Jenika Rufer provides therapy for adolescents and adults. She is a relational person and strives to help clients recognize the role of relationships in their well-being. She uses a variety of therapy techniques in her work with patients, including cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. She believes her patients know themselves best—she is just along on their journey to help illuminate their strengths and guide them as they navigate barriers to mental health.
Featuring Jenika Rufer, LAPC, Therapist, Dakota Family Services
Host Tim Unsinn:
Welcome to Mind Your Mind, a podcast presented by Dakota Family Services, an outpatient behavioral health clinic, located in Minot, Bismarck, and Fargo, North Dakota. In this podcast, I will talk with our experts about understanding and nurturing our mental health and wellness. I'm your host, Tim Unsinn. Join me each episode as we explore the intricacies of our minds, decrease the stigma of mental illness, learn practical tips for managing our mental health and well-being, and recognize when it's time to ask for help. Join me now to Mind Your Mind.
Welcome to this episode of Mind Your Mind. Our guest is Jenika Rufer. Jenika's, a therapist. Jenika, great to have you on Mind Your Mind. And this is, I think, your first podcast, which is very cool. And our topic is "how to fit in while staying true to yourself." However, before we get to the topic, there's a question I always ask our guests before we start, and that is, why do you do what you do?
Lovely. Yes. So it's actually a question I feel like people in this field get all the time, of like, why do you do this work? Which I get, it's a cool question. So I think, I never really growing up saw myself going into this field. Specifically, I didn't even know that therapy was really a thing. It's kind of, you know, a foreign thing for a lot of people. So I think I grew up surrounded by mental health and people's own struggles with mental health, my own,, and never knew that this was an option for people to kind of receive help. And, you know, as I grew up and learned more about it, I've just been kind of enamored by the human experience and kind of who we are and the struggles we go through, but also the great things we experience. And this job is just a way to sit with people through all of that, the good, the bad, and kind of walk along that journey with them. And it's a really cool experience and I think it's kind of why I went into it, is to have that connection with other humans and kind of see that experience and journey for them.
That's great to hear. Thank you. Our topic is how to fit in while staying true to yourself. So what does it mean to stay true to yourself?
I think it can mean a lot of different things in this day and age. And it can be a struggle, to say the least, to stay true to yourself nowadays with all of the things we have going on: technology, social media, everything that's out there. But I think staying true to yourself means knowing who you are at your core, kind of your values, and living intentionally through them, and knowing that the decisions you're making, the ways you're interacting with the world, kind of what you're doing, does that align with who you are and who you wanna be. And you know, I think therapy can be really helpful for that, and kind of exploring who you are and finding your core values because you know, we're fed so much information and societal pressures and values on how you should look and what you should believe and who you should be, but you know, who are you really, aside from all of those? So I think staying true to yourself means finding those and kind of living intentionally through them.
You know, I think of, you mentioned social media and I think that so many people put so much into social media, so staying true to ourselves looks a little different today and it seems harder.
Mm-Hmm. I mean, I'm not that old by any means, but I sit with clients nowadays and they have things going on for them that I didn't have to grow up with in terms of social media. And I would definitely say it's harder. Like the things they've grown up online and seeing these images of what's perfect and how you should be, since they were young. And like lucky for me, I grew up without a phone for quite a while, so I didn't have those messages. And now, you know, they're being ingrained at a younger age. So I think it's definitely gotten harder.
So how do we walk through that though? I mean it because it's always in front of us. What are some, maybe some tips or tools to navigate all those, those pressure points, if you will?
I say this about a lot of things, I think it starts with awareness. So being aware that the stuff you are consuming online and elsewhere is most likely, someone's profiting off of that. And so like knowing that what you're consuming is impacting you and it's probably not for your benefit. So kind of having that deeper look at it and knowing that it's not making you who you are. These are messages being pushed by bigger corporations, industries, societal norms that kind of are trying to steer you in that direction and that it doesn't have to mean what they're saying.
Well, so should fitting in be the end goal, or rather finding what makes you true to your, you know, self and being okay with that?
Yeah. So yeah, the idea of fitting in, I think when I had looked at these questions before, I was like, well, is that what we want? Like, I don't know, I think that's what a lot of people push is like, you know, "I just wanna fit in." But like, I think what we want is to be true to ourselves, not to fit in, like maybe you do fit in, but also if you're fitting in because you're not aligning with your values, then is that really the goal at the end of the day? I think the goal should be finding who you are, being intentional, aligning with your values and kind of what makes you, you and what makes you happy. And if that means you don't fit in, I think then you should be okay with that. Like, we all don't need to fit in. The world would be a pretty boring place if we were all the same. So I think being unique and being yourself and not conforming to all of the things society tells you you should, should be what matters at the end of the day. Not whether you, you know, are wearing all the same clothes and fitting in and doing all of the trends and all of that.
So being true to yourself is being who you are, being able to fit in your own skin, if you will.
Right? Yeah. At the end of the day, we are only, you know, we spend the most time with ourselves, in our own head. And so we should want to fit in with ourselves the most. We should want to be happy with ourselves. And so rather than fitting in with everyone else, like are you happy in your own head with who you are at the end of the day, sitting at home?
That is great, great stuff. You know, fitting in, while staying true to ourselves. Appreciate the information. It's a great topic. Jenika Rufer is a therapist on the Fargo campus of Dakota Family Services. And we've been talking about, again, staying true to yourself. Before we wrap up though, it's always that question, because we talk about all our great topics, what do we do? So what do you do personally to mind your mind?
Yes. So I think, I love that question too. And I think it changes over time. You know, we learn how to take care of ourselves differently. We try different things and as a therapist, we're thrown all these interventions and things. And I think what stuck with me over the years and the skills I have learned that helped me mind my mind the best are definitely living through my values. Like great topic that I'm so passionate about. So I like to make sure that my daily living and what I'm doing, like decisions I make, words I use, things I do, like, does that align with who I am and will that make me feel good at the end of the day? And so ways I do that, I do a lot of like journaling and like thinking out my thought processes so I like can understand myself better. And one of the more like on-brand things I do, I guess I'm really into like physical movement in terms of like helping your mental health. So I run a lot. I think that's a really great way to kind of meditate, in a way, and distract yourself from all of the chaos of the world. And so I think at the end of the day it's about finding what works for you, like staying true to yourself and your coping mechanisms also, because not everything's gonna work the same for the same person.
Thank you. Thank you for being on Mind Your Mind. We appreciate your time and talent and appreciate the insights you had.
Thank you for joining us for Mind Your Mind, a podcast presented by Dakota Family Services. For more information, links to additional resources, contact information, and much more, go to dakotafamilyservices.org.
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