Happy Third Birthday to HHT: What Has Helped My Clients and Me Succeed

HHT Third Anniversary Photo.jpg

This month marks the third anniversary of Hope and Humor Therapy! Happy birthday to this badass counseling business! Wehew! ***So much happy-dancing and jazz-hand shaking***

I don’t know if you’ve ever started a business, but it is an epic journey of WTF?! I thought that I knew what I was signing up for, this entrepreneur thing. I read all of the books, talked to all of the people and listened to all of the podcasts; I was prepared! (Aw!)

However, I could not have grasped the magnitude of what it would take to launch Hope and Humor and to navigate the major ebbs and flows of the business. I had no concept of what it would truly be like to be the vision holder, marketing navigator, website creator, interior decorator, library curator, art wrangler, bookkeeper, social media manager, email answerer, blog writer, billing manager, network builder, presentation giver, knowledge seeker, colleague cheerer, and paperwork wrangler, in addition to being the therapy offerer. I spent many sleepless nights and waking hours learning, trying different things to help my practice grow.  

But now I get it, and I can’t believe that I’ve been doing it for three years. I have worn all the hats and gone through all the highs and lows to this point, and I am so proud of what I’ve built - a thriving therapy practice where women feel accepted and respected.

Since I practice what I preach, I’m taking a moment to reflect on the journey. A question that I often ask my clients is what brought them to this point, so I asked myself just that: what kept me going and helped me get through every obstacle? How did I get here?

The truth is that I overcame every hurdle because I care about my clients and I believe in this work. I know how powerful therapy is. Every single day, I cheer and guide and support and challenge and empower my clients to live with more authenticity and less anxiety. All that website navigating bullshit and dips in my business? Fucking worth it, because I get to help women build trust, take risks, try new things, challenge themselves, take on lifelong battles and SUCCEED. Their ability to strive for a better life is truly awe-inspiring.

As the business has grown and I’ve helped my badass clients thrive, I’ve noticed a few themes that have been foundational to my client’s progress:   

  • You can change. It’s not easy, but it is attainable.

  • You may have society to thank for (at least) a few of your struggles. Some of your issues are socialized, and it’s important to name them and challenge them.     

  • You can make space for logic and emotion; finding a middle ground between is handy.

  • You can create and hold boundaries. They are powerful and painful and useful and difficult and life-giving.

  • Your perception may be affected by PMS, because that shit is real. (#sorrynotsorry)

  • You can become comfortable with the uncomfortable… eventually.   

  • You can tame anxiety. You can face your worst-imagined scenarios and live through them.  

  • You can quiet perfectionism, and your inner critic can be quieted.

  • You can share your life’s joy and jokes and happy dances in therapy.

I am so glad that I’ve created a space where women feel safe enough to explore these themes, and I am so proud to continue this life-changing work. I am astounded by each of my clients and her ability to tackle tough stuff. Living differently is not easy, but they’re doing it!

Yay! *Jazz hands*

- Lauren, Boss business owner and life changer


If Spring is Not Your Season, This Playlist is for You!

HHT Playlist.jpg

It's May and things are feeling relatively Spring-tastic around here, so I'm back with the second installment in the series of EmPOWerment Playlists. Designed to help you kick butt throughout the year! 

As a therapist, I've noticed that each season can bring its own set of bleh-inducing moments. The colloquial idea of, "The winter blahs," comes to mind. (On a related note, click here for a link to my upbeat, booty shaking winter playlist.) Spring brings along images of flowers blooming, birds chirping, and people frolicking. While it can be a glorious time for some, for others it can be a season of heightened anxiety, pressures to create change, pollen-induced brain fog, and overwhelming moments of AHHH!!!! (Think: upcoming graduations, half the year is over, what am I doing with my life?) 

If Spring is not your favorite time of year (or this particular spring is sucking), this playlist is for you. 

Let's do this!

An Interview with Maggie Maye, Hilarious and Bad Ass Comedian

This month, I got to interview Maggie Maye, a hilarious, bad ass comedian. I first met Maggie at a Texas Women in Business conference where she spoke about her evolution as a comedian over several years. Her ability to move between light humor and honest vulnerability spoke to her skill of the craft; she made the audience laugh and cry at the same time. I knew that I HAD to interview her, and I am so glad that she agreed!   

Tell me about yourself and what you do:

I’m Maggie Maye. Long story: I’m a stand up comic, improviser, sketch performer, writer, lover of the Oxford comma, and actress. Short story: I’m a comedian.

What motivates you to do what you do?

I’m motivated to do this because it’s what I’ve always wanted to do. Making people laugh is the best thing in the world and I genuinely love doing it.

Tell me about how your self-image has changed throughout your comedy career:

Experience has made it so that I no longer just feign confidence on stage. I’m able to see myself as capable because the experiences I’ve gone through have proven it.

How do you get through periods of self-doubt?

In periods of self-doubt I make myself keep working. It can be really toxic to allow yourself to be incapacitated by those feelings, so I continue to put in the work. I remind myself that I am talented and competent, regardless of how I feel. I like reading mantras and inspiring stories because in addition to encouraging me they remind me that I am not the only one who goes through those feelings, and that others have pushed through and become better. I also try to keep in mind that these feelings are temporary, and use prayer and meditation help me to center myself.

What do you want other women to know about self-acceptance?

Self-acceptance is something you always deserve. It doesn’t mean you’re perfect, it means you are worthy of love as you are. It doesn’t mean you’re complacent. It means in your journey to become a better version of yourself, you give yourself a break when you commit a human error. It's not vanity or a crutch; it is self-care. I encourage you to not only accept yourself, but to love yourself. You deserve it.

I love that Maggie speaks to her shift in self-perspective as capable with comedy. The idea that this image can change is key. We are not stagnant people; we are always evolving. Our experiences can help us recognize how strong we have become and how capable we are. That self-reflection is an amazing thing! Thank you for reminding us of this Maggie! If you would like to learn more about Maggie Maye’s work, you can check out her website here.

If you need help connecting to your inner strength, you can check out my services for individual therapy here.  

An Interview with Jessica Luther, freelance writer, author, and social justice spotlighter

Photo taken by Janelle Renee Matous

Photo taken by Janelle Renee Matous

This month, I was fortunate enough to interview Jessica Luther, freelance writer and social justice spotlighter. She is doing truly powerful, transformative work around sports and violence, a topic that many sports professionals and fans would like to ignore but shouldn't. Luckily, Jessica won't let us. 

Tell me about yourself and what you do: 

I am a freelance writer and journalist who most often covers the intersection of sport and violence. I have a book coming out in September titled, Unsportsmanlike Conduct: College Football and the Politics of Rape. I'm perhaps most known for co-reporting with Dan Solomon about Baylor almost a year ago and breaking that story wide open. 

I am also a mother to a nearly eight year old. I've been with my partner for over seventeen years and married to him for thirteen. I bench press, I make good biscuits, and I read a lot of romance novels. 

What motivates you to do what you do?

It feels cliche to say it but a sense of justice (or, maybe, the feeling of constant injustice) motivates me. I want the world to be a better place and I believe it can be. I believe each of us, in small actions in our everyday lives, can do that. The work I do is an extensions of this, perhaps on a larger scale. I demand care and empathy and precision in my work so I expect it of my peers, as well, which is why I find myself not just reporting but also doing media criticism. That all stems from this motivation to correct injustice as much as I can, given the limits of this world, society, and my own abilities and time. 

Tell me about a moment when you felt truly awesome:

Every single time my son, on his own without prompting, extends empathy to a friend or even just someone he has heard about, I feel like I have succeeded in life. Whenever he recognizes other people's right to bodily autonomy and expresses the importance of consent, especially in regards to other children his own age, I feel truly awesome. 

Professionally, seeing the results of our work on the Baylor story, the consequences that are still unfolding from our initial reporting, is intensely gratifying. 

How do you get through periods of self-doubt?

I have intense self-doubt that is often layered with extreme anxiety; the two feed each other. I find that the best way for e to deal with these moments is to withdraw from the work for a bit, let it simmer, and wait until I am feeling more confident. Sometimes this can take an hour, sometimes three days. And more than anything, I have to give myself permission to do this. I can't get angry that this is the best way for me to handle it or I only feed the anxiety, which then continues to fuel the self doubt. 

What do you want other women to know about self-acceptance and self-celebration?

That it's necessary and more than okay to have self-acceptance and to practice self-celebration. This doesn't make you selfish or egotistical. In a world where women so rarely are awarded those feelings and actions, providing them for yourself is critical. 

I love that Jessica points out the importance of taking time to grow in confidence. In a fast-paced, immediate-gratification society, it can be easy to forget that we need time to simmer. This is especially true in social justice work that can leave us feeling vulnerable and raw. That permission to simmer and self-compassion around the process is key. If you would like to learn more about Jessica's work, you can check out her website here. You can also pre-order her upcoming book, Unsportsmanlike Conduct: College Football and the Politics of Rape, by clicking here

 If you would like to learn how to grow in your self-acceptance, check out my offerings for individual therapy and therapy boot camp.

Why I named my practice Hope and Humor Therapy

Over the past few months, several people have asked me why I named my practice Hope and Humor Therapy. Oftentimes others are taken aback by the name; they will ask me to repeat it once or twice. I am guessing that they expected it to be more straightforward or speak just to the pain and suffering of clients. Those things just don’t happen to fit my perspective on therapy. 

I chose Hope and Humor, because I think that those are the things that get us through the rough stuff, and they create space for joy in the therapeutic work. To me, hope is your belief that things can change. Perhaps you need me to hold the hope for you every once in awhile. Maybe you don’t know how or what needs to change in the moment, but you believe that a shift can happen. You know that your soul wants to sing a different tune.

Humor is your ability to see the lighter side of the darker moments. You won’t see it all of the time; otherwise, it wouldn’t be a tough time. Perhaps just for a second you can catch a glimpse of the lighter side. Something unexpectedly catches you as funny, or you specifically take a moment to watch a hilarious cat video. Whatever it may be, these moments break up the “blech” feeling that can envelop you during a hard time.

Both of these are key to therapeutic work. You have to believe that you can change, and you have to hold onto light moments while you change. Trying new things, creating new ways of thinking, letting go of old patterns, all of these are required in therapy, and all of these can really suck sometimes. These skills are brand new to you, and you aren’t going to be good at them at first. In fact, you might be downright horrible at them. That’s okay! Your hope, your humor, your resiliency, and our work together will get you through.

The name Hope and Humor also creates space for joy in therapeutic work. As you move through the tough stuff and learn new ways of handling it, you can have really ecstatic moments. I have them with clients all of the time, then they ask me if we are really, “Doing therapy,” since they are having fun. The answer is: Hell yes! All feelings and experiences are welcome here; this is your space to feel however you feel and experience whatever you need to experience, hope, joy and humor included.

If you are ready to experience a different way of doing therapy, connect with me here

- Lauren, HHT