Insecurity and building Confidence with guest Matthias J. Barker.
Want to watch the video podcast? Join MI PLUS+
Join us as we really plunge into a deep discussion about insecurity and building confidence! Guest Matthias J. Barker joins us sharing his expertise in trauma. This rich conversation is well worth a listen as our conversation navigates the challenges with insecurity as well as how can we restore confidence?
In this podcast we discuss:
- Labels and false summits
- Fight or Flight
- Shame, guilt and personal responsibility
About our guest:
Matthias Barker has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and has been formally trained for treating complex trauma, anxiety, and marital issues. He treats a large variety of mental disorders and difficult life circumstances in his clinical practice based in Spokane, Washington. Matthias is the author of two e-books, On Grief and On Avoiding Burnout. In addition, he has released three public workshops focusing on Anxiety, Trauma, and a Couples Workshop.
Want a transcript? See below!
Tami: [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to the communication solution podcast. Here at IFIOC, we love to talk communication. We love to talk motivational interviewing, and we love talking about improving outcomes for individuals, organizations, and the communities that they serve today. We’ve got Casey Jackson on the line.
John Gilbert and I’m Tammy. Welcome to the conversation.
John Gilbert: Hello. Again, everyone. We have yet another guest on our IFIOC podcast today. This is a wonderful human being that I’ve just met. And I’m really looking forward to this conversation because he has some particular questions in mind. Um, his name is Mathias Barker and he will share his contact info and he is quite the.
Instagrammer, among many other things out there with his own podcasts that Casey was on. And so, [00:01:00] we will make sure you get some sort of direction or link to that in our notes. We just want to, as you said, play around with some thoughts today, uh, particularly with your expertise in, trauma and some different projects you’re working on.
So first I just want to say welcome. And, uh, what would you like to talk about today?
Matthias Barker: Thank you. It’s an honor to be here. Yeah, I, I encounter Casey at one of his workshops back when I was in my masters program. And so I’ve kind of been, um, continually gleaning wisdom from afar. And so anytime I get to be in a room with Casey, I just, I just try to get him talking and steal all the secrets.
So that’s all I’ve tried to do, but I’m happy to be here. It’s a generous, yeah. Title of the. Trauma expert title. I, I think I’m learning just the same as everyone else. It’s uh, most of my clientele is in complex trauma and in working particularly with sexual trauma, that’s where I’ve done most of my training.
Insecurity and trauma
And so that’s where a lot of. Um, yeah, a lot of my reading, a lot of my supervision, a lot of my mentorship has been in that [00:02:00] world. So yeah. It’s, it’s an honor to get to hang out. Yeah. I, you know, right before we started recording, I just kinda threw out the idea. I’m like, you know, it would be interesting to discuss, cause I have some thoughts front of mind, but I’d love to get both of your views on it is, is just the dynamic of insecurity as it relates to trauma.
And, um, you know, so I’m on social media. I, I make a lot of like Instagram and Tik TOK videos. I have a popular podcast. And so I’m kind of like almost in this like pop psychology field, even though maybe I spend most of my time reading. I don’t know. The academic journals and the literature on different interventions.
So it’s confusing. Cause people are like, well, what psychology books would you recommend? And I’m like, you wouldn’t like any of this stuff, I’m reading it. Like, I don’t know. All the stuff I’ve read is like out a way in the weeds. And um, but, but one question I constantly is like, do you have any book recommendations on confidence?
How it can increase my confidence. And, and while that’s like a very invoked topic in like the pop psychology world, um, or in like, I dunno the self-help [00:03:00] world. It’s it’s something that isn’t necessarily zeroed in on, in the trauma literature. Maybe it is maybe just in the reading that I’ve done. It’s we conceptualize it perhaps a little bit differently because when we think about self-criticism, we think about like the wounds that are underneath self-critic.
When you think about, um, you know, insecurity or me not feeling confident, you know, perhaps in an Motivational Interviewing lens, like maybe this is, this is my theory, confirm or deny this and maybe expand on it as like, through the Motivational Interviewing lens, it would be, you know, looked at through the lens of ambivalence. There’s a part of me that wants to be able to feel really secure and safe and pursuing this thing that matters to me.
But there’s a part of me that has this deep fear that it’s going to end in catastrophe, or I’m not really going to put myself out there. I’m going to be vulnerable and it’s not going to work out. And, and so that’s, that’s more the lens, like when I think of how do I conceptualize insecurity in relation to trauma, and then what would be the prescription or what would be perhaps like the arc of boosting one’s confidence thats, I guess that’s [00:04:00] the domain that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, trying to relate some of my training more in like the theoretical world to this question that’s kind of on the front of everyone’s minds in the pop world of how do I boost my confidence? So what comes to mind for you guys? When that question is….
Casey Jackson: I got to tell you.
There’s multiple things to go through my brain with this. And I like how you keep things so simple. Uh, let’s keep it as simple and as tight as we possibly can. Let’s not throw 15 different angles in at one time. I mean, this is what I think is why you and I love what we do. It’s just, it’s just, it’s never ending.
Motivational Interviewing and insecurity, trauma and confidence
Cause it’s so fascinating. There’s two things that struck me when I first, my brain was starting to, you know, as you talk and I’m trying to, you know, look through the Motivational Interviewing lens at this. I think at the importance confidence ruler, I mean, something so simple, so basic, not exclusive to motivational interviewing and, and I was starting to deconstruct it as you talked from when we get into building a plan, use the importance, confidence, ruler, that the thing that we know with that when we use, you know, [00:05:00] how important is it to you?
How confident are you in getting there? Importance tends to almost always be high confidence tends to always be low.. Unless you run into like personality disorder, things like that, where it can be inverted, but mostly what you see is people it’s really important for me to do these things, but my confidence is low and in a very so specific and so simple way, it’s just like, well, what would take you from that four to just a four and a half in your confidence and to help people go from this overwhelming thing to a smaller step, but that doesn’t get to the depth of what we’re talking about with the kind of confidence and insecurity that you’re talking about.
And what struck me, especially when you’re talking about pop psychology is I think because we are so immersed 24/ 7/365 and other people’s realities, how can you not be anything but insecure? Um, and, and for me, what I equate to is when I developed the focus mountain, just knowing that there’s almost an infinite number of trees we can get lost in and never see the top of the mountain, because we’re so lost. And I [00:06:00] always use that kind of Mount Rainier perspective that, you know, everything we’re talking about with the security and, and looks and productivity and intelligence and all these things where we are comparing ourselves or the self doubt or the insecurity or the trauma we’ve experienced.
Gets us further and further lost in, you know, what am I supposed to be? Who am I supposed to be? And then I look over there and there’s a tree over there, and that’s how they look on social media or that’s what that’s supposed to be going on there. And John used to talk about, you know, the, the Buddhist perspective that, you know, that whole thing of that jealousy is kind of the stealer of joy is, you know, we want other people’s things, then we just feel more and more insecure.
And for me, where it starts from, and I was thinking about this with the insecurity and with trauma. It is shocking to me. You can take the most insecure person, but the more they start to talk about what their core values are, you start to see some of that restorative process happen. Hmm, because it’s not about what they look like or what they’re supposed to be doing or what their degree is or what their job is, or how much money [00:07:00] do they have, what car do they drive?
It’s who are you like, who do you know yourself to be? If everybody’s gonna strip everything away from you, who do you know yourself to be? And you know, this Matthias people we talk to, they will say, I know I’m a good person. Yeah. Um, some people doubt that at times, but, but they’ll get done these basic things.
If I know I’m. And, and, and then the way they start to talk about that, you can see, they’re not even convincing themselves. They’re kind of revisiting or they’re refining themselves as far as what, what makes me tick? I just think our culture, our, especially our mainstream American culture, we are distracted from that 24 7 365.
I just, especially with social media, it just is, it’s what everybody else is doing. And I have to replicate what everybody else is doing and they did a little bit better than I did. And so I’m going to keep practicing to get better. And just because you get better, it doesn’t mean it has substance to it, but it’s kind of, what’s socially defined a substance.
And so we just have all these things. It’s just like eating, you know, cotton candy. [00:08:00] It’s just like, there’s just no substance to, it looks like there’s ballplayer. There’s just no sustenance to it. And I think that’s where for me, from a social insecurity perspective, I can see how that is really hard to get out from underneath.
Matthias Barker: I think you’re right where that’s the thing that can organize the conversation. This is what are the values? And I think the analogy of the trees in the mountain top is perfect for that, because it’s so easy to get caught up in the trees. And the thing that was first apparent to me is I’ve been kind of digesting this question of like, okay, how do you boost one’s confidence?
Or how do you, how do you, you know, take apart insecurity or something along those lines is, is like, man, there’s so many, um, false summits and there’s so many things. There’s so many labels that we’re trying to live under. There’s so many, uh, wounds that we carry that have a parent fixes. Like, you know, the first thing that jumped to mind for me was like insecurities around body image and, um, one’s weight and, and you could think, oh, I’d just be confident if I lost 20 pounds.
Yeah. You know, you could think I would just be confident if I had her hair, if, uh, [00:09:00] if I could lift this much, you know, and, on one level, what we’re doing is, is we’re just, we’re picking kind of like this very static temporal, um, Tangible thing to try to grasp onto because, because that feels doable, but then we almost focus our entire like lens of experience onto that one thing.
And we’re not paying attention. For example, we’re not paying attention to okay. What kind of diet my using to drop that 20 pounds, maybe that’s healthy. Maybe that’s not is me losing 20 pounds about long-term health, because that would actually dictate a lot of the strategy that I use to try to lose the 20 pounds.
’cause I could just starve myself and lose 20 pounds, but maybe that’s actually not in line with my values. And then in a clinical setting, what I, what I know to be true is often when you get underneath it, it’s more often the case that people have a conception of what they don’t want more than what they do want.
Yeah. You’re just like, I just don’t want to feel disgusting anymore. I just don’t want to feel fat anymore. I just don’t want to feel ugly anymore.. And so [00:10:00] that’s where the strategy has almost like, no, there’s, there’s no, uh, there’s no boundaries around what strategy you can use, because the only thing I’m doing is I’m trying to get away from this feeling.
And then you get to the 20 pounds loss and you look in the mirror and like the classic thing is I don’t see anything different. Like, I can’t tell you how many have not even just clients, just my friends, like, you know, we’ll just be chatting and be like, oh, we lost weight. I’ve I, this group of guys, we all go to the gym together and.
And we were just chatting the other day and we’ve all lost a good amount of weight. And in one of the guys, it’s just like, I look in the mirror and I see nothing different. Like I’ve hit my goal weight, but I still feel this way. And, and so conceptually, I mean, I’m not therapizing my friends at the gym, but I conceptually I’m thinking, yeah, I guess that’s what happens when you try to run away from something.
It doesn’t necessarily give you a good vision for what to run to. If all you’re doing is trying to find the best tree in the forest, like you’re going to be running around the forest, looking and comparing these different trees and some are going to be better than others [00:11:00] in some ways, or it’s almost like there’s too many variables to really hold onto.
Um, but when you really know narrow down a dream or another way to say that, like a positively stated goal, it’s not just a negatively stated goal. I just don’t want to feel fat anymore. It’s a positively stated goal of, I want to, I want to have a lifestyle that supports my overall health and creates, you know, ability for me later in life.
That that lends me to feel concentrated and present with the things that matter most like my family or my job. I want to feel, um, comfortable going on a walk, you know, through, on a hike and not feeling winded. I want to be able to feel fully present when I’m engaging in nature. When you start to have these more tangible value Laden, positively stated goals, it’s like the strategy starts to become more narrowed in it’s like the strategy starts to become more centered.
And less, frantic less anxious, but I guess I don’t have a full way to clearly hone all that in. Those are just some of the spacial kind of tangential pieces that I’m trying to kind of fit together. That’s the constellation [00:12:00] of things that I’m trying to make sense of.
Casey Jackson: Whats interesting when you say that because when you’re talking about the dimensionality of it, Literally, as you were talking, what I kept thinking about is because people are trying to use a one-dimensional intervention to get to a three-dimensional solution.
Matthias Barker: Yeah. Yeah. Great. Yeah. That’s a great way to put it.
Casey Jackson: And the thing that fascinates me, like when you’re talking about weight or looks or things like that, what struck me as well to take some of the psychological side out of it is like, even with parenting, because you can relate to this. Yeah. How people perceive one dimensionally of how they’re going to be as a parent, has no relevance to how they’re going to be three-dimensionally as a apparent, when there’s a child that’s born and it’s three in the morning and you’re, they’re two months old. Like you have no point of reference. So you have no point of reference of what would it feel like to walk around with six pack abs in a, you know, in a pair of shorts on the beach, it’s like you have no, we have a one dimensional assessment of what that would be.
We don’t have a three-dimensional assessment of what, what that reality means and, and all the things we project on that usually aren’t based in three-dimensional reality. [00:13:00] Um, it has it’s based in such a self-centered reality of what we think we would feel like we’re in that situation because of what we project on people that we see in those situations.
The problem is if you step inside the three-dimensional reality of somebody in that situation, it has no relevance to what you think it is that you’re projecting to. And so it is such a chronic kind of self centered perspective in the, in a non-negative way. But for me, I think this is why. What I believe is one of the first steps is getting so clear about what are my core values, stripping all other social context away just from that moral or values based perspective.
Who am I really, and, and starting from there, because this is a little bit of it. I think it’s related somewhat to the tangent. I, when I, when I was kind of young in my therapy as therapist, world, um, one of the things that struck me so profoundly. Was I started to look at the difference between especially in my age, growing up and as a therapist, then it was so much around dysfunction.[00:14:00]
And what I kept bucking against was that all the families I work with are functional, or they wouldn’t be coming in. They may not be healthy, but we keep labeling. This whole thing is dysfunctional, I think, but it is functioning. So it can’t be dysfunctional if it’s functioning, it may not be healthy, but it’s functioning and, and there may be all sorts of problems with it, but it’s still functioning.
From there. What I looked at with the whole healthy piece of it is I really looked from kind of a Darwinism perspective is we are drawn to, you’re attracted to health. Somebody can be not particularly physically the most attractive to us personally, but if they’re mentally or emotionally or spiritually healthy, there’s a gravitational pull towards that.
And I think that’s why when you start from within, you see this start to shift in a sense of confidence because you’re building on something that’s real. And other people that see something that’s real, there’s a natural gravitation towards wanting something that’s truthful and real. And that’s so good.
Matthias Barker: So what you’re saying, sorry, sorry to cut you off, but just to put the, put a little bit of a little summary on that. [00:15:00] Cause I think that’s so good. It’s not as simple as really just articulating the goal. Right. Because you could, you can say it in a shame-based way. You could say it in a really positive way, because ultimately we’re not in that experience, we’re going to have a one dimensional view of whatever a potential future could look like.
We’re not really going to know what it feels like. Would it be what it tastes like, what it feels like when we wear it until we’re in it? So, you, you could, you could tell someone, oh, I don’t have a shame-based goal. Um, you know, have a positively stated goal, but that’s still, you’re still kind of (casey-one dimensional dreams).
You’re still in the running around and the dreams there that’s exactly it. You still run around the trees. So something deeper is let’s get it, who you are as a person, let’s get at your deepest core values. And if maybe if we could connect to that, then that’s going to organize, you know, how that looks on the surface and really no matter what it kind of manifests later in life, you’re going to be connected to the thing that, that is healthy.
That is rejuvenative. Would you say it like that or would you, yeah.
Casey Jackson: I think that’s great. And I think this is where it goes from, because when you start from that square one, [00:16:00] then every time we take a step in that direction of who you are when your behavior starts to align with that, that can’t do anything, but start to increase your sense of self-confidence. When you deal with that relationship with a little bit more integrity.
When you deal with the situation a little bit more honesty, these core things you want to operate by the more you do that. And the more things sift out because the people that gravitate towards that are going to be bonded and stronger in that. And you’re going to get more positive reinforcement that people that don’t gravitate towards that.
I tend to care that more of a negative perspective around it anyway, so that they’re going to fade away a little bit more and this, and every time you make a step in that direction, all of a sudden you have a different friend group or a tighter friend group, or you have a stronger relationship and, and stepping in those directions is hard.
That’s the workout, trying to get your behavior in alignment with being honest and being integrous and being that that takes discipline. And it’s what builds up, self-confidence just as if you’re building, you know, six pack abs.
How values impact insecurity
Matthias Barker: Wow. So it’s the [00:17:00] alignment with your values, the core, like animating features, if who you are, that’s going to be the thing that gets you in touch with a personal sense of confidence.
Casey Jackson: We’ll just flip the word around instead of self-confidence it’s confidence in the self. Yeah. Yeah. Wow. So you’re looking at the self as the center, instead of the behavior as the center. Um,
Matthias Barker: Yeah. Okay. So, well then help me understand this part of it then, because I was looking into attachment theory, just kind of like revising some of my knowledge on that, studied it in school attachment theory.
I work in trauma work. I do, I use it a lot of something called internal family systems, which, um, there’s lots of different trauma modalities out there, but some of them lean into a theory of attachment more than others ifs doesn’t by, um, by large measure. So it doesn’t put a lot of stock in. You know, the work of Bowlby and Ainsworth and, and conceptualizing through it through an attachment lens, it kind of has a different approach to it.
And so just by, um, almost circumstance, I, haven’t done tons of reading in the attachment world. [00:18:00] And so I spent like a good two or three days just diving into kind of where attachment evolved since the times of like Bowlby and Ainsworth and like the fifties and sixties. And, and what were people’s theories?
Where do people take this idea? And. And essentially people started adding more and more categories to it. You can have an avoidant attachment, a, uh, an anxious attachment. You can have a, an ambivalent attachment. You can have a disorganized attachment and, and you can slice and dice and put them in all sorts of different buckets, kind of however you want.
But maybe like the core themes of, of that theory is there’s an aspect of avoidance and there’s an aspect of anxiety and those are kind of…. I mean it’s fight or flight in some ways that might be a little simplistic, but it’s, I can, I can try to con I get really anxious and I try to control everything and I try to fit everything into this uni dimensional way of understanding it and everything has to fit within my expectations.
And if it doesn’t, I lose my temper. I get volitle, I get naggy. Or maybe I internalize that and I get self-critical and I get frustrated [00:19:00] and I, I get stomach aches and headaches and whatever, and, or I get avoidant. And, uh, you just don’t hear from me and I seclude and I withdraw and I Stonewall and I, I push away.
Um, maybe that means externalizing blame. Maybe that means just literally distracting myself from even thinking about it. And in the process also disconnecting myself from my values because the reason it’s so triggering is because it matters so much to me. So in order to get rid of the triggers in order to get rid of that feeling of insecurity, I need to get rid of all the things that I wish I was secure about..
And, and then I totally divorced myself from it. And then there’s this security, this, and there’s lots of developmental psychology that really liens that articulates this in a lot of sophistication, but there’s this dimension of what a secure attachment looks like is feeling securely attached. To a parental caregiver feeling a sense of confidence to be able to explore out from, so the idea of a secure base, like I have this [00:20:00] place that I can always return to, I can explore what’s novel.
I can explore it’s unique and different, but then I can always return back to this place where I know I’m going to be okay. So if, uh, if I encounter a stranger, I can run and always kind of hide under mom’s skirt and just kind of be, you know, right there with her. I was thinking of, because I kind of maybe approach confidence in a similar way to what we’re talking about.
I think of it through the lens of values and connectedness to values. And then I was thinking about it through the lens of developmental psychology in this attachment theory. And then, and that kind of dawned on me is his values for the adult person. Is it that I connect to the values and maybe you could copy and paste that same template over from, for, from a child that used to connect to my parent.
The secure base was my parent. The secure base was the attachment relationships that I had as a young child, as an adult, I don’t run to a parent. I am the secure base. I am the place of security. I am the place of, of, um, subtleness of groundedness. I find that in myself, um, And then the way [00:21:00] that I perhaps increase the security or solidify that security is by coming in to deeper contact with my values.
I know that’s a little tangential. I’m kind of bringing you into a stream of consciousness and we try and put things together.
Casey Jackson: Oh God, I just got my oar in my kayak and I’m totally in that stream with you. So you’re doing good.
John Gilbert: I’m just ready to get into the flow, but I’ll wait.
You respond Casey. And then at some point I’m going to jump into here Matthias and so very articulate and so intelligent and so interesting all at the same time. I’ll comment in a second Casey.
Matthias Barker: Oh, that’s, that’s kind of to say I was worried that it was just completely tangential in nonsensical, but that’s, that’s my like free association.
I’m trying to like, what are the common themes here? What’s the, what’s the common thread that all these different theories are trying to say. And I guess that’s what I’m trying to zero in on what comes to mind for you?
Casey Jackson: There there’s two overarching thoughts that I have when you were talking about. One, is it just fascinating to me because I think of in my own evolution as professionally [00:22:00] from being so psychotherapeutic to shift into more of a solution focused perspective and not because it was this huge shift in fundamental model, I think it’s just that you can spend so much time trying to uncover like years and years, working with people and uncovering all these different insecurities and, and sources and trauma there’s value in that.
And I think after years of doing that, what I saw for some people is it didn’t mean that they felt like there were any more comfortable in their own body, just because they understood themselves better and try to do that restorative things. And he was CBT and DBT and EMDR are all great. Evidence-based interventions.
Empowerment and building confidence
There’s something from an empowerment of who do you want to be and moving in that direction today forward. Because that’s what we have control over instead of focusing on the past or the things that so, and I believe heavily in having accurate assessments. So knowing those things and where the sources are really critical for the repairative side of it.
So there’s that one side of things, but when you’re doing the whole thing about attachment and going back to, you know, your source and center to the [00:23:00] base, I think with that totally tangential or stream of consciousness is I think it’s also. If you can’t run back to your parents and as an adult, you’re running back to yourself and that your source and center, I think it’s also an evolution from a Maslow’s or whatever we want to look at.
It’s also where we go to a spiritual perspective too, is what is not going to fail. My spouse could fail me. My friends could fail me. They could tell me no, they could, they could reject me, but where do you find a source? And some of that doesn’t, if you don’t have that source and center within yourself, Or a source and center that’s above yourself.
You could be in for a world of hurt. You’re going to have a lot of insecurity because the ground, you will never have. Terrafirma the ground will always shift depending on which social structures individually or collectively you’re trying to gravitate towards and they will let you down. It’s just, it’s impossible for human beings to be perfect. They are going to be imperfect. They’re going to let us down. And if we don’t have a source and center, there’s going to be some extremely excruciating zingers that hit you, [00:24:00] that are going to kind of crumble your security. Um, if that source and center either individually for yourself or, you know, above yourself, if those things, if you don’t have a solid foundation in that, our connection to that, you can just see where we’re insecurity is going to flourish.
Matthias Barker: Well, and so you’re saying it has to be a, like a transcendent value. Not, it’s not based on. Something like, how do I put it? I, cause I like what you’re saying. So like the idea of being honest, I sometimes am honest. I sometimes am dishonest, but my value for being honest is stable regardless of my performance of it.
The value. Yes. Right? Yes. And so that’s, that’s the security, my security isn’t in my ability to stay honest. And then when I’m dishonest, I’m crumbled. It’s no, I have this principle. I have this transcendent value. I have this thing that I desire to live by that is authentically connected to what I want to see in the world and in myself that when all else fails, when I’m insecure, when everything around me is when there’s a [00:25:00] crisis, you know, I lean into this secure base of principles or values something transcendent to then ground myself to know what to do next.
Does that, is that what you’re saying?
Casey Jackson: Yeah, because I think what it is there is then you have, you have a book or you have, uh, an instruction sheet to go back to instead of if somebody sends you an entire kit and there’s no instruction. It’s like, oh, I didn’t put the washer in where I supposed to and I’ve got it in the wrong.
I put a into C instead of a and to B it’s like, oh, okay. So it’s not insecurity. I, I messed up. I can go back and I can correct that. So it’s not about me. It’s about, I can reconnect this. I can get back on course, but we have to have that in. We have to have that base to go back to, or, or somewhere where there.
Uh, clarity and basic structure. You were either honest or not honest, what’s going to come down is either going to make excuses and blame for it, or you’re going to say right that situation. I was nervous about telling the truth. So that’s why I, wasn’t completely honest [00:26:00] then it’s like, well, why were you nervous about telling the truth, but I didn’t want to hurt their feelings, but what is that about?
I think that I think is worth exploring because what it is is I don’t feel like I’m being as honest as I want to be. And I want to be somebody that can be honest and it’s all of a sudden it gets into this. Okay. Let’s be clear. Well, this goes into, so I’m going to throw one more thing out there, cause this is when they go there.
John and I…
John Gilbert: And then I’ve got to jump in at some point and I want to contribute to this insane. How many directions this could go.
Matthias Barker: We’re swimming around in the weeds here.
Casey Jackson: John and I used to travel a lot together and we get into these, you know, late night deep conversations about all these things. And one of the things when he and I had this significant period of time where we were just not meshing, we just weren’t getting along well, um, professional, we’re doing fine, but just personally, we’re just having a rough go of it.
And we were just, and we both have so much integrity and trying to run it through our core values. Where is the conflict coming from here? And to this day, it’s been one of the most profound conversations for me about [00:27:00] myself. Because we both live off that whole focus mountain construct, like, okay, let’s go to the values.
Let’s go to the values. Let’s get out of the tree. Let’s go to the values. And it was fascinating because what it came down to is John and I were both talking about, but I have integrity. And he said, but I have integrity. I’m like, but I have integrity. And it’s like, but we believe in being honest. And it’s like, I believe in being honest too.
And when it came down to, is that the way that I live my life and my source and center is between hurting someone. Um, or if I know it’s going to do damage. There’s a, what is integrity around that? And John was like, I’m going to be honest for me. That’s being integrous. And for me, what it came down to is part of integrity for me is, is maintaining connection.
So John’s kind of combination for his operating mode was not only just integrity, but he has to be honest, about that. And for me, it was about integrity, but maintaining sense of connection because I value connection so much. So it was like, oh, then when you look through both of the drivers of that, that moral [00:28:00] compass for each one of us, like that makes sense.
And then there’s no harm, no foul. It’s like, Hey, I get why you’re going to be completely honest. Even if it does damage the connection, because that’s what integrity is for you. For me, integrity is I’m not going to do damage to connections. Uh, you know, in all sacrifice, uh, honestly, to an extent, not abandon it, but if I know it’s going to do long-term damage and it was just like, no one is how can it either one of us be wrong in those situations.
That’s just our core. And the fact that we both knew our base so well of who we were, it just was like, it became not personal any longer. It was just like, I just kind of that I honor and respect that is how do you argue with somebody that they know that that’s their core of who they are? I, I will live by honesty and I’m gonna live by integrity.
Matthias Barker: Well then what’s the protective feature. What’s what protects against just kind of rushing into these almost static expressions of values. So for example, like the idea of like me being honest, me being integrous means me always speaking, what I think is true. Like there’s [00:29:00] certain contexts where that makes sense in certain contexts where people are just gonna be like, Hey, no one asks you, bud.
You know, versus me, I’m protecting the, you know, the collaboration of the group and people’s feelings being an integral thing, but there’s times you need to set a boundary or step in. So what, what protects against falling into these really rigid? My value can only be expressed in this one dimensional way.
John Gilbert: There’s so many, so much here. So many layers of lacquer to just go back and just keep going deeper and deeper. So first to respond to that piece of it, from what I have learned so far is the depth and so much more, we have to, uh, discover and practice and, get into practical ways of being with emotional intelligence and what that encompasses is a wide degree of all sorts of managing of our own emotions, to having accurate [00:30:00] emotional, cognitive Impathics empathy with empathic concern, to all these areas.
And it appears in my life experience that it might be, that different people due to their life experiences, be it adverse childhood experiences or things that you are working with, people with traumas related to sexual experiences or whatever it is that that becomes impaired and, or just affected in a more neutral way and affecting creates an ease or a lack of ease in being aware in these ways where context really shapes decisions. Different people based off of belief systems and culture and that Daniel Conaman and other people through various research and books will point us that we are so shaped by our context. And the things around us that we don’t even realize that. Right? So to me at a certain [00:31:00] point, yes, let’s get practical and powerful around helping people get clear about core values and what matters between what at a certain point to your point, our context, our culture, and the context of the situation is going to change how we express those things.
And then at a certain point, there’s so many other things you were talking about of am I now clear about what I really care about and I’m being proactive or am I being reactive? And for those that like to associate with being intuitive, they having a various experience in that world. They will come from a place of my reaction is my intuition and scientifically speaking, if you practice something and get immediate feedback like in social settings, right? It’s a higher likelihood, your intuition attunes with some emotional intelligence, unless maybe that [00:32:00] is not as calibrated or something, and then it comes into this whole, well, how do you feel more confidence? Well, one way is to blame outside the self and another way is to go, I’m amazing. And what a concept of many notes I’ve been taking that there’s no way in one fell swoop. I’m going to get to all of them now, but some of them. Like what Dr. William Miller brought up at one of the, um, motivational interviewing network of trainers conference, which was this wonderful, simple depiction that YouTube has psychology focused might know very well, but just this Venn diagram where I have two circles out here with my left hand on my right hand. When you’re severely depressed, your sense of who you wish to be, or how you want to be in the world is way over here, way to the left. And then how you see yourself related to that is way distant from that. And it’s this severe sense of depression. And so off from, from your sense of how you want to be in the world or feeling of the world or something like that.[00:33:00]
And then when they come together and you align them one in front of the other, like this, now once they’re completely aligned, that’s where you likely get Machiavellianism or, or sociopathy or narcissism where there’s absolute alignment and nothing wrong at all. And then to be in this range of a little bit discomforted and a little bit aligned in the ways we might say in this conversation with values that is, not just normal, that can be healthy. And that paradox of we’re never perfect. Each one of us here is never perfect. And we are always going to feel some level of discomfort is to me what wisdom traditions be a Buddhism or otherwise are tapping into this potential consistent suffering. If you go there.
So how do you not suffer? And. Not put the power outside of yourself and take the ability to respond and take [00:34:00] responsibility, but also not let that destroy you. And how do you construct and produce and become and blossom while also recognizing you’re flawed and that you’re trying. That to me is where I don’t know the answer.
I think that MI comes in motivational interviewing. I think ifs is incredible. We haven’t talked about acceptance commitment therapy and how that deals with values because that’s very much about values alignment. I have a big bias on how we talk about values. The context, the culture informs all our beliefs and then how we are our ability to assess the situation now is impacted by our life experiences, trauma included. Now then comes the clarity from within and now comes the comfort of who you really are as a flawed individual that really cares and is trying. And now how comfort can you be in that? Well, you got to focus on your way of being versus what you’re seeing [00:35:00] or what you’re having. And our culture is not doing well about our way of being with people and there’s people in the theory of, oh, and enchantment is a new thing coming out about the theory of enchantment is becoming more popular about diversity in corporations, because it’s about this, this way of being in the world.
Not about skin color as much and genders it’s about how you are with people and how they are with you. And it’s in enchanting, which is why they call it that way. Then there’s other things. Then it’ll shut up about things you tapped into about meaning about discipline. And this is why things like Jordan Peterson to people like that are becoming more popular, I believe is it gets into union psychology about there’s a place to just, go, gosh, you know what, let me clean up my room and that’s really unfair and hard for someone that’s been through trauma or disenfranchised to say that. Right. So how do you empower someone in a really crappy situation that there [00:36:00] seems to be a thread of truth? No matter the context though, to empower yourself. And whatever that thread is through some sort of empowerment we can do in society through some kind of support for it, through some kind of therapy.
That’s what I want to contribute to is whatever we’re talking about right now, because it seems to bring the power back to every individual. No matter your context, no matter your life experience. So that’s my little bit.
Matthias Barker: Oh John,. That was so good. Gosh. Yeah. You, you were sitting on a gold mine the whole time.
I had like 10 things pop in my head as you’re, as you’re going through that. Here’s, here’s one thing that stood out, especially it was this relationship between personal responsibility, feeling empowered to like make change and make, um, advances towards what I value and what I want while also, doing so from a place of acceptance and maybe, maybe this is more of a question than a summary it’s there, there seems to be the, the conflict, the paradox, [00:37:00] as you were explaining it there, what popped up for me was how do I move towards what’s valuable, accept that I’m not there yet, but still get in contact with it in the present.
Um, without then maybe spinning off into a lot of, self-deprecating criticism, which then ironically undercuts my motivation. So put another way if I want to feel more confident, like I have these values, these core parts of me that I really want to move towards and maybe the more in contact with that, I get the more confident I’m going to feel.
But then I also noticed the deficit. I noticed the gap between who I am now, how I’m acting now and how I wish I was acting. And then there’s an implicit shame in that there’s an implicit guilt that I feel when I notice all the ways I’m not being dishonest. And then we can say, well, okay, let’s take personal responsibility.
And, and instead of avoiding, instead of externalizing the blame, instead of just giving excuses for why the status quo is what it is, um, You know, I’m gonna, [00:38:00] I’m going to own it and then move forward in that. But there’s this huge boundary of shame and guilt and feeling how, on a small, in the face of that, what, what comes up for you in that?
Casey Jackson: It’s interesting when you say that, because they, I think it’s just as we work on ourselves, like, I know what I’ve worked on myself over the years, how that does shift. How, for me, it shifted as what I’ll say, ’cause when I see those, when I get the assessment information, there’s times that the shame or guilt that can come up, but more often than not.
And I, it may be an age thing. It may be just as what I try to evolve. Is it, it’s more of an assessment. And knowing, how far I’ve come and that, oh, now I’ve got an idea of where I want to go. Um, and it doesn’t bring up the shame and guilt that he used to bring up. Now, for me, it’s just like an assessment of going, oh, you fell short there.
Oh, this is what I need to do to try to get to the next level of that. Um, and I don’t get bogged down in historically what I could have with the insecurity or depression or, or, [00:39:00] um, you know, shame. Now it just, the narrative just seems to be. It’s kind of the vision board part side of it. It’s just like, I am so blessed.
There’s nothing for me to feel guilty or shameful, as long as I’m contributing and being who I believe myself to be. It just it’s motive for me to keep moving in that direction because it just seems like every time I take a step in that direction, It becomes self-reinforcing. So it’s not the digging into why I didn’t do it right. It’s like, oh, that’s not who I want to be. Now I want to correct and move to who I want to be. This is the whole thing I was saying earlier with how to increase this confidence versus always going, God, I screwed up again. Oh God, I screwed up again. I’m so stupid. I’m so bad.
I’m so dumb. So, you know, all those narratives, it’s more like, oh, this is an opportunity for growth. Oh, this stopped pay for growth. Oh, I’ve got some afford to put further. Wow. Look how far I’ve come. There’s just a, a narrative shift that happens. And I haven’t deconstructed enough just to know that just experientially the difference between the way I was when I was younger.
And, and just from just the years [00:40:00] of being immersed in these things that you’re talking about, you know, you and I both just, you know, John, just, we get versed in this stuff. It’s so obsessive that I just want to keep staying on that path. The last thing I want to throw out there as well too, is that. I keep going back to the social reality thing.
And I don’t want to, over-generalize like to an indigenous perspective, but I think in the absence of all of these swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe until I go to bed and then wake up and swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe. From the moment I get up, that’s not an indigenous perspective.
How can you have security when you’re swiping all day long? Swiping so many reference points to find, okay, that’s not, that’s not satiating me. . Okay. That, that satiated me for 10 seconds. Wow. That’s a good data point that satiated for 10 seconds, let’s give them more of that to satiated them for 10 seconds, because it didn’t say satiate for one second.
And that is the antithesis of an indigenous perspective.[00:41:00] When you’re just sitting there for an hour, waiting for an animal to go by, um, and just being so concentrated on those things around you and being so in touch with your environment, we are living the antithesis of that. We’re not even touching.
We, we, we get perilously close without me being nihilistic. We get perilously close to being plugged in like the matrix, like literally we are plugged in and we were powering something that is not us. It is not power. It’s powering data sources. It’s, it’s powering all sorts of things, but it sure as hell is not powering us.
It’s disempowering us. The more we’re sucked into all of these stimulators around us, we become less in touch. How can you be secure in that environment? I mean, it just, the metrics of it wouldn’t make sense of how you can be secure in such an insecure swipe, left everyone second environment, because you are disclosing.
And that environment you are disposable.
John Gilbert: And to me, that there’s, there’s so much [00:42:00] that, uh, I enjoy about speaking about the matrix in society. And I think the math of sorts or the physics, uh, you brought up of that, that we might call philosophy. But I think that I align with that so much, Casey, that it creates a context in which is more difficult.
To feel secure or confident in healthy, we might say non narcissistic way yet at the same time, it kind of pushes us in one direction or the other as much. Uh, immediate kind of thought to that because now we’re constantly comparing ourselves to other people and just, I mean, I’m going to get involved in this competition.
I just signed up for, uh, on Saturday dealing with, uh, swinging around a bunch of bars and stuff, and it’s going to be fun. I’m going to be a big little kid. It’s going to be great. And there’s people there that are going to crush me. And I am not used to that in sports, like to just, you [00:43:00] know, like that’s been so much of my life.
And so. How much is it about, let me post on here, let me be seen as this. Let me get to see, so I can be seen and all that stuff. Versus as you know, Casey you said to me many years ago, that was really helpful of like, how much am I, being about life versus documenting it.
And I’ve kind of gone on one side of the spectrum that maybe I need to focus on documenting and connecting with people in certain ways more. But the idea is that there’s so much about documenting, and creating a living through how you appear and the psychological way that, that gets perpetuated, that then gets inspiring to other people, but then it inspires them in a particular way of being seen and how I’m seen and how I’m looked at versus how I am.
And that brings me back to Casey, a point of what you were bringing up of. How would, you know if you’re a (mumbling). And this is [00:44:00] to me all the more important regarding humility and curiosity and openness and different personality traits. According to personalities, you know, different kinds of the big five and all that stuff, you can be more open or less open.
So that’s going to matter too, but there seems to be a there there about remaining open or at least semi humble that maybe I could be wrong with the feedback that I’m perceiving. And that’s, what’s so much of the scientific method is about, is proving your hypothesis wrong and seeking feedback from this place of equipoise equal position, and really trying to recognize maybe I could be wrong and that’s uncomfortable.
And how do I use that constructively and productively to be more of who I want to be in a non stagnation way that justifies, you know, what I’ve done or blames [00:45:00] outside the self, that is so hard. That I don’t have the answer other than the privileged few that can maybe get therapy or something, but like, especially for the, the populations of people that need it most, I don’t know, but there’s, there’s a, there, there, which is why I think last but not least here, there’s a certain bias we’re always bringing to the table, that’s going to justify or perpetuate shame, which can be healthy in certain ways. There’s a whole book called shame that came out the other year on that. But the idea is, does it help us align with more of who we want to be, or does it justify decisions in ways that maybe don’t.
And maybe I’m a grandizing growth, right? Maybe growth is not always better. There’s a whole conversation we had around that. But I do think to wrap this back around that it’s a) about improving to some degree, which is a grandizing growth to some degree versus proving. So instead of proving, it’s about improving.
And [00:46:00] then there’s something also about, I believe was psychedelic therapy and things are becoming more of a thing for people because it seems to be tapping into this, whatever that experience, that way of being an experienced. Whatever you could put a belief system on it. You don’t have to put a belief system on it, whatever that is, seems to be a they’re there for what people are now experiencing.
Be it. In assisted with, the maps group and MTMA assisted therapy. Be it very ketamine, be it psilocybin, be it the sound bass that can combine all this there. And that does tend to be a more higher socioeconomic. So I don’t think that’s the answer and it could actually create separation, but I do think there’s a, there, there that people are experiencing that we’re talking about for what is your self.
Who are you really? And what are you really trying to be with people? How are you trying to be with people in the world? To me, whatever we’re talking [00:47:00] about is pointing us to some sort of experiential thing. That’s not, uh, yeah, we can answer right on. And,
Casey Jackson: And/or what I would say, John, because everything is.
Is a way to block out all of the other noise, whether you’re talking about the drug, whether you’re talking about any of those interventions, or are you talking about the sound room? What most of that is, is blocking out all of the chaos. It’s trying to, it’s trying to get you focused away from that. So, so it could be and/or.
As far as, you know, you know, sparking something in your brain to go that direction. But I think in so many ways, what it is, is just trying to block all this massive amount of stimulus outside of us, that we are we’re habituating to that it’s just not healthy. And you look at any one of those interventions is listed and most of that is like, it literally suspends you from all of that and gives you a space where you’re suspended out of that zone.
Matthias Barker: Yeah. Yeah. And you brought up act earlier. This was, something I was really trying to figure out through [00:48:00] the lens of act for awhile too, because there’s the fusion to a, um, to a thought that in the way the act would conceptualize it is your fuse to a thought. And what it’s doing is it’s shutting down your openness to, to viewing other factors in the environment that might be informing you.
Something that might be more adaptive. Um, so I’m insecure. I suck on first dates. You’re on the first date, all you’re thinking about are all the ways that you’re probably coming off weird. You’re not noticing she’s actually having a great time. And so, uh, you’re you’re so self-conscious about coming off funny or coming off charming.
They actually start to come off a little bit self-absorbed and then. You know, the date goes terrible. Not because you’re anything terrible, but because you were just being so fused to this idea that it’s going to go terrible, unless I just like mingle it and get it under my control, but it was, it’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Right? So there’s this, there’s this sequence of function that I think, especially in relational frame theory, they do a really good job at explicated . I got to [00:49:00] do supervision under Matthew Valette for two years. He’s a, he’s an expert in relational frame theory wrote the book, mastering the clinical conversation.
And I got to talk to Steve Hayes about this, like on a podcast once too. And the thing I was trying to drill down for both of these guys on, um, was how do you know what the values are? And it’s like, because it’s not, it doesn’t feel obvious when you have like this intrusive thought. Um, or when you have, you know, any sort of thought for that matter, which ones I’m like fused onto.
And I actually need to have more flexibility around or like which thoughts, um, are actually grounded to this like essential nature of who I am. And I need to explore with more detail and like what’s, what’s the chaos. And then what’s the, the soft voice underneath that has like the essential wise true quality..
That, that for me, it’s just been so hard to narrow down on or to explain well, but, and then, and, and they, they probably had great answers to [00:50:00] that. I don’t want to mischaracterize, like they don’t have an answer to that. They have their answers to that. But the answer that I actually found to be most that resonated with me personally was actually the, an answer I got from Frank Anderson.
Who’s the lead trainer for ifs. And he said, it’s like, you can feel it in the energy. And that’s such a, non-science the word that I just didn’t like, but there was something about it. That was true because. Like, I was like, how do you categorize where the values are at? And what’s what’s right. And true. And we could, we could put all these positive, you know, adjectives on it.
It’s the compassionate self. It’s the, um, it’s the aligned and the calm, the, uh, the caring self it’s, it’s the, that’s a part of you that does this. The party does that, but there’s just this energy that they call it an ifs, self energy, which feels like such a foofy word . But I, I feel it it’s like when you’re in the room, there’s this resonance with like something that’s true and something that is grounded, not in fear and not in a positioning and performing and [00:51:00] managing. It’s not this tight fisted thing. It’s like the confidence in there is in there and it just releases and it’s stabilized in this moment. Sometimes it’s an aha moment. Sometimes it’s it’s when you share a story from your childhood and you realize something you’ve been doing is connected to a wound from your past.
Um, and then I brought that to Matthew and I was, I was telling him, I’m like, Hey, what do you think about this idea of like this self-energy thing? And then he’s like, yeah . That’s right in line. We’re just describing it in different ways. And, um, it’s this centeredness in on what matters most to you.
And I guess the reason is so hard to nail that down is because it’s different for different people. And then, like you said, John, it’s, there’s a, there’s a cultural factor to that that is deeply ingrained as well. Um, that we’re not always aware of, but, but we can feel it and we can sense it. And then we start getting into like spiritual and theological categories to try to describe it.
And then that’s where psychedelics feel like they bring us a little bit closer to it and it’s, [00:52:00] um, Yeah. So to bookend it, like, how do you, what do you do about insecurity? It’s like you get in touch with this transcendent self energy thing that, that you, uh, let’s connect it to your values and organizes your behavior.
It’s like, how do I get to that? And you’re like, well, we have a bunch of different ways to describe how to get to that. But ultimately your path is going to look different than mine. And, and, uh, and that’s why I like Motivational Interviewing, because Motivatonal Interviewing doesn’t pretend to have the answer to that question. It’s not, it’s not listen to my advice.
I’m the guide. I’m the sham. And that will bring you to the values. It’s, it’s just, I’m going to hold up a mirror and I’m going to reflect the crap out of this session until you discover it yourself. I mean, it’s a crude way to put it, but yeah.
Casey Jackson: And then the thing I think of when you say that the, the quote that resonates with me is from Dr.
Moyer is Dr. Theresa Moyer is, is, you know, there’s definitely more than one, right way. And when you think of the peak of a mountain, there’s definitely more than one right way to get to the peak of the [00:53:00] mountain. There’s all sorts of ways. And some people are more skilled than others of getting to the top of the mountain, but there’s definitely more than one right way.
And there there’s something empowering about that construct as well, too, as long as you don’t feel like you’re tripping and it’s dark and you’re hurt and crying and lost, then that’s not fun. Um, but yeah, knowing that there is a right way to get up there, there’s more than one right way I think is pretty potent.
John Gilbert: Yeah, because I got to get one more Motivational Interviewing thing in there is that MI communicates, you know, you have answers within you that are worth discovering. And I think you could add some different words that however you wanted to, but I think that’s the power in which we’re talking about. That if you can provide that container for someone, a friend, anyone that there are insights within people that are worth discovering and motivational interviewing is one way to do it.
That the power of that is the discovery of getting more confident and secure within yourself. If you [00:54:00] can feel safe enough to do so with someone and you can be that for someone and the power and the simplicity, but the significance of that, I just cannot emphasize enough. And I can’t emphasize Matthias, I really want to have you back and have more conversation. This is so amazing on so many levels. I really, as always appreciate getting the opportunity to geek out with, uh, Casey. I just have a little bit more access to that from time to time now, uh, versus you and your perspective with all you’ve researched is clearly so deep and rich has a depth and a breadth, and really, really would appreciate having you back on and even, you know, if we don’t, uh, you’ve really expanded my mind a lot here and hopefully the people that have listened to this too.
So thank you. And I just want to give you the opportunity for. Anything we haven’t asked or anything else you’d like to add. And then also where people can find all the wonderful work you were talking about, uh, with your conversations or contact or anything else. [00:55:00]
Matthias Barker: Um, well thank you. That’s so kind. I would love to come back.
Absolutely. I feel like we just got warmed up. Like we, like, we opened a lot of threads and I think created more questions than answers, but like, I guess I’m just appreciative that you guys, uh, went on this kind of trail with me. I think this is. This is part of like the reality. I think even isn’t when I talk to quote unquote experts in their fields is there’s, there’s all these kinds of spaces where we’re starting to get close and touch the substance of something really real and really true.
But there’s so much mystery and maybe that’s what invigorates us in this field. And that’s what keeps pushing us as clinicians is it’s almost like when we solidify down on all the answers, something gets stale and something gets, you uni dimensional but when. Kind of get tangential and run around.
And what about this and what about that and how does this intersect with that? And what about this theory and how does that blend? And it just, it almost comes alive for me. It feels alive for someone listening. Maybe they’re like, I don’t know what the heck these guys are talking about. I don’t know. It’s a, so [00:56:00] this has been energizing for me and really helped me explore this topic because I never want to just zero in and be like, oh, I got this insecurity.
Nailed it. I think there’s, there’s a lot that I took away from this. I’m really thankful. Um, as far as my stuff. Yeah, I do. Um, I do different workshops on different topics in mental health. It’s just, they’re just kind of meant for just kind of your regular person wanting to kind of improve their relationship or work through, um, emotional winds in the past.
So it’s not like clinician training or anything like these, these, uh, um, you know, intelligent gentlemen here. Uh, it’s just kind of for your everyday guy. Or gal and, um, and then I, I have some free eBooks on online, around grief, um, around burnout. Uh, I have tons of posts on Instagram and tick talk and have a podcast.
So I don’t know, I’m just kind of everywhere on social media, doing whatever that platform is doing. Just look up Matthias Barker, there’s not many of them.
John Gilbert: I was going to say what’s your handle..
Matthias Barker: Yeah. Matthias Jay Barker. If you search Mathias, you borrow. Just about anywhere. You’ll see. You’ll see up to somewhere. Yeah. [00:57:00] Thank you again on I echo, I just feel like this needs to be at some regular interval that we, that we get a chance to touch base.
Cause it just, it, it helps my brain grow and, and just overstimulates it, which I just love, love, love, love, love. So I just appreciate it so much for taking time to do this with us. Yeah. This is so fun. Thank you so much. Thanks guys. All right. We’ll sign off. Take care everyone. Bye bye-bye. Thank you for listening to the communication solution podcast.
As always. This podcast is all about you. So if you have questions, thoughts, topics, suggestions, ideas, please send them our way at email@example.com. That’s firstname.lastname@example.org. For more resources, feel free to check out IFIOC.com. We also have a public Facebook group called motivational interviewing every day.
We have an amazing blog and we have lots of communication tips on our website. In addition to all these amazing resources [00:58:00] we do offer online public courses, on our website on motivational interviewing and effective communication strategies. Thanks for listening to the communication solution by IFIOC.