Episode 3: Transforming Mental Health

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Dive into the Transforming Healthcare Coaching Podcast with host Lillian Liang Emlet and guest Dr. Grizelda Anguiano. Explore how coaching techniques are reshaping mental health care and supporting families raising neurodiverse children. Whether you’re in healthcare or curious about coaching’s impact, this episode offers valuable insights and actionable tips for personal and professional growth.

Lillian: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Transforming Healthcare Coaching podcast, where we bring you guidance and coaching perspectives so that you can level up in your life and work.
. A little bit about transforming healthcare coaching.
We believe that everyone in healthcare deserves a coach and that together we can transform healthcare one person at a time. My name is Lillian Liang Emlet. I’m the founder and CEO. We have a team of coaches from many disciplines. They’re all trained in energy leadership coaching that help clinicians and healthcare with a wide variety of niche specializations.
And today you’ll see a very unique application of coaching in the clinical practice and mental health practice. Our coaches actually specialize in things as varied from executive leadership to being to performance to transitions. And all of us have, or are currently working in healthcare.
With our coaches at Transforming Healthcare Coaching, we understand where you’re going through day in, day out. [00:01:00] And so I guess we’ll go ahead and want to just introduce our speaker, Dr. Anguiano.
Grizelda: Hello, everyone. Just like Lillian said, I’m Grizelda Anguiano, and I’m excited to be here with you today. And thank you for joining us. I’m a general pediatrician, have been focusing on mental health for the past four years. I came across coaching over a year ago as I was searching for tools to support my patients, and more specifically, to support parents while raising their neurodiverse children.
I’d heard of coaching, but little did I know the transformative impact that it would provide for not only my patients and their families, but on my own life, I came across a program called sanity school for parents, which I took learned from and loved. I was instantly drawn to the coach approach. The realization that this approach was a key to less medicine, improve relationships and competently raising children was a pivotal moment in my career and life overall.
Long story short, I became a SUNY school trainer and then went on to become a certified professional coach myself. Again, I’m so happy [00:02:00] to be here with all of you today.
Thanks, Grizelda. I was super fascinated because I had never heard actually about how coaching could be used in clinical practice, actually, especially with mental health.
Lillian: So could you tell us a little bit about how you use coaching in your practice with your families?
Grizelda: Sure. I just, I had been just simply being the prescriber for some time, and I just felt the calling to do things differently . So I was witnessing how much more patients were improving or overcoming their mental adversity when we would collaborate.
And take that holistic family approach. Now with the training and of course learning and growing every day, I use coaching. And no surprise. People do better when they make conscious choices versus when they’re told what to do. Makes sense. Just giving them that, yeah, just giving that opportunity to like, what would you like to do with this?
Yeah, especially, and I think we always forget that especially with our families and our surrogates and our patients together in [00:03:00] that environment to give everyone the option that everybody actually has a choice and even in that relationship together.
Absolutely. And even when, even just what came to mind right now was, even if when I have the parents come for their first initial visit, and if I’ve talked to the mom on the phone, then I’ll ask the dad or the partner, why are you here? Are you here because they drug you here? What would you like to get out of today’s visit? And most of them say, whoa, I’m sharing way more than I thought I would be sharing, that it’s just giving that opportunity.
Lillian: That’s a good point. So funny how in medicine, we do so much questioning just for efficiency purposes.
We often forget to be curious and explore and really take the time to figure out what’s behind the appointment. Like the secondary chief complaint.
I have so many friends whose children have some degree of anxiety or ADHD. I’m wondering how can coaching help families and children of either of these?
Grizelda: Great question, Lillian. To [00:04:00] begin, many with a mental health diagnosis view their life as a challenge and therefore are already operating from a lower catabolic energy or just that energy that brings you down. So first, it’s essential to understand that their struggles are real, and I like to provide psychoeducation just put that coach the doctor hat on too, and then partner with them when they’re ready to get coached or when they’re ready for that type of relationship, and they can work to face the fears, challenges, or executive function difficulties non judgmentally.
So then we can open those doors of opportunity so they can break through and just live differently.
Lillian: Yeah. It’s so funny you say that because , I heard people saying judgmental like tonality with the ADHD or the anxiety label. And I was like I usually just try to normalize it while I probably have ADHD.
I don’t know how many of my friends, we’re all in our 40s and we always say oh, I probably should get tested. And actually many of my friends actually have gotten tested and they themselves [00:05:00] actually realized, oh, I have a neglect style ADHD and didn’t really realize. And obviously have great careers or business women, different types of things.
And so it’s so interesting how we label so early in childhood now, and then we’re not even sure what our judgment or label even means.
Grizelda: Absolutely. And I think that just opens up that, as a doctor, a lot of people will end up looking for me when they think we have to have medicine. But sometimes just having those conversations and acceptance of a struggle and not necessarily a diagnosis, the struggle so that okay, here’s your struggle. What are some options? What can we do about that? So it doesn’t always have to be medication or we don’t have to necessarily send them to get a battery of tests to know how we can help them.
Lillian: Yeah, I think it’s also just the fact that to normalize that everybody has something on some kind of continuum and the question is for some people may not be to the point where, you know, some different types of strategies that other [00:06:00] friends have used seem to have worked pretty easily for some others just need more extensive coaching to get through, earlier or later, depending on the challenge you seek to choose for yourself.
Grizelda: Definitely. And another thing that popped up for me right now is just when, I’ll tell people like, okay if you’re having difficulty seeing what are you going to do? Yes, you can move closer. Yes, you could, make the words bigger, but you can also get glasses.
So I think sometimes just seeing what is it that you need, and then we’re able to, tailor our services to that, or just, what tool do they need to help them overcome?
Lillian: And I know our guidance counselors, one for every 800 children, in our school it’s really hard sometimes for them to be able to take the time for what everyone needs.
And some, not everyone has enough that they actually need. And, an IEP or some kind of specialized learning plan. So I guess I’m curious, how is this approach more of a coaching and curiosity mindset? How important or prevalent is it within the school or educational systems have you found?
Grizelda: I’ve had [00:07:00] some patients that they come in and yes, we have the IEP or the 5 0 4, but it’s asking the kids. What would make it easier for you to do X? What would, what’s the importance of this for you?
And then being able to relay that message. I’ve had the opportunity to sit in some of the 504 meetings. And I’m able to ask questions, and one particular one is coming up for me. And it was, the teacher was upset that the kid, obviously wasn’t paying attention because he wasn’t looking at the board and I just asked: Permission to challenge you instead.
Next time, can you ask: What did you hear? You know what? What was the instruction and he’ll know it, right. But then if we said you’re not looking at the board, then we trigger the child and now. You know what happens from there.
Lillian: Yeah, it’s just so funny because one of my colleagues currently I think is a neurodiverse and it’s unnerving more for me than it is for him.
He’s actually listening to everything I say, as you gave your example I always wonder and worry, as we try to teach [00:08:00] communication skills, for example, especially in the medical arena. We talk so much about these really overt sort of exhibits of how you lean forward, or how you make eye contact, yet I’ve also noticed with him that he doesn’t make eye contact with me, and he’s listening very deeply to everything I actually say, and he responds in a really great way conversationally, and I think the question is, how can all of us , especially even in the healthcare setting as we are with different types of patients and families and even our own professional colleagues with neuro diversity, how do we support each other with making this a welcoming space rather than, teaching to I think stereotypes or traditional exemplars of attentiveness.
Grizelda: Yeah, I think what’s, what I’m thinking is, just the understanding, knowing what we’re dealing with. And I think that’s, trying to brand myself and all that’s, it’s what are my unique selling, stuff.
And a lot of it is that I understand I am. Neurodiverse, I have ADHD, there’s, a daughter with ADHD and so dealing with it helps me practice and understand others. [00:09:00] So sometimes if you’re thinkingthinking someone’s I thought that was important to you, why didn’t you get it done?
But if you understand that they have ADHD and they’re struggling, you can say, okay, do we need some scaffolding to help them get to their goals? So it’s not that they don’t want it, they might just not know how to get there, so I think it’s just the understanding and sometimes us as the caretakers or the teachers and definitely parents is the learning.
How do we help the child we have? And it’s not the child we thought we were going to have, or, that the idea that we had but it’s just, how do we actually support the one we have?
Lillian: Yeah, that’s a really great point. I think that happens so much earlier, I think with biological congenital anomalies, early in their neonatal life that it’s just a different sort of parent trajectory that all of us have.
Such neuro and emotional and cognitive uniqueness that we don’t really realize what’s happening and how special our kid is until [00:10:00] later when we try to then help them figure out what’s going to light your fire? What are you going to contribute to society? What makes you happy?
What makes you the best person or partner that you are? And it’s funny that we also, ourselves are probably on those same kind of journeys because I’m sure I have ADHD too. I never got tested, but I think every emergency physician to some degree has ADHD, otherwise we wouldn’t choose that field, and I always talk about how you just got to find a field that makes it your superpower.
If you actually enjoy doing all these things all at the same time, you can find a highly challenging, interesting fields such as emergency medicine to be able to satisfy that.
Grizelda: Absolutely. I use superpower a lot and I feel that, being able to hyper focus in the mental health world has allowed me to use that.
And so I do feel a lot more confident that I’m able to hyper focus into it and versus having to worry about everything else, yes, and I’m self-diagnosed, and I wish I would’ve known way back, but then would I have felt super back then? I don’t know. [00:11:00] But I think it definitely is part of a lot of us .
Lillian: Yeah. I guess I we’re about midway through. I wanted to just invite if anybody, we would like to ask a question in general for anyone who’s listening.
Klaus Grim: This might be a loaded question and I’m just here to get your thoughts, coming from an emergency room setting. We often get young teens who are endorsing, suicide ideation, or even have attempted, and they’re quite often very difficult to talk to, and I think. Even if it’s just a total different generation than when I grew up, they’re dependent on social media, sometimes you ask them questions and it’s so defensive and they get really aggressive. I’m just curious, in the emergency room setting it’s hard to employ kind of some coaching techniques, but I’m curious to see if you would recommend or had any, questions that you think would be really good to ask these patients when they come in, that might, inspire them to talk a little bit more than just being like, why are you doing that? Why’d you do that? [00:12:00] From just your experience.
Grizelda: Yeah, Klaus, that’s a great question. And I think that what’s coming to mind is just.
You know the not judging part like when you’re in an emergency room setting you’re quick with the turnaround and that but just keep it in mind that behavior is communication, and what was it about today that was so difficult that you felt that was something you needed to do like I’m here like I’m sorry like it seems like things are really hard for you know, and I think instead of saying are you suicidal, do I need to send you to the psychiatric hospital, instead of just taking it from that path. And sometimes parents are taking the kids there, they’re like, they’re not really suicidal, they’re not going to do anything, but it’s the kid is trying to convey a message. So taking the time to just say, what’s up?
We’re here now. How can I support you?
Lillian: I really like that. I also think about just even going through our coaching training to move to figure out the how and the what. A lot of times I don’t feel like we [00:13:00] don’t really trust our kids to know that they know what might help and they don’t.
And also if we tried everything more as an experiment to say what could we do together just in the next 48 hours? Because life is experienced every hour or day at a time. So let’s just try to get through today. And so what could make things better for either you or me or this situation today, and then figure out we’ll okay, if the situation is going to go away, or this bully, or this event, this school isn’t going to go away, what could we try tomorrow, or what, and I just think about, like, all of the, our coaching training, and all of those master coaches who coached us, how to be a better coach to keep things open ended in those conversations.
Grizelda: Yeah, absolutely. And just listening, that’s my main, thing that I try to teach my families, like intuitive listening, like if they’re saying something I just, I hate school. Okay. What about school do you hate? And sometimes I’ll ask the kids, if we [00:14:00] change the class like what kinds of things, so I’ll throw out some, in the, what’s the word, like the meta planning.
So what are all the possible ways that school can be changed? And, I’ll just say, I could write a letter, I can talk to your counselor, I could do this, what would be a way to make a difference with listening.
Lillian: I also love your example of just being more expansive, because I think sometimes, in healthcare, we often feel like we have no choice, we are subject to the rules of the world that we live in the lack of autonomy is a contributor to healthcare clinician burnout.
And I also just think that of like my own kid, in terms of the way school is structured, in terms of what you get choice with. There’s only a few choices for food and there is greater choice as you get a little bit older. And yet sometimes I feel like she behaves like there isn’t choice in life.
And I think that’s what I think sometimes often causes people to feel trapped and then to begin to spiral. So I really like your example of just helping [00:15:00] people see how might choice be available to them in ideas that they might not know.
Grizelda: Yeah, and I think just, keeping in mind that we have, so many years of experience at trying things differently for some of these kiddos they don’t have this automatic drop down menu to see all the possible choices so sometimes it’s let’s brainstorm possible choices.
I don’t like the food at school. Okay, what can we prepare from home and bring to school? What would you eat? And how can we have a bigger breakfast, and then just take snacks for lunch. So brainstorming with them what they think might be an option. And then, just like we learned with coaching.
Okay. The next time we meet, what worked, what didn’t work, what would you like to do differently? To try different things. Yeah, I love that.
Lillian: I think, being a parent and knowing how to show up to support and teach your child healthy emotions and coping strategies are really hard. And I think sometimes it’s monkey see monkey do.
Like you learn not great coping skills where you watch that [00:16:00] sort of subtly happening in your own home. So what are common things that you have to teach with your clients, your family clients, meaning that that maybe sometimes everybody has the same sort of either attitude or lens by which they’re coping with the stressors of daily life and how do you help them all together, get through whatever they have come to you for help with.
Grizelda: What’s coming to mind firstly, and is something, that I’m trying to master myself is to simply listen intuitively, it’s not only what they’re saying, but it’s also what they’re not saying, the whole thing that really connecting to hear, their voice, their feelings, their body language, are they just looking at their phone or do they actually pause, even though they don’t look up do they pause and hear what you’re saying to really be able to actually see is it, if the I’m fine or all is good, is it really fine or is it really good, and I think another strategy is oh, back to the listening again, my ADHD is on alert right now, but, [00:17:00] sometimes I say, okay if you have your hand up or if you’re holding, something up, you’re the one that’s talking, everyone else can be listening at that point. And that way everybody has that opportunity.
And another big one is acknowledging and validating what happens to our kids is personal to us. And when we hear their fears, we know with our vast experience, it’s not something to worry about. But then we jump in and say, don’t worry I tell parents it’s too late.
They have already thought about it. They have already worried about it. They had already voiced or shown their fears . For example, if your child says, I don’t want to go to school because everyone will be looking at me. You can say, oh, don’t worry, honey, you’ll be fine. So it’s just totally playing it down for them.
Or how about saying, I see how worried you are about going to school and it’s understandable when you think every single person will have their eyes on you. Then pause. I just listen. You can say of course if they invite, they’re looking up yes, okay what are you going to say next?
I don’t know [00:18:00] exactly how you feel as you’re the only one experiencing that, but let me know if you would like my help. To try and brainstorm. And until they say yes, or they invite you, jump in and just say, okay, let’s, again, creating that drop down menu with them.
Lillian: Oh, so it’s just good advice.
And yet, always so hard trying to think how to be patient without how we even have our conversations in general, how to pace it out. It’s funny how I feel like I can do that when I’m in at work, and intensive care unit. But then when it comes to the chats on the drive home or how the day went it can always be a different sort of pacing, with letting the conversation flow as naturally as you’ve just described.
Grizelda: Absolutely. I drive my son to school in the morning and, now I’m thinking like, gosh, I have six months before he’s driving on his own. Like I have to take time to listen and, just what other seeds can I plant?
So listening to what he wants and what he needs right now has [00:19:00] been, I feel, it’s really strengthening our relationship right now.
Lillian: This has been a breath of fresh air just thinking about how much we really need to just slow down even these micro moments and just be present and listen as much as possible and try to also expand both our own perspectives and also our kids perspectives.
Thank you so much for listening to the Transforming Healthcare Coaching Podcast. If you found this episode interesting or useful, please share this with your friends and colleagues in healthcare, and we will love it if you hit subscribe so that you never miss an episode. Leave us a review on wherever you are listening to us.
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At the core, our hosts believe in the transformative power of coaching to elevate healthcare professionals’ lives.

At the core, our hosts believe in the transformative power of coaching to elevate healthcare professionals’ lives.

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