If you’re building a business, there’s a good chance you’ll experience overwhelm and anxiety at some point in your journey. While it’s natural to feel these emotions, you also don’t want them to turn into a debilitating state or lead to emotional, physical or spiritual disturbances in your life. That’s where mindset reprogramming, trauma therapy, and energy medicine comes in.
In this episode, I am talking to my friend Mateja Petje (AKA Matty), Holistic Psychotherapist, Healer, and Wellness Coach who helps clients with anxiety, depression, trauma, and chronic stress. Matty and I are diving into all kinds of healing topics, including strategies to help you deal with stress and anxiety, the different attachment styles we can develop, how we can use tapping in therapy, and why talk therapy isn’t always enough. We also learn more about why Matty is so committed to helping her clients come out of stress and anxiety, heal from trauma, and break free from their subconscious programming.
Connect with Matty:
Matty’s Website: https://www.naturalstressmanagement.com/
Matty’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/holisticpsychotherapistmateja/?hl=en
Rachel: Hey guys, I’m so excited for this podcast episode I have my good friend Matty here, we’re going to be diving into why talk therapy doesn’t work, what Matty does for a living and why she’s been so committed to this kind of work to help people come out of stress come out of anxiety, deal with trauma, and many other things that we’re going to discuss during this episode.
For somebody like myself, who has experienced, well, I think we all have trauma to some degree, but had trauma that was really affecting me in so many areas of my life physically, emotionally, spiritually, had me stuck even just two years ago, when we went through, I won’t even say that time. But that time in everyone’s life where there was a lot of uncertainty.
So I’m really excited to have Matty here. Because I feel if you’re building your business, or you are feeling that massive overwhelm, and that anxiety, it can turn into a debilitating state. So we don’t want that to happen. And without further ado, Matty, thanks for joining me today.
Matty: It’s my great honor and pleasure to be here. This is very important topic that I’m super passionate about.
Rachel: So tell me a little background story so that listeners can get to know you first.
Matty: Sure, I’d be happy to. So some of you may notice I have a little accent. I’m actually from Eastern Europe. I moved here in 97. Basically I’ll be honest, I had to escape because I had multi-generational trauma in my family from violence, addictions, drama, and in my family, there was abuse, severe abuse, all kinds of abuse. And then, of course, when you experience something like that it affects all your relationships. I became very much overachiever, and it was great. I was an honor student, Noam was great when we came to relationship. I think I was already born anxious because my mom never dealt with her trauma.
So basically, I met an American, he was on vacation in 96, in Slovenia, and then we started corresponding, and I guess I just took a huge leap of faith. When I’m looking back, wow I moved up to here. But I knew that I have to do something because otherwise I don’t know if I would be here. I mean, I was suicidal.
At that time, I was not going to therapy for. Then I found out when I moved here with my ex-husband, two months later found out the same pattern When we don’t deal with patterns, they keep repeating themselves. So after two months, I knew this marriage is terrible. And I went through it and got my green card, but then I was determined, this was really my wake-up call to really start working on myself. And I really embraced the spiritual journey.
It started with studying meditation and all kinds of different healing alternative practices.I always wanted to help people. I mean, even back home, I was a counselor, I was a teacher, I was director of educational programs. And I moved here, I didn’t want to teach. So I went back to school. And I got my degree in marriage and family therapy. I had this idea, I’m going to be working with couples, I had this beautiful idea. I’m gonna have this nice office working couples. Soon I realized, being a trauma survivor and dealing with people who are screaming at each other in the sessions.
It’s been challenging because, we trauma survivors as you may relate, we have a lot of fears, and we don’t feel confident. We don’t trust people. So I had to overcome a lot of that.
Even though talk therapy was helpful, in a sense that there were a lot of compassionate therapists that I finally got it. It was not my fault. What happened that I’m not this horrible person, whatever self-image I had.
But I see how it affected my business. Because let’s say that somebody was rude to me and I’m at a networking meeting, I would not go back because it really triggered my trauma response. There were some other situations but when I was working with a business coach, I finally realized that this is what we want to do.
I want to give back. I want to help other people to heal. So they don’t have to repeat the journey like in your journey you help other coaches to develop marketing and to create their business. For me. it was also to help people not to have to go for 25 years of not getting results from talk therapy, but really spend a lot of time training in different modalities.
So this is one specialty is helping people with basically what we call Complex PTSD, which is very different from what we call one event, PTSD. One, let’s say somebody was in a car accident, but one is years and years and years of abuse and different people. For example, I did EMDR, also, which is the golden rule, but I’m finding a lot of my clients who have complex PTSD really didn’t benefit from this.
So instead, what finally happened was hypnosis. This is probably my best tool is basically combining hypnosis with relaxation techniques and cognitive behavioral therapy. Because cognitive behavioral therapy still has some value, because we need to understand how our thoughts and beliefs which create chemical reactions in our body that manifest as sensations or emotions. How can we shift that? By going to the root causes People who come in with, let’s say, anxiety, depression, may not have the same good causes. So embrace natural healing because I had a journey with medication and I think the medication can be helpful sometimes, but it’s a band-aid. it doesn’t really address why I am who I am.
What is Complex PTSD?
Rachel: I love that. I think that you’ve covered so many topics. I want to even just go back to when you’re talking about anxiety and depression for somebody without Complex PTSD. Can you talk about the complex PTSD to a single event? Because I think there are a lot of people out there that may not be succeeding in the therapies that they’re doing. And they don’t realize that maybe they have this complex PTSD.
Matty: So Complex PTSD is now not officially recognized. For example, the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, I really want you to understand why I’m not getting better, why is EMDR you’re not helping. So when I started searching, I started researching more on childhood abuse and trauma.
So Complex PTSD, in most cases refers to childhood abuse, trauma, neglect and along with that also goes into Attachment Theory. According to attachment theory We have different attachment styles. One is secure attachment, which is what we are striving for.
The Different Attachment Styles & Theories
I was looking at statistics and about half of the people develop a secure attachment with their parents. So that they feel safe, they feel validated, they feel confident. But a lot of people develop either anxious attachment style, which looks like okay, I become very needy, and I latch on to people. I get very anxious when they don’t call me back.
Rachel: Yeah. I can identify with that one. I think that was me. I would be. why he doesn’t call it game or I’d be like looking for family members in the people that I had relationships with. I would attach to boyfriends, and it would feel like that anyway. I was in love with you. I think it’d be chemistry.
Matty: Yes. I think what also happens with Complex PTSD that happened to me is that sometimes you don’t know, because boundaries were violated so many times. In my case, family, close family members. Basically, my mom and my uncle. I was sexually abused by my uncle when I was 10 years old. And then my other uncle wasn’t a colleague would come just out of the blue and bang on the door. So all my life I never felt safe.
The other point to this is that we attach to what we know. So if we grew up with abuse, and I’m not gonna say consciously but on a subconscious level, Do we get attracted to people who remind us about our parents? Actually, that’s another theory. It’s called Imago, which basically says that we attract people in our life, and that could be even friends, not just romantic partners, that remind us about our caregivers, whether they’re positive traits or negative traits. So that’s another big theory.
But going back to what I was saying about, attracting. We don’t understand sometimes that maybe it’s a red flag, it’s a warning sign. It’s not like this person is great. And I’m so much in love. Sometimes, when we’ve experienced that kind of trauma early in life we don’t have any role model. What is a healthy relationship? We live in fear, we are not safe. So then we don’t know. So that’s an anxious attachment style.
The other one is avoidant/ When people just say, Okay, people are not safe, I’m just gonna not meet people.
Rachel: I think I did that too. Because there is a part where I think when you don’t feel safe in relationships, it’s very easy to cut the cord with somebody and just avoid people almost become completely introverted, because they’re scared to be around relationships, and you’re scared to interact and get hurt.
Matty: Absolutely. And sometimes these are three styles, but they can vary and what we do. Obviously, in therapy, I am the one if they have nobody else. As a therapist, I am the secure attachment figure. Or they can develop secure attachments with their friends. So that’s how we can overcome that and develop healthy relationships.
Why Talk Therapy Isn’t Enough
But I think at the core of all this complex PTSD is that we need to change and reprogram those beliefs that we have, and we need to detach, we need to cut off that emotional attachment to the events. That’s why talk therapy is not enough. Because I’m sure we have the rational, the conscious brain which is short-term memory and only works by five senses. But then everything else –I use the analogy of an iceberg. A rational mind is only a small part and everything else that is not are your subconscious mind. And that’s where we have all the experiences and all the beliefs.
I know that sometimes affirmations help, to some extent, but I always tell my clients that it’s too much disconnect, how you feel now and how you want to feel. The subconscious mind always wins, it’s always stronger. So for example, that’s why I call it mental rehearsal, when we use the conscious mind it’s not as helpful.
Rachel: I mean, it can take a long time.
Matty: That’s what I mean to say. It can take a long time for people to start changing disabilities, and many of my clients are really frustrated because they say, but I’ve been doing these affirmations for so long, and I’m not getting anywhere. Let’s say, when I see the person that betrayed me, I just push a button, and I have a reaction. So I think that’s why hypnosis is so much faster because we are able to basically go in and take out the critical factor of a logical mind.
Also, as we probably know, the subconscious mind doesn’t use logical language. It works with metaphors. We do with images, so that’s why I think it’s so important to figure out what I’m saying to myself, that’s making me anxious. If you take a business write somebody who has a lot of anxiety, or depression or trauma, it is emotional states. One uses survival mode. You are now docked.
Rachel: Yeah, you’re gonna end up in burnout and every task that you’re trying to do you’re procrastinating. I think you just ended up going in our circles, and then it gets worse and worse and worse.
Matty: When we get older –because you have had one trauma, and you have another trauma, or stress that we’ve been all going through now for the last two, three years with COVID. For example, the war in Europe really triggered me and a lot of my clients, I have clients I work with clients in New York and Florida. So a lot of clients are also European or even Ukrainian.
So I think that definitely, Anxiety disorders are huge. So when somebody is starting to create a business and you feel anxious all the time, you doubt yourself, you get discouraged quickly. That all creates barriers. I always say, in business, what’s really important is the mindset. Then it’s the clarity. What do I want to accomplish? And then taking action. People will constantly act anxious. They may not have clarity, they may not take action, because maybe they’re too anxious, or they may even get a panic attack. And they don’t do the things that they know are going to help them to bring business to the next level.
What You Can Do If You Don’t Have A Therapist Handy
Rachel: For somebody that maybe doesn’t have somebody like you at their fingertips, what could be something as a takeaway that a person can do in their own home?
Matty: There’s a lot of things. For example, I teach a lot of very simple techniques. I also have a YouTube channel and I teach my clients grounding skills. I can just tell you some simple examples. I would always say exercise is very important because if you’re anxious, you have that excess energy. So if you don’t want to go to the gym you can do lunges at home, you can do yoga. I do yoga every day to work with the physical body with sensations then we need to work with our thoughts and our beliefs.
Again, when I work with clients I would have them write a journal to track their emotions and have them write down what thoughts, what beliefs created this emotion of anxiety? Maybe I’m not good enough. I’m never gonna be successful. In my business there is so much competition and you see yourself very small. So it’s very important the language.
And hypnosis, we use hypnotic language, which is even better. In NLP, for example, Neuro Linguistic Programming, what words are you using? Are you saying I can’t do this, this is so hard? Or do you say this is a great opportunity to meet to learn some new skills? And regularly frame this.
I find that a lot of clients are catastrophizing about the future. It is an unpredictable world. But I will say that most things that we worry about don’t happen, or they don’t happen to the extent that we worry about. I mean, it can be challenging, but I think the key thing is to establish daily habits.
I teach my clients, for example, as soon as they get up, I would take shower, and then I would do my stretching and do my meditation and breathing. Then I’m going to do my gratitude practice. So that could be very simple things. Exercising, eating –that’s your expertise.
Rachel: One thing was drinking coffee was so bad for me. Finally, I found a coffee that’s, what is it called with mushroom? And that’s what I drink.
Matty: I have to say. I tried to give up coffee. I saw a functional medicine practitioner and they were . maybe it’s the mold in the coffee. So I went to a mold-free coffee. I drink bulletproof coffee. And it was, I have to say it was a time in my life when I was not happy. So I keep it to one cup.
Rachel: But it’s not me to cup where I just enjoy. And that’s kind of my special moment that I have in the morning.
The Six Pillars Of Health
Matty: I did the same I have one cup in the morning. So sometimes we cannot be so strict with ourselves, but I really look at the six pillars of health when it comes to anxiety or even depression.
What are you eating? Are you exercising? How is your sleep? How do you manage stress? Am I using substances? I’m eating junk food? Am I talking to friends? I’m really paying attention to myself, I’m not overburdening myself. Maybe I have a spiritual or religious practice which is also helpful. We also need to have fun and social life.
For me, the best was when I talked to my friends, I get support. But damn it a lot of people who are already depressed and anxious, have difficult time. So how can we be creative and socialize? Hopefully things are getting better now, so this is going to come back.
The last thing is, especially as we get older, let’s say I have a lot of clients who are empty nesters. What is my sense of purpose? Because a lot of people feel the kids and what I’m going to do now my life is meaningless. They get depressed or even suicidal because they feel like there’s nothing here for me to do.
So basically, in my sessions, I use a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy, then I also teach them relaxation techniques. The other favorite technique is tapping. I am not sure they’re tapping, I love tapping. I’ve been doing this for probably 15 years now and it’s so easy.
What Tapping Is & How It Can Be Used In Therapy
Rachel: Can you explain tapping? Because I think that it’s one of those things that you can do in an emergency moment. And it just helps to what it will actually tell us exactly what it does.
Matty: Yeah, it’s great. So tapping on Emotional Freedom Technique, got the name to Gary Craig, who is the founder. The premise of this approach is that all the negative emotions or even physical pain, let’s say tension headache is the result of dysregulation our energy is dysregulated. The best way I can say it’s almost like we get knots that we need to untie.
So when we do tapping,unlike when you go to acupuncture, the physicians are trained and they know which meridian points to stick these needles into you to get relief. But what’s so beautiful about this technique we don’t need to know even which points we have to manipulate, we just tap on all the points.
Our body’s wisdom, our subconscious mind is gonna know, to take the benefit. So we are using our fingers. There’s different ways to do it, but basically, there is a shortcut. We just use our fingers to tap the points on our hands or fingers, the top of the head or face, between the eyebrows, under the eyes and the nose, chin. And then it’s called the soft spots here, the collarbone, and then on the arm.
I always say to clients on a scale of one to 10 how anxious you are, let’s say I’m eight. So I’m gonna repeat this until I get down to zero. But if I don’t have time to go to zero, I think it’s helpful. Even if you get from eight to let’s say four, and we feel release. So I love this technique.
Another one that I use with trauma is kind of similar, but it’s called bilateral tapping. And basically, it’s also butterfly tapping.
Rachel: That’s exactly the tapping that I do. I’ll even do it. I used to teach my kids when they were little in school, and I had one that had a lot of anxiety. I would say tap on your leg real soft on the left one. There are times that I’ve even done it. I will be out at an event. I think it’s the most wonderful thing. I was taught that so many years ago by an energy practitioner and kept with me forever.
Why Energy Medicine Is So Important
Matty: Yeah, I really feel the medicine of the future is energy medicine. I’ve been following Dr. Bruce Lipton. Dr. Joe Dispenza. It was funny because I didn’t even know about Dr. Joe Dispenza and then my clients and you are just like Dr. Joe Dispenza. I said, uh, who is that? Then I checked him out, I was like, wow.
But that’s really true. Of course, on a smaller scale, but I think that’s the future. I’m not gonna say talk therapy doesn’t have place because sometimes people don’t even have anybody to listen to. Or they didn’t want to bother their friends with what’s going on with their life.
But to me, I always tell my clients. It’s not enough just to talk about things we need. First we need to think differently, we need to change our beliefs, therefore, we’re going to change our emotions. When we are able to change our emotions, it’ll be more energized and happier, then we’re going to go out more, we’re going to meet interesting people also for the business we weren’t depressed and anxious. it’s a live thing.
Rachel: You’re anxious, you can’t even show up for your client, you can actually stop to say, Who am I serving? What is my niche? What do I want to focus on? What are you just get discombobulated?
Matty: Yes. That’s why I think it’s so important. I still see my therapist and my coach and my energy healer whenever I need to because I believe that to be good therapists, a good hypnotist, I have different titles, I really need to do my own work.
I’m very curious and I’m always learning new techniques. Now the next one is psych K. I was introduced to it two years ago, which is another technique to work with subconscious programming. So I really think that the holistic model is so much better.
I get clients all the time, who come to me and say, I don’t want to be on medication anymore. It’s really not helping me, or things like that. A lot of traditional therapies don’t address the lifestyle. I’m sure you see this, your clients, or people you’re coaching, that sometimes just making changes in the lifestyle helps. Obviously, you’re gonna be depressed if you’re constantly watching TV and eating junk food, and then you’re not going to be productive. Your business is not gonna work. Because you’re not in the frame of mind. You’re not showing up for your clients.
Rachel: This was kind of me, I was doing all these things. But I still was dealing with this debilitating anxiety. It wasn’t always as bad as it got when the pandemic happened. This time of uncertainty just triggered all these old memories. It wasn’t even just the pandemic and the uncertainty. It was everything that came with it. It was the first time in a while that I put myself back in therapy. I’d always done holistic practices, but I put myself back in therapy for trauma specifically. I do all the RTM
Matty: Yeah, I think we, you mentioned this one time. I think there is no just one way. I think best book, Body Keeps the Score, the author says one size does not fit all, but he does emphasize more mind, especially with somebody who has severe trauma, let’s say from childhood never resolved. So you can just go in and start with that.
I always give my clients a developed feeling of safety and give them the grounded skills. But there are a lot of audits like Neurofeedback or brainspotting. I haven’t studied all of them. But I think that I never believed in dogmatic and never believed that all only EMDR is the thing. So I tell my clients, okay, this is what I can do. If it doesn’t work, I have this person who does this and that. I think that’s very important.
Using Tools To Better Handle Your Trauma
To piggyback on what you said, I think that what was going on the last few years, like people who maybe didn’t deal with their trauma, little trauma or big trauma. The little trauma could be that somebody was bullied as a child, and they repressed this because they didn’t want to deal with it. But then let’s say they get in a toxic workplace, and that just triggers them. Then dealing with external, severe anxiety because nobody ever expected something like this could happen.
So I think that a lot of people who were going through life were kind of coping. But when all this additional trauma came in and obviously anytime you’re going to experience a new situation, we’re going to go into the fight-flight response.
So definitely, it’s so important to figure out, how can I rewire those beliefs? How can I detach? Emotionally connection. It doesn’t mean we’re gonna forget what happened. But we’re not going to have the emotional connection. So we’re not going to get triggered. To this day, I still get triggered by loud noises because of the screaming and yelling the night, it’s like in me. So even if my dog barks too loud, I’m getting like that. Oviously, I’m so much better than I was because I have all these tools.
Rachel: Well, and I think it’s amazing to be able to know our triggers, honor them and listen to our body. I think for a lot of us, when there was trauma going on, we kind of got detached from our body, not in a healthy way, not the way that we handle trauma, and we move through it, but in a way where it was detached completely and not listening to our body and our bodies.
Strategies To Help You Deal With Stress & Anxiety
So what would you say for somebody that is dealing with a lot of stress in their life And has this interior anxiety that’s always there, what would you say are some really good strategies that they could use in their life?
I was saying before, the main thing is prevention –as much as possible ao that you create those habits. Stretching, yoga. I’m not saying that everybody has to meditate, but I think sometimes people tell me, oh meditation doesn’t work, because he’s still having thoughts. You’re always gonna have thoughts that you want to quiet down. They’re not screaming at you or strangling you.
Learn how to guide your thoughts. I use this analogy, that our mind is like an untrained dog. It’s gonna pull you everywhere. But if you learn how to use the resources from your subconscious mind, and learn how to reframe these thoughts, everything is about repetition.
I also have this affirmation, I put them on my mirror. So I don’t have excuse, I don’t have time to do this. Every day, I brush my teeth, or I take a shower. So there is no excuse. I don’t have time to do this. Then I always use affirmations. I also think it’s so important to express emotions in an appropriate way because if you keep repressing them they don’t go away. They’re going to keep there staying there. And you keep pressing, and you may become suicidal and have to get hospitalized.
Because what can also happen, you have anxiety, then you’re rammed with everything in life, and then you get depressed because you get discouraged and hopeless, I’m never gonna feel better. So that creates a vicious cycle. So I always say, you have a choice. It takes practice, but you have a choice. How you’re going to think about what’s going on. Now. You’re gonna say, Oh, my God, this is horrible. Yes, we are experiencing horrible things. But by just saying things differently, and looking for things with a different perspective, always try to say what was positive. What was positive for me actually in the pandemic was I went to online practice. Since everything switched, I gave up my office in Boca, and then I started. It was a blessing in disguise.
Rachel: The pandemic also was a blessing because I think so many people were able to work in these different ways. Maybe similar to you, they wanted to start an online practice. People were a little resistant, but then they were open because that’s how we’re doing things now.
Matty: And so much more has changed. So there is always a silver lining in everything. I also wrote a book about my life because I really want to especially help women, young women who are going through this to tell them look, you don’t have to stay in abusive relationships or abusive toxic jobs because you don’t have to do this. You don’t have to suffer.
Rachel: Well, I just want to thank you for being here. This was such an amazing conversation and I think I love not I think but I’d love your transparency and sharing with such openness about your business, about your life. Do you have anything that you want to leave with leave and say the audience?
Matty: I would invite everybody. If this resonated with you today, to visit my website. You can schedule a free consultation, you can also go on my YouTube channel, which I’m very proud of myself, I started doing these videos because I really want to help. It’s like you said before, what can somebody do if they don’t have access to me?
So there are free resources on my website, they could go to sign up for my newsletter, or follow my YouTube channel. My five-minute videos are very key to the point even teaching some techniques to elevate anxiety or anger or whatever, in a few minutes.
But thank you so much for having me today. I love working with like-minded professionals, because I think I always try to refer to health coaches, or massage therapists or I have functional medicine doctor also in bulk I work with. So I really believe that this is a much better approach than just being one person in one corner and not collaborating.
Rachel: I agree. If you resonated if this was something that has been helpful, I’m sure so many of us have been dealing with anxiety, especially when you’re just starting your own business. This can cause so much anxiety and it can lead to so much disturbance in your life emotionally, physically, spiritually. Make sure you go to her YouTube channel, check out some relief techniques, and stay tuned for the next episode.