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Rhett Smith Podcast

Therapist + Writer + Speaker In this long-form interview format Rhett explores the lives of various thought leaders to discover what helped them thrive in multiple areas of their lives, and what lessons we can learn from them. Rhett is particularly interested in the intersection of self-care and relationships, and he loves to explore how one can thrive physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. He interacts with people such as therapists, athletes, spiritual leaders, entrepreneurs and many others, covering a variety of topics from fitness, leadership, mental health, and spirituality. What would your marriage look like when you are thriving? What does your parenting look like when you are thriving? What does your work look like when you are thriving? What does your faith look like when you are thriving? When we thrive in these areas of our lives we become people who are "life-giving." And when we are "life-givers" we impact all the relationships around us in positive ways. So engage the podcast and discover how you can thrive personally and relationally.
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Now displaying: August, 2016
Aug 31, 2016

One of the populations I love working with in my practice is athletes. I've been fortunate enough to work with a large variety of athletes from professionals to amateur, from middle school kids all the way up to a middle aged runner like me. And in my time with athletes several themes around athletics have emerged that tend to be the central focus of our counseling time together.  

 

Those are:

  • performance anxiety
  • anxiety and stress due to pressure from overbearing parents
  • depression from not achieving an athletic goal or from not being able to participate in the sport because of injury.
  • training the athlete for more positive self-talk and visualization to increase performance.

 

These 4 issues seem to crop up the most and I have had a lot of success using the Restoration Therapy model developed by Terry Hargrave. Even though I initially used it only with couples I have expanded it's use to individuals, families, organizations, and now athletes. I feel that it's core tenets, especially the importance of emotional self-regulation and working to identify and act out of one's truth, rather than out of one's negative cycle, have been extremely helpful.  

 

In this episode I briefly mention the components above, but really spend the bulk of the episode diving into some of the work of Angela Duckworth in her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, and what she has to say about anxious parents and kid's athletics. In the episode I read from about 2-3 pages worth of material to give you an understanding of what Duckworth is communicating when it comes to grit and our kids, while at the same time commenting on some of the things I have seen in my practice.  

 

I echo Duckworth's and other's findings that children who are allowed autonomy to choose what sports in activities to engage in, and who have the freedom to explore a multiplicity of sports, while at the same time not engaging in them all year round, often fare better than their counterparts who specialize early and play all year. The latter often leads to a lot of burnout (often by high school or college), and it short circuits the development of passion because kid has not had the ability to pursue their own interests, but have often been pursuing the interests of the parents.  

 

I want to leave you with one quote from Grit that I read in this episode:  

Sports psychologist Jean Cote finds that shortcutting this stage of relaxed, playful interest, discovery, and development has dire consequences. In his research, professional athletes like Rowdy Gains who, as a children, sampled a variety of different sports before committing to one, generally fare much better in the long run. This early breadth of experience helps the young athlete figure out which sport fits better than others,. Sampling also provides an opportunity to 'cross train' muscles and skills that will eventually complement more focused training. While athletes who skip this state often enjoy an early advantage in competition against less specialized peers, Cote finds that they're more likely to become injured physically and to burn out. (page 107 on Kindle).

Please listen and subscribe to my podcast in the following places, and then leave a comment letting me know what you liked about the show, or what guest you would like to hear from. Thank you so much for your support.

iTunes -- Stitcher

Player FM -- Libsyn

 

Resources and People Mentioned in this Episode

Terry Hargrave

Restoration Therapy

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Angela Duckworth

Benjamin Bloom

Jean Cote

Aug 23, 2016

So if your day was anything like my wife and I's yesterday, it involved walking our kids into their first day of school this year. My daughter starts 4th grade, and my son starts Kindergarten. And like many of you, we are in a new transition as we begin a new school year. One filled with excitement, anxieties, fears, joys, ups and downs, and all kinds of emotions in between there.

 

After dropping my kids off at school I spent some time thinking about this particular transition in life and about all the kids I have had the privilege to work with over the last 20+ years...sometimes as a camp counselor, youth pastor, and therapist. And one of the things that I thought about the most was all the expectations we have as parents when our kid starts off a new school year. Sometimes our expectations are appropriate ones, and other times if we are honest with ourselves, the expectations might have more to do with us, than our kids. But guess what, our kids also start off the school year with expectations of their own, but I wonder how much we stop and talk to them about that.

 

So in today's episode I share a few things that I have found to be helpful in my work with kids and their families, as well as in my own life. Some things I feel we do a pretty good job of, and other things are a work in progress. But isn't parenting always that way...just when you think you have something figured out, it all changes. In this episode I discuss:

  • Being honest with your own expectations as a parent.
  • Talking with your kids about their expectations.
  • The importance of building connection with your kids and some ways to do it this school year.
  • The importance of spending time wisely and some suggestions of how to create that.
  • The importance of risk taking and failure in our kid's development.

 

Please listen and subscribe to my podcast in the following places, and then leave a comment letting me know what you liked about the show, or what guest you would like to hear from. Thank you so much for your support.

iTunes -- Stitcher

Player FM -- Libsyn

I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist practicing in Plano, Texas. I work with individuals, couples, and families regarding a number of issues from marriage therapy, anxiety, depression, infidelity, faith, relationship strengthening, and a whole lot more. If you are interested in scheduling a session with me, or having me out to speak, please contact us via email or phone (469-304-9022).

Aug 17, 2016

I have the great privilege of working with couples in my office on a daily basis. Some come to me before they are married, some within a few years of marriage, but the great majority of them come to see me after a crisis that was indicative of the marital drift in their life. In Episode 19 of my podcast I talked about marital drift and the kid centered marriage. But essentially what often happens in relationships is that couples set out with good intentions to care for and love each other...to make each other priority. In fact, it was often that feeling of being a priority in dating that led to engagement and marriage.

 

But over the course of the marriage couples often make sacrifices that hurt the marriage and leave one or both spouses not often feeling like a priority. I see this most often in couples that just got busy. They had kids...the kids got busy with sports and activities...and the marriage drifted. Then one day they wake up, perhaps 5, 10, 15, 20 years later, and are so disconnected that they don't know how to reconnect, or aren't sure it is worth the effort.

 

The drift itself often is felt early on in a marriage, but it's not until a crisis hits such as an affair, an addiction, or the threat of divorce that couples will recognize it fully or want to engage it.

 

And in this episode I talk about one of my core beliefs that I have come to realize after 20 plus years in the pastoral and clinical counseling setting....and that is that couples can't have both a great marriage, and at the same time put their their kids first by running around in a million different directions and pursuing a million different activities. Something will have to be sacrificed, and often it's the marriage. My other belief that I explore in this episode is that the marriage should have priority, not the kids. I think we live in a culture where we have put kids first, and what often gets sacrificed is not only the marriage, but the family falls apart as well since the marriage is in disaster. Instead, I have seen time and time again that where the marriage is priority, the kids benefit. This isn't a statement about one being more important or loving one more. You love both, that's why the marriage is a priority. So as you listen to this episode I want you to think about your own marriage, and whether or not it's the priority over your kids. And what implications are there for the answer you have?

Please listen and subscribe to my podcast in the following places, and then leave a comment letting me know what you liked about the show, or what guest you would like to hear from. Thank you so much for your support.

iTunes -- Stitcher

Player FM -- Libsyn

 

Aug 11, 2016

One of the things that I've noticed a lot about relationships and conflict, is that a lot of it tends to happen in periods of daily transition. For example, conflict tends to arise when people are leaving the house in the morning, or coming home later in the day. Whether it's a spouse, roommate, or child, there tends to be a lot of missed expectations in those two periods of the day. Maybe it's the rushed chaos that often accompanies those periods (i.e. rushing kids off to school, coming home after a long chaotic day at work, etc.) of the day, or maybe it's that we have ideas in our head about how things are going to look. For example, I might have the expectation that when I come home from work that my wife and kids are excited to see me and greet me as I come in the door...if that doesn't happen, I may become disappointed and that could lead to conflict. Or maybe my wife has been working all day and running around with the kids since school's been out and she has the expectation that I will walk in the door and help with dinner, when maybe I withdraw to our bedroom to relax for a few minutes...maybe she feels disappointed as well, and that can lead to conflict.

 

These are just a couple of examples of the thousands of expectations that we have when we leave a place in transition, and we enter back into that place in transition. It's such an important time that I would often spend time working with couples over this issue during marriage intensives at The Hideaway Experience.

 

The reality is we all have expectations. It's just there is something that happens in the transition that I think tends to create a lot of conflict for couples. So in order to navigate that more successfully I have discovered several things that are helpful to couples in doing this. Whether it be creating some rules around greetings, or boundaries around technology, or taking the time to get into the right frame of mind for the upcoming transitions....in this episode of the Rhett Smith Podcast I share with you some examples of conflict in transition, and give you some practical ideas to navigate it more successfully.

Please listen and subscribe to my podcast in the following places, and then leave a comment letting me know what you liked about the show, or what guest you would like to hear from. Thank you so much for your support.

iTunes -- Stitcher

Player FM -- Libsyn

"

Aug 4, 2016

I'm not quite exactly sure of the origin of learning about this communication technique, but I know it must have morphed together from all of my training and experience as a therapist...so I'm sure it has it's roots in varying theorists, I just can't place it right now. But in my time as a therapist I was used to hearing couples talking about all the things that weren't working well in the relationship. And most often it would come across in the form of criticism. Some spouse would be sharing all the things that their partner wasn't doing. And you can imagine what that was doing to the relationship...you can imagine what kind of pain cycle that was creating.

 

So I started thinking about what it would look like to share with your spouse not all the things they were doing wrong, but rather, the things they desired and wanted and needed in the relationship. Why not focus on the positives (what you want and desire), rather than the negatives (all they weren't doing right). This subtle (maybe it's not so subtle) shift in language began to have a different affect on couples. Rather than creating situations of defensiveness, it created opportunities for openness and closeness.

 

But the key is, once you talk about what you want and desire, you have to let go of the outcome. You have to let go of the expectations in the relationship. Listen closely here...I'm not saying you can't, or shouldn't have expectations in a relationship...but what I'm saying you have to let go of that particular expectation you are requesting. You can't demand. You have to allow the other person in the relationship the freedom to decide to do what you are requesting, or to not do it. This is a request based out of freedom, not out of fear or demanding. Demanding relationships drain life out of the couple, whereas, ones based in freedom are life-giving.

 

I think I first learned of the "letting go of the outcome" step in Terence Real's book, The New Rules of Marriage. In his technique called The Feedback Wheel, the final step is "Let go of the outcome." There is a whole process to his feedback wheel, but I eventually took this idea of letting go of the outcome into other theories I was learning, and I began to apply it to couples and families that I was working with.

 

So in today's podcast I want to help you with this simple technique of being vulnerable (the hard part) in your relationship by shifting your focus on what your partner is not doing (that's a position of criticism), and focus on what you are desiring and wanting. It's vulnerable and risky to request though, because what if they say no. But this is about putting yourself out there. And so when you put yourself out there, you let go of the outcome. And as a therapist who highly believes in self-differentiation, and practices the Restoration Therapy model where one's identity is not based in the partner, but in one's own truth....I want to say, this is not about putting your identity in your partner or demanding from them. This is just simply about being honest about yourself and what you desire...but then letting go of it. It's in this freedom that we learn more about the needs, wants, desires of our partner, and it's helpful to know those things, so that in one's freedom, they can choose to, or choose not to respond.

 

Try this technique out at home and let me know what you think.

Please listen and subscribe to my podcast in the following places, and then leave a comment letting me know what you liked about the show, or what guest you would like to hear from. Thank you so much for your support.

iTunes -- Stitcher

Player FM -- Libsyn

 

Resources Mentioned in the Podcast

The New Rules of Marriage by Terence Real

I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist practicing in Plano, Texas. I work with individuals, couples, and families regarding a number of issues from marriage therapy, anxiety, depression, infidelity, faith, relationship strengthening, and a whole lot more. If you are interested in scheduling a session with me, or having me out to speak, please contact us via email or phone (469-304-9022).

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