Photo by Jaime Borschuk | http://jaimeborschuk.photo/
Folks often get a nice dosage of therapy as well as aesthetic fulfillment from listening to the 100+ BFF.fm music and talk shows. Each Tuesday morning, BFF.fm’s Radical Advice speaks directly to the subject of therapy, and acts as a radio community care package, gracing our ears and spirits with much needed, fresh angled wellness checks. The show was created by the delightfully candid Lily Sloane. She is a licensed psychotherapist who sets out to discover the intersection of psychotherapy, personal growth and activism through the majesty of radio. The show is a platform for superbly genuine, compassionate, and always colorful personalities of the hosts and their vast array of guests. They cross pollinate various cultural themes, identity, and other modes of delving into ongoing questions that the human experience provokes. They dish out advice within a sentiment of “one-size-does-not-fit-all” in advocacy for each unique individual’s road to recovery, growth, or staying on track in healthy habits. Disclaimer... although the hosts and guests are mental health care professionals and offer innumerable sterling tokens of advice on air, this show does not replace mental health treatment.
The show consists of new or returning guests who help explore the week’s topic and brain storm possible solutions for the anonymous questions submitted online, or phone calls taken during live shows. The advice is fueled by ongoing discussions in empathetic and vulnerable collaborative settings. You won’t hear stuffy psychology textbook jargon, but rather flexible, inventive conversations that unpack varied examples of hardship in a supportive space for people to open up and assess the present situation as honestly as possible. All parties involved share struggles that surround topics including food and body image, patriarchy, racism, trauma, and addiction among other problematic forces that so often tend to inconsolably bum us out. Radical Advice addresses daily questions that plague our individual existence and how those experiences interconnect in larger societal dynamics through our government, history, culture, language, and down to the very most ephemeral interactions with others.
Lily launched Radical Advice in late June of 2017. She was joined by co-host and fellow psychotherapist, Brian Thompson in April of 2018. Lily brags on her enduring friendship with him, and beams with gratitude for what he brings to the table— which is irreverent humor. She admires Brian’s ability to incorporate an element of light-heartedness when moods are liable to take a murky turn on a show that can dig into the nitty gritty recesses of the human psyche. They have been known to fight on the show, and confront these tiffs either by talking through it after mic breaks, or sometimes during. These at times heated, on-air and unstaged feuds maintain the show’s authenticity that even therapists are also constantly navigating a frustrating process of adjusting certain dynamics in communication and relationships.
A bit about Lily leading up to her radio venture...She was born on the East Coast, and before moving to California at the age of 8, she spent the first half of childhood in Litchfield, Connecticut. Her parents worked as macrobiotic chefs at a mental hospital called “The Country Place.” This environment attributed much to her early curiosity about how to help people heal. In high school, when her parents were in the middle of finalizing their divorce, her best friend’s parents were therapists, which served as her introduction to therapy. Up until the end of high school, she had been contemplating a career in acting or music, but a combination of not feeling confident in her abilities and a sense that this wouldn't do enough good in the world led her to abandon those potential paths. During her undergraduate years at UC Santa Cruz and while earning her masters in Counseling Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies, she discovered that artistic self-expression and a profession in Psychology could very uncannily complement one another. And it’s evident that Lily has manifested just that within her broadcasting portfolio. She’s made a nifty amalgamation in all things Art blended with mental health awareness and experiential guidance— establishing herself as a psycho-creative chameleon of her craft.
Lily is… a lot of things. She’s a psychotherapist, writer, podcaster, radio host, audio engineer, musician, composer, artist, and a goddamn delight to shoot the breeze with as DJ Mr. Darcy found out when sitting down to pick her brain on how she picks her own and others’ brains...
How’d you come across BFF.fm?
LS: I found BFF.fm on Twitter a couple years ago. From there I made a bunch of friends, and now this radio station has become my community.
When did you get into broadcasting, and when did you become a radio host at BFF.fm?
LS: Last summer, as a radio host, and before that in January 2016 I launched my podcast A Therapist Walks into a Bar. Before this, I was already recording as a musician on my own, and self-taught myself in audio engineering.
What’s some good advice you’ve gotten recently?
LS: My therapist distinguished the difference between reacting and responding. The process of therapy is helping me learn how to slow down enough to respond, instead of just reacting in a knee-jerk manner. Responding is much more conscious and thoughtful, and that’s something I’m always working on. If I slow down a little bit, I might find out that I want to respond with empathy, or anger— the right choice in the moment might be vulnerability, which allows me to know that the feelings, whatever they may be, are all valid and okay. It requires that subtle pause, in order to really think about what you’re going to do instead of doing what you always do.
What are some of your most fundamental self-care tips?
LS: It’s really hard to do all the right things, whether it’s exercise or meditating, or not looking at social media for a certain number of hours. For me, so much of it is about having self-compassion and acceptance above all, working on unconditional love for myself, because I’m so mean to myself. The idea of loving yourself isn’t something you can do in isolation. I have people I can check in with who will love me no matter what, and they help me get out of my shame spiral. Self-love is important, and we can’t love ourselves by ourselves.
In a nutshell, how do you put a psychotherapeutic critique on capitalism and patriarchy?
LS: Mental wellbeing is not compatible with capitalism as we know it. We need to stop using stuff to numb out and avoid, and to instead give pause— by asking, what is really important to me? Capitalism wouldn’t survive if we were more rooted in empathy and connection.
Outside of Dj life, what do you enjoy doing? What are your obsessions?
LS: I’m definitely social- I enjoy spending time with people. I’m into home interior design stuff and crafty DIY things, whether it’s cooking, making my apartment really unique, or finding things on the street and refurbishing them. When I’m really stressed out, I start making extremely detailed floor plans of my apartment building. I have a continuous desire to dabble in any and every medium of art. I’m a big walker and explorer of the city. I enjoy rambling, not having a big agenda, and allowing myself to get lost. It feels good to move my body.
What shows/films/books have you seen/read recently? How were they?
LS: I mostly read fiction. I’ll get hooked on an author by becoming accustomed to and taking comfort in their voice as well as their style of writing. I enjoy reading Octavia Butler, Terry Pratchett, Thomas Pynchon, and for more emotionally heavy stories, I enjoy books like A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.
Have any particularly odd idiosyncrasies?
LS: Toilet paper has to go in the correct direction, the top of the roll pulling down (*DJ Mr. Darcy enthusiastically concurs). Also, I have to adjust picture frames, even in other people's homes. And I don’t have a “junk drawer” because I get too distracted by things not being in the right place.
What are your pet peeves?
LS: The thought that "happiness" is the main point in people’s goals— it overlooks the complexities of life in personal growth. It’s a narrative that emphasizes a value to optimize your life in possessions or appearances, rather than in rich, deep, emotional connections with others.
What do you find most purposeful/of value about BFF.fm, personally and for the community?
LS: Personally, this station brings together an inner circle of people, consisting of DJs and other BFF.fm members, who have shared values.
More universally, there are so many layers of relationships I’ve experienced that connect to a broader community outside of our internal camaraderie at BFF.fm’s station, and all of those relationships are really vital to me.
Radical Advice is an affirmation to listeners to feel, and believe, that they do not have to go it alone— as sugary sentimental as this is getting, every person needs to be reminded that we can bond through our shared struggles, and by first reaching out for support. Lily’s most radically resonating sentiment is in her reassurance, “I want to help people by being more transparent, in order to help people see that the stuff they’re suffering through, they’re not just seeing it in their head. It’s not just them. We live in a crazy world.”
So, if you’re contemplating buying another self-help book or have been frequenting WikiHow steps more often than you’d like to admit, consider to instead tune into Radical Advice every Tuesday from 10-12pm.
Other arenas you can find Lily and Radical Advice
A Picture's Worth - composer of the opening them song to a podcast dedicated to profiling women running for office
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I cried. Yes, I cried. It’s important to reach out, to be vulnerable, to create spaces where people feel less alone.
I think most (beauty) products are bullshit. Do what makes you feel good, work on accepting your body aging… You will get wrinkles. You will get sunspots. Your skin will sag. And then you will die. And I’m gonna die, too. So what do you wanna spend your time worrying about?”
Capitalistic culture banks on us not loving ourselves.
Happiness is another capitalist lie, it’s just an emotion, you experience it sometimes and other times you don’t. Negative self-talk stems from this idea of fitting the mold of a happy person- which is a bull shit model. We’re taught to have a certain body type, then we’re sold a bunch of products to achieve the BS model, which in turn fails to shape us into what we envisioned was the standard of being happy.
Self-love is an internalization of parental love done right. And when it doesn’t go right, we have to work on healing that. That’s why therapy is useful.