Connecting Back To Yourself
Sometimes growth is more about a reunion than anything else
This week has been a bit emotional for me.
In a good way.
I launched something called TAT (The Angry Therapist) LAB this week. Basically ClassPass for your mental and emotional health, using Zoom to run live wellness groups. One may think I’m trying to jump on the bandwagon and capitalize on everyone on Zoom right now looking for connections and a way to keep busy.
But there is also history to this. It’s tied to my story and mission. It goes back nearly a decade when I was on my therapist journey and frustrated with the strict guidelines of the clinical world. Webcams had just come out but we weren’t allowed to use them to help people and I didn’t understand why. We could instantly connect with people from all over the world. Finally deliver therapy. But due to licensure guidelines that differ from state to state, it would create confusion. This would mean the old model would need restructuring. For the board, it would mean loss of control.
So in my little apartment in Ktown, I started experimenting. I didn’t have much of a life then. I was broke and going through a divorce. I was rebuilding myself. I spent a lot of time blogging and sitting in coffee shops asking a lot of “what if…” questions. One of them was, What if the internet was the answer to making self help fun and affordable? What if it could finally scrape the stigma off therapy by making it mainstream? There was no Instagram and wellness influencers then. Retreats and woke tee shirts weren’t a thing yet. I thought, What if you don’t have to work on yourself in nondescript rooms with bad art? I thought the internet could change the temperature of self help. And the world could finally grow in public.
So I did everything I could to color outside the lines. I tried password protected Tumblr groups that I called the Treehouse. I tried running groups on Google Hangouts but many were still on dial up then. I tried FB private groups. I built a small team and we had meetings. About what? Nothing really, I didn’t have any answers. Just a lot of questions. But nothing really stuck.
In my “real life”, I kept running groups the traditional way, in person in quiet hole in the wall coffee shops all over LA. I couldn’t afford an office then. But I ran them differently. Casual over clinical. With you instead of at you. They were more like hangs and gathers than “therapy.” And unlike other therapists, I practiced transparency. I showed myself. I cracked jokes. I rolled up on my motorcycle with holes in my jeans. We drank cheap coffee and ate pastries. It was everything I was taught not to do in therapy school. I didn’t feel like I was being a rebel. I was just being me. I think what didn’t work online just leaked into my real life. Every group felt like one of my favorite movies, The Breakfast Club, and I knew I was on to something.
But eventually the groups faded because I needed to pay bills. So I got busy building a private practice and writing self help books, like other therapists. And that entire chapter was just a dog eared page of a magical summer.
I talk a lot about unlocking your code, connecting to parts of you you have locked into a hope chest because life happened. My idea of running virtual groups in a fun and casual way was something I locked away. And when I locked it away, I also locked away a part of me. The part of me that was fired because he wanted to use movie clips as interventions. The part of me that wanted to help people in new and different ways. The part of me that would get lost for hours building Legos in my room. The part of me that would stare out the classroom window, wondering of all the ways to disrupt the world.
TAT LAB isn’t just another product I’ve launched. It’s me unlocking that hope chest and connecting to me again, a part of me I have locked away. It’s allowing myself to be me, to work in a way that’s honest to me and my story. It’s giving myself a voice. It’s believing in something. Again.
We ran 12 live groups and helped 109 people this week.
I hope to help thousands in this new LAB.
So here’s my question to you.
What’s a part of you you have locked into a hope chest and locked it? Because you had to “grow up.” Because you got married. Had kids. Because you didn’t believe in yourself. Because you believe you failed.
But more importantly, what does it look like to break that lock, open that hope chest, and connect with that part of you again?
What does that look in action?
Not just in thought.
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