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Blossom Your Awesome Episode #46 - Striving Towards Growth With Elvira Maria Medus

by Sue Dhillon
May 16th 2022
00:43:25
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Blossom Your Awesome Episode #46 - Striving Towards Growth With Elvira Medus

On this latest episode of the Blossom Your Awesome Podcast I'm talking to psychotherapist Elvira Medus.  More

blossom, your awesome podcast episode number 46 today on the show. Elvira Medicis is here with us. Elvira is a licensed psychotherapist trained under the road Jerian Modell developed by carl Rogers. This style of therapy takes a person centered approach which is a branch of the humanistic school of psychology. The philosophy is based in the actualizing tendency, suggesting that there is an innate force within all living things that strives towards growth. I am so excited to have Elvira here with us, I cannot wait to get into this and I know she is going to have some incredible insights, wisdom and practical tips for us all.

Elvira, thank you so much for being here. Welcome to the show. Hi Sue, thank you for having me. This is like a privilege for me to be in your show. So I'm very honored that I'm here with you with you and your audience. Oh that is so sweet, I'm just honored to have you here. So thank you so much. I feel exactly the same way. So Elvira, I'm gonna say we get started talking, give us a little bit of your background, how you got into this line of work. Okay, so I'm first of all, I'm a licensed psychotherapist in new york. I was trained as a ra Jerian psychotherapist in Argentina and following my passion of helping others. I then pursued a master's in social work at Columbia University in new york and I have to say that for me like diving into my client's world and witnessing their grow and and develop, gives me like a meaning and a higher sense of purpose.

So I I really feel privileged that I get to that I get to be able to to help people with their struggles and difficulties because it's it's really so rewarding for me to be part of their transformation, right to to see how they become the persons that they want to be and to see them unfold. So that's that's a little bit of me about my profession and on my personal life, I'm Married and I have four beautiful Children who bring me even more meaning to my life. And that's a whole other blessing that that I can't be more grateful for. Mm I love that, that is beautiful. Now, tell me, you know, you were drawn to this um, the carl Rogers kind of philosophy, why is that? Well, we're going to break this down and we'll get into how that's different. But why was that more appealing to you rather than more kind of traditional?

Uh, you know, methods. You know, there, I'm a believer that there are many, many ways of helping others, right? And you have to be true to yourself to help from the place that speaks to your heart. And when I found carl Rogers, I spoke to my heart and like, like I said, there's no right or wrong, right? There are many, many ways, but for me there's there's this maybe main belief that all the humanistic psychology psychotherapy has that is disbelief that humans have within them, this power to grow and then forward and and find their ways, right? So that if you have to ask yourself if you believe in that or not. So if you're a believer of of that power that people have, then raja raja Jerian starts to make sense to you because as a therapist and from this approach, what you try to do is to honor that power.

So maybe what I'm saying here is that the therapist doesn't have the power if that makes sense. So this is a whole different approach. And of course this could be very confusing for for a client who comes distressed and wants the therapist to solve their problems or things that are going to be the ones. Uh so I understand that this could be puzzling, right? If you say you have the power and the client is gonna say, I don't have any power. Look at my life, I'm struggling, I'm in misery or whatever the situation is. But all that, it's that power is still there, right? It's it's shadowed has been conditioned, has been hidden and my work is to actually give space to that, to unfold, to come out to to guide the client. And that to me is what speaks to me, right?

That's what I do. That's what I believe that what has been working for me. But it's all about trying to help the client find their answers and find their ways, you know, because as a therapist, you don't know the struggle of the of the client. You can try to we empathize, we know a lot of things how to get there, right? So we guide them in this personal search, but ultimately they they know better. They know what they need, what they want and we are just helpers and and that's the approach and the place that I take in sessions. I don't know if this makes sense, what I just said. Oh, now it makes perfect sense. And I love that. I think that's I just really, really love that philosophy because I believe in our own innate power. You know, I believe we have the ability to overcome things and, you know, anxiety and all of that. And I know that's a deeper thing for certain people, but you know, with like Western therapy, some of it, it's very much just kind of you go, you have some problems.

The therapist is kind of just there to listen. They can't really offer advice. They don't guide you. They just kind of listen, right? They can't tell you what to do or they don't tell you what to do. They're really just there to listen. I've done some of that therapy in the past years ago and there were many times I felt worse, you know, because it's like I'm not done yet. You know, I need to cry more. I need to have this out of my system yet. And there's times, you know, you're leaving therapy and you're calling friends or people because you feel almost worse because it's just kind of activates, brings everything up, but I don't have the answer like, okay, and I think that's so beautiful Elvira, you know, and some of the stuff I teach, it's like and a lot of my gurus and guides and people, teachers and trainers, that philosophy is that, you know, when you the best greatest master leads the student to the master within. Yes, exactly. Yeah, that's well said so that's exactly what what it's all about.

Of course at times we have a tendency right of human beings to to to try to give an advice right or two to move them away from their suffering and we want them to feel good, that's our goal. But sometimes that doesn't help. That doesn't help right To, to make them to make them feel happy. That's a process that is going to come from after the process. If it happens, it's not our goal as a, as a therapist to make the client feel good. Our our goal is to hold their hands no matter the situation, no matter their feeling. You know, my goal is not to to see them smiling. I don't have that goal, that's not where we're heading, my goal is to to that person to feel that I'm there with them, right? And and the process with the trust with the trust that that's gonna happen, but that's not the goal.

So that that could be hard for some people, right? And it happens all the time when we tell our stories or our struggles to people and people give you advice and want to fix it. I want to fix whatever is happening and and we know that deep in our hearts that doesn't help usually, right? Of course, advice Many times. It's very encouraging and helpful. But we also know that all those truths are that that we reach our those powerful ones. Those meaningful ones are the ones that we self discovered, right, that we find from within. And and like you said these days, there's a lot of of advice idea go do this. You have to do this and that. And if you can't go and you can and you can and you and and of course that's encouraging and and it's hopeful. And but sometimes that those advice and leave us very empty, right? Because when you can you have the strength from within and you go do it and and then you you know, I can't actually no, I don't feel I can I don't feel that, you know, wake up in the morning and just there's sometimes a lack of of a pause and acceptance of the places that the people are and being okay with that.

And that's what this type of of therapy provides is that that that is a word that has a lot of meaning and we can talk and talk over and over again, but it but it's about acceptance, right? Acceptance of whatever feelings you're having. You know, being depressed, being jealous, being envious. You know? No, you cannot feel that way. No, you can you know, you hear that all the time. The thing is that sometimes that doesn't make it better, that doesn't make it change the you don't have to feel that way, right? It's more the the acceptance towards that feeling that it's gonna help you get to the other side and change. It's only through acceptance, right? We we can't change, right? Where we don't acknowledge. And so we have to first acknowledge whatever we're going through and then accept it. Welcome it. I don't know if this is making any sense to, you know, it is absolutely.

And I think sometimes, you know people we kind of if you're stuck or you're going through something, it's like you're kind of you want to cry, you're in this state of victimhood but you're not you're rejecting what's happening, right? You're not accepting your not saying, okay this is what happened and then is that what you're saying? So it's kind of like, once you accept yes, you can move past it. Yes. Yes. And but again, it's not um a means to an end. It's accepting, it's staying there, it doesn't mean giving up. You know, sometimes people feel if I accept that I'm depressed, I'm gonna stay here forever. I cannot accept I have to or if I can accept that I'm lazy, I'm gonna keep being lazy. And you know, it's not that it's it's accepting. It means to look at yourself with with compassion, with understanding, right? And only from that place of accepting your negative feelings, those things that you're not proud of, right?

It's easy to accept that the positive things, the things that we're proud. But it's harder when when, when we're going through things that we are not proud and that acceptance is one. It's amazing All the things that that gives us because first of all, it allows us to experience and and express whatever we're feeling, right? So in a way restores hope, right? And when you when you are not judging yourself right? When you're not criticizing, then there's an openness that happens. And you can start to be honest with yourself. And when you start opening that you can be honest with whatever is going on inside of you. And then you can see what you do with that, right? You can then after that acceptance you can acknowledge and work and that's the second step that you said that maybe change it or do something about it.

But if you don't accept it. It's gonna haunt you. It's gonna haunt you mm hmm. And so tell me what is the process. I know it's a long process, right? I'm sure you're working with clients and people for weeks and months and maybe years at times. But just the first kind of step, let's say if somebody is kind of in denial about something, you know, a relationship ended or something whatever it is, they lost their job. Whatever. What is the first step to accepting? Is there a like practical tips advice or guidance you can give us like where we start with that for them? You know, sometimes the best way to to go about it is instead of thinking about acceptance is thinking about understanding, right? When you when you try to understand then you start in the process of and what what comes in is empathy, right?

So it's easier if they're just accepting bluntly is understanding what's going on, why you're in the situation that you are that your experience experiencing, you know, you understand what's going on. You know, the things that happened to you. You know the criticism, the judgment that is hard for you. It's it's from that understanding that you can bring compassion towards yourself And after that with that compassion it's the acceptance comes easily. It's like when when we have a friend we tend to sometimes be more compassionate than towards ourselves. You know, if someone comes and says, well no, I don't know I I set this goal for myself and I am not accomplishing and I'm not doing it. And so we tend to give the right word to them. You know? And but sometimes we could be harsh towards ourselves.

So that understanding towards the bigger picture brings help us to bring some compassion personally. Right? So but but again sometimes it's it's hard and that's when therapy comes in because when someone else I can accept you then it's easier for you to accept yourselves. And that's what happens in therapy. You know when you tell a horrible story about yourself or something that you are some of your darkness and the other person just validated and accepted and doesn't react. Oh so it's okay to feel this way. So if the other person validates me, maybe I can validate myself. And that's another way that that usually helps you know when when someone validates you then you can start validating yourself as well. Mm I love that. Yeah and that's so different than other types of therapy, right? Where there really isn't any of that input, it's just more kind of listening and letting you have your moment.

You're feeling sharing. There isn't a lot of that kind of helping validate or guidance or all of that. And again I'm not trying to knock therapy but I don't exactly you know like this other approach where you're a little more offering a little more guidance to them to help them come out of this space. Yes. Yes. And and first and how you do that also it's it's by not rushing them right or not. It's by letting them take their time in their process, right? It's it's not that it's okay to be where, where they are. You know, it's because often that acceptance is what there is going to allow them to to rest instead of I can't be this way, I can't those judgments that we tend to tell to ourselves, right?

It's and even if we're in the worst place when you see someone being next to you and being okay, being in that darkness with you and staying there and being confident in that place, that's what it's very, very powerful right now. And sometimes clients have a hard time because they tend to to take care of the therapist, right? They tend to they don't want to bother, you know, they want to and when they feel that the therapist can handle without wanting to fix the client, That is very that that's something very powerful that anyone can give to another person, right on throw to me whatever you're experiencing, tell me whatever it's okay. I'm not gonna be scared. I'm not gonna I'm not gonna rush. I'm not gonna say this cannot be happening anymore. You know, it's there are many, many, many situations where the clients feel so ashamed of what they do or what they are doing or the way they are behaving and they keep coming relapsing in situations, you know?

And again, I'm I'm back again with this person who I don't know, it's aggressive to me and all this situation, right That the clients are shameful but they cannot break free from them. And that accepting acceptance of their impossibility to move forward is what's going to help them to move forward. It's like a paradox but but but it it goes that way. Mm wow that is really, it's so fascinating when you start really getting deep into kind of, you know, all of the different kind of psychological aspects of how we are and how we hold onto things and how we react and right, what we need things. It's so fascinating. So talk to us about the actualizing tendency. What exactly is that? Well, it's it's a little bit of what I I explained at the beginning is that seed that we all have inside of us, right?

That that seed that has the potential to grow. However, like any seed needs sun and needs needs water And that's what happened to all of us when we don't get the sun and we don't get to get get the water that's it might not grow as strong and as we would like. Right? So those would be the the conditions, the criticisms, the judgments that we might have experienced growing up, but that doesn't mean that the city is not there. So if we start providing to that seed water and and sand, that is acceptance and empathy. That's it automatically. It's gonna start growing again. And so that's what it is and that's what we all have.

It's a matter of providing the correct conditions, the right conditions for that seem to grow and and none of it is that acceptance or or or the way that we we call it is unconditional positive regard. That's what it is that allows ourselves to to experience and express whatever we are feeling without judgment. And that is what again like restores hope and and people feel safe. So honesty follows right and being honest with ourselves and and with others is crucial for change while on the opposite judgment and shames brings out like defensiveness and and retrieve and constraint when we provide this unconditional positive regard that foster safety which which invites honesty and and that's how the growth process of that seed stars.

Mm That is beautiful. Vira. Now tell me for you personally, where did this? Uh and you come from? This kind of belief that you know, And I love this because I feel I do. I already said this before but I feel the exact same way. Right. I believe in all the possibilities. So did you always were you this way when you were little did something happen? You know, did you kind of see the bigger picture? Could you dream a bigger than your reality? You know what I mean? Like seeing bigger things for yourself and for others. Did you always have that inside of you. Mhm I I would say so. I'm I really don't know where it comes from, but it's something that I think may be innate. There's I I don't recall thinking differently that there were maybe my parents help in some ways to to allow myself to to find my ways, but I think it was more innate than, like, I believe, like, again, it's a belief, right?

It's it's there are some people that don't have it and I respect that. So, it it's a belief. And at this point, I would even say that for me, something that I know because of not only myself and my personal process that that allowed me to to unfold and find my way. But also, I see with my clients, I see how this is possible. It's possible for everyone tune to grow and find and be the person they want to be. I, of course, if you have been, um conditions in certain ways or more dramatic or tragic ways, it's gonna be harder and maybe take longer and there's no fast or easy way. But it is possible.

It is just possible. It's like you have to do the work and and you have you are the one who decides who choose who have the power, but if you can get yourself the conditions that you need for yourself for you to to connect with your true self. That is not easy. You don't know some people and ourselves. We're always trying to discover ourselves, right? It's it's always there's always more and more and more and we need to to be creative with ourselves and find the ways that help help us try to help that seed to grow. And we we know when that happens and we know when we're within presence of people or circumstances that that city is being threatened. So it's it's our responsibility as well to try to find out that environment that fosters our growth, right?

And and there are a lot of people out there like like you and all the people that you invite trying to help others in this path getting to two to that person that that that you want. You can be right. But but sometimes it's the way that you look at yourself in the moment that you are that is limiting you write those those judgments that that expectation right? Because there's there's another concept that is very important in the ra Jerian therapy that it's about Congruence See, right? And and the the problem is that oftentimes our image of who we think we should be does not always match with our perceptions of who we are today, right? When our self image that does not line up with our ideal self we are in that state of in congruence See mm hmm.

And Okay. Yeah. Oops, I'm sorry continued. No, no, no, no, no. So, so so that's something that that we we have that those ideal self that oftentimes other people were the ones who sent that for us and we are caught in that and we are struggling with that because we cannot connect with who we truly are. It doesn't matter, it doesn't fit that ideal self, Right? But that that's the one of the challenging challenges, right? And and this unconditional positive regard can, can help us get closer to that to a state of congruence. See where who we are matches the the image that that we want for ourselves, right? It's it's that that's another concept that that is important too 20 to take into account. Mm Okay, now let me ask you.

So, you know, this finding your true authentic self. You know, I hear so many people, they're kind of in the long wrong line of work or they're not happy with work or their life or their relationship or something is just they're not happy, right? They're not tent. So is that part of that? Not really being your true authentic self or your ideal self? There's something there, right? Because when you're discovering more of who you really are, there is more joy, There is more pleasure. Yes. You know, I what happens there is like, let's say a very simple or basic example to understand how how this develops, right, this getting further away from who we are at one point or another when when someone told us you are let's take too sensitive, not too talkative tune early.

Let's say maybe your artist for not following the crowd in any in some way. Right? So all these messages start to convey that it's not okay to be who we are. We started. Okay. So this is I'm to to this to that, to that. So when you hear the things that these messages that often times come from the people that we need and and we love the most then we are forced to choose between. Either we live out our values and feel rejected. Okay, I don't care. This is me. I'm too I'm just But you have to go against all those messages or changing your views. Oh yes. That that wasn't good to do. Yes, I should be. I should. And that's when the shooting starts. Right? And you start creating that ideal self that others are imposing on you.

So so oftentimes we ignore what we want. And we Because we don't want to feel left out. We want that lab. So we start somehow betraying ourselves. Mhm. Right. And we start getting further and further away from what we wanted from who we are. Mm hmm. And these paths that we take are not true to ourselves because we are taking them Because we are scared of that rejection. Mm So it's hard to go back to to those places because at one point we start disconnecting and we start like interjecting those views those messages and And that's where we lose connection with our true selves. However with unconditional positive regard with that acceptance, we can start recovering ourselves like dismantled the shame.

Mm mm mm mm mm mm mm. And and start help us to be true to ourselves because that that unconditional positive regard doesn't come with judgment. So we can be whoever or whatever we are feeling even when other doubts us, right? When other people or don't like it. But that's that's a process of so ultimately it's like a process of recovering who we are that we are somewhere right? It's but we we have been getting further and further away from ourselves and that's what what is becoming Un congruent or more congruent right after the other, the concept that I that I mentioned before. Mm hmm. Okay. And now let me ask you, is there a simple, I know nothing in life is simple but but I'm going to ask is there a simple way or just some simple advice You have two people who are looking for their passion or trying to find their true authentic self? Where can they start? Just something? Is there a simple tip?

Is there somewhere they can just kind of start and Yeah, it's gonna take work. I understand that. But where do they start? Right? Where do they begin the first? The first thing that I would say is that yes, you do have a passion. Yes. There is something that that you like to do so that you prefer. You have your preferences, You have your your talents, so remind them about that, that the search could belong, could be confusing, you could feel lost, but but it's worth it. It is so so so that's the first some people that give up, right? And that's something that that reminding them that that the search is worth it, and it's it's about keep going, keep going. It's it's gonna come clear and clearer. But you you you need to remember that if you have this intuition that you want to find your passion, you want to do what you just continue to listen to that and don't get discouraged for along the way, don't get discouraged, even if it is, it's hard because again, it's worth it at the end in this is some something that happened that that that's very personally because you just mentioned that I'm or I'm I already, I started my professional career as an accountant, so I was really far, far far from where I am now and I never felt that was my, my calling.

I never felt that it was something I it was okay I was doing and I work in banks, I were in finance, nothing to do with time. And but I never give up. I kept trying to see what is that. I didn't know I was completely lost. I didn't know what I, you know, I have some hints and those little hints were the ones who were guiding me. And sometimes the hints weren't about what I wanted. I didn't know what I wanted. I only knew what I didn't want. I didn't want to continue working there. So I started changing jobs. Where do I go? I don't know. I don't want to be in finance anymore. Or that was the only clue I had at the beginning. Right? So I started changing and changing and I started getting closer. At one point I thought it was something about humans. So I was really, really lost in my search. But just by hearing those small intuitions we have some guide that we can grab and follow.

And those are that's the only thing that that you have you don't have anything else. You have to listen to yourself or whatever is in there. And if there's nothing you have to listen harder, right and see what do you think it is. And and the path was really, really too long for me. I wish I had arrived to the place that I'm sooner. But it is what it is, right? I did the best I could with my limitations. And maybe that's my messages to it is worth it. And there's no there's no time. There's no too late. There's never too late. And that's something that helped me a lot when when someone told me you can still do it and I couldn't believe that I could start again a new career right after having a profession and a position and my income start all over again, that, that and that I thought I was too late and that was like a misconception by those beliefs that we have sometimes that they limit us so much.

And so that maybe that would be my, my message to, to your question. Mm that is beautiful, Elvira, I love that. Now, you know, is there something, let me ask you. So you have this really kind of positive ideal and belief in people in the ability right to find at any age, any point in life, we can find our true self, we can find that joy, we can be happy. That is so beautiful now, what do you, is there something you do, what do you do to kind of feed your soul? Is there something you're right? I think it's amazing that you found your calling and I'm sure through your own work, because you're getting a lot of positive feedback from your clients, you're helping people and that's gotta feel great for you, right? Because you're saying yes, I'm on my right path, but what are the little things that you do like on a personal level, is there some spiritual stuff, are you getting in nature just to kind of be more in tune with your own intuition in your own authentic self.

So yes, yes, I would say maybe there maybe two things come to my Mind and one is in meditation. Okay, I found that that um it's something that it really helps me to to get maybe two to connect with what what is important, what matters. Instead of sometimes getting distracted with the outside world and all the distractions that we have in the west. It's like amazing how we can get distracted with with things that actually don't matter at all. So that's like it's back, come back to who we are, come back to my place and then I can go by my day, but at least I know that it's a reminder right off of like my soul and my path and and what matters in life.

So, I would encourage people to to try to find a their own path. But that's something that has helped me. And and then there's another thing that is more on a daily not that they're on a every movement basis is to to reflect on what's happening to me. You know, every interaction with every human being, every moment, every circumstance, it's an opportunity for me to get to know me better, right? Especially if it's a hard time, especially if the interaction with someone irritates me or especially if I'm going through some pain in those are blessings. Those are blessings that some people, it's hard to see them that way. But those are blessings that that can tell you a lot about who you are and who you are not allowing, allowing yourself to be.

So I I I try I try right, it's it's it's a working in progress. You I always get irritated or mad or angry or or when you have pain in your body or things that go, doesn't go the way you want or you're all are like opportunities or signs for you to to look inward and and if you can capitalize all those experiences and do some spiritual or meditation or whatever. I think that that can help you get closer and closer to to your calling to who you are, to your passions. At least this is what what has been working for me so far mm I love that Elvira, that is so beautiful. Um now let me ask you in, first of all, you have been so amazing and so insightful.

And um this is really incredible information here. You're giving us, let me ask you in closing what is you've already said this. So it's gonna be kind of redundant. You've said so many amazing powerful things. But what is your message? Right, just what are the last powerful words of wisdom, insight message you would have for the world? If There was like one message, what would you want everyone to know? Okay, I would, I would say um simplify your life simplify your life So you don't get distracted with things that actually don't matter. Life is much much simpler, but if you have like complicated lives it's hard to go back to what matters what's important. What? So maybe that's something that that that will be my my messages to give yourself the time that that you deserve to go back to who you are.

But that requires time and that requires to leave things from outside to focus on yourself and it is worth it. And I think that that can help people bring them like peace to to to themselves. I think maybe that's a different message that I didn't say before, but I think that's that's important too to remember. Mm wow, that was amazing, Elvira, you have been so awesome and um I just thank you so much for your time. No, so thank you, this was like a pleasure for me to talk to you and and to share my experience. So thank you for for having me for thinking about me and I am so honored to be on your show. Thank you Oh thank you so much. Mhm mhm

Blossom Your Awesome Episode #46 - Striving Towards Growth With Elvira Maria Medus
Blossom Your Awesome Episode #46 - Striving Towards Growth With Elvira Maria Medus
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