Content warning: this episode discusses suicide and suicidal ideation. If you are having thoughts of suicide, call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.
Mark Goulston, MD, was kicked out of medical school twice before he returned to complete his degree.
And a good thing for the world that he had the perseverance to continue — as well as the psychologically wise support of the Dean of Students.
This dean provided Mark, at one of his lowest moments, with what he now calls the “trifecta of hope.” This trifecta is what any of us can give to someone who is struggling and who sees little reason to carry on.
Here are the three elements:
- Unconditional love
- A positive future that they can't see themselves
- Taking a risk on their behalf
During his second year away from school, Mark worked at the Menninger Foundation, then in Topeka, Kansas. And there he discovered his “knack,” his gift: getting through to severely schizophrenic patients and making their lives better.
Upon his return to med school at UCLA, he trained in psychiatry, which became his career.
In our conversation, we covered a wide range of topics.
We discussed suicide. Specifically, a technique that Mark calls “surgical empathy” as a response to suicidal ideation that allows the patient to feel “felt” and heard, and let go of any plans for self-harm.
We talked about psychedelics, and how they can positively impact mental health — and some ways to get their benefits without actually taking them.
We discussed curiosity as a antidote to emotional pathology, and got a wise lesson in life from one of Mark's mentors, Larry King.
And we went in depth into — not one-off conflict resolution, but learning how to derive ongoing benefit from conflict. Mark shared a way of looking at conflict that can transform it from something to avoid at all costs into a valuable source of insight, progress, and intimacy.
Mark shared a technique for nipping “sideways-going” conversations in the bud that relies on a simple empathy-building question: “What's it like for them right now?”
Along with several other simple, profound, and extremely accessible techniques for turning shitty moments into healing and growth experiences for individuals and relationships.
Mark's Website: MarkGoulston.com
Assessment: How Well Do You Communicate During Conflict?, in Harvard Business Review
Mark's Podcast: “My Wakeup Call”
LinkedIn Video Series: 90-second Mentor
Looking for Transformational Change?
You know how when you discovered plant-based eating, you basically went, “Holy shit, how come the entire healthcare system isn't totally embracing this as one of the most powerful keys to disease prevention and reversal!”?
That's how I feel now about a psychological approach to transformational change called “Memory Reconsolidation.” Few psychologists have heard about it, and when they do hear the radical transformations it can bring about in a very short time, they're often skeptical to the point of disbelief.
But I've added Memory Reconsolidation work to my own coaching, and can attest to its amazing efficacy. So much so, that I'm devoting the next year to mastering it, studying with the best clinicians and teachers in the world, and then introducing it into health coaching through my trainings.
Right now, I want to triple my coaching practice to get more and more opportunities to do this work. And I'm lowering my fees – a lot – to make it easier for people to work with me.
If you're interested in working with me (and willing to commit to a minimum of 2 months), click the link below to open the form in a new browser tab and I'll get back to you within 3 business days.
You CAN Change Other People!
Well, that's what Peter Bregman and I claim in our provocative book of that title.
What we really mean is, you can help the people around you make behavioral changes in their own best interests. If you think you're powerless to help people change, it's because you've been going about it the wrong way.
Discover our straightforward, replicable process here: You Can Change Other People.
Audiobook: Use the Weight to Lose the Weight
Listen to Josh LaJaunie and me narrate our latest audiobook, about how to start moving when you're obese.
It's $10, and Josh and I split it evenly 🙂
This podcast is not underwritten by advertising, so I can experience complete editorial autonomy without worrying about pissing off the person paying the bills. Instead, I pay the bills, with your help. It's free for those who can't afford to pay, and supported by those who can. You can contribute to the growth and improvement of the podcast by clicking the “Support on Patreon” or “Donate” buttons on the right to help out.
The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.
It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.
You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.
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