Windhorse: Welcome to episode one of Integrative Mental Health: the Trialogues podcast. This is the first part of an eight part series. Each episode of our podcast is part of an hour-long conversation between me and Mary. In this first episode we talk about the interactive elements of a podcast versus a webinar, how it starts to build relationships and dialogs, which are some of our core values, and we discuss the healing that can happen in connection through relationships. We also talk about self-worth as a foundation for healthy choices, and mental health existing on a continuum.
With that, let’s get into the podcast. …
What makes Windhorse’s Approach unique?
Windhorse: Yes. Phoebe, who is our clinical director, I’m just saying that for whoever’s listening, we had a really interesting discussion about what makes Windhorse unique. And she said it’s not about somebody having problems. It’s about the space in between people, and that’s where Windhorse does the best work. So for somebody who has, you know, a mental health problem and a family member looking at the space between them as the space where a clinician, a skilled clinician could say how do we work with this space differently? How do we work with this space?
Mary: Or what’s going on in this space?
Windhorse: What’s going on in this space?
Mary: And sort of not bringing so much of a microscope to any one individual but looking at the interaction between them and seeing how, if it’s family work, seeing how the system is working and see what the patterns are. I think also a lot of our work is looking for what we would call habitual patterns. And that’s true in a family system or an individual or in a relationship, one on one that we tend as humans to kind of repeat ourselves and get a well-worn groove going in some of our habitual patterns and not even realize that very often we react to situations it the same way and recapitulate that pattern.
Windhorse: Well there’s something comfortable in the predictability of it.
Mary: There’s something safe in the comfort and predictability of habitual patterns. And I think that also underlies the process of recovery; is that part of what the recovery process is doing is becoming aware of what your patterns already are, and you got a team of people who are with you who also might help you to be more self-aware of sort of how you’re relating to the world and how you’re relating to other people, and be able to shed some light. I mean it’s all about you developing more self-awareness, but our relationships can help us to shed some light on our own habitual patterns. And once you’ve been able to see them and stop beating yourself up about them then there’s some possibility for change.
Self-worth and Healing
Windhorse: And it is, I think, you have to be in the space of knowing that you’re worth it, knowing that you’re valuable.
Windhorse: And knowing that you are worth making a healthy change.
Mary: And that can be a huge step. We can get really wrapped up in self-loathing and just kind of go down that rabbit hole, go down that black hole, and get very isolated and not even be able to accept the way our family or friends do care for us because we’re so convinced that we’re worthless.
Windhorse: Even I get stuck in that loop from time to time.
Mary: That’s right, so not to mention people who are really have developed some serious psychiatric issues.
Windhorse: Ya, I think that’s a problem with everybody especially…
Mary: I think it’s a human problem.
Windhorse: It is a human problem.
Mary: But I think it exists on a continuum where everybody struggles with it to a certain extent, and certainly that’s another really important principle here is that everything exists on a continuum. And you have a job, I have a job, we’re doing okay in life but under the right circumstances that might turn around, and under the right pressures, under the right stresses, anybody can develop instability and difficulty.
I mean one of the ways we characterize how that looks is it’s life disrupting. And if it’s life disrupting then sometimes it helps to do some work on yourself. And we’re all involved in working on ourselves to one degree or another. Somehow perfect human beings haven’t arrived yet.
Windhorse: What? We’re not perfect human beings? That’s crazy.
Mary: No, and we may never be.
Windhorse: That’s certainly true.