Reassessing midlife for fulfillment—transition from minister to therapist.
In season 2, episode 2 (part 1) of Shifting Our Shit (S.O.S.) podcast, Megan introduces Britt
Riddle, a therapist at The Mindfulness Center. Britt is originally from Louisville, but more
recently she lived in Virginia and Western Kentucky while serving in congregations as an
ordained minister. Britt describes how she found herself drawn to the moments she calls “deep
spaces,” in ministry such as the sacred conversations that happened in hospital rooms, in nursing
homes, and at funeral services. Though no longer serving professionally in a congregation, Britt
continues to engage in spiritual practices by attending a Quaker meeting (where there is no
ordained leadership) where she is learning new ways of being in community with people without
being responsible for leading or managing the space.
Britt holds both a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree and a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) degree,
and it was this path and her own experience of burnout that eventually led her to return to
Louisville in order to pursue a degree in marriage and family therapy. Britt shares that being a
therapist had always been in the back of her mind, but the timing was not right to make this shift
until more recently.
Self-care for sensitive people.
Britt self-identifies as a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), and shares how the “sensitive” trait is
often overlooked and/or misunderstood—as a personality it exists on a continuum—we all have
some level of sensitivity and those with higher levels tend to take on more energy and feelings
from others. Britt discusses how having high empathy and high sensitivity traits led to
compassion fatigue and burnout as a minister, and ultimately, a career shift to become a
For those who are HSPs, Britt describes the importance of recognizing and honoring your needs
for downtime and solitude in order to process and recharge emotions. HSPs are often drawn to
personal and professional work that involve caring for others, which makes the need for
boundaries essential in order to maintain emotional and physical health.
Britt highlights the importance for HSPs of seeking support and professional help when
needed—especially when feeling emotionally overwhelmed. She pursued a degree in marriage
and family therapy to better understand her own experiences and now works with clients who are
experiencing compassion fatigue and burnout.
Pause before reacting to emotions.
Britt highlights the practice of pausing before reacting to emotions. In her own experience Britt
does this by paying close attention to her internal, somatic experience, allowing her to recognize
when her heart rate is increasing and any other physical symptoms she may notice. These
physical cues serve as a reminder to pause and take a moment before responding/reacting to a
situation, which allows our brain to kick in and make active, mindful decisions about how to
respond (rather than react in a way that may be unhelpful). Mindfulness involves being present in
the moment and fully aware of one’s thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. By practicing
mindfulness, we can become more attuned to our emotions and recognize when we are starting to
feel dysregulated or overwhelmed.