Why is it imperative for a clinician to practice self-care? How can practicing self-care benefit a clinician’s work ability? What is the difference between self-confidence, self-esteem, and how can you build on them?
I speak with Dr. Carla Marie Manly about building self-care and self-confidence and why it is important that we make this a priority.
MEET DR. CARLA MARIE MANLY
Dr. Carla Marie Manly, a clinical psychologist and wellness expert, makes her home in Sonoma County, California. In addition to her clinical practice, she is deeply invested in her roles as an author, consultant, advocate, and speaker. With a holistic, body-mind-spirit approach, Dr. Manly specializes in improving professional and personal relationships through mindfulness and communication skills.
With a focus on self-development as the foundation for optimal wellness, she builds teams by fostering individual awareness. Blending traditional psychotherapy with alternative mindfulness practices, Dr. Manly knows the importance of creating healthy balance, awareness, and positivity. Her motto is this: “A well-lived life is a journey of consciously crafting the best version of oneself. Wellness and joy do not occur by chance; they are fostered by manifesting one’s true light with courage and strength. Overall wellbeing occurs by creating a respectful, aware relationship with oneself and others.”
Dr. Manly’s highly acclaimed books, Joy from Fear and Aging Joyfully—plus her newest title, Date Smart, offer life-changing insights and wisdom-filled tips to help readers create positive, purpose-driven lives. As a clinical psychologist, advocate, and author, she’s been cited in top-notch media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Oprah, Reader’s Digest, Psychology Today, NBC, Parade, GQ, Women’s Health, and more.
IN THIS PODCAST:
- Self-care can mean tuning out
- Self-care for clinicians
- How can clinicians boost their self-care practices?
- Self-confidence and self-esteem
SELF-CARE CAN MEAN TUNING OUT
When we become wrapped up in the business and busyness of life we start to do this automatically, without consciousness and without awareness. We eat without tasting, we work without productivity, we see people without connecting.
As we begin to practice tuning out from this busy world and practicing tuning in to ourselves, we are creating a form of self-care by caring for how we perceive the world and making an effort to be conscious of the experiences we have.
SELF-CARE FOR CLINICIANS
Most physicians have a support team: receptionist, nurse, fellow doctors in the room and people to refer to. However, psychotherapists work on their own and give to their clients from their energy, wisdom, time and effort – not just from their expertise.
It is our responsibility actually, so that we can serve our clients, so that we can be in our best body, mind and spirit envelope: we really need … to engage in good self-care. (Dr. Carla Marie Manly)
Creating the conscious space to reset after a therapy session, after a day of work or after a day of caring for your family is important to be able to keep on going and function in a sustainable and enjoyable way.
Without taking and making the time to practice self-care, psychotherapists run the risk of becoming burnt out because the well of energy and effort is exhaustible.
What we draw on to give to clients, other clinicians and families is not an endless amount, and when we create space to replenish ourselves, we give ourselves the ability to keep on giving without running ourselves into the ground.
It’s important for a therapist to have a therapist often to have somewhere to download, and many therapists are under the impression – partly because of societal expectations, client and loved one’s expectations – that we … should have it all together, that we should be perfect, and that’s absolutely baloney. (Dr. Carla Marie Manly)
Practicing good self-care is not only important for the clinician, but also for the work they do.
When they give themselves the time, space and energy to replenish and work on their personal wellness they are better equipped to serve and help their patients because when you push yourself to your absolute limit, you risk letting your personal issues bleed into the therapy you conduct with your clients.
hOW CLINICIANS CAN BOOST THEIR SELF-CARE PRACTICES
It is not always about not having the time, because often time is available. Mostly what happens is that we do not properly choose what to do in the time that we have and we end up wasting it, or not using it well.
If you have time to do one more client, or one more workshop, you certainly have time to take care of yourself because it is imperative to care of yourself as a therapist and therefore you must make time for yourself.
Self-care needs to be intentional and it needs to be that part where we carve it out so that the psyche hears “I am important”, “I am as important as all these other people and things that get calendered, “I am important”. (Dr. Carla Marie Manly)
SELF-CONFIDENCE AND SELF-ESTEEM
When we are more mindful about prioritizing the self, the care of the self, our self-esteem will naturally grow because … now the body, mind and spirit are all saying “she/ he cares about us, I am important and if I am important, if I am prioritized then I must be valuable” and so thus self-esteem grows. (Dr. Carla Marie Manly)
Our self-esteem is more internal, it is how we regard ourselves and that is why self-care is incredibly important. Our self-confidence is more external and is developed and changed by the skills that we move in and out of, what we are outwardly good at.
By encouraging yourself to own your skills – what you are good at and also what you can work more at – it gives you the space to be real with yourself and others and set reasonable expectations for your goals.
Having self-confidence does not mean that you think you are the best at everything, it means that you know where your strengths lie, you are ready to learn in spaces wherein you can learn more and you enjoy your capacity and ability without relying on external validation.
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Welcome to the Holistic Counseling Podcast, where you discover diverse wellness modalities, advice on growing your integrative practice, and grow confidence in being your unique self. I'm your host, Chris McDonald. I'm so glad you're here for the journey.
Welcome back to the Holistic Counseling Podcast. I'm your host, Chris McDonald. Today's topic is building self-care and self-confidence. It's one that I am so passionate about, but I have an amazing guest to bring it to you today. Dr. Carla Marie Manly is a clinical psychologist and wellness expert. She makes her home in Sonoma County, California. In addition to her clinical practice, she is deeply invested in her roles as an author, consultant, advocate, and speaker. With a holistic body, mind, spirit approach, she specializes in improving professional and personal relationships through mindfulness and communication skills. Blending traditional psychotherapy with alternative mindfulness practices, Dr. Manly knows the importance of creating healthy balance, awareness, and positivity. Her motto is this; a well-lived life is a journey of consciously crafting the best version of oneself. Wellness and joy do not occur by chance. They are fostered by manifesting one's true light with courage and strength. Overall wellbeing occurs by creating a respectful, aware relationship with oneself and others. Welcome to the podcast Dr. Carla.
[DR. CARLA MANLY]: Thank you for having me, Chris. It's such a pleasure to be here today. Thank you.
[CHRIS]: Yes, I love that quote, that motto.
[DR. CARLA]: Thank you. Thank you. It's very much how I work, how I feel, how I live.
[CHRIS]: You always have such a positive energy and vibe too. I have to say that.
[DR. CARLA]: Thank you. Part of it is natural and part of it is cultivated to make sure that I stay positive. And I do want to say, even as I'm saying that, that I also allow myself to have times where I'm not positive. If I'm feeling something sad or something angry, then I allow myself that. And I think that is actually part of my secret that I really, not that it's so much of a secret but I allow myself to feel my feelings and that way I let them move through me and then when I returned to my naturally joyful state, there it is.
[CHRIS]: There it is, always can reconnect. You know, that's funny. When I was in graduate school, my one professor left us with this on the last day of class. She said, "If I can give you one piece of advice is to allow yourself to feel your feelings." That just stuck with me and I think of that for our clients we serve and how important that is and how healthy right to be authentically you and where you are.
[DR. CARLA]: And I absolutely agree with that advice and think it's so important. In fact, it takes me that for a minute too, when I was in my internship and I was working on juvenile probation and some of the stories where the kids would share with me, we would do individual work and group work and some of the stories were just so painful. And I would find myself sitting in this group and tears would come to my eyes and I was a newbie. And I thought I had to stay out prim and proper and contained. I talked to my supervisor afterward because I had started crying, hearing this really horrific story. And he said to me, and I will never forget it, "Do not apologize for your tears. Your tears are a gift to these young people who have been told that there was no place for their emotions and they had to pretend." He said, "You are actually a model. Never apologize for your tears."
[CHRIS]: That's powerful.
[DR. CARLA]: Isn't that powerful? And I have realized that, when we were talking about self-care and all of that today and that's why we're naturally going to the heart of it, which is when we allow ourselves to feel our feelings. That is part of our self-care because it takes so much work to repress our feelings.
[CHRIS]: Or to be too busy and avoid them.
[DR. CARLA]: Yes. And I think that one of the really important pieces of that is that when we feel our feelings, some people will say, "Well, then I can be angry whenever I want, and I can yell whenever I want, and I can do this whenever I want," but it's really about feeling the feelings, yes, of course, and then using them responsibly.
[CHRIS]: Using them responsibly.
[DR. CARLA]: Yes.
[CHRIS]: I got to remember that.
[DR. CARLA]: Well, and it's interesting because I work with people or even people in my own life where they'll be all angry and, "Can't I feel my feelings? You say I can feel my feelings." And I say, "Well, absolutely. You can feel your feelings, but then when they're coming out of you, you must express them and use them responsibly and not harm others. So you have to be aware of the people in front of you." And so I think, and around you, and so I think that's a part that is so important that we often forget that when we are expressing our feelings and using our feelings. We want to make certain that we're not harming others and we want to make certain that we're not harming the self because when biologically, it's why they've shown that hitting pillows and kicking things and pounding on things is actually not really the best outlet because we are teaching the brain ---
[CHRIS]: How to be angry.
[DR. CARLA]: How to be angry. And so then what happens when we're in [inaudible 00:05:59] and that pillow's not handy, well, we want to punch somebody next to us. And so, because that punching instinct has become more hardwired, so it really makes sense that we do want to feel all of our feelings as part of our journey in life. But we3 want to use some responsibility.
[CHRIS]: Absolutely. So what first interested you in using a holistic approach?
[DR. CARLA]: It's so interesting, Chris, because I get asked that now and again, and I realized that it's nothing, I wish I could say it was some sort of conscious light bulb moment but it really wasn't. It was a series of events, a series of meetings, a series of serendipitous occurrences, where I kept finding myself put in situations in seminars, in retreats where I was saying, "Oh, this feels right. Oh, this doesn't feel right. Oh, this feels right." And what I realized over time that the ones that felt right were the ones that took a body, mind, spirit approach. And I guess if I have to go back to one of the first times, and I didn't realize it at the time, this is retrospectively, I was fortunate enough to attend a seminar in Ireland where I was among women who are just very comfy in their bodies. Not all of them, but you know, the ones that, who were the leaders and some of the participants very comfy in their skin, very body, mind, spirit approach.
And it was, Marion Woodman wasn't there, but the women who were leading it were trained by her and it just felt very unfamiliar, I must say. I still remember, they were asking me to do things like make masks or put my feet in clay and that sort of thing. So I was like, "Oh, this is not what I'm used to." And then I realized that afterward was at my soul knew that it was good for me. And so I wanted to take some of that work and give it to other women. And I do have to say for listeners who are thinking, "What's she talking about?" Oh, we were doing dances with women in circles and sitting and doing drawing and artwork ---
[CHRIS]: That sounds wonderful.
[DR. CARLA]: It sounds wonderful, but it was very unfamiliar to me. I was not raised or schooled in that way. And so what I realized was that it was very good for me. It was taking my body and my mind and my spirit. Not just working my mind, not just working the left part of my brain. It was working the right side. It was making, not even really working, it was making a place for the right side of my brain. And so that it, with seminars like that, that really taught me the importance of being able to work from that paradigm, that body, mind, spirit paradigm, where all of you are welcome in the room. Not just your brain, all of you.
[CHRIS]: That's perfect definition. I love it.
[DR. CARLA]: Thank you.
[CHRIS]: Yes. So I know you are big into mindfulness. So how do you teach mindfulness to clients?
[DR. CARLA]: That's a great question. And the way I work with my clients, interestingly, this is the way I work with myself to teach myself mindfulness. We get on a treadmill in life or a hamster wheel, the way I like to call it, where we are busy from morning till night. We accomplish a lot. And often we don't enjoy what we're accomplishing or notice what we're accomplishing. So yes, we've eaten that breakfast and lunch has gone down our throat and we've done five different work projects, but have we enjoyed them? And so have we noticed them, have we benefited from them? And so that's what I really like to help clients do; is to begin on a very foundational level of slowing down, noticing their breath, learning to pause, learning to breathe in, to breathe out. And in my book, Joy from Fear, I'm very proud of that book as a whole, but as in many ways of how I give people concrete exercises, concrete steps on how to slow down to breathe, concrete steps on how to wake up in a way that allows you to find calm. For example, we often go straight for a phone in the morning. And I encourage people not to do that. I encourage people to leave their phone out of their bedroom, their computer out of the bedroom ---
[CHRIS]: That sounds like perfect self-care for counselors and therapists, does it?
[DR. CARLA]: It's what I try to practice. Even though my phone is by my bed because it's charging and it's my clock as well, it is off. And I do not, unless I have something really critical happening with a family member or something, I do not have it turned on. And I really try to help people understand that mindfulness is a way of life that we want to start our day, calm, say wake up, do some breathing, put your feet on the ground, brush your teeth. As you're brushing your teeth, this is really what I do, as I'm brushing my teeth, I'm doing a forward fold. You'll notice the multitasking here, but I'm doing a forward fold and I'm saying my gratitudes in my head. So I'm really thinking my feet, I'm thinking my back, I'm thinking the loved ones in my life. I'm thinking my teeth, all of these ---
[CHRIS]: All while brushing your teeth.
[DR. CARLA]: All while brushing my teeth. And then after I have something to drink and feed the dog, then I may, now 15, 20 minutes down the line, then I may check my phone to see if there's anything critical for me to attend to. So notice, now somebody might be listening, "Oh, this sounds perfect." Well, it is perfect in ways. Yes, I too have to watch to make sure that I'm slowing my breathing, that I'm not rushing to do this or to do that, that I'm singing my morning songs and enjoying my time with my partner. And really that is often coming back to a place of mindfulness because all of us can get on that treadmill very quickly without thinking about it. And so I think that if we can be our default, if we just strive to bring ourselves back to center throughout the day, mindfully, thoughtfully, not trying to do too much at once, and here's another tip.
And this one I learned again, as I learned many things from either myself, my life, my clients, but trying to stay abreast of everything and all the latest news and the research. I was taking my morning walk, and I take a walk every morning. It's my oxygen. It's the oxygen for my soul and I was finding that I was putting podcasts in my ears every morning or listening to an article on Pocket every morning. And I realized that as much as I was accruing knowledge, I was losing my connection with nature. I was losing my connection with my dog. I was losing my connection with myself. The sound of my breath was set, the thoughts in my brain that were calling for me to give them space. And so I thought, well, I'll leave my earbuds in my ear. That way I still feel like I'm in this private space and not everybody on my walk tries to stop and talk to me. And so I continue on my walk and I realized I've been at this now for a month of going with nothing in my ears, no music, no anything. And I am so much more at peace. And so for me, that was a way of realizing that self-care in many ways, means tuning out to the buzz of the world.
[CHRIS]: Tuning out and tuning into yourself into life and into life.
[DR. CARLA]: Absolutely. And I think that there's this pressure on us to know more, to be more, to do more. And when we get on that track, we can certainly lose connection to the self.
[CHRIS]: Yes. For sure. So why do you think self-care is so important for clinicians?
[DR. CARLA]: Oh, for clinicians? Oh my goodness. I think that as caregivers, as psychotherapists, when we are caring for others, we are focusing on the client for that hour, that 45 minutes, that hour and a half. Whenever we're giving we are full on, focused on other. That takes quite a lot of energy. Now let's compare it say to a physician who's seeing someone in their office for 10 minutes, does the computer, the chart work, does this or that, and the nurse takes over or the PA takes over. They may have a little break for coffee then they move to the next person. There are some natural breaks. Not that they're not getting drained, but there are some natural breaks and a lot of support. Most physicians have a lovely support team. For psychotherapists, we are on our own. We are largely, most of us not working with a team to support us.
Most of us do not have secretaries. If we're lucky we have a biller, right? But still that's not emotional support. And then many psychotherapists are naturally caregivers. So they are the ones in their personal world who are doing the vast share of the caregiving, if not all of it. So they may be raising the children, cooking the dinner, doing the cleaning, doing the events, whatever needs to be done. And so you can see how that quickly can snowball and lead to compassion, fatigue. It can lead to burnout. It can lead to stress and anxiety and depression. And so then it is our responsibility actually, so that we can serve our clients, so that we can be in our best body, mind, and spirit envelope. We really need, and it's, I don't see it as an option, we really need to engage in good self-care.
And for those of us like myself who are natural introverts, we may not be in office settings where we have five or 10 people in our cohort. We may not be in a, we may have chosen to be in private practice rather than in a setting where there may be mentorship naturally available. And so we have to be very careful that we have a support team of those who understand our field, who understand what we're going through. Whether we create a support group of other healthcare professionals, or have friends who are therapists, who understand, and we can give mutual support, it is to me so important to be able to reset. Another reason that I think that it's so important for therapists to have good self-care is we, like everyone have personal lives. We have relationships that are not perfect, whether it's with a partner or a child or a parent.
We have health issues. We have everything that other people experience. And so it's so important for a therapist to have a therapist often, to have somewhere to download. And many therapists are under the impression, partly because of societal expectations, client expectations, loved ones expectations that we shouldn't have therapists, that we should have at all together, that we should be perfect. And that's absolutely burning. We are human beings who give so much to others. Then of course we need support.
[CHRIS]: It's so helpful to have a therapist to talk to for us too.
[DR. CARLA]: Oh, certainly. And we may need someone like a mentor to talk about cases on a confidential basis, but we also need someone to help support us in the human side of life. That part that struggles with mindfulness or whatever's on the plate, whether it's personal issues, financial issues, social issues, we're humans. And many people do not want to believe that we are human. And so I think the important part about being a psychotherapist that sets us apart is that we have our humanness but when we are in session, we must bracket that. We must have the wherewithal to set it aside and say, "Here I am. I'm all yours, my personal issues. Whatever they are, will wait until whatever the time is that I can safely address them." And self-care is part of that. If we have good self-care, we are absolutely able to bracket our personal experiences.
[CHRIS]: And that's so important to set those boundaries with our personal issues and not allow those to interfere with our care for our clients.
[DR. CARLA]: Yes. And I think that it is good self-care that allows us to do that. And I think that those who don't have good self-care are much more likely to let their personal issues bleed into their professional world, no matter what field there is, they're definitely in psychotherapy. And so I think that's just an important part of our rights and our responsibilities as psychotherapists.
[CHRIS]: How do you think that therapists can boost their self-care practices? Because in my experience with all the workshops I've given the number one thing people tell me is I don't have time.
[DR. CARLA]: It's so interesting. I was having this discussion with my partner the other day about time. And I will often say, I don't have time for this, or I don't have time for that and he was saying the same to me. I don't have time for this right after he came back from an extended trip with his buddies. And I was saying, "Honey, it's so funny because you and I both have lots of time, don't we?" It's just what we choose to do with it, what we choose to do with our priorities. And so that conversation was a lovely wake up call for me because, not that I haven't been there before, but I realized, wait a second, if I have time to do one more client or one more pro bono workshop or whatever I'm doing, I certainly have time to take care of me.
In fact, it is an ethical imperative. And when we look at it through that lens of it being an imperative is almost a shock when I took a seminar and that's the phrasing they used, it is an ethical imperative and it was a shock to hear that and a welcome shock because it set me back and I thought, "Oh well, that's, I must make time. I must make time. Just like I would make time for a client, I must make time for me. And so it was almost a permission in a way to say, this is not selfish. And we therapists, we often promote that idea that it's not selfish to engage in self-care. And I think that we need to live that in many ways and really help other people see, "No, this is an important hour for me every day."
And I think another really important part of self-care for therapists and we've talked about the support and the mentors and the having a therapist, but I also think another important piece is making time for play because our work is so serious [crosstalk] And my pop, thank goodness reminds me to play and if it weren't for him, I might be, my life might be devoid of play because I'm so work-oriented and other oriented. So I think that we all, whatever form it takes for us, we all must find a way where we can play and laugh and giggle. Whether it's with girlfriends or watching funny movies, whatever brings us joy and levity, play is important.
[CHRIS]: We need more of that joy. Finding those things that bring you joy, I think is important because that's different for everybody.
[DR. CARLA]: Absolutely.
[CHRIS]: I want to reiterate too, what you said about finding support systems. I think it's so important to find people that, especially with the pandemic still, I know we're not doing a lot of in-person networking, but to find your tribe, tribe of other therapists that you can connect with and text with. I call them text buddies. So I have a few of my text buddies that will just be like, "Oh my God, I'm having such a bad day," or just something real quick, shoot a message just so that you have some kind of connections. Pre-pandemic, I would meet those buddies for lunch or we'd get coffee, or just once in a while to create that community support. But you have to find what works for you in your life right now. You can't do this alone is what I'm trying to say too.
[DR. CARLA]: I 100% agree with you that, and again, it's the nature of our work that often keeps us isolated. We're in our offices or in, during the pandemic behind a computer screen for eight hours a day. And that is very much against our primitive nature, our natural desire to connect with others and to be part of a communal support system. So I think that is such a big piece of self-care and some people I really want to just to speak to this for a minute, that many people think that self-care has to be expensive or needs to be something that is very external, a bubble bath, a manicure.
[CHRIS]: [inaudible 00:23:50] manicure or massage.
[DR. CARLA]: Yes. Yes, and I think that it is just so important for us to realize that self-care is something that ideally we can calendar it. We can put it on a calendar and say, even if it's the calendar in our mind that says every morning at 7:00 AM, I am going for a run, every noon I am doing my yoga stretches, whatever it is, but self-care needs to be intentional. It needs to be that part where we carve it out so that the psyche hears I am important. I am as important as all of these other people and things that get calendared. I am important. So I think that's a really important piece to know and that self-care is, as you said, we all have our own version of self-care, but other than making it very specific and very intentional and in carving out that time, I think that the world is your oyster when it comes to self-care, whether it's sitting on the beach or beaches near you, or going for a walk in the mountains or playing with your dog or baking cookies or baking bread. As long as it's something that is rejuvenating and feels as though it is for you.
[CHRIS]: I love that, rejuvenating and for you to remember that definition because I think people that, yes, you're right, they get stuck in that, "Oh, I have to have a massage." There's so many different ways, and I tell people too, that eating lunch, there you go. There's some, self-care. Making sure you're making time for nourishing yourself.
[DR. CARLA]: Absolutely. And I would even take that to another level. And I don't mean to disagree with you, but I just want to make an important distinction here that if we are not careful, then we will say, "Oh, my self-care is the breakfast I gobbled in the car. My self-care is the lunch that I ate from the drive-through. My dinner is that slice of frozen pizza." And that is to me just essential survival. We have to feed the body. So to transform it into the self-care realm, I would say a lunch that is full of self-care is one where you carve out that time and you say, "Today's different. This lunch, I am creating a big, thick lunch for myself." It doesn't have to be grand or masking everything. Or, "I am setting out this candle with my dinner and I am going to turn off all the TV, all the news, all the phone. And this is my dinner." And I'm imagining I'm in front of whatever it is, the Eiffel tower, whatever. And this is my self-care journey.
[CHRIS]: That's like a meal upgrade.
[DR. CARLA]: Yes.
[CHRIS]: That just came into my mind.
[DR. CARLA]: Exactly. You've taken that meal and you've gone first class. So I think that if we don't do that and I've fallen into this practice, I know it very well, we take the ordinary and we tuck it into the self-care and then we say, "Okay ---."
[CHRIS]: "I'm good." Yes. But I agree. I totally agree with you. It's got to be really a nutritious meal. Obviously not fast food, but taking your time, eating mindfully and not rushing and shoving it down your throat.
[DR. CARLA]: Absolutely. And really mindfully setting it apart and saying, "This is different. This is mindful. This is self-care." And actually sometimes I'll eat an apple and I won't really have noticed the apple and then there are times where I say, "Okay, this is my space. I am eating this apple and noticing." Now I wish I did that for every apple. But to me, that's the idea that we really want to make sure that we don't shortchange ourselves.
[CHRIS]: I know you mentioned something about, saying to your psyche, if you're penciling in your self-care time, that I am important, almost I am worthy, is what I'm thinking. So do you see a connection with self-esteem or self-confidence with self-care?
[DR. CARLA]: Oh, that's such a good question. Yes. I think when we look at self-confidence and self-esteem, I just want to bracket that for a second and say self-confidence, and self-esteem are different. Self-esteem is that internal quality that is dependent on how much love and care and self-awareness we choose to invest in, how much the awareness of the self and the love and the authentic caring for this health comes into play. And so, of course, when we are more mindful about prioritizing the self, the care of the self, our self-esteem will naturally grow. Because again, then we go back to that place of the body, mind and spirit are now all saying, "She cares about us, or he cares about us. I am important and if I am important and I am prioritized, then I must be valuable." And so that self-esteem will grow. Absolutely. Thank you for bringing up that connection. It's really important.
[CHRIS]: And you said, so self-confidence you say is different than self-esteem?
[DR. CARLA]: Yes. So self-confidence and I love distinguishing these two, self-confidence is something that is more dependent on the external and much more likely to be able to change and shift. So self-confidence arrives from being good at something, skilled at something by a physical quality, such as your external appearance. So if I am basing my sense of self on my perception that I'm attractive, what happens if I'm no longer attractive or people don't notice me or I get in an auto accident, I have a big scar on my face. All of a sudden my self-confidence is gone. What happens if I base my sense of who I am on my work or my soccer ability or my yoga ability on something external and something happens and I can no longer do that? Or my soccer skills slip. Then my self-confidence will plummet. Ho.
ever, if I have self-esteem, which is something we grow throughout time, then if those bits and pieces of life go by the wayside, we may struggle, of course, we may be very sad that we can no longer do what we were able to do before, but we will bounce back. We will be more resilient because the self-esteem, the regard for the self that is much more permanent.
[CHRIS]: I love that distinction. Yes, I had never thought of it that way.
[DR. CARLA]: But it's funny because I researched it when I was, I had always known there was a difference, but 10 years ago, when I had started working on Joy from Fear, I really dove into that because there is indeed such a huge difference there.
[CHRIS]: Yes. And I don't think most people are aware of that.
[DR. CARLA]: No, I don't. And sadly, there is quite a lot of misinformation out there on that topic. I was listening to a podcast where a woman was actually had it flipped, completely flipped. But when I did the research on it, not only as I go back into the psychological literature, but I went back into the etymology of the words competence and esteem. So from a psychological perspective, that is the distinction.
[CHRIS]: So when a therapist starts a new treatment and I'm thinking holistic therapists, a lot of times they can be filled with self-doubt and uncertainty. How do you recommend that they might build their self-confidence to start something new?
[DR. CARLA]: That is such a good question. And I think when we start anything new, if we take the attitude unapologetically of being a learner, and I'm a learner every day, I know every day is a new day for me. And I have learned that from yoga and from meditation that we are practicing every day. We are new every day. So if you just adopt that attitude, then you don't have to worry about imposter syndrome. You don't have to worry about being perfect because you're coming to the table saying, "I didn't have this." And I think what happens when we do that, not only are we giving ourselves permission to be a student, but we are also, anyone who is working with us or in proximity to us says, "Oh, she's fine being a student. She doesn't know everything or I need to know everything." And that also, by the way, feeds our self-esteem because we know we ---
[CHRIS]: It's all connected.
[DR. CARLA]: It is all connected. And so then we are able to be in that place of, "Oh, I'm learning." And then when we say that to other people, they tend to be also much kinder to us because if I just lead with, "Oh, this is the first," whatever I've done, or, "This is the first time I've ever been on this app, or this was the first time I've ever talked before a crowd of thousand people," people automatically, especially if the caring people, the good warm hearted people, they're there with you. They are just there to ---
[CHRIS]: Yes, they are not going to judge you.
[DR. CARLA]: Yes, because you are being authentic.
[CHRIS]: It can be hard to start something new, but going in with that attitude, like this is a new day and I'm still learning, and this is a process and not beating yourself up if it doesn't go well.
[DR. CARLA]: Absolutely, and to expect it to not go perfectly and to realize that we generally learn our best when we do have some hiccups. It is life's hangups that we remember most. So if, in fact it was funny. I did something this weekend for the first time. I was on the new Clubhouse app. I was invited to give a presentation and it was so new to me. It was so ---
[CHRIS]: I haven't even been there yet, so you are way ahead of me.
[DR. CARLA]: Oh my God, and I had received an invite to do it. So I got on the app and long story short, I was doing it from my phone and they kept saying, "We cannot hear you. We cannot hear you." So afterwards, I was talking to somebody about it saying, "My God, I felt so out of my element." And the sweet person that I was sharing with said, "Oh, why were you using your phone? You should have been on the computer." And I thought they would've heard, they said, "They would have heard you so much better." And they were very kind about it and I thought, "Ah, had I not shared that vulnerability of how difficult it was for me, I would have never gotten that feedback," which was obvious. It was an obvious step. But for me, it wasn't because I had been sent the invite on my phone so I assumed that I was supposed to use my phone. So it was funny. And then when we laugh at our mistakes like that and go, "Wow, well, I will never forget that one again." And so I think it's our mistake if we allow ---
[CHRIS]: They stand out all day.
[CHRIS]: Yes, they do. And if we allow them to be our teachers, then we don't look back. We may look back with a bit of chagrin, but we can also look back and say, "Wow, I learned from that."
[CHRIS]: It's a good way to look at it. I know the first time I ever did brain spotting with a real client, it didn't go well. And he did not respond. I was like, "This is not how it went we practiced with each other and training." So just keeping that sense of humor, I think is important. Then just knowing it's a learning experience. And I got consultation from that and they pointed me in the right direction. I was on the right track, but it was just that wobbly ground when you start something new and you're really looking at every single step you're taking and, "Is this the right thing? Did I say it the right way?" And knowing that it's okay where you are.
[DR. CARLA]: Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think that just speaking to today's topic of building self-care and self-confidence as a holistic therapist, when we look at that and say, "Yes, while we are working on our self-esteem, we can also be working on building confidence in our skills and abilities." And as clinicians, we do that as a lifetime. I hope that most clinicians do that as they're doing their CEUs and attending workshops and all of that. And that necessarily means that we will be novices sometimes. It necessarily means that. Learning means you're a novice. And so owning that and I think we build our self-confidence and our self-esteem by taking that approach of, "I will learn something new. It might be uncomfortable, it might be different, I'll make some mistakes, but I'll reach out when I have a hiccup, like you did. I'll consult if I have a hiccup and I've certainly done my fair share of consulting when I've done something new." And realizing that's just part of life.
[DR. CARLA]: Well, how can we expect ourselves to be perfect? And it is our clients, the ones that don't respond or respond differently than we expect, that definitely lead us to that place of, "Okay, need a consult on this." And that's a good thing.
[CHRIS]: Yes, and then you can get insights that you never imagined, never would have thought of yourself.
[DR. CARLA]: Absolutely. In fact, some of my favorite conversations, I do EMDR is one of the modalities that I work in, and I am blessed to have some dear friends who are real experts in that area. And consulting with them, we'll make a call into a half consult about something that either us needs as a clinician and then the other half, you get girlfriend time, or there's a guy friend. And so it is such ---
[CHRIS]: Means a lot.
[DR. CARLA]: Oh my goodness. And you just segment it into parts, work parts, professional parts, personal and it's just fabulous. And again, that also is a way to build self-care and self-confidence because you're not masking your capacities or pretending to be something you are not. You're owning what you might not be so great at or skilled at yet and you're saying, "Hey, I'm going to work on this." And so I think for us, as it's so important to have that type of support.
[CHRIS]: So what's a takeaway you could share today that could help listeners that are just starting their holistic journey?
Speaker 2: Find your Kula, find your group, search and experiment until you find what feels right for you. Play with different holistic approaches and ways of being. And I don't do it in a judgmental way. I'll just experience something and say, "Does this feel, does my gut say this feels right for me?" And if it doesn't, then it's not right. And if it does, I build upon it and I search for more of that. And I think when we take that mindset of creating our Kula, our family of holistic practitioners who feel right to us, then whether they're across the country or down the street or across town or across the world, then we build a collection, a family, so to speak, of those who are like minded, yet different enough minded that we can all challenge each other to grow and expand.
[CHRIS]: That's so true. So have I missed anything else you wanted to share?
[DR. CARLA]: Not today. I think that covers it really well.
[CHRIS]: I know you shared a lot today. What's the best way for listeners to find you and learn more about you? And I know you have another book coming out too.
[DR. CARLA]: I do. I have Date Smart coming out in July. Right now, I have Aging Joyfully and ---
[CHRIS]: I just downloaded that. I'm going to read that.
[DR. CARLA]: Oh, I look forward to your thoughts on it. My writing is just one way for me to reach more people and I just, I love to write. And so people can find me, listeners can find me on my website, drcarlamanly.com [M A N L Y] .com. And in all the usual places, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Dr. Carla Manly. Sometimes you'll see me as Dr. Carla Marie Manly.
[CHRIS]: Thank you so much for coming on today.
[DR. CARLA]: It has been a pleasure and a joy. Thank you for having me.
[CHRIS]: Yes, and that brings us to the end of this episode. I want to thank my listeners for tuning in today and so glad to have you here on this journey. Remember to subscribe, rate, and review wherever you get your podcasts. This is Chris McDonald sending each one of you much light and love. Until next time, take care.
If you're loving the show, will you rate review and subscribe on your favorite podcast platform? We just started this and that helps other people find this show. Also, if you're feeling uncertain about your modalities and you want to build your confidence to be your unique self, why don't you to join my free email course, Becoming a Holistic Counselor over holisticcounselingpodcast.com. In my becoming a holistic counselor course, you'll get tips for adding integrative care into your practice, what training you need and don't, and the know-how to attract your ideal holistic clients. If this sounds like the direction you are headed, sign up at holisticcounselingpodcast.com.
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