Gina Thorne: Hi everyone. Welcome to the Harmony Foundation Podcast Series. It’s my pleasure to be joined with Lana Isaacson with, I guess, Lana Isaacson Private Practice?
Lana Isaacson: Yeah.
Gina Thorne: That’s it?
Lana Isaacson: That’s right.
Gina Thorne: Alright. Do you want to get a name someday that we can like shout out to the world or something? I don’t know. I love it though. That’s good.
Lana Isaacson: Thank you.
Gina Thorne: That’s good. So we’re-
Lana Isaacson: It allows me to change and evolve.
Gina Thorne: That’s right. Well that’s true. You don’t want to be locked into one thing.
Lana Isaacson: Right.
Gina Thorne: So we’re really excited to have you here at Harmony and for you to have spent the day with us was really terrific. I’ve learned a lot about you, as a matter of fact. I didn’t know that you were into dancing and knowing how to, and using a lot of your dance to work with clients and families, which is fantastic.
Lana Isaacson: Thanks.
Gina Thorne: And so hopefully we’ll be able to talk a little bit about that today.
Lana Isaacson: Sure.
Gina Thorne: I was really interested when I was looking at your website because you talk a lot about family. It seems very important to you. Both personally and professionally, having that healthy family is really vital. Why is that so important to you?
Lana Isaacson: So I think, professionally, having worked in the addiction field and I got into the addiction field because, there are many reasons, but one was I wanted to be inspired on a daily basis and I am with my clients. I don’t think there is a client who is more inspiring than someone who is in recovery, and the transformation is so incredible. It’s so huge, and I just love being a part of someone’s journey, and transforming, and finding a piece of themselves that they haven’t yet discovered or that they want to discover or rediscover.
And I also felt that in a lot of my work with clients at treatment centers, that there was this individual focus. And even in my private practice, I began doing more individual work and I loved how I felt that that work was really sacred. And to give people this really safe space to … It’s not so much … It’s connecting with me, but it’s more connecting with themself when they come into my office.
And at the same time, I feel like throughout the years it’s been really clear to me how everyone’s relationships influenced them so much. So if I had a client coming in with the presenting issue of depression or anxiety or addiction, I often found that they also were struggling with their relationships. Maybe not getting their needs met or maybe they didn’t know how to be in a relationship and so they were living alone. They were single or they’re in a family that they felt that they didn’t have a voice in.
And I just find that the change happens at such an even faster rate and a more in depth level when I work with the whole family system or I work with a couple. Instead of that client turning to their substance or whatever unhealthy coping skill they have, to help them turn toward their partner or their family member and let them know, I need to be held, or it would mean so much to me if you would say, “I believe in you.” And really helping people regain the connection that they had when they were born and they were loved and helping them get that back.
The connection that oftentimes clients find who are in recovery at their 12 step or other meetings with their sponsor, their peers, I want them to have that when they go home at the end of the day. And it’s so powerful for them to receive it and give it and also for them to pass it down to their children.
Gina Thorne: Yeah. So much of what you’re talking about is just the importance of how recovery is built around connection. And so many times I think we have people who come here and they think, I know families that I’ve spoken with that will drop their loved one off and they’ll say, “Just fix them. It’s not about me. It’s not about my family. It’s just about the individual.”
And so we’ve learned over time, I think, as a field that ,as everybody knows, it’s a family disease. And so it sounds like so much of what you’re talking about is really trying to cultivate that connection so that people can really do well in recovery, which is great. So much of your practice seems like it’s built around that. So you do individual work, but you do a lot of family and couples work as well.
Lana Isaacson: Much more. Yeah, and I appreciate you saying addiction is a family disease. I really like to keep focusing in on the concept of that also recovery is something that can be passed down to our children instead of focusing on this disease and feeling that feels sometimes … It’s so true and it’s important for family members to hear and feel validated that it does affect everyone, but also to know recovery can affect everyone if everyone chooses to step in and be a part of their taking charge of their recovery. And I also think healthy relationships can be passed down as well.
Gina Thorne: I never thought about it from that perspective, but you’re right. And you always think about the negative aspects of unhealthy behavior, but breaking that intergenerational cycle really does involve creating those healthy habits and those healthy behaviors. So that’s a great perspective. That’s a great perspective.
Lana Isaacson: Thanks.
Gina Thorne: So, we talked for a few minutes about just ideas of families and one of those areas that really kind of resonated with me when I was reading your website was this idea about mothers in transition and how … As a mom, a working mom, who made a conscious choice to go back to work after my son was six months old, I really struggled with this sense of choosing my career over my child and it really was almost traumatic for me in some ways, which talking to friends and colleagues about it, I realized that a lot of them also have talked about how they’ve had this sort of this imbalance as a woman where you might’ve had an established career, and you were doing great, and then you want to have this family. Then you have this family and then you feel like, do I have to say goodbye to all this stuff that I created before?
And so the fact that you are someone who works with mothers in that capacity or even mothers who are choosing to move in a different direction as they can compliment their children and their new life as a mom is really interesting. So I’m interested to hear more about, what do you do with these women when they come to you and they want to talk with you about some of the issues that I kind of struggled with when I first started?
Lana Isaacson: I appreciate you being so courageous and open with your struggle. I think of one technique I use with moms and myself as well. And that’s, whatever the topic is that they’re trying to decide, maybe they’re a new mom and they’re trying to figure out, do they want to go back to work or do they want to stay at home and be, I call it, work at home? It’s tremendous work as a stay at home mom.
Gina Thorne: That’s big.
Lana Isaacson: Yeah, and deciding what to do, I’ll have them connect with … At first, they usually connect with their brain, and that’s their story, and that’s also society’s expectations, and families’ expectations, and it could be their spouse too, but usually it’s society. I let them connect with their brain for a little while and then I’ll have them connect with their heart and ask them, “What really brings you joy? What do you really love? What does your heart most want? What does your heart most need?”
Then I’ll have them connect with their intuition, which I call your source of wisdom. And I’ll want to, I might lead them through a meditation or some breathing techniques so they can try to go deeper. As deep as our heart is, I think also sometimes we might find the answer if we can quiet our mind and just breathe. Then I’ll ask them to sometimes do a sand tray or a drawing or just talk about those three parts, and what were the messages that you got from your brain, your heart, your gut? And what are you feeling most called to and to do?
Gina Thorne: Because it’s in there.
Lana Isaacson: Yeah.
Gina Thorne: We all know, right?
Lana Isaacson: The answer is, and I think also it’s letting go, as hard as it is, but letting go of other people’s expectations and-
Gina Thorne: Cultural society’s expectations and what they want us to do.
Lana Isaacson: Yeah, just really trying to … And also, giving yourself a chance to try out different things. I think sometimes moms feel like we have to make this choice and, frankly, fathers don’t always have to make it, but we feel like we do. It feels so scary and so permanent, but it doesn’t always have to be that permanent. It can be just try. Go back to work, see how that goes for you. How does that feel for you?
Do you feel like that’s fulfilling enough and that you’re spending enough quality time with your child? And for some moms, they’ll say that they feel like they’re more present and that the time they spend with their child is better quality when they are working.
Gina Thorne: That was me.
Lana Isaacson: Yeah.
Gina Thorne: I felt like I was a better mom because of that. And it wasn’t an excuse, it was just one of those things where I knew. As he’s grown up, he’s watched me recognize that that’s a part of who I am and has come to honor that and respect that.
Lana Isaacson: That’s wonderful.
Gina Thorne: But I understand what you’re saying. So that’s great, and I’m just so happy that you take the time to do that for women because I think a lot of women really struggle in isolation around this issue and think that it’s just part of life. Having someone that they can go to and talk to about it and kind of learn intuitively that you already know what your message is. You just have to kind of align with it.
Lana Isaacson: Also, one more thing that does help some moms is when I share or have them think about different moms that are women who inspire them. They may be working moms, they maybe stay at home moms. For them, that can kind of help with a reality check when they realize, oh yeah, that mom who has three middle school or high school kids who adore her, she went back to work after staying home with them for six weeks or three months, and they’re so bonded with her. Or that stay at home mom who maybe was a career person before and decided to stay at home, she loves being that person for her kids in a different way. And so yeah, I think just really looking at other women as mentors and finding women who really support you in your choices, that’s really important.
Gina Thorne: I think that’s great.
Lana Isaacson: Thanks.
Gina Thorne: Thank you. So we’ve gotten a little bit of a taste of your clinical side, but we want to learn a little bit about you as the person. So I’m going to ask you a couple of questions that kind of gets to know you a little bit better.
Lana Isaacson: Okay.
Gina Thorne: So what do you think is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love? I know you’re like, why would you ask me that question?
Lana Isaacson: I guess there are two things. I don’t know if they’re really that absurd, but I took a self defense class this past fall, and we got to scream “no” at the top of our lungs about 1200 times.
Gina Thorne: Wow.
Lana Isaacson: And I loved it, and fighting.
Gina Thorne: Why?
Lana Isaacson: Why? Oh, it was just so empowering. I think I wasn’t taught, I wasn’t taught to say no growing up. I was taught to say yes and please and be a good kid. And yet, I think that being a good kid is also being able to set healthy boundaries, and we need to teach our children that and model it. The other part of that class was being able to kick the crap out of these men who were in padded suits and how fun and empowering that was. It was scary as heck too and really intense, but it was so empowering. So I am signed up to take the advanced class where you get to fight with a blindfold on and do some other crazy things.
Gina Thorne: Wow.
Lana Isaacson: Yeah, and who knows?
Gina Thorne: So it this just like street fighting or was it actually like-
Lana Isaacson: Self defense.
Gina Thorne: Okay.
Lana Isaacson: Yeah. It’s an organization called Impact Personal Safety of Colorado, and they have all different classes. They even have like a family empowerment class and separate men’s and women’s in a mixed gender group and advanced. So it’s just, I guess you could call it street fighting. It’s wherever you are, just how you can protect yourself.
Gina Thorne: I think everybody needs to know that. I think that’s great. Thank you. Impact?
Lana Isaacson: Impact Personal Safety of Colorado.
Gina Thorne: Terrific.
Lana Isaacson: Yeah.
Gina Thorne: So my next question is if you, sort of playing off the word of harmony, what does it mean to you when I ask you to live a life in harmony?
Lana Isaacson: That’s so interesting. I’m thinking about how like it juxtaposes my answer I just shared, kicking the crap out of someone screaming “no” at the top of my lungs. And although I wouldn’t put that in the category of harmony, I think of balance when I think of harmony. I feel like I’m most at peace when I am living out a more balanced life, and I think that is tapping into both my dark and my light side and all parts of me that are important.
But also, I would say harmony requires me to prioritize and let go of things that are not always easy to let go of, that in the past they would have been an important part of my life. But I’ve made choices, being a working mom. I have a six year old and deciding to let go of some other things so I can just have more quality time and really quality time. My husband and I call it couch time, but every night that we have the energy to sit together and talk about our day, hold each other, or look into each other’s eyes, but that’s really quality time, or just time with my son. He’s still going through this very creative, imaginative stage as a Kindergartner. And so being with him instead of feeling like we need to rush to the next activity or the next outing. Those are some things I think about.
Gina Thorne: That’s great. Love it. I love that answer.
Lana Isaacson: Thanks.
Gina Thorne: That’s fantastic. So I guess if someone wanted to access services through you, how could they get in touch with you?
Lana Isaacson: They can call, text, email, yeah, or schedule. I have an online schedule soon. Online scheduler. It’s through Acuity. My phone number is 720-432-5262. Feel free to call me anytime or text me, or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll spell that. It’s L-A-N-A Isaacson is I-S as in Sam, A-A-C-S-O-N @gmail.com. I have a contact form on my website, which is lanaisaacson.com, or you can go on my website and schedule an appointment.
Gina Thorne: That sounds great. Well thank you so much, Lana, for taking time to visit with us at Harmony. It was a pleasure.
Lana Isaacson: Thank you, Gina.