Joanie hosts a special holiday episode with Fabrice Paracuellos. Fabrice is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of California. He helps individuals, couples, teams, and organizations with emotions, relationships, self-worth, and wellness. In addition, Fabrice has a technical background with multiple degrees in engineering and business and he’s worked for startups and large tech companies. Today, Fabrice talks about how technical leaders can be supportive to others both at work and at home to people who are stressed out or feeling bad during the holiday season.
Q: Tell us about your background, including your international studies and your work, and how you came to become a therapist and specialize in wellness and relationships.
Fabrice received therapy when he was a teen and it was a wonderful experience for him. He studied math and physics in high school and engineering in college. He worked in IT for several years. Having a daughter opened his eyes to doing something that was more meaningful to him, and he transitioned to international relations and business. Later, when he was ready, he trained to become a therapist.
Q: Technical leaders often say that they want to be a good partner or a good manager or a good friend, but they don’t know what to say to someone when that person says they are stressed out about family dynamics during the holidays. Can you help explain what kinds of stressors and emotions that holidays can bring up for people?
Fabrice explains that what’s called for in this situation may not play to the strength of a person who is really good at solving problems, as technical leaders often are. Simply listening and understanding the emotions that the person is experiencing may be all that is needed. Empathizing by acknowledging their stress may also help. He advises a straightforward statement, such as “That sounds very stressful.”
Fabrice has noticed that lots of tech folks, for various reasons, may not have developed a comfort level with emotions. He says that the trick can be to recognize the emotion the person you’re dealing with is experiencing and validating it. He recommends practicing with a good friend.
He also has found that technical leaders are often used to working in an autonomous fashion. Asking for help may not come naturally. A good friend can be a good place to start.
Listen to the episode to hear more from Frabrice about how to be a better listener, how to offer support at the workplace without getting too personal or intrusive, and how to manage your own emotions and stress during the holidays so you don’t become a tyrant at work.
Word of Wisdom:
In lots of situations, what’s called for is not what we’re good at.
Emotions are really logical when you are given the right theory and tools.
Noticing emotions is a form of data collection.
Emotions usually have valuable information in them that eventually need attending.