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by Lisa Anderson Shaffer, LMFT
April 4th 2021

Hi Friends, I'm Lisa Anderson Shaffer - coach, consultant, psychotherapist, and resident psych enthusiast. And I LOVE psychology! It's the study of human behavior after all and isn't... More

Hi Friends and welcome to Joy is Now the podcast where we take psychologically minded look at life, I'm your host, Lisa Anderson Shaffer coach, consultant, and resident psych enthusiast. Joy is Now is sponsored by listeners like you visit Lisa Anderson Shaffer dot com to join the community and become a one time or recurring patron of the podcast.
Why Ice-T tea wins Law and Order Psychology and the fact check.
Welcome to the end of season one. Thank you so much for listening, for being a psych enthusiast, and making these conversations about psychology a part of your day. It means a lot. There is something I cannot stop thinking about. On episode 27 of this podcast, my guest J'Amy Tarr tells a story about her dad and airports. The story and her dad's anxiety around travel and being on time became a piece of J'Amy's character narrative. Like many of us, this behavioral response that didn't originate within her stuck around for years until her husband one day was like why are you so freaked out about the airport?

Good question. What I've been thinking about since this episode is that as J'Amy recounts her dad's airport anxiety, she notes that to her family, the anxiety came off his anger and frustration, but in reality it wasn't anger at all, but worry. If you circle back on the episode, you'll hear us both kind of laugh at the thought of trying to understand and respond to another person's behavior when that behavior can be totally incongruent from the emotion behind it. Worry looks like anger. Fear looks like aggression, sensitivity, looks like toughness. What a fucking mess. Right? I mean it's a miracle we can ever communicate with each other at all. I keep asking myself how do we solve this incongruence? Can we even solve this? There's only like seven billion people on the planet. Surely we can connect the internal feelings to external behavior for each and every one of us. Right? Oh my God, that's hilarious. When I started to think about this podcast wrapping up season one, I had some ideas about congruency, uncertainty, what is known.

Let's start with a question, how often do you know an outcome? The outcome? Any possible outcome? This was a question posed to me by my yoga teacher a handful of years ago. I was having a difficult time making a decision and she said, "well how often have you known the actual outcome of your choices ahead of time?" I mean like really know been 100% certain ever, nope. Not even once. I can guess, but I've never been certain of any outcome. Like with this podcast to be honest, I have no idea where this thing is going, where it will lead. Will it even go anywhere? I often ask myself the question why. if I don't know then why the hell am I doing it? And I have come up with no better answer then that's why? And when I get lost in questions and uncertainty, I have learned through my work as a psychotherapist to go to the videotape or review the facts. Start with name it to claim it. Keep it simple. Look at the facts. I think guest Lisa Solomon would refer to this as an artist documentation. if you've ever watched Law and Order specifically SVU you know that Ice-T plays this fact check role brilliantly.

His character does a great job of reviewing the facts of the investigation. His lines often start like, "you mean to tell me," or "so let me get this straight." He's providing a very necessary moment of reflection for us, the viewer and also the other detectives. List what you know, see where that leads. And you know there's not a case he hasn't solved. His record, imaginary or not is pretty stellar. He's not a detective but he plays one on TV. And I think that's what we are doing here on Joy is Now. Well, except that I'm not Ice-T, that would be rad. And I actually am a psychotherapist not just playing one on TV. But these conversations, investigations into emotion where behavior originates, what emotions mean to us in many ways these conversations are a review of the facts and that seems pretty cool. When it comes to emotion, we all have different facts. They start the same, the neural pathway, physiological response. But the magic of our history, the impact of our little culture of family and friends, deeply colours the result of our behavior and I think that's the answer or at least an answer to what we do with the hilarious notion of the challenge over seven million people just trying to understand each other when many of us don't really understand ourselves.

Side note this is why I love psychology. The whole premise of this is hilarious, right? I mean good luck with all that. But the more conversations we have about psychology, emotion, behavior, the more we might find that there are surprising similarities in our knowingness. The history experienced. Trauma, how it colors our behavior. And it might be about understanding and appreciating this mix more than worrying so much about fully understanding each other. If congruency seems impossible. Let's spend time looking at the incongruency. I bet we find a lot of crossover and maybe that will help. Maybe it won't. But it will get us closer to being able to laugh about it. How psychology, human behavior governs all. And most of the time we're just feeling our way through the dark. I guess the key is to find a group of people. you can be totally uncertain with. Thanks so much for being here in the dark together.
This has been Joy is Now with me Lisa Anderson Shaffer LMFT. Joy is Now will be taking a short break and we'll be back for season two on april 25th.

In the meantime you can find me for hire at Lisa Anderson Shaffer dot com along with patronage support for this podcast and the These Three Things project. You can also follow along with my musings at Lisa Anderson Shaffer on Instagram, See you next time.

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