Episode 167 The Intersection of Functional Medicine, Nutrition, & Mental Health: Interview With Amanda Larson

Feb 7, 2024

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What is functional medicine? How can functional medicine help address the root cause of health issues rather than just treating the symptoms?

MEET Amanda Larson

I’m Amanda Larson, a Masters Limited Psychologist, and the owner & founder of The Holistic Counseling Center (Larson DBT Counseling Services, PLLC). I have specialized training and certification in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, EMDR, Mindfulness, Trauma, Integrative Medicine for Mental Health, and Nutrition and Mood. I received my education and clinical training from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I have lived and practiced, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for over 9 years.  In the last couple of years, I have integrated Eastern and Western approaches to mental health and wellness. I have participated in extensive training for DBT, EMDR, integrative medicine and mental health, complex trauma, nutrition and mental health, and advanced mindfulness. I provide holistic counseling and assessment to adolescents & adults struggling with depression, anxiety, stress, mood instability, self-harm behaviors, trauma, life transitions, and lifestyle changes.  I offer an evidenced-based and bio-individual approach to the mind-body connection. I help uncover the root causes impacting brain health and wellness. I believe in the ability to grow, change, and heal, and ultimately create a life worth living.

Find out more at The Holistic Counseling Center and connect with Amanda on Instagram

IN THIS PODCAST:

  • What is functional medicine? 5:36
  • Determining what will best help your clients when it comes to functional medicine 11:25
  • Benefits of Functional Medicine 21:30

What Is Functional Medicine?

  • What is the functional medicine approach to mental health?
  • How to educate clients on functional medicine
  • What can cause anxiety and other mental health issues
  • Functional medicine and hormonal imbalances    

Determining What Will Best Help Your Clients When It Comes To Functional Medicine

  • The importance of having a personalized approach when evaluating your clients
  • What kind of tests are available to determine your health markers
  • How to approach clients on daily habits and dietary needs

Benefits Of Functional Medicine

  • Who can benefit from functional medicine?
  • The importance of being trauma-informed when using functional medicine with clients
  • Misconceptions of functional medicine
  • Benefits of layering holistic modalities when treating clients

Connect With Me

Instagram @holisticcounselingpodcast

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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 The Holistic Counseling Center and connect with Amanda on Instagram

Transcript

Chris McDonald: Have you ever wondered about functional medicine and how it could help clients with their mental health? Or are you curious about the impact of nutrition on mental health? In today's episode, our expert guests will guide us through the captivating landscape of functional medicine, a holistic approach that dives deep into the root causes of mental health issues.

Discover how nutrition becomes the key to not only nurturing our physical health, but also cultivating mental resilience. Tune in for an eye opening exploration that will revolutionize your understanding of the mind body connection on today's episode of the Holistic Counseling Podcast. This is Holistic Counseling, a 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 am recording it is January 2024. Can't believe it. It feels so weird to say. Right now I'm awaiting the final book cover for my workbook, which is a companion guide for my first book, Self Care for the Counselor. So this is so exciting. It's coming out in a couple of days and I'm a little nervous, but excited, excited for you to check it out.

So I have so. Much in there. So much bonus content, journal writing exercises, as well as QR codes, which links to meditation, self massage and yoga. It is all inclusive and such easy to use strategies you could use that are really practical so that you can easily integrate into your life. So. Be on the lookout for that.

That'll be out soon when this episode is probably out. But bringing us back to today in this episode, our guest Amanda Larson, who is a licensed psychologist, will guide us through the fascinating landscape of functional medicine, a holistic approach that addresses the root cause of mental health issues rather than merely treating symptoms.

We'll unravel the ways in which nutrition plays a pivotal role in nurturing. not just our physical health, but also our mental resilience. She is also owner of the Holistic Counseling Center. She has specialized training and certification in DBT, EMDR, mindfulness, trauma, integrative medicine for mental health and nutrition and mood.

In the last couple of years, she's integrated Eastern and Western approaches to mental health and wellness. Welcome to the Holistic Counseling Podcast, Amanda. Thank you. I'm excited to be here. So tell me more about your journey and what got you where you are today. So

Amanda Larson: it actually starts with my health journey.

I actually struggled with hypothyroidism for about 12 years now, but it really wasn't until I'd say 2013 to 2014 after I had graduated graduate school. That I started to notice more issues around my energy levels, my mood, fertility, as we were starting to plan for a family, to at that point in time, about a year later, was diagnosed with Hashimoto's, other hormonal imbalances.

And that's when it really started my journey digging deeper. I felt like with some conventional or allopathic approaches to health or wellness. That I felt very stuck and that I wasn't finding answers to what was going on in my body. At that point in time, and I think other people can kind of empathize, you sometimes wonder how much of it is psychological or just that you're creating all of these symptoms because you're not getting these answers from doctors to really improve your health.

Chris McDonald: And so it's got to be frustrating too.

Amanda Larson: Very frustrating. And I think with even our own clients, you know, maybe whether it's complex trauma or their health struggles. that tend to correlate with each other, chronic health conditions, that they often feel very stuck or start to question, you know, maybe it is in my head and I'm just kind of manifesting some of these symptoms.

This is where I started to go more deep dive into functional medicine, which really does focus on root causes to a lot of health issues. And this really was The driver of rebranding my practice, the Holistic Counseling Center, to really start to encompass that mind, body, spirit, because even in my treatment with clients, I felt like I was hitting a wall with talk therapy too.

And so it kind of just came together with really knowing with my own experiences and literature and clinical practice that there's more to mental health. or health overall that is driving people's struggles with mood instability, depression, anxiety, and just the interconnected aspects of the mind and body.

How

Chris McDonald: did it help you to use functional medicine?

Amanda Larson: That's a very good question. So it really, um, caused me to look at my own lifestyle and really look at my own history with complex trauma and how. The stress response, the nervous system dysregulation impacts the body, as well as nutrition, movement, sleep, the quality of nutrients in my food, et cetera, was impacting my health and mental health at

Chris McDonald: the time.

So you said functional medicine is, looks at more of the root cause. Yeah. How do you integrate that with mental health practice and with clients? Yeah. So

Amanda Larson: I have over time taken more trainings with nutritional psychiatry or integrative medicine and mental health. So, you know, obviously we have limitations in the way we can practice this, but a lot of it's psychoeducational or encouraging clients to.

You know, create some of these habits at their own pace, and I do work a lot with practitioners outside of my practice, like functional medicine doctors or functional dieticians to collaborate because they can do more extensive lab work, and obviously I can. you know, whether we're looking at nutrient deficiencies, or we're looking at imbalances in someone's hormones, or their gut health, or even heavy metals or toxins and how that inflammation in the body impacts brain health.

And so they're able to dive deeper into that and recommend individualized supplements or protocols to help them.

Chris McDonald: So you're almost like a bridge between that too, isn't it? Yeah, to some degree. Okay, because I know we can't prescribe like supplements or those kind of things. That's what I wondered, like, how does this work?

This is very interesting to think about how you can collaborate with them. Yeah. So even

Amanda Larson: nutritionally, I can make kind of generalizations, you know, with what. would help based on literature, you know, balance plates and those sorts of things are educating clients and how, you know, adding certain foods can improve their cognitive function or mood stability, et cetera.

We also offer walk and talk therapy as an option to, you know, get in more movement and how movement can be very helpful as well as we offer yoga therapy too. But yeah, when we get down to the nitty gritty or really looking at the individual, at the root more in depth that would have to go to a medical protect, you know, practitioner that specializes more in that area.

Yeah, I

Chris McDonald: can see that. So in your experience, have you discovered causes of anxiety? Is there more functional medicine things that you've noticed? Yeah. I mean, I know you mentioned trauma in the

Amanda Larson: symptomatic. Yeah. So, you know, and I think your work too, the dysregulated nervous system and looking at how complex trauma impacts our stress response and anxiety.

So that's a piece and then gut imbalances. Some of my clients, or just based on the research, you know, SIBO can be a big factor, which is small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, gut dysbiosis, where you have a higher amount of bad bacteria in the gut versus good bacteria. A big one that a lot of Americans actually struggle with is intestinal permeability or leaky gut, where the immune system and other toxins get into your bloodstream and start to create more inflammation, which is correlated with autoimmune conditions.

Nutrient deficiencies, so like being low in vitamin D, which a majority of people know about, with depression, anxiety, Bs, vitamin Bs are very important when we talk about creating neurotransmitters, mood and energy, so that's usually a big one that I encourage clients to look into, low iron. blood sugar is a big one too.

Um, if we're eating infrequently, um, or we're not eating enough that we can have dips in blood sugar, which increases cortisol as well. Other hormonal issues such as like thyroid can be a big one. Hypothyroidism or even hyperthyroid. be more like restlessness or keyed up, you know, versus hypo, you might have more mood instability, depression, lethargic.

I'd probably say those are kind of the big ones.

Chris McDonald: And it sounds like a crossover to a lot of potential causes of depression too.

Amanda Larson: Yeah. I mean, there's a lot of overlap and this is what kind of just intrigues me. And I think it's just, sometimes we play whack a mole with all these

Chris McDonald: different things. Don't you feel like a detective?

Amanda Larson: Yeah. Or encouraging clients to go get some of these testers because, you know, I mean, I think it's becoming, we're becoming more well versed in these areas, but just kind of doing a rule out because we could be providing these skills that are very helpful, right. Or doing, you know, more in depth trauma work and, you know, someone could have undiagnosed thyroid disorder, which isn't actually quite uncommon with those, right, with struggling with trauma.

Yeah, I was thinking of like estrogen or sex hormone issues too can be a big one because I am seeing a huge uptick in like young women or teens having a regular menstrual cycles. So, I mean, I think there's a number of factors, whether it's stress or new quality of nutrients from her food that are impacting these things as well.

Chris McDonald: Yeah. And I think that you bring up a good point is the age of the client. Cause I have some that are menopause age and that can be a big change of life and a lot of changes with hormones that can cause. depression and other things like irritability. And so we have to look at all these factors. We can't just overlook them.

Amanda Larson: So that one's not uncommon. Obviously, estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone really starts to tank right around 35 and after for a lot of women before they even get to menopause. Oh, is it 35?

Chris McDonald: Wow. I didn't know. Because

Amanda Larson: I actually just revisiting to get my stuff like looked at again and. And the doctor that did it, she was like, uh, yeah, about 35, we're starting to look at testosterone and all these hormones as we, our body starts to prepare years in advance.

I was like, Oh, okay.

Chris McDonald: Limited time. I know, exactly. So the clients that you see, do you have them all like do different kinds of tests or is it just certain clients? I

Amanda Larson: mean, I think it just depends. Like you said, we play in, I play in being investigative. Yeah, I think it just depends. I usually do like a little medical history, like family history, if there's anything on the radar.

I do ask about what nutrition looks like or daily movement and those sorts of things to get an idea. Generally, if my clients are presenting with depression, anxiety, and they haven't, cause it's not common practice. Especially my teenagers to look at these sorts of issues. Even if they are like reporting chronic fatigue or depression anxiety or mood instability or regular menstrual cycles.

It passed as it's normal, even though like it might be common, I should say. But it's not normal for those things to be occurring for young women or teens. And so this is where I encourage them to follow up with a medical provider to look into any nutrient deficiencies or other hormones. Specifically, like a thyroid issue to do more and even then it's kind of limited with like a pediatrician or a primary doctor for them to look way more in depth and that's not necessarily the provider as much as sometimes it's managed

Chris McDonald: care.

Yeah, because I know I talked to my young adults a lot about getting a physical because they look at me like what I'm healthy. Is there a certain test like I know you said that, um, vitamin D. might be one that they had to request that because that isn't a regular test that they do, right? No,

Amanda Larson: generally they'll do kind of a metabolic panel looking at your lipids and blood count and those sorts of things.

It's not general practice for you to go in and get like a thyroid panel or, you know, I think maybe more doctors are better at it here in Michigan, but like a vitamin D. panel as well. Iron or ferritin. So ferritin is your iron stores over the last few months. And then I encourage like a fasting glucose as well.

Our hemoglobin A1c also gives you an idea of what your blood sugar levels are looking like. Insulin, but that one sometimes is hard to cover, but that would also give us an indication with like diabetes or insulin resistance. I've

Chris McDonald: seen that, I can't tell you how many times over the years with people who have gotten blood work and they're like, oh, I have a thyroid issue and that could be causing depression or, oh, yes, I don't have enough vitamin D.

So now then their mood gets more, it's like no amount of counseling can undo, undo that if they don't get the help

Amanda Larson: right medically. Yeah, no, unfortunately, but it too, if it's deficient, it's like night and day, like you've said. It

Chris McDonald: is. Yeah. This is why it's so important, I think, to look holistically, to really look at all the different factors.

And I love how you start with the intake form too.

Amanda Larson: Yeah. And then too, you know, sometimes they forget on an intake form, but like in conversation, when you're getting to know your clients, sometimes those things can kind of come up, you know, so generally I encourage someone to get a full thyroid panel, which isn't just the TSH, which is the thyroid stimulating hormone that is actually produced by your pituitary gland.

to tell either your thyroid that needs to pick up production or slow it down. Um, this can be really impacted too with stress because this is responsible for metabolism and regulating your mood and energy and body temp and all of that. So for under a lot of chronic stress, which is an uncommon, right?

With our clients that struggle with complex trauma or dysregulated nervous system that that. Definitely can be a big factor. But back to the thyroid panel, TSH and then free T4, free T3, and antibodies are a full panel. Some would even say reverse T3. But the reason it's so important to even look at free T3, which practitioners might push back a little bit on, is because it's is responsible for your mood and energy.

That's like the powerhouse of everything. So your body actually has to convert T4 to T3 for us to use that in our body. And

Chris McDonald: that's so important with depression too. I see so many clients that come to me too with fatigue and I have no energy and, and it's so hard to, you know, we can try all these different things with yoga, meditation, all those holistic things.

But if there's something medical, there's only so much we can do. So that's good to know that that could be something to investigate. Yeah.

Amanda Larson: And like you, you know, I mentioned before that iron, the glucose, all of those sorts of things. Yeah. I mean, if you go to a functional medicine doctor, they'll actually go way more in depth about like how, what is outside your song, what's your body intracell or, you know, within the cells, like what your body is utilizing for vitamins and minerals, you know, versus, Yeah.

an allopathic or conventional model. Like if you were, like I said, go to your family doctor or pediatrician, they're going to be a little more limited in their capabilities of diving deeper into what's going on.

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You support your clients! I have a weird question, but I've had this come up several times with clients, a lot of clients that eat a lot of junk food and soda. So, and of course they have some different mental health concerns. So how do you address that with clients? I'm always like, I'm like, Hmm, how do I approach this without defensiveness?

Um, Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Because I asked that, yeah, I'm very clear on my assessment for it. But then I'm always kind of like, well, how much water are you drinking?

Amanda Larson: Yeah, well, because I think too, when we talk about nutrition, there's like this personalized piece that people perceive like an attack. But you're right.

When we look at the standard American diet, it is like ultra processed foods and sugars. They taste really good. What I focus on with clients is, well, one, if they don't even want to make those changes, okay, then we're going to radically accept, there we are. If there is willingness and interest around like understanding how nutrition impacts body, how I really approach it is adding.

Psychologically, when we add foods, like, for example, protein is a big macronutrient that a lot of people under eat, especially women, but it's so important for building in the body. And so. You know, if they are open to it, I rather than taking away the sugar and the pop or soda pop or whatever you want to call it in different states, whatever part

Chris McDonald: of the United States or

Amanda Larson: country, right?

Yeah, that. When we have resistance, then people are less likely to want or like, you know, follow through with a versus if I'm adding, there's more empowerment, there's more control. Um, or I don't want that. It's another way I reframe things because of how it makes me feel. You know, if we can tie in the importance and the meaning.

Two is very important with change, but yeah, baby steps and then adding, um, or alternatives are really helpful too. That's true too. Mm hmm. So like, yeah,

Chris McDonald: go ahead. So I was just going to say, do you, um, ask clients to you about like their, what are they eating? Cause sometimes I get a lot of information just asking, like, tell me about a day for you.

Cause just, just so I know, cause I have a lot of people that fast all day and they just don't eat. Yeah. Yep. Yep. Yep. Period.

Amanda Larson: Yep. That's a thing, too. Intermittent passing. That's a thing. Yeah. That's a thing. Yeah. So I do ask in my regular daily assessment with clients because I do work with clients, too, that are sometimes chronically suicidal or engage in self injury.

So naturally, I'll ask about safety, um, and then I'll lead into like, what does your sleep look like? What did you have today to eat? Because I do have some clients that struggle with disordered eating where there are patterns of restriction or binging and purging. So I do ask about like quality time of day when they're eating.

So too, if they're reporting anxiety or depression, I want to know, like, are there gaps in the eating that might be causing blood sugar to go down and cortisol to go up because sometimes people can have panic attack or excessive amounts of anxiety when that happens. And then obviously exercise and hydration, all the things.

Chris McDonald: Yeah. Now there, there is so many factors and I think that that's why it's important to be holistic.

Amanda Larson: I know. Yeah. I don't know how you can't be. I don't. I believe in bad angels. I think all the years of doing like CBC, dbt, where you start to like. There are clients that aren't necessarily responding to those modalities, and then, you know, you think about more research around trauma and the body and using somatic approaches to

Chris McDonald: that.

That's the best result. Yeah, I think to integrate all that. And so what kind of clients do you see then who benefits best from your practice? A

Amanda Larson: majority of people that we see are adolescents and adults. So we kind of, you know, go up to people that are in their 50s, 60s, it's kind of the, uh. What we attract.

But most of it is teens and young adults. We are trauma formed practice. So a lot of individuals are coming in specifically seeking like E. M. D. R. Treatment or somatic practices to healing. a body. There are a few people that are attracted to the nutritional side of things or more integrative too. But most of these teens and adults are struggling with depression and anxiety, complex trauma, PTSD, sometimes personality traits.

So I do work a lot with borderline personality disorder. Those are primarily the diagnoses that we see here. Oh, is that anxiety? Right? Yeah. Yeah, that was a good on the laundry list here.

Chris McDonald: So what are some misperceptions of functional medicine? I guess, do you get pushback from people? You

Amanda Larson: know, I think even probably just the holistic aspect of things to overall is kind of Right.

I'm sure we embrace a

Chris McDonald: woo on the holistic counseling,

Amanda Larson: you know, because people are skeptical, but I really think, you know, when we talk about functional medicine, it's like, even in the medical field, they're very behind what the research versus clinical practice. You know, there are a number of years behind where we are with, you know, what can be very helpful for people.

So, with that said, yeah, I think most of the time people are skeptical when I talk about root causes of things, but I think once somebody is struggling, With a lot of health issues, which is an uncommon when we have people struggling with PTSD or complex PTSD that they start to question the system because what happens is they're trying to communicate.

And I think we even run in this when we're treating trauma, um, and they feel very helpless or powerless because they're not feeling heard and seen. And so that's where generally a lot of my clients start to kind of. Be open, more open minded to the functional piece, but other people, I think kind of questioned the model because of the science piece, but there's a ton of research backing, efficacy of functional medicine, and I think the shift that we're seeing even in America for people wanting a different modality of treatment, whether it's in our field or even in the medical field to get more answers and to actually have health and wellness.

And I'm going to say it, not sick care. Yes.

Chris McDonald: Thank you.

Amanda Larson: Yeah. Drop that mic on that one. Um, yeah, because I think the way that the system is currently set up in the frustration is they're bound by here's symptomology. What we know what to do is medication and procedure. And if we don't fit in those categories, right, if I can't write you a script, or I can't send you off to get this procedure done, then you're okay.

You're fine. Oh my gosh. But you don't feel

Chris McDonald: fine. It makes me crazy. Yeah. I have a lot of back problems and traditional medicine has failed me with chronic pain. And you know, I had some hip bursitis recently and I had to do my own investigation. We have to be our own advocate for care, right? Found some exercises from this physiotherapist, they call that physical therapists in UK and you know, was doing these exercises and it's about gone.

But I mean, I went to the regular doctor and they're like, well, maybe we'll give you a shot. They're just like, I don't know. There's not much we can do. Why don't you just tell me how to do this? Cause I've had this like four other times. It's like so frustrating when there's things that are out there.

Right. To look at the whole body in different ways to, to manage different things. Yeah. That's just really frustrating. Yeah. I mean, Absolutely. And this was a total, like, I've gone to different physical therapists, but this one had different exercises that made a lot of sense that really didn't aggravate it because sometimes physical therapy can aggravate things.

Um, not in a good way,

Amanda Larson: you know? Yeah. And, and I think people that are attracted to the practice itself. run into this and they're seeking more help because you get to a point of having to be that person that I'm a firm believer in educating yourself just because I think knowledge can provide a lot of empowerment for our clients.

And so by the time they get here, they're like, I'm looking for EMDR and I'm looking for this piece,

Chris McDonald: yeah. Because I was thinking, yeah, with more of the traditional medicine, I wish they could provide even just, can we just have some reiki thrown in there? You know, I might want to go someplace separate.

Amanda Larson: And there are some practitioners that are keeping up and trying to integrate some of these things.

And

Chris McDonald: I mean, well, can you imagine that would be such an amazing healing to have all these other integrative practices live with? Yeah, I know. I know they're starting to,

Amanda Larson: they are, they are starting to, we're doing more like panels around hormones or gut health. I've Practitioners look into that a bit more.

And, you know, not to like dog on allopathic or conventional, right? That there are times and places if there is an emergency or an acute issue of some sort, they're wonderful to go to. It's just, they're not doing a very good job in regards to chronic mental health or chronic health conditions. And so this is where we need to look at the whole body because everything's interconnected.

Chris McDonald: Do you have any success stories from clients that might have been hard to treat and that you were able to, or themes have come up?

Amanda Larson: Themes? Yeah. I mean, I've worked with a lot of clients for a number of years, kind of on and off, and I think it's just been like steps. And so, you know, I do work a lot, uh, with clients, a lot of complex struggles.

And I think it's just kind of like, can we bring down the safety piece? Right. And once we have skills around managing emotions and building, you know, the, I guess I'll say tolerance or the resiliency piece, then we can maybe have more comfortability around adding. lifestyle or getting to a point of doing more in depth trauma work, whether it's EMDR, somatic experience, et cetera.

But I do have clients that have a lot more stability and quality of life, I guess being able to have more boundaries and empowerment with finding these answers and realizing like I had health issues and I didn't know until I went and got more testing and that was where interesting enough, you know, starting with.

know, recommending getting those things done. So yes, but keeping in mind, like whether I'm working with somebody who's struggling with BPD or complex PTSD, like that takes a long time, as you know, healing. And so with them, it's more. step by step, I guess, playing crisis management and then lifestyle kind of at the latter and prioritizing.

But I have had some success stories in that regard and people feeling better with being able to add supplements or starting to make dietary changes or I guess EMDR treatment and these other modalities too. All encompassing, yeah. But it takes time.

Chris McDonald: Yeah, and I think it's, it is a multi pronged approach. I think that really helps with healing.

I don't know if you've noticed that too. It's usually not just, let's just do EMDR or brain spotting. Let's just do CBT. To me, it's, it takes a lot of different modalities. The combination of the, and finding the, it's like finding that right key. for the person, you know?

Amanda Larson: Yeah. And I think too, like when they get to their place and that's healing journey, are they willing or more receptive to that other transformative piece at that?

You know what I mean? Like, so some of my clients who I've gone through EMDR with, or they've started to make these lifestyle changes, I'll recommend more spiritual aspects. such as our Reiki healing or adding more breath work or the trauma informed yoga piece. Yeah. So you're right. It kind of just depends on where they're at, um, and how they need to receive

Chris McDonald: the So it sounds like you're, um, you kind of have like different tiers then.

You have to crisis first, you said, and

Amanda Larson: Yeah, mentally in my mind, right? Um

Chris McDonald: No, I think that's

Amanda Larson: helpful. You know, if someone's in crisis They're not gonna, I mean, not that they can benefit from some of these things, but they might not be in a space to really hear it. So I think it just kind of depends where

Chris McDonald: they're at.

And you said they, to be in the space of hearing and receiving it. So that, that's really helpful, I think, for listeners who are a lot of mental health therapists out there and a lot more excited to use holistic things. But just keeping that in mind, is this client in a space to receive it?

Amanda Larson: Mm hmm. Yeah, that is very true.

That's something to think

Chris McDonald: about. Yeah. Yeah.

Amanda Larson: I mean, even then I take it back to the basics of like safety and attunement and that attachment piece that's so vital and the role that we play with

Chris McDonald: their healing. Yeah, you got me thinking on the end. It's like, Hmm. But I wonder too if, if clients, you're, you feel stuck, right?

That you feel like you're not helping them. That if, if that, could that be that you know that it's not the right time for them for certain things or, or maybe even that transference

Amanda Larson: piece, right. Like that, that's true. They feel stuck too.

Chris McDonald: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Yeah,

Amanda Larson: and that they're and then you're picking up on that energy as well in session.

Yeah, I mean, don't get me wrong. There's times of stuckness and this is where consultation is very helpful. Sure. Or having a conversation with the client or what they're experiencing at that point in time

Chris McDonald: too. Yeah, just that open transparency, I think can make a difference with a client too. And talking about what's in the room, which is hard.

Amanda Larson: Very true. I'm a clinical

Chris McDonald: supervisor, so I get my supervisees kind of look like deer in headlights when I say that to really bring stuff like that up. They're like, Oh my God, I'm supposed to like, bring that up to the client. But it's so helpful

Amanda Larson: because a lot of. I mean, they're so, and you experienced this, they're so disconnected from their bodies, you know, that there's not an attunement of like, what physical sensations and what am I noticing?

And so when you start to point some of that out, yeah, there's some uncomfortability, of course, but it can be very helpful therapeutically. Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Chris McDonald: And that can sometimes that can help you push through too. If you are feeling stuck and if you both are to see where you want to go with therapy or even,

Amanda Larson: you know, I've done an expert in this particular area, but like, you know, the stuckness is there like a protective part that's coming up when we talk about price work.

Yeah. Yeah. I've been being able to explore that with clients and seeing that more as a strength. Yeah. Yeah. And being more curious or investigative of how that's been helpful to them. So sometimes I'll use that. The model I got trained in with EMDR was a safe model. So we do incorporate more somatic and attachment.

And so we really do try to create more like curiosity around resistance or blocking or stuckness. And not really framing it as that. How has this been helpful to the client?

Chris McDonald: Or is there a part that's resistant? Yeah, there you go, right? Yeah. I just had that with a client this week. It was just so interesting.

I've seen this person for a long time. We're talking about how long I've worked with her. And it was like, I didn't realize that she was really stuck in the adolescent part of herself. It was like a resisting part that would like not want to, I don't want to do that self care. I don't want to do that exercise.

So I really worked through it this week. And I was like, she took me long enough to really recognize, but a little slow.

Amanda Larson: Yeah. And the more work we do around like child self, right. Or adolescent self that's coming up or an adult protective self. The more clients, like we'll be able to identify and use more, you know, those parts.

And I love parts work because the compassion piece or a reducing shame around, yeah. So that's been really

Chris McDonald: interesting. What would you recommend for a therapist who might want to learn more about using functional medicine or nutrition with clients? Very good

Amanda Larson: question. I would say educate yourself. And understanding some of the presenting symptoms that clients are coming in with that with our lens, right, or biases in our training, we might not necessarily be looking into these other factors that might be contributing to our clients while being so not only educating yourself on some of the presenting symptoms with our clients, but maybe if you're interested in more training, that is always helpful to our consultation or collaborating with other practitioners in the area, like have more training in that area or, you know, medical providers.

Um, could be helpful too, because it's nice to work together as a team. Yeah.

Chris McDonald: And I, I had been going to, before the pandemic, a functional medicine, it was a consultation group, but it was functional doctors at this office, but there were therapists. It was like a whole integrative thing, but, and of course with the, you know, the pandemic happened and a lot of things change, but if you have something like that in your area.

You know, and just ask because you never know what can be out there as far as that go for consultation. So do you have a takeaway, something you could share to any therapists who might just be starting their holistic journey and maybe they're hesitant about integrating anything

Amanda Larson: holistic? I feel like it often comes down with like educating and consulting.

I think even understanding boundaries within our own scope, too, there's a lot of overlap. Um, and these areas and just getting the added support from these other practitioners or providers that could be helpful to you if you were interested in diving more in depth in these areas. For me, it was kind of my own journey and wanting more answers and then just kind of obsessively educating myself.

Yeah. And, and I'm always learning and I don't have all the answers. And that is okay.

Chris McDonald: And that's okay. Yeah. No, I think that's a really good start. I appreciate that. I was with getting more information from other providers, I think can be a good, good start. Um, so what's the best way for listeners to find you and learn more about you?

Um, yeah, you can reach out

Amanda Larson: to us through our email info at the holistic counseling center, gr. com, as well as our social media account on Instagram holistic counseling center. Bye. GR, the GR is very important.

Chris McDonald: I'm so, I, I just love the name of your practice. Of course I do. Yeah, it does. Well, thank you so much for coming on the podcast.

Thank you. Hopefully same as helpful. I appreciate it. This was really fun. And thank you listeners for being here along this journey. Do you always put other's needs before your own? As counselors, we often prioritize the needs of others, but I have a book for you that is an invitation to turn that nurturing energy inward, discover practical self care rituals, ways to upgrade your daily transitions.

and small gifts you can give yourself designed to replenish your energy and cultivate resilience. It's not just a book, it's a companion for those moments when you need a little gentle reminder to prioritize your own well being. So treat yourself the gift of self care. Go to hcpodcast. org forward slash self care.

That's hcpodcast. org forward slash self care. 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. This broadcast is proudly part of the SiteCraft Network.

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