PODCAST & BLOG

PODCAST & BLOG

I first met this week’s guest, Christie Tate, at a book festival last year. I quickly realized that since we are on the theme of therapy and healing ourselves, she would be an interesting addition to the series. Christie is a lawyer who wrote about her experience in group therapy and her debut memoir about her adventures in life transformation through group therapy is called Group–How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life

On paper, Christie explains that her life was great. But inward, she was depressed, lonely, and isolated. She eventually agreed to go to therapy. In this episode, she shares her experience with getting psychologically and emotionally naked in a room of six complete strangers—a psychotherapy group—and how in turn she found human connection, and ultimately, herself. 

You’ll hear:

  • Christie shares what led her to therapy in the first place and shares her journey to group therapy. (6:23)
  • Group therapy: what it’s really like. (8:41)
  • The highs and lows of group therapy. Christie shares one of highs, sharing a food secret with the group and one of her lows which have to do with jealousy about who is getting attention. (17:40)
  • Shining a light on the issue is where the healing begins. (36:00)
  • Insight and advice for those reluctant to go to group therapy. (40:55)

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Christie’s website
Cassandra Speaks, by Elizabeth Lesser
Psychology Today
Christie on Instagram

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Christie Tate is an author and essayist in Chicago. She grew up in Texas and writes about mental health, eating disorders, isolation, achievement, and sexuality. Her debut memoir about her adventures in life transformation through group therapy is called Group– How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life, was published by Avid Reader Press in October 2020. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, McSweeney's, The Rumpus, The New Ohio Review, Atticus Review, Carve Magazine, and elsewhere. In June 2019, Kiese Laymon selected her essay, Promised Lands, as the nonfiction winner of the New Ohio Review's nonfiction contest.

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SHOW TRANSCRIPT

Christie 00:00
I wanted to be seen, I wanted to be known, and all my mess and all my defenses, all my quirks all my everything I wanted someone to know me and I wanted to know others. And I didn't know how to do that without the group process. I just didn't. I had no idea.

Andrea 00:19
you're listening to Make Some Noise Podcast episode number 433 with guest Christie Tate.

Welcome to Make Some Noise Podcast, your guide for strategies, tools and insights to empower yourself. I'm your host, Andrea oh and global speaker, entrepreneur, life coach since 2007, and author of three books that have been translated into 18 languages and are available in 22 countries. Each week, I'll bring you a guest or a lesson that will help you maximize unshakable confidence, master resilience and make some noise in your life. You ready? Let's go.

Hey, everyone, welcome to another episode of the podcast. I am so glad that you are here. Quick trigger warning just for the introduction. I am going to talk about the death of a pet. I am not going to talk about it very much, because I am still kind of in the thick of it and I am going to record this week's minisode about that. Partly because I don't have any other content for it and partly my way of honoring her. So many of you know, especially if you follow me on Instagram that we have had German Shorthaired Pointer for almost nine years. We rescued her back when we lived in Utah and she passed away on February 16 in the morning. I don't really have anything else to say except that it was excruciating and still is. So as mentioned, I will talk more about it later when I can sort of gather my thoughts and talk about what exactly it is that I want to say. And also there'll be a little call to action, probably on Instagram.

Nothing vague, but I am excited for you to hear this conversation. I recorded this this interview with Christie Tate a while back, she and I met in Winston Salem, which is the city right next door to where I live. We were both speaking on a panel at a really cool and fun book festival. So I knew I had to have her on the show. Her book is so great. It was picked up by Reese Witherspoon's book club thing. What is it called? I can't think of it right now. Please forgive me. But it's a great book and since we're on the theme of therapy and healing ourselves, I thought it would be an interesting addition to have someone who is an expert, a little bit of a different angle, if you will. Christiei is not a therapist herself, she's a lawyer and wrote a book about her experience in group therapy. And it's a really, really great book. So for those of you that don't know her, let me tell you a little bit about her.

Christie Tate is an author and essayist in Chicago. She grew up in Texas and writes about mental health, eating disorders, isolation, achievement and sexuality. Her debut memoir about her adventures in life transformation through group therapy is called Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life was published by Avid Reader Press in October of 2020. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, McSweeney's, The Rumpus, The Bew Ohio Review, Atticus Review, Card Magazine, and elsewhere. So without further ado, here is Christie.

Christie, thank you for coming on the show.

Christie 04:06
Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to talk to you.

Andrea 04:10
Yay. Okay. So as I told people in the introduction, you and I met at an event and what I didn't mention is the hilarious story of when we were signing books, maybe book…

Christie 04:24
Oh, my God, that is so… it's like my favorite story and I love to tell it it keeps me very humble. And I have to tell you, Andrea, if I'd have been by myself in North Carolina, there's you know, the book signing for Christie Tate and two people came by three tables down they have a line past the parking lot. I would have died but now it's this great memory I have because you were there with me.

Andrea 04:48
It is. Aren't hard things better when you do it with people just like your book. It's a great segue. I did not plan that .But no There was Christie and I shared a table and we were signing books for people, a handful of people, and they were all lovely and wonderful, if any of them were listening, thank you. And then a few tables down, there was an author who, we're not even sure we think that he was like a sci fi author.

Christie 05:15
Yes. I think it was horror You love their horror. And be yes. It was actually two of them. They're wildly popular and wonderful writers. They've had long careers. So God bless them. They've earned every fan that they have and write a little bit. It's a little bit, eek, to sit next to them.

Andrea 05:34
It was funny. Yeah, it was sort of like, you know, James Patterson and Stephen King were there and then there's Chrisri Tate and Andrea Owen. Yeah, it was like that. Okay, well, let's, let's talk about your book and this for these couple of months the theme that I'm doing here on the podcast is about therapy and how we heal ourselves. I've had therapists and different experts on but I'm so excited to add you sort of on the other end of that, and your memoir, wildly popular memoir Group, and you tell the story of reluctantly agreeing to get kind of what you say psychologically, and emotionally naked, in a room of six complete strangers. So can you tell us the story of like, how you ended up there? Like, did you seek it out? Was it recommended? How did you end up in that room?

Christie 06:23
Sure. I had started to become a person who cried a lot in public and people were starting to suggest to me, you maybe you should see my therapist. I couldn't really articulate, I think I was depressed, but I didn't even have that language and this was back in like, 2001. And, you know, on paper, my life was great. I was first in my law school class I had, you know, my I was pretty in shape, because I went to the gym, and I had enough money, enough student loan money to get through, to live in a nice neighborhood. So I should have been fine, is what I told myself butt I was really depressed, I was lonely. I didn't know how to have deep meaningful relationships and I wanted them so bad, good friends, a boyfriend, close to my cousins and my parents, and I was just so isolated. And so people were recommending their therapist, and I rolled my eyes. Number one, I didn't have the money. Number two, I didn't have any faith. I didn't know what’s that going to do? I'm going to go sit down and tell a doctor my problems and then walk out what good is that? But then finally, somebody who I trusted, she looked different. You know, like when you see someone you're like, what's the deal with those new jeans? Did you..

Andrea 07:34
You have a new eye cream?

Christie 07:36
Yeah, your weight change? Is that lip gloss, what's going on? And she was like, it's my new therapist. And I was like, oh, damn, really? And she said something very magical to me, a law student. She said, he's really cheap. I was like, okay, great, because he does group. So it's like, 1/3, the cost. And I thought to myself, okay, well, I'll go, I'll check it out. It won't, I was going to take out a health care loan, which I did to cover the cost. And maybe it would help me because I was really scared. I was starting to fantasize about dying and it just felt like I couldn't fix that by myself and I needed some help. And that's as much as I knew. And then when I heard that he was cheap, I thought, oh, okay, I'll give it a try. And when I went to go see the doctor, he was smart and scary, and seemed to think that my problems which were essentially loneliness and isolation and perfectionism, he seemed to act like that was very curable, and I was willing to get started and try. And that's how it all began.

Andrea 08:41
Okay, I've so many questions. The first one is, what you said he was scary, like, what was scary about it to you? Do you remember anything specifically?

Christie 08:50
I do. The way that he looked at me. like he was really paying attention, really, it made me feel like he could see things about me. And he very early on in the session he like completed a few of my sentences, like I mentioned that many of my partners and boyfriends and love interest happened to drink a lot. And he just very matter of factly totally kept my gaze, he said, oh, you like to date alcoholics? And I'm like, whoa, whoa, whoa.

Andrea 09:27
I was like, which one of your parents was a drinker?

Christie 09:29
Totally. That was the next question, and I do have alcoholism on my family. And I knew he knew. I told him a few things about my behavior and from there, he was able to pan out and see, oh, this is a young woman, she's perfectionistic, she's got an eating disorder, she dates alcoholic, she's the daughter of an alcoholic and the fact that he could see all that and put it together so quickly, was both terrifying and comforting at the same time. I felt exposed.

Andrea 09:58
Yes, I was I was just I was just interviewing somebody else for the show and her episode hasn't come out yet, but she's an expert around like emotional cleansing and we were talking about therapy. And I had mentioned that with my last therapist that I hired just in 2020. and I have a long history with therapy, I started going when I was 18. I was not happy about going when I was 18. My parents made me go because they were getting a divorce. It's another story for another time. But at this point in my life, I'm well versed in therapists, and I had hired her specifically to do deeper trauma therapy, which is scary, but I felt like I was ready. But I needed several talk therapy sessions first before we did that, because I have major trust issues. And I told her that like, I mean, I need to get to know you first, I need to feel comfortable telling you my story. And about, I don't know how many sessions in maybe four or five, she lovingly pointed out that I perform and I use a lot of humor, to deflect. And I think it I don't know what the right word is. I was so scared. She said, because I knew she was right and I knew that if I didn't do that, if I didn't add, you know, zing to my stories and throw in some punch lines, that she would just see me in all the pain and hurt that I had. And that to me felt like oh my god, she's gonna think I'm broken, that I'm damaged and it felt like so black or white, like you only see me as this one person. And that's the part that I had tried to push down for so long. So it sounds a little similar to you. But you were like fresh and green.

Christie 11:49
Yeah, I totally, I'm laughing at your story because I 100% lean real hard on self-deprecating humor, and sarcasm and snarkiness. And that has really, that was a survival technique for me. And I was very slow…

Andrea 12:04
Generation X. Like, that's what we were raised on. And TV dinners, you know?

Christie 12:08
Yes, totally. And it was a few, I was probably a year in to going to group I ended up joining a group with this doctor, and somebody or like something got real intense in a session and I of course cracked a joke and somebody said to me is the doctor, he said to me, you know, you don't have to do that, you know, there's a place for your humor, but you don't have to defend so heavily against these feelings. We're talking about death. And I'm over here like making, you know, one-liners about it and it was just like, hey, you know, is that serving you? Is that serving you, Christie? And I was sort of like, oh, not all the time? The answer is not all the time.

Andrea 12:49
Do you remember if you felt shame in that moment? Like kind of being called out a little bit?

Christie 12:55
That's a great question. Almost everything makes me feel shame. I'm so shame-based. And in that moment, I definitely it was 50/50. What I remember about that is I felt 50% shame, which frankly, might be a baseline for me. But the other 50% was a sense of relief. It was like the doctor busting me like that, it felt a little bit like hey, hey, I see you. I see what you're doing. It looks like that might be a heavy load for you. So right next to the shame was a sense of relief. I don't have to entertain. I don't have to entertain these adults the way I felt like I had to entertain everyone around me as a kid to survive. And so there was some relief there, which I'm happy that was riding next to the shame.

Andrea 13:43
i Yes, I know that. Well, that relief of okay. You are going to see me for it feels a little validating, in a sense.

Christie 13:53
Yes. 100%. Like, I think I was really, really hungry. By the time I got to group I was in my late 20s, and I had already gone… I was in the middle of law school, I'd already gone to get a master's and gone through college, I was just trying to achieve my way out of pain and it wasn't working. By the time I got to group what I really wanted and I couldn't have articulated this, I wanted to be seen, I wanted to be known. And all my mess and all my defenses all my quirks all my everything, I wanted someone to know me, and I wanted to know others and I didn't know how to do that without the group process. I just didn't. I have no idea.

Andrea 14:32
Mm hmm. Okay. So when you say group process, can you articulate what that is?

Christie 14:39
Sure. I mean, the base… people always ask me like, well, what does it look like? So the mechanics ar, I'll start with my first group later I joined other groups, but you have a 90 minute session, it meets every week. it's the same people, generally it's the same people. You can leave anytime you want and people do and new members come in but generally the grouping is fairly stable. The doctors there, we sit… he's a psychiatrist. We sit in a circle, we come in at the appointed time and we sit down and the way that ours works is there's no agenda. There's no like, we're going to go around in a circle and say, what's bothering us. Nothing like that. Someone will start and just say, oh, my God, I think I'm going to get fired and they'll tell a story. And then someone will ping into that and say, oh, wow, that's crazy. I just got a raise and I think I'm getting promoted. And then people start having lots of feelings about what's being said, and about work in recognition and then we're like, off to the races, and the doctor will interject. But a lot of the work that happens in a group is, for me, I feel myself reacting, like, there's a guy Brad and my group, he reminds me so much of my dad and when he starts doing things that my dad does that irritates me, like talking in platitudes, or kind of not being checked in. I'll react and I'll see, oh, that's not really my dad that's actually Brad and I have a chance to speak up and in this fishbowl, say something and learn about what I'm bringing to the table, what he's bringing to the table, and slowly untangle a lot of knots I had inside of me around relationships, because I had them everywhere all the time.

Andrea 16:24
Yeah. For some reason, I thought that you started group later, like in your 30s. So you started when you were still in law school in your 20s?

Christie 16:32
Yes, I was. I had just turned 28 when I started.

Andrea 16:36
Okay. So did you know that you were going to write the book like, like, early in? Or when did that idea come to you?

Christie 16:42
Oh, so I started group. it was right, right before 9/11. So it was August 29 of 2001 was my first session of group. I did not even consider writing until 2015, long after the events of the group. I had no idea. I had no plans to write about this at all I was. I was all about the law. And it wasn't until I had my law career, and I had two babies and that is this pole for creative life and to write and to be a storyteller. That didn't show up until I was 38. So like, 10 years after I even started group, and I didn't start my first writings were all fiction. Not even, I never was thinking, oh, this will make a great book. I was just trying to…

Andrea 17:31
That’s probably not a good thing, loike when you're in the group to be thinking about writing a book about it, because you're not…

Christie 17:35
Totally, totally I wouldn't be so present. Right?

Andrea 17:40
Right. We're gonna be taking notes and like kind of narrating as other people are talking. Not that I know that from experience. But, well, I love the whole premise of the book. And for anyone who's listening who, who, and especially anyone who enjoyed Lori Gottlieb’s Maybe You Should Talk To Someone, it's definitely not the same, but similar kind of topics just around personal development, and just the transparency and vulnerability of humans and all different kinds of walks of life. And you talk about the highs and lows of group therapy. Can you share, like one high and one low that you remember?

Christie 18:23
Oh, my gosh, that's a great question. So I would say the high that I feel… An early high that I write about in the book that is that might be appealing to someone who's like, what is group therapy? One thing I didn't know about group therapy is that I was going to end up in a group I don't know the doctor in the book, I call him Dr. Rosen, I don't know what magic he does behind the curtain to put us all together, who goes in what group, but my first group was all professionals. So it was doctors and lawyers, anybody who want to be licensed to do their profession. So I go in there, I'm not even a full lawyer yet, and the first hard hard thing he suggested I do was to tell everyone what I had eaten the day before, and I had a lot of food secrets, like a lot, and I was terrified, terrified to say what I'd eaten. At night, I would binge on apples. Like I really like 12 apples at night. 6,10, 12 apples, and I was really scared to tell…

Andrea 19:57
That’s a lot of fiber.

Christie 19:59
So it was so bad. It was so

Christie 19:31
Yeah, it was like it was very problematic on every level. And so when he suggested that, I understood on some very deep level that taking his suggestion was in my best interest. But I also had a lot of resistance because I was very ashamed and afraid. What I didn't know, I close my eyes, and I tell everyone I ate and Dr. Rosen is saying to me, open your eyes, open your eyes, look around and I'm like, no, this is horrible. I'm not doing that. When did open my eyes, I looked at six other people in the circle, and they were looking at me, not with the contempt or scorn or repulsion that I had pictured, they were looking at me with pure love. Honestly, this guy, Carlos was kind of amused, he's like you ate 12 apples? Gross. But I wasn't kicked out of the group, I was held, and other people had their own food secrets. That was such a high moment for me. For me, when I have a secret, it becomes so big and hairy and moldy inside of me, I forget that other people have struggles too. It makes me very self-obsessed. So when I let go of a secret, and I tell a group, I'm able to look around and see like, oh, well, Patrice had some food stuff, too. And guess what? So did Maurie. And guess what so did Marty. And I felt so much less alone, like instantly. And that was a huge, huge high.

And for me, every single low, most probably overdramatic. Many, many lows that I have in group have to do with jealousy about who's getting attention. And it's so deeply shameful to me. But even early on, you can I could see in myself like, oh, Dr. Rosen would give Carlos a lot of attention because Carlos had an exciting career, and they were talking about his wedding and I didn't even have a boyfriend and I was not wedding planning for many years. And I just over and over again, I'd be so jealous, like, Dr. Rosen is giving Rory so much help. And I would view, and it would like, distort and contort me. And I had to do a lot of work on attention and jealousy. Like I was very, very repressed and regressed around those issues. And I'm a 30-year-old woman who's crying because someone's getting more attention than I am in group therapy. That's real tough to swallow about myself. That part has been hard.

Andrea 22:06
Well, I can totally picture myself going down that same thought pattern. My next question is did you admit that and walk through it in group?

Christie 22:15
Yes, there's something. Yes. Not only that, I still have to do it. I still two weeks ago, there was someone in there now… Now I would like to report that I have refined my jealousy turns out now I'm really only jealous of other women. I guess that's progress. But…

Andrea 22:34
And social programming.

Christie 22:35
Yes, thank you patriarchy for all of that. I still, bu it happens is I feel it and I withdraw and I got really quiet, which is not my normal mode. My normal mode is like… I picture group, like a volleyball game, you know, and the ball goes all over the court, right? And people, you bob it back and you keep the conversation going. And when I get jealous like that I just fold into myself and just I fold my arms across my very tender heart. And two things happen. One is everybody notices. Like if someone who's lively just shuts down, you're like, okay, what is it? And right, what's even more, I don't know if this is annoying, or a blessing. Probably both. They know me so well. The people I'm in group with now have been with me for you know, almost 20 years at this point, they they'll say oh Christie, you back quiet when Dr. Rosen gave Ellery that affirmation about how good she is as a parent. And my whole body will like flush and I'll sort of sweat and they know it's true. And I know it's true. But it is very difficult to own it. Even all these years later. I wrote that's a big character defect of mine. Jealousy, and then not wanting to just own it. To just say, yeah, I was bombed, I want to I want all the affirmations to come to me. And that's a horrible thing.

Andrea 24:00
Well, it's a human thing to say. Okay, I have so many comments. Of course I do. So regarding the highs, I love that example. Thank you for sharing it. That is a great example of a couple of things that jumped out to me empathy, which, you know, I trained and certified in Brené Brown's work so I spout it all the time from the roof rooftops that that is one of the antidotes to shame, self-compassion is the other one. And speaking of self-compassion, what you experience around common humanity of hearing and understanding and accepting that other people also, not only had secrets, but had food secrets specific to yours is that common humanity which we need for self-compassion. So that that's just me pointing out to all the listeners, that there is, there is, you know, shame resilience, like we can learn it and that those are the two huge steps of it.

The lows… Well my character defects if since we're sharing, mine are selfishness and entitlement I laugh because I'm just like, oh my god. So you and I are recording this right after Thanksgiving and, you know, with my family and it's funny to me now it wasn't before. It's funny to me now, how triggered I get around certain family members who are selfish and entitled. And I get so judgmental and so contemptuous, and like a case of the better than’s and I'm like, ah, and I have to sort of check myself and just, you know, I'm like, well, they're just, they're not ready to do the work. And Andrea… my friend Samantha Bennett says anytime you're judgmental of someone, not always, but in many times, it's your own character defects you can say to yourself, and there I am.

Christie 25:53
Yeah. I love that. I love that so much. So that's what I was doing.

Andrea 26:02
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Can I share my not great experience with group therapy, I would love to know your thoughts.

Christie 28:10
I'm dying to hear every word.

Andrea 28:14
Because you're the expert. You are the resident expert on group therapy. I've just appointed you. And much of my audience knows this story. So I was… My life fell apart about 15 years ago, my then husband had an affair with her neighbor and got her pregnant and then I we split I immediately fell in love with someone who had terminal cancer and it was sad. And I took care of him for months and then turns out oopsies he lied about having cancer the whole time to cover up his addiction to prescription painkillers. And then I was pregnant, I found out the same week. So then he went away to a in-treatment rehab center. And so they have what's called family week or family night where the families can come I believe it's invite only, and they have group therapy. And so I had done talk therapy before but only one on one. I had never participated in any kind of 12 Step program yet. I hadn't done any kind of group therapy. Wxcept like online forums, which were still I mean, this was like the 2000s they were fairly new at the time. Like Yahoo groups were still a thing. Which was super anonymous, you could still be anonymous, then it wasn't like Facebook. So I flew out there and I was in a small group. And it was it was myself, my then boyfriend, his mother, another gentleman, a young man and his parents, and if like there might have been one other person, and then there was a woman who was there by herself. Like she didn't have any of her family there. And because I have no, at the time I'm a lot better now, but I had no emotional boundaries. Like once I found out like oh, this is a safe place for us to share, like I got completely naked in front of everybody. I'm like, here's all of my deepest, darkest secrets. Like I started at the bottom. Here's all my shame stories. here's, you know, the biggest shaming experiences I've ever had in my life. I was crying and, and just went in just completely full on was full on, listening to the therapist, and then when I got home, I found out that my boyfriend and the woman who was there without any family, were having a relationship. So he was cheating on me with her. And I read all the emails back and forth and she had told me or she had told him that she thought it was funny that we had been grouped together. So needless to say… But I did end up going to 12 Step programs for codependency, which I was very gun shy at the beginning. But since then I've recovered from it. But I'm so I'm assuming when you do, and there probably was in place, but people just weren't paying attention. Like there's confidentiality, with contracts and things like that correct?

Christie 31:13
Well, in most therapy groups, from what I understand, and I only learned this from touring with group, book touring, virtually… So that the most typical practice is you go into a group, and you might even sign a contract saying various things. But number one is I will not take any of the information that is said here in this forum out to anyone who's not a part of this group. And many, many doctors ask you or practitioners who run groups ask you to also say you will not have any contact with group members outside of the group. Dr. Rosen does not do either of those. And let me tell you, it was very, very scary. And it's scary for many, many people. My very first session, there was a there was a guy my group Carlos was starting to, he was talking about somebody in another group. And his literally his erectile dysfunction. And I was horrified. My eyes almost popped into my head like, wait, Carlos can't do that. He can't talk about what happens in another group, that's somebody's business. Like, I'm a stranger. Now I know about this guy's broken penis like. And Dr. Rosen's point, as I understood it to me was, we're not holding secrets, you can say anything you need to say. And I'm thinking to myself, I can say his name? And Dr. Rosen was like, yes. And it first of all, I will say Dr. Rosen is a maverick. I don't know if that's the right word. Unorthodox in this way, so this is not normal snd you should definitely interview any therapist, you want to see. A lot of people need secrecy.

What I came to understand, for me, as someone who grew up with addiction, and in addiction, that holding secrets and keeping people's confidences that had actually turned out to be very destructive process for me, because I was protecting so many people, I couldn't get help. I couldn't tell a single story interesting, because there was always someone whose story needed protecting and I couldn't get let anyone in. And that is certainly not for everybody. And what I've learned over time is people… I've watched people come into group and you have to, like you can't tell us everything until you know us. Like it has to be like building intimacy. Building trust is a process and you can't do it in the first month. You can't even do it in the first six months. There's a lot of foundation that needs to be laid, and I've been there long enough to watch it. But it is still really scary. Like now, I mean, there's an argument that I'm somewhat of a public figure, because I've written this book. And, you know, somebody could go out and say, you want to hear what Christie Tate said in group the other day? That's really, really scary to me. And I trust my groupmates I trust the process, but it could happen and that does horrify… That's a tension that sits right next to the tension or the freedom of I don't have to keep anybody secret, I can say my boss's name, I can tell you my uncle's name and what he did to me or whatever, you know. But that's something that each patient sort of has to wait for themselves because it's not a no brainer.

Andrea 34:34
Oh, that's so interesting. I sound like such a therapist. I didn't mean to. I was really reflecting. Because, and I was thinking to myself, why do I find it so easy to tell… Like I can't think of any story, like any of my deepest darkest secrets that I have not talked about on my podcast or up on when I'm giving a keynote. And I'll be honest with you, I have had some pushback. And what I mean by that is people will email or they'll say, well, you're pretty fucked up or you don't get like some those kinds of haters, which doesn't really bother me. It used to a little bit, but I'm like, you're definitely you need to go to group. But I think the ones that are the hardest are when I'm up on stage, giving a keynote and I'll tell a story and like, someone will cringe or a wince where that will trigger me and I'll go into like, a mini shame spiral because I'm human. I I don't know, anyone that wouldn't, you know? It's just a natural human reaction. But my point is, like, I'm trying to think like, what makes it so easy for me to do that? And I wonder if it's probably, you know, maybe I'll ask Dr. Rosen, that's probably a combination of, of being so suppressed in that way growing up. I kind of came out and was like, oh, my God, here it all is, which, you know, lack of emotional boundaries. Also, I think, because I've done so much shame work. And like, yeah, 12 Step programs up the ying yang, like, I know what works and what works, is shining the light on things, because that's where the healing is.

Christie 36:19
Yes. I totally agree with you. And I think… I've asked him… you know, it's very weird, where the shame will strike me. Just yesterday, I was scrolling through social media, maybe because I hate myself. No…

Andrea 36:33
I was going to say… Like every story that's about shame.

Christie 36:39
We'll start with social media. I mean, guess where this story is going? I saw a woman had put up a post. And she was basically saying, I don't even know what conversation this was a part of. But my brain took it and made it about me. She was like, ‘you know what, just because the internet, like has made us all over shares, doesn't mean you have to tell us if you're sick, or how you feel about the holidays, or whether you're having children’. I and I totally agree with her sentiments. Like everyone has to decide in their own heart and their own conscience, when to say what and where. Of course. But the minute I read that, I realized I was feeling shame. Like, oh my god, I'm one of those oversharing, oh my god, I write about my sex life, oh my god. So I have that reaction. And then right next to it, I'm like, why aren't we talking about this? Not talking and not telling stories and not sharing with other women and men too, but really, mostly women. Like what happened to your body? What's happening when you turn out the lights or when you read a social media post. Like, this is what happens for me and when I do that sharing, I feel myself get better, become more wholehearted, become connected to humanity. When I keep it all in, I get I get sick. I just get sick. I get small, I get voiceless, I get victimy and I get far away from other people. So I'm just a person… I'm going to air on the side of sharing and I'm going to make mistakes I have before I will again, but I'd rather air on that side for exactly the reason you said because I grew up with a muzzle and that write that all… so I'm not doing that again.

Andrea 38:23
Yeah, thank you for all of that. And I want to just add on to that is and I'm sure that you've had these messages too. But the amount of emails and private messages and even people who come up to me in person who tell me even just a snippet of their story. And or you know, their deepest darkest secrets, their food secrets, whatever it is. Make it I mean, I can't I don't even have words to describe like how honored I feel and happy that that person that woman has taken a step towards her own healing by the through the vehicle of sharing her story. Like that will never get old for me. Ever in a million years. Even if I sell millions of books like that will never stop being such an honor and always makes me emotional. And it to me it feels like the more women told her stories… by the way, did you read the book Cassandra Speaks?

Christie 39:26
No.

Andrea 39:27
You have to reading Elizabeth Lesser. Who's a beautiful memoirist, by the way. Elizabeth Lesser. Anyway, um, it allows us when women tell their stories, we give permission to other women to tell their stories. And when men tell their stories, they give permission to other men and other people but it's not just unique to us. But anyway, I'm with you. And no one has perfect emotional boundaries. Like I just want to say that for the record. It's such a wavy line.

Christie 39:58
Oh god, yes. Well, here's the other thing too, that this conversation reminds me that I love to remember this. I am not everybody's cup of tea, everybody's not going to read in love my book or what I'm doing or what I'm talking about. And that is okay. That's exactly how it should be. You know how many books out there I don't like, like, yeah, those authors are fine. They're doing just fine. And the idea that as a woman, creator artists that I have to create something that appeals to everyone that my body and my spirit and my voice and my story should appeal to everyone at all times. That too, is a losing game. So some people don't like memoir. Hey, great. You know what, there's a thousand wonderful novels for people to read. And I'm writing for the people who want or need my story. And if that's one or ten, that's none of my business. That's really none of my business.

Andrea 40:55
Yeah, here here. Okay. I could go on for like another hour. But I'm going to just ask you one more question. And for anyone reluctant to go to group therapy, what might you say to them besides, read my book?

Christie 41:09
Right? I've started there. I bet my publisher wants me to say read my book.

Andrea 41:15
Read Group by Christie Tate.

Christie 41:17
But here's like, when I think back to the inciting incident of my story, I went to see Dr. Rosen because I saw the light in my friend Barney's eyes. And I guess what I would say something as personal as therapy, a person you're going to hand your emotional life to as a partner to, you know, achieve greater mental health, like, I would take a recommendation from someone that you trust, like, I think that's, that's how I watch the way women in my circle, like, where do you get your hair cut? Where do you get massage? Like, I wouldn't put my physical body on a table unless I had some indicia of respectability or trust, or I felt good in my gut. So I think the first place to start is, you know, do you have friends who go to therapy, who seem to have lives that you that look like they're going the places you want to go? Is the light on? Find the people with the light on ask them how they got it. That's one thing.

And the truth is that sometimes you're desperate, and you can't wait for the right friend to come up with their therapy recommendation. But interviewing and giving yourself permission to not go with just the first person. And there's so many resources now because of the pandemic and the mental health crisis that's looming, there online resources, and, you know, talk to people. And one other thing I say is, if you go to Psychology Today, and there's a place where you can look for a therapist, and you can put in your zip code, and you can get a, you know, a recommendation, and you can see their picture. And you can see, it's kind of like match.com for patients and therapists. And you know, if you see somebody that's puka shells, and in a haircut, like, you wouldn’t trust them, that's probably not your person. But if you're looking for someone with a blazer, and some silver jewelry that looks very tasteful, like, there's lots of clues out there. And I really believe in the tools of recommendations and trusting the gut. Those have guided me along this process, and I think they're kind of foolproof, even if it takes a couple of tries.

Andrea 43:32
Yes, I am a huge fan of PsychologyToday.com. I'm always telling people to go there if they are having trouble getting a referral from someone and you can even I'm pretty sure you can check the box and have it filter by therapists who offer group therapy.

Christie 43:47
Yes. Yes, you can. That's exactly right.

Andrea 43:49
Okay, amazing. Everyone needs to go out and either go to a bookstore, or wherever you get books and get the book. It's called Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life and anything else that you want to say, to feel complete as we close this down?

Christie 44:09
The one thing I would say is I heard a statistic a couple of months ago that people generally seek therapy six years after a point at which a therapist would say, well, maybe you should see someone. So that people are delaying addressing mental health to the tune of six years and if my work does anything, I hope it gives people a nudge or permission to not wait until you're in a therapeutic emergency to get some support some scaffolding, some tools, some comforts of care. Let's not wait six years like don't wait. That's how I feel like I want to scream don't wait.

Andrea 44:56
Yeah. Act now. Okay. Thank you so much for this conversation I have loved having you on and everyone you already know this, but the links are going to be in the show notes. Where can everyone find you? I know you're on social media, but where do you want people to go? Cuz you have another book coming out in 2022.

Christie 45:15
Yes, I don't have a date of our, or details yet on that, but I can be found scrolling through Instagram. That's one. That's probably the best place to find me. I'm too scared for Twitter, but I'm @ChristieeOTate on Instagram, and I love you know, interacting with leaders or debating like, I'm not afraid of someone saying, I think this doctors taking all your money. Like, let's have the conversation. I'm up for it anytime.

Andrea 45:42
Yeah, well, you are a lawyer so it doesn't surprise me that you don't mind debating. Well, thank you for being here again. And everyone. Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. And I am so grateful that you choose to spend it with my guests and me and remember, it's our life's journey to make ourselves better humans and our life's responsibility to make the world a better place by everyone.

Hey, everyone, thanks again for listening to the show. And just a quick reminder that if your company needs a speaker or a trainer, I might be the right person for you. I speak and do keynotes on confidence and resilience for mixed audiences as well as do trainings on The Daring Way which is the methodology based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown. So if you think it might be a good fit, hit me up at support@AndreaOwen.com. or head over to my speaking page AndreaOwen.com/speaking.

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