The Neuroscience of Pleasure and Serving the Asian Community with Jonathan Le | POP 764

A photo of Jonathan Le is captured. Jonathan Le is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and the Founder of Anchor Point Professional Counseling. Jonathan Le is featured on Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast.

What is your approach to achieving complete holistic wellness? Is that possible to achieve? How can old patterns stop you from unlocking a new level of well-being and joy in your life?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about the neuroscience of pleasure and serving the Asian community with Jonathan Le.

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Meet Jonathan Le

A photo of Jonathan Le is captured. He is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and the Founder of Anchor Point Professional Counseling, a mental health private practice. Jonathan is featured on the Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast.Jonathan Le is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and the Founder of Anchor Point Professional Counseling, a mental health private practice located in North Bethesda, Maryland. As a Cambodian, first generation college graduate and business owner, Jonathan is passionate about bringing mental health awareness to minority communities.

Jonathan hosts mental health workshops and continuing education courses to educate business professionals, local churches, and members of the Asian community about depression and anxiety.

Visit Anchor Point Professional Counseling and connect on Twitter, Psychology Today, and LinkedIn.

In This Podcast

  • Jonathan’s approach to complete holistic wellness
  • Applying structure to client clinical work
  • The neuroscience of pleasure
  • How old patterns can stop you from prioritizing pleasure
  • Jonathan’s advice to therapists who work with the Asian community
  • Jonathan’s advice to private practitioners

Jonathan’s approach to complete holistic wellness

On a weekly or monthly basis, Jonathan creates a Ven diagram made up of four circles, and eight overlapping pieces.

Each main circle encompasses different areas of health and wellness in his life, and they are:

1 – Biological

2 – Psychological

3 – Social

4 – Spiritual

He will use different colors to color-code how things are happening and their states of progress in his life.

Hypothetically, in blue, I’ll list out in bullet points things that I feel like I’m doing well in … and then in red, I’ll write out areas that I would like to improve in … for self-care, personal development, whatever it may fall into. (Jonathan Le)

Jonathan uses this Ven diagram to get a bird’s eye view of all the areas in his life to see, completely, where he is at in life, and where he still wants to go.

Within the Ven diagram, he creates targeted goals for himself in the red areas by looking at frequency, intensity, and duration. In other words, how long, how strong, and how often are these goals?

Applying structure to client clinical work

You can use this idea, and other similar ones, in sessions with clients to help them visualize and work on the aspects that they want to improve within their lives.

Sometimes I’ll do [the Ven diagram exercise] during my intake appointments because I find that it’s helpful in goal-setting and figuring out a sense of direction in terms of where we want to go as counselor and client with therapy. (Jonathan Le)

You can use the Ven diagram to discuss strategies and goals that can be turned into small actionable steps that the client can take to bring holistic wellness back into their lives, from psychological health to physical and mental health.

At the end of the day, the full totality of our humanity and how we function as people goes well beyond our mental health. (Jonathan Le)

The neuroscience of pleasure

People need to reinforce and prioritize the things that bring them pleasure and joy in their daily life.

The human brain functions on a reward system. Often, the release of dopamine in the brain is created by the stimulus and association of what we find as pleasurable, from desserts to exercise.

One of the reasons why we get into the habits, patterns, and lifestyle rhythms that we find ourselves in is because our brains have essentially released dopamine from that rewards center and created an association and a narrative in our minds of, “Wow, this is good for me” or “wow, I enjoy this”. (Jonathan Le)

This is why you can incorporate the Ven diagram of the holistic health and wellness model alongside the neuroscience of pleasure.

Reinforce and continually practice healthy habits and routines that will bring you pleasure and joy so that the brain can process and adapt to the new healthier habit and rhythm that you’re substituting for older, perhaps unhealthier habits.

How old patterns can stop you from prioritizing pleasure

Personal history and family culture play a massive role in how people determine schedules, activities, and the things that they learn to prioritize in life.

In a lot of different cultures, we have different value systems that really affect how we engage [with] and live our lives and oftentimes, these value systems – if we’re not careful and we don’t keep them in check – they can interfere with our quality of life. (Jonathan Le)

People learn, sometimes unintentionally, about how to approach life from their parents. Often, their parents’ circumstances were so different from what is real now, but those old patterns persist in a new environment because their children have learned from them.

I had established this lifelong routine of finding my identity and my worth in what I could produce, what I could accomplish, and what I could achieve … [I had to figure out] what I’m about, what are [the] value systems that I want to carry on with? (Jonathan Le)

Look back over your life and ask yourself; what has been sustainable and what hasn’t been sustainable? Can you revise, edit, and change this narrative?

Jonathan’s advice to therapists who work with the Asian community

Explore, and ask explorative and engaging questions to learn more about their lived experience and their culture.

At the end of the day, there are sometimes stigma and stereotypes that are associated with Asian culture that people can fall into the trap of believing when they don’t take the time to ask intentional and engaging questions.

Show that you care, show that you want to learn. Ask open-ended questions and strive to learn more.

Jonathan’s advice to private practitioners

Own your story. Going through your journey and processing your life will help you to enhance your ability to help others.

Useful Links mentioned in this episode:

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Meet Joe Sanok

A photo of Joe Sanok is displayed. Joe, private practice consultant, offers helpful advice for group practice owners to grow their private practice. His therapist podcast, Practice of the Practice, offers this advice.

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

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