Podcast Series: Colorado Center for Clinical Excelllence with Dr. Jessamine Martin

Gina:                    Hi everyone. Welcome to the Harmony Foundation podcast series and it’s my pleasure to be joined today with Jessamine Martin, Dr. Jessamine Martin with the Colorado Center for Clinical Excellence. Welcome.

Dr. Martin:    Hi, thank you.

Gina:                   So good to have you here. Before we get into talking about your background, let’s talk a little bit … or at least about the Center, let’s talk a little bit about your background and how you got into the field of behavioral health.

Dr. Martin:    Sure. You know everyone has their own unique story to that. For me, it was going to college and as I took more and more psychology classes, realizing that it was endlessly fascinating, and it was a field where I felt I would be continually challenged to learn and grow as I go. And I love working with people, of course, you kind of need to be working in this field. And yeah, it’s something that I feel like I would never get bored and people will never cease to surprise me in so many wonderful ways.

Gina:                   And so you do some specific work on dialects and so when I was reading your bio through the Center’s website, you talk about this nature of dialects and that was interesting to me. So can you tell me more about that so other people can kind of get an understanding of where you’re coming from with that?

Dr. Martin:    Definitely. So it comes from the core theory of dialectical behavior therapy, which is what I mainly practice with. And a dialect is when you have two opposing wants or needs that are both true and both valid and having that dialect often builds tension between the two because we feel pulled to have to choose one or the other or often people can judge themselves for wanting two things that seemingly can’t exist at the same time. And so I work with clients to identify the dialects that they’re living with on a daily basis that they might not even realize they have and help them resolve that tension. That doesn’t necessarily mean having to choose one over the other. It can mean just being kinder to yourself and more understanding of what’s contributing to your emotional distress.

Gina:                    Mm-hmm (affirmative) and so you use this great example, which I related to, which is wanting to lose weight but still having that craving for pizza.

Dr. Martin:     Oh yeah.

Gina:                    So is that a good example?

Dr. Martin:     It’s a very common one.

Gina:                    Yeah.

Dr. Martin:    Others can be walking away from an abusive or negative relationship and then deeply missing that person and wanting to go back to them even though there’s part of you that knows that wasn’t good. It can even be socially as well. Like you might be out with friends having a great time and then also there’s a part of you that just wants to curl up at home and have a quiet night and so it can really … it can take many different forms.

Gina:                   Yeah. And it’s interesting because we probably could go into a whole other kind of conversation about the shame that comes up …

Dr. Martin:    For sure.

Gina:                    … when you can’t meet those needs and you know there is that sort of tension that happens between the two so … Well the other thing I thought was very interesting about you is that you have this passion for dancing.

Dr. Martin:    Yes.

Gina:                   And so, why is that important to you?

Dr. Martin:    Specifically I do social partner dancing and this is things like swing dancing, blues, tango, contra, there’s a whole community in this. I started dancing when I was 14 and I feel that has positively impacted so many things in my life. Things like physical health or sense of balance. I’m very tall and gangly and I feel like I would be infinitely more clumsy if I hadn’t started dancing when I was a teenager. And there’s also just this deep community within it … you meet people and you’re a dancer and you’re in and then it’s like you know people around the country and I actually did my dissertation on social partner dancing.

Gina:                    Oh.

Dr. Martin:    And while I didn’t get very many significant results, it did really open my eyes to the community aspect of it and so I see dancing, specifically social partner dancing, as helpful in so many different areas. Like, if someone has social anxiety, it’s a warm, welcoming community that fosters safety. Or if someone wants to get in better physical shape, it’s crazy cardio, and you don’t feel it. You’re really squatting the whole time and you don’t feel it. I just feel like it can touch so many different areas of someone’s life.

Gina:                   Well I think we’re all having a hard time these days in learning how to be comfortable in our bodies. I think just turning the radio on in my house and dancing in my house makes me uncomfortable. So it’s like, how can we move past that inhibition of using our bodies in a way that’s meaningful and healthy. So I think that’s great.

Dr. Martin:     It’s body awareness, it’s body … loving your body and appreciating what your body does for you. Dancing can help that as well.

Gina:                    Well you’ve talked a little bit about your modalities and how you work with clients and so … but we haven’t talked specifically about what your area of specialty is. So if someone were calling in to the Center and looking for somebody like you, what would say the type of client is that you work with?

Dr. Martin:      Mainly adults, I do work with teenagers ages 12 and up. But mostly I do individual therapy with adults and I try to be open to a wide variety of what you’re struggling with and what you want to work on. I try not to box in my clients of, like, let’s make your goals and then get to them and, like, kick you out the door.

Dr. Martin:       I strive to have therapy be what they need in the moment and so for some clients, that is that they need concrete skills and they need structure and they need a sense of like okay this is where we’re headed and for others, they need a space to just be uncomfortable and be weird and not know what they’re doing and I can help them find some guidance in that but also increase comfort with that.

Gina:                     That’s great. That’s great. So this is your first visit to Harmony. What are your thoughts?

Dr. Martin:      It’s amazing. I was surprised at how big the grounds are and how spacious it feels and, you know, Estes Park is just beautiful. Being right next to mountains and I’m lucky in that I’m seeing in with fresh snowfall so it’s very picturesque right now. And yeah, just talking to all the staff and all the different sections of staff. Everyone seems equally passionate about the individuals, about individual care and tailored care and that’s a message I got continually from everyone is … when we’d ask them, oh, what’s your approach to this aspect … case worker and such … everyone said it depends on the person. Depends on that particular person and their needs and their situation. And I think that’s great.

Gina:                     Well thank you. And I think that our relationship with you, as an independent clinician as well as working with the Center, is going to be great. If someone were looking for access to your services and they wanted to get in touch with the Colorado Center for Clinical Excellence, how could they get in touch with you?

Dr. Martin:      Couple of different ways. Our main phone line 303-347-3700. That will connect you to one of our clinicians, and they will call you back in less than 24 hours and do like sort of a 15 minute phone chat and if you’re a good fit with them, they can schedule an intake right there. If not, then we, as a group, there’s nine of us all together, we communicate together, and we really strive to find the best fit for someone. That being said, people can also go to our website, www.thecoloradocenter.com and you can click on any of our faces, and you’d just get a plethora of information about all of us. And you can also research the methods that we use as a group as well. And then for me personally, my direct line, my direct number is 303-547-3594 and, again, you would call that number, leave a voicemail, I will call you back in less than 24 hours. I strive for less than three hours or somewhere in there.

Gina:                      Well, we really appreciate you taking the time to come up and visit with us. Thank you Dr. Martin.

Dr. Martin:      Thank you.