Monday, March 6, 2017

Interview with Nichole Jones

Nichole Jones, LPC


Longmont, CO

Counseling services: Individual counseling at Circle of Health
FREE group counseling: Parents of Infants group, Parents of Toddlers group, and Monarch Mamas (a postpartum support group), all at Family Garden
Yoga Classes: Yoga for Stress Relief, and Postpartum Mama "mini" Retreat, both at Family Garden

Above photo credit: Melissa Rich Photography

The following images contain source links. 
If you're the curious type, click on a picture.

What did you want to be when you were a child?

I wanted to write books. I would make books, I would write stories about my stuffed animals. I always thought I'd be an author, and maybe someday I will be.

Where were you when you had the idea to start your own business?

I was working at Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield in Denver. I worked as a care manager, and so I would do outreach to people who are at risk of being hospitalized (or who had already been hospitalized) but they had some emotional stuff going on. So they had been flagged and referred to us. The goal was to keep them out of higher levels of care. So I called people and would chat with them and connect them with resources. I'd make sure they were seeing their psychiatrist and taking their meds. That is when it came to me, that I was doing this work over the phone and why not do it from Longmont and open a practice.

I went from being a full time stay at home mom for 6 years to commuting to Denver and being gone 10 hours a day. It was not an easy transition for me or my family. 

I actually had the intention of getting out of therapy all together. I went to work at Anthem because I graduated with my masters in business administration a few months prior, and I thought I was getting out of therapy. Then I found myself really enjoying talking with people on the phone and I found myself on this team where there was people with postpartum issues and I got additional training in prenatal mood and anxiety disorders. It was as if I had forgotten this is what I had wanted to do after I got out of my own situation following my daughter's birth. I had my first panic attacks when I was pregnant with her and I remember thinking that someday I was going to support women who are experiencing this. 

I had forgotten about that and went and got my MBA and ended up at Anthem because it was a "business job" and I'll be able to move up the ladder with my MBA. But I think I'm supposed to do this work. People I'd talk with on the phone would tell me that I'm really good at this and they like talking with me about their problems. So part of it was that remembering and part of it was the pure torture of experiencing a full time job with two kids and commuting. This is not the kind of life I want to create for myself. So I did it, I quit. I had to quit, I was gone 10 hours a day, I couldn't have started my business and market and do all the things I needed to with being gone that long Monday-Friday. It was hard at first, financially, but it is working out now, 3 years later. I don't think I would've thought I'd go into private practice before that. I don't know if I'd have the courage to do it.

What called you to this work?
Being able to create the life I want to live.
Really it was my kids, to be there for my kids. I want to be the one to pick them up from school. I want to be off of the days when they're off.

I really love supporting new moms. This is something I'm coming into more and more: Mothering the mother. I love it, I really love it.
I also have people who are not mothers and I think it is amazing to see them grow and that is something I love to see.

As I'm creating my life, I love to see other people creating theirs. It is just so cool to see people blossom, it is one of my favorite things.

Do you have a favorite quote or saying that inspires you to do what you love?

"Then one day, she decided to create the life of her dreams...while her child watched her every move." - Anonymous 

"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something -- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life." - Steve Jobs, from the 2005 Stanford University commencement speech.

I want my children to know that they can create their life. Don't be afraid to ask for whatever you want. Be wild and big and beautiful and daring. I want them to see they don't have to live a life of drudgery.

In moments of self doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up?
Well, that happens. I therapise myself a little bit. Such as, "these are just old patterns you have of not feeling like you're good enough and that you don't have these gifts to offer"...then I just recognize that. That it is just a thought, and not the truth. It is not a reason to stop.

Practicing self compassion and not expecting myself to be perfect, which has taken a long time. Because I don't want to model that need to be perfect when I'm mothering the mother. To know that we don't have to be perfect. It is okay to have some ease and softness about ourselves.

I do try to meditate or do yoga nidra. Sometimes I need to do yoga, sometimes I need to go for a walk, sometimes I need to sit and watch mindless TV. Just take some space.

When ideas for your business arise, how do you keep them safe until you can work on them?
For me its not a matter of keeping them safe, it is a matter of remembering what they are! I need to have a notebook, but I don't.
I don't feel like I need to keep them safe. I notice that they will repeat themselves. They will come back over and over and over again until I do it. So I don't necessarily keep them safe anywhere, but someone is somewhere. Someone will continuously remind me.

Do you have an example of that?
I have something that I haven't acted on yet, but keeps coming back to me. I have an idea for a monthly mudras YouTube video, where I would teach a mudra and teach a guided meditation. But with all of the logistics of putting this together, I just haven't done it yet. Also, my daughter and I are talking about working on her making a yoga nidra audio recording for children with her voice. Then the other night we were out to dinner and we met this guy who just moved to Longmont and has a recording studio!
That sort of stuff happens. I don't do anything to keep the idea safe, it just keeps coming to me.
Its really about me, the timing, and the courage to do it.

How does your courage come?
I never in my life would have considered myself a courageous person, but when I look back on the things that I've done I'm more courageous than I realize. Courage comes as a bubbling, like a geyser. There are bubbles and spurts. I'm the kind of person who will dive in and see what happens.

What tool, object, or ritual could you not live without in your workday?
My breath. Sometimes I'm running around like crazy, and it comes down to being in my car and just breathing. That and I use a lot of mudras. The adi mudra is my go-to mudra.

I can do it and my hands just become one. I have a mantra too, that my teacher gave me when I did my first yoga teacher training, that has gotten me through so daughter's home birth, my son's emergency appendectomy, when I can't sleep, when I'm nervous, when I'm scared, when I'm sad. My kids sing it, and they know it is what they can say or sing when they are nervous or scared or can't sleep.
Om Namaha Shivaya - I bow to my inner self

What advice do you have for someone who would like to enter your field (or merge disciplines as you have done)?
The first thing that comes to mind is that you need to do your work. I was going to therapy school, and I had been in a lot of therapy in my life, but I didn't really do my work.
What do you mean?
It is as if I went to a therapist for advice, not to come up with solutions and not connecting with the source within me that has all the answers. My next round of therapy, when I was much older, was more of me doing my work. Really looking at myself, acknowledging and holding who I am with all my stuff (the good and the bad stuff). You're just a better therapist when you know your stuff, you just are.
Brainspotting, which is one of the interventions I use, is such a beautiful intervention because you can just be in the moment with your client. It takes off so much pressure to be the expert, because when I'm the expert I don't feel comfortable. I feel really afraid. I think I knew intuitively that I can't be. It is their story, and they are really the expert and their stuff is inside. Until I realized it for myself, I couldn't do that for people.
So do your work.
I think all therapists in training should be in therapy, good therapy.
To blend psychotherapy and yoga, it is a big work. What I found is that when you start to train in what you love, it all starts to fall into place. I love yoga, I'm passionate and enthusiastic about yoga and Brainspotting and then it works beautifully. I've seen them both work in different and beautiful ways.
If you're going to integrate, you do what you love. It will help people then. If it comes from your love and your passion and your relationships, it will work. People will buy into it. Don't piece things together that you think you should do. Do what you love and then let things evolve. It is kind of amazing what will open up to you and you realize what you are supposed to integrate into your work.

Can you suggest some books that nourish or inspire you?
All the books by Stephen Cope (a yogi at Kripalu).
I've been reading this book for 12 years. The cover is tattered and I read it over and over. It is his story of leaving a psychotherapy practice and live at Kripalu and be a yogi and work on the land. There is an abundance of knowledge and insight in that book.

These two books by Deepak Chopra. The 7 laws are the same in each book, but the second book is about how to introduce these habits to your children.

The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity, which is about how to invite prosperity and abundance into your life. That is really our right as beings on this earth, to be abundant. I grew up thinking that wealthy people were mean or greedy and I didn't deserve that. This book really shifted the way I think and I use a lot of her practices to manifest my life, along with Deepak Chopra's writings.

Women's Bodies Women's Wisdom changed my life. Way back when I was 25, and I had some health problems, and I felt like the way I was being treated was just not right. And I was right! This book lead me down the path of alternative medicine and mindfulness. I think this is a book that all women should have and reference throughout their lives.

Connect with Nichole Jones, LPC

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