Previous Guest

Candice Kowalski-Dulaney (she/her) 

Dr. K joined Momma on October 11, 2021 to talk about Emotional Regulation During a Pandemic

About Candice

Candice Kowalski-Dulaney, known as Dr. K to her students, is a professor of social cognitive psychology at the University of North Texas at Dallas where was presented with the Meritorious Teaching Award in 2021 for her unique teaching practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has been teaching a variety of classes for the past 10 years including social psychology, abnormal psychology, lifespan growth and development, and gender and sexuality studies. She has performed extensive research in transgender self-disclosure, stereotype threat, and “safe spaces” in academia. Recent interests include joining the local clown troupe for an in-depth study of psychoanalytic theory in performance, using D&D as a form of role-play therapy, and actively studying emotional regulation for trauma and anxiety-related disorders. In her spare time, Dr. K is adjusting to being a new mom and planning a life-changing move to Colorado to achieve her family dream of raising a family in the mountains.

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Episode Summary

In this episode of Even Tacos Fall Apart, MommaFoxFire dives into a crucial conversation with Dr. K about Emotional Regulation. The podcast, known for its open and candid discussions about mental health struggles, chronic pain, and overcoming adversity, takes a deep dive into the impact of the pandemic on emotional well-being.

The interview begins with a reflection on the additional challenges posed by the pandemic, particularly in terms of coping strategies. Dr. K shares her personal favorite coping methods, highlighting the importance of adapting and finding safer yet still healthy alternatives. The conversation delves into the struggle of finding personal space, especially during the early days of the pandemic when restrictions were more stringent.

The discussion then shifts towards the unique challenges faced by different age groups in terms of emotional regulation. Dr. K emphasizes the crucial role of modeling constructive behaviors for children, highlighting the influence of observed behaviors on their emotional development. The conversation touches upon societal expectations and the impact of gender norms on emotional expression, shedding light on the dysregulation of anger in the masculine population.

The episode further explores the importance of practicing emotional regulation proactively, treating it as an exercise for the mind. Dr. K introduces the concept of role play therapy, a safe space for individuals, especially those with neurodivergences like anxiety or ADHD, to practice emotional responses in a controlled environment.

The focus then shifts to the groups most at risk for emotional regulation issues. Initially praising essential and healthcare workers for their stellar emotional regulation, Dr. K discusses the burnout they experienced as well. She introduces Hans Selye's General Adaptation Syndrome, explaining the phases of stress response and how prolonged stress can lead to exhaustion.

The conversation takes a poignant turn as MommaFoxFire and Dr. K discuss the impact of the pandemic on family units. The pressure cooker analogy is used to describe the mounting frustration within families, exacerbated by the ongoing challenges. MommaFoxFire shares her personal experience, underscoring the need for effective communication and the occasional necessity of reevaluating relationships for one's well-being.

As the episode progresses, the conversation touches on various topics, including the role of boundaries in maintaining mental health, the power of setting personal limits, and the significance of prioritizing wellness. Dr. K emphasizes the importance of recognizing mental health as a top priority, challenging the misconception that mental well-being is a luxury.

Dr. K passionately advocates for pushing mental health into a top priority, echoing the urgent need for accessible mental health resources.

Throughout the episode, MommaFoxFire and Dr. K share personal anecdotes, professional insights, and practical advice, creating a comprehensive exploration of the challenges posed by the pandemic on emotional regulation. The tone remains conversational yet impactful, staying true to Even Tacos Fall Apart's mission of reducing the stigma surrounding mental health through open and honest dialogue.