Same Time Next Week? | S1 Ep6 | Jessica's Therapy Story

Season 1 | Episode 6

Jessica's Therapy Story


Jessica is a bold Enneagram 8 who speaks from a place of experience on so many topics. She started therapy at a young age after a scary and traumatic home break-in that would continue to affect her into her adult life. After years of deep personal work, Jessica is now an Enneagram Coach helping other people find liberation and claim the life they deserve!

In this episode, Jessica walks us through what it’s like to process childhood trauma, racial trauma, and overcome extremely dark feelings. Despite everything she’s experienced, Jessica still approaches life with an incredible amount of joy. You can find her on Instagram at @Jessicaddicksoncoaching.


  • Childhood trauma

  • Guilt and shame

  • Racial trauma 

  • Hypnotherapy

  • Getting in touch with emotions

  • Overcoming darkness

  • Integrating healing into your life


Episode Transcript

 Michael Shahan 0:00
WHi. Welcome to the same time next week, the podcast where we demystify the therapy experience by talking with people who share their own personal therapy journeys. In each episode, we begin to uncover what therapy actually is, how it works, what helps, what doesn't, and everything in between. I'm Michael Shahan, a marriage and family therapist in Kansas City. Let's get started. Today's guest is Jessica Dickson. She is an enneagram coach who supports people who are tired of the white supremacist, patriarchal status quo, reimagine and redefine freedom. I really hope you enjoyed this conversation. Trigger warning, this episode contains conversations around physical assault and harm.

Jessica Dickson 0:43
My name is Jessica Denise Dickson. I'm a black cisgender heterosexual woman. My pronouns are she, her, and hers. I reside in Kumeyaay land which is currently known as San Diego, California. I'm an Enneagram eight, and a coach who supports people in doing their Enneagram work in defining, claiming and really creating personal and collective liberation and reclaiming their relationship with their bodies. I also am a fitness instructor. I teach two classes, fitness classes and love life.

Michael Shahan 1:27
That's awesome. I love how I don't know how confident and passionate you are about all of that. Very matter of fact, like this is who I am this what I do, this is what I love! So yeah, thanks for being on the podcast. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I'm excited to have you here. I'm going to just talk about today about your own therapy journey in throughout your life and how it's helped them and parts of it that have been beneficial. And yeah, there's a lot about that. So like, when when did you start therapy? When when was that something that you started?

Jessica Dickson 2:08
The first time I went to therapy, I was a kid, actually. I, we had had this man, this man broke into our home, and assaulted my mom in the middle of the night. And we went to family therapy. And I hated it. And I blamed the therapist. Now, it wasn't anything that the therapist did. The therapy, we only went once, but on our way home, because my dad was not home during that incident. And me and my brother blamed him for not protecting us. And it felt like he kind of like, what what it felt like was he threw that in our faces. Like, we thought we were in this really safe place where we can say anything. And where it was just like we could really be really honest with our therapist, and then hearing what we said, kind of thrown back at us was really painful.

Michael Shahan 3:11
In what ways? Was it the therapist that threw it back on you? Is that what you're saying?

Jessica Dickson 3:14
So we, me and my brother, we kind of on our own time with a therapist, and then on the way home me dad was like, "You think this?" and you know, like,

Michael Shahan 3:24
Wow, okay, so he sort of more vulnerable with your therapist and your dad kind of use that to, sort of personalize it and and tried to... Wow, what a great start.

Jessica Dickson 3:32
Yeah, like, well, we don't need to go back to that. But that was really kind of start of that I you know, I really wanted to be someone who, who provided space for healing.

Michael Shahan 3:48
Having that experience made you realize you wanted to provide healing for people?

Jessica Dickson 3:51
Well, it was like, Yeah, well, because it was just bad. It was just like, wow, would I do that? And I you know, now as an adult, I can't, I can't fault the therapist because I actually don't know what the therapist told my parents. I don't know what they said to my parents, but it was like, wow, this really sucks. I want I don't want to do things that way. And I want people

Michael Shahan 4:14
I can do it better? Kind of?

Jessica Dickson 4:16
Yeah. Or like, you know, maybe not I can do it better, but I could do a different.

Michael Shahan 4:22
Different like you're not like I'm gonna do a better just because he did it bad. But like, seeing that you can do this differently for people. Yeah, better. Okay, yeah.

Jessica Dickson 4:31
So that really kind of started the whole trajectory that I went on in life in general. And then I went into therapy again, when I was in grad so that was, I got I was until that was mid mid, mid to late 90s. Okay, back in the 1900s. So then, the next time I went to therapy I was in graduate school. In 2009, I was getting my master's degree actually in counseling, and which I don't work as a therapist. Now we can talk about that though. And it was the hardest year of my life. And it continues to be a lot of people say like, you know, 2020...2020 was an, you know, you can't argue that it was a challenging year on a global level. But to that I am always like, 2009.

Michael Shahan 5:34
That was your personal 2020?

Jessica Dickson 5:36
I was in crisis, there was so much happening. So I was in grad school, and I was dealing with a mom who had breast cancer, and she was across the country for me. I had moved I originally was in Michigan, she was in Michigan, still, I was living in Florida, doing my grad school thing. I had an uncle who had stage four cancer. He ended up passing away. I had an aunt who was who had a stroke, and she ended up being hospitalized for a bit. Again, I had a boss who was dealing all the same year, I had a boss who was dealing with his dad having cancer, so he was up. And he was from Canada. So Florida to Canada. So he was in Canada for a while helping his dad recover from surgery, then his dad passed away. And then he also had a new baby. So he was gone a lot of the time. And so I was responsible for a lot of things that weren't really originally my responsibility. Because he was just out of the office so much. So I kind of at work, we were dealing with a lot of things, we were dealing with some air quality, quote, air quality issues, aka mold issues within. I mean, I don't know if I'm allowed to say that. Now, that was like an NDA. I'm just kidding. But it was like, you know, Florida, mold, whatever, there's a lot of humidity. We were dealing with air quality issues. And we had my boss's boss was new. And she was just a challenging supervisor, a really good person as far as people go, but really not the best supervisor. And so there was always this fear, like in the office of like, am I going to do something wrong? Or am I going to mess up is she going to bring it up three months later? And it was just there was just so much all the time, life was hard. And graduate school being in a counseling program? Oh, my gosh, it just kicks up all your stuff already. Because you're always practicing these these techniques!

Michael Shahan 7:32
It's basically therapy for yourself. For years!

Jessica Dickson 7:36
Exactly! Yeah, exactly. So I just remember crying, I was crying myself to sleep every day, every day for a while, actually, before I even realized, like, you should actually get some help. You should get some help.

Michael Shahan 7:54
So you said, crying yourself to sleep for days and days wasn't evidence for you to like, get some help with it? So that. that's not judgemental!

Jessica Dickson 8:01
Did I mention I'm an Enneagram eight?

Michael Shahan 8:10
Yes. That's perfect! Yes...We don't have a problem here. There's no problem here!

Jessica Dickson 8:15
It was just like, Oh, you like life's hard, you know, it's like... But then my thoughts started getting really dark and really deep. And I was like, oh, okay, like you're, it takes me actually a while in general. So something about me that you should know is that I can I, for the most part, I can muscle through hard times, you know, I have a big capacity to hold things that are really hard. And so for me, it actually takes me a long time to recognize that I'm not doing well. And usually it's before I even realize it, because I have a lot of joy. And I lead with a lot of joy. And even when things are dark, I actually even tend to still feel pretty happy in life. And so there's this weird, like, tension within me all the time around, "Okay, I'm not doing well, but like, I still like, Look, there's a butterfly, like, how beautiful is life?" You know? So it'd be a strong seven wing, it could just be that my disposition you know, but it takes me a while I am, you know, some of the of the work of the eight is like really getting in touch with our hearts, right. And so sometimes that can be really out of touch with that until I'm just like, until my mental thoughts are like really dark. And I'm like, oh, how do we get here? Oh, I've been on this path, actually. And I just wasn't really present to it.

Michael Shahan 9:35
Yeah, that's what I was wondering. Like, what was it about that shifted the crying every night to like, I need help with this. I mean, what shifted that kind of pasture denial of needing something started happening. So like you're saying like, the dark thoughts was it?

Jessica Dickson 9:48
It was it was mostly that and people were like, Oh, are you okay?

Michael Shahan 9:53
Do you mind describing what you mean by dark thoughts?

Jessica Dickson 9:57
Oh, yeah. Like, I shouldn't be here. Like, this is too hard, like, I wouldn't leave like, you know, like suicidal ideation, really. Yeah, it got really, really bad. I was because I was just like, what's the point of all of this? There's so much pain, there was so much pain, and I couldn't be with my mom and me and my mom were really close. And it was really hard for me to, to really, you know, be down and be so far from her. And it was just, yeah, my thoughts just turned like, you shouldn't be here this is maybe maybe life is not for you.

Michael Shahan 10:37
And that was, that was a wow, life is not for you. And that was a bigger red flag for you to do something and then just kind of just just crying yourself to sleep every night? Yeah. Pretty big deal. For some reason, the thoughts kind of made, more of an impact on you.

Jessica Dickson 10:52
it wasn't until that that I was like, Oh, right. You're not really doing well. I mean, even last year with let let me tell you my my processes is I'm catching myself in the act much more quickly, where I'm like, Oh, this actually leads to that. So if you know that you're on the air, yeah. When I'm in it, like a depressive episode or, you know, I'm kind of like, you know, feeling sad or, or my grief is overtaking me. Even last year, when the when the pandemic first hit, I was living in a place that I didn't love living in mostly because me and my roommate did not really get a large super well. And she she was a violin teacher, and she taught violin lessons out of the house. Now, pre pandemic, I was gone most the time I taught fitness classes, I was at networking events, I was hanging out with friends, I was out at restaurants, I was living my best life. And I was rarely home during her lessons. But during the pandemic, I was held all day. And hearing five hours of violin lessons was driving me a little bit. I couldn't go anywhere either, right? Like that was like right before we learned, like, Hey, you should get a mask. And you know, I mean, that was before all of that was even a part of the conversation. And Whoa, I just remember catching myself like, oh, you're sad. Like, I burst into tears at night. And I actually reached out to friends before it got to the super deep, like, this actually might be too hard for you to deal with, part.

Michael Shahan 12:25
Whoa, that's really big for an eight.

Jessica Dickson 12:27
So I'm really at Yeah, I feel like, I'm really proud. And I and you know of myself, because like I said it could take me so long. Before I actually like catch it.

Michael Shahan 12:38
Is that are you saying you're catching it quicker lately, though, in life? What's what is? How have you done that?

Jessica Dickson 12:47
Yeah. A lot of deep work a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot of deep work. And recognizing for me that it actually is worth it for me to pay attention to how I feel. And it's worth it for me to pay attention to the whole experience of who I am instead of just pushing through, because I have the capacity to. So much of my life was like, Oh, you know, almost like proving my strength proving my, you know, capability proving my competence. And so when I was feeling these things, I was like, well, you can do it anyway. Like, don't let that stop you almost. And it's like, well, it's okay if it stops you. It's okay, if it slows you down. And so when I actually take off or let myself relax from that story that I always have to be, you know, the strong, capable and competent one, it gives me more access to be able to see like, oh, if you're not doing well. Emotionally, it's not working for you. Yeah, all these other things are great, but emotionally no. Yeah, actually, it's really important for you too.

Michael Shahan 13:58
Wow. And there's like a permission and seeing the importance of tending to yourself in those parts of you. Is that something learned in therapy? Some of that, because you said a lot of self, you said a lot of self work or growth work. I don't know exactly what you said. But was some of that from therapy?

Jessica Dickson 14:14
Some of it is from therapy, actually. And I think too that, so the last time I was in therapy was last summer. And I actually I got into therapy last summer, because of some racialized trauma. So I my background of work is in higher education, and I left higher ed in 2019. And after that, I worked for a white Enneagram Coach. A white male Enneagram coach. And he had hired me because he wanted me to support him in working with communities of color because he really believes that the Enneagram should be more accessible for communities of color. And of course, I'm like yes, should be I'm down. And so for my background in higher ed, in Residence Life, in student affairs, I did a lot of diversity work, a lot of anti racism training. And my job literally for over a decade was to create inclusive communities. So I know what it is to actually be able to work in communities and support people who have been historically marginalized and oppressed and creating space for that. And the work always starts with you. Always, it always does. Because, you know, going in as a white savior actually doesn't work at all. It creates a lot of pain and a lot of harm. And so, I for six months, you know, from July 2019, to January 2020, I worked for him, and it was a very challenging six months. I was often gaslit gaslighted. I don't know what the right word is. But there was all often this, like, I don't believe you. You know, I was he said that he just thinks that I have an issue with him, because he's a white man, you know, not that it was, yeah, that, you know, I had a problem because of his privilege. And I'm like, I don't think that you're paying attention to what I'm saying, well, there's actually some really harmful things that are happening within this organization. And we need to deal with them before, you can just go into communities of color and just be their white Savior. But it seemed like he was maybe more, you know, concerned with going in and rescuing the people. And so I had some trauma from that. I left, I left. I was I was committed to being there for two years. But everyone in my life was like, I'm sorry, why are you still there? I'm sorry. Are you still there? I'm sorry. Like, over time, starting really, really the first month I was there, like your writing was on the wall. But type eight, I have the capacity, I can do it. I'm strong enough for this, that proving that I somehow had you know, and it I mean, which course like, can be helpful, but also, it's really painful.And so I was dealing with that. So I thought I dealt with it by leaving. And people are like, my friends are like, re you getting support from that? And I was like, "I left!" I just did not even I was like, maybe I should work, talk to someone work with someone. And then I was working with another white coach who was my coach. And it was the similar dynamics. You know, one of the things that I know is that when white men's, white people are not specifically doing their anti racism, work, that commitment to their own personal work, it comes out in harm. So this pattern is not unique to them. But it was you know, it played out for me, and, in big ways. And so there was an there was more trauma again. And so I actually worked with a hypnotherapist. Okay.

Michael Shahan 18:11
We have not talked about on the podcast yet. So I would love to talk about that.

Jessica Dickson 18:15
I, I was like, I want to work with something, someone and the one person I'm not going to work with is someone who does hypnosis.

Michael Shahan 18:23
That's what you thought at the beginning?

Jessica Dickson 18:35
That's what I said to myself! I was, like, I'm really skeptical about this, we're not doing that, right. And then so I then I reached out to a group of women of color who were entrepreneurs. And I was like, "Hey, I'm dealing with this trauma, I need help." And she reached out and said, You know, I help people. And I didn't really know what it was at first, like, so I just went in and we had a consultation. And in that consultation, she kind of broke open my heart in a way that I was like, "Oh, I'm so seen that no matter what you have for me, I'll do it."

Michael Shahan 19:12
Woah, almost like that caused you to trust what she had for you. Even if it was like being seen by her let you trust whatever she brought to the table, even if you had difficulties with it before?

Jessica Dickson 19:25
It was being seen and it was like it was like being held because she pushed into me in a way that I was like, no one speaks to me like this. Like, oh, you but you can hold it and you can push into me. And you know, tell me the very uncomfortable truth that I was not necessarily wanting to face as directly as she gave it to me. But I was like, Oh, you're gonna be like, if it's gonna be like this, like whatever, I'm in. I'm all in.

Michael Shahan 19:56
I've seen that as a common thread of eights. Like if you can push into me and hold this and I'm not too much for you and you willing to go like this than I trust you.

Jessica Dickson 20:06
Oh, yeah. Yeah, throughout the whole time, you know, there was almost a time where I could feel like she was like, should I have said that? I was like, No, you should have!

Michael Shahan 20:14
No this is great! Keep going! My face may look upset with you, but I love you right now.

Jessica Dickson 20:24
Which is like the story of my life. It's like shut up, my experience is different. I know this. I can't change this right now.

Michael Shahan 20:35
That's so good. I want every eight ever to listen to this.

Jessica Dickson 20:39
Oh my gosh, I mean, and it was a it was a it was an amazing experience. It was amazing.

Michael Shahan 20:43
Can we talk about it. What hypnotherapy was, like, if you could describe what hypnotherapy was, and how it helped you and what it did?

Jessica Dickson 20:50
Well, yeah, it was called RTT. Or something like, I don't even know actually. This is like the level of shots that I'm like, Yeah, I was like, Okay, got it, we're in, let's do this, let's do this. And it was it's just this eye, this eye positioning that allows you to go really deep into the work. And so it was, I think, a three hour session. And we went in and in. So it's three hour session. And then

Michael Shahan 21:27
That wasn't actually the consult? The consult was three hours of therapy?

Jessica Dickson 21:30
One hour. The consult was one hour and hypnotherapy was was three hours. And then there's a recording that you listen to for 21 days, and then you have a follow up. Whoa, okay. So I mean, it was the biggest thing. I mean, we went deep into like the, the, the thing I talked about earlier, the break in, we call it the break, and in my family. We refer to it. So we talked, we went deep into that, and really went deep into that I want to make Well, that's one thing that I feel like I've always I'm dealing with, in my, in my when I'm dealing with any kind of therapy, or any kind of like parent stuff, there's always something that goes back to the break in. And what we really got to was my experience fully like what is fully my experience of of that, that I hadn't really been able to tap into before that was causing some self doubt and and within me. So in multiple, like I said multiple therapies, all the personal growth stuff, working with coaches, my work with lamp doing landmark forum, like we I touched on this in so many ways. Yeah, this one, it was really like, Okay, what about you like, because I realized, and I knew this kind of before that my intuition? Oh, maybe a month or so before this, these this event happened? I felt exposed. So let me tell you more about that. I can be really free spirited and like, nothing can bother me. Like, I tend to feel very, very safe in the world. No, there's like, rarely I remember even when I was a kid, I grew up in Michigan. And when the Red Wings, won the Stanley Cup, there was a there was a parade and I we were at the parade. My dad went to the bathroom and this like old man who was like watching me the whole time, like as a kid, like, he was like old and gray. He came up to me He's like, oh, why don't you come Come with me. And I was like, now bruh like, I'm good. Like, I was like, I can hold my own like, yeah. But there was a time and I just, it was a feeling in my body that I felt exposed like when I was outside. So in our, we had a detached garage. So anytime we would park you know, I just like want to walk to the house. But during this time, I'd either wait for my family or I'd run to the door and wait at the door. Wow. And I just was like, I didn't know what it was. But I knew that there was something I felt like some someone was watching like something wasn't safe. Like it was not okay to be out in the open and to be like free especially at night. And so I blamed myself for not doing more when this break in happened.

Michael Shahan 24:29
So not just the break-in itself was it was your own feeling exposed in like quote, like knowing something and not do anything about it. So it wasn't the event itself, but almost your own reaction to yourself from the event kind of in your way of handling it?

Jessica Dickson 24:45
Right and that just like it got that's why we were able to go so much deeper because it wasn't just about like the trauma from the event. It was like, What is my what was my participation? What was my the ways that I was holding myself accountable? As a kid, you know, to to do something more, because I had this feeling.

Michael Shahan 25:09
Sorry, I keep, that that piece of trauma that is usually the case. It's not the event itself. It's our the meaning we make of the event and our self and our role and the people around like it was I safe was I protected should I've done this, I was trapped. By not the event itself, but the kind of meaning we make about it, is what sticks with us.

Jessica Dickson 25:28
Because I always like I had so much guilt for so many so many years. For not doing something more.

Michael Shahan 25:36
What did you tell yourself?

Jessica Dickson 25:38
I, I told myself that. Oh, gosh, there's so so much that came from that. I think one of the biggest things was like, then I need to do more.

Michael Shahan 25:53
Wow. And that almost stuck with you. Oh, my gosh, you know, when sometimes

Jessica Dickson 25:58
when I'm working with people around their enneagram type, I'm like, when was the time that you consciously remember taking on the protection or beliefs of your type. And for me, one of them that I need to be strong or they need to be stronger was this because what happened was the men broken my brother woke up and I went out because I heard commotion. He told me to go back to my room. So I did and so I went all I did, I saw I heard everything, but I wasn't actively part of it. And so what what it made me feel like I should have like run upstairs to go try to be on to call 911 while it was happening, there was all this like I should have gone and tried to attack the man so he wouldn't hurt my mom...

Michael Shahan 26:46
All sorts 'f "shoulds" that you held about yourself.

Jessica Dickson 26:51
Yeah, yeah. I was in seventh grade.

Michael Shahan 26:55
And those shoulds like stuck with you even after the event, the narratives of I should do more, I should be doing more, I shall be stronger. I need to, like even after the event, those beliefs disconnected from the event with still effect and taint everything.

Jessica Dickson 27:09
It was only until last year that me and my mom actually had a conversation about it, that I was able to let it go cuz she was always like, No, you shouldn't have done any of that you did exactly what you should have done. And, you know, last year really understood for the first time, like how much she was thinking. Her thoughts were let me just do with this man once whatever he needs, so that my children are safe. And I was thinking I didn't protect my mom. I didn't protect her. I should have done more.

Michael Shahan 27:45
I should have protected my mom as a seventh grader?

Jessica Dickson 27:47
There was so much yeah, there was shame and guilt about around around like, you know, my intuition. What's the point of having this these thoughts, this intuition if it's not going to be able to change anything? And so being able to have that hypnotherapy session will actually really allowed me to reclaim my intuition that my intuition is actually important. That as a as a seventh grader, I did what was appropriate for me as a seventh grader. And then I can I can move forward. I can.

Michael Shahan 28:22
Reclaim your intuition. Trust yourself believe that I did all I could do there's nothing more I could have. Or should have done so removing those shoulds not like changing what happened but changing your idea of what you expected of yourself. Yeah. In your own.

Jessica Dickson 28:38
Yeah. major, major point of freedom. How did you, do you mind sharing just like the how that shifted in you during hypnotherapy wasn't just by telling yourself something was a by re experiencing something was a by seeing things in a new way. Like what what caused the shift? to that? easy questions. I know Yeah.

But yeah, I love I love the question. I don't know what I can point to in it. It was just this like, almost like this feeling in my body like that. I did what I could, that I did what I could go do doing what's mine to do has always been a challenge. And I realized actually, just in this conversation, how much of that stems back to that event.

Michael Shahan 29:35
Wow. Well, you're welcome for that revelation. That'll be $100 for you afterwards.

Jessica Dickson 29:51
But yeah, it's I mean, for me feeling like I didn't do enough. And so I overdue I'm over done in my life and I didn't grow thing now how much that has shifted in my life over the past year? Oh my gosh. Because realizing like, Oh, I don't, Is this mine to do? Am I trying to prove something?

Michael Shahan 30:12
I think you're probably my guess is you're able to see with that I need to do more belief isn't as deeply rooted in you. You're able to, like come out in a more logical way. Like maybe you don't need to do anything. And that's okay. Like, it's not this traumatized part of you wanting to come out, you're able to sort of come at it with is wiser self is what I would guess. You're not so impacted by that, "I need to do more."

Jessica Dickson 30:35
Absolutely. She's coming out. She is like fierce. And she's like, she's like questioning herself in a way that she didn't before. Because of course, when you have that belief, you don't know to question it.

Michael Shahan 30:46
Yes! It is so deeply rooted in the waters you swim in and so you don't notice it. Yes, yeah. Yes. That that "I need to do more" has shifted for you with that hypnotherapy into "I did what I could." Yeah. And I think that, in my opinion, in therapy, changing those core beliefs creates more change than anything else. And there's different ways of doing it. It sounds like the hypnotherapy is a very experiential body. I don't I don't know. Did you go and reimagine memories? Did you go watch yourself? What did that...

Jessica Dickson 31:16
Yeah, so we went into like, can you be there? Yeah. Like, be in the place? Where where you were at the time? Yeah, like, recounting it recalling it, like, remembering it.

Michael Shahan 31:31
Was that hard?

Jessica Dickson 31:33
I mean, no, because I think I, at the time, really thought about it regularly. So it didn't feel like it was hard to go there.

Michael Shahan 31:45
So what was the difference between thinking about it regularly and getting stuck on loop and not changing? And thinking about it in therapy? What's the difference?

Jessica Dickson 31:53
I think the difference is having someone to walk me through,... "Why are you focused on that?" . Why is that thought the important thing? Or like, why is what is up with this part? Like, I'm not understanding it. You know, because I'm very, I know my story very well. But when you're with someone who like isn't invested in the story in the same way, they're able to ask different questions.

Michael Shahan 32:20
Yeah, and let you maybe see different parts of it. Like I didn't need to do more, it wasn't my role to. Yeah, it keeps coming up in this in this training that I did for this trauma therapy called EMDR. Sometimes people use like visual aids like there's a story that they told us in training of like this guy dealing with trauma, when he was like five, like, I should have protected my mom from my dad, I should. And the therapist brought in a pair of shoes that a five year old would wear tiny shoes. Ane he was like, I was tiny! I could not have protected even if I wanted to. And it just shifts that like that experience of seeing in a new way from adulthood. Like, it's just shifts so much. Yeah. And that stuck in my mind a lot from a train sounds like this kind of what happened with you in a different way? Like you're able to look at the memory and say, hold on, like, there wasn't anything I needed to do more. I did all I could. Yeah. And that shifts everything.

Jessica Dickson 33:10
Yeah. And my job was what my brother said to go to go to your room go lay down. That was my role.

Michael Shahan 33:17
And he did it. Well. Did it. Wow. I can't even I'm thank you for sharing this. I have like, I'm really glad I asked you. And I'm really glad you're sharing this because I think this is so core to healing and therapy like this shifting of ideas, and is just a perfect example.

Jessica Dickson 33:34
Yeah, I didn't I didn't expect to talk about it. So thank you for that!

Michael Shahan 33:43
Oh, absolutely. Remember, you're paying me so. And so you're seeing shifts happen in your day to day life now from rewriting that kind of underlying narrative?

Jessica Dickson 33:59
Yeah, I mean, it's, it's, it's real. I mean, it's massively massively changed the way that I show up.

Michael Shahan 34:09
Yeah, how could it not? That's huge. The coolest thing is about this, the work that you did is it isn't you're like, how do I specifically change how I show up? How do I do this different? It just happened when your belief shifted this second order change, not a behavioral change. But under like the surface, how you think about things and how you see yourself just when that shifts, your behaviors just automatically change?

Jessica Dickson 34:36
Yeah, and I didn't go in thinking like, I want to talk about the break in dealing with this white male trauma, this racialized trauma, you know, as a black woman. And it's just like, that's what ended up and I mean, this this therapy was like, very self-led. So you know, we just okay, she She asked me about a situation. I don't remember the exact question. But that was where I ended up going. And what I realized even dealing with the, the white men was that I didn't I actually didn't trust myself. You know, in those in those times when when things weren't, weren't right and I knew that they were not right, I chose to stay. And all the power dynamics that come from being, you know, being a black person and a white male, you know, some of those power differentials. Him being my supervisor. Yeah. All of that, you know, not, you know, he hired me for to do something, but didn't really authorize me to do it. Like he didn't give me the actual power to do it. It was so it was more like in theory that he wanted me to do it, then in practice. He wasn't ready to really do the work. But I was able to actually see the part that I played in it. Because I chose to stay. Because I felt like I need to I got to do more.

Michael Shahan 36:11
Yes, that I need to do more believe that was stuck with you led to even stay in a further traumatizing situation.

Jessica Dickson 36:17
Yep. And it was. I mean, I was regularly invalidated regularly traumatized, like, Oh, my gosh, all the time, in that in that short six months.

Michael Shahan 36:28
Wow. And so you're saying like that belief almost led to more of that. Like maybe if you didn't have it, I can do more believe you might have been left earlier. Yeah. Whenever the first time that everyone's like, why are you doing this? Why are you here? Why are you saying cuz I have a negative belief of I should do more traumatic experience in my life. And don't let me take care of myself and listen to my intuition. See that? Wow. So you almost saw your part in it meaning meaning your own sort of narratives and the role it played in keeping you there?

Jessica Dickson 37:05
Yeah. You know, like, it's, sometimes we have trauma that we utilize to create the worlds that we're in. And that's not to say that the traumas our fault, you know, some trauma, you know, sometimes we just get traumatized. Sometimes people hurt us. But this work this, this, this healing work that can happen through therapy is so important, so that we don't actually use the trauma to co create a life that we don't want.

Michael Shahan 37:35
Yes, that you don't want and that other people around, you probably don't want for you right with you. And right, yeah, you can just kind of further wound yourself and other people can play play into the already negative and unhelpful systems that are already present. That sucks. get angry about this stuff that like, in our like traumatized state, we like find our way to further traumatizing places, and that just seems wildly unfair.

Jessica Dickson 38:04
Yeah. Part of the, you know, the human, you know, being a human is that unless something interrupts you know, we just keep moving along with these same beliefs, with these same thoughts.

Michael Shahan 38:14
With inertia. Yeah. That's stupid. I'm with you in that gut triad in the enneagram. That justice and unfairness.

Jessica Dickson 38:26
Yeah and that's dumb!

Michael Shahan 38:29
I have a question about your therapist was your therapist. You said she was a woman, was she black?

Jessica Dickson 38:35

Michael Shahan 38:35
Was that helpful for you to step in that space? Like compared? I don't know, like, would you do you think you could have felt comfortable with, like almost these two traumatizing events with white men? Was it helpful for you to do you think was necessary at that point to you have a black woman as your therapist?

Jessica Dickson 38:51
Yeah, I mean, for me, it was and I knew that at the time, you know, sure. I intentionally was like, I want to work with a woman of color if I'm gonna work with anyone around this. And even just like the first thing, I mean, the first time when when we had the one hour thing, and she gave me my whole life, it was her challenging the idea that it had anything to do with someone other than me. That the way that I showed up, had like, cuz I'm like, blaming, you know, I'm like, Well, what can I could change this relationship? What can I do to help this really heal this relationship and help them show up?

Michael Shahan 39:29
How can I make them show up better for me kind of, wow.

Jessica Dickson 39:33
She was like, I'm sorry. Like, what do you what do you think of that has anything to do with you? Well, what do you mean?

Michael Shahan 39:43
How dare you, lady! How could you challenge my notion of control of other people?

Jessica Dickson 39:51
You're challenging my whole life lady back up. But I was like, Oh, I need this. I needed it. So because my whole life was built around around that. And not necessarily even in a control way, but in a, how can I curate myself to create this kind of change? Like, what are the ways that I can show up to be the most impactful?

Michael Shahan 40:18
Okay, like for other people?

Jessica Dickson 40:20
For other people, and she really brought it back to actually this is, this isn't really about them. It's about you, and how you want to live your life and the choices that you have made. And I'm like that, you know, there's part of the part of the type eight that I talk about, sometimes is that we can, we can be a little bit victim-y.

Michael Shahan 40:47
You, you. Yes, I remember you share that with me once you like eights don't like hearing this, but it's really true.

Jessica Dickson 40:53
Yeah, ah, eights don't love it. But there is some kind of like, I rescue I protect because I want that. And it comes from this really tender hearted place. But it can also lead us to be like, Oh, you mistreated me. You know, that betrayal thing comes a little bit from this. This, I just wanted you to care for me. And now I'm, I'm a victim. And now now because you've hurt me, I can then cut you out of my life. I can harm you. I can you know, do the same thing that you did to me or do worse to you or burn down your village. You know, like, I think of like like the dragon, you know?

Michael Shahan 41:40
Right, like, that's kind of scary. An eigh betrayed.

Jessica Dickson 41:44
Right, right, right. Right. Right. Right. So being in touch with that part that's like, oh, like I actually the reason that I'm so angry is this part of me that feels victimized. And we don't often have the space to own that, because we feel like we have to be strong. And that would that would mean that we had some kind of weakness. Wow. And so when I look at that? What's the point?

Michael Shahan 42:11
So the like the anger that comes from feeling victimized, there's like a, there's an anger from it, but also like, denial of the victimization, and your anger.

Jessica Dickson 42:21
Yeah. Isn't that lovely?

Michael Shahan 42:24
What a fun cycle!

Jessica Dickson 42:27
Imagine what it feels like be in that! Like, I'm gonna put up this wall to deny it, but also live in the, in the emotional experience of it.

Michael Shahan 42:40
Like crying every night, but then telling yourself that you don't have a problem. But yeah, this is okay, that you can keep pushing forward. Everything's fine. Wow. Yeah. Man, I'm so I'm so appreciative of you sharing all this. And it's I just love where we're going in because I think, yeah, lots of different therapies that look differently in the practice of them. But I think that what they do at the core is sort of you're able to experience yourself in a new way and integrate parts of you in more healthy ways. And to sort of shift the narratives you have about yourself, that can be accomplished in different ways. And for you, it was hypnotherapy. And that worked really well. Yeah. And really well, trust. It sounds like to think at the time, I'll go on. No, no, I was, I was gonna trust wise, do you trust and safety with your therapist? How big of a factor was that in the therapy working? And helping?

Jessica Dickson 43:39
So, so massive. So so big. You know, a lot of times when and I think it's important for people who maybe haven't really tried therapy before, who are skeptical about it, or you know, who are thinking about it, but haven't really dove in, is that I spent a lot of time at the beginning of therapy with a new therapist, trying to figure out what they're all about. Like, can you hold me? Are you gonna? Are you going to challenge me? I need you to challenge me. I'm not in therapy just to talk to someone and giggle. Like, I need you. I need to be able to know that you are going to push back on my bullshit.

Michael Shahan 44:24
Hmm. And how did you like you said you spent time figuring them out and seeing if they would have you do that like overtly?

Jessica Dickson 44:32
Well, well, for me, like I can be really resistant. Okay, and so I'm typically extremely resistant at the beginning of therapy. And most of this was running super unconscious before so I know now that I'm much more self aware, I can see like, Oh, yeah, that was just my way of making sure that you were gonna be able to call me out. I didn't realize it at first, but you know, I realized I've recently realized that only in the past few years,Because it'll take me, like, if I'm, you know, going to be in a regular relationship with a therapist, I, it takes me a few to be like, are you gonna be like, we haven't done anything today, like we haven't talked about... Or you've talked about things that are really light. Is that why you're in therapy? Like, I need someone who's going to, like, ask those questions. Okay. And so it can take a bit for me to feel like, okay, I trust you enough to go into the depths of it. And so for me, having that is everything. It's everything. And, you know, for people that maybe you haven't had a therapist, or maybe you have a therapist, and you don't feel like things are working, just know that it's okay, that maybe they're not a therapist for years, that actually doesn't make them a bad therapist, and it doesn't make the therapy process any less powerful or transformative. And you have to find your people, you have to find the person that is for you. And not everyone is that's true, not just in therapy. It's true in life.

Michael Shahan 46:06
Wow. And that being true doesn't take away from the effective effectiveness of the therapist as a whole. Maybe with you sure. Right. You're saying like, I love that you said it, because so many people are afraid to change their bus because they don't want the therapist to feel bad. They feel like them seeing somebody else means I'm saying you're not a good therapist. But that's not what it has to mean. I mean, it may be right. But that doesn't have to be what it means.

Jessica Dickson 46:29
It does not have to be what it means. Yeah, not at all. And you know, the therapists relationship, I was talking to someone about therapy, the past few days, and how that the relationship, the client therapist relationship, how muddled they can be, you know, and muddled, or, you know, it can get like, because someone was talking about, like, calling out a client that they have about something that they did on social media, and they're like, do you think a therapist would do that? And I was like, wow, I don't think so. Because already clients already feel like, I felt much, much closer to my therapist, and they felt to me, you know, like, Oh, my God, my therapist knows me so well. They're just like me, they're like, my best friend. And like, you know, I don't know nothing about my therapist, you know what I mean? Like, but I do know that they can hold me. But there is something that's really important about feeling that way. Even if it's not true, I'm there. And even if they're just like holding space for me, and they, they take notes, and they put me away in their file, it's important for me, ask the client to feel like, Oh, we have that camaraderie. And we have the kind of relationship that makes me feel like I'm safe. And I'm seen.

Michael Shahan 47:44
Wow. Yeah. So that's a huge piece for you.

Jessica Dickson 47:46
Massive its massive, and in the past that she's taken me a long time, because I haven't been as self aware. So now that I'm really self aware, I'm like, I'm just I'm usually out myself.

Michael Shahan 47:58
Do you think the self awareness, self aware ability, something like that? Oh, do you think that played a part in you trusting your therapist quicker this time? Or is that something about your therapist? Or is it both?

Jessica Dickson 48:13
I think it was a combination? combination? I think she I mean, her calling me out and being able to like, question me so firmly. Yeah, like, clearly I was like, Yeah. Like, I'm actually willing, she called me out in a way that I was willing to examine it.

Michael Shahan 48:36
Hmm, well, what does it look like? Well, how we would like just gently enough, but also firm enough or what was that?

Jessica Dickson 48:43
It was, I mean, it was just like a clear, it was really straightforward. It was just like, no BS, it was just kind of like pretty, pretty transparent. Just straightforward. Yeah. It wasn't that helpful.

Michael Shahan 48:57
I think again, I love that you brought that part because I think that safety and having a relationship with your family in that way is so important cuz our brain won't even go back and reprocess traumatic traumatic memories at all, if you don't feel safe in the moment. It's gonna it's just gonna be further traumatizing so to sometimes even just going back to those moments with somebody that you feel safe and held with is all you need, like your brain I think a lot of beauty and like our brains are wanting to heal from these things. Yeah, but then we don't need anything extra that we don't have. We just need a safe space and to get to sort of let it all work through us.

Jessica Dickson 49:32
And like who like who like, most of us are not like oh my gosh, I'm gonna like dive into my trauma. But when I when I was working with with her specifically and other therapists, there's like a I wasn't excited to dive into my trauma, but I was like, I'm excited to actually deal with this and be able to, to process through this. Like there was like an excitement not to go there, but also to be in the process of So I could let it go. Yeah, yeah. It's just lovely.

Michael Shahan 50:06
I think that makes it I think that helps people get through therapy that's really hard. Knowing that like, this is worth it. I know where I want to go. I know where this can leave. I know what I am. Until I so let's make so much more of a motivation to stick with the hard stuff. It was like be an advocate for ourselves and say what we need. And yeah, that's huge in therapy to Wow. What is something that surprised you about the therapy process?

Jessica Dickson 50:33
I think the thing that always surprised me about therapy, because the time I went to therapy before was, I was dealing with like a really big betrayal. When I lived in Ohio, I lived in Ohio for two years. I call them the dark years. And that's just because I'm a Michigan Wolverine and Ohio was Buckeye land, although that probably did play a part in it. But there's also two years which in which I faced really big betrayals. And as an eight, I don't, I don't do well with those. And so I went to therapy after the first big betrayal and stayed in through the second one, thank goodness. But one of the things that surprises me always about therapy even with that my the hypnotherapy was how that we can get these really big insights during the sessions. But it's what happens between the sessions and integrating and the integration practices that I have gotten from therapists. They've been small. Like all I had to do after hypnotherapy was listen to a recording that was like 10 minutes. Maybe if that every day.

Michael Shahan 51:39
So wasn't even a lot to do?

Jessica Dickson 51:41
It wasn't a lot to do. You know, one of my therapists It was around like, you know, just like watching, watching your mind, like in watching the ways that I create stories around things like just like jotting things down for five minutes at the end of the day. Well, it's these little these little strategies, these little tools, these little techniques, in between the sessions in between different.

Michael Shahan 52:06
Yeah not just in the session, what happens, but why you shift things and see things differently and see yourself outside of the therapy session.

Jessica Dickson 52:16
Because insight is nice. Yeah, but insight often doesn't really get us the change that we want. Yes, we can have a ton of insight and know a bunch of stuff. But until we practice it until we embody it. Yes, it doesn't do much to change us. And so and sometimes as an eight I can think of it's not big, it's not gonna make a difference, right? Yeah. All sections that help you know, that help with integration. Like, I have always been surprised at how different of a life that I have, with just the small things, the small things.

Michael Shahan 52:48
Which is amazing, because it goes so against that I need to do more belief that you came into it with. Tell me what homework I have for three hours a day. But like actually, it's really small. And that's just like, Wait a second. practicing the ability to not have to do so much. Yeah. Wow. Which is further entwined with that working of I did what I could, and I don't need to do more in like a real way. That's cool. Wow. I think to finish up one last question. If somebody's listening to this, and has not gone to therapy before or was wanting to pull the trigger? Or is having doubts, what would you say to them?

Jessica Dickson 53:28
I have a few things to say. Yeah, sure. One is, especially if you are a person of color. You know many of us have come from communities and cultures and families that say you don't talk about this outside of the family, that those people can't help you that you deal with that you pray about it. You know, you don't go and you don't talk to you don't talk to another man, you're going to pay them what no, use your money for something else. Use your mind to support the family, use your money for whatever. And it's powerful to actually take the steps to heal. And it's okay if it breaks certain rules and your family or your community culture. If you can, he'll do it. Because it will impact everyone in your life. You know, I I really I come from this belief that our personal and collective healing is all intertwine. Wow. And so No, no, that it's okay. If you are the one who breaks the cycle, that we don't speak out about these things that happen that you break cycles of trauma. It's okay if you're the first one. Because your healing will lead to collective healing and that's really, really important. Well, it's also okay If it takes you a while to find your person, don't let yourself get stuck in the wild, that therapist was bad. And so I got to know Don't let yourself get stuck there, let yourself say, well, that therapist was not the therapist for me, I need another, I need another recommendation. So you won't have any referrals. Because I know that this that actually like dealing with my own stuff, that healing me is actually really important. So don't miss you know, they say, Don't miss the forest for the trees. Don't allow yourself to get stuck in this didn't work for me, oh, that means the whole the whole thing is trapped. Yeah. They're off the baby with the bathwater, we don't need to do that. So and to just be in it to know that you're going to be seen in a really, really special way by your therapist. And that in itself has value. Just being seen just being seen. Yeah, I think that's what I got. Yeah, thank you.

Michael Shahan 56:05
Thank you so much for doing this. If I don't know those people have done this before, who sort of gave opportunities like plug what they're doing? I don't know, if you want to like, Hey, I'm a coach. And you can contact me here or something? I don't know.

Jessica Dickson 56:19
Sure, sure. Sure. So if you want to hang out, you can come and hit me up on Instagram. I'm Jessica D Dixon coaching. Or you follow my personal page. whatevs. I'm there I have, you know, I do enneagram coaching. And I have just opened up a community that's called life on vulnerability. And the acronym is love the love community. And each month we as a community dive into matters of enneagram of liberation are personal and collective and embodiment. So the purpose is for us as a community to really do some of this deeper healing work together, where we can actually just learn about our enneagram type and do our work together, where we can look and see like, what are the ways that I'm being I'm feel like I'm bound? How do we create more freedom in the world, and that we embody our feeling that we embody our work that we embody true freedom. So if that's something that you feel like interests you, you know, it's a six month commitment, you can always go month to month after that, but I encourage you to come and join us in the community. Because it's, there's nothing like to me, there's nothing like community to really, really support you. And living a life of freedom. Having having people by your side or walking with you in your day to day life.

Michael Shahan 57:46
I don't know man, it sounds really dumb and useless to me. So amazing. And so I love I love Love, love that you're doing that.

Yeah, thanks again for your time. It's a really, really appreciate you sharing. And I'm excited for Yeah, thanks for having me. This was well. Thanks for listening to this episode of same time next week. Please feel free to share with your family and friends to help support the show and help us in working toward D stigmatizing therapy. So same time next week.

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