Americans have long been motivated to compete against each other. Whether it’s a rival sports team, a political opponent, or a greater cause like cancer, hunger, or AIDS, people look for things to beat. But what is it about anxiety that leaves people feeling defeated and experiencing such despair?
Everybody experiences anxiety—it’s a natural response that helps humans survive. The unease and worry that comes with uncertain outcomes have protected people for a long time. Think of your weariness to walk down a dark alley alone, or the instinctual urgency you have when a fire alarm goes off. Those make sense, right?
Read the full article at CBS Austin News
Since it is almost Halloween, it seems appropriate to talk about masks. Whether we like to admit it or not, we all tend to wear them, just not the plastic, store purchased ones.
Here are five masks that people tend to wear to hide what is really going on inside:
- Bozo the Clown – Did you know that laughing is one of the ways people stuff feelings? You can usually tell when someone is genuinely laughing or when it seems forced and unnatural. Many people hide their sadness and hurt by constantly telling jokes or making silly comments. The appearance is that they are happy, but if we could see inside, we would find hurt, sadness, loneliness, fear and several other feelings that are hard to acknowledge.
- Einstein the Know it All – Some people use facts, explanations and data to prove that they are right and intellectually can defend any premise. The problem is, they are really hurting inside, just like Bozo. Intellectualization is one of the most common ways we run from our true feelings.
- Egor the Angry – Some wear a constant scowl that says to everyone around, “Don’t mess with me. I am about to blow up and you don’t want to be the one that lights my fuse.” It is sadly very effective at keeping people at a distance so they don’t have to reveal themselves. Just like Bozo and Einstein, Egor is full of fear, a sense of failure, loneliness, sadness and maybe guilt and shame. People tend to walk on eggshells around Egor.
- Weaknfrail – Some seem to have the back of their hand velcroed to their forehead…as in “Woe is me.” I think of the character on Saturday Night Live, Debbie Downer. This mask indicates that the person wearing it cannot handle any bad news, is overwhelmed and beaten down. How could you ever ask them for help or support? It is a way to assure that your true feelings of fear and inadequacy won’t be challenged.
- Perfectionista – This mask indicates that the wearer is exceptionally organized, rarely makes mistakes, if ever, and can handle anything that comes their way. The mask indicates that no matter how high you set the bar, I can jump over it. I don’t need anybody and I will judge you if you do not meet my expectations. Just like Bozo, Einstein, Egor, and Weaknfrail, Perfectionista is hiding a feeling of inadequacy, anger, guilt and shame and fear.
WE all tend to judge our insides by others’ outsides. The truth is, we are all imperfect beings who have feelings and want to experience a sense of connection and belonging. Our society and culture encourage a lot of this. Our self-worth is often measured by the house we live in, the car we drive, our appearance the school our children attend or our annual income.
We are all worthy just because we are here. As Dr. Brene Brown says,” There are no prerequisites for worthiness.” Finding out who we really are is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves. Often that takes therapy and a journey of self-discovery. There is nothing more rewarding, challenging, scary, but ultimately joyful, than finding out who we are and taking off our masks.
What brought you to Innovation360 Austin?
I’m a professional counselor driven by relationships and adventure. I think that’s why Innovation360 is such an enjoyable place for me to work. Though I am new to the i360 Austin team, I am not new to i360. I began my therapeutic work with i360 Dallas. I engaged many different aspects of the program including: Advocate, Individual and Family Therapy, Life Development, as well as leading IOP & Group Therapy. Afterwards, I went into private practice. It was ultimately my relationships with the i360 Austin team, as well as the adventure of the work i360 engages that brought me to Austin.
What motivates you?
I consider myself to be an adventurer. In my mind, an adventurer engages unknown challenges (often with places, people, and cultures). They are problem solvers that seek to be prepared and expect the unexpected. Adventures rely on their preparation, tools, and experiences to help them navigate through these obstacles and anticipate meaningful joy.
I seek to adventure all over the world, but also that’s the work I do in my therapy. I guess you could call me an adventure therapist, though that might be misleading on the surface as most of my therapy work is done within four walls.
What do you do in your free time?
You can find me with my dog child, Ranger. We are likely exploring the cities’ outdoor amenities, a local coffee shop, or on my couch watching sports and news. There are a few other shows I watch, but you’d probably make fun of me. I have the ego strength for that, but ask me in person.
What are you afraid of?
I have a love/hate relationship with adrenaline. I rarely turn down an opportunity for an exciting (potentially dangerous) experience. What people don’t know though, is that deep inside in INSANELY scared. I just have a personal goal to risk in hopes of experiencing “lightning in a bottle” joy.
What else are you passionate about?
Let’s get this out of the way. I’m an Aggie, unashamedly. However, I do have the wherewithal to know that not everyone around me loves Texas A&M. I can talk about college sports for days, but I’ll usually let you start the conversation. Oh, I love the Texas Rangers MLB team too.
What are your future goals?
To learn to surf. I’m not crazy, Austin has a place called NLand where you can actually learn how to surf. Professionally, I really do love therapy. I’d love to continue in private practice, and I hope to teach someday as well.
What is the secret to making lasting change? A few minutes browsing books online could yield countless results on how to cultivate motivation, willpower, and enlightenment. We all go running to these resources as we ask ourselves:
• Why do I keep taking on more than I can handle?
• Why can’t I say “no?”
• Why does my kid keep failing their classes even though I have given them every possible resource I can imagine?
• Why can’t I stick to a diet?
We arm ourselves with information and all the self-discipline we can muster and jump headlong into yet another “lifestyle change.” However, the fatal flaw in our sustained progress, or that of our loved ones, is that we go at it alone, all by ourselves. Let’s admit it: it’s uncomfortable for others to know how and where we struggle and to what extent. Or perhaps we don’t think anyone is capable of helping. Despite all of this, it is the action of stepping out and recruiting healthy support, that is the first and most powerful step in making anything really happen, and stick.
Read the full article on CBS Austin’s website.
Q: Why did you choose to work in the mental health field?
A: I was somewhat bred for it. My family consisted of wonderful and loving people with a healthy dose of substance use and mental health disorders. When I got over all those classic issues of thinking my value was in saving everyone, I was fortunate to find I still had an innate curiosity and desire to hear people share their stories. I find an incredible sense of fulfillment in accompanying and empowering people to heal and grow, both our clients and the staff. It is an honor and privilege to do this work.
Q: What do you enjoy about being the Executive Director of Innovation360?
A: I appreciate our ability to engage with clients in really non-traditional ways. Everything we do with clients on Life Development sessions is done with a great deal of intention and mindfulness in collaboration with the clinical team and a client’s treatment goals.
Having been in the field for a while, I feel spoiled that I can utilize information from the Life Development (LD) Team on how clients are showing up in their everyday life. LD team members can actually experience the awkwardness of conversations with strangers, feel the seclusion of a client’s apartment, experience the apprehension of dealing with trauma in public, and they run alongside people wanting to figuratively (or literally) escape from their problem. That work is an incredible and invaluable contribution to the therapeutic process.
Q: What would you say about the people who work at Innovation360?
A: The i360 model lends itself to a great deal of freedom, but that freedom comes with great responsibility. Our engagement with clients necessitates and fosters rich ideas and discussions among the team, a perfect cauldron for growth and improvement. I really do love the people that make up i360. They are some of the most diverse and wonderful personalities, full of commitment, integrity, grit and wisdom. They also really help me remember to laugh, all the time.
Q: What does growth look like for Innovation360?
A: I think that’s a simple answer- a steady and constant increase in the number of individuals and families we serve and the entities we partner with.
Innovation360 relies on building relationships with the highest quality mental health professionals and organizations. We want desperately to connect our clients with the resources they need and then partner with those service providers, keeping everyone in regular communication and working towards the same goals.
We have some great collaborative relationships with psychiatrists and nurse practitioners, psychologists, therapists, sober home managers, IOP programs and residential treatment facilities. Our partners recognize the value of our wrap-around, therapeutic case management, work with the family system and support of clients in their everyday life.
Our hope is that more and more people find the value in what we do and give us the opportunity to help.
Read more about Elizabeth and her role at i360 Austin here.