When you hear the word ’therapy’ what comes to mind? A traumatic childhood? Depression? Anxiety? For years now, therapy has had a stigma—you must be TROUBLED! Hold on. Let’s de-stigmatize that—therapy is NOT (nor should it be) a dirty word. Enter Emmalee Bierly and Jennifer Chaiken, the Shrink Chicks, and ultimate therapy duo, who are no doubt shifting the paradigm for the better. We all deserve to have an outlet and the opportunity to better ourselves with a person we can trust, unwaveringly. We talk all things detoxing our lives, ridding of toxic relationships, setting boundaries, and so much more. You’re seriously going to love this one.
Emmalee: “A lot of people, especially those who got into therapy at a young age, it was a threat from someone else, like if you’re really struggling in school or your marriage isn’t going well. This idea further increased stigma. The cool thing about modern therapy, 2023 therapy is, what your relationship can look like with your therapist. If you feel comfortable with someone and can open up, that’s really the importance behind everything.”
Jennifer: “Emmalee and I had the same ideas around therapy. We were being taught this old-world way of doing therapy which is pretty much being a blank slate. One of the statistics that we know is that the greatest predictor of success in therapy is based on the relationship you build with your therapist. So we always talked through the idea of how you can build a relationship if you’re a blank slate. Emmalee and I really came at modeling therapy in that way. As human beings, we deal with a lot and are going through a lot, and we’re processing a lot. We have ups and downs in our lives because we’re human and because life is hard. That’s a lot of our mission that therapy can be for everyone.”
Emmalee: “When we’re tired of playing certain roles, we need to think what it would be like to retire our typical ‘role’ for the day. A great activity for this is called ‘opposite action.’ If you usually reach out to everyone in the morning, I’m going to ask you to put that phone away. If you usually email first thing, I’m going to ask you to wait a few hours. So what is the opposite of what I would typically do to enter into a different role? I love the word ‘role’ and not ‘identity.’”
Jennifer: “There are times in which roles are functional for us. We pick up these roles at certain times. Sometimes they’re survival—and there’s usually a point in time in which they were serving us. When we bring them into a different part of our life, they can often no longer work for us. That’s another question to ask yourself: when did you start to develop this role and was it helpful for me at the time? With certain relationships, those were built when your boundaries were more loose. When you start setting those boundaries and the other person isn’t used to your boundaries being stronger, it feels personal to them. When our boundaries are looser, the people who need more are going to come closer to you.”
Jennifer: “Everyone is different for what they need to recharge. For me, I need time to myself. I need to be separate from everyone else and create emotional boundaries. I need to be able to center myself. Proactively create that for yourself before you hit a breaking point. The other way to actually do that is to know what you as a person physically needs, which might be very different from what your friend needs. We’ve been socialized to think about what everyone else needs and what everyone else is feeling. When you break up with a romantic relationship, it’s contractual, in a way. For friendships, it feels very different. There’s all these things that aren’t said in our friendships because it doesn’t feel like there’s a contract.”
Emmalee: “Every single day I want you to check in with yourself and see how you’re actually doing. Everyone talks about ghosting in romantic relationships. We see ghosting happen a million times more in friendships. It’s so uncomfortable. No one taught us how to have a conscious uncoupling of a friendship.”