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Antidepressants, it seems to carry the idea of being a necessary evil for those who struggle with depression, any number of mental health challenges, including PTSD. It’s not something that most would want to rely on, either temporarily or in an ongoing basis, but yet their effectiveness can bring about a world of positive difference when used properly and under the supervision of a trained professional.

I used medications to help get some struggles I had, under control, and while it took some time and several doctor visits to get the dosage, amount, correct, the results were with it. Using the medications to help regulate my mood, reaction to stress, and ability to cope did serve me for a time, and with the combined efforts of a trauma informed therapist, I was able to wean myself off of them in time, again staying in contact with a trained medical professional.

Millions of people rely on antidepressants or have used them in the past. In fact, in the United States alone, 16 million Americans experience a major depression each year, and at any given time about ten percent of the population is taking antidepressants.  The popularity of antidepressants is increasing rapidly: there are about four times as many people taking them than in the 1990s. That means as you walk down the street, through the mall, or in the office, it’s likely that someone you see is on this type of medication.

There’s certainly no shame in using an antidepressant, but there is a certain amount of stigma and shame that can come with relying on a medication to help us in daily life. My guest today, Dr. Wallace Mendelson joins me on the podcast to discuss the use of antidepressants and share his expertise on how and why they work.

Wallace B. Mendelson MD is a Professor of Psychiatry and Clinical Pharmacology (ret) at the University of Chicago, and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He has authored or co-authored four books and numerous scientific papers, primarily in the fields of psychopharmacology and sleep medicine.  His most recent book, The Science of Sleep (available on Amazon), shares with Understanding Antidepressants the goal of providing the scientific background of a group of disorders in a non-technical and very readable manner.

During our chat on this episode of the podcast, Dr. Mendelson and I discuss the following, surrounding the use of antidepressants:

  • The use of antidepressants to help with PTSD. Which medications are actually FDA approved for PTSD, and how doctors choose between the correct ones to use with someone who’s experienced trauma.
  • Concerns and apprehensions about using antidepressants.
  • The potential benefits of using antidepressants with therapy modalities such as CBT and Interpersonal therapy.
    • CBT – (in the area of depression) works on the idea that some kinds of thinking in which a depressed person does, can contribute to making the depression worse. Changing those beliefs, processes, and thinking patterns.
    • Interpersonal therapy – oriented to the way you interact with another person; having satisfactory relationship with others as being a critical part of ones overall mental health.
  • How antidepressants actually work; what they do in the body and brain.
  • The importance of taking an active role in your treatment, and educating yourself so you can better understand your progress and interactions with your medical and/or mental health professional.
  • His book, Understanding Antidepressants: which outlines in a non-technical, lavishly illustrated introduction on how antidepressants affect the brain, and a more general presentation of how drugs are absorbed, distributed, and eliminated from the body.

It’s no secret that one of the keys to life, is balance. Lean too much towards work, and we can lose focus on our personal life and risk burn out. Lean too far towards the personal side, and we can end up losing sight of the career dreams and things we want to accomplish. When you toss Mental Health into the equation, it adds a whole new dimension to this struggle.

Not only do you have to juggle your personal and professional life, what ever that looks like for you individually, now you have any number of mental health challenges that bring about their own daily influx of struggles. Talk about the need for balance, right!

As a mental health and LGBTQ+ advocate, and current MSW student, Lee Thomas shares her thoughts on this topic and several others during this episode of the podcast.

I first met Lee when I came across her weekly Facebook Live show, Crazy Talk, after the HealtheVoice 2018 Conference. Lee regularly interviews advocates, clinicians, professional, survivors and others all around the topic of mental health and advocacy. I was honored to be on Crazy Talk earlier this year (you can find that episode by clicking here) and now I’m pleased to have Lee join me on Beyond Your Past.

Lee was born and raised in a small town in northern Alberta. From a young age they were heavily involved in athletics, student government, and other extracurriculars. However, during their teen years they began battling a mental illness. Feeling scared and alone, Lee struggled silently for many years. Their illness worsened throughout their high school years and continued into university, until Lee finally sought help and began the difficult process of recovery.

After Lee began the recovery process, they realized that there were still many people struggling with mental health issues in silence. To reduce the stigma around mental health issues on their campus, Lee founded the #MyDefinition poster campaign in 2014. Since then, Lee has been working as a motivational speaker and mental health trainer, speaking to groups of all ages and sizes about their own mental health experiences, the important of reducing stigma, and LGBTQ+ issues.

While continuing her graduate education in the field of social work, she continues to serve as a speaker, trainer, and writer in the mental health field; her work has been featured on The Mighty, TEDx, CBC News, and more.

During our chat on the podcast, we cover some of the struggles and triumphs in her life so far as well as her future work as social worker serving the LGBTQ+ community and others who know what it means to struggle with a mental illness such as depression, eating disorders, bipolar, and more:

  • Her struggle with depression, eating disorders, and self-harm in her teen-age years.
    • The realization that she had been suffering in silence for so long, and then learning what a mental illness means for her.
    • The limited information available about mental health when she was younger, and what she re-learned later.
  • Starting the #MyDefinition poster campaign and how that lead to acquiring speaking engagements and sharing her story at conferences and workshops.
  • The 3 keys of validation she needed to get started in her career:  Passion, Knowledge, and Something She was Good at.
  • What vulnerability looks like for each of us
  • Staying busy and the risk of doing so to avoid confronting and working through tough memories and emotions.
    • How staying busy reinforces the mindset of “uncopewithable” situations, and how this can set back healing.

Lee shares her thoughts on these topics and more during our chat, so I hope you’ll check out the po

When you come to a breaking point in your life, continuously being beaten down time after time, struggle after struggle, never seeming to gain your footing for any length of time, one of the things you might find yourself doing is praying for help and for wisdom. You reach out for help to God, the great spirit, the universe, or the higher power you connect with. 

Healing from physical wounds is one thing, but healing emotional wounds is something entirely different. Not to minimize the pain of physical trauma at all, that’s difficult enough as it is and can leave lasting traumatic, emotional wounds that go far deeper than the physical ones that can heal in time. When you’re talking about the deep, deep wounds of emotional trauma that leaves scars only you can see; you need more than the body’s ability to regenerate over time on its own. 

It requires a commitment the likes of which you may have never experienced before in your life. Unpacking those old wounds that you’ve tried so hard to bury in the bottom of your mind, for years, even decades, is not something to be taken lightly. However, the rewards that can come from reliving those memories, processing and learning from them, and forging your personal healing path, are truly life changing. 

Healing unresolved trauma takes a combined effort of mind, body, and spirit; which is exactly the message my guest on the podcast today is sharing with the world.  Alexis Acker-Halbur is the founder and creator of the Never Give Up Institute, and the author of “Never Give Up: Break the Connection Between Stress and Illness”. 

Alex offers anyone who has suffered trauma or loss not just one way forward, but many. A survivor herself—of an astonishing number of traumas including, sexual, emotional and physical abuse, sexual exploitation by a therapist, rape, and cancer—she describes the connection between mind, body, and spirit and shows how the stress and anger she has experienced connect to her life-threatening illnesses.

I was in a hospital bed, diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer, and fighting for my life—not once but twice. I suddenly saw the connection of how stress and trauma made me so sick. I knew at that moment I needed to survive and find ways to help me thrive.

I founded the Never Give Up Institute to help you understand how unresolved stress and trauma can cause illness, increase financial difficulty, and keep you from living a meaningful life.

As a survivor myself, and someone who works with trauma survivors, the message that Alex shares today on this episode of the podcast, and what she teaches in her book and online program, “T.R.U.T.H.“, is one that resonates so much with me. I’m so honored to share our conversation with you. During our chat, Alex and I cover the following topics:

  • Some of her story of being a survivor, which includes childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, rape, sexual exploitation, failed relationships and more, in addition to dealing with colon cancer, breast cancer, and auto accident, type 1 diabetes, and other medical issues. 
  • The experience of going for a colonoscopy and hours later finding herself being prepped for surgery for colon cancer. She tells of laying in the hospital and praying for answers and help. 
    • Her prayers were answered in the form of being presented with a list of every trauma she’s ever faced, every disease or physical challenge, and the matching correlation to a past that involved a multitude of unresolved trauma. 
    • What she did with this information, and how it took it happening twice for her true healing to finally take shape. 
  • How the body copes with unres

Whether you are an advocate, mental health professional, a family member or friend of someone who struggles with a mental health challenge, or you yourself live with your own struggles, we can all agree that raising awareness and doing our part to help erase the stigma of mental health is needed now more than ever.

We can all do our own part, using our talents, gifts, and hard work to help make a difference in our local communities. After all, this is where we live, work, and socialize; it’s where we spend so much of our time each day. So why not do what we can to make our little corner of the world a place where people can feel empowered to ask for help when they need it, and to not feel ashamed or alone.

This is exactly what Cynthia Chazen is doing, with “The Stigma Free Zone”, in her local community of Bergen County, New Jersey.

The Stigma Free Zone, started by founder, Mary Ann Uzzi, in Paramus New Jersey, has a mission of inspiring public interest and open dialogues about stigma, raising awareness of the local mental health resources available, and breaking down barriers of mental health in local communities.

Cynthia and I first met at the HealtheVoices Conference in 2018; she is an enthusiastic advocate who believes everyone can educate about mental health. She is the editor of the Stigma Free Zone News of New Jersey, and has a huge following on Twitter where she shares both local and global news about mental illness.  You can subscribe to her newsletter by checking out her Facebook Page, SFZNewsofNJ.

During our chat on this episode of the Beyond Your Past Podcast, we talk more about The Stigma Free Zone initiative, including:

  • How the Stigma Free Zone movement started in New Jersey, and is spreading across the country.
  • How you can get involved and create your own chapter in your local community. Get the toolkit here.
  • You don’t need to be a mental health professional or have a degree, to make a difference.
  • How mental health education is the area for grassroots organizing.
  • Giving people permission to talk about their own mental health struggles.
  • Some of Cynthia’s story of the challenges she faced in her life that inspired her to take action for others.

Be sure and follow Cynthia Chazen on Twitter and check out the Facebook Pages for the Stigma Free Zone for more information on how you can get involved where you live.

If you’d like to be a guest on a future episode of the podcast, you can contact me anytime. Don’t forget to share this episode with someone who might need it; together we can all continue to make a difference.

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, MPNLP

All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

 

Something I learned a long time ago, from both a therapist, and later from a coach, and to be honest more than a few others, is to celebrate the wins, no matter how small they may seem. It’s something I encourage clients to do, talk about on the podcast often, and reference in blog posts. It’s a regular reminder on the daily recovery support calls, it’s something that I have written down right on a post it note on the wall, right behind this monitor.

So when I talked to a friend about a week ago, and was sharing just in passing that I was coming up on episode 100 of the Beyond Your Past Podcast, she said to me, so how are you going to celebrate that?

Uummmm, what? I replied?

“How are you going to celebrate this win, acknowledge this milestone…it’s a big deal”, she said.

I thought about it for a minute and said, well it’s funny but this episode kind of snuck up on me, landing at 100; and so I hadn’t really thought of doing something special initially. Of course it was then that I got a taste of my own medicine; a reminder that if I’m going to encourage someone to do something good for their journey, I should remember to do it more often too.

So…here we are at episode 100 of the podcast and I figured it might be a good idea to take a brief break from the normal routine and just talk with you for a while about what’s been happening over the last year including some events over the last 12 months that have changed my life in ways I would have never even thought could happen.

As I tossed around some ideas on what to do, I had a brainstorm of making a compilation of highlights from a select number of episodes over the last year. However the more I thought about it, trying to decide which episodes to choose and which sections to use, it became a daunting task that I would never have been able to finish in time for my regular schedule. Plus, each and every guest, and their episodes are equally important and have their own special message, so trying to decide who would make the cut just didn’t seem like something I would be ok with doing. 

So I figured, hey, I haven’t done one of those, “talk to you guys” episodes in quite a while, and now just might be a good time to do one again. 

I’m happy to do just that on this milestone show, number 100…and I’m thankful that you’ve decided (or at least are considering) giving it a listen. And heck, maybe even share it with someone who might find it interesting as well. *I know, living on the wild side, right!*

During this episode, we’ll chat about:

  • What is Surviving My Past, how and why did I create it and how does the podcast fit into the blog. For that matter, how did Beyond Your Past form anyway. 
  • A look back at earlier episode topics and how the podcast has evolved from earlier show design and topics, to current episodes. 
  • The last 12 months of events, both positive and challenging that found me facing:
    • Death of my dad
    • The marriage of my daughter
    • Birthdays and Holidays
    • A rare illness that sent me to the hospital and a subsequent ongoing recovery. 
    • Continued education and finishing several new certification programs
    • Leaving corporate America after 17 years and striking out on my own, full-time. 
    • New opportunities that have developed and a partnership with a friend and mentor, and now colleague.
    • and more. 

Thank you again to each and every one of you who listens each week and shares the podcast episodes; together we are reaching survivors, practitioners, and advocates all over the world with the message of hope, validation, and inspiration. 

Remember…celebrate those wins, every single one of them and don’t minimize the progress you’ve made so far and the path you are on that will continue to help you live your life, no longer defined by your past. 

Here’s

Since I began recording this podcast, I’ve covered the topic of Dissociative Disorders and specifically, Dissociative Identity Disorder, quit a bit. Each time I talk with a practitioner or survivor of trauma who lives with DID, I always walk away from the conversation having learned something new, and with a further appreciation of the amazing people who live with DID every day of their lives.

I would definitely encourage you to check out some of the previous episodes with guests like Erika Reva (The We in Me), Robert Goldstein, Lisa Tobe, Erin Fado, Analie Shepherd, Elisabeth Corey, and more!

Anytime I have the opportunity to talk about Dissociative Disorders, I always jump at the chance because it means that someone else wants to speak up and share their story, or a practitioner wants to share their work and how their approach is helping trauma survivors with DID. This episode is no exception, as I’m so honored to talk with Kathy Broady, MSW, of Discussing dissociation.

DiscussingDissociation.com has been around 2008, and has been steadily growing ever since; offering a place for survivors, their family and friends, practitioners, and anyone who wants to come and learn about DID and share their experiences in a safe place. This incredible website offers videos, educational materials, shared artwork, therapy resources, blog articles, podcasts, and a host of materials on recovering from trauma. If you’re interested in learning more about DID and Dissociative Orders of all types, you’ll definitely want to make Discussing Dissociation a regular destination on the web.

I’ve been talking with Kathy for quite a while and we were finally able to get our schedules to line up and chat for a bit on the podcast, diving more into some specific aspects of DID, some of which have not previously been covered on past episodes.

  • Living with DID does not mean you are crazy, psychotic, or looking for attention.
  • When talking with someone who lives with DID, how do you address them? Should you address all of their parts or alters?
  • When and Why do people who live with DID switch from one alter to another.
  • The differences between dissociative amnesia and losing time or missing time.
  • Some primary keys for healing:
    • Safety, both inside and outside worlds.
    • Internal communication / System Work
    • Connection to the here and now
    • When and How to do memory work without destabilizing the survivor.
  • Tips for spouses, partners, and friends of dissociative survivors.
  • Are there certain types of trauma that can increase the likelihood of developing DID?

Talking with Kathy was such a joy, and I’m sure that you’ll get as much out of hearing her share her wisdom as I did. Her approach is genuine and validating with just the right about of humor; you’ll feel as though you’ve known her forever as you listen to her speak about her experiences and her work in the field of trauma recovery and specifically with dissociative disorders.

I definitely encourage you to check out Discussing

As you begin to learn how your past affects your present life, you start putting the puzzle pieces together of why you feel the way you do, what your specific triggers are and where they stem from, why you struggle in certain areas of life, and a myriad of other things start to come into focus and you have these “ah ha” or “lightbulb” moments when suddenly everything makes sense.

I’ve had many such enlightening moments during some very intense and difficult times in a therapists office, or working with a trauma informed coach. I can remember saying things like, “I never know that my self-esteem problems were because of being bullied. I didn’t realize that my learning disability may very well have developed due to childhood trauma. The problems with my weight and issues with food are not simply some genetic family problem, but have been intensified and increased due to childhood sexual abuse and other trauma. The list goes on and on, and needless to say this revelation was both empowering and disheartening at the same time.

Realizing that all of these struggles were not my fault, and were either caused by or greatly influenced by past trauma, could have taken me down a very dark road. To be honest, it did for a time. Sitting with that realization was difficult, but one of the ways that I began to work through it was to use these situations and this information as a learning experience. Something I could take, so that I could change the tide of what was ahead for me, rather than just accept that I destined to suffer and struggle in these areas for the rest of my life.

One of the biggest hurdles that I continue to work through, is in the area of food, and because of this struggle I am always on the lookout for ways to discover and understand how the mind and body work in the wake of past trauma, and specifically in this case, with eating disorders, food struggles, and gaining weight.

My guest today, Dr. Carolyn Coker Ross, joins me on the podcast to discuss the connection between trauma and eating disorders.

Born in Houston, Texas, Dr. Carolyn Coker Ross spent her childhood in San Antonio where as the oldest of five children, she comes from a long line of physicians and healers. Her mother’s father was a well-known physician in Bryan, Texas, who opened his own hospital and nursing school. His mother, Betty Love, was a Cherokee medicine woman.

Dr. Ross’s own personal health crisis and the diagnosis of her mother with Alzheimer’s led her on a journey to healing in which her perspective about medicine changed and her desire to focus on integrative medicine led her to the University of Arizona’s Center for Integrative Medicine. Dr. Ross completed a two-year fellowship in Integrative Medicine, studying with Dr. Andrew Weil. Her path then led her to work as the head of the Eating Disorders Program and the Integrative Medicine Department at world-renowned inpatient hospital, Sierra Tucson where she pioneered the Integrative Medicine approach to eating disorder treatment. She currently works in private practice in Denver, Colorado, as an addiction medicine specialist and suboxone doctor who specializes in opioid addiction treatment. She also is a consultant for treatment centers across the country on eating disorders and integrative medicine.  You can learn more about her practice, and how she got started in medicine, by checking out her bio on her website, CarolynRossMD.com 

I’m so honored to talk with Carolyn on the podcast, and dive a bit deeper into some of the struggles with food and weight that are not only close to my heart but affect so many who listen to the podcasts and read the blog posts both here and on Surviving My Past.  During our chat, Dr. Ross and I discuss:

  • How do events from the past impact eating habits?

One of the keys to healing from trauma, overcoming anxiety, working through depression, addictions, and virtually any other struggle is figuring out a way to get what’s in our heads, out of our heads in a way that feels safe, validating, and in compliance with who we are as individuals.  By doing so we begin to chip away at the self-shame that so often comes when battling any mental health challenge.

By showing up authentically, to ourselves and the world, even in the wake of extreme events, we gain confidence and resilience. We learn that what happened to us, does not define our future, and the struggles of our past only have the power that we allow them to have. This certainly does not mean that we should try to rush through recovery, or feel as though we should just get over what’s happened.  Instead, simply understand that, in time, we can learn to live and thrive in our present life, rather than being held back by the very thoughts, feelings, and coping strategies which served us for a time, but are now keeping us stuck.

My guest on this episode of the podcast, is someone who has developed a very unique approach to work through those very struggles that no longer serve us. William Pullen, creator of Dynamic Running Therapy, is a practicing therapist in the U.K., working with clients not only utilizing DRT, but also integrative psychotherapy in areas such as : substance abuse, emotional abuse, anxiety, relationship struggles, career change, life transition, self-esteem, depression, and more.

Integrative Psychotherapy aims to facilitate wholeness between the feeling, behavioural, cognitive, and physiological levels of functioning – in other words the whole person. This is done in part through looking at aspects of the self that you may be unaware of and making them conscious. Together we can look at the life you want for yourself and how to achieve it. Change takes time and cannot be rushed. I believe in providing focus and space, not pressure. I believe in removing expectation, often routed in the demands of others, and instead aligning ourselves with what we feel inside. Change comes about by clearing a path to where we want to be, not forcing our way through to it.

I work in a way that is warm, empathic, non-judgemental, and direct. I am not a therapist who will stare at you in silence. I also believe there is a place for humour in therapy. My work draws on many theoretical orientations and styles. Because each person is unique, my work is different with every person that I see. I tailor my approach to help you and your individual needs. I offer a comfortable and confidential space where you can look at your life free of expectation or judgement.

Dynamic Running Therapy includes the use of a smart phone app, and William’s book, Running with Mindfulness: Dynamic Running Therapy (DRT) to Improve Low-mood, Anxiety, Stress, and Depression. You can find his book on Amazon, and the app is available for iPhone users in the app store.

During our chat on the podcast:

  • We dive more into what exactly Dynamic Running Therapy  (DRT) is, how it works, and how this strategy can help not only with self-esteem, anxiety, stress, and depression, but many other mental health challenges.
  • His Tedx Talk, “Movement is Medicine“.
  • How the struggles of his past, not only in childhood but challenges in adult life, lead him into a role of becoming a Psychotherapist.
  • The importance of authenticity in healing fro

Admitting out loud to yourself can be difficult enough, but admitting to another person can be downright scary, embarrassing, and shame inducing. When you come face to face with an addiction of any type, it means you’re taking the first step in a difficult recovery, but one that is absolutely possible. After all, without Hope, what’s the point of trying to heal, right?

My guest on this episode of the podcast is Shena Tubbs. Shena is a Licensed Professional Counselor, MMFT, LPC, CSAT-C based out of Texas, and is an expert in the areas of Love Addiction, Sex Addiction, Sex and Love Addiction, and Trauma Recovery.

As she outlines on her website, ShenaTubbs.com and listed on Psychology Today: I help women from around the globe who struggle with creating and living in fantasy relationships with unavailable partners, often losing their boundaries and self-esteem for the promise of “love.” Some people call it codependence. Some people call it sex and love addiction. Some call it intimacy disorders. …No matter the name, I am here to help.

Through our time together, you will be able to let go of desperation and feelings of low self-esteem, not be dependent on emotionally unavailable partnerships, and regain control of sexually compulsive behaviors by learning to love yourself first. Together, we may work on unresolved trauma and combat self soothing by overindulging in things over/under eating, shopping/debting, and overworking. Together, we help you break free of these patterns. I believe that you can have it all without losing yourself, and I want to help you get there.

Shena is also a host of her own podcast, Love Junkie, which I had the pleasure of being on not long ago. Shena graciously invited me to join her to discuss the connection between anxiety and trauma.  You can listen to that episode by clicking here. Thank you again Shena!

During our chat on this episode of Beyond Your Past, Shena shares her expertise in the areas of love addiction, sex addiction, sex and love addiction, and how unresolved trauma can affect these addictions and inhibit healing. Some of the specific areas we cover include:

  • Shena shares some of her story, which includes being the oldest of 3 sisters, being left in charge of many responsibilities in caring for her sisters,  and growing up experiencing emotional neglect.
  • As an adult, how going to a sex addiction meeting, after realizing she was crossing boundaries in her own life that she never thought she’d cross, changed her life, and over time  helped her pursue a career as a therapist.
  • The differences between sex addiction and love addiction, and what is “sex and love addiction”?
  • How codependency fits in with sex addiction and love addiction, and is every sex and love addiction person codependent?
  • What does recovery look like for someone struggling with sex and love addiction; what can you expect during the process?
  • How a connection to God and her faith played a role in her own recovery.

Shena’s expertise has proven to be invaluable to her clients and those who listen to her podcast. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to share her knowledge on Beyond Your Past, so definitely give the podcast a listen. Even if you do not personally struggle with sex addiction, love addiction, or codependency, you may someone who does and sharing this podcast with them may make a huge difference in their life.

Be sure and check out ShenaTubbs.com , the Love Junkie P

When I first started blogging, the primary focus was living with Dissociation, Anxiety, and PTSD. After all, those are the things that I struggled with the most. Being a survivor of childhood trauma, I never knew that I could have PTSD; for so long I thought that was only for those who were in the military. I had never even heard of Dissociation until I spent a couple of years working with a therapist. Anxiety, well I knew I was anxious but I didn’t realize how much it was affecting my life and how those anxious feelings had turned into full-blown anxiety.

As time went on and my work with a therapist continued, and then working with a trauma informed coach, I began to learn about this concept of Post Traumatic Growth. It sounded intriguing to me since I was engulfing into healing so much that I figured it had to start paying off eventually, and this Post Traumatic Growth thing sounded like the path I was headed toward, which was exciting.

Wait, did I just say that trauma work was exciting?  Well not really the trauma work itself, but the healing sure was. That’s how I approached this journey; as a learning experience. I figured, if I had endured the childhood sexual abuse between 5-10 years old, if I had experienced more bullying in middle school than I cared to admit, then I should at least try to learn from it and use it to my advantage. I didn’t want the trauma to be the end of my story.

My guest on this episode of the podcast, is Counselor, Teacher, and Author, Lucille Zimmerman. She is an expert on Post Traumatic Growth, and shares her insight on this subject with us on the show.

Lucille Zimmerman has a Master of Arts in Counseling degree, and is a Licensed Professional Counselor.  She works with individuals and groups from supportive to insight-oriented psychotherapy, and has worked in a variety of mental health facilities, which included crises/resource oriented counseling to more one-on-one insight therapy.

I have experience treating people in crises, coping with health and midlife issues, eating disorders, struggles related to self-esteem, child abuse, trauma, and marital difficulties. I work with adults treat many people with a wide spectrum of emotional struggles and concerns. I work from a bio-psycho-social context and my treatment approach is adapted to each individual according to need. I am also trained in EMDR for trauma.

On the podcast today we dive into some specific aspects of Post Traumatic Growth, including:

  • Some of her story, and how past traumatic events in her life, including the Columbine Shooting in 1999, affected her and lead to begin searching for how she could help others who experienced all types of trauma.
  • Just because you experienced trauma, does that automatically mean you will get PTSD, and what factors contribute to PTSD?
  • Why do some people grow as a result of trauma, while others stay stuck
  • Keys to Post Traumatic Growth, and ways that we can help ourselves heal and learn from the trauma.
  • How ruminating can actually be a good thing, and even necessary, in order to experience Post Traumatic Growth.

I encourage you to listen to Lucille share with you all of those topics and more on the podcast. We spend a good deal of time talking about those keys to growth and why some people struggle while others are able to heal; and as we talked I was examining my own life and how some of the skills and strategies I used to during some deep parts of my healing, were the very same ones she mentioned as well. In fact, I still use those skills today, because like we always say on Beyond Your Past, healing from trauma is a life long journey.

Lucille’s insight

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