Interview with Jesse on Exploring Mind and Body

Jesse Hanson, explains the psychology of habits and how to systematically reduce negative patterns in one’s lifestyle. He talks about letting go of anger, and even preventing it, as opposed to just treating it.

This is exploring mind and body. Naturally improve your lifestyle one show at a time with your host Drew Taddia. Ok well, welcome to another disc of exploring mind and body so without further ado, Jesse, thanks for joining us on the show. My pleasure man, thanks for having me here.

So you’re with the Helix Healthcare Group, and it looks like you guys are doing all kinds of cool things but before we get into that I’d like you to share with our audience what you’re doing, you know, as a group, it looks like you’ve got a lot of super cool things going on. You’re doing things yourself, or have done a lot of things and instead of letting me read it off, how about you give your listeners a chance to resonate with you and what your background is. Yes, I’d love to man. Well basically my background is in Holistic Health, my body connection from body work and Postural Therapy, energy healing and that took me into Somatic Therapy which is Neuroscience integrated into Psychotherapy and that’s what I’ve been doing for the last eight years. And so I practice as a Psychotherapist, I’m also the Clinical Director here at Helix Healthcare Group. So part of my days here actually include doing the Somatic Therapy which means a body centered approach, helping people understand how their posture, breath, muscular contraction patterns, are all part of the emotional patterns, and to really move through something and create lasting change, it has to be more than just the head becoming aware, but also the body being aware and becoming welcome for change. The other part of my day has to do with basically understanding who we are and what we do and building out programs for people to help create the name of what Helix Healthcare Group is doing in the public eye as well. So yes, in the past I’ve done everything from study different types of Psychology to tons of different modalities in the body work and Holistic Health field and I’ve also personally studied a lot with Native American teachers and believe in the Indigenous wisdoms from times way past as well.

That’s pretty cool, how did you get into that up here in, well we’re in Alberta, I guess there’s a lot of Native influence up here, where did that background, or where did that interest come from? So I’m actually Californian, I’m here from California, and in Toronto now and I kind of, I mean really enjoy it, everyone thinks I’m crazy for leaving California, but anyways man I actually love what we’re doing here and I love Canada, I love the vibe here. But my studies of Native Americans teachers was mostly in the Malibu, California area, unbenounced to a lot of the world, now we have a lot of rich Indigenous cultures and it’s not all just glitz and glamour, there’s a lot of sweat lodges and different teachers there so that’s something that partly came to me in my own journey, 12 years ago my father passed away and I went through a pretty intense divorce and those two things catalyzed me into wanting to do my own healing work so that became one of my Native American teachers that my friend introduced me to. And that really changed my life, really deeply, and I still do study in that way as well. Did you guys still stay in contact? With that particular teacher I do not, we don’t stay in normal telephone email contact but we’re definitely still connected, but now I’m looking at different teachers. In fact, Dr. Gabor Mate is on our advisory board, he’s a wonderful medical doctor out of Vancouver and he does different Shamanic work as well, and that’s a teacher I’m with now, and there’s a few in California that I go back to.

You talked about the history of Malibu. It seems like there’s lots, I don’t know if lots is the proper word, but there’s a number of treatment centers in Malibu. Is that correct? Yes. Is there a reason for that? Yes. I actually worked at one of the most well known, its called Passages Malibu and I worked there for about 6 years. Wonderful place, had tons of positive experiences, and in that process learned that Malibu is gorgeous, it’s why if you’re gonna leave home and get help for something serious like addiction then why not go to one of the most beautiful places in the world. Interestingly enough, the city of Malibu actually put a block on any more treatments centers because it was just overrunning the place. So, now there’s actually a limit on it. Last I checked, it’s actually the highest per capita treatment centers for recovery so yes, honestly, I think it has to do with the fact that there’s beautiful land there and there’s space there and it’s very attractive. If you’re trying to get somebody to come stay with you for a month, it’s a great selling point, you know? Yes, it’s beautiful. I’ve talked on past shows how much I love California, I had a chance to live there for a year, had the opportunity. Had some good friends that went to University and College in that area, and have lifelong friends so I get a chance to visit around the Los Angeles area. Nice. Love it. It is nice man, it definitely is.

Of course I looked online. But when you go there it’s so beautiful, and then through my research, I’m not quite sure where I found how many healing clinics, rehab, however you say that. There’s a lot, I guess it’s because of the area and how pleasant it is, because when you go in there, to Malibu it’s almost like it’s a small town feeling. It’s surprising. I think everybody has this projection that it’s glitz or glamour, and all fancy. It’s actually a very small town, there’s only about a mile, or two km’s along the ocean there that there’s any kind of city, but other than that, its 27 miles of mountains and fields and stables, and you know, nice houses obviously. But it’s much more spacious and wide open than people think about, that prediction is more accurate for places like Los Angeles, Hollywood. So yes, it’s great man, but I got to say, I love it here in Canada, there’s this feeling of tolerance here amongst the people that I meet that I did not encounter in America, it’s really welcoming and beyond that, I’m just so grateful for the opportunity to build Helix Healthcare Group from the ground up. I think it’s important to know that a lot of our marketing and a lot of our name has to do with addiction treatment which is our Spectrum Recovery program and we’re also really happy to bring what we call our Catalyst Wellness program which is for everyone and anyone that’s interested in their own evolution. Drew, it’s whether you just want to learn how to meditate and chill out, or whether you’ve got some unresolved trauma, whether that’s from a car accident or childhood things, or whatever. So a lot of our client base is actually not exclusively coming here for our addiction treatment which is just a nice, fresh, spin on things. It’s usually one or the other and Helix Healthcare Group, hence the group part, is that we’re a large enough facility, and a large enough team that we can accommodate whatever an individual’s needs are and we completely individualize the program for each person so they get the best care possible.

That sounds great and thanks for that. I just want to read this because this is one of the main reasons I reached out besides your biography and it said, “They connect the mind and body and create lasting change. And I think that’s what you base Helix Healthcare Group around? Would that be fair to say? Yes that’s very fair to say. I was basically found by a native Torontonian named Mark Rivkin, the CEO and Founder of Helix, and he became aware of the mind body approach I was using in Malibu. And partly the great connection I have with him, partly my willingness to accept change, and take a risk is how I ended up here in Toronto building this brand. There’s nothing really like this in terms of interdisciplinary, integrative, team approach to treating mental health, addiction trauma, general wellness, there are individual practitioners in Toronto that focus on this, yet there’s nowhere that’s really doing it at this caliber. Mark solved a gap in the system and said let’s fill it and he has his own healing journey, as I think we all do, but he’s very invested in that. And I think this is a part of his way of giving back, is by helping me create this. It’s pretty amazing, the whole vision from the beginning has been very much based on that, and another one of our key slogans is “based in knowledge, and delivered with compassion.” Which means that all the interventions we use, whether its Naturopathic medicine, Acupuncture, the Somatic therapies, Trauma Resolution therapies, they’re all based in Neuroscience. There’s all this clinical evidence behind what we’re doing, we’re not just doing these sorts of wooh things. Though spirituality is incorporated and welcomed, it’s also very scientifically based and everyone on our team is also very compassionate, heartfelt people, so there’s not an air of judgment, there’s not a stigma of “oh, you relapsed, you need help.” Or of like, eh that’s a great learning opportunity. Let’s carpe diem this moment and really help this person transition from what could be seen as a relapse, we’re seeing it as a growth opportunity. Again, relapse whether that’s drug oriented, or whether that’s a relapse into becoming addicted to worrying or shopping or addicted to negative thinking, self judgment, all these things are a way we look at addiction, it’s not black and white, that this is just about substances, it’s really about any behavior pattern, any thought pattern. And that we continue to do over and over again that is not positive that brings a destructive tendency in our life. That’s somewhere that we have an opportunity to grow and evolve. And that’s what we’re here for, is to help people make those changes through the mind and the body.

“Labels are for cans not people.”

That’s awesome, I love that, I think a lot of people, well first of all, we’re great at labeling people in society, and the other thing is we enable them in saying you have this, or diagnosed with this, instead of empowering them and giving them an opportunity to understand that this is a learning lesson and moving forward from how you said it, maybe not so much positive habits created. Labels are for cans, not for people. You know I’m in alliance with Ross Mckenzie, who is about to, I believe, become very famous, in about a week he launches his first movie which is called Bipolarized, it is a very vulnerable self disclosure on his part, a documentary of his own journey of his realization, what you just spoke of Drew. That maybe he’s not really bipolar, maybe he’s been labeled this way, and you become addicted to this label and you reinforce it. Please, this movie, check it out, it’s coming out I think around Nov. 1, but it’s about Bipolarized, and it’s his personal journey. Through Holistic mind body oriented as well as some Shamanic intervention, he has now gone from about 20 years on Lithium and different meds and living a very minimal life, he now has a full life, with a wife and a child, he’s launching his own center in Costa Rica and it’s all because he had the courage to say, maybe this label isn’t really who I am. The alliance with him is very much what we’re about, it’s not necessarily having to label people as alcoholics, as addicts, you know anxiety disorders, mood disorders, not that we’re not clinical, we do have clinical notes, and we do understand that language, it’s just that I think there’s a new wave of consciousness coming through that’s saying maybe people can grow more fully into who they are if we’re not constantly putting them down through limiting labels. You know?

Absolutely, Jesse I want to talk about what you do, we talked about Helix Healthcare Group a little bit, and I want to just get into some solid details about how you can improve lives and how you do improve lives in less than conventional manner. Excellent man, great question. I would say the first piece that comes to my mind in this question, is the way I’ve learned to do what I do is by actually learning myself. And I’ve been involved in earlier not only the native American, but a lot of Psychotherapy, tons of different schools, I think that it’s about me learning how to improve my own life which gives me the ability to help others do that, and the main process for me has become sort of a model for me. I look around at why I do what I do rather than judging whether what I’m doing is right or wrong. I get past my own judgments to understand why am I doing what I’m doing? Why am I feeling this way right now? As I raise my consciousness around it then I’m able to actually start to help transform it, and this is where the Somatic, the body centered part, I start to understand how I or an another is holding an emotional pattern in my body. Whether that’s through breath or posture, that’s through habits, whether it has to do with substance abuse or video games, or online shopping or whatever, pornography, all these things that us humans can get derailed by. So as I start to learn that, that’s where I start to, both myself and Helix, stand out is that we’re trained in and we use modalities where, for example, if someone is in an emotional process, it’s not just about, “tell me how you feel.” It’s about sequencing, sequencings about the hidden impulses in the nervous system, so whatever’s been tucked away and held, not just psychologically, but neurologically, physiologically, that there’s a healthy safe way to sequence out these hidden impulses in the nervous system, and when that happens, there’s a shift in both consciousness and physiology, that there’s a new feeling alive. That there’s no longer me white knuckling or telling myself that you shouldn’t do that, you should do this. It’s about positivity and a feeling of aliveness that I think has one of the biggest differences through connection. Like being able to feel connected to myself, be connected to the world around me, my client base, my wife, my life, all of these things. And that is in a big way how I’m able to transform lives, I help them reestablish that connection, not just through talking and language, but through the body approach, the way of actually doing things in the body that create change emotionally.

“It’s like clearing it out as you go as opposed to holding it in and waiting for it to blow up in your face or someone else’s.”

So Jesse, I’m a big believer in habits. As humans we’re big believers in habits, we eat breakfast in the same chair, we sleep on the same side of the bed, we watch TV on the same side of the couch, that’s just what we do. And I kind of think I know what your saying is moving your habits into something more positive. So when you say sequencing out, can you explain how you do that? Yes, absolutely man I will. And you reminded me, we’re speaking the same language in different ways, I would often say to people we are biochemically engineered for addiction, we are creatures of habit, so the real question here is not, am I an addict or not, it’s, is what I’m addicted to, is what my habits are, are they helpful or are they harmful. And if they’re harmful, I need to look at why I’m doing these harmful things to myself, or to my family or others. So I completely resonate with what you’re saying Drew, and I’ll give you an example of sequencing, it’s that a very simple and common theme that we all go through is anger. Anger arises very naturally as a way of saying, “hey my boundaries are being violated here.” Most of us don’t have the best communication styles so we either tend to suppress it and turn it into sadness or we tend to suppress it and it turns into hostilities at a later time. So if a person has been holding in all this anger for a long time it means that that is now in the nervous system and it takes muscular constrictions to hold it down, to hold it in, so part of what sequencing would be in this case, would be about helping them get into a safe container, a safe environment where it’s ok to let go. And in that safety, it could be anything from getting an actual yell out to actually physically punching a pillow or a cushion or a series of something that’s soft and safe. The trick of it is that Drew, in the way that it becomes healing and transformational, it is not waiting until it builds up and comes out as a rage full blast, but actually doing it in a conscious mindful state with a safe guide there in the room with you and helping you understand what you’re really angry about and getting it out, getting the anger out in direct correlation with origins of the anger instead of misdirecting it sideways at a hole in the wall, or yelling at our spouse, where we don’t really mean to, things like that. It’s literally finding the way that the body is holding tight and saying what would happen if you didn’t have to hold that so tight. What would it really want to do? So is the majority of this, I like that, because it sounds like prevention before it gets to the point of all this constructed anger. It’s like clearing it out as you go as opposed to holding it in and waiting for it to blow up in your face or someone else’s.

So are there steps, instead of just talking, having a professional with you? What are the steps that come to mind? That would be what we talked about before, raising the awareness. For example, “my boss laid me off, and I got so angry at him, I can’t believe I just yelled at him, I cussed him so loud and then I got fired, oh crap,” well maybe that person was holding in some anger and the boss took it because it wasn’t being expressed before that. So it would take some talk therapy, some awareness raising, to help the person to understand the deeper origins of that anger and then there’s something called regression therapy that, it’s not hypnotherapy, but similar to that. It takes a person into a mindful state and basically helps them regress to a younger age, to where the boundary violation happened, that caused that anger to arise and from that place in the nervous system, in the awareness of the human, from that place, when the sequencing is allowed to happen from that place. It happens in a clean clear way that doesn’t harm anyone and that leaves them feeling much lighter, better, able to tolerate other annoyances or transgressions, much more easily. As I’m hearing myself talk about this, I’m realizing that this is the kind of therapy that I’ve been personally involved in now for about ten years and it’s because, everything about this training, you know if you go to a Psychoanalytic, or Cognitive Behavioral school it’s all talking, thinking, reading, there will be some practice sections, some days, you kind of learn the protocol in your head. Whereas with the Somatic training and the Somatic work, a practitioner actually has to go through the process themselves in order to understand that for someone else. So everything that I’m asking my clients to go through, are processes that I have already gone through and maybe am still going through in my life? But there’s a relational piece to this work, in that it’s not “me doctor, you patient, me sit on this side of the desk, you sit over there,” it’s “hey we’re both humans here, and we both know what it’s like to feel like this, so let’s help you feel this and move through it instead of talking around it.

And you feel a better connection if you’ve felt it, but a better response from those that you’re working with because they know you’ve already been there? Yes, absolutely, I think there’s definitely a reliability to the fact that I’ve done this work myself and that they can understand that I’ve been there, where they are. I think that makes them feel safer to go there. Like I’m not going to judge them for it, that it’s not going to be too much for me, that I can hold that sort of space in the room. Yes, that sounds great, and it’s very interesting. I don’t know what kind of conventional work is done around this but it sounds like it’s much different than norm and it seems like it is a safer place to express your feelings and let go of whatever issues you want to work through. Yes, definitely man. And especially because there is now a lot of clinical evidence to Somatic therapies, there’s something called EMDR, there’s something called Sensory Motor Centered therapy, both of these have a lot of clinical evidence, so what we’re seeing coming from the West Coast, UCLA, USC, Berkley, all these bigger schools, they’re really focusing on Neuroscience, Harvard, even U of T here in Toronto, has a big Neuroscience department and basically that’s a trend that’s happening inside technology right now, is because of the integration of Neuroscience, because of the clinic evidence and the scientific evidence, it’s becoming harder and harder to ignore the scientifically proven evidence that our mind and bodies are very much connected and in fact the lingo is “brain body.” In other words, our thoughts and emotions influence the brain, which directly correlates the body. Simultaneously, breath posture, the styles in which we work out, the way we walk, the way we do yoga, the way we hold our body, we use our body also affects the brain, which also then affects our consciousness, our emotional patterns and our thought patterns. It’s called top-down and bottom-up, and meaning we move from the top-down, from the head to the body and we also move up to the brain, where at this level we’re having a full cycle of transformation, where you mentioned traditionally, and tradition is top-down, if your head gets it your body should follow soon. But if you ever talk to somebody that’s had substance abuse or had just about anything than a lot of them know what they should and shouldn’t do in their head, but their bodies got a different story to tell, right? For sure. So I think that’s the clearest way to explain it in this interview, is that the Somatic work and the work we’re doing at Helix is more of a full circle, full cycle of transformation. It’s not just talk therapy and counseling in a way that, “well don’t you know what you should do and what you shouldn’t do? You should go there and you shouldn’t go there and then you’ll be fine.” Ha, right, But you’re not. And even if you do follow the shoulds and shouldn’ts I find people aren’t really living the full versions of themselves, they’re living a limited, “well as long as I follow these rules, and as long as I go to this place and not that place and I talk to this person and not that person, and then I can stay sober and whatever my conventional goal is.” And you know, I feel like our work today Drew, this Somatic work, it creates long lasting change because change is happening in both hemispheres of the brain, it’s not just the left hemisphere trying to regulate and control the whole system, you know.

Well alright Jesse, it’s time to wrap things up and I would just like to have you back to talk about the more emotional side of things, and off-air, posture and breathing, I think that that would be beneficial for our listeners to hear, but again we are short on time, is there anything you want to add that you might of missed in the interview. Just to put out the wish for everyone, to hopefully take these words in and think about the possibility of moving through whatever it is that they might feel stuck in and if we can be in any way helpful, that’s what we’re here for, Helix Healthcare Group, and I just want to say thank you to you, Drew, it was lovely chatting man, and I would love to come back again. So we’ll see that up.

My pleasure, so you guys are at And I actually found you guys on Twitter, I don’t know why that’s funny to me, that’s kind of the norm these days, is you make connections online. Some of my best interviews have come from twitter, its weird to me, but anyways you guys are at… It’s @Helix_Health. The website is very informative, gives you an idea of what we do, the programs, the team, the facility, everything. So I really appreciate it Drew, and I hope you have a great day man. Yes, definitely. Thanks so much for joining us and we’ll definitely have you back Jesse. Take care. You too. Alright so that’s gonna wrap things up for this edition of Exploring Mind and Body.

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