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Conversations with Alex Pack

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alex Pack.

Hi Alex, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I grew up in a family full of mental health professionals. My mother is a clinical psychologist and my father is a psychiatrist. When I was younger, I was adamant about not following them in their footsteps. I used to make jokes about how they analyzed my brother and me and how when I did something “wrong” I wanted them to just ground me like normal parents, not explore things like “why do you think you did that?” and “how did that make you feel?” Things changed for me as I grew up. I went through some personal challenges while I was away at college and I decided to go to counseling for the first time. While in my first session, I kept looking at my therapist and envisioning my parents sitting there talking with their clients. It was a “oh, so this is what my parents do” moment. I gained a newfound respect for them and their careers.

After I earned my master’s in clinical psychology, I was on my way to becoming a marriage and family therapist. I knew I wanted to go into private practice, which meant that I had to market myself, but the idea of networking and schmoozing with other therapists made my skin crawl. I don’t mean that disrespectfully – that’s just not me. So naturally as a millennial, I turned my attention towards Instagram instead. At first futuremindreader was this quasi private practice account, but it was mostly full of memes. It was a mess. I didn’t even really know what I wanted from it or how to navigate it successfully. I eventually decided to create a separate account just for my private practice, which helped futuremindreader become what it is today. Now futuremindreader has over 50k followers on Instagram and posts that reach millions of people. I never ever imagined people liking my content this much. It’s extremely surreal and humbling.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I’m a white heterosexual male who comes from a financially secure family on the westside of Los Angeles – so my life has been easy in so many ways. I hold a lot of privilege and I’ve benefitted from that my entire life. Most of my challenges, both professionally and personally, come from within myself. I can struggle with self-doubt, low confidence, and a mean inner critic (I refer to my inner critic as “the squatter” because he’s just there, being an asshole, and I can’t kick him out). So when I put my creative or professional self out there, it’s easy to get sucked into that negative tornado of self-criticism, fear, and negative beliefs. When your own voice is saying “you’re not good enough” it’s easy to hold yourself back. I think the big thing that’s helped me is reminding myself that courage is our ability to go for something that’s important to us even when we’re feeling scared or anxious. That I don’t need to be fearless, I want to be courageous.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I see my work as twofold. There’s the work I do as a psychotherapist and then there’s futuremindreader. If you follow that account, you can see “therapist Alex” all over the place – especially in the captions. That’s where I dive into topics like anxiety, depression, therapy, and relationships. This is the most meaningful part of the process for me because it’s where my two worlds collide… but I’m fully aware that the main reason why people follow my account and like it as much as they do is because of the memes. With that being said, I don’t like saying that I have a “meme account”. To me, that label doesn’t really capture what I do. It doesn’t mention the clinically informed captions or the original joke writing. I think people respond to futuremindreader as much as they do because of the mixture of mental health content and original jokes. I think the first popular meme I created was this joke about my anxiety being Arnold Schwarzenegger from Terminator saying “I’ll be back” after I use the skill I learned in therapy. This was before I even knew about using watermarks on my content, so I see that meme all over the internet… I just hope James Cameron doesn’t find it and yell at me.

Do you have recommendations for books, apps, blogs, etc?
I love going through the archives of Ted Talk and finding videos on psychology, art, business, and technology. My favorite presentations are by Brené Brown and Esther Perel. I can already see the therapists reading this rolling their eyes because everyone loves those two, but it’s true! Their podcasts are also interesting, engaging, and informative. But honestly, the thing that helps me the most, both creatively and professionally, is Headspace. Their guided mindfulness exercises help me pause, check-in, and realign. Andy Puddicombe, the co-founder and the voice of Headspace, has the most soothing voice on the planet, which also helps me relax.

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