Fitness + Health + Wisdom + Wealth

Modern Parenting : Dr. Blair Steel



Guest: Dr. Blair Steel

Release Date: 4/29/2024

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Steve Washuta : Welcome to Trulyfit. Welcome to the Trulyfit Podcast where we interview experts in fitness and health to expand our wisdom. And well I’m your host Steve Washuta, co-founder of Trulyfit and author of Fitness Business 101. For any new listeners here on Mondays are the interview episodes I have an expert on in the health or fitness or even sometimes medical and business space come on to talk about something that is inside of their area of expertise.

Steve Washuta :  I try to unpack one particular topic sometimes it is a little bit more freeform conversation, but typically it is an interview, a structured interview where I have questions set out for them on Thursdays I do short form podcasts. It’s just me, I hop on and talk about something that is trending in the fitness and health realm.

Steve Washuta : Today I have on a friend of mine, and a licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Blair steel, you can find everything about her at Dr. Blair, Psy D on Instagram. Dr. Blair and I today discuss parenting, the current mental health crisis and so much more was a fantastic conversation. With no further ado, here’s Dr. Blair steel.

Steve Washuta : Dr. Blair steel, thank you so much for joining me truly for the podcast for the second time for the people who have not heard you on the first round, why don’t you give us a little background on your credentials, and then what you do day to day in the health space?

Dr. Blair Steel :   Hi, thank you for having me. I’m a licensed clinical psychologist. I work both in private practice and in treatment centers. So I’ve written curriculum for centers, I provide clinical supervision for the current practitioners there. And I’ve since been jumping on the podcast circuit and writing articles. And I’m really interested in this very fun way of spreading information around.

Steve Washuta : Yeah, and you were just speaking at South by Southwest, where I got a chance to come down and see you after, after the fact being

Dr. Blair Steel :  Great to see you in person.

Steve Washuta : And part of what you do is addiction related therapy for lack of in counseling for lack of a better term. We’re not gonna be talking about that today. I just did a podcast with Dr. For Chris swart, on addiction recovery, which was, yeah, which is really interesting, intriguing as the second podcast I did concerning addiction, and a lot a lot of the conversation ends up being because I only have so many avenues in which I can see it through my lens.

Steve Washuta : It’s like why don’t in the addiction space, like why don’t they focus more on the bio side, like getting people healthier? From the nutrition side? Right from the physical side and exercise? Do you have any insights on that? Have you ever, like thought about that? Is that something that you talk about with your clients?

Dr. Blair Steel : I have, you know, I was recently on a panel with nutritionists. And the fact of the matter is, if someone’s operating from their limbic system from their emotional brain, which is characteristic of active addiction, the things the tools, the planning, the the ability to have that executive functioning, that is, I think, essential for the workout routines and the diet.

Dr. Blair Steel :  And all of that is kind of offline, right? So you’ll have people that have an amazing wellness plan, workout plan, nutrition plan. However, if they’re, if they’re not operating from a place that gets the compulsive behaviors are there, it’s gonna come down to that and needing to treat the behaviors. Does that make sense?

Steve Washuta : Makes perfect sense. Yeah, I gave the description, a little bit more crude, with less science behind it. But a an analogy. If I’m on four hours of sleep, and I wake up in the morning and my child dumps or cereal on the ground, I’m way more likely to snap than if I had been eating properly and exercising and I got eight or nine hours asleep, then I can compose myself and do the right thing. Right. So I think it has, you want to be optimized in all of the other areas physiologically so that psychologically you can make the right decisions. 

Dr. Blair Steel : That’s right. That’s right. And I think health and wellness nutrition is so important. It really truly is. It’s kind of in the backburner for days, like say zero to 30 in the treatment center or treating someone with addiction, right? We need to rewire the reward system.

Dr. Blair Steel : So we’re getting dopamine and serotonin and endorphins and those good releases from the things that you would coach people with, with fitness and in the gym, when they’re still really raw and their neural pathways have been using substances to get that their brain really thinks they need that to survive. And it’s hard to redirect that behavior if it’s too early in the game. Sure.

Steve Washuta : Well, that won’t be the lion’s share of our conversation today. Parenting and mental health and everything to do with parenting. We both love it. We are both parents. We talk a lot about our kids. That’s what parents do. Yep. Do you think there is a blueprint for like the perfect parent for a great parent or would you say there can’t possibly be one given the biodiversity and psycho diversity of all of humans?

Dr. Blair Steel : I there could not be and let’s have the gold be good enough parents. Truly, you know, we can’t if we’re if we We’re approaching this with perfectionism, and was like, This is what the book says. And this is, you know, what I believe to be true and, and with an intensity that doesn’t allow for things to happen, it might create, like, a whole different environment in your home.

Dr. Blair Steel : And now we have a parent operating in shame, because they’re human beings are not really able to be perfect in every arena. That doesn’t sound effective to me. Right? No good. Even when you think about like, if studies will show you from the old days that the, the ideal recipe of parenting is a good amount of warmth, with a good amount of structure.

Dr. Blair Steel : So if your goal is see it like a solid B, and both of those things, that’s fantastic. Right? All the warmth without structure is going to create issues, all the structure without the warm foot create issues

Steve Washuta : Not to mention the kids are gonna be so much different. You could have a parent who parents the same exact way to Kid A and Kid B. And that’s actually a mistake, because could be needed a different type of parenting. Right. So they were the quote unquote, perfect parent for Kid A, but then they messed up, or they didn’t do the proper things, because could be maybe needed a little bit more structure than kid I did.

Dr. Blair Steel : That’s such a good point. Like these people, we have to give our children permission to be different from us. And from one another now, as well. So exactly what you’re saying, if we have the blueprint, and we’re inflexible, and we think it’s this one size fits all model, we could really lose the connection with our children.

Dr. Blair Steel : And I feel like at the most primal level, that’s really what we need more than anything. Agree. Also, I just learned this this week, I want to give credit, I want to say it was the theme of on podcast with Tim Fletcher, about complex trauma. I think that’s where that came from. But he wanted to note that functional versus dysfunctional families, I think it’s commonly thought that like, the functional family has like no conflict whatsoever, or very minimal.

Dr. Blair Steel : And that’s not it. A functional family is one that has the problems, but also has the repair. And that models how to cope and regulate with with the conflict, right. So it’s not a conflict avoidant, it’s it’s functioning because it models repair

Steve Washuta : Makes perfect sense, it’s a lie to say that my family or the or any family dynamic doesn’t have problems. It’s the families who appear they don’t have problems, it’s usually repressed, they don’t talk about it. And there’s like conversations that can’t be had between mother and daughter or father and son, or vice versa.

Steve Washuta : And then that just keeps, they just keep kicking the can down the road. And they never get to that point where, you know, they can spend a lot of time together, let’s say right, maybe there’s just they visit for two hours, and then they’re gone, because they can’t spend a whole day together because they have some deep internal conflict that they never want to bring up.

Dr. Blair Steel : Right? That’s right.

Steve Washuta : In Jonathan heights newest book, it’s called the anxious generation. He looks at a lot of problems around parenting and children and smartphones. Yes, he says we have been rewired due to the smartphones, he matches the level of anxiety and depression and even suicide rates basically, to the same exact time that we got the smartphone and that social media came about.

Steve Washuta : But the very interesting thing I saw is that when he pulled these young kids in the 15 year old range, and he asked them, would you give up your favorite food if all your friends did? And they said no, because they find value in their food, whatever that is the pizza like, I don’t care if my friends aren’t eating pizza, I love pizza.

Steve Washuta : But then he said, Would you give up the smartphone if all your friends didn’t? And majority of them said, yes, it’s because they don’t find value in the smartphone. They want to use it. Because the fear of missing out everyone else has the smartphone, and I don’t have the smartphone.

Steve Washuta : Do you see that there is an issue in electronics in maybe younger patients? So have you read anything about this in your industry? Or are and then how would you deal with it personally, anecdotally as a parent?

Dr. Blair Steel : Yeah, there really are is particularly around girls between the ages of like 12 and 16, I want to say, but it hits both genders, all genders, let’s say and it’s certainly it’s a thing and particularly with the young brain. I really feel like we need as parents and as just adults in the community educators to hold boundaries and limitations during that stage.

Dr. Blair Steel : Right. So perhaps I think it was this man that I saw on Bill Maher actually, because all the information sounded really familiar who was saying like, Sure, perhaps your your 1415 year old 13 year old is in a sport and you want them to have a phone they can call you pick so you could pick them up. You want to have their location, things like that. And you can really achieve that with like a burner phone.

Dr. Blair Steel : Like it doesn’t have to be a smartphone. So I think the pushback that you’ll get from Parents like they might see this information and be like, Okay, this is problematic, but I feel more safe. And my child is more safe when we know exactly where each other are at all times. Sure. So, so achieve that with kind of a, maybe a flip phone or whatever.

Dr. Blair Steel : But the the real young ones on social media is creating a complex web of interrelated issues that I don’t want to say is error reversible, but it really is alarming from the reward system from immediate gratification. From self from identity.

Dr. Blair Steel : Shame, we see rise in eating disorders arising arising suicidality, and anxiety and really severe mental health consequences that are undeniably linked to the smartphone, the timeline is there. And now we have all the information because they’ve been around long enough for us to really analyze it. So it’s like undeniable.

Steve Washuta : Yeah, there’s some there’s some states, I think it might be Florida who’s trying to outlaw like specific things that these social media platforms do. So for one, like algorithmically, obviously targeting kids, and showing them things that maybe they shouldn’t be seeing.

Steve Washuta  The other is the fact that the videos and audio pop up automatically without even clicking on it that that was not how it used to be right when back in our day, Facebook literally came out the first year we were in college right back in like 2003. There were there were no videos, but when videos did come about, you have to click on play. Not anymore.

Steve Washuta : You scroll, right, that video is playing already. And that’s right. So getting some of these things away to make it less addictive and interactive in a bad way is important. And then I would also say, if your kid has to have a smartphone, you could have one family phone that everyone uses, right when the kid goes on that trip to the sports game.

Steve Washuta : Three hours away. You know, he’s traveling from wherever LA to Santa Barbara, it’s like, okay, well give the kid the phone. But it’s, it’s the family phone. When he comes home, he gives it back. And so you know what’s going on on that phone? He doesn’t always have it, he or she?

Dr. Blair Steel : Right? Right? It is this weird feeling of being pried upon. Late lately, I mean, even when my oldest daughter’s almost six was around like two and a half or so we were YouTubing Sesame Street videos. And before you knew it, like the algorithm knew there was a toddler in my house, and we were getting fed things.

Dr. Blair Steel : And initially, I was like, Oh, this is kind of nice. And then it really, it was not too much longer, that it felt really icky. And that we were being fed content, and I had to have a YouTube free house. Because that stuff, it just keeps going. And it’s it really does not feel appropriate.

Steve Washuta : Yeah, but it’s what’s happening. So that’s how these platforms make money. It’s not like a conspiracy theory, the reason why Instagram is free, and Facebook is free. And all of these things are free. The reason why Planet Fitness charges you $10 A month is because they’re able to then monetize your data and sell it off other places.

Steve Washuta : Because when you sign the, you know, no one’s reading the fine print anymore when they’re signing away all this information. And that’s where the money really comes in. Because then advertisers can target you. And in some ways, it’s not terrible. Because a lot of times I’m targeted things that I really want. It’s like, oh, there’s here’s this cool new like, golf gadget that you really want, like, great as an adult man as an adult. Exactly.

Steve Washuta : That’s that’s the thing, right? It’s way different if you’re a 14 year old girl, and someone’s targeting you with things that that might emotionally affect you long term.

Dr. Blair Steel :Right? Right. I think they really need us, I think they really need our help. The younger ones with everything, we’re just not across the board. Right? Like they don’t, they’re not expected to have boundaries or self awareness or the ability to play up the tape and look at consequences.

Dr. Blair Steel : I mean, their brains aren’t even developed to that point. And this, I feel like has to get on on that list of like, really serious things that require our help. Yeah. And I’m not demonize the thing. It’s require our attention.

Steve Washuta : Yeah. And it and it didn’t work in the last generation. And I hope that our generation picks it up, right, our generation is what it’s going to do. And to no fault of the generation beforehand. I don’t it again, it this stuff came out in the early 2000s, I don’t think really understood what it was going to do, you know, psychologically, to teens and to young people. And we couldn’t we couldn’t have foreseen that.

Dr. Blair Steel : And it’s just gotten smarter, and smarter and smarter as well. It’s been evolving. So what it is today wasn’t what it was when it began. So it was like a light digestible thing. And it’s become definitely more than that.

Steve Washuta : There’s a term called helicopter parenting started in the 90s. It’s also sometimes referred to as conservative cultivating parenting. People started making more money and having fewer kids so they were more involved in their kids activities. It’s like, you know, I’m going to bring Blair to, you know, piano and then she’s going to go to this maybe specialized math course and then we’re going to go to here and there.

Steve Washuta : I think young people thought that was going to be a problem this sort of like over like over supervising kind of generation. But I don’t necessarily know if if that was a big problem to us is that Elon issue I mean, I feel like that was our generation. And I don’t see that many problems coming out of our generation from that. 

Dr. Blair Steel : I honestly, haven’t I there? I really haven’t. I haven’t seen, I would say, so if I could assume what the fear would have been. My guess is that what we would do is kind of cut our children off at the knees when it comes to developing their own skills.

Dr. Blair Steel : Right. So if we do everything for them, they’re kind of like, the fear would be the compensating would be kind of helpless and and at a loss if it wasn’t for the parents to to jump in? And I’m with you. I haven’t seen that. I have not seen that. at all, actually,

Steve Washuta : yeah. And it makes sense. Like you said, from a psychological perspective, if, you know, we were hand holding the child, so to speak, but I think it was less of that in our generation, it wasn’t hand holding, it was just expectations, like I want you to do great thing.

Steve Washuta : So I’m gonna get you involved in maybe things that were you know, if our parents were growing up lower class, they wanted us to be more middle class, more middle upper class, so they wanted us to be in activities, which they can see with considered middle upper class activities.

Dr. Blair Steel : Right. Right. And one would just hope that, you know, the child would be considered as the events are being picked in the extracurriculars. And do they like it? Or do they not like it? Right? Or you would just hope that it was the child tired, maybe they’re after it’s after school, and you’ve got to back to back, you know, activities, maybe that’s too much. So you would just hope that people are taking a beat to see if the child is interested in it.

Steve Washuta : Now. Not easy being a parent, and 2020 Oh.

Dr. Blair Steel : My goodness. And you know, I read a parenting book, which I really don’t love parenting books in general, I think they could be shame inducing. I think it could be back to that like perfectionistic thing, right? If we’re if we are over overly informed and trying so hard to, to do these guidelines and all of it, it feels like we can really miss what’s happening right in front of us. Yeah. That being said, I read Dr. Becky’s good inside. Have you heard of Dr. Becky?

Steve Washuta : I’ve heard of it. But I haven’t read it. Okay, hats off to her.

Dr. Blair Steel : And she even speaks about how most parenting books like she’s not even into parenting books for the most part, but she really touched upon something with like prioritizing connection over correction, and really getting the results when it comes to your children, and you operating gracefully with one another. So I’d recommend that one. But in general, for the record, I think parenting books suck.

Steve Washuta : Well, let’s stay on that topic. Because maybe I’m very sensitive to this, but I’m almost offended by parenting advice, I find, hey, I find parenting to be sort of a culmination of all of the things that I’ve learned my crystallized knowledge and intelligence over time, all of the things that I’ve ever learned and, and put into this box in my brain and saying, like, I’m going to treat my child the way that I think is going to best suit them.

Steve Washuta : And when I get advice, sometimes, for better or for worse, I feel like what do you know about me and my children? And how I’m gonna read this? Am I being too sensitive about this? Or do you feel like most parents feel that? Well,

Dr. Blair Steel : I feel like most parents feel that way is particularly if it’s unsolicited. And also, you know, it’s can come off as really judgy and make us feel like shit. Yeah. So um, I that doesn’t seem off base at all. It really doesn’t. I mean, even just think of what are the like, the big camps, you know, sleep, you know, co sleeping verse, sleep training, or whatever, all these all these major things. And I think we could assume that most families are going to do what works best for them. Yeah.

Steve Washuta : Also, it’s a weird, look at things like result space driven. So let’s go ahead and say, This is a crude, crude analogy. But if you’re like a mechanic, and you’re fixing cars, and you fix like, 3000, whatever transmissions before, and you know what’s wrong with my transmission, you’re like, Hey, Steve, you just need like an extra bolt here. And this transmission, I fixed 3000 of these.

Steve Washuta : But if you’re a parent, and your kids are like, two and four, and you don’t even like, you don’t know how your techniques have even panned out yet, because they haven’t grown. They haven’t done anything yet. So for all, you know, all of your techniques are wrong, actually. So that I think that’s sort of is why I feel a little bit sensitive about it, because I feel like a lot of parents try to tell people what to do. And it’s like, well, you’re so early on in this, how do you really know that any of this has worked?

Dr. Blair Steel : Correct. Not to mention, you know, you get into a rhythm with your kid and then they change. So if we’re rigid around our approach, you know, that could just it’s important to evolve Write with what’s happening. And and you’re right, who’s to say, and then throw in the variations of personality amongst kids.

Dr. Blair Steel : Like I have one really deeply feeling sensitive child, and one who’s less so. So the way that I speak to and interact with one, it’s not gonna translate with my younger one. Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. No, you know, it’s hard to really generalize, we’ve got so much to consider. Yeah,

Steve Washuta : That’s a big, big puzzle. I don’t think we’ll ever totally figure it out. We just have to do our best.

Dr. Blair Steel : And you know, and I love you know, like, one thing I’ll say to a struggling parent is like, the fact that you’re really interested in information shows that you are getting a parent. Yeah, right. Yeah, isn’t it and just like, almost by default, it’s like it already check some boxes of interest and care, and willingness and curiosity. So that alone, like you can like, hang your hat on that.

Steve Washuta : From a clinical standpoint, do you involve the parents in let’s say, if you’re dealing with a child who has depression, or anxiety, or addiction, or anything, I know, these are all, you know, very different things. But are in any of these cases? Do you also involve the parents you bring the parent in to speak with it? Or is that not? Is that not normal? In the clinical world?

Dr. Blair Steel : I always involve involve the parents, particularly in treatment, but I’m dealing with adult children. So adults, sure, I don’t work with children. Yeah, for for reasons that like are just so personal to me, you know, I really operate clinically from a place of empowerment, empowerment, I really believe that adults have the ability to, even if they were at one point victims, to work through that and have control over their environments and make changes.

Dr. Blair Steel : I can’t, I can’t employ those ideas to a child. They really don’t have control over their environments. And I fear that I would, I would be a mess. I feel like my boundaries aren’t as good with kids, because I would probably really want to come in and rescue them, maybe. And that’s not healthy.

Steve Washuta : Yeah, but what about like a 16, or 17 year old.

Dr. Blair Steel : So the youngest person I’ll see is 18. Gosh, like, as young as it goes. And I always involve the parents. I really do. Because it’s especially if someone’s trying to make some change, families are a system. So if the one person changes, but then returns to a system that has not changed whatsoever, the likelihood of regressing into that pre-state Before health and wellness and mindfulness and self awareness kicked in, is really high.

Dr. Blair Steel : So if we’re talking about something like addiction, for example, you want to encourage the participation of the family and it really is considered like a family. I don’t like using the word disease, but it’s it’s a symptom of the family stem. Sure. Um, so it would be remiss to not involve them.

Steve Washuta : Yeah, no, that makes that makes total sense. So this is random, but you know, my wife works in pediatric ortho. So kid jumps off a wall and he’s eight and he breaks his arm. You know, that’s who she goes to.

Steve Washuta : And although she’s really busy, and her clinic is really busy overall, the clinics have been down across the country for for boys, meaning they’re still seeing the same amount of patients but but boys are getting less and less injured as they were they were the teenage boys were the riskiest of people. But now, right.

Steve Washuta : You know, ortho clinics are just as likely to see a teenage girl or a 50 year old man in there with a broken arm than a young boy. And I think it’s because we’ve timing. Yeah, I think it’s because we’ve kind of sheltered them a little bit, and they’re inside and they’re, they’re playing what are your What are your thoughts on that? If any?

Dr. Blair Steel : I mean, that checks out, right? If they’re inside, my husband and I drove past a park that he used to go to as a kid that he would always say was, like, like swarming with ants of kids, you know, just just it was so popular, and there wasn’t a single one there. And it felt like Wow, all these kids are inside.

Steve Washuta : Do you remember the tiger Park? Yes, it’s no longer there. Really? Oh, so the tire pork was in a primary school that that Blair and I went to and it was, you know, a giant playground made of all different sorts of tires from like monster truck tires, to regular tires. But it was a what one would consider now a dangerous playground because it was just

Dr. Blair Steel : I could almost smell it when you’re describing it. 

Steve Washuta : I could smell the rubber. So but you don’t see playgrounds like that anymore. All the playgrounds had been reduced to these small little plastic safe playgrounds nothing is up too high. 

Dr. Blair Steel :  None of the slides are to see size no more see saws and anything we’re like inevitably some carriers catapults

Steve Washuta : Yes, yeah, the spinny things. I mean, you’re gonna get hurt ever Today, but you learn a lot of lessons and these kids are gonna get hurt. And like, eventually, inevitably, you almost want it to happen younger. So they learn a lesson, I don’t think it’s a good thing that they’re that they’re basically bubble wrapping our entire outdoor play.

Dr. Blair Steel : I’m with you. I’m with you. And you know, I was talking to my family over the weekend, and my nephew, who is now 10 Will spent will be hours outside with his friends and on his bike, and they live in a safe neighborhood in New Jersey. And it’s like, he’ll go and it’s like, I think it’s on the hour, he pops his head and says like, okay, I’m good.

Dr. Blair Steel : And he’s running around again with the neighborhood kids. And I felt like ah, like I’m so I was so happy to know that that still exists. I would imagine there’s a huge difference from urban kids, or suburban kids versus the country kids. And I really hope that that still goes on, it was nice to know, I haven’t seen that. Like I’m close to LA I just haven’t seen like the young ones out and about just in a in a group together.

Dr. Blair Steel : But yeah, I’m with you. I think it was a lot of great independence and adventure and body awareness and all that to come if you’re outside playing that you’re not going to get inside. And then what’s interesting is like the parents of teenagers, in a way kind of like it because they like the kids, the teenagers are smoking less drinking less having less sex. So for the parents are like, Oh, this is good. But like developmentally, it’s like, okay, well, you know, is it?

Steve Washuta : Yeah, I mean, when you said those three things, you don’t do any of those three things alone. You certainly don’t have sex, right?

Dr. Blair Steel : I know now they’re watching really intense porn, which is a whole another a whole another issue.

Steve Washuta : But you know, drinking and smoking and all these things. To me. It’s like, yeah, maybe we did those things to go. And maybe we were 15 in the woods during these things. I don’t know how great that was. But for us physiologically, anyway, but, but you were building camaraderie and friendships when you were doing these things. It’s like, well, yeah, now you’re not doing those things.

Steve Washuta : Because those aren’t solo activities. If you’re just in your room, typing the people away on your tablet, of course, you’re not doing these things. But that doesn’t mean it’s healthier, much healthier for you to be running around the woods with three beers than it would be to sit inside your tablet and be depressed. Right?

Dr. Blair Steel : I’d be really interested to see a study on incoming fresh college freshmen, freshman and sophomore year, like, how they’ve changed as a result of this. Are they going, you know, because I feel like there was that pattern of if you did it when you were 15 1617, you had some beers. And you had like that one night where you threw up.

Dr. Blair Steel : And by the time you got to college, you were kind of like, geared up to, to not go balls to the wall. Yeah, and that was definitely my experience. Yeah, I feel like we noticed the the really sheltered kids that went to college and kind of went like bonkers.

Steve Washuta : Those were the kids you heard about, like second week, freshman year in the dorm, like the ambulance was pulling up dates. They’ve never had liquor before, and they drank a half a bottle of you know, Jack Daniels, like what are you doing? Are you well, I didn’t know any better was my second time drinking.

Steve Washuta : So you wonder how often that’s happening. Now those sorts of things. It’s like it, it’s gonna come for you eventually, the sooner the better. And doing it and obviously, all moderation is correct. Is is always best. But yeah, it is interesting to see, I know in the workforce, from my friends who own businesses, it’s been tough to hire people because of what the expectations are for some kids who are coming out right, not only from like a financial perspective.

Steve Washuta : But like a workload perspective and what they’re supposed to say and not say I think we just grew up in a maybe a different generation where we looked up to older people and saw like a hierarchy of age, you’re older than me, I’m gonna listen to you. And it doesn’t necessarily happen anymore. Right.

Dr. Blair Steel : And I feel like we could talk for hours and even days on this topic. And just recently, I was with a friend of mine, who’s a TV producer, who, like me, actually was having her kids during COVID. And we were so grateful that like, wow, this is kind of a nice silver lining that now as mothers work is so much more accessible and flexible, that we can work from home.

Dr. Blair Steel : That’s her story as well. And then she’s like, but you know what, Blair? i She had a younger girl. She’s probably, I don’t know, late 20s or so who’s never worked in an office. She’s been a full time employee, since you know, since she began her work career, but and has never worked in office.

Dr. Blair Steel : And I thought like, Wow, that feels really unfortunate, like the opportunity like you’re saying to have a mentor, or just the the indirect learning that happens just from being in an environment like that. Yeah. And I felt sad for the person. 

Steve Washuta : I tell young personal trainers all the time, there was no more central important thing to my career than being in a gym learning from others who knew so much more than me, older trainers and just Taking their knowledge. Now, a lot of things they said, I threw out, I didn’t like what they said, Maybe Maybe it was bunk. But I learned under five or six different people. And I took a little bit from all of them that helped me develop into the person I am.

Steve Washuta : And unless you’re there, physically learning from people like on the floor and seeing things you’re never going to develop, because what I say is you never want to be the smartest person in the room. Right? If you do everything on Zoom, right, you’re always the smartest person in the room, because it’s YOU the expert, and then the other person who’s trying to get some information from you. Correct?

Dr. Blair Steel : It’s, it’s, it’s so much implied there. And you think about like those years, when you start a new career, and you’re such a sponge, and you don’t have a family yet, and you could just really give it your all. It’s It’s unfortunate that their experiences aren’t as rich as they could be.

Steve Washuta : Yeah. And I don’t blame them for not trying to then kind of backtrack. If you’ve built your career virtually, whether in any industry, right? Whether it was your like your friend’s 20 year old kid, or personal trainer, or whatever, you’re like, Well, I’m doing this now it works. For me, my life is easy. Like why would I make my life harder?

Steve Washuta : Why would I go seek out driving 25 minutes to the local gym and trying to apply? Like I get it. But I do feel like there is there is a knowledge base that is lost there that is I’m glad I had that way. I’m glad I had to go door to door and be I’m sure you too in the clinical setting, like be there watching what was going on.

Dr. Blair Steel : So much. So so much. So actually, when I first started doing zoom sessions, I wanted to reduce my rate. And I felt like I was giving people a bunk deal. And that required me to seek My own therapy via zoom and feel that it’s effective. So like, Get behind it.

Steve Washuta : Interesting. Yeah, I had the same problem. I, I actually do charge less. I charge less virtual personal training, but I was charging much less than I was. And even, it wasn’t the charge less point that hurt. And like me right away, it was the fact that I didn’t even want to reach out to my past clients. And let them know that I was available virtually.

Steve Washuta : Because what I had been able to give them on site, in my mind was just this was so much less of a product, right? I’m giving you so much less quality of a product. But it’s not about me, it’s about them. And if they prefer to use me virtually, rather than use someone else live, then that’s what they prefer. So I had to, I had to like swallow my ego and be like, yeah, maybe I’m not 100%. But maybe my 80% suits their personality better than someone else’s life. 100%.

Dr. Blair Steel : Right, year after year telehealth is reported with greater efficacy from clients than it is from providers. And at the end of the day, it’s about the client. So exactly.

Steve Washuta : Well, I wonder too, both in your industry, in my industry, there are two Well, I would say my industry has maybe even more you could you could tell me otherwise. But you know, comfortability is really important. You know, obviously, someone’s going to feel more comfortable at home in most instances than they are in public.

Steve Washuta : But but in my case, you know, at least in your case, you’re you’re still one on one, it’s not like there’s random people in a hallway, right? Whether you’re in your office, or whether you’re you’re doing virtually, but in my case, I could be in a gym and this person could be working out in front of 50 or 60 other people and feel embarrassed now they’re in front of just me and them in their own home. So they don’t have to worry about that added kind of pressure to it.

Dr. Blair Steel : Right? Right. And if it gives greater access to parents, to professionals, to anyone who’s even like a little on the fence about it and all the other barriers that could have been the traffic or the needing to get dressed and up and out and yada yada, particularly the some diagnoses like agoraphobia, for example, this is the thing, right? That’s someone who really has a fear of leaving their home. So we can totally spin it to such a positive but it does feel it feels different. 

Steve Washuta : Speaking of the crossovers between my industry and yours, I spent a lot of time on my podcast talking about how there’s a very low barrier to entry and personal training. So you have to watch out, the cream rises to the top, but one personal trainer is not the same as the next, the certifications are really easy to get.

Steve Washuta : So for me, the most important thing is like how many hours you’ve spent and how successful you are with clients. Explain your industry, all the terminology the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist and a counselor and all these different people and and what the barriers to entry are and why we should maybe be concerned with that if if we do have some sort of mental health problem and who we’re seeing and who we’re talking to. Sure.

Dr. Blair Steel : You know, I would say looking for someone with a license is a great first step. And that could be licensed with a master’s so you can have an MSW master’s in social work. License MFT which is marriage and family therapy. There isn’t a LCP Licensed Clinical practitioner Anyway, look for the license, because if someone has license so that’s the masters level, then you can go to the doctoral level, which is clinical psychologists.

Dr. Blair Steel : But if you have a license means you’ve need, you’ve needed certain amount of hours, you have to abide by law and ethics. You’ve taken exams just to display some knowledge base. And granted these things don’t make someone a good therapist per se. But if someone’s seeking therapy, I would certainly look for the license. You can have someone, I was working with someone, as just collaborating with someone who was an executive functioning coach, I don’t know what she had to do to get there.

Dr. Blair Steel : And her rate was higher than mine. And I remember feeling salty about that. I was like, Wait a second, what are your student loans look like versus mine? But you know, if they’re in the life coach, anything that’s coach, mental health coach, let that be a trigger word. You know, or does that counselor a red flag? Yeah. So there’s great like drug and alcohol counselors, for example, usually counselors have a bachelor’s degree, if you were licensed, if you have like a number from a state.

Dr. Blair Steel : So within the states, like, I know, California has has a Kodak. So I think that the California drug and alcohol, and you could do it online, per se, but you still have a certain amount of hours, and you’re gonna see a number. That’s a that’s definitely someone who has earned the credibility to see someone in a clinical setting. Yeah.

Steve Washuta : It’s not easy. It’s not easy to sift through. I mean, it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in counseling, you know, rehabilitation, personal training, accountant, garbage, man, they’re good people. And they’re bad people. I don’t mean like bad, like, not great, like they’re trying to get you but people who are good at their jobs and people who’ve maybe care less than or not as good at their jobs.

Dr. Blair Steel : So yeah, and have different strengths. Like, you know, working even at a treatment centers, or work at both Carrera treatment, wellness and spa and pH wellness, which is out in Riverside. We advocate for clients through the documentation. So in other words, particularly at pH, all of the clients Most of the clients are insurance based. So the way that we’re going to ensure the most amount of time and the more the better, is through great documentation.

Dr. Blair Steel : Okay, so So that’s how we’re going to fight the good fight. You can have someone who’s an amazing therapist, and does not document well. And it really is not great. Like it’s it’s not an effective, it’s not the whole person professional that we’re looking for. You can inversely have a great someone who’s great behind the computer, but doesn’t connect well. And that person also won’t be you know, the one we offer the job to see you need a bit of well roundedness.

Steve Washuta : Yeah, it’s not easy. Especially, well, I wonder, this is just randomly that came off top my head, are you allowed to have like AI or listening tools and therapy so that you don’t have to write notes? And you could write notes afterwards? Like, can you record sessions, and then and then listen to them afterwards?

Dr. Blair Steel : I’m sure you could with am with permission. Yeah, but really, if you’re going for insurance, and you’re at a treatment center, it’s not necessarily the content of the session, you’re really doing it’s medical necessity. So at that point, you’re assessing for, you know, sleep and tremors and vitals and all of that sort of thing. It’s it has more of a medical component to it.

Dr. Blair Steel : And even in my private practice, when I document a note, that’s more of like subjective and objective and content and plan, but I would never be doing that during a session. And then I would never want to miss this opportunity

Steve Washuta : to take any notes during a session, never. And then you the second they leave, you just jot down the things that were important to like you said for for the medical sake, if you’re like, Okay, I believe this person might need to stay on X, Y, and Z medication during this time for the next 10 days or something.

Dr. Blair Steel : Sure, and as a psychologist, this is another great thing to highlight. As a psychologist, I don’t prescribe medications, nor do I have to medication management per se. But if I do need that I like if a patient needs that I will incorporate a psychiatrist onto the team. And communication amongst providers is so important.

Dr. Blair Steel : I believe we talked about this in our first podcast that we did together, like imagine a world where like, even as the personal trainer, and the psychologist and all of us can work together and seeing and seeing someone as the whole person. Yeah,

Steve Washuta : I was able to do that. In a small community that I was in I had connections with the ortho people, I connections with the physical therapy, people who were locally and you know, I couldn’t talk to their GPS all the time. But you know, if there was an issue from a, like a structural standpoint, right at the client that gets surgery, they’re getting a knee replacement, they were getting a disc replacement, something was going on.

Steve Washuta : I was able to talk to the ortho see what was going on then talk to physical therapy and then come to me and we had a really good sort of three way community He’s done to make sure that I was continuing the proper exercises and not doing anything to harm them. And, and they knew what I was doing. 

Dr. Blair Steel : So that was good. So comprehensive, really, and that’s mentioned like labs, I would imagine for you to be able to see labs. I feel like the nutritionist and I was on a panel with recently, they were all about the labs, and it really made me motivated me to want to get my labs checked.

Steve Washuta : Yeah, at one point, I don’t do it anymore. But at one point, I made it mandatory for my clientele, to give me their lab work if their goal was weight loss, because I said, if, if there are other things here hindering our goal, then then we’re spending too much time fighting. The other components of that makes sense, right? So if you have some physiological barriers that need to be handled with doctors above my paygrade, then we’re just running in circles here, and you’re paying me for no reason.

Steve Washuta : So like, let me let me look at your lab work. And then if your GP approves you, and if there’s nothing glaring here, we have to you don’t have to go see an endocrinologist or something, then then we’ll move forward. And I Yeah, and I think it’s, it’s tough, because it’s not something that we’re taught as personal trainers, you have to go above and beyond to, to learn that and take that in. And then and then there’s the problem with like, well, is that above my paygrade? Kind of but then then don’t work with me because I’m, I’m trying to do your service. I’m not I’m not leading you in the wrong direction. Right.

Dr. Blair Steel : Right. I’d hope that people would want to do whatever it takes whatever is in their power, and then their scope to help.

Steve Washuta : Yeah, yeah, the labs are great too. For people. People think that lab work needs to be compared to other people’s lab work. Everything’s sort of in a spectrum or ratio. And we’re all different, right? We talked about this well, very bio diverse and psycho diverse. The lab work is important to compare to yourself over time.

Steve Washuta : So I compare my lab work, not to whatever the range is, necessarily, of course, you want to be within certain ranges. But what does Steve’s lab work look like at 38 as compared to 20? Mobile, it was like at 48. Because if something is really off between 48 and 38, that tells me okay, what like maybe this is a red flag, something has changed drastically.

Steve Washuta : Even if I’m still within the ranges of what is supposed to be healthy. My body has changed. So now do I need to be worried about that? And I think that’s what people overlook.

Dr. Blair Steel :Yeah. Makes sense. 

Steve Washuta : Another parenting question here. This is just purely anecdotal. I’m gonna have a second down the road at some point. I don’t know when but when that second just pops up. What are things that you saw after the fact that are important for parents who are having a second kid being introduced into the family?

Dr. Blair Steel : Oh, that’s a complicated time. So my older daughter, Naomi, who will be six in June is a deeply feeling child, she’s She’s sensitive, and she is so connected to me. And I love that and having a little sister, it wasn’t the first month because newborns really sleep so much. We’ve kind of forget how sleepy they are. And she was like a little doll. But once little sister started waking up, Naomi certainly kind of got into that attention by any means necessary.

Dr. Blair Steel : And would even talk like a baby, she saw that babies get a lot of attention. And, and this baby talk went on for three years. Not out of the home, but in the home. Like it’s really just getting better now. Yeah. So I think people were, you know, children will react differently. I don’t know if it’s like a, you know, if they’re the same gender, verse, different gender, if that impacts things.

Dr. Blair Steel : It’s hard on the marriage, I will say that, like it’s the name of the game of divide and conquer, become so ever present. It certainly wasn’t my household. So which had a lot of pros, my younger daughter is was more and is more attached to her, her dad and my older one was, yeah, there was so many variables within that.

Dr. Blair Steel : So that so that’s fantastic. It’s really complicated, but my husband and I would would split so the younger one would go with to him more, and I would do my one on one with Naomi to give her the reassurance and that I think she really needed that mom is still here for her and for whatever she needs. But that kind of made parenting a little lonely for me, to be honest, because it was this we were dividing and conquering a lot.

Dr. Blair Steel : So things were were tricky and challenging. In the early like in the first year of Little Sister being around. So when we were all in the same room, it felt a little intense. I mean, of course we would be at times but yeah, yeah, it’s hard. It’s hard. I mean, talk about systems, you add another person in and it changes so much.

Steve Washuta : Yeah, not to mention, you know, the term divide and conquer. I mean, it makes perfect sense and I get what you’re saying. But when people hear that sometimes they feel like that is like something you would use in the workplace. Right? So you’re like, oh, divide and conquer, I guess so I’m doing this task, you’re doing this task.

Steve Washuta : But like you said, ultimately, it’s like, well, there’s a bigger macro thing here. We’re like, we’re raising a family. So yes, we can divide and conquer these things. But like, do like when when do we slow down and like, have the family time?

Steve Washuta : And that is certainly like, my first concern is just like, hey, if I’m already, like, booked out on top of already as busy as we can be, and we like, introduce a new kid into the family, how do we make sure that it’s, it doesn’t feel task oriented, and it feels like, you know, we’re just raising a family and right, it’s not easy.

Dr. Blair Steel : And sometimes it does feel like we’re running a business, we’re running a house, we’ve got to do inventory, right, we’ve got to do so much. And both are professionals. So that adds to it. There are a lot of great tips that you can get for like introducing big, big sister Well, in your case, you have McKenzie is a girl so first Steve’s cases Big Sister, but could be big brother to the new baby like introducing them in a neutral setting, like in the car seat or whatever.

Dr. Blair Steel : Like rather than in the parents arms. You know, you can give a little something from the from the baby to the older sibling, or a lot of cute and with seemingly effective things like for those really early days. But again, for me, it didn’t it wasn’t didn’t start hard. It just got hard. Yeah,

Steve Washuta : My daughter is very nurturing and caring, she’s led. So all she does is like, take care of babies and like fake animals and take care of me and like tries to put me to sleep and all that she’s almost 30. So I think if there’s one there’s a new baby, I would probably try to introduce like her as like being helpful. You know, rather than like, it’s

Dr. Blair Steel : a good way to do it.

Steve Washuta : Yeah. Like I like we need your help in this process. You know, like, as much as you can check it understand that I think that might be more.

Dr. Blair Steel : Yeah, staffer participate, she’ll feel she’ll feel great about that.

Steve Washuta : And that might not work for everybody. 

Dr. Blair Steel : But that’s just my, and we did it. And she and she loved that. And still there was there was some more to it. Also, not using like the baby as a reason why you can’t do something, you know, like, let’s say moms nursing the baby. And it’s like, oh, I can’t do that. Because I have to nurse the baby. You can rephrase and reframe a lot of things to not make it that you can’t do something because of the baby.

Steve Washuta : I think that could breed mean to your kid not to everyone else. Yeah, I still want to use my kids as an excuse not to go out use that.

Dr. Blair Steel : You get that one for a long time. Yeah. All right. So the elder said,

Steve Washuta : yeah, no, that makes sense. I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t think of that. I think I’ve also had conversations before as my kid gets older, you know, we’re not going to talk about a man, we’re talking about exercises, like a healthy thing we’d like to do, like, you know, my daughter knows, like, sometimes she’s like, Where’s daddy, where’s Mommy, they’re at the gym. And we like try to explain what the gym is.

Steve Washuta : But we’re not, we’re never gonna talk about weight. Or, you know, like, or like a husband wife might say to each other, like, I’m just like, feeling like a lately, like my body, you know, like, these are normal conversations. So there’s nothing wrong with saying that to your significant other in private when the door is closed at 830 at night. But that’s not something that I feel, we will never say that in front of our kids that are

Dr. Blair Steel : so big on that one. I’m so big on that. I think it’s as early as like two and a half, that little girls starts becoming body conscious. And that’s directly connected to the way the parents speak about their own bodies, or even criticize others.

Dr. Blair Steel : Like if there’s a theme of like, it’ll look at that person, they’re fat or whatever, they’ll start associating worth someone’s worth around their weight. And that’s, that could be a really slippery slope. Yeah,

Steve Washuta : I think we might have touched on the food conversation last time, or at least, you know, I’ve had it before. And maybe we talked about it privately. But you know, I don’t restrict what my daughter eats. Some parents do. Everyone has different ways in which they go about it. I just try not to overthink it.

Steve Washuta : Like I have a majority of healthy foods in my house. So I also have regular snacks and some kids stuff and whatever she wants, in most instances, I give it to her because I feel like if I fight it, then she wants that thing even more and it doesn’t work out.

Dr. Blair Steel : I’m with you. I’m with you. I mean, even if you think about like, you know, we can use like foreign countries and drinking ages, those kids, you know, versus American kids that are told they can’t and shouldn’t do it, too. They’re 21 have very different habits around it.

Steve Washuta : Yeah, we don’t even have to go that for the town next to us, which had more money than us from like, you know, median standpoint, we were maybe lower middle class, they were middle to upper. A lot of their parents allowed them to drink at a younger age 15 1617.

Steve Washuta : And I noticed that they didn’t even want to, they didn’t want to have parties. They didn’t want to do stuff. Whereas in we were fighting to get into the woods and sticking out of our house and doing stuff because it was so like, our parents were just more strict on that. And I feel like it does make a difference. 

Dr. Blair Steel : It does. It does. Yeah, I wouldn’t ever want to give food too much energy. Right like of the do’s and the don’ts especially when they’re little or even like ever. No, you really, truly, or you could see it be passed down, even if, even if a parent is dieting.

Dr. Blair Steel : And so you can say you have zero restrictions around your child. But let’s say the parent is super, like measuring this out and doing this and kind of meticulous and pushing around the plate. You know, what we do speaks so loudly, maybe even more so than what we say. So we have to be really careful of what things we want to pass down.

Dr. Blair Steel : And they are always always watching and listening. They really are. They’re always watching, that’s for sure. And we just recently, unfortunately, we have a family member in the hospital and, and finally over the weekend, I sat the girls down to tell them about it. And Naomi was like, Yeah, I know, I heard you on the phone. And I was like, oh. So you really have to? Yeah, they’re

Steve Washuta : I mean, just think it think about us. We knew everything that was going on, right? I don’t. There was never a Christmas present in my house. I didn’t know where it was.

Dr. Blair Steel : Oh, my goodness. Yeah, we every year was like dad’s work party. And that’s when we’d like get the flashlights and go in the attic and completely ruin Christmas. But it was the best I get,

Steve Washuta : We can’t we can’t wrap our heads around the fact that like, our kids are likely going to be smarter than us to it’s like, or they’re going to figure things out. It’s just, that’s just the natural human experiences. But like, like, you know, we think that you know, we’re gonna outsmart everyone else is like, no, that’s not how it happens. I know, the next generation goes.

Steve Washuta : Well, what I will say is, I’m far from the perfect parent. And my my biggest problem now is I am very overly protective of my daughter physically, to the point where like, she is she is definitely like, behind in like, the adventure kind of thing, right? My daughter is like, if you look at like just the the metrics of like figuring out puzzles, she’s like, a year and a half, two years ahead of like, what she should be right.

Steve Washuta :But if you look at like climbing stuff, she’s well behind like, probably almost a year behind what, what she should be doing. And part of it’s just because like, Dad is her shadow, basically like she can’t get hurt. And it’s something that I need to work on. I need to let her do that. But it’s it’s harder as a dad to watch your daughter get injured.

Dr. Blair Steel : Okay, yeah, I can I could see that. Right. So if we can instill some fear and anxiety. I know I have that around pools, like and I instilled such a fear around my three year old with swimming and not even going near the pool if she was never floaties on that now she won’t take her floaties off to do a swim lesson.

Dr. Blair Steel : Now I can’t even teach her how to swim without them because a follower pool without her swim ease and like, I’m kind of good at that. It’s really, like I it’s just one of my things.

Steve Washuta : But yeah, yeah, you created a rule follower. I have the same thing with the street. If my daughter goes like, within one of yards of a street, she just runs to me and says Pick me up. Like she won’t go near the street. I’m like, okay, you know, we’ll learn how to cross the street later on. If you want to run to me, and you’re nervous on the street. That’s a good thing. Yeah.

Dr. Blair Steel : And also just I’ve observed this, I don’t know if there’s real data behind it there very well, could be. But I’ve observed in kids and toddlers, they seem to pick one, whether it’s the fine motor like that with the puzzles that you were talking about with a gross motor, which would be the jumping, they seem to fine tune one first.

Dr. Blair Steel : Like my older daughter didn’t even walk I didn’t even it. She was like, didn’t walk. But she could speak in full sentences when she was little, like, little blob on the floor. Yeah, yeah. And her and her sister who was just more physical, was seemed less advanced verbally, but then they’re both kind of catching up on both rounds. So there’s, I think there’s something to that.

Steve Washuta : Yeah. I mean, it makes sense. If you try to like kind of extrapolate why, if you’re, if you’re immediately find yourself being strong, and you have the ability to explore, you’re almost using that as like your biofeedback to learn things.

Steve Washuta : That’s right. I’m able to climb this and see how sturdy this is like you’re you’re you’re using your body to learn how spaces and vice versa, if you don’t feel like you’re that strong, but you have good fine motor skills, and you’re able to talk. You’re able to use that to sort of that’s what they’re trying to do at learn how things are going on. So they’re just playing to their strengths, which inevitably pushes the other skill set back.

Dr. Blair Steel : The birth order firstborn is around adults who are talking and doing things and cooking. That’s what they’re looking at. So maybe they want to talk more. And the younger sibling, I remember Olivia, being like a week old. She was like a little little pea head in her car seat. Well, we’re going to the park today because we had a three year old and that’s what we were doing.

Dr. Blair Steel : It was COVID right. We were still like buckle up buttercup like this is what we’re up to. She’s been see she’s seen a jungle gym since like out the gate. Whereas I don’t know if we would have gone to a park. Especially like that with Naomi that just their experiences over the weekend.

Dr. Blair Steel : There’s just like funny Boom right now. The girls community at their Montessori School of sisters having baby sisters. We have like double birthday parties this weekend. There they weren’t these babies days old at the toddler birthday parties. It is just in the mix of things. So I would imagine that impacts it too.

Steve Washuta : Where this has been a fantastic conversation. Let my listeners know where they can find more about you. Whether that’s reaching out to you directly for any services or just following you and your journey. 

Dr. Blair Steel : Yes, you can follow me at Dr. Blair Cy D. That’s Dr. B LAIRPSYD. On Instagram. The same on on my website and I have a contact form there should you want to reach out. I will get back to you within 24 hours. That’s www.dr Blair’s

Steve Washuta  I’ll list all that in the details in the show notes. Dr. Blair, thank you so much for joining.

Dr. Blair Steel : Good to see you. As always. Thank you for having me. You too. Till next time.

Steve Washuta: Thanks for joining us on the Trulyfit podcast. Please subscribe, rate, and review on your listening platform. Feel free to email us as we’d love to hear from you.

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