Holistic Psychologist Nicole LePera on Healing Your Mind, Body & Soul!
DATE: JULY 24, 20
PROGRAM: ALWAYS EVOLVING W. COACH MIKE
SHOW GUEST: DR. NICOLE LePERA
HOST: MIKE BAYER
COACH MIKE BAYER: Welcome back to “Always Evolving” with coach Mike. Me, Mike Bayer and in case you don’t know I have a free empowerment group every Tuesday five p.m. pacific time, totally free. You go to “COACHMIKEBAYER.COM” add your email. Every week I have a different speaker. The last few weeks I’ve been you know, guiding everyone in terms of exercises and it’s really geared to improving your life, setting goals, and making some magic happen in your life, and speaking of magic, my next guest today is amazing in “Always Evolving”. Her name is Dr. Nicole LePera. If you don’t know she has the biggest following on social media over 2,000,000 followers and she’s a therapist and a trailblazer who shares her vulnerability who shares what it’s like to be a clinician, she’s so geared the helping and the healing of other people and I’m just so glad she joined us today from her home in Venice, California. Thank you Dr. Nicole.
DR. NICOLE LePERA: Of course, thank you so much for having me coach Mike.
MIKE: Yeah and so, you know I—there’s a lot of things that I wanna talk about um, and maybe you can tell everyone first just like, who are you?
DR. LePERA: Absolutely. So uh, I think there’s two separate aspects of my story that apply here, so as a human really short and simple, I think like a lot of us have had a lifetime of anxiety. It’s all I can remember experiencing childhood as a scared little girl worried about pretty much anything under the sun and I carried that anxiety into my adulthood. In adulthood I for as long as I can remember I was again very fascinated by the mind so when it became time to decide what I was gonna do with my life professionally, psychologist was really, really the intuitive step for me. So flash forward in time I go to a hell of a lot of school, I open up a practice, I’m doing my thing, anxiety is still big part of my life, and I have what some of you might have heard referred to as a dark night of the soul when really, everything came crashing down around me because it felt um, physical symptoms, my anxiety is through the roof, I was globally unhappy, even though externally, I checked a lot of boxes that should have been making me happy. And when I came to the awareness of is that there’s a, there’s a lot of tools, techniques, things, awareness that were missing and in my own healing journey or through my own healing journey I should say, like it can really inspire to work what I now call holistically which really just means acknowledging the interconnectedness between our minds, our bodies, I would even say our souls or our spiritual entity that make us human. We are all three of those things into one. And it really is aimed at understanding what for many of us are underlying the unbalances, dysregulation, childhood traumas, suppressed emotions, the list goes on that are causing stuffness, I see as a global epidemic. We wanted—we want lives to be different and we just can’t make them different.
MIKE: What was—so in terms of your anxiety what was the consistent thought that you had for many years or was there any pattern with that?
DR. LePERA: There was patterns. There’s always patterns so my or what we like to call, worst case scenarios. So anything that you would kind of have under that whether it was the burglar coming into my home as a child. The catastrophic medical diagnosis that inevitably my parents were gonna get that’s how it started first and then I was gonna get. Whether it was the terrible date that I was gonna have on Saturday, I mean really anything, anything that we could have as a worse case scenario about, I lived in that.
MIKE: A cognitive distortion you were living in?
DR. LePERA: I was living in many and I was, and the issue became I was living in it. Because I was thinking it, I was stuck in the ceiling about it. I was stuck in all of the ways behaviorally I attempted to cope with it, none of which were producing that life that I really wanted or that was really fulfilling.
MIKE: And isn’t it really fascinating how we don’t learn how to self soothe, self-regulate, we’re basically born into these families that we have no choice, we just come into it and we’re like, okay they’re gonna teach us how to regulate and teach us about boundaries and then as we get older we start to go, well this doesn’t feel right or like I know that this doesn’t make sense but I can’t stop the feelings or the thoughts and it sounds like that kind of what came up for you where you knew you weren’t authentically being yourself.
DR. LePERA: Yeah, as a result, I love that you said that word, like teach, as you’ll hear me say conditioning. We are a product of conditioning that was laid down and again, behaviors, thoughts, feelings, messages, narratives, experiences, that we have usually at an earlier time, earlier place that then we repeat, we repeat, we repeat, we repeat, and that’s why we’re stuck. We are. We quite literally stuck replicating this past based on again, things that were taught, modeled to us and we can’t break free. And for most of us, that is that disconnect. That the patterns we’re living aren’t coming from our authentic self. Um…
DR. LePERA: …they’re coming from that past and that’s why we can’t create a different future. However and this is why I’m so impassioned we can, we can if we’re arm up with ourselves with our right information, we can if we arm up ourselves with the right tools and develop, you know, the ways to implement these tools each and every day. We can change our future. I’ve done that so I’m not that person anymore, I’m categorically different in many ways and I know that everyone else can do it and that’s why I share the way that I do, I provide these tools because such incredible change is possible and we really can create change in our future.
MIKE: I really see you as the mental health trailbla—the mental wellness, how is it—it’s interesting like mental health and it’s really wellness, it’s which—that’s a whole other side conversation we could have at some time ‘cause I’ve been a lot—I’ve been in mental health for 18 years.
DR. LePERA: Mm hm.
MIKE: You know I own a treatment center, I’m sure you’re like me, went to so many addresses, looking for answers, looking for others to tell me how to heal my trauma, how to ship my thoughts and going to—I don’t know about you. I went to a ton of retreats and workshops and it becomes really confusing what is the solution, right? In simple terms what have you found is a good way for somebody to know where they should go looking for help?
DR. LePERA: Yeah absolutely, and I think you very beautifully illustrated what I know, I’ve done and a lot of us do and I urge for us to break the habit of doing this is outsourcing, looking to someone else to tell me what to do. Ultimate empowerment as far as I see it is connecting with that wealth of knowledge, that inner knowing that we all have that many of us become so disconnected or distrustful of but it’s there, right? Developing that inner knowing in ourselves to find our way, so I say that because what I—my—the word and the practice that I go on, and on, and on about um, because it’s so pinitol in this is to develop what I call a habit of being conscious. Being aware of ourselves, seeing our habits and our habits for ourselves whether they’re not, they’re in our daily behaviors, in our mental world, in our emotions and relying on what we see to inform the change that has to happen next, because through that we get to witness our stuck points. And I say consciousness, and I, I hammer this in as the foundation of change because I know something else and the percentage differs depending on who you talk to and who you read but upwards of 95 plus percent of the day, we are not conscious, we are in something called that auto-pilot and we are then living in that past because again that’s where that auto-pilot was form. So that foundation of change for most of us is when we become conscious, when we learn to show up differently in a new moment, evaluate it as a new moment, and then make a new choice. String together enough of those new choices, right? Creates that new habit that I was talking about earlier that changes life in the future but without consciousness we’re outsourcing. We’re just looking for someone to direct us and we can really see for ourselves if we become connected to ourselves.
MIKE: Mm. Yeah and I imagine in terms of consciousness for you I mean why I say trailblazer is you have 2,000,000 followers on “Instagram” and I didn’t start off with that because you’re so much more than that, you know? And I know that people are probably like, look at her, look how great she has it, but the reality is, you probably—because we’re taught clinically uh, there’s a lot of rules. There’s so many rules that’s like, you literally can feel hand tied and it feels, can feel impossible to get the message out and which I think you’ll be a great speaker. I’m doing something with the doctorate program at Pepperdine on like clinicians who wanna put themselves out there, right and they’ve been taught to.
DR. LePERA: Mm hm.
MIKE: And so how did you—what have you been able to consciously do because you do it in such a beautiful way. And it’s so teaching and helpful and people love it, did you have to change that script a little bit?
DR. LePERA: Oh gosh, I mean, very similar yes, I was told and I talk about this often all the ways to be. Whether it was this professional idea that I usually falling short of, I wasn’t professional enough, I was too me in the room. Essentially I was taught to wash away our personhood and I’ve trained very heavily to do that in a lot of ways. However, there was that disconnect, something to feel great about that. Something felt like it was missing. Um, so I always kind of acknowledge myself as testing that limit because it didn’t’ feel in resonance however again I would be lying if I said, I go through my healing I go through all these tools I’m creating so much change, I see the whole art world of social media, expanding and I start to think, okay maybe this is the small place without knowing what it was going to expand into. I can start to speak my truth. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t nervous to speak that truth or wasn’t worried what people would think especially my peers of being me of sharing my story Um, so there’s been many moment, right of just having overcome that and having and this is something that I’ve cultivated in my own healing. The redeveloping that trust in myself and my story and what my truth is, and that didn’t come over night and that often it comes and we challenge ourselves. When I put that post up there and I’m afraid of what’s gonna happen, I imagine, you guessed it, all the worst case things that could and when they don’t, I’m surprised. And that gives me a little bit more confidence to do it again. And you know what else is surprising Mike, when they do and they don’t crash and burn or become debilitated and my practice doesn’t go up in flames, I become a little bit more confident to do it again.
DR. LePERA: So I again, would lie if I said there’s a magic formula that you just put in your head and your algorithm and (SFX) and you don’t care anymore, of course, a lot of times we do care. It is, it is vulnerable to begin to speak these new truths um, but again, I just continue to develop trust in my own story. And I kept walking through that discomfort, and on the other side of it overwhelmingly I was met with residents, with other people who maybe it wasn’t my whole story, maybe it’s not everything that I talked about, but they resonate enough and that support and people like you reaching out wanting to talk to me help me spread this, this is how confidence is developed.
MIKE: Well I—and I love your work because it’s all about authenticity and I know what it’s like to have a lot of people tell me how I should be, right? Like my best self is a wizard named Merlin, okay? And I help people find their best selves who they are authentically like...
DR. LePERA: I love that you said wizard.
MIKE: …he’s on my arm.
DR. LePERA: Mm hm.
MIKE: Right? He’s hanging out. I’m getting him touched up this week, my logo and so many times it’s—I get excited—I used to have that little bit of fear when someone was like, well you shouldn’t do that or you shouldn’t say that and then I’m like, now it gives me energy, because it’s refreshing for other people. You’re refreshing because you talk about your story. I feel like traditional or—and I’m not trying to hate on all practices of clinical psychology, but I do think there’s a little bit of like, there’s a lot of rules in place that were to protect therapists who did not have consciousness. Like who needed these severe rules because they don’t know the right—the difference between right and wrong and it’s protecting the masses. But I feel like with you, being able to talk about yourself it’s also attraction instead of promotion. It’s like people are drawn to you because you're honest and I think that is refreshing for people. I think it teaches us you know and it makes us feel like there isn’t this like authoritative feeling off of you. Which I’m—you think that’s kind of the flow of this next movement of mental health and what you’re noticing online or?
DR. LePERA: I think in a lot of ways the, the older model and this even expands I think out of the mental wellness field, into the medical field, right? The old model is very much the—as a lot of us would virtue it, right? The guru, the teacher, the I look up to you, the what—and a lot of this is generational, right? I look back at my parents who are, you know, I was a very (UNINTELLIGIBLE) child so they’re well into their 80‘s now, right? There was a model of white coat, all knowledge, right? Coming through the system, really understanding what’s being taught, all the different parameters and factors that affected, right? You start to see I think a broader perspective and you start to understand that everyone’s perspective to some extent is limited. So when I, when I say you know, I share my story and I like regardless of what people saying about it or reacting to it or me authentically. Doesn’t mean that I turn a blind eye, you know, to what people are saying. Other people can offer us valuable insight information but what I’ve developed is that kind of homebase of trust, right? Where I can start to vent the feedback that I get in my life and I can incorporate, even if it’s painful feedback that I don’t want to admit is true. I can incorporate that which fits, right? To help grow me and the rest I can feel a little more comfortable that maybe this isn’t necessarily about me, right? Maybe what this person is speaking to or reacting to or perceiving in my message is something different (UNINTELLIGIBLE). So we learn I think to develop that level of confidence, you know, in what we’re saying and it doesn’t mean that I just put my blinders up and care not about what anyone else says, it just means we develop the self-trust and the self confidence and again, that’s what I’m hoping to install. So is that a shift in the field? I hope so! I hope we all become empowered individuals who can provide, inform, consent to whatever it is we’re engaging with medically and in the mental, whatever it is in life. Personal empowerment is what I’m about. Is equipping the human to do what I just described.
DR. LePERA: To go get all of the opinions about whatever is active in your life. To go back to your inner sanction, to try it all on, and to pick the course that’s right for you. So that’s a very long winded way of saying, I’m sure as hell hope so I hope that this movement is turning people into just informed, empowered humans, who can trust that they know what fits for them. Even if it’s uncomfortable and I’ve had many of those moments of not wanting to admit truths to myself that once I’ve had, I’ve been able to expand a little more and heal a little more and that’s, that’s my ultimate goal here.
MIKE: Yeah what is a painful truth that you learned from that’s made you better um, in your career, in social media or when you say you don’t turn a blind eye to the feedback but then some of the feedback here, like oh I don’t wanna look at it, but I did and it’s made me better?
DR. LePERA: Yeah, a lot of it applies to my personal life. It took me a very long time to truly understand the dynamics of my family of origins mainly what I call co-dependency of messmate, that turned into what a lot of us can resonate with, I’m the helper, I’m the caretaker, and a lot of us who came from those enmeshed boundaryless, a word that I would never would of heard of. Ever, but it applied to me, of course I have boundaries. I’m so independent. No I wasn’t. I was basing my life on so many of external things that was a very hard truth for me. Um, I had partner, my partner in particular now.
DR. LePERA: He’s very kindly, very lovingly, she knows to point our patterns and I told her she was crazy, hit the road, how dare you, you are not a supportive partner that I now let in a little bit more and I understand so for me, it was a lot more of the personal side that obviously reflects outward, right? If I have no boundaries in my personal life, probably professionally I didn’t really in some ways either, right? I was saying yes to everything anyone asked me to do. I never said, no, I had a hard time with that client needed to come and see me at eight p.m. and I’m exhausted at eight p.m. oh, eight p.m. I was signed on this, right? So this is how we do replicate those same dynamics so it leaked in professionally but for me it was, it was hard as hell to come to truths about my personal relational dynamics.
MIKE: Yeah I think, I think um, it sounds like you have a real gift of a partner who will help you genteelly point our you know, different areas that you could work through or work on or shed a light on and it sounds like it’s probably safe, empowering, and um—
DR. LePERA: Yeah I’m very internally grateful…
DR. LePERA: …I talked too about evolving relationships to what, you know, I call authentic love or holding the space. I’m not always my shiniest, she’s not always her shiniest, right?
MIKE: Mm hm.
DR. LePERA: But we’ve created the ability to hold space for each other, to have those harder conversations and I’m eternally grateful. Does this mean you can’t heal without that supportive partner, absolutely not. Another main motivation of me being online was to create a community or to find a community. I didn’t know I would be the creator of it but to find the community that was resonating. That had people that understood enough of the journey and were doing the work enough to offer those supportive relationships so now I’m gifted not only her but my team, you know the team that now works holistic psychologists all evolving individuals. The community, right? So anyone listening is not to get discouraged if you don’t yet have those relationships I hadn’t—I didn’t either, right? All of my relationships up until my point of healing for me was very much co-dependent, were very much, you know, not allowing me to expand into authenticity, they were keeping me constricted, so I assure you this doesn’t happen overnight and if you don’t have those people now, you can still heal. There’s incredible wreaths of virtual humans and communities and sometimes it just takes one person to create that safety and that support that you’re beautifully referencing.
MIKE: So talk to me about what your team, uh holistic psychologist do, what, what is the services ya’ll offer? Like what—
DR. LePERA: Yeah absolutely, one of my main—once the “Instagram”, really kind of like took off and I started to really see the universality of the messages and these tools uh I was really, really inspired to create a virtual healing community and she was able to do just that, so we launched what I call the self-healers circle for the first time, geez, it’ll be a year this November, so this November. Its currently closed for enrollment but twice a year we open that up and so what that looks like is you know, virtually each month we pick a topic of healing um, I run an hour long workshop, other—I have experts come in from other fields that do that, we have live Q & A’s where we kind of dive in to the topic at hand, there’s resources, there’s guided meditation, and there’s that supportive community. I’m in the process of creating my website now to house it so it can really mirror what I am envisioning, so that is just a gift for me. Um, incredible healing journey are happening in there so that’s mainly. I’m in the process of writing my first book.
DR. LePERA: Which is super exciting, which will be kind of the handbook of you know holistic healing if you will or so I hope it to be, that will be coming out this um, spring, um March 2021. So now, I think my main you know kind of mode is, how can I get this information out there and in the hands of the people who need these tools and how can I continue to foster, even if it’s virtual right now, but this virtual aspect of community where people can find the support in walking this journey.
MIKE: How, how um, I imagine that you have to deliver new content over time and not reinvent fully, but take pivots, right? And for you to get more informed and curious, what do you do and what area right now are you really excited about or passionate about?
DR. LePERA: Yeah so, I, I love that aspect of work which is ever evolving and it evolves with my own personal healing and it evolves with new information I learned in the field, it evolves with based on what the community you need. So I entrench myself in learning you know inside the writing that I’m doing, everything. The books I read, inform my content creation, the community informs it. I’m always in my comments, I’m always putting out requests, I’m always kind of trying to stay connected to the pulse of where the collective is, to inform what needs to happen next. And obviously contextually as life shifts and changes externally around us, right? I’m taking all of this in all of the time and that’s helping to generate the next thing that I’m gonna talk about or the tweek or—and that’s another part of this. I’m open to modify, right? The things I learned ten years ago are drastically the things that I know now and likely might be drastically different than the evolution that happens within the collective and the field hopefully in the future.
DR. LePERA: So I acknowledge that, that we are ever evolving creatures and I will kind of my, my, my promise is to continue to, to express that evolution through learning.
MIKE: Do you still—I know you said in your future self journal, and that is an offering that you guys have that one of the things uh, you do is you write it, you write out as if it’s happening now, right? And I love to do this exercise with people, have them open the door talking to me a year from now, right? And they’re like, yeah and I got this job and I just—
DR. LePERA: Yeah.
MIKE: Literally just recreating those new tapes, is that what kind of you’re and I love that! Is in the real, in the future self journal are there a lot of different exercises people can do in the daily basis and how can they get those resources?
DR. LePERA: Yeah absolutely and the future self-journal goes out if you sign up for my email list um…
DR. LePERA: …which is linked—the easiest way to get there is on my website and it’s linked through my “Instagram” bio, so what the practice—and I developed this very early on in my own healing journey. As someone who doesn’t never really resonated with journaling in the traditional sense like oh this is my thoughts today or felt—I never really did that aspect of journaling so this is a little different. Um, I consider this like an active journaling tool that’s really aimed at creating change, so what you’ll see if you sign up for the journal or for those who have it um, you have this you have—there’s a two step process. The first step is identify the area that you wanna work to change. One area, that’s important. A lot of us humans want to change everything at once, that’s understandable. When we’re uncomfortable we want life to be different from top to bottom, tomorrow, I get it. I’ve been there. That overwhelms a part of our mind called the subconscious that does not like change. It like the familiar. This is a large reason why we’re stuck. So picking one area, right? What’s important is the consistency. It’s not doing five new things, for maybe three days ‘cause I white knuckled it. It’s doing one new thing for 30, 60, 90, right? Forever into the future. Creating change slowly and then the practice of—so I do mine in the mornings so once I created you know that—the new change that I wanna have every morning I wake up and I write that change as if it’s true. And what we’re doing now is that we’re harnessing two things. We’re harnessing the fact that our brain does not know the difference or our mind, the functioning of our brain does not know the difference between what is actually the case whether or not I actually have that job that I clock into everyday or I’m just imagining it. For our mind imagining is as good as real because a couple of things are happening when I’m imagining it. I’m firing up some new neurons which are really thoughts, right? If I think the thought long enough I might even change my physiology…
DR. LePERA: …I might start to feel about that thought, change the chemicals, the adrenaline all of it. Some (UNINTELLIGIBLE) our bodies. It’s a form of mental rehearsal. I’m laying down a new neural pathway in my brain which increases the likelihood so now I’m kind of practicing, practicing, practicing so as consistently as I practice, I’m firing that up, as if it’s real, that sets me up to the second aspect of this. It’s not a magic journal. Once I’ve done that if I close that journal and I go back to that autopilot, firing up those old narratives, change won’t happen. However the fact that I already brought to my awareness that intention to change during that mornings. I might be the difference between whether I do that new thing later in my day so when I can do both of those things when I practice it and when I go do that new thing, I do that consistently, enough now I actually created that change in my life.
MIKE: Mm, yeah it’s almost like um, uh for a lot of people I imagine what they may get stuck on is believe that they’re not capable and so they don’t follow through with it.
DR. LePERA: Yeah.
MIKE: Instead of realizing that it’s working a new muscle and it’s the consistency and it’s the commitment to self and it’s the I’m gonna do it anyways that really makes someone empowered to change ‘cause um, so often we meet people that would do it a few times and then go that didn’t work for me. And it’s like, no this is a lifetime…
DR. LePERA: Yeah.
MIKE: …of evolving, right?
DR. LePERA: Yeah well that disbelief when you consider it like that right Mike is totally understandable. You have no reason to believe it. You have not done it or you’ve not maintained the consistency with it and a lot of us from that place of disbelief or at least from what I’ve experienced it, we feel shameful. We take that as evidence that we’re broken and we can’t and I’ve lived all of this. There—if you would of heard me speak a decade ago, you would of heard a completely different narrative of who I was and what I was capable of and it would not have included the things that I’ve actually now done.
DR. LePERA: It was living that, that allows us to shift that so anyone who’s tried this and doesn’t believe it, you’re not going to. You’ve not created enough of, of, of that action consistently or like, like to believe it.
DR. LePERA: And in time you will, that’s when belief shifts and changes.
MIKE: Well Nicole I wanna thank you for coming on “Always Evolving” I hope one day when uh, Corona passes we can make content together. Make some creative, you know, any support I can give you for your book coming out, let me know I’ve, I’ve have my next book coming on October, did another one last year. So I’m—I know the game.
DR. LePERA: You’re a pro at it, I love it.
MIKE: I know the game. To follow Dr. Nicole you go to “HOLISTIC—is it Holistic dot psychologist or is that—
DR. LePERA: “THE.HOLISTIC.PSYCHOLOGIST”.
MIKE: “THE.HOLISTIC.PSYCHOLOGIST”. which by the way, goes to show, that you don’t need the perfect “Instagram” handle to have a massive following ‘cause who the heck remembers the dot holistic—and by the way it’s taken off. She’s the biggest brand name in mental wellness on the web. Um, and so I just am so appreciative of you coming on here giving us some tips. They can also go to your website to join your email list. Which would be, “YOURHOLISTICPSYCHOLOGIST.COM”, correct?
DR. LePERA: Yes, yes, absolutely. And that’s where you’ll get the free future self-journal and also know that uh, an update is gonna be new, nice, and shiny that’s gonna be coming out in the next couple months on that. So if you’re on my email list now you’ll get the update the second it’s released
MIKE: Yeah, listen, it’s an email update list party…
DR. LePERA: You got it.
MIKE: …everybody in the club getting empowered over here, okay? Well thank you so much Dr. Nicole. I really appreciate it and um, thank you.
DR. LePERA: Thank you coach Mike; this was truly an honor and a gift and thank you for spending your time and sharing your community with me and my message.
MIKE: You got it. Thank you guys for listening to “Always Evolving”. I would love it if you let me know on “Facebook” or ““Instagram”” what you thought about today’s episode. “Coach Mike Bayer” is my handle, I’m also on “Twitter” and on “Tiktok” so whenever you hear an episode you love please contact me, let me know. Keep it magical, stay safe and I’ll talk to you guys very soon.