Elizabeth Barrett

Host of The Reluctant Therapist

Elizabeth Barrett is a wife, mother, licensed marriage-family therapist, educator, eaves dropper, emotion worker, and mental health consultant. She uses all of these skills to address the subjects that we all struggle with in this conversation with the Reluctant Therapist.

Ways to Connect

Spiritualism is a religious practice that utilizes the work of mediums to bring forth messages from relatives who have passed over, to help guide and inform an individuals spiritual journey. Elizabeth Barrett, the Reluctant Therapist, comes from Lilydale, New York, the birthplace of Spiritualism and a part of the suffragists movement, for a best-of conversation from the vault.

In honor of us getting back together to celebrate live music in community again, hear a conversation from The Reluctant Therapist's vault. In a 2019 conversation backstage at Live Oak, host Elizabeth Barrett spoke to the Shook Twins and John Craigie and had some backstage banter together.

It's been a long time without live theatre, and there's nothing else like it. To celebrate the return of live theatre to our lives, host Elizabeth Barrett welcomes PCPA casting director Erik Stein. The two chat about the PCPA's new live show "Together," which Stein wrote, that celebrates the return of live arts and entertainment, as well as about Stein's career.

As our communities reopen, we continue to find our way back to our lives in all of the ways that they've changed, we've changed and the world has changed. This week, The Reluctant Therapist, Elizabeth Barrett, is joined in conversation by Nicole Boughton, a neurofeedback clinician and FEMA crisis counselor with CalHope. Boughton talks about her life prior to counseling — as a dancer, actor, single mother and backpacker, among other titles — about small steps and positive actions you can take to help you and your family make re-entry in to the social world less challenging. 

 After 15 months of social distancing, quarantines and lockdowns, we are finally re-entering our public spaces and rebuilding important relationships. How is that process going? This week, the Reluctant Therapist, Elizabeth Barrett, has an interactive conversation about how your life post-COVID-19 is impacting your mental health and wellbeing. There's a lot to catch-up on —your calls with comments, updates, questions and concerns will be welcomed and encouraged — as we get back to shows from the studio.

 For parents, the hopes and expectations they have for their children begin at conception and continue until their launch into the world — and often further into adulthood. These visions of a life greater than their own is a strong motivator for the many sacrifices, risks and moves parents make for the future of their offspring. Host Elizabeth Barrett interviews guests Sasha Braginsky and Francisco Martinez, recent first-generation Cal Poly graduates, about the challenges, stressors, pride and gratitude that comes with being the children of these parents who have put everything into providing a future for their families.

   In the world of childbirth, parenting and post-partum support, the role of fathers is often overlooked and undervalued. In honor of Father's Day, host Elizabeth Barrett and The Birth Bruja, Eri Guajardo Johnson, have a conversation about the positive impact of healthy masculinity as support in the birth room and in parenthood, as well as the importance of inclusive prenatal and birth care for trans men.

For many couples, talking about the intimacy in their relationships can be challenging — which can lead to feelings of disconnect, isolation, frustration and disappointment. In this week's Conversation with the Reluctant Therapist, host Elizabeth Barrett and Ian Kerner, sex therapist and New York Times best selling author, talk about his writing, research and career helping people to normalize their feelings and behaviors around sex, porn and creating healthy intimate relationships. 

   Victims of crime can suffer from secondary and ongoing trauma during the legal process when they are asked to continuously recount their stories, undergo invasive examinations and have their own behaviors scrutinized and questioned. The National Crime Victim Law Institute (NCLVI) is a nonprofit legal education and advocacy organization based at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. NCVLI’s mission is to actively promote balance and fairness in the justice system through crime victim centered legal advocacy, education, and resource sharing. On this week's Conversation with The Reluctant Therapist, host Elizabeth Barrett interviews NCLVI Executive Director Meg Garvin about her work as a leading expert on victim's rights and her life's work as a lawyer, professor and advocate.

   What starts out as a curiosity can become a passion and then on some occasions — a vocation. An artist’s professional life often finds them before they realize they have a gift. That’s the beginning of the story of touring musician, composer and producer Mike Blankenship. Host Elizabeth Barrett welcomes Blankenship for a conversation with this extraordinary keyboardist for the band Michael Franti and Spearhead, about his love of music, performing, being an activist for his community and role model for his son. 

In an effort to stay informed many of us may be consuming more news than our mind can process. As the 24/7 news cycle has grown, so have the incidents of anxiety, depression and panic in the general public. Host Elizabeth Barrett welcomes journalism professor Kim Bisheff. In addition to her teaching, she is an award-winning author and expert on the spread of misinformation through social networks. Barrett and Bisheff tackle a question increasingly on our minds: How do we protect our mental health and well-being in an age of over-stimulation?

The first hour of life outside the womb is a special time when babies meet their parents for the first time and a family is formed. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and should not be interrupted unless the baby or mother is unstable and requires medical resuscitation. It is a "sacred" time that should be honored, cherished and protected whenever possible.

  When one consciously invests in life, the possible accomplishments are limitless. It is something Dr. Ryan Alaniz is keenly aware of. He is an associate professor in Cal Poly's sociology department, an author, researcher and community builder. Dr. Alaniz is an expert in disaster relief, social change, water scarcity & drought and correctional education. He is also a father, farmer, beekeeper, soccer player, kayak guide, and tender of the earth.

Host Elizabeth Barrett speaks with Dr. Alaniz about his work and efforts to educate incarcerated persons, alongside what led him to sociology and how he balances his work with his mental health.

   Dr. Riane Eisler, author, social systems scientist and knowledge leader, may be best known for her culture-shifting, award winning book, The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future. But it is her current work as the president of the Center for Partnership Studies and book, Nurturing Our Humanity: How Domination and Partnership Shape Our Brains, Lives and Future, that may be her most powerful transformational gift to our collective cultural narrative. 

   For many, the path to adulthood has been drastically accelerated, and altered, over the last year with the pandemic and a rapidly changing social structure that has called into question many of our long-held beliefs regarding what it means to be a grown-up. Host Elizabeth Barrett welcomes this week's guest, David Gudiel. He is a seeker, empath, and former Cal Poly student. The two discuss navigating the world when you don't conform or relate to, the cultural and familial narratives you were taught to follow. 

 April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a time to educate communities and individuals about how to prevent sexual violence. Host Elizabeth Barrett speaks with guest Jennifer Storm, a survivor and victim's rights expert, about her powerful personal story. She has devoted her life advocating for victims of crimes and is the author of six critically acclaimed books about addiction and recovery.

For many birthgivers, the childbirth process has become one that has not centered around the birthgiver, which is what Eri Guajardo Johnson strives recenter through decolonizing and liberating birthgivers. This week, host Elizabeth Barrett welcomes Guajardo Johnson, a queer, biracial birthworker and community educator. She is the founder of Birth Bruja, an online educaitonal platform devoted to intersectional, liberational and decolonial approaches to birth work, healing and life.

Estrangement between a parent and an adult child is not uncommon, but the pain, shame, guilt, and embarassment surrounding a rift in a family causes many to keep their separation a secret. What causes this kind of fissure between parents and children? Host Elizabeth Barrett speaks with psychologist and author Joshua Coleman about his work helping families reconnect.

A lot can be said about how one organizes a home and the energy that's given off from placement. This week, Elizabeth Barrett welcomes Pamela Abbott-Mouchou and Lauren Bragg to the program. Abbott-Mouchou and Bragg are a mother-daughter duo who run the Feng Shui Collective, which is dedicated to incorporating Feng Shui and its elements into home decorating and set-up.

In honor of Women's History Month, join Elizabeth Barrett for a conversation with Starhawk. She is an author and activist, a revered voice in modern Earth-based spirituality and ecofeminism, and is also a permaculture designer and teacher.

Humans are energy beings, deeply connected to the natural world and to each other. How energy moves through our bodies can determine the quality of our physical and mental health. Reiki is an ancient healing technique that fosters well-being by altering energy fields. Elizabeth Barrett speaks with Curtis Williams, certified Reiki practitioner and Humanistic Astrologer, about his 28 years of integrating these healing modalities to enhance the lives of his clients.


For over 40 years mental health care has been dominated by the theme that "there is a pill for that" - in treating everything from grief to paranoid schizophrenia. The results have been life-saving for some and life destroying for others. It's in the failures to provide relief that has forced the helping professions to search for new treatments.

Our mental health is a reflection of the events, experiences, people and environment that we inhabit throughout our lifetime, and how we respond to them. But we are also impacted by the abuse, loss and grief suffered by our ancestors - known as cultural and historical trauma - which adds to the challenge of healing our psychic wounds. 

As another Valentine's approaches, along with the one-year mark of COVID lockdowns, many relationships are feeling the strain in an uncertain world. It's time for a couple's health check, and maybe even a little intimacy resuscitation. 

Elizabeth Barrett welcomes Roya Khorram and Carmen Bouquin, two local college students who are uniting social movements through an Instagram account, "SLO Informed." Their account has amassed an impressive following and shaken up local conversations in less than a year by inspiring fellow activists. The conversation discusses the waves of change being driven by the emerging Generation Z, and the challenges of connecting the efforts of those from different eras of rebellion.

Last spring the pandemic brought the world - and the performing arts - to a halt.  But after months with the lights out, innovation, patience and creativity brought new forms of theater into our homes to restore some joy and connection to what makes life a little brighter. 

Pondering the divide between good and evil is really just another way that we divide ourselves from others. It may be that we cannot address the escalating rage and violence that we are experiencing in the world until we grapple with the anger and aggression that resides inside us all. 

Wine has long been connected to religious practices and communities. The act of drinking wine is at the heart of many rituals and celebrations. But what about the spiritual lives of those who grow the grapes, tend the vines and create the wine that is enjoyed by many? The reverence that goes into making wine may be key to the elixirs magic. 

It's time for the new year onslaught of diet, exercise and personal improvement advertisements, influencers and programs - encouraging us to get back in shape, to shed those shameful extra pounds and therefore, be better people. Year after year, people return to the scale, get back to the gym and praise the programs for their successes and hate themselves when they fail. But it's not you, it's the plan - they don't work. In this Conversation with the Reluctant Therapist, join Elizabeth Barrett and certified eating disorder dietician Marlena Tanner, as they talk about shutting out the noise and turning in toward ourselves with love and intuitive care.

Through the darkest of times, we find our way to the light—the promise of a new beginning, new life, new meaning and joy. In this epidsode of the Reluctant Therapist, Elizabeth Barrett has a conversation with Conscious Colors and Colors Aroma founder Constance Hart about her life's work, her dedication to personal wellness and growth, and how color aroma therapy can enhance your life.