Today’s guest is one of my oldest friends, Nicholas Balaisis. I am sharing our conversation from my live Lunch With a Therapist event held on April 29th, 2021. The intent was to create a place where people could come in, ask questions, and be a fly on the wall of two old friends who have both had a passion for psychology for decades.

Nick and I delve into ideas around holding space and tensions throughout transitions in our lives. 

We also discuss the challenges of therapy and, in particular, the strong hunger for answers that we all feel from time to time. Nick proposes a beautiful idea about how to complicate the ways that we see our experiences and the tendency to initially see them through a narrow lens. He suggests, instead, the development of the ability to refract our experiences, resist the tendency to narrativise them, and ask many questions to keep the flexibility of our perception alive. 

Additionally, it is important to try and hold space around the pains we have experienced in life. We all carry wounds. They transform over time but they still remain within us. Whether they are buried deep below the surface or we are currently facing them, we all share a relationship to sensitive parts of our experience that only each of us as individuals can really touch within ourselves.

Nick is an incredibly bright thinker, a dear friend, and a talented psychotherapist. Tune in to hear our entire conversation and learn from Nick’s admirable sensitivity and incredible wisdom.

Show Highlights:

  • The crossroads Nick went through and how he navigated it.
  • His attempt to understand the confusion in his life.
  • The classical “mystification of the unconscious” model of psychotherapy.
  • Why Nick believes our unconscious isn’t simply suggesting one direction for our lives.
  • The privileged place of absolute freedom in therapy.
  • Whether or not psychological work can happen outside of therapy sessions.
  • The psychotherapeutic process’ relationship to the body.
  • Why it’s dangerous to become rigid in our interpretations.

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Mitchell Smolkin is a sought-after clinician, speaker, and author. For media and interview requests please contact his publicist Randy Phipps at For all other inquiries, please send mail to