Episode 62 Therapy Anyone?

After the last couple of years, everyone could use some therapy.

But in this episode, Vanessa runs down a list of reasons why therapy is the game changer you need to live an abundant life.

And she’s not sharing hearsay. These are life lessons. So, lean in.

The Motherhood Unmasked podcast with Vanessa A. Harris Episode 62 Therapy Anyone?

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Well, hey there Mama Bare! It’s good to have you back and if you’re new here, I’m so glad you’re joining us. 

You’re catching us in a season where we are going to be talking about managing healing while living because, as you know, life does not stop for any of us.

So, it behooves you to pause and to see how well you are or are not doing and get a hold on that to manage your quality of life while you’re living it.

So, that’s what we’re getting into in this season of Motherhood Unmasked. Last episode, and if you were not with me, you should make sure you listen to that episode for context for this one.


But in the last episode we kicked off Season 7 talking about Imposter Syndrome, which you might think is strange because you normally think of Imposter Syndrome with regard to people who are the face of a brand feeling like phonies.

But it’s really in all areas. It’s in any area where you feel insecure but while you’re doing the thing, feel like an imposter.

I won’t get into the definition of Imposter Syndrome and all of that cause we covered in Episode 61.


Instead, in this episode, I’d like to touch on the role therapy plays in combating Imposter Syndrome.

If you go back to previous episodes, especially episode 57, I talked about the importance of therapy for those of us who have had childhood trauma that is still unresolved because we do what women typically do, which is just keep on truckin’ and take care of everyone else and just assume that our stuff will work itself out eventually.

That’s not how it happens and so we ended the last episode discussing the need to respond immediately to the feeling of Imposter Syndrome, to that little voice that says you’re not enough, you can’t, and these are the list of reasons why.

And often they are reasons that on the surface sound logical, to be honest. But they’re just not true. I’m a let that sit for a minute.


At the start, I want to emphasize the need for jumping on Imposter Syndrome early. Because it’s something that festers in silence and spreads. 

And if you ever had eczema or know anyone who’s had eczema, you know it’s a common condition, especially amongst kids, particularly kids with allergies.

It’s that inflammatory response in the skin where you have your swelling and you have redness and the rash that develops that if you don’t get a handle on quickly gets intensely itchy and then the rash starts oozing.

It’s a mess.

But it all starts with like a little patch of a what looks like pimples.

At least that’s how my daughter’s started when she was little.

And if we didn’t recognize it right away we’d look up and by the next day, 2 days tops that thing had became a full-on flare-up.

Because once eczema gets going it ramps up really quickly.

So I taught my daughter that when she sees the group of pimples, that’s the time to grab the heavy duty cream and keep that area moisturized so that it doesn’t have a chance to spread and become harder to reign in later on.

And I’m telling you, Imposter Syndrome starts clearing its throat as soon as you step out and say in spite of all I’ve been through, I’m the one to raise this child of mine.


And that naysaying of Imposter Syndrome is on top of people in your life who question the move you’re about to make maybe as a woman, but particularly as a mother raising the children you are called to raise.

But you have your own insights on your child’s character development, his nature and how you need to show up for him, that people on the outside–even other family members–are not privy to.

So it’s even harder when you are against yourself with these sentiments that live on the inside of you questioning you with all of these quote-unquote reasons why you can’t or why you have no business trying or why you’re not qualified. 

You want to get a handle on that self-sabotage as quickly as possible before it gets out of hand.


And how does therapy work into all that? 

Therapy, my friend, is a game changer–not only for healing but in gaining confidence to move forward in life, even as a mom.

I know for me as an analytical person; I love a journal. I have tons of them because for years they’re how I process my thoughts.

Some people cope with events in their life by pretending something’s not actuallly happening and moving on in denial. That’s not my testimony.

I investigate what’s going on with me. What is this? Where did it come from? How do I feel about it and what am I going to do about it?

But I have done that sort of processing by myself. And I love a quote that I learned from a gentleman named Pat Flynn who says, “You can’t read the label from inside the bottle.”


So as much as I run toward looking at my thoughts and my feelings and trying to figure out what’s going on.

As the one with all the feelings in the middle of the situation, it’s challenging–and inefficient–to also be the person who steps outside of me to have another perspective to confront my natural one. 

I need someone on the outside. Someone unfazed by what I went through but ready to help me work through it. And that’s where a counselor comes in.

But contrary to popular opinion, therapy is not just for the severely depressed or those on the verge of emotional breakdown.

It’s also for the highly functional among us who suffered trauma but managed to push through by the grace of God and beat so many odds. Those of us who could very well have a breakdown if we don’t pause and take care of the traumatized little girl still inside of us.

And the gift of therapy for me is my therapist is the person outside of the bottle–me being the bottle–who in our interactions can say what she sees in me that I don’t readily see. Attributes I often discount. But we’ll get back to that in a minute. 


Therapy also helps you recognize your wins.

You know, for those who experienced childhood traumas like physical abuse, rape, molestation, the loss of parents or terminal illness, you name it.

You can be conditioned to think of yourself in terms of what you lost or what you did not have or had to survive.

That kind of singular focus can overwhelm and bury the actual you. 

Because you are not what you lost. You are not defined by what or who you didn’t have growing up.

You are you who has had negative experiences. And therapy helps you discover who you are separate from those experiences. 

Therapy helps you appreciate your life as a continuum. And your therapist assists you in following the breadcrumbs of your life.

To go from childhood and come through today and see how things are connected. How A led to B then led to C.

How much of the ways that you think about yourself have to do with messaging you heard as a child, then internalized them.

Owning them as if that is who you are when, in reality, when you go back and you tease through the tangled mess, you get to see where those beliefs came from.

And what was the authentic you versus an unhealthy change in your self-perception triggered by trauma?


And you know what else therapy does for you?

Therapy also helps you to discover gifts that you probably didn’t think of as gifts.

Remember a little while ago when we talked about not being able to read the label from inside the bottle and the attributes we have that we often discount? Okay, let’s get into that.

There’s an exercise my therapist had me do after she noticed that in answering her questions, I’d respond matter-of-factly about accomplishments.

One day she stopped me to say, “You speak of them as if they are common, like everybody does them. And you give so much weight to ways you failed or ways that you’ve struggled and things you’ve lost and how that’s impacted you.

But you don’t give enough weight to how, in spite of all of that, you are still able to accomplish and to be a blessing.”

And she was right. After one accomplishment, I’ll move on to the next one. And that tendency left me imbalanced in my self-perception.

So, it’s no wonder when I step out to do something like start a YouTube prayer channel, that I feel like an imposter.

Because I don’t take the time to reflect on the many things big or small that I’ve tried though I didn’t feel equipped but learned to do them anyhow.

So, even if you’re not equipped “to do thing” in the traditional sense. Maybe you don’t have the degrees or the certifications, but you’ve certainly have been functioning in that capacity all of this time.

And that experience, in and of itself, is a success that if you don’t acknowledge, the insecurity you’re left with is now self-imposed.


If you’re a Christian, you may have read the verse promising to give you beauty for ashes. And when you hear that, it’s easy to focus on the ashes.

To focus on what the fire destroyed, and for good reason, because something you cherished, depended on or that gave you comfort, is now ruined, reduced to a pile of ashes.

But that’s where another Pat Flynn quote comes in. “What does this make possible?’”

Trust me. I’m well aware that’s an unnatural question because you don’t think of how something so devastating can also make something possible. After all, it took so much from you!

But when you flip how you think of it and just consider fire for a moment. What fire does and how in a field where there’s been a fire, the soil is actually left more fertile.

Scientists say fire restores the soil’s nutrients because it destroys the living and decaying vegetation. Rapidly releasing nutrients you’d have to wait for decay to release over time.

In other words, trauma has the potential to catapult you into growth faster because of the fire you have experienced.

And though what you have lived through felt like it destroyed you, it actually prepared you in another sense to be fruitful in ways that you had never imagined.

I don’t think I’d be doing this podcast merely because I’m a pediatrician, if it wasn’t for the fact of the pain of my childhood sparking a desire in me to tell moms how much they matter.

But if you don’t deal with the trauma of the fire, you can’t get to the triumph of the fruit you can bear.


So, you see why therapy is an investment in you that is separate from what you have experienced?

The wounded little girl in you, that as Chrystal Evans Hurst reminds us in her book title—She’s Still There.

And she’s worth cultivating to move from being on life support to thriving and therapy is a way to help you do that.

And yes, therapy is an investment in every sense of the word! People tend to write off therapy as expensive, but like everything else, there’s levels to it.

And yes, as of this recording, we are in an economic pinch in the United States and really around the world. However, because of what we just came through collectively as a global community, therapy is more approachable and more affordable than ever. 

Maybe you can’t afford one-on-one sessions with the therapist, then try group therapy. That’s less expensive.

Maybe group therapy is too much for you, then find books to get you started.

Maybe the hardback and paperback versions of the books are out of your reach? Then get it on Kindle. Bottom line. Therapy is not out of reach for you. 

And the stigma that’s been attached to it, particularly in communities of color, at this point we can throw all that out the window.

Because after the last couple of years, we could all use some therapy to process our collective trauma!

But for you, as a mother who has children to raise, in spite of what you have been through as a child, but never processed. You are handicapping yourself if you don’t take the time to esteem yourself enough to invest in you the way you love to invest in your children. So that you become the mom they need you to be. 


Whew! Well, I hope something I said encouraged you and more than that, empowered you to really think about and consider your worth.

And I give you permission to do that. You know why? Because a lot of the experience of childhood trauma, the messaging that you received is you’re not worth anything. I did this to you or this happened to you because you don’t have value.

And just like a person gave you that impression, whether directly or not, you need another person to say that’s a lie. You have great value. You are meant for better. There’s more to you than what happened to you. 

Someone to encourage you to let what happened to you have the opportunity to work for your good. 

It is possible. I’m a living witness.

If you’re a regular, you know I often assign homework, the work a woman does to build her home and family. You can find the homework for this episode in the show notes for Episode 62 at motherhoodunmasked.com/episode62.

Before you go, there’s a couple of resources I recommend to help you on your journey.

If you are or have recently experienced grief and loss that you need help working through. Check out episode 4 where I also recommend an excellent book on the topic.

And to help you work through your journey, I created a grief journal that’s available on Amazon.

The journal has prompts to walk you through your emotions, giving you space to get it out of your mind and put it on paper.

Because sometimes it’s easier to process things when it’s out of your head.

Another recommendation is a journal for you if you’re actually in therapy. I use it myself and it’s where I take my notes for each session. 

It has three sections. And the first section is where you can write down the things you want to cover in that day’s session.

The next section is where you record what you discovered with your therapist.

Breakthroughs you don’t want to forget because everything is just so good and so clear in the session and then when the session’s over you’re like, “Wait, what happened? What did she say? So that’s where you can record that.

And then the last section for each session is where you can record your take away or your homework before the next time that you meet with the therapist.

So, the journal is just a very handy way to not only keep track of what you are tackling in therapy but to also look back and see how far you’ve come.

You can find links to the journals and all the resources I mentioned earlier in the show notes at motherhoodunmasked.com/episode62.

I am so glad you’ve joined me today, and I’m looking forward to having you back for the next episode.

And do me a favor, bring a mom friend with you. Not only will she be the better for it, you create, in real life, mutual support for your commitment to healing.

So, I’m really proud of you showing up for you and as a mom.

Until next time, please remember. When it comes to you being the mother of your children, you, my friend, are the woman for the job. Take care.

NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this podcast should not be taken as medical advice. The content here is for informational purposes only, and because each person is so unique, please consult your health care professional for any medical questions.

This Episode’s Homework

Need Help to Heal?

Mentioned in This Episode

If you’re working through any kind of loss, the journal, My Journey Through Grief and Loss, helps you acknowledge the significance of your loss while honoring the memories you’ll always cherish.

And if you meet with a counselor or a coach, you need a journal to keep track of session breakthroughs and aha moments in between sessions. A copy of My Reflections Journal for guided post-session review would be perfect for you.

Let’s Stay Connected

Do you know why I call you Mama BARE? Because you’re unmasked and unapologetic in admitting motherhood is tough, and you appreciate conversation that honors that.

So, connect with me for more support, empowering the best version of you as a mom.

For encouraging bi-monthly emails and exclusive access to practical resources that help YOU shine, tap “COUNT ME IN.”

The Motherhood Unmasked Journal

A Journal Worth Your Story

160 pages waiting for you to fill it with the struggles and the wins on your motherhood journey!

And she’s pretty coming and going! Available on Amazon.

Got A Minute to Pray?

Got A Minute to Pray? Prayer channel on YouTube featuring prayers about a minute long written and read by Vanessa A. Harris.

New “PrayerTube” channel on YouTube

Features prayers about a minute long written and read by Vanessa. Start your week off right, with a prayer on Monday mornings. Because prayer changes things and you have a minute to spare.

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