We had the good fortune of connecting with Dan Drake and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dan, how do you think about risk?
As much as I’d like this to be the case, there is no “cruise control” for life. I’m either growing or I’m shrinking. That’s what I’ve found. And growing often involves challenge. Challenge often involves risk. What do I mean by this?
As a therapist, I’ve come to separate “comfort” from “safety.” My role is absolutely to create an environment where my clients are safe. Without safety, my clients will not open up and be vulnerable with me, letting me into their world so that I can help them. So, I take my role very seriously, and do everything I can to provide safety for them. Yet I’ve also learned that if I over-invest in clients feeling “comfortable” in addition to feeling safe, they may not challenge themselves to open up to me or themselves the grief, fears, pain, loss, or trauma that they have experienced in life. Opening up vulnerably is a challenge. It’s a risk. Vulnerability is a risk, because sharing our vulnerabilities may lead to further pain or trauma. Yet opening up vulnerably is a huge part of healing. And this isn’t always comfortable. Yet I hope it’s always safe for my clients to do so.
Similar to the work I challenge my clients to do, I also strive to keep growing rather than shrinking. I embrace challenge,
because I know it’s through challenging myself, rather than staying comfortable, that I can continue growing. I believe it was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, “Always do what you are afraid to do” There are a ton of things that I’m afraid to do. I’m afraid to write a blog article and post it to the world. I’m afraid to record a video or do a podcast. I’m afraid to write a book. I’m afraid to supervise other clinicians. I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t know how my thoughts will be received by others.
Yet even more daunting than facing these fears for me is the thought of how many ideas were never expressed to the world because of someone else’s fear. How many inventions were never made because someone didn’t want to take a risk? How much could the world be a better place because someone held back something that would help others? THIS motivates me to keep taking risks in my life and my career. I would rather look back on my life having challenged myself to try rather than looking back with regret that I let fear get the best of me.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I’m a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I’m founder and director of a group therapy practice, Banyan Therapy Group, where we specialize in treating sex addiction and betrayal trauma.
Starting this practice was incredibly difficult. It was a steep curve for me to learn how to not only be a therapist, but also a business owner, an HR department, an administrator, a landlord, a supply-stocker, a plant-waterer, and then how to learn to delegate those tasks when I needed to start doing so! I had to learn a lot to make my practice continue to grow.
What I’m most proud of is that Banyan Therapy Group is much more than about me – I have a team of wonderful clinicians who work with me. They make our practice what it is today. By showing the same dedicated passion to their clinical work that I’ve worked for all these years, they make our group what it is today. It’s an honor to be working with them. So my true excitement in having started a group practice is that I can help facilitate an environment that helps people heal in a way that I could never do if I was just trying to do this on my own.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
LA has so much to offer! I’d want to do a mix of some of my favorite things in the city: food, art, nature, and culture. I like taking the red line downtown, maybe stopping and getting a gourmet sausage at Wurstkuche. And I’m a sucker for sushi, so maybe we’d go to Kiwami if we really wanted to splurge. We could check out art at the Getty or LACMA, and of course I’d want to explore nature on a hike or hit up one of the amazing beaches we have. If we wanted to try something local and fresh, we may go to a farmer’s market, or take in the beauty at the Huntington Gardens.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to give a shoutout to my wife – As a writer I’ve seen her tackle her own fears to thrive doing what she loves. She’s become incredibly successful in a creative field, which is really difficult to do. She inspires me to keep taking risks. And more than professionally, she inspires me to keep growing, to be a better husband and father today than I was yesterday. I’m grateful for her and for how I’ve learned from her to grow through challenge and risk.