Strong Heart.
Aug. 1, 2022

Jeff Yeom: Facing Our Shadows & Honoring Culture

Jeff talks to Helen for a second time to unpack Asian American mental health & facing our shadow side. They also discuss the importance of honoring our cultural practices. Jeff also discusses his background as a second-generation Korean American growing up in Portland, speaking in his native tongue, and the power of emotion-focused therapy.


Jeff talks to Helen for a second time to unpack Asian American mental health & facing our shadow side. They also discuss the importance of honoring our cultural practices. Jeff also discusses his background as a second-generation Korean American growing up in Portland, speaking in his native tongue, and the power of emotion-focused therapy. 

Transcript

[00:00:00] Helen: You're listening to the think weird podcast with Helen Garcia. Now today's episode does have trigger warning illusions to death and learning what it means to be a minority in an all white space and how to begin to accept and heal from self hatred. Today. I have my friend, Jeff Yu, marriage and family therapist on the show from yellow chair collective, and we discuss all things, healing and getting the therapeutic help.

[00:00:31] You need to better your mental health. I really enjoyed this conversation because it provides an overall scope for people of color, specifically creators of color who want to undo generational curses and begin to heal throughout their. This conversation, isn't all serious. It has laughter and a lot of self-reflection.

[00:00:53] So thank you for listening to think. Weird and let's get started.

[00:01:05] Hmm. I remember the last time you were on the show, you actually told me that there was a time in your life when you lived in Portland, surrounded by white people being the only Asian person that you wished you weren't, who you were.

[00:01:19] Jeff: Yeah, yeah. That I wish I wasn't Asian some vivid memories were. I remember, oh gosh, this was so long ago.

[00:01:31] My dad had brought clothes from Korea and they were these cute little socks and these shoes. And I remember thinking in my head, these are so, and I hate using this word now, Fabi as if. It made me look more I didn't belong here and I denied those gifts. because of how I would be perceived because I heard it before, oh, look at those international students.

[00:02:01] They're so fo by all my white counterparts and other Asian kids too, who had their own complexity issues with their own racial identities, I mean, It. Yeah. At least where I grew up, there were a lot of white kids and that was the, and in middle school everyone's trying to fit in and people were trying to dress the white kids.

[00:02:30] You know, I could see all my Asian friends doing the same thing too at the time, popping our collars and wearing our air forces. And that's what all the white kids wore. And for me, Wearing a hat after I had showered so that my long hair would flick out the skater boy, look, you know, I did that and I, yep.

[00:02:52] I did that. Cuz all the white kids were popular and that's how their hair looked. And I was oh, I want that. So yeah, I did not, I did not feel proud of being Asian because of societal pressures. Even though I went to Korean church every weekend. it almost I had two identities. It was Korean on Sundays.

[00:03:16] And then Monday through Saturday, I was practically not. Mm.

[00:03:23] Helen: How does that, I'm curious as to how that impacts, your client work today. When you meet with clients with different cultural identities, Just don't fit the quote unquote, norm. How do you create a safe space for them when they've code switched all of their lives?

[00:03:42] Jeff: Yeah. Yeah. That's a great question. So what I to do is with my Latinx clients, my Asian clients, I have them speak their native tongue if they were oh, you know, the thing that we say around the house, I'd be. I might not understand, but how did you say it? Or how did your mom say it? And they would speak their language as if they were at home and they're wow.

[00:04:13] I haven't sat down a long time. I was well, the reason why I ask is because sometimes it might come more naturally, but because of societal pressures, we kind of keep that at home and we don't bring it outside. Disclose parts of my story with my clients, you know, as long as it's therapeutically necessary they're oh my gosh, I didn't know that you would have a very similar experience as I did to kind of normalize the playing field.

[00:04:48] And even for somebody me to be in a position of power, diagnosing and working with. To be Hey, I'm just as human as you are. And I've gone through not the same, but similar experiences of a acculturation and assimilation. So those are just two ways that I to practically allow my clients to feel.

[00:05:17] More at home, maybe.

[00:05:19] Helen: Yeah. Jeff, you just carry so much humility in the way that you do therapy. And I think it, it comes off, you know, I read meditations recently and Marcus reallys talks about, it's very rare for someone to chase good character and for people to not notice. And then later on in the chapters, a couple of things that he talks about is.

[00:05:45] It's very rare for someone to chase after that. Why do you continue to do it? Because it's so easy to, to not, you know?

[00:05:55] Jeff: Yeah. I, that's a really great question. Geez. You're really good asking questions. I think for me, I knew what it's to have such hatred for myself. I just don't wanna see other people going through that.

[00:06:18] It, it, it bugs me. It bothers me. And I thank my friends in college, even though they were white, mind you, they were Jeff, the thing that you just said right now is problematic to your own identity, and you should maybe do something about it, but they didn't know at the time, therapy or whatnot.

[00:06:43] I do thank my friends for doing that. And I want to be, I know I can never be friends with my clients, but to be that, to bring that same sort of energy to them so that they can have less hatred towards themselves. I, I feel if we're going to continue to hold on to that It affects how we involve ourselves in our communities.

[00:07:10] It it's a, it's a ripple effect. You know, that self hatred could pour out into complex racism towards other Asians. And that there's more barriers that form. And so I, I know that I can't be the savior or the one that makes. You know, regionally large impacts, but I'm gonna try to do the best I can until I depart, you know, , that sounds so Mor morbid, but I don't know.

[00:07:44] I never, I don't know. I I've always cared too much. And if you ask all my friends, they're yeah, that. He just cares too much about people.

[00:07:58] Helen: yeah. It's hard being an HSP, a high, highly sensitive person, you know, and I carry that with me too. I was actually just talking to my, my boss about that, that it's something that you have, it's a blessing and a curse because you feel things so deeply.

[00:08:16] that in some ways it's a form of self reflection. [00:08:20] You have to take yourself out, but I wanna go back to something that you said, cuz I had a blaring question about this. You said I had such a hatred for myself that I don't want other people to go through that journey. I feel, this is me probably playing a little devil's advocate here.

[00:08:37] And I wanna challenge that, cuz I wanna hear what you might say, but someone who might be listening to this might think well Jeff's just an optimist. Everyone hates themselves or everyone is hard on themselves. Right. And it's for, I am not

[00:08:53] Jeff: an optimist.

[00:08:54] Helen: you're I think you're more grounded in a form of realism, but a little bit of hope, springing from that seed of soil.

[00:09:01] Okay. You know? But can you tell me about, let's say someone has never been to therapy and they, they think that hating themselves is normal. How do you begin to do the work for someone who's not ready yet, but wants to start.

[00:09:20] Jeff: good question. I think where I would start is to try and understand.

[00:09:29] The okay. This is a big part of what I do is understanding messages or narratives that they carry that may look oh, you know, I, I don't maybe participate in certain cultural practices, whatever. I try to understand where their story is coming. and there are times where I will try and pick up discrepancies and sometimes those usually come out because what they're telling me doesn't quite add up.

[00:10:08] A big popular example is the The issue of collectivism and individualism that I see, especially with people who have grown up in America, but may have immigrant parents. That's just one example. But I noticed that and I, I try to understand, okay, when you are not with your family, there are certain expectations of you.

[00:10:40] What are those messages? What are those belief? And share them with me so that we can start to unpack this, the idea of perfectionism. I learned maybe several ye couple years ago. Not that long ago, that that was a part of white supremacy and I thought, okay, how and then I thought, okay, with the idea or with.

[00:11:07] You know, with colonialism and capitalism expecting other people to do the work and then expecting production. I mean, that, that's part of it. And so I do think that can play a role in how we think. How we view our families at times. And I just, I don't call 'em out on it. I'll just say, Hey, this is what I've noticed.

[00:11:34] And I'm wondering what your thoughts are. And usually people will express some sort of frustration or a dissonance where it, they they're conflicted between the two and. a lot of the times I will then share my experience, what we, once we've gotten to know each other, yeah. As a therapist, but also as a person, I grew up with a similar dissonance.

[00:12:00] I didn't feel wide enough because I didn't look, it , but I also didn't feel Asian, Filipino, Korean enough, whatever. Have you. Because I also, whether that be a language barrier certain cultural practices didn't make sense. That's where I would start is those messages.

[00:12:27] Helen: I think you inadvertently, you brought up a pretty good point in between the lines where you can't call out something you don't know.

[00:12:36] And I think that you've, you've done so much work on yourself and for the greater community where you said something that I actually wrote down, you. How our self hatred for ourselves affects how we evolve and involve ourselves in our communities. And have you, when you started doing the work, how did you notice a change in your community?

[00:13:01] Jeff: Oh man, I, okay. So a lot of my white friends have noticed how much more appreciative I have been of my own culture. Me being proud of the TV shows that I watch. I only watch Korean TV these days and my friends are oh my gosh, that's so cool. Teach me about what you're watching or what was really funny about that.

[00:13:29] And I'd to think that my friends care a little bit more but they want to learn. They want to learn and they want to, they're Hey, my girlfriend, hasn't tried Korean food. And I know there's a bit of a tokenism there, but they're Hey, we need to go teach her. Cuz he loves Korean food, my best friend, Seth.

[00:13:52] And so it's an opportunity for him to include more people and what our friendship has. And I mean, he's always been woke and he loves Japanese culture and watches anime, and he's a woke he's an amazing friend of. For me, I also challenge other Asian Americans to be proud through sharing of my story because I felt the same exact way and now I regret it and I too would to go back to my motherland.

[00:14:27] Because that, I mean, I shared this on my social media platforms. This is why I went and a lot of the comments were the very similar, I felt the same way. And now I want to go thank you for sharing your story. And now I don't feel as alone in my self hatred. And it shows it really does show.

[00:14:52] It goes from hiding it all the time to this is who I am, and I'm not gonna shy away from it anytime soon. Yeah, I, I do feel sad that it took me a bit longer. Because I remember my dad before he passed, he was very much know the language, know the cultural practices, and I missed a part of that for a while.

[00:15:23] Helen: I wanna note too, that you've mentioned your dad, twice already, in the beginning, and then now and father's day was just not too long ago, you know? And I know that must have been hard for you. I can only imagine. I feel you honor him, constantly. Can you tell me about what he was and, and reflecting on what he taught you in the 15 or 16 years?

[00:15:51] He was with you? What do you remember? Yeah. He was a lot of people say that I resemble him just a fun loving dude. I remember I, my memory's a little bit shady from trauma, but from what I heard, homeless people around the area that he used to work, they're. Oh, my gosh, Chester was so willing to give out stuff to us if we ever came by yeah, everybody loved him.

[00:16:30] Jeff: He was the glue to our Korean community because once he passed and all this drama happened, our whole community [00:16:40] kind of split. And I know that's a lot of pressure, but he was just kind of if there was a situation he would get in and be, Hey, yo, yo yo chill, chill. I mean, that's not what he said, but I remember one time there was drama at our church and he ended up having to be the one to talk to the police about everything.

[00:17:00] Even though he didn't even start the fight. He was always hanging out with the kids and all my friends. When my dad had passed at least one of my close friends. He's I just remember your dad always hanging out with us and playing games. He had a youthful spirit. And I very much feel the same way.

[00:17:25] I don't feel old. when I'm with younger kids, I just kind of get down to their love. I'm Hey, yo, what's up trying to figure out the sayings that kids are saying these days. Yeah, everybody loved. Everybody did. And he was very gracious. Mm. My mom was a little bit of the harder one. And so , he'd be Hey, it's okay.

[00:17:48] If you don't read your book today, we always got tomorrow and then respect, never yell at your mom from upstairs. Don't hit your sister. Talk to them. Yeah, that was. He was a cool guy. A cool dad.

[00:18:05] Helen: Yeah. Was he, was he as open to correction as you are now? Because I feel you're even the way that you talk.

[00:18:12] You're you know, my friend had this conversation with me about the X, Y, and Z, and I'm working on that. Was he that too?

[00:18:21] Jeff: Unfortunately, that part, I do not know. I was still pretty young at the time, so I didn't see that. I know he could be a bit stubborn. about certain things, but to greater detail.

[00:18:40] I do not know. But yeah, I, I, there's so much that I didn't know about him, unfortunately. But I'll hold onto his spirit as much I can.

[00:18:57] Helen: You, you said you talked a little bit about him coming home with Korean clothes and then being late to the game, you wish that you would've experienced everything that he shared with you a little bit earlier.

[00:19:13] Are you referring to before he died or are you talking about, you just wish it happened earlier than when it did. This latter, so I wish it happened more often or earlier. I, again, I think I'm realizing it's a little bit earlier, even for me, cuz I know people who are in their forties and bits who are still trying to work these things out.

[00:19:42] Jeff: And here's the other part to the question that you asked earlier? The reason why I wanna push. And again, everyone has their own timeline, but I know Korean people who don't speak Korean at all and their parents didn't either because their parents came during the fifties and sixties and said, no, no, or no, Korean you're only gonna speak English because that's how you're gonna be successful.

[00:20:16] It was very rigid. Granted I held onto the language. I'm very thankful for that. But yeah, I, I just felt a little bit bad for myself that I carried that for so long. But here's the other part that I don't regret is I've been so infused in the white family of the white culture. that? I have seen a lot of good white people.

[00:20:48] White friends. And so it's it's hard for me to see certain organizations say, we need to rid of the white teachers and put more minority teachers. I'm I, I get where you're coming from, but that doesn't work either. We can't be the oppressors after being oppressed, the, just. Cycle will repeat.

[00:21:14] Doesn't make sense. And so I also carry that with me. It's the middle area, which is messy and hard and ways heavy on my shoulders. It's don't say those things because it'll only make things at least the cycle or repeat. So I don't know. I feel I'm kind of giving you all over the place.

[00:21:38] Helen: You're not, you're not, I think you brought up a really good point that I, I think that we need to talk about, cuz I feel with the age of social media, it's so easy to villainize people where we don't realize that sometimes people will say or do things out of ignorance and not out of bad intentions.

[00:21:58] And I think that when someone starts doing the work of decolonizing themselves, we can start to hate people. Don't really mean bad. You know, I think some people just need a education and they also just need the benefit of the doubt, cuz we live in a very black and white culture and we've missed out on the gray.

[00:22:22] Do you have any advice for, for that? Cause I think I do that sometimes too. I'm gonna own up to that.

[00:22:35] Having compassion on. On people, you know, that that will say things or do things that token tokenizing me or I've had to do my own work of, okay. These people just don't know, you know? Cuz I do have I do have those moments where I'm ah, you know yeah. In the land.

[00:23:04] Jeff: Something that could be just tossed in there.

[00:23:09] is, Hey, you know, I'm Korean, but this doesn't resemble all of my Korean identity or the experiences of other Koreans, but I'm happy to show you or whatever. That way, it's just a little bit of something where they don't assume, oh, this label it Korean or label it all Filipino or Filipino people.

[00:23:35] I think just saying a little bit, something that, Hey, this is not experience of all Koreans, but yeah, I do kimchi or whatever. Yeah. The other thing that I thought of just. This goes back into my trauma, but it was the question or conversation around the ripple effect. And so the people that were involved, the suspects with our family trauma, they both have disclosed to me the loss of their, I.

[00:24:20] which is why they sought community in the areas that they did, which led to drug use addiction, crime one person in particular, they're from a small island near Japan, and they have moved to the states. I think just before 18 or on their 18. And they lost their aunties, uncles, sisters, brothers, mom, dad, they, they had nobody and the broader sense of loneliness because when you come from a very collectivistic [00:25:00] culture where all your aunties are involved, oh my gosh, here's food.

[00:25:04] Eat this, eat that we'll support you, whatever. And then to go to nothing, it's lone. And so this person sought cure immunity and security and brotherhood in the other guy who they both had committed that crime together. And that, I mean, it humanizes, right? It's not about morality, whether you're doing good things or not, it's not.

[00:25:41] You look at the reasons why they ended up in those situations and then it humanizes them not as bad person, but oh my gosh, they were lonely. Or they lost their sense of meaning and purpose and family. And that tells a very different story versus, oh, you're bad. You're on drugs or for that's why you did crimes.

[00:26:07] Yeah. I also wanna teach that too, is to let go of that narrative.

[00:26:13] Helen: And I, I think that, it's important to listen back to the first episode and I'll link it on the description about what we talked about last time, but I think.

[00:26:26] You are such a beautiful example. And there's another podcast called ear hustle where people, I, I forget what the term is called, but it's where you reconcile both parties and you really have that discussion. Do you know what that that's called?

[00:26:45] Jeff: I don't know what it's called. I've seen it. I don't know what it's

[00:26:50] Helen: called.

[00:26:50] Yeah. I'll do research and I'll, I'll just put it in there. I'll okay. And I'll just put it in there. But I realize that we talked for a while. Jeff, and I wanna go back to what our intention was in this podcast. You said that your intention was to decolonize the way that people do therapy and to create culturally competent therapy.

[00:27:13] So can you tell us what that means? Because we have cultural competency trainings constantly, but how is, you know, how do you actually embolden people to, to take that on?

[00:27:31] Jeff: Yeah, it takes a lot of humility to say, I don't know, but also having the courage to be uncomfortable because at the end of the day, I'm not gonna know everybody's experience. , but I also have to be willing to be oh, maybe my previous knowledge or experience of black family dynamics is not the same for this client that I have or Latinx or Asian.

[00:28:02] You have to be willing to apologize if you say something that's not of their experience and be willing. Do something with that uncomfortable feeling? Cause I've been there. geez. As a therapist and as a person student when we have to think about where the historical context of where they're coming from.

[00:28:33] I know one of my clients, family came to seek refuge and I didn't understand that country's. I also have to understand, with a lot of Asian Americans, there's a lot of survival mentality, their thought processes change due to oppression, slavery, colonialism. I mean, that's why I tried to seek out a more emotion focused therapy, because how you feel maybe different from the way that you're thinking, at least for certain Asian Americans, they had to, or they can no longer speak their native tongue, because that's what was told from their parents.

[00:29:32] And then their parents came from a place of overt racism. We have to succeed it. And by that we have to speak only English or else we'll be seen as foreign. And even then that's not enough, but that's a whole nother topic. So you see that thinking process. We don't wanna be oppressed. We need to succeed.

[00:29:54] So therefore we need to rid ourselves of our language and pick up English. But then when I ask people how they feel about that, they're Feel weird that I'm Korean, but I can't speak Korean or yeah. A lot of my friends speak Spanish, but I feel I'm the only Mexican who can't speak Spanish out of my friend group.

[00:30:21] And then you unpack, then it's oh my gosh, I feel lonely. I don't feel connected to my roots. There's a bit of sadness and resent. I feel that's more true to the individual than the face value of oh, I'm Asian, but I don't speak my Asian language.

[00:30:44] And so that's why even things cognitive behavioral therapy, it works. It's great. But sometimes it doesn't align because it doesn't maybe account for the discrepancy. Feelings being a lot different from historical thinking process. Also I know through religion, again, thinking process people's cultures are stripped, cultural practices are stripped and that's not, I think true to the client.

[00:31:19] if you're taking parts of it out of them,

[00:31:26] I want people to do that on their own terms of Hey, this is where I'm headed and this maybe doesn't make sense not to take it away for them to not know from the get go. Hmm.

[00:31:38] Helen: That's such a, no, that's a lot. Sorry. Finish what you're saying.

[00:31:42] Jeff: No. Yeah. I was just, I was just gonna say that's a lot for people to take in at one time.

[00:31:48] in the last minute I've made

[00:31:49] Helen: that mistake before where I kind of, I think it, I call. Therapy blabber where you just kind of, oh, and the client is what and their mind is completely blown. And they're I don't understand, this is my

[00:32:06] Jeff: love. What do you mean parts of my stuff we taken

[00:32:09] Helen: I've I've had to be careful of that as a therapist, because you don't wanna overwhelm the client to the point where they don't wanna come back, you know?

[00:32:20] Jeff: Yes, that is also true. I, I personally know what it's to have the floor fall from underneath me and to fall into this place of, I don't know what my life is anymore. So yes. Yes, listen to Helen . If somebody is, you know, ADA and they have a cane, you don't want just take their cane away and be this is how you walk better.

[00:32:45] That's not how you do therapy. It's Hey, keep using your cane. You know, think about some of these things. Exactly. Yeah. You don't want to get of somebody's main coping strategies. right.

[00:32:57] Helen: It's it. I think that's something that I've had to learn as a beginning therapist that you don't wanna remove.

[00:33:04] A coping skill, unless you can replace it with another one. And I'm reading another book it's called range by David Epstein and it actually. Does the American education model in the second or third chapter where [00:33:20] it says that people from successful education systems actually learn very slow. And so what that means is you can't overwhelm them with information and build them up with confidence math teachers, for example, they kind of put easy questions in a test so that the student get.

[00:33:41] Better results. And then they give them better evaluations, but they did a study on air force and Naval academies. And they found that the teachers that were the hardest on the students actually set them up for success, but they made it hard by just honing in on one subject or several subjects and mixing it up throughout the course.

[00:34:02] So they didn't just intensely focus on one week of let's just focus on trauma on one week and then the next week we'll focus on. Family history. And then it's just what are some things that we can just talk about holistically and bring you in as an individual so that you feel included. And I think what you're talking about is very similar where you don't wanna, you don't wanna tell them what they need.

[00:34:28] You wanna be able to guide them in their life and help them realize. But I have another question for you, Jeff, and then we'll start wrapping up, but you said emotion focused therapy is important because how you feel can be different from how you think. Can you, can you unpack that a little bit more?

[00:34:50] Because I think that a lot of, a lot of the therapy that I've been exposed to, and it's not the therapy that I've personally done on my own, but. Is very cognitive focus. It's how you're thinking guides, everything, but we fail to acknowledge that a lot of our decisions are emotional, you know?

[00:35:11] Jeff: Yeah. Yeah. I think for one example, if you were to take a client who's angry, all the time. I don't think it's fair to attribute that person to just be. That, whatever that they do, they're always gonna be angry when you unpack anger, which is a secondary emotion. You start to get a lot more other feelings with men, I feel resentful.

[00:35:45] I feel frustrated. I feel disrespected. That's a big one. and you unpack each scenario of where that theme comes. It's so different than just, oh, I'm angry. and for one of my clients, I unpack even further and you start to see generational patterns of it. And then you start to see cultural expectations of how a man should be.

[00:36:17] And that was just the typical expectation of men. You're only allowed to show anger. It's acceptable, but otherwise be stoic for every other emotion that you feel. And again, I think that I don't, that might be gender norms, expectations, you know, the popular thing for Asian women is that you have to be, I'm not saying all Asians with me, gotta be careful there, but.

[00:36:51] You don't speak up. You are cool, calm, collected, and you do whatever you ask or they ask of you and you don't cause a scene. But I think what's so freeing is to see celebrities, ally Wong, just go nuts and Asian women are yes, because we've been lying to feel the same way you have, but you have the courage to do that on the big stage.

[00:37:18] So emotion focused. I do think that there's an underlying emotion that is more true to the individual than the outwardly thing that they display. Also going back, when people have a survival mentality, And they live in survival mode. I don't think that's true to who they are. They're always looking out for consequences, always looking out for threats.

[00:37:49] I don't think that's how people should orient their lives, cuz you're always gonna be under stress then checking your bank account, wondering about where your next meal is gonna be. And. I feel I, I need to understand the emotion part more. And to me that's been the most truest form of that person.

[00:38:19] And it strips away the idea of, I think I said earlier, production, I have to be perfect. But when they ask, how do you feel about that? It's I don't wanna be perfect. I feel resentful towards my parents to have to be this perfect person. And I'm okay, well then where, how can we find a better balance of expectation versus how we feel?

[00:38:49] And maybe that could be coming to terms with that. We will never be perfect. And that those are the expectations of my parents. , but I can still show up in the best way that I can make a decent salary, but still show up to see your parents and have a meal with them. Don't just cut them off or be I hate you.

[00:39:11] And I never wanna talk to you again. Yeah. Yeah. And that's a form of protection and black and white thinking, you know, circling back again. It's we've been hurt so much that our go-to is just to flee or to. Or both, maybe all at once. And it, it doesn't really help when you're in that survival mode.

[00:39:34] Helen: So it's learning a couple of things are going on in my mind right now where it seems what you're saying and correct me if this is not what you're saying, but you have to be able to feel safe within yourself to find a place to grow. Is that what you're.

[00:39:59] Jeff: Yes. And that's the thing about therapy work is if there are any therapists out there questioning their work, I think we also have to remember that we are also a grounding place for clients.

[00:40:13] Mm. And if we don't make space for somebody to speak their native tongue, I think it would just repeat the cycle of, oh, I have to keep speaking. but no, somebody's giving me the platform to speak my native tongue of which I have hidden from other people. Allowing others to feel safe. Yes. In order for them to have the courage to step in or else they're always just gonna avoid it.

[00:40:46] I think that's

[00:40:48] Helen: so good. Jeff. Cuz you're reminding me of one of my. Past students. I, I teach on the side, it's mindset education, and I have a student who's in her thirties who just immigrated here from China. And she, we, we actually had a conversation about, you know, my English isn't that good?

[00:41:11] I just feel so overlooked. I feel so lonely. And I think it just doesn't apply to children of immigrants. It's also people who are immigrants, you know, Even as small as making fun of the accent or being able to just mimic it. That can be, you mean it's a joke, but it can also be offensive,

[00:41:33] Jeff: you know?

[00:41:34] Oh yeah, totally. I don't think people are [00:41:40] ignorant to how other people perceive, which is why there is that maybe fear or embarrass. Of, oh my gosh. My English is not to the standard and I'm your English is great. What are you talking about? Keep going, but don't, don't stop. Yeah.

[00:42:01] Helen: And we all have access, you know, I think that's what people miss out on.

[00:42:06] It's it's I, I took Human geo. I think it's human geography course in the ninth grade. And my, my teacher was saying that she actually got her master's in Delaware over the summer. And one of the things that she said was everyone kept commenting on her accent. And they all had a Delaware accent.

[00:42:27] I don't know what a Delaware accent is, but , she was I have an accent, you have an accent. And, and that's when she kind of made this point of we all have an accent. It's just it's become so colon, excuse me, it's become so colonized for people are just so used to just sounding a specific way cuz of TV or media narratives or whatever.

[00:42:55] Yeah, it's important to acknowledge.

[00:42:58] Jeff: I know sometimes my Koreanness comes out. when I speak English, I'm wait, how do I say that English word? no say, and then my friend's what did you just say? I'm bro, I don't even know. I

[00:43:13] Helen: noticed that I do that sometimes. I think in Tagalog and then I have to.

[00:43:18] Interpret it to sound the way that I'm thinking it in English. And because I sound I'm from LA people just think that I lost my train of thought. So they're is this what you meant? And I was no, that's not

[00:43:33] Yeah, but I wanna be respectful of your time, Jeff, cuz we're running at a time, but just in the next couple minutes. I'm really curious about how you continue to keep healthy and not burn, cuz that's something that personally is a struggle for me. I think I'm an all in person. I kind of just outpour and I've gotten feedback from people that's really helpful to hear from professionals, how they take care of themselves.

[00:44:00] So what do you actively do to counteract? Just the output. How do you input.

[00:44:08] Jeff: Okay. Okay. You ready? You got your pen and paper. Yes, sir. got read. Okay. All right. One figure out how you operate in terms of your work schedule. So for me, I cannot do evening and late nights sessions. Forget about it. I get up at six.

[00:44:28] I'm tired by nine . And so I to have a social life too. so I, yeah, it took me several months to figure this out, but I had to work with my directors and I said, look, I cannot, my last session has to end at six. And eventually my schedule worked out to be that way to where I cut it off, shut it down, shut down my computer.

[00:44:57] Even if I have notes to do, I will not go past. I will do it another time. So figure out your work schedule, how you operate. If you're a morning person, late night person, there are clients out there who will do morning sessions if you need. So there's one, two. I personally, if I don't move my body, which means playing sports, I will go crazy.

[00:45:25] So I play volleyball. Volleyballs volleyball three times a week. and I golf and I play tennis and I go to the gym. So I switch those out interchangeably and there, I don't talk about therapy. If people are oh, you're a therapist. Let's talk. I'm nah, you're not paying for paying. I, no, that's really.

[00:45:49] Yeah. And they're oh, if you I'm I can give you brief. But you know, I to keep work at. And oh yeah, I get that. And if you see me on the volleyball court, you're just man, that guy is 20 years old, just acting a kid. just be free to be who you are. I just dive and roll around.

[00:46:11] And when I'm on the ground, I just laugh. And I'm not saying don't be that person in therapy, but also we do have to be professional. So Find activities that you really love to do. The other thing is let go of this pressure to make great progress because progress should come from the client and you can't drag your client so far forward that again, they lose their constructs of life and they go screaming ah, I don't know what to do anymore.

[00:46:53] Or you don't want to drag your clients through the mud, come on, let's go, let's go. You can only go where they can go. And so that's something that I had to work on and it's something that I wrote as a commitment for myself on my wall here. It says release the pressure to do their work. It's their journey, not yours.

[00:47:14] You're not actually empowering them.

[00:47:19] And don't work harder than your client. again, it goes back to, they can only get to where they can get to. And so that's where I've had to dial back a lot is oh, I wish I could have done more. Well, you can't . So those are the four things I think I said, I

[00:47:43] Helen: think, I think those were three, just letting go of pressure and then don't do more work than the client.

[00:47:50] I think to me, that's the same thing. Would you say that they're two separate things.

[00:47:57] Okay.

[00:47:59] Jeff: Don't go far. It's hard because I know we, we want to help. But we reality is we see clients once a. For at most an hour and they have to go back to

[00:48:14] Helen: their daily life implement.

[00:48:16] Jeff: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's not we're there all the time. that would be,

[00:48:21] Helen: this is so applicable. I think work as a therapist is so I think.

[00:48:28] To me almost spans a lot of different careers too. Cuz I think that it's never been truer today that it's easy to just bring work home now cuz you can work from your laptop.

[00:48:40] Jeff: Yeah. Yep. But I

[00:48:42] Helen: think it takes a level of awareness to say okay, I can't go farther than what I can do today. And it all goes back to just presence where you.

[00:48:51] I actually tore out my back on Saturday. Oh gosh, rock climbing. Gosh. I started indoor rock climbing. It's the best thing ever. But I have to learn how to do it well, because I've injured myself now three times. So I gotta, oh gosh, gotta work on that. And I started a month ago. .

[00:49:12] Jeff: So you're all in.

[00:49:13] You're I'm gonna go for L six S

[00:49:16] Helen: no seriously, but that's where I need. That's where I need to do my own work. Cuz I notice that I'm sort of, I just jump in and I Don. Take the time to say maybe I should just try it twice a week, this week. And then the next week I'll kind of increase it a little bit.

[00:49:31] So yeah, I did go for it. Yeah. Yeah. But I was bouldering, so I didn't even have a harness, so I just fell. Oh, gosh, dude. I know

[00:49:40] Jeff: brutal. You're me. I'll be if I wanna play volleyball, I'm gonna play. Four hours, four days a week. I'm same, you know, my shoulder's about to fall off. I can't do it.

[00:49:50] Helen: I think that goes into the narrative of perfection, but we can go into that another time, but yeah, Jeff. Yeah. Thank you. It's always a pleasure. You're

[00:49:59] Jeff: welcome. [00:50:00] yeah, I appreciate you. Yeah. Thank you for having me. Of course here. I'll stop recording until next.

[00:50:11] Helen: I think weird was not recorded in front of a live studio audience. This episode was written, produced and edited by me, Helen Garcia. The platform used to record this podcast was riverside.fm. The podcast hosting this podcast is sounder.fm. Thanks for listening. And this was a production of think weird co by Helen.