Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): today and An a** I didn't actually confirm the pronunciation of your last name. So I'm gonna let you introduce yourself and so I can get it cracked.
Kristina Armenakis: Yeah, Kristina and the pronunciation is armenakis.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Armenakis. All right. Thank you for filling me in there. And next time I'll remember to do that before the recording. can you tell our guests a little bit about first of all, who you are and how you identify and then we'll start talking about how you're work intersex was trans Health Care.
Kristina Armenakis: Yeah, that sounds great. So I am a somatic coaching and I work with people and embody a transformation. I'm also certified in pain reprocessing therapy which just a little tiny blurb on that.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): just
Kristina Armenakis: It's an Evidence space modality for treating chronic pain. I work primarily with a queer and trans people and particularly with people who are living. with craft illness and chronic pain and then my lived experience is I am gender non-conforming and non-binary and I've been living with chronic illness and chronic pain. Are several years now. I'm also adult and
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Yeah, we are also wet. It's outfit yet.
Kristina Armenakis: the dog parent
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): My dog is also wrapped up in a bathroom behind me way back.
Kristina Armenakis: That's just this.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): I don't know if you can see maybe just an ear. What am I tock videos has him running around in the background back there and someone's comment was like I came for the topic stayed for the interesting education, but really I'm here for the dog, so it's Understandable, I think that's very valid. The dog is definitely overshadowing anything. I have to say right now. I'm super excited to learn more about your work. We've talked a little bit in the past, but I'm really interested.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): I think most like I have some personal interests, I definitely also live with chronic health conditions and chronic pain and also many of the people I love in my life do as well and frankly. for listeners who are mostly prescribers in clinicians I think this intersection is not uncommon right for Trans and queer and gender diverse people we do experience minority stress which increases our risk of chronic health conditions and rate and then I've been talking about this a fair amount lately. We also like right
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): seemingly see increased rates of mixed and connective tissue disorders as well and research I was really and in its infancy and the cross section of gender diversity and mixed connective tissue disorders, but also as far as generators of chronic pain go that's like another component, I'm getting derailed. No, yes, can you just explain to us what somatic coaching is because I hadn't even heard of it before I met you.
Kristina Armenakis: Yeah, yeah happy too and I'd love to comment on the thing. You were just sharing as well if that's okay also.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Yeah, of course.
Kristina Armenakis: Yeah, so the way I hear medical providers talk about the thing you're just speaking to is the Mind Body Connection and the connection to chronic stress. and what I see in the folks that work with is, people coming in with backgrounds that are a lot of trauma and that traumas directly a result of Phobia, and so the health conditions like that. There is a correlation between a lot of experiences of trauma and violence and a lack of safety and then those chronic illnesses that are pervasive where people like I'm trying all kinds of medication and nothing is working and that's because there is that piece of the experience of danger is the thing that has to get addressed.
Kristina Armenakis: So just
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): yeah, yeah, that's the whole conversation is making me think about bless my pcps heart. She's a phenomenal human and I adore her and I'm so grateful for her. I went through five Primary Care Providers before I found her and
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): and this one time I went to see her, when you fill in what's your reason you're here or whatever I put neck pain, and then she walked them. She said so you're next bothering you and I feel a little bit like that was a bait and switch because I think what the actual problem is is I am Them and queer and I've lived in this world for 35 years and everything that's ever happened to me is in my neck.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): It's just gonna do some therapy. I was like, no, I just want my neck to feel better. And I recognize that there is probably some musculoskeletal underlying features that are happening. But for me so much of my stress and Trauma is expressed in that area of my body, right and now I'm at a point for also, it will roll into migraines if I have too much acute stress on top of the chronic and anyways, I think I'm wow. I'm just gonna be all over the place stay talking to you. I'm gonna be like and this is my story and this is my story, but let's Circle back to You were going to tell us…
Kristina Armenakis: Yes Coaching the way I think about somatic coaching is the word so basically means body and…
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): what somatic coaching. Yeah.
Kristina Armenakis: so anyone who says, I'm doing somatic.
Kristina Armenakis: I am a whole being here. And so we're working with our thoughts our actions and the physicality of the body. So what you were talking about with how stress gets held in your neck in the neck.
Kristina Armenakis: so when I'm working with people what we're trying to do is essentially wake up all of those kinds of intelligences. So we are not leaning just on value is on cerebral intellectual intelligence, but there's actually so much wisdom in all the layers of the body and so it's being able to work with people to build more embodied awareness and to actually just move the body soften the body so that we can have more wisdom through the Olympics experience the body and the thing you just pointed to that so important is we think in the lineage of somatic.
Kristina Armenakis: So we think about ourselves as historic beings. And so whoever I am today is a compilation of all the lived experience of the trauma of the joy, whatever it is and that quite literally gets stored in our tissues.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): All right.
Kristina Armenakis: And so part of what we're doing is not only being aware of what is happening in my neck, but then it's like how do I open that up? So that I can basically be more free feel more safe and ultimately be more connected to myself. So I work with people to kind of unravel what is stored in the body?
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Yeah, and this makes me talking about this historical compilation and how we store things in the body also makes me think of generational trauma.
Kristina Armenakis: Yeah.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): How does kind of the work of healing generational trauma fit into what you do?
Kristina Armenakis: Yeah, so sometimes when I'm working with people we look at like in your life time.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Yeah.
Kristina Armenakis: How are you shaped as a word will use a lot. So how did your life experience? Come to be from your own Lifetime and sometimes Something is coming up in the body where we can't point to anything from their own lifetime. Sometimes we can and it's like I don't know where this came from but then folks will start telling me stories.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): three
Kristina Armenakis: Let's go back a little further and some of those things are just like my family my specific family have this specific life experience, but sometimes it's much more connected to what communities in my part of there especially true for bypass folks like people of color.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): but
Kristina Armenakis: So what's the generational trauma that my people experience and we know scientifically That that does live in the body. And so what people are carrying. May not be explained by my specific life experiences. And so the way we work with it is like we don't actually need to know this is exactly what happened because whatever it is. It's living in this moment right here. So we just work with and that's the thing about coaching. That's maybe a little different from therapy.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): he
Kristina Armenakis: It's like we are totally present and forward leaning in that we're working with what's here, right? the past Liv
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Yeah, and so in somatic coaching is this an in-person practice? Is this a virtual practice?
Kristina Armenakis: es you Yeah,…
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Is it both?
Kristina Armenakis: so I imagine one of the things that you also thinking about with folks here. who might be watching. This is how does who can access this? That's one of the questions you had this most of my work is done.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Yeah, yeah. Sorry.
Kristina Armenakis: Most of my work no worries is done virtually. And so I work with people nationally internationally. I've also worked with you're talking about being in your robe. because I'm working with people who are sometimes profoundly ill I've worked with people like they're in their bed. They're in their pajamas. I've worked with people who are lying down people who need to be in the dark. people who are off camera, so I think because I'm So interested in making work accessible for people who are chronically ill and yep. Let's meet you wherever you are at as much as that's
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Yeah, yeah and for listeners who are listening and not watching the video. I am in a bathrobe stay and…
Kristina Armenakis: me
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): there's a long story behind that we don't need to go into but let's just suffice it to say it's very cozy and I am enjoying it. So this work is primarily the way you practice this work. It's accessible through virtual stuff. So what are
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): What are examples of what? you're doing or A summary of the pro. I don't know maybe I'm just trying to think how can we as prescribing clinicians have a better understanding of what we would be sending patients into or recommending for them.
Kristina Armenakis: Yeah, so if my work is one and then I do group work and my one-on-one work. It looks like a combination of there's some talking about whatever's going on for something that particular day, but generally with coaching and we have a larger goal of where is it? You want to go with your life for some people it's like
Kristina Armenakis: Without a trauma and chronic stress of my lifetime has led me to this moment where I am really ill and navigating a lot of barriers and employment and finances in Insurance systems. And so that's really hard for folks going through that. So some of the work that I'm doing is so there's some talking and then there's some specific somatic the goal is generally for people to have a sense of safety in their body more ability to essentially melt in the body of how do I
Kristina Armenakis: soften and be available to connection with myself and others and then some of it because a lot of people I work with are having not affirming experiences with medical providers. And so some of the work I do with folks is just around how do you advocate for yourself? how do you process the fear the grief the medical trauma you've experienced and let them move and then how do I like so a lot of the work I'll do is around boundaries setting. And What's it like to really stand up for your own dignity? this is what I need this is what's going on with me. So I do that as a practice to help people interact with medical providers
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Yeah, I think that's huge as I reference my five pcps prior to the one I have now. and four of them I left because of Traumatic experience and…
Kristina Armenakis: Yes.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): one of them was fine. It's just my insurance change, but Yeah, I'm putting you on the spot, but could you guide us through and an example exercise like a taster?
Kristina Armenakis: Yeah, I would love to yeah, so I'm gonna do just really building some embodied awareness. is a lot of people might think of this is this mindfulness and we don't necessarily use that term but that some of what we're doing is how do I build more awareness of what's happening in my body right now so that I can be more present to my experience and then take more skillful action. let's do it. So the way I start with this, it's just notice how you are arriving right now. To notice any emotions that are here.
Kristina Armenakis: And I notice my high energy fatigue to low energy buy it.
Kristina Armenakis: And then we start with noticing Sensations that is kind of a gateway to finding out. what's happening in? First set of Sensations is temperature. So just do escape and notice where you're warm or cool. And you might be like, there's both.
Kristina Armenakis: And then you'll notice wait. So weight can feel like heaviness or even an anchored to the Earth. And then wait can also be like lightness.
Kristina Armenakis: And then the next one is pressure. So noticing Where there's tightness or holding? And there might be places, for people who are living with chronic pain, you might find. I go to the same place every time you can just do a skin and…
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Yeah, for sure.
Kristina Armenakis: are there other places? Yes.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): I'm like, yeah.
Kristina Armenakis: And so if what's coming up is that's hard to feel than what I do is we want to approach the body really gently and not be like, let's camp out on your experience comment. So sometimes what I'll do is say, okay, that's a hard one to move to so, let's just open up to things you can hear. So it's completely going into our senses instead of sensation. So just take a moment. Noticing any sounds around you.
Kristina Armenakis: and then
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): mostly hear my earrings on my headphones for this one
Kristina Armenakis: Yeah, and so that's a way that the listening to sound is a way of I can be with the wisdom of my body and it doesn't have to be hang out. Yeah, and then the last one is movement, so we might think of the movements were actually making with our body or the movement of the breath but movement can be really subtle. There's a lot of aliveness in the body. That's pinkly. Whole thing. And they experience of an itch.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): mmm
Kristina Armenakis: Is a movement.
Kristina Armenakis: and then finally what I come back to is part of what we're doing somatic coaching is orienting towards. What do you really want for your life and so a couple of questions I'll ask and you can answer allowed just quietly to yourself. Either one is fine. So in just tune in to just let yourself listen, like what matters most to you?
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): I think What? I chronically like Center. my
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): life around it is really. my values and my relationships I think those are the things that matter the most to me.
Kristina Armenakis: So what I would do is because we're wanting to build more embodied awareness is I would ask and I'll ask you what are you noticing right now?
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): mmm I feel like after we did all of those things I've Like one of the things that really stood out to me. It's like my armpits are a little bit sweaty because we were talking about all these different Sensations in my body. And that was a sensation that didn't necessarily involve tension or discomfort. It was just like a present and my neck, which we talked about which my neck and upper back is a chronic issue for me, but I have been and in a lot of heat today which always helps so they do actually feel looser than usual, which is also rather Pleasant to have that be the experience why we were doing this exercise.
Kristina Armenakis: Yeah, it's interesting sometimes and this is my own experience as well. When I'm focusing on the body. my toes are cold that feels kind of like a neutral experience. It's generally true but there are other things when I'm working with folks or when I've tuned into my own body. like, I feel like I'm not even breathing really or my birth is so shallow, or wow, I've just been holding myself so still and tight as a way of navigating the institutions I have to interact with where I don't feel safe. And so when people tune in, Place we start is like there's so much wisdom. and always you've been holding yourself tightly to
Kristina Armenakis: get so that This is the ground floor of what's happening in the body right now and might be pleasant or unpleasant and then we can start to unwind that when know. Yeah, apparently I'm always sweaty in my armpits because that could be neutral also, but I feel so stressed all the time. I'm just like bucket of sweat, this can show up for people.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Yeah. Yeah. thank you so much for taking us through that on the spot on prep for I think it's always helpful clinicians. This is something that was actually presented when I was learning more about Integrative Medicine during residency. I had a high interest in integrative medicine And one student elective throughout my residency program that was actually a self-created and self-directed but one of the principles in the primary text that is common in that field is that any experience that you can personally have?
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): With a modality of care, receiving it to go ahead and do that. Right and we obviously can't do that clinicians and all of the Care that we provide but when we have the opportunity to do things like participate with someone and tastings or just learning encounters around different modalities where it isn't gonna cause harm right we don't all want to have surgery or something like this and I think that was like
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): so foundational for me as a clinician and rates who I got and not experience I went to the herbalists and I went to the Chinese medicine doctor and I got to receive reggae and all these kinds of things but I just think the concept having the experience that my patient has so that I am a better. clinician was really foundational for me and how I think about Healthcare and how I approach Healthcare and how
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): how much I like value and Center? a patients experience over I think
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Maybe over anything else And so I think that's just really lovely that we got to have this moment with you because it can help us start shaping our understanding of how this practice works and then I think for our clinicians, it's really helpful for them to know What are like the things we should be like listening for from our patients that would trigger us to think about somatic coaching might be a good fit or a good additional therapy or support or an option.
Kristina Armenakis: So a few things come to mind so wanna one part of my work that just gives me so much life as I run a somatic. and something I experienced in my own chronic illness Journey, for a period when I was largely in bed, I'm like me with my books on chronic illness and feeling really isolated and eventually I found a support group for other people living with chronic daily migraine and that was really transformative for me and just cut through the isolation and helped me get more resources also, so I run a group now for people who are showing up about a pretty wide range of diagnoses. And a pretty common experience for people is I feel really isolated.
Kristina Armenakis: Okay, I don't have a lot of folks who really understand what I'm going through. It's really hard to live with this on a day-to-day basis. And so those three things right there. I think when people are coming in and they are experiencing all the stressors of living with chronic illness like the support group by run is a great place and I know it's going well because people keep coming back and doing the group over and over again. but that tells me This is a really big need that people. for being connected to each other. So I think providers can be looking for how much Community does someone have how isolated are they because that can really exacerbate someone's actual symptoms to be isolated in the US without having someone witness feeling connected to people. so
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): And I would say even for my personal experience I'm an incredibly well-connected adult human. I think relative to a lot of people in modern capitalistic healthcapes society that we live in I'm poly I have literally four Partners all two of whom live in my house one of whom lives a few blocks from me and the other one who lives in my city. in addition to friends and chosen family all close by and when my migraine's flare this year, I was having three a week and they can last five days so that
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Ends up just being Okay, right and even as incredibly well connected and well supported as I am. I felt lonely and it's maybe the first time in my adult life. I felt lonely. in that way, and it's not that my Family wasn't there and loving it's just like I had never had my chronic pain that intense that frequent and…
Kristina Armenakis: that's
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): I just really didn't know what to do. I really didn't know mostly it was like I had to keep working right and we don't always have that option but
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Click and you saw my face and you're talking about people trying to navigate having chronic illness and accessing Healthcare and health insurance and it's like in a country where our insurance is tied to our ability to work.
Kristina Armenakis: Oops, I had lost you.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): it's really upsetting right and so Okay.
Kristina Armenakis: yes, you don't heard was our healthcare's tied to our ability to work and…
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): I think we're back.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Okay.
Kristina Armenakis: then it's
Kristina Armenakis: yeah.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): All right in the United States our Healthcare so upsetting and so very upsetting to me. But yeah, and so I think even as well connected as I think I am I still struggled to feel like
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): feel connection and also feel connection that really could help me navigate. what to do and don't worry everyone I'm doing much better. I tried powerlifting which was maybe a poor choice for someone with chronic back. I agree.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): And so part of what was happening was I was like getting muscular soreness, which was triggering migraines. And then also unfortunately public speaking what I'm doing quite a bit of advocacy and emotional labor also triggers. Migraines for me so I figured out a lot of my triggers which helped me.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): rearranged some things to make up them a little bit less. Flared so don't worry folks. But anyways Okay, so the three things you said though to listen for our and people are feeling
Kristina Armenakis: yeah.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Disconnected isolated they're feeling resource or…
Kristina Armenakis: Yeah.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): unresourced. And I…
Kristina Armenakis: That's a great question. I lost it also…
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): what was the third one?
Kristina Armenakis: but yeah,…
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): I'm the worst listener apparently.
Kristina Armenakis: so let me see if I can tap back into that. disconnected and I'll say even if people are surrounded I had a lot of friends and loved ones when I was really sick but symptoms are all. thing it's And so can feel like who's here in this state of Missouri with me.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): They really are.
Kristina Armenakis: so yeah, so feeling of disconnection feeling resourced and…
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Yeah.
Kristina Armenakis: navigating all of the stressors of chronic illness and then I think another one I'll say even though I don't work with people around mental health because I'm not a therapist when people feel like my sense of energy for this is flagging my feeling of when people go to places of hopelessness or helplessness, I think those are really important times. So okay, we can actually do so much in my support group. it gives people so much. Hope just to get the name. This is how bad it is right now and be witnessed and that
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): And then you mentioned at the very beginning of this recording something about it paying something evidence-based something.
Kristina Armenakis: Is really yeah totally and…
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Can you say all that again?
Kristina Armenakis: that is also related to receiving the things that you are training and the modalities like receiving those is really important. So I'm certified in pain reprocessing therapy. And that is a modality for people who are living with chronic pain most forms of chronic pain are actually not structurally caused they are Kind of psychophysiologic process where the remedy is not actually like more medical intervention. It's being able to work with the brain around rewiring for safety. It's essentially like the body is safe signals as dangerous and then we have so that's a really short version. But basically what it looks like is learning to rewire the brain around these Sensations are actually safe. I'm not actually in danger right now.
Kristina Armenakis: and that's something in my own migraine Journey. I'm still doing all of the medical interventions, but I do have the kind of chronic pain that's called neuroplastic pain. So I do have that and so I received reprocessing therapy and it took my Baseline pain down several notches. Yes, sir.
Kristina Armenakis: and I have people I took but it is totally scientific. But I've had people whose pain like clients who's paying is completely gone after going through some sessions and so it can be used to eliminate.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Amazing and…
Kristina Armenakis: kind
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): for talking about access and so because you are a coach like that and changes the licensure. So you are accessible like you said nationally for people but it also changes like insurance reimbursement. So people are gonna be not able to use Insurance typically for services like yours.
Kristina Armenakis: yes, and the way that's true. So it is kind of like private pay. I have a pretty deep sliding scale. So I'm sensitive to the economic impacts of chronic illness are profound especially for Trans folks. So a deep sliding scale and then for my support group, I know one of the things that I was reading about that I've heard you talk about and read about is the sort of commitment to undoing white supremacy. So I have just a pain what you can't scholarship for every group I do that's a form of reparations. So prioritizes black and Indigenous folks and trans folks for that of group
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): and nice and then for what is your sliding skill range just is that something you are willing to share just again because for referring clinicians I think one of the things that I am always cautious about doing is I don't want to recommend something to a patients that I know is inaccessible to them,…
Kristina Armenakis: Yeah.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): right and I tend to think does more harm than good A lot of times and that doesn't necessarily mean that again informed consent involves talking about all the treatment options available on the table. definitely but I might again wait how much time I spend on each topic and informed consent based off of what I know is gonna be more accessible to each individual based off their resources. So if you're willing to share I would love to know more about it.
Kristina Armenakis: Yeah, the sliding scale that I'm working on was 80 to 140 for a 16 minute session.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Okay.
Kristina Armenakis: I hate I'll just name because of conscious of the kind of disability Justice and economic impact. I have people who pay less than 80. I'm not currently taking Folks at that rate, but that I do work with folks even below. and then I try to be sensitive to this in that, some folks if I think that I can be of help to someone I will do not weekly sessions will figure out
Kristina Armenakis: in their budget
Kristina Armenakis: Oops today. there you are.
Kristina Armenakis: Yeah.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Okay, will you say that one more time? Because my internet stinks and I lost you for a second. So. You were saying.
Kristina Armenakis: If I think I can be of help to folks in doing like that that amount weekly is not feasible like you're like,…
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): when you think you can help folks what?
Kristina Armenakis: okay, let's do every other week to make it as accessible. and then what I'm doing my groups for people where even that is too high for an individual session, so people can do my groups and…
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Yeah.
Kristina Armenakis: then I can stretch out a payment plan and for a long period for people
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Yeah, and…
Kristina Armenakis: Yeah, so it's hard for people to really do embodia transformation work and…
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): then about how many sessions would like you generally anticipate someone needing?
Kristina Armenakis: under 10 sessions. I have hardly had anyone do 10 sessions and then stop most people like There's a lot in here and want to keep Anchor, much longer period of time but that's what I tell people is. Yeah, in order to really get them sense of what's happening and what wants to be transformed. Where do you want to go? Say the minimum of 10 sessions?
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Yeah, I think I had on.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): I feel like a really bad host because I don't remember exactly the terminology of their field but I had someone on who is like a somatic
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Yeah, So really we have talked some about who would be good patients to think about recommending this to and really it's sounding like anyone with chronic pain particularly. Who's Not having success with other. modalities
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): maybe this is just my own personal advice. But definitely I didn't have insomnia until I went to medical school and then I definitely got insomnia. I was surgeon coffee around the same time. They might be somewhat related, And I tried every possible sleep medication. I didn't try ambien, but I tried every other possible seat medication before I was willing to do with CBD.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Actually incredibly. MTI at the beginning of the pandemic which was such a great opportunity because rate part of the reason I was unwilling to do cbti as I didn't want to have to have a strict bad time schedule because I wanted to be able to like life, and go to shows and do the things and then suddenly life wasn't happening anymore. And so I could just do my cbdi and that was great and so yeah, I feel like for me sometimes my motivation to do more intense interpersonal work is a little bit. lower
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): until I've failed. Maybe some of the less emotionally intense options. Maybe just people know something about me as a human. I'm like wait.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): so anyone with any chronic pain concerns? whether they've failed other modalities or not, but we could just hear my own bias in that comment and then specifically For working with Kristina and patients who have intersectional identities and in the context of their chronic pain.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): And would be like the right people to think about sending to you, but just somatic. Coaching in general it fits well for anyone with chronic pain.
Kristina Armenakis: And the thing you just said there about do I have to dredge up all of the emotional stuff?
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): It sounds like
Kristina Armenakis: So some people come to me and they really want to do that and some people come they're like I am in pain and I don't want to unpack my childhood again or for the first time or whatever it is. And so the beautiful thing about somatic
Kristina Armenakis: Process tell me everything that happened in your childhood and in your history and your family's history because whatever it was it is here right now and certainly there are emotions that arise if we touch into the wisdom of the body, we're touching into our emotional wisdom as well. So that's part of it for sure. But just to name it really doesn't have to be a heavy process oriented verbal processing.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Yeah, and that's really good to be clear about. I and I probably misspoke a little bit. I was really referencing I wasn't willing to do a session a week with the cbti person and do the Sleep journal and keep the Sleep routine it when I was but maybe I can just take this medicine 30 minutes before I go to bed and that'll work instead. But that again I was my personal bias and motivation and I do think that's really helpful to hear. I think there's sometimes a misconception and I think clinicians probably we hold this misconception. Maybe I hope less than the general public but I still often hear people talk about therapy being appropriate for everyone like that. Everyone should do therapy and I actually disagree I don't think there is any treatment.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): For anything that is like a one size fits-all. It's gonna work for everyone and I understand that there are a thousand different modalities of therapy and maybe if someone didn't do well with one modality or with one a different therapist and a different mobile. You might benefit them. That is true. That doesn't change the fact that I don't think therapy is for everyone. I don't think again any treatment is for everyone. And so I do find sometimes for people who have had experiences with therapy and didn't find it beneficial. I sometimes have seen them find coaching much more beneficial and I think probably it is because of exactly what you're talking about And leaning Into the Now and Then actionable items towards how we're moving forward versus.
Kristina Armenakis: Yeah. For sure.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): The less actionable space sometimes that is therapy.
Kristina Armenakis: I mean, I think what I love about somatic the question what's wrong with you?
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Yeah, and
Kristina Armenakis: And what's wrong in your life? we start with what do you want your life to look like? what is most important to you? And how do we move towards that and again? It's not that the Oceans don't come up in that but that's a really generative place of What I'm trying to do here is move towards more of what I want the relationships. I want what's best for my health and I think that can land really well with folks and it is skills based. So I think that orientation really resonates with a lot of folks. Who might not want to do?
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Yeah, yeah.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): That's a really beautiful question and I feel like I wish all of healthcare started with that question. I mean And we don't in traditional Western medicine, right? We say link, what's the reason for your visit today? historically we've called that your Chief complaint, we tried to like and make that language last negative by saying your Chief concern but it still has this kind of connotation of…
Kristina Armenakis: Yes.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): what is wrong with you.
Kristina Armenakis: Yeah, I didn't share this at the beginning…
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): and really all of healthcare should be about what we want not…
Kristina Armenakis: but my background I have a master's of Social Work and…
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): what is wrong with us like that is
Kristina Armenakis: from University of Washington. do you live in yes and social work is definitely less oriented towards abnormal psychology than other disciplines. Envy but that background of mental health what's the issue you're struggling with and certainly when people come to me when we talk about where do you want your life to go? Then we're also looking at what gets in the way what's between you and that and those are like, okay, what are the issues that come up? But the orientation is like, how do I organize my life and my body towards what I'm most care about
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): I'm so in love with this. I feel like I just want all our listeners to really hear this and maybe clinicians y'all are doing a better job of this and I'm so privileged in that all I do is gender for being care. So what you want is all I do like this is and I don't think transness or gender diversity is a pathology. I don't think it's anything wrong with anyone and we're really just focused on and what my patients goals for their care is and how we can achieve those. So I really get to Center this and my work no matter what but I had not actually thought about applying this. I think about patients autonomy and bodily autonomy and human rights and I think about these things in the context of healthcare medicine all the time, but I don't know that I have actually thought in this framework of instead of what is wrong with you. What do you want and it is so true. It's still gonna address
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): right, if what I want is and I have diabetes and what I want is To be able to enjoy Meals with my family and X Y or Z you're then gonna start looking at how managing your diabetes will allow you to achieve that goal.
Kristina Armenakis: Yeah.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): But setting it in that context is just such a different experience Of care and it sets such a different dynamic between a patient and a clinician.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): which I I feel like we've just changed A fundamental perspective for me in healthcare,…
Kristina Armenakis: Yeah, I mean what popped into my head as you were describing that if I think about a somatic the life I want that's…
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): and I love it.
Kristina Armenakis: where I want to go and each of us has something to bring to that relationship like the medical provider. It's all of that knowledge and the tools the strategies medication like whatever it is, they're bringing their modalities. But here we are and you as a patient or my case as a client have all the wisdom of what's happening in your own body. And so we're shoulder to shoulder and we're moving towards what you Want and what a different organization just cinematically I feel so energized by that. how do we brand that way
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): I think I use the phrase that there are two experts in the room very frequently when I am teaching to I think Encompass that same concept right that I might be the medical expert and that's fabulous and my patient is the expert in their own body in their own life and their own values in their own goals, right and so we are two experts coming together to develop a plan. And so I think that's just Love it. my gosh. And do you have anything else you want to say to prescribing and referring clinicians about the work you do in the intersection of it with trans Health Care.
Kristina Armenakis: Yeah, so if their folks where yeah,…
Kristina Armenakis: you think being more connected to other people with chronic illness my support group is a great place for that.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Before we sign off.
Kristina Armenakis: And I also do a little comedic storytelling. So I have a Blog that's on my website and where I write about some sometimes sad and sometimes a bit funny mishaps and journey with chronic illness So I write about the intersection of somatics and chronic illness. And so that's a place for a little more learning about the lived experience of chronic illness.
Kristina Armenakis: And then I just want to say it is so important for me as a practitioner and I think for providers to really Center the experience of what it is like for transgender non-conforming folks especially folks of color to be navigating systems that have been historically and currently very traumatizing and to really Orient towards care curiosity like a deep desire to understand people bear witness and…
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Yeah.
Kristina Armenakis: create a safe space. It's much as that possible safe space for people to show up and that's My commitment my work is I always say they're not enough spaces in the world that are sweet. How can I offer a space that is really sweet for people?
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): yeah, I feel like since we're bringing up all the intersections and ways in which Healthcare has harm people with intersectional identities. I think one of the ones I always think about being so intensely bad and I feel is maybe lagging a little bit behind and recognition. I feel don't get me wrong trans, by Park folks, like people with disabilities like all if you have any kind of intersectional identity or any kind of marginalization the healthcare system is a system and systems oppress people and systems abuse people. And so I think that is very true, but I like
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): Really feel like the treatment of Lake fat people and the healthcare system is one of the ones that still seemingly acceptable it's like we hide abuse under medical concern. And so I think that one too is when I always think about when people are trying to navigate Healthcare and I really appreciate your time so much today. Thank you so much. We'll link Kristina's website and social so you can learn more…
Kristina Armenakis: Absolutely. Yeah.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): if clinicians have questions or…
Kristina Armenakis: Thank you so much for having me today except pleasure.
Dr. Crystal Beal (they/themme): anything like that is okay if they reach out to you through your website or email.