Nathan and Aaron from The Shrink Think Podcast | Episode 27

Nathan and Aaron from The Shrink Think Podcast | Episode 27

How can you help people who are feeling isolated and stressed? Why are people in need of human connection now more than ever? Want to hear about facing fears and other difficulties in life from a therapist’s perspective?

In this podcast episode, Billy and Brandy Eldridge speak with Nathan and Aaron from The Shrink Think Podcast.

Meet Aaron and Nathan

Nathan is a licensed counselor, clinical supervisor, and owner of his private counseling group practice in Oregon. He has been a therapist since 2004 and a supervisor since 2014. He loves camping with his family and friends, wearing shorts and flip flops to work, and figuring out the neurobiology of everything!

Aaron is also a licensed counselor, clinical supervisor, and owner of his private counseling group practice in Oregon. He also co-owns another business with Nathan. He has been a therapist since 2007 and a supervisor sine 2015. He loves working out and playing sports, spending time with his family, and practicing speaking with different accents!

They share some of their experiences as counselors, business owners, and most important of all, as everyday people.

Visit their website, listen to the podcast. Sign up for the free e-course.

In This Podcast

Summary

  • Isolation and stress
  • Human connection
  • The Shrink Think Podcast

Isolation and stress

For now, we just need to know that we are not alone and that there are others of us that are caring for one another and I think you just can’t underestimate the power of that connection.

In the current climate, people are feeling a different level of stress as they deal with a host of uncertainties in their daily lives.

People want to come into therapy and be seen, be cared for, and be connected with. It’s really important to be validated, share that space, and share that uncertainty with someone.

Human connection

It is becoming very evident that there is a need for human connection, but at the same time, people are terrified of it because of COVID.

The Shrink Think Podcast

This podcast comes from the point of view of therapists and the general human side of life. There are interviews with people that discuss their successes, insecurities, struggles, and so forth to encourage you to find a community, because even though everyone is dealing with things differently, the things that they deal with are the same.

In the interviews, they talk to people who are outwardly successful and speak to them about their insecurities and helps listeners understand how human they are behind their success stories.

The free e-course available on the website below teaches people how to deal with fear, breaking down mental illness stigmas, and encouraging self-acceptance, self-compassion while teaching you how to practice these aspects in your life.

Books mentioned in this episode

Are you ready to find the freedom to be yourself as a beta male? Do you want permission and tools to be your best beta? Are you ready to join the revolution to find strength as a beta? If you want to be comfortable in your skin and be the most authentic beta male, then our free beta revolution course is for you. Sign up for free.

Useful links:

Meet Billy Eldridge

billy-eldridge

Meet Billy, the resident beta male. For Billy, this is a place to hang out with other beta males and the people who love them. We’re redefining what beta males look like in the world. I have learned to embrace my best beta self, and I can help you to do the same. As a therapist, I understand the need to belong. You belong here. Join the REVOLUTION.

Meet Brandy Eldridge

brandy-eldridge

Hello, Beta friends. I am an alpha personality who is embracing the beta way of life. I feel alive when connected with people, whether that is listening to their stories or learning about their passions. Forget small talk, let’s go deep together. Come to the table and let’s have some life-changing conversations.

Thanks for listening!

Did you enjoy this podcast? Feel free to leave a comment below or share this podcast on social media! You can also leave a review of the Beta Male Revolution Podcast on iTunes and subscribe!

Podcast Transcription

[BILLY]:
Beta Male Revolution is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a family of podcasts seeking to change the world. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom podcast, Imperfect Thriving, or Empowered and Unapologetic, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

How are you guys doing today? I wanted to remind y’all, as always, rate and review if you liked the podcast. It helps us out. And if you haven’t signed up for the free email course at betamalerevolution.com, check it out. It’s about beta males. So if you are one, if you tend to have beta leanings in life, or have someone in your life that does, it will help you understand them, help you understand yourself a little bit more. Let us know what you’re thinking. And if you have any topics for the podcast, shoot that over also, and we will be taking requests. What do you want to hear us talk about?

Today on the podcast, we have two amazing therapists from Portland, Oregon, who are from a completely different area than Brandy and I here in the south. So it was nice to hear their take on things and the way they see the world. They have a new podcast coming out called the Shrink Think podcast; two therapists talking about things that therapists talking about: feelings, emotions, how to show up, be authentic and vulnerable in the world, and work through the things you need to work through. So go check Aaron and Nathan out on the Shrink Think podcast. And we’re off to Nathan and Aaron.

[BILLY]:
Well, guys, one of the cool things about having a podcast is that we get to get just great guests and pick their brains about things we’re dealing with. So today we have Aaron and Nathan with us. They’re some therapist friends of ours. And so Aaron, do you want to introduce yourself?

[AARON]:
Yeah, thanks for having me on the show. I am Aaron Potratz. I am a licensed counselor here in Oregon. We live just outside of the Portland area – Portland Metro area – in a suburb. And I have been a counselor since 2007, so going on… what is that? Thirteen years or so. I started out as a solo group practice owner, just seeing clients myself on my own. And then through chance I was able to connect up with Nathan here and share some office space, and that kind of sparked, or reignited a vision that I had for building a group practice. So I became a group practice owner kind of alongside him. And then in 2016, we started another group practice together. So we’ve got a little bit of a ‘yours, mine and ours’ going on. I’ve got my practice, Discover Counseling, he’s got his, and then we’ve got Life Discovery Counseling Services together. And I’m a clinical supervisor here in Oregon also, and we started our podcast just… actually it’s not even out yet. It’s going to be released in a couple of weeks here. It’s called the Shrink Think podcast.

[BILLY]:
Fantastic. And Nathan.

[NATHAN]:
Yes, sir. So I’m Nathan Hawkins, licensed counselor in Oregon, also. I own Life Encounter Counseling services. And Aaron’s kind of described the other half of that. And it really is exciting to have the Shrink Think podcast. It’s very weird, actually. It’s surreal, because we really enjoy it. And that’s kind of me, I mean, obviously Life Discovery Counseling Services we own together. And we have two locations with that. We are… Aaron and I are also expanding both of our individual practices right now which he didn’t mention. So we’re in the process of leasing another space, actually kind of across from ourselves right now because we’re growing, everybody has a waiting list, everybody’s… so I’m actually looking for employees right now.

[BILLY]:
So if anybody wants to move to Portland, Oregon, right?

[NATHAN]:
Yeah, right.

[BRANDY]:
I do. What do you guys need me for, anything? I’ll do it. I’m not a therapist, but I’ll figure it out.

[AARON]:
Absolutely. You got the job.

[BILLY]:
She plays one on TV.

[BRANDY]:
That’s right. Look, the Portland area is on my list of places I would live. There’s like five of them and Portland is on it.

[BILLY]:
Well, I love how we talked about the differences in the worlds that we live in. And we were talking about like if you guys hear a gunshot go off, you probably hit the deck. If we hear a gunshot go off here we just assume somebody’s hunting a squirrel or a deer. We do live in some different worlds. So tell us what’s going on in Portland right now.

[NATHAN]:
Well, I’m not sure… I don’t know if you guys know yet when you’re gonna air this podcast but right now as we sit here, there was a guy shot point blank this last weekend. And that, I’m hoping, was not a black swan event again, because I feel like what that kind of did is it did two things. One, the people that have stood up on both sides of the aisle and tried to stand up for what they’re thinking, they’re more like normal. I think they’re gonna sit right back down. And the other people that are like, oh, there’s a place to fight here, I think it’s gonna be a magnet. I really hope it’s not. But so that’s kind of what’s going on in Portland. People are done with the mess. And there’s just a lot of… you know, it’s funny, because everybody kind of hates the governor, it’s funny, doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you’re on. And the same thing with the mayor, nobody likes him either. So, that’s kind of… the politics right now is a big deal.

[BILLY]:
Well, Aaron and Nathan both, how does this affect therapy, the climate, the political climate, what’s really going on? Are you all seeing heightened levels of anxiety, depression, fear, is everything about the same? And if there is a change, how are you addressing them in your practices?

[AARON]:
There has been, I would say, a huge increase in anxiety and depression in people. And to narrow that down, I’m getting a lot of contacts from people who are really stressed about stuff that’s going on with work. And it’s not your typical, you know, we have Nike and Intel out here and there’s a huge amount of employees that work for those two companies here in the Portland area. So a lot of times, like, with Intel employees, for example, they work just crazy hours, they’re driven really hard. And so there’s this work stress of not seeing the family. This is different. This is like a work stress of, I don’t know what’s happening with our company, some of us are working remotely, or we’re trying to work remotely and we can’t, or there’s a lot of companies that are downtown that are no longer working there because downtown is just an unsafe place for employees to be. And so there’s a lot of, like, unrest and uncertainty for people. And then also the whole job market and the direction things are going is very uncertain. I’ve got some commercial real estate clients around here and it’s just really difficult for people because of the rioting, the unrest that’s going on, people don’t want to do business around here. They don’t want to move in and set up shop and start a dream somewhere.

So there’s just a lot of like, oh, everything’s on hold, or my dreams were going in a certain direction and maybe they can’t go in that direction anymore. So there’s a lot of depression, I think, for people around that, feeling stuck. So when they come in, I mean, it’s, in some ways, it’s like, yeah, I don’t want to minimize your pain and what you’re going through. But, man, everybody is feeling that way. Everybody is feeling the same thing. I found myself at the same time, while people are saying, I just need to shut the news off and disconnect from it for a few days or a week or whatever because I just can’t take it anymore. I found myself saying, you know what, I think I need to do the same thing. It’s just gotten to be too much.

[NATHAN]:
Yeah, one of the things I would add, I just had a gentleman start with me recently, who said, I just, I kind of need to know, I can’t be the only one out here, because I just figured out my company just announced when we’re going to be back – so he’s working remote. He said, they won’t even let me go in the office. He goes, this is a whole different kind of stress, man. He goes, I’m living with my family all day long. He goes, you think that’d be a blessing, and in some ways it is. But the reality is we can’t leave. We’re obeying the orders to try to stay home. He goes, realistically, I’m not going to be back to my office in a year. He goes, that just settled on me, like, a couple weeks ago, because they’re not letting these folks back in I think until next March. And so he goes, I just want to be able to go to the office and somewhere different because I’ve tried Starbucks, I’ve tried other places, he goes, it just doesn’t work. So it’s a real different kind of stress. People are kind of… and they’re isolated. So they don’t know, a lot of what we’re dealing with is kind of the guys that are like, yep, I’ve heard that before. They really need to know if we’ve heard it before.

[BILLY]:
So a lot of people are feeling this type of fear and anxiety. Some people have kids going back to school, it’s unnerving. Some people are keeping their kids home and schooling them from there. Some people just have economic insecurity and job stress. What are some things you give to people to instill…

[BRANDY]:
Grounding.

[BILLY]:
Grounding, hope? You know, is there anything we can do personally? I know I’m feeling some of it as a therapist. Do you guys feel any of it also? If so, what do you do to help people? What do you do to help yourself?

[AARON]:
Yeah, that’s a great question. Before, we were talking about this book that I’m just about done reading, and I just have not been able to put it down. I love it. It’s called ‘Maybe You Should Talk to Someone’ by Laura Gottlieb. And she’s a therapist, and she’s going through some of her own therapy at the same time. And she’s sort of realizing that, for a lot of people, they think therapy is about solving problems or giving advice or direction. And that’s true in some ways, at certain points in time, helping people figure out for themselves what direction they want to go. But for a lot of it, what I find is that people just need to come in, and be seen, and be cared for, and be connected with. And so sharing those experiences with people, and being frustrated, and being in the uncertainty, not having any answers myself, and then just saying, yeah, we’re in this together and I feel the same way, and it’s so hard. I don’t know what we’re going to do, but we’re going to figure it out together. And as something comes up, as opportunities arise, you know, we’ll take it. But for now, we just need to know that we’re not alone. And that there are others of us that are caring for one another. And I think you just can’t underestimate the power of that connection.

[BILLY]:
I wish I had a stadium cheer button I could hit because that’s so onpoint, just to be validated, and to share that space and share that uncertainty with someone.

[NATHAN]:
Yeah, I think… I was just talking with my… we were in a supervision group yesterday morning with other therapists, and we were all talking about different anxiety and that kind of thing. And it came up basically about at the point of diagnosis and disorder and all that kind of thing. And it became a reality of like, look, we’re in a space where this probably looks a heck of a lot more like mentorship than treatment. And the reality is, is that you’re just being human to other humans. These folks are coming in because they just need human contact, really. I mean, the biggest complaint that I hear all the time – and it’s a guilty type of thing, like, people don’t want to admit it – that on the one hand, they are done with Zoom calls, businesses, and they’re so done with it, and they’re not getting what they need out of it. So I think we’re starting to understand too, that this video thing is not actually going to work as an entirely active substitution for being with people and work. But they feel guilty, like, trying to go to be with somebody. I have folks that are coming in, trying to get into counseling because I will see people in person. And there’s some therapists out there – and you know, everybody’s got to make their own decisions, there’s no criticism from me – they’ve not fired clients, but they’ve said, I’m not willing to meet with you except for over video. And I have some clients that have come in recently because of that, because they’re like, well, my therapist won’t see me in person, I’ve got to see a person in real life. So I think a lot of it is just being together solves quite a bit of problems.

[BILLY]:
Yeah, I believe in that front line calling of, you know, I’m so grateful for our officers and our firefighters. But there’s also clergy and counselors, that when there’s a true crisis, nothing can really replace that face to face, and I know we have to be careful when and where we meet, and some issues can be taken care of over televideo and telehealth. But when someone’s truly in despair, or just someone needs that human connection. You know, I’ve opened my office up also because I understand the need for that. I know that I need it with my therapist, and I can’t imagine how much other people need it also.

[AARON]:
So is that the biggest challenge you’re seeing right now, is just that human connection? Or is that surprising you, that people need to feel that connection and they oftentimes feel it with a therapist that will see ’em face to face?

[NATHAN]:
That’s so interesting. We were just talking about this literally yesterday; it’s the same stuff. Yeah, I think I would say that I’m not surprised. I’ve kind of always believed that this is true, what’s going on right now. But I am surprised at how big of a deal it is. I honestly didn’t think the video thing would be this big of a, like, I don’t want to say problem, but would be… like, where you have pretty much a universal thing up here in Portland, cuz there’s so many people like Aaron was talking about – Intel, and there’s a lot of companies that everybody’s doing remote work and everybody pretty much is is so done with it, and they just want human interaction. And they’re also terrified of human interaction. So it’s like this constant anxiety storm for folks.

[BILLY]:
Yeah, and I think there’s a personal, you know, you’re personally afraid. But there’s almost, I don’t know, maybe I’ll coin a new term here, you can kind of get COVID shamed in professional communities if you’re like, I’m seeing people face to face. And there’s almost some backlash, like, why would you do that? That’s dangerous. And I don’t know. Like you said, everybody has to make their own decision. And I may switch back. I don’t know, but there is… we all, we’re just figuring this thing out as we go.

[AARON]:
Yeah, I would say that I’m not surprised in a certain way. But it’s like, when it happens and you’re faced with it, it’s like, wow, I didn’t realize how profound a need this was. It reminds me a lot of when we’re working through something with somebody, and it’s taking a long time and maybe they’re not quite making the progress that we both expect that they might make at a certain point. And then maybe they talk about their family of origin a little bit, or they share some stuff that’s going on right now with their extended family, and I get a clearer picture of really the dysfunction or the damage that they came out of, and it makes me realize, wow, well no wonder this has been so hard for you because that’s what has been going on around you. And so it’s like the same thing, like, wow, this is just such a profound lack that people have been experiencing in terms of… I wrote about this in my blog recently, you know, this idea of even though we can be around each other in certain places, we have to keep a distance, we can’t touch one another, hug one another, shake hands. Even if you’re looking at somebody in the grocery store, I can’t see your face. I mean, I can barely see your eyes, I have no idea what your expression is. I don’t know how to connect with you, or what your expression is, like, are you happy to see me? Are you like judging me behind your mask, or whatever? So there’s this, like, I just feel so disconnected and so alone, that I think a lot of people are experiencing, and then when you can actually have them in your office and they take off your mask and you see them, and see their expression, and connect, it’s like, oh, my word, this is just water in a desert.

[BRANDY]:
I’m excited because I have three male therapists on this podcast, and though we are not looking at each other, I want to connect, I want to get to know you guys. I’m going to ask just a couple questions before we end the interview. And I’d like each of you to answer. So Aaron, I’m going to start with you. I’m gonna ask the same question, and then Nathan and then Billy respond. But my first question is, are you a hunter or a gatherer? And why?

[AARON]:
That’s an interesting question. I’ve never been hunting, so I have no idea if I’m one of those.

[BRANDY]:
Metaphorically, which one do you think you would be?

[AARON]:
You know, um, boy, I don’t know. I don’t… it’s so funny, as I’ve gotten to know Billy as like, you know, growing up in this alpha male environment, not having those same skills, I feel kind of the same way. I mean, I did sports when I was younger and athletic and stuff, but the hunting and that, like, real, manly, beard kind of stuff, that is totally not me. We were just in Idaho recently though, and I was just looking around this open terrain thinking it would be really cool to build a community here. It’s like, move out here, build a house and establish a store of some kind, and kind of grow this small community into a civilization. So I’m not sure which one of those I would be, but I look at that and I’m like, that would be really exciting to build something. I think that’s why I’ve built my practice and this business here. So hopefully that answers your question.

[BRANDY]:
I think that means you’re very balanced in it all. I think you see both sides of it. All right, Nathan, your turn.

[NATHAN]:
Oh, Jiminy. I haven’t even had time. You know, I think… I was sitting there thinking about this. I guess I picture a hunter more like kind of an intentional provider, looking out to try to go out and have some kind of an experience, like, and a sense of adventure. I think I am that way but I have to… man, I like to have people around, so I need… I like people, I like bigger and I want people to be with me so I don’t really want to… I can go out on my own a bit but I won’t do that for too long. I actually kind of did that for too long, really, before meeting Aaron, because I was in private practice. Well, I’ve been a counselor since 2003. I was by myself for about seven years and at [unclear]. It takes a lot. So that’s kind of the hunter in me. It kind of takes a lot before I’m like, saying ‘uncle’ so to speak. [Unclear] okay, and it takes too long, actually. It’s like, hey, you can stop doing this, dude, you don’t need to keep going. So I hope I’ve become a little bit better at stopping that over the course of years. And again, I’m not sure if that’s answering your question. I’m trying here.

[AARON]:
No, I think just thinking about you bring it back to that need for connection, that we can’t stay too isolated and that we can’t be one or the other. I want to hear how Billy answers it.

[BILLY]:
Total gatherer. Hands down, no questions asked, don’t need the adventure, I’ll watch the documentary on Netflix. And it’s just in me, I know this about myself now, I’ve tried to be the other thing but I’m just not. I respect the hunter. If you bring me back the backstrap, I will put cream cheese in it, wrap it in bacon and cook it to perfection. But I like being back with the community. I know that’s where I belong, being in recovery. I believe we heal in community, not in isolation. I’m grateful I have this dear friend, Benjamin Boyce, who can go off into the woods or be dropped out of a helicopter onto the side of a mountain and hunt by himself for two weeks and be in heaven. But that sounds like a nightmare to me. But I’m grateful for him and his perspective he brings into my life, but I kind of know who and what I am today.

[BRANDY]:
I knew you were a gatherer.

[AARON]:
Billy, you totally sold me on that gatherer. So I’m claiming that one. That’s great. Grab me a sofa next to you.

[BRANDY]:
All right, I’m gonna give you like ten seconds to answer this – favorite 90s jam? What do you listen to in your car by yourself, 90s jam?

[AARON]:
Alright, Nathan and I…

[BRANDY]:
[Unclear] go first and then I’m gonna go [unclear] Nathan and Aaron. Yeah.

[AARON]:
We both love the 90s gangsta rap. We both grew up on that stuff.

[NATHAN]:
[Unclear].

[BRANDY]:
That fascinates me because that’s not what I would have guessed. I would have probably like a little Nirvana maybe, or maybe a little Michael W. Smith, but you totally went Tupac on me.

[BILLY]:
For me, Pearl Jam – Ten. I was a brooding, angsty teenager. And I say if there was an album that wrapped up my angst, it was Pearl Jam – Ten. If there was an album that was probably my salvation, it was U2 – Joshua Tree.

[BRANDY]:
Nice one.

[BILLY]:
But that went back to kind of 80s, sorry.

[AARON]:
Alright, I’m going to mix it up on this one. I’m going to put Nathan first, I’m going to put Billy next and then I’m going to put Aaron last. And I’ll give you some think time, about three and a half seconds. What do you want people to know? What good thing do you want people to know? What do you want to put out there in the world?

[NATHAN]:
That they are loved. They are truly loved. You were designed to be loved. You need it. And you deserve it.

[BRANDY]:
I felt like you were talking to me. Thank you.

[BILLY]:
I’m going with Nathan. I can’t top that because there’s such freedom in that message. I’m sorry, I’m just [unclear] over to him. I’m with you, Nathan.

[AARON]:
I guess mine’s similar. You are enough. I love sitting with people and they expose their insecurities and vulnerabilities and that just makes them more beautiful and more human. And being able to let go of that fear, and just be in the freedom of being yourself and knowing that you are accepted and you are acceptable, you are enough, I think is just such a beautiful human experience.

[BILLY]:
Wow. Guys, where can people find the Shrink Think podcast? And give us a little bit about what it’s about for people who want to tune in and listen. I love the human element, adding the human element to therapists, and letting them talk, but I’ll let you guys describe it and tell people where to find it.

[AARON]:
Yeah, absolutely. We are on shrinkthinkpodcast.com and like you guys, we’ve got a free ecourse that you can sign up for if you go to shrinkthinkpodcast.com/course. The podcast is about, yeah, like you said, being a therapist, but also like the human side of life, kind of what we just talked about. We have some interviews with people like you guys, where we just want to know how people go about life. How do you deal with, you know, the successes, and the failures, and the struggles, and the insecurities that you have in life? Because everyone is different, and everyone deals with them differently, and yet at the same time, everyone is dealing with the same things, those fears and imposter syndrome and stuff. And so we were just really want to break down some mental health stigma and just be real with people and as men, and as therapists, talk about, like, this is just normal, human, relational kind of stuff. And it’s okay to talk about it, and actually it’s really helpful and really freeing to talk about. In our ecourse, we kind of break down that fear and insecurity and self-acceptance and self-compassion stuff for you more, we walk you through that. So if anybody listening would love to know more about how to do that from a couple of therapists, that’s a great way to do that.

[NATHAN]:
I guess I would add that, for me, it’s like talking to people that are undeniably successful and then finding out like… where you admire them, you would look up to them, and then finding out how human they are. How did they deal with fear? How did they step out there and go… what was a moment in time where they were like, uh oh, and they can choose to do it or not do it. And I just think it’s really cool because there’s a different story there. There’s a common type of thing. But there is a very different story that I think is very relatable to a lot of people.

[BILLY]:
Ah, Aaron and Nathan. Thank you, guys, for the work you’re doing in the world, the podcast you’re putting out there, the work you’re doing in Portland, Oregon. The world needs more of you. Thank you for sharing your stories with us on Beta Male Revolution today. Guys, go check out Shrink Think podcast. You won’t be disappointed. Thank you, guys.

[BRANDY]:
Thank you, guys.

[AARON]:
Thanks for having us on. Good to talk with you.

[NATHAN]:
Thank you.

[BILLY]:
Are you ready to find freedom to be yourself as a beta male? Do you want permission and tools to be your best beta? Are you ready to join the revolution to find your strength as a beta? If you want to be comfortable in your own skin and be the most authentic beta male, then our free Beta Male Revolution course is for you. Sign up for free at betamalerevolution.com/course.

This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, Practice of the Practice, or the guest are providing legal, mental health, or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one.

Beta Male Revolution is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you thrive, imperfectly. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom Podcast, Imperfect Thriving, or Empowered and Unapologetic, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

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