Episode 123: Ripping the Bandaid Off Hurts, But We Have to Hurt to Heal [featuring Arielle Jordan]
In this emotional episode, Arielle Jordan shares her remarkable journey, including her niche in working with veterans, first responders, and the military community. She opens up about her personal experiences in the military, discussing the challenges, isolation, and grief she faced, particularly as a person of color.
Arielle and Patrick touch on the impact of military racism and the layers of loss within the military environment, evoking critical insights into the mental health challenges faced by BIPOC individuals.
Arielle bravely shares her grief journey, where she discusses the loss of her father, daughter, marriage, identity, and so much more 😔. The emotional weight of her journey is palpable, and her resilience is truly inspiring.
This episode dives deep into why representation matters, and why advocacy in these spaces is equally as important.
More about Arielle:
Arielle Jordan, the visionary behind Mindset Quality, is a distinguished private practice owner, proudly standing at the intersection of black-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned, and woman-owned enterprises. As a licensed clinical professional counselor and nationally certified counselor, Arielle specializes in EMDR, PTSD, grief, and trauma, dedicating over eight years to empowering clients to overcome mental health challenges and unlock their fullest potential.
An Army Veteran and an ABD Ph.D. candidate in counselor education and supervision, Arielle brings a unique and invaluable perspective to her counseling practice. Her unwavering passion for teaching and advocacy for cultural diversity positions her as a staunch ally for clients from diverse backgrounds.
Armed with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in clinical Mental Health Counseling, Arielle's extensive training and qualifications in trauma-focused therapies, particularly EMDR, underscore her commitment to providing evidence-based treatment for individuals grappling with PTSD and other trauma-related conditions. She is also IFS (Internal Family Systems) informed, further enhancing her ability to explore the complexities of the human psyche and promote holistic healing.
Beyond her clinical prowess, Arielle is a captivating speaker who shares profound insights on topics such as using EMDR for traumatic loss, life after traumatic loss, microaggression in counseling, surviving child loss, and transforming pain into strength. Committed to the principle that everyone deserves access to quality mental health care, she ensures her clients experience a safe and judgment-free environment.
Arielle Jordan is not only a skilled clinician but also a talented author, having penned several works on mental health, grief, and emotional wellness. Through her writing, she not only imparts valuable knowledge but also inspires personal growth, helping individuals discover hope within themselves.
As the driving force behind Mindset Quality, Arielle is shaping the landscape of mental health care, blending expertise, compassion, and advocacy, and incorporating IFS principles to create a lasting impact on the well-being of individuals and communities.
- Arielle's Offer: Free copy of her book: https://www.amazon.com/Holding-Space-Remembering-Thriving-Traumatic-ebook/dp/B0CJHY1S9T/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
- Arielle's Website: mindsetqualityllc.com
- Arielle's Instagram: instagram.com/mindsetqualitytherapy
- Arielle's Facebook: facebook.com/MindsetQualityLLC
- Arielle's LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/ariellejordanlcpc
A Thanks to Our Sponsors: Alma, Therapy Notes, & The Receptionist for iPad!
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I would also like to thank Therapy Notes for sponsoring this episode.
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I would also like to thank The Receptionist for iPad for sponsoring this episode.
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PATRICK CASALE: Hey, everyone. You are listening to another episode of the All Things Private Practice podcast. I am really excited to be joined today by Arielle Jordan, the visionary behind Mindset Quality. And she is a distinguished private practice owner, a PhD candidate, proudly standing at the intersection of black-owned service-disabled veteran-owned and woman-owned enterprises, a EMDR, PTSD, grief, and trauma expert, an author, a speaker, all of the things that I'm not going to list right now.
And we're going to talk about grieving the impact of military racism and unpacking layers of loss. And I really wish we had been recording, because we've been talking for like 10 minutes before it. There's so much here.
And one, I just want to say how honored I am that you're here, and willing, and feeling like able and prepared to talk about something that feels heavy.
ARIELLE JORDAN: Yeah.
PATRICK CASALE: And I just want to really, really just set that stage. So, thanks for being here. If I missed anything in your bio, please feel free to add it. And yeah, share a little bit about who you are and why this topic feels so important to you.
ARIELLE JORDAN: Well, thank you for having me, first off. And so I think you covered a lot of it. I'm one of the ones that cringes when you read the bio. But yeah, I love to do EMDR therapy and I have tried to niche a little bit more. And I tend to be drawn to veteran first responders and military community. And I also have experience working with that community. So, I think that that's where my heart goes towards, and grief, as well.
And I've worked in other settings too, like community mental health, methadone clinic, hospital settings, and things like that. But private practice is really where I found that, like, the beauty of freedom. I can do what I want to do. And that's still new. So, I'm still learning on, like, what else can I do that I want to do? And how do I serve this group that does not feel draining to me, and even though the topics may be heavy, I actually enjoy getting to the roots of problems and showing veterans, first responders, anybody with trauma, that it doesn't have to stay that way. Like, we also can heal trauma. It just takes strategic methods, and time, and then you start to see changes in your life. And I think that's my favorite part.
PATRICK CASALE: I love that. One thing I'll say is I don't miss waking up at 3:00 in the morning to work at the methadone clinic at 4:00 AM. That was horrible, worst thing I've ever done in life.
ARIELLE JORDAN: [INDISCERNIBLE 00:03:51] for years and I do not miss that at all. I will say, I got great experience working with all different types of people in that setting. However, I do not miss it at all.
PATRICK CASALE: The alarm would go off and I would just be like, "What is happening right now? Is this real life? Oh my God, I have to go to work?" I used to like put my [INDISCERNIBLE 00:04:15] against the door of my office, turn the lights off and fall asleep and then be like, people are like banging on my door, "Oh, he must be in the files room or he must be doing drug screens." I'm like, "Leave me alone."
ARIELLE JORDAN: Like, in that setting, I felt like I had no life. Like, you have to start at 5:00, so be there before that, and then, yeah, you get off at like 2:00 but you're drained from everything that comes with the day and I was in my master's degree program too, so I had no life, sleep, and work, and school.
PATRICK CASALE: That was awful. I don't want to diverge too much, because I want to circle back to the important stuff here. But yeah, what a horrible… People would say, "Oh, you're so lucky you get off at 2:00, you have the whole day." No, your brain and your body just shut down. You're in bed by like 6:00 PM, terrible.
So, I so often think that our niches in our practices, and our businesses, and our passions are because we have a similar story, a similar version, we've experienced it. And you yourself have experienced loss, and you yourself have experienced racism within the military. And it sounds like that has gone from a place of this feels really hard to talk about to a place where you're like, I want to talk about this more so that other people who have similar stories know that they're not alone.
ARIELLE JORDAN: Right, exactly. I think that when I think about the layers here, the layers of loss and grief, the layers of the military environment, the layers that, you know, racism manifests there, and a lot of people don't feel comfortable talking about it. And I think it's just really important, because there are systemic issues still, there are still unequal opportunities, and institutional betrayal. And those things have a collective impact on the BIPOC community, within the military, as well. So, when I think about, you know, just that group, like, I want to bring light to those experiences and talk about it on a deeper level, so that we can understand those challenges.
PATRICK CASALE: And I applaud you for that, because I think it's brave, I think it's a thing because it feels like almost like secret society. It's probably a situation where a lot of people don't feel comfortable talking out or speaking out about their experiences. So, I really want to just name that, and I don't want to minimize that at all. How are you feeling as we're on air, like recording, and you're talking about this, and just putting this out there?
ARIELLE JORDAN: I feel like a little bit of excitement. I'm also nervous because I am being recorded. And that's just the thing.
PATRICK CASALE: It's a thing.
ARIELLE JORDAN: It's a thing. But it's okay. Like, I feel okay. I feel like I've thought about this enough that I can talk about it. I've done EMDR work with my own therapist, as well. So, I feel like it's not a like a danger anymore. Like, my amygdala is not screaming at me like, "Don't do this." When in the past, yes, it has. It has absolutely been a fear of talking about it or a fear of even really going there. But I do feel like now's the time, why not?
PATRICK CASALE: I love that. And you mentioned to me before we started recording, and you also DM'd this to me that it's time for you to stop hiding. Can you tell me about that?
ARIELLE JORDAN: Yes. And so the more I learn about racial trauma, I think that's the root of the feeling for me, like, that I need to hide. And I think that when I go back to military times, like, absolutely, I am trying my best to just be as small as possible. And that's really not who I am. Like, I really have a lot to offer, and being quiet or hiding, you know, it's not going to showcase that knowledge, or that skill, or that uniqueness that I need to bring to the table. And so I'm still learning, but it's great to have the opportunity to put that in practice, that exposure.
PATRICK CASALE: Showing up is scary. And showing up and talking about something that is vulnerable or has repercussions, potentially, is even scarier. So, I want to let you guide this conversation.
So, tell me about what feels important to talk about when we're talking about the military when we're talking about your own experience. You can go as deep as you want. Just yeah, I would love for you to just share where you want to go and we can help kind of walk down that pathway together.
ARIELLE JORDAN: Okay, so I guess I'll start with my personal connection to the theme. So, a lot of spaces, and this came from one of your other talks, I was just resonating with like a lot of spaces I'm the only black individual there. And so I related that back to my military time.
So, during basic training, there was everybody. I went to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and there was just a little mixture of everybody. I had black drill sergeants, I had just all different types of people. But of course, I'm going to notice like, are there any black people here? And so I was like, "Oh, okay, this is cool." I mean, I might not have had great experiences with all of them, but they're there, representation, right?
But then when I switched over into the reserves, I was the only black person at my unit in West Virginia. And immediately it felt different. I felt fear. And there was one other lady there that was Hispanic. And so we kind of connected right away, because we're the only ones that are different.
So, in that unit, just like the microaggressions that you experience, like, "Oh, I know, you don't want to hear this type of music." And it's like, "Well, how do you know what I want to hear?" It will be simple stuff like that.
I remember going to a active duty training and coming back injured, but being a black woman in the military, I felt like I had to carry my weight. I felt like I didn't want anybody to help me with anything. No, I can carry this even though it's heavy, I don't need your help. Or I can put this up or I'm strong, I'm tough.
And I really am, but that can be detrimental to your health sometimes. And when I was in Nevada, I tore my shoulder. But I didn't know I tore my shoulder. I knew it hurt. But I carried on. The mission was complete. We went back home. And so the thing is, when you're on active duty orders, and you get hurt, they have to take care of you.
So, when I came back, I said, "Hey, you know, it's still lingering." I did go to the hospital there. They were like, "Oh, it's tendinitis. We'll just do a cortisone shot, you'll be good." Well, it was not tendinitis. And that cortisone shot hurt very much. And it continued to hurt. And after that, we were going back home. And I was like, "You know what, I'm really still in a lot of pain every day." And I got dismissed.
And luckily, my dad was in Vietnam. So, he was like, "Ah, ah." He was on active duty orders, "They need to take care of you." And so I go back, and I'm like, "Hey, what can we do about this." And meanwhile, they're not really giving me a helpful response. I'm getting my own physical therapy, because I need it. And I went to see my own orthopedic surgeon, who then told me, "Hey, your shoulder's coming out of socket, because the main ligaments in your shoulder are torn, and we need to repair them."
So, I went ahead and got my own work done because of the pain I was experiencing. But then, like, I was 17 when I joined the military, so I was very young. And my parents had to sign for me to go. And I'm learning all of these things as I go. So, my credit was screwed. I'm getting all these services, because I need them, but I also don't have money to pay for them. So, that became, you know, another additional stressor.
So, I go back to my unit, and they're like, "We can't help you." You know the responses. And so my dad gave me advice to write the Congressman of Virginia. And I wrote him and I guess it was his secretary, but his secretary responded so quickly, and was like, "Oh, we're outraged that one of our veterans is not being helped." And so my unit got in a lot of trouble.
And then they were like, "Well, she got unauthorized care." And none of that mattered to the governor. The governor was like, "My soldier's hurt, take care of her." So, they had to go back and fix my credit. They had to go back, and you know, clean up a lot of stuff. And after that, they hated me. They absolutely hated me. And so that was like the first incident.
And then another time I heard my sergeant use the N word. So, I was a culinary specialist. And the way that the kitchen was there's like a window in the kitchen, so there's two separate rooms, but you can't necessarily see who's in the other room. And so I'm just sitting there chilling, because there's nothing to do at the moment. And I hear him, he gets mad at another sergeant that is the same rank as him. And he said he was getting N worded. And I was like, first of all, what does that even mean?
But okay, so by then I'm like, man, it sucks, because I like this guy. Like, outside of that he was a good guy. And so now I'm like, do I do the equal opportunity complaint or do I let it go? But I had let so much other stuff go. And they were just treating me bad. So, I did the confidential EO complaint. And it almost was like I wasn't taken seriously. And then the guy came and he apologized. But his apology was, "I didn't know you were in the room. I'm sorry, I didn't know you were in the room." It wasn't sorry that he said it or anything else behind it. It was, "I'm sorry you heard it."
And I was just like, "Wow, okay." Well, I did all the steps that I know that you're supposed to do. And then later on, the other lady that I was close with came up and said, "Hey, I heard what so and so said, and that's horrible." And I'm like, "How did you hear a confidential, you know, compliant? How did you hear that?" And so it was just a mess. But I know now, I can't say anything confidential, because it's not confidential. And so I was like, okay, that's another, you know, incident.
And then the last incident was just me being pregnant. I had a high-risk pregnancy. So, I couldn't show up like I was supposed to show up. And I kept getting marked unexcused. And it was just like, "Why are you marking me unexcused when I told you what's happening?" And they're making it seem like, "Oh, you just don't want to come." And that wasn't it at all.
And they didn't know the struggles that I was having with my pregnancy and just the things I was learning within that, and also a newlywed person as well. So, those unexcused absences resulted in losing my student loan repayment, which is a lot of reason why people join the military, they need help with school. So, that was a mess that I don't think can be fixed.
And then, so my daughter was diagnosed with pulmonary vein stenosis three months after she was born, and before that, though, she was a preemie that was in the NICU. So, I'm living the NICU life and I realized that she has this rare disease. I Googled the disease because the doctor did not really help. The doctor was like, "We'll send her home on palliative care." And I looked at what palliative meant, because I didn't know what it meant. But I realized that's like hospice. And I was like, "No, I haven't done anything yet. I need other answers here."
So, I did research. And I found out Boston Children's Hospital has a trial study. So, we went to Boston, and again, letting them know what's happening. And not one person reached out to say, "Are you okay?" And she died almost two years later. And not one person said, "Is everything all right?" So, it was just horrible, the way I was treated.
And then when she died, I reached out to a recruiter because I didn't know what else to do. So, I my time was up, I have written a letter before that, like, "Hey, I need to focus on my daughter, can I just be placed in inactive?" And they did. They placed me inactive December, and then my daughter died January 29th. So, then I was like, "Shit, I don't know what else to do, so can I get back in?"
And it's crazy to say it, but that's all I knew. But the guy was like, "Yeah." And I told him, I said, I don't want to be in culinary anymore. I want to do more like human resources there. He says, "Okay, well, human resources is hot. So, if I see a job, I need your signature so that I can go ahead and slip you in there." And I was like, "Okay, sure."
I told them what all happened to me, I just lost my daughter, all of that. And he was like the safe person, or he felt like it. He PCS'd, which is where your duty station gets moved to California from Virginia, and puts me in as a culinary specialist, because that was the easiest thing for him to do. And I didn't know it either. So, I'm trying to get my life together, my life is falling apart. I lost my daughter in January. My father died in April, same year. And I think I separated somewhere in between there. So, I was getting a divorce, too.
So, all of this loss that I'm experiencing, this man then put me in some unit that I have no clue and I'm trying to get my life together. I finally decided I'm going to go back to school. So, I moved to Delaware. And I get a call in Delaware that next year like, "Specialist Jordan, why are you not reporting to duty?" And I'm like, "Who is playing on my phone?" And he was not playing on my phone, this is an actual sergeant. I hung up with him, because I thought somebody was playing.
And so I got a letter and I was like, "Oh, this is official. Oh my gosh, let me call this person back." I called them back and then I get the can't get right type of treatment. So, I show up to Fort Belvoir now. And Fort Belvoir was great. They treated me awesome afterwards. And it was interesting to see the different diversity there. Now, I'm sure they have their, you know, stuff too. But that was like just looking around, I see diversity. And although at first they're giving me the side eye, like, okay, the soldier hasn't showed up for drill. But then I tell them I didn't know. And I tell them my story. And they're like, "Okay, well."
So, they were listening to me, they gave me a chance. And then I was able to excel there. And I started to do well, their kitchen wasn't functional. So, I'm like, "All right, well, we need to do." I jump in, I get the catalogs, we start ordering stuff. Eventually, we got it up to cooking, and serving. And it was it was a great time, like, getting it put together, being able to serve. And chow time for military folks is like a great time. We like to eat and have good food. So, you make others happy. So, that was where I was at. I was like, "Look, I'm going to make the best of it."
But I think through that experience, I did not want to grow in the military. I consider myself a high-achieving person, but in that setting, I couldn't. And after everything that I went through in West Virginia, I didn't want to. And then when I got to Fort Belvoir, and I started to see that I could be more, my first sergeant was black. I was like, "Oh, so wait a second." And I started to think about it. But I had put in a packet before I left West Virginia to get out because of my shoulder and this packet was lost. No one knew, no one could update me. So, when I get to Fort Belvoir, and I start to excel, all of a sudden the packet came up. So, then I was on my way out, medically. So, I did medically retire. But it was just bittersweet, because I knew I could excel, I knew I could do better, but it did push me on a different path. And I'm grateful for all of my experiences, but it was a lot.
And so that's what got me thinking about the layers of loss in my story, and also others as well. So, it's complex. And there's lots of discrimination, there's lots of microaggressions, there's the internal negative cognitions that we create like I'm not good enough or I can't do better. And I think that's what brought me to this topic, because I was like, "You know what? It's a lot, it's heavy, but it needs to be talked about."
PATRICK CASALE: I really appreciate you sharing that. And I'm really, really sorry for the losses that you've experienced. And I'm just-
ARIELLE JORDAN: Thank you.
PATRICK CASALE: It feels like there is almost grief and loss as you were moving through the process of being in the military as if like there was this idea of what it could be like to be a part of this culture, and immediately to find out like, that's not even close to the reality that I'm experiencing, and so much dismissal too, in terms of advocating for yourself and what you knew you needed yet continuously being told, like, you're just making more of this than what it is or it's not that big of a deal.
ARIELLE JORDAN: Yeah, yeah, it makes you feel very isolated, very alienated. And that grief over, like, the loss of camaraderie, and the supportive community, which is crucial for your mental well-being.
PATRICK CASALE: And there's betrayal there too, of like, I'm trying to advocate for myself yet that is being betrayed in confidence. And I'm being like, ultimately, forced out of this place that I actually want to be a part of. And then compounded with the loss of your daughter, the loss of your father, the loss of the marriage or the partnership, and just trying to continuously figure out like, I'm just trying to, like, exist here, right? Like, I'm just trying to fucking show up.
ARIELLE JORDAN: Exactly. And there's so many pieces, right? There was fear as well. My unit got deployed and I was scared to death. I was like, "Please don't send me to Iraq with these people, because they're going to get me killed, I'm going to die." Like, I literally had the feeling of I'm going to die. And luckily, they didn't need my MOS, they didn't need a culinary specialist, so I didn't have to go.
And I was so thankful, because I was really afraid. And that's a real fear for not only me, but a lot of people of color and certain places. And I mean, it's much better than, like, 1940. So, when they decided to integrate for the first time, but there's still some stuff there.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, yeah. And obviously, I can't speak to this, because I'll never experience it, I can only experience it vicariously through like, what my wife and her family and my in-laws, and friends, and colleagues go through, but despite it not being 1940, like it's 2023. So, the fact that just consistently exists, and it's pretty amplified with social media and the ability to just post things whenever we want. I have to imagine there's grief of just being like, enough is enough. Like, what are we doing here as human beings? And…
ARIELLE JORDAN: Yeah, yeah. And I mean, the constant exposure, it contributes to mental health challenges like anxiety, depression, and PTSD. I think that's just like the common experience for BIPOC individuals navigating racism in the military.
PATRICK CASALE: It's almost foundational, right? It's like, of course, this stuff exists. Like of course, these mental health struggles are occurring because how could they not be?
ARIELLE JORDAN: Yeah, yeah. And then like, do you keep your cultural identity? Do you tuck it away? Like, do I stay true to my roots? You know, it becomes part of the emotional landscape.
So, I know I have lighter members of my family. I mean, I'm kind of light myself, but there's lighter people than me that could pass for white. And I remember conversations because my dad, and my uncles, and just like different members of family have been in the military, different branches. And I remember, like, thinking of some of the stories, they were saying, like, which side do I choose? You know, if I know that black soldiers are going to get killed? Do I act like a white soldier? Because I know that will save my life and I can go back home.
PATRICK CASALE: Right. Yeah. I imagine that there's a lot of code-switching that also has to happen within these environments where you have to try to protect yourself to the best of your ability, which probably creates a massive identity crisis in a lot of ways as well.
ARIELLE JORDAN: Absolutely, absolutely. And then just the system, like, the system's broken, so I go to file the EO complaint, and it's supposed to be confidential. And in the office, that's what was told to me. But then how did the other person know, because I didn't tell them? You know, and so like, there's the loss of trust in the institution that's meant to provide me protection and support.
PATRICK CASALE: That's so compounded, like you said, layer upon layer upon layer, and you're young in this experience, and most people who serve are young, and they have these experiences, so it almost feels like you don't even have the ability to advocate for yourself. And the student loan situation, fuck man, like, that's even worse. Like, that's loss and grief too, right? So…
ARIELLE JORDAN: Like, how do I fix this? It still comes across my mind. Like, I actually reached out to people and they're like, "Well, you are marked unexcused." I'm like, "But how can that not be fixed though?" I know it's years later.
And dealing with the loss of my daughter, self-care was not a thing. Like, I did not care after that loss, like it was it was heavy. And so I don't think people understand that that kind of takes you offline for a bit. Like, there are no annual doctor's appointments or dentist appointments, and all of that stuff that we do to take care of ourselves because I don't care. I lost my child, my only child. And that's hard.
And then losing my father, who was also a very important figure. Like, after that I'm like, "What do I do? How do I even pick myself up from this?" Like, there's eight months of my life that I don't even remember at all? Like-
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, it's like, a fugue state in a way, because dissociation has to be the strategy here, because how could it not be?
ARIELLE JORDAN: Yeah, yeah. And so to recover from that, I think I just got curious. I think I was like, it's funny, because what was it? August, that I went to the EMDRIA conference, because again, I love me some EMDR. But Roger Solomon is the grief guy. Like, he worked with Francis Shapiro. And his presentation wasn't working. And he asked for… He's like, "Is anybody brave enough to, you know, volunteer?" And so I raise my hand, and then he picked me.
And so he's like, you know, what's your grief story? And I don't think I realized what I was volunteering for fully. So, I had to do a whole processing at this conference in front of all these people. I mean, it helps you but I volunteered too, and oh, my goodness, I remember he asked me like, what was… he was talking about resourcing and how we can resource for EMDR and grief. And he's like, "What was the point? Like, everybody has a point where things had to change. Everybody has this. What was yours?"
And mine, I remember just like looking in the mirror after about those eight months, and I was like, something's got to be different. And I'm talking to myself mentally, like, "You're too smart to just sit around and waste away. Like, what are you going to do?"
And it was just being very real with myself in that moment. And when he resorts that, like I'm a tough person, right? I just am. And he resorts that too [INDISCERNIBLE 00:34:37]. So, I was like, oh my goodness, it was so powerful because I felt like in my body, I felt so much just like being very proud of myself, because like it's real. I really had to pick myself up and keep going. And I turned it into, let me get my bachelor's in psychology, let me get my Master's in clinical mental health, let me be the first person in my family to complete a PhD in counselor education, which is not quite complete yet, but working on my dissertation, but I'm getting there.
But that was a moment for me like, wow, I am doing it, you know. So, there was a pivotal moment, and then also with EMDR, the worst moment was going back to like, the hospital room and leaving the hospital without her. That was my worst moment. By the time we got done with that EMDR session, I went back to the hospital room. And instead of seeing like, not being revived, like, her not being revived with the CPR, I saw the support I had. And it was wild. Like, I went back to the same scene and I'm now I'm seeing like who showed up for me in my moment of severe pain. And so it's different. And that's why I believe in that modality so much, because I've experienced it for myself that we can heal these types of things.
PATRICK CASALE: I'm like tearing up listening to this. So, this is powerful.
ARIELLE JORDAN: I'm glad. I mean, it's tough. It is such a tough subject. But that is why I was like I have to tell my story, because it feels like how you reframed it before we got one here like it feels like what if you don't tell it? Like, now I feel like I have to tell it. Like, it feels like a duty, almost. And like going back to them Army values, that duty is embedded in me. So…
PATRICK CASALE: I'm just thinking about people who are listening and people you're going to interact with as you continue to tell the story, and talk about your book, and host these intensives. And I think this is advocacy at its truest form is to be able to kind of be with the pain, and the grief, and the resilience of picking yourself up and navigating life despite these challenges, and just showing up authentically and saying like, you can't be the only one who has had the similar experience, right? So…
ARIELLE JORDAN: Yeah, yeah. And I think that, you know, when we talk about these things, we are kind of ripping the band-aid off of some stuff. And yes, you know, ripping that band-aid off hurts, but we have to hurt to heal.
PATRICK CASALE: Oh, I love that, your title of this episode. [CROSSTALK 00:37:39] with me so…
ARIELLE JORDAN: But yeah, because I mean, once you understand these layers of loss, I mean, it's crucial to foster empathy, and advocating for change, and develop strategies to address all of these things. And just to know that somebody might come to your office and talk about just one part of it. And you don't get the full picture of everything else that may be going on underneath of that, that there may not even ever tell you.
PATRICK CASALE: So true.
ARIELLE JORDAN: And that's what I've encountered a lot, like working in a military hospital, treating active duty soldiers, there's a lot that they're not going to say because… especially, active duty, because they're still in, they're not going to say some things. And I know, it was more profound to me when George Floyd got killed that this, you know, huge black first sergeant comes and sits in my office, and it's like, "I don't have to tell you I'm angry." "No, you absolutely don't, because I'm angry too. You know, and we can share those moments, because the fear of like documentation, and things, especially, in the hospital setting, you got to document those SOAP notes, like, you know." But I'm like, "I'm still trying to create that safety for you because you can still come in, and you can still share your experience with me, and know that it's going to be documented, yes. But I'm also strategic with my documentation. So, I also know the importance of you as a human and then needing to heal and be okay."
PATRICK CASALE: Absolutely. And it's almost that understood experience, right? Like I don't even have to say it to have it understood. And that's why representation, which is another topic that we were talking about, as you were mentioning, Micah's talk at the summit that I'm hosting is so important in the mental health community and at large to have people of color in these positions, to have therapists of color that exist, so that when people scroll through Psychology Today, or whatever site they're navigating, it's not just white faces looking back at them.
ARIELLE JORDAN: Yeah. And then I think another thing that I took away was like that you don't have to be scared to go in an area where there's not many of you. Like, and that's kind of been my story. Almost every agency that I've worked at, I'm the only black therapist, or the only black clinician there or the, you know, and it's so noticeable to me. But I don't know if it's noticeable to them or not. But it's noticeable to me when I walk in a room, and I don't see anybody else like me.
And I think that when we talk about like microaggressions, and things like that, there is the, "Am I good enough?" That shows up. You know, you go in a room of 50 some presidents and you're looking at the wall, you don't see a reflection of anything that represents you. So, you're like, "Dang, can I do that? Can I be president?"
And I remember, like, even growing up, I don't think I had a bit very many black teachers. So, can I even be a teacher? Like, if I don't see it how do I know what I can do?
PATRICK CASALE: Absolutely. Representation is so, so important. And I've become so hyper-vigilant and aware, probably being married to a black woman living in the South of like, wherever we go, I always pay attention to the room. And I'm like, I can never experience what she experiences, but I always try to place myself in a situation where it's like, where am I the minority? Why do I ever have to go where I don't feel uncomfortable or different than? And really, it's not many spaces. So, I'm just so aware of that. And I can never imagine the reversal.
But one thing that comes to mind, and this, it's a safe space, but like, when I go to my in-laws for holidays, I'm like, "I'm the only white person out of 40 people in the house." I'm like, "Okay, this is a place where I can really be acknowledged, it's also a very safe place to acknowledge it, too."
So, I'm glad that we're talking about this stuff. I'm glad that we have people who are wildly successful as coaches, as entrepreneurs, as podcast hosts, as therapists who are openly talking about this, and showing up, and having this representation, because then children, teenagers, young adults who are looking out and saying other people who look like me are doing these things and I think this is so, so important.
ARIELLE JORDAN: Yeah. And I think as you were talking, I was just thinking about, like, military community, a lot of times, they don't even want to talk to you unless you're part of the community. And even working in the methadone clinic, I remember being judged like, "Well, how you going to help me if you've never been addicted to anything?"
So, then I would fight with like, how much to self-disclose, because in that community, you have to be careful, because they might be thrown right back at you. So, I would craft a response. And I would say, "You know, I don't deal with addiction every day, you're right. However, I deal with grief every day, I deal with waking up in the morning without my child. And that is an everyday struggle. And the only difference between me and you is that I made a different choice. And we could easily be sitting in different seats haven't I have made a different choice, right? Because we all try to numb or soothe our pain if we don't know how to take care of it properly. And so that's why I'm here to help you." And then that would be my little speech.
And they would be like, "Oh, so maybe you can help me? Okay, let's work together now rather than against each other."
PATRICK CASALE: But it's amazing the power of just openness and vulnerability because we're in a position professionally where it's about relationship building. It's about relational work. I don't think we can get there without being open, and being vulnerable, and being real.
And I mean, I have experienced addiction myself as a former gambling addict. And I do think the addiction community, especially, at large really wants to know if you get it. Like that's like one of the first questions they ask you in every single session.
And I get that because I know what it's like to sit on the other side of it, to say like, I feel so misunderstood, and I feel so shameful, and I feel so stigmatized. And I think that's why I always talk about accessibility being relatability and being able to be relatable, especially, in this line of work because If you can share a little bit of your story that can have this profound, not just ripple effect, but almost like avalanche effect within the community, because for marginalized people to say, whether it's BIPOC, part of the LGBTQIA+, neurodiverse, whatever, people feel misunderstood, they feel like they don't belong, they don't feel safe, they don't feel comfortable. So, if you can share as the mental health professional, like, I kind of get it. I don't know the exact scenario of your life, but I kind of get it, you can have those moments like you had at the hospital with that sergeant, who came in during George Floyd's murder, and you don't even have to speak about it, you just get it. And I think that allows you to break down so many barriers and so many walls within this professional field.
ARIELLE JORDAN: Yeah, creating that safe, inclusive therapy space means everything. So, I definitely take pride in doing that for each and every person. So, I think that, you know, when we talk about these things, that is the takeaway. Like, how do I support this client dealing with combined challenges of grief and racism? And then also, if they're in the military, okay, so they're tough, so they're not going to show emotions, because that's not what they were taught to do, you know?
And so you catch somebody coming out of retirement, and they're trying to navigate family life and stuff, like that, it's weird. And they're like, "Wait, so my wife or husband complains about me not being present, or me not feeling anything." And it's like, oh, okay, so I got to help you know what emotions are. I mean, showing an emotional chart to some of my people who want to know more, like, it has been a game changer, because they're like, "Wait, so content can be under happiness? Oh, I don't like it, you know?" So, I've struggled with that myself. So, it's interesting that, I mean, you know, we just create that openness to have a broader understanding.
PATRICK CASALE: I love that. It's almost like deprogramming some things in some ways, too. And then just like, re-teaching these fundamentals, where it's like, this stuff has gotten lost, because you had to bury it in order to perform, or do your job, or do your duty?
ARIELLE JORDAN: Absolutely.
PATRICK CASALE: Man, this has been one of my favorite conversations in a long time.
ARIELLE JORDAN: [INDISCERNIBLE 00:47:10].
PATRICK CASALE: I just want to say, again, I appreciate you sharing, and being open, and just being vulnerable, and being real, because I think that's what we strive for here. And I'm really excited to meet you next month in person. I'm excited for what you're going to be creating and putting out to the world, because like we said, what if you don't talk about it? What if you don't share it? What if it doesn't exist?
ARIELLE JORDAN: Absolutely. I'm excited to meet you as well, next month. I think that it's going to be the missing piece of all the like structure that I need. And I think after that, I'm going to take off running.
PATRICK CASALE: No pressure on my end then, great.
ARIELLE JORDAN: I mean, they say, you know, you got to crawl, to walk, to run. That was like one of our things. So, I've been walking. So, I think I'm ready to run.
PATRICK CASALE: Okay, well, challenge accepted. Please tell the audience where they can find more of what you're doing, and how to follow you, or how to find your stuff.
ARIELLE JORDAN: So, my website is mindsetqualityllc.com. And I try to keep it updated with anything new that I come out with. And my Facebook and my Instagram is also on there connected, so you can just click it. But on Facebook, I'm Mindset Quality. On Instagram, somebody took it. So, Mindset Quality Therapy. And-
PATRICK CASALE: [INDISCERNIBLE 00:48:40].
ARIELLE JORDAN: Yeah, somebody, I'm like, well, they're not even using it. But yeah, whatever. And also on TikTok I'm Mindset Quality as well. And if you forget all of that, you can just find it on my website.
I'm also getting ready to launch, I'm calling it Freedom Found. It's a veterans EMDR intensive, so breaking free from veteran related PTSD. And I want to teach them that, you know, it doesn't have to stay this way or even first responders too, but you know, we talked about that niche thing. But they fit under the category, they experienced some of the very same struggles of invisible wounds of PTSD and feeling trapped by their experiences. So, I'm going to I'd be rolling that out pretty soon. And hopefully, it takes, and that I'm able to keep doing great work with EMDR.
PATRICK CASALE: Sounds amazing. And I hope for those of you who are listening, if that feels applicable, or you have someone in your life that you can share this with, I highly recommend sharing Arielle's resources. I think these are invaluable and so needed. So, really cool stuff. All of that will be in the show notes so that you have easy access to it, too, in case you just can't listen and write at the same time like myself. And, that's so good.
ARIELLE JORDAN: So, also, on the air date, I wanted to offer my book for free that day. So, when we talk about that, I'm going to put in the Amazon code so that day it will be free. And it's called Holding Space on Amazon. You can type in Holding Space, Arielle Jordan, or you can go to my page and it will be there.
PATRICK CASALE: It's a very generous offer. So, we will make sure that is included so everyone has access to that really cool stuff. Really great conversation. Thank you so much for coming on. I hope it was a stress-free experience to sum this up.
ARIELLE JORDAN: It was as very stress-free. I do feel like I was being myself. I felt like I was able to be myself, this is a safe space.
PATRICK CASALE: That's what we aim for here. So, you did a great job. Thanks for coming on. And thanks for sharing your story.
ARIELLE JORDAN: Thanks, Patrick.
PATRICK CASALE: And to everyone listening to the All Things Private Practice podcast, new episodes are out every single Saturday on all major platforms and YouTube. Like, download, subscribe, and share. Doubt yourself, do it anyway. We'll see you next week.
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