Meet therapist Brady Figuly

Breaking the Ice with Therapist Brady Figuly

Therapist Brady Figuly with his new catJoin us in welcoming our new therapist Brady Figuly to our growing eTalkTherapy family, who has the unique ability to meet people where they are and he uses that skill to offer compassion and understanding in the therapeutic relationship. Brady’s areas of focus include depression and anxiety. Get to know more about Brady in our Q&A:

What does therapy mean to you?

Therapy, for me, is the safe space to process through things that have been distressing or uncomfortable for you. I became a therapist because my therapist helped me through some really hard times. When I started seeing my therapist, I started turning my life around. I was able to pick apart all of the unhelpful thoughts I had and the maladaptive behavior I learned over the years that is no longer beneficial to my healing process. I became a therapist to help those who are struggling like I was; to help people who were like me and thought they were beyond or undeserving of help or thought they were going through it alone. You are not alone. You are loved. You are important.

What makes therapy successful?

Therapy is a process. It can take a long time and feel like nothing is changing. Success is hard to find when you are in the middle of working through tough issues. Successful therapy, to me, is looking back on yourself and reflecting on things and realizing that you have made steps. Realizing that you’re not the person you used to be and that you no longer hurt like you used to. Success can be hard to define, but I look for it in the small victories every day and in recognizing that growth has been made. You made it through the thing you thought you’d never make it through.

How has COVID-19 shaped your role as a therapist?

Covid-19 presents all kinds of new challenges to therapy. It has shaped me mostly in that I’m realizing that most of us are struggling with day-to-day life. I’ve realized stress from the outside world can have huge effects, even when we are taking time for ourselves. It’s made me appreciate the importance of having people to talk to, who are willing to go through the trenches with me. Covid has shaped my role in that I am learning how to deal with these new challenges and adapt and I’m also learning that it is okay to take this stutter-step and learn how to deal with these things.

What is your life philosophy?

My life philosophy is to treat others better than you want to be treated. I think it is often very easy to meet anger and frustration with anger and frustration, meeting those feelings with acceptance and even vulnerability (when appropriate) can change the tides of the conversation and your relationship with that person. 

therapist Brady FigulyDescribe yourself in three words?

Three words to describe myself: Empathetic, calm, thoughtful 

What was the last movie you saw? Thoughts on it?

The last movie I watched was “The Fantastic Mr. Fox.” I love Wes Anderson movies (The Grand Budapest Hotel is my favorite) and this one was no different! I think most of his movies are serious enough without taking themselves too seriously. He does a great job of mixing the sad and tough parts of life into absolutely hilarious, witty. and just generally comforting movies.

If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be AND why?

If I could meet someone, living or dead, I think that I would want to meet Mac Miller. I am a huge fan of his art and it breaks my heart that he was taken so soon.

Share something about yourself that others would be surprised to learn?

Some people might be surprised to learn: I love hockey and have played three different kinds of throughout my life. I played dek (on foot) hockey from 9th grade to freshman year of college, ice from 8th to 10th grade, and roller all four years of college.


If you are looking to make positive changes in your life, we can help! Please contact us today about how to register and schedule your live video counseling session with Brady.

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Coping with anxiety during Covid quarantine

Coping with Covid anxiety

Finding Meaning and Connection in My Family Tree 

As I’m sure many people have done since the Covid lockdowns began, I find myself down a rabbit hole of binge-watching some TV every now and then. One show in particular that I can lose many hours to is PBS’ “Finding Your Roots.” It’s a show in which celebrities and other notable people are taken on a journey of discovery through their ancestral paths using a combination of public documents, films, photographs, censuses, and DNA testing. It’s a fascinating look at where these people come from, because the celebrities we know and see all the time are the end result. Finding out who came before them and how their actions and their decisions shaped the generations that came after them is a lot of fun.

Some episodes are poignant and feature stories of terrible traumas. Some stories are funny, and my favorite parts are at the end, when host Louis Gates Jr. reveals to his guest a distant cousin who is also a celebrity or another notable figure, discovered through common chromosomal links in their DNA. Every guest in each episode is struck in some way by the fact that those who came before them played a pivotal role – even if it was a small one – in shaping a life that would come after them.

I think it’s natural when watching a show like that is to think about your own family tree. My parents used to have a sign in their kitchen that said something like “My family tree is full of nuts,” and maybe yours is too. Maybe your family tree is full of painful memories and people you wish belonged not only on some other tree, but in a whole other forest somewhere else! Maybe your family tree is filled with beautiful flowers, people who did the best they could and paved new trails or stood up for what was right; or maybe it is a humble tree that, although it doesn’t display any flashy leaf-color changes or produce exotic fruit, still gives plentiful shade just the same.

As we approach the end of the first year since the Covid lockdowns began and as we slowly ease back into a more normal-looking way of life, maybe take some time to write down your thoughts about it all.  (It’s not every day that we get to live through major world events like this one, you know!) Try to write about how you’ve felt about it, and include how you filled your days. What else were your grocery stores out of (besides toilet paper)? What gatherings did you miss? What fears did you have – and were they realized, or did they merely remain fears? Is there any benefit you saw from his time? How have you changed as a person?

Spending some time on these questions can be beneficial for us in the short term, but would also be a wealth of information for those generations who will come after us. How amazing would it be if generations from now, a great-, great-, great-, great-grandson or great-granddaughter learned about the Covid-19 pandemic and read what you had to say about it? How awesome would it be for them to sit back in a chair in amazement that they were related to you? I’m sure they would be amazed, because we’re living in quite amazing times. And you are very much an amazing person, well worth knowing about.

Until next time, be well!


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About the author: Christy Gualtieri is a freelance writer specializing in pop culture, religion, and motherhood. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and two children. Christy also blogs at and tweets @agapeflower117. You can  follow her here on eTalkTherapy for inspirational articles and different perspectives as they relate to good mental health.

Welcome Therapist Alicia McAllister

Meet Therapist Alicia McAllister

Therapist Alicia McAllister
My fiancé and I went to Paris, in December 2019, to celebrate my 26th birthday as well as to visit my brother, who was there for study abroad. At the end of the trip we all flew back home to make it in time for Christmas.  🙂

Join us in welcoming our new therapist Alicia McAllister to our growing eTalkTherapy family, who brings with her a wealth of experience and a refreshing perspective on the importance of therapy and what makes therapy successful. Alicia’s areas of focus include depression and anxiety. Get to know more about Alicia in this Q&A:

What does therapy mean to you?

To me, therapy means that there is always a path to recovery. It is a safe space for everyone to feel accepted and heard.

What makes therapy successful?

What makes therapy successful is the collaboration and strong therapeutic relationship that a therapist and their client have. Having that relationship allows for the therapist and client to work as a team to help the client achieve their goals.

How has COVID-19 shaped your role as a therapist?

COVID-19 has shaped my role as a therapist by helping me learn how to overcome unexpected obstacles, both in my personal and professional life, so that I can still offer support to those in need.

 What is your life philosophy?

“The meaning of life is to find your gift, the purpose of life is to share it” -unknown 

Describe yourself in three words?

Funny, Motivated, Loyal

What was the last movie you saw? Thoughts on it?

The last movie I watched was Enola Holmes on Netflix. I thought that it was a cute movie and I liked how the protagonist was witty and smart.

If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be AND why?

I would want to meet Fannie Lou Hamer because she played a major role in the women’s rights and civil rights movements.

Share something about yourself that others would be surprised to learn?

Others would be surprised to learn that I love musicals.

If you are looking to make positive changes in your life, we can help! Please contact us today about how to register and schedule your live video counseling session with Alicia.

Follow eTalkTherapy on Facebook and Twitter for updates and articles related to good mental health!

How to deal with loved ones who don't take covid-19 seriously

What to do when a loved one won’t take Covid-19 seriously?

Article by Don Laird, NCC, LPC, DCC

You’re doing everything you can to protect your family during the COVID-19 pandemic: staying at home, wearing a mask, social distancing, and washing your hands until they are raw. You’ve done more virtual playdates, online classes, and work meetings than you can count, and your immediate family has more colorful cloth masks than underwear. You understand it’s not fake, it’s not the flu, the numbers are real, and the long-term health consequences are still not understood. You know people who have been infected or who have died. In short, you’re mindful, and you follow the science.

Yet even with all the preparation and precaution taking, you still find yourself worrying. Because with all the evidence and the skyrocketing numbers, there are those family members and friends you know who refuse to social distance and wear a mask. Will they get sick, perhaps die? Will they get someone else close to me sick? How can I convince them to stay safe? In short, you may not be able to do anything as they feel their opinion, fed by misinformation, is fact. You may have already lost friends and things are chilly with family members. You’re not alone.

Worry and anxiety leads to catastrophizing. The conclusion is usually a worst-case scenario, and it is typically based on those things we have no control over. Instead, try focusing on the present moment and those things you do have control over. Breaking your day down into two or three-hour increments can be helpful. Overthinking your plans or setting unrealistic goals will create inner-chaos and you will be disappointed or upset with the results.

Finding a way to engage your loved ones in a mindful and calm fashion can be tricky.

When it comes time to talk about COVID-19 and your concern about their lack of concern, try referencing information from resources your loved one is more likely to trust. This may be difficult if much of their news comes from unreliable sources that have fed much of the misinformation that we now know to be dangerous.

Is there a TV or radio personality they like who has given sound advice for mask wearing or social distancing? For instance, your loved one may have a dislike for the news media, but they like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson or Arnold Schwarzenegger (both of whom have conservative views). Each of these individuals has advocated for social distancing and mask wearing. Are their articles available from resources your family member follows? While you may not agree with the political leanings, it may be a resource you need to reference. When possible, talk with each other and not at each other. Be curious about their perspective but be confident and firm with your perspective.

While you may be feeling frustrated or angry with your loved one, lecturing them won’t do any good. Remember to speak with kindness, care, and empathy. Show them that you care. If they do not reciprocate, there is not much you can do but be patient. Remember, you only have control over what you have control over.

Additionally, instead of focusing on their health and safety, encourage them to think about others. Wearing a mask and social distancing will help prevent the virus from spreading to someone who has a pre-existing condition and is more vulnerable to serious illness. As we know, COVID-19 can sometimes cause no symptoms, someone can easily spread the virus without knowing it.

Try to think of someone your loved one knows who may be at risk. Explain that the simple action of wearing a mask can help keep a diabetic relative, a pregnant friend, or a neighbor who has been diagnosed with cancer safe.

Even with all these approaches, you may not be able to convince someone to wear a mask or practice physical distancing. If this is the case, it’s okay to move on. Ultimately, they are responsible for their own health and actions. BUT you will need to draw a firm boundary that you will not be seeing them in person for a while. It may mean taking other steps for childcare, etc. However, it is far better to be alive than to roll the dice because your loved one has opted not to follow safe practices. It may even be best for your emotional wellness to break off communication for a little while. When you are ready to resume communication, try suggesting that you stay connected via phone or video chat. Schedule a call where you agree not to discuss COVID-19.

When it’s time to move on, you’ll probably find yourself feeling worried about the future. Learning how to navigate uncertainty can be tough, but you don’t have to do it alone.

Talking with one of eTalkTherapy’s caring and experienced professionals can help you learn how to cope with your fears and anxieties about the future. We offer private and affordable therapy sessions via video or phone in the comfort of your home. Contact us today for details.

In good health,

Dealing with people who are codependent

How to cope with someone who is codependent

They need to be needed and it’s overwhelming

Article by Don Laird, NCC, LPC, DCC

Who among us has not experienced the family member who needs to be needed? The person who for various reasons becomes the family rescuer? A “martyr,” “savior” or “saint” that will come through for others even at the expense of their own well-being? Codependency by its very definition means that there is a mutually dependent relationship, and it is at times frustrating and unsettling when that person is a family member or a significant other.

The question that comes to mind is why would someone want to be a full-time rescuer? What benefit is there to a person if they are driven to a point of being unhappy, resentful, chronically stressed, and physically or emotionally ill?

People who struggle with codependency typically grow up with an adult family member who demands perpetual emotional care. Often this is a parent who never reached full emotional maturity. The phenomena of the “helicopter parent” comes to mind; a parent who won’t allow for his or her child to experience the world as both a place of kindness and a place where you do indeed get hurt, sometimes badly. The codependent needs to be needed, and this is where things become challenging and chaotic when their way of understanding the world is threatened.

I am because I serve.

Love, confidence and self-esteem get knotted up with unending service. The codependent grows up starving for love and affection, as someone who desires to be completed in the service of others. They feel significant not for who they are, but for what they do. The world is only as safe as they deem it to be and they must protect those they love in the unhealthiest way possible; by sacrificing their own sense of being. As a result, there can be little to no internal change for this person, that energy is redirected into trying to mold the world around them. What psychological stability they can attain is contingent on making people dependent on them. This makes them fragile, resistant to change, and by all accounts a martyr.

This is not to imply someone who is codependent lacks empathy, thoughtfulness or understanding. Those qualities can be quite genuine. The issue is ingrained in what tacit emotional agenda accompanies them. This could oscillate between exhaustive periods of giving and sudden “I need to love me first!” moments of resentment. The choice is never me and you, but an emotionally immature me or you. People cannot be related to as equals, but instead are seen as those who are in need of my service, and they should be eternally grateful and indebted for my efforts.

Codependency involves a deeply rooted and highly persistent combination of attitudes, values, beliefs, and habits that will not be solved by reading a self-help book or by getting a prescription from the family doctor. Moreover, deciding to be self-loving won’t do anything either. “Loving me before I can love others,” suggests the same type of self-sacrifice that drives a co-dependent individual in a most unhealthy way, I am learning to love myself, so now I can serve others better.”

Relational conflicts require relational healing. Therapy is perhaps one of the few ways to create a relational world outside of the codependent’s universe. In most unresolved emotional conflicts past events remain shrouded in grief, regret and loss. These conflicts are often reinforced by attempts to self soothe or cure the feelings.

Beneath the worry and anxiety of someone with codependency sits an unconscious desire to obtain love, security and approval. Yet, for better or worse, the external world is not built to meet this internal need. Facing and allowing for loss and letting go submits an individual to a deep and valuable period of mourning – For the ill family member who could not be cured; for the child who did not get into the “right” school; for the vacation that did not go as planned; for the loss of love and support. Though difficult, and at times painful, mourning can ignite the process of healing. Creating a new role for those who were at one time in need of my “saving,” allowing them to be who or what they actually are instead of trying to rescue them, also creates a sense of emotional maturity.

We should remember that those who struggle with codependency are highly sensitive and caring individuals. Somewhere along the way their emotional speedometer jumped from 0 to 60, and it has never been able to decrease to a healthier rate. Codependency is not a problem to be cured, but a life issue to be explored and discussed. If you feel you are struggling because of issues related to codependency contact us to schedule a confidential appointment or a free consultation.

In good health,

Couple benefits from relationship therapy

How do I rekindle the spark in my relationship?

A therapists guide for improving sex, intimacy and relationships

Article by Don Laird, NCC, LPC, DCC

We feel the love is still there, but the spark just isn’t. We get along fine, and there’s minimal fighting. We’ve been together for so many years, raised kids, took vacations, and lived as healthy as we could, but something went wrong. Months drifted into years, and now we’re realizing that we make for better roommates then sexual partners.

What happened?

You’re in a rut. You’re leading parallel lives, and you don’t communicate anymore. So, what now?

The first step is to be realistic. If you’re looking for the knock-your-socks-off sex of those first few years, get real. Finding a new partner certainly isn’t a solution either. The initial passion in a relationship typically fades after about 12-18 months. Hook up with someone new and two years from now you’ll have the same dull relationship you are currently experiencing.

Being able to fix a problem depends on what is creating the problem. There are many causes for loss of sexual desire. Some involve medical problems, such as hormones, other causes are linked to anxiety, depression, or medications. If you have seen a physician and she or he has ruled out a physical issue, then it is time to look at the other things that can lead to a libido drop. This may include addressing interpersonal reasons, with a potential lack of commitment in an emotional relationship by one or both partners. Perhaps one partner had his or her feelings hurt or has been turned down too many times, or one got too busy or neglectful. This doesn’t mean marriage kills sex and intimacy. It just means that sex may be the hidden conflict that neither of you wants to discuss. This gets even more complicated with the pressures and added stress of the pandemic.

We acknowledge that sex is important to marriage, but it is a subject that rarely gets discussed. It is healthy to let your spouse know what you do and don’t like when it comes to the act of sex. Let’s not minimize intimacy either. It is also healthy to let your partner know if you are less than satisfied with your sexual relationship and with the level of intimacy. Simply put, more talk of sex and intimacy can lead to more sex and intimacy in the marriage.

Careers, paying bills, obligations to family and friends, parenting responsibilities, and now the added stress and anxiety of Covid-19 can wear a marriage down. These are among the many causes for one or both spouses to spend less time thinking about or engaging in sex and intimacy. In today’s world, we work hard at maintaining a particular lifestyle, but in the end the lifestyle we are working so hard to maintain means nothing if we lose our relationships.

If you are experiencing marital or relationship issues, we can help. Click here to schedule a confidential appointment or free consultation to discuss your relationship issues.

In Good Health,

Couple in need of relationship help

Does Couples Therapy Work?

Will couples counseling really improve my marriage?

Article by Don Laird, MS, NCC, LPC, DCC

Seeing a couple’s therapist is not the first step toward divorce or separation. It is not about blaming your spouse or partner for everything that is wrong in your relationship, and it is certainly not about admitting defeat. Couples need to be open to therapy, particularly if the arguments, lies, and hurt feelings are leading both to think that the relationship is permanently stuck. Couples need to be ready to work at their relationship and not expect the therapist to “fix” it for them. So, when is it time to hit the couples’ couch, you ask? Here are some indicators that couples therapy is the next step in your relationship:

Do you fear sharing your feelings with your spouse or partner?  Do you feel as though it is not even worth opening your mouth? Then it’s time to consult a therapist. Couples find themselves seeking help for several reasons, but poor communication and mistrust are the two chief complaints of most couples. Communication encompasses verbal contact (how well you converse and argue as a couple), written communique (texting and other forms of electronic messages), and the all-important social cues, “Did you just roll your eyes at me!”

Being “stuck” may be the biggest sign that you and your partner need therapy. But what does “stuckness” look like? Simply put, it feels like the couple is doing the same thing repeatedly, and no matter how hard they try to change, things always end up the same or worse. In many ways, they have just given up because that is the path of least resistance.

Consider couples therapy as a proactive endeavor. I highly recommend that any couple seeking marriage or a live-in situation seek therapy before doing so. Sure, you love each other, sure you’re not your parents or neighbors, and your relationship seems sturdy enough, but why take the risk of not openly and honestly discussing how each of you might react or feel under the stress of life events like: infidelity, family issues, or financial strain? Why wait until you are in a relationship with no clue how to navigate the arguments or respectfully engage with the other, or worse yet, give up all together.

Intimacy in a relationship isn’t just about sex. It is also about our ability to be vulnerable with the other. When intimacy fades from a relationship, couples therapy is a must. Intimacy refers to the feeling of being in a close personal relationship and belonging together. It is a familiar and effective connection with another because of a bond that is formed through knowledge and experience of the other. Intimacy suffers when the space and distance created by one or both people is no longer tolerable. Sex (if it is happening at all) feels empty, moments that used to create laughter and sharing are no longer happening, and that “connection” you had, well, that seems like a distant memory. Can you hug your significant other without cringing? If not, it’s time to seek professional assistance.

Remember it is always important to consider whether your relationship is ready for therapy, but don’t throw in the towel just yet. Give it a chance. You can get all the advice and affirmations you need from family, friends, and self-help gurus, but there is no substitute for working together with a professional therapist in a space that is designed to help your marriage or relationship mature and grow.

If you would like to continue the conversation about your relationship or marriage click here to schedule a Free Consultation  or click here to loginand  talk  with one of our couples therapists.

In Good Health,