Episode 107 The Best Self-Compassion Tips For You & Your Clients: Interview with Dr. Jessica Rabon

Mar 15, 2023

What is the meaning of self-compassion? How can we teach self-compassion to our clients and be more compassionate to ourselves?

MEET Dr. Jessica Rabon

Dr. Jessica Rabon is a licensed psychologist specializing in pediatric psychology whose clinical interests include chronic illness, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and LGBTQ+ health. She has published a number of peer-reviewed research papers and a book on topics such as suicide, depression, anxiety, self-compassion, gratitude, and forgiveness. Dr. Jess creates mental health content on social media, hosts a podcast, Psych Talk, and co-hosts another podcast, Welcome to Group Therapy, with the goal of making mental health more accessible and relatable, and destigmatizing mental health.

Find out more at Psych Talk Podcast and connect with Jessica on TikTok and Instagram

IN THIS PODCAST:

  • What is self-compassion? 4:34
  • What are the benefits of having more self-compassion 10:31
  • Techniques for teaching self-compassion 19:00

What Is Self-Compassion?

  • Remembering to be kind to yourself and others
  • Understanding why we are more critical of ourselves than others
  • What is the impact of self-negativity?
  • Escaping a self-critical and negative cycle

What Are The Benefits Of Having More Self-Compassions?

  • Research and study statistics of having more self-compassion
  • What are examples of self-compassion?
  • A look a Kristin Neff’s model of self-compassion
  • Learning to be aware of when we are being negative toward ourselves and correcting the behavior at the moment

Techniques For Overcoming Self-Negativity

  • Finding self-compassion techniques that connect to who you are
  • Combining holistic strategies for self-care
  • Learning the skill of asking yourself what you need at the moment
  • Recognizing how our bodies ask for more self-compassion

Connect With Me

Instagram @holisticcounselingpodcast

Facebook

Join the private Facebook group

Sign up for my free email course: www.holisticcounselingpodcast.com

Rate, review, and subscribe to this podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.

Resources Mentioned And Useful Links:

Find out more at Psych Talk Podcast and connect with Jessica on TikTok and Instagram

Transcript

Chris McDonald: This is Holistic Counseling, the podcast for mental health therapists who want to deepen their knowledge of holistic modalities and build their practice with confidence. I'm your host, Chris McDonald, licensed therapist. I am so glad you're here for the journey.

Welcome to today's episode of the Holistic Counseling Podcast. I have a couple questions. Do you beat yourself up a lot? Do you have compassion for your clients? But find it hard to show compassion for yourself. It is such a common struggle. I know that happens for me too, I'm often checking myself.

Today's guest is Dr. Jessica Raven, and she's here to share some of her best tips for integrating self-compassion into your daily life with yourself, but also with your clients. And a fun fact about her is she lived in Scotland for four years as a child. Welcome to the podcast Jessica.

Jessica Rabon: Thank you so much for having me, Chris.

I'm really excited to be here. Do you remember living in Scotland? Yes. So I was, we moved over right before my 10th birthday and moved back right before my 14th birthday, cuz I have a summer birthday and we moved in the summer. So, I have, what was that like? Fond memories. It wa it was great. Now, as an adult, I definitely wish I appreciated it more as a child, but I think, you know, developmentally children sure don't always appreciate going to like museums and historical sites.

But yeah. Um, I'm still in contact with some of my friends that, um, had over there and my parents are, and my sister is. But yeah, we got to travel a. Which I think was probably the most impactful experience growing up, and I know it was such a privilege to be able to travel to a number of different countries while living there.

But I always say over there in Europe, traveling to different countries is like traveling to different states in the United States. Yeah, that's true.

Chris McDonald: So I got to see a lots. Yeah, I was just in Scotland in September and I just love, love it so much.

Jessica Rabon: Where did you go, if you don't mind

Chris McDonald: me? I was in, we went to Edinburgh.

Mm-hmm. , and then we went to the Highlands. I love the Highlands so much. Oh, listeners, if you ever get a chance, , highly recommend. Yeah,

Jessica Rabon: it's great place. Yeah. I lived in Edinburgh when, oh, that's where we lived, so, oh yeah. So

Chris McDonald: lucky. Yeah. Great city. But can you tell my listeners more about yourself and your

Jessica Rabon: work?

Of course. So, um, I'm Dr. Jessica Raven. I am a licensed clinical psychologist. I currently practice in South Carolina. Um, I work at a children's hospital where I have two roles, so a day and a half a week I work outpatient in our adolescent medicine clinic. And there I see anxiety, depression. Eating disorders and primarily like focusing on LGBTQ plus health, all with individuals anywhere from 10 to 24 years old.

And then the other three and a half days I work medical inpatient, which a lot of people think inpatient. Oh, psychiatric, inpatient. But I work on the medical side and I work with children of all ages. So zero to 18, that are in the hospital for medical traumas. Physical traumas, new diagnoses, or maybe they're hospitalized for a prolonged period of time and having difficulty with that, understandably so.

I'll get consulted to work with them, um, and provide support and intervention while they're in the hospital. Um, outside of that, I. I'm my wife. I'm a mother, I'm a dog mom. Um, I really like exercise and being outside, I create content on social media, all about mental health. So I'm very busy, I guess is what I'll say.

Yes, .

Chris McDonald: And she has a fun TikTok . Thanks. Looking at her TikTok today, it's really fun. So yeah. But I think it's such a great way to engage with so many other people that might not know you're out there. Absolutely.

Jessica Rabon: And given my primary population is, you know, adolescents primarily, uh, I felt like when the pandemic hit and I got on TikTok, like a lot of people, that it was a good re way to reach the population that I work with.

Obviously, social media is not therapy, but a lot of the people using, uh, social media, Apps are of the age range that I see for therapy. And I just thought it was a good way to connect and yeah, expand, reach, um, to people that might not be able to access

Chris McDonald: therapy. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Well, I was gonna ask you like, how do you define self-compassion?

Jessica Rabon: So when I think of self-compassion, I really think of it as extending kindness. Or compassion to ourselves, especially when we're suffering or maybe we feel like a failure or just experiencing, you know, negative feelings or feelings of inadequacy. I think a lot of people know what compassion for other people is, but we don't always consider that it's something that we give ourselves.

Chris McDonald: Yeah, we're kind of left out of that, aren't we? Exactly why. Why do you think people are so hard

Jessica Rabon: on themselves? I say to people all the time that we are harder on ourselves than anyone else. We have this inner critic that, for whatever reason, runs constantly in many of our minds. I think it's easier to be harder on ourselves.

We live in our bodies. We know our inner thoughts, we know our actions, and. If we're around ourselves all the time, which kind of sounds like a weird thing to say, we are gonna be more critical because we're able to evaluate, you know, our every action, every thought, every move. I think a lot of times too, it's easier to be more critical of ourselves than it is other people.

For whatever reason, we're able to see that, oh, other people make mistakes, or, oh, they might just be having a bad day. But since we know our own history, we know our values. We know our goals. It's easy for us to see mistakes as like a failure because we say something like, oh, that doesn't align with who I am, or I should have known better.

Because we know all those inner thoughts, we know those experiences. We know who we are, and for other people, we don't necessarily know those things, so we can easily look at somebody else and be like, oh, they're just probably having a. Bad day or you know, it's okay. Everybody makes mistakes.

Chris McDonald: I appreciate that definition cuz I think that's so true.

Cause we're, and a lot of people I see, especially with counseling, is they're stuck in their own inner world, right? They're inner mm-hmm. their inner thoughts and uh, they live from the neck up. I call it . Mm-hmm. . Oh yeah. Kind of disembodied, right. Just all those thoughts and overthinking over. Absolutely.

What is the impact, though, if we're negative to ourselves and beat ourselves up? What, what could some of the negative side effects of that

Jessica Rabon: be? Oh my gosh. So many things. So if you think about, like, I like to do this with my clients a lot. You know, depersonalize, not like, I'll, I'll explain in a second our thoughts and behaviors, like take ourselves out of it to see it more objectively.

So if you imagine somebody like this voice or another person just constantly telling you, you're a failure, you've made a mistake, uh, you're never gonna amount to anything, or whatever that self-critical voice in your mind says to you. How are you gonna feel? You are not gonna feel good. If we are constantly told, which we do this to ourselves all the time, that we are bad, worthless, whatever it is, we're gonna feel more depressed.

We're probably gonna feel more anxious, we're gonna be less motivated. To try new things. We we're gonna feel defeated. Our self-worth is gonna lessen. We're gonna be more defensive. There are so many negative outcomes of just constantly listening to and giving in to that self-critical. Negative

Chris McDonald: voice.

What I find too is, is a lot of people, I see a lot of people with the anxiety, like young adults and mm-hmm. , and they get stuck. Right. It's just that, yeah. It's that cycle of anxiety, but that negative critic just, it almost like keeps them down in the world and they can't really mm-hmm. grow emotionally or where they wanna go in the world.

Jessica Rabon: Mm-hmm. , I love that you brought that up, like feeling stuck because it's like that reinforcement cycle. So we listen to this negative self. And we're like, okay, well this, my criticism is saying that I'm never gonna amount to anything, so why even try to amount to anything? And then that voice is like, see, you're so lazy.

You're not even trying to do anything. I told you that you were gonna amount to nothing. And yeah, we're, we're absolutely. Stuck. And I would argue that being stuck is then gonna have a ripple effect of, you know, maybe not achieving to your full potential or, you know, not putting yourself out there, not trying new things because you don't even know how to start or don't think it's worth doing.

So, And tell

Chris McDonald: me more about what are your thoughts on people that say, but Oh, but that's how I motivate myself. I'm, I have to be hard on myself. , I hear this all the time, ,

Jessica Rabon: I hear this too. So, and I'm very research oriented and people have this false belief that if you're just self-critical and yell at yourself, that you're gonna feel more motivated.

And the research shows us that that is not true. The research not shows us. Yes. Yeah, you have to be compassionate towards yourself because once again, like if you remove yourself, and I think of this kind of like as an athletic coach. If you have a coach basically yelling at you saying, you know, you need to try harder, you need to do this, you need to do that, you know, maybe in the moment it might motivate you, but are you gonna keep wanting to show up to practice or whatever it is.

If somebody is just screaming at you, belittling you, telling you you're not trying hard enough. No, eventually you're gonna find excuses not to go. You are naturally not gonna try as hard because maybe you have a mental block. So I hear that all the time too, Chris, and I'm so glad you brought that up because in reality, being hard on ourselves is actually gonna reduce our motivation to do it, because it's just gonna give us more reasons to not do it.

So if you try to say, well, you need to go to the gym because you're lazy, well, Your mind is telling you you're lazy. So then you don't go to the gym because you're like, well, I'm lazy anyway. Why would I go to the gym? Like self-fulfilling

Chris McDonald: prophecy. Right, exactly. Creating our own reality in a way.

Absolutely. What are the benefits then, if we become more self-compassionate with ourselves?

Jessica Rabon: So there are so many benefits of self-compassion, um, what we've seen in the research overall. Well, Is greater if you're more self-compassionate. Um, you have increased feelings of self-worth. Um, there's a lot of research on self-compassion and resilience as well, so you're more resilient in the face of failures or criticisms.

You're less likely to be defensive, greater overall satisfaction with life. Uh, more social connectedness, less anxiety, depression, increased motivation. So going back to our conversation that we were just having, we're more likely to bounce back from mistakes and move forward and do differently in the future.

Um, there's some research on things like improved body image or less suicidality. Um, so having self-compassion. Such a host of benefits and I honestly don't know if there's an area of your overall wellbeing that self-compassion doesn't positively impact.

Chris McDonald: That's amazing. . So let's talk about an example. So what would be a way that you could give compassionate talk to yourself instead of beating yourself up?

Cause I'm thinking about maybe that exercise, like you said, if somebody's not going to the gym, let's say they miss their gym workout, so how could they be more compassionate with themselves? Absolutely.

Jessica Rabon: So before I fully answer that question, I follow Kristen Neff's model of self-compassion. And so there's three components and the first component is that self-kindness versus self-judgment.

So when we're thinking about this component, Talking about responding to ourselves with kindness instead of self-criticism, both with our words and behaviors. When I think about, you know, that motivation that you were talking about, instead of saying to yourself, you know, Y you're lazy, you need to go to the gym and work out because.

Your whatever negative or horrible words that you say to yourself that you would never say to someone else. Instead, you could say something like, I feel better when I move my body, so let's try to go to the gym today, because I know after I move my body, I will feel good. Or if you are telling yourself, you know, you're lazy, you need to go to the gym saying, I'm not lazy.

I just need to find. Some type of movement that feels good for my body, so I'll want to engage it more. So it's responding to ourself in a kind manner and then doing a behavior that aligns with that. Because the other thing I think about a lot, especially in that example of like going to the gym, if you don't.

Like the exercise you're doing, you're not going to engage in it. And I would argue that forcing yourself to do a type of movement is not enjoyable for you, is not self-compassionate because you're doing something that you're not enjoying. So the behavior aspect of the self kindness would then be engaging in movement.

That feels good. And there's a. For

Chris McDonald: you. And that's something I always talk to clients about too, is finding something. Cause I had a client yesterday, I was like, what kinda exercise do you like? I hate it all , she said, mm-hmm . So I was like, let's, let's think back, was there a time that you had some kind of movement that you felt good about?

And she did talk about walking, so we're, we talked about that? Mm-hmm. As homework maybe just to get herself even just a 15 minute walk just to get outside and Or if she can go, I always tell people, go to. Just walk around. Mm-hmm. and do some laps. if it's raining or cold, you know, just, just to get moving some, but you gotta do something that you're, you connect with.

Because if if I tell you to do weightlifting and you despise it, then yeah, you're not gonna go to the gym. No. And

Jessica Rabon: the self-critical voice for that self gonna be bigger, which is the. Opposite of self-kindness is gonna be bigger because you're doing something that doesn't align with your values or who you enjoy, and then you're probably judging yourself for not having proper form, not lifting as heavy, but in reality, if you don't enjoy doing it,

It's that self-fulfilling prophecy that we were talking about a few moments ago.

Chris McDonald: Yeah. And I think all this starts with awareness too. And I think sometimes absolutely. Even when you dev develop awareness, like of course I'm a therapist, I'm aware, but I just realized before this interview that I messed something up.

I was, I do research before each episode and I was writing it out, you know, my little intro, and I kept messing it up and I go, what are you doing, Chris? Why'd you do that? What's wrong with you? And I was like, wait, I didn't even think of it till now. I was like, I wasn't being compassionate with myself and we slip up

Oh. Even the Oh, absolutely. You know, so thinking back like how could I be more compassionate? Like, okay, you have a lot going on today and it's okay. Mm-hmm. You still got everything that you needed for the interview. It's okay. That's more Yeah. Compassionate, right? That

Jessica Rabon: reassurance And the example I always give cuz since I work at a hospital, I, um, do teaching with a lot of reside.

When I'm teaching on like self-compassion and uh, changing that critical voice, this happened years ago, but it sticks out in my mind. I was putting my silverware away and we have two different sized spoons, and I put the small spoon in the large spoon, you know, slot, and I was like, ah, Jess, you're an idiot.

And I paused and I said, Jess, no, you're not an idiot. You made a simple mistake. The morning and you haven't had enough coffee yet. All you have to do is pick up the spoon and put it in the right place. But something as like, like you said, awareness, recognizing when you're doing it and correcting it in the moment, if you recognize it, then yeah.

Is so powerful because it kind of, it is, starts changing that inner dialogue.

Chris McDonald: And that does take practice cuz like I said, even Oh absolutely. As a therapist we still sometimes mess up and um, we might make that mistake of not being compassionate with ourselves, but that's okay. Right. Absolutely. And I think that's just allowing that space for it that we're all gonna have difficult moments cuz we are human too.

Mm-hmm. , absolutely. But thinking about that practice of it and making that intention that okay, today let me. See when am I compassionate with myself or when am I not ? We can look at oh

Jessica Rabon: three. Mm-hmm. . Oh, absolutely. And you know when you said we're all human, that gets to another aspect of the three parts of self-compassion, is that common humanity aspect.

And this is the recognition that suffering is part of the human experience and that we're not alone. We're all human. We all make mistakes. And I think a lot of times, When we make a mistake or are going through a tough time, we feel very isolated. We feel very alone. And we might say to ourselves, well, nobody understands, or you know, well, other people wouldn't have made this mistake.

And the reality is, like you said, we are all human. And even the most self-compassionate people are gonna be self-critical at yes times or feel isolated at times. But I think for many people, the recognition that like, oh, there are other people that understand me, even if I don't know those people, but there are other people going through similar experiences, other people that can relate to what I'm going through or no, human is perfect.

We all make mistakes. Can be really reassuring for people reminding themselves like, okay, this is just part of being human. It's not an excuse to consistently . No, of course, go do. . And at the same time, like there should never be an expectation of perfection because no human is perfect.

Chris McDonald: And one thing I love about Kristen nf, cause I've studied a lot of her work too, is the compassionate break.

Yes. And you can use this as a holistic therapist too, even putting your hand on your heart. Yeah. Just taking a moment to breathe. This is a moment of suffering. Let me just sit with this moment, be present with it, allow it to, it's almost like just sitting with that feeling. .

Jessica Rabon: Oh, absolutely. And I'm so glad you brought that up.

Yeah.

Chris McDonald: Yeah. And, and just trying it the next time. Maybe you're feeling overwhelmed and let me just take a time out. It's almost like bringing in that mindfulness piece.

Jessica Rabon: Oh, absolutely. And one thing I appreciate about Kristen Neff too, like especially when thinking about the compassion break, cuz you know, in the, the, I guess traditional way that you do it, put your hand over your heart saying this is a moment of suffering.

Suffering is a part of life. May I be kind to myself while breathing, but if you don't like the term suffering, you. Switch it out the term for whatever feels right for you in the moment. Like, this is a difficult moment. Yes. You know? Mm-hmm. challenges are part of life. May I be kind to myself or may I be compassionate with myself?

So I love self-compassion work too, because if certain words don't necessarily resonate with you based off of like Kris F's model, for example, you. Kind of switch them out for other words that really fit with who you are and will help you engage in that practice of self-compassion, um,

Chris McDonald: more. Yeah, and I think, yeah, and tying that in with loving kindness, right?

Mm-hmm. , may I be, well, may I be safe, may I be free from harm? Exactly. We could use that too. We can combine all these, I love, I call it layering lots of holistic strategies. .

Jessica Rabon: Yeah, no, I know. Yeah. The May I be safe, may I be well, because yeah. You know, depending on what your struggle is, you might not wanna reflect on, you know, may I be, well, okay, I am well right now, but right now I'm not feeling.

As safe as I wanna feel. Yes. Or maybe you are feeling safe, but you aren't feeling well in whatever way that is. Or maybe you don't like the word kind and you wanna use the word like, may I be empathetic towards myself? Like, there's so many terms that can be used. Mm-hmm. . And depending on the situation, depending on what you need in the moment, um, that could be really powerful.

And what you

just

Chris McDonald: said, what do I need in this moment? That's powerful too. That is waiting just my to hear that inner voice, right? ?

Jessica Rabon: No, I was gonna say that is probably my favorite skill to use with any of my clients because it's so simple in practice. I mean, executing it, you know, takes practice. It can be hard.

Sure. But like, just asking yourself, what do I need? Right. . And then if it's available to you, give it to yourself. So do I need a break from whatever's going on? Can I remove myself from the situation, go for a walk, or do I need to do a mental break, such as grounding activities? Do I need a hug? Is there somebody that can give me a hug or should I do some compassionate touch?

Which we can talk about, um, as well. And just asking yourself what you need, because then it also gets into that present moment awareness. Mindful awareness, which is the third component, and being really reflective on who you are and where you are in that moment. Because I think so much of life we're like kind of on autopilot or you know, so much in our head, like you said, from the neck up and really pausing to say like, what do I need right now?

What will make me feel calm, safe, relaxed, whatever the word is that you're looking for, and

Chris McDonald: trusting whatever comes. Oh, absolutely. It's part of it too. And you never know what could come up that you need it. Sometimes everybody's different. For me, I get visuals of things like, one time I had just a visual of me putting my head down and I did

Okay. Like, I'm gonna take a break, put my head down, . Some people might, might just, you know, have this need to get up and move, you know? It could be mm-hmm. come to you in a different way. I don't know. But what about you? How does it come up for you?

Jessica Rabon: Um, so a lot of times I can feel it as physical sensations in my body and that usually signals to me.

Either I need to get up and move, like you said, go for a walk Is usually my go-to kind of coping, get some gentle movement in, or do I need to do some like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, kind of regulate my nervous system if I'm in a situation where I can't necessarily. Get up and go outside.

But for me it's usually some tightness and tenseness That indicates to me like, okay, what do I need right now? I need to relax. I need to take some deep breaths. But yeah, I've definitely had those moments to Chris where it's like I just need to put my head down and take a couple minutes of shut eye .

Chris McDonald: Or I've actually, I've had, I have taken naps during my counseling day,

Cause if I have a break and I'm not, or if I have a migraine or I'm like, you know what I need. Yeah.

Jessica Rabon: Yeah. Sometimes for me it's, I just need to shut my door and Yeah. You know, have a few moments, you know, working in the hospital. I do have an office. Sometimes I just need to shut the door, have the sign up saying I'm in session, even if I'm not, and take those few moments for myself without distraction.

So it really depends. Yeah, and it depends, like we keep saying, it depends on time, place, situation, how it will come up and what you need in that.

Chris McDonald: So what are some other tips you have for therapists that might be just starting with self-compassion? How could they also add more into their day? So I think, like

Jessica Rabon: you said, awareness is the first step with anything.

So you need to be aware of how you talk to yourself, you know, like I said, Self-compassion is not just about words, it's about behaviors as well. So are the behaviors that you're doing aligning with who you are? Um, I think another aspect of awareness is being mindful and aware of our emotions, which gets into the third component of mindful awareness because a lot of us will like suppress our emotions.

Or over-identify with them. So if we're feeling really anxious, we stay in that cycle of anxiety because we're thinking about our anxiety. So first of all, just recognizing how you talk to yourself, how you process, handle your emotions, and then determine, you know, Next step. So we've talked about the self-compassion break.

If that sounds like something you wanna do, if we've talked about asking yourself, what do I need right now? Compassionate touch I think is an easy and good way to incorporate self-compassion into your day. So this helps ground and center you, helps regulate your nervous system. So we've talked about the hand on heart and doing some deep breathing.

Some people like to cradle their face. And like the touch of their warm hands on their cheeks, uh, gently rubbing your arms if that is a calming sensation for you. Hugging yourself is another way that you can practice compassionate touch. I think a lot of times for people first starting out, the challenging the self-critical voice and changing it to being more self-compassionate is really d.

You know, we always make excuses like I'm the exception. Like, oh yeah, I would never say this to so-and-so, but they're not me. So a lot of times, and I know Kristen Neff says, talk to yourself like you would a friend, and that can be really helpful. I find it more helpful for certain individuals to talk to yourself like you would.

Either your own child if you are a parent or your inner child, like a younger version of yourself because sometimes, you know, we can still say some harsh things to our friends, but you know, think of a seven year old version of yourself and what would you tell seven year old you who was struggling with, you know, not feeling good enough or who made a mistake and turning the language around to saying it to someone else can be helpful at first if trying to change your inner critic.

Seems too difficult for you at first.

Chris McDonald: Yeah, I, I've used that exercise, but, and I think for therapists listening, sometimes having them write it out as a journal. Mm-hmm. , I've done that in session or as homework, that can be really helpful too, to really get them to tune into that compassionate side. But I really love what you said about the younger version of themselves.

I'm gonna use that. I think that would be really good for people that still. have, they might have trouble connecting with this. Mm-hmm. ,

Jessica Rabon: and I love that you said, you know, writing down because you know, there are activities like a self-compassion letter or just sometimes writing things down and putting them on paper and you're, you're able to see them versus just thinking them can be, uh, much more helpful.

Another activity I like to use at times, especially when people are first starting out and they're. I don't even know what self-compassion would feel like. Is thinking about a time that like you've shown compassion to another person or someone has shown compassion to you and really identify, and you can write this down as well, like what did that feel like?

How could you tell someone was acting compassionate towards you, or vice versa, whichever is easier. Like how did you feel in your body? What emotions came up, and kind of having that experience, then you can draw from that. Okay, so now what would it look like if I did the same thing to myself? If I was compassionate to myself, or what do I need to say to myself or how do I need to behave to instill?

same feelings. So those are some beginner, I guess, techniques, .

Chris McDonald: Yeah, no, that makes sense. And I think all we're saying can definitely be translated over into sessions with clients and Oh,

Jessica Rabon: absolutely. This is one of those things that, I mean, I, I truly believe that all therapists should try out any skill they're teaching to clients on themselves first.

And I know we talked about this when you were on my podcast, like you are not just a holistic counselor. Being holistic is part of your everyday life, and that's how I feel about self-compassion. Yes. Mm-hmm. , you know, anything that I'm teaching my clients when it comes to self-compassion are things that I use in my daily life.

And, you know, depending on what's going on in the day and things like that, it might look different. Like I'm not writing a compassionate letter to myself every day, but you. That might be something if I'm having a really, really hard week or period of life, you know, I'm gonna sit down and write a letter to myself really focusing on.

Being kind to myself, expressing empathy for myself, things like that versus, you know, during the day, a self-compassion break is something you can easily implement, you know, between sessions with clients, right. For example, today, right, . Yeah. Today. Exactly. Right now it,

Chris McDonald: right now, . Exactly. Just getting into that, that moment and mm-hmm.

and I, and I wonder too, Coming from a yogic perspective, starting your day with that intention, how can I show myself more compassion today?

Jessica Rabon: Oh, absolutely. I love that. And I think just kind of like, I'm really big into values work too. Figuring out not only, you know, how can I be more compassionate to myself today, but what already fits into my life and aligns with my values that would show compassion to myself.

So, you know, if gentle movement is. Something that aligns with your values and makes you feel good and you're listening to your body when doing it, make that a priority to fit into your day as an example. Um, because the more you, this is a practice, self-compassion is a practice, but the more you integrate it into your daily life, the.

Easier it is going to be to use self-compassion when those times are really, really

Chris McDonald: difficult. Yeah, and I know you mentioned personally, professionally, just engaging with it, but I think for me as a somatic therapist too, and for those who aren't sure about that, but sometimes just thinking about embodying that, how can I embody this?

How does self-compassion feel in my body? So noticing when you're critical with yourself, how does that feel? What sensations come up? And of course, the opposite. If you're self-compassion. How does that feel and noticing mm-hmm. . So how can I embody self-compassion? I absolutely. We got deep questions today,

Jessica Rabon: No, no. Cuz I was just reflecting on that as you were talking and Yeah. You know, for me personally, like I know when I'm. critical of myself. I'm much more tense. I store a lot of tension, okay. In my back. Um, and so if I'm having a day that I'm like, oh, you're never gonna get this all done. Or You have a million things to do and how are you gonna do this and this, and why did you sign up for this and this and this versus like say, pausing and saying, no chess, you will.

Get done what needs to be done. And if you don't get everything done, that's okay because you're human. It's suddenly like a wave of release overcomes me. Ah, you know, I might still be release a little stressed. Mm-hmm. , but not nearly. And also going back to one thing we were talking about earlier, just thinking about kind of shifting your language on days that I'm really self-critical or really tense or really stressed, I'm more likely to take longer on accomplishing things.

Or I'm more in my head so I'm more likely to make mistakes versus just kind of, you're gonna get done what you need to get done and it's okay and the day goes more smoothly because I'm in a calmer place when starting different things. I actually had one of those days recently and it was just amazing the shift when I like took a few seconds to breathe.

I actually did some self-compassionate touch and put my hand over my heart, took some deep breaths and I was like, Jess, you got it. The day will work out how it's meant to. And if you don't get everything done, that is okay. You are one person. And the day went phenomenally more smoother than I predicted it was gonna be when I was criticizing everything in the morning.

Chris McDonald: Yeah. No, I, I appreciate that example. That makes a lot of sense to totally look at it that way and how that feels, and noticing the difference is huge. Mm-hmm. . Absolutely. So what's a takeaway you could share today that could help listeners that might be just starting their holistic.

Jessica Rabon: I would say that whatever holistic practice you are starting out with, whether it be incorporating self-compassion, whether it be another holistic practice that we have not talked about today, find ways to integrate it into your daily life that are small, tangible.

Ways and what feels good for you because the more that you are able to integrate it into what you are already doing, whether it's setting a self-compassionate intention for the day, or practicing a self-compassion break between sessions, the more that you are able to incorporate it into your daily life, the more likely it is you're going to continue practicing it, and all those small steps will add up to make a big impact and change.

Chris McDonald: Absolutely. So what's the best way for listeners to find you and learn more about you? Absolutely.

Jessica Rabon: So I am pretty active on social media, so my handle on both Instagram and TikTok is at Jessica Lee PhD and I also have a podcast called Psych Talk that you can find on all the major platforms. So whatever you are listening to the Holistic Counseling Podcast on, you can find Psych talk there as.

That's a great

Chris McDonald: podcast, by the way, so I highly recommend . I'll put that plug for you. Thank you, . I appreciate. Thank you. Appreciate it. Yeah. Thank you so much for coming on the Holistic Counseling podcast, Jess,

Jessica Rabon: thank you so much for having me, Chris. I really enjoyed our discussion.

Chris McDonald: So that wraps up another episode of the Holistic Counseling Podcast.

do you struggle with making yourself a priority in my webinar? Holistic Self-Care Boundaries. For therapists, you'll learn how to set emotional, physical, and energetic boundaries, as well as some hands-on skill to help fill yourself up and stay grounded so you can boost your overall wellness. You can show up as your best self for your clients.

This is part of my holistic webinar recording series now, available for $50 each, or three for 97. Check it out today@holisticcounselingpodcast.com slash holistic webinars. Take care and have a great day sending each one of you much light in love. Thanks for being here and listening to this episode. Do you struggle to find time for self-care and end up at the bottom of your to-do list?

I want our webinar. Holistic Self Care Boundaries for Therapists is for you. Learn how to show up for yourself instead, emotional, physical, and energetic boundaries. Check it out today. At holistic counseling podcast.com/holistic webinars.

Find A Topic

The Art of Breath:  How to Integrate Breathwork Techniques for Effective Therapy Sessions 

Have you been wanting to integrate breathwork into your sessions but are unsure how?   Or maybe you want to refine your technique? Join me on a remarkable journey as we delve into breathwork techniques and how to integrate them safely and ethically into sessions. 

Check Out My Book!

Self-Care for the Counselor - a holistic guide for helping professionals by Christine McDonald , MS,NCC,LPCS