After 6 months of living in a global pandemic and adjusting to a new world many people worldwide are suffering with their mental health. Lapalme magazine sat down with Hollywood’s premier mental health and spiritual guru, Cristina Dam. Cristina gives her advice on dealing with isolation and depression along with getting help through her virtual teachings at Liberate Yourself,  her spiritual center in Hollywood.  

With the onset of Covid-19, so many people were in distress. How do you think the pandemic is going to change people’s psyche?

The pandemic is going to change people’s psyches in numerous ways. It’s already started because people are becoming more isolated – in a state of inner perspective, inner focus. I think that, on many levels, there is an unconscious feeling of fear or social distance, that even upon the removal of social distancing, will remain with us for years, if not decades to come. People have been forced into isolation and now have gotten used to it, and they’ve built walls that will take a long time to come down. There’s more hesitation due to the pandemic and, at the same time, being hit with the political landscape and other big push-button topics, like BLM and civil unrest in general. People have adjusted to this new norm – and just so the readers know – in general, in psychology, it takes about three weeks to adapt to new behaviors or create a new pattern, and we’ve been on-going on this for over six months now. It’s going to take time to readjust. There’s going to be new ways of being that people have liked and disliked with this. I think with people stepping away from so much outward distraction and spending more time with their inner self, they realize who they truly are, what’s important to them, and how they used to spend their time, and the people they used to spend their time with, are not priorities. They realize who they’re not and what truly makes them happy. And we’re going to see a massive shift in the way people spend their time, money, and other behaviors. The most significant change in the psyche is a focus inward instead of a focus outward. I think we’re going to have a huge shift in our whole culture due to this. Consumerism, as we know it, is going to shift. People aren’t as concerned with that kind of stuff anymore. The values of relationships and spending time with people are increased, including deep, authentic connections instead of artificial topics and relationships. And that’s why people have a hard time right now because they realize that many of their relationships were built on artificial connections based on entertainment and not real deep, genuine connections. 

We know you are a licensed hypnotherapist. Do you think therapy is a great way to combat negative feelings and bring yourself back to the light?

Absolutely. To make a change, you must take what you’re feeling internally and find a way to depict or state it in words to get it outside of you. Therapy is a great tool, but it’s not the only tool. Having deep, meaningful conversations on truth and what is going on inside with friends, family, or significant people in your life are also a way. But you have to take what you’re feeling and allow yourself to express it. The next step would be becoming aware of what you would like instead of that negative feeling and creating strategies – these can be habits, behaviors, etc. – that you do to start combating those negative feelings with more positive, uplifting replacements. The benefit of working with a therapist is they’re trained to help give you the structure, support, recommendations, and ideas that will help you shift out of these negative states. So the friends are good, but they might not give you the recommendations or structure to change.

What are some of the group virtual services you offer, and can clients book one-on-ones with you or different therapists?

We offer many different meditations that are also very much geared towards healing and transforming energy, thoughts, and beliefs in a group setting. We also do offer some classes and workshops; however, our primary focus is our one-on-one services. These services are just as effective remotely as in person and can be done over Zoom or the phone. They include gaining insight and perspective through intuitive readings, helping you release or reactivate your energy through energy healings and reprogram your mind and hold you accountable through hypnotherapy or coaching. We are here to help you pivot and transform your life, and myself or any of our exceptional practitioners can be booked at www.LiberateYourself.com

We have watched and enjoyed different Liberate University and The Liberate podcast episodes, so why did you decide to move into that genre? What is your advice if someone wanted to start their own spiritual podcast?

I started Liberate the Podcast to help people get to know the different services and deep dive into various spiritual topics that many of our customers had several questions on. This was created as a platform to support our practitioners, our classes, and our services by allowing people like you to get to know what we do and meet the people behind it. Liberate University was started to deep dive into topics and give people tools to use in their daily lives to shift, change, and transform. 

My biggest advice for anybody that wants to start their own spiritual podcast is just to get started. Don’t worry about it being perfect, don’t worry about the timing being right, you’ll figure it out as you go – you can see over our 100s of episodes that we’ve made mistakes, and we’ve learned and continued to improve as we went.

Mental health seems to be the final frontier in society’s acceptance. Why do you think that is? What are some ways to help friends and family in distress with mental issues?

For a long time, there has been a negative stigma on mental health. This is mainly due to our past and people not understanding or knowing what to do with people that had mental health issues. And still today, there’s almost like, this “let’s just make it out of mind, out of sight” or “there’s something seriously wrong with you” if you have a problem or an issue. We treat it as an infectious disease. We don’t treat it as a human going through a difficult time that maybe the stresses, society, and life are causing pressures that are creating mental illness. And the interesting thing in this is that mental illness is one of the most common problems people face. Over a third of the American adult population will go through a major depressive period in their lifetime. If you add in anxiety and stress, you are looking at almost every individual. There’s such a stigma because even though some people might be able to go to a psychiatrist and get medication, it’s not a quick fix. There’s so much complexity to it that – it’s not a disease or an illness that somebody can say “this is what’s wrong with you” – even though it can be that simple, it’s not looked at as that simple. And we’re expected to be productive, happy, and be okay still. Since it’s something with the mind and not the body, that something is not always apparent. There’s a separation that seems to exist within that – and in our past, we’ve very much stigmatized it and locked people away in insane asylums and made people feel less than if they couldn’t function in society, instead of helping to support or figure out what was wrong. There’s pressure from society that we need to perform; we need to be good; we need to continue to be productive. The problem with having any mental illness or issues is that often, productivity goes. The loss of energy, motivation, and the way people can show up in their own lives is compromised, and that’s not accepted. 

1) It can often be highly complex, and so, because we can’t just quick-fix it or objectively fix it or have a solution at the ready, we don’t want to look at it.

2) Also, the way we’re expecting people to be in society, show up in society, conform, perform, produce, and succeed – anything that doesn’t, isn’t accepted.

Some ways you can help friends and family in distress with mental issues, as simple as it might sound, is to be there for them. Let them have the space to talk and to vent. It’s essential that you don’t take what they say personally and you allow them to express themselves from their point of view and their current model of the world. Love and support work miracles for somebody that is going through a difficult time. It is also important to help somebody shift their routine because different experiences, environments, and routines will cause the mind to shift and produce different neurotransmitters, different states of being, and different results. These activities are most effective if they’re things that can create states of happiness or wellbeing. Being outdoors in nature, playing a game, laughing at a comedy or a show are great places to start. 

Contact Cristina Dam at www.LiberateYourself.com

Photography by Filbert Kung @filbert_kung

derek warburton