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Riding the Waves of Life with Josh Dauner, LPC

Josh talks about his approach, what he finds meaningful as a therapist, what he’s learned over the years, and most importantly, how he manages his own mental health.

Written by
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Dr. Amy Cirbus, LMHC, LPC
Head of Clinical Content
Clinically reviewed by
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A headshot of Josh Dauner

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    Josh Dauner, LPC comes to us from Springfield Missouri where he works 100% virtually, specializing in trauma treatment. He’s looking forward to broadening his scope of practice as a provider for Spring Health.  

    I sat down with Josh to talk about his approach, what he finds meaningful as a therapist, what he’s learned over the years, and most importantly, how he manages his own mental health. 

    Amy: What do you find most rewarding about being a therapist?

    Josh: Watching people have those "light-bulb" moments. There comes a time with almost every client when they make a connection, or have an "aha" moment, and they suddenly see some aspect of their life in a completely different way. 

    This is where lasting change starts to take shape, and it's a privilege to be part of that process.

    Amy: It sounds like moments like this are what keeps you in the field?

    Josh: I love connecting with people on a deep, emotional level. During high school and college, I worked jobs in retail and fast food, and quickly realized that I needed meaningful interactions with people in my life. 

    It's so easy not to give someone the benefit of the doubt when you know nothing about them. But when you get to know someone on a deep level—when you understand what they've been through, what motivates them, what upsets them—it's so much easier to approach them with compassion.

    Amy: And what do you find most challenging?

    Josh: It's a struggle to separate from my work at the end of the day. It's hard not to carry people's stories with me into my own life, relationships, and interactions. I've learned that I periodically have to change my self-care methods, because what works now may only work for a season.

    Amy: Speaking of that, how do you take care of your own mental health?

    Josh: I have a number of go-to self-care practices:

    1. Go to therapy
    2. Play my trumpet
    3. Journal
    4. Go for a walk (without headphones, to enjoy the sounds of nature)
    5. Meditate

    Amy: Having a self-care routine helps with difficult days. How do you handle those challenging days or tough times with clients?

    Josh: I believe everything boils down to present moment experiences. My go-to method for navigating any challenging situation is to break it down: 

    • What is happening at this moment? 
    • What are you feeling right now? 
    • What just happened when you raised your voice?

    So often we operate on a rollercoaster of crisscrossing emotions, expectations, and needs. Sometimes, we don't even realize we're firing on all cylinders until we take a moment to slow down and truly feel what's going on. 

    When we can step back, take a breath, and analyze our reactions with an open and curious mind, we enter into this magical space where we find solutions we didn't realize we had. 

    This is how I try to operate with my clients during difficult situations, and it's how I care for myself during and after sessions.

    Amy: June is male mental health month. What advice do you have for other therapists who identify as male?

    Josh: Surround yourself with other males who understand the importance of expressing emotions. Toxic masculinity still runs rampant in our society, and many men are taught that to feel or express their emotions is a sign of weakness. 

    I'm a therapist, and I struggle with it too. But it's easier when you've got a support system that doesn't judge you.

    Amy: How about advice do you have for therapists with clients who identify as male?

    Josh: Recognize that some male clients will take a long time to open up. It may be easy to mistake a lack of emotional vulnerability and minimal verbal interaction as a sign of resistance to therapy (and sometimes it is). 

    But some men haven’t learned how to be emotionally vulnerable, and may not be able to identify their emotions right away. Be patient. They'll get there.

    Amy: Any final thoughts?

    Josh: I've learned from my clients that you just have to ride the waves of life. We all have ideas about who we want to be, what we want to do, where we want to end up, and who we want to be standing beside us when we get there. 

    At the end of the day, there is so much that is outside of our control. We should absolutely strive to be our best selves, and to always be learning and growing as individuals. 

    But at some point, you just have to recognize that life throws you curveballs. And when you constantly try to fight them, you're wasting more energy than you need to.

    About the Author
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    Dr. Amy Cirbus, LMHC, LPC
    Head of Clinical Content

    Amy is a Counseling Psychologist with over 20 years of experience in direct clinical care, organizational consultation, and telemental health. She is passionate about providing equitable access and raising awareness on the importance of investing in our mental health and wellbeing. For the past four years, Amy has focused on supporting the evolution of telehealth— previously at Talkspace and currently as the Head of Clinical Content at Spring Health. She is a contributor to national podcasts and publications, most notably the New York Times, Wall Street journal, Forbes, Thrive Global, and Business Insider.

    About the clinical reviewer
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