The Ultimate Way to Up Your Self-Care Routine

Between jade-rollers, salt rocks, and mediation caves, we are constantly inundated with new ways to make time for self-care but why not kick it old school, Freudian style, and go back to basics. What am I am talking about? The ultimate way to up your self-care routine, therapy.

Now, I think everyone should go to therapy; happy people, anxious people, conflicted people, all people. I’ve personally benefited from it and a number of my friends in recent years have as well. To me it’s the epitome of self-care and I love that the rest of the world is (slowly) starting to see it in the same way. 

But, finding the right therapist and knowing which type of therapy will benefit you can be challenging, which is why I invited my long time friend and Registered Psychotherapist Erica Beatson to shed some light on what she does and what to consider when looking for help.

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Standard first interview question, tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you & what do you do?

My name is Erica Beatson and I am a Registered Psychotherapist. I practice feminist relational-cultural therapy. In my work with clients we often look at the ways in which past and current relationships may be impacting their sense of connection to others and sense of self on a personal and professional level. I also work with clients to process traumatic experiences that may be impacting their day-to-day functioning and ability to engage in relationships. This work can be quite challenging and those that want to explore past experiences of trauma should be well supported in both a therapeutic setting and their personal networks.

That said, the most important relationship I explore with clients is the relationship they have with themselves. Oftentimes their sense of self-worth or their inner dialogue can be affecting the ways in which they engage with friends, partners, family members and colleagues. A feminist approach also allows me to help clients explore the ways in which systems of oppression* may be contributing to their experiences.

*Systems of oppression refer to oppressive expectations society places on us that eventually start be viewed as ‘normal’; this can include gender, sexuality, body image, race, and culture to name a few.  

For those that don’t know, what is a psychotherapist? 

A psychotherapist holds space for those looking to confidentially discuss personal difficulties and feelings. Through working with a therapist, you will delve into past and current experiences through dialogue and address thoughts, feelings, or behaviours that have been causing you stress or anxiety. I work with clients to collaborate on therapeutic goals for our work together that I hold as the frame for our sessions. Psychotherapists who practice from different theoretical perspectives may approach this differently, based on their own theoretical lens. 

What’s the main misconception you find people have about psychotherapy and for those considering therapy, what should they be looking for in a therapist? 

I think the main misconception people have when it comes to psychotherapy is that your therapist will provide you with advice. Psychotherapists are trained to help clients explore different possibilities and support them through the decision-making process. It's a collaborative effort, as opposed to being one sided, to help the client feel empowered and confident in their decisions.

It is important to take the time to find a therapist that you resonate with, can be open with and learn from. Just like in other relationships, you're not going to click with everyone so it's important to explore different psychotherapists and different approaches to psychotherapy.

For those that may not be able to afford therapy and are dealing with anxiety or depression what types of things can they do to start helping them cope? 

There are OHIP or low cost services available in the GTA, where I’m based*. I recommend people thinking about therapy consult their Family Doctor about resources that may be available to them through OHIP. There are wonderful TED Talks like Brené Brown’s, Instagram accounts such as Notes From Your Therapist or Rising Woman, and podcasts that can also be helpful based on where you are at, I love Tara Brach’s Healing Anxiety with Meditation parts 1 and 2. I also recommend talking to close friends and family who may be going through similar things to see what they may be using as resources. 

What have you learned from being the ears of the chair in front of you day-in and day-out?

A reoccurring theme I'm seeing in my work with clients is that a lot of us have been conditioned to rely on external validation to feel good about ourselves. I think this really gets cultivated in the education system and then disappears in adulthood (What do you mean there's no star of the week at work!?). I like to work with clients to address gaps in their own self-compassion and work towards building an awareness of how our inner dialogues are often not very compassionate or kind. I find that when people start to shift the way they speak to themselves, they start to feel more connected to their sense of self and others. 

What do you do to make space for yourself when it comes to having and maintain a good physical and mental headspace?

I try to integrate mindfulness into my day-to-day routine. I might sit for a ten minute meditation or I practice a bit of mindful walking while I'm moving through my day. I also find exercise allows me to get out of my head and connect with my breath and body. 

Do you have a favourite studio/gym in the city?

Muse Movement – Pilates helps me connect my brain to my body in a way that other forms of exercise haven’t!

When you aren’t working & saving the world, what do you like to do in your down time?

I love to travel and spend time with friends. I've also noticed that I feel so restored when I'm in nature, maybe less so in winter but definitely in the summer! 

Where can people go to connect with you?

People can connect with me through my website www.ericabeatson.ca. Feel free to drop a little note.