People call you Fred — where did that come from?
My real name, Ann-Sofie, always ended up as either Sofie or Ann. One time somebody thought it was Aunt Sofie. His friend remembered an Aunt Sofie and Uncle Fred TV show or something like that and there it was, my nickname became Fred. It stuck with me and it was easier than my real name. Fred means peace in Swedish; I like that.
What sort of therapy do you practice? Do you have a specialty?
I am an addiction therapist, sex and love addiction. I practice as a Fritz Perls Gestalt therapist using The Empty Chair method, am a meditation teacher, and I hold lectures as well.
Love Addiction Isn’t About Love
What do you mean by love addiction?
It is not love we talk about when we speak about love addiction. A love addict uses their idea of what love is and projects it onto a subject. It is superficial in the sense that it has little to do with the truth of who that someone is, and more to do with the idea that the love addict projects onto their chosen person. It has more to do with intensity than with intimacy. So unless there is drama of some sort in this kind of relationship it will not last.
Imagine two people in a relationship that project their ideal version of a partner onto each other. The person may look the part but their partner isn’t at all who they think they are. So as soon as one partner then displays who they really are the other is going to want to change them. You may be angry at them when they are who they are. “If he only was like this…” “If she only did that…” “She used to always be so pleasant, now she is like a…” “I don’t know what happened to him, he used to be so much fun and now he is so…”
As with all addictions, it has less to do with how the addiction “expresses” itself and more to do with how well the chosen substance or process addiction (love, sex, work, gambling, etc) will help the person escape from themselves. All addictions are a way to self medicate away one’s true authentic self.
Fear of Rejection for Not Playing the Part
Here is an example of someone playing the part of the perfect partner in order to get so-called love.
“I’ve come to understand that I never have known what love is. Not as a child or as an adult. I believed that love was that feeling I felt when someone gave me their attention and validation. I would so call “fall in love” with someone based on their reaction to me. Someone would see me and project their fantasy of a woman on me and I would reciprocate by believing in their fantasy ignoring the fact that what they saw didn’t have anything to do with the truth of who I was and so I eagerly played the part they wanted me to play. It felt so good to have someone look at me with eyes that were filled with positive energy, acceptance, and desire. It felt so good that I gladly would stuff all my feelings and play along in their mental projection as far as I could. The more amazing someone would make me the more I would have to stuff myself away. Otherwise I’d risk rejection and that was the worst that could happen. Can you imagine, I was afraid of being rejected by not playing the part well enough.”
Meditation Meets Therapy
How does meditation help?
In my experience, as well as others I have met, what the outside world thinks and requires from me are that I should perform well, be productive and consume in order to be a person worthy of partaking in society. Many end up with a performance-based self-esteem this way. We are controlled by the outside world and feel that in order to get what we want we have to conform to what is required by society. We don’t learn to know ourselves, who we truly are, because what if it isn’t good enough? Many of us are deathly afraid of being rejected by the “flock.” We would rather reject ourselves than to be abandoned by others. In order to know who you truly are you need to stop performing and pretending and turn inward. When you face the thoughts that create such fear of not being able to measure up, you will see that they are as true as holograms. There’s no truth to a bunch of thoughts where the main purpose is to keep me small. If we can see this and learn, we will become more authentic, then life becomes worth living and not just a race after the next validation or approval from someone else. At least that is my experience.
How is meditation brought into your therapy?
I suggest it as it can be a valuable tool to learn to become more comfortable with being close to your own self. You will, hopefully, within a short time, learn to see that you are not your thoughts. In fact, thoughts come and go all the time. It’s when we react to them as if they were the factual, actual truth that they can affect us.
Overcoming Fear of Meditation
You mentioned that some people are frightened of meditation. What sort of people and why? How do you help them overcome it?
Some people aren’t comfortable to meditate although they have never tried. It’s the thought or the idea of meditation that either can seem uncomfortable, scary or even boring. There are people with trauma in their past that are too uncomfortable to meditate. Some don’t like to meditate with closed eyes, then we find alternatives if they want to try. That which we fear somehow “owns” us. We may constantly try to push that which we are scared of away from us. In my experience, that never works. What we resist persists, kind of thing. It’s like trying to hold a ball underneath the surface of water — it constantly tries to pop up, right? You can’t even scratch your nose and the ball will pop up on the surface. And although we are doing all we can to ignore the ball, there it is taking up almost all of our awareness. So we are living with only part of ourselves present in life, the rest of the time goes to thinking about how to handle the “ball.”
A Path to Who You Truly Are
Spirituality and therapy may seem unrelated. How do you relate the two?
I think that all depends on what the word spirituality and therapy means to you. For me, spirituality means realizing that I’m not separate from anything else. I am one part of a whole. Everybody and everything is interconnected. Many scientists are claiming this now, as they have in the past. Therapy optimally brings one closer to the truth of who one truly is. For me, spiritual means who I truly am. Therapy for me is that it gives me tools that helps me find my way to who I truly am.
Create Positive Energy Loops
When we were speaking earlier, you were telling me that life is energy and that what we put out is what we get back. What did you mean by that?
If we imagine that all is interconnected energy —we are energy and very little material, many suggest — then when we think certain thoughts they create a certain frequency within us. We feel it in our body and we react to that thought and the energy it emits. We become, in a sense, addicted to the feeling of that charge and we keep repeating it over and over even if that is not what we want. It can be negative and positive thoughts/energy, you get it.
So if I’m, for example, thinking negative thoughts every day about my life and what has happened to me, etc, and I’m living in the story of those negative thoughts in reference to an experience in the past, then I’m living in this negative frequency that makes me sad, angry, hopeless, afraid, etc. I feel as if that is the truth. Then I’m giving out this negative energy into the energy field that is everywhere and everything. Imagine a ball again, if you would. I throw the ball out into this energy field at a certain frequency and that ball then finds the same negative energy in that field and sends the ball back to you. In other words, the negative energy that we emit out into the greater energy field will respond as if you were throwing out a request for that energy to come back to you. So we have to stop throwing out and emitting the energy that we don’t want to have and start emitting the energy that we would like to have.
Fred is also one of the creatives of J&F, (Jeffrey Gold and “Fred” Ann-Sofie Lakso) jewelry, sold exclusively at Maxfield. Each piece of jewelry has a purpose, a reason for every detail, and, most of all, they are here to remind us of certain things, all is interconnected and meditation being some of the primary reminders. Fred also has an additional line of jewelry under the label Fredloves.