Monique Betty

Therapy Talk with Danielle Boucree

Monique Betty
Tuesday's with Coach Mo
Therapy Talk with Danielle Boucree

When high achievers are consumed with attaining the next goal, overcoming the next obstacle or in the process of creating the next great ‘thing’ they may miss the signs that something is interfering with their ability to enjoy life. 

Finding joy and pleasure in life activities may be a sign, or negative self-talk that is leading to thoughts of harming self or others may be signs that it is time to talk to a therapist.

Executive Coach Monique Betty, ‘Coach Mo’, is joined by psychotherapist Danielle Boucree, LMSW, MBA.

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Episode Transcript

04:13 Danielle: There are a lot of things that we can’t control, right? And so it’s an acceptance of some of that, things like horrible bosses or what people say, microaggressions. We just– you’ll exhaust yourself trying to change other people. Right? But we can control what we do and how we show up. And so– and your perspective. That is probably one of two things that we actually have control of – how you decide to see things or the story that you tell yourself. Really important in this day and age to set boundaries. So, many of us, too many of us are so used to having these porous boundaries. “Yes, I only work until six, but there’s this presentation I have to do. So, I’m up until midnight doing it.” If you have a boundary, you have to honor it, you have to respect it. Right? That’s the only way other people will listen to it. Right? If you’re porous, you’re training other people to break your boundaries. Right? So, boundary setting is more important now. Setting and maintaining, just as important now, more important now than it’s ever been.

05:16 Monique: Yeah. And I love the way you use the term “porous.” I mean, that is so spot on because individuals, I know that I’ve worked with, think they have boundaries in place, yet they’re telling me stories that reflect something different. And so, that’s an opportunity as a coach to step in and say, “Let’s take that scenario you just shared. How in that situation are you supporting the boundaries you’ve put in place?” and inviting them to think about it and discover for themselves that they’re saying it, they’re not doing it.

05:50 Danielle: Yes.

05:51 Monique: And so what is the toll that individuals place on themselves when they stay in these situations for way too long without putting in place the boundaries? They aren’t thinking about it in a way that’s helpful, what’s the consequence of doing that?

06:06 Danielle: The consequence is definitely like it’s just stripping yourself of your own personal joy and job fulfillment, but joy, joy, because it’s internal, right? I hear many of my clients who in the workspace, they’ll be so annoyed because my boss is constantly sending urgent emails on Saturdays and they’re like, “But you saw the email, right? Which means you also were on the email. And so, what makes you think that on a Saturday that you have to respond? Because that is an off day.” And they’re like, “But if I don’t, then what will happen?” And that’s the exercise that they have to go through, right? Because probably nothing will happen. In most industries, nothing will happen if you wait until Sunday night or Monday morning to respond. Most of the time, when people send you emails on an off hour, they want to get it off their do list. And that has nothing to do with you, right? It’s just, when you’re ready, here it is, right? 9 times out of 10, that’s what it is. So, we’re putting a lot of stress on ourselves. But when we do it over and over again, it becomes real. The anxiety becomes real.

07 :20 Monique: And we’re reinforcing it. We’re reinforcing it as opposed to acknowledging it. There’s a pattern, and then how to prepare having a conversation with that colleague, that boss of expectations and advocating for yourself. And this is one thing that I have found to be a common theme with young professionals, because they want to do well at work and they think that, “Well, if I don’t do this, it’s going to be some reflection on me and not as committed to my job.” They make up these stories in their mind. Until you get to a point of having done it year after year that you say, “Okay, this is just not working. I’m not my best self. And I’ve allowed this toxicity to creep it in my porous boundaries.”

08:03 Danielle: Absolutely. And I think, especially young professionals think, “If I’m honest, then I’ll be thought of differently.” Right? And it’s actually the opposite. Transparency is really important. Telling somebody who’s above you especially, or even a peer, “Honestly, listen, when this happens, this is the way I’m feeling. Could you please do this?” And asking for what you need is also really important because if you don’t put words to it, you’re asking other people to read your mind. And that’s just not a human being thing. We don’t do it, right?

08:36 Monique: People are just naturally not mind readers. They think they are, but just not natural. So, let’s imagine a young professional is feeling some sort of way, not their best self, not feeling joy, feeling a struggle, a slug to get through, showing up for work. Others are telling them that there’s something off. What are some of the signs that, from your professional lens, you offer for individuals to look for in their self-discovery of “Hmm, I’ve hit a point, maybe it’s time to get some support”?

09:09 Danielle: Yeah. Definitely, if the way you’re feeling is getting in the way of your functioning, it’s definitely time to reach out for some help. So, if you are avoiding meetings or people, if you are avoiding, just even getting up to get in front of your computer, if you’re making excuses to have your video off because you haven’t gotten it together, those are definitely signs that you’re not able to function the way you normally would and that you should get the help that you need. Talk to somebody.
Professionals are there to help, but it’s not a lifetime sentence. If you reach out to a professional, it doesn’t mean that you’re in for therapy for a lifetime, right? Sometimes it’s very situational and you just go for a little bit of time. And then once you get the tools that you need, then you’re off.

10:01 Monique:What characterizes an individual who’s best served by you as a clinical therapist?
10:07 Danielle: Well, 100% they have to want to be there.
10:10 Monique: No one can make you.
10:11 Danielle: One of the first questions I ask at the end of an intake session is, tell me, what brought you to therapy? And if six months down the line we’re done, how do you want to be different? Because you have to have some goals, just like in the workplace, right? And a therapeutic setting, you have to have goals. You have to have something that you want to achieve, because then that is also a source of motivation for you to use your tools.
Many times I’ll bring up meditation and I get either the eye roll or the “uh-hmm, uh-hmm” when I absolutely know they’re never going to do it, right? And I’ll say, “If you want to feel better, you should do this. It’s no different than if you have an infection and the doctor gives you an antibiotic, you take it. So, I’m telling you that if you want to be more present and stop your anxious brain from going too far forward or spiraling about past things, then you need to be in the present. And that’s all about mindful meditation, right?” So, to be able to do that, and it’s harder than it looks, it takes practice. It does. So, these are the things that I’ll say, but you do have to want it. That is the person that is most successful in therapy. Also, somebody who’s willing to listen. So, combination.

11:11 Monique: I’m reminded, as I hear you describe that, of my career in the pharmaceutical industry with Eli Lilly. And I remember in particular for depression, some bipolar diagnosis that some in the medical community had just self-assessments that individuals could use before even going to see a doctor to say, “Hey, here’s a 20, 25-question self-assessment of different markers and determine for yourself where you are,” because one thing, when people just listen to others on social media or family and friends and people just say, “Oh, I’m depressed,” or this, that or the other, what we don’t know is that person’s lens and the depth. So, what resources are available for someone to just maybe get access or get their hands on something like that? Or is that even used in today’s environment?

12:22 Danielle: There are probably too many resources out there. But all– they’re all similar. I– so there are some times– because the words “depressed” and “anxious” or “have anxiety” are very overused. Right? So, I just want to reiterate that in order for you to get a diagnosis, a lot of times it’s, it’s over a span of time. So, if you were to pull down like a scale for depression, I wouldn’t do it one time and then say, “Oh my God, that’s who I am. That defines me. Now I am depressed.” It could be a really bad day. Right? So, do it maybe once a week or 3, 4, 5 weeks. And if there’s a trend, then maybe that’s your proof, if you will, that “Okay, I need help,” if you’re not absolutely sure. But, yeah.

13:12 Monique: How does someone determine or identify a professional that’s a good fit? I mean, where do you even start to find qualified professionals in the work that you do?

13:33 Danielle: Yeah. That’s a great question. So, there’s a very widely used resource called Psychology Today that literally at the top of the page, it has a search engine for clinicians nationwide. And so, I always recommend that people start there because they have filters for insurance, no insurance, what your concerns are. So, you can really identify clinicians that work with you or work with what you’re suffering from. So, that’s a really good resource. You could always just do a general Google search.
There is no one that you’re going to find. 98% of the time, that was absolute. Most of the time, you are not going to find your perfect therapist just with that search, right? So, I would highly recommend, like, don’t commit right away. Have a 15, 20-minute conversation with a couple of clinicians to really determine fit, because there’s so much of the work that’s done in the mental health space that’s totally dependent on the relationship between you and your therapist. Do you vibe? It’s like a date. Do you vibe? Do you speak the same language? Do you respond to their tone? Some people, some clinicians have a very soft, easygoing tone, and that irritates some people. So, you have to be able to feel comfortable in that space, because I always say, that space is the client’s space. That should be your optimal place where you can be completely transparent and vulnerable. But the person on the receiving end has to be somebody that you’re able to be vulnerable with.
All the certifications are great, and I have them and they’re great, right? It just means that I’m educated, but that doesn’t mean that I’m a good fit for you.

15:11 Monique: Thinking of someone going to a clinical therapist, what three questions should they have on their shortlist, just to help people out in terms of good starter questions to ask in that conversation? Because some may really be going, “Okay, I don’t even know what to ask them.”

15:29 Danielle: Right. That’s actually a good question. So, questions that I’ve gotten that I think have gotten us to a good assessment are definitely like fees. How much is this and what insurance do you take? That’s a super important question. You don’t want this to be an additional stressor in your life. If it’s going to break the bank, it’s just not– you’re going to be so focused on the cost of it. You’re not going to really be able to be in with both feet. And whether or not your insurance covers it is really important to that fee. So, that’s the first thing.
Right now in COVID, are you in-person? Do you do in-person sessions or would you do in-person sessions? Right? Some people like me, I’m not working in my office and my formal office 100% of the time, but if somebody wants to do a walking session outside, I’ll do that. Right? But not everybody has that flexibility. So, to ask that right now I think is really important.
And then asking about what the clinician enjoys or who– what population the clinician enjoys working with, I think is really important. It doesn’t 100% of the time have to be exactly what you’re dealing with. I think that maybe not so a genuine answer, but it’s important to know. If I’m coming in for couples therapy, does my clinician love to work with couples, or are they able to work with couples and more passionate about adolescence? It’s important. And you might be able to get some of that from their profile and what they do, but asking the question I think is, it lends to a lot more transparency.

17:00 Monique: So, terrific. Great questions. The fee schedule, does insurance cover– what insurance is accepted, in-person, virtual, possibly walking, and then what population do they– is it prefer working with or do they–

17:16 Danielle: What population do they enjoy working with?

17:21 Monique: Okay. Nice. Terrific. And so, what additional thoughts or information do you want to share with the young professional audience that we haven’t had a chance to address yet, Danielle?

17:31 Danielle: Well, I think one of the things that I wanted to talk about was the difference between all of the certifications, all of the titles, all of the letters behind my name.

17:42 Monique: Terrific.

17:43 Danielle: It’s some letters, but at the end of the day, and not everybody might agree, but I’m in the camp of, if I’m looking for a therapist and one went to Harvard and one went to, I don’t know, USC, right? I’m not automatically going to go to the Harvard one because it might not be– that person might not be a great fit for me, right? It’s the same thing with all of the different types of therapists. It just says where they went to school and what program they studied in. It doesn’t really speak to their strengths. It doesn’t speak to their capabilities and it definitely doesn’t speak to fit, right? So, I wouldn’t necessarily focus in on whether somebody is an LCSW or an LCPC. Give everybody a chance and really identify the person for what they have to offer you. But the difference between a psychologist/social worker/therapist/person, all of those things, those are the people that are all on the same level and give you, generally, the same service.
Psychiatry is a whole different animal. And many people are afraid to go on medication for mental health diagnosis. And I understand, right? Some have side effects. There’s a lot to play with. But what I like to tell people is, if a therapist recommends that you see a psychiatrist for medication, it’s probably because you’re having difficulty or they’re seeing that you’re having difficulty doing the work, right? So, medication, anti-anxiety medication or antidepressants. once my client gets on medication, 9 times out of 10, suddenly they’re able to use their tools and they’re able to practice the meditation. And they’re able because generally, what I’ve done is I’ve pushed them away from the edge of the cliff with the medication, right? It doesn’t solve the problem, but it helps us to do the work to get there.

19:46 Monique: Nice.

19:47 Danielle: Right? So, I want to make sure that people don’t see medication as like this dark, scary place, because it really does work in tandem with talk there.

19:58 Monique: Yeah. And I think as we’re seeing with the pandemic and just getting the vaccination, there are just some very polarizing, strong feelings when it comes to administration of any type of medicine. And I definitely saw that in my time at Lily with depression and Prozac. Some people just felt the stigma was too great. “I don’t want to take that.” And I’m so glad, though, that so many high-profile individuals are stepping forward to share.

20:26 Danielle: Yeah. Absolutely.

20:27 Monique: To have their story told. So terrific. Well, Danielle, thank you so much for your time today. It has been such a pleasant pleasure having you, and what a wealth of information for our audience. Thank you so much.

20:37 Danielle: Thank you. Thank you for having me.