Episode 72 Healing Will Come as We Face Reality

My guest Ryan Christiansen LCSW, and my personal counselor for many years, joins us to talk about so many important topics. Healthy Boundaries for ourselves, the harm of Rescuing, the need for consistent effort taking action, and how those things bring us the healing results we desire.

If you live in Utah and would like to work with Ryan his info is below.

Ryan Christiansen
LCSW, CSAT, EMDR Certified
ABC Counseling Services & Grounded Within
321 N. Mall Dr. Suite VW-103
St. George, UT 84790
435-359-2687
www.southernutahtherapy.com
www.groundedwithin.com

Ryan Christiansen, LCSW has extensive experience treating various forms of trauma and addiction. He has been working in the therapy industry for twenty years. He has worked with court ordered adult clients for domestic violence and substance abuse, adolescent and adult residential clients for addiction and behavioral and mental health.  He is a Certified EMDR Treatment Therapist through the International EMDR Association, a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT) through the International Institute of Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP), and has received various trainings for facilitating Parts and Memory treatment.  He has received extensive training through the Trauma Center at the Justice Resource Institute in Massachusetts. He is the owner and Clinical Director of the outpatient treatment clinic ABC Counseling Services in St. George, Utah.  

Episode Transcription:

(This transcript was created using software. Please be advised that it won't be 100% accurate, and it may contain formatting errors.)

Roxanne Kennedy-Granata  0:06  
Welcome back to the Choose in Podcast. I'm your host Roxanne Granada and today I'm super excited because I have my very own therapist that I had for many years. You guys know him. You have read about him in my book, and we've talked about him on my episodes and today he is here with us. So I am super excited to welcome Ryan Christiansen. Listen to the show. So welcome, Ryan.

Ryan Christiansen  0:52  
Thanks Roxanne pleasure to be here.

Roxanne Kennedy-Granata  0:55  
Okay. All right. Well, I'm going to just tell you a little bit about Ryan first and then we'll get going. Ryan Christiansen is a licensed clinical social worker, and he has extensive experience treating various forms of trauma and addiction. He has been working in the therapy industry for 20 years, he has worked with court ordered adult clients for domestic violence and substance abuse, adolescent and adult residential clients for addiction and behavioral and mental health.

He is a certified EMDR treatment therapist, a certified sex addiction therapist and has received various trainings for facilitating parts and memory treatment. He has received extensive training through the trauma center at the Justice Resource Institute in Massachusetts. He is also the owner and clinical director of the outpatient treatment clinic ABC Counseling Services in St. George Utah. So okay, just to get my listeners kind of caught up if they haven't heard the episode where I kind of introduced you way back probably two years ago, I met Ryan because he was the clinical therapist for Desert Solace, where my husband at that time was going to an inpatient program.

And so Ryan would call me every week and give me the update of what was going on. And in that process, he helped me kind of talk to me off the ledges he would share with me what I needed to be working on. He also got me involved in a gosh, what was that program, Ryan that with the book, I have it still and I use it, but I can't think of what it's called the recovery book.

Ryan Christiansen  2:25  
The book is called facing heartbreak

Roxanne Kennedy-Granata  2:28  
Facing Heartbreak, okay, so I've read that stuff out of there in my sessions before and in my podcast, but he got me started with a counselor in my area at that time using that book. But shortly after, we decided to move to St. George, where Ryan is from, and I started seeing him as my therapist. Now that was probably new. At that time. He didn't see both spouses, if you remember this, right. And I was kind of forceful, actually. I was like, Okay, I know you don't, but let's just do it anyway.

And whatever happens, I get it if it doesn't work, but I really wanted to meet with Ryan, because he had this way of showing me and helping me through the process. He validated my betrayal, the pain, the sadness, the grief, and I felt comfortable. And so we started and that's been, gosh, that was in 2014. So it's been a long time. So okay, so I invited Ryan on the show, because as you guys know, I've talked about EMDR. I've talked about parts work, actually just did an episode a couple weeks ago on that. And I learned all of that because Ryan was willing to learn new things.

And he would bring them to our sessions and say, "hey, I've been learning and training and EMDR Can we try it?" I'm like, Absolutely, I was looking for anything that would help me in my healing. And so I learned all these things, which is why I'm here today. So Ryan, why don't you first before we get going with with different topics kind of tell my listeners about you or why you do what you do, or, or anything that would share your passion or just what do you do in this world of therapy and helping people recover on a regular basis.

Ryan Christiansen  4:14  
I just love seeing people's lives change. That's the bottom line. There's something really cool about that moment when the light bulb goes on, or something just miraculous happens inside of a person. That's why I do what I do. And there's all kinds of different traumas that people experience. And, you know, we learn about the big T traumas and the little T traumas and everything in between. It's different all the time. And sometimes people are like, I don't even know if I had anything traumatic happen, but then they might realize later, you know, I think I actually did. This is bothering me, helping people work through their challenges issues traumas is amazing. That's what motivates me every day.

Roxanne Kennedy-Granata  5:03  
It's amazing to because it helped me that what you're saying, right there is exactly why I could sit in your office. And I felt like I was seen and heard and that I could get better that I could heal that all those little traumas, I remember when you had me write a list of my top five things that were on my mind at the time, just like all of a sudden, you said just write down your your things that are bugging you right now or that are on your mind.

And I thought that they would be the big ones I thought they were going to be like, all the trauma or the disclosures or something, but they were little things things that happened when I was like five and six that were really insignificant in my like, I kept trying to push them aside like it did doesn't really matter. But they did matter. And just by you bringing those out. And we talked through them, it was able to clear the little T's I guess, right, the little ones and go from there. So that I love that the helping people feel better and when the light goes on. So you I don't know if how much you remember of our sessions.

But I did work with you for quite a few years. And do you remember sitting there and or just any clients in general, where I'm coming to you, this is what I tell my my listeners all the time, I came to you every week with the same thing, oh my gosh, my hands are on my head. I'm like, I can't do this. I do not know how to do this. And I would say just give me a list just tell me the exacts, and you would kind of smile and you wouldn't laugh like at me. But just like it doesn't really work that way. It's just a process. But do you remember? Or can you share even how you're talking about the light going off? I'm sorry, the light going on in their face when all of a sudden something clicks? Can you remember that with me? Or can you remember it just how like what is going on with people when that happens?

Ryan Christiansen  6:50  
I do remember you feeling sometimes frustrated coming in and feeling like you're dealing with the same stuff or feeling the same thing or going down the rabbit hole of thoughts again, and that's pretty common. Probably that would explain the little smirk I probably got on my face. And we all do it. We all want to have this logical, perhaps easy route fix to things, especially when it has to do with emotional and mental health and how our body responds to all of it.

And the thing is, is if there was a specific recipe or a cookie cutter way that everybody could just check off the boxes and do it, then it would be done like it would be published, it would be patented, and everybody would be doing it. But it's just like I said, that's not how it works. There's an aspect of having compassion for ourselves and for the experience that we're having. And I think it's helpful for all of us to feel like what we're experiencing is normal. Like, we're not crazy, we're not outside of this norm. And everybody's watching us and being like what the crap is wrong with that person.

It's just a matter of patience and reiterating things, the whole light bulb coming on as part of that. I liken it to, you know, when we watch infants starting to crawl, or then they start to walk or now all of a sudden, they're rambunctious and running everywhere. It's not like they had this task list that they had to follow to get those milestones. It just happened after a series of attempts. And that's how it works with our healing and recovery. There's certain things we can do. And there's multiple attempts that need to take place. But at some point along the way, the light bulb comes on, and it's just like the body clicks and it gets it.

Roxanne Kennedy-Granata  8:43  
Yeah. And like you said, it takes time. I want to fix right away, which most people do, because we want to feel better. But it's just that effort. That's why that's why it doesn't just go away so quick. That's why therapy, or whatever modality people use in order to process takes multiple times multiple years, or however long just because it's like that. It's like an infant. It's like practice, practice, practice, keep doing it.

And then eventually everything catches up and it clicks, like you said, and that's powerful when it does because you don't when you're in the middle of it, you don't think you're ever going to get it, it feels stressful, that it's not working yet. And I would go to you or go to God and be like, I'm doing everything and I still feel like a crazy person. And it's it just takes time. But one day, all of a sudden, it does that. It's just like a child. It's like, oh my gosh, I get it.

I get the concept now. So that's pretty cool. I love what you're doing and super grateful for you obviously for what you did for me and my family. You saw my children as well after all of that terrible stuff happened and they're just well on their way to their own healing so it's powerful. Okay, so let's keep talking about about what are some of the things that you see that are most common when somebody comes into your office? They are new. It's like they finally realized I need help.

And I'm in trauma, or I'm going through something, whether it's addiction related or not, doesn't necessarily matter. But what are the common things that you see that might help my listeners in their own journey to either take the step to call a therapist, or to validate kind of the experience? Does that make sense to you when I'm trying to ask?

Ryan Christiansen  10:35  
I think so I'm going to guess that the vast majority of your listeners in your audience are women or just spouses in general that are going through some form of betrayal trauma. I've learned that they're hesitant at first, well, my spouse is they just, I could get them help them, everything will be better, or it'll, it'll be fine. I can't tell you how many times they've been the ones that have contacted me wanting to get their spouse in for treatment, which I'm happy to do.

But when I asked them the question, okay, but how are you doing? Generally hard for them to talk about it. Because there's all kinds of experiences with that there's every emotion, you can think of every thought imaginable, every negative belief popping up, every worry, every fear, every concern, and no one can shoulder all of that. The very first thing is, please recognize that you can't and shouldn't try to do this by yourself. You've got to have somebody else on your team. And it would be extremely beneficial to find a therapist that can help you work through the trauma, because that's what you're experiencing. And no one can work through the trauma by themselves. Period.

Roxanne Kennedy-Granata  11:50  
No, hey, no, you can't you actually can't. Going back to what you said about thinking that if my spouse gets the help they need, I will be okay. Right? I did the same thing. I'm like trying to figure out, if we find the process for him, then I'm okay. And when I learned that I had to do the work, I remember sitting in a 12 step. This is before I met you and thinking I'm going to 12 step so that I can learn how to help him heal, and figure it out, right.

And I remember sitting there, and as the facilitator was talking, all of a sudden, I had a lightbulb moment at that at that time that, oh, my goodness, I need so much help. I didn't realize how much help I needed. And then I got into therapy. And that was like a year of 12 step. And then I finally got into therapy. And then a year later is when I met you, I didn't cause somebody to act out or lie or manipulate or deceive for me to have to get the help now felt totally opposite of what should be happening because I didn't do it. But that isn't true, right?

We know that. And I tell my listeners that all the time and my clients just that if you get an accident, the person who caused the accident isn't the one that's fixing, you still have to take yourself to the doctor and do it right. So you have to do the work. And so that's really key, like you said, the spouse calls you and you say but how are you you're like almost sometimes like that first contact, that is asking them how they are because sometimes their experience with other people, either family members, or maybe their church leaders of some whatever church they belong to are saying, What can we do to help your spouse? And you say, let's put that aside. And let's see how we can help you. It's powerful. What is it that they need to start helping themselves? What are key things they have to learn?

Ryan Christiansen  13:35  
I would say one of the first things I don't know if these are any particular order, but one is learning to recognize the questions and make distinctions about them. If you're wanting to fix or get healing for the spouse, which there's nothing wrong with that. But some of those following questions or concerns is, what could I have done differently? What could I have been better at? What is it that I did or didn't do that may have contributed to this? All of those are understandable questions, but they're the wrong questions to be asking.

Because the addiction and the betrayal and the manipulation and the gaslighting, none of that was because you did or didn't do anything. That's something that they struggle with, and who knows for how long, that's their issue. So there's that piece. The other piece is, you know, we often talk about having boundaries, I think logically we can make sense of that. But interestingly enough, I think most people interpret boundaries as some kind of punishment or justice kind of a thing.

And that's not really what boundaries are about boundaries are more about having parameters for ourselves so that we're able to keep ourselves safe going back to developmental structures around boundaries. Little kids don't have the capability of having boundaries. That's why we have to put gates up at the top of the stairs or at the bottom of the stairs or put plugs in the walls or make sure they're not around them or doing something in the kitchen, or we constantly check on them or give them a curfew. There's all kinds of reasons why we do that as parents, because the kids don't have the ability yet to have boundaries for themselves.

But we do cross that threshold at some point between adolescence and young adulthood, where we do have the ability, and that really is just telling ourselves giving permission for ourselves of what's okay and what's not okay. You know, an example would be, it's okay for me to stand up for myself, it's okay for me to say, No, it's okay for me to sleep on the couch if I need to, if I don't feel comfortable. And there's all kinds of possibilities and options for boundaries that takes some effort and time to work through that and learn how to do it. Those are the first two things that come to mind around that.

Roxanne Kennedy-Granata  15:54  
Oh, yeah. When you introduce boundaries to me, you said, okay, we opened our workbook and you're like, okay, so I want you to work on setting boundaries. I'm like, okay, so I mean, even logically, I mean, it makes sense now, but even then, I was like, okay, boundaries, boundaries. What is that? I was already setting them in my life throughout. I just didn't know that's what they were when I would say no to something. But but when you when you were sharing with me, these are non negotiable.

I'm like, well, obviously non negotiable, you know, there's no cheating, there's no acting out, right? That's non negotiable for me at this point. But all of the other ones were so complicated because innately, I found this in myself and with other people, other women in my groups, or even men, that some of my clients are men, and they've been betrayed as well. And when we're in that position, we have this inner, I don't know if it's a drive, it's probably survivals what it is, but this inner thing that is like, we will sacrifice at all costs.

And so if we place a boundary, that person may leave that person may think I'm crazy. I'm being mean, I shouldn't I should coddle I should love, I should nurture, I should help this person and then we sacrifice ourselves. I remember when I came to you saying something like along the lines of how did I not know this was happening? I came with this self loathing this thing of like, I should have known. I should have seen this coming. Like somehow I'm not smart enough, or I just am blind to you know, the reality. And you I don't know exactly what you said, I don't remember exactly. But something along the lines, the way it felt was you are taking on something he did.

He chose to lie, cheat, manipulate, he chose to deceive. You're just being you being a wife and caring and loving and trusting this person like you should be, you should be able to, you're just being you. And it was a huge realization, probably for the first time that wow, okay, I'm not responsible for what he's done. And now I have a choice to make to, like you said, stand up and say no more, or I'm going to sleep on the couch or that didn't feel okay to me. But boundaries really was a struggle for me to learn. Now, I probably I probably do them too well.

Now, my husband now is like, Oh, okay. I'm like, Yeah, that's that's a boundary, you know, I'm super strong in my boundaries now. But I love it. Because it makes me feel safe. It makes me feel free. It makes me feel like I have choices, which I do. I don't have to just tolerate things or stand for something that isn't okay, I get to share my preferences, and what I'm going to do if I'm not safe. So okay, so back to this concept of boundaries like that, when we're learning boundaries, it's really difficult when we start because it's different than what we've done. We haven't said those things to our spouse before. We haven't said I will sleep on the couch or I would like you to sleep on the couch, we most likely haven't really done that we haven't let them sit in their own pain.

Usually, we will sit and listen as someone spins and spins and spins or wants to tell us what we're doing wrong. And then we want to say what they're doing. Like we want to just go back and forth, back and forth. And instead, boundaries is like, I will not sit here right now, when you're ready to talk to me respectfully I will come back and listen. When that happens and you start that it is so scary. I want to know how we would state a simple boundary, and then what it will feel like, like basically how scary right like what's going to happen to our body emotionally or physically. When we set it.

Ryan Christiansen  19:32  
we don't really know what our boundaries are unless they've been made explicit. And so writing them out helps. But often we also don't know if we have healthy boundaries or unhealthy boundaries until we're actually looking at them and saying it out loud boundaries or for ourselves. Doesn't matter who sets the boundary. It's always about them. We can try and make it about other people. But as soon as we do that, it's no longer a healthy boundary because we're putting something that's very important to us, in the hands of somebody else that we don't have any control over.

You know, that's key, especially with people working through betrayal trauma, if your boundaries are about the person struggling with the addiction, or the acting out behaviors and what they should or shouldn't do, or can or can't do, then the focus is more on them instead of, well, what are you going to do? They may or may not change, but how are you going to respond either way? That's how you'll know if your boundaries are healthy or not.

After that, it's just a matter of putting them into practice, which is hard, because our brains are already used to thinking about them a certain way. That's what makes them hard. Again, that whole coming back to it takes time. It takes repetition, it takes compassion for them not being perfect. And you just fine tune along the way until it snaps, it clicks. And all of a sudden, it makes sense, and it's easy to implement, and there's a lot less emotional dysregulation if the other person doesn't like the boundary.

Roxanne Kennedy-Granata  21:08  
It's most likely they're not the necessarily like the boundaries at first, especially when you haven't ever put them in place before. It's it's changing the dynamic of the relationship all of a sudden, yep. Yeah. So okay, so a simple a boundary. Basically, coming up with it would be something that when we feel upset about something, when we have anxiety about something, when something happens, and we have an emotional reaction, we can look at ourselves and say,

Okay, what just happened? Okay, I didn't like the way he talked to me, or I didn't like how that felt. And so that's kind of where you're talking about. That's where you're noticing, when you're writing out boundaries, you're noticing what is it that I don't like? Or what's happening with me that is not okay? That's kind of how you start, right. So if it's something like your partner is belittling you or saying things to you that are condescending, and you don't like that, then it would look something like "I know, this is how it's been in the past.

But I am no longer wanting you to talk to me like that, I'm no longer going to allow that. So I'm going to ask you not to do that in a conversation if you choose to. I'm going to tell you, I'm going to walk away for a minute. And then we can talk later if you decide to" Something like that, right? That's the simple start of learning what we want or what we don't want,

Ryan Christiansen  22:23  
Right, I often ask my clients, what is it that you don't want to experience? And they'll sometimes say, Well, I don't want to be manipulated. And I'll say, Well, you don't really have control over whether or not the other person is going to try and manipulate you. But if you do find yourself being manipulated, what kind of responses do you not like having? And now say something like, Well, I don't want to turn into a meteor ball and start coming unglued and screaming my head off.

Okay, that makes sense. You want to stay emotionally regulated. Okay. So the boundary then is, what are you going to do? How are you going to respond? How would you like to respond? If you're aware that you're being manipulated, that's where you want your boundary to be put in place. And then we can talk about fine tuning the senses. How do you know, if you're being manipulated? Well, I can tell often by how I feel all of a sudden, are because the words sound a certain way.

Excellent. That's where your boundary needs to be placed. If you hear this type of a word, what's your response? If you feel this in your body? How are you going to listen to your intuition and trust yourself. So you don't go to the point where you have been manipulated, and you turn into a meteor ball.

Roxanne Kennedy-Granata  23:48  
So with that example, what would be a boundary like or stating it and then a consequence, if that was the case, and you've identified, I don't like being manipulated. And this is the way I don't like it. This is where I noticed it happening. And this is what happens to me.

Ryan Christiansen  24:05  
So a person could be their boundary could be, I'll only talk with my spouse, if I hear accountability. If they're hearing blaming talk, where it's very attackee, or there's lots of "you words" or it's an immediate, okay, stop, nope, whatever you need to do to go figure out where your issue is and what you're accountable for, then I'll be happy to talk with you. And then don't wait for a response. Just go do something else. Or leave if you have to.

Roxanne Kennedy-Granata  24:37  
Okay, so the boundary is that so they've it's already been stated, I remember you taught me write the boundaries out, give your boundaries to your partner, so that they know exactly how it's going to be from now on, and then you have a copy they have a copy. So in this situation, you hear these blaming words you hear not, no accountability, and so you stop the situation. This is what I'm hearing, as soon as you can be accountable, I'll come back, let me know. And you turn and walk away. So the consequence then is if you talk to me that way, I will choose to walk away. And that is creating the safety for yourself that is so that you are keeping yourself emotionally regulated. So you don't turn into the meteor ball.

Ryan Christiansen  25:16  
Correct.

Roxanne Kennedy-Granata  25:17  
Okay, that's awesome. That's a good start. Because people get confused on what the boundary is how it looks. A lot of times, there's a lot of detail in it of the I don't want you doing this. And it's basically because of fear of pain. It's it's I don't want to be betrayed again. Therefore, I need to try and control this. But we can't like you said, I love that you said we can't control if somebody manipulates we only get to control how we respond. Or if we even stay in the conversation when that's happening. It really is vital.

That was a lightbulb moment for me when all of a sudden my boundaries made sense. And when I set my first one in place, I already knew what the reaction was going to be that he would try to change my mind and thinking a different way. And I was ready for it. So I stayed at the boundary. The response was what I thought and so I said no, very directly like, no, this is what it is. I'm gonna walk away now. And I remember walking into my room and going, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, I my heart was racing. But I felt good. I felt like Okay, I just did it. And then I just watched and then he came back in. And then he said, Okay, I understand your boundary.

That makes sense. That is great. And then he left, I thought, okay, all as well. But then not too much later, he then went down into his own victim, poor me. And that was another another chance for me to set a boundary, which takes me to the thing that we've talked about before, that is one of the hardest things for me to learn, was detaching with love. So when I go out and I see oh, he went down into that place, then that's my cue to not save him.

Because in the past, I was like, Oh, my gosh, okay, I love you. I'm so sorry. Like, it's fine. And I know you're trying and you're doing so well. And I'm so proud of you. Right, and then we're back. And same thing, again, repeating the same thing. I'm setting the boundary again the next day or stating it and we're in this hamster wheel, this loop of the boundary works for a minute. But then all of a sudden, I'm back in saving. So can we talk about for a second, that whole concept of detaching with love because it was really hard. I was a very loving person I wanted to give love and show love. And I wanted to help.

Ryan Christiansen  27:30  
So I think the whole detachment with love requires a little bit of conversation on just attachment in general. There's healthy attachment and unhealthy attachment. And your audience can go and research what that is. But healthy attachment could be summarized with you're okay, I'm okay. We're okay. And a lot of attachment literature and research is based on the parent child relationship.

But we often forget that, you know, once that relationship has been changed by the introduction of significant other significant other now that is the attachment figure, as much as we'd hate to admit it, there is still some dynamics of that parent child relationship that show up in romantic relationships. It shouldn't be like a parenting role, but we still are attached to the other person. And there's things that still apply. So for example, you know, if my kids are upset because I said no, well, it's okay.

If they're upset, my feelings for them are not going to diminish because they're upset with me because I said, no, they can even tell me they hate my guts, it's fine. And that's where the detached with love comes into play. It's okay, if our significant other doesn't like our boundaries, or if they are hurt because they didn't get what they wanted. Or maybe they're having a guilt or shame trip, that's still their emotional experience. It's okay. Just like it's okay for you as the betrayed spouse to have the feelings and experiences that you have. Both are valid, healings only going to come from us facing our reality, including the stuff that we don't like. So that's where that detachment with love comes into play.

Roxanne Kennedy-Granata  29:22  
Okay, so allowing someone else spouse or children, but let's just say spouse for a second with my, with my example before, to feel their feelings, whatever they are, and not go in and try to save them. If we let them feel them, it's actually helping them really because we kind of do a disservice to people when we go in and save. That whole idea of throwing the mattresses under people so they don't have to feel the weight of their decisions or the pain or even our children when something hard happens and we try to to minimize and make it so everything's okay again.

We don't allow that emotional resilience or emotional regulation or whatever to be strengthened in a person. And so now they don't know what to do. They're sitting there in this space of shame or whatever is happening and feeling like, I don't even know what to do, I don't know how to get out of it. But I look at it now as just like, I did not know what to do at being a betrayed spouse, like I got to the point, I don't know what to do, I cannot handle myself, that's when I reached out for the most help, when I could see where I was at, like, kind of like your own rock bottom.

And so we want to allow our spouse to do the same thing and sit in that pain. So a lot of times I hear and I have felt this, that, but if I don't go and tell him, you know, oh, my gosh, like see him in his pain, how do you not go up to somebody when they're in pain and do something about it? Right, their whole fear at that point is if I don't save them, they are going to do something that causes me more harm. So again, a false sense of control, right? They've already done stuff that's caused harm, even though they do nurture, right.

But in that moment, it's like survival of the marriage or of the family or whatever it kicks in. And so it's just like, you talked about the toddler, it really is a process of just practicing it right? And then maybe like, you practice leaving them alone for a little while. And then you run in and save, and then you're like, Oh, I ran an and saved things. Okay, okay, next time, I'm going to try not to, so that that other person can actually learn what it is that they're feeling in that state of being, it's like a hyper arousal type state, right? You're you're up to you're barely above water.

And you're trying to save this relationship you're trying to in your mind, you think you're saving this person, and they go down this the victim spiral, and you have that response of, Oh, my goodness, I have to run in and save, otherwise, I will be in more pain. Can you give a phrase or a tip or a thing to self check, like, be aware of your own self, when that's happening to to guide this process, it's like, let's help them crawl, so that they can walk

Ryan Christiansen  32:03  
In working with all of the women that I've worked with around these kinds of things, I start to look for the eye rolling. That happens, because of going back to the basics, which are boundaries and self care. The only way that we can stop rescuing is by having solid personal boundaries for ourselves. A

nd recognizing, I know how I act and respond when they are playing the victim role, or when they look and sound really pathetic, or whatever the case might be. And, and I know what I tend to do. So that right there is the key. That's how I don't want to respond, because I know what happens when I start to rescue. And yes, that's where the practice comes in. It's also where the self care comes in, in my groups, or in individual counseling they'll be like, Let me guess, boundaries and self care, right?  Well yeah

Roxanne Kennedy-Granata  33:05  
Yeah, it works. That's why

Ryan Christiansen  33:08  
there's different kinds of self care. It's not just the spa visits. I mean, those are nice. But getting nails done, or hair done or whatever, isn't all self care really is it's more about how do you feel about yourself? How do you believe about yourself? How are you taking care of yourself emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually, even financially? How are you making sure that your body has the energy to get up and then every day and take care of all the things that you need to take care of?

And so that requires nutrition and sleep and those things? And I'll have women who will be like, Yeah, but I can't even I don't even feel like I can do that. I just want to stay in my bed. Because life sucks. Yes, it does. That's the paradigm, right? Because if you don't force yourself to try, just at the very least try, then you're not taking care of yourself. And if you're not taking care of yourself, you're probably not going to feel like you can have a solid boundary. And you may more likely be to respond with that rescuing position. So those two things go hand in hand.

Roxanne Kennedy-Granata  34:23  
They really do. There was a time I had never ever been in my bed before until 2015. I had never done that. That wasn't part of my mental where I go right after my kids went to school. I know a lot people have I had friends who did. I was like, I would not I don't ever need to get in my bed and then 2015 going through divorce. It was almost like that was the after like I was geared up the entire time before trying to fight this from 2012 to 2015. Like on fire everyday.

Okay, what do I need to do? What do I need to do what I need to do and then all of a sudden it's like the aftermath comes and then I'm in my bed, like every day, I'm like laying in my bed, I'm like, I have got to get out of my bed like this is crazy. But that's where the consistent effort came. That's where I had to go to therapy every single week and sometimes call you and say, hey, I can't even make it a week. And you would fit me in and we'd have two sessions that week. I would call my energy person every single week and have a session.

So I like I was overtime, not in a bad way. But life saving, I have to practice this I have got to do that was my self care that and and like your group, the women's group, and then my other groups, I had to do that I had to go all in. Otherwise, I wasn't going to get myself out of that bed. And I wanted to. So even though I didn't want to get out, I knew just like what you said, I have to try, and what are the things that are going to help me get out, doing my work, I have to do my healing work, reading, journaling, going to therapy, doing all the things, I have to do it. Otherwise I can't get out because I don't know how to do it on my own.

Ryan Christiansen  36:07  
And the nice thing about all those things is all of those things get to look like how it needs to look like for you, there's not a certain amount of therapy sessions you need to do. And there's not a certain amount of books and blogs and videos and podcasts and whatever that you need to read or listen to, or a certain number of groups, you get to figure out what you need, and how often you need it. And it's just part of the process.

Roxanne Kennedy-Granata  36:36  
Absolutely, everybody's different, their personalities are different, because my personality was give me the list and I will work it to death, you know, so I can recover. That's why I needed all of the work I did in the in the way I did with therapy or energy or whatever. But you're you're totally right. Some people do it in a quieter way, or in just reading or journaling or, or whatever.

But there are so many different ways out there to heal. And what's so cool is that even though we don't all have the same ones like either in our area, or we haven't been introduced to them, I have found that the tool does show up, it shows up for you what you personally need. Because I just believe in that universal law or God how, how it is brought to you as you open up as you seek for I need something, I want to do something I just don't know what it is, it'll show up on your door in some form. And so that's pretty powerful. Okay, so as we end, what I've just loved what you've shared, because it's all of this is like, how can these people learn how to save themselves? What do they need to function in their life?

What do they need to be emotionally stable so that they're not flying off the handle everything that goes back to self. And and figuring out what what to do for ourselves so that we can act in the way that is, is honoring our own core and who we are, and, and being able to make choices, being able to choose the life that we want to live, no matter what its gonna look like in the end. So, so last thoughts, last feelings, anything that's come to your mind?

Or that you want to share with these people that listen. And then also, would you also share? If they are you are a Utah therapist, so if they are in Utah, how they can take advantage of working with you or being part of your groups? What it is that where they can find you at?

Ryan Christiansen  38:34  
I guess in any closing thoughts, the one thing that comes to mind always is just the self compassion, the whole work of healing does take a lot of effort and energy and repetition. And it can be frustrating, and it can be annoying and aggravating and whatnot. But I would hope that any of the listeners in your audience can at least grasp on to the hope that they are enough period, they are worthy period, they are deserving period.

They don't need to prove that to the person that they're having these struggles with. It's just inherent in terms of the possibility of working with me, I do work with people all across the state. Obviously, if you're anywhere outside of St. George Washington County area, it would probably be by telehealth, and that is an option. I'm not sure if you will be posting the contact information, Roxanne but

Roxanne Kennedy-Granata  39:31  
Yeah, it'll be in the show notes.

Ryan Christiansen  39:32  
Okay, but you can go to the website, go to the email, go to the phone number. Those are all valid ways of getting a hold of me.

Roxanne Kennedy-Granata  39:41  
Okay. And so right now you do private sessions, one on one, whether it's online or in person, and then do you have groups going right now at all or not right now.

Ryan Christiansen  39:53  
I have a local women's trauma support group that's going on. It's really small. If you're interested, you just need to contact me. And we'll see what what kind of work. But yes, individual couples also

Roxanne Kennedy-Granata  40:09  
great. I've done all of those things with Ryan. So if you guys are thinking about that, just know, I did individual I did couples, and I even brought people I was dating to see him after my divorce. So if you want to just stay in the reality of your situation and get some feedback, he was great for that as well. I also participated in his women's groups, and that was just phenomenal. And those women are still my my closest friends today. So thank you so much, Ryan, I appreciate it. I mean, just immensely you really were part of my healing process and changing my life.

And everything that you offered me was true. It Well, I want to I want to say this to um, there was one point, if you remember this, where I came into the office, and I was so angry, I was so sick of this stuff. I was divorced at this point, I hated the fact that I had to keep working on this every single day. I felt like it was too much and too long and too hard. And you as I don't remember the question you asked me, but basically, I and my response was No, I do not think that this is working or whatever I said, I don't remember.

And you're like, Okay, well, I probably can't help you until you're ready to basically be back on track. And so I didn't see you for a number of months. I don't even know how many it was, I called my energy person. And I was kind of saying the same thing. And she's like, I'm feeling as though I cannot work with you until you get your mind back in gear. And it took me months of basically resentment and bitterness set in. And I was furious about what my life what had happened to my life that I didn't choose. In that process, though it's like, I work through my own stuff.

And then I was back and I'm back in your office and I'm back in energy work. And it was like so freeing to see it for myself and realize what was the alternative, the alternative to not moving forward was staying stuck. It's that concept of staying in your bed. I was not going to get out of it if I just was mad about it. So I had to let go and surrender that anger so that I could heal and move through it and I did and you really do come out on the other side. You really do come out happy healthy feeling great. Able to thrive figuring out your your passion, your career, your relationships, whatever. And so I guess my final thought is the work really does work. You just have to do it. Just have to put in that time.

Ryan Christiansen  42:41  
Right.

Roxanne Kennedy-Granata  42:42  
Yeah, so Okay, well, thank you so much, Ryan, for being here. And for all of you listening. Thank you so much. Keep doing your work and I will see you next time.