Catherine DeMonte is Goddess of the Week!
Catherine DeMonte, LMFT is helping women ignite their inner goddess! As an extension of her private practice in psychotherapy, she leads groups for women called "Women Living Full Out" and "Ignite Your Inner Goddess." How awesome is this!"My work is about bringing people back to their most authentic self. This means being true to who they came in as," she says.Catherine combines her 20 years of expertise as a psychotherapist with her passion for all things Goddess, to help women live in their full potential. "I love seeing women blossom and find their true Goddess Selves and feel honored to help them facilitate that in their lives," she says.TB: What inspired you to start a class for women dedicated to "igniting their inner goddess?"CD: I first started thinking about women as Goddesses outside of my work. Instead of dinner parties or birthday parties, I used to throw Goddess parties that celebrated my girlfriends. I would gather my closest girlfriends together and we would dress in long, flowy things [laugh]. There were lit candles everywhere and we would give gifts to each other. For example, I know sign language. So one time, I signed a song to them as a gift. Someone else went around and did foot massages for each woman. These parties were so beautiful. Doing these parties in my home led me to then think in terms of doing this in my work. Of course I don't have people do foot massages or readings in my office [laugh]. The way I bring it to clients is different.TB: Tell me more about that. CD: My work I feel is about bringing people back to their most authentic self. This means being true to who they came in as. When we come back to that, it is amazingly beautiful. In my mind, that is what a goddess is – somebody who is not afraid to use her voice, not afraid to show up in the world, not afraid of using her gifts, and her self-talk is kind. I realized that is what people were getting from my work. People were coming back to their most authentic self – and I realized, “That’s the Goddess.”TB: What is some of the methodology you use to help people get back to their most authentic self?CD: My psychotherapy is about healing the inner child and about knowing our truth. For me that includes recognizing our stories and the things we were told – and what was not true. In other words, the things that were our parents’ stuff, or the things we picked up in society. My work is about letting people go back to that time and readdress it.I sometimes will have the adult client imagine holding the little girl they were at the time of a hurt and just rock them and have them talk. Then the adult self with all the wisdom they have now from having grown up, will look back and share with the child that those feelings she has make sense. I believe that what creates a wound is that no adult said to the child, “You didn’t deserve that.” Or “That was not fair.” For example, if a dad said something really mean to his child, or beat his little girl. If the mom, however, says, “I see it and it’s not okay,” that will shift how it lands in that little girl. But if no adult says anything, then she thinks, “I must deserve this.”Adults are like God when we are little. Not only will we interpret the situation as "this is how the world works and I am going to start expecting it to go like this," we also interpret it as "it must be that I deserve it."What I have my clients do is write down what they told themselves at the time. Then, even though it's them (their adult self), saying to their inner child, "You didn't deserve that," it's amazing how much that heals. When we shed the things that aren’t true about us, we do healing. And when we do our healing, we come back to our authentic selves.TB: You are holding very powerful space as a psychotherapist. What are some important leadership lessons you have learned in terms of holding space for women so that they can return to their most authentic selves?CD: For me, it required a lot of my own inner work. To step into the role of leading other women, I had to know that it was okay to show up. I had to do a lot of my own work around my birth story and the messages I took in growing up. Doing my own work got me in touch with how much I was living with a mask, and how much I was playing small in order not to threaten anybody else. So the more work I did, I not only discovered that it was more fun to live in that place, but also started getting feedback from others like, “There is something different about you,” or “You have good energy.” In other words, they were saying things what were indicating that I seemed comfortable in my own skin.
It took a lot of shedding layers to get that comfortable. I think that was what enabled me to know that it was okay to step into that role of inviting other women into that place. I don’t think I could have done that had I not done my own work.
TB: What is one major obstacle you have moved through?CD: I used to be afraid of showing up “too big.” You know that Marianne Williamson quote about how it’s not our darkness that we are afraid of, but our light? I think that I embodied that big time. For me, it was that somehow showing up fully was going to be threatening. I had to recognize that playing small was not only not serving my Highest Self, but also keeping me from serving the people I could be reaching. In other words if I stayed playing small, I would have fewer clients and do less powerful work with the ones I have.TB: In your work, what do you find is the biggest block for women to use their voice?CD: I would say a little girl raised with shame and criticism when she spoke is how we learn how not to use our voice. It can show up as simply as a little girl saying: “I’m hungry.” And her mother says, “How could you be hungry? We just ate.” Or the little girls says, “It’s cold in here.” And the parent says, “Cold? It’s not cold.” In other words, the girl's feelings are denied. It’s often bigger than these examples, but it can be as little as these. The girls then thinks, I don’t know my own feelings. And when I speak them, I get put down. That’s a very subtle way we learn not to use our voice, but oftentimes it’s much more overt than that.I know when I was growing up, I had an aunt who said: “Children should be seen, not heard.” To hear things like that made me, and I have heard the same from a lot of other women, that they don’t have a right to speak out. In fact, my clients have reported that when they shared their gifts as young girls, they were often told that they were “bratty” or were "showing off."TB: You work with male clients too. Do you find that there is a difference between men and women on this issue of using their voice?CD: I do. My male clients were often brought up by fathers who criticized them. But for some reason it doesn’t show up for them as, That makes me afraid to use my voice. For those men I have seen that were raised that way, they got very loud ... because men tend to act out, and women tend to go in. So they had more of a tendency to have the attitude of, Dammit I’ll be heard. For women, instead it's: If you don’t want to hear from me, I’ll just be quiet. We kind of acquiesced and got quiet. While boys and girls may have gotten the same message, I think it shows up in the opposite way in terms of their behavior as adults.TB: What inspiration do you want to share with women to encourage them to use their voice and allow themselves to be seen and heard?CD: When women come from this place of recognizing their own strength and beauty and allow their gifts to shine, they will find that what comes back to them is so incredible. Before you step into this place, you have no idea how giving this place is – how benevolent people can be. People will step forward and want to assist you, provide for you, and give to you. People will say kind things. It shifts how you see things and what you attract when you step into this place. People will be drawn to you, but they won’t know exactly what it is that is drawing them to you. It’s like the “It Girl” of the 40s. People know there is something about an empowered woman, but they won't necessarily know what "It" is. That’s what stepping into a being a Goddess provides as well. It’s just such an incredible place to come from.TB: Do you think when a woman does this, it has a ripple effect?CD: Yes, I think it will make a difference on the planet if we come from this place. We will treat each other differently ... more kindly. We will treat ourselves better. It’s a calmer place to come from and live in.
To learn more about Catherine and her goddess work, visit www.catherinedemonte.com.
Tabby Biddle, M.S. Ed., is a writer, editor, and reporter dedicated to the empowerment of women and girls. Her work has been featured by The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, NPR, and other national media. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post on women’s issues and reports on the inspiring work of women changemakers. She lives in Santa Monica, CA.