guy coming out of his foxhole. The anxious attachment person in the betrayed wants to say, hey, I need you to feel how bad this hurts for me. And so you got the anxious attachment person saying, OK, I'm going to try this because I did it. You're right. And I want to repair this attachment because I'm an anxious attachment to begin with. But now when they just start feeling that anger is what you just said right there, not now their own attachment wounds, where now they just want to go disappear again, which now you've got the person with the void, an attachment. It's all fine. Leave. Oh, man. What do you do?

[00:36:36] So obviously there's no one answer that works for.

[00:36:39] I was I was kind of going through that. You're like always looking at me, mouth ametov like crosses next to me. Right. Because I feel like I do know I really feel like it is what I love about so funny. A shameless plug of my magnetic marriage course because it's it's going so well because you have to have a framework in the goal at first is to be heard. Yeah. It's not to resolve. And I feel like that is so hard because people want to just let me get really angry at you and you take it and then you apologize and then they almost feel like then we'll be OK. But now all of a sudden with this kind of awareness, now there's these triggers that pop up and now people want to go back and say, well, wait a minute, you said this. And now I feel like I have to go back and look at our entire marriage and have to go make sense of everything. And the anxious attachment is saying, OK, I need to answer all these questions. I need to make sense of things. But they're there. I think this is an answer. And then. Well, that that doesn't go along with what you said before. And now you just you're in the weeds with even more trauma. Right?

[00:37:32] Right. I guess if someone was like, what's the cheapest way you could, you could do this. If you had to do therapy with somebody, I'd say probably the couples should get therapy. Absolutely. There's support groups for both the both partners that could could go, too. And that's probably reasonable for some people in a perfect world. Like you say, everybody get therapy,

[00:37:53] Get lots of therapy. Cost is no option. Time is open. Yeah, yeah. But I feel like we're making fun of that. But I feel like it's almost like saying we acknowledge the fact that I hope that people that are hearing this probably found themselves in some portion of whether it's what their attachment style was or when they do try to show up to say, OK, I want to work on this. And and then when they're met with. The anger, which is I understand, but then they're going to want to go back into the foxhole and say, you know what, I'll come out when you're when you can be more calm. It's like you want me to be calm. You should've never done this thing right. And that's what I feel like. And you need

[00:38:28] Structure. Yeah. And that comes from the training that you get with the professional because they're going to tell you you can be angry all you want. If you show him that anger, you're more likely, it's more likely that he will go and do that again. Now, that's not your fault. He is responsible for his actions. Yes, but what is it? What is the goal? And I think, again, we're getting back to. Making a value based goals and then deciding what actions will get us to that point.

[00:38:54] and and maybe I know we're going to wrap up here, but maybe I'll throw a cliche or two out here. But they are so true is that I feel like it is really important to get some ground under your tires before you do make big decisions, especially when this happens, because it's exactly what you're talking about. Those attachment wounds come out and they come out strong. And so it's like this immediate. You betray me. Let me just go and make this incredibly difficult for you. So you'll just go and get the heck out. Yeah, right. And then to the anxious attachment at times it's look, I want to do this, but you need to be nice. But there so it gets so complicated. So I'm always a big fan of saying, all right, let's go get help, try to not make any big decisions until you can really get something, some help in place and know that. And I didn't. Do you have a Disney movie for what psychodynamic is? Because I would say I have no idea because I like to let it go. And that's really funny. It is. But I feel like it is. Once you get the tools, the structure, the framework in place, it's absolutely like you said, it's absolutely of course you're going to feel angry.

[00:39:57] If you didn't, that would be crazy. And of course, the person who did the betrayal is going to feel sad and going to feel hopeless and going to feel like abandonment and all those things. If you if you didn't, that would be crazy. Right. But then it's learning what to do with that, learning how to even invite those feelings to come along with you to therapy and then make room expansion, make room for them and then get into a good framework with the goal for a little while, being able to just to be able to express yourself and to be heard. And that is my podcast. I have to do this. But so then plug in the magnetic marriage course, because I've got these four pillars I really feel are gold. They're based off of EFT. The first one is to assume good intentions. It sounds overly simplistic, but if the partner has been betrayed, is saying, I am so angry, I don't know if I can stay in this relationship. That's a hard one to say. I have to assume good intentions, but I have to understand that right then that's the only way they feel like they can get some control back or they can feel heard.

[00:40:48] And that second pillar, you can't say you can't put the message you're wrong if that betrayer says, well, that's ridiculous. I don't know what I'm supposed to do with that. No, that's how they feel. You can't put out that message. They're wrong. And then pillar three, ask questions before you make comments, before you say, well, look, I need you to calm down and then I'll be willing to listen. It's OK. Tell me. Tell me more. Tell me, tell me what you're feeling and help me see my blindspots. And then that pillar four is and then that person cannot go into their bunker. They can't assume good intentions, not say the other person's wrong, ask questions. But then the piller for is they can't say, OK, I guess I'll just I guess I'll never have an opinion again. I never have a voice because they're going into victim mode now, wanting that person to come rescue them. Well, get off my soapbox. I like the OK, but we have so much more to record. This feels so good. Yeah, there's a lot here. The boys are back. Yeah, right. Little sneak preview for anybody who's been here who is still listening. And I hope that lots of people are talking about like your podcast.

[00:41:43] Ok, yeah. So my wife is actually in a program to become a marriage and family therapist and I have just incredible respect for her, especially after what she helped me go through. And so our intention is to start a podcast and hopefully drop our first episode next week or maybe the week after. And that'll be something that'll apparently be

[00:42:04] On the virtual couch network versus podcast network. You you heard it here, folks, but that. Yeah, that one. I've got a new podcast about waking up the narcissism. I've got a podcast based off of the path back that's coming up that you're going to be a part of. Yeah, I don't know if I had mentioned that to you. You did, but and then if anybody did really feel like they are they like what they're hearing. And I don't mean that to sound like such a sales pitch, but man, I'm so excited to have Nate here and in his 40s, got some road under your tires, been through a lot of career changes, relationships, talking about addiction and has put this all together. Then your shingle is up, you're open for business, so reach out through me. And if I don't want to take you, then I'll send you over to Nate, OK? Thank you so much for coming on. Yeah. And just was it really does feel good to be back. And man, you sounded smart two years ago when we recorded, but I'm a little bit intimidated now.

[00:42:54] Oh stop. OK, I appreciate everything.

[00:42:56] All right. OK. Hey, we'll see you next time on the virtual couch

Nate Christensen, APCC (working under the clinical supervision of Tony Overbay, LMFT) shares his personal journey in living with depression and shares his "Ten Commandments of Managing Depression." Depression is a diagnosable mental illness and treatment is available! Depression is estimated to affect up to 20% of the adult population at some point in their lives and symptoms can come on as early as grade school. If you believe that you, or someone that you know, is struggling with symptoms of depression, please seek help from a mental health professional. There are many treatment options available! Please visit the @virtualcouch on Instagram for a list of Nate's 10 Commandments of Managing Depression. And if you are interested in working directly with Nate, please reach out to him through the contact form at http://tonyoverbay.comPlease subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and follow The Virtual Couch on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/virtualcouch/

This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to https://www.tonyoverbay.com/courses-2/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.

Tony's new best-selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo

Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.

You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ

------ TRANSCRIPT ------

[00:00:01] Hey, pop quiz, do you know the difference between a marriage and family therapist, a clinical social worker, a professional clinical counselor, a psychologist and a psychiatrist? And I would say that for most people to email me or come into my office or write my name on a check, actually even people in my immediate family, I am pretty sure that that answer is no. And does it even matter? Kind of. I remember one time in particular where somebody was desperately trying to get a family member in to see me. I'd worked with someone else in their family. And so despite a very full schedule, I made time. I fit this person in and they came into the first session. And as I started to lay out the standard things that a therapist says in their first session about confidentiality, harmed yourself and others don't hurt old people. If I bump into you on the street, etc., he hands this piece of paper and it has a list of medications on it. And I looked at him and I thank them. And I started up again with my spiel and he cuts me off and said, Hanaway only have a really short amount of time and an amount of this medication. I'm curious what you thought about this other one. Would you recommend that I switch this one up? Would you bump up the dosage? And I thought to myself, You OK? Easy there, champ.

[00:01:09] We literally have forty seven more minutes. We'll get to the medications as this initial assessment happens. And he cuts me off again. And he asked me if I will be able to write him a prescription for a refill of his current meds nonetheless, because he is running out. And I explained that I was a licensed marriage and family therapist and that I couldn't write prescriptions. And he said, OK, honestly, I don't wanna waste your time, but that's all I'm looking for. And he really did. He literally got up and he left. So in that scenario, it definitely helps to know the difference. So simply put, the first three examples I gave a marriage and family therapist, that would be me, a clinical social worker, a professional clinical counselor. We all received bachelor's degrees. And then we went on to get master's degrees in some type of counseling or social work program. And so what we can do is we can then see clients and one on one therapy settings and some, like clinical social workers, can see clients like I do. And they can also go into the community and they connect people with resources. And if you didn't want to stop with the master's degree, then you go on to get your side or doctorate of psychology, which typically takes about another three years.

[00:02:13] And that is what makes you a clinical psychologist and the title of doctor. And in that scenario, you're more likely to work with individuals who maybe have more severe mental illness and you also work more with psychological testing. So a psychiatrist than that is the medical doctor. They've literally gone to medical school, they've delivered babies, they've done their rounds, but then they settle into the brain, the mental health, and they are the only ones out of the professions that I mentioned that can prescribe medication. So why am I saying this out? Is the intro to this episode about depression? Well, it's because this is a special bonus episode with a guy named Nate Christiansen. And at the time when we recorded this episode, probably I think it was probably three years ago, Nate was in school getting his master's degree in counseling to become a professional clinical counselor. So Nate graduated and he did what's called a practicum, where he spent almost a year seeing clients for a nonprofit organization. And then after completing his practicum, he is now on the road to receiving some three thousand hours total of experience before he can sit for his licensing exams. So he definitely has some some road under his tires. And while a therapist or a counselor is putting in those pre licensure hours, they have to work under the supervision of a licensed supervisor.

[00:03:27] So drum roll, please. I am happy to share that. I am working with Nate in the position as his clinical supervisor. So we meet weekly in supervision. He has an office in my building and he is officially open for business and taking new clients. So if you live in the state of California or specifically if you want to come in the office in the Sacramento area or the Roseville ish area and you're looking for help and you like what you hear in this episode, please feel free to reach out through the contact form on my website at Tony Overbay.com and I will put you in touch with Nate. So he has primarily been working with adult and adolescent males, but he has experience with most all ages, both male and female, and he works a lot with depression. You're going to hear a lot about that today. Or anxiety, ADHD and addiction. And I say this often, one of the most important factors in the success of therapy is the relationship between the therapist and the client. So if you don't feel like you can trust or be open with your therapist, then progress can be far more difficult to achieve. So with that said, I am excited to share this bonus episode with Nate, where he lays out his Ten Commandments of working with depression. And Nate will be coming on soon to record a new episode on attachment and addiction based on some of the work he did in graduate school, which is absolutely amazing.

[00:04:36] So more of that in the coming weeks. So let me get to my interview with Nate Christiansen, associate professional clinical counselor, working under the supervision of yours truly. And I left a lot of the intro of that initial recording in because it was kind of fascinating. I wasn't going to talk about this, but we were on our way. My wife and my daughter Mackie, who's been on a couple of episodes and myself, we're on our way to drop Mackie off to college for the very first time. And so it is kind of fascinating that that was she spent a year there working with school and college and then kind of discovered her true passion, which was cosmetology school and recently just graduated from there. So I didn't realize that. Yeah, it's been a little while since we recorded this episode, but I talk about that in the beginning because there were some significant things that we talked about in the car ride on the way to school while we were talking about this episode. So without any further ado, let me get to my interview with Nate Christianson. Come on. So, hey, everybody, just a quick note before we get to today's podcast, today's podcast deals with the topic of depression.

[00:05:59] There are a lot of people that are very close to me that struggle with symptoms of depression. So I did send this podcast out to a few of those people beforehand and received some amazing feedback. I actually listen to this podcast while driving with my wife and daughter out to drop her off at college. And we even used a lot of these takeaways that my guest, Nate Nate Christiansen, leaves these he calls him is Ten Commandments of Managing Depression. So the episode is excellent. I think it's going to help a lot of people. But some of the feedback I received from some people that were very close to me is that the talk around depression for someone who is feeling depressed can feel almost somewhat triggering, especially when you hear the numbers or if you hear some of the the symptoms or signs of depression. So I just wanted to give you a little bit of a warning and just say, hey, if you are in struggling with depression, then I do feel like the Ten Ten Commandments of managing depression will help greatly. So please, I hope that you will hang in there and listen to these to the full podcast and get these takeaways. I'm also going to try to come up with a nice graphic and put those on the virtual couch Instagram page. But I just want to let you know that we are going to deal with some signs, symptoms, numbers, facts before we get to those Ten Commandments of managing depression.

[00:07:09] So I want to give a little bit of a heads up. If you are struggling with depression or even if you think you may have signs of depression, please go see a mental health professional, the virtual couch podcast. As much as I am just passionate about it and love it is no replacement for therapy. So with that said, one more quick thing. When Nate comes on, I mentioned a there's like an auditory. It's well, it's actually it's called Misophonia. It's a selective sound sensitivity syndrome. So I could not think of the name at the time. I actually said it very quickly, Misophonia. But that's the word that I was looking for. If you want to know more about Misophonia, give it a quick look. Dr Google can help Misophonia Misso Enayat and that is when you may maybe be you or somebody that you're close to is not just annoyed with chewing sounds, breathing, that sort of thing, but it just they feel it's like nails on a chalkboard and that it's going to just absolutely drive them crazy. So there is something called Misophonia, which there's some good information out on the Web, and I wanted to get Nate on for a while.

[00:08:07] And so, Nate, I've been traded a lot of messages to just see what he would like to come on and talk about. And he has a lot of experience in working with depression. And he shares some of his own struggles with depression on the show today. And so I'm grateful for that. He brought a Ten Commandments of managing depression, which I thought was amazing. I did not know that was coming. So he has some really ten solid takeaways today, which I think is brilliant. And I just have to tell you, I'm recording this now because when I would normally be doing the recording and editing, that sort of thing, I would be taking daughter number two away to college with my wife. And I just that is what an experience that the first time that I did it a few years ago, I could not believe how exciting, but yeah, how emotional it was at the end. A ball like a baby was. I had a good enough dad, that sort of thing. And so I'm sure that's going to play out again. But if you get the chance, if you haven't, this is one of those things to wear when it was time to take first daughter to school. Admittedly, I didn't know. I don't know how the game is played and that's not a good excuse. When my wife was saying, hey, we're we're going out there, and then I was like, yes, we are in my man brain went into, OK, I'm going to take that time off of work.

[00:09:14] And I only had whatever I work for myself, but I'm not in the chair. I'm not making money. And we've got to pay for this. And it's college. And then I have to think, OK, you know, this is a time where I need to put the needs of my family and ahead of any of those man brain things and trust that I will do whatever it takes, I will work as hard as I need to to make that happen. And oh my gosh, am I glad that I did. It was such an experience. And so I'm giddy with getting out there to take her. So by the time this thing airs, I'm already there. And and it's and it's going well. I know it is. I think it is more fact. When I released this episode, I will have already last night said a very tearful goodbye. It was very emotional, I'm sure, but I hope that I'm doing OK and not just sobbing all the way home. Actually, it's OK if I saw the way home. It's all right. Normal human emotion. Nothing wrong with that. I'm not a robot. So now let me get on to that interview with Nick Christiansen.

[00:10:01] Take it away, Nate.

[00:10:09] Nathan, you immediately got a hearing on my gun.

[00:10:12] Yeah, well, you don't sound like a couch on Cotter's.

[00:10:16] Yeah. What's the there's a do you know that there's a it's not a disorder, but there is there's a thing, Doug, on it. I should know this before where it's people are really tuned in to sound. I want to say it's Mr. Misophonia. Is it what I'm talking

[00:10:32] About that you got me

[00:10:34] Ok? I don't want to take the time to look at it, but I might have to. When you were talking to some point, I probably get back to it on that. But where people just become so and just attuned to chewing sounds, slurping sounds. I have someone near to me that they just will hear chewing and just say, hey, can you knock it off? And at first I thought everybody to kind of relax and then but there's a I got to find this now. I will find this. I will find this. I will post about it. But it's because then it kind of helps people. It normalizes that they don't feel they're crazy if all they can do is focus in on somebody chewing or whatever. So for those people who may have the disorder of whatever, I don't know what it is. I thought my head. I'm sure they thank you for throwing away your gun. Not a problem. All right. This is repeat. Guess Nate Christianson. Nate, welcome back to the Virtual Couch. Thanks to our first episode I love and I'll shoot you a text when I get hey, somebody brought it up in a session today. We talked about, oh, our first episode.

[00:11:25] We're talking about decision making. I know. Why don't you go? That was like,

[00:11:30] Oh, that I like. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It was a blast. And I still pull the I can sound really smart. You talked about the Dunning Kruger effect. I will pull that out all the time when somebody will tell me a story about that somebody is going on and on about something they don't really know about in my. Oh you mean the Dunning Kruger effect. So I learned that from Nate. So Nate, I've been wanting to do another episode for a while. We were trying to zero in on a topic. And this is a big topic, right? We're table to talk about depression. And I thought that I would start out a little bit by just giving some facts about depression. The World Health Organization estimates that as many as three hundred million people suffer from depression worldwide and the United States alone, more than 15 million people suffer from major depressive disorder. And so it's when I first saw that number and it says six point seven percent of the population over the age of 18. Immediately, I thought it was kind of low. But that is the what meets major depressive disorder criteria, which maybe we can talk about. But there really aren't a lot of numbers of how many people just have a not a major depressive disorder, but just feelings of depression,

[00:12:28] You know, actually. So I was looking into this like trying to prep for us talking. And it appears the numbers I'm seeing. Yes. Is over the course of any given year, 10 to 20 percent of the population may be suffering from some sort of depression.

[00:12:43] Wow. OK, so any given year and then and it's one of those type of things that they can it can hit anyone and people go through the times, their lives or they feel like they are more depressed. They're situational depression where people can be met with some life changing event that brings on depression and their seasonal depression. We're heading out of the summer, heading into the winter. I think that's one of the main times that you see a lot of seasonal depression and depression. So I was OK. So many people have depression turned to drugs and alcohol to make them feel better, numb themselves from their feelings. And so estimates state that approximately ten point two million adults live with a co occurring mental health and addiction disorder. And I think that if you really step back and think about it, that's what makes treating depression even more difficult, because when people feel bad and then they turn to something to help them feel better. And typically it's not, hey, how about a little bit more exercise or some deep breathing? Usually it's just, name the addiction.

[00:13:35] Right. And we'll probably talk a little bit more about this. I have major depressive disorder, so I'm 40. I was diagnosed with it when I was 22. I can recall feeling feelings of depression, significant depression as far back as elementary school. There's something that's and it's genetically there is a genetic component. Yeah. But we don't know exactly what it is. So you got where you can't get to. Oh this is exactly the. Because we don't know for sure. Yeah. For, for me personally when it comes to to my own depression and managing my own depression, I know there's just a ton of things that you can do to make it better, but there's almost equally amount of things you can do to make it worse. It might make it better for that moment, but then afterwards, it's just compounding so much worse.

[00:14:23] Yeah, exactly. OK, I've never actually gotten a phone call and I'm doing it. I guess I've not decided yet if I will try to delete that.

[00:14:31] I guess one person's up at six forty two in the morning. I don't know

[00:14:35] Your family, so I was like a telemarketer. I been getting a bunch of those lately on my cell phone and lobular. I don't think so. I think the ones that are trying to sell me. OK, now look at this. Got me in a ADD moment and all that. I was playing one for my wife last night where somebody so funny, they're so casual and it just says they don't say my name of course has trees. Just follow up on that two hundred fifty thousand or line of credit we were talking about. I got right here on my desk and and I don't understand the what am I supposed to go, oh my gosh, I forgot that I had set up this quarter of a million dollar line of credit with Teresa. I need to call her back and give her all. All of my information, my Social Security number, my bank account number, who falls for that?

[00:15:12] You can ask the same question. How many Nigerian princes are going to get money out of us?

[00:15:17] Because a fair amount, the guys seem very legitimate, seem very legitimate at the time. OK, so let's go. OK, but you were talking about, though, as many of those things that you can do that are good, the siren song of addiction calls as well. Whenever someone feels down and it can look like video games, gambling, pornography addiction, alcohol, even people can become addicted to exercise and that all the time.

[00:15:39] Sure. Well, I think in terms of addiction, if you have to be addicted to something, exercise is probably low on the list of don't be addicted to that.

[00:15:47] It could be that there are worse things. Yeah, full disclosure, a lot of times I in my intro, I was so ultramarathon runner and I love getting to go talk about running these 100 mile distances or twenty four hour runs. And when people just in general say, why do you. I love to say I just because I can or so I can eat ice cream. But at its core it's there is some belief that we're all addicts of some sort. So it's like how do you how do you find that socially acceptable, quote, healthy? Did air quotes addiction? And so the writing becomes one, but I've been pretty open about it. If I don't write a couple of days without running, then I am shorter, fatter, bolder. I'm a worse husband, father, a therapist, those sorts of things, because it becomes just a part of what I need. Sure, yeah.

[00:16:27] Yeah. I mean, when you're looking at exercise, specifically when you're looking at addiction, there's there appears research seems to be pointing towards an underactive dopamine system. And that's where people oftentimes have a propensity towards addiction. And one of the things we don't necessarily know that it's the cause. In fact, I think a lot of researchers believe it's not the cause, but neurotransmitters, huge problem when it comes to depression. Yeah. So you can see the connection there. Dopamine is neurotransmitter. People that have addictions are using that addiction to get dopamine. Yeah. And a lot of people that are depressed have issues of dopamine levels, serotonin levels, norepinephrine levels, all neurotransmitters. So that's probably at least partially the connection you

[00:17:10] I'm reading a book right now called The Body Keeps the Score, which is just it's a fascinating book. It's really dealing with trauma and PTSD. But the one of the parts that I read yesterday was talking about and I loved how he said even people like that are trying to run. He used a marathon runner where they begin to slowly as they embrace the pain, they then there is a he's saying a physiological physiological change in the brain that then goes to not only then embracing the pain, but then the pain becomes the normal thing. The pain becomes somewhat embraced, the pain becomes your baseline. And then it's almost now it's a withdrawal of those chemicals that come with the pain. And so then you are you're not as much focused on the man. I can't wait to exercise just because I want to feel that good. It's that when I'm not exercising, I don't feel good.

[00:17:56] Right. And I think that that's part of why for me, like, I don't feel like I'll ever be cured of depression. I think most researchers and mental health professionals will tell another person while it's not something you can learn from, but that's why I like to use the term.

[00:18:11] Manage. Yeah, I like that, too. And we'll get to a little bit when I want to go through. And you put together what you call your Ten Commandments for managing depression. Yes. And then I went to one of the things I want to talk about a little bit later is the concept of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT, which I love doing, talking about with regard to depression, because you're right, you basically have to make room for depression. Guess which? And yeah, because then that helps recognize that even when it's there, it's what are we going to do with it. Not the oh my gosh, it's here. I'm such a horrible person because I have it. I'll never get over this. Those aren't those aren't workable thoughts. I guess I want to really quickly go through so we give a little bit of stats. I think we've covered that lots of ways to find help. There's a depression hotline. I'll put that in the notes as well. And a lot of people attend 12 step meetings for depression. You can meet with a mental health professional there to give the disclaimer no. OK, you and I are not providing therapy through the podcast today. And we just want to provide some information and things that we feel helped us either as as individuals or for me in my practice. But depression is a significant, debilitating mental health condition. With that said, we highly encourage you to seek treatment from a mental health professional. The really quick to I thought this would be interesting. Then I want to get into your I want to hear your Ten Commandments. I have not I do not know them. So I'm excited. But so I think it's important to note that most people do experience periods of sadness in their life, especially after major events, job loss, divorce, death of a loved one. So clinical depression is different than that. And according to the DSM five, which you're beginning to love, is now in grad school.

[00:19:44] I know it, all of it.

[00:19:45] And this is why it is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It's the thing that we use as clinicians to diagnose. And so depression is diagnosed or clinical depression, which is different than regular sadness, is diagnosed when you have five or more of the following symptoms in a two week period. The depressed mood most of the day. And so you can even see how these are a bit subjective.

[00:20:05] They're very subjective, which is why I say I don't love it and it's not. It's hugely important to our field, obviously, but it changes a lot.

[00:20:13] Yeah, it does, and it helps.

[00:20:15] That's not bad because we're learning new things all the time. So it has to change. But I think you can get sometimes too wrapped up in the minutia of something. And it's like, oh, well, you only have four of these, so.

[00:20:27] Right. So you must not be depressed. Right. OK, that's funny. I remember in grad school, apparently, I didn't take the DSM seriously enough, so then there would be some discussions where people were doing that and it was about. So this when you're depressed, mood most of the day. What constitutes most of the day? Is it over the 12 hour mark you? Is it is it less than? According to the DSM five five or more of the following depressed mood most of the day, loss of interest in almost all activities, significant weight loss or decrease in appetite, insomnia or hypersomnia, feelings of restlessness, fatigue or loss of energy, feeling worthless or guilty sometimes for no reason, thinking or trouble thinking or concentrating, and then recurrent thoughts of death or committing suicide. And then, you know, in here without a specific plan, if there is a specific plan and that, can we take that a little bit more seriously. So and then it can be so there OK, there's a DSM criteria. And again, if you now realize, oh, my gosh, I've got a bunch of these and maybe my depression is something I need to deal with, please go see a mental health professional. Yes, absolutely. And if you only checked off three and a half or four of these things, I'm good. You know, still go see a mental health professional. Sure. OK. All right. What brought you to the Ten Commandments of managing depression?

[00:21:38] So as you mentioned, the first time we met, I'm a student, I'm a graduate student working on a graduate degree in counseling. I'd like to be a mental health counselor at… So I'm currently working on a degree through Northwestern University. And it's very challenging. It's very difficult. I went to kind of a regional college here for my undergrad and it wasn't as demanding. And I just kind of had some family things all of a sudden hit me. I got super stressed out, OK? And to the point where my anxiety was so high that I was starting to have physical symptoms and it became paralyzing. And I ended up in a major depressive state.

[00:22:23] Here you were pursuing something that you were excited about, passionate about. This is what you want to do. So what was that like? Was this sweetmeat what's happening here?

[00:22:32] Well, I knew exactly what was happening because it's happened before, but I was surprised I couldn't shake myself out of it because in the past I've had issues like this. You know, it's been a long time since I couldn't get out of bed. That was a weird feeling. I was like I thought I was past this. Yeah. And I think that's maybe part of the management is understanding that you're never really totally past it.

[00:22:52] I really appreciate your vulnerability because that is here you're you're pursuing a career now in something you love. And so that had to have just felt just so it was a surprise.

[00:23:05] Yeah, yeah. Yeah, it was. I mean,

[00:23:09] Surprise are pretty lame word right there. I'm trying to well I mean, I don't put words in your mouth.

[00:23:14] No, but I think it's fair because I didn't I didn't expect that I was going to be back at this place. That was years and years ago, like a decade ago or more. So it really it was really eye opening. And I think it's a good thing and I'm glad it happened at this point. And not later on, you know, when I'm practicing and, you know, that would be that would be horrible, especially for my poor clients. Oh, I'm sorry. I can't get out of bed right now. Right now, though, it does.

[00:23:42] It gives you a tremendous amount of empathy, I can imagine.

[00:23:45] Well, yeah. Yeah. Certainly people that are going through depressed, you know, and sometimes it's hard to empathize with someone that is unwilling to get out of bed in the morning, something that simple, but you haven't been through it. Yeah. If you've never been through that and you know, somebody just sitting there like you just got to get up. Yeah, yeah. The person there, like a puddle of mess.

[00:24:12] Why would in one more episode of whatever, I mean I don't know, would you have though or were there days where you just felt like it's just not happening today period. Or was it a noon. I'll do it at noon. The noon rolls around and

[00:24:24] Some days that's what it was like. OK, I just would get up when I can. There was a lot of days I couldn't get up at all. So my my parents are currently gone as missionaries there in Florida and they literally had to take a plane home. I'm single, so I don't have someone there to, like, cheerlead me out of bed. Yeah. So they had to come back. I'm forty years old. My parents had to come back and get me out of bed can and you know that's those are kind of on my, my commandments. So maybe I'll share a little bit more about them. Yeah.

[00:24:59] Yeah. All right. Yeah. Let's get into those. Yeah. We can talk for days.

[00:25:03] Ok, all right. So kind of based on what we just talked about. My first commandment is, get up,

[00:25:11] Ok,

[00:25:12] Depression is not going to get better if you're laying in bed. Now, that being said, if you're if you're dealing with someone that is struggling with depression, standing there and like, get up, get up is probably not going to be helpful. But, you know, there's tactful ways that you can be encouraging and things like that. I remember the

[00:25:30] Podcast I did with Shelly Auldridge about anxiety. It was I mean, I love what she said about, you know, at that point, I don't know if it's maybe it's maybe the fight or flight response for the freeze response or so your brain's not thinking. Yes, your brain is not thinking rationally. So when you're trying to lay out all these reasons, when the person is standing above them saying, here's eight reasons why you need to get out of bed,

[00:25:48] That's not registering. No, it's not. Because, I mean, the way that I like to explain it is, is at that point, the emotions are overriding logic to the point. I mean, your emotions are huge and logic is just I mean, it's there somewhere, but it's not going to override this huge cloud.

[00:26:09] Ok, so the managing depression is get up. You kind of have some tips thing.

[00:26:13] Well, I don't necessarily have tips, but I did want to. So, I mean, for me, it was setting an alarm. OK, what I found happening is, is I would be up super late. I'd just be laying there because I didn't get up until noon. Get up. I get up. I mean, wake up. I didn't wake up till noon, one or two, and then I'll go back to bed until four a.m. I just lay there from two until four a.m.. So the reason I'm I'm saying just get up is because if you're in the bed, you're not going to be able to do any of these other things. So, OK, I got to get out in order to do anything else. Good point. And I looked at kind of some interesting things. So there was a study that that was done by the University of Colorado, MIT, Harvard and the University of Vienna. Now, they specifically looked at that female nurses. So if you're a female nurse, this specifically applies to you. I think it applies to a lot of people, yeah. You know, that's just what they were looking at. They found that that if you got up in the morning based on on all of these nurses, they surveyed several thousand of them. Those that got up early and early could be different for different for for me, 7 a.m. I'm fine with that being early, but, you know, everybody's different.

[00:27:27] So that's halfway through my day.

[00:27:29] And I was totally kidding you. We've already run through three states,

[00:27:33] So getting off early

[00:27:35] Anyway, so. Twenty seven percent decrease in depressive symptoms and people that get up early.

[00:27:43] I like this. I have to tell you, I listen to a podcast long ago. I think it was one of Freakonomics Radio or something. I've been meaning to get back to it where they were talking about can you be if you're an early morning person or a night owl and can you change? The answer is yes. But they had some data to back up. The early risers were more productive. They were happier. They were all the same. So sorry. Sleep in people, but took it up. Right. Is he going well? I mean,

[00:28:06] We have to adjust to for people that have you know, they're working third shift and stuff like that, don't go to bed at 6 a.m. and get up at 7 because we told you that because

[00:28:14] It's going to be more

[00:28:15] Productive, you're not going to be less depressed because you're going to have an hour

[00:28:18] Sleep. Sleep is still important. It's hugely important.

[00:28:21] And so the next one is actually something you just said, be productive. Yeah. And and and in that what I mean is, is getting up and watching TV all day is probably not going to get you out of feeling depressed, you know, and I'm not saying, you know, go clean your whole house, but just do what you can when you can. I mean, get up and do something, make breakfast, maybe do the dishes if you like to get outside. Have you heard there's

[00:28:48] A viral video speech of I think it's someone, a Navy commander or something talks about making your bed in the morning.

[00:28:56] So so there's a there's a Canadian psychologist, comedian psychology.

[00:29:01] Oh, yeah.

[00:29:02] Kind of book. Yeah, I think it's twelve. Well, yeah, I think rules for life. Something like that. Yeah. Yeah. And I think the first rule was, was make your bed.

[00:29:11] And that's what this one's gone around for a while and where. And I think that's that point. You get up and you accomplish something.

[00:29:17] Yeah, yeah, yeah. So it's along those lines. So the next one is, is get active. And for me this one was huge and I'm including like this is exercise is really what I'm looking at, but exercise is different for different people. So right now I'm spending about two hours a day, six days a week in the gym. But I didn't start that way. Yeah, this was months ago. I there were there were times I was at the gym once or twice during the week for an hour. So you got to understand where you're at and just just get there.

[00:29:52] And I appreciate that, too. I feel like when even I'm suggesting that I'm speaking somewhere to a client and they assume I'm saying, hey, can you hurry up and get to the one hundred mile running, right? No, just walk. Yes. And I remember hearing, boy now a million trains are coming at once, but there's. In other words, just talked about there was a guy talking about how he got into the just even getting up and just stretching movement and the way it kind of stretches the muscle fibers and the and it just helps you from not just feeling stagnant and then from stretching to walking to just move.

[00:30:25] Yes. Yes. And that's really what I'm talking about. If you have a gym membership and you get to the gym, great. If you don't and all you can do is just walk around your yard at first and that's all you can do it first. Just do that. And I think it's important to to point out there's been several studies. I think the most recent I saw was through the University of Texas south eastern. I think was was the school. Eighteen thousand participants. And they found that when they were pulling these people, exercise was equally as effective as antidepressants. I did hear that. That could

[00:30:58] Be. Yeah. By the way, it's why I didn't needs pulling things out from Texas Eastern, you know, where you have that stuff, right?

[00:31:04] The I the data. That's why I like doing what's so great. OK, all right. So the next one or in three, this is four four four. Improve your diet and this could be a couple different things. So you did mention their, you know, weight, significant weight loss. Some people with significant weight gain weight.

[00:31:23] Even as I was reading that from the DSM, that's what I was thinking. I get people that, you know, therapeutically eat and put on a fair amount of weight and then they beat themselves up about that.

[00:31:32] Yeah, well, and I mentioned before kind of the physiology of it with glycogen, which

[00:31:38] Is what you and I talked about that. Yeah. Yeah, about that. I have that on your Nate quote. When we were putting some notes together, I feel like I'm more attracted to things. I'm depressed, like video games, carbs. And then we were talking about wondering if people who have depression have a propensity to overeat, sugar, carbs. And then I said in my notes, I said, Nate do your liver glycogen. OK, so here we go. Do that. Liver glycogen.

[00:31:59] All right. So so glycogen is kind of the fuel of the body. And so when we eat, especially carbs, our liver will fill filled with glycogen. And and when it's full of glycogen, you can't take anymore than it releases Tryptophan and tryptophan. Is that chemical in Turkey.

[00:32:17] That's why I hired you. That caused us to fall asleep watching the Cowboys and the Lions. Right.

[00:32:22] Right. So what then ends up happening Is the body a tryptophan? Now, I'm I'm not a neurologist, so this is my understanding and thankfully is a very basic OK. Is the most basic level here. No juiciness. My understanding is tryptophan is a serotonin precursor. So the body will metabolize the tryptophan into serotonin or it will trigger the body to create serotonin. And serotonin is a feel good drug. So overeating makes us feel good emotionally and sleepy. Oh yeah. So you just want to sleep happy

[00:33:00] And sleep happy coma. And the way you got there was from tasty treats.

[00:33:04] Right. And in and rule one, you barely got out of bed, then you overeat and next thing you know you're back in bed sleeping in, you wake up, you're like, oh I got to do it all over. Right.

[00:33:13] Ok, so I like that. And again, Nate is not a doctor and that may have been a stick figure drawing of something, for example. Like I you know, I think that's a workable thought, as they say, in acceptance of commitment therapy.

[00:33:26] Ok, yeah. So improve your diet. Could be eat more. Could be less. And certainly we're looking at, you know, if you can any way you can incorporate fresh fruits, vegetables, like I mean, I love donuts, but they're awesome. It's going to make you sick and you're going to feel rotten. Yeah, you really are.

[00:33:45] You know, gosh, I remember for a while I was on this kick of oh, I think after the one of the podcast had the woman half size me, the podcast and the website lost literally half a hundred and fifty pounds. And she even just talked about we have that concept of where, you know, sometimes I think, OK, I didn't eat the salad. And so really, does it matter to eat the banana? It's like, absolutely, yes. Have a banana. One is great an apple is great. And she even talked about, you know, don't feel right now like, oh, gosh, I got to go. I got to start some crazy diet or whatever. Just make a little bit of progress, right. Yeah. Right.

[00:34:18] Yeah. And that's huge. So let's go to number 5 here, see a therapist.

[00:34:23] Ok, hey, before you get to hear why Nate says that, going to see a therapist is one of his Ten Commandments when dealing with depression. It's kind of perfect timing, right, for me to jump in and say if you if you aren't in the area here, if you aren't planning on reaching out to see if you can visit with Nadaf, trying to get on my schedule, then this this episode is brought to you by the fine folks at Betterhelp.com. So if you've been on the fence about seeking professional help, look no further than your computer or your phone and go to Betterhelp.com virtual couch and get ten percent off your first months of services, Betterhelp.com can put you in touch with a licensed therapist or a licensed professional clinical counselor in as little as forty eight hours. And it's affordable, it's flexible. And the therapists have a variety of specialties, including anxiety, depression. We're talking about today, OCD, grief, loss and the intake process is. Streamlined, it will get you to the therapist who will know how to help you and and breaking up, it can be hard to do. But if you don't like the fit of your therapist, Betterhelp.com makes it incredibly easy to find a new therapist without any uncomfortable break ups. So go to Betterhelp.com, slash virtual couch, get 10 percent off your first month services, which now well over a million people have done. So let's get back to the interview with Nate Christianson.

[00:35:31] So therapy is interesting and I don't know if you've ever heard of Jonathan Shetler. So he's a psychologist in Colorado and he's huge into psychotherapy. And so he quoted a study that studied him in one of my classes, not him, particularly when we looked at something he wrote. Yeah. And and this piece that he wrote, he quoted a study that, according to the study, cognitive behavioral therapy was twice as effective for people as antidepressants, and psychotherapy was three times as effective for people with depression versus antidepressants. Interesting. Yeah. So there's there is value to seeing a therapist. Yeah, absolutely. Do it.

[00:36:15] As a therapist, I have to say, a lot of times people feel like, you know what what how is it going help? And there's the it's cliche, but it's true. Sometimes it does feel good to just kind of to be able to express things to somebody is not going to just tell you, knock it off. You shouldn't do that to realize what you're doing. You shouldn't know your way. So any of those kind of things. But I feel like also I can't tell you how often I hear people express things that they just assume they're the only person in the world that feels the way that they do. Right. And then when when you kind of don't is that therapist. And I go, I mean, thank you for telling me that. And they kind of look at it like maybe you're not freaking out right now. You're not ready to lock the door and call the right, you know, and then I feel like sometimes that just feels like there's give them a little bit of something. And I've got my episode right raising their emotional baseline. I think therapy is going to help raise your emotional baseline and every little bit eating right. The movement, everything you're talking about as it raises the baseline, you're going to view things a little bit different.

[00:37:05] Yes, OK, yes. OK, so the next one got to talk to a doctor. Now, this could be your personal family doctor or this could be a psychiatrist. So antidepressants works for roughly about half the people that take them. So for some people, they're not going to be helpful. But for some people, they're hugely helpful, you don't really know what that is, you know, until you try it. Yeah, I rule it out. Yeah. Yeah. I go to a psychiatrist myself. After what happened earlier this year, I was like, holy cow, I got to do something. This is bad. And so so I'm seeing a psychiatrist and it's you know, I haven't found the exact drug yet, but I, I did find some drugs that were really helpful when I was younger. OK, now we're kind of trying a new search and I'm

[00:37:50] Going a couple of thoughts there. You tell me if you if you disagree or if you agree, but you can go to your family doctor, you can go to your GP general physician, and they can prescribe an antidepressant. And I'm not saying anything negative about that. A psychiatrist, though, is one who is going to have probably a little bit more assessment tools that they do for a living. And so I find that some people go to their GP, they ask for an antidepressant, they prescribe something that that they feel has worked for most of the people they work with. Right. And so then if it doesn't work for the maybe the client I'm talking to, then they just say it doesn't work. And so, I mean, again, I love my GP. I do. He's a great guy. But the psychiatrist, I, I ideally you want to then report back to them. Here's how it's working. They can adjust dosages. Right. And if that's not working, they can say, OK, we can try this one. And and then you can really rule out whether or not there is a medication that works. It's not a I tried something for four weeks. I really didn't feel any different. And I've done.

[00:38:45] Yeah, yeah. Well, you know, I mean, what you're dealing with there is a specialist versus someone that has a broad base of knowledge over a lot of different things. So they're just not going to have the depth of knowledge when it comes to mental health. And that's not to say that. I mean, I, I actually in my religious congregation, there's a retired doctor and he's been very helpful for me because he but he's also looked at other things as well, like my dad. And he's giving me other suggestions that the psychiatrist who's very focused on pharmaceuticals, you know, maybe didn't focus on this much.

[00:39:21] So while you're there, when you mention diet again, I mean, I know there are people that are probably going to listen that have had their lives radically changed by a change in diet. And I don't want to sleep on that. I feel at my core that if I if I never turned back to another donut or candy bar or a bag of chips or that sort of thing, again, I would be I know that it would help. I really do. It's difficult. But I it I know there are people that I've had in my office that have said, look, once I you know, I once I basically cleaned up my diet and never looked back, then life looked completely different. So and I understand that. But then I don't want that shame or guilt feeling to come for people that say you have tried a can't, that sort of thing.

[00:40:01] Well, and I think that you're looking at potentially different people. So some people are I mean. That the diet is their cross to bear. And that is going to be the hardest thing for them their entire life and other people, it just doesn't. I have a close friend. I've always liked sugar. You know, maybe for that glycogen reason he didn't really care that much. Yeah, it doesn't really bother him. Like, he don't understand that. Like, he sees he sees a pile of candy and he eats one piece. Like, I'm like, how much of this pile can I get in my face.

[00:40:34] We talk about transference as a therapist. When I have the people I can I really care much about food. I find myself then man, I got to be very mindful and get back to focus with the client because I think. What is he talking about? What is that like? Is he just saying that or do you really can you sit there at Halloween and not want to raid his kids? Candy, what is that like. Yeah. Okay, yeah. All right. Well no we on

[00:40:53] Ok, so we are on one, two, three, four or five, six, seven. All right. Be social. OK, these are good. Yeah. Well these are all very basic and simple. So that's why I thought, you know, if you're especially in the throes of depression, hopefully these things, you know.

[00:41:11] Yeah. Are a depression as a as is something that causes one to isolate. Yes. OK, so that's where you're headed with that.

[00:41:18] Yeah. So I'm an introvert. I enjoy people, I like people, but I like environments that I have a little bit of kind of control, especially like so me walking around an amusement park kind of raises my anxiety, OK, a lot of people. So sometimes I have a tendency to not be social, but I'm realizing now, you know, holy cow, like being social with other people is is helping me. And there's and there's pieces of that that are interesting. So the doctor that I mentioned previously,

[00:41:48] Who, by the way, I want to get on the podcast. I want to shout his name out. Yeah. But I think he'd be great. Oh, he's

[00:41:52] Yeah. He's wonderful. So anyway, he he came by.

[00:41:57] Sorry, you said the psychiatrist. I want to get on the podcast. I don't know this doctor. Maybe he needs to come on the podcast as well

[00:42:01] Or he's retired. I mean, he's so he doesn't have much time. Got a ton of time now. I have to talk. Yeah. So anyway, so he he came by, my dad brought him by, you know, after he flew all the way back from Florida and brought him by because I couldn't get out of bed one day. And he's like he's like you've heard of smile therapy. And I was like, no, no, I don't have any idea what that is, he's like, I want you to just look in the mirror and smile yourself for five minutes. And I was like, Oh, that's absurd. So I didn't do it. Oh, like me, I'm stubborn. Yeah. So I didn't do it. But I noticed when I was interacting with other people, I couldn't help but smile on occasion. And I was like, you know, this is kind of what he was alluding to. I think, you know, when you have an interaction with people, preferably a good interaction, like if you just being angry with talking with people and maybe maybe we'll put the social piece right.

[00:42:51] You're going to say, well, what's the opposite political party I believe in? It's going to be yeah, OK,

[00:42:56] Let's discuss something that's going to make you really mad. Right. But, you know, for most people, you're having a just a random discussion and you just occasionally smile. And we are hardwired to be social even if we are introverted. And so on some level, we're you know, we are getting our brain is is is releasing neurotransmitters from interacting with people. Yeah. I mean, it's crazy, but that's just kind of I guess on some level it's a survival mechanism.

[00:43:24] I enjoy. I do I and I try to bring humor into therapy. I mean, I think that smiling is I mean, yeah, it does help. It helps a lot. I so, you know, my my train of thought about telling that story I was ready for. I wanted that doc, the retired doctor, so bad to say. Have you heard of tickle therapy and your dad just like mercilessly tickling you to get you out of bed.

[00:43:43] Oh, you wouldn't have ended. Well, I'm not sure I'm ticklish at all when I'm depressed.

[00:43:47] Ok, yeah, that's a fair point to say.

[00:43:49] You're in my space. You should we go now? We're OK.

[00:43:52] All right. So we're not advocating tickle therapy with smile and being social is a good thing.

[00:43:56] Yeah, OK. So, I mean, there's a lot of different things just, you know, few ideas, you know, if you're religious or you, you know. Yeah. Go ahead. Go go do your church activities even if you can't get in the middle of it. And and I understand you don't want to be there. That's the last thing in the world you want to do. But just just be in the presence of people can sometimes, you know, over time it'll warm you up, you know, see family, friends. I mean, there's you

[00:44:21] Know, I had somebody, oh, a long time ago to talk about. They would they liked in those moments to be able to just kind of get outside of their their their heads. They loved people watching. And I love that. I do, too. Yeah. And so they talked about they would literally just go to a mall and the food court and grab a drink and then just watch people and that just they found themselves. And I think it was kind of like a mindfulness exercise without them knowing. So they were noticing people noticing interactions with people. And and so they're out of their head. They're out and about. There's movement to kind of walk to the table. Yeah. So I like that. So there's a lot of different ways. But you're

[00:44:52] Social. Absolutely. Do you feel like the,

[00:44:55] I don't know, social media kind of things is a good thing or a bad thing at that point?

[00:44:59] Well, so I did I did put here, which I which I failed to I don't want to read this is if possible, do it daily and in person.

[00:45:08] I like the in person thing, yeah, part with the social media is when you're down and also you jump on there and you start seeing everybody in Cancun or, you know, whatever.

[00:45:16] Yeah. And that's and that's one of the interesting critiques of social media, which is it puts us, too, into other people's lives. And then there becomes a comparison problem. Yeah. It's like, wow, this person I went to high school with has a beautiful home, a beautiful family, and they're vacationing and they can't go. Yeah. And then for me, I'm single a graduate student. You know, that's what's wrong with me, right? Nothing more depressing.

[00:45:45] And they didn't post a picture of the guy losing his wallet. Somebody like rifling through their stuff, their flight delays and that sort of thing, which I mean, I'm making light of that. But I do feel like the the part where I know that everyone has their problem. Oh, yeah, they do. But it's hard to kind of acknowledge that.

[00:46:01] Yeah. Yeah, it is. OK, so eight serve. Now, this is obviously heavy in terms of religion. That's usually a big, big component. Yes. I found interesting quote, I don't know if you've heard of Karl Menninger. He was a psychiatrist. He died, I think, around 1990. He wrote several books and so was somewhat influential. And someone once asked him, what advice would you give to a person if that person felt a nervous breakdown coming on? And, you know, a psychiatrist, most people like to go see a psychiatrist and get some drugs. Yeah. And his response was, leave your house, find someone in need and do something to help that person.

[00:46:39] That's perfect.

[00:46:40] So, I mean, for I think for especially, again, for religious people, you know, I mean, you find a million different things and say the New Testament, you know, you you find your you lose yourself and you find yourself losing of yourself. Yeah.

[00:46:58] And I do feel so I've had a lot of a lot of religious congregations do have immediate opportunities to serve. You can reach out to somebody, a pastor, bishop, and they'll tell you. But I've had I've had some clients that don't necessarily have a religious community who and I know it can sound cliche, but the soup kitchen, if there are a lot of opportunities, I had one at one client go volunteer to cook one day a week at a it a small group home, and that led to other opportunities and other opportunities. And, you know, that was a great example of that, just kind of getting out and getting outside of yourself.

[00:47:29] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Number 9, avoid triggers and self medication. That was one of the first things you brought up. When we are feeling depressed, sometimes we have a tendency to to be attracted to things that are bad for us that help in the short term. But the long term effect is I mean, it's it's so much worse that I understand why you do it in the short term, because I have been guilty in the past of doing self-destructive things. Just get that relief because you're feeling so awful. You just want to feel a bit better.

[00:48:00] Yeah, but you're training your brain to when I feel this certain way now, I will turn to this addictive thing and that and that will it will release this chemical rush for the for the moment. And then quite frankly, I may feel worse after, but then which the ironic part is then when you feel bad, then your brain says, wait a minute. Yeah. Hey, remember, we got the rush here a minute ago, and so then you're just training the brain. And then we go back into that power of habit. Charles Duhigg book where the little walnut sized thing, the basal ganglia, the habit center, it's just waiting for you to throw it some things so that your brain can just say, I don't really have to think about this anymore. We just do this. Yeah. So your brain wants you to create those patterns as channels, those neural pathways so that it can just say, all right, you take care of that. I'm just going to kind of be here chilling because I want to live forever.

[00:48:47] You know, and it's interesting you mentioned that. So you or maybe I brought up Dr. Jordan Peterson because of you making your bed thing. So he he posted he's posted over the years. He's a professor at the University of Toronto. He's posted over the years some some of his lectures. And one of his lectures that I watched was on addiction. And he talked about how for for most people, the physical addiction is gone in a week or two. Yeah, it's the neural pathways that hang on for years and years. And so, you know, changing those neural pathways is the really difficult. Yeah.

[00:49:19] You know, and I'm going to go deep in a few in a month or two. I've got a series I want to do on ADD because I'm very open about that. I struggle with an attention deficit disorder. And and even when one gets medicated and the you know, and they feel like now they can focus their years, decades of patterns of just, you know, if I'm on the Internet, it's check this, this and this. If I'm coming into my office, I can I can do these things. And and even though you are you feel hope, you feel different. You feel like I can't focus. It's it's amazing. Just the tug of just the behavioral things that have been kind of ingrained over the years.

[00:49:55] Absolutely. Power of association. I mean, is why quitting smoking can be so hard for people? It's a social thing. It's like every morning I have a cigaret, you know, I mean, there's just and so you stop smoking in the body all of a sudden. Doesn't want nicotine, but then you're seeing all of these association, there's a

[00:50:11] Great podcast called The Hidden Brain, and they talk about quitting smoking 72 hours after and what happens with the brain and the body. And it's kind of like that. There's a lot that happens there to kind of put someone in a position where they can succeed. But they talked about the social part and the part where, you know, you're going out together at work or I mean, it's just it is there's so many of this these neural pathways that are ingrained. So same thing with the things that we do to avoid kind of managing our depression.

[00:50:38] Yeah, yeah. And then the last one is don't try to be perfect, just try to improve. And and that for me is been kind of a, you know, a constant in my life as I've sometimes set the bar too high. Yeah. And when you're feeling really depressed, you just got to set it low and, you know, shoot if you can't get out of bed for three days, but you get out of bed one day even if you do nothing else, the fact you got out of bed is an improvement. So tomorrow, try to do a little bit more. And guess what? There's going to be some days where you're going to do you know? Well, you'll you'll do great in the next day. You'll do bad. And then you want to feel depressed again. Right. I mean, you're going to backslide. Yes. Just be aware of it. It's OK. You know, the next day you can have an opportunity to do a little bit better. So just to reiterate, get up, be productive, get active, improve your diet, see a therapist, talk to a doctor, be social, serve, avoid triggers and self medication. Don't try to be perfect. Just try to improve. And there's other things that can certainly be helpful for religious people. Could be prayer or, you know, reading the religious texts.

[00:51:49] Have you have you been a fan of mindfulness at all? Has that been a part of any of

[00:51:53] What you have done? Absolutely. So for me, mindfulness can help in many different circumstances. I find it particularly helpful when I'm feeling very anxious, so I don't necessarily quite incorporate as much when I'm yeah, when I'm going through a depressed state. But but I also, when I'm really depressed, have focused problems. OK, so mindfulness would be especially helpful, but I can't focus sometimes so I don't even like go there.

[00:52:20] Now that makes sense. That does. I'm a huge I'm done a lot of podcasts I think recently on acceptance and commitment therapy and that there's a mindfulness component there. And I had pulled up a study not too long ago that acceptance and commitment therapy, also known as ACT is a the this is titled ACT as a little known fast treatment for depression, as some psychologists believe that accepting your negative thoughts can help them pass faster. And I know it's much more complicated than that, but with accept that with act. The act was developed in the nineteen eighties, but now there's finally enough. It's really there's enough evidence now that we can kind of accept it as a it's a it's an evidence based model that shows act of being effective in treating anxiety and depression and chronic pain and addiction and those sorts of things. But so instead of like classic CBT cognitive behavioral therapy and CBT therapist encourages you to try and challenge your negative or irrational thoughts. Act kind of want you to be more mindful and accepting of them, make more room for them, which I know kind of sound a bit squishy if you haven't really tried to do it right. But I think that it goes against that I'm broken or and it's more of just these are just some feelings or thoughts. And I have plenty of these. And they're going to come and they're going to go and and then what do I do with them? And how do I learn how to kind of make a room for them? You know,

[00:53:33] And that's an interesting thing when you talk about about our emotions and kind of how we feel broken, because, you know, when you talk about feeling broken, when you're in a major depressive state, that is like the ultimate feeling of broken from what I've experienced. Yeah. And we have a tendency to want to figure out what is wrong with us. Yeah. Like, I feel bad, therefore I am. Yeah. Yeah. And sometimes you have to to accept the fact, OK, well I'm not necessarily good or bad, at least this is my perspective. And what I found is just accepting. OK, I'm Nate, I'm not necessarily I'm not all good, I'm not all bad. And the brain wants to classify things and we can get ourselves into trouble. Yeah, well, you know, if we feel bad inside, then our brain might just tell ourselves, OK, well, if I feel bad I am bad.

[00:54:19] Yeah. So I mean, you know, go. So that's an acceptance. I'm just an act. One of the coolest things is you start to say if you start to say, OK, I can get over this or I'm not bad. They call it reason giving and you kind of sit back and say right now, just kind of pay attention to what stories your brain tells you in the next few seconds. And it's going to say, you know, you are bad or well, you haven't gotten over this yet or I can't believe you're back in the state. Or and when you really dig deep on ACT, you start to then label those you recognize those the stories that your brain is trying to hook you and you will say, oh, there's the I can't do it story or I recognize that one. The old you know, you'll never get over this story. They're just stories of brains telling us and they tell us that. And then we become an ACT They call it Fuster. So then you get into the you become. Used with that belief in that belief or thought is it is fact, but so, in fact, you really working on diffusing the guy who found it at this guy named Steven Hayes talking about the mindfulness or meditation? He says when you meditate, you let your thoughts pass by like a cloud in the sky. You're noticing them rather than pushing them away. And ACT is based on that idea. So the key said isn't isn't cleaning up your thoughts. It's changing the relationship to the world within yourself. Kind of like what you're saying, right? So he says and what I love about it is based on values, too. So it is this what's your idea of success? You don't have to come out of this and then and write the novel or go get your PhD or whatever, because that's going to if that's not your core value, then you're just kind of setting yourself up to feel worse about.

[00:55:51] Yeah. And you see that when we talk about morality, two different people, same event. One person is you know, it's crushed them because in their own mind, you know, it's a horrible thing. Another person maybe was raised in, say, a sex positive household and they have the same type of event happen in their house and, you know, within their own life and it doesn't bother them. So, you know, on some level, you know, our our our brain is is is in charge even when your life feels totally out of control.

[00:56:21] Yeah, exactly right. Because it might even be kind of keeping you there. That's when, in ACT, they call it that's when you are you're fuzing. I almost want to kind of go so close to going off on a tangent, but I like what you just said there. Let me see if there was any other stuff that I am going to go off on a quick tangent. I mean, so there was a kind of a pull a little note, because this one referenced to my old alma mater, University of Utah, a clinical psychologist there, Megan Call, who uses act with clients, said in the lead runner might experience the same pain after a long run is someone with a physical disability, she observed. But the runner doesn't believe the pain will limit him. And the person with a disability doesn't have to either. Now, that can sound like, OK, this clinical psychologist doesn't understand, but she just said there's a difference between thinking I can't handle the situation and I'm having the thought that I can't handle this call observes. The latter might lead you to realize that indeed you can. So the kind of the the concept there is you do you are the way you diffuse from your I'm broken is I notice I am feeling broken when or if you're sad. It's I notice I'm feeling sad when I am, you know. So it's not that I'm like you said, I'm not I'm not used to sadness, I'm not fused to anger.

[00:57:29] And i'm not fused a failure. I notice I'm feeling this. Yeah. And so the one more quick thing and I want to do my tangent there, too, in 2014, there was a TED talk by an addiction and cancer researcher, Jonathan Bricker, and he described how some see act more effective at controlling cravings to like junk food, cigarets. And the typical approach and I like what he said here, he said you can't win a tug of war with the craving monster, he says in the talk, because eventually the monster will win and you will give in act acceptance and commitment therapy encourages you just to simply drop the rope. If you allow the monster to occupy the same space in your body, you'll discover that he's not as threatening as he appears and sometimes he'll even go away. And I kind of thought that was interesting. Yeah. So drop the rope. Right. The thing that the tangent that I'm dying to go on is in in acceptance and commitment therapy, you can have a goal. And in this one, I've actually used this so many times this week in a session because somebody brought it up. But if your goal is to make money and you don't look at your value, that we need to lead with our values to get to our goal, someone will tell me that they had worked in this basically a call center where they were felt like they were basically doing they were fraud.

[00:58:36] You know, they were trying to cover it up. The people up top were it's not really fraud. You just just read this script, you know, and that sort of thing. And so the money was there. Person was making money, but they felt just horrible about it because they're like, my goal is I want to be honest. I want to do this with integrity. Right. So then the in ACT I remember reading in a book at one point where you can have two people that want to climb a mountain. So the goal is to get to the mountain. But if one person's values are to be very present, then enjoy and then they're going to every bit of it. They're going to enjoy the camping on the way up. They're going to enjoy the rocks and the trail, the trees. So then the other person is just I have to I have to get to the top to get there as soon as I can. So then if a horrific storm occurs and now we have to scrap the mission, you know, these two climbers that had the same goal, the one who is just his values are around just enjoying the the being very present is going to say that was a success. And then the one who didn't to you know, his only goal was to get at the top now feels like a horrible failure. Right. That that was kind of deep.

[00:59:37] That's really deep. I mean, I think that that shows the value. I mean, it's it's just a story, but it just shows the value of changing our name, the way we think about certain events and certain things in our lives and and depression probably. I mean, you can see the application for depression.

[00:59:59] Yeah, that's right. Yeah. So if you're looking at it as more of, hey, I'm on a journey and if my you know, I guess if my goal is you, I would love to alleviate symptom. Of depression and in function better, whatever that looks like, but my but my values around that or, you know, I'm not going to beat myself up about it, I'm going to say I love your Ten Commandments, that I'm just going to I'm going to kind of take this slow and make small steps, you know, then it's going to look a lot different along the way than it's I didn't I didn't get my dream job or my dream career or whatever because depression got in the way. Yeah. Yeah. All right Nate, we could've kept going, huh? That's good.

[01:00:34] Well, and this is just one small part of direction. Like we didn't even talk about, like, child, you know, and their adolescence and the polar and all the difference. Yeah. Your depression. This is like just basic stuff.

[01:00:48] I smell a part two coming down the road, but

[01:00:50] You could probably do a whole series, 10 part. All right.

[01:00:54] Thanks for coming back on the virtual couch. This is amazing. Now, you know, you're going have to write the Ten Commandments of managing depression. I mean, after that, I needed to have that somewhere. I can point people to write. Yes. Blog on the TonyOverbay.com website.

[01:01:08] Well, just just remember, I'm not trying to be perfect. I'm just trying to improve. So I write a paragraph a day. So it could be a few weeks.

[01:01:15] That is fair. I will acknowledge that. I noticed that I was feeling pushy and I will back off of that. Alright Nate, thanks so much for coming on. And so we'll see you again on the virtual couch.

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