[MW1]Wendy Kendall 0:00
Hello and welcome to episode 11 of Inspiring Psychologists: Breaking the Mould of Private Practice. And your host Wendy Kendall, a psychologist and private practice coach. Today we're tackling the topic that's truly at the heart of what we do. The importance and power of building authentic relationships within our practices. This episode features a conversation with an inspiring trio of practitioners, Organisational Psychologist Taslim Tharani, clinical psychologist Dr. Natalie Bodart and counselling psychologist Dr. Vicki Uwannah our discussion centres on their unique and innovative strategies for fostering meaningful relationships within their respective practices. They also share their insights on the loneliness and isolation often experienced in private practice a microcosm of larger societal issues, and discuss the incredible therapeutic potential that lies in cultivating healthy, authentic connections. A key insight from today's conversation is that therapy at scale is not about digital mental health platforms, but human communities. Our guest, Dr. Vicki Uwannah shares the extraordinary story of her work within a therapeutic community and the ripple effect it had offering not just individual healing, but intergenerational transformation as well. This episode is a testament to the power of connection, and is bound to inspire whether you're a newcomer to private practice or a seasoned professional. So sit back, tune in and prepare to be inspired. Remember, you can join the conversation in our inspiring psychology practices Facebook group, and visit our website at inspiring psych.com For more resources and information about our guest today. Now let's dive in. Hello, everyone, and welcome to episode 11 of the inspiring psychologists podcast where we're breaking the mould of private practice. And I can't believe we're in Episode 11. Already, we have just one more episode left in this series. But this is a really fundamental topic that we're talking about today that affects or that reaches all areas of our practice, whether that's working with our clients, whether it's working with one another as colleagues and friends. And that is about the what it takes to build authentic connections, and the power of relationship building in private practice. And the reason why I wanted to speak to this topic or have a discussion around this topic, is because it brings up so many critical elements when we thinking about how we, you know, evolve and develop and grow our private practices. I have a quote to start with, which is not my usual thing. This is from a book that I really love, which is called Creating healing circles using the internal family systems model in facilitating groups. And that's by Chris Burris who is a licenced marital family therapist and the senior trainer for the IFS Institute. So and he writes in this book, if the problems of the world are relational problems, then changing habitual ways of relating to allow room for creativity and imagination greatly enhances the potential for changing oppressive systems. And I love this quote, because it really speaks to the transformative and the scalable aspect of relationships, you know, we often think about relationships as just being those one to one. And in fact, it's the scale at which the work we do impacts more than just the people that we work with. So you know, whether we're talking about isolation or lonely and loneliness, whether we're touching on the impact of social media and how that is changing relationships, you know, thinking about therapy, coaching, moving into working with groups of psychologists, or maybe just building relationship and community within our private practices, the quality of our relationships is key. So I've invited three people who are absolutely stonking on this topic. They're three of my favourite favourite people to speak to when it comes to the topic of relationships. It's intimate relationships, friends, work relationships, communities. And so I'd love to invite to the podcast Teslin toorani, who is an organisational psychologist, Dr. Vicki Jana, who is a counselling psychologist and Dr. Natalie Boda, who we've spoken to earlier in this series, who is a clinical psychologist, and welcome to all of you. It's so great to see you. Hi, Wendy.
Dr Natalie Bodart 5:31
Thanks for having us.
Wendy Kendall 5:33
Problem. Hi. So, first things first, a little bit of intros. I'm going to come to you first. Natalie, can you tell us a bit about yourself? So not everyone may have listened to or heard the earlier podcast where you introduce yourself. So and an intro, a new from you and what your practice is about, please.
Dr Natalie Bodart 5:57
Yeah, sure. With pleasure, and thank you for having me back. Again. It's really nice to come and chat. So I'm Dr. Natalie Bodart. I'm a clinical psychologist, and founder at the Bodart Practice. So we are a holistic psychology practice, based primarily in London, but we outreach worldwide worldwide. And we help people to deal with the past to live in the present and to build the lives that they want through mind, body and community. So we work with individuals and organisations, actions, and more widely than that as well, which I'm sure we'll talk about today. And really, based on this idea that mental health is more than mine alone.
Wendy Kendall 6:34
Yeah, love that. Thank you, Dr. Vicki. I know that your website is it's Dr. vicki.co.is it. Am I correct with that? It's the website is Dr. Vicki, but on social media, it's Dr. Vicki. So I'm totally used to thinking about you as Dr. Vicki now that's like your first day. But Dr. Vicki, you wanna over to you for an intro, please.
Dr Vicki Uwannah 7:02
Hi, everyone. Hi, Wendy. And yeah, just lovely to be here. I'm a counselling psychologist, and I've been working in private practice solely now for about three years, have done lots of different things, worked in the NHS and works in schools. And what I really found is, you know, my heartbeat, basically is just helping people to relate better, and, you know, relating better to themselves and relating better to other people. So I offer couples therapy, I also do individual therapy. I also do some coaching and corporate settings as well. And, really, it's something that I can't really escape from and I don't think any of us can escape from, you know, the need to just be in relationship and to and to form meaningful connections. So that's really at the heart of the work that I do in whatever capacity. So yeah, awesome. Thank you for
Wendy Kendall 8:01
that. and over again, organisational psychs. So over to you, Taslim, could you tell us, introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your practice?
Taslim Tharani 8:14
Thank you. Yeah, it's wonderful, wonderful to be here. I always find introductions actually really difficult. And I want to lead with that. Because, again, today's topic is about authentic connection. And I think, I think I hope that they were just wanted, it was helpful to me, I should say, to name that. So and I always find it interesting with introductions that we tend to lead with our professional credentials. And I and I kind of want people to know more about who I who I am beyond that. And, and obviously, we're so many different things. And so it can be really hard to find a way to bring that in. In just a few sentences, I'll give you my professional piece, which is I am an Organisational Psychologist, and most of my work is in training, facilitation and coaching. And I've been in I don't know if you can call it private practice. But I've been self employed since about 2010. So coming up to 1313 years, and I have found that relationships really some I love the way that you named it all Vicki and share that relationships are absolutely at the core of everything that I do. And I don't think I would have survived this long and private practice or as a sole trader as someone working independently without having built really strong, meaningful, real relationships, not only with my peers and colleagues and friends, but also with my clients as well. So yeah,
Wendy Kendall 9:38
yeah. Awesome. I'm going to kind of open this up a bit because I really take your point. Has that you know, this kind of formulaic, introduction style, which we do I mean, it's one of the kind of social Some techniques that we kind of use that are a bit of a shorthand, and but I think you're right, they contend to be, I know myself, that the introduction is kind of the thing I want to get out of the way. Whereas it's like the starting point of a relationship. So just to open this discussion up a little bit, and I'm going to if it's alright, and and to start with Vicki, could you give us some thoughts around why authentic connection and relationship building is important in your private practice? And how you approach this topic? Yeah.
Dr Vicki Uwannah 10:41
Well, I think it's important for me, if I'm just talking about myself as a, as a holistically as an individual, it's important for me to not be an island, and to not be isolated, I thrive best in community, I thrive best when I'm known by other people, and when I feel like I belong to people, and they belong to me, if I can, if I can say that, not that we're objects. So I think for me to bring my best self to my work with my clients, I need to also feel like I, I belong, I matter to a group of people. So I think that's why it's important. But also, I think it's important that I practice what I preach for my clients as well. And, and if so much of my work is about, you know, fostering great relationships, having community and, and putting yourself out there and being intentional about forming, you know, healthy relationships, I need to practice what I preach. And I can't just think that it's okay for me just to have relationships outside of work, but not understand the, you know, the importance of having relationships in work as well. So how do I go about doing that? I think I, yeah, interesting. I think I just try and form connections everywhere I go. And if, and if I feel like, Oh, this is this is gonna be a great person to have in my life, like, I almost don't give people an option. I'm just like, right? We're gonna make
Dr Natalie Bodart 12:19
Dr Vicki Uwannah 12:21
So social media has been great for forming, you know, really great connections. Just meeting just like Facebook groups and, and trying to meet other therapists or psychologists, and, you know, joining forums. So, yeah, I think I just kind of look out for any opportunity to meet people and to connect with people. And if anyone's offering, I'm taking it up. So, so yeah, so I'm actually I'm in private practice. And, you know, I work for myself, but I'm also part of a collective of therapists called examined life. And we kind of filtered through, became from the school of life. And we meet regularly, every two weeks or so online or in person if we can, and we just kind of have peer supervision. We refer clients to each other as well. And so it just helps to not feel so alone, even though I am alone, but I, I feel like I'm connected in some way in my work.
Wendy Kendall 13:26
Yeah. And I love that idea of, of you having that kind of value of proactivity. Around connection. Because I can imagine that, for people knowing that is like, you know, this is the invitation that that that must feel quite containing and secure for, for, at least for some people, right. That's a lie. You're open to that.
Dr Vicki Uwannah 13:55
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, for some people, I'm sure other people may feel like it's a bit I don't know. intrusive. Yeah, I think so. I think, you know, when I feel like someone is intentionally trying to get to know me, that does feel great. It feels really affirming and validating and I feel like oh, okay, I really have something to offer this person as well. So it kind of helps to boost my self esteem. So I would hope that that's what I also give off to other people too.
Wendy Kendall 14:28
Yeah, definitely. Yeah. To me, it kind of gives that message of self worth as well. Like, I feel like I'm worth knowing. Therefore, I'd like to connect with you because I feel like you're worth knowing as well. Yeah, yeah. Love that. Natalie is going to come across to you. So why is authentic connection and relationship building important in your private practice? And how do you approach this topic? Yeah,
Dr Natalie Bodart 15:00
Actually, I can really resonate the cue of what you're saying about you starting with yourself, actually, because I certainly when I set up my private practice, which is probably nearly four years ago now, but it was very much about, also, what do I enjoy? And how do I like to connect in. And I guess the practices that we build are often sort of reflective of that about this idea of, you know, it's very difficult to be well, it would be very difficult to be a sort of solo practitioner, it wouldn't really, I'd find that really difficult. I'm definitely someone who wants to connect and likes building connections and being part of communities. So I think that's a really interesting kind of place to start. And I, when I was thinking about this, I was also thinking, it almost feels like a bit of a sort of ripple effect, where, you know, we know that a lot, you know, some of the core components of our therapy work, is the therapeutic relationship in itself, you know, and, and for me, it was also about just the beginning, and you were mentioning about introductions, Wendy. And that's it, I put a lot of energy and thought into what do people first see or experience when they come to our practice? Do they see a warm, welcoming, clear website? You know, do they, it's really important that everyone has an inquiry course and do free inquiry calls. And part of that, of course, is information sharing. But a big part of that, for me is about people to feeling welcome feeling like, we're just, you know, they're gonna come and meet a human on the other end of all this and that first introduction, you know, what, how we welcome people, how we sort of say who we are, I think is really important. It's a big part of, of that communication. And so, you know, I think from that point, you know, that's really important from a therapy point of view. But then, as the practices developed, and as I have more associates and our employees that work with me, again, it's been thinking about, not just kind of connecting and supporting each other on a professional level. But this idea that we come together as a team that we have fun together, that we go for meals, we go bowling, that, you know, we connect on, like we were our whole selves. And I'd say that the most fun places are the best places I've ever worked to places where I felt like I can bring my whole self to work that people get to know me, I get to know them, then it's a much kind of this kind of holistic idea of what we do. We're not just psychologists, kind of treating people but you know, we are, you know, we're working as humans together as well. And then spreading that outwards. Well, you'll know Wendy, you know, I'm also a grabber of opportunities. And, you know, so we work with charities, and go and support them. We're going we're doing some festival workshops this summer, which I'm super excited about. And I think it's just about this idea that you just never know, when you're going to have a really enriching, wonderful opportunity conversation. And I know that making those connections isn't just good for business, but it's also just good for me and good. This idea of mental health just being something that we do every day that we're helping and supporting people at every stage of wellness, and bringing kind of our knowledge and expertise out into the world. And into these conversations, like I quite often do Instagram lives of people, you know, which are just conversations like this one. And it's just an exchange is like a two way process really, that everyone gets something from that and everyone can benefit. And yeah, so kind of I sort of see it as that sort of ripple effect of connection.
Wendy Kendall 18:30
Yeah, and, you know, what I'm learning as I go through these conversations is that every time we have one of these discussions in these podcasts, there's, there's a kind of emerging theme that comes out, that is always a little bit of a surprise to me, or it kind of it shifts my lens a little bit. And the thing that you've really you both started to hint at here is how you know how important it is to, to have a presence that is opening a connection to others, just from a human point of view, and how we can actually social media can be a channel for that presence, you know, whether it's your website, as you mentioned, Natalie, whether it's social media, as you mentioned, Becky, the, you know, social media gets a lot of bad rap, often, deservedly. But actually, it can still be a channel for this very fundamental need that we have as human beings to kind of transmit a sense of presence and an offer of connection and I'm, that's something that's really important to me as well. So I'm going to come back to this Taslim What about you? What's your kind of spin on why your authentic connection and relationship building is important in your private practice? I know in your Introduction you mentioned that without those relationships, you don't know that, you know, 13 years that have passed in your private protests, it's been so supportive to you. So what's your take on it?
Taslim Tharani 20:12
I mean, I, I've really been reflecting on this, because connection and relationships, I think is just part of who I am like it's so part of my strengths. And what's important to me in my life, that it's really hard to distil kind of why it's so important almost because it comes, you know, it's like with our strengths, they just come to naturally to us, we, it's really hard to kind of distil that. But I think similar to what both Vicki and Natalie have shared, there's something about just seeing the impact and how transformative investing in relationships can be for myself, for the people that invest in relationships with for my clients, for my colleagues. And also, yeah, I think that's it, I think it is, there's something about being in a space with somebody, you can connect in a really authentic way be really present, really listen. Whether that is like I say, with our clients, or with our colleagues or with our friends, that that act in and of itself, I think can be transformative. And so for me, I think that's one of the reasons why authentic connection or relationship building is has been so important. And I also naturally an extrovert, and so I need people, I need to be surrounded by people I need similar to Vicki that sense of community, that sense of belonging is I don't know how to function, I almost don't know how to function without it. And so I think it is, yeah, it's absolutely cool. To to me. And also, it's been quite amazing as what opportunities have come through building those connections. So for, for example, during the pandemic, I reached out to a colleague who I'd only met once before, virtually I've never, I only met him in real life, I think more recently, and, and I kind of I was in quite a tricky spot with a pro bono project that I'd been asked to work on. And I just needed some help and some input. So I said, Hey, I mean, this guy on social media, he does loads of stuff on Appreciative Inquiry, let me just reach out to him. And so we had a conversation. And then a few months later, he's like, Tom, I've got a great project that I think it'd be a great, great opportunity for, for me, but also I could contribute so much to that project. And that has just started such a great working relationship going forward. And so I think that's, I think that example just shows tells me why those relationships are just so key to my practice, because I don't know everything, I can't I get stuck, I need help. And vice versa, like the people that I work with, I want them to know that I'm here to back them to be their cheerleader, cheerleaders to be to be to really be there for them. And then your second part of the question, which is how do I approach this topic? I think there's two things. So one is definitely about kind of play curiosity, allowing myself to be as myself as I can allow at any given moment, or is it safe to allow in any given moment, but But the second thing, I think, is, is about self awareness and practising boundaries, I think we often talk about bringing our whole selves into spaces, but often those spaces aren't safe for, for me anyway, to bring those holes out hold parts of me. So there is something in and also sometimes there are parts of me, that would be harmful to others. And so there's something for me around how can I bring a kind of skillfulness as well as really practice healthy boundaries, while relating to to others as well, whether that's again, whether that's my clients, my colleagues, my friends, kind of the broader communities that I'm taught.
Wendy Kendall 24:11
Yeah. So there's a few things that I'm kind of picking up on there. One, is this, the quality of the presence in a relationship. And I think you mentioned about, you know, listening, curiosity, a sense of safety, transmitting a sense of safety. There's a couple of other elements that I think everyone has alluded to now, which is opening ourselves up in relate like opening ourselves up in relationship is one of those things that makes us vulnerable, right? And if you've experienced relational violations, wherever that's happened, that vulnerability piece is like, like really scary for some parts of us especially. Yeah. And yet It's the thing that opens up the door to connection, essentially. And then, and then it's like, Well, alright, how are we negotiating these boundaries? And I know as psychologists, there are, I think, well, I've made it this is a question, Are there additional complexities that we need to bring to this topic of boundaries as well? I'm going to come back to you if that's all right. Tas, because you picked up on this topic of boundaries? What? What kind of additional aspects of boundaries Do you think we need to think about in our private practices? That might be if you want a moment to think I know that you're you're baiting thinker person,
Taslim Tharani 25:48
but but now I think I can respond. Because boundaries work comes up all the time for myself, with my professional relationships with my coaching clients, with my organisational clients. And they are really complex to navigate. And I think I think there's something in just naming how difficult and how challenging boundaries are to navigate. And so I think some of the things that I'll just share from just my personal perspective, in terms of what's really supportive me is is, the more aware I am of my needs and wants, the more I'm able to name those boundaries, and practice them. And I think that's been a huge journey for me, especially given my background and cultural background, you know, just being able to know what my needs and wants are to be able to know what those boundaries should be, should even be or what boundaries are going to be supportive, has been has been really helpful. I also think there's so there's that kind of self awareness piece. There's also something who has the boundaries and service of, and I feel for us as psychologists, that's really important. So one of the things that I do more of than I think, other colleagues, especially in coaching or as a psychologist is, is I do self disclose, and I'm self, whenever I self disclose, I have to think about what Who is this and service of isn't in service of me that service of the client is in service of our relationship, and and therefore choosing quite wisely, when and how that self disclosure comes through. And I'm not sure that others have to think about that. So, so clear, so specifically, I guess, in their in their practices. And then the other thing, I think particularly when one's when one is in, in private practice, is how do we guard our own time around resources? And there are two different types of boundaries that Pierre melody, I don't know if anyone's familiar with her work talks about she talks about protective boundaries and containment boundaries. So there's a whole set of boundaries for me, which is how do I practice and this can be very difficult, because I'm an extrovert, massively extroverted, so I can very easily have an IT filter. So you know, how do I protect others, actually, from kind of over spilling or oversharing, or those kinds of things that, you know, extroverts can be known for, that could potentially be harmful to others, but also so there's those containment boundaries. And often in our work, I think that's what we're supporting our clients to learn? How can we be the container for them, so that they're able to start to learn how to contain that, how to have their own containers and build more expansive containers. And then the flipside of that is protective boundaries. So how do I really guard my garden myself from, from what can kind of happen, when in private practice there for me, especially working with organisational clients, there's often a real sense of urgency things things have to happen yesterday, I'm a one man band often. So it can be really difficult to meet those meet those demands. And I think there's something and being really clear in communication to say, you know, I absolutely want to do this for you, this is when I can or this is where my availability is, and, and not right, not kind of going down that rabbit hole of doing everything for everybody all of the time. And then you're burnt out within within a few few months of two or three different different projects running at the same time. And I think that's also where authenticity for me comes in. Because if I have really strong relationships with my colleagues that I'm working on, or my project teams that I'm working on, we can then we can share, we we can say you know, I've had a bereavement in my family I'm just can you guys just deal with this until I'm ready to come back or my kids my kids really sick I've got to take them to hospital or or not even that extreme just I'm having a really bad day. I can't think today, would you mind leading the meeting instead of me leading the meeting? So I think it just helps in terms of naming, naming our wants and needs. Yeah, that's kind of what comes to mind. Probably.
Wendy Kendall 30:08
I wish we could sit and listen for hours, I'm gonna have to connect with you over that and get get more into the kind of depths and the nitty gritty, maybe we need a whole episode next season about boundaries. And I love that that really put some light bulbs on for me about protective boundaries and containment boundaries, and the way in which they're kind of the kind of the direction in which the filter is working. And in service to whom, Vicki, I'm going to come across to you because I, because you mentioned enjoying connecting with people. And also, I know that you're quite active in social media as well. And I guess is, you know, as a psychologist who really specialises in the quality of relationships, in your practice, this topic of boundaries must come up a lot. So what's your take on all of that?
Dr Vicki Uwannah 31:08
I don't even know if I have anything to add. I was just so mesmerised. Because I was just like, everything you were saying. I was like, yeah, yeah. Yeah, like mental checklist. Like I really, I think you're just spot on with everything. And I think everything just really resonated with me. And I really liked that protective versus containment boundaries. I'm going to steal that from you, but I will reference you. I think that's great. I haven't heard it, you know, you know, quite explained, just like that. So yeah, I don't even ever have anything else to add, I think, you know, kind of hasn't just just kind of, yeah, just summarise it. So so
Wendy Kendall 31:45
succinctly and bow, hope you see that shape up on social media. Yeah, because I know, I know that you tick tock. Because we've had a conversation about, you know, you, you enjoy that platform, and so on. And in the there's been things in the media, and, you know, on places like LinkedIn about how a lot of people are getting information about mental health type topics from social media. It's a place where we can connect with where we can really scale up actions. And yet, and then we've got all these complexities around boundaries on top of that, so do you what's been your experience of negotiating some of that with social media?
Dr Vicki Uwannah 32:34
Yes, I actually did a Tiktok posts on this.
Wendy Kendall 32:37
Awesome, I'll have to link to it in the show notes.
Dr Vicki Uwannah 32:41
And it was it was about vulnerability, really, and how, you know, we've kind of seen the pendulum kind of shift from seeing vulnerability as a weakness to now seeing vulnerability as a strength. And, but, but that also kind of looking like people just sharing everything, and just exposing themselves actually. And, you know, vulnerability and sharing is important. But it's important that we do it with some parameters. And it's important that we, we, we bear all, or we bear more parts of ourselves to people that we can trust, and who we know their intentions are good. We know we can be safe and sharing with them. But kind of bearing or. And I think some people kind of share because they want to sometimes elicit sympathy, they want to feel understood, they want to feel validated, and all of those things are not bad, but it's just okay. What is the purpose of what I'm, what I'm sharing? What am I trying to elicit? And is this the audience to get that from. And sometimes we may need to share things or be vulnerable when we are not in the in the throes of the situation that we're in. And sometimes it may be, you know, when we've passed it a little bit, and we're kind of looking back and retrospectively reflecting and thinking, Gosh, this is what I learned. But, you know, sometimes people can share when they're in the midst of something that's really difficult, and it's okay to do that. But sometimes it can feel unsafe, because there isn't that parameter of, you know, a safe, a safe holding relationship. It's a line that I think I'm constantly having to juggle as, as a as a psychologist, because, you know, I was raised and taught to be, you know, to hold back as a psychologist. When I think about my psychodynamic training, it's good for people to project things on to you. So you don't want to be in their face about what's going on for you and who you are as an individual. Because you want to allow the projections to do the work. You know, you need to be who that person needs you to be at that moment. You know, point in time. But that's not me. It is me. And it's not me. And I think I'm constantly having to do this dance between sharing who I am, but not sharing all of me. Because I know that it's not going to be beneficial to the people that I'm working with. It's not going to be beneficial to me. So yeah, it's a constant dance. But there are some things that we do share. I mean, if I were to have a wedding band on my finger, you'd know that I was married. So you'd already have that assumption about me. In the way that I talk, you know, you would see that hopefully, I'm like, an open, bubbly person. So there are things that we can share about ourselves without having to actually go deep in like, Oh, this is what my family structure looks like. And this is what our Christmas looked like, last year. You know, this is the drama that unfolded, you know? Yeah. So it's a constant dance, and having to constantly monitor those boundaries, and why am I sharing? What's the purpose of this?
Wendy Kendall 36:01
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yep. I think I really resonate with what you said there about, I think personally being raised to, to kind of not necessarily share a lot. I know that. My, you know, my grandmother was my hero. This is a sharing thing. But my grandmother was my hero, and hurt. But her words, when you said that the words that came to me were exactly what she would say, which was, keep your own counsel, like be a counsellor for yourself, you know, don't just necessarily be out there sharing everything. And so we pick up a lot of these messages, which are then sometimes at odds with within the kind of cultural with the evolution of culture around us.
Taslim Tharani 36:54
I know, we haven't heard from Natalie yet. But can I just come in on this point? Yeah, I think it's such an important one, especially for us as psychologists in terms of whose boundaries are we practising? Because in cultures, we have different norms when it comes to boundaries. And, and I and I, and I know, one of the things that we were thinking about talking about is, I guess what mister, we want to deconstruct what models do want to challenge, I think that I think that this is one of them, you know, who I hear you in terms of coming from a psychodynamic background, the very the very traditional psychodynamic background is that we we give up, we're a vessel for people to share their projections and kind of work through their, their relational processes with us. And at the same time, I have, I just wonder whether there are ways in which we can do that, that also allows for a slightly, slightly different, that's different boundaries. And I think it can be kind of building on what you were saying, Vicki about what we do share, it could even simply be in how our room is set up. So I know when I've, you know, like when people walking in, is the therapist chair there and my chair here. And actually, in some cultures, we're used to being much closer together, or we used to sitting on the floor. So I just wonder whether there are ways in which we can challenge the boundaries that we've been brought up in, so that we can still still have those boundaries in place, because doing no harm is so important, and ensuring that we're everything we're doing is in the service of our clients and patients. And can those boundaries sometimes in and of themselves be harmful? Because maybe that is, that's it's repeating kind of patterns or patterns within border systems that have that have been very difficult for people. So yeah, so I just wanted to throw throw that in there in terms of I'm quite apt for challenging professional boundaries as well. Because I think they come from a certain, a certain set of norms that are very
Wendy Kendall 39:10
Yeah, I'm very, I'm pro centric in the sense that one of the challenges that we have in our global economic system and the way in which our businesses are shaped often is about this narrative of separation, as opposed to a narrative of connection and you know, being connected, not just with other people, but also with the living world around us. That's one of the so I love that idea that actually we can communicate different relationships through the way that we think about how we set up things that are not just about the words or the things that we do. Natalie, I know you must be like bouncing and wanting to say something here. Because Because community and shaping really She ships with community and the place of your practice within communities is like, I remember, it's such a very important part of what you do. So I just want to bring you in at this point.
Dr Natalie Bodart 40:16
Yeah, it's so funny, I was really listening with so much fascination. I'm always very intrigued on this topic, because I think it's this thorny topic of boundaries, you know, and, and I think it's something that's something to do with the tradition of psychology. Actually, I think there's a kind of historical, you know, a bit like Vicki, what you were saying about this kind of more analytic way of looking at boundaries, which can understand that perspective, also sort of coming out of a sort of medicalized sort of model really, of kind of doctor patient power dynamic. But I just don't think it fits modern psychology. And I don't think it fits the modern world. Like it's just not. And yeah, certainly for me, I've had some fascinating conversations around boundaries. I personally think about this a lot. Because my practice is within my community, I see people here in this room, this is part of my home. You know, I might see people at school who have their children at the same school as me. No, you know, it's no secret about my heavy CrossFit involvement. I have lots of connections there. Charity, so people get to know me and all the different walks of my life. And I think that's all right. And but I think it's different for everybody. And I think it's something about having a sense of boundaries is as a more fluid concept. So this idea that, absolutely, we have considerations around what's ethically right, what safety for the people that we see. And that's not the same for everyone. So I've had conversations with some of my clients about my social media presence, and being very open. And some of them have said to me, I just don't want to see you there. And I'm like, that is fine, you absolutely don't need to see me there. And that's a choice for both of us to make that there's something about, it's not just about my my imposition of the boundaries, it's also a choice that we co create together. So on our website, for example, some of our team members share a little bit about their, what they enjoy outside of work, you know, whether they are love kind of walking or Korean films, or, and then other members of the team have said, you know, what, I'm just not really comfortable with sharing that. And I'm like, You know what, that's absolutely fine. That is your choice. You know, your boundaries are also yours to negotiate. And I'm not going to dictate to you what those boundaries should or shouldn't be, I trust your practice and the choices that you make within that. And so I think it's an interesting conversation. And I was talking to someone recently, who wanted to come and work with a practice. And she was saying, I work all the way over the other side of London, because I'm quite worried about, you know, having clients immunity. So we had a really interesting conversation about that, and what it's like for people to see us, you know, having a stressful time with the children in Tesco, but it's just such a normal part of everyday life, isn't it? And I think maybe there's something quite healthy about seeing us having that struggle, figuring it out, knowing that, you know, we are also kind of imperfect and, and I guess that's something that we have to decide. And recently, I was thinking about an example. So obviously, it was Mental Health Awareness Week, just recently. And so I decided I was going to do a whole bunch of lives on my Instagram. And I thought, You know what, rather than me deciding on all of this, I'm just going to put a call out, so I just put a call out on Instagram, I said, If anyone wants to come and talk to me about mental health awareness week, just get in touch, I'm really happy to have a conversation. And so yeah, so I ended up chatting to a massage therapist about it. Somebody got in touch that wanted to talk to me about their lived experience of mental health. And I just love that. And I thought, isn't it nice just to put that out there actually, and to not feel like we have to be the ones in the deciding chair in the expert chair that that is very much like a process that we can engage with, with other people as well. And going to the festivals is such an interest, so festivals for me now. This is the first summer. I'm like, oh, what's it gonna be like going to a festival with my colleagues? That's an interesting one. Who am I going to meet? So I've been invited on to this transcendental healing panel, very fascinated about what that's going to be like. And so I think we're always up against these new these new contexts where we're always renegotiating boundaries. We're always thinking about where we sit within that. So yes, it's a fascinating topic to me.
Wendy Kendall 44:41
Yeah, and you know, what all of you have described there really makes me think about this topic of moving towards more regenerative models within private practice, and a very key concept within the regenerative business movement. and not just business, but thinking about how we change our way of life to be more regenerative is one of the key concepts is this idea of being connected with place. And so connected with our local community connected with the environment around us literally, to have almost our hands in the earth and you know, to be to be part of the place that we live. And I think that's so interesting in the context of the history of psychology as a profession, and the way in which a lot of practice has happened. You know, whether it's come from somehow that med medicalized model, but when I think about a lot of GPS, you know, even in my lifetime, our GP was a local member of the community. So, but um, you know, coming back to this thing of as psychologists not being present in the community, in everyday life, because, as you mentioned, Natalie, I've also heard of people are like, you know, I don't want to be in the I don't want to be based in the place where I'm practising because of, you know, the whole confidentiality thing. And that might not be possible for everyone. But I know that it's been a concern. It's been a, you know, a facet of private practice that has been talked about this, the sense of being separate, and so on. So yeah, I just what you've been talking about really brings to mind again, how important the renegotiation of relationships within the scope of private practice. I mean, coming back to Chris Burriss, quote, you know, he talks about the quality of our relationship and enhancing the potential for changing oppressive systems. And so, yeah, and that's all really heavy stuff, really kind of big picture stuff. But I'm just thinking, What are your thoughts about, you know, this, this breaking the mould when it comes to authentic connection and relationship building, and, you know, the myths that we need to deconstruct and the things that we would say, you know, pillar pillars of how we practice? Are there? Are there areas where we need to change our ideas about that? And I'm going to come across to Vicki again, if that's all right. And just, you know, ask you about that going, you mentioned being part of several kinds of professional communities as well. And yeah, so what's your take on this? This renegotiation of relationships and community and connection? And whether any of that needs to change within psychology?
Dr Vicki Uwannah 47:58
Yeah, I think. I think so. I think I agree with Natalie, actually, that it does need to change. And we, we can't fit ourselves in a particular box, you know, we can't group people and say, This is how this is who you should be, this is how you to behave. And I think the same can be true of our, of our of our practices as well, that we can break out of the constraints and say, Actually, no, we're going to do things in a different way. And I and I really love Natalie hearing you talk about being your involvement in charities and, and being immersed in the community that you're working with. And I love that. I mean, I don't know if this is going to answer your question completely, Wendy. But it did. It did bring me back to my early training days when I worked in a therapeutic community. And I absolutely loved it, because there was this flattening of a hierarchy between patients, and we call them patients, but patients and therapists, and we cook together, we went shopping, food shopping together, we did the chores around this beautiful, old Victorian house that we that we were in. And there was a sense of, we're doing things differently. We're doing things for the betterment of this community. And we're doing things. We're making decisions for what this community needs at this point in time. And I really liked that. And I would love to find some way of getting back to that now. So but in terms of just relating to other people in private practice, I love the I love that, you know, just that flexibility to engage with people who aren't necessarily therapists. And because there's so much that we can learn from each other. So So yeah, I just, yeah, so I'm not really sure if I'm answering your question, but I was just really struck by Natalie. It's probably a
Wendy Kendall 49:53
very long question to refer her.
Dr Vicki Uwannah 49:58
Yes, yeah, I do think it isn't important that we move out of this box. And, and we, and I really liked the concept of it being fluid and teslim said, you know, just, yeah, challenging some of these you know, these practices and these, these ways of doing things, and, and yeah, renegotiate, and be fluid without
Wendy Kendall 50:22
that description of a therapeutic community. And I really, there was some things sold driven from that question of, you know, why why are we not doing more of that? You know, I love that description, that we're working with people to resource people in their communities to help a healing process that, that starts and involves people, but inevitably, you know, very quickly ripples outwards. That would seem that seems like, you know, I go about a go on about this on LinkedIn a little bit. But when I think about the amount of investment and money that gets poured into apps, to do one to one therapy, and usually it's something like an AI chatbot, so that you no longer have to go and see a therapist, you can just interact with the chat bot, and that allegedly, is the scaled up version of therapy. But what you described there, to me, Vicki is the scaled up version of therapy, because that's us working together to resource individuals within their communities. So that community takes over from the therapist. Right? Exactly, exactly. And one
Dr Vicki Uwannah 51:43
of the, you know, when people would leave the community of the therapists community, they were there for 18 months, they would leave and they would, they'd give like a review and summary and they talk about their relationships with every single person, you'd go around. And you talk about the difficult stages of the relationships, the difficult
Wendy Kendall 52:05
Dr Vicki Uwannah 52:07
I'm a client's, and I'll never forget, one client said, this has been so transformative, not for me, but for my children. And you do not know how much this has impacted not just the therapists, but the community, how much we had impacted her children's lives, because of her feeling grounded within a community and working through all the messiness of belonging and disagreements and, and all of that and coming to a place of her having a better understanding of herself. self worth, and knowing that's going to have a ripple effect on on the generations after her. So yeah, it's I'm so passionate about
Wendy Kendall 52:50
it. So yeah, well, I was just gonna say let's put a call out to any investors who are listening to this as who want to come in and you know, work with Vicki to get those therapeutic communities we establish, and frankly with with Tas and Natalie as well, because I think this is where it's at, right if we want to make some big shifts, actually resourcing psychologists, therapists to do that kind of scalable work on the on this fundamental kind of relationships and community building is where it's at if we really want to move the needle coming over to you Tas, I could see you
Taslim Tharani 53:31
bubbling away. And goodness, Vicki, I'm just I'm noticing a little bit of envy actually, I would have loved to experience that. And, and although I'm I'm a coach, I do have a background in counselling. I never went on to formally qualify as a counsellor, but I just Just hearing the richness of those experiences and the impact and how transformative it can be. It's, yeah, it's kind of lit a fire in my belly as well. And so yeah, thank you. I think I think there's two things that are coming up for me. One, which is how do we scale this? And how do we bring this back into the community. And there's someone I'm going to read his name because I want to get it right and called Dixon to banda. He's a I think he's a he's either a psychologist or psychiatrist, I can never remember which one from Zimbabwe. And he's introduced something called the friendship bench, which is now going global. So I would definitely have a look at it. And what he noticed is that within these communities in Zimbabwe, there were all these elders of the community who were really respected and over the years have have got a lot of wisdom and a lot of kind of a lot of time as well now to share and, and he's just recently so he what he did is he he trained them all up in basic counselling skills, and created these friendship benches with Were these elders of the community could offer some basic therapeutic support to members of the community out in, in the community on the earth on the benches. And it's become it's, it's a, it's he talks about it as a way to really scale what we what we can do and what we can offer. And I would ask, have a Google of the friendship bench. And it's been so effective that, you know, I think I think they're starting to create this in New York, and then it's kind of coming over into the west into the Western world. But I was so moved, when I heard him speak a bit about this, because it's, it's, it feels like it's doing kind of everything that you've been talking about there, Wendy, Wendy, and Vicki, and Natalie. So that's one thing. And then the other thing, it's actually something that scares me a lot is this move towards digital because I'm in a space where I've really isolated myself during the panic during the pandemic. And I feel really recharged after spending five weeks with family or friends, family and friends in the US and Canada. And thinking about regenerative practice, there's something about like, say, connected with place, being in the local community, and the and existing within the environments around us. And I think taking our work into those spaces is so important. And that's part of me that thinks we're going to be even more needed as this digital kind of approach moves forward. And that's not to say the digital doesn't have a space, like I know, people who can't leave the four walls of their flats, or their apartments or their homes. And so having a digital offering is so valuable. You know, so I, I think that it's, I think there's space for all of it. But I feel that I do feel that quite strongly. I'm just gonna say one more thing, but I forgotten. But yeah, that's kind of where I'm
Wendy Kendall 57:02
back to it. So I want to, I mean, this has just been such a rich discussion, but I also want to think about kind of hopes for the future. And, you know, coming to you, Natalie, when you think about the future, and, you know, given some of the things we've talked about today, what are your hopes for the future around authentic connection and relationship building, both in private practice and through private practice as well? Yeah, I think, I think
Dr Natalie Bodart 57:42
it's an interesting journey that we go on as psychologists and I think what's quite unhelpful, certainly from sometimes in the clinical psychology arena, is it we can start off in quite a competitive environment. So there's quite a lot of competition to get on to the clinical psychology courses, as people may know. And I think, unfortunately, that sets up something not very helpful between us as psychologists often and so you know, I'm part of some different networks. And it's interesting to see the dynamics, I mean, dynamics play out on all forums and networks, right. But I often think it was talking a bit earlier, I mentioned earlier about some of the history and traditions of psychology. And I think it's, it's a bit like anything that's intergenerational, there's a bit of kind of unpicking and re stitching, that almost sort of has to go on. But it takes time, doesn't it? It takes quite a long time. And I think one of the things that I would love is that it's definitely more of a place of kind of ally ship where we see each other as resources as allies as supporters of each other, this idea of them, it's kind of a business speak, I guess, Wendy are probably got it from you, maybe at some point, but this spirit of abundance rather than scarcity. And that's always like a mantra that I've had at times that when I've got very worried about the practice, you know, you can get into this very sort of scarcity. See, you know, mindset where you know, then you get very private and kind of grasping, whereas actually, there's something very much about this idea of, of allies and abundance and actually connection. But I think, for me, what's been really powerful, and what I'd quite like to hope for other people, if it fits for them is this idea of just creativity. So breaking through what we may, you know, I think our training is amazing. And I think we come out with so many amazing skills and great knowledge and I think then it's finding a confidence and a groundedness in that enough to then go off and explore and be really curious. I mean, obviously, we do in our practice, lots of holistic work, yoga, nutrition, mindfulness. And I love that because it's almost like you can kind of go out into the world and explore and have these different connections and some will work really well and others won't work so well and almost this idea of allowing people to explore Creativity. And that's not a threat. It's not a threat to your grounded practice, it's not a threat to your identity or your practice. And in fact, it can only really be an enriching process. So I think, I think those are some things, I'd really hope that it can be a place of creativity of expansive nurse of opportunity and Ally ship. You know, I love all of those things to be, you know, the places that we can grow into as psychologists really in our private practices.
Wendy Kendall 1:00:31
Yeah, I'm signing up for that. I love that vision of the future. Vicki, I'm coming to you what are what are your hopes for the future around this topic of authentic connection and relationship building? I think I'm just
Dr Vicki Uwannah 1:00:47
hoping to expand on it. And just to, to get out there. I mean, I've spent a few years kind of working from home and in my home office, and, and I'm, I'm now like, enough is enough, I need to be out there. I need to put my feet on the ground and be immersed in the community that I'm working with. So I'm hoping to do that in the coming months. And just to continue meeting other like minded people, but different people also, I think it's really important to have a network, if someone comes my way. And I think, actually, I think you'll be better served by someone else. I've Got someone in mind, who I think will be great for you. I love to be able to do that. And I really benefited from people being able to do that and, and send people my way as well. So yeah, I think it's just to deepen connections, increase connections in my network. And yeah, hopefully get back to having face to face connections and relationships with people again, in the coming months.
Wendy Kendall 1:01:51
Awesome, thank you. And coming to you Tas as well for what are your hopes her future around authentic connection and relationship building?
Taslim Tharani 1:02:01
I'm so I'm saying he actually just really moved by what you've both shared, but especially Natalie, in terms of this, being able to be creative. And that not mean that we're moving away from the grounding that we've had within psychology. And that's a tension that I think that I've experienced and continue to experience. And I was doing a coaching course, towards the end of last year on in an area that I'm probably not going to name because I still have that fear that actually that's a bit it's not, so it's not grounded enough in psychology. And but within that they talked about where the etymology of psychology, what the etymology of psychology is, and actually the psyche, I think, in ancient Greek is the word for soul. So psychology is actually the study of the soul. And I feel that with the way that psychology has developed over the last 100 years, we've moved away from that, or I feel that my training and my background and the fears that I have about putting myself out there, which still exist, and my main fears of judgement are coming from within psychology, not outside of psychology. So that's my hope. I think, I got really excited when Natalie, everything you were sharing if that if that ends up being our future, that would be wonderful. And within that I would love to find to bring back that soul ness to the profession. So that we can just feel more connected to each other, to the earth to the world.
Wendy Kendall 1:03:34
Yeah. So that's fantastic. And I'm going to just come across to you in terms of where we can find you. So Tas, you were just speaking, where can we find you,
Taslim Tharani 1:03:47
At the moment only on LinkedIn.
Wendy Kendall 1:03:51
I know that you're putting a lovely website together at the moment. So that will be coming down the line, but for the time being we can find you on LinkedIn. Fabulous. And Vicki, where can we find you? I must join Tiktok just so that I can watch you Vicki.
Dr Vicki Uwannah 1:04:08
So you can find me on my website, drvicki.co.uk. And it's "It's Dr. Vicki" on Instagram, and Twitter. No, not Twitter. Tick tock and then I'm kind of present on LinkedIn a little bit as well. Yeah.
Wendy Kendall 1:04:24
Awesome. And last but not least, Natalie, where can we find you?
Dr Natalie Bodart 1:04:30
Yeah, I'm gonna find up. I had a lot of big talk about tick tock, but it never got beyond the big talk so you can find so we are the bodak practice.co.uk That's our website. I am Dr. Natalie bodak on LinkedIn and Instagram, and I think it goes across to Facebook on the VO dot practice as well. So you can you can find us there
Wendy Kendall 1:04:55
soon to be exploring tick tock maybe If I might leave it at that one. Thanks so much for this wonderfully rich discussion. Today. I love the I love seeing you all connect as well. And I'm sure the conversations will carry on between you offline. And thanks to all of our listeners today. Next week, we're going to be talking about practices that are going beyond or deconstructing the extractive models. So all of what we've been talking about today about the story of separation, this story of competition, this story of needing to be separate and disconnected from and in a different polar power relationship with communities around us and so on. We're going even more in depth into in that podcast next week as well. And that will be our final podcast of this season. But nevertheless, thanks so much to all of you for this wonderful discussion this in this podcast about authentic connections and relationship building in private practice. And yeah, I will look forward to seeing you in the in the next podcast. Bye, everyone. Hey, thanks, Wendy.
Taslim Tharani 1:06:20
Bye. Thank you.
Dr Natalie Bodart 1:06:21
Thanks so much, everyone.
Wendy Kendall 1:06:23
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