Episode 89

The ruling seems unreal. Waking up in a new world, one where Roe v Wade was overturned. is not what we had planned for. As therapists we spend our careers encouraging people to see themselves in  new light, to have agency to make choices that are right for themselves. Our jobs are hard even on a good day. The ruling that came down on June 24th shook us all. A right that was set by the highest court in the land 50 years ago, was overturned by that very same court. A very basic fundamental right to our own bodies  can be denied to us and in some states, felonies and imprisonment can be the punishment for making our own decisions. Therapists are real people and we all have our own responses to the news. Today I’ll be talking to a friend and colleague, Dr. Jenny Hughes, about our response both as therapists and as people. 

Transcript

You’re listening to the All Things Substance podcast, the place for therapists to hear about substance use from a mental health perspective.  I’m your host, Betsy Byler and I’m a licensed therapist, clinical supervisor, and a substance abuse counselor.  It is my mission to help my fellow therapists gain the skills and competence needed to add substance use to their scope of practice.   So join me each week as we talk about All Things Substance.

[00:00:46] Betsy: Welcome back to the all things substance podcast. This is episode 80. So I’m back from a two week break and today was supposed to be about a recovery story. In light of recent events, and today is independence day. I figured we needed to talk about the recent decision coming down from the Supreme court. 

I tried to make it really clear with the title, what this was gonna be about. Talking about abortion is something that is difficult. And there are a lot of people who want to shy away from it or who absolutely do not wanna have this conversation and that is okay. And I wanna encourage you if you are not here for that that you should probably just stop the episode now and skip to next week. I have no criticism about that. I wanna give everyone fair warning about what we’re gonna talk about today [00:01:36] and where we’re at. I also wanna be really clear about my stance.

I feel like those of us who have a platform, whether it be a podcast blog, video, whatever the case may be, that we have a responsibility to speak up and to use our voices, to speak about things that impact marginalized people. 

I am unashamedly and a hundred percent no reservation. Pro-choice I am not only pro-choice. I am pro-human rights for all, for our LGBTQ plus people. For all races and gender disabilities [00:02:29] and any other kind of difference or othering that happens. I believe in social justice, I believe that we are responsible to our fellow human, to our earth and to animals even to protect and care for others and that we are responsible for helping those who need help.

 I am also unconcerned with presentation in terms of risk. I think I’m less risk averse than some people. One of the things I used to say to my staff, when they would ask me about whether we could do a thing, was, we’re gonna do the right thing and we’re gonna try to not get fired.

I believe that it is always right to [00:03:06] do the right thing. And then sometimes the law isn’t gonna support that. And then it’s left to me. And to my integrity, I say all of that because as the days move forward, there are new challenges that are gonna come up. The rights of our LGBTQ friends are not solid.

They are not guaranteed. I don’t care that Brett Kavanaugh says or insinuates in the brief that those rights are safe. Bullshit. There is so much going on. That is so wrong.

We have just moved backwards decades in a week and that’s scary and fucked up. I will keep speaking about things as they come up. [00:03:57] This isn’t politics to me, this is about human rights and there is literally nothing more important than equality and protection and safety for all.

So sometimes people who create content on the internet, get criticized for bringing politics into things or actors will get criticized for not staying in their lane because they’re talking about something that’s quote, “political.” And I have to say, fuck that, we’re human we’re part of this country and part of this people.

Before I am a podcaster, I am Betsy. I am a woman. I am a mom. I am a wife. I am a daughter, but I am also just me. [00:04:47] I feel like it is my duty to speak for those who aren’t able to. I don’t often address things like this on the podcast and I haven’t really had a need to all this time. So if that is offensive, I understand that. And I understand you may unsubscribe and not listen, and I wish you well, and I sincerely mean that.

Today, the discussion isn’t going to be about pro-choice and anti-abortion or pro-birth or any of that in terms of the rightness of the wrongness, the stance I’m coming from is that I support people’s right to choose what happens with their body. [00:05:21] And we’re gonna talk about how this ruling affects us as therapists. 

I’ve invited a friend of mine, Dr. Jenny Hughes to come on to talk with us about her experiences. You’re gonna hear part of a conversation between the two of us about this, about our own personal reflections on when this came down and how this affects us, our lives and our work.

I wanna hold some space today and give time for all of you who are listening to just join with us as we talk about this really important thing.

So before we get started, let me tell you about my friend, Jenny,

Dr. Jenny Hughes is a licensed clinical psychologist. Specializing in the treatment of trauma and PTSD as a clinician, she practices EMDR, [00:06:09] cognitive processing therapy and prolonged exposure therapy through her clinical work. Jenny discovered that her true passion is to support other trauma therapists through the inevitable experience of vicarious trauma.

While trauma work is incredibly rewarding. Jenny knew the therapist making space for this healing deserve to be cared for too. This inspired her to create the BRAVE trauma therapist collective a membership site that helps trauma therapists go from feeling drained and demoralized to energized and empowered members of BRAVE work with Jenny to become more aware of how to name vicarious trauma or VT develop realistic ways to tame VT, and ultimately reframe VT by thriving in their professional and personal lives.[00:06:56] 

I am excited to welcome my friend to the show today.

Betsy: Jenny. Thanks so much for being here. 

Jenny: Thank you so much for having me. 

Betsy: So I thought that one of the things that we could share today, and I know you and I talked about, this was our reaction kind of our own background of where we came from and what our upbringing was like and where we are now.

I thought I’d share for listeners where I came from. So I know most of you know, I grew up in the suburb of Chicago. I tell people I grew up in Chicago, but people who lived in the city get really touchy about that. They really think that unless your address says Chicago, Illinois.

It doesn’t count. And so I grew up in the suburbs about 25 miles west of lake Michigan. I grew up in a pretty white, upper middle class, [00:07:46] pretty conservative area, very religious. I recall the elections in my second grade classroom, that there were three of us who voted for Mondale and Ferraro and that everyone else voted for Reagan. I was one of those three. I grew up attending meetings with my mom as a tag, along for AAUW which at the time was really big and it was the American association of university women. I remember going on crop walks for hunger and homelessness. My mom was a grant writer for nonprofits, worked for the YWCA among others.

And so my upbringing was very much steeped in social justice and specifically women’s policies. I recall knowing about the ERA, which is the Equal Rights Amendment that failed on numerous times, and actually never became fully law [00:08:49] starting 1923, all the way through 77 and 82. And it may surprise some people to know. We don’t have an equal rights amendment for women in this country in different states, we have different laws protecting our rights as women has been piecemeal over time. And so for me, growing up, I had a mom who had worked in the Pentagon. Her dad had worked in the capital. 

And very much, we were a political family. I had a friend of ours say to me, your family’s weirdly political. And I had to think about that and be like, huh, I don’t know that’s normal for us, but what was political really? Isn’t political. It’s become political. And it exists in that arena. But for me, women’s rights are human rights along with a number of other causes.

As I talked about just a little bit. [00:09:29] I remember the debate about pro-choice and pro-life, because in 1993, there were some of the first shootings of abortion doctors, specifically Dr. David Gunn got murdered in 93 and he was an OB GYN who also provided abortion care.

Well, a year later in 1994, I was 16 and a friend of mine became pregnant she was a senior in high school and she made the decision that she wasn’t at a point where this pregnancy was going to be the right thing for her. Abortion was legal in Illinois and certainly federally and there was a clinic about 20 minutes from our house. So I remember telling my mom that this is what I was going to do and where I was going to be for the day. She was supportive. I think she was conflicted about whether or not this girl’s [00:10:33] mom should know, but that wasn’t a rule or a law that was in place and so she didn’t say anything. Had her support and had planned on bringing my friend home to our house that night, just , so that we had an adult that was monitoring the situation. And we went to this clinic, it was in a house like a, I don’t know, probably a three bedroom, two story house and surrounded by a fence in the back.

And I didn’t really think about that all too much. My friend had the entrance counseling sort of things that were there. And I sat in the waiting room. At one point, I went out to smoke and was standing out on the back porch and there’s these protestors coming around the side of the building. I hadn’t seen them when we first showed up, but there they were signs and chanting and whatnot.

And then one of them turns into the parking lot and he starts shouting at me. Now I can tell you that my fight flight or freeze picked in and I go with [00:11:34] fight typically. It’s not a choice. It’s a reaction that happens. And he starts shouting something about murdering babies and walking towards me through the gate.

This immediately brings to mind Dr. David Gunn, who had been murdered. I should have probably just gone inside the building. But as listeners, know I was not a subtle kid and I certainly wasn’t backing down at that moment. And I started shouting back. certainly I was swearing there, certainly a fuck thrown here and there eventually finished whatever I was saying and went inside.

As I walked into the waiting room, which was probably had been the kitchen or near the kitchen. At some point, I realized that every single person absolutely heard every word of what was happening outside. And you could hear a pin drop. I just sorta looked at everybody and was like, nodded my head and sat down and pretended like, I didn’t just [00:12:23] shout massive obscenities out the back door of a home in Aurora Illinois, the procedure went okay.

And my friend ended up staying at my house. I remember knowing that it was a hard decision. It wasn’t easy. And it wasn’t exciting. It was difficult. And there was some pain and discomfort and then it was done. I never thought about what it would be like if we didn’t have access, we always had access.

So on Friday when I wake up I’m on vacation. So I’m laying in bed and I’m scrolling. And all of a sudden I see a post from my sister saying, oh my God, I can’t believe this is happening. And of course I’m instantly panicked and I drop the comments to see what’s going on. And then I [00:13:24] realize it, the 50 year old, right, that we had is now gone.

I was trying to figure out, what do I even say about this? How do I explain to my husband how I feel about this? He is absolutely a pro woman’s rights pro people kind of guy, but he recognized, I can’t really understand what it is that you’re going through. 

For me, I started reading all sorts of comments from other therapists online because I felt the need to be with my own people, with people that understood me and understood our role. I thought about all the women and the history of my work that have struggled with things related to reproductive health and struggled with decisions [00:14:07] regarding abortions or pregnancy and worried about whether they would have become pregnant because of assaults.

Those of us who do trauma work know that is an issue that comes up all the time. Thankfully, many of my clients didn’t become pregnant and we’re very grateful for that. I always knew what the resources were around me for them to discuss their choices and to get care if needed. 

Today, however, that’s a very different thing. My first thought was to problem solving, what would I do? What would my clients do? I thought to myself, do I need to stock up on plan B and just start handing that out to which I know some people are like, oh my God, you could get sued. And well, yeah, I suppose maybe. And then I started thinking about what about the people outside of the area where I live, [00:15:00] when you look at a map of where abortion is still legal, where I live is in a decent area.

 My office is about six miles from Minnesota, where abortion is legal. The other end of my state is bordered in Illinois. And there are clinics there as well. In Wisconsin though, that’s not the case. In fact, Wisconsin. Public. Radio stated that there were 70 abortions that were scheduled for Friday and Saturday, this weekend, but had to be rescheduled.

There are clinics in both Illinois and in Minnesota that are assisting with helping these women get the care that they need. That is an undue burden. And then I started talking to my friend, Jenny, where she lives in Texas. It’s a whole different ballgame. Those of us in the North think about Texas and think about restrictive laws and women [00:16:16] and guns typically.

 I wondered what it was like for people who live in these other places where the states have always had difficulty with abortion and getting care for women. Reproductive health in general has been a hard thing to come by. I wanted to invite her and her perspective to talk to us because my perspective is very much a Midwest bubble and a blue state bubble at different times, I’ve lived in different places, but almost all the states I’ve lived in have been blue for the majority of the time. And even when I lived in South Dakota, I lived in Sioux falls, which is the liberal place to live in South Dakota.

I have never lived in a place where as an adult, my beliefs were in the minority. So I wondered what it was like to be in a [00:16:53] different place.

 I wanted to have her share with you her background and her story and what things have been like for her as this decision came to light. So Jenny, about your experience, where would you wanna start?

Jenny: Let me start with some of my background to share where I’m coming from and the worldview that I had last Friday when this news came out. So I am originally from Colorado from a tiny little mountain town. That’s just west of Boulder. My parents both moved from Ohio and Pennsylvania to Colorado to be hippies

And I was raised in a legit hippie town by a bunch of hippies. It was, pretty, especially when I was really little, very idyllic, like literally growing up in the mountains and I didn’t have any neighbors and just, playing outside all the time. And surrounded by a very [00:17:51] liberal community and also a very tight knit community.

 Even growing up like in elementary school a big part of our education was learning about the environment. We had outdoor education for every grade. Every year, we constantly were working with the earth and even growing up in a very white being intentionally taught about human rights, intentionally taught about diversity.

I feel very fortunate that there was intentionality around that by the adults that were in charge at that time in our small town. Because even though I didn’t grow up with a ton of diversity around me in terms of race, for sure, I was still instilled with the how important it is to respect other people’s rights women, included of course,so your story about About supporting and helping your friend with her choice to have an abortion. I have, [00:19:02] stories of friends of mine who have had to make that very difficult decision, but as you were sharing your story of being at that house and waiting at the clinic, I remember my own story of going to planned parenthood, not to get an abortion.

I never had to make that choice for myself, but to get plan B and going down to Boulder with my friend and my mom didn’t know. So even though we grew up in quite a liberal town my parents were very afraid for me and pretty strict. And so I remember secretly going down to Boulder with a friend because I needed to get plan B.

 We had like our family health clinic, in my town, but one, I wasn’t gonna go there because everyone fucking knew me. But also, I don’t even know if I could have gotten plan B there. I too remember standing outside smoking a cigarette really nervous. I knew that I was making the right choice and that I was so grateful that I had access to this, but it was really scary.

[00:20:05] And actually right now I can see it. And there was a TCBY to my right, as I was standing out front and walking into the waiting room and that linoleum tile and how scary it was to have to do that. But also, have to do that alone without my parents. But also how grateful I was that I could do that because I wasn’t in a position to have a baby.

And if that had not been available to me, I don’t know what my life would’ve been. Like. I don’t know if I would’ve gotten pregnant or not but who knows. 

And in terms of being someone who is pro-choice is that I was adopted at birth both my sister and I were, and from different biological moms. And. Even though I was adopted, I was still very much pro-choice and I don’t remember growing up, having a lot of discussions necessarily with my parents about things like Roe or [00:20:57] about where everyone, like where my parents stood in terms of pro-life or pro-choice. I think it was always just understood or inferred that they were pro-choice, but I was very much oh yes, , we’re all about that. And when I went to college, it was not too uncommon to have anti-abortion protestors come onto campus.

 I mean, it would happen a few times each year. They would have the big pictures with dead babies and all of that shit on it. I remember walking out of class and I was going to my next. Building and encountering them and this one girl had a sign about being adopted and that, she would’ve died and how can you kill babies and I didn’t usually engage with the protesters. I would just keep going on, but that one got me and I went right up to her and I said, I too am adopted and we need to fight for women’s rights. You cannot take away the right to make this [00:22:01] choice. I don’t know if it was as dramatic, but in my head, the way that the picture is, kind of like right at like toe to toe, right.

In each other’s faces nothing got physical, of course She said to me, you would’ve been killed if your mother had gotten an abortion. And that didn’t bother me because my biological mom’s right to choose was so much more important.

And if she had chosen to get an abortion, then so be it. Then it wasn’t meant for me to be here. it was never a question I never wavered. And it was very clear to me that a woman’s ability to choose was paramount. 

When I learned about robe being overturned last Friday I was in a meeting it was a consultation group and one of the other psychologists made just a like kind of side comment about, oh, I don’t know if you’ve seen the news yet and then went [00:23:18] on, but all of us knew what she was referring to.

We didn’t know Roe was gonna be overturned that day, but the way she said it, everyone knew about the leaked draft. And we just went on with our business in the consultation group. But then right after that, before going into my next meeting, I checked the news and I.

I don’t know. It’s hard to even describe I literally, I just felt like I was punched in the face. And then I was filled with so much fear for my daughters. Because like you said, Betsy, I have always lived in a country in a place where I had the right to make this choice for myself and my body.

And now. My daughters do not because we live in Texas right now. The prospects of what this will mean for them in their reproductive future is terrifying. 

My stepdaughter is 10 and our younger daughter is almost [00:24:27] two. So it’s a huge age difference. But thinking about our 10 year old, she is right on the verge of puberty and she is going to be entering into this time of her life, not being supported by the larger community and space around her and having to be very fearful, fortunately as her parents and with her mom and her step-dad too, we are all on the same page. And we are all very open and supportive about talking about sex and bodies and reproduction. But she’s gonna be surrounded by larger, group of people who do not feel that way and who are championing the fact that her rights have been completely stripped away from her.

And so knowing that we’re entering into that right now, it was really overwhelming Actually that next meeting, I really don’t even remember anything that happened in it. We talked a bit about Roe. We cried together fortunately, but [00:25:10] then I really don’t remember anything that happened in that meeting because I was so overwhelmed with that fight or flight mode. My brain went into survival mode because I had to figure out how to protect my girls.

Betsy: I had a similar thought about my girls are grown, but what does that mean for them and their friends and for the opposition? Because thankfully we do live in a place where there is some access and my girls actually live in Minnesota. There is a large movement mounting in Minnesota to try to strip those rights away and so I don’t know what that will look like, but I’m past the point of having more children, but they aren’t, they are right in the middle of that prime time [00:25:53] in their lives. I would love to have grandchildren and I want them if, and when either of my girls decides that’s the right thing for them, honestly, probably six, eight years ago, I honestly never thought we would see this day. I really never thought it would happen. My mom had always talked about how the court tries to uphold the previous decisions of the court and not go back on those decisions.

And so I felt pretty confident about it, but here we are.

Jenny: Oh yeah. This was never even a thought in my mind that this would be overturned literally until the, recent history. This was never even a question.

Betsy: It’s a completely bizarre reality. Not that the last eight years hasn’t been a fucking bizarre reality because it has been, or the last six years, I suppose has been a bizarre, fucking reality. For it to [00:26:52] happen on this level? Not to mention the following to decisions coming down about separation of church and state getting threatened and the EPA. I just can’t and that’s the conversation for another day? 

So today that brings us to our clients and the work we do. I know that you and I both work with trauma. We work with a lot of women and this impacts our people and it impacts the work we do.

It certainly impacts the work that. I’ve been talking to my listeners about in terms of substance use because sexual health comes up a lot when we’re talking about substance use and whether we’re at an addiction level or not, it is such a natural part of life, sexual health. I mean that it is necessary to have those kinds of conversations.

And it’s all about choice. It’s all about someone’s opinion and how they [00:27:51] want to do things with their life and their body. And this is going to directly impact the work we do, which is already hard. I’ve seen a lot of things online, lot of therapists talking about how heavy this feels, that we’re the place where people are going to be discussing these things and talking about the hopelessness, feeling trapped, all sorts of things.

So I wonder about your experience this week in doing therapy. Has this come up for you?

Jenny: Yeah, this has come up in pretty much every single session that I’ve had this week. There’s maybe, I don’t know, two or three where it hasn’t been brought up. Last Friday, I actually didn’t have to see any more clients after the decision was announced. And I was really grateful for that, just for my own kind of ability to process and to go through what I needed to think about and to do for myself, [00:28:40] and then come Monday, pretty much every session from there on out it’s at least been mentioned there have been sessions like on Wednesday I have someone that I see who she was pregnant a couple years ago and she was pregnant with triplets she was told by her provider that if She didn’t reduce her pregnancy by one, that they would all die.

And , her health would be at risk too. She had to make an impossible decision to reduce her pregnancy, to have an abortion while pregnant, in order to save the life of the other two babies in there in order to protect her own body. We spent a lot of our session this week talking about how the messages that she got, even at that time, this was a couple years ago, we’re in Texas.

So there’s that kind of, culture [00:29:45] surrounding all of it, but Roe was still very much there and she has very clear memories of going through and preparing to have that procedure in multiple. Healthcare providers, shaming her and telling her stories about, their cousin’s cousin who had triplets and everything was fine and this and this and everything was fine.

And still knowing that this was the decision that she had to make for her babies and for herself and for her family, because all three of those babies would’ve died. If she hadn’t done this, she learned after the pregnancy the placenta’s were super small and they were abnormally small of the two babies , that she delivered.

And so if she had not reduced, they certainly would’ve all died because they were barely being supported with the nutrition that they needed when there were just two babies in there. Now if she was in that position today would not be able to have that procedure done in Texas.

She also [00:30:35] could potentially be prosecuted in Texas for even going to another state and having someone help her take her to a state where she could have that procedure done, because that’s how the law that was passed in 2021 works. If you help someone get an abortion, then a private citizen Sue you just for helping them.

And so that’s not just for the medical providers, but that’s the person who drives them across the border to wherever they’re going to get the health services that they are choosing or that they need. So that means that all of her babies, if this happened today would die and that her health would be greatly impacted.

It also came up with other, like you were saying, Betsy survivors of sexual assault, who Have had to make the decision of, plan B fortunately for the folks that I had talked to this week, they didn’t have to make the choice about whether to have an abortion or not, but certainly they had to protect [00:31:40] themselves after sexual assault.

And then now knowing that at the time of the trauma, their power and control was completely taken away by the person that assaulted them. And now the government has taken away so much power and control that they could potentially have over their bodies. And that is so central to the experience of PTSD is not being able to have control at the time of the trauma and then trying to regain a sense of control afterwards, knowing that it can be stripped away from you at any point.

And no one happily chooses to have an abortion, right? These are all incredibly difficult decisions and, choosing to carry a baby to term and then give it for up for adoption, I think is one of the most selfless choices that a birth able person can make [00:32:33] after having my own daughter.

I just putting myself in my birth mom’s shoes. I have no fucking idea how she could do that. Not in a rejection way. This in so much respect of she made the most selfless and loving decision to give me up for adoption because she knew that she could not give me the life that I deserved.

Right. And I actually know my birth mom now. And so we’ve talked about this, but that was also always the narrative that a lot of adopted kids get, but. That decision is incredibly difficult. Choosing to have an abortion is incredibly difficult. No one wants that, right? No one wants to have to make that choice for themselves.

And yet knowing that they’re able to make those choices about their body and about any future children is also very empowering. And lets people know that they matter. 

Betsy: I absolutely agree, the idea that [00:33:36] someone not only would have to carry, but that where other states are right now, like Texas or Oklahoma or in many other places where you can be imprisoned, have felonies and be charged with a number of different things just for.

Making a ch a healthcare choice and helping someone make a healthcare choice. It is just a bizarre reality to me to have that happening as I’m reading some of the laws that are in place.

Jenny: Yeah. It’s a really scary time and place to be living for a lot of people.

Betsy: So I wanted to have Jenny share with us some of the resources that she is aware of, because honestly, where I am living right now, I haven’t needed to know these [00:34:33] things. I’ve needed to know resources around my area, but we have had multiple places to get plan B. For any of my clients, we have a full reproductive health clinic for women that includes abortion care, right across the bridge and that’s been accessible for all of my clients for the entire time I’ve lived up here. And so I haven’t had to know this bit of information, but if you look at a map of where abortion is legal now, and isn’t it is the coasts and then four states in the middle and those of you who are in the United States, the rest of you have no access and even probably limited access to things like plan B.

So I talked to Jenny about. What she has done, because I think she has a little more practice, not necessarily that this comes up every day, but that she has had to have these [00:35:24] resources. And I’m also part of a group that she runs that I’ll have her talk about in just a little bit that she shared some of these resources.

And I just wanna share them with you. And I’m gonna put links in the show notes for everyone so that they can see these resources too. Jenny, if you wouldn’t mind, can you go through some of these? 

Jenny: We’ll probably put more links in the show notes for everyone than what I’m gonna go through here, because a lot of these resources do similar things. So I wanna highlight ones that I think are most helpful to talk about, and then there’ll be even more resources available to people in your show notes. In terms of, it, when a birth able person wants to be able to get an abortion, and if they’re in.

State where that is illegal now one website that’s super helpful is it’s ineedana.com when you go to it, it asks you three questions, with non-identifying information, [00:36:24] it’s not collecting any patient health information. But it asks you three questions to help you find the closest clinic and, or financial support and or resources for telemedicine.

These three things are really important for people to think about, because let’s say so right now in Texas, the closest state where anyone could get a safe and legal abortion is New Mexico. If you live right on the border there. Great. If you live where I am in Houston, that’s like an. Eight hour drive or something. And Texas is huge needing to know where the closest clinic is great. If you may be close enough to get there in a reasonable amount of time, given your resources. But you also are getting to know about financial support or even telemedicine so that if you live in the middle of the state, or if you live in even more of a desert in order to access reproductive health, you can get even financial support to help [00:37:19] get you to the clinic, to help cover some of the costs and lost wages that you may incur by making this choice and seeking out the access. It also, gets you that resources for telemedicine, which is this also the second resource, I wanna talk about aid, access.org. 

So abortion pills are currently used a lot now in Texas, even though that is technically illegal as well. And so aid, access.org, and also I need an, a, they help to get you connected with telemedicine resources, where you can have a telehealth appointment with an OB who can then prescribe you the abortion pill.

And it is sent to you from, somewhere overseas, actually eight access is actually run by someone in the Netherlands. Interestingly since the 2021 law in Texas aid access.org has reported that the use of the abortion pill from birth able people in Texas tripled. because that [00:38:25] is the most accessible way to be able to get this kind of healthcare in terms of what that means for people in states like Texas and other places where abortion is illegal now Even though they can get abortion pills, they then have to think about their legal protections, .

 Just because you can get the pill doesn’t mean that it’s technically legal for you to do that. So the third resource that I wanna talk about, is a website, rele helpline.org. Again, this will all be in the show notes, but this is a really helpful website that intentionally wants to help people know their legal rights for self-managed abortion and their rights.

Now that Roe has been overturned. The fact that people have to now think about all these different levels that they have to layer their own protections because our government is not doing that. And is stripping protections away from people is just [00:39:20] like we talked about earlier, was unfathomable.

And I’m really grateful that these resources are out there so that people can start to create a web around them for when they need access to safe abortion, because we know that the abortion pill is safe, but it also is really scary because then you’re doing that all on your own in a state, in a place where it is not supported, where it is potentially illegal, and you can be really afraid for what could happen to yourself and your family.

Betsy: Those are really great resources. And I’m hopeful that in the days to come, that there will be more I think the rest of the world is watching and watching us go backwards. I don’t know if it’s a surprise to them as they’ve been watching the shit show. That has been our country, but also our healthcare system for quite a while.

And so I’m hopeful that there will be more, but for [00:40:18] right now, those are some of the resources. I do know that a lot of sexual abuse and domestic violence shelters, a lot of times we’ll have plan B available at an emergency basis. So for instance, one of the sexual and domestic violence shelters in my area has a lockbox that you can be given the code to if it’s after hours on a weekend, that holds plan B so that you can have it anonymously and free.

So I know that there are things like that as well. And so as therapists, I think for us, part of it is working around a system that is messed up, which is our life, right? Is that the system doesn’t have the resources we need for the most part. And we’re often working around it.

I have to put a plug out there for planned parenthood. I forget love planned parenthood. They have, in my opinion, [00:41:07] done incredible work and have been tirelessly supportive of women and birth able people in terms of our reproductive health, I remember going to plant parenthood at 19 because I didn’t have health insurance.

And that was the place you could go when you’re a broke 19 year old. I’m so grateful that they’re there. That is one of the things that I think. As this moves forward, looking for the organizations to support that are gonna be able to have the most direct impact to services or advocacy. That finding that there are a lot of groups that we could support, but trying to make the most impact.

And each of us have to make that choice, how we’re gonna be involved outside of just our vote, whether it’s financial support or anything else, there are some really good [00:42:10] organizations who are really on the front lines. Like I know that plant parenthood is just about to start a lawsuit against the state of Oklahoma because of their total ban on abortion.

And some of the stipulations in it. If you need those resources, please check that out. If you need more information in your area, please check out women’s healthcare centers and plan parenthood centers. I’m not talking about crisis pregnancy centers, cuz those are often run by pro-life groups and there’s some deceptive marketing that happens there.

And so just make sure where you’re looking at to get those resources for your clients 

Jenny: and regarding planned parenthood, they have a really great website that they put up planned parenthood, action.org. And it’s separate from their regular website because [00:46:00] the intention of this website is it has a search function.

So you can look up abortion laws and restrictions by state.

Betsy: So for the male listeners in the audience as a woman and as a therapist, we do need your support. We need to know that you also hold us as being equal and support our right to full autonomy.

And whether that is holding space, allowing your coworkers and clients, the space to speak about it you don’t have to identify with it, but also just the understanding that you don’t know that hasn’t been your experience, but that you support our right to autonomy and choice.

I do believe that even though this is a female dominated field [00:47:00] do think there’s a place for that. I would encourage the male therapists. I know to check in on your colleagues to potentially financially donate to planned parenthood and advocacy in the ways that you can.

I just want you to know that the men that are around us, like there is a place for you to support and to do that in a way that doesn’t overtake the conversation, but that validation of. Where we’re at can be helpful. I know that many of us as women, I think have felt that we don’t know that our male counterparts really get it or support where we’re at. And I would love to know that [00:44:45] my male colleagues, unequivocally a hundred percent support my right hour, right.

To the human right. Of owning and determining our body choices.

Jenny: Yeah. I completely agree. And I actually soon after. Roe was overturned last week. I had a number of male colleagues respond to it in very supportive and affirming ways. And I just learned yesterday that a colleague of mine he’s actually one of my former interns and supervisees this is something that he is now incorporating into the work that he’s doing, not just as a psychologist, but now as an elected official of using his ability in that position to have even more voice to this.

Betsy: I [00:45:37] think the voices that come together are powerful, the ones who are front and center, speaking about it, have the experience, but I know that we wanna lend our voices to the things that we feel strongly about. 

Jenny: And I think that can be scary for therapists because we are taught that we can’t share our voice publicly.

Right. that if we’re going to take a stand, that we make sure that is separate from our professional identity. Fortunately that is becoming more and more challenge, especially since 2020. And I see therapists being really brave and speaking out on their professional platforms and also in their personal ones.

But also, it’s really up to all therapists to decide how much they wanna share and in what ways they want to, and being an advocate, being a supporter of human rights does [00:46:44] not mean that you have to go to times square and shout it out to the world. And you get to choose. In what ways you share that. And like you were saying, Betsy, bringing those voices together. For some people, it may be simple enough in of just sharing it with their colleagues, . Of knowing that they’re surrounded by other professionals, other therapists who stand in solidarity with them, every choice that people make to express their support and to express their affirmation of these human rights is valid and important And it’s not that one is better than the other.

Betsy: The last thing I think we wanna talk about is the work that we do and supporting each other. So that the thing about therapy is that you go to school. You go through supervision and then you’re on your own. If you move into private practice later on in your career, then you’re even more on your own. Even when you [00:51:00] have a team, quote, unquote, we’re all doing therapy back to back pretty much. And you might occasionally get a cancel or a no show and get to wander down the hall with the sense that you’re ignoring your notes in the back of the head that like you should be doing your notes right now and so we might have some support. 

A lot of us though, really don’t and there are these groups popping up on Facebook and other platforms and some of them are healthier than others others are just like the internet at large, a lot of loud voices, proclaiming opinions and other people. Saying things against them or being nasty or whatever. And I’d like to think that our therapist groups are better, but to be straight up, they’re really not. And so what is a person to do really? I think there are places where people are curating experiences [00:48:39] for support. 

This conversation is actually really important right now. Jenny and I are working on an event together because what I’m asking people to do is to add substance use to their scope of practice, right? Not to necessarily specialize, but to recognize it and to address it. And that can be fucking exhausting to be totally straight, . That can be exhausting because substance use is difficult and we’re doing some really hard work. Anyway, the things I see online about people saying, I don’t know if I can do this profession anymore. And it’s things like this, like Roe V, Wade being overturned that can just add insult injury and fuck one more thing. One more resource, one more struggle that we are gonna have to face and pick up the pieces because people in power are making choices that don’t affect them and we’re the ones on the [00:49:32] front lines. Not the only ones, but we are definitely a group of people on the front lines. 

So Jenny has been coming up with a program and I want her to share it with you. 

Jenny, can you tell us what is your program and what’s it designed to do. 

Jenny: Yeah. So my program is called the BRAVE trauma therapist collective. The goal of this collective is to create a community of trauma therapists who come together to support each other in the work that they love the most in the work that they value and honor, and also the work that can be so tiring and draining.

This is a group of people who want to continue to rally and work with folks who deserve to recover from trauma, because it’s possible to heal from trauma and also want to rally around each other to help people make choices, inform choices about [00:50:31] how and if, and when they stay in this field.

So in the brave . Trauma therapists collective. It is a community of therapists. It also is a space where I work with folks to help, to educate around the topic of vicarious, trauma and burnout. Where, we’re able to also hear from guest experts and other people in this field that are helping to continue to raise awareness around this and really to innovate above and beyond.

Oh, you just need to go take a bubble bath after your really difficult session. 

So we don’t look at vicarious trauma as something that is easily handled by just self-care. We look at it as something that we approach together as trauma therapists, just like we approach trauma work with our clients.

And that, through that approaching stance, that active approaching we’re able to continue in this work both for ourselves and for our clients.

Betsy: So, how is this program delivered? Can you talk about how someone would access it and what it looks like [00:51:42] 

Jenny: It’s an online membership site and the community itself is housed within a private Facebook group. So only people who enter into our membership are then part of the private Facebook group, which is separate from the public one.

We can talk about later. And within that Facebook group, that is where the content is delivered each month and also where our daily interactions are taking place. In addition to that, we also have regular calls together. So they’re not consultation calls. It’s not about talking about, clients and things like that.

Certainly that comes up because we’re talking about vicarious trauma, but the goal of the calls is to really focus in on the work of how do we approach vicarious trauma? How do we approach the difficult work that we’re doing in a way that allows us. To choose whether it’s something that is sustainable , or not for us, and then to take those steps forward in our career.

If [00:53:33] you want to work with me, there are a couple of ways to do it. So if you’re interested in the brave trauma therapist, collective go to braveproviders.com/vttracker. So that stands for vicarious trauma tracker. It’ll give you an opportunity to put in your email address and then you’ll download a free vicarious trauma tracker that you can then use to learn more about how VT is showing up for you right now.

And then that also will get you onto my email list so that you can get information for when we open our doors. Because , it’s not always open for enrollment. You also are welcome to come to Facebook and just search for the brave vicarious trauma community. And that is our Facebook group that’s open to all helping professionals.

So it’s not specific to therapists like the collective. It is for any kind of helping professional, because as your listeners know, VT can affect anyone who [00:53:27] is in that caregiving role. So in the brave vicarious trauma community, it is. A broader audience. And so we’re talking about this theme, this topic of vicarious trauma, as it shows up for a lot of different kinds of people.

Betsy: So if you want to check that out, please do I’ll have links in the show notes and vicarious trauma affects more things than you would think. So I would encourage you. If you are feeling overwhelmed and burnt out, you should probably check into it. Also, Jenny and I are hosting an event it’ll be , on August 16th and 

I’ll put out more information as the date draws closer. It’s 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM central time. And that’s a Tuesday, August 16th and there will be a replay. 

 Jenny, could you tell them a little bit about the format and what it’s about? 

Jenny: So this event is bringing together folks [00:54:25] really across a lot of areas of our profession of psychotherapy, specifically within substance use and abuse, realms, and also trauma.

But the goal is that we’re gonna have a number of speakers, myself and Betsy included talking about how important it is to do substance use work. How much clients want us to do that with them to talk about how we as therapists can do that in ways that are sustainable and in ways that do not pressure us to go and get another certification or to add more stuff to our plate, but to be able to use the skills that we already have so well developed in ways that meet clients.

Where they’re at and to help them with substance use needs that they have that are really doable in an outpatient setting. And then to be able to talk about how do we [00:55:20] also structure our business, our clinical practice in our personal lives, in a way that is conducive to the life that we wanna live.

So we’ll have, myself and another speaker talking about that, both in terms of literally the structure of it. And then how can we really be integrating community into our life so that we know that we’re supported. And we know we have people that have our back through this event, we wanna be able to provide folks really Tangible skills and things that they can start , to use in their practice right away.

And then also an opportunity to work with Betsy and myself. If that is something that they want to add to the kind of practice that they are developing professionally and personally, 

Betsy: thanks, Jenny. More details will be coming out about that. I will talk about it probably a lot in the coming weeks as we [00:56:12] get closer to the date and Jenny and I both will be sending it out to the people who are subscribers.

If you’re not a subscriber, encourage you to head over to betsybyler.com and check out resources there and sign up for the email list as well as checking out the brave trauma therapist collective and braveproviders.com.

We would love to have you around and our goal is just to help you as therapists feel more supported and connected, and like you have more competence in these areas.

 I just think right now where we’re at with this added community busting sort of moment we’re in, I think we need to really pull together whether it’s with me and Jenny or whether it’s with your own crew where you are. I encourage you [00:57:09] to reach out to not.

Exist as an island. And if you talk to a colleague and they don’t really seem to be bothered by it, I don’t want that to discourage you. There are a lot of us who are very upset and concerned because it’s not just about our rights. The other rights of other marginalized folks are absolutely on the block too.

They may not be there right today, but the trend that we’re seeing and with the Supreme court being an appointment for life, this is not good. And I think we know that, and that is a scary place to be. In the meantime, we have this really important work that we do. Sometimes people when I tell them what I do, and Jenny talks a little about this too, they’ll be like, oh my God, I could never do that work.

 I don’t know how to say about that. Really. I love my work. It is [00:58:14] difficult at times. I have had to curate a life of really significant balance to make sure I don’t burn out. 

 If I was still a supervisor, I would be wanting to hold space for my people, allow them to feel how they feel, remind them of resources. And before they head it out for the day to remind them of why we do what we do and the importance of us, to our people.

We get to sit with people and offer them something that they may have never had. We might be the first person telling a woman or a non-binary individual that they matter, that they get to have a voice that they are worthy of respect and of equal treatment. [00:59:05] We might be the first one. We might be the first one to challenge these opinions and beliefs that they grew up with.

I remember asking a client of mine about a response she got from her parents. And I said, do you think that response is typical? That most parents would respond that way. And she said, Yeah. And I was like Nope that’s not really typical at all. And she’s really? And I’m like really, breaking down, some of those deeply held beliefs that are false.

It is powerful and freeing and it fucking rocks. And I love that we get to do it. It’s also really hard. We also have to hear a lot of shit and hold it and carry it for people. And sometimes it’s okay. And other times like, fuck, it’s just hard. And I [01:00:10] wanna encourage all of you. Whether you are in the United States or not, because if you’re not in the United States, your country has some sort of shit show, too.

I guarantee that we’re people and power and money are involved. There’s bullshit going on that we are the ones who can understand each other. We know what it is like, and there is an unspoken commonality and I encourage you to reach out. And if the people around you are like, oh, I’m good. I don’t need community, fine, whatever.

And that’s okay if they don’t, but keep finding it. People who you feel like are supportive, who are committed to their own health and wellbeing and join them, whether that’s online or in person or wherever are isolation. Is going [01:00:54] to make things infinitely harder. And I think post pandemic kind of post pandemic, I don’t know that we’ve returned to the level of interaction and the level of community that we had.

I have been home for two years and I literally don’t see many people physically in person. I know that I’m not as connected. And so having to find it online and find it with new people has been a priority. And that’s how I met Jenny. She is a friend in the computer I would say that physically we’ve never met, but we have an incredible amount in common just because of the work we do because on Monday, We all go to work and our clients still have the issues they had before Roe was overturned. And sometimes there’s ones that will pop up because of it. But we still have to go on each day [01:02:01] because people need us. While that’s an honor, I want us to do so with support and with encouragement from other people who fucking get it and what it’s like to do the work we do.

I think what we do is badass and I want everyone to feel like somebody in their circle gets them. So I encourage you while you’re doing your work to not put yourself to the side and to make yourself a priority so that you can keep doing the job that you loved or that you loved past tense. Perhaps find new joy and new love for this field again.

Jenny, thank you so much for being with me today. I really appreciate you taking the time to talk about this on such short notice. 

Jenny: Thank you so much for having [01:02:44] me. It’s been an honor and I am just really glad that you are creating space to have really tough conversations like this.

Betsy: Today has been a different kind of podcast. One where we set aside the work of substance use. And we talk about us as people, as therapists about our real lives in the real work that we do,

our clients don’t often see this side because that’s behind the curtain, right? We present them with a space where they don’t have to worry about us, our feelings, how we’re doing all of that behind that curtain though, is all of this. And sometimes we need to talk about that and we need to acknowledge that.

I hope that [01:03:40] today’s discussion was helpful, encouraging or uplifting. I am so thankful for the work that you do, even though I may not know exactly who’s listening today. There was some research recently that came out that talked about how much we underestimate our words on someone else and how they impact them.

The research said that people unequivocally underestimated their impact on others, that we don’t know how much people really think about the things that we say to them, because apparently it’s way fucking more than we think. And I know that’s true for us.

I remember things that were said to me in grad school. 20 years ago. I remember minor [01:04:17] moments. That meant a lot. That’s what you do every day. And I am super fucking grateful that you do that and that the people in your life get to have you please take care of yourselves. Please reach out to whomever people around you. To me, to Jenny, whichever we need you in this field. We need people who get it and who are there to step into a place where others can come with all their grief and pain and hopes and dreams and share them with us. I love what we do, and I wanna support all of us as we keep doing it.

Next week, we’re gonna be heading back to our usual programming. I guess [01:05:18] I’m starting a new series about myths regarding substance use. We’re going to do one at a time. And there are a lot of ’em.

If you were to Google myths about addiction or substance use, there’s a lot, and I’m gonna boil it down to probably 12 or 13 episodes. Once a month. This first one actually was inspired by a listener who wrote to me about working with court mandated clients. One of the myths that we have about substance use is that somebody has to want to be in treatment for it to work.

That if you force them, they won’t get sober next week, I’m gonna talk to you about why that’s not true. I hope you’ll join me for that podcast. And until then have a great week. 

Thank you for listening to the All Things Substance podcast. For show notes, links and downloads, please visit betsybyler.com/podcast. If you loved what you heard today, it’d be great if you would share those with your therapist friends and colleagues. If there are topics that you think would be useful and you’d like to hear me cover them, please let me know.  Just send a message to podcast@betsybyler.com. I’ll see you on next week’s podcast. And until then have a great week.

This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher or the guests are rendering legal, clinical or any other professional information.

Helpful Links

https://www.abortionfinder.org – Helps you find a verified abortion provider or other safe methods of abortion

https://abortioncarenetwork.org – Provides access to independent abortion clinics across the country

https://www.ineedana.com – After asking 3 simple questions with non-identifying information, this website gives you the closest clinic, access to financial support, and resources for telemedicine

https://aidaccess.org – Provides online consultations for abortions and medications from overseas

https://www.reprolegalhelpline.org – Provides information on self-managed abortion and your legal rights now that Roe is overturned

https://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org – Has a search function to look up abortion laws and restrictions by state

https://wrrap.org/ – May be able to provide financial support for travel