Episode 11: Michele Sherman, MFT

Lauren interviews another amazing health practitioner in this episode: Michele Sherman, MFT. Michele is a specialist in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy, which can be extremely useful in overcoming traumas of all shapes and sizes. She runs a practice out of Encino, CA.

Key links mentioned in this episode:

Michele Sherman, MFT

Psychology Today

Meetup

Listen in as Michele reveals…

  • why EMDR is an effective and fast treatment for trauma
  • how EMDR works
  • why EMDR is really a mind-body treatment, and has helped patients surviving eating disorders, PTSD, childhood trauma, grief, loss, anxiety, depression, and sleep problems, among other concerns
  • how EMDR allows patients to release unconsciously held pain in their bodies (when associated with trauma)
  • how EMDR treats a root cause for a solution and change
  • the importance of universal mental healthcare coverage
  • the importance of normalizing variations in mental health among individuals, and offering resources and advocacy
  • that there is help out there, and we need to de-stigmatize the search for treatment
  • that employers should offer opportunities and education on healthcare incentives, because it’s their job to provide access to help – and health
  • that social media is a form of isolation, and leads to depression among millennials
  • that being depressed doesn’t have to be a way of life

Michele Sherman MFT

Lauren: All right guys, thanks for joining us today. We’ve got Michele Sherman, who’s a licensed marriage and family therapist and an EMDR specialist on the show today. And we actually brought her on specifically to talk about EMDR therapy. So Michele, thanks for joining us on the show.

Michele: Thank you for having me.

Lauren: Can you tell us what EMDR is?

Michele: It stands for Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing therapy, and it’s a psychotherapy technique that helps people who have faced trauma … and also people who have emotional disturbances such as depression, anxiety.

It’s good for eating disorders, addictions, sleep problems, panic disorders, grief and loss.

Lauren: Wow. Okay. And can you tell us more about how it works — and the results you typically see in patients?

Michele: You can use EMDR using bilateral movements, which is eye movements moving right to left. Some people prefer tapping or using audio sound. And what it does is that it goes into the natural pathways of the brain, and it helps to go into where there was the blockage.

By using these movements, the brain is able to reprocess the painful events, and move through them and utilize more adaptive ways of processing the trauma or the blocks — and come up with better solutions or better meanings, or create even better templates in terms of how they could have responded … so they’re no longer feeling powerless or hopeless or the victim, and are feeling more empowered in terms of their own self-esteem and confidence.

Lauren: So you mentioned tapping and also the eye movements. So how does it work exactly? Is it just a pattern of movements with the eyes? Are you using visual cues to make that happen?

Michele: It’s right to left movement, so by moving right to left it’s similar in REM sleep. There’s a lot of research that says that that is when the brain is healing itself — when the eyes are moving back and forth in that pattern, that’s when the healing can continue. And then the blockages can become unblocked, and that’s when the processing can occur. And people can move on from those difficult distressing thoughts, images or behaviors.

Lauren: So it’s something that comes hand in hand with a therapeutic outline of treatment, right? So you’re working in talk therapy as well as in eye movement therapy. Is that right?

Michele: What’s wonderful about EMDR and why it works so effectively and faster than talk therapy is that in talk therapy the therapist is interpreting more of what the client is saying … and in EMDR therapy, the client is able to come up with their own emotional responses and intellectual responses that fit better, that are more adaptive to their situations today. And they’re able to work through it on their own while I, as a therapist, facilitate their healing and exploration.

Lauren: Okay. And how long a course of treatment do you typically recommend for patients? Does it differ, based on what they’re suffering through?

Michele: It really differs. I mean, there are those people that come in one time, and one time they have powerful movement and they progress. But normally it’s anywhere from three to six sessions, 12 sessions; some people will take months, because they have a lot of triggers, and they want to be able to work through all the triggers. And some people want to work on different issues for years. But…

…I would say the majority come for about three to six or 12 sessions.

Lauren: Okay, and what tests do you first use to determine people’s various psychological issues? What brings them to EMDR? Do you go straight into it? Or do you run diagnostics in order to determine who is a good candidate for something like this?

Michele: I have to do a thorough intake. It’s important that the person has emotional stability, that they’re not actively in their illness in terms of, say, schizophrenia. If they’re medically not stable, that would not be a good person. So you have to really understand the type of person that you’re dealing with. Somebody who’s got a lot of disassociating — that client would be more difficult to treat in terms of the work. There are some EMDR therapists that work with disassociated states, but that is harder to do because you really want to make sure that the client is able to follow you and they’re able to stay in the room. That’s part of the healing. If they are not in the room, and they go so far back and they start splitting into different people, then you’re not really treating the symptom at large.

Lauren: Okay. And do you have particular diagnoses in your work with EMDR patients that you find to be the most recurrent? Is it trauma? PTSD? What is it that you work with the most?

Michele: Well, I could tell you what I’ve recently been working with … I have a woman who recently lost her son. She’s got tremendous grief and loss, depression and anxiety. And through just a few sessions, she no longer blames herself for his death. She’s able to sleep better, she’s been able to improve her quality of life through doing other things other than, you know, staying at home and isolating; and she’s reaching out to friends and family. Another client, I helped him with sleep. He had so much anxiety in terms of the trauma he suffered as a child being in the war, then he had sleep problems. He felt very disconnected from his body as well, and he had a pain in his eye. And through our trauma work, he was able to have no more eye problems. Another client that I treated, he was feeling very depressed and desperate.

In terms of his resources, and through our work, he developed a lot more self-efficacy, self-esteem and confidence — in terms of what he could be doing, versus focusing on the problem and that he was a failure.

He started feeling like it was possible to make better decisions — and then he remembered through our work together and our resourcing that he could come up with better solutions in the future.

Lauren: It’s very interesting because it sounds a lot to me like there’s a parallel between this work and integrative medicine. It’s working with root causes, and really looking to help patients work through those root causes in order to seek clarity and happiness.

Michele: It’s definitely mind/body.

That’s what I love about EMDR. It takes all the therapies into one — the cognitive therapy, the behavioral therapy, the psychodynamic therapy, the guided imagery, the hypnotherapy, the somatic therapy, and it has an eight-phase treatment.

It exposes the issue and the emotions, and your physical body and your breathing and your cognitive self and your behavioral responses into each of the sessions. So you’re able to go into all the modalities and work on yourself.

There’s no therapy like that, that I know, that actually does that — because so many people can talk to you about it, but they’re still holding so much pain and discomfort in their bodies, and they don’t even know how to release that. And with EMDR therapy, that’s a big component of working in the body and releasing the stress, the tension, the pain … that is associated with the psychological but is so unconscious that people don’t even realize it.

Lauren:  And you also mentioned right before we started recording that you work with people with eating disorders. That’s got to be one of the most obvious mind/body connections surely, right?

Michele: Absolutely

With eating disorders and addiction, there are many people who’ve [endured] so much abuse.

In fact, the research has shown that there’s a high correlation between abuse — whether it’s physical, emotional abuse, neglect, divorce, mental illness in the home — that these people develop very low self-esteem, and it’s really easy for them to develop these behaviors as self-soothing — that later become self-injurious and they don’t even understand why they’re doing their behaviors and why they’re in so much pain. So to be able to go into the mind and the body with the eating disorder and understand that it wasn’t their fault, and that those uncomfortable feelings in their bodies could have been very much projected onto them by a parent who also didn’t even realize their own eating disorder, their own dislike of themselves. And that the child internalized all that and was now kind of acting that out. There’s a kind of acting it out, you know, in a sense of not even knowing they’re acting it out. So it’s way unconscious.

Lauren: I’m always amazed by the work of any kind of healthcare practitioner. Particularly in the world of therapy. And with something like this kind of work that’s going so deep with patients. How do you take on what they’re going through, what they’re experiencing — because this is what you do every day? How do you find ways to be able to keep your work separate from your life and be able to function while you’re watching other people work through such traumas?

Michele: I think that people have an incredible ability to heal themselves.

And for me as a therapist, I look at it as really facilitating their healing and their growth, and that that’s really up to them — and then I give them the space and the tools.

And to be able to use EMDR and find something so powerful that helps people. They actually start helping themselves because they start being able to self-correct and identify the things that block them and seeing their negative responses, and then they start putting more adaptive responses into what had happened. So the victim no longer feels like it was their fault. The food addict understands that they were doing the best that they could and that they need to now find different ways of comforting themselves; and that they were just in a pattern that they didn’t even understand at the time because they weren’t getting their own emotional needs met. And by understanding that they’re ‘enough’ and that they didn’t feel, maybe, taken care of or emotionally safe or in control… they can start making different choices. But talk therapy sometimes takes so much time for that process to occur on such deep levels of change, where the EMDR session speeds that up … where they’re able to understand that and process that and move on.

It’s pretty interesting how quickly EMDR can move through a process that can take people years to come to.

Lauren: Yeah, and it sounds like it’s something that you’re witnessing with a bit of wonder, too … like it’s a really exciting thing for you, to watch people heal.

Michele: Oh, it’s amazing. To see people smile and feel better. I’ve got one client who had writer’s block; she just was having such a hard time writing. And to be able to have sessions with her, and help find her joy in why she started writing … and to see her start laughing in the session and be excited to go home.

Lauren: That’s amazing. That’s got to be a good feeling.

Michele: You feel good about that.

Lauren: A lot of people who have “invisible illnesses” — which ranges from anxiety and depression all the way to major traumas, and obviously physical symptoms as well … are there a lot of people who come in, where it seems like it’s more of a hypochondria than an actual diagnosis of something specific? How do you balance the occurrence of the hypochondriac and the actual person who needs help?

Michele: Well, you know, it’s not up to me as a therapist to invalidate or validate their medical concerns. My whole thing is, if they have a medical condition and it’s affecting them, I make sure that they’re seeing a doctor. Or if the doctor is not helping, I’ll refer them to a holistic, functional medicine practitioner.

I think that it’s really important to deal with the mind and body … and nutrition, exercise and taking certain supplements for some people are extremely needed and important.

I think that the mind and body is corresponding to something, so if something’s going on, I think that the person needs the help. In my field, where I see it, it’s more anxiety. People have a lot of stomach problems where  the GI doctor will say, ‘you don’t have the symptoms.’ And so part of my work is extrapolating … Is it anxiety? What’s happening during mealtime? What are the symptoms, before and after eating? Are there certain foods that are creating that? What’s the relationship with food? What’s the relationship with their body? How are they feeling? So my patients get an understanding of what’s going on with them. I have one client who has a lot of stomach issues. And she did see the GI doctor, and he had said, ‘Okay, we can give you some stuff,’ but he felt like it was more of her relationship with food. And what she’s seeing is that as she slows down her eating, she starts feeling better. So in some cases, it’s really about being more mindful and understanding that there’s an emotional reason why you’re getting stomach issues. In other cases, it’s very real. I have clients who have IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), SIBO, celiac, and they have to see a doctor and change the way that they’re eating — and for some of them, it’s a real struggle to have to do that. They want to be able to eat certain foods, and it’s emotionally very difficult.

Lauren: But it sounds like, as a therapist, for you, everything’s considered something important that deserves treatment and care. Right?

Michele: Absolutely.

Lauren: Which is really interesting, because there are a lot of people in this community who are invalidated by other practitioners. So they’re able to come to you for understanding, and it makes a lot of sense that they would seek a form of therapy to work through a lot of those issues in an integrated way, right?

Michele: I think there are so many people now that have such high anxiety. I’m getting so many more phone calls from people with anxiety.

Lauren: Well, we’re in Los Angeles, right, so that probably helps!

Michele: The anxiety, the stressors … you know, just the everyday … the constant challenges. I think it’s hard for everyone to just kind of keep up.

Lauren: Yeah. And we talked about this a little bit earlier, too … that we’re living in a culture that’s not really designed for people to have a ‘moment’. Whether it’s an emotional one or a physical one … to get sick, to fall back, because everything’s about: Go, go, go. So it makes total sense that the line between medicine and emotion … in a way, they’re the same thing, aren’t they? That treating the mind and treating the body are equally important to you.

Michele: Oh, absolutely. That’s why EMDR really speaks to that.

And really, it’s all about treating the body and the mind together because if you don’t get cleared in the body, then it’s going to continue in the mind.

Lauren: And so that will manifest again in the body.

Michele: That’s why with eating disorders or whether it’s drug addiction, if you’re not dealing with the root of the cause, it’s gonna come out somewhere else. Maybe you’ll stop drinking; but then you’ll turn to food, or to shopping, because you’re not dealing with the cause. And so with EMDR, you’re dealing with the emotional, the body: the mind and the person. Clients, maybe for the first time in their life, can really kind of experience what it was like for them — where there are no barriers, no protection. It’s becoming more conscious, so they’re able to heal it.

Lauren: So bringing it from the subconscious to a conscious level where they can really understand and almost have compassion for themselves, right?

Michele: Absolutely.

Michele Sherman MFT

Lauren: I know EMDR is one of your specialties, but are there other approaches that you recommend for trauma as well?

Michele: I use cognitive behavioral therapy; that seems to be very effective for trauma. I also use mindfulness. I think mindfulness is really important in terms of developing compassion for yourself and others.

Lauren: When you say mindfulness, what exactly do you mean? Is that meditation; is it journaling? What does that look like to you?

Michele: It’s more about trying to pay more attention in the moment … in your breath and to what’s going on … having more of a balanced perspective, instead of going from extremes … really being able to stay more neutral. The bigger picture versus, you know, what you want to see.

Lauren: Seeing the forest for the trees?

Michele: Yeah, I always tell people that if you’re having a really strong reaction, chances are it’s really not about that situation. So to really understand where this is coming from.

Lauren: I think that’s a really fair thing to be looking at. And as a marriage and family therapist, I imagine you’re working with patients, but also with their loved ones and their family members. Can you tell us a bit about how you integrate a loved one into a patient’s treatment plan, and talk about familial involvement in mental health care and its importance to you?

Michele: Especially with the adolescents I work with … that’s when I see more of the familial involvement. As patients get older, sometimes I’ll bring the spouse in, but usually they want to have their own space. It just depends on what their presenting issues are. If I feel like it’s supportive and the spouse wants to be of help. But sometimes the spouse and the significant other … they’re having certain issues, so the client wants their own space. But with an adolescent, I’m very big on familial involvement and helping the parent understand with compassion and giving them some parenting techniques of how they can better support the clients. How they can set boundaries — but at the same time understand what the clients are going through. I think a lot of times, parents don’t know when to set limits and when to stand up for what they think is right — because the adolescent is depressed or is anxious, and they don’t want to further hurt the … the teenager. So it’s important for them to find the balancing act in that.

Lauren: This is sort of moving on to a slightly different topic … but how often do patients that you work with end up on some kind of government assistance? Do you find that happens frequently in your work, and do you feel that continued therapy can mitigate the long-term need for disability insurance?

Michele: That’s a very interesting question, because when I was working for a nonprofit, a lot of those patients were on some type of disability. And in order for them to keep their disability benefits, they had to show they were in therapy and that they were trying to get work. So I just think it’s about motivation, too, sometimes. The feeling is that some people want to get the help; then there are  other times where I feel like people are coming to see me because of getting disability.

Lauren: Just to fill out the paperwork.

Michele: Yeah, in all fairness, I’ve had several phone calls — more than several — where people are basically asking me, “Oh, I want a pet therapy dog,” or, “I want to get on disability.” And a lot of those patients I don’t see. They don’t really want the therapy. They’re very easy to target. They come in, and they have an agenda. They want you to fill out the forms.

Lauren: And that’s certainly not as interesting to you.

Michele: It’s not the type of therapy I am. But I will say that I have had clients who — both I and the psychiatrist have both written letters — who need to be on disability because their disability is getting in all areas of their life and they can’t function. And they need the time off, and they want to be in therapy and they need to go see the chiropractor or functional medicine doctor to get better — because there are some real problems where people can’t work.

Lauren: So do you find that there are a lot of patients that end up on that kind of assistance? Or is it sort of a mixed bag?

Michele: When I was in the nonprofit world or when I was at Airport Marina (Counseling Service in Los Angeles), a lot of those people were on MediCal. But with the private sector, because I take some health insurance, maybe some of those people can’t afford health insurance; maybe that health insurance doesn’t have mental health benefits. Maybe the co-pays are too high; some of those people can’t drive. There are so many different factors.

Lauren: Further to that … we’re talking about health insurance … and obviously mental health is very important to you. It’s very important to me, too! So, in terms of people’s mental health care packages, when people are either on MediCal or buying into private health insurance, how important is it, you do you think, for everyone across the board to have access to mental health coverage?

Michele: I think everybody should have access to mental health. But I think, unfortunately, that a lot of insurance doesn’t cover mental health benefits.

Lauren: A lot of them don’t, it’s true. But it seems like everyone could benefit from talking to a therapist once or twice, to get a sense of sort of where they are, right?

Michele: Well, I don’t even think people understand how much their symptoms are affecting them. I have people filling out like a back depression inventory, back anxiety …to understand their baseline. And some people are in moderate to severe depression and anxiety. They’re barely at their jobs, and they’re very unhappy. And they didn’t even realize that they were suffering so much.

Lauren: And hopefully that helps lighten the load — if they’re able to go back to the start, go to the root cause with something like EMDR and really work through it. And how do we keep that dialogue open? How do we keep people talking about mental health, and normalize it? Because isn’t that ultimately really what we’re getting at here, that everyone should have access to mental health care, because it’s okay to need to talk to someone?

Michele: I think part of it is just being able to be real about what’s going on in your own community. And if you have an opportunity to speak, whether it’s at a synagogue or church … to be able to talk to people about it, or offer free services or volunteer. Or go on social media to talk about what’s going on and what you’re seeing, how people can get help. Be a resource for people.

Lauren: And an advocate as well, right?

Michele: Yes. And not pretend that everything’s okay, when it’s not.

Lauren: And what do you recommend for people who have yet to enter the mental health treatment space and might feel intimidated by a new course of treatment, or feel that their needs are culturally stigmatized? What would you recommend for people who are in that space … like, ‘I want to, I’m interested, I’m not sure?’

Michele: I think that if they’re in pain, and it’s getting in the way of their relationships, or feeling good about themselves, or going after what they want to go after, or that their kids are suffering … then they need to realize that there’s help out there.

And there are resources and there’s advocacy — and that life can get better. And that just because they see a therapist or they need medication doesn’t make them ‘less than’. It just makes them part of the solution.

And that living your life depressed and anxious is not really living your life at all. And that kids benefit when parents are open and they can have conversations about what’s happening. That’s how they can get better, when it becomes a family discussion, or adults are able to talk openly. When they have to repress what’s going on, it can really lead to very unhappy people and patterns and behaviors.

Lauren: And in what way does the US health system, in your opinion, work for patients with mental health concerns? And in what ways does it work against their needs? We sort of touched on this with access to mental health care, but do you have anything further to elaborate on that?

Michele: I don’t think that there are a lot of therapists that take certain insurance. So I think that would be also hard for those people to get mental health services. And I think that there are a lot of people that don’t even understand how it works.

I think it would be beneficial for each person to be educated when they sign up for a job, and they have insurance — in terms of what they qualify for. I think some people are afraid that people are going to find out that they see a therapist and that’s going to look bad on their record. So there’s still that stigma.

I think there’s got to be more education around it and more self-screening tools that people fill out, and then they get a recommendation to a therapist on their panel.

Lauren: But what about someone who’s … you mentioned some people getting insurance through their employer … if they don’t have mental health covered, how does someone ask their employer, “Hey, can I have mental health covered?” — without revealing that’s something that they need or want?

Michele: That’s a great question. I don’t even know if that’s an additional expense for the company if they have mental health coverage, because you wonder why they wouldn’t have mental health coverage. And I would think that that further stigmatizes people to have to ask. Because they’re already feeling badly about themselves or the situation.

Lauren: So that’s where it’s on the employer to really look into providing opportunities for people to access that kind of care.

Michele: Opportunities, and education. So people don’t feel so alone.

I think when you’re depressed and you’re anxious and you’re having an illness, it’s hard to get the help that you really need.

I think then it should be the employer’s job to make that known, and have them feel like that’s why they’re working while they have these benefits — so they can access the help. A lot of these people don’t even know if they have chiropractic care or PT, let alone mental health care.

Lauren: Yes, and what about people who are self-employed or purchasing insurance privately? Would you say, really review your plans in detail and educate yourself about what you’re able to get?

Michele: Oh, absolutely. I have people calling me and asking me if I take their insurance. So I think it’s important for them to review the insurance. Sometimes they have more than one option. See if they have mental health insurance. See if they could get mental health insurance. Really, they have to try to advocate for themselves.

Lauren: Is EMDR something that tends to be covered as part of a mental health care plan? Or is it still considered more “experimental” — like a lot of treatments for invisible illness?

Michele: EMDR can be covered, it just depends. Most of the sessions are more than the 45 minutes the insurance pays for.

Lauren: So do they then get broken up into smaller sessions, or does it become patient responsibility to cover the cost?

Michele: It’s an individual conversation I have with the client to see how they want to go about it. To break up a session that needs to be longer … some people are willing to say, “Okay, you get paid for 45 minutes from the insurance company. But if I need 20 more minutes, what would that look like?” Some insurance companies are willing to pay, but I don’t know many that do without so much paperwork, so much red tape.  And as therapists, we don’t get paid to go and fight for our clients.

Lauren: Well, that’s where it does become the patient’s responsibility, doesn’t it, to be brave enough to ask, to talk to your healthcare provider and say, “Hey, what if I need extra? What does it look like for you?” And hopefully the person that you’re talking to is someone like you who wants to help people and is willing to talk to them. I like to end these episodes with Top Three lists. So I’m wondering what your top three tips would be for someone who thinks they might have something going on? What would you suggest they do, particularly if they’re interested in something like EMDR?

Michele: To research it. Psychology Today is a really good resource for people looking for therapists. You can punch in your zip code and punch in your insurance. You can find a list of therapists and specialties. That would be a way for you to start the process. Also in terms of research, you can find out more about what’s going on. Ask people around you; talk to people who can help you.

Don’t isolate; don’t think that you can just do it alone. It’s important that you get help, even if it’s getting on medication. Talk to your doctor. So many people wait years without getting medication, and once they’re on it, they realize, ‘God, I wish I’d had this medication.’  So it’s important that you advocate and that you get the help, that you don’t just stay in pain. Because if there’s something wrong, there’s a reason. So if there’s something mentally wrong, something physically wrong, get the help. Don’t stop asking. Don’t stop getting the help, because you could feel better. There’s help out there.

Lauren: Yeah, well, certainly, we’re sitting in the room with it right now! There definitely is help out there. But I guess that’s also one of the things with depression, in particular — that people tend to isolate, right? So the onus is also on friends and family and loved ones to be able to go to the person who seems like they’re okay, but maybe just isn’t facing what they need to face. And say, “Hey, do you need help? Can I help you?” So a lot of that is about compassion, isn’t it?

Michele: It’s compassion, it’s making suggestions. And it’s helping people, and maybe driving people to meetings, 12-step meetings, or talking about their own experience. Or taking that person out and going for a walk … you know, really checking in.

When I talk about isolation, it’s not just depression. It’s all these Millennials … the social media, they’re not talking to each other. They’re all putting happy faces on their texts. And they’re lonely and they’re bored and they don’t know what to do with themselves.

Lauren: And it’s easy to hide behind a screen.

Michele: Very easy. I get a lot of phone calls from Millennials who are very unhappy.

Lauren: Wow. And is that because they’ve self-isolated by accident? Or is it that people’s social activities are tending toward more isolation? And that’s just sort of the way of the world now?

Michele: It’s all of that. And so it seems like when they do get together, it’s more extreme in terms of the hooking up.

Lauren: Tinder, right?

Michele: Tinder and Bumble … I don’t even know if they’re having real conversations. It’s gratification.

Lauren: And so does that mean that you’re dealing with a lot of broken relationships and broken people who have not even gotten to the point where they know how to be in a relationship?

Michele: That’s a good point. I think that for a lot of young people, they don’t. They see on these fake social media pages or YouTube about these perfect relationships. And meanwhile, they’re unhappy because they don’t have them. Or they’re not getting the jobs and it’s supposed to be easy to get the jobs and everything looks easier than in the reality.

Lauren: So what kind of therapy would you recommend for someone like that who’s feeling isolated? And not because they’re particularly depressed, but just because, culturally, we’re sort of rigged against conversation at this point. What do you recommend for people?

Michele: I’m big on young people out there … whether it’s through work, or reaching out to friends or getting involved in community activities where they’re feeling connections. Because there are a lot of young people who want to meet other young people; they just need to maybe try harder. They need to reach out; it’s not just going to come to them.

Lauren: So whether it’s your local dodgeball league or your local Meetup group to sit and crochet, whatever it is …

Michele: Or hike. Or let them go play baseball … let them go hear some music in the park for free. They don’t have to spend money, but there are things that they could be doing. They just need to try harder because we are all so kind of spread apart.

Lauren: It sounds like the common theme here is: Get outside. Don’t be inside, in front of a screen. Get outside and find your people. Right?

Michele: I love that. I am a huge advocate of being outside anyway, in terms of the natural world. There’s so much to see and so much to do if you can be in your body and in your mind for it, instead of distracting yourself.

Lauren: Well, Michele, I think that pretty much covers everything today. Do you have anything else to add about the therapies that you do here, about EMDR in particular?

Michele: I think that it’s a really good therapy.

I think that people should work on themselves and get the help that they need — and that they don’t have to suffer. And that being depressed and being anxious and having addictions doesn’t have to be a way of life.

Lauren: I love that. It’s a very nice way of looking at things, isn’t it? Guys, you don’t have to be feeling crappy. You can feel good. Everyone has the right and the access to feel good, hopefully. And hopefully we’ll be able to create some change as well and that people will be able to access mental health care a little more easily in the future.

Michele: Yeah, don’t just stop, keep going, persevere. There are therapists that are out there that care and that are good. And they’ll want you to succeed.

Sometimes you can’t find them as fast as you’d like to. But there are people that are very supportive out there in the world.

Lauren: Keep going, keep looking … and you’ll be okay!

Michele: It’s like with everything — whether it’s a relationship, or a job, or trying to get into different colleges.

I think you’ve got to keep going until you find what works.

Lauren: Absolutely. And clear the pathways for yourself to do that and set yourself up for success, right?

Michele: Yes! Exactly!

Lauren: Well, thank you so much for being on the show today.

Michele: Thank you for having me!

Lauren: Oh, it’s my pleasure. And if anyone’s looking for Michele and her work, you can find her online at MicheleShermanMFT.com. She’s got some great informative videos on her website, and plenty of cool stuff you guys can check out. And if you’re local to Los Angeles or to the Valley, she’s out here in Encino and has a lovely practice. I’m sitting in her office and it’s very comfortable. So thanks again, and we hope to talk to you again soon!

Michele Sherman MFT Lauren Freedman

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