Therapy 101 With Dr. Anna Roth - TTFA PREMIUM

This is a transcript of a “TTFA Premium” episode entitled “Therapy 101 With Dr. Anna Roth - TTFA PREMIUM" The text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future for accuracy.

Listen to the episode here.

————

Hello, Terribles. It’s Nora. Maybe you’ve heard me talk about this already, but we have a new subscription service called TTFA Premium. For 8 bucks a month, you can sign up, support our show, and get ad-free episodes and bonus content. This is a little bit of an excerpt from one of our bonus episodes. Enjoy!


Nora McInerny: Hello, Terribles. It’s Nora, Nora McInerny here. You are listening to Terrible Premium, TTFA Premium. Not really sure what we’re calling it, but all I know is it’s obviously very premium. It’s highly premium. And one of the reasons that we wanted to launch this new premium content is because we’ve been doing this podcast for five years. There’s so many things that we want to do that haven’t quite found a place within our typical podcast format, our typical episode format. And one of the things that I’ve wanted to do, especially after doing five years of this and exploring all of these topics, is to have more conversations with actual experts that are informational and that help to answer some of the questions that come up in and around these episodes. And one of those experts that I've been wanting to talk to, wanting to collaborate with in this podcast format, is Dr. Anna Roth. Anna is a holistic psychologist. She loves talking about the really hard stuff. She is one of us. She is a definite Terrible. So we know that the type of people who listen to “Terrible, Thanks for Asking” are also the type of people who have been in therapy, are in therapy right now. Raise your hand if you’re in therapy? My hand just went up. Shot up, like me! Hermione Granger! Pick me! I’m also in therapy! And if you are not in therapy right now, or if you’ve wondered about how it works, I think that this conversation might help you get there. Maybe you’ll be tempted to dip a toe in those therapeutic waters. So that’s what this episode is all about. It’s about therapy. The conversation you’re about to hear is a conversation between Anna and I about feelings, about a therapeutic relationship — what it is, how it works, how difficult it is to find one within the United States heath care system. And this fact that mental health and mental illness don’t exist in a binary. We’re all sliding up and down these scales every day. Okay? Or at least I am. Welcome aboard the emotional roller coaster. Please buckle in. It's gonna be a wild ride. Here is my conversation with my friend and yours, Dr. Anna Roth.


Nora McInerny: There's this huge binary, like either you're mentally healthy, or you're mentally ill. Either you are like physically healthy or you're physically ill. And most of us are really sliding up and down that spectrum pretty, pretty regularly. So depending on the day, I don't know, even though I know that I have- that I have depression, and I have generalized anxiety disorder, I have ADHD, but whatever whatever whatever. It's not as if I have- I live every single day within the confines of a specific illness. And it's not as if people who do not have a diagnosis live specifically within this realm of like total wellness either.

 

Dr. Anna Roth: Exactly.

 

Nora McInerny: So I think that ties really well into... the first thing you said was emotional intelligence is trying to see things more, see the present moment more clearly, right. See who we are more clearly, like this is all ways of like shifting through those lenses, like when you get your eyes checked, trying to see things more clearly.

 

Dr. Anna Roth: Right. And the way that we see our humanity and our struggle within humanity really shapes our ability to advocate for help or to allow ourselves to have our own discernment and clarity. I think that a lot of times people say, “I can't trust what I'm seeing because I- I'm depressed,” or, “I can't see- I can't trust myself because I'm really ashamed of who I am.” And when we start to understand just how human all of these different things are, it becomes a lot easier to trust what we hear and what we know because we don't think they're inherently, inherently flawed or wrong or bad. That's such a big part of it.

 

Nora McInerny: That they are not inherently flawed, wrong or bad. That actually leads me well into- leads me well into a couple audience questions that we have, and understanding this is not- this is not therapy. We already know that. We're going to put the- don't worry, we'll put the full on everything, the disclaimer and stuff. But we had some- some questions for a therapist, some questions for our resident Dr. Anna Roth. And something that we've talked about on the show, that you and I have talked in the courses that we've done, is that- is just pity, you know, just like the sick, horrible feeling of being pitied. It is the cheapest emotion. It's just sad confetti, just throwing it everywhere. It sticks everywhere. Awful. Feels so bad to be on the receiving end of it. And one of our listeners, Michelle, asked how do you deal with people who pity you after a loss. So hearing things like, “Oh my God, it's so amazing to see you out and about after all you've been through?” So any sort of general advice for ways to respond to people who consistently pity you, knowing everybody, of course, everybody is saying these things with good intentions, right? People are not out here trying to injure you with their pity. They think that they are doing a kindness to you. So how do we navigate those interpersonal conversations when the fact is your- your intentions and your impact are not lining up?

 

Dr. Anna Roth: So I think- you know, I did an article recently about rejection, and this is tied in. So rejection or pity or anything like that can only get its hooks into us if there's a place in us that, I think, doesn't feel ... like, we have a complete right to our experience. Like I think that we have- we can kind of get a... like if I've bought in a little bit to the fact that I should have shame around the fact I still have grief, then when somebody says anything, I might actually feel a reaction to that, whether they handle it really elegantly and like, kindly or where they- whether they say something that's kind of like, just feels gross. I think that the most important factor here isn't really how to respond or how people say things. It's how much do you feel like you own your own story and know that you have a right to it. And then you watch how people might flail around you. But it's like, that sense of, “This is mine and I get to have it, and I love myself, and I- I don't judge myself for this.” That is what is key. And when we have that, it hits different. Somebody's pity or somebody's comment, it just hits different when we're really shored up with that sense of feeling like we own it. Does that make sense?

 

Nora McInerny: Oh that makes sense. It really does. It's like, it's hard for a seed like that to take root when we've already- we've already got that soil prepped and ready. It's already growing other stuff like it just, I think in my experiences when that has happened to me or when somebody says something to me that feels injurious, that feels awful, that is wounding, it's because there was space for it to get in, you know? And when I am at, like, my healthiest and my wholest, when I am like the owner of my — and you always are the owner of your own story, but you don't always feel like you are.

 

Dr. Anna Roth: Exactly.

 

Nora McInerny: Then the things that people say to you, it feels like someone else is telling you who you are. They are telling you how you are. And when you're already sure of both of those things, it doesn't get in as much. It just doesn't.

 

Dr. Anna Roth: Exactly. Exactly. It it still might be a little sting or a little like, “ugh, this again,” but it doesn't really make you- like the shame doesn't enter into your bubble.

 

Nora McInerny: Yeah, yeah.

 

Dr. Anna Roth: It just pings off. So to- to Michelle and anyone else who has that question, I would say just keep working on your own sense of empowerment and write to your own experience wherever you are.

 

Nora McInerny: Who you are, how you are, like that is yours to define and focus on your definition of it more than anything.


You can hear the rest of this episode by subscribing to TTFA Premium. It is a new way to support our show, a way to subscribe and get ad-free episodes and bonus content like what you just heard. You can learn more at TTFA.org/Premium. That’s TTFA.org/Premium.