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From Reality TV to Real Healing: Melody Murray on Boundaries, Therapy, and Transformation
Episode 3118th January 2024 • The Mindful Coach Podcast • Brett Hill
00:00:00 00:44:00

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In order to serve other people, we have to take care of ourselves and draw the lines when necessary. - Melody Murray

Meet Melody Murray, a licensed marriage and family therapist and child mental health specialist who seamlessly transitioned from a successful career in television production to making a profound impact as an author and mental health advocate.

You will love her energy, vitality, and passion for life and learning as she talk about her journey from reality TV show producer to therapist.

You'll hear about how she came to realize that what she was doing with TV was a "dream come true" in some people's eyes, but ultimately felt inauthentic causing her to revaluate her inner world as well as her outer work.

Her story is a testament to the power of authenticity in action, and her unique perspective will inspire and resonate with fellow professionals in the field.

With media features on platforms like the Today Show, the New York Times, and the Business Insider, Melody's work and insights have reached a wide audience.

Her upcoming book, "My Bounce Back Plan," and her experience in managing ADHD, trauma, depression, and family dynamics make her a valuable resource for therapists, coaches, and mental health professionals seeking authenticity and real-world strategies to support their clients.

In this episode:

  • Understand the complexities of grieving for living loved ones to navigate emotions with empathy and understanding.
  • Establish healthy boundaries in therapy to create a safe and respectful environment for both clients and therapists.
  • Embrace a successful career transition into therapy by gaining insights and strategies for a smooth and fulfilling shift.
  • Cultivate authenticity in therapy approach to build genuine connections and foster trust with clients.
  • Navigate lost relationships with living loved ones by learning effective communication and coping strategies.

You can find her at https://www.melodylmft.com/

Linked In: https://www.facebook.com/MelodyLMFT

Mentioned in this episode:

The Mindful Coach Podcast

The Mindful Coach Association produces this podcast. An association for coaches and other helping professionals who value mindfulness in life and work. The association was created to help create community, and provide resources and ongoing learning for those aligned with its published principles and practices. If you're aligned with this work, join us at https://mindfulcoachassociation.com or contribute to our work with link provided. All funds go directly to cover costs and growth.

Transcripts

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So welcome to this edition of the Mindful Coach podcast, and with me today is none other than Melanieody Murray, who's a licensed marriage and family therapist and child mental health specialist in private practice, serving clients 14 to 75, managing ADHD trauma, depression, boundary and family of origin issues, as well as adult with childhood trauma. She is really an accomplished professional having and she's the author of mourning the Living when the loved ones you've lost is still here. Whoa. When I heard that title, I had to take a beat and take that in because that's a big one. And she's working on a new book called my Bounce Back Plan, available next year, which she's working on between takes here. Literally between takes, formal hospital, er, mental health evaluator, assessing homicidal and suicidal patients. And I'm telling you, tip of the hat to that one, because that doesn't get any deeper, harder, more real than that. She's been interviewed by the Today show, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Business Insider, the doctor's e Network, and peace of mind with Tariji on Facebook, watch HBO's pause with Sam J. And as if that wasn't enough, she has a background in producing tv and directing on several shows, including MTV's the Real World. Who hasn't heard of that? Next, the Bad Girls Club and Janice Dickinson's modeling agency and more, because there's an etc at the end of that. Oh my God. How come you're not? I mean, you should be my age to have all that packed in. You've been a really busy woman.

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I've been strategic.

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I like that. Yeah, I've been strategic.

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That's right.

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I love that very much. I really wanted to have you on the show because when we talked, you're so powerful in the way you present and grounded, and I love the fact that you're focused on boundaries a lot. And that's something I'd like to talk about, particularly to coaches and to the coaching professionals and helping professionals out there who the podcast is aimed at helping ourselves as coaches declare boundaries between getting involved with, because a lot of times I talk to, for example, physicians, licensed social workers like yourself who wind up getting in a state of being burned out. What do you know about that? And what might you say to people in that situation?

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I believe that there are many factors that drive us to being helping professionals, to being healers. And part of that is one reason is that sometimes we grow up in really tough circumstances and then we heal, and then we realize, I want other people to feel good too. I want to help other people heal. And so sometimes we can blur the lines between doing our job and then really wanting to grab people and take them along with us and be along for the ride, because we know how good it feels to feel better. And sometimes we will go overboard with that. But it's necessary for us to have boundaries, because especially when we're trying to teach our clients to have boundaries, we need to lead by example.

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Right? And so what is it that causes people then to be able to do that? Because there's this push between I want to be helpful versus what can I actually do? And somehow people get overdriven. What would you say to the professionals out there to help them learn to dial that balance in?

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Well, I think this is where it really requires us to be present with ourselves. We really need to build our self awareness and notice how you feel. Like, really hone into how you physically feel. When someone asks you to do something, do you feel elated? Do you feel excited, enthusiastic? Or do you feel exhausted, depleted? Does it feel uncomfortable for you to respond to their request? That's our intuition, I feel. That's our intuition leaning us one direction or another. What decision do you need to make? Listen to your body. Your body is telling you what you need to do. But sometimes we fight that, and we fight off what our body into. What is the emotion? What is the sensation that we feel in any particular moment and let that guide our decision making.

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Of course, I'm 100% behind that. I would add, just as if I was doing the next paragraph. It's like. And our culture doesn't help us learn that.

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It's not built for our well being. Our culture is so not meant for us to be content and satisfied and relaxed and calm. I'm currently reading a book by one of my personal gurus, Dr. Gabor mate.

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And.

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He'S just released his most recent book, and it's called the Myth of Normal. And it talks about how our society is bent towards us being insecure and anxious and depressed and sad because we are better consumers when we're in these precarious states. We're better consumers when we're really upset and sad and insecure, because then we buy things to help ourselves feel better. We're jumping over what it is that we're feeling, and we're putting band aids on those feelings when we need to just feel. And I think that whenever it comes to us creating boundaries with our clients, we have to lead by example. We have to say, hey, I can't take you on I can't do an extra session. I don't work on Saturdays because that's my time to relax. And knowing when we set those boundaries, it teaches them how to set boundaries. We are in a really unique position that can feel uncomfortable in the beginning or in the front of the situation. It can feel uncomfortable for us to establish boundaries, but really understanding that that's exactly what our clients are asking us to do. They're learning from us so we can lead them by doing the very things that we want them to do for themselves. And that burnout piece is huge. And I remember having a moment at the hospital, and I was separated. I was going through a divorce, and I was raised to just soldier on.

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You keep it going.

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You press on. And I was exhausted. And one of them, honey, you don't look so good. And my knee jerk response was like, what are you talking about?

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I look great.

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Fabulous.

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What are you talking about?

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What are you talking about?

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And so I allowed myself to have that knee jerk response internally. I didn't say it out loud, but I had that moment, that quick moment. And then I let her words penetrate, because then I knew, this is my friend. She cares about me. She's not coming at me in a way to harm me. So my knee jerk response was to be defensive. And then I paused and I read the situation, which was, this is one of my closest friends. She knows me. And so then I gave myself permission to let her words penetrate. And then once I did that, my body just exhaled in a way that I allowed myself to go, wait a minute. She's right.

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I am exhausted.

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I feel like crap.

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I feel like crap.

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And I left. And then, lo and behold, it happened months later. I had a different coworker. I was still in the emergency room. I was working a shift, and I had a different coworker. Go, Melanie, are you okay? What are you talking about, Colin?

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I'm just fine.

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Of course I'm fine.

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Why are you asking? He's like, you look exhausted.

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And I was like, I'm okay. And he's like, why don't you go home? And I'm like, this is my shift. I run this shift. This is my shift. And he was like, we got it covered. It's pretty quiet.

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We got it covered.

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And then I'm like, no, I'm fine. I'm fine. I'm fine. Because I've been built to be fine.

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I've been built right.

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You need to show up and make sure you're there. Yeah, I totally hear that on a lot of levels.

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Yeah, but he went over my head. He went to our supervisor, who came to me, and she goes home, yeah, we got it covered. You're fine. Just go home. And I just kind of collapsed into that and realized that these are my friends. They're reading me better than I'm reading myself. And I've had to work on that, and I have been actively working on that, reading myself and then making decisions based on what I'm reading and taking my ego out of the equation. And our ego drives so many things unnecessarily, but it's a defense mechanism. I had to realize as I was growing up, there were a lot of ridiculous things that were happening around me. And because those people, the adults in the room, didn't have their shit together. And so I had to make up for that, and I had to act like everything was fine, because they acted like everything was fine and what I was truly feeling didn't matter. And so I realized that I had taken that on from childhood, decades past, my chaotic environment. But I took that on as this is a part of my personality. I'm a soldier, and that doesn't serve me. It doesn't serve me at all. And so I had to check myself and stop doing that. And I'm still working on it. But we have to set those boundaries. And sometimes the boundaries start with our interactions with other people. And that's what I think most people consider when they think about boundaries. Think about boundaries as we are in relationship with other people. But our most important relationship is with ourselves. And so we need to set those boundaries with ourselves so that we're not putting ourselves out there too much, too often. In order to serve other people, we have to take care of ourselves and draw the lines when necessary. And knowing that it's not going to damage a relationship that has a true and sincere collect. We're not going to damage a relationship that has a true, sincere connection by asserting ourselves and taking care of ourselves.

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I love that very much because it's like you were saying, your friend, this is your friend right in the first example. And she's like, I need to listen to her. And I really like the way you placed that because you described very clearly a mindful moment like where, oh, I'm noticing that I am being really reactive, and I want to just go, no, I'm okay. What are you talking about? But then you literally said, I pressed pause and considered, and so that's the. Take a breath. So neurologically, that's the executive function coming online, going, hold on, I'm not going to be reactive. I'm going to make another choice, a better choice. And that's a very powerful example of the whole process of the value of having mindfulness as a resource in those moments. It's like, really great example. How did you get started on, I mean, I don't know your career from a personal story, but it sounds like you did entertainment and then maybe, and somehow entertainment, because that's a big job, all those things in entertainment. And then also you got licensed in your clinical work. So which came first there and then how did that all come about?

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Yeah. And I realized, as you were saying what you said earlier, you don't realize how old I am. I'm much older than I look. I'm 50 years old. So I've had the time to kind of pack all these things in. I hosted a children's show for a very long time, and I was an actress for a while, and then I thought, I want power, and I want to understand the inner workings of television. So I switched to behind the scenes and worked my way up to producing and directing, and I left Houston, which is my hometown. I left Houston, moved to Los Angeles, and worked my way up. I loved producing and directing. I was traveling all over the place, other people's dimes, which is the best.

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Way to travel, and was having a.

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Ball, mostly doing reality tv shows. I did some game shows, I did some competition shows, but I had two shows back to back that were really, really challenging, and one of them was, there was a lot of unethical things going on. And that's not a word that you use in reality tv.

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That's a word that I've. Kidding.

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You talk about the myth of normal. That's really living the myth of normal there.

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It's supposed to be unethical. It's reality tv.

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Right. I know this is ethics for entertainment, right?

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Yeah. There's a whole different category for reality tv.

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But I started reading myself and realizing that I was having a lot of fun for a really long time. It stopped being fun. So where it started, where was show after show after show was fantastic. And then it was like there'd be three or four amazing shows and then one dud, three or four, then one dud, and then it was like they were all duds. And one amazing show, it flipped. It stopped being fun. And I think that I was in my own therapy at the time, and I was really reading myself at the time and realizing how much our time on this earth is limited and how I wanted my time to really mean something meaningful. And I wanted to be a part of people's healing and growth and not be a part of throwing a camera on people's crisis moments. Throwing a camera on people's dysfunctional moments, it just didn't serve me. It didn't work. It didn't work for my heart and my soul. And so I did these two projects back to back, where one was really unethical and ridiculous, and the other, it was a bunch of young people. I think it was my very first season of directing the real world. And these are all young people. They're all in their early twenty s, and they're doing things that people do in their early 20s, right?

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Exploring and taking chances. And who am I, and how do I find out?

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They're dating and they're partying and they're having relationships, and they're doing things that they don't understand the ripple effect of their decisions. And as a director, it's not my job to intervene. My job is to put the camera on the scene and get the best angle. And that just didn't work for me.

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Anymore where I'm watching them do certain.

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Things that I'm like, do you really.

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Want to take that shot? Do you really want to go on.

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A date with that know?

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Yeah.

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And so I had this existential crisis, and I reached out to my therapist. I was in Vegas at the time. I'd gone from Savannah, Georgia, to Las Vegas, and I was living in Los Angeles at the time. And I said, I have to see you as soon as I get back to LA. We need to talk. And I said to him, I said, I need to change my career, and I have an idea of what I wanted to be. And he said, what? And I said, I think I want to go back to school and become a therapist. And you're my therapist, and you're supposed to tell me if I'm too crazy for that, right?

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Well, I'm guessing that conversation went well.

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It did. It went well.

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And he said, I will write whatever recommendation letters you need. I think you'd be brilliant at it, which was such an amazing endorsement, because this man, he's been doing it for 40 years, and most of his clients are entertainment people, network directors, what have you. And I delayed it for a while because I was going to miss out on a lot of money. And I loved the money. I had to be honest. They got to pay. But then my nephew is a navy vet, and he'd gone to Afghanistan, and he called me on his 21st birthday, having a panic attack. And what I did for him, I did not know, was deescalation. I de escalated him during a panic attack on his 21st birthday, and that's what did it for me. That's when the switch flipped. And I said, I can't delay this anymore. I'm going to school. So I went back to school. I got my master's in clinical psychology, and I've been doing therapy ever since. And now my career has transitioned into writing. Mourning the living was my first book. I released that in September. And then my next book is coming out in January 2024. And people get so impressed by that. I'm like, no, I've got ADHD. I started this book a long time ago, got an April, and they're like, wow, that's so amazing. Like, AdHD, I started it a long.

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Time ago and got distracted.

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I started multiple things, and now I've learned the tools to complete certain things. I've been leaning into really discovering myself so that I could be my most authentic self. And that means that I do disclose.

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And I'm here to help people heal.

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I'm here to help people grow and accept themselves. And a way that I help people do that is by disclosing certain things that I feel can be helpful to them. To hear that, yeah, I am helping you because I've trained in a lot of different fields, and I'm teaching you interventions that I've learned, but I'm learning, too. I'm still figuring things out about myself as I'm on this journey to help you. So that's how I made that transition, and now it's like it's coming together. My love of television is also coinciding with my love of mental health and psychology. And so now I've been guesting on different tv shows, talking to people, helping them learn how to help themselves.

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Beautiful.

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Okay.

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I have a kind of a sideways questions. As an actual licensed therapist and someone who's in television, what do you think about the depictions of therapy on television and tv shows?

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It's a difficult thing to do. It's a difficult thing to do because therapy is a personal experience, and it's a personal relationship between the client and the therapist. And it's not cars crashing and explosions. It's not a visual thing. And so I think that a lot of times, whenever production companies are trying to figure out a show for a therapist, it's hard to do because it's not something that's dramatic, per se. So I see why people are doing it in the way they're doing it. There's a therapy show on vice, I believe, where there is a man that's doing therapists with hip hop artists. And I think it's fantastic. But again, it's not exciting, but it's necessary. It's real.

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It's real.

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I think, unfortunately, there's some personal exploitation that happens when people are doing their own personal therapy on air. One of the shows that I worked on, I witnessed it and I thought it was crap because I could tell this is before I ever thought about it. Being a therapist, this was me being a producer.

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A producer, right.

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It's being a producer and I'm watching the show. I came in on a show on the fourth season of the show, so they'd already been doing this, where the talent on the show was doing her therapy on camera. And I thought, quite honestly, I thought it was bullshit because there were so many things that they weren't talking about but were obvious. And it felt exploitive to me. It's like you're dancing around something and that's not how. Hold on, let me correct myself. I was about to say that's not how true therapy works, but that's not true. That's not how therapy works with me.

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With you.

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There are some therapists that do dance around issues, and sometimes it's a tactic that works for the client because the client isn't ready to go there and take the plunge. But sometimes the therapist is afraid to go down that road and take the.

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Plunge with the client and so they.

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Can talk in circles for years. I can't stand that. I want you to feel better as fast as possible.

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Now, I'm not going to drag you.

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To a conclusion that you're not ready for. And that's where you build a trust with your client and you understand where they are and you understand that they truly don't see this thing that I see as obvious, but I see it's obvious because of all my training.

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Yeah. And so the skill is like in helping them, bringing them along to where they uncover their own learning and their own process at their own pace. Right. So it's one thing, like you're saying when a coach or a therapist doesn't want to go there, and it's another thing completely whenever the client's not ready. Because if you're making an in the moment professional decision, the client's not ready for this, and you know they're not ready because they won't go there when you ask them to. Right. It's pretty straightforward.

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I had a moment with my own therapist where I had some repressed memories come up. And I'd been seeing him for probably five, six years at this point. And then all of a sudden I had these memories come up and I.

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Thought, whoa, what the, what is that?

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And I texted him, I think my next session wasn't for a couple of weeks. And I was like, I have got to see you now. And I explained to him what the memories were, and I'm crying, and I'm crying, and I'm crying. And then it hit me, and I said to him, you knew. You knew this happened to me. You knew I went through this.

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I said, you knew, didn't you?

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And he goes, yeah, I did know. I said, why didn't you tell me something? Why didn't you say something? He goes, it's not my job to drag you into a place that you weren't already in.

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So much more powerful, inappropriate.

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And I thought, wow. And I have since been that person. I've been on the other end of that with my own clients where I'm like, I know something happened.

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Yeah, it's beautiful. I love that very much. No, it's like in the methods that I learned. I studied Hakomi for quite a while, and it's very much around that it's like supporting the client's defense mechanisms so that they don't have to hold up the wall. And then whenever they decide energetically, somatically, it's okay to relax a little bit around whatever they're resisting, the resulting insight, the input, the information that becomes available to them is so much more powerful because it feels like it comes out of them rather than, well, here's the conclusion that we're driving towards. And then when you get there, it's kind of like somebody else's thing, right?

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Somebody else's behind the wheel. I was speaking at an event a couple of months ago, and I had a woman come up to me in between classes, and she was telling me about her son. He's in his early thirty s, and her father had molested her son, and he didn't reveal it until the grandfather had died. And the son was in his early twenty s. And that's when he revealed it.

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I kept so angry hearing stuff like that.

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I know. And he held it in for all since he was a child, he held it in. And she said, and he won't go to therapy and he won't listen to anybody, and he's clearly depressed and he won't take medication. And I'm trying, and my ex husband's trying, and we keep telling him, and my ex husband wants to force him. And I said, so your ex husband loves your son. Yes, he does. You love your son.

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I said, yes.

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I said, but you guys are trying to force him to do something he doesn't want to do. That's what his grandfather did.

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Whoa. Full stop.

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Yeah.

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I said, stop.

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I said, you guys need to stop. I said, he needs to heal himself, yes, but he needs to do it in his own time when it's his idea. I said, he's been forced to do things his entire life. Stop. And she went away. She went away. And then hours later, she came back to me. She's like, I just got off the phone with my ex husband, and he said, that makes so much sense. I never thought about it in that way.

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Right. People have their own organic way of healing, and I think our job is to support that and not direct it.

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Not direct it, not impose our way of thinking and being on someone else. There's a reason why we hold things in. There's a reason why we shove things down as the coach, as the healer, as the therapist. We have to figure out what that is and support them. Support them coming to their conclusions in their own time, in their own way, because that's how our confidence rises when we make that realization. And he'd done that for me. My therapist did that for me. It took time, but eventually I felt comfortable enough to be able for those memories to come up. It took time, though. And so I've had those moments with my own clients. I had this one client in particular that said to me in the beginning of our therapeutic relationship, she says, I'm just letting you know now. She said, I'm just letting you know now. I'll eventually stop coming. She goes, that's what. I've started therapy with multiple people, and eventually I get to a point where I don't want to go any further, and I just stop. Don't take it personally. And I said, well, thank you for telling me that.

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I really appreciate that. Thank you.

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And we worked together for a couple of years, and then we had a moment, and she said, do you remember when I told you that I typically stop seeing people? I go, oh, yeah, I forgot about that.

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Yeah.

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She goes, we passed that point. I said, what do you mean we passed that point? She goes, we passed that point probably about six months ago.

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And I said.

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Really? She's like, yeah. She goes, and I don't really know why she goes, but I eventually just felt comfortable going past that moment that I usually felt uncomfortable, and I thought, wow.

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Well, I know why. Because you're good at what you do, and you help create authentic connection and support and all of this conditions that created the conditions for her to be able to go. Yes. When before she'd said no.

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I hope it's not to say that I haven't made mistakes. Of course, with clients, I have screwed.

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Up with clients, I have.

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But I feel like, in my defense, it comes from an authentic place. It comes from a loving place where.

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Well, you're not perfect. You're trying to work on your craft, right? And so it's like we make mistakes, even as the difficulty is that it's like if you're a carpenter, you're going to put boards in the wrong place sometime. But our buildings are people, right? And so sometimes we make mistakes, but we're trying to learn the best that we can. And the best you can do is to bring yourself as a heartful, skillful, conscious person into the relationship and do the best that you can. And that's good enough most of the time it is.

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And I think also, too, the power of the apology. Apologizing is such a powerful intervention when you apologize to someone. And I've apologized to clients before, and I think that whenever someone apologizes to us, we have to understand how good that feels and how validating that moment is. And I say it to parents all the time. If you know you've screwed up with your kid, apologize. Because imagine all the times you wish that your own parents had apologized to you. And I had a moment. I had a really amazing, personal, spiritual moment, and I came out of that moment going, I want to apologize to everybody I've ever met. And I had two teen clients that I'd been working with. And I came out of that moment, and in our next sessions, I apologized to both of these young ladies. And it was my own crap. My own crap had me wanting them to function in life a certain way, right? And I realized coming out of this moment, like, wait a minute. They have a right to lean into these moments and expect certain things from certain people. I couldn't do it when I was their age. I couldn't lean into my parents. I couldn't expect them to do anything. So I wanted them to be more adult than they needed to be, than.

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They should have been.

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And I didn't realize it. And I remember with one in particular, I said, I'm really sorry. I was expecting you and wanting you and pushing you to function in a certain way. That you weren't ready for. And guess what? You didn't need to be that. And I'm really sorry I did that to you. And she's like, it's okay, Melanieody. It's fine. I said, honey, it's not okay. But I'm grateful that you forgive me. But I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I was pushing you to be something that you didn't have to be, and it was my own crap.

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Yeah, well, it's a great sign that you were able to come to that awareness and then refactor your work so that it's a better service to your people. And I don't know, but you're probably doing so much other good stuff in there that even though this was true as an approach and orientation for you, you're still helping them in a million different ways, like you said, by modeling.

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The funny thing is, she didn't even see it. She didn't even see that what I was doing that was uncomfortable for her. She didn't see it at all.

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But I felt it, and I needed to correct that.

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Well, like you said before, you're also modeling for them how to behave with other people whenever they see their own behavior going sideways. Just kind of like, oh, here's what it was like for me. And so it's a beautiful thing. I wanted to kind of shift gears a little bit and talk about the title of your first book. I mean, I really took a pause and a breath after I read that. Could you restate the title of that book, and what is it that moved you to create that?

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Absolutely. The book is called mourning the living when the loved one you've lost is still here. And typically, when we think of mourning or grieving, we associate that with someone who's died. And this book is different. This is about people who you are grieving, whether you realize it or not. And they're still walking, talking. They could be next door. They could be in the bed beside you. They could be across town. These are people close to us. They're in our community. They are in our family circle. But we no longer have a relationship with them, and we're grieving that loss. It could be our parents. It could be our partners. It could be our own children. There's an increase in family estrangement over the last several years. People stopping their relationship with other people has risen, and for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it's politics. Sometimes it's substance use or abuse. Sometimes it's LGBTQA issues that include. And so this book is about how do you handle that? How do you create a bridge if you feel respected enough and if you have enough respect for the other person to try to create a bridge via boundaries, or do you sever the relationship altogether? So each book is a different relationship dynamic. Fathers, mothers, partners, children. And it's, do you adjust expectations and create boundaries, or do you stop the relationship because you feel that you can't create a bridge, you can't come to an understanding. And it's hard. It's a hard thing to do. And I think sometimes people don't even realize they're experiencing their grief of a relationship that isn't what they wanted it to be. And one way to lean into it is when that person's name comes up or when you're sharing space with that person, how do you feel?

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Yeah.

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Do you feel tense? Do you feel anxious? Do you feel angry? Do you feel sad? That means there is something between the two of you that hasn't been communicated, which is why you're harboring these feelings that don't work. And so the book is about all of these different relationship dynamics, and what do you do? How do you handle it? So each chapter is split. The first half of the chapter are stories that were sent to me about people who've had to do this. They've had to either. Oh, I apologize. They've had to either stop the relationship altogether. Each chapter is divided in half. The first part of the chapter is stories that have come to me from people who've had to either sever the relationship or adjust their expectations and create boundaries in order to coexist. And the last half of the chapters are my interventions and interactions with my own clients having to do the same thing. So it's parents having to adjust their expectations of their children because of medical issues or mental health issues. It's children, whether they're teenagers or they're adults, who stop talking to their parents because their parents, maybe they voted in a way that doesn't align with how they're living their lives. And it's hard. It's emotional, and it's really common. It's so common, when I talked to my publisher about it, the very first conversation that we had, my publisher started crying.

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Yeah, of course. Yeah. Beautiful.

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And it's a common reaction. Most people gasp, just like you did. There's a gasp that happens, like, whoa. Because we all have been there. We're in it right now, where there's somebody that we know that we love, that we don't talk to anymore, or we don't want to spend time with them anymore. Either we don't talk to them or we don't want to talk to them, but we still feel that we have to.

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Wow, that's so powerful and on point. I think you're calling out a really big wound in the culture right now that I don't think is respected or named enough, nearly enough. And so I just felt like it was a very courageous and poignant focus and something to bring yourself into powerfully, a fabulous conversation to have. And now your next project. Your next off the shelf, one of the many you've got working on the shelf. And so what can we look forward to? This is, like, December 2023. What can we look forward from you in 2024?

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Sure. So the next book is called my bounce back plan. So all of my books are very personal. There's a germination that happens in my personal life that I get affirmation from people around me or conversations that I have that says, yes, this is something that's common. Go with it. So, mourning the living is based on my relationship with my older sister, who is a drug addict, and how our relationship has evolved over the years because we grew up in an environment where our mother was a drug addict and I had to sever ties with her. And I've since had to sever ties with my older sister because she's unhealthy and I've had to grieve that relationship. My bounce back plan was the catalyst was a new client of mine who's an executive at a tech company. And she said, okay, so what are you going to do to me? And I said, excuse me, what am I going to do to you? She's like, what is this going to? She's very a type brain, and she's like, I need to know what this process is going to be. What are the steps? And I was like, what are the steps? And then I thought, oh, this is really interesting. And so I thought about all of the clients that I've worked with over the years. What are the steps that I do to help them heal? She needed to heal from a relationship. She needed to heal from a breakup with a boyfriend and heal her relationship with her father and her mother. So that's where my healing plan, it started. That was the first title. The first title was my healing plan, and then I changed it to my bounce back plan. And basically, it's a workbook. So it circumvents the traditional therapeutic model where you can take this book and you don't even have to go to a therapist if you don't want to. And therapy isn't accessible to all people. It requires resources, and sometimes it requires transportation. You can take this workbook and this workbook will grow with you. There aren't chapters. There are steps. And the steps are how do you handle your physical state? What are the things you can do to somatic exercises? Like, what can you do to help yourself feel better? It's not about pumping iron. It's about maybe you do jumping jacks because you're having a panic attack and shaking out that anxiety is going to help you.

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Also, is that one of the exercises?

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If you're having.

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Yes, it is. And then there's a chapter about building your healing entourage. So you need to find people that are in healthy states that you want to be in. So you've got friend, you've got peers, you've got a mentor, you've got people that are living the way that you want to live. And how do you find those people and bring them into your world so they can be resources for you, so they can be support for you? And so I give you prompts on. These are the things that you need to think about. Thought challenging is one of the steps. Like, you need to shift how you are seeing this new change in your life, this new loss, this new trauma. And how do you shift how you think about it so that you can live with it? And so the workbook is a living, growing workbook. So as you evolve and progress in your healing, you keep going to the workbook and you keep adding in new interventions, you keep adding in new coping strategies so that when the next thing happens in life, because we know life is cyclical, there's always going to be something for you to heal from.

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It's always something.

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There's always something.

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So you pick up that book and.

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You go, oh, whenever I lost my home or when I lost my job, these are the people I reached out to. These are the things I did to help me think about this differently. I'm going to do this, this and that. I tried these few things. Those things didn't work. Let me find other coping strategies, new coping strategies to try. So it's meant to grow with you. As you evolve, the workbook evolves with you.

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Beautiful. That's so powerful. I love it that you're trying to put it into a form where it's really accessible to people, to work through these powerful stages that's dynamic enough to adapt to your life circumstances over and over again. That's a really powerful vision. How can people find you? If someone wants to connect with all the goodness that you're up to, where do they go?

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Sure. My website houses pretty much everything. Melanieody lmft. LmfT stands for licensed marriage and family therapist. So you can find me on Facebook, on instagram@Melanieodylmft.com. I'm also starting a TikTok account, and that's my.

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There you go.

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Yeah, I'm getting in there with the kids. My web address is Melanieodylmft.com, so you could buy my books there. You can buy online classes there. You could buy merchandise there as well. And see.

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Beautiful. Yeah, well, and I want to encourage people to check it out because the mindful Coach association, which sponsors, creates this podcast, basically, where you have a lot of coaches and they are going to be inspired by the work that you're doing and your books and guidance are pretty. This is powerful stuff. And also just anybody else in the world who wants to connect to these resources and this deep learning, I would encourage them to check it out. So thank you so much. It's been such a pleasure having you here. Looking forward to our next interaction, because somehow, intuitively, I feel like that there might be more to come. Some.

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We have to do this again.

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Bret, thank you so much.