Episode 154 The Adult Chair Model & How To Integrate With Other Holistic Counseling Modalities: Interview with Jenny Jansen

Nov 22, 2023

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How can you achieve emotional and psychological well-being by understanding and integrating the various parts of yourself? Can the Adult Chair help you connect to your Adult part and achieve overall well-being?

MEET Jenny Jansen

Jenny Jansen is a Licensed Independent Social Worker of Clinical Practice (LISW-CP) and Certified Adult Chair® Master Coach. Jenny received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of South Carolina and worked in community mental health, later obtaining her coaching and master coaching certification in The Adult Chair® model. Jenny has always had a passion for helping and relating to others in vulnerable and meaningful ways. Walking through her own journey of healing and self-discovery, she considers herself a student of life and the love child of all she has learned and encountered, understanding each experience as a gift for her soul’s unique purpose. She truly believes we were never meant to do life alone, inspiring her to demonstrate unconditional acceptance and emotional safety for all she meets. She uses a unique blend of tools and techniques, both from her mental health and coaching backgrounds, to help individuals gain self-awareness and courage to release unhealthy patterns and guide them home to their soul’s purpose. She empowers her clients to find their truth, connect with their inner knowing, and confidently step into a grounded and conscious life of radical authenticity and meaningful connection with themselves and others. Jenny is the owner of Conscious Living Therapy and Coaching practice and sees individuals, couples, and families virtually on the local and international levels. She currently lives in South Carolina with her dog, Abby. 

Find out more at Conscious Living and connect with Jenny on, Instagram & Facebook


  • What is the Adult Chair model? 1:51
  • How does our Nervous System Regulation work with the Adult Chair Model? 7:53
  • Integrating other therapy models with the Adult Chair Model 20:44

What Is The Adult Chair Model?

  • How do our experiences shape who we are?
  • How can you begin to ground yourself into the healthiest version of yourself?
  • What are the 3 stages of the Adult Chair model?

How Does Our Nervous System Regulation Work With The Adult Chair Model?

  • Learning to be more aware of how our bodies react to stress
  • The importance of being present in your pain and your joy
  • Does self-awareness promote healing?
  • The importance of setting an intention 

Integrating Other Therapy Models With The Adult Chair Model

  • What is Wise Mind in DBT and how does it overlap with the Adult Chair Model?
  • How to integrate other modalities with the Adult Chair Model
  • How to treat trauma with this model
  • What each chair represents and how to integrate other modalities into different chairs

Connect With Me

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The Art of Breath: How to Integrate Breathwork Techniques for Effective Therapy Sessions with Chris McDonald, LCMHCS

Resources Mentioned And Useful Links:

Find out more at Conscious Living and connect with Jenny on, Instagram & Facebook


Chris McDonald: Ever wonder how to heal your inner child and find more peace? Discover the keys to unlock your personal growth, improve relationships, and embrace self compassion like never before. Are you ready to sit in the adult chair? Get ready for an episode that will change the way you view yourself and your clients.

Discover more ways the adult chair model has the power to heal, nurture, and empower us in profound ways. Don't miss it. Coming up next on the Holistic Counseling Podcast. Your path to healing and transformation begins here. 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. In today's episode, I have a return guest, Jenny Jansen, who came on in episode 141, and you learned how to help clients heal through parts work, inner child work, and the adult chair model. Today, we're digging deeper into the adult chair model.

And how it can help you and your clients to nurture their parts, improve self awareness, relationships, and overall healing. We'll also be tapping into how it can be integrated with other holistic modalities and the relationship it has with mindfulness. Again, it's time to pull up a chair. And embark on a journey of self empowerment and transformation.

So without further ado, let's dive into this enlightening conversation with Jenny Janssen, Certified Adult Chair Master Coach. Welcome back to the Holistic Counseling Podcast, Jenny.

Jenny Jansen: Hi, thanks so much for having me back again, Chris. This is

Chris McDonald: great to have you. This is part two. So we're just gonna jump right in.

So can you give my listeners a quick refresher on the adult chair model, what that is in case they didn't listen to the other episode?

Jenny Jansen: Yeah, absolutely. As I said in the last episode, I called the adult chair kind of everything I never knew I always needed. And what the model is, is it is a holistic approach to understand our lifespan and how our experiences shape who we are and also how to kind of ground ourselves in that healthiest version of self, which we refer to as the adult chair.

So the model itself is comprised of three specific, uh, stages. And so the first stage is the child chair, which is ages zero to six. So it starts in utero and goes until about age six. And this is the seat of our inner child. This is the seat where we are having the most fun. We are vulnerable. This is where our core needs and our core emotions are housed.

And the thing about the child chair that many people, you know, you think about a child, they're, they're fun, they're vulnerable, they're curious, but we also don't understand about that child chair, that that's where we absorb everything about the world, that open curiosity. We take everything in without discernment and because our brain isn't developed enough to understand what's right.

And what's. you know, or healthy or unhealthy. I don't like to use the terms right and wrong, but what's healthy or unhealthy. So this is where we kind of take in and develop the roadmap that we use for our lives. So believe it or not, most of us are functioning from the roadmap that we developed at age six.

And so from this stage, we know we have our core needs. We have our core emotions. This is when we understand I need a hug. You know, we have our physical needs, of course, that need to be met like food, water, shelter, but we also have our emotional needs. So then around the age of seven is when our ego starts to develop.

And this is the start of the adolescent chair. This is the second stage. And so it's in the seat of the adolescent or the ego that we start to kind of develop these masks to kind of understand the world, how we fit into the world. We understand that we're separate. We start to kind of create these defense mechanisms because the goal of the adolescent chair is to stay alive, safe, and acceptable.

We need to belong to our environment. We need to stay alive and we need to stay safe. So I often ask the question, who did I have to become in order to stay alive, safe, and acceptable? So most of the time people will develop. defense mechanisms like codependency, they lose themselves. Some people might develop addictions because the emotions that that inner child is feeling are so big and they don't know what to do.

And so it's like, well, let me go grab a bottle of wine that'll take care of it. Or let me go eat cake because that feels comfortable. Or let me go busy myself. Many of us don't talk about the addiction to being busy as a way to avoid feeling. Yes, I'm so glad you said that. I was like, sign me up for that one.

That's definitely a mask of my own adolescent chair.

Chris McDonald: I see. I see that so

Jenny Jansen: much in my practice. And so, you know, some people become, you know, develop these identities. Who did I have to become? And so, but all of it is, is a defense and it's not a bad part. The adolescent chair kind of gets a bad rap sometimes, but really the goal of this chair, remember, is it's trying to keep us alive.

And it's trying to keep us belonging. It just doesn't know how to do that from a healthy perspective. So it's kind of grabbing at straws here. You know, this is where anxiety and depression can become very prevalent in our lives because we're living in the past and the future. We're not living in the present moment.

We live in absolutes like, Oh, it's always going to be this way, or I'm never going to achieve anything. And so we live in these stories and assumptions as well. And so that's not based in anything factual. And so. From this stage, if we had healthy models growing up that kind of taught us how to feel our emotions, how to connect with ourselves, how to set boundaries, we might slide very seamlessly around the age of 25 into our adult chair, because that's when our prefrontal cortex is fully online.

And it's in the seat of the adult that we are able to live with presence. We're able to live in that fact and truth instead of story and assumption. We're able to feel our emotions without getting lost up or swept up in them. And we're able to really live in a state of consciousness that helps us to be more present in our lives.

Now, it doesn't mean that we are walking around, zenned out all the time. You know, we're not having our, you know, sitting in our yoga poses with our mudras. Yes. It's nothing like that. You can feel it. I know, right? Wouldn't, I was about to say, wouldn't that be nice? But also we do have human bodies and we have experiences and, and connections that we have with people.

And so from this adult chair, everything is so much slower. Everything is very present. We don't have to live in that reactive mode of the adolescent. We respond to situations from a place of consciousness and presence. And so the thing is about the model, Chris, I mean, this really. kind of messed me up. I was like, Oh my gosh, I'm living in my adolescent chair all the time, or I'm living in my child all the time.

And I'm, you know, an adult. It doesn't mean that just because you are, you know, 30, years old, you're an adult, quote unquote, because sometimes the energy of that inner child can be a little bit more present than that of the adult, or the energy of the adolescent can be prevalent when you're in your adult.

So we naturally Slide in and out of our adult chair through like all day. Like when I have a client that comes to me and said, Oh, I was in my adult chair for the last two weeks since I've seen you. I'm like, good for you because I haven't been, that's not your honesty. Yeah. I'm like, well, no, I was triggered this morning.

And so when we're triggered, we're back in that adolescent stage, but from our adult, we can sit with that trigger and we get to know that trigger. And it's like, Oh, what is it that's coming up for me? In this moment, we meet it with curiosity instead of judgment. So

Chris McDonald: it just makes me think about nervous system regulation too.

Does that play a part in it? I'm just thinking about the up and down, like the triggers, because I use a lot of polyvagal. Yes. It just made me think of that. I was like, wait a second. This sounds

Jenny Jansen: familiar. Yes. There's so much of that in, in the adult chair model. So I'll kind of segue into how we work. With some of these parts, like when we notice that we're triggered and that polyvagal spike, you know, we might go into that fight flight or even freeze mode.

It's like, that's our body's way of letting us know, Oh, something is throwing me off balance. And so when we're thrown off balance, we can either grab for one of those adolescent vices and say, Oh, I know what I'll do the trick. Let me, you know, go for a 10 mile run and not feel my feelings or let me grab the bottle of wine and numb out.

Or let me scroll on the phone. That's another big one that, that a lot of people struggle with or binging TV shows. But when we notice that nervous system spike, it's almost like from our adult, we can say, Oh, isn't that interesting? I'm noticing my heart rate is increasing. Isn't that interesting? And we slow down from that adult energy and we pause now.

So often when we feel that nervous system energy, like if say we have a flutter in our heart or we get nervous in our heart, we're like, this doesn't feel good. Let me shove it away. This doesn't feel good. I don't know what this is. Let me shove it away. That's kind of our society's default. Is not to go into those uncomfortable emotions, but the way I have a sign in my den, my friend was over the other day and she's like, Oh my gosh, that is everything.

The only way out is through. Yes. Only way out is through the only way out is through. And I will say that over and over again until the day I die. Because so many of us want to jump out of this, you know, people call it spiritual bypassing, people call it avoidance, people call it anything, but like none of us, none of us are exempt from experiencing pain in this life.

And so it's like, how are we going to meet our pain with curiosity instead of as something I'm doing wrong? Oh, I must have done something wrong because here I am struggling or here I am suffering. No, it's like, that's kind of part of the human condition. And I think. little segue soapbox moment, but I think that's a big problem in our society is that it makes us feel like we're doing something wrong when actually we might actually be doing it right.

If we're allowing ourselves to feel the pain of every experience that we have or the joy in every experience that we have, and that's part of living in your adult chair is being present for all of it. For


Chris McDonald: of us. I think that's the problem, isn't it? When we disconnect or dissociate, we're dissociating from the good stuff too.

Jenny Jansen: Yeah. I know. Brené Brown says we can't selectively numb our emotions. And when I learned that, I was like, Oh, dang it. Like, it's like, I've been doing it all wrong. And I said, I didn't like the word wrong, but you know, I was misinformed. You know, negative emotions are not anything to run from. It's something to get open and curious about.

And we can do that from our adult chair. But when we're in that adolescent stage, when we get locked in there, our anger turns to rage, our fear turns to anxiety, our sadness turns to depression. And so we kind of create these, like if you think about the like children, for example, their needs are actually very simple.

You know, I think I mentioned this in the last episode, like they don't need much. It's like, I just need a hug. I just need you to hold my hand. I just want to play. I want to go on the swing. You know, they don't need much, but when the adolescent is met with that child emotion, Oh, I need a hug. I don't have time for you.

Says the adolescent. I'm too busy trying to keep us alive. And so let me go reach for the cookies. Let me go reach for the busyness. Let me go reach for, you know, gambling, sack relationships, all of these things that we do to kind of keep us out of that feeling state. And so, but the inner child's needs are very, very simple.

And if we can go into that inner child, if we can almost meet that adolescent chair and say, Hey, I'm the adult in charge. I'm here now. I can sit with this child in presence. I can sit with this child with open curiosity. You don't have to do it. And so we almost like, and most of the time when we meet with an adolescent or egoic part, or when I meet with clients, they're like, well, great.

I didn't want to have to do this anyway. I'm tired of babysitting or I'm tired of having to run the show. And they don't realize that there's an adult in charge. There's an adult present that can connect with their emotions that can speak from a place of truth. And so that's the chair that we want to be in when we're having, you know, uncomfortable conversations or when we have decisions to make, or when we are, you know, kind of just going through our lives instead of being in stories and assumptions or judgments or living in the past in the future.

It's like that takes us away from the now. Right. Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. And that's where all of our power is. And that's where all of our connections are. Does this

Chris McDonald: self awareness is, does that promote healing for clients to understand themselves

Jenny Jansen: better? Oh my gosh. It is like, like I said, it's, it's the secret sauce.

So often we want to look for something outside of ourselves to say, oh, this is going to fix me. This is gonna fix me. This is gonna fix me. You know, let me do this training. Let me do this. And it's like, really, all of the answers are inside. All of the answers are inside. And that's part of, you know, when people ask me all the time, well, how do I get in my adult chair?

How do I get in my adult chair? And it's like, they're living from this place of like, chin up, like you're in your head and you're trying to quote unquote, figure everything out. That's the adolescent. That's the ego that's saying like, Oh, this is going to be the answer. This is going to be the answer when really it is.

And, you know, I've described myself as almost the love child of everything that I know. It's like, All of the answers and all of our wisdom is actually deep inside of us, deep inside of our hearts and our souls. And so when we find ourselves ruminating or the fast pace or the buzziness of just trying to figure it out, when we slow down, I often say, I'm like, okay, you're in your head.

What's in your heart? Let's let your head and your heart have a conversation and let's give your heart a voice. So like when I, I laugh sometimes when clients come to me and they are, they show up and they are just like, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. It is like, okay, it's been like, it's been about 10 minutes now and you have not taken a breath.

Like, let me, let me invite you to slow down. And as soon as I invite them to slow down, it's almost like. You can sense the energy, like they just get very quiet and many of them will start to cry. Oh my gosh, I didn't know. When I slowed down and I actually checked in with my heart, how much pain I'm actually feeling.

And when they come into session, they're like, oh my gosh, I have to get the kids off to school or school just started. You know, my husband is changing jobs or we're moving or we're this or, you know, I need to

Chris McDonald: lose weight. to take care of business.

Jenny Jansen: I mean, it can be because from our adult, we still want to take responsibility, but it's, it's the, how we go about doing how you do it.

It's the intention behind it. And it's the energy that you bring to a specific task to a specific, cause it's not about, like we said, being on a mountaintop and mudra, you know, yoga poses and, you know, living in that zenned out life, we do still have responsibilities. But do we live in those responsibilities?

And do we engage in those responsibilities from a place of presence or from a place of ego? I've got to get this done. Let me check, check, check, check, check the list. And it doesn't mean that you don't still check off your list, but what energy are you bringing to that? How are you,

Chris McDonald: I guess, going through the task and that hurrying energy.

I wonder if that, yeah, because that's got to impact your

Jenny Jansen: nervous system too. Yes, absolutely. Yeah.

Chris McDonald: That makes a lot of sense too. And I, it just, it brought back from the last episode. I just listened to it yesterday before we recorded today about this. It just keeps coming up for me. This goes so much deeper than CBT and just regular talk therapy.

It just, the The deepness of this, if that's a word, but yeah, just how deep it can go. I just feel like this can really get behind a lot of negative emotion, negative

Jenny Jansen: thought patterns. Because oftentimes it's the adolescent and the ego that live in the brain and not that there's not a place for CBT, DB, you know, all of those, you know, the cognitive based therapies, you know, I'm, I'm a therapist by trade, you know, and I do both.

I have a. I have clients that come to me for specific therapies and clients that come to me for coaching, you know, and I think that there's a beautiful place for all of it. And so oftentimes though, when people kind of get stuck in their heads, there's a resistance to going into the body. You know, Michelle, the creator of the adult chair, she said, are you living chin up or chin down?

And when you're in your adult, you're living chin down. And oftentimes the adolescent is living chin up. It's like the, who do I have to be the overthinking, but when you drop inside and you just sit with presence, oftentimes the answers come up through you. It's like when you sit and you ask, sometimes like when I'm in, you know, full disclosure when I'm in my adolescent chair and I'm buzzing around and I've got things I need to do and I kind of lose my, my grounding, I will, I will literally stop in my tracks and I'm like, all right, where's my adult?

I need my adult. So asking that question, where's my adult? And if I can't find my adult, I'll call a friend and say like, you know, phone a friend. Yeah. Like, can you be my adult right now? I'm spinning out. And so, but sometimes like with a lot of practice, sometimes we do need that external. I've got clients sometimes that will reach out like Jenny, I can't find my adult.

And I'll give them a couple of quick tips. Like, can you put your hand on your heart for a moment and just pause and feel your feet on the ground? Grounding is. Everything grounding and connecting, meditating, you know, and letting the answers and letting the guidance just kind of appear. And I know it sounds really, you know, well, I don't know it does.

It may sound woo woo. And I know you just had your episode on you're not too. Yeah. I love that, Chris. I was like, oh my gosh, it was perfect. And so very validating for me. Thank you. But oftentimes it's like. And I, listening to the wisdom of the body is something that I really encourage my clients to do because our heads, again, that's where our adolescent chair lives.

And so sometimes our adolescent can almost pretend like it's being our adult, like, no, you have to get these things done. You have to do all this. And really when you live in presence, it's like, well, I don't have to, I'm choosing to. I often say, you know, when we have that language around living, the child chair has that, I want energy.

Like, I want this, I want this, you know, think about a kid in the store. When you're in your adolescent chair. There's a lot of, I have to, I need to, or I should, I hate that word should. And when you're in your adult chair, there's a lot of, I'm choosing to, or I get to, you know, I have to mow my lawn this weekend.

Well, actually I don't, I have, I'm very lucky that my, my parents shout out will come over and help me do my yard work, but having to do the lawn, I don't have to do anything. I can let my lawn overgrow. I have that choice. But if I want to have a nice looking house, I'm going to choose to do the uncomfortable or unfavorable task in order to get the result that I want in order to get the outcome that I want.

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. Because I would think the language could lead to more overwhelm. If you say, I have to do this, I got to get this, I got to mop my floor. I got to, you know, pick up groceries at this certain time. You know, if you're not flexible, it just reminds me of flexibility too.

Jenny Jansen: What's the, like we were just saying a second ago, the energy that you bring to your, your 3d life, you know, you think about like, the 5D, like the meditative experiences and the, you know, the spiritual connection, but we also have human bodies that we have to take care of and that we have to, I say, now I'm using the have to, we choose to do certain things in order to make our human life more optimal and more comfortable.

And so mopping the floor, for example, I don't have to, but I'm choosing to because that makes me feel joy. That makes me feel accomplished. And so. Going back to what we said a minute ago, it's the energy that you bring to certain things.

Chris McDonald: And when you mentioned the wisdom of the body and sometimes just being in presence, I saw how this could integrate with like DBT2 and like Wise Mind just because you have to, to be quiet, to listen, right.

To see what comes up. So I feel like there can be some integration with this model, with other therapy models. Have you noticed

Jenny Jansen: that? Oh, absolutely. Yes. Because I'm actually, I was trained as a DBT therapist. That was my, that was my previous life, but yes, that was where I got my majority of my training was I worked in a DBT program.

And so I often see kind of overlapping the two is like. you know, the wise mind is like the healthy adult. Oh, okay. And so, and then the, the ego, believe it or not, the adolescent can actually be both in rational and emotional mind. Because if we overthink or we over rationalize, that can also be seen as a, a way of avoiding emotion.

The inner child is probably more of the, the grounded emotional state, like the passion, the play, the joy, you know, cause. When you're looking at the dbt mind states, like you have the emotional mind that encompasses. the whole range of emotions. But oftentimes the emotional mind gets a bad rap saying, Oh, you're, you're being too emotional.

And then the whole idea, just to, you know, another thing I just thought of with, you know, emotion regulation, the whole model of emotion regulation is all about. Understanding and feeling your emotions, riding the wave of a negative exposure to negative emotion is one of the skills that are, that's taught in dbt.

So there is a beautiful overlap and that's where I say in, like what I said in the beginning, there's, there's space for all of it, but there's also a beautiful integration of ways to incorporate the body more. to a more traditional therapy model as well, in my opinion, I'm just

Chris McDonald: trying to think of other.

Yeah. The holistic counseling out there. Cause I know I use a lot of yoga too. So that's what I'm wondering. What, what is the best way to integrate with other holistic modalities? Is it just, just trying to. I'm just trying to figure that out in my head,

Jenny Jansen: you know? Yeah. So it's, it's funny. Michelle will tell you, she's like, I've gotten every training under the sun.

And what she did is she took, you know, everything from, and which, which I found interesting. The only one that she hasn't gotten trained in is internal family systems, which is, well, I say the only one. That's interesting. I know it is. She's like, I didn't even know that existed. And so it's just, all of this kind of came to her, but.

You know, and then like the gestalt therapies, you know, a lot, we use a lot of chairs, obviously in the adult chair model, you know, and so to integrate it with other, other modalities, we do a lot of it's, it's energy and it's spiritual and it is somatic and. Meditative. I walk clients through some of the most powerful guided meditations, excuse me, to help them really get deep into their experience.

And so, you know, and I don't I say I do this. I really feel like it just comes through me. I don't realize, you know, I just kind of sit in presence and allow the energy to kind of flow through. But it's walking people to meet their inner child or walking people into a traumatic experience, but doing it with such diligence and such tenderness.

That they are able to hold space for themselves in that moment, like we bring the healthy adult into a negative experience that they may have had and almost work toward reparenting that younger version and speak truth to whoever wronged them, you know, create a new ending. So there's a lot of beautiful trauma work that can be done with the adult chair as well.

A lot of somatic, like experiencing in the body, people that feel very disconnected from themselves. It's a way to reconnect to the energy centers of your body and say, Oh, where am I noticing tightness? You know, I might guide somebody through a body scan and I love this. This was a tool that she had taught us during our training.

It's like so often we start body scans going from the head to the toe, but sometimes the adolescent gets a little dicey. You know, the adolescent might block the flow of that body scan. So one of my favorite ways to do a body scan is actually starting from the feet up. And so kind of doing that ground up approach and allowing that energy to flow up through the earth and feel that grounded state.

Because again, the adult chair is very grounded. And so it kind of opens up and then connecting to the crown chakra at the very top, and then allowing that beautiful flow of energy to come through. And it really does open clients up to experiencing themselves on a more holistic level. And even spiritually, I actually, I use a lot of EFT.

emotional freedom technique in sessions to really help to clear out some of the stagnant energy and then re imprint new ones. And so, you know, that's one of the tools that I use to help clients with their adult. Even calling in, like if they can't find their adult now, it's like, what do you imagine your adult?

would be like. And I've had clients that call in like, you know, well, my grandmother was like this, but she may have been loving, but she, you know, didn't really hold her boundaries. She was kind of a pushover or they really liked a character in a movie. You know, I really love the way that, you know, this.

Mom in this show really parented her kids, or I really like the energy and the power of this person, like who resonates with you. And you can almost like makeshift your own healthy adult. It doesn't have to be you necessarily, but somebody that you can model after and say, okay, well. This is my ideal adult.

So like when I, when I'm like, I need an adult right now, it's like, I might call in some of the energies of people that I know or people that, you know, celebrate, obviously I mentioned Brene Brown how many times on this podcast, like I love her. And so sometimes I might, she might be one puzzle piece of my healthy adult.

And so there's a lot of different ways to help clients to really activate and access those parts of themselves. But they have to, like you said a minute ago, You have to get quiet with it, allowing that presence. Yeah, because really the answer lies within, yeah, I can't tell you what to do, you know, cause I'm not you, I can guide and I can give you suggestions and I can give you, you know, as therapists and coaches as we are, you know, we can't tell our clients what to do, but I often say I will give you the best of what I got and then you take what resonates with you, but I can't be the one to, okay, well, if you do this, this, this, this and this, you know, for the next.

month. Okay, you're fixed. See you on your way. It's like, it's to me, we don't stay in that

Chris McDonald: permanent adult chair.

Jenny Jansen: No, I know. I'm going to talk to Michelle about that because obviously that's a problem, but you know, but, but I don't think we're meant to, because I think when we're on our journeys, we're meant to learn and evolve and grow.

And we might reach a state of. Presence and adult. And then suddenly we might get knocked back off our feet. We have a major life transition. And so some of these, like, that's just the natural ebb and flow. I was just going to say,

Chris McDonald: I was thinking back to what you're saying with grounding and, you know, body scans and, and I could see how really integrating with mindfulness.

Mindfulness being present, right, the present moment connecting with all that is could be so powerful with this adult chair model and because I give homework often for clients to pick a chore or any normal quote unquote normal activity like drinking tea and be mindful and it's kind of the people that haven't done before are kind of like what?

I don't get it. But once they do it, to be able to write, just do the dishes and, you know, feel the warm water, use your senses. I could see how this could really help them to get away from that busy energy.

Jenny Jansen: Yeah. And just be, just be. Yeah. Don't, you don't have to be anywhere. You don't have to do anything.

You just have to be. It's like, I really resonated with the book, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and being the observer of everything, like, especially when you're triggered and it's like, isn't that interesting? Just. That's a phrase. I mean, I've said it several times, but it's like, that's just, huh. And then another one that I love is here.

I am feeling this way. That was a little, Oh, I like that. That was a little nugget from an energy coach that I went to one time. It's like when you're in the midst of suffering or you're in the midst of a really hard time, it's like, here I am feeling this way. Period. Because that brings us back to presence.

It gets us out of that story. It gets us out of that. It's always going to be like this. I'm never, I never get it right. You know, all of those stories and assumptions and the anxiety and depression of everything. Here I am in this moment feeling this way and without judgment. And then it's like when you sit with that and then oftentimes it's like, okay, what do I need?

How do I nurture myself? How can I show myself the presence and love that I deserve and that I need in this moment? And kind of segwaying back to distress tolerance in the DBT program, you know, the main point of distress tolerance is how do I deal with a situation without making it worse? How do I cope with a situation without making it worse?

And so part of that though, is you have to come to presence of where you are. You have to acknowledge and radically accept I'm here and I'm in pain and I'm going to be in it. The only way out is through. And what is that pain here to teach me? What does that pain want me to know? If I have a deep ache in my heart over a breakup or over losing a job or over my kid going to college, I have a deep ache in my heart.

And what would happen if I sat in presence with that ache in my heart and didn't try to avoid. It's like when you sit with those feelings, you learn about yourself and you learn about what's important to you. My kid going off to college, wow, I'm really going to miss them and aching of the heart. I'm here for you now.

Yes. I'm here for you now.

Chris McDonald: I learned that you said that last time, putting your hand on your heart and saying that.

Jenny Jansen: And imagining that higher adult self, or if you can't be that for yourself in that moment, imagine that higher adult self, imagine that you have just a beautiful blanket of warm energy. You know, if you have a higher power source that you believe in a God, imagining that with you and, you know, just coming to the power of, I mean, I say the power of now all the time now, but it's coming to presence and saying, here I am feeling this way and I'm okay.


Chris McDonald: okay. I'm reminding yourself of that.

Jenny Jansen: Yeah. Yeah. It doesn't last forever. You know, oftentimes you may have had this, well, if I start crying, I'm never going to stop. Well, I get that all the time. It's like, well, I've never met a person that has cried forever. No,

Chris McDonald: no. I had the best I've heard is had several clients say, well, if I really feel my emotion, then you know, it's going to get so bad.

It's never going to stop. And I'm going to end up in a psychiatric ward.

Jenny Jansen: I have so many people. It's so funny. It's like, I'm gonna, I'm never going to stop. I'm like, well, if we were never meant to stop crying, all of us would be crying all the time because babies, babies cry. We naturally, that is the natural ebb and flow of emotion.

And we just have, and part of being present and part of being aware and the observer is recognizing, you know, again, this too shall pass. And I love the quote that says it might hurt like a kidney stone, but it will pass. It might pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass. I was like, Oh, the other one. Yeah.

But yeah. So, I mean, I think that there's just a beautiful, you know, you were asking, and I know I kind of went off on a bunch of different tangents, but about the. The integration of other holistic modalities. It really is that like the adult chair model. It's yeah, there's the chairs. That's kind of the, the foundation, but then there's so much depth and richness underneath each component of each chair, you know, like in the child chair, there's that, you know, the intimacy of client comes to me and said, I've lost, I feel disconnected or I can't be intimate with my partner, or I've lost my passion.

I don't know what I want in life. Boom, inner child work. They come to me and they say, I have a problem with alcohol or I'm codependent or, you know, I busy myself. I can't slow myself down. We might need to go to the adolescent chair first and we might need to say, okay, adolescent, what are you here to do?

What are you here trying to do? Oftentimes, it's to protect the child from feeling pain. And so when we can acknowledge what chair am I in, it gives us a beautiful touchstone to just to start to get curious about what could be going on and maybe. You know, adopting various tools and techniques that bring the holistic approach to our experience so that we can live a more integrated life.

We can acknowledge, Oh, there's my adolescent. Hey there, honey. Like what's going on? What are you showing up for? Or my inner child comes out all the time with my dog, like dancing around freedom. And it's acknowledging that life is, it's all of it. It's a beautiful tapestry of light and dark, of bright and dull.

Like we experience all of it together. And I think when we can kind of get around the idea that life has to look a certain way, we can actually release and live with a little bit more freedom to experience life on life's terms. And that sometimes can include having to wrestle with your adolescent chair a little bit.

Yeah. Or go back and reparent your inner child, even though it might be hurtful and painful. It's like, I saw a quote the other day that was the scariest thing to me is thinking that I might wake up in 10 years as the exact same person I am today. Oh, I know. I was like, uh, truth bomb. Yes, because I'm

Chris McDonald: all about personal

Jenny Jansen: development and growth.

Yes. And so it's like when you think you don't want to do the work, what, that's your ego. What part of you doesn't want to do the work? What resistance are you coming up against?

Chris McDonald: So what would you say to a listener who might be skeptic about this model and say, it sounds weird? I don't know. What would you say to them?

Jenny Jansen: So snarkily, I would say that's your ego, but, um, there's your adolescent chair and I'd say, Oh, what part of you feels, what part of you feels resistant? You know, if you're skeptical, that's understandable. I mean, I would hold space for anybody and, you know, it may not be the right thing for every person, just like there's not no one right way, you know, but I guarantee you, there will be something in these tools, in this model that can facilitate.

healing and transformation. I have not met a person yet that says this model is crap. And most of the time, cause I think I mentioned last time when I was first starting out, you know, like I said, I was a dbt therapist, um, when I first learned about the adult chair and I just kind of started weaving.

little tools here and there. And my clients were like, I need more of this. Like, I want you, can we do this more? And you know, I had clients that were coming to me, you know, right out of the hospital from, you know, a psychiatric, you know, suicide attempt or a psychiatric break or something really, really horrific and traumatic.

And we would start to peel away at these parts and peel away at this inner child. I had a client that went from seeing me twice a week to twice a month. Within like a season, like four months, she was able to really dive in and learn how to reparent her inner child because her adolescent was taking over and she was ending up in the hospital and it's like, okay, so your adolescent is here trying to keep you safe, keep you from feeling this pain.

But what if we actually nurtured the emotional pain, the simple, you know, I say simple, but the very just core emotional pain that your child is experiencing, like, I need to know I matter. I need to know I'm loved. I need to know I'm wanted. And some, I remember a client that I worked with who was like, well, I wasn't wanted.

I wasn't wanted. My parents didn't want me or they didn't. You know, a lot of childhood emotional neglect comes to me. And what we're able to do is almost educate that child and say, you know, mom and dad, they aren't able to care for you the way that you deserve to be cared for. And that's really sad. And I am so sorry.

And you feel that pain with them. And then when you bring in that healthy adult, it's like, but I'm here now, I'm here. And I want to be the one to take care of you. And let me tell you, you know, this is who I am. You know, I have a house, I have a family, I have a dog. I, this is what I'm doing. I have this, I have all of these tools that I'm learning how to be the healthiest adult that I can for you, because that's what you've deserved all these years.

And I'm so sorry that you didn't get it, but I'm going to die trying to prove to you that you are worth it, that you matter. And then it's connecting to that younger inner child and saying things like, what is it that you need from me today? Even if you wake up and you're feeling relatively steady and stable, you might just check in and say, Hey, you know, just want to check in and see if anything's going on with you today.

I feel like being outside. Okay. Well, I've got to get some work done, but then later on we'll go outside. And it's just, it doesn't have to be this deep, like, Oh my gosh, I'm going to unearth every little trauma that I've experienced. I don't encourage that really. It can be simple to, Oh my gosh, it is so simple.

It's, it's almost. Too simple. It's almost too. I mean, that's what people say. It's like, is that really all I have to do? And I'm like, well, like I said, you don't have to do anything, but I am choosing. I'm choosing. You may choose to just sit with your hand over your heart for a minute and say, I'm going to connect with myself right now.

Let me just see what comes up. See if anything comes up. Exactly. Not what comes down. What is coming up for me? And it may not be anything or it may, you might notice a tiny little, like. Well, my heart just had this like pinprick feeling, like, I'm not sure what that is. Like, let me get curious about it. And I literally will sit with my eyes closed and imagine my heart.

What does it look like? Oh, there's a little pinprick in there. Okay. Let me just look at this pinprick here for a second. Let me just be with that. And sometimes it dissolves and goes away. I just needed you to notice that I was here. And then sometimes that part might say, Oh, finally, somebody is paying attention to me.

Let me tell you what's going on. And it might give you information like, okay, well, I'm really sad that like of this interaction that you had with your friend yesterday, like that's still kind of aching. And so, okay, well, thanks for letting me know. I'll circle back around from my adult and have this conversation with this person.


Chris McDonald: really a beautiful model, isn't

Jenny Jansen: it? It is. I mean, it really is. I mean, it's like I said, it's everything I never knew I always needed, but I think that there's a beautiful fluidity and grace. There's so much grace in this model to say like, you're not going to be in your adult chair all the time. I often say like, I'm sorry.

Like, you know, that's not the goal, but the goal is to live with more presence and consciousness of when you fall out of that state of presence to notice almost to let your adult be your default. And then notice, Oh, something's throwing me off balance here. Let me check in with my parts. Let me check in with myself.

I have a client who I, I love this metaphor that she said, she's like, it's almost like life's a stage and I'm the director. It's like, okay, who's on stage right now? So sometimes we'll do that check in. It's like, okay, who's on stage? Who's present? I often use the. the phrase, who's got the microphone, who's driving the boat.

And so when we can just get still and curious and not judgy, I mean, gosh, just like, oh, well, crap, there's my busy or again, there's my busy bee. But that's

Chris McDonald: mindfulness too, isn't it? Yeah, exactly.

Jenny Jansen: Yes. And it's just noticing and like noticing gently bringing yourself back and saying, okay, wow, that threw me off.

But now that I'm aware it's becoming conscious. There was a, I'm going to butcher it, but it's this awareness of. bringing your awareness from being unconsciously unconscious. Like you're not even aware that you're unconscious to being unconsciously conscious. You're not aware that you're unconscious.

Like you're living kind of in that default autopilot. To then bridging it to living unconsciously conscious where it's not even a thing that your default is consciousness. Yeah. And I had a feeling I was going to butcher that, but hopefully that's okay. Hopefully I saved it well enough to understand. But so that's kind of the idea is to learn how to live unconsciously conscious.

So that way, when you do get thrown off, it's like, Oh, this isn't my default anymore. That's not who I am anymore. I'm not a busy bee. I'm not an alcoholic. I'm not a codependent. This is who I am now. And so if something's taking you off track, it's something to notice and something to get curious about and not judge.

Yeah. I think

Chris McDonald: I understand a lot more today and I appreciate you coming on the show for part two. Yeah.

Jenny Jansen: So nice to be back.

Chris McDonald: So how can listeners connect with you or just learn more about the adult chair model?

Jenny Jansen: Um, my website is true conscious living. com and I'm also on Instagram and Facebook. I don't really post a lot working on that. You know, one of those, one of those own adolescent blocks that I have, I guess. So, um, but I do have a, you know, a profile on Instagram and Facebook as well.

And also on my website, I actually have a free pop up that's uncover your worth. And so it kind of, it's like a little mini ebook, I guess, that kind of guides people into just uncovering some of those parts of self that may have been covered up over the years and figuring out. Like most of the time people come to me and they're like, I don't even know who I am anymore.

And so this, this little mini ebook might be a good place for, for people to start and get curious about the model and about kind of some of the different tools that they can use to kind of bring themselves back into that state of presence or start to peel back those layers, start to get curious about who am I.

Chris McDonald: Yeah. And we can put that in the show notes as well. So everybody can access that. But that brings us to the end of another episode and be sure to tune in next Wednesday when another episode drops. Are you feeling disconnected from other holistic therapists and longing for a connected community? If you want to join me and other holistic therapists and Jenny's on there too, or as excited about deepening their knowledge of holistic modalities as you are, come on over and join my Facebook group, the holistic counseling and self care group.

In this group, you can ask those burning questions about how to integrate your holistic modality in sessions and any other ways you need support, come and join at hcpodcast. org forward slash holistic group. That's hcpodcast. org forward slash holistic group. And once again, this is Chris McDonald sending each one of you much light and love till next time.

Take care. Thanks for listening. The information in this podcast is for general educational purposes only, and it is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are giving legal financial counseling or any other kind of professional advice. If you need a professional, please find the right one for you.

The Holistic Counseling Podcast is proudly part of the Psychcraft Network.

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