Listen to Frank's national radio show interview.
Broadcasting from the financial capital of the world, this is NBRFM, New York City.
Radio Host (RH): Hello, everybody. Welcome back to the show. My next guest is a licensed mental health counselor from Seattle, Washington. Please welcome to the show Frank Robinson. Hello, Frank.
Frank Robinson (FR): Hi. How are you doing this morning?
(RH): I'm doing terrific.
(RH): I appreciate you taking a couple of minutes out of your day to join me.
(FR): Yeah, my pleasure.
(RH): All right. So, Frank, tell me a little bit about what you do.
(FR): Well, I'm a licensed mental health counselor. I have a private counseling practice here in Seattle, and I've been doing this, one form or another, since about 1982, so quite a while. Some of the general practice I have worked with folks who have struggles with anxiety and depression and addictions. I do a lot of relationship work, and I have a very kind of spiritual base to my work.
(FR): What I mean by that is that I personally experienced a place way deep down inside of myself where I feel a connectedness to something bigger than myself. I know that when I live my life from that deeper inner place, that my life works better, than when I'm caught into a reactive or ego-driven place. So, a lot of the work I do with people is help them recognize when they've gotten pulled off into a reactive state, and help them find ways to get back to a more centered, grounded, peaceful place. It's a lot of the work I do.
(RH): All right. Fair enough. What are some of the methods or techniques that you use to get people to that grounded state?
(FR): Well, I have a book out there, which has been a Barnes & Noble twice-picked as a featured book of the month. It's about these eight clues to finding your soul and so those are some of the tools. They have to do with things like understanding the gift of suffering, that all of our suffering is guiding us, trying to tell us something we need to know to help us heal ourselves. So our job really isn't to get rid of our suffering and upset, but to go toward it and explore it and discover what it's trying to tell us.
(FR): One way of thinking about it is if you put your finger on a hot stove, the pain isn't the problem. The problem is you got your finger on a hot stove. The pain isn't telling you to leave it there and cry louder, or to complain to somebody who told you to put it there. It's telling you to get your finger off the stove. Some people suffering in their lives simply haven't quite suffered enough yet to learn what the suffering is trying to tell them. So, if you understand the gift of suffering and how to use that, how to go toward it and explore it, that seems to work better.
(FR): Another one of the tools has to do with learning how to live more fully in the moment.
(FR): Another one has to do with what I call choosing soul over ego, as I said. One way of thinking about this is our life is a bus, and the question is who is driving our bus? Our soul or our ego? Every moment of now in our entire life, every moment, we're either coming from a loving centered place or where in a reactive place, so this idea of learning how to recognize when you're off-centered and learning how to get back and learning how to choose that.
(FR): Another one of the tools has to do with learning how to love yourself, how to really hold yourself with some tenderness and compassion. I think about it as my soul holding my ego with tenderness and compassion.
(FR): Another one of the tools has to do with learning the importance of being really honest with yourself and the willingness to be really completely honest with the guy in the mirror. Part of that has to do with the willingness to be open to and exploring the emotional content of our life and being really honest with it. That sort of intimacy with the self is how we begin to develop the possibility of real intimacy with another person.
(FR): Another one of the clues to finding your soul is learning how to let go of attachment to outcome. I have on my website, frankrobinsoncounseling.com, my book is on there, which is available for people. They can read it for free. I have a blog that I've recorded or written. There's a guided meditation on how to let go of attachment to outcome and how to let go of holding on to the past, and how to let go of the illusion of control, and, well, how to let go sometimes with letting go, because sometimes we're so hooked that we just can't let go. It's about how to open your heart to that.
(FR): Another one has to do with forgiveness, that understanding that forgiveness is really ... it's a gift that transform the giver. When you are forgiving of other people and of yourself, your life really works much better.
(FR): Finally, meditation. I've been teaching meditation for all these years. The reason that it works is that the only thing that can ever pull us off-center into a reactive state are our thoughts. Meditation is the moment-to-moment practice of letting go of the attachments formed by thoughts. That's why it works, and it's so helpful for people. So, any form of mindfulness or meditation is really probably the most direct way to begin to find a more centered, peaceful and strong self, if that makes sense to you.
(RH): It sure does, absolutely. One of the moments or one of the times in life where you kind of find out what you're made of is when adversity strikes, and when you're under pressure. What are some tips or advice that you would give to someone who struggles with handling adversity?
(FR): Well, you know, I try to take the stance that like a magnet, we're going to draw to us inescapable opportunities to get bigger. We either are willing to face those things and learn how to go toward the thing that we're afraid of, afraid of face in ourselves.
(FR): What's missing for most people is they just simply don't have the tools. They don't understand the gift of suffering. They want to avoid it at all costs. So, they either just are not capable of being intimate with themselves, I mean they don't really have an honest relationship with themself, or they anesthetize, which is one of the reasons that I end up working with a lot of people who have a lot of addictions. Those addictions are generally designed to one of two things, to either anesthetize us so we don't have to feel the feelings we don't want to face, or to artificially try to create a feeling that we can't seem to find in our own real life.
(FR): So, when I'm working with people, I really look at all aspects, so understanding the importance of, say, physical exercise. The current research shows that reasonably vigorous exercise four or five times a week is as effective as antidepressant or antianxiety medications.
(FR): Having a support network, having close friends. Every client I see, I ask, "Do you have a best friend?" I'm always saddened by how few men, especially, they'll end up saying, "Well, yeah, but not since high school." What I noticed is that the people who have a best friend their lives work better than people who don't. I think of a best friend, like, for me, I've got several people like this that I can talk to about anything. No editing, no censoring, no secrets. I'm right upfront and absolutely honest with them.
(RH): All right. Very good. So, Frank, what's the best way to contact you, if anybody wants more information?
(FR): Well, probably the best way go to my website, frankrobinsoncounseling.com, or if you're in Seattle, they could call me. My office phone 206-522-3264. But my website, frankrobinsoncounseling.com, my book is on there, my blog is on there, the guided meditation. You can go to and listen it to for free. Just push the button that says Guided Meditation. But, that's probably the best way.
(RH): All right. Perfect. Frank, thanks for coming on the show today. We appreciate your time.
(FR): Yeah, my pleasure. Any time.
(RH): All right. Have a great day.
(FR): You, too. Bye-bye.
(RH): And, thank you for listening. We'll be right back with more right after this.