Discussing Young Adult Issues

Kathleen Mills

Kathleen is a creative and gifted therapist who has extensive experience in helping children, adolescents, and adults with a variety of issues.

SUMMARY:In this episode of “It’s Just Coffee”, hosts Phillip Crum, Content Marketing Coach and Kathleen Mills of Lifetree Counseling are joined by LaShondra Manning, also of Life Tree Counseling, to discuss issues facing some young adults today.

Episode #29 | LaShondra Manning discusses the struggles facing young adults.

Kathleen Mills-Proprietor, Counselor at Life Tree Counseling
Phillip Crum-The Content Marketing Coach
LaShondra Manning-Life Tree Counselor


PHILLIP CRUM: Well, it must be time for It’s Just Coffee, our weekly journey/foray into the mind of Kathleen Mills and her friends.

KATHLEEN MILLS: Oh my. In the mind of my friends. I like the friends part!

PC: Anything new in your world? I’m good, thank you.

KM: We’re just chugging along and working on our next –

PC: Our second million because the first didn’t work out.

KM: (Laughs) No – our next CEU event in October and I’m excited. I’m going to have the investigators coming into town, and local attorneys, and we’re going to talk about the complaint process for three hours, eat lunch, and then dive right into the attorney stuff and then do a little content marketing and call it a day.

PC: There you go. Sounds like a good one.

KM: In Plano, October 6.

PC: I got a couple meetings coming up that I can’t remember, but they have to do with educational purpose stuff.

KM: Oh, you and I are going to the Podcast Movement in a couple of weeks, aren’t week? I’m excited.

PC: That’s correct. The Podcast Movement. Dan Franks and company.

KM: Yes. We’re going to get to meet all of them.

PC: The weekend here in Dallas at the Galleria something-or-other.

KM: Westin.

PC: That’s the one. Saturday and Sunday.

KM: Just down the street.

PC: Podcasters from all over and one or two from beyond the pond. It’s going to be interesting. So that is what we’re doing.

KM: Get your studio ready, sir.

PC: Yes. Tell me who we have with us today and what the topic is. What are we going to talk about?

KM: We have LaShondra Manning, beloved colleague of Lifetree Counseling Center.

PC: The LaShondra Manning?

KM: Yes, sir.

PC: Good.

KM: Hi, LaShondra.

LASHONDRA MANNING: Well, hi, Kathleen. Hi, Phillip. How are you guys?

PC: Darn good.

KM: It’s really nice to see you in the morning with a smile on your face.

LM: It’s the coffee!

KM: It must be the coffee because you’re pretty grumpy in the morning – you’re not a morning person.

LM: I’m not.

KM: That’s okay.

LM: I’m the one who’s going to stay up late until two or three o’clock and then crash.

KM: That’s why you get to the office late in the afternoon because that’s your –

PC: You keep late hours for office hours, do you?

LM: Yes – three to eight.

PC: Three to eight.

KM: Three to eight – she does. She closes the house down.

PC: Wakes up at two, out of the house by 2:30. At work by three.

KM: That sounds pretty nice actually.

PC: Good gig if you can get it.

KM: Anyways. LaShondra – we’re going to talk about young adults.

LM: Yes.

KM: And things that you really want to talk about with struggles that you’re seeing with your clients. You see a lot of young adults.

PC: What is a young adult? Define that.

LM: I would say a young adult is in their twenties and in their thirties. So in their twenties, I’ve been there, and their thirties, that’s where I’m at now.

PC: She’s the type that’s going to say a young adult is a 40-year-old here in a few years. And a 50-year-old, I’m a young adult. So, basically 30 and under.

LM: Well yeah, until 18. No – twenties.

KM: 18 to 30 is young adults?

LM: Yeah.

KM: Yeah. Describe the population – that sector.

LM: Well, that sector has definitely graduated from high school and they have either chosen to go to college or the military or they’ve started working. I think that they’re just, they look at the media – the media says this is where you should be in life. You know, you should have this. You should have the house. You should have the car if you followed these steps. And I think a lot of people get frustrated because they have followed the steps and maybe things haven’t happened the way that they wanted, or they got started late so they think it’s never going to happen. So just a lot of people not, you know, really having hope that it’s going to happen yet, yet you’re so young.

KM: Right. The expectations of the time sequence continuum, like you’re going to get school done, college in what – four years? Five years? What is it now? When do they think they have to be done with school?

LM: I think they know it’s five years definitely if you’re going to get a Bachelor’s degree. And a Master’s – automatically going to make more money with that – so that’s another two years. And so they graduate probably in their mid-twenties, maybe late-twenties and they’re fine with that.

KM: So they think if they make their Master’s degree that they’re automatically assuming that their income is going to exponentially be just there.

LM: Absolutely.

KM: How true is that?

LM: For some people it’s true. I think it depends upon the field that you’re in, so you have to keep that in mind as well. And I think that they think I’m graduated so I can buy the BMW. I can buy my house. And for some people, that’s true. But you know, for a lot of people that’s not. But you have to be okay with that, I think, and know that even though I don’t have it yet – you have to be willing to start at the bottom. And I think that’s part of the problem, too – a lot of people don’t want to start at the bottom. They want to start at the top and already have these things.

KM: Why is that, do you think, with the young adults? That the expectation is, “I’ve done my due diligence with school so therefore I’m at the top.” Like, who’s saying that?

PC: Who sold them that bill of goods?

LM: I think the media has portrayed that. I think mom and dad has put those expectations on them, because a lot of times of course, mom and dad may not have started that way. But, we’ve been still repaid for all this, so this is what you expect. And then I think you see the people who have accomplished these things. I think about people in the sciences: the engineers, people in the computer industry. They usually do do well because of their field. But I’ll say this, starting off from myself: I love what I do but counselors; we’re not making 100 grand with a master’s degree. That’s not going to happen when you’re in the helping field. So I think just being okay with that. And then, too, just knowing that life is not all about the material things either. And if those things are meant to happen, they’ll happen in time. Because I don’t think you can just start out and be the CEO of the company either. You have to start off at the bottom and work your way up. You’ve got to show that you’re worth the money that you want.

KM: When did people stop talking about that reality, do you think?

LM: When they stopped?

KM: Yeah, like stopped talking about like –

PC: Working your way up from the bottom.

KM: – working your way up. I always – I mean, where this is a generational thing maybe, but when I was growing up, I completely understood that I was always going to be at the bottom, especially if it was something in the thing that I wanted to do. I was a band director for 10 years, and so I was at the bottom of the heap. I worked my way up, etcetera. And then I decided to get my master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. I automatically understood that that transition, I was going to go back to being on the bottom. And I took a $15,000 pay cut. And I just knew that. But it’s not – I don’t know if it’s –

PC: It’s generational.

KM: Is it?

PC: It’s started about, oh LBJ.

LM: So is that the ‘70s? Late ‘70s?

PC: It’s the ‘60s.

LM: Oh, okay! (Laughs) I wish you guys could have seen Phillip and how he looked at me! Because I’m a kid of the ‘80s so.

KM: You are. But I’m just wondering what I guess it’s just a generational thing. Like, going to school and all that. I mean, even my kids are kind of like that.

LM: And I think, too, we look at the celebrities so we see – I hate to say this, but I think about the Kardashians. You know, just how you’ve gotten all this money all of a sudden, or whatever. And I just think we compare ourselves a lot to celebrities and reality TV, and there’s nothing wrong with reality TV but you see people with all these things and you think that you can get it, too. And that’s just not the real world, regardless of if they say reality TV or not.

PC: Life is not, “Just add water.” It’s not an instant.

LM: It’s not.

PC: It’s easy to get sold that lie, which is what it is, especially in the city.

LM: That’s true, yeah.

PC: What makes that true? Well, just go out in the country for a couple of days all by yourself and just go camping. And you’ll think differently when you come back. It’s just reality. It’s the real world out there in the middle of nowhere and in the city where most of us live, it’s a constant bombardment of the lie.

LM: Mmm hmm, and I think people then get stuck. The young people just get stuck. I know some people who have actually been blessed and fortunate to have parents who had a lot of money. You know, whatever, they had different opportunities so they assume I should have what mom and dad have. Well, you know, mom and dad are sixty now and so when they were raising you when they were forty, you don’t know the struggle they went through

PC: Yeah, mom and dad ate Ramen noodles for twenties years to get what they have.

LM: Right. Absolutely. So I think there’s maybe entitlement, too, that’s going on – especially with the millennials. I hate to talk about them.

KM: Where does that come from?

LM: See, I just keep wanting to blame the media, honestly. And I know there’s probably a deeper answer.

KM: Okay, I’m going to dive into the pool. I’m not tip-of-the-toes in the pool, I’m just diving headstrong. What about the colleges? Did they promote that?

LM: I think they do.

KM: How?

LM: I think definitely in your classes, I’m not sure necessarily which class, but you have this degree and so this is what you can do, and I don’t think it’s a realistic view. When I think about counseling, for example, I think I did get a realistic view when it came to: I was going to have a bachelor’s degree. I think I was like maybe a junior or a senior, and they’re like, “You’re going to start making twenties-some thousand dollars,” and I’m like, “What do you mean?” And this is in the millennium – I’m going to make $twenties,000 so you have to go get your master’s degree, and I was shocked with that. But then I’ll tell you a personal experience: My first job with my master’s degree –

KM: So you were shocked because the 22 was far less than you thought with the four-year degree?

LM: Yes.

KM: Gotcha. So then you decided to do your master’s.

LM: Yes, to make more money. My first job, I kid you not, so this was 2006 – I made $24,000 with a master’s degree.

PC: Well now, is that because you graduated last in your class?

LM: No! No, no. I know for counseling, for example, you have to have a license. And so because I didn’t have a license –

PC: You don’t got to knock it down, I’m just setting you up here.

LM: Right, so yeah because I didn’t have that license – and I didn’t have that understanding either that I was not going to make a lot of money at least until I got LPC behind my name – but I really didn’t know about that whole process either. Until maybe midways that I was going to do 3,000 hours and my master’s degree itself really meant nothing in my field – it’s the license. Eighteen months later, so it’s just those realities. But then, I was okay with that, because my thing is just outline it, tell me what it is, and I can deal with it. But I think a lot of people get stuck because they have that expectation, or anticipation, and I think you just have to wait and know that it will happen, and just be okay with that. And I think a lot of people just aren’t content and happy with what life throws at them.

KM: Tell me about your clients that come in to Lifetree that fit this young adult category with some of these challenges and disappointment. They’re mortally disappointed in their life outcome. I know you’ve got some clients, we’ve been talking about several, but describe where they’re at. They’re like in their mid-twenties. They did the school. They did the student loans. They did the whole great student, all this kind of stuff, and they’re just feeling flat on their backs because life is just not what they thought it was going to be after school.

LM: There’s one young lady that comes to mind that we talked about. I think she was actually my first client that actually dealt with this issue. She actually went to a big-name school, and we’ll leave that name anonymous if you will, but they sold it because you are “our graduate.” Life is just going to be handed to you – opportunities. And so when she found out that just because I’m a such-and-such grad, that didn’t happen. She specifically wanted a BMW, did her budget, and could only afford a Honda – and had a problem with that.

PC: Well, that’s the marketing department got a hold of her doing their job, like it or not. And it sounds like most people – and I did it, or didn’t do it – most people that go to college don’t do a lot of really good research about what they’re getting into. They just go in with their baggage, what they bought in the last three or four years about going to college. And then they get two or three years into it and say $22,000-what? And that’s three years too late. Well, it’s not too late, but it’s three years after. You could have known that three years ago. And I didn’t do a good job of that. So you got to do your homework. I agree – I think the media and the government; some of the programs – we won’t get into that too deeply – but you can track this back in history and find a time period where there was a generation that didn’t think like that. So it started at some point and there was a cause for that effect. And I think I know what that is, but even if it’s the media or the government or your mother-in-law, or whoever, whatever entity, it’s still up to you to do your homework.

LM: Absolutely.

PC: You can’t blame it on somebody else.

KM: You know, I remember – and this is I don’t know if parents are doing this these days. I mean, I know I did that with my boys as a general whole, but when I was growing up, my dad had a really come-to-Jesus meet with me at several points because I wanted to teach. And he thought I lost my mind because the thing that was worrying him was, “You’re going to go do this program for four years at a major university in Michigan, and you’re going to come out. Do you have any idea what you’re going to make when you come out?” And so he laid it on the line: he said, “This is how much you’re going to make.” And it scared the fool out of him, because at that time it was only $10,000 for… and working 85 hours a week but I wanted to do what I wanted to do. He was perseverating tremendously about like, “Well how are you going to live on that? You don’t want to go there.” But I went there anyways

LM: Because it was about your passion, and that’s the thing.

KM: It was about my passion, but my dad was right.

PC: He could clearly see you moving back home.

KM: Yes, probably. I didn’t, but I moved to Texas instead. But the reality was like we did have those conversations. And I don’t know if we’re having those conversations with our children who are in their twenties now.

PC: You know what? I remember when I was about nine/ten/eleven years old, looking up in the encyclopedias that we had at our house. For those of you who don’t know, that’s a set of books.

KM: It was before we could Google anything on the internet.

PC: I looked up in the encyclopedias what careers paid, that’s the only research I did. Of course I was 10. There was lists of different occupations and what they paid, which was probably an out-of-date list then, but that’s what I did. That’s one of the things you could do.

LM: I definitely think parents need to be proactive in that, and also be supportive. When I think about this same client, though, she did not have a good relationship with her parents. And some of my clients, it’s interesting; they have not had a good relationship with their parents, either. So they have felt like they’ve had to prove to mom and dad, you know, “You said I wasn’t going to be anything. I wasn’t going to be successful. You beat me down. I’m going to show you and supersede you!” And when that doesn’t happen as quickly, I think they get frustrated as well. But they’ve missed the boat that despite the negative criticism that you’ve gotten, or negative feedback, you don’t have to do that.

KM: They’re embarrassed that their parents are going, “I told ya.”

LM: Yeah. “You went to college for no reason, because you’re only making $30,000 with this degree.” So I think parents, any parents that’s listening, you need to be positive and instill that into your child because of course we still have those hurts and those issues that clients are bringing in.

KM: Yeah. I mean, my dad was supportive of what I wanted to do in college, but he was giving me the brutal facts of like, “Hey – get prepared because teaching doesn’t pay. But I know you want to do this and all that kind of stuff.”

LM: So at least he was realistic.

KM: He really had a hard time, but yes he was realistic. But he did not mince words with, “Good luck. I love you. Not helping you.” But all that. I mean, you’re choosing this so obviously you’ve got to make this work.

LM: Yeah, he didn’t have the negativity that some of my clients’ parents did have.

KM: Yeah, I appreciate my dad’s…

PC: So you get to deal with a lot of young people whose real-life experience doesn’t match their expectations.

LM: Right.

PC: And how successful are you at changing their paradigm? Their worldview?

LM: I think it’s all about reframing. I’m definitely big on that, so depending on what the situation is, how can you reframe that? I think an example of that is, I think about a lot of people – especially women deal with this more than men. I don’t think I’ve ever had a man come into the office to talk about this – but I think about relationships because I have followed the steps and maybe they are successful. So the next step in life as a young adult, I should get married in my twenties or my early thirties or they have not. And so I work with them just to reframe, first of all you have to be content and happy where you’re at. And you got to look at it as: Look at the freedom that you have. You don’t have to ask anybody for anything. You have no one holding you accountable. Enjoy this stage of your life because… have hope that you will get married at some point but enjoy where you’re at now. So I think when they start thinking about what they have, and I think that’s key. Think about what you have versus what you don’t have. And if you can live in that present moment, I think that’s going to prepare you for the future. And I think when people do that, they actually have more joy and can really appreciate where they’re at in life. Because I think regardless of when you get married, you will only be in your twenties once. You will only be in your thirties once. So if you get married at 42, you know, that’s fine but then have you missed out on your twenties and thirties worrying bout something that wasn’t going to happen at that time, that wasn’t meant to be? So I think just that reframing is helpful to people once they get it it makes sense. And then it helps define their purpose in life and where they’re at at this stage.

PC: Yeah I think if you focus on something that you want or you don’t have, you can’t get, to the point where it’s obsessive, then that has a negative effect on you and you become an ugly curmudgeon and nobody wants to get close to that.

LM: Right.

PC: So it has the opposite effect.

LM: It does, yes.

PC: So if you become happy with where you are, then it has a magnetic pull-people-in effect.

LM: Mmm hmm. Absolutely. Perfectly said.

PC: Mail me $5 for that.

KM: It’s in the mail.

PC: Thank you.

KM: You’re welcome. What else?

LM: Well I think we’ve talked about relationships. We’ve talked about jobs and material things. One thing that I’ve actually experienced myself recently, I’ll say is I love going out. I’m a people person and so I have embraced where I’m at in life, but I want my friends to go with me. And so sometimes people just can’t go. I love performing arts so some of my friends don’t want to pay the amount of money for tickets. And that’s fine – I have no problem with that. And so in the past I could tell you, I just wouldn’t go out. I can’t get anybody to see The Color Purple with me, so I won’t go. Or whatever. And I realized, okay I’m missing out on life. They have their reasoning and that’s fine, but I need to go. So I just know for me, I just got on the horse pretty much. And I’ve started going places by myself. I just went to go see Cirque De Soleil, Michael Jackson. I’ve started going out to eat by myself, and really just enjoying life and enjoying times. And now it’s funny, I don’t even invite my friends to go. I just go!

KM: You have a blast on your own and it’s fun.

LM: I do! Yes. And I just think about the times in the past I have just missed out. But I think for myself, I had to have this shift – this though-shift.

KM: You think people have a hard time being alone and doing things on their own?

LM: I think so because a lot of times we’re not comfortable with who we are. And I think you have to like yourself, and then do you know who you really are? And I think you have to be comfortable in your own skin.

KM: And that’s what part of the twenties is for sure I think.

LM: And not be codependent on people.

PC: What does your patient load look like in terms of… not load, but the average person – female, male, what age – that sort of thing?

LM: Well, right now I would say I still focus on adolescents at Lifetree. I am getting more young adults in and I think one thing that’s awesome is I’m 32 so I’m right there with you and I have truly been in those struggles. With clients I would say on average I might see 15, maybe twenties clients max, a week. And so, the young adults I’m about maybe four or five, so that’s maybe like a fourth of my practice? I would definitely like to see that grow, that population. I need too for young people to know that it’s okay to come in even about that issue. Because a lot of people think it has to be a traumatic situation for me to come in, or maybe of course kids need to come in for this and that. But twenties and thirties can be hard if you don’t have the right mindset. So just know that you can definitely come in and definitely talk about it and know that there’s somebody who’s there, who’s been there. And I think I have overcome it because I’ve had the struggles and challenges myself but at least I got it at an early thirties and enjoying life and so I would just like to pass on what counseling theory says, and just my own experiences, to people.

PC: Are they mostly male or female?

LM: Mostly females are the ones who come in with these issues. So I think I can definitely relate obviously being a female. And I really don’t know what the difference is. I think when it comes to relationships, guys just aren’t pushing to be married by their twenties, or by their thirties, so I think that’s something that really females get stuck on. And then too, I’ll say the commonality of the two is just the material things because I think males and females – everybody wants a spouse by 30. Everybody wants a BMW or whatever. So I think that’s the commonalities of them getting stuck, but definitely more females comes in frustrated that they’re not married yet. And of course we got biological clocks ticking, and that’s a reality, but guys don’t have that so I think that’s why the relationship part is usually not an issue that I see with males. And I can say at Lifetree I think I’ve had maybe two males to actually come in with those issues versus I’m not sure how many females, but it’s definitely more skewed towards females.

PC: And how do the fellas that come in – of course there’s only been a couple of them, but – how is their angle on the problem different than the gals? Besides the bio-clock?

LM: I’m trying to think. The guys that I’ve had – they seem to have had more trauma, if you will. For example, dad has not been in their lives. So I think just that example of a man is not there so they’re trying to figure out – how do I become a better man than my father who’s not present? And so they’re trying to navigate through life blindly I think. And so with their best attempt, they feel like they have fallen short. When actually a lot of the guys, I think of one guy in specific, I don’t think he has fallen short. I think things just happen when they do and so he’s kind of stuck because it hasn’t happened and it’s not going to happen. You’re 30! You’re young, you have plenty of time, so just because it hasn’t happened in your timeline, or maybe you have made some mistakes or things that derailed you, that’s just part of life and experience itself. So I think that’s where they come from. Whereas the females have more plans, if you will. So I think the females were maybe a little more successful, but they came from the point that now I have achieved success, where’s the relationship aspect? Whereas the guys are I have not achieved this yet, so they just think that is the precursor to the future that it has not happened by now so it’s not.

PC: Alright. Well, in the meeting after the meeting, we’re going to talk about… we’re going to talk with you for a few minutes and find out your checklist for empowering your life.

LM: Okay.

PC: That’s what we’re going to do so I’ll tell you how to get that in a minute if you’re listening. So if there are young adults out there who are messed up and want to come see you, how do they find you?

LM: Well, please go to our website, which is www.lifetreecounseling.com and click on the counselors and then you’ll see me, LaShondra Manning, and click on that button and read all about me. Hopefully we’ll be a good fit and you’ll see a button that says, “Click to schedule,” so you’ll have my schedule. My email is listed on the site, which is lashondra@lifetreecounseling.com. And of course you can always call me, which is the Lifetree number, which is 972-234-6634 ext. 303.

PC: Excellent. And you don’t really have to be messed up to want to come see you, do you?

LM: Well, no. You may just be stuck. Just stuck in a temporary situation – that’s the key: temporary. It’s not permanent.

PC: Here’s a question. If I have “issues,” like the ones we’ve been talking about, does that mean I have mental problems?

LM: Absolutely not! And you don’t have to have mental problems or a mental diagnoses to come in. You just have adjustment issues. And we all experience that at some point in our lives, and know that it’s okay.

PC: Excellent.

KM: Phillip, it’s okay. She said it was okay for me to just have adjustment issues.

PC: Beyond adjustment on that continuum. So java queen, if somebody wants to find you…

KM: Lifetreecounseling.com. You can call me at 972-234-6634 ext. 104 or email me. Kathleen@lifetreecounseling.com.

PC: And I’m still Phillip Crum, the content marketing coach. And you can find me: contentmarketingcoach.us. Call me at 214-264-6297. If you’re bored and lonely, I’ll be happy to provide counseling.

KM/LM: (Laughing)

KM: Or send them to LaShondra right after that!

PC: I’m the session before the session. Yeah, I get them warmed up.

KM: We need to go to Whataburger, baby.

PC: There we go. If you would like to get your copy of LaShondra Manning discussing empowering yourself to live your life, her checklist for doing that, then you are going to need to text the word, “empower” to 442-333-SEND. And I forgot to look up what the letters are and the numbers are for that, but you can figure it out. And if by some chance you are a young adult, and you don’t have any clue what s-e-n-d stands for, then you can go find an old person to help you out. 442-333-SEND and we will send you a link where you can get a hold of that discussion. So LaShondra, it’s been fun again.

LM: Yes, I’m so glad to be back.

PC: Never short for thoughts and opinions and words.

KM: And sweet smiles.

PC: That’s what we like. Thank you both for being here.

KM: Thank you, Phillip.

PC: I thank everybody for listening and we will see you next time. On we go.


PC: Now for the meeting after the meeting here. LaShondra, we’re going to talk a little bit more about empowering yourself to live your life. Now, we touched on it a little bit. Let’s try and go a little farther, a little deeper, and see…

KM: That was not on the syllabus, buddy! (Laughing) This is extra credit!

PC: Nah, we’re good.

LM: Are you going to lead into the checklist –

PC: I am! I am!

(Everyone laughing)

KM: Is that what your teachers do? You’re giving the answers, right?

PC: I’m a young adult. I’m a 55-year-old young adult and I want to know how to empower myself. What’s the first thing you would advise a young adult to do?

LM: Oh, we’re still taping?

PC: Yes.

LM: Can we start over, please?

PC: No, just keep going. We have a good editor.

KM: Yes, we do.

PC: What’s the first thing you would advise somebody when somebody comes to see you, and they sit down and say, “I have adjustment problems.” What do you do first? What’s the first step there? What does this process look like?

LM: Well we got to definitely define what the specific issues are and definitely I think get down to the core beliefs. Where did all this come from? What is the root of these issues? And see if they’re realistic, or unrealistic. Is it truth, fact, opinion, and then where did it come from?

PC: So we’re going to find and/or define the root core belief system. I like that. Define the core belief system. Okay. And how long does that typically take? I mean, is that a one-session thing or is that -?

LM: I think so, honestly. Because I think to know that it came from the media. I’m trying to prove my parents wrong, or whatever. The fact that it may not necess– or it could come from within, you know, but still it’s going to be, “Where did you see this at? Where did that idea come from? And is this realistic?” So I think just knowing that is a good first step. And it doesn’t take long. I think it’s a conversation that you don’t have with your friends and family. SO when we have that in session, I believe that light bulb comes on and so people just, I hate to say automatically start thinking differently, but they view it in a different way that is definitely something on their mind and they’re now conscious of.

PC: They didn’t know it was driving things before. So once we’ve identified those core-believe ah-ha moments, where do you take the program then? You?

LM: I would say definitely to see how realistic are these things. And, too, what’s in your power? What can you control? What can you change? And then seeing what those are and I think a lot of times you can’t change things. You can’t just quit your job today and get another one tomorrow. So how can we work on accepting where we’re at, and I think just looking at the reality of that. Definitely it’s good to make a plan. I think you definitely need a plan and navigate life, but how can we have acceptance for the moment and the stage that we’re currently at?

PC: Alright. So step one was define our core beliefs. Step two is evaluate those core beliefs, figure out the two buckets – which we have control over, and which we don’t.

LM: Mmm hmm.

PC: Did I leave anything out here as far as that step?

LM: And then add in acceptance. You need to have acceptance for where you’re at, too. And especially with the things that you cannot change. And, too, just remembering that these things are temporary. That’s the thing – a lot of people think that it’s permanent. I’ve reached my thirties so this is it. No, it is not, and it’s okay to know that we change grow, change and evolve.

PC: Alright. I’m in your office and we’ve done step one and two: define our core beliefs and I came back for the next session and we’ve evaluated my beliefs into the two buckets: what I have control over and what I don’t. And I have been thinking about accepting my position, where I am in life. Where are you taking me next?

LM: Now that you have accepted where you’re at, I think it’s definitely time for some action. For example, if you’re consumed with the fact that I haven’t gotten married yet and I should be married. Well, let’s do some thought-stopping and let’s reframe that. Let’s work on those things. You know, enjoy the freedom. You have control of your money, your own money. Things like that. So I think just reframing those situations. Maybe you’re stuck: I don’t have my BMW. I don’t have my Mercedes yet. Well let’s be grateful for the Honda. For the Toyota that you have. And still focusing on, “This is what I have now, but let’s also look at finances right quick. What is it going to take to maintain this car and have this car? Well, let’s start saving.” And I think that’s something that’s empowering, too. A lot of times we don’t take the steps that we need to get what we want. Again, as we talked about in the past, we’re supposed to automatically have it, and that’s not how it works.

PC: The entitlement! No, it’s not. Alright, so we’ve developed some action points based on that bucket of things that is in our control and it sounds like we’ve done some attitude-adjustment, or some perception adjustment. Is there a $3 college word for that? What was that term you were throwing at me a couple weeks ago?

KM: I have not a clue. I’ve slept since then.

PC: Anyway, we’re developing action points about what’s in your control and your attitude towards those things and the time frame in which they’re going to happen.

LM: Right. And just changing your thoughts so that you’re not consumed, because a lot of people they’re consumed with this and they just can’t function, if you will. And when I say they can’t function, I think that’s more in their quiet time. I think they can work, they can do everything as usual, but in their quiet time there’s that reminder I guess that, “I’m lonely” or they start thinking about things they don’t have.

PC: Alright. So we’ve got our action points, which is essentially another way of saying you’re going to give me some homework to do.

LM: Yes.

PC: Okay. And I go home and I do my homework and my thinking homework, and whatever. And then I come back. Is there another step, or have we reached a plateau where we just continually do the same thing until I get it right? Or, what’s next?

LM: I would say after the client has definitely taken some actions, I think we would actually just go back and we’re actually close to the end at this point because you are taking actions. I would want to revisit your core beliefs and just see how do you feel, and how have things changed for you? For example, am I functioning better? Do I have a new mindset just because LaShondra told me to? You know, that’s the wrong answer actually. Or is this something that I have now internalized and see the truth in that I have accepted? And that, in my spare time, yes these thoughts may come but I’m actively and consciously choosing what I’m grateful for what I have, knowing that this is temporary or whatever.

PC: So we’re going to revisit our core beliefs and make sure that the work we’re doing matches with our true core beliefs?

LM: Yes, and that’s coming from internal – no external sources, if you will. Not from the therapist, not from the media, not from mom and dad.

KM: The epiphany.

LM: Yeah.

PC: So you would advise – this is a question – you would advise somebody listening that says, “I’m going to go talk to somebody. Just talk this stuff out.” What do they need to do before they come see you? What’s the homework they ought to do before they come see you? I’m going to assume it’s number one – think about number one here on the checklist. Number two. You know, what are your core beliefs? I mean, whose ever thought about that? Maybe think about your core beliefs before you come in.

LM: I would say think about the influences in your life. Because two, in any kind of therapy regardless of who you’re seeing, we always visit childhood.

KM: Who’s driving the bus?

LM: Yes, how has the environment played a role? How have my parents, or maybe lack of parenting or whatever, how has that played a part in my life? What significant events have happened in my life that perhaps have shaped these beliefs?

PC: Should I make a list and bring it, or just think about it?

LM: Well that would be great to make a list because I know I’m forgetful. So I think I could think about things, if I don’t write it down then I’ve lost it. So to come in with that list I think would be great, but of course if not, we’ll do it in session or that will be homework. But prior to would be great.

PC: Would it be good to attempt number two, which is essentially make a list of your core beliefs in the two buckets – things I have control over, things I don’t have control over?

LM: That’s definitely another exercise, so that’s definitely number two, but yes absolutely. I think putting those two in a list and looking at those, yes. And I think definitely with seeing what you can control – okay now we can actually get an action plan. And those things that we can’t, then that’s where we’re going to have to work on acceptance and just the rationale and the logic that goes along with that, too.

PC: I know one thing I control is do my homework before the meeting, and I save myself some session money, honey. Okay, interesting. Now, the big question on everybody’s mind is, “Do I have to talk faster than LaShondra does to come see her?”

LM: Absolutely not!

PC: Okay, just pick the phone up and call…

LM: 972-234-6634 ext. 303.

PC: Excellent. And that’s about all I got. Do you have any questions, Miss Kathleen?

KM: I do not. I’m glad you’re here, LaShondra.

LM: I’m glad to be here.

PC: We’re going to do it again, so until next time, thank you very much.

KM: Thank you, LaShondra.

LM: Thanks, you guys.

KM: Thank you, Phillip.

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