Megan Fry — Understanding our Core Needs and Adaptation Through Isolation.

22 April 2020 | Episode 1
Share:

Megan Fry is a Clinical Psychologist, Advanced Individual Schema Therapist and the Founder of MFRY Psychologist. In this episode Megan explains what schema therapy is, and discusses the potential schemas high achievers in the business world may suffer. We discuss potential long-term effects of social distancing and isolation during COVID-19 and how we could use this time for greater connections

 

About Megan:

Megan Fry is a clinical psychologist with over 14 years experience, she’s an advanced individual schema therapist and the founder and Director of MFRY Psychologist, a practice in Brisbane’s north. Megan served in the Army as a military psychologist, working with soldiers from all corps, including Special Forces. Over the years she has combined her two passions. Working with Veterans and Schema Therapy. Megan has written papers on schema therapy and teaches other clinicians via workshops, and webinars.

Megan is currently completing a PhD at Griffith University to validate how a novel group schema therapy program can assist ex-serving military personnel adjust into the community after discharge.

Read more about Megan

 

About this episode:

In this episode, Megan explains to me what Schema therapy is and the potential schemas that high achievers in the business world may suffer. We discuss the current COVID-19 crisis, how we can turn home quarantine into an opportunity for greater connection. Plus how to cope with high levels of uncertainty. I ask Megan how we can avoid overworking or burnout or while working from home, and how to prepare for better sleep.

We dive into Megan’s business and learn about how she started and the growth she’s achieved in such a short time.

Megan shares the significance of elephants and why there are photos of them in her waiting room, plus an elephant in her logo.

Read Transcript

Dan :
Hi, this is Dan Rowell, founder and brand strategist at DSR Branding. And you are listening to Discover Someone Remarkable – Conversations Worth Sharing. Join me as I interview passionate founders and industry experts. People who think differently, challenge the status quo and building a legacy. People who I consider truly remarkable.

Dan :
Today, I interviewed Megan Fry, a clinical psychologist with over 14 years experience. She’s an advanced Individual Schema Therapist, and the founder and director of M Fry Psychologist, a practice in Brisbane’s North. Megan’s also currently completing a PHD at Griffith University.

Dan :
Megan served in the Army as a military psychologist, working with soldiers, including special forces. Over the years, she’s combined her two passions: working with veterans and schema therapy. In this episode, Megan explains to me what schema therapy is and the potential schemas that high achievers in the business world may suffer. We discuss the current Covid-19 pandemic. How social distancing and isolation could actually be an opportunity for greater connection.

Dan :
Plus, Megan shares some great tips for parents with young children at home. I asked Megan how we can avoid overworking or burnout and how we can prepare better for sleep. Plus, we discussed the growth of Megan’s business. I really enjoyed this conversation and I hope you do, too.

Dan :
Thanks so much for coming on the podcast and being my first guest. To start, I mean, how did you… Because you’ve been a clinical psychologist for nearly 10 years, over 10 years now. How did you get into it?

Megan:
That’s a really funny story. First of all, thank you for having me here today. It’s a real pleasure. And I’m very excited to be your first guest.

Megan:
When I was in high school, I just knew that I wanted to go to university. I had no idea what I wanted to do. I loved science and was really into music, but really wasn’t sure. And I happened to rock along to a university open day and was wandering around the campus and just happened by some unknown chance to walk in to the psychology lecture. Fell in love immediately. And that’s pretty much it. I absolutely hated first year psychology, but by… I took 12 months off after my first year and went back in and loved it and I couldn’t be happier.

Megan:
So it was really just by chance.

Dan :
So, Megan, a lot of the work you do is with military personnel. Can you tell me a bit about how you got into that? I guess, um, yeah, because it definitely is an area of expertise for you.

Megan:
Sure is. So, again, bit by chance, I have family members in the military. And one day I said to my family, I think I might join the army. They laughed at me and thought it was absurd because I was very naive and quite an anxious child. But that does make me even more determined. So I finished year 12. I cut off my very long hair into a very boyish so ran off to join the Army Reserves. And that’s part of the reason that I took some time off from university because I went into the Army Reserves, absolutely filling up with the army while I was at compared to doing my recruit training I managed to get in, I got notified that I got into my psychology degree at Newcastle University. So came back, started university, really wasn’t enjoying it, really wanted to do Army. So took 12 months off university. When I did, all army got out of my system. And thankfully my dad just encouraged me to take a break, not drop out, because by the time I got that on my system, I was very ready to come back and finish my degree. So I started doing Army Reserves. So the you know, the rest of my four year psychology degree, very interestingly, again, I finished my undergrad degree and I thought, yep, I’m going to go straight into my clinical masters and did not get through.

Megan:
And I then decided I worked with kids, couldn’t get a job. I then decided, well, I’ll become a registered psychologist. Couldn’t find someone to supervise me. And at that time, army psychology changed from being organisational with recruitment and selection through to more clinical work. And I’m like, well, here’s an opportunity. Join my two passions. Join the army. Become an army psychologist. I get my registration, get paid really well, and I have an opportunity to do something different. And so I transferred from the Army Reserves into the time army as an army psychologist, where I then spent about three and a half years as a full time army psych. And I only left because my son was nine months old at the time, opposed to me into a policy and procedure position. And I had an opportunity to do clinical work with Special Forces soldiers as a contract and psychologist. And that was an amazing opportunity. So I transferred back to the Army Reserve and stayed on base as a contracted psychologist, doing definite pinnacle of my career, five years working with Special Forces in Sydney.

Megan:
And this is, you know, really PINNACLE POINT for me that five years was really amazing and it really taught me a lot. And it was really at this point that I really started to ask some really deep questions about, you know, military members, about what goes on for them in service, why they the difficulties that they face coming back from deployment, reintegrating into the community after service. There’s a lot of questions that I had that really weren’t being answered for me at the time.

Megan:
And I found standard treatment approach has really limited in terms of supporting these guys and trying to help them. And it was it was where I started to look for more information and where I started my schema therapy journey from that point.

Megan:
And so I started to commence most chemotherapy training whilst continuing to work on base with these guys. And a real journey started for me at that point to be able to start to look at these two facets that became really important in my life.

Megan:
One being schema therapy and the other being working with military personnel.

Dan :
So I want to learn more about schema therapy because it’s an area that, you know, well trained and you’re a defense schema therapist and you’re actually until well, you were planning to do in-person workshops, but you will be doing video workshops or conferences. But tell me a bit about schema therapy and what that is.

Megan:
So schema therapy is in its most basic form is why you are the way you. You do the things you do. It really gives us a very deep understanding about patterns of behavior and the way people view themselves, others and the world around them. It’s based on a model of core unmet needs where basically as children we all have core emotional needs. And when our core needs are met, we grow up to be healthy, well-adjusted, happy, healthy, contented adults versus when we have unmet needs. We unfortunately grow up with deep emotional wounds where we develop particular behaviours to protect ourselves from those wounds and that can wreak havoc in our adult lives and cause disruption. And, you know, many people have schemers and schemers. It is like a fundamental belief system that you develop as a consequence of those core unmet needs. So we might go up with the belief system that nothing I do is good enough where you have people striving for success and striving to be the best at what they do. But no matter what steps they reach, they are never satisfied and it’s never good enough. And this will be what we call an unrelenting standard schema, a schema that a lot of business people probably have.

Megan:
It’s part of what makes us successful and achieve. I’ve got a great unrelenting standard schema that has allowed me to do so many things in my life. But at a point in my life, it became really unhealthy and really unproductive for me and really started to get in the road of my health and my well-being and my life. And it was at that point that I had to stop and review the way I did things and take a different stance on life to what would some other basic needs for children be. Yeah. So the core needs. So we have five groups. Yeah. Yeah. We have five groups of core needs. The first one is secure attachment, which is a big concept. But it basically means as a child I’m securely attached to an adult. I’ve been protected, nurtured, cared for, given unconditional love and valued and just have been able to sort of feel secure in my childhood. The second core need is about autonomy, competence and a sense of self where I’ve been supported to grow and develop into an individual and as a person to be able to be become autonomous and have a sense of myself and who I am in this world around me.

Megan:
The third core need is freedom to express valid needs and emotions.

Megan:
And this is just the ability to be able to express emotions really important, to express sadness and fear and anger as well as happiness, joy and excitement.

Megan:
The fourth core need is realistic limits and self-control. So growing up in in an environment that has boundaries, where I have a left and right of arc and where the world makes sense to me so I can go out and explore it and be autonomous. But there’s also limits and boundaries around that that keep me safe. And the final call need is spontaneity, fun and play the opportunity to be able to have fun and play in an environment that creates that and allows that, you know, this is actually the core need when it’s our met that develops the unrelenting stamina schema because we might have grown up in a home that was more dem- or more demanding or more achievement focused. And there wasn’t opportunities, spontaneity, fun and play wasn’t encouraged. And so therefore, we grew up with an achievement focused mindset where we stop perpetuating this schema, where we like achievement. Achievement feels really, really great. And so we want to and we keep craving it and keep, you know, reaching for it, which again serves huge purpose in our lives. But at some point, these schemes and patterns can become really maladaptive.

Dan :
Yeah, well, I mean, it’s something that the achievement is something that I think resonates with or will resonate with a lot of business people. I mean, it’s funny. You hear of cases of, you know, there’s a heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury, when he won the heavyweight bout years ago. He said he won the next day. It was the darkest day of his life, his whole life sort of thing. Like he just felt nothing. And so inspired spiraled into like a really, really self-destructive behavior because it sort of had achieved that and didn’t know what was next. So. So you work with people to work through those schemas. Is that right?

Megan:
Exactly. Yeah. And that’s a really good example. And that’s why I raised that schema, because I think that’s one that so many people relate to. Many people go around the world, you know, thinking, well, I don’t have mental health problems, you know. So why am I feeling this way or what’s going on for me? Because we can kind of be well and functional and ourselves, but we can kind of keep hitting these roadblocks in our lives that don’t really make sense in our life now and interrupt our lives. So in schema therapy, we work with people to help understand these schemas, these deeper emotional wounds and most definitely these really important core needs. And we help people learn how to get these cool needs met, to be able to have a more happy, healthy and secure life in their adulthood.

Dan :
So you say a lot of these things happen from childhood. I’m sort of jumping ahead in my head right now in terms of, you know, we’ve got this current issue of of lockdown and quarantine and self-isolation and kids at home. Do you see these things developing now, especially given the current climate or circumstances? So, I mean, is it something that parents should be conscious of?

Megan:
Look, it’s a real tricky one. I think what’s going on now is certainly opening our eyes and really making us have a very different think about the world around us. And I think that there’s a real opportunity for this to go one of two ways. One way is we grow and we change and we develop and we develop much healthier mechanisms and relationships where we embrace this as an opportunity to spend more time with our kids, get back to more basics and develop more connectedness in our lives with the things that are important. Connection is one of the most important things in life. Dr. Brené Brown is a shame researcher in the US and she talks about, you know, connection being the center for meaning and purpose. So if we utilise this as an opportunity to reconnect to ourselves, the people closest to us, the things are important to us. You know, being mindful in the moment and just, you know, looking outside and taking in the wonders of the beautiful world is, as we are seeing, being reborn at the moment. Then there’s a real magical opportunity right now.

Megan:
And this can kind of be one of those blessings in disguise where there’s opportunity for growth and positive change. However, unfortunately, there will be circumstances where this can potentially cause a lot of psychological damage, because if we’re not well equipped ourselves to be able to deal with one of the big things right now is uncertainty, tolerating uncertainty. There is a lot of uncertainty. I think in Australia we’re very blessed and we have the opportunity to live in a world that we’re very well provided for and we’re very well protected. And I think the government’s demonstrating that right now very imperfectly. I’m sure people will have some nuances about what’s going on. But in reality, we have a government that has largely been able to protect us from the horrors that we’ve seen overseas and that is providing us with protection and stability. And, you know, it’s really something to be grateful about. But unfortunately, you know, yeah, we can lose touch with that and we can get lost with the uncertainty of this situation. A lot of fear can start to drum up.

Megan:
And if we get blocked by that fear of the uncertainty, it doesn’t allow us an opportunity to be able to have that opportunity for growth and in connection right now. So something to be mindful of.

Dan :
Yeah, it’s something I I recognised in the first few weeks, so, I mean, I guess at the time of recording we’re sort of three weeks into this sort of lockdown period or it’s not lockdown, but, you know, stay at home type. Period. Self-isolation and just amazing. Like the first to continue checking the news like this 24 hour news cycle. I always say an update and I was just thinking even that must break this new there’s probably poor behavioural habits sort of thing. And it’s something I’ve tried to make a conscious decision of of sort of trying to switch off. I mean, my phone my screen time is just absolutely disgusting. I wouldn’t want to share that. I hope that it will hold better. But even just the news and staying up to date with everything and. Yeah, like just I guess sort of like dwelling in the uncertainty and the fear.

Megan:
And this is one of the key things. So when actually when we’re children and we feel anxious, the thing they need that we actually have is comfort. You know, the only way that a child feels safe in this world is with an adult who can actually provide comfort and reassurance. And what can happen is, if we haven’t grown up with that child being able to say I’m scared and a parent being able to give them a hug and say, it’s okay, I’m here, I’ve got you, then unfortunately what happens is that child then learns defense mechanisms, coping mechanism, fight, flight freeze. What am I gonna do in this situation? So I might detach from my emotions and switch them off. Or one of the other big things that we see is people, you know, cut off and the emotion. They come up to their heads and they start analysing it, because what that does is we start looking for answers. It’s incredibly adaptive. We’re very smart human beings and we have this cognitive capacity to analyse situations and problem solve and think about things. So we bring this information out to our heads and we analyse it and then we start to try to work out how to control a situation, how to determine an outcome, how to fix a problem. And so what can go on right now with this uncertainty is we want answers, we want certainty, we want control. So we start to be able to develop some. Or we start to develop some behaviours that creep in that could if you look back, you might actually see that old behaviours. They might be a little different, but their actual behavior could be very similar to something that you did as a child that is creeping in right now to help bring you some comfort. It’s a learnt behavior and behavior that you’ve learned to keep yourself in times of fear and anxiety and uncertainty. Because when we feel like we’re in control, it creates a sense of calm.

Dan :
I’ve definitely got to think about how I use that uncertainty to scroll on my phone.

Megan:
One of the big things right now is about being able to tolerate uncertainty, which is incredibly difficult.

Megan:
Tolerating uncertainty is really, really important. And one of the best tools as psychologists that we offer and suggest that is mindfulness, which is about being in the present moment focused on the here and now. You know, the things that I encouraged for people right now is about being in the present moment. Focus on what you can do, what you want to do and what you’re able to do, because your only actual sense of control is actually with yourself. We need to watch the news because we need to keep up to date at the moment with what’s going on. But when we watch so much use, we get consumed by it. We get overwhelmed by it. It starts to wreak havoc in our lives because we’re just filled with all this fear and uncertainty. So we turn on the news. We catch the snippets, get an update. But then, yes, switching off and being able to do something more mindful in your day, being present and going for a walk, you know, doing some breathing meditation, you know, even if you’re going to go cook a meal, do it mentally. We really pay attention to the smells, the sounds, the food, what you’re cooking, the taste, and you’ll see that things start to become a living you and we can feel much more grounded and centered. And that’s where we start to find the true meaning of life and the true connectedness and enjoyment, which is just with ourselves and our connections in that moment.

Dan :
So I know there’s plenty of mindfulness apps. Are there any ones that you recommend to people? I’ve been using Headspace for quite a while and I know that there’s like a free on morning thing with that. But I know that there’s. I think Sam Harris has one and there’s calm and there’s a few others. But are there any that you personally recommend to people?

Megan:
Look, there’s so many out there. And what I would say is find the one that works for you. Because between the different sounds and voices and accents and those sorts of things, that’s really important to find one that works for you. The most feedback that I get from people is smiley minded. Headspace has been to great ones, but really you’ve just got to find something that works for you.

Dan :
Yeah, cool. So I want to ask something that came up in with without into a friend yesterday where in part of a networking group and and he was saying his loving working from home, but he’s just working so much more because it’s so easy to go back to the desk, go back to the home office. And it’s something I’ve found as well. Like all instead of after dinner and dinner, my wife and I would watch TV or sort of hang out, chill out all, then go back to the desk and do some things. I’m in it because it’s I guess the space is so close. Like what? What are some tools or coping mechanisms or behaviours? Is there anything there that you can suggest or is that something you’ve noticed?

Megan:
Oh, I’ve definitely noticed it.

Megan:
And I am a sucker for this poor behavior as well. This actually comes into that core need of self-control and realistic limits. We actually need to set some routine and limits with ourselves and actually practice this real self discipline. So having a routine for your day is really, really good. You would usually have that. You’d wake up, you get ready, you go to work, you’d have your work day, you come home and have the evening routine that is all completely distorted and disrupted right now. And so we lose our routine. And again, some of those other behaviours start to come in that again impact and interrupt our daily lives. So our routine is really important. If you make it similar to the routine that you will usually have, it’s probably easier to get back to work when that happens. But at the same time, it might need to be different and and have different things in it because we might have kids at home or other things going on. So we need to adjust. But at the same time, there should be a routine and then we practice our healthy adult, which is the adult part of us that takes care of the child.

Megan:
Part of us inside at that healthy adult part comes out and just starts to practice and strict limits, setting and self-discipline to be able to say after dinner or after work, I would come home and rest and watch TV and then have that one downtime, which is incredibly important for your sleep. Now there’s a reality that that might be disrupted. And I think if you look at this, we’ve all been in an adjustment phase. And in that adjustment phase, we’ve had to make some significant changes. But I feel really like we’re heading into a stabilisation phase and this is the time to really start to set the routine in the adjustment phase. We’ve had to work out what’s going on and how am I going to do this. And we would have needed to have more. You know, we would have had two more of us would have been required within the adjustment phase. We would have had to give more to sort things out, particularly with our businesses. But as we head into the stabilisation phase, it’s a time to set up a routine, develop some routine and some structure with some self discipline to really stick limits around how you want your day to operate and look like, because there’s a reality that we could be in this stabilisation phase for three to six, nine, maybe worst case scenario, 12 months. If that’s our reality, then we need to start that routine now. So once you’ve kind of got feel like you’ve kind of stabilised in business and you kind of know what’s going on. Start the stabilisation in the routine with some self-discipline and realistic limits.

Dan :
How important is sleep?

Megan:
Sleep is incredibly important, sleep is your body’s natural brick prepare and recovery process, so anything that’s not been dealt with during the day, physically or emotionally. Our body takes care of us at night. And sleep will be one of the first things to go. The moment you’re stressed or something’s going on in your life and your sleep will also play out some of the things in your subconscious. So if you’re having some pretty weird dreams right now, that’s okay. It’s your body trying to process. It’s your subconscious. And, you know, there’s there’s links back to our core needs here again. But you boarding your mind is trying to process and understand what is going on in those deeper subconscious areas. So sleep is incredibly important, but it’s also one of the most difficult things to be able to control and change as well. So it’s one of the things that is always an indicator for me as to how someone is doing. But it’s also something that I don’t tend to pay too much attention to, because if we focus on our overall health and well-being, sleep should then kick back into gear.

Megan:
So the most important thing for sleep is definitely routine. So if you set that routine up, get up at the same time, go to bed at the same time. That will help your sleep, making sure that you wind down throughout the evening. So use your evening show, get quieter and quieter and quieter throughout the evening rather than come home, chill out on the couch for a couple of hours, have a nap, wake up, have dinner and then restart work. You just restimulated yourself reactivating your brain and everything’s going to calm right down to be out of reset. And you’ll find it’s 3:00 in the morning before you back to sleep again. Having, you know, limiting stuff like caffeine and nicotine in the evening is important. And just having a really nice sleep routine, just winding down, really trying to take care of yourself and throughout the day, doing some self-care practices, some grounding, some breathing, some mindfulness, going for a walk. Exercise helps those things overall. Help your eyebrows levels, your stress levels come down. They help your wellbeing. And all of those things combined can help you sleep.

Dan :
Definitely some great advice. I like the ground a bit. That’s something I wanted to live in an apartment where don’t have ground that doesn’t have dog wee on it.

Dan :
So I always make a conscious effort of like grounding when I got to my parents house because they have nice grass.

Megan:
Yeah, it always helps to ground if we’re on a nice space. But there’s a broken thing about our minds. Damn, our mind does not differentiate real from a margin. So you could actually sitting or sit stand somewhere and you can actually close your eyes and you could actually take your mind back to your parents house and imagine your feet because it’s really deeply and trusted within you. You’ll be able to access that memory and your brain will really feel like it’s there and really get that sensation of that graph. So I encourage you to give it a go.

Dan :
I thought it was like magic in the grass, so it’s actually just afraid. Okay, got it.

Megan:
This is one of the amazing things about our brains and this is actually the thing about connectedness. In that moment, you are fully connected and we know that we’re fully connected when all of our senses are online. And so if you’re standing there on the grass.

Megan:
So next time you do get to go out to your favourite place, take a moment to just taking every single aspect through every single sense. And if you kind of take it into every inch of your body and then you store it in a place in your mind, you will forever be able to access that. And your brain actually doesn’t differentiate real from imagined and actually and powers you to be able to go to what we call a safe place. Or you can call a sacred place to be able to do some mindfulness and always have that as an opportunity to ground yourself even when you’re not able to call.

Dan :
I’m going to practice that.

Dan :
Thank you. So you’re going to want to take it back a little bit to your business now. So you started M Fry Psychologist back in 2016?

Megan:
October 2016. Yes, that’s right.

Dan :
So take me to, I guess, going back. You’ve worked in the army as a psychologist and then you’ve contracted for the army with special forces. And then so what was the next step to starting your own business?

Megan:
So unfortunately, that contract changed, whether on base services. And I wasn’t able to do the job that I loved and enjoyed so much. I had to make an extremely difficult decision to change what I was doing at that point. And this was actually extremely difficult point in my life and actually a point where I had to probably do my most challenging thing in life, which was to start to work on myself. But what I ended up doing was leaving on base services. I became a contractor for some. In private practice, and very interestingly, at that point, I was working for someone else under their name, but I had to have my own ABN. I didn’t know what to call myself, so thought whatever, M Fry Pshychologist, we’ll just run with that. It’s never going to be a business name because I kind of expected to always work for all the people. So again, not really very well thought about, but just contract a name to operate in someone else’s private practice. I worked there for two years before we relocated. My husband is still in defense, so he got post up to Brisbane, so we relocated out to Brisbane in 2015. Again, I went into someone else’s private practice and I started to become incredibly frustrated working with other people and their rules and their ways of doing things. And so I started to broach the idea of M. Fry being its own entity and incredibly scary and daunting process, but one I couldn’t be more thankful and more grateful for.

Dan :
Take me through the growth of M Fry. And you know, you started out were you just the only clinician and I guess, you know, four years on now, how many have you got today? And I guess how the business changed and evolved significantly.

Megan:
So it grew from a model of what I didn’t want to be. So this was a really significant process for me because I knew what I didn’t want it to be.

Megan:
I didn’t want it to be clinical and cold. I wanted it to be a place that was warm and friendly and clients centered and client focused and developing that business. By this time, I’d done a lot of my own growth journey. I’d worked a lot on myself. So it was a real moment in me meeting that second core need for myself autonomy, competence and sense of self stepping out to develop him fry into its own entity. And it was just me.

Megan:
And it just kind of all happened to line up. I managed to get a office above a doctor’s office. I happened to go get my profile photo taken with a photographer who’s second hand had a girlfriend that was doing an undergrad psychology degree that was looking for a job.

Megan:
And I contacted her. And yeah, it was just me and my admin assistant again at that time. And it was amazing because I was able to set up a place that represented me and represented what I wanted to be able to offer clients, which was a very strong client centered approach and focused on providing care and compassion and really trying to work to meet the core needs for a person on every level. So my five year plan was to bring another psychologist in at five years. I thought, yeah, five years we’ll try to have another psychologist. Within 12 months, I was overwhelmed with the amount of work. Very quickly, I needed more admin support and happened to meet my colleague John that had a strong, keen interest in working with veterans. And he was eager and I was eager. I think it was just past the 12 month mark of setting up M Fry that that John came on board and I brought in another admin assistant. So John was full time and I was full time from there. I now have one, two, three, four contracted psychologists, one permanent part time practice manager and two admin assistants. And it’s only been just over three years.

Dan :
Yeah, well. So one to eight. One to seven or eight people?

Megan:
Yeah, something like that.

Dan :
I do remember when we first caught up. I was gonna bring up your goals from my work self and and sort of read some of them back to you, because I think you are. I mean, I think we may have needed to aim higher because I think. Yeah, you’ve probably achieved your five year goals in year one.

Megan:
I think I did. I think I did. Yeah. But, you know, I did say on that briefly, that workshop that I did with you was really foundational in making them fraud because it actually really made me think about what I wanted this place to be and to look like. And without that workshop that you ran through with me, I wouldn’t have developed. I don’t believe I’d be where I am today. It was truly foundational in the development of M Fry and what we are today. And I’m very grateful for that.

Dan :
Thank you. Yeah, I remember. I remember it pretty well. It’s probably one of the first ones we did at our new office space in Spring Hill. Yes, it was. Yeah, I remember it very well. And it’s pretty cool. It’s pretty cool to see how the business has grown. I mean, I know that now we start off with doing your headshots with Sean Condon and then that’s how you met your first assistant. And then it’s funny seeing emails from Shaun of New Clinician’s come through. Like, it’s a real buzz for us because it’s like, oh, cool. Yeah, awesome. It’s grown.

Megan:
It’s been great. You and Sean have supported him from the start, and we’re have the privilege of continuing to utilise your services. And Sean does an amazing job with the photos. And you’ve always done amazing job with our branding and our website. So it’s great.

Dan :
It’s very kind. So if you could have a coffee with yourself four years ago and before starting that business, what advice would you give to yourself?

Megan:
It’s a really interesting question, because I often part of schema therapy is to look at ourselves at different phases. And I actually haven’t gone back to that moment. But as I do that in my mind right now, as I talk to you, when I see myself having a coffee, I don’t know. I just want to give her a hug because she was incredibly brave and it was actually truly the first moment that she actually went to trust herself. And setting up this business made back then, really, I had to back myself and I had to trust myself. And that was one of the most key fundamental pivot points of my personal journey and my professional journey. I have. Huge loads of self-doubt. It’s something that I’ve battled with. Definitely in my professional career and still struggle with sometimes. But I do have a lot of self-doubt. When I started that journey, it was an opportunity for me to trust myself. And I think, again, the workshop that you ran me through really allowed me to focus on what do I want and what will this look like and how do we bring this out? And it was a real growth for me. So I just want to give her a hug and say, well done, I’m being brave.

Dan :
I’m just noticing behind your shoulder the elephant on the shelf.

Megan:
There’s always elephants around me.

Dan :
Yeah, I do laugh when I think of the brand identity of how hard it is to squeeze an elephant in there. But it is a little hidden sort of Easter egg. I’ll like to make sure I put the logo in the podcasts notes so people can get the reference.

Megan:
You had me hook, line and sinker with that logo. And it’s a story. It’s a story that exists. If you come into fry today, there are elephants everywhere and people ask us about the story of the elephant. And I always tell them that it was on yours. And my first meeting that when we first met, there was a big, big X doing my waiting where the big elephant picture behind me. And you said, what’s the go with the elephants? And I said, Well, I just love them. You said, well, what do you love about them? And I said, well, they’re these big, strong creatures that have so much strength and power, but they’re actually really empathic and kind and caring and gentle. And that’s something that I really value and love. And I remember when you presented the elephant logo to me, it kind of hit two goals. One, the elephant in the room, which is very important to me, is psychology and to, I guess, the meaning and the value that elephants have to me. So elephants is a real part of improving who we are today.

Dan :
So think about your industry. So we’ve talked about your business and then we’ve talked about schema therapy. What are some challenges that you think your industry or like mental health or psychology? What are some challenges that you think it faces? And are there anything? Well, you know, if you had to look at it, is there something? Are there any issues that you think are wrong with it or stigmas that we need to remove from it or. How do you sort of see the state of your industry now?

Dan :
Are you willing to pick a fight?

Megan:
I’m just taking a moment to consider how brave I’m willing to be here.

Dan :
Yeah, yeah. Go for it.

Megan:
I love my profession, but it does have its issues and I think it’s the same as any profession. I think there’s people in my profession that do the most amazing things.

Megan:
However, probably one of the thing that irks me the most in my profession is people wanting to make business out of it. You know, we have the opportunity to have and make businesses out of providing psychological clients to services and we have a real privilege to be able to work with people. I do see on occasion people get more focused on the business aspects and lose focus on the client aspects. It is unfortunately one of the hardest things for us to juggle is keeping business and client needs hand-in-hand. And that’s a particular challenge that we’re definitely facing right at the moment as well. We’ve all had to adjust our business platforms and how we do things and finding the balance between business and client services. I think he’s very much a challenge for our profession and what we do. I think as clinicians, when we offer a service to people, not only do we need to get the balance right between business and clients, I think we have to be really willing to grow and work on ourselves if we are not the healthiest person that we can be. Then it very much limits what we’re able to offer our clients and the people that we work with. And so I think that it’s very important for us as a professional to be willing and able not just to work on our professional development, but also our personal development, because that’s a key part of asking our to offer the best service to our clients.

Dan :
That’s a pretty good point. Like you want to make sure that the person who you’re meeting with is comfortable and has. I guess you want to hope that they’ve got their shit together.

Megan:
You do want to hope!

Dan :
You do hope! Or you assume. It’s sort of, like, yeah, it’s you know, the same way people would judge us if we had a really bad website or brand or something like that. Like. Yeah, I mean there’s a lot at stake. You know, if you go to a personal trainer, you want to hope that they’re fit and healthy.

Megan:
Exactly.

Dan :
So if you go to a clinical psychologist, you would assume and hope that they’re in a great space mentally.

Megan:
Definitely. And I’m not saying that they’re not. But, you know, there are some quirks that I do see. And again, you’d say it in any profession where, you know, people would definitely need to take accountability.

Megan:
And we as a profession need to take accountability for the job that we’re doing in the service that we’re providing. You know, I think on the other hand, one of the things that annoys me is the way we limit you know, I unfortunately think it’s not the best idea to focus on mental health. I personally prefer to focus on emotional well-being. I think we can get stuck in labels and diagnostics and problems and negatives, which takes us down a path of wanting to fix and correct. And I again, don’t think that that’s the best model to operate off. I prefer to focus on emotional well-being and whole of personal well-being and psychology to be seen as an opportunity to develop our emotional growth and awareness and intelligence and it being a growth journey rather than a problem fix journey. There’s opportunities for people to access psychology for any reason, not just because a clinical diagnosable mental health condition. There’s opportunities for people to be able to go. I keep doing this thing and I don’t want to do it anymore. You know, can someone help me?

Megan:
You know, it’s in particular where schema therapy can really help with that. And we’re able to help people who don’t find traditional therapies helpful or who are looking for something different or who, you know, want to be able to use this model as a performance enhancement and growth model. You know, for people who want to be able to work on themselves and there’s definitely opportunity for us to expand the service that we can offer to the community.

Dan :
Yeah, that’s a good point. To see it is not just a problem solution thing. You know, I’m not feeling well when you’re diagnosed with depression or something like that. And that’s the reason for it. I mean, it’s obviously a great reason to see a clinical psychologist. But, um, what are the other types of, I guess, types of scenarios or situations that you think people should look at? You know, come into a practice like yours.

Megan:
Obviously we can do it when there’s a clinical mental health concern. But again, you can just do it if there’s a behaviour that keeps popping up, that gets in your writing, your life. Now, if you’re highly emotional or not emotional at all, like if you have lots of emotions and feel everything. Understanding those emotions and learning how to work with them is important. On the reverse end of the spectrum, the person that feels nothing and can’t connect to anything developing personal awareness, awareness of yourself and who you are, developing the capacity to be more mindful and more connected to yourself and others. And in the moment, and then right through to personal and professional development, wanting to do performance enhancement type of aspects of just wanting to be able to understand yourself or others of the world around you a little bit better.

Dan :
Just have, I guess, a better emotional awareness and intelligence. I imagine be pretty good for. Do you work with any sort of CEOs or business professionals who are trying to sort of level up in that sort of sense and being able to be a better leader or a better manager or work with a team and develop themselves that way?

Megan:
I don’t. But you know that there’s certainly plenty of people that do that. That’s one of the areas in schema therapy that I think we have not even touched on yet or explored. You know, unfortunately, schema therapy was developed by Dr. Jeffrey Young for complex, extremely unwell and dysfunctional people with what’s known as borderline personality disorder. So it’s currently targeted towards people that are chronically unwell. And I see opportunities for schema therapy being able to use right at the other end of the spectrum in terms of personal and professional development and performance enhancement in my work with military personnel. This is certainly some an area that I focus on in an area that I see has huge capacity. I don’t think we’ve even touched the surface of the way schema therapy can help people in the community. And I can’t wait to watch its growth because I think I hope one day it will become the primary treatment modality that we use for people. And I hope one day we’re able to see the many reaches that it can possibly grow and expand to be able to offer a whole lot more than just treatment for clinical conditions.

Dan :
So if someone listening to this wanted to learn more about schema therapy, where’s the best place they could find that information?

Megan:
My very amazing updated website from DSR Branding.

Dan :
Yeah that’s brisbaneschematherapy.com.au.

Megan:
Thank you. We are just working on that right now and starting to launch that. I hope that that will be a platform for people to find out about schema therapy and what infra psychology does and offers. And the other area would be the International Society of Schema Therapy can start to link you in to the opportunities. Schema therapy is getting very big, very rapidly around the world. There’s a lot of popularity and interest in it in Australia. It can be a bit harder to find because it’s not mainstream currently endorsed treatment protocol in Australia, but there are avenues to be able to find out information.

Dan :
And is it something that not only people like, just everyday people could go to? But is it something that I think before we’ve spoken you talked about you actually are training other clinicians in schema therapy, is that right?

Megan:
I sure am. So our practice, our psychology practice is a scheme of therapy focused practice. So anybody come any all of my clinicians have to be working on or towards accreditation to the scheme therapist. So they have to be developing their skills and starting to learn to practice on that model. Schema therapy is fantastic because you can bring in everything that you know and utilise other therapy formats and modalities in schema therapy. Schema therapy describes your framework. So it’s not like you got to chuck everything that you know and reload this you thing. It’s rewinding this new thing as a foundation and bring in everything that you know to be able to enhance the therapeutic process and gains and outcomes in therapy.

Megan:
So the clients that come into for I certainly able to access and have that service, clinicians that do work with me or get training and supervision and must be doing their own training and supervision in schema therapy as well. And more recently, yes, I’ve started to supervise other clinicians. I run online supervision to be able to reach more people. I have started to run some workshops and I also assist Chemotherapy Australia, facilitate their workshops and get moving into starting to do some webinar series over the coming months. Thanks to self-isolation with Covid-19.

Dan :
Everyone is creating a webinar version of their services. These days we’re all forced to work remotely. So you mentioned before. So schema therapy is one of the modalities or one of the practices. Are they modalities or clinical modalities that you guys offer? I’ve seen there is a CBT?

Megan:
So CBT cognitive behavioural therapy. This is the most standard treatment, practice and approach. It’s currently endorsed as treatment or choice, definitely in Australia and in a lot of places around the world. As a psychology providing Medicare services, we must practice and utilise cognitive behavioural therapy strategies. The beautiful thing about schema therapies is CBT. Just a much deeper version of CBT because we look at beliefs and behaviours and cognitive behavioural therapy is based on thoughts and behaviours. See CBT as being more surface level. I kind of see it as like a top down approach where you start with a thought and you kind of work on the surface to try and change some thoughts and behaviours. Schema therapy is much deeper. I see it as a bottom up approach where we dig in and we really look at those beliefs and patterns of behaviour and then we sort of bring it up into your life now. So there are definitely two primary modalities from which we practice in and then clinicians in the practice you will see a diverse range of skills from acceptance and commitment therapy, mindfulness, MDR and also DVT dialectical behaviour therapy.

Dan :
So I want to talk about you, Megan. So what do you do on your days off and how do you relax and how do you sort of detach? Well, yeah, for lack of a better word from the business side, that’s a really good question.

Megan:
We live out at Sam somehow on a beautiful I say elevon, my husband says 13 acre property somewhere in that facility. We have a donkey and two goats and three chickens, one rooster tank and there is three dogs, one cat, one dog, one duck and one adopted duck. I think. I must still love wild life.

Megan:
So it’s really easy to escape out here. Unfortunately, when I’m not working, I am probably very busy running my kids around. So I’m really enjoying not having to do that at the moment. They do a lot of activities between martial arts and music and sport, but I certainly enjoy coming back to this place where the wildlife and the animals are and just being in this quiet surrounding to be able to take a moment and a breath and be in the moment and enjoy it and be grateful for what I have.

Dan :
Yeah, that’s great. And so I like to ask people I mean, I’ve got a long list of audible wishlists from people telling me what books they love and enjoy. Have you got any favorite books that spring to mind in a business or, you know, they could be just novels and things like that.

Megan:
So I am probably, too. I’m a Brené Brown and Bryce Courtney family. So in terms of my course that I like to read for enjoyment, I think I’ve read every one of these books. I love them. He’s always been my most favourite author. And I’ve read his books since I was a teenager and first read The Power of One. But Dr. Brené Brand is a shame researcher in the US. She has many books that talks about the power of vulnerability and talks about allowing us to dare greatly and brave the wilderness, which is all about being able to be more vulnerable in our lives and the importance of that. And her books are amazing and she is amazing. And I’ve recently added Glennon Doyle’s untamed book to my wish list to read, which I’m hoping to get to.

Dan :
I’ve listened to a lot of Brené Brown and I loved a Netflix special, but I think it was an Dare to Lead. I was reading that and she was talking about she did some work with the US military and she was talking to them about if they felt tired and it was she was associating tiredness to light. It was actually it was actually tiredness. It was actually loneliness. Yes. Incredible. Incredible. When you think about it that way, as a society like Evren often feels so tired or disconnect, you know, tired. But that’s actually potentially just it’s loneliness and lack of connection.

Megan:
Exactly. And it’s very interesting, like Brené Brown. I don’t know what she knows about schema therapy, if anything. And she’s certainly never spoken about it. From what I’ve heard that all of her terminology, the things that she talks about fits exactly in with the schema therapy model and promotes and encourages the same things.

Megan:
But, you know, this is the thing like as children, if we don’t have connectedness and those core needs being that we very quickly learn to disconnect and we go through life very disconnected, looking for ways to protect ourselves and armourer ourselves to prevent our hearts from being hurt. But as Brené would say, we don’t love with our whole heart and we’re not able to open ourselves up. And so we don’t live a fulfilling and meaningful life. And we end up being lonely and sad and depressed and unsatisfied and unfulfilled. But it’s because we’ve closed our hearts off to love.

Dan :
You know, she’s brilliant. She’s very, very, very, very interesting. And I think she does a lot of good in terms of bringing a lot of that into the mainstream. I was listening to her talk to Russell Brand, and it’s a really good interview. But she just talked about how she was. Her husband was in the front row of her Netflix special because she doesn’t scripted. She sort of just lives the entire thing. And then she would do back to back. So she did one and then the other. And she did the first one. And she was telling a story about a family in her daughter. And her husband was like, right in the middle, like under lights. And she said she just stared at him and he was just like sobbing. Ant then afterwards she’s like, you’ve got to get out of here. Like, you’re going to go back. You can’t you can’t sit in front center during this. Yeah, that’s really funny. She’s got a really good sense of humour. It’s hilarious listening to her talk to especially Russell Brand.

Dan :
So there was one question. I don’t know. There’s one question. What are your thoughts? And I didn’t put this in the notes. What are your thoughts on like psychedelics around behavioural change? You know like, in the States, there’s lots of people going into, you know, like DMT or what is it? What’s the peyote and things like that. Is there anything that you have looked into or read or anything like that? And we don’t have to include this in the podcast, but I just, I was telling my brother I was interviewing you and he’s like, oh, you should you should ask her over like psychedelics, like micro-dosing and DNT and that sort of stuff like, you know, for behavioural changes. Is that something you see potentially happening? Probably not legally in Australia.

Megan:
Interesting question.

Megan:
I think that I actually had one of my clients that went to what was it like, South America, Peru, I think somewhere to take her like an organic substance that I think has that same effect. I can’t remember the name of it, but it’s well known. And you go into these camps and you drink this drink and then, yeah…

Megan:
Yeah. I think that people look for ways to access their subconscious because we know that it’s in the subconscious that our deepest, darkest fears believe. And it’s actually really hard to access that if you’ve spent 30 years disconnecting from your inner self. It’s really difficult to be able to access that part of you and show drugs can provide windows and opportunities to be able to access those parts. But the thing about it is, is you’re not actually going to get any relief because you might be out of going there, you might be on access up, but capacity for change is actually limited. I mean, you could also say the same about hypnosis, those sorts of strategies. Try and target your subconscious and try and get in. But what you will find. What I believe you’ll find no scientific evidence supporting this one from me. I’m sure it exists out there is that it’s short term. You’re really only getting short term relief. No significant long term gain because your capacity to influence is limited in schema therapy. We help you learn how to access your subconscious through what we call your vulnerable child, your inner child, which you’ll see when you know, schema therapy also relates very well to autism and those concepts about the inner child.

Megan:
And in again. Chemotherapy imagery is an incredibly powerful technique. So as I said to before, the brain doesn’t differentiate real from you imagine. So we actually go in, actually work to access the subconscious and the deepest memories that you have. But what we then do is we then provide a corrective emotional experience. So we actually don’t go back through traumas. We don’t actually relive traumas. We go to the point where the pain was caused and then we actually re script and we provide a corrective emotional experience. The benefit of that is just as I said to you before, you know, you can store these images in your mind. So when I have that painful image, I can bring up the restricted memory. I can’t change what happens, but it changes the way that that memory is stored in your body and in your brain, in your memory system. And if we practice that, if when we feel that pain, we see that child and we use that re scripted image, then we’re able to heal those deep emotional wounds and actually get long term change for well-being instead of short term and short term highs, I guess, short term relief.

Dan :
That’s right. Megan, this has been so valuable. I’ve really, really enjoyed it. So it’s sort of closed off and wrap up. We touched on before where people can find out more about schema therapy. But where can people find you?

Megan:
mfry.com.au, the amazing website, again thank you DSR Branding.

Megan:
To anyone looking to set up a business, I would say, what DSR branding has provided has been foundational to where I am today and I can not encourage and endorse that process. Enough. It was worth every cent that I’ve spent. And I very much have loved everything the DSR branding has done for M Fry in our development and branding.

Dan :
Oh, thank you so much for saying that. I think it’s a perfect time to wrap up there, I mean you can’t really tough that. No, just kidding.

Megan:
Definitely!

Dan :
No, no, I mean, that’s great. I really appreciate you coming on and having a chat with me. I did want to ask, what are some things out there, and I might put this as a separate thing, but what are some things out there that parents at home with kids at the moment, because it might be something that I can share with my family because I’ve got a seven year old nephew, but are there any things that you can suggest or anything like that that you would like to give away as little hints or tips and advice?

Megan:
What I would say is, remember that this is a difficult time for us all. One thing about us is we have a fully developed prefrontal cortex which allows us to have the information to understand what’s going on in the world around us, children don’t. Children have fully developed emotional centers. But they do not have fully developed prefrontal cortexes. And the prefrontal cortex is the part of our mind that helps us understand and make sense of the world.

Megan:
So it’s very easy for people to go “Oh kids don’t understand what’s happening, they’re fine”. But what we see is emotionally, they may be, you may see some emotional changes right now. So parents need to be the prefrontal cortex for their kids.

Megan:
So as much as kids might seem fine, if there’s something going on for your child, I encourage you to sit with them and talk to them, allow them to express their emotions and try to help them understand what they’re feeling. Just you validating their feeling helps them make sense of their emotions and their feelings and what’s going on for them right now. And that’s an incredibly important process along with connectedness and, you know, being able to have that spontaneity and fun and play right now, you know, so try and think about the core needs. So making sure that there’s a secure place for them where they can be listened to and understood good routine, really important, making sure that we have some fun playing board game with them, you know, go for a walk, play with them and just helping them feel really safe and secure right now and just being very present with them.

Dan :
Yeah, that’s great. That’s some great advice. And I love the idea of going home and practicing my grounding in my apartment with no grass myself factor to the nice grass that my parents face.

Dan :
No, Megan, thank you so much for coming on and been so generous with your time and sharing those stories. It’s been awesome talking to you and I’m really excited to share this.

Megan:
It’s my pleasure. Dan, I really look forward to sharing it, too.

Dan :
Thanks. Have a great day.

Megan:
You too Dan, bye bye!

Dan :
Cheers, bye!

Dan :
Thank you for listening to this episode of Discover Someone Remarkable. If you enjoyed it, please share it with your network to support us. Please subscribe and leave a five star view. To learn more about us or the guests on this show, visit dsrb.com.au/podcast. DSR branding exist to inspire people to love what their work represents.

Dan :
We hope that this episode has inspired you to think differently.

Subscribe and Listen to
DSR Branding Presents

Or subscribe with your favorite app by using the address below