Date: Saturday January 27th 2024
Location: South Burlington
Episode Number: 45
Show Notes Link: vermonttalks.com/andrew-seguel-counseling-for-change
Short Link: vermonttalks.com/45
Becca Hammond: What’s new 802? I’m Becca Hammond and you’re listening to Vermont Talks. Vermont Talks may include graphic or explicit content. Listener discretion is advised. Andrew Seguel, welcome on to Vermont Talks. Andrew is a licensed clinical mental health counselor, LCMHC.
He’s the owner of Counseling for Change LLC and he is a less mills group fitness instructor at the Edge. Welcome Andrew. It’s nice to be here. Thank you. So let’s start with your mental health counseling. Tell me all about that. You have a lot of information to share about that one.
Andrew Seguel: Yeah. So mental health counseling, it’s sort of one of the sub professions across all psychotherapy. So you’ve got psychiatrist, psychologist, social workers, counselors, psychiatric nurse practitioners. So there’s a lot of people in the field of mental health. I like to specialize specifically in career counseling, which is kind of an uncommon slice of the mental health counseling world because it can be viewed as a little dry on the surface. When I first encountered it as a specialty, I was really interested in like severe mental illness, which first kind of drew me to studying it. But then I had a career counseling class and I thought, oh, this is going to be like resumes and interviewing. And I’m like, okay, yeah, that’s useful.
But like, that’s not really exciting. Until I realized no career, like basically what we choose to do with our time, both for income and not, but what we choose to do with our time that feels productive or aligns with our values is just so suffused into our everyday. And when that’s misaligned, that creates mental health stress. And so I really have grown to love that particular part of the counseling world career, anything related to career. And so I do that with young adults and adults. And then but I still love mental health. So I keep that as well, the mental health counseling piece, anxiety, depression, those sorts of things. And I really like working with also the LGBT QI to plus population, those folks and their unique issues, whether it’s career counseling or mental health. And so, and even though I specialize in those areas, I would say, maybe like a third of my client base really is under the queer spectrum. And the rest are, you know, everyday folk just looking for mental health or career counseling assistance.
Becca Hammond: Career counseling, that’s interesting, because I’ve heard the term, but I didn’t know what it meant. That makes total sense, though, that kind of plays into the whole having a purpose in life and just all of it. And you don’t have to make money doing it. A lot of people really love making music.
I interview a lot of bands and people who devote massive amounts of time and energy into keeping the arts alive. And it doesn’t, you know, it’s not a sustainable career, especially in this kind of area. But it makes them so happy. Like that’s that’s the whole point of their lives. They call themselves artists and musicians before whatever, like they’ve been the same job for 20 years, but that’s not their career in their mind. So that’s really fascinating.
Andrew Seguel: I mean, even as you’re saying that, if I may, the you just hit upon a couple really important like career counseling concepts, one of which is values, one of which is identity, like just the label of like I am a musician means something to someone and that their profession or their identity is tied into what they do for work. Some people choose to do work, but they don’t align their identity with what they’re choosing to do for work. They just happen to be employed to earn income. But then they use that income to support a certain lifestyle or way of living that does feel aligned. But what they choose to do for work is just what they choose to do for money. And even that value set of like, I work because I want to make money or I work because I want to help people or I work because I want to be creative and create things. I want to save the planet. I work in such a way because I want to spend time with my family.
Like being a parent is so important to me and I need a job that gives me the work life balance to devote to that particular thing that’s valuable to me and values sort of dictate also what we feel is a supportive kind of work that we want to do.
Becca Hammond: Really cool. This is really cool to me and it’s so important. And your whole business, I mean, from my understanding, so counseling, you touched on a point I kind of want to ask about because there’s so many different terms. It’s a large field and I think it’s a little overwhelming. And sometimes I think that can be off-putting for people who have no idea. Like I want to talk to someone, I have no idea who to talk to. Is a counselor a good person to talk to?
There’s so many different terms that I don’t know where the first step is. Do you just jump in and pick somebody? Is counseling for change a good place where you could go and kind of ask those questions? Like I need to know where I should go, even if you’re not the right person for me.
Andrew Seguel: Sure. Right. Counseling for change is definitely, I would do it third on the list of, no, I’m just kidding. It’s such an interesting question because once you’re in the field enough and you start to learn what the differences are, it’s sort of second nature. But right, it’s worth reminding ourselves that someone who just doesn’t know the difference can be so stalled from reaching out for help because they just don’t know which one to pick and I’m struggling in this kind of way and which, if I’m going to be investing time, money and effort, I don’t want to pick the wrong person to help me. So, I mean, even when I was in college, I was mentioning before that I studied computer engineering and then switched to psychology as my undergraduate thinking, okay, I want to kind of shift into this direction. But I didn’t even know at the time in college what the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist was. Exactly. And so I was like, which one do I want to be?
So, yeah, real quick, I suppose, because this could be one of those things that takes up the whole episode. And I also should give the caveat that I’m speaking based on my experience being a counselor and having conversations with these other professions. But psychiatry is really following a medical model of viewing mental health and mental illness. So, the idea being that there’s a biological basis and perhaps a biological or biochemical solution to address some of what’s going awry, which is why they’re often referred to as prescribers, like prescribers of medication, which can be very useful for certain people in certain contexts. Psychologists are, again, to generalize, looking at more of a diagnostic and assessment model of mental health and mental illness. So, they might have you do certain assessments or a battery of tests to see if we can hone in on what the diagnosis is and then pair that with a really constructed treatment regimen for that kind of issue. Social work is really focused at looking at systems. So, because social work, they’re really good at finding resources, community services, and kind of coordinating care in that regard. So, the systems in your life are, for example, work, which we talked about, family, love, health, finances, recreation.
I’m sure I’m missing some obvious ones here. But if any one of those systems is out of whack, it can really affect everything else, right? And so, the idea is like, okay, what are the systems in your life and how can we identify where you are struggling?
And then we can find resources or approaches to shore that up so that everything else can be working correctly. And then counseling looks at a wellness model. So, the idea is that rather than really honing in on a diagnosis, so whether you have major depressive disorder or generalized anxiety disorder or adjustment disorder with anxiety features or the label less important and the problem less important as much as the what are your capabilities, strengths, potentials for addressing whatever the situation is. And so, the idea is like rather than thinking of it in terms of problematic, it’s more like, okay, we have a problem externally to yourself. What are your capabilities to solve it and approach it? And maybe you don’t recognize what those are, but we discover those through the interaction and finding that way forward. And so, all of them can involve talk therapy and all of them can share different what are called theoretical orientations, like ways that we look at a situation and some of the interventions we use.
But those are kind of the basic backgrounds. What I would say in terms of picking one, the one that would work best for you, and it takes a little bit of time and it takes a little bit of resilience and patience is most professionals in this field will do some sort of consultation. So, for example, my practice counseling for change on my website, it’ll say, if you want a free consultation, please fill out this form and we’ll be in touch. And they can be 15 minutes, 30 minutes, so it varies in terms of length, but most professionals are willing to, because they know that especially with counseling and psychotherapy, there’s going to be a sort of series of sessions, you’re kind of building a relationship with this person. The professional also wouldn’t want to jump in if it’s a poor fit.
And so that consultation can be a good way to kind of do an initial sense of like, okay, do I feel like I can work well with this person? What is their approach? Are they hearing my issue? Are they confident in their ability to maybe work with me on this issue? And then do maybe a consultation with three or four people and then pick the one that you think works best for you and then try it.
Becca Hammond: That’s really, really helpful. Thank you. That’s, I’ve been looking for that answer for a really long time. I’ve googled this before and it’s it’s just too much. I don’t understand this.
And then they always get into the overlaps and I’m like, well, now I’m even more confused. Right, for sure. Yeah. Thank you very much. That was very, very helpful. So tell me a little bit more about your business. Do you like doing in-person counseling? What’s your preference? Do you have a location in town?
Andrew Seguel: My preference. It’s so interesting. So I do, so to answer the question right away, I do telehealth. So virtual counseling, I do online sessions, video sessions for a few reasons. I will say that I miss in person because that is primarily what I had done for almost a decade when I was in New Jersey and New York.
And then the pandemic hit and then, you know, telehealth and remote work became a normalized thing in some ways. But yes, I do virtual sessions. It’s proven to be, in my opinion, just as effective even if there’s the sort of missing the in-person sense of like closeness and proximity in the room. But for the most part, because of the video, I mean, you have to have a good tech setup, as you know, and good audio and good connection and all that stuff.
But with those things in place, even those who are sort of hesitant on the virtual stuff at the beginning, once we’re like 10 to 15 minutes in and they’ve started their rhythm of talking about what’s going on, you kind of forget you’re in different spaces. And it’s so convenient to because even if I had an office, because I work during the daytime, as a large number of people do, so I’m working Monday through Thursday, sometimes between 10am and 4pm. And so sometimes people will fit me in during their workday. They’ll repurpose their lunch or their break or what have you. And so if I had an office, even that was like 10 minutes away from you, you’d still have to find 20 additional minutes to commute to me and back to get back to your day.
So people really seem to have liked the accessibility part of just being able to log on where they are, do their work, log off, return to whatever it is that they’re doing. So that’s helped. And it’s also allowed me to maintain because as I mentioned, from New Jersey, New York, so I have my New Jersey license started it there and then moved to Vermont within the past two years and got my Vermont license. And so I’m able to continue working with some of my clients from New Jersey. Additional clients from New Jersey will now reach out to me because of networking or they are aware of my license or through insurance or what have you. So it’s given me some more reach as well to be able to do things that way.
Becca Hammond: Which is very nice for the people that because if you leave as a counselor, I know that could be super traumatic for people who’ve known you for years and years and years.
They really struggle. Yeah, I’ve just heard that from different people, different places. It’s really hard when a counselor decides to leave and they don’t have the license to do telehealth anymore.
Andrew Seguel: Yeah. I mean, if I may real quick about that too, and I can’t predict the future here, but I just know that there’s current legislation and regulations being developed around interstate licensure. Because right now, licensure is so state based. So my New Jersey license lets me work with anyone who happens to be standing in New Jersey at the time of service, same with my Vermont license. But let’s say, because I do career counseling and I work with young adults, let’s say I’m working with someone who then goes off to college out of state. I can’t work with that person if they go into not New Jersey or Vermont. Right. And we’ve developed a relationship and they want to continue being supported and now they can’t be unless I apply for licensure in that state.
Becca Hammond: Which is a huge amount of work on your part.
Andrew Seguel: For sure. So this counseling compact, there’s a already enabled for psychologists. And so now there’s a counseling compact for counselors. And so I think it’s launching sometime this year. States have to opt in.
But then any state that belongs to that compact, if you have a license, then you can work across state lines in that regard, which is great for continuity of care because it’s such a shame to have that interrupted. Yeah.
Becca Hammond: Yeah. I hope that that all works out. Same. That would be nice. Yeah. I’ve heard that from multiple places. It’s really hard on people when they lose their counselor, therapist, or whoever it may be. Yeah. So tell me a little bit about, I asked this question, let me find it. The simplest thing people can do to improve their mental health in your opinion. Oh my goodness. I love that question. I’m sorry if you’re going to.
Andrew Seguel: I hate the question because it made me think. No, I’m just kidding. I love the question. And it’s tricky to answer. I will answer it. The simplest thing, because the simple mean easy, or is it just a basic thing?
Becca Hammond: So often the simplest things that we know we should do are so hard. They’ve cut those molehells become mountains.
Andrew Seguel: Yeah, for sure. I can appreciate that. So this is going to sound like a really sneaky advertisement and it isn’t, I promise, but I feel like it’s worth getting out of the way before I maybe sort of sprinkle in some life hack style stuff. So reaching out for support is probably the simplest thing people can do, which doesn’t mean it’s easy or often as easily accessible. You’d have to go assuming you want to pick someone that would be a good fit, go through that consultation process. I understand that professional support isn’t always available, especially since the pandemic. I’ve heard from so many people who have reached out for support saying like, oh my god, thank you for getting back to me. The implication being like people are like shotgun approach, like just to can anyone respond because everyone’s so busy because everyone needs support and there’s a lack of enough mental health professional support given the mental health needs that are increasing. So to just find someone to help that also is in network with your insurance.
So it’s affordable, that’s available in the time that works for you, etc, etc. It’s just not easy to find support. But I think a simple thing one can do to improve their mental health is to gain access to a regularly occurring support person. It’s sort of like if you wanted to gain strength, like physical strength. And it was like, okay, what’s the simplest thing someone can do in that regard? It’s like, okay, well, then you can come up with a workout routine and lift weights and da da da da da.
But like, if you have never done that before, you don’t have, you’re not pre-equipped with that foundational knowledge. If you get a personal trainer, someone you with that will hold you accountable on a weekly basis, provide you a routine, assess your form and technique, and really help keep that momentum and consistency over time going. It makes it so much simpler because it’s not just you having to come up with everything on your own and self-propell and self-motivate. You have someone who is there to make it regularly occurring in a consistent effort because mental health, like with most things, is not just a one and done. It’s an overtime effort. So if you can get someone to help support that overtime, that’s my biggest recommendation.
But if you’re not yet there in terms of reaching out or you’re having trouble reaching out or you just want to do stuff in the interim until you get someone who can be in your corner in that regard.
Becca Hammond: I do think one of the big ones, especially in our country, sadly, to say is financial. People can’t afford it. Even if they have insurance, they’ll be told it’s not covered. And then it becomes just knowing the climate that more than half of our renters are living paycheck to paycheck. And half of my generation is lived in rental situations. The financial burden is half the mental stress. So trying to find, like, totally, 100% they should if you can.
I 100% agree. Reach out, find someone who works for you. I just I really sympathize with people who can’t afford it. And that’s that in and of itself is a stress. Like they’d really love to talk to someone. But they look at their paycheck and they look at their wallet, they say, I can’t do this. Like it just doesn’t work for me. Which is so sad. Like that in and of itself is so sad. Like how do you, what’s a little thing?
Andrew Seguel: A little, little thing that people could do. And just real real quick to respond to that. A few things real quick, because I’d hate for people to think that so many of these professional resources are so out of reach if they’re in a financial situation that just doesn’t make it seem accessible. There are professionals with sliding scales based on income. But sometimes they’re not so readily advertised or seen as a lay.
And it’s worth reaching out to ask the question, which takes a little bit of discomfort to be like, Hey, this is my situation. I can’t really afford your rate or my insurance benefits aren’t really that great. What can we do? There are also community resources that either provide affordable or free group counseling related stuff.
So if things seem to be closed off, and a lot of things can be financially, there might be a few options available. The other thing is I was listening to him sort of preparing myself to be here. I was listening to some episodes and you had a woman who developed the womenpreneur. Yes. Yes.
Yeah. And this was this, she had said something along the lines of like, you know, she was just doing this work, doing this work. And then someone had come up with this idea of like, Oh, why don’t you talk to other people doing that? And it’s like, Oh, yeah, let’s, let’s just put together the saying and talk to other people in a similar situation.
And then it just blossomed into this thing. And so part of what it could be that gets you support consistent support is just forming your own group, like reaching out for support within your community, other people you know, struggling, and just making it a sort of regularly occurring thing where you touch base, because then at least you can sort of share each other’s fuel that way. That’s a great idea.
Which again, takes an effort to like reach out and get yeses and then start that process and holding other people accountable, but it really can make a difference. Now, some of the other things, I’d been thinking about this. And one area that I’ve found trips people up when it comes to approaching day to day, either anxiety or depression, is expectations. The idea being that we all sort of approach the day, thinking that we can predict how things are going to play out, big and small. So like if I’m driving, for instance, and I think that that pedestrian is continuing down the sidewalk, but instead they just take a sharp turn and cross the street, and then I have to suddenly react. There’s this sense of, of like, that person. Like there’s the frustration out that what I thought was going to happen didn’t happen.
And now I’m frustrated that I had to adapt and react to this surprising change of events. Not that you should be so loosey, goosey with just like, I’m not going to think in advance about anything and just let life happen at me. But the idea is knowing that your expectations are not magically predictive of anything, that things can go differently than you expect. And so recognizing that you can have hopes and wishes and planned for events and look forward to things and put effort to make something occur a certain way. But if it doesn’t, that that’s also part of like the life journey is like being able to know that things aren’t going to come out as you expect.
And that you have the capacity to adapt. Because that’s I think the other thing that will then frustrate people. It’s that But I’m planning for a certain outcome, what if it doesn’t happen? And that can be a lot of anxiety is worry about the future. And so part of what I think helps with mental health is developing this sense of optimism, which is not magical thinking.
Optimism is in a belief in your own ability to adapt to changing circumstances. I remember I was working with someone and I’ll kind of remove the details, but it was… They were concerned about some relationship that dissolved and like, what if that person came back and accused them of a thing? And then they had to deal with this sort of accusation. I was like, oh, well, what if they did that?
And they were like, oh, what do you mean? I was like, well, let’s play that scenario out. What if this thing you’re worried about occurred?
What’s after that? It’s like, oh, well, I guess I’d have to get a lawyer. I was like, oh, okay. And then what? And then, okay, then we’d have to go take care of that. I was like, okay, so then, what lawyer would you call?
I don’t know. So to make a long story short, they looked up a lawyer, they wrote down their number, their contact information and put it in a drawer. And I was like, okay, at least now I know if that thing that I’m worried about happened.
Here’s my action step that I’d take. And I kind of gave them some relief. It doesn’t mean the problem went away, that the worry is still, like that’s not a concerning thing that’s still in the background. But it’s more like, okay, you’re worried about what would happen if, okay, play it just one little, play the tape forward just one scene or two. What would you need to do to adapt in that moment?
Okay, let’s write that down now, put it away, at least you know you can and will have the ability to respond to whatever it is, even if it’s uncomfortable, even if it’s difficult, it’s not like you will be incapable. Right. Yeah.
Becca Hammond: Yeah, that’s interesting. Because a lot of people live in fear of something that’s not tangible in many ways that’s just kind of outside the realm. Like, what if this happens? And then it’s just the end. It’s like that’s the horror, that’s the moment.
Andrew Seguel: Right, what if this happens and then the story’s done?
Becca Hammond: It’s like, it’d be really bad. Yeah. Like that’s the fear, that’s it. And then that’s it. And it just causes anxiety and worry and what? Uncomfort, discomfort, however you’d phrase that, that’s interesting. This is really fun talking to you. I’m learning this. This is a good interview.
Andrew Seguel: Okay, good. Thank goodness.
Becca Hammond: So tell me a little bit more about yourself. We’ve been talking about your businesses, what you do for a living, and you said you’re from New Jersey.
Andrew Seguel: Sure. You lived in New Jersey. Yeah. I’m a proud New Jerseyan. I’ve seen the license plates, not license plates, I’ve seen the bumper stickers that say, don’t Jersey Vermont?
Becca Hammond: I have not seen this, that’s hilarious.
Andrew Seguel: I think I know what they’re saying, but I feel like I am a kind New Jerseyan. We’re kinder than you think.
Becca Hammond: My brother-in-law is from New Jersey.
Andrew Seguel: He’s a wonderful person as you seem to be. We’re nice people. Poor New Jersey. They’ve got a lot of stuff. Poor New Jersey. But you also, one other thing that we mentioned is you’re a fitness instructor. So you wrote down that you do body pump, body combat, and grit.
I have never, I’ve heard, in passing body pump, I have never heard what grit is. Can you describe these three things for me please? Sure. They’re all group fitness programs designed by this company in New Zealand, Les Mills.
And they each have their own sort of focus area. So body pump, which you said you’ve heard of, I’m glad to hear that. It’s a strength training program. And so it’s lightweight, lots of reps, which I find great because it’s really accessible in that way. I’ve heard wonderful things about CrossFit. And if you go to the weight room doing Olympic lifts, there’s like heavy weight and they’re doing like five of their heaviest squats and then they put the bar back.
This is kind of the opposite. It’s still for strength training, but it’s, you might do very lightweight and then do 100 squats in like five minutes. And then you shift to a different body part.
So I like that because I think it’s a little bit more accessible in that way. Body combat is a cardio program that is inspired by mixed martial arts. So you might do a lot of boxing with punches. You might do some kickboxing where you do kicks along with the punches. You might do some Muay Thai or Capoeira or Jiu Jitsu. And it’s borrowing from all these different programs basically for an excuse to punch or kick the air, get a cardio workout. It’s also a kind of core training workout because you’re twisting your body as you’re punching and kicking and grit. Actually, I want one more thing about body combat.
If anyone ever has a chance to see this class offered somewhere, it’s a good global program. So it’s in New Jersey, New York, Vermont. It’s all over the country.
It’s across the globe. If you do body combat, I would say two things. One, do it at least five to 10 times because to first learn all the movements and sometimes you’re going to be moving in different directions. It can be so confusing and off-putting. And it’s like, what did I just do? But once you can get the basics down and follow along, not only is it a good workout, it’s there’s this empowering feeling right at the end when you’re doing the last standing up track before you do the cool down stuff that just makes you feel so good. And then grit is hell. Grit is a 30 minute high intensity interval training program. And it’s just intense, intense work for 30 minutes. But then you’re done. So. And those are just a few of the programs under the umbrella of like less male stuff that’s at the edge. There’s body balance, which is a yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates blend and some other programs as well. But yeah. Cool.
Becca Hammond: So do you. So let me let me read what you wrote. This is in Essex and South Burlington. Yeah. You do these. And how often are you doing this on top of all your counseling work?
Andrew Seguel: Well, you know, it’s something if I almost want to, if I may blend it back to the question about like the simplest thing people can do to improve their mental health. It doesn’t have to be exercise per se, although it’s been shown across many, many studies that doing some physical. Exerting kind of activity on a regular basis really does create a feedback loop in terms of like mental health.
Um, but it’s more a matter of finding something, a daily ritual of sorts that can refuel you and reset you. So for someone that could be reading like their favorite book or graphic novel or they have a favorite kind of show, like maybe they love sitcoms and that just is a change of pace from their day. Or they like to journal or draw, create music, something that sort of just gives them a change of pace from their day that can refuel. Cause if you’re just constantly doing the same thing day in, day out, all directed toward the same kind of activity that can really sap someone’s mental reserves.
And then that can lead to mental health issues and stress and frustration. Mine happens to be group fitness. And not solo fitness. I should clarify because I have all the equipment at home and I’m an instructor. So I know the routines, but I cannot bring myself to work out by myself at home.
I need, I need at least one other person. So, um, I will go probably five times a week, but it’s nice because with a group fitness class, there’s a clear start and stop. Like I know I go after an hour, I’m done. If I went to the weight room and had to come up with my own routine, I’d overthink it. I’d probably stay there for an hour and a half. It would just change all the time. There’s this sort of easy plug and play.
It can insert into my schedule. I’m done. It is a different kind of experience than therapy is, um, which I’m at my computer sitting down. Um, I also like to play computer games, which is another computer tech activity. So this thing is different enough that it really helps to, uh, give me a different experience in my day so that I feel kind of balanced out a little bit.
Becca Hammond: And what thing you mentioned, Ty, it, it’s, it’s motivating have other people around you, if you struggle with working out, that that’s interesting to mention. And one of the first tips you brought up when we were talking about the financial struggles is making like group therapy. And I think that’s one of the things that probably across the planet, I don’t know if America’s special American Canada. I’m all for people having their own religion, doing their own thing. We’ve all kind of lost a sense of community that I think a hundred years ago people would go to church and they’d have their community around them.
They’d have friends and family and they’d see them there. And it was something. And I, I’ve fallen to the agnostic bucket where I don’t have. And I, and I’m okay with that.
I’m very comfortable with my spiritual place in life, but I really think that it’d be nice to have this group, this community. It’s interesting that you have that in a workout type scenario. I never really put those two together, but just the course of this conversation. That’s so healthy. Not only is it healthy to have that group around you, but then you’re doing something very like good for your body, which also feeds back into mental health.
Andrew Seguel: That’s really, yeah, it’s interesting to think about. Community is super important and it does it wherever you think you want to get it is perfectly reasonable and it doesn’t have to crossover blend. Like I know some people who love to run alone, put their music in, go for a run. They don’t need it to be a group community activity and that’s perfectly legitimate or people who like to go swimming. They need their lane. They need their privacy.
They need their alone time. And so your fitness or your exercise, what you choose to do for physical movement doesn’t have to be where you also get community. Although people do running groups or they train for marathons together or they join a swim team or a sports team and they get community that way. You could get community by joining like a tabletop gaming group at the local gaming cafe and.
Becca Hammond: I was just thinking people with DND, like groups, because I’m not a DND person and that’s such an interesting community. Because they’re so devoted to this and they’re like, we’ve been doing this for 20 years. And that’s so amazing because they have this little tight knit group and they’re all devoted to the cause and I, I’m on the periphery of that. Or I’m like, man, that’s, that’s another group. That’s really cool. If you could find that sense of community in whatever, whatever place you can find it, I think that’s really important. It’s interesting that you could do it through fitness though. That just clicked in my head.
Like, oh yeah, they’re looking for it. Maybe a fitness class of some sort would help. Yeah. Especially if you’re struggling to find a good workout routine or what have you and you want people around.
Andrew Seguel: For sure. For sure. Yeah. That’s the, I mean, that’s really the, it’s the sense of belonging that the community can give you. It is the idea that you don’t have to figure it out all on your own.
Kind of going back to that. What’s that simplest thing people can do to improve their mental health? It’s by finding support, whether it’s professional support or a group, because you don’t have to figure everything out by yourself. And so if like fitness feels inaccessible, if you join a group class, you’ll meet people who can help support you as you sort of discover that and give you education on it. And you learn along with them and you feel like, okay, I belong to this group now. And I don’t have to be a master of every single thing because we share the experience and that can be really nice to know that it doesn’t have to be all on you, all up to you. You have to figure it all by yourself.
Becca Hammond: Fascinating. This has been a really interesting interview. We are already at 40 minutes. Oh my goodness. I know this is amazing to me that we’ve been talking this long. We’ve been covering a lot of great stuff. So tell me a little bit more about your company. Where should people go if they want to talk to you? Do you have different social media accounts? Where’s the easiest place to get in touch with you?
Andrew Seguel: I need a social media person because I don’t know what I’m doing with it, but I technically have an Instagram that has a few posts on it. But anyway, the thing that I manage as a landing page is probably the easiest place to reach out is my website, which is counselingforchange.com. I should clarify it’s all spelled out, counseling, F-O-R, change.com, not the number four. Also, my friends, when I was coming up with the name, they said, oh, counseling for change. So it only costs a few pennies to see you.
I was like, haha. So yes, counselingforchange.com. It has my email, my business phone number so people can text because we live in an age of texting. Why not just make that part of the process? And they can fill out a form to request a consultation. Yeah, my approach is probably worth noting because to complicate it further, when we were talking about all the different kinds of professional identities under psychotherapy, even further, I kind of reference this idea of theoretical orientations.
You’ve probably heard of CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy. That’s a very popular one. There are so many different flavors of, and maybe that’s a good way to put it, because not every flavor appeals to everybody. But CBT’s one, EMDR is a new one, or new one. It’s not that new, but it’s sort of like the most popular one for trauma at this point in time. So many different kinds.
Becca Hammond: What’s that one again? Eye movement?
Andrew Seguel: Eye movement, desensitization and reintegration. Which is fascinating. So fascinating. Yeah, I have, it’s one of those. One of the nice things about being a counselor, every counselor is going to hate me for saying this, I like the required continuing education, because it’s a way to kind of keep fresh with your skill set and your education. And sometimes people will pursue additional credentials beyond our just basic license, and some people will get specialized training in EMDR and things like that, because it’s quite fascinating to be able to try a new approach that treats a different kind of issue in a different kind of way. Because there’s talk therapy, there’s also like body-based psychotherapy that really tries to get a sense of how your body holds trauma and how you can sort of release it from that. Fascinating stuff.
Mine are, and it’s kind of, I like my blend because, and I’ll explain why. So it’s person-centered, existential and feminist counseling blended together. And they’re all really about relationship building in the psychotherapy space.
And then using that to bring that out of the session into the real world. The person-centered approach is really about, and some people will say like, every counselor’s person-centered, I think that’s probably true in some ways, but there’s a stronger emphasis in the work of doing some of those components. One of them is empathy, which is sort of like, oh yeah, empathy. But it really is about an active effort on the therapist’s part to set aside their value set, their assumptions about how things ought to be, viewing that person’s problem and being like, oh, I think they should do this and trying to enter that person’s world and understand where they’re coming from, why they might be struggling, why they might choose to do a thing that you might not choose to do, especially if like I’m doing career counseling and not mental health counseling, and they’re picking between career options.
It’s hard to not get invested and be like, oh, I could see them doing this, but they’re picking this other thing. And empathy is about understanding why they’re choosing to do something, because it makes sense for them, not what you think makes sense for them. And then existentialism is about making meaning out of the choices you make, recognizing that you have some existential dilemmas like freedom and responsibility. We have different freedoms of choice to a certain extent, given what our environment and situation kind of gives us. And then a responsibility for the outcome of our choice. And so like, especially with career, if I choose to do this with my life versus if I choose to do this with my life, and then how my life plays out, I’m going to be responsible for how my life journey will be. And I can’t pick because what if I pick the wrong one? I’m responsible. So, or with relationships, I’m going to choose to date this person or marry this person, or I’m going to choose to leave this relationship.
What does that mean? And if I make that choice, what will happen? And then I’m going to be responsible for that outcome. And people really struggle to recognize that they have this responsibility related to their freedom of choice. And then they get stuck and then they make no choice. And so that’s part of the approach is kind of bringing in those philosophical labels to things, because people are like, oh, yeah, that is why I’ve been struggling.
Okay, now we can look at it together and do some work, because right now it’s just a puzzle about why. And then feminist is, and I really am, I’m not doing myself, I’m not doing these any good service, because they’re so robust, and just kind of giving like quick quick captions of these. Feminist is about power dynamics. So, a lot of people find themselves struggling because they either feel a lack of power in a certain situation, or they’re in a dynamic where they feel disempowered by someone or something or a societal construct or situation.
And how do you get them to find power, rebalance power, so that they can sort of exist in a space and not feel overwhelmed by it. Part of that is also looking at social and cultural factors at play. So, like in thinking about the queer community, when it comes to something like a social construct of marriage and monogamy, like right now there’s been a lot of really great normalization of relationships that can be non-monogamous and still work for people. But the fact that there’s a social and cultural pressure that normalizes monogamy as the normal thing, and non-monogamy as the weird other thing, there’s a sense of like, okay, well, why do I feel so uncomfortable about wanting to approach this? It’s not because non-monogamy is wrong and monogamy is right, it’s that society agreed at some point that monogamy is okay, or that heterosexuality is okay, or that women are second to men. Like, these are things that society created over time and they’re not correct or true, they just were in society. And so now the effort of feminism initially is to push back and say like, no, I know that that’s how it’s been, but that’s not how it ought to be. This isn’t a truism, this is just society’s version of reality.
And I don’t want to just adopt it for myself. So, I’m going to push back and find power and make those changes and recognize. Now, with something like monogamy, someone could still choose to agree with it in the end, like no monogamy is for me, but recognize that you’re choosing that after recognizing where that idea has come from and why you feel pressured to pick it.
And you can still agree with it in the end, but don’t just automatically accept it into yourself because it exists in the world. Or like, sorry, I’m going off on a tangent here, but like with career stuff, like there’s been, there had been this sense of like, oh, I should really stick with one company. There’s something to be said about like loyalty to one company.
And that’s a societal agreed upon thing. And then people are like, oh, I don’t want to leave because am I being disloyal or, or I’ve seen so many people be successful because they stuck with a career over time, but that’s when pensions existed. Like, so it’s recognizing why we feel certain things ought to be a certain way or why ought to do a certain thing. It’s because that’s been the norm, but that doesn’t mean it has to be your norm and it’s finding the power to be able to reject that potentially choose your own thing, carve that out. So that’s my approach. It’s this person centered existential feminist blend, which is different than CBT, which is different than EMDR, which is different than DBT.
Becca Hammond: Yeah, that’s really different. Yeah. So if people think that they want to have that kind of experience and those kinds of discussions around existential dilemmas, making meaning, purpose, who am I, what kind of life do I want to live in this world? What pressures do I feel about being authentic and congruent and those sorts of things?
And you want to have an opportunity to be heard by someone who’s going to hear you non-judgmentally and I put their own stink on it, then I’m probably the person for you. Hopefully that makes sense. Yeah, that’s really interesting. I’ve not heard feminism over that level, but that makes total sense. That’s exactly what it’s about when I think about it. And that’s very eloquently stated. Thanks. Okay. All right. So counselingforchange.com and you’re also on LinkedIn. Yes. Andrew Segel.
Andrew Seguel: That’s correct. Amazing pronunciation. Let’s spell your name. So Andrew, A-N-D-R-E-W. Correct. And Segel, S-E-G-U-E-L. And that’s how you can find Andrew. And the show notes, I will have links to your website and your socials. If you want to send me the Instagram, I could also link up the Instagram account as well.
We’ll think about it. At the show notes episode, it’s going to be at VermontTalks.com forward slash 45. Thank you so much, Andrew, for coming on the show. This is fascinating. I really enjoyed this interview. Thank you for letting me ramble. I do appreciate that opportunity.
Becca Hammond: It’s all great content. I feel like I learned a lot today. So thank you and thank you everybody for listening. Have a great day all. Bye. Thanks so much for listening to the end of the show. Subscribe to VermontTalks on your favorite podcasting platform. You can find me on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, all over the web. Contact Becca at VermontTalks.com if you’d like to be interviewed or if you know someone who should be. Thanks so much to Jason Baker for creating the show music. The views and opinions expressed by the guests are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of VermontTalks. Any content or statements provided by our gaster of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual, anyone or anything. And that’s what was new in the 802. Have a great day.