Show Notes

Guest Bio: Jesse Green

Jesse Green, a licensed marriage and family therapist in the USA, is a psychologist and holistic relationships counsellor. With over 20 years of experience, she brings intensity, care, and effectiveness to her sessions. Known for her no-nonsense approach, Jesse encourages personal responsibility and addresses couple dynamics by calling out patterns and exploring the impact of past trauma on present relationships. Clients appreciate her ability to foster personal growth, resilience through difficulties, and proactive conflict resolution.

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Summary

Jesse Green discusses her transition from individual counselling to exploring multigenerational and cultural influences with a focus on neuroscience. She emphasises the impact of default relationship mechanisms, stressing the need to identify and adjust ineffective patterns. Jesse touches on the resilience gained through difficulty, explores self-imposed stress, and addresses parenting strategies. The conversation also covers couples seeking therapy for relationship challenges, the importance of experienced therapists in deciphering dynamics, and insights on proactively resolving conflicts, emphasising personal responsibility for growth and understanding.

 

“…if you’re being over controlled or over manipulated, you escape it. You pay the person back if you can, you might, underhandedly get them back later. I mean, part of getting healthy is to start to look at how you control and manipulate an inner relationship, to look at how you control and manipulate each other, and just start getting more conscious about that, and more clear about that, and more upfront about that, so that people don’t feel like they need to do revenge on each other and get payback.”

~ Jesse Green

 

Unveiling Insights: Navigating Resilience, Relationships, and Personal Growth

In this thought-provoking episode, we embark on a transformative journey with seasoned counsellor and psychologist, Jesse Green. From her evolution in individual counselling to delving into the intricate influences of multigenerational dynamics and culture, Jesse shares her insights while seamlessly integrating the principles of neuroscience.

Throughout the conversation, Jesse emphasises the significance of recognising default mechanisms in relationships, urging listeners to identify and refine these patterns for more meaningful connections. Jesse explores resilience gained through life difficulty, adding depth to the discussion. Additionally, she delves into the intriguing concept of self-imposed stress, encouraging reflection on how individuals may subject themselves to stress to meet an internal quota.

The dialogue extends to parenting strategies, with Jesse underscoring the importance of clear rules in addressing the growing trend of anxiety in children. The conversation takes an insightful turn as Jesse shares observations on couples seeking therapy, particularly in the face of relationship challenges such as potential breakups. She highlights the value of experienced therapists in deciphering underlying dynamics and emphasises the importance of proactive conflict resolution.

Jesse wraps up the podcast with valuable insights on proactively resolving conflicts and fostering personal responsibility for growth and understanding in relationships. Challenging the conventional notion of compromise, she suggests that genuine understanding and adaptation are more effective strategies.

In summary, this podcast with Jesse Green offers a holistic perspective on resilience, relationships, and personal growth. From understanding default mechanisms to proactive conflict resolution, Jesse provides a treasure trove of wisdom for those seeking therapeutic guidance or looking to enhance their understanding of resilience and relationships. Join us for an enlightening exploration into the core of human connection and self-discovery.

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Transcription

Please note: While we do our best to edit the following information, some finer details of podcast conversations can be lost in transcriptions.

[00:00:16] AKP: Welcome back to the Far Out Show. Join us in this insightful podcast episode with Jessie Green, a psychologist, as she shares her journey from individual counselling to exploring multi generational influences and neuroscience. Learn about the importance of understanding default relationship mechanisms, discovering resilience through trauma and difficulty, and gaining practical insights for proactive conflict resolution and personal growth in relationships.

[00:00:41] JG: because I’ve worked so long I usually can see quite fast, where a couple needs to go or what’s possible for an individual or how, how that person is kind of trapping themselves and not allowing themselves to move forward unconsciously.

[00:01:05] AKP: So Jesse Green is a psychologist and what I’m going to call a holistic relationships counsellor. Her actual title is a licensed marriage and family therapist in the USA, but she was our relationship counsellor for some years. While we worked with Jesse, we also worked with some other excellent support people over the term of our 20 plus years together.

But I have to say that our sessions with Jess were intense, caring, and highly effective. I would also say that working with Jess on yourself and your couple issues meant choosing the no bullshit route, absolutely, you know, absolutely straight. So you can’t play kiddie games. You can’t play kiddie couple blame games working with Jess.

She calls you on what she sees. And more importantly, as I came to work longer with her, uh, what I, what I noticed with Jess was that she would really, she would call what she felt in her belly or what she felt in her body. So to those lucky enough like us to explore their couple dynamics with this awesome human being, with this amazing woman, and to have the courage to come out more real, more personally responsible and more able to see the trauma and damage of your past.

[00:02:23] JG: Well, coming to life unconsciously in your present, you know, you can really flourish and thrive as true human adults.

[00:02:24] AKP: Would you, introduce yourself, Jess, and talk a little bit about how you came to be where you are in life and what you do?

[00:02:29] JG: Okay, um, at first, I mean, I’ve been working for over 40 years, so I’ve been working for ages with thousands of people. So, at first I was very much interested in the individual. And then of course that evolved and I got interested in the family and how families worked. And then I got interested in multi generational, inputs and cultural inputs.

And then of course neuroscience. And now I kind of look at things after working so much. Look at things like laser therapy in a way that we have certain default mechanisms that we get into and that we just do automatically whether they work or they don’t work and no judgments, but some of these default mechanisms don’t work.

They don’t work for us, and they also may not work for our partner, and some of them are just neutral that don’t work for your partner, and some of them actually don’t work for you and your partner. So that’s kind of where I am now and because I’ve worked so long I usually can see quite fast, where a couple needs to go or what’s possible for an individual or how, how that person is kind of trapping themselves and not allowing themselves to move forward unconsciously. So that’s what I would add.

[00:03:53] AKP: I remember years ago, you told me a story about a hothouse grown tomato or a greenhouse grown tomato and a wild vine tomato. Do you remember that story?

[00:04:04] JG: Oh, I do. That’s a great story. You know, and I still think of that because I work so much with trauma and abuse, I’ll be often be quoted as saying, you know, one of the positive things in trauma is one of the, because what I noticed is people that go through trauma and abuse and get on the other side of it are incredible, resilient people.

The skills that they have and are just amazing and we all have to give ourselves credit, you know, for working on ourselves and for coming through and the amazing skills we get from doing that. If you have too much comfort, you don’t grow. You know, like mice in a cage, if they’re under stimulated, they don’t grow and if they’re over stimulated, they get overwhelmed.

You need just the right amount of stimulation, so you do need difficulty. You need difficulty in order to be strong and capable and grow. 

[00:05:01] AKP: Could you tell us the story? The greenhouse tomato versus the wild grown tomato story? Because it is a story about resilience, but I love the way you tell it.

[00:05:10] JG: Oh God, if I can remember the way I told it to you. That’s one of the things is often people quote me to me and I can’t even remember saying it. But I do remember that in, in trauma. And in that. You know, if you just grow up with no storms and no, no adversity, you don’t kind of learn all those skills to deal with it.

And you know how, uh, a real wild tomato tastes so good, and it’s been through all that stuff. And, if you have a tomato that’s just grown in a green, in a greenhouse, in a hothouse, it’s just kind of bland. I think that’s so interesting. It’s just bland. And it, and it, you know, we all see it in some of the, um, younger generation.

I mean, some of the younger generation, for sure, has lots of trauma, and some of the younger generation, just, entitled. So entitled, and our generation doesn’t even understand, understand that.

[00:06:08] AKP: Yeah. Well, I do remember that story so much and it, and, and I was talking to you about my kids and saying, Oh my God, I think I’ve screwed them up. Um, you know, I’ve conditioned my children and I’m pretty sure you had a bit of a chuckle. You’re like, yeah, well, how else are you going to do it?

But, but you know, you were commending me on the fact that I was aware of what I’d done and I was trying to be different parent and yeah, you were very supportive, but you were, you were speaking about that in, in the context of the children you said that you worked with in maybe what we might call privileged homes, um, wealthy homes where they’ve been like the tomato grown in the, in the greenhouse and the hot house. And they’ve had such protected, perfect childhoods, perfect, you know, in an, in air commas that once they then reach adulthood and they have a simple breakup or something. happens to them, it’s really huge because they’ve never developed the skills to overcome hardship, in their childhoods.

That, that was the context.

[00:07:09] JG: That’s good. Yeah. That’s really true.

[00:07:12] AKP: So further to that as parents, and let’s assume that, you know, we are parents trying to work on ourselves and we’re conscious parents looking to better our relationship and better our children’s experience in life, because. You know, we can’t assume that all families are in that situation, but assuming we’re parents trying our hardest in our limited and conditioned capacities to help create happy children, how do we do that?

How do we as parents move forward to try and do the best for our kids? 

[00:07:45] JG: Well, you know, one thing that floored me is, um, Pia Melody, one of my favourite people in the whole co-dependence and addiction world. She once said that, uh, every family needs to have rules. And it doesn’t really matter so much what the rules are as long as the rules are known to everybody, and as long as everybody has to obey them, and it makes, I realise I’m very bad at doing that.

I mean, I’m not so good at planning and I’m not so good at rules. I really could see, though, how that makes a level of stability and security and safety. In a family, when everybody kind of knows what’s going on. And I think it’s scary if you don’t know what’s going on, and you don’t know what’s going to happen, and you don’t know what you’re going to get punished for, and you don’t know what you’re going to get rewarded for.

That makes a very, um, scary life and relationship.

[00:08:54] AKP: So having rules is, is it really about having boundaries, yeah? Beyond here, you’re not allowed to go, and, and it’s a predictable thing. It’s something where you know. You know the boundaries and you know what’s going to happen if you overstep them. What about those cultures where the boundaries are so intense and the rules are so fixed that the child absolutely has to break out of it?

[00:09:16] JG: No, I know. You think the children often will break out of two kinds of families, you know, they’ll break out of the family that’s over strict and they’ll break out of the family that they don’t know what’s going on. You know, in both of those, people will escape. And Pia also says a really interesting thing.

She says, we escape from things that aren’t working. And we can escape by taking our body with us, or we can, or we also can escape by being there. You can be there and not be there, and that’s an escape. You’re still not there. So you can either take your body with you, or you can leave your body there, but you’re not there.

Ah, so you, you’re absent. Yeah, you leave things that don’t work. Like if you’re being over controlled or over manipulated, You escape it. You pay the person back if you can, or you, you know, you might, you know, underhandedly get them back later. I mean, part of getting healthy is to start to look at how you control and manipulate an inner relationship, to look at how you control and manipulate each other, and just start getting more conscious about that, and more clear about that, and more upfront about that, so that people don’t feel like they need to do revenge on each other and get payback.

[00:10:54] AKP: So that revenge is that, is that like what might also be called passive aggression, that sort of thing, like couldn’t be outward revenge, but it can also be very… It can also be very underhand.

[00:11:06] JG: Yes, like if you control or manipulate somebody, and manipulation is like going for a goal. It’s just you going for a goal, and you’re going to do whatever you can do to get that goal.

That’s the definition of manipulation. I think that’s interesting too, yeah, the person will pay you back whether it’s cooking you everything you hate to eat. Oh, they’ll pay you back. You get paid back for doing those things. So it’s really what I like is, it doesn’t… Being conscious and working on yourself is actually more efficient. You know sometimes we think what are we doing anyway? 

But it makes life more efficient because when life gets cumbersome and and Inefficient it’s just waste so much of your energy.

The other interesting thing, though I’ve thought of through the years, is that, um, now this is just an advanced thing from working with thousands of people, but it feels like we kind of have a ceiling. You know how we talk about high ceilings and low ceilings with money and finance? But also, it feels like we have a ceiling with stress.

That we allow ourselves a certain amount of stress a day, or a week, or a month, or a year. And if we don’t get our quota, we kind of invent things to be stressed out about. Like we need a certain level of stress. So, more and more I’m looking at less the content, but more that tendency of, Oh, there’s no stress.

So I feel weird, so I better invent some kind of problem to solve, so I have my quota of acceptable stress that I feel comfortable with. And you watch it, people will do it, you know, you can get upset because, for a really big, you know, you got robbed or a big content. Or you can get really upset because you have the wrong dress on at a party.

Like you can do the same level of stress for something big and something small and we all notice that.

Do you think that’s easier to see in other people? 

You certainly can see it in other people, but I think you can feel it in yourself and what we don’t usually do is question it in ourselves. We get into the content and we don’t question, Oh, do I need to feel this level of anxiety?

Like, is this what I need to feel alive? What if I could feel alive without this level of anxiety? What would that be like? How do I do that? Do I feel numb if I don’t have this level of anxiety?

Anxiety is an interesting one because the kids are anxious a lot these days. I mean, it’s all over the world. The Australian kids are anxious. The LA kids are anxious. Probably, I don’t know about the third world, but definitely in the first world the kids are quite anxious. And a lot of them are on anti-anxiety meds.

And it’s like, oh, wow. And what we were talking about earlier, even the comfortable kids that, you know, can work online, that don’t get, don’t have a lot of stress, are very anxious too. And it’s like, what’s happening with this wave of anxiety? What’s going on with this wave of anxiety? How come our kids are so anxious?

Are they picking up on what’s going on in the world? You know, what, what’s, you know, what unconscious factors? Because it doesn’t really make a lot of sense.

I’m sure you noticed it too. It’s a question I ask myself all the time. 

[00:14:40] AKP: Well, also working in schools, I noticed that this whole new lexicon was introduced into the classroom and this whole notion of managing anxiety and self regulation and, you know, there were even tents being erected in the classroom so kids could go in there and sit on their iPad and self-regulate.

So this notion of anxiety can also be this sort of double-edged sword where people get away with inappropriate behaviour or inhumane behaviour in the light of, I don’t know, this sort of self explaining,

[00:15:12] JG: self justification.

Well, you just did what you’re saying. It rebels against what we were saying earlier about, you know, not having clear boundaries and not enforcing them. That’s exactly right. It’s not just, and so nobody knows what’s safe and nobody knows what they’re allowed to do, and it really does make unsafety in the classroom, if that’s going on.

Yeah, I fully agree. Instead of saying, here we don’t do that, you know, it’s not saying that that behaviour, who knows what that behaviour might be good on a football field, but here we don’t do that. Here we do this. Mm.

[00:15:51] AKP: Mm. Jess, what is the number one issue that you see or you experience with adults coming to you for support?

[00:15:59] JG: Oh, that’s a good question.

What’s the number one issue that people come with?

Well, what makes Australians often come into therapy is if they’re breaking up from a relationship. That’ll make them come in and look at what they’re doing, and what their partner’s doing, and do they really want to break up, or do they want to work on the relationship, because at first people don’t know if they want to break up or they want to work on the relationship, so they’re kind of confused.

So that’ll be a big issue that people come in with. And then couples are interesting. Couples will come in because they’re not getting along anymore. Really simply. Couples will come into that and that’s another thing that I think it’s just really worth it to go to an experienced therapist if you’re a couple because I remember one couple came in and the woman was acting terrible.

She was acting really terrible. And for sure both of them thought that she was going to get in trouble in the session. You know, after two minutes of them talking to me, maybe three, she was acting like a cornered animal. And I said, something’s going on in this relationship, you know.

Your wife is feeling this threatened and that she’s acting like a cornered animal hissing and fighting and what it’s… What’s going on? And what happened is the way they were doing the money, he was a risk-taker and she really liked security and she was worried all the time about losing the house and he would take giant risks just for his job. 

So I suggested that they see a lawyer and then maybe put the house in some kind of trust or work out a way that she could have a level of security and he could still take a level of risk without herfFundamentally being threatened all the time. And they did that and then they got along for another 10 years. And then they came in again with another issue. Sometimes it’s not about acting good, you know, sometimes it’s really about what’s, uou know, what is this that’s going on like that?

Does that make sense? 

[00:18:15] AKP: Yeah, that makes perfect sense and I see myself reflected not necessarily in that particular, uh, example, but i’ve definitely seen myself reflected where one party has one tendency and the other part of the relationship, you know, the other party’s got something quite the opposite which can be the reason that you’re attracted to each other in the first place. But it can also you know that classic paradox, but it can also be the reason that you don’t feel safe or you don’t trust the other party fully.

[00:18:40] JG: Um, um, and you have to work out how not to get threatened. Yes, couples work out a lot of stuff. Like, you know, let’s say a lot of times, like, one of the people in a couple is late all the time. That would drive me crazy, but I’ve watched so many couples work that out. And what, what’s the worst thing to do, I think, is not to work it out.

You know, the worst thing is to keep on letting it happen, and letting it happen, and feeling resentful, and getting more and more resentful, adding up all the resentfulness, and then doing something extreme after ten years. And I feel really sad. That makes me sad. Because they didn’t really give the other one a chance to shape up.

They probably said what they didn’t like, but it was more like complaining and moaning and groaning than it was about really saying, Okay, you’re late, I’m not, what are we going to do about this? How are we going to address this? How are we going to survive this? You’re fast, I’m slow. How are we going to deal with this?

And just really look at it and work with it before it gets into that whole psychological drama of complication and emotions and feelings. And resentment. Resentment’s a killer. And you have to be responsible for not being resentful. Like, I think that’s a first step. If you start to feel resentful, you need to be accountable for that.

Like what people often do in their heads when they’re resentful is blame the other person for whatever bad behaviour the other person is doing. Instead of, I’m resentful, I’m gonna die on my deathbed, a resentful, toxic person. How do I deal with this resentment? And usually it’s something you don’t want to do.

That’s what I found out. It’s not cut and dry. It’s something you don’t want to do. Something you’re afraid to do. You know, some of you might need help to do whatever action has to get you on the path of cleaning up your resentment and standing up for yourself or whatever you have to do to not be a resentful person.

But I think that’s the first step. You have to say, I don’t want to be a resentful person. I’m not going to do this. It kills a relationship.

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