Crutchprints receives lots of resource requests for personal well-being and counseling. Enter Dr. Sarah: a business owner with a PhD in Psychology and a heart to see improvement in the well-being of women. We all have something we try to “work on” but who needs more work, right? While I am a believer in talking therapy and root causes, there are many practical “in the moment” tools that make a real impact.
Dr. Sarah is the sole employee of MindWander, (#1 of CrateJoy’s 7 Must-Have’s for October 2019) and she addresses this need in a monthly box for women. She turns tasks of coping with stress, anxiety, and other issues into an enjoyable experience. Stumbling across her company in a Buzzfeed article, I did a search and found members raving about MindWander, expressing excitement about learned skills, and anticipating future boxes! (For some reviews click here)
What caught my attention about MindWander was that Dr. Sarah, with her PhD in Psychology, puts this monthly cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) tool together herself. Each box is centered on a theme and includes a personal workbook authored by Dr. Sarah, daily application techniques, 4-5 gift items reinforcing the theme (bath and body, lifestyle, novelty), and access to the member-only MindWander Facebook group with Dr. Sarah. (Where I found the discussions are uplifting, insightful, and Dr. Sarah actively engages with her members.) She offers a MindWander Mini box as well.
Some past themes include: Donut Worry; StressLess; Fearless (courage); Happy Camper (positive thinking); Growth Mindset (handling setbacks); Think Pink (mindfulness); Make Waves (self-confidence); Beat the Blues.
Halfway across the country, Dr. Sarah took time to provide an interview and answer some questions for Crutchprints!
Crutchprints: What gave you the idea to start MindWander?
Dr. Sarah: I personally love subscription boxes and subscribe to many! I started thinking about how fun it would be to have my own box and when I asked myself what I could offer that would be unique and have value to people, something CBT related was the first thing that came to mind!
Crutchprints: Where did the name MindWander come from?
Dr. Sarah: I had a colleague who talked about mindfulness practice as “taking your mind for a walk.” I’ve always liked that idea of giving your mind some space but taking an observer’s perspective on it. Let it walk around, let it wander, but don’t get caught up in it.
I also wanted a name that wouldn’t scream THIS IS A THERAPY BOX so if neighbors saw it on your front porch they wouldn’t learn anything about you that you didn’t want them to know. MindWander implies something about the mind but not necessarily something about mental health.
Crutchprints: You are passionate about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), what sparked your interest?
Dr. Sarah: I’ve been interested in psychology since the 6th grade. The social studies textbook we were using was divided into chapter-anthropology, sociology, psychology, etc. I remember reading the psychology chapter on how we learn associations and being totally fascinated. Through high school and college I knew I wanted to be a psychologist. As I grew older I also started to see just how many friends and family, especially women, were struggling with anxiety and depression, the “common colds” of mental health. I decided these were the topics I would focus on.
As I went through graduate school I learned how and why certain therapies work. I was especially impressed with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). And yet when I talked to friends and family about their experiences with the mental health system, it didn’t sound like they were getting the therapies I was learning about in school. I was frustrated! I wanted my loved ones to get the best treatments for their anxiety and depression and to be empowered by learning new skills and strategies, not session after session of “How was your week?” Since them I’ve been determined to find ways to increase the availability of these therapies!
Crutchprints: Is there a resource book or podcast that you think everyone should access?
Dr. Sarah: That’s a great question! It really depends on what kind of symptoms people might want to learn more about.
One set of resources that I often suggest is the Treatments That Work series of workbooks. The set is based on research and the interventions are all supported by research so you can be sure they’re based on science. For anxiety, That Anxiety Guy has a great and informative podcast. Therapy for Real Life is also a nice podcast.
Crutchprints: Is there something would-be subscribers should know?
Dr. Sarah: One thing I would love to be able to convey more effectively is my goal to create an experience and a community around MindWander. There are so many boxes out there, especially organized around self-care. If people just open the boxes and experience a bunch of stuff, I haven’t done my job. I hope that people open the boxes and experience hope about the positive changes and experiences they’ll have that month, excitement about getting started, and a sense of connection to me as a guide and the facebook group as a supportive community to provide help and encouragement along the way. It’s a work in progress!
Crutchprints: What do you foresee in the future for MindWander?
Dr. Sarah: That’s a great question! I would love to grow to a point where I could hire some help so I could focus on the most important parts of the business and reaching more people. It would also be great to have items made specifically for the boxes so that they could fit the theme exactly and I could really get what I’m looking for. I also have dreams of creating planners, calendars, and other related kits to offer as complements to the boxes. I would also, in the distant future with a ton of resources, love to develop a companion app that could link to skills from past and current boxes.
Crutchprints: Is there something that others may be surprised to know about you?
Dr. Sarah: Something I like to share as a “fun fact” is that in high school and college I worked in a murder mystery bed and breakfast. I grew up in a small, historic town with a little tourist industry and I got involved early acting in the murder mysteries. It was the BEST job for someone just starting out.
Crutchprints: You create material for MindWander, coordinate items in the boxes, respond to each post in the member-only Facebook group on top of a career and personal life! How do you juggle all of this without becoming dysregulated?
Dr. Sarah: I use all the CBT skills that I teach in the workbooks! Honestly, it’s difficult to stay on top of everything at once and there are times when various parts of my life rise to the top or sink to bottom of the list of the priorities. I try to be deliberate about my to do list and my time while keeping in mind what’s most important. Sometimes that means skipping a work out to answer emails and other times that means emails are late because I decided to exercise instead.
Having Dr. Sarah with us here at Crutchprints has been a pleasure.
UPDATE: As of July 2020, the subscription box is no longer offered by Mindwander. Dr. Sarah has moved her courses to an online platform and base focused on the growth, development, and support of members. Check it out at: members.mindwandercbt.com
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