Views and opinions expressed in this video from our guests do not represent that of Dr. Jill Carnahan. Please research carefully any medical practitioner you engage with. While we make every effort to ensure that the information we are sharing is accurate, we welcome any comments, suggestions, or corrections of errors.
In episode #107 Dr. Jill interviews Erin Pheil on Mind Set Transformation. Erin shows you how to overcome any obstacle that’s been holding your life and health using the power of your mind.
- Healing inner trauma and old stories can rapidly transform your ability to successfully achieve your goals
- Mold and environmental illness need to be treated first before Mindset therapy can be successful
- The most successful clients are those who take ownership and choose to do the work to get well and overcome.
The Guest – Erin Pheil and MindFix
Erin is a rapid mind-transformation expert and founder of The MindFix Group. She helps high achievers and entrepreneurs rapidly and effectively clear the biggest mental barriers and challenges holding them back. She is passionate about spreading the message that – contrary to popular belief – real, meaningful change of what’s not optimal in your life doesn’t have to be difficult or take a long time.
Dr. Jill Carnahan is Your Functional Medicine Expert® dually board certified in Family Medicine for ten years and in Integrative Holistic Medicine since 2015. She is the Medical Director of Flatiron Functional Medicine, a widely sought-after practice with a broad range of clinical services including functional medical protocols, nutritional consultations, chiropractic therapy, naturopathic medicine, acupuncture, and massage therapy. As a survivor of breast cancer, Crohn’s disease, and toxic mold illness she brings a unique perspective to treating patients in the midst of complex and chronic illness. Her clinic specializes in searching for the underlying triggers that contribute to illness through cutting-edge lab testing and tailoring the intervention to specific needs.
Featured in Shape Magazine, Parade, Forbes, MindBodyGreen, First for Women, Townsend Newsletter, and The Huffington Post as well as seen on NBC News and Health segments with Joan Lunden, Dr. Jill is a media must-have. Her YouTube channel and podcast features live interviews with the healthcare world’s most respected names.
A popular inspirational speaker and prolific writer, she shares her knowledge of hope, health, and healing live on stage and through newsletters, articles, books, and social media posts! People relate to Dr. Jill’s science-backed opinions delivered with authenticity, love and humor. She is known for inspiring her audience to thrive even in the midst of difficulties.
Dr. Jill 0:13
Hey everybody, good afternoon! Welcome to another episode of Dr. Jill Live. I’ve got a really amazing guest here, my new friend Erin Pheil, who I’m going to introduce. You guys know where you can find me on Dr. Jill Live on YouTube. Please, listen, and subscribe there. You can also find me on iTunes, Stitcher, or anywhere you listen to a podcast.
Dr. Jill 0:32
Today I have an amazing guest. We’re going to talk about mindset, but we’re also going to talk about the humanity of when mindset doesn’t always work. So, I’m super excited to introduce my guest, Erin. I was introduced by a mutual friend of ours. We just found out we live—I don’t know—30 minutes from each other? So we’re going to have a coffee hike after this, at some point too. I’m super excited.
Dr. Jill 0:56
She’s been a rapid mind transformation expert and the founder of The MindFix Group. She helps high achievers and entrepreneurs rapidly and effectively clear the biggest mental barriers and challenges holding them back. She’s passionate about spreading the message that—contrary to popular belief—real, meaningful change in what’s not optimal in your life doesn’t have to be difficult or take a long time. Erin, first of all, I love stories, so I want to hear: How did you get into this? What’s your story? What’s your background? Where did you grow up? Tell us a little about you.
Erin Pheil 1:28
Sure! I’m originally from the Bay area, born and raised. I went to undergrad and got a psychology degree in Washington State. I ended up getting a graduate degree in digital media at the University of Denver. I was going towards psychology from a young age, and then I took a veer around the dot-com boom and ended up starting a digital agency and ran that for about 17 years.
Erin Pheil 1:56
I never in a million years could have imagined I’d be where I am now. I couldn’t have planned it even if I tried. What ended up happening is that around years 12-13 of running this agency for this consultancy, I just had this knowing that: “I’m not going to be doing this much longer. I can’t. I’m burned out. The industry is changing. I need to do something different.” I put all of my effort, this very masculine effort, into: “I will figure out exactly what’s next. I will take the right courses, and I will do the worksheets, and I will read the books, and I will work with the consultants, and I will have a plan for what’s next in my life.” It didn’t work. I just couldn’t figure it out; I didn’t have an answer.
Erin Pheil 2:37
So the universe showed up. One day I was training for a mountain bike stage race. I stepped off my bike and had this little twinge in my left ankle, and within a month it spread and turned into chronic pain out of nowhere. So I started seeing my PT, then a massage therapist, and then an acupuncturist, and everybody kind of shrugged. I had seen an orthopedic surgeon and then this specialist, and they were both shrugging. And one day, I find myself in a brain surgeon’s office. Everything kept escalating, and nobody could figure out what was going on or why this pain was spreading through my body. The x-rays were negative and the MRIs were negative. It was none of the typical issues; it wasn’t fibromyalgia or anything. Everybody just shrugged, and I couldn’t be active.
Erin Pheil 3:28
As time went on and months turned into a year, [then] turned into two years of nobody being able to help me, I started to get very anxious and I started to get very depressed. Not only was I trying to figure out my physical challenges then, I [also] had these mental challenges, and I was just shutting down. I had to figure something out because I was miserable and didn’t want to be alive.
Erin Pheil 3:51
I started seeing therapists and coaches, and just like with my physical body, nothing was working. I remember one day I talked with one of my mentors and she was like: “You know, your whole mental lens of how you see the world and what you believe to be true is so skewed and it’s keeping you stuck in these loops. If you don’t change that, you’re going to be stuck there forever.” That kind of got me on the right path, but she didn’t have an answer in terms of how to help me change what I had been programmed to believe since I was a kid.
Erin Pheil 4:21
So I set off on my own journey for the next year and a half to try and figure that out, and I tried all the modalities. I was like the problem child, like, “It works for everybody but not for you.” So I tried like 30-40 different types of things, and what I ended up doing was piecemealing together parts and pieces of these different masters of people who are doing amazing work. There was the work of Morty Lefkoe, the work of Spiritual Technology, and all these different pieces. I pieced them together into a cohesive program that has an extraordinary success rate that is really consistent. I started [by] changing my life, then changed the lives of my friends and those around me, and then it suddenly became a business that’s thriving today because we’re able to really make such an impact on so many people.
Dr. Jill 5:14
Wow, that is such a story! I’m sure that’s very abbreviated too, for all that you really went through, right? Oh my gosh, I love that! I’d love to hear—you mentioned a few masters, whether [it’s] NLP—the places where you grabbed these pieces. What I love about that is—and this is so common to most of us; we talked quickly before—often our biggest struggle, our biggest challenge, the thing that almost takes us down ends up being the biggest blessing in the direction of our calling and what we are here on earth to do. Yet it’s painful, it’s a struggle. I think this is relevant to you guys listening because many of my listeners have chronic illnesses [like] Lyme disease, mold illness—we’ll get into some of that later. But it’s so common to come across them, really. I’m a survivor of breast cancer, Crohn’s disease, and mold illness. I’ve had a lot of things too, but those things turned out to be the greatest gifts in the end. Yet it sucks going through it, right? You went through that.
Dr. Jill 6:21
What you mentioned was so common to many patients when they get shuttled from doctor to doctor to doctor and they don’t have the answers. And you start to feel [what] we call gas lighting—medical gas lighting. Talk a little about that and how it felt, because I know our listeners can relate to that.
Erin Pheil 6:34
Oh, I start to have shaky and teary eyes thinking about it. I haven’t thought about that for so long, but my whole body is having a physical reaction. I’m getting goosebumps. It was one of the more devastating long-term experiences because, the way I describe it, when I’m at a conference or I’m giving a talk, the words and the slide that I have in the background are like Groundhog’s Day. I would wake up and I’d look at my calendar and I’d have maybe two, three, four, sometimes five appointments with specialists, experts, and professionals.
Erin Pheil 7:08
Every day I’d go in and I’d be like, “This is what I’ve been told.” And they’d look at me and go: “I can help. I’m the best! If I can’t help you, no one can!” I’d walk out and it would either be: a) “I don’t know what’s going on”; b) “This is all in your head”; or c) “We need to do” some 12-month exploratory thing “and see if we can help you, and we’ll know in a year.” It was like, “We can’t help you, it’s all you” or “We need another $30,000 dollars and we’ll try something, but we really don’t know if it’s going to work.” It was that over and over. My calendar was packed every day with these visits and just the sense of hopelessness, and there’s nothing different in this cycle. It felt like being in a bad dream and just never waking up.
Dr. Jill 7:56
Oh, I know so many people can relate, and here I am. I was a medical student—almost a full-fledged doctor—when I got cancer. Even in the system, knowing the system, knowing how we’re taught to think about problems and things, I felt the same way in some aspects. I remember literally with my breast cancer, the boards met, and they said, “This is what we’re going to do.” And then, I looked at the research and I was like: “There’s no increase in survival. Why would I put myself through all those toxic drugs and things?” I did end up doing chemotherapy, but the interesting thing was, that wasn’t the answer as far as the standard of care. They didn’t really go down to the deep root of what caused this. How can we reverse it? The conventional system is trained—I had this training, so I had to go through and overcome some of it—to give a diagnosis, and that’s the end. Even for you, they couldn’t even get a diagnosis, right?
Erin Pheil 8:48
None. Still to this day I never got one.
Dr. Jill 8:52
Wow. What I love [about] your story—it’s so clear—you are an overcomer, you are a survivor like me, and you were bound and determined. Again, I have the same story: “I’m going to figure this out. I don’t care if it kills me.” That resilience—there’s something about that. I always think of Viktor Frankl and his work. He was one of those who I cannot imagine the suffering of some of those people who’ve written and yet they take it and they pull out these things that are so valuable to us that come after. That’s what you’ve done. You’ve taken this tragedy, this difficulty, and pulled out all these pieces. So, tell us more about: Where did you get the mindset work? And what do you do with people now? How do you take them through that?
Erin Pheil 9:34
Yes. It’s interesting because I said we have this great success rate, but part of why we do is we are so clear about who we work with. One of the things that we have found is that the people who see the most success and who are able to rapidly transform, change their lives and improve things that have been challenging or difficult for years—sometimes multiple decades—are the people who we say have more of the internal focus of control. These are the people who are the opposite of a victim mindset, who are like: “You know what? I understand that if I take ownership and I change my life, then everything around me changes. My relationships change. There’s a ripple effect. How I see the world changes, I’ll make different decisions, I’ll feel different as I go about my day, but it has to start with me.”
Erin Pheil 10:21
That’s in contrast to, say, some of the people who may call and they’re like, “Here’s my problem: it’s my wife; it’s my kids; it’s my employees”; it’s all these things outside, and the world is bad, and life is bad, and things happen to me. We find that it’s very difficult for us to help someone like that shift because everything happens to them. But the people who are like, “I know that if I can change and improve and alter how I’m seeing the world in my mental lens,” so much is possible for them. Does that make sense?
Dr. Jill 10:55
Oh my goodness, that makes so much sense. Again, it’s like the Viktor Frankls of the world. They showed us decades ago because they took the most devastating thing in the world and they knew that they still had control. In fact, some of my favorite quotes from him are: “No matter what anyone does to you, you still have control of your mind and your thoughts.” So, that fits so well and it’s so true. First of all, you obviously choose carefully the kind of people that you know are going to be successful—
Erin Pheil 11:20
Yes, I feel like I didn’t answer your question. You started to ask and I wanted to tell you this other thing.
Dr. Jill 11:23
That’s okay! Yes, we can go into what you do. But, first of all, that’s actually really important. What would you say if someone’s like, “Oh, everything’s happening to me.” You might say, “Come back, this isn’t the right thing for you.” But, do you have any advice for someone who’s stuck in the victim mentality?—because that’s a big deal to switch over.
Erin Pheil 11:41
It’s hard! We have found that oftentimes the people who are in that aren’t open to change, they aren’t open to advice, and they aren’t even open to suggestions when we’ve given them [the] next steps to: “Maybe explore this and then come back.” Interestingly enough, oftentimes when people have that victim mindset, [they feel that] “It doesn’t matter what happens anyway or what I’m going to do.” There’s this helplessness. So doing something about it or exploring options oftentimes isn’t even appealing to them. I’m sure there are people out there who specialize in it, but we have yet to find things that are really effective for people who are stuck in that mindset. And they typically don’t seek us out to begin with because it’s like, “You can’t change all the bad things that are happening to me, right?”
Dr. Jill 12:30
Right. Well, that makes sense, though, because you screen carefully for [those] who are going to be successful. So, with those people who are: “I want to do whatever I need to do. I know it’s all about me. I can change my attitude.” Where do you start? What do you do? I also wanted to know where some of your biggest influences have been because you went and sought places all over the place. Tell us more about it.
Erin Pheil 12:51
Sure. I would say we’ve had so many influences. Definitely, it started with the work of Morty Lefkoe and belief work. He passed away several years ago, but his wife is still doing a lot of that work, and I learned a lot from her. We’ve also integrated a lot of IFS, Internal Family Systems, and work [by] Barry Schwartz to really enhance that. For a while—
Dr. Jill 13:21
Real quick pause. I’ve heard of Internal Family Systems. I know what you’re talking about. For someone who doesn’t know what that means, what would be a brief description of what it is?
Erin Pheil 13:27
Yes, it’s so beautiful! We did an introduction at a live event a couple of weeks ago to this. So, if you’re in an argument with your spouse and you’re like, “I hate you; I just hate you!” That is so violent and hard for someone to hear, and it shuts things down, but you want to honor your anger. Now, if you honor that we as humans are made up of many parts, that it’s not just me and “I feel this way,” that communication [can come out this way]: “There’s a part of me right now that is so angry; there’s a part of me that loves you, and there’s a part of me that wants to work this out!” But when we acknowledge we have different parts that have different goals, different desires, different emotions, different feelings, different fears, we can be like: “There’s a part of me right now that’s very angry. There’s a part of me right now that’s very tender and still loves you and is hopeful.” We can actually talk with and address the needs of different parts of ourselves.
Erin Pheil 14:26
So much of our confusion is that we feel broken, and it’s like, “Well, I’m being pulled in different directions.” It’s like there’s a part of you that wants to move forward and there’s a part of you that wants to hide. When you work with the unique parts and then you take some of the really powerful modalities out there that don’t work for people but you do it within the context of working on individual parts, suddenly some of these tools and methods out there that didn’t work for people suddenly work really well. Because instead, they’re trying to work on: “I don’t really know how I feel.” You can work in a really clear manner with the different parts of you.
Dr. Jill 15:01
That makes so much sense because so often we have a goal, and we want to get there. But there’s a part of us that’s sabotaging because we’re afraid of success or we’re afraid of whatever—X, Y, Z. I love that. Thank you for describing it. That’s a huge influence. Are there any other pieces that you’ve worked into your program? Are there any other influences for the work that you do?
Erin Pheil 15:19
There are so many. We have seven different types of sessions. Sometimes we’ve worked in the world of metaphor and we’ve followed the work of Jon Connelly, who does rapid transformation therapy, and we’ve blended some of his work in. We’ve done some of our explorative processes to integrate conscious conversational hypnosis elements into them, where it’s more of a conversation or clear language. So it’s all about how you ask the questions and explore the concept of metaphor. There are little elements of inner child work that are woven in—little parts and pieces that, at the right time, can make a big difference.
Erin Pheil 16:04
For a while, we worked with Mike Parker over in Wales, and he did Liminal coaching and Liminal work, addressing the part of us that needs to be in the drift state between the conscious and the subconscious world. We integrated some of the Cellular Release therapies—I’m just trying to think of all the different parts and pieces—[and also] Progressive Mental Alignment. Some of our clients have memories that can’t be accessed. That’s really big over in the Netherlands right now; it hasn’t been so big in the United States, but we have someone on our team and we blend some of that work into it.
Erin Pheil 16:50
We explore some of the cutting-edge world of psychedelics for some of our clients and integrate how that can be supportive in a way. I feel like I’m missing a bunch, but we have about 10 to 15 different elements, including some somatic experiencing and some somatic therapy. We blend it all into a really beautiful program that started from just a couple of methods and that now has expanded into this really cohesive “what does someone need?” and then tailoring it.
Dr. Jill 17:23
So you have a smorgasbord of different things and access to lots of different tools in your toolbox. I totally get that; I do the same thing. You assess your client and say, “Where could they use the most help?” and then give them those options. That makes perfect sense.
Erin Pheil 17:38
Yes, we have three main packages. Because I speak with everyone, I’m able to either customize them, tailor them, or tweak things so that they’ll be the best fit for them.
Dr. Jill 17:52
I can see this question being really interesting: How did your experience allow you to be so good at what you do? How did that fit together? Because I can see you’re really good, probably from some of the bad experiences, right?
Erin Pheil 18:08
The only reason The MindFix Group exists today is because almost nothing worked for me. But I could see how things could work for other people. I had this sense of when things could be combined in different ways and how they could be exponentially more powerful. And going through so much [has contributed to my understanding]. If you look back over the last 10 years of my life, the number of traumas and the amount of life situations [is startling]. Many people go through one or two in their lives, and I went through almost all of them in the course of five years. So I have so much empathy and understanding when someone comes in and they’re like, “You know, I’ve been through the chronic pain thing” or someone comes in and it’s like, “No one can help me” or “I have the worst inner critic you’ve ever heard screaming at me.” I’m like, “Yup, yup, yup,” and I understand and I instantly have that empathy and know that there’s a path out. People can connect with that and know that I’m not just making it up, that I’ve been there, I’ve lived it. I get where you are. I’ve seen how you can get to point B, and you don’t have to stay there. I think that helps me connect with people, build appropriate plans, and have true empathy for my fellow humans too.
Dr. Jill 19:22
Oh, I love hearing that so much because it’s so similar. In my path, I finally realized—the divine head—I was the guinea pig. With true healers, which you are, in this way, we often do experiential learning. For me, I had to learn the hard way. That was how my best learning comes. Medical school was great, but the true learning came from that experiential component. Then, like you said, I can sit there. In medical school, we were taught to have this wall. We don’t cry with a patient; we don’t do these things.
Dr. Jill 19:56
As I’m writing my book, I talk about how empathy was almost trained out of us. Granted, that’s the wrong way—I think—to practice medicine or do any sort of work. But it’s interesting because what really does come is true empathy when we have been there. We can say, “I totally get where you’re at”—that human-to-human experience. So, kudos to you because I know you had to go through a lot to get there. But what a beautiful thing to use that to really connect with people. And it kind of stinks [that we had to go through so much], but it [has prepared us] now that we’re doing what we’re doing.
Dr. Jill 20:25
[There’s] something we talked about at the beginning, before I got on here, that I want to address because I have so many listeners that can relate. You and I both have a little bit of experience with mold. The thing that we talked about, and I really want to hear your perspective, was… I say this in lectures too; I’m sure you do when you’re teaching. You can be completely well adjusted, have done all the therapy in the world, have a great mindset, can have a great family system—all these things can be in place—and that mold toxin is so nasty on the limbic system that it can blow you out of the water. You don’t have the resources to deal with it. Talk a little about your experience—and I’ll share mine too—how mold can be so nasty and it can really sabotage all of these beautiful things that you’ve done and know how to do.
Erin Pheil 21:10
I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder as a teenager and dealt with depression for much of my life and thought that that was one of the worst things ever. When I started to experience the mold toxicity, [it] amplified my severe depression—probably times 10—and then added layers of debilitating anxiety on top of it. I’d never experienced anything like it in my life. It took everything that I thought I knew and just ramped it up a hundred times. So many of the people that I’ve talked about [describe things] like: “I had to shut down my business”; “I had to stop driving”; “I couldn’t be in light”; “I couldn’t talk anymore.”
Erin Pheil 21:55
Somehow I was able to continue growing my business. But that was all I could do; I couldn’t do anything else. I lost my primary relationship in my life. I lost three business communities. I lost my primary social group and social community. I was told I was too negative. I was told I was too sad. I was told I was too heavy.
Erin Pheil 22:18
Here I am supposed to be the founder of a mindset company, and I’m facilitating the transformation of all these people out there, yet I’d be sitting at home on the couch riddled by panic and terror. My brain’s like: “You’re going to die; you’re going to die; you’re going to die!” I’m like: “I am? Why? What’s happened?! Is there someone… ” It was almost as if there was a burglar in the house or I heard a gun. I was having that kind of reaction throughout the day, and I didn’t know why.
Erin Pheil 22:49
I did so much mind work [that] there were no stories left. There were no stories going on in my mind. But my body was having a reaction that made me feel like I wasn’t going to be okay and that everything was going to fall apart with no story attached. It was the most debilitating, and terrifying experience. Here I am going, “No, I’m just going to live my life” and I’m trying to go to conferences or events. I’m having to leave in the middle and go cry in a back room, and I don’t have a reason why. There’s nothing wrong. I’m just like, “I don’t know what’s happening.”
Erin Pheil 23:26
I was getting [my] hormones checked and everything. The bloodwork seemed relatively normal. So I’m again being told: “Everything’s normal with you. It must be in your head.” That advice, “It must be in your head,” as a mindset person, I started to doubt, like, “Do I not know my stuff?” It turns out it was actually in my body, my brain, and my nervous system, and it wasn’t actually in my mind. It wasn’t until I figured that out and started to clear out the mold—that even took me a while to figure out the best way for me—that was the only thing that allowed all the work that I had done to actually lock into place.
Dr. Jill 24:07
Wow, what a story! I love what you said because I would say 100% of the patients I treat for mold-related illness. I do a lot of that nowadays. Somehow, I accidentally became the mold expert. What I heard in your story that’s so relevant—I’ve looked into the research, in the literature over and over—[is] this chemical limbic activation. Like you said, you can have all the knowledge, you’ve done all your work, and you don’t have any stories [to work through], but that chemical—it can be toxic chemicals, but mold is probably one of the worst—goes right into our nose, into our hypothalamus through the cribriform plate. There is literally a chemical reaction—hypothalamic to the limbic system—causing that whole fear.
Dr. Jill 24:48
What it feels like is if we were scared by a lion or tiger, like you were feeling in your house. But it’s a chemical trigger. It’s literally mapped out; this is in the research. There’s no question that that chemical triggers [a severe reaction]. I just went for years trying to figure out: Why do people… ?
Dr. Jill 25:02
There are a lot of people who have stuff they need to work on and everything, but there are a lot of people who are very conscious and aware and they’ve done their work and they get mold. Even in my own experience—the same thing—there’s this trauma loop, this trauma response. I was like, “How does that fit?” But I realize it’s a chemical trauma response. Just like we have a physical scare, a childhood trauma, or memories, the chemical triggers that same limbic loop. So, what you said is so relevant.
Dr. Jill 25:29
I’m sure listeners, you’ve experienced this as well, and I have as well, where there’s this fear. Some people get stuck in it where they can’t even live in a home or they’re afraid because literally whenever you smell or are exposed to mold again, it re-triggers that trauma. So you go into that fear response. It’s so real. But most doctors don’t know that mold is not just an allergy. Like you said, “It’s all in your head.” That makes it worse because we start to doubt.
Dr. Jill 25:59
For me, part of the learning was that I really doubted myself and my ability to know what was true and right and good and the direction to go, so I started outsourcing to other people. When we are in that mode and we’re outsourcing—especially to doctors who all tell you you’re crazy—you start to believe it because you’re like, “Well, everybody says this is all in my head, it must be.” So how did you get out of that, then? And how long has it been since you’ve gone through—
Erin Pheil 26:25
Yes, I got my diagnosis the third week of October last year and started a protocol. First, I had the mold remediated from the property where I was at. I’ve since moved a few weeks ago; I told you I moved. Because it had impacted my leaky gut and I had brain autoimmunity and all the things that come along with it, I started a different rotation [such as] AIP diet and then tons of supplementation. It didn’t really help for a while. For three months… [inaudible 27:04 – 27:11] …my life, I would say.
Erin Pheil 27:14
What saved my life was actually Kambo. I did a trip—four Kambo ceremonies over one weekend. Within three or four days, suddenly the debilitating brain fog that I had cleared for the first time. I remember having my first positive thought in like a year. Like, “Things are going to be great!” I was like, “Oh, ahhh! Part of my brain just came back on!” And it went away, but it was like: “Oh, things are coming back. I’m here. I’m here.” So, since then I’ve done another couple of ceremonies and I’ve since been micro-dosing one to three times a week. That has just kept everything getting better and better and better to [the point] where I’m feeling more and more and more like my normal self again.
Dr. Jill 28:01
Yes, it takes a while. It’s a process. I totally remember. It’s an amazing story and all that you’ve been through. Like I said, I love that we can both talk about [similar experiences]. I think before we got on, I mentioned this too. Just last weekend with physicians, I was actually sharing—I don’t do this a lot—images of me at my sickest [point] with the mold. I had acne and scarring, lost all my eyelashes, and [had] rashes. I was telling them [how] I remember, in the midst of the worst of it, I literally sat in my car and cried, and I was like: “I can’t go out there. I’m supposed to know how to heal people.” And you, [with] this mindset, you’re this expert. When we hit our humanity and our own blocks, first of all, we learn a lot from them. But there’s also this shame around feeling like we should know the answers [and that] this should work—sometimes it doesn’t.
Dr. Jill 28:47
I remember being in that spot in my sickest where I was afraid to even be seen. I felt like I was so sick and not a healer. But it was so precious because everybody in that room could relate. Any of us, we all have our areas where we don’t have it all fixed or all together, whether you’re a healer or a patient or doing any sort of job. I love that we’re both so honest about that because it’s very, very real. I think there’s a lot of shame around feeling like we’re an impostor. It doesn’t mean that. It’s [about] learning more through those experiences.
Erin Pheil 29:19
Dr. Jill 29:21
So, tell us more about what you offer. What are you doing? What kind of programs do you have?—because I love what you’re doing. Is it mostly online or in person? Or how does that work?
Erin Pheil 29:32
Yes. So 98% of the work that we do is virtual; it’s online. We have a handful of different programs right now. Everything is private and one-on-one. The work that we do is not like teaching, coaching, or therapy. We’re like surgeons; you come in with a lot of pain and we’re going to pull out the splinters so that you can heal up and there’s nothing left to cope with or deal with or manage. You just go back out without the pain and without the splinters, without anything that you have to keep repeating as you try to heal. Because of that, everything we do is private, one-on-one programs.
Erin Pheil 30:10
We have a few different tiers; it’s a bit like a Mayo Clinic for the mind. So, no matter what program you’re in, you typically have a group of our coaches, a program manager, and me managing your case throughout your whole experience. Most of our programs are 3–4 months [long]. The longest someone works with us is six months. So we don’t have: “You’re going to work with us for the long term.” We don’t have continuation programs. You come in, we’re going to find the root cause of what’s going on, we’re going to clear it, and we’re going to send you back out to be an amazing human.
Erin Pheil 30:43
We offer four quarterly private events for people who are interested in really pushing their comfort zone and having an incredible once-in-a-lifetime experience. They’re typically held in Colorado, but that’s the only opportunity to work with us and be in person. So, yes. We have our private programs and our quarterly events.
Dr. Jill 31:03
I love that! It’s interesting because with the classical therapy we learned in medical school—cognitive behavioral therapy—you go back every week and talk about the same things over and over and over again. For most things, it doesn’t work well. There are certain indications for that, granted, and there are experts—so I hope I’m not overspeaking. But what I found personally, like you, is that the work that really worked for me was these things, where I had a session and something cleared and it was never there again. It was gone—just like a splinter. I dealt with that piece of my childhood. I dealt with that piece of how I was thinking and it shifted. I came out of that hour session or two-hour session and I was a different human from that day on.
Dr. Jill 31:44
So, I love that you’re saying that because that somatic-based work typically works that way where you really shift. If you aren’t shifting, you need a new therapist, right? You need a new program. I really appreciate that you mentioned that because I think my personal experience is the same way. The most powerful work I’ve done has been transformational and in the moment. There are some things that I look back [on], like the kind of relationships. Some really rough things. I won’t talk about that here. And I was like: “I can’t even imagine that girl. How could she think that way or do that thing?” Because I shifted the mindset of the trauma that was driving that.
Erin Pheil 32:22
Yes, absolutely. To speak also to one of the points that you just made, if it’s not working, you probably need a different therapist or a different coach… One of the things that we learned the hard way—a lot from my personal experience and then from the experiences of some of the clients that we had to refund over the initial years in business—is that if you have a severely dysregulated nervous system and if there are things going on somatically in your body and you don’t have a base feeling of being safe in yourself, mind work is not the next step for you in the sequence. You really have to start with a regulated nervous system and basic body health.
Erin Pheil 33:04
For me to try and do mind work when I was in the middle of mold was fruitless, and nobody told me that. We’ve had people who had nervous system dysregulation and were going into dorsal vagal freeze loops; they can’t process and their mind isn’t there. So, if something’s not working or nothing’s working, it is possible you need to pause, take a step back, and regulate your nervous system before you do some of the mind work. That can be so powerful, but only when it’s done in the right kind of order and sequencing.
Dr. Jill 33:38
I love that you’re saying that, because as a functional medicine doctor, [I’ve seen the] same exact thing. When I have someone with mold or chronic illness of any type, we have to go to that limbic system—like we talked about—that activation. I love that you mentioned safety. Because often, even with mast cell activation—which is usually the second thing we have to deal with; that’s basically when the mast cells react to everything in the environment—at the core, there’s [inaudible] where the body’s not safe. It can be on a chemical-physical level, but it can also be on an emotional-mental level. Even though I am not a psychiatrist or anyone in that realm—I refer out to people more like yourself or your program or other people who know what they’re doing—I can at least recognize when my patients are in a place where they’re not safe. Physically or emotionally, they may be safe, but their mind and body feel unsafe. It can be an old story or an old childhood pattern. But, I love that you mentioned that, because that’s really where we start, both of us, finding them a place where they can start to feel safe in their own body.
Erin Pheil 34:36
Dr. Jill 34:47
Yes. I love that. Wow, amazing. So, where can people find you? What’s your website? We can put some links in.
Erin Pheil 34:45
Sure. The easiest way for someone to learn more about the work that we do is to go to our website, which is mindfixgroup.com. If people are short on time, I recommend they go straight to the results page, so it’s mindfixgroup.com/results. You can click the ‘results’ button at the top and you can scroll down that page; it’s like four and a half miles long. We were at a point where we don’t even know if we should keep updating it because it’s taking so long to load. It’s where we share what people have experienced when they go through our work so that others out there who are like me 5-7 years ago can start to have hope that change is possible. Even if they’ve been stuck or there are issues that they think are different from everybody else’s, we want people to at least go there and see what’s possible from just real, normal people like you and I. So the website is definitely the easiest way to find out about our work. If someone’s on Facebook, they can look me up and friend me. I often share case studies, ideas, and [other] things on my personal Facebook page too.
Dr. Jill 35:53
Awesome. I will share those links. I actually just put them in, if you’re listening here today.
Erin Pheil 35:58
Dr. Jill 35:58
Erin, awesome. Any last bits of advice? You’ve been through a lot. Say someone out there is suffering in the middle of mold or getting through that or feeling like: “I can’t overcome this, but I want to and I’m willing to do the work.” What would you tell them?
Erin Pheil 36:15
Well, number one is to look into Kambo. It truly saved my life and kind of fast-tracked me back toward health. That’s the one thing I invite people to research to see if it would be a good fit for them. Number two, if people are trying mind work and nothing seems to be working, double check that you’re working with someone who specializes in rapid transformation or is working with newer mind technologies versus some of the old-school [ones such as] CBT [which is] long term. It takes massive repetition to change anything. That’s definitely more of an old-school way of thinking that’s not required anymore. Also, if nothing seems to be working with your mind, definitely take a step back and work with someone like you to examine what’s going on somatically and in the body and in the nervous system to make sure that there’s a proper foundation for you to be able to take advantage of and leverage mind work.
Dr. Jill 37:10
Perfect, beautiful advice. I couldn’t agree more. Even with me, I do the medical side. But I often need people like you or other programs because that piece of the mindset and those changes correlate so well with healing. Erin, what a treat to meet you. Since we’re neighbors, we’re going to have to connect again soon. Thank you so much for your time today!
Erin Pheil 37:31
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