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Pioneer Stories: Sean Brosnan

The world needs pioneers, people willing to try something new, break new ground and set out on new paths.

In our latest Pioneers article, we had photographer Sam Ciurdar sit down with Sean Brosnan, an actor turned psychotherapist. It was a chance to understand the root of his interesting career change and how he overcame personal struggles.

We wanted to hear about Sean's creative process, how he looks after his mental health and of course, what it was like growing up with a super famous father...

"I help people find the courage to look at the things in which they fear. The idea is not to become less afraid, the idea is to become more courageous"

You’ve been selected as a Pioneer for &SONS - What’s your definition of the word Pioneer?

My definition of a pioneer; I think it's about going into uncharted territory, an unexplored setting, and bringing others on the journey. I think psychologically speaking; we can do that. We are all pioneers to the extent in which we explore and journey within ourselves. 

The more we can discover, the more we can connect with others. One of my favourite quotes is by Carl Jung, who said,“That which you most need will be found where you least want to look.” Sometimes, to connect with others and be a good husband, a good father, and a good son, we need to heal parts of ourselves that perhaps are separating us from the people we love the most.

So being a pioneer to me means going inside and healing the parts of ourselves that we perhaps don't want to look at in order to connect with those we love. I think everybody can be a pioneer; it just takes a lot of courage.

Tell us your story. How did you begin your career and what led you here?

I grew up in the film industry. My dad is an actor, so I was just in that world. I figured I'd give being an actor a shot. I wrote ans directed a few films as well.I made some movies and some great TV shows and met a lot of fantastic people. However, I kind of lost myself along the way. It wasn't really my true passion. I think I was chasing after false idols, and at some point, I realised I had to change and I didn't know what to do. I ended up getting involved in drugs and alcohol and causing a long trail of destruction behind me. 

When my daughter was born, I figured I had to turn things around. I had to change and it was a very scary process because I didn't know what I was going to do to provide for my family. 

I went back to school, I got a master's in clinical psychology, and I got sober. I decided I wanted to help people, so I began to do that. I worked at rehabs and as a sober companion. Then I started helping people with anxiety and depression, trauma, relationship problems, and parenting. I really feel like I kind of found myself losing myself in the service of others. I help people find the courage to face things because I think to me the idea is not becoming less afraid; it's about becoming more courageous.

In your work, what values do you cherish the most?

I think in my line of work, the truth is probably the most salient value I can think of. If we're not honest with another individual about where we are emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually, it can be very hard to move forward. We have to accept where we are now in order to really make progress. I think honesty, the search for the truth, our own truth, can help us find the truth of where we want to go.

What 3 words best describe you?

I feel like I should call my seven-year-old daughter; she'd probably answer this better than I could. I'd say complicated and resilient and a little foolish. I think we have to be willing to be the fool in order to become a master, and I'm certainly not a 'master', but I'm definitely well on my way to mastering the fool.

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Tell us a bit more about your creative process.

I think in terms of being a psychotherapist, it is just about grounding oneself in order to hold a lot of suffering and pain. I think the ways in which I implement are meditation, prayer, breath work, ice baths (not my favourite, but definitely help), and exercise as well as diet.

These things pull you into your physiological experience, into yourself and out of yourself, in order to not be projecting into the future or perseverating on the past.

I'm currently writing a book. The book has a very morose title at the moment, 'In Case Your Dad's Not Here', but it's all the things I really wish someone had told me as I trudged the road to happy destiny. It's for my daughter, but she's not allowed to read it until she's at least 18.

"I never really knew James Bond but I'm so grateful that I grew up with Pierce... Dad."

What was it like growing up with James Bond as your father?

Well, it's an interesting question... I didn't grow up with James Bond as my father. I grew up with Pierce Brosnan as my father. I think a lot of the time, the projection of the actual character of James Bond is so big that it becomes hard to separate the individual from the mythopoetic archetype. But I didn't really know him as James Bond. I knew him as Pierce, my dad, the man who tucked me in at night, the man who drove me to school, and the man who showed me what it is to have good morals and ethics, who taught me how to whittle a stick with a buck knife.  I never really knew James Bond, but I'm so grateful that I grew up with Pierce - that he was my father.

We know that mental health is really important, what do you do to help your mental health?

For my own mental health, I have structure; I would say a routine is probably the first thing I depend on. 

Waking up at the same time every morning, going to bed at the same time every night, trying to eat consistently at certain times. Exercising and journaling are huge things in my life. I've stacks and stacks of journals that I've kept for years now. And meditation, prayer, breath work, ice baths, all that fun stuff. 

Speaking with others. I think having a close council and being around the ones who will tell you the truth is fundamental.

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What brands inspire you?

I think the work that &SONS is doing is amazing. The clothes are incredible. The whole ethos of the company is empowering. You know, the pioneer spirit of courage and seeking truth and getting your hands dirty with very old school values.

What is your wardrobe essential? The piece you couldn’t live without.

My wardrobe essential would definitely be a jacket. I'm a big fan of jackets and the crafter, the thing I'm wearing right now, probably is one of my favourite items from &SONS. It does change on a bi-weekly basis, but this has been the staple so far. It's a good mixture of smart yet casual.

What is your favourite album, artist or Spotify playlist?

My favourite album right now that I've been listening to non-stop is actually not an album. It's an artist. Zach Bryan. He is from Oklahoma, a young guy, very folky / country. He's got a song called Birmingham, which everyone should listen to. It's pretty killer.

Any recommendation on the best podcast to listen to?

Favourite podcast out there right now? There's a young psychotherapist named Mathias J. Barker. He's got some really amazing content on his podcast, but also on TikTok and Instagram and all those fun things.

"I think everybody can be a pioneer, it just takes a lot of courage"

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