Shout Yourself Out Loud.



I have a new favorite show. It’s called Modern Love, it’s on Amazon, and it’s based on the Modern Love column from the New York Times. It’s moving and it’s lovely.

In one episode, Anne Hathaway plays a woman with bipolar disorder navigating relationships and work as best she can while swinging between her extreme mood states. As she loses a potential dating prospect and her job, she discusses how she’s hidden her mental illness throughout her life as a means of benefitting from the brilliance of her highs, while concealing her lows. This results in a life punctuated by successes, but ultimately defined by the failure to sustain any of them, including human relationships. Realizing this, and desperate to be known, she finally divulges her bipolar diagnosis to a coworker, who assures her that she would still like to pursue a friendship with her. Anne’s character says, “It’s like an elephant that’s been standing on top of me just took one foot off of my chest.” 

That sounds about right to me. 

Why do we hide?

Hiding parts of ourselves is routine practice. We hide because we feel that we should, or we must. Obviously, I’m not breaking new ground by suggesting that mental health diagnoses carry a stigma. They do. So do, to some degree, any and all admissions of weakness, vulnerability, and imperfection. Our culture is rather intense and unforgiving, and we don’t do a great job of making room for the human element in all of us. 

There is so much pressure in this world to be perfect. There is pressure to be right, pressure to be good, pressure to be stable, and pressure to be successful. We yield to this pressure because we hope that our guise of perfection will inspire admiration from others, and more importantly, love. When love is at stake, of course we try to be what we think others expect of us. This desire to be loved is innate; I have never met a person who was not deeply invested in having loving relationships with other people. 

What’s wrong with hiding?

On its face, nothing. So many of us are pretending to some degree, at least some of the time, and it’s important not to shame ourselves for this pretending, which is, of course, natural, given the stakes discussed above. 

The problem is, of course, that when we win love by being perfect people, we aren’t loved for who we really are. In order to remain “perfect,” we need to conceal crucial parts of our identity, and these parts long for love and acceptance as much as the rest of us does. When only parts of us are loved, we cannot be truly known. In presenting only our perfect face to those around us, there is not a second that we can relax, because we are performing. The elephant is standing on our chest. We cannot breathe. 

I don’t imagine that’s what real love feels like. 

OK, so how do we stop?

We stop hiding by “outing” the bits of ourselves that we’ve been concealing, when we feel safe and ready to do so. We take a cue from Miss Hathaway, and tell another human who we are. Here’s an example of what this might look like:

A client of mine suffered with eating issues for much of her life. Eating out at restaurants was an insufferable endeavor because she had to juggle socializing like a “normal” person while talking herself through the difficulties of eating in public in her head. She dreaded going out to eat; the activity lost of all its joy. She finally decided to “out” herself to her fellow meal-takers by saying something like this before a meal: 

“I have some issues with food that I’ve worked through, but I still have trouble eating in front of people sometimes. I wanted you to know this was going on in my head so I don’t have to worry about looking weird while we eat together – it helps me feel more comfortable just to say it out loud.” 

This radical action liberated this woman. Per her report, she has never had anyone react with anything but respect, and no one has ever seemed shocked or put off by her statement. And, speaking her perceived “flaw” – out loud – allows her to eat meals out without being preoccupied with fearful thoughts. The thoughts have decreased significantly, in fact, since she “outed” the issue. 

When we shout out our vulnerabilities (or our flaws, or our mental or physical illnesses, etc.), we draw out some of the shame and fear inherent within them. We give these hidden parts of us room to exist in the daylight, and, when the light shines on them, find that they are not as scary as we thought; not to us, and not to other people. 


I know it’s not so easy to say, “Hey, I have this thing…”. I struggle with it, too. Being open and real with all the parts of ourselves is scary, and requires the uncomfortable task of grappling with the fear of not being accepted by the people that we hope might love us. 

But, when we risk standing in our wholeness and revealing all of ourselves, we stand to gain so much more: the opportunity to be fully seen, to be known, and to be truly loved. 

Originally posted on my blog, Common Humanity, at Psych To read more, visit



Useful Information

Some frequently asked questions and useful answers.

Online therapy works in the same way as in-office therapy, but is done online, similar to a Skype or FaceTime conversation. Clients are able to have sessions from home, work, or any other convenient location. We meet with clients using a HIPAA-compliant secure platform.

Online therapy allows you to work with us from the comfort of home, or any private location of your choosing. For some, the screen provides an added layer of comfort that makes the challenging work of being vulnerable in therapy a little easier.

Online therapy also creates the unique opportunity for you to work with us without the constraints of proximity! The practice was born in Keene, New Hampshire, but has since grown to service clients anywhere in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Vermont, New Jersey, Florida, and New Hampshire.

Online therapy is a great option for clients that travel for work, for college students that go home during the summertime and do not want a break in their sessions, and for anyone with a challenging or inconsistent day-to-day schedule. It is an excellent choice for clients seeking a therapist with a particular specialty that they are unable to find support for locally. Some of our clients report that online therapy makes the vulnerability element of therapy a bit less intimidating.

No. For some clients with more complex symptoms or safety concerns, having a local therapist that is readily available is important in case of crisis or the need for a higher level of care. Online therapy is also a challenge for clients that do not have access to a private, quiet space to be “in session” for the hour, or for those that do not have adequate internet connectivity.

There are several reasons why we don’t accept insurance. The most important are:

Confidentiality. Insurance companies require that your information be shared with them in order to pay for services. We prefer that clients’ information is kept as confidential as possible.

The pressure to diagnose. Insurance companies require that clients are given a mental health diagnosis in order to pay for therapy. We have found that many clients benefit from therapy, but do not meet criteria for a diagnosis. Not using insurance allows clients to access therapy without being given a mental health diagnosis.

Flexibility and freedom. Insurance companies dictate the length and number of sessions they will authorize, as well as when a client is no longer eligible for the benefits of therapy. Because we do not work with insurance panels, you and we can collaborate to determine your individual needs regarding session length, frequency of sessions, and when to terminate therapy.

While we do not accept insurance, many clients choose to submit receipts to their insurance companies to receive reimbursement via out-of-network benefits. We are happy to provide these receipts for you! Please check with your insurance company for details on your benefits.



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