mental health

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? 

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.

Issues & Ideas: A virtual Monterey Jazz Festival, the SLO Botanical Garden and YouthWell

Sep 23, 2020

The Monterey Jazz Festival usually takes place at the Monterey County Fairgrounds on the third weekend in September, but the 63rd annual festival will be virtual. You'll hear from Beau and Melissa Kramer of Kramer Events talking about the recent challenges of the event business. The University of California at Berkeley is starting a new center to study the science of psychedelics and you’ll hear from one of the center's cofounders—journalist and author Michael Pollan. YouthWell is a nonprofit based in Santa Barbara that provides free mental health workshops and resources for teens, parents, and educators. The San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden’s programs have adapted to the pandemic, and there are big plans for the future. And finally today, you’ll hear a story of stranded hikers trapped in the wilderness by a raging wildfire.

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.

Depression and anxiety continue to rise as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the virus continues across the U.S. it has created a level of isolation not previously seen before. Fear for our health, and that of family and friends, financial strain, food shortages, and much more brought on by the pandemic, can bring extraordinary stress into our daily lives. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll conducted in July 2020 found more than half of U.S. adults reported their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the coronavirus, an increase of 20% from when the same question was asked in March 2020. 

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. 

With the rise of COVID-19, aging and isolation are more prevalent than ever. This year’s Aging Project aims provide an understanding of the aging process through a new lens, navigate social isolation versus loneliness and address wellness and mental health through the scope of aging. Join Fred Munroe as he speaks with Steve Willey, director of volunteer and community education at Wilshire Hospice and Community Services; Denise LaRosa, Wilshire Hospice’s bereavement manager; and Kelly Donohue, Wilshire Health and Community Services's public relations specialist as they discuss what the Aging Project is and it's goals.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected day-to-day life for nearly everyone around the world, and negatively affected many people’s mental health. For people already suffering from mental illness and substance use disorders, it has created new barriers to care and treatment. Behavioral health clinicians have found and are continuing to look for new ways to access and work with these individuals during this time of social distancing, and many of have found that this creative hard work is beginning to pay off, evidenced by client buy-in to treatment and anecdotal stories of personal success, improved relationships, etc.

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.

How we identify, name and introduce ourselves can be an action of empowerment and inclusion—or, if we are not careful with our language, it can also be a source a disconnection and 'otherness.' Meeting each other where we are and as who we are is an important bridge to understanding and care. Tune in for a conversation with The Reluctant Therapist and guest hosts Aaliyah Sade and David Gudiel about the many ways that the helping professions fail to recognize or address the impact of institutional and systemic issues on the mental health and well-being of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) communities. This is the kick-off for BIPOC mental health awareness month and the beginning of a series of discussions and topics chosen and lead by this heart-centered, activist, artistic, passionate couple of recent Gen Z college graduates.

It may be a revolutionary idea to re-allocate funding away from police departments and toward programs and helping professionals trained to meet the social needs of the community - but how can we be sure that the care being dispersed will actually support, heal and benefit the citizens communities seek to serve? Tune in  for a conversation with the Reluctant Therapist, Elizabeth Barrett, and guests about the limitations of one-size fits all interventions and the challenges in relying on institutions to provide for our collective mental health and well-being.

When everything hits at once it can feel like you are drowning—the weight of the world bears down on your chest and even the simplest of daily tasks can began to feel like rolling a boulder up a hill. If that sounds familiar, you're not alone. Since March there has been a 30% increase in reported depressive episodes in people who have not struggled with mental health before. With limited services available, where can people get help? Tune in for a conversation with the Reluctant Therapist, Elizabeth Barrett, about coping with stress overload, recognizing deep melancholy and building resilience while trying to care for children, family, friends and hoping to heal the world.

In the spirit of 'Live Oak on the Radio,' tune in to revisit a raw and honest 2019 backstage conversation with Reluctant Therapist Elizabeth Barrett and singer, songwriter, artist and survivor Sunny War, setting the mood for this upcoming weekend of music, memories and camping at home to support Central Coast Public Radio KCBX. Tune in started Friday for more than 30 hours of music from the festival’s archive recordings of past stage performances, along with live concerts from local musicians and special appearances by other Live Oak personalities, such as MC Joe Craven.

What's next, graduates? Shaping the future. With a world of uncertainty facing them, what is the graduating class of 2020 thinking about their future? Tune in for a Conversation with the Reluctant Therapist, Elizabeth Barrett, and students David Guidel, Mariah Kate Alviso-Saenz, Bailey Buchanan and Kristine Sandoval about their hopes, dreams, concerns and ambitions. If we have any hope for real change, it is going to be fueled by this next generation of highly educated, incredibly compassionate, focused, fierce and thoughtful activists.

The Reluctant Therapist: How will you show up?

Jun 2, 2020

It may be hard to know how to respond to all of the anger, outrage, confusion, chaos and pain that is being expressed all over the country at this time. But without a clear path or guide in how to navigate the upheaval, the protests, the riots and deeply systemic and institutionalized inequity, maybe all we can do is show up. Tune in for a conversation with the Reluctant Therapist, Elizabeth Barrett, and artist, activist Raul Pacheco of the band Ozomatli.

To have and to hold, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part; how hard can that be? Tune in for a conversation with the Reluctant Therapist, Elizabeth Barrett, and guests Larella Ellsworth and Trish Wilson about the state of their unions and the world of marriage in general. Maybe marital bliss is the wrong goal?

Central Coast singer-songwriter Chris Beland is a musically-gifted and gentle soul.  He also has a wildly interesting and almost unbelievable life story.  Hear a remarkable conversation about life lessons and living without regrets, in this episode of The Reluctant Therapist.

Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron once said, "Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity." 

Tune in to the Reluctant Therapist for a compelling conversation with Compassion Prison Project founder Fritzi Horstman, talking about her life, her work and her vision and belief that bringing humanity and compassion to those behind bars will change society in fundamental ways. 

With the national shutdown, many aspects of our lives have been drastically disrupted.  But for those  looking forward to a special event like a wedding, graduation or new job, the loss of the celebration associated with this life event can be devastating.  Tune into this conversation with the Reluctant Therapist, Elizabeth Barrett, about dealing with—and helping others to navigate—the disappointment and even grief associated with not being able to experience and mark these major milestones. 

Join Elizabeth Barrett and her guest Ashlyn Hatch as they discuss ways to reduce stress. Many of us are dealing with isolation, sickness, a house full of family and the loss of jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Barrett and Hatch share their own experiences along with tips and advice.

Shelter-in-place parenting has become a category of its own, an unprecedented experience that has even the most confident of caregivers struggling to meet the daily demands of their children. Elizabeth Barrett and her guest, therapist Megan Englert, discuss strategies for keeping it all together when we're not sure where we're going.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus is stressful to the community in numerous ways. Individuals may have fear and anxiety about catching the virus for either themselves or their loved ones. People may be experiencing loneliness from isolation due to the stay-at-home orders. And many individuals may have increased worry due to the economic repercussions of the pandemic. How will their business survive? How will they pay their mortgage or rent? How can they get food for their family? The coronavirus can significantly affect mental health for everyone, but especially for those who already suffer from mental illness. How are these individuals able to continue treatment?

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