Jan. 13, 2022

Recovering Compassion for Yourself in the New Year with Adrienne Glasser

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There's always a spirit of change and self improvement in the air around the New Year. With the ringing out of the old and ushering of the new, the vast majority are contemplating habits they want to change. What better time than the beginning of a new year to pause and reflect on what we need to work though and release and how we can do that. My special guest, Adrienne Glasser, is the perfect person to show us how to find compassion within ourselves and to make space for newness and change.

Adrienne Glasser LCSW, RDMT (she/her) is the co-founder of IFSLA - Internal Family Systems Therapy Los Angeles, an experiential psychotherapist certified in IFS, somatic dance movement therapist, healer, meditation teacher and advisor on compassionate addiction and trauma treatment. She currently runs an online community focused on experiential & somatic IFS techniques and meditations for therapists and to support those in on-going recovery for traumatized, addicted, or “codependent” parts. She serves as the Executive Advisor to Breathe Life Healing Centers where she runs experiential groups and advises on compassionate and contemplative treatment of addictions and trauma using IFS.  She has studied Buddhist psychology for 20 years and enjoys connecting these teachings with IFS.

• [5:58] Adrienne talks about the war inside that occurs when we try to change our habits
• [7:23] Adrienne speaks of the good and bad split within us that happens from abuse, criticism and trauma… 
• [11:30] “We need full acknowledgement of what we've had to go through or what suffering we've had to endure in order to let things go.”
• [18:06] Adrienne talks about her own anxiety during her troubling adolescence and how talk therapy really helped her

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Dr. Christine Li -
Website: https://www.procrastinationcoach.com
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Adrienne Glasser -
Website: https://theseekersspace.com/ and https://breathelifehealingcenters.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/adrienne.glasser.1
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/adrienne.glasser/
Free parts work meditation atadrienneglasser.com


Christine Li  0:01  
You're listening to the Make Time for Success podcast and this is episode 57. In setting up this episode, my guest Adrienne Glasser or night, we're excited to bring you some encouragement to us for the new year. There's always a spirit of change and self improvement in the air around the New Year. And I've asked Adrienne to show us how to find the compassion within ourselves. To make space for newness and change. I have found that oftentimes when we're trying to develop new habits, the missing piece is that piece of self compassion. Adrienne Glasser is a social worker, co founder of internal family systems therapy Los Angeles, and experienced psychotherapist certified in internal family systems, somatic dance movement, therapist, healer, meditation teacher and advisor on compassionate addiction and trauma treatment. She currently runs an online community focused on experiential and somatic internal family systems, techniques and meditations for therapists. She serves as the executive advisor to breathe life healing centers, where she runs experiential groups and advises on compassionate and contemplative treatment of addictions and trauma using internal family systems. She has studied Buddhist psychology for 20 years, and enjoys connecting these teachings with internal family systems. This episode is a deep one, it's deep because Adrian knows so much about the body, its natural healing processes and how to develop self compassion. I can't wait for you to learn from Adrienne. And to hear this episode. Let's go listen to it now.

Hi, I'm Dr. Christine Li and I'm a psychologist and a procrastination coach. I've helped 1000s of people move past procrastination and overwhelm so they could begin working to their potential. In this podcast, you're going to learn a powerful strategies for getting your mind, body and energy to work together so that you can focus on what's really important and accomplish the goals you want to achieve. When you start living within your full power, you're going to see how being productive can be easy, and how you can create success on demand. Welcome to the make time for success podcast. Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the show. Today, I am reconnecting with an old friend. Her name is Adrienne Glasser. She is a fantastic woman, clinician and friend, and she and I were ex suitemates in Manhattan many, many years ago. I'm so happy to see you again. Adrienne, welcome to the show.

Adrienne Glasser  2:56  
Oh, thanks, Christine. It's really good to see you too. Thanks for having me.

Christine Li  3:01  
It is my pleasure. It's going to be our audience's pleasure as well. I am sure today, our theme we've decided is going to be recovering compassion. It's the beginning of a new year, and aging. And I thought that this would be a great place to kind of pause for a few moments and see what do we need to work through? What do we need to release? And how can we do that? So Adrian, could you get us started? And let us know a little bit about yourself? And how you got to be a therapist who was interested in compassion.

Adrienne Glasser  3:36  
Great. Yeah. Well, a little bit about me, I am a psychotherapist, somatic movement therapist, and I do experiential therapy. So for those of you that are not in the therapy world, it's a lot of talking to different parts of ourselves, and distinguishing what parts of ourselves like we have an anxious part, we have angry parts, we have all different kinds of parts that defend us. And we also have an authentic self, we have a expansive self. And so my work with whether it's the clinicians that I supervise, or the clients that I'm treating is where are we coming from? Are we coming from our expansive self? Are we coming from either protective parts of us? Or parts of us that hold pain and wounding? And how can we invite our most expansive self towards all parts of us to embrace all of it? So integration is a big piece of what I do.

Christine Li  4:30  
Okay, beautiful. This is a little bit complicated, I think. Could you describe how the regular person would be able to identify these parts within themselves? How do we know? Are we operating with our higher self or with the part of us that is trying to keep us safe or limited or small?

Unknown Speaker  4:53  
Yeah, so first of all, I want to say that there's no bad parts. So even if we're operating from these habits, tendencies like all of our habits, that it's usually happening for a really good reason. Otherwise, it wouldn't be happening at all. Like, usually it's to protect ourselves or guard ourselves. Or maybe it's, you know, drinking behaviors that have like helped us to survive, right? Like, these are survival strategies. So that I just wanted to say that there's no bad or good here for embracing the whole. But yeah, for anybody, I think we all can relate to having habits and having behaviors that are compulsive in nature that, you know, every new year, everybody's like, Oh, I need to do is so over month or I need to, you know, lose weight, or it's like always the restart the starting over? How can I let go of these habits, right? And a lot of my approach is like, how can we take the shame out of these behaviors, and really acknowledge compassionately the function that it's had in our lives, so that it's not creating this inner battle, because most of us when we try to change any of our habits, all of a sudden, it's a war inside, right? Or, actually, for most of our lives, it's a sight. It's just when we have our awareness of what's happening, it feels pretty dramatic, but it's actually happening on a very low level for most of our lives, that there's this warring parts inside of us. One part of us wants ice cream and other part of us wants to, you know, work out, it's like that back and forth of extremes that we tried to do that actually protects us. So everybody in New Year's is contemplating what are these habits that we want to change? And how do we change them. So I think that's a very accessible way to look at different parts of us.

Christine Li  6:41  
I love it. I love that you're reframing the parts of us that we're maybe ashamed of or not so happy with, and saying that there's a reason why we've been doing these behaviors, and that the best way to kind of shift away from them, if that's our desire, is to have a friendlier approach to them in general, and kindness to ourselves. I think that is beautiful, and really important. How come habits get split into this good and bad so much? Why is it such a war? Why do we make it so difficult on ourselves?

Adrienne Glasser  7:21  
Yeah, and I think a lot, there's so many different reasons why it becomes a split. I think a lot of it stems from traumatic situations, which I think before the pandemic, I would have, you know, hesitated to say we all have trauma, but now I think it's like pretty much in our society and known that like most of us have trauma. And that is what creates the split, it creates this idea of like, Here I am, I'm this authentic kid. And that something happens to us, either, we're told that what we're doing is not acceptable, we're eating too much, we're drinking too much, we're too much we feel too much we are to you know, whatever, too much thing or criticism or abuse or, you know, it creates the split. And then we have parts of us that get developed pretty creatively, to then guard against that situation never happening again. And we all have that of like, Hey, I was bullied in school for looking a certain way. And I never want to experience that again. So you develop all these perfectionistic protecting parts that like manage your body image and, you know, manage social appearances and seeing how you know, you can manage what you're saying and what you're doing all of these different forms of protection. And as we get older, that becomes really stressful to have to be so perfect or have to strive so hard or be so driven. So eventually we develop these other parts that then shut down that stress, we drink, we smoke, we watch TV, we watch Netflix, we do drugs, at a certain point, it has to get shut down. So it makes sense that there's a split that happens. And what's actually happening is we're regulating our nervous system. So we all have a nervous system and we get stressed. And so these different forms of protection either activate our system, and put us into that like flight or fight or it deactivates our system and puts us into this kind of dorsal vagal more restorative place, but that looks like numbing out or it looks like drinking or it looks like binge watching Netflix, which is like pretty much everybody. So so it's very accessible. You know, when I think of recovering compassion, I work with a lot of people in recovery. Being someone who's in a recovery process themselves and it's accessible to everybody because we're all recovering from something we all have some split that happened, that we're trying to find our own authentic self that's in there somewhere that's buried underneath all these protective little mini personalities that take over all day long, either trying to organize ourselves or trying to shut down the stress. And then there's our expansive self that's like, wait a minute, what's going on? And we're able to observe it. Oh, what's happening? I need to make some change this new year, you know, like, Who is that that's observing all of this? You know?

Christine Li  10:27  
Yes, yes. And I so love and connect with the idea of the expansive, authentic self, I'm just sitting here, as the interviewer thinking how difficult it is to live through that, for whatever reason, like it's inconvenient, it takes a lot of work, it takes a lot of time, it takes a lot of effort to be that courageous, sometimes, I guess that's just the thought that is coming up right now that you're going to show up, you're going to be on afraid you're going to release those layers of protection that you've developed over the years. Can you talk about that about the people who actually know, you know, this is what I want to do with my life, this is how I want to show up. But they're just overwhelmed with the responsibility of maintaining that.

Adrienne Glasser  11:20  
Yeah, absolutely. And I just want to say like, we can't really release or let go of anything, until it's fully acknowledged. So we need full acknowledgement of what we've had to go through or what suffering we've had to endure in order to let things go. So for me, like having to acknowledge different ways that I have self medicated, either through food, or through some self harming behaviors, I've had to like really have compassion, of like, Oh, of course, like you went through, you know, towards my child part, like you went through that really hard situation where like food was the only comfort. And just by acknowledging that, or like, drinking, like, for some people, like drinking got them through traumatic situations that they could have never endured unless they drank or unless they use drugs. And that's like, beautiful acknowledgment, that acknowledgement has to happen before we can be like, Okay, now I'm letting it go. And so our authentic self, the way that I think of self and self energy is, it's just a witness. It has no agenda. It's just observing what's happening with an open heart. Or at least with some curiosity, you know, when I was first entering a recovery process, everyone's like, you have to love yourself. And I was like, That is such a stretch, like, What are you talking? And you know, at the end of the day, if we're just able to be curious about what's happening, that's a real beginning of like, Hmm, why is it that I come home and drink too much every day? Hmm, like, what's actually happening here? Because most of us learned that the way to try to change behavior, or meet emotion is to beat ourselves up. Is that critical voice of like, why are you doing this? What's wrong with me? And like, that's either what we were met with growing up as, like, when we had feelings, they were like, Why are you feeling something? Stop feeling stop showing your feelings. I mean, obviously, they didn't say that. But that was the message. Or it's a way to try to, to motivate, you know, it's like, come on, Buck up, you know, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, like that kind of mentality. And I think it's, I mean, it's pervasive in our culture. It's pervasive in terms of just all the isms of like, there's patriarchy there. I mean, like, you name all the systemic oppression, between race and sexuality. I mean, there's just so much that is about oppression. And we are doing that we take that on, we take on all these burdens, whether it's directly from our family, or from family members, or from like generations or cultural norms. Most of us are taught to fight our experience, and it's only natural and human to try to fight something that's uncomfortable. That's like kind of our Mo of like, you know, survival of the fittest, like, let's fight and you know, to survive. I mean, that that's, I don't know how ancient that is, but it's pretty ancient, this burden. And so the idea that we're having compassion, just the way that you would for a kid of like, oh my gosh, like, how hard is this, that you have to do all of this to survive? All of a sudden, that acknowledgement starts to shift things. The acknowledgement starts to starts to heal, really heal the shame that binds us. I think now

Christine Li  14:56  
I understand where my original question came from when I said It feels so hard to kind of live that way. I think you're giving us a sense that there's another person involved in helping us acknowledge those inner traumas, the earlier traumas that when we're doing it by ourselves, it is that hard because we've got that war inside of us, we've got these Yes, messages inside of us that we need to stay a certain way, and that we're not good enough to trust ourselves to listen to that higher voice to observe ourselves without freaking out. It's a hard process. So thank you for being one of these beautiful people who can serve as witness and yeah, and compassion. I think you do that so beautifully. I've always known you to be that kind of person since way back when

Adrienne Glasser  15:45  
I could say the same. So yeah, really, I feel like a lot of the times, we need other people to witness us in a loving way before we can have a point of reference of what that feels like. And what we're doing in those moments is where we're getting self energy from other people. So I'm like, Hey, I'm really struggling. I'm like, I had a horrible day, you know, call my girlfriend, you know, today suck. That was awful. And she's like, Oh, my God, I totally understand, right? And what is happening in that moment, whether you're with a therapist, or you're with a friend, or you're with a supportive partner, you know, they're lending their self, their self energy towards my part, right. And so we do this all the time for other people, almost effortlessly like, and I've noticed that when I, you know, pair people up, and my groups and my workshops, and my work at RISD, the rehab that I work at, it's just I'll see this beautiful self that emerges from people just by getting partnered up together, where they know, we know how to show up. For others, we know how to show up for ourselves, it just takes the practice of acknowledging that there is kindness, and there is curiosity. That's just there. We had it as kids, we know how to show up intrinsically, for other people. It's just about getting back in touch with our essential nature. And that's why I call it recovering compassion, because we're just recovering what's already there. Beautiful, yeah,

Christine Li  17:15  
I'm going to shift now to the body. And because you're I remember way back when my favorite When, when, when we met, I know you had all these different types of trainings that I had not at that time heard of, and many of them were based in and around the body as somatic healing techniques. And I have certainly learned a lot more about them in the years since. But I also find it's really relevant to this current conversation about needing to get comfortable expressing a new part of ourselves and staying relatively calm with our nervous system. Can you talk about how your somatic techniques can be an aid?

Adrienne Glasser  18:05  
Yeah, for sure. So, you know, I was somebody that was very troubled. As a teenager, I had a lot of anxiety and I went to psychotherapy when I was 14 years old. And this was like old school psychotherapy, where, you know, we talk and, and there's a lot of usefulness and talk therapy, it does a lot. And it did a lot for me. But there was always something missing for me. And when I went into a recovery process for my own addictions, and you know, people pleasing and Alan onic kind of things. I really started also studying psychology and ways that we could approach these behaviors in a different way. And I found that the more that I thought about things, the more confused I got. It's this whole expression of self knowledge avails us nothing. It reveals a something but it doesn't avail us all the things. It doesn't, because we can't think our way into solutions if we could, we would have done it already. And so when I started studying more dance and Cymatics, that's when I started realizing that we, particularly as Westerners, forget that our head is actually part of our body. We think that we need to think through most things and we tend to value our intellect in our society over many other things. Mm hmm. When the home of our feelings and our emotions is in our body. It's actually felt it's the felt sense of sensation in the body and increasing your you know, perceptive awareness that allows for you to know how you're feeling. It's like okay, how are you feeling? Hey, how you doing? It's like, how do you know how to answer that question? Like we're actually sensing into our body without even really realizing it. That is what we're doing to know how we're feeling know what we need to know if we need to eat something, know if what's working for us what's not. And by being in our heads, primarily, we cut ourselves off from that intuitive, emotional, somatic knowing, which is our true intuition and our true, you know, knowledge. So the more we can get in touch with the body, the more that we can actually get in touch with our true self, our true intuition, and also notice different parts of us in the body and become friends with it. This whole process is about becoming friends with our body again, because also, how do you know what coping skills to use? How do you know like, if you need to, you know, meditate versus like, go running, you know? Like, you need to be able to know what you're feeling to know what coping skill feels right for you. It's really about getting into the body as the key to everything really. I love

Christine Li  21:02  
that I'm thinking about two things. One is a curiosity about what is your main go to technique for introducing your clients to the need for more awareness of your body? And then also just what COVID-19 And the pandemic stress has done to our body sense, or things like that? Maybe you could take that away?

Adrienne Glasser  21:28  
Yeah, I mean, if anything, I think on different levels, we've really become aware of how much in survival mode we've had to be in, in the pandemic. And whereas before the pandemic, I've been in a recovery from trauma. And it's like, I've been aware of my nervous system, and how to try to regulate my nervous system for many, many years. And now, all of us are really understanding how much in a survival mode we've been on some level, like there's some awareness that we're in a survival mode. And so it's been easier in a way to have the conversation of like, hey, how do you notice your survival mode? Like, are you in flight? Are you in freeze? Are you in fight? Or are you in fawn, which is this like, I'll do whatever you want, however you want in order to survive. It's like that fawning that we're talking more about now. And that's all these things happen in the body. And it's all our nervous system trying to protect itself regulate itself. So the awareness of how you feel those survival modes is the key to trying to reduce stress, or the key to letting go of habitual behaviors that we're, you know, wanting to get space from, right. And so by being able to just even turn your attention towards your breath, and notice sensation in the body, I mean, you can do it in a glimpse, just like right now in a flash, I had a mentor who called them glimps practices, Flash practices, just going into the body noticing your breath. And that there's no wrong way of meditating. There's no wrong way of having this awareness. And that it actually is part of the practice to notice your monkey mind.

Christine Li  23:22  
I love it, how you just demonstrated that to me and to our audience by slowing your words down. It can be the subtlest of changes, but we are in control of all those changes, and we have access to them. Even under severe stress. Yes, I think oftentimes, I won't say always, but that getting into that practice mode of saying I can slow things down, when things aren't stressing me out, can prepare you for those times when you really feel like oh my god, I'm at risk for breaking apart. I don't feel right. I feel threatened. I feel like I want to run. Then you have these little channels of connecting with yourself again, and calming yourself down. So thank you for demonstrating that I felt it right away.

Adrienne Glasser  24:14  
Right here. Good. Yeah, cuz it really only takes a couple moments, even like you said, I love what you said, either when you're stressed, or when you're not stressed to be able to play with some of these techniques of just beginning to go into slomo. So like I am a New Yorker, I live in Los Angeles now. But just being a born and raised New Yorker, my general walking piece is incredibly fast. My everything pace is really fast. So just being able to go into like I think of it as slomo because I feel like that's where I have to I actually have to go into slomo to start to feel more of myself energy to start to feel my breath to start to feel the ground under my chair. And then I can start to tune into like, Am I hungry right now? Do I need something right now? Because different defensive parts of us will be like, well, of course I need I need to go home and you know, have a drink or like, Okay, I need to go home and like, you know, binge on food and watch, you know, and all of these things get us through lots of horrible situations. So I'm not down, I'm not, you know, getting down on any of them. And there's awareness of like, what do I actually need? Like, what do I actually what's underneath that part of me? Like, what do we actually need? Most of the time, I just need a break, like most of the time, like nine times out of 10 just need a break. And we have such difficulty giving ourselves that break, or giving ourselves that nourishment or that that compassion that we're all needing. And so, yeah, being able to pay attention to like, what do we really need? Yeah, part of the key,

Christine Li  25:59  
I think that is a beautiful piece of advice. I think that's a perfect way to wrap up this beginning of the New Year message to our friends on the show here. Thank you, Adrian, for showing us the beauty of being aware of yourself being compassionate towards yourself. And knowing that you can slow things down even when you're born and bred in New York. We miss you in New York on this side. Yeah. And I just want to thank you, again, for being on the show and showing us this piece of our mental and emotional and physical well being.

Adrienne Glasser  26:41  
Absolutely. And thank you for having me, I really appreciate it. I mean, this is just everything that I do now, with the clinicians that I work with who love these experiential somatic methods and with the clients who are in actively in recovery at breathe life healing centers. It's just something I think we all need is just to get back to our humanity and be gentle with our humanity. So I'm just glad that you could have me on to talk about some of them.

Christine Li  27:09  
Yes, grateful. Grateful. Yeah, can you please let us know how? Oh, thank you. Yeah. So glad to reconnect. Really? Yeah. Could you let us know how our listeners can stay connected to you? I'm sure they will want to.

Adrienne Glasser  27:22  
Sure. Yeah. So the best way to stay connected to me is to go to Adrian Glasser calm and on there. You can sign on to my mailing list. There's a free meditation, the BRI can do some more of these parts work somatic parts work that's there for you. And I'm on Instagram, it's Adrian Glasser, those are good ways to stay in touch. And I also if you're on my mailing list, do the occasional movement party, where we do some some move some dancing some movement, because I think joy and expression and fun can be part of our lives too. That never has to stop. And that's for movers and non movers.

Christine Li  28:04  
I love it. Let's all move more. In 2022 Happy New Year, everyone. Happy New Year. Adrienne. Thanks again.

Adrienne Glasser  28:12  
Yeah, you can also find me at breathe life healing centers. That's the best way to find me if you're interested in all things recovery, addiction and recovery focus.

Christine Li  28:23  
I love it. Thank you so much. Thank you. We'll see you all next week. Thanks for being here. Bye. Thank you for listening to this episode of the Make Time for Success podcast. If you enjoyed what you heard, you can subscribe to make sure you get notified of upcoming episodes. You can also visit our website maketimeforsuccesspodcast.com for past episodes, show notes and all the resources we mentioned on the show. Feel free to connect with me over on Instagram too. You can find me there under the name procrastination coach. Send me a DM and let me know what your thoughts are about the episodes you've been listening to. And let me know any topics that you might like me to talk about on the show. I'd love to hear all about how you're making time for success. Talk to you soon.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Adrienne GlasserProfile Photo

Adrienne Glasser

Experiential Psychotherapist/Meditation Teacher/Advisor

Adrienne Glasser LCSW, RDMT (she/her) is the co-founder of IFSLA - Internal Family Systems Therapy Los Angeles, an experiential psychotherapist certified in IFS, somatic dance movement therapist, healer, meditation teacher and advisor on compassionate addiction and trauma treatment. She currently runs an online community focused on experiential & somatic IFS techniques and meditations for therapists and to support those in on-going recovery for traumatized, addicted, or “codependent” parts. She serves as the Executive Advisor to Breathe Life Healing Centers where she runs experiential groups and advises on compassionate and contemplative treatment of addictions and trauma using IFS. She has studied Buddhist psychology for 20 years and enjoys connecting these teachings with IFS.