199: Brain Science and Relationships with Juliane Taylor Shore

Welcome back to The Couples Therapist Couch! This podcast is about the practice of Couples Therapy. Each week, Shane Birkel interviews an expert in the field of Couples Therapy to explore all about the world of relationships and how to be an amazing therapist.

In this episode, we’re talking brain science and relationships with Juliane Taylor Shore. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and your other favorite podcast spots, and watch it on YouTube – follow and leave a 5-star review.

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The Couples Therapist Couch 199: Brain Science and Relationships with Juliane Taylor Shore

Find out more about the Couples Therapist Inner Circle: https://www.couplestherapistcouch.com/inner-circle-new

In this episode, Shane talks with Juliane Taylor Shore about how brain science plays into relationships. Juliane is an Educator, Therapist, and Writer inspiring people to shift their relationships with self, others, and the world. She’s the Author of Setting Boundaries That Stick: How Neurobiology Can Help You Rewire Your Brain to Feel Safe, Connected, and Empowered. Hear why the energy we put towards ourselves is so important, how the brain looks at safety, how our history influences every moment for us, external vs. internal boundaries, and how to set boundaries with your partner.

This episode covers everything from neuroscience to boundaries. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • How do you make changes in your life?
  • What is judgment?
  • Why do people feel unsafe when approaching a conversation with their partner?
  • What are boundaries in neuroscience?
  • How do neurochemicals work?
  • What do The Matrix and Seinfeld have to do with neuroscience?
  • How does Juliane approach sexual assault with clients?
  • Where does self-trust come from?

To learn more about Juliane and her workshops, visit JulianeTaylorShore.com

Check out Juliane’s book at: JulianeTaylorShore.com/Book

Check out the episode, show notes, and transcript below: 



 Show Notes


What is The Couples Therapist Couch?

This podcast is about the practice of Couples Therapy. Many of the episodes are interviews with leaders in the field of Relationships. The show is meant to help Therapists and Coaches learn how to help people to deepen their connection, but in the process it explores what is most needed for each of us to love, heal, and grow. Each week, Shane Birkel interviews an expert in the field of Couples Therapy to explore all about the world of relationships and how to be an amazing therapist.

Find out more about the Couples Therapist Inner Circle: https://www.couplestherapistcouch.com/inner-circle-new


Please note: this transcript is not 100% accurate.  

Juliane Taylor Shore 0:00
At this point now, it feels like possible for folks I've worked with and for my own system to see really tough conversations. It feels almost like Neo in the Matrix. When When Mr. Smith was like shooting bullets, but all of a sudden that turned into ones and zeros and he's like, seeing the bullets go by in slow motion. It feels like that sometimes now.

Shane Birkel 0:27
Welcome to episode number 199 of The Couples Therapist Couch.

Intro VO 0:34
Welcome to The Couples Therapist Couch - the podcast for couples therapists, marriage counselors and relationship coaches to explore the practice of couples therapy, and now your host, Shane Birkel.

Shane Birkel 0:51
Hey, everyone. Welcome back to The Couples Therapist Couch. This is your host, Shane Birkel. And this is the podcast that's all about the practice of couples therapy. As most of you know, I started this podcast back in 2017. And we just passed 1.2 million downloads on the show. So I'm super excited about that it's been an honor to be able to host people like Sue Johnson, Terry Reel, Stan Teckin, Ellen Bader, Harriet Lerner, Dan Siegel, Laurie Gottlieb, and so many others. And back when I started the podcast resources for learning how to do couples therapy we're really lacking after a couple years of listeners wanted a way to learn even more. So in 2019, I started the Couples Therapist Inner Circle. And this is a way to have a community of like minded therapists in the pursuit of becoming the best they could possibly be at working with couples. And I've been thinking about this a lot. And one of my goals is to decentralize the practice of couples therapy so that it isn't so dependent on the voices of a few gurus who charge 1000s of dollars for their programs. Don't get me wrong, I've had these gurus on my podcast, and I have the utmost respect for them. And I've also spent 10s of 1000s of dollars on their trainings over the years. But my point is that there are so many voices out there with important perspectives, and that we might limit ourselves as we believe that our way of doing couples therapy is the only way. So the couples therapist center circle is a place for couples therapists to connect and push the conversation forward about the possibilities for the world of couples therapy. Part of my commitment is to keep the price affordable, so that anyone would be able to join that being said, if if you're not able to afford the monthly cost, just let me know, reach out to me. And I'll try to work with you to help you be part of this, because I'm really excited about the community we're building there. And also, everyone who joins right now will get a free month trial, I was able to set that up so that when you check out, you click the link to join, you'll be guided to sign up and you'll get a free month to start. So you can see if it's a good fit for you. And there's no risk at all. So let me know if you have any questions. And like I said, I'm so grateful for all of you listeners out there. And if you're not able to do the inner circle, that's totally fine. But I'm really I really appreciate anybody who likes the show who follows the show. I'm just so grateful for all of you. This week, I was able to catch up with a friend of mine, Julianne Taylor shore. She's a therapist, teacher and author of a new book called setting boundaries that stick how neurobiology can help you rewrite rewire your brain to feel safe, connected, and empowered. And I'm just really grateful for my relationship with her. I've been to many trainings with her. We've known each other for years. I've also attended a training where she was teaching and she's an amazing teacher, an expert in neurobiology in addition to working with couples, and definitely have to check out her new book, but we had a great conversation about it. And without further introduction. Here's the discussion with Julianne Taylor Shore. Hey, everyone. Welcome back to The Couples Therapist Couch. This is Shane Birkel, and today I'm speaking with Juliane Taylor Shore, therapist, teacher, and author of the new book, Setting Boundaries That Stick: how neurobiology can help you rewire your brain to feel safe, connected and empowered. Hey, Jules, welcome to the show.

Juliane Taylor Shore 4:40
Hey, Shane. Thanks so much for having me on.

Shane Birkel 4:43
Yeah, I'm so excited to talk to you for the audience. Who doesn't know Jules and I have known each other for quite a few years. At this point. We've gone to a bunch of trainings together over the years as couples therapists and I really loved going to your training at The Networker symposium. I guess that was almost I think that was almost two years ago now. And they're I love the way you bring the neurobiology piece into the couples therapy work. But we'll get into all that. Why don't you tell everyone a little bit more about yourself? Yeah. Thank

Juliane Taylor Shore 5:18
you so much. Yeah. So I teach Interpersonal Neurobiology neurobiological research to clinicians. So I'm really interested in well, what's the neurobiology saying about how our brain is wired? And is there a way we could work more with the brain, rather than trying to get the brain to do what we want? Wait a second, if we understand a little bit about but the brain works, we can we can go into partnership with the brain we have. And it actually, usually what, here's what's funny, is that usually what happens is that people discover all these things that feel counter intuitive, about how to work with their brain. And, and this ends up being easier than the way we do it that a lot of times I find folks are trying to force their brain to do something. And it can work. You know, what's crazy about it is it can work for the first little bit. Yeah. So it gives us initial positive feedback that what we're doing is successful. So like, I wrote this book on boundaries recently, and like one of the pieces that I was addressing was using compassionate pausing to create a space between what you feel and what you do. So that you can you can double check your action that you're about to have, is it in your relational integrity? Is it in your personal integrity? And a lot of times people who come into work with me will say, Well, I just I just like, pull myself up by my bootstraps and get myself to do it. And the truth is, is that works? It does, it works. I'm not saying that we can't force our brain to do a thing you can, you can totally use will and force the brain to do a thing. And if we work with the neurobiology a little bit more, actually, compassion leads to longer term behavioral change, than for separate wealth, and learning that can feel a little counterintuitive for some of my clients, for some people who train with me. So I love to help folks understand how can you use all this neurobiological research we're having in ways that it's actually effective for your life, even if it's gonna feel a little weird on the front end?

Shane Birkel 7:51
Yeah, that's great. And I think that there are a lot of people who sort of just respond to the world, you know, so that, you know, it's like, oh, well, I feel this way. So I'm gonna do this thing that I've always done. And there's not that sort of pause and take a step back and evaluate, Is this really how I want to act in the world? So, you know, I appreciate what you're saying, I'd love to hear you talk about like, what's the difference between, let's say, I want to create some sort of change in my life, for myself or my relationship? And what's the difference between pulling myself up by my bootstraps? And, you know, just willing myself and putting pressure on myself to do it differently, versus an approach that might be more in alignment with compassion and understand, right,

Juliane Taylor Shore 8:37
right? Well, let's look at it neuro chemically. So when you move into a state where you're in that, I'm going to get this thing done, what happens is you release excitatory neuro chemicals into your subcortical brain, that was a fancy way of saying, I like my lower brain on fire a little bit. So if you want more big energy to happen in your lower brain, use judgment. The only issue with that is then it takes more and more and more and more and more and more and more force. Because you're fighting a fire, basically, under in the underside of your brain, and the underside of your brain, whether we like it or not, is faster. So ultimately, it wins.

Shane Birkel 9:25
And so just for the audience, can you speak to you know, as far as the mindfulness way of thinking about judgment? What that yeah,

Juliane Taylor Shore 9:33
totally so judgment would be like, I think there's something wrong with me. I think that there's something wrong with this thing I'm doing and I'm gonna get myself can you feel like the energy in my voice it's think of it more as like, an energetic way of approaching yourself and using harshness and like Oh, energy

Shane Birkel 10:00
or someone else even right, like they should they should be doing something. Right? Yeah,

Juliane Taylor Shore 10:07
right. You know, you want to let your lower brain on fire, go ahead and use the word shed. Right, exactly. And what's interesting is that when we move into self compassion or compassion, receiving compassion from another, or giving compassion to another, and I don't mean fake compassion, I don't mean thought, compassion. I mean, like, really feel the truth of wow, we're, we're humans bumbling through this thing together and doing this hard stuff. And I can turn that energy towards me and say, of course, you mess that up. Of course, you followed the thing you've always been doing. And sweetie, we're going to try to do this different. Let's try again. So notice how my tone is shifting, it's more like an energy of getting that you could make an error, you could do a behavior that is out of alignment with your integrity, that doesn't mean you're a bad person. That means that you're a human who's messing up and bumbling through this thing. Now, when I switch to that energy, what happens is inhibitory neuro chemicals are released to the lower brain. So that's basically like, to your lower brain. And I care about that a lot. Because my lower brain is so fast, that if it gets go in with all those excitatory neuro chemicals, it will end and it will win in the end. So imagine, like the difference between, let's say, let's say I was really tamping down on frustration I had with my partner. Well, I might be even judging myself silently, because I'm a marriage and family therapist, so I know what not say out loud. So I'm gonna judge myself quietly in my head for having negative thoughts and all that. So let's imagine, oh, I'm having this frustration with my partner. And I'm greeting that frustration with just get it together, Jules, come on, you know how to be a better partner than this, get it together. Right? Right. So I could have that energy. And if I do, I will add more fuel to the fire in my lower brain, and then it's going to be even harder to calm it down and harder to calm it down. But What's hard is that in that initial moment, I do stop. When I go, geez, get it together, Jules. Endo, stop me. It works. It works. I'm I will tell you that it doesn't. And the long term consequences of that are really hard on my system. And that's so different than me saying, Who there's something big happening? Oh, I see you judging him from afar over here, rather than bringing this to him? What's up? So notice, I'm still dealing with behavior, I'm still dealing with the issue. I'm not, I'm not turning away from the, from whatever the problem is, but the energy I've got coming towards myself is so much gentler. And what happens neurochemically speaking, is that the lower brain starts calming down. That doesn't mean Shut up. I'm a big fan. I'm a big advocate of not shutting up when something is going wrong in your couple. Right. But I'm, but I want us to be thoughtful about how we're showing up so that people can learn the self trust that comes from living in your integrity. Yeah, right. So when I think when I think about it, it's mostly about that. Yeah.

Shane Birkel 13:41
And I think about as you were talking, I was thinking about sort of imagining an adult speaking to a child. Right, you can you can use intimidation and fear and pressure. Get them to behave the way you want, right? Oh, yeah, that has a lot of negative consequences for the child in the long run, right? If you say, you know, I'm gonna spank you if you don't do your homework or something that child might do late start doing the things you want them to do. Oh, yeah, it'll lead to behavior change. Right? That's right. But it's really unhealthy for that child in the long run. And are there ways of moving into compassion and understanding and connection to provide support and guidance and even firmness and a loving way for children to follow through on the things that that they need to follow through on? Oh, yeah,

Juliane Taylor Shore 14:33
I'm all about loving firmness towards ourselves. Yeah. And and towards each other.

Shane Birkel 14:39
Yeah. But that helps me sort of think about like, as I'm talking to myself, I want to imagine like, we want to treat ourselves as I think most of us treat ourselves more harshly than we would anyone else. Yes. And I want to imagine that I'm another person who I would treat more gently perhaps Yeah, you know, and you're an amazing teacher. And like I said, I went to your presentation at this networker symposium and learn so much. And I was really excited about your book, I'm just wondering how you brought, you know, how does the neuroscience fit with the boundaries? And to speak a little bit more about, you know, so to build on what you started with talking about with, you know, how does that look like boundaries at times, right?

Juliane Taylor Shore 15:26
I love this, I wanted to help people increase their toolkit, in terms of how they support brain integration. So let me talk about it like this, your brain is operating on a spectrum, where on one end, you've got less integrated, and on the other end, you've got very, very high integration. Now, on the low integration side, what you've got is speed. Really fast reactivity, yay. If you're in physical danger, being way over there is really awesome. So I'm remembering this moment, when my kiddo was really little, she's 10 Now, but she was teeny, and I was changing her diaper at a vacation space. And she fell off the bed where it was changing. And I caught her. But I caught her like, so fast. And I I reached out, caught her pull her up, she's, you know, she's hanging upside down in front of my face laughing and I'm breathing like, I just ran a marathon. And then I got scared. That's an unintegrated. Brain state. And thank goodness for it. I caught her mid fall and pulled her into the air. How did I do that? Because my very, very speedy version of my brain came online, there's nothing wrong with the speedy version of our brain, I love that version of our brain is just not great at complex conversation. Right over on the other end of the spectrum, at the very, very far end, you've got like flow state, like those moments when you're working creatively. And it just feels easy. Those moments when you're in connection with someone, and the intimacy feels vulnerable and shaky, but really steady in there all at the same time. Those are very high integration brain states, they are slow. So that does have a downside, sometimes, right? If you need to move fast, you shouldn't be in that state. I should not catch my daughter falling from a bed in that state. That's not That's not great layup, right. But they're great at nuance, they're great at creativity, this brain state way over here is like, it's amazing at synthesizing information, it's amazing at being able to hold both a hand Two Truths at once, which is so important when it comes to really hard conversations. So what I wanted to do was give people a tool, a set of tools, really, to help them have more influence on where they were along that spectrum. And I was looking at, well, what is it that the brain is using to assess where to be on the spectrum? Really, it's actually a safety assessment. It's how safe am I? If the answer is not so safe, my brain automatically responds by becoming less integrated. So it's actually the assessment of safety that comes first. And the integration level follows in response to that. Now, here's what's really hard about that is the assessment of safety is not conscious, the assessment of safety is four times per second. Oh, wow. And it's in the lower part of your brain. And it's using all that you've ever known. Every bit of your history, plus every bit of data you're taking in now. Plus every assessment of your current resources, have I slept have I eaten? How's my Oh, to level, all that stuff? So it's, this is really just using all this data and going, can I handle this? If the answer is yes, I can handle this. I have the internal and external resources, do it. We move towards more integration. When we go nope, cannot handle this is bad. We move towards less integration. So how could I help a brain feel more protected, add safety, if it's assessing this fast. We need to add protection. That's boundaries. So I wrote a book about boundaries. But I think about thinking about boundaries a little bit different, I guess, then some people because I do think of them as both internal and external.

Shane Birkel 19:48
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well, and so if your child is falling off the bed and you have to grab them, or if there's a fire in the building, yeah, and right grey street gets a healthy sort of reaction to the situation. Right? That, you know, it's not a safe situation and you need to react. But you tell explain why. Why do people in their relationships and feeling such a level of unsafety? Right? are coming from that brain as they're approaching a conversation with their partner?

Juliane Taylor Shore 20:29
Totally. So, one, your brain is wearing history colored glasses. So whether we like it or not, the way the brain is processing information is through a lens of our history, what different things have I learned to expect in relationship? I don't expect people to treat me so all that family of origin stuff that are I know, sometimes my clients are like, do I have to talk about my family of origin? Again, I'm like, we do though. Because whether we like it or not, this is actually influencing every moment of every day. So one, you're going to look through that lens of history to be assessing who, what does this mean to me? Does it feel familiar to anything else I've ever experienced before? What did it mean back then? Does it mean the same thing now? But all this is happening at speeds that are under a second law?

Shane Birkel 21:24
Yeah, that's crazy. Yeah, well,

Juliane Taylor Shore 21:27
so that's happening. And then another part of it, I think, is that a lot of us have real difficulty with this one idea that each mind, because it's looking through the lens of its own history, sees reality, really through subjective lens only. What I mean is, the truth is that my brain and your brain are not processing this moment, the same. And for some people, that difference can feel really dangerous. That actually, we may not see reality, the same way. The mind is not processing information identically, you may not want what I want, you may not want to meet my needs. Like all that actually is true. We have these huge differences between us. And I think there are two ways generally that people respond to the fear of that of that truth of Ooh, is it safe to be connected through that difference? That feels scary for lots of us. And either, I try to get super, super close, like psychologically, and I try to either get you to be the same as me, or I adapt and be the same as you. So that there's no difference, we're going to solve the safety through merger. Only now I have to manage and manipulate, manipulate you all the time in order to do that, because you don't actually have my brain, right? Or I have to manipulate me all the time to do that, because I don't actually have your brain. Or we deal with it through judgment. And we become rigid and walled off, and more distant. And so now I'm dealing with that the fact of the difference in my assessment that, ooh, that feels scary to me. I'm going to deal with that by just not having connection with the dangerous one. And so I'll, I'll create a psychological barrier, right? So one of my internal boundaries that I have people work with is something called the mentalization neural network. And I call it the psychological boundary, like logical boundary is just honoring, oh, your mind and my mind are not processing information exactly the same. And so can we add a layer of protection where I can bear witness to everything you are thinking and feeling, without needing to change it for me to be okay, so I listened with acceptance to whatever you're going through. And I am really interested in discernment. So I want to keep thoughts and feelings that are yours, over there with you and be curious about them. be connected to them, but not same as him. Right? So I can discern, hey, I only take in what's true and about me. And if I think it's true, and about you, it stays over there. And I say thank you, it's not true. And about you, then I keep it over there. And I, if I think it's true, but not about me, I keep it over there. Right. It's only when it's both true and, and about me that I would take it in.

Shane Birkel 24:43
And this goes back to what you were talking about at the beginning, where I need to I need to be in a certain state of mind to be able to think about it that way to take a step back and to actually assess radiation in that way.

Juliane Taylor Shore 24:58
But here's the thing Your mentalization neural network is in the lower part of your brain, you know how he's talking about the lower part works really, really fast. So what I did was start playing with a tool that we could all use, where we actually ask our mentalization network, to speak in its language, which is more image and metaphor, and emotionally driven than it is word driven. Who could we help? That part of my brain, no discernment and listening with acceptance. So it now Yeah, I know. So how now, my discernment skill and my listening with acceptance skill are starting to be embedded in the very, very fast parts of the mentalization is working at about an eighth to a 12th of a second. So my mind is guessing at what your mind is thinking. But my psychological boundary work can help me keep it over there at the low brain speed. Now it does take practice, I'm not going to tell you, Oh, you come up with your image, and then everything is going to be swimming and wonderful. No, no, no. It takes it takes practice to hone the skill and the lower brain. But at this point, now, it feels like possible for folks I've worked with and for my own system, to see really tough conversations, it feels almost like Neo in the Matrix, when when Mr. Smith was like shooting bullets, but all of a sudden, that turned into ones and zeros. And he's like, seeing the bullets go by in slow motion. It feels like that sometimes now when I'm in more complex conversations, because I'm like, Oh, I see you that's, that's an experience that's in you. And I'm feeling so curious and fine to be interested in what's what's happening in there. And I don't feel like I have to manage what's happening in there for me to stay safe. And so it's an internal bottom up experience of increased protection between my mind and somebody else's mind. And it goes both ways. I'm protecting me from my from their mind, but I'm also protecting them from mine. So this way, I can have a conversation with my daughter where she's she's gone through some school stuff lately, that's really difficult and challenging for her. And she's hitting some some learning roadblocks that are really, really tough. And she actually did say the other day is something along the lines of I think my brains broken. A lot of times as a parent, we want to go Oh sweetie, that's not true. But I feel like I'm really glad that I had my psychological boundary. For me. Mine's an image of everybody has their own image, their own gesture, their own word. That's exactly right for them. So there's there's a process in the book that takes you through how to find your version. But mine is a wall of jello with pink sparkles in it. I don't know why, but it just is. But thank goodness, thank goodness, I had my pink sparkly jello wall up. Because in that moment, I was able to start talking with her about what was happening in in her in her experience that was leading to her thinking that right so our current because because I'm actually not needing to change what she's thinking and feeling for me to feel okay. Now I can meet her and say yes weedy. Tell me more. What, what makes you think your brain is broken bay while I was doing this, and now, it doesn't make any sense. Yeah, you haven't figured out how your brain learns this math yet. Then she looks up at me. Do you think it can one day? Yeah, babe, I just think we haven't found the right people yet. To figure out how you can work with the brain you've got your brain is beautiful. You don't think it's broken? I don't think it's broken. Oh, wait, we ended up in this gentle conversation. Where I'm holding the difference. I don't need for you to think that your brain is not broken. I can share that I disagree. But in with so much regulation basically, that she can tell I'm not trying to get her to agree with me. If I just tried to get her pain to disappear and agree with me, she would have just gotten bigger in the pain. You know, pain doubles down when it doesn't feel hard.

Shane Birkel 29:44
Right. Right. Yeah, be invalidating of her experience.

Juliane Taylor Shore 29:49
Exactly. You know, exactly.

Shane Birkel 29:52
She's feeling this way. She's wondering these things. And I, you know, I can think of examples with my own kids. You know, where they For something like that, and it's like you said, I love that idea that I'm soothing my own anxiety. Yes. You say, no, no, no, don't worry, it's not a big deal. What?

Juliane Taylor Shore 30:12
isn't broken? Honey? Don't say things like that. Right? What are we really doing?

Shane Birkel 30:17
But you described having your boundary up and take a deep breath. And you really, it's really honoring her and her experience. That's right, you know, for you to keep it on her experience, and to say, Oh, tell me more about why you're thinking that, you know, and allowing her to sort of work through it herself instead of as adults, we're always taking over, you know,

Juliane Taylor Shore 30:41
it's so true. And this is really handy with my husband to write. Right, because if he brings up something that's really painful for him about an interaction we had, if I'm not trying to change how he thinks and feels about it, he has a moment to feel really deeply respected, and connected with me exactly where he is. But I never had to move into agreement with him to make that happen. Because it's okay, we're just adding the protection, that actually my mind thinks about this incident in a really different way than your mind thinks about this incident. And we can have both of those be present in the room, and both feel safe. While we're doing it, even though there's huge disagreement. So I look at I looked at the world, right and went, Oh, gosh, if we could, if we can move our brain into the more integrated versions of itself, with a little bit more gentleness and purposefulness simultaneously, then we could make really challenging conversations way easier. And I'm looking out at the country I live in and I'm in the States. I live in Austin, Texas. And I look out in my community, and I see just a world of conversations that feel really harsh with no listeners and two speakers. And it just feels like we're not, no wonder everybody feels lonely. We're leaving, we're leaving each other alone and all this. And so I just wanted to help people understand something about how to greet themselves in a different way that's going to let you have a more integrated brain response more of the time, even in challenging moments.

Shane Birkel 32:29
Yeah, that's great. And I love bringing it back to the individual experience. Because I don't know if you have this experience with couples sometimes where they'll come in, and they'll be like, yeah, we're both really struggling with yelling at each other. And I'm like, Wait, who's struggling with yelling? Yelling at WHO? And who's struggling with? Yes. Because each proudly said, each person's experience of that is going to be extremely different. And what's happening is very hard for them in different ways. And we have to really connect with each individual's experience. And to do that we have to learn how to be good listeners, as you are yes, saying no, but

Juliane Taylor Shore 33:07
how can you even be a good listener? Well, you have to feel safe enough to have enough of your brain online to feel like it's okay to listen. Well, how do you feel safe enough? You got to add protection. That's why I'm a boundary nerd. Yeah. So I think about boundaries, like the we've talked about a couple of the internal kinds, the containing boundary that says pause between what I feel and what I do. That way, I can build self trust that I can operate inside my integrity more of the time. And the psychological boundary, which is that boundary between me and another person, so that I can have some safety between my mind and your mind, and can greet you more because of that. It actually makes us more connected to have a boundary rather, because then you don't have to go the rigidity, then you don't have to go to the merger. So those are two internal ones. And then there's one that's internal and external, and that's your physical boundary. And, and the book I do talk about folks who have trauma history around physical injury in some way accidents, or some really hard history, you know, in your childhood or having been attacked, how can you work with the parts of your brain that know your physical safety and repair old wounds from old trauma? And really bring your body into the here and now to guess, hey, you know, it's always a guess how much physical safety do I have at any given moment? How much physical protection can I add at any given moment? So I'm thinking about working with folks I actually was chatting with there's a example of it and in the book, actually, this this couple and she had this thing. Have you ever seen the Seinfeld where Elaine punches people when she's excited? I don't think she's like, she like would hit people in the shoulder and be like, Oh my right, and she spikes him. They're like, Oh, this was happening with this couple. So this this woman, this woman, when she would get excited would slap him in some way.

Shane Birkel 35:27
She'd be like, happy and she'll be like,

Juliane Taylor Shore 35:29
happy, and exuberance in her body. And smack him, like, smack him in the chest or punch him in the art was just too much for him. But he didn't want to feel like, like, am I not? Like there was all this weird stuff around the gender dynamics there because he was like, Well, I don't. I'm a tough guy. I mean, I can take your head, but I don't really want to get smacked like. But I don't want her to think I'm weak. And they came up with this thing, where one they talked about it in a meta way, but around the physical boundary, but also they developed a playful way. And he would grab her hand when she would come out, I'm gonna go well, we'll ask the girl. Right. So part of his physical boundary work was a little bit external, he needed to start speaking up for himself a little bit, he needed to have a playful way to address that moment, because he didn't always want it to be so serious. He knew she wasn't being mean, or vindictive. This is just part of like, how she's functioning. So she did her work around containment, whoa, do I have to explode my body in this way? What I'm excited. And then for him, being able to have a voice around it, and being able to speak up for his his needs physically. Right? So So physical boundaries is all about, can I add physical protection to myself? And there are lots of spaces where that's not possible. And so of course, I talk about that as well. Because our, our external safety is actually not entirely up to us. I can't prevent you from attacking me, right? I'm thank god, you're Shane, and you won't, but I couldn't physically stop you from doing that, necessarily, I could only add protection if it happens. So I always want to face reality with folks about, you know, the realities of how much protection you can add and how much is out of your control and not your fault. And we don't have to have blame, you know, a lot of us who have been through some sort of physical injury like that, especially if it was early or sexual assaults, really, really hard stuff, but there will be a lot of blame, like I should have stopped it. So I do a lot of work around building compassion, with with what you experienced, and how much you can't stop someone from hurting you if they've decided to and how horrible that is. So I do talk about that piece of it. And then the other boundary I have is really an external one. And that's when that's what most people think of when they think boundary. Hey, what do I say, to set this boundary out loud between me and another person. And so I think of that as an external boundary. And I have six steps in the book that you follow ahead of time ahead of setting the boundary, so that you can feel really solid when you actually go into a conversation and are ready for Yeah, saying it out loud. Yeah, yeah.

Shane Birkel 38:31
And I love this idea that boundaries aren't dependent. Your boundary is not dependent on the other person.

Juliane Taylor Shore 38:39
That's correct. That makes sense.

Shane Birkel 38:42
Uh huh. Yeah, well, you can talk about it. But is that part of what you have set up in those steps or whatever, as far as like how to state your boundary and be in control of what's going to happen for yourself at that point?

Juliane Taylor Shore 38:55
That's right. So I'm really separating out direct request versus boundary. So a lot of times what we do in our couples worlds, especially is instead of direct requesting anything from you, I complain. I just pitched so we move into complaint instead of requesting, which I get it request is way more vulnerable. I have to have a good psychological boundary, where if you say no to my request, I'm going to be okay. Yeah. In order to do this well, right. So one is moving into direct request if what you're wanting is someone else's behavior to change. And then a lot of times what we do in our world right now is we if we don't get what we want through the complaint, we demand it. And when you have to change for me to be okay, and I want to replace that with boundary, here's what's okay with me. Here's what's not okay with me, here's my action. Here's what I'm doing. thing to do if the not okay, thing happens, right? So what I recommend for folks is if you're looking for behavior change on the outside, start with direct request, start with having a conversation, and know that a direct request is not actually a request, if it's not okay for them to say no. It may be, I don't mean, pleasant for them to say, no. It could be hard. It could be a really sticky thing for them to say now. And also, they might say now, so are you going to be able to tolerate that in that moment, right. And then, if direct request has not made a behavior shift, it's time for us to make a U turn. And I go inside and I ask myself, okay, so what here is okay with me? And what here is not okay with me? And I start to get really clean on why is it so important? What is it that I'm really after here? So that I call that step one your big why. So boundaries are really, really hard. So you need a big emotional oomph to give yourself enough juice to follow through with a boundary, because it's actually a lot of times a sticky conversation. So we want a really big why that's going to help us understand, like, Oh, this is what we're going to, this is why it's so important that I'm going to stand up for this thing. And then and then I can either choose to communicate it or not, that part feels so individual, I don't know what's right for you in each situation. But if you do want to say it out loud, there's a step that that one defines the actions you're going to take. So it's called the defining action step that step two, and and that one is all about saying, What am I going to do? And also, do I want to say it out loud? And if so how? So it follows both of those. So let's say I have, I'm thinking through, like actual events in my life, let's say I have a group of friends who are on a text thread. And they sometimes do complaining about my involvement with the text thread. Because I actually am not on my phone that much. I'm in the chair a lot. I teach a lot, I have a kid, I have a husband, I have a dog, I just don't look at my phone a whole lot. It could take me three or four days to answer a text threat. That's the reality of my life. And my the reality of my relationship with my phone. So hey, I've made a direct request, the complaining feels hard. I'd love to hear from you about how it's affecting you that I'm interacting with our text thread like this. But kind of sideways, sniping at me doesn't feel good. Can we do it different? Nothing changes, let's say nothing changes. And the complaining still happens. I might communicate to the folks that I'm on this thread with because I've decided okay, for me, it's not okay to just hear the complaints about how I'm showing up forever and ever and ever. Like, I can't handle it, that doesn't feel good to me. So I think I'm not going to deal with my FOMO and not be on this thread. Right. So then I could communicate. I love being on the thread. I love hearing about your life. i For me, I cannot be on it or respond more quickly than I am. If that's too much. I totally get it.

What I'm hearing is tons of complaint from each of you about how I'm showing up here.

If it's not okay, it's not okay, I get it. But the complaint is not okay for me. So if it keeps going, I'm gonna have to drop off the thread. And then I'm anticipating what they might do. Yeah. Right. Yeah. Because people push back against boundaries. Yeah. Yeah, of course they do. They don't want you to like drop off the thread, but they want you to do is show up more frequently than you are. Right. Right. So okay, one day if the maybe the complaint just stops, right. And it's fine, and everything's cool. But maybe they're like, Oh, you're so dramatic. You're taking this too much. We were teasing. Whatever, right. Then I That's Step three, anticipate their response. Step four, anticipate my feelings to that response. And then can I create a soothing plan for my feelings so that I stick with my boundary? Yeah. Yeah. All right,

Shane Birkel 44:49
guys, as you're talking, I'm thinking about agreements and contracts. It's almost like on that text thread with your friends. It's like we sort of have off Oftentimes, it's an unspoken agreement. Yes. It's never set the rules or anything. We

Juliane Taylor Shore 45:04
didn't set the rules. Yeah, checking with you.

Shane Birkel 45:06
Like, is it okay, if, if I'm going to be on this text thread? I can't commit to responding. Right. And, you know, six hours? That's not a thing. Yeah. Like, yeah, to commit to that. And if that doesn't work for our agreement of what this text threat is, right, you know, exactly doesn't work for me to hear the complaints. Right. And, you know, it

Juliane Taylor Shore 45:32
may not work for you that I have a delay.

Shane Birkel 45:34
You're You're right, right. That's right. Right. Trying to understand their boundaries. you're expressing your boundaries. Yeah. And part of that is coming up with an agreement. And I think couples do this all the time. Yeah. In relationships. But that's another good piece. Oh, yes. Like bring into a good way to look at it. Totally.

Juliane Taylor Shore 45:53
For the six steps. I use those with couples all the time. Yeah. And, and having those agreement conversations, contracting conversations, direct requests, or conversations before you get to the boundary settings. But and if you need to go ahead have that boundary setting conversation. Yeah.

Shane Birkel 46:14
Yeah. And it's like, it's like, I love it. Because it's like, there's no bad guys here. Right. It's

Juliane Taylor Shore 46:21
for them to want me to show up more. Yeah, right.

Shane Birkel 46:24
Right. Understanding perspective. Yeah, I have my own stuff. They have their own stuff. And we have to communicate those things to each other. give each other feedback. Yeah, me It actually means it's a strong relationship if it's

Juliane Taylor Shore 46:40
actually a stronger relationship back. Right. Exactly. We actually build trust through that. Yeah. Rumble and then coming back together. Yep. We build trust that we can handle hard things together.

Shane Birkel 46:51
Yeah. Yeah. I love it. Yeah. Good. Well, any other final thoughts before we wrap it up?

Juliane Taylor Shore 46:58
I think sometimes with the brain science, we're looking for another silver bullet. Another magic. And bringing the brain science is helping us create tools that are magic. Feeling and, and are awesome. And brains change through practice. And so I don't want anyone to walk away thinking, Oh, I'll do this magical thing. And then everything is going to be awesome in my life. That's not I don't I don't sell that. And so I don't mean to like end on a downer. I'm not trying to do that. But I'm, I'm just wanting to us to like, love ourselves and have patience with ourselves and love each other and have patience with each other that that there is no magic bullet there is practice and transformation.

Shane Birkel 47:47
Yeah. Well, I Well, I appreciate that, you know, and it's validating for people to know that too, I think. Yeah. Even though when you're teaching about it, it feels very magical to me. But I'll take that should definitely get a copy of your book, Setting Boundaries That Stick, how neurobiology can help you rewrite your brain to feel safe, connected and empowered. Anything else people should? Can like, what's your website or anywhere else people can?

Juliane Taylor Shore 48:21
Sure you can find me at JulianeTaylorShore.com. And I run workshops for small groups around this boundary work. So 10 folks come together. And I've got two coming up in the spring, one in February and one in April and the April one is online, so you don't have to travel and if you like in person that February one is in person. Right.

Shane Birkel 48:43
All right. Thank you so much. I really appreciate you coming on here today. Oh, thanks so much for having me. Yeah, definitely. And hopefully we can catch up again soon. Yeah, I love it. All right. Thank you, Jules. And thank you to all you listeners out there, definitely go check out JulianeTaylorShore.com and get a copy of her her new book, Setting Boundaries That Stick: how neurobiology can help you rewire your brain to feel safe, connected and empowered. So grateful for all of you. Thank you so much for liking the show, following the show, please go over and do that right away. Also, if you're interested in joining the Couples Therapist Inner Circle, right now's a really good time to join because you get a free month you sign up, get a free month, if it's not a good fit for you. You will you won't pay anything. And you know, I'm really confident that you're gonna love it and have a good experience there. But go down in the show notes, click the link and you can find out more details about that. Thank you so much. This is Shane Birkel, and this is The Couples Therapist Couch, the podcast that's all about the practice of therapy. Take care, everybody!

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