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

 

  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. “Functional Psychopharmacology" is one such approach, which pairs the short-term use of medications with Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT)—to promote functioning and symptom tolerance. In this paradigm, medications are often used short term. There are exceptions, like ADHD, bipolar d/o, OCD, and schizophrenia, where medications are needed long term to enable functioning. But the most common conditions, depression and anxiety, are best served by a functional psychopharmacology approach.

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.

Divorce rates are soaring during the pandemic. As the holidays approach, questions about how to gather, who can attend and where we will go may be even more challenging for families that have been restructured. Bird-nesting divorce is a new way that parents are working together to provide continued stability for their children. What does that look like?

Traditions are how we stay connected to each other, create memories and alleviate feelings of isolation and loneliness. Traditions define families. So, what are yours?

Your life has potential and opportunities greater than the story you tell yourself and your family. As the holidays arrive, this is the perfect time to examine your family myths and look for ways to edit and rewrite who you are. Tune in for a conversation with the Reluctant Therapist, Elizabeth Barrett, and guest Tom Andre, a licensed marriage and family therapist. They talk about the process of narrative therapy and the journey from imagined life to reality. 

What the world needs now is love, sweet love. More than in any other time in recent history, right now we need to be opening our hearts to something greater than ourselves. True love, deep love, honest love, passionate love, compassionate love—love that makes us believe in life again. The world is more beautiful, hopeful and full of possibilities—it's hard to hate when you're bathed in love. Tune in for a conversation with the Reluctant Therapist and author, coach and consultant Bob Kamm about the power of love at every age in healing our deepest wounds.  

Veterans Day honors all of those who have served our country in war or peace. Hear a conversation with Elizabeth Barrett and guests US Army retired Lt. Colonel David Kramer and retired Colonel Jeff White about their lifelong friendship that began on September 11, 2001. It has continued through tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, promotions, marriages, children and civilian careers. It's a bond formed through years serving side-by-side as brothers and friends.

In times of stress, anxiety and uncertainty it's important to take action.  Seek comfort, self soothe and find moments of calm. Listen to music, dance like no one is watching, focus your breathing, think positive thoughts.  Talk about things that give you joy and allow space for new friends, feelings and interests. Tune in for a conversation with the Reluctant Therapist, Elizabeth Barrett, and guest Nick Larsen from the band Proxima Parada, about anything that isn't connected to the current climate of fear, anger, despair and rage. Let's lift our energy toward hope and love - let's sing, breathe and laugh.

One of life's most profound moments is the birth of a child, becoming a mom and beginning the journey of raising a human. Tune in for a conversation with Reluctant Therapist Elizabeth Barrett about the changes we go through with the arrival of a baby, and the changes we're experiencing parenting through the pandemic. How has your parenting changed since the world locked down? 

As the world continues to feel fraught with fear and uncertainty, now is the perfect time to call upon our muses and ignite the latent artist we each have. Creativity is a sure way to calm an anxious mind, improve dampened spirits and direct our energy toward feelings of hope love. Listen to a conversation with Reluctant Therapist Elizabeth Barrett and singer, songwriter, author and psychologist Kelly Moreno. Hear about the healing power of making music and art and his journey releasing an album of personal songs in the midst of the pandemic.

Currently 86 percent of working psychotherapists are white, and many earned their degrees before multicultural counseling became a standard part of graduate training. This reality inspired the creation of AYANA Therapy, an online platform connecting marginalized and intersectional individuals with mental health professionals. Listen to a conversation with Elizabeth Barrett and AYANA's founder and CEO Eric Coly.

Mental health care can be liberating, but it can also be debilitating. How can we be sure that we are accessing help that will truly bring relief, healing and support, to reach our highest potential? Tune in for a conversation with Reluctant Therapist Elizabeth Barrett and guest James Statler, executive director of Community Counseling Center, about challenging the current system of mental health care treatment and re-imagining a mental wellness plan for addressing our complex social challenges.

In the face of stress, trauma and tragedy, learning to nurture our soul and lean in to our relationships is fundamental in maintaining our mental health and well-being. Tune in for a conversation with Reluctant Therapist Elizabeth Barrett and guest Dr. John Elfers about how we can find the energy to rekindle our motivation and tap into the tools available to calm our mind and improve our lives.

Cal Poly sophomore Claudia Kraake saw a need, had an idea and developed a program in less than a month. The program connects hundreds of struggling parents with over 380 student tutors who are helping their children navigate virtual learning, make social connections and get outdoors. Elizabeth Barrett shares a conversation with learn-by-doing entrepreneur Claudia Kraake about Claudia for Learning and making a difference, lifting spirits and caring for our mental health.

September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness month. Knowing how to recognize, address and talk about stressors, mental health, loss and grief; is critical in helping those we love and care for and help to reduce ever increasing suicide rates. Tune in for a Conversation with Elizabeth Barrett, the Reluctant Therapist and Alysia Hendry, suicide prevention coordinator for the county of San Luis Obispo about hope, resilience and recovery.

Every person has a story to tell and once we hear that story, we are connected. Healing the divide in this country will require having the patience to listen to each other's story to discover the humanity, love and light in every person. Tune in for a conversation with Elizabeth Barrett, the Reluctant Therapist, from the Black Hills of South Dakota and meet three individuals learning to live their best lives with love, honor and dignity. 

If we as a country fail to value the work of those who care for others, who will be able, or want to do the work? Tune in for a conversation with Dr. Riane Eisler, author of the groundbreaking book, "The Chalice and the Blade." Her work as the president of the Center for Partnership Studies, and as the founder of the Caring Economy Campaign, has been incorporated into the Biden/Harris and Democratic platform, which vows to transform the value of care and caregivers in our economy.

Nothing is better than meeting a stranger who then becomes a friend. Jim Christensen, from Ashton, Idaho, is an avid fly fisherman, expert welder, boat builder and open book—all the traits for a great conversation. Tune in for a show from the road with the Reluctant Therapist, Elizabeth Barrett, and meet Christensen, an ordinary person doing extraordinary things.

Ratified on August 18, 1920, the 19th amendment guaranteed American women the right to vote. It was a long, bloodless battle fought by generations of mothers and their daughters to secure their place in the political conversation. The struggles for opportunity and equality still continue 100 years later. Tune in for a conversation with the Reluctant Therapist, Elizabeth Barrett, about the women whose shoulders we stand on and the lessons learned from the suffragist movement that need to be applied today.

While schools scramble to develop and offer a remote education that meets academic requirements, parents are scrambling to create alternative learning opportunities that also address their children's social and emotional needs, while providing much needed childcare.  "Learning Pods", or "Pandemic Pods" are comprised of families who come together to provide educational support, child care and social interactions.  They're quickly springing up all over the country and the county. Tune in for a Conversation with Elizabeth Barrett, the Reluctant Therapist and guests, about the pros and cons of parent-led curriculum's and the potential for unintentionally fueling already troubling economic and racial inequities in our school systems.

What do they want? The grievances of Generation Z activists are wide and varied—from racial injustice to policing, civil rights to gender rights, climate change to economic inequity. These are not their grandparents protests, but they are a continuation of their legacy and collective anger, sadness, frustration, fear, resolve and love. Reluctant Therapist Elizabeth Barrett and guest hosts Aaliyah Sade and Davied Gudiel have a conversation about the complexity and yet, simplicity, of the fight for social justice and claiming of the American Dream for all.

For members of BIPOC communities, developing healthy relationships with their bodies and wellness in general can be challenging because the habits modeled by the dominant culture as "normal" do not reflect or address the diets, self care and self expression found in these diverse populations and can often lead to great harm. Tune in for a Conversation with The Reluctant Therapist's guest hosts, David Gudiel and Aaliyah Sade, as they explore their own personal journeys to reclaim their bodies and wellness outside of a patriarchal narrative that ignores and often rejects the wisdom of ancestors and ancient knowledge. We continue to open this space during BIPOC Mental Health Awareness month to give access to those voices who are rarely heard and need to be amplified.

With the number of married people in the U.S. at an all-time low, co-habitations at an all-time high and a generational rejection of traditional relationships, many wonder if we've seen the end of matrimony as a form of creating intimate connections. Tune in for a conversation with guest hosts David Gudiel and Aaliyah Sade about their recent engagement. They share their vision for their future as partners and the act of courage it takes to commit to a lifelong partnership in the 21st century.

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