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144 – Christina Watkins – Decolonizing Therapy, Reclaiming Agency, Nurturing Reciprocity

“What would it look like if I stopped trying to contort myself to fit other people’s ideas about how I should be?” ~Christina Watkins

A new year…and breathe! Let’s get into it.

But first, we need to get honest at the micro and the macro. Who are we, personally and professionally? What do we want for ourselves and our careers? What are we no longer willing to tolerate in others or ourselves? What are we prepared to expose to ensure our mental health?

What does all that honestly look like?

Ask Christina Watkins LCSW. Over the last few years, this thoughtful, funny, Black, queer ciswoman has crafted a practice of sustainability in all things: career, personal life, public persona. She’s learned truths about honesty, both brutal and beautiful. After so much mental and physical exertion just to stay afloat, Christina’s now better equipped to advocate for her body and her spirit. 

Call it equity of the ask, a soul-centered space from which Christina now lives. From here, she simultaneously confronts and protects herself from the micro-aggressions perpetrated against BIPOC as well as the objectification therapists often endure. Our conversation covers new territory framed by familiar …Wounded Healer themes: the decolonization of therapy; the reclaiming of agency for ourselves and as an example for our clients; the nurturing of reciprocity and repair in the workplace. 

Let’s get candid about what we need and how we’re going to achieve it! Let’s begin this new year with our continued awakening.

About Christina:

Christina Watkins (She/Her), LCSW. Black, queer, mystic, healer, connector, writer, and change maker. She lives in Oakland, California and maintains a private practice that centers Blackfolx and queer people of color.

For full show notes, resources, and links to connect with our guest, visit: http://www.headhearttherapy.com/podcast

***

Conversations with a Wounded Healer is a proud member of @mhnrnetwork.

Let’s be friends! You can find me in the following places…

Website:

www.headhearttherapy.com/podcast

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https://www.facebook.com/WoundedHealr/

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@HeadHeart_Chi

143 – Natalie LeSueur Pt. 2 – Our Existence is Our Greatest Gift

“Ultimately, I think for anybody who is struggling, just find that tiny bit of spark, that little bit of hope, and hold onto it.” ~Natalie LeSueur

There’s no better way to end this ____(insert your fave adjective here)___ year than hanging with Natalie LeSueur and me for Part II of our conversation. If you’ve not yet listened to Part I, go back! Get acquainted with this luminous lady and then join us for our high-vibin’ finale! 

“I think for most of my life, I didn’t want to be here. I didn’t have a place. I didn’t feel safe,” Natalie explains, retracing her journey from abused child to breathwork, embodiment, and yoga teacher – a healer born from multiple complex hurts. The aching familiarity of her story affirms one of my favorite NARM truisms: we instinctively want to move toward healing. And we keep trudging onward until we find our beacon. 

Natalie knows what it’s like to bob alone on rough seas. These days she shines her light so others can find their way, holding safe space online, a format that’s offered some unexpected benefits in terms of quieting and creating. Natalie invites everyone to develop a daily sacred practice that we can live with, shedding preconceived notions of how one “should” approach such things. Move, breathe, sit in silence; the mechanics are unimportant. What matters, says Natalie, is the intention: rooting down into yourself and integrating the majestic and the mess residing inside all of us. 

If you recognize that invitation as a return to the divine feminine, you’re right! This is a balancing balm for the overwhelming masculinity that’s ruled these last few years. It’s time we course-corrected to calmer waters. May we all take Natalie’s suggestion and cultivate a more integrated approach to our healing in the New Year. May we all follow her example and project our gifts outward. 

Thank you for your love, your support, and your spirit this last twelve months!

About Natalie:

I am an adoptee.

A survivor of acute, chronic, complex and sexual trauma.

She/HER/Mother.

TRAUMA informed breath work, embodiment and meditation teacher. I am a Business mentor and an INTUITIVE.

I am also the Prez of The LIGHT Collective an online yoga community and school with a deep feminine resonance.

I advocate for body agency, mental health, social justice and action.

I wish to see people not only survive but thrive by cultivating a more heart-centred, sacred life through the practice of trust, humour and loving-kindness towards yourself and others.

I am an embodiment, somatic, neuroscientific and all things mind/body geek.

I love the work of and have studied with Sian Pascale, Judith Blackstone, Sarah Peyton, Dr. Scott Lyons, Zabie Yamasaki, Christopher Wallis and Thomas Huebl.

A question I like to ask is …HOW DO YOU SHOW UP IN THE WORLD?

For full show notes, resources, and information about our guest, visit: http://www.headhearttherapy.com/podcast

***

Conversations with a Wounded Healer is a proud member of @mhnrnetwork.

Let’s be friends! You can find me in the following places…

Website:

www.headhearttherapy.com/podcast

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/WoundedHealr/

https://www.facebook.com/HeadHeartTherapy/

Instagram:

@headhearttherapy

Twitter:

@WoundedHealr

@HeadHeart_Chi

142 – Natalie LeSueur Pt 1 – Becoming a source of light for others

“I really feel like I not only deserve love, but I am love. I really am.” ~Natalie LeSueur

The brilliant, wise-hearted Natalie LeSueur of The Light Collective is many things: mother, breathwork teacher, intuitive… the list is extensive. Natalie’s also a survivor of complex psychological and sexual trauma. I’m grateful for her honesty and willingness to share her multi-layered experience.

To that end, for listeners who are feeling fragile with this type of content, please take care of yourself first. Bookmark this episode for a later date; we’ll be here when you’re ready. 

In this first of our two-part conversation, Natalie and I discuss her adolescent traumas and how she finally found support on her journey to becoming a source of light for others. Her healing is centered on the belief that inner work evolves rather than finishes. It’s a lesson which circles back to the connectedness in all things: science and survival; client and therapist; podcaster and listener.

“I just really liked listening to how people arrive where they are, I suppose, and then there is this really lovely honesty about it because I think we just all need to get a little real.” 

 

About Natalie:

I am an adoptee.

A survivor of acute, chronic, complex and sexual trauma.

She/HER/Mother.

TRAUMA informed breath work, embodiment and meditation teacher. I am a Business mentor and an INTUITIVE.

I am also the Prez of The LIGHT Collective an online yoga community and school with a deep feminine resonance.

I advocate for body agency, mental health, social justice and action.

I wish to see people not only survive but thrive by cultivating a more heart-centred, sacred life through the practice of trust, humour and loving-kindness towards yourself and others.

I am an embodiment, somatic, neuroscientific and all things mind/body geek.

I love the work of and have studied with Sian Pascale, Judith Blackstone, Sarah Peyton, Dr. Scott Lyons, Zabie Yamasaki, Christopher Wallis and Thomas Huebl.

A question I like to ask is …HOW DO YOU SHOW UP IN THE WORLD?

For full show notes, resources, and information about our guest, visit: http://www.headhearttherapy.com/podcast

***

Conversations with a Wounded Healer is a proud member of @mhnrnetwork.

Let’s be friends! You can find me in the following places…

Website:

www.headhearttherapy.com/podcast

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/WoundedHealr/

https://www.facebook.com/HeadHeartTherapy/

Instagram:

@headhearttherapy

Twitter:

@WoundedHealr

@HeadHeart_Chi

141 – Mark Sanders – Revolutionizing Policing, Addiction, and Healing Generational Trauma

“Every time I’ve helped someone with their grief, my own grief diminishes” ~Mark Sanders

My chat with Mark Sanders, LCSW, CADC, is more than just a conversation; it’s a full-blown appreciation situation. If you’re in the field of addiction in Chicago, you know Mark as an inspiring speaker and thoughtful mentor. 

I envy those of you “meeting” him for the first time here, on the pod; Mark makes memorable first impressions. He’s got stories to tell, naturally, as an author who’s contributed pieces to the famed Chicken Soup for the Soul series. He has ideas to share about social justice, policing, and community connection, as befits someone who’s spent his entire career at the intersection of addiction and mental health. 

Beyond all of the above reasons to love Mark, he’s also a bona fine wounded healer. He survived intense generational trauma in addition to the nationwide strife that rocked the 1960s. 

Now he wants to heal on the macro level, with his brilliantly designed plan to reduce police shootings at the hiring stage. By proactively incorporating unconscious bias and ACEs testing, Mark thinks policing could be revolutionized, not further weaponized.

He’s just the guy to do it, too. Listen in; you’ll see.

Mark Sanders, LCSW, CADC is an international speaker in the behavioral health field. He is the author of 5 books and has had two stories published in the New York Times Best Selling Book Series Chicken Soup for the Soul.

We’ve compiled a few links to resources specifically supporting the BIPOC community:

For MORE, along with full show notes and information about our guest, visit: http://www.headhearttherapy.com/podcast

***

Conversations with a Wounded Healer is a proud member of @mhnrnetwork.

Let’s be friends! You can find me in the following places…

Website:

www.headhearttherapy.com/podcast

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/WoundedHealr/

https://www.facebook.com/HeadHeartTherapy/

Instagram:

@headhearttherapy

Twitter:

@WoundedHealr

@HeadHeart_Chi

140 – Dr. Mark Rider – Revisioning for Grief and Trauma

“In complicated grief, what happens is, you haven’t just lost the person, you’ve lost your identity.” ~Dr. Mark Rider

Mark Rider, PhD, has developed a language for understanding the lyrical relationship between body and brain. “We learned how to use music improvisation to mirror a person’s pain, to mirror a person’s imagery of their cancer. And then we would change that music [so] it went in a healing direction.” 

His work might best be described as a chemical connect-the-dots. Dopamine. Endorphins. Serotonin. There’s a reason your favorite piece of music makes you feel good – the brain produces all three of these chemicals in response. 

Mark has adapted that mirroring further, creating a revolutionary treatment option called revisioning. In practice, the psychotherapy technique “activates” the same neurotransmitters of the brain when a client sits across from and communicates with a mirror image of their loved one (in the instance of grief) or themselves (in cases of trauma, depression, PTSD, etc). 

As someone who’s experienced the power of revisioning in my own healing work, I am deeply grateful that this modality exists. I’m fascinated by revisioning as a stand alone treatment and how it can be employed in tandem with other modalities for addressing complex trauma. You can hear a firsthand account of my personal revisioning experience on CWH episode 134. 

***

Dr. Mark Rider has been a licensed psychologist in Southlake, TX, for over 20 years. He has post-doctoral training in Neurotherapy, EMDR, Cognitive Hypnotherapy, and Psychopharmacology. His first book, The Rhythmic Language of Health and Disease (1997), demonstrated that neuroplastic shifts in the brain can be created by music and imagery, and were essential for health. His next book, Revisioning: Mirror Therapy for Unresolved Grief (2014) revolutionized the treatment of complicated grief. This technique has been shown to be 99% effective with this condition. Together with Lynn Heselton, their latest book, Revisioning: Rapid Mirror Neuron Psychotherapy for Grief and Trauma, has created groundbreaking treatments for PTSD, Personality Disorders, and Dissociative Disorders without the client having to relive the traumas. 

For full show notes, guest information, and resources, visit: http://www.headhearttherapy.com/podcast

***

Conversations with a Wounded Healer is a proud member of @mhnrnetwork.

Let’s be friends! You can find me in the following places…

Website:

www.headhearttherapy.com/podcast

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/WoundedHealr/

https://www.facebook.com/HeadHeartTherapy/

Instagram:

@headhearttherapy

Twitter:

@WoundedHealr

@HeadHeart_Chi

139 – Patricia Young – Unapologetically Sensitive, the Gifts of Being a Highly Sensitive Person

“I wish somebody would have told that to me: it’s okay to struggle. We’re supposed to struggle; we’re humans. We’re complicated; we’re messy.” ~Patricia Young

One of my greatest joys in life is connecting with a fellow outcast and truth-teller. All the better if said person comes equipped with a nickname like Mad Lady-Balls. Patricia Young, LCSW, the person behind the stern, brass-plated moniker is everything you’d expect her to be: hilarious, whip-smart, and dishy. She’s also unapologetically sensitive, a trait she’s built into both a successful career and a popular podcast.

Highly sensitive. If you’ve ever had that phrase leveled against you, then you know the sting of those words. You’re also acquainted with the shame-spiral that accompanies all that over-thinking and over-feeling. But it’s precisely these traits, the intensity and the emotionality, that Patricia says any highly sensitive person (or HSP) should reclaim and celebrate. Her podcast, Unapologetically Sensitive, gives HSPs the space to come as they are.

I could talk to Patricia for hours; she extends the same authenticity on display in her podcast to this show. She does the same in her therapy and coaching practice. “It doesn’t matter if we’re therapists or not. We’re still human beings that have human struggles on a daily basis. And I really want to pull the curtain back on that because we’re just humans.”

***

Patricia Young is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Coach. She knows what it’s like to feel like an outcast, misfit, and truth teller. Learning about the trait of being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), helped Patricia rewrite her history with a deeper understanding, appreciation, and a sense of self-compassion. She created the podcast Unapologetically Sensitive to help other HSPs know that they aren’t alone and that being an HSP has amazing gifts and some challenges. Patricia works online globally working individually with people, and she teaches Online Courses for HSPs that focus on understanding what it means to be an HSP, self-care, self-compassion, boundaries, perfectionism, mindfulness, communication and creating a lifestyle that honors us.

For full show notes, guest information, and resources, visit: http://www.headhearttherapy.com/podcast

***

Conversations with a Wounded Healer is a proud member of @mhnrnetwork.

Let’s be friends! You can find me in the following places…

Website:

www.headhearttherapy.com/podcast

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/WoundedHealr/

https://www.facebook.com/HeadHeartTherapy/

Instagram:

@headhearttherapy

Twitter:

@WoundedHealr

@HeadHeart_Chi

138 – Iggy Gurin – Tattoos and Torah, Emotions and Recovery

“Happiness is not a room. Compassion is not a place. Mercy is not a state. It passes, like anger, like hunger, like horniness…These are all emotions, and you have to observe them.” ~Rabbi Iggy Gurin

Oh my, it’s been a week, hasn’t it?! The windows are open and fresh air is pouring in. While that big picture feels a whole lot brighter today, there’s still hella personal work to do. For anyone challenged by addiction, the world still feels awash in shadow. But Rabbi Igael Gurin-Malous says connection is the light in the darkness and everyone has access if they keep walking.

Iggy is absolute sunshine in human form, a self-proclaimed wise-ass and walking contradiction. He’s the f-bomb-dropping spiritual counselor, the rabbi with tattoos and the podcast, Tattoos and Torah. 

Professionally, Iggy’s a renowned Talmud teacher and founder of T’shuvah Center in Brooklyn, NY, a space that offers those in recovery a community to which they can genuinely belong rather than simply fit in. Here, authenticity plays a vital role in the healing process, as does spirituality. 

Culturally-speaking, as Americans, we’re programmed to focus only on our higher Self, to goal-set, to achieve, at the expense of better understanding our lower self. What lessons do we miss out on learning when we shy away from the uncomfortable feelings that reside in all of us? What could we gain by sitting with that otherness? “Life is about struggle…not in a depressing way, but life is about the journey, and life is about the struggle to balance all these different forces within us.” 

***

Rabbi Igael “Iggy” Gurin-Malous is a renowned Talmud teacher, spiritual counselor, artist, and educator. He grew up between Belgium, Israel (so expect him to be well dressed and blunt) and the United States in a traditional Jewish Orthodox home. He is a frequent author, speaker, teacher and contributor on subjects ranging from Talmud, Jewish text, spirituality, addiction, recovery, fatherhood and LGBTQI+ issues.

Today He is the founding rabbi and CEO of T’shuvah Center, a new long term Jewish recovery community in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. He was formerly the Director of Spiritual counseling at Beit T’Shuvah in Los Angeles. He is also Temple Israel of Hollywood Talmud Scholar in Residence, teaching weekly classes on Interpreting Talmud. Igael also serves on the board and faculty at the Academy of Jewish Religion of California.

For full show notes, guest information, and resources, visit: http://www.headhearttherapy.com/podcast

***

Conversations with a Wounded Healer is a proud member of @mhnrnetwork.

Let’s be friends! You can find me in the following places…

Website:

www.headhearttherapy.com/podcast

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/WoundedHealr/

https://www.facebook.com/HeadHeartTherapy/

Instagram:

@headhearttherapy

Twitter:

@WoundedHealr

@HeadHeart_Chi

137 – Dawn Silver on Astrocartography, Elections, and Charting the Path Forward for the United States

“There’s a lot going on for the election; we know that we are not dealing with business as usual. It’s a huge turning point in the chart of the United States.” ~Dawn Silver

My past and future selves got together two weeks ago to record this episode addressing this singular moment in history. The election is technically over, all votes cast but possibly not counted; all tensions less inclined to boil over but the pot remains on the fire.

In times like these, when terra firma still feels shaky, I’ve found it incredibly helpful to consult the wisdom of the stars, like a landlocked sailor. I take comfort in the points where psychology and astrology converge. 

Who better to help sift through the cosmic election detritus than Dawn Silver? Chicagoans might remember Dawn best as owner of Healing Earth Resources, the bookstore, organic cafe and healing center that shone like a metaphysical beacon in West Lakeview for 19 years. Dr. Silver is a naprapath, astrologer, herbalist, crystal healer and aromatherapist. She’s also an educator, international lecturer, and an award-winning author. Dawn knows things. She grasps information written in lightyears and deciphers the ancient data for our modern world. Her naprapathic training provides a solid scientific foundation upon which her keen observations rest. 

That’s not to say that I’ve invited Dawn here to predict the winner of this critical election (but, really, I did!). Instead, she’s here to tease out the lessons and, yes, possible outcomes woven into the sky’s patterns. 

So what will the stars serve up today? Take a deep breath and hit play. 

***

Dawn Silver is the author of the book and card deck Jewels of the Lotus Tibetan Gemstone Oracle, a recipient of the Coalition of Arts Award.  She offers a series called Jewels of the Lotus Crystal Healing certification program. Dr. Silver is a Naprapath, Astrologer, Herbalist, Crystal Healer and Aromatherapist. She has lectured internationally on Crystal Healing, Astrology, Holistic Nutrition and Consciousness at a variety of conferences including the SpiritHeart and SeaAngels cruises, The Lightworkers, Golden Pyramid and Global Consciousness Conferences and SOTA and NCGR Astrological Conferences. 

Dawn Silver with her husband, Michael Wisniewski, founded and operated Healing Earth Resources, a metaphysical book and gift store, organic cafe and healing center in Chicago for 19 years. Her passions have encompassed significant work on numerous fundraisers including The Save the Earth Walk-a-Thon, which she founded in the 89 after the infamous Alaskan oil spill.

For full show notes, guest information, and resources, visit: http://www.headhearttherapy.com/podcast

***

Conversations with a Wounded Healer is a proud member of @mhnrnetwork.

Let’s be friends! You can find me in the following places…

Website:

www.headhearttherapy.com/podcast

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/WoundedHealr/

https://www.facebook.com/HeadHeartTherapy/

Instagram:

@headhearttherapy

Twitter:

@WoundedHealr

@HeadHeart_Chi

136 – Cassie Walker – Angry and Tender, Intersectional Healing

“Post-traumatic growth is a privilege and…  we need some way to detail and describe [it] without glorifying or idealizing this idea of growth while still experiencing trauma” ~Cassie Walker

Bookmark this episode as the one with the Dungeons and Dragons reference and a Porterhouse steak metaphor. Seriously. No other guest has their way with tangents – or the status quo – quite like my good friend Cassie Walker. Cassie is a Black, queer activist and entrepreneur, and a life-affirming, sex-positive, kink-aware, tabletop role-playing nerd.

Cassie’s impressive cred also includes their recent NARM™ Therapist designation. Who knew? Me. I knew. So, of course, our conversation delves into NARM-specific themes of complex trauma, attachment, and spiritual connection.

Listen, I may be in the driver’s seat of this podcast but Cassie’s taking this episode down roads less traveled, introducing us to the Odu, the sacred text of Ifá, a Yoruba religion from West Africa. As far afield as that may sound, this episode is never in danger of veering off-course, y’all. Instead, the detour leads us back to current events in this country, and the powerful narcissism that too often shapes parent/child relationships…and informs what has come to pass as “presidential” behavior.

To occupy so much intersectional real estate in 2020 is to simultaneously feel tenderness for and anger toward society at large. So, it’s about time someone occupies a space in which intersectional healing can safely and authentically take place. 

***

Cassie Walker is a Black, queer, activist, entrepreneur, and NARM™ Therapist located in Chicago, Illinois. They are also a table top role playing nerd and general strange human.

Check out Cassie’s own podcast, Woke Mental Wellness, on your favorite podcast platforms.

For full show notes, guest information, and resources, visit: http://www.headhearttherapy.com/podcast

***

Conversations with a Wounded Healer is a proud member of @mhnrnetwork.

Let’s be friends! You can find me in the following places…

Website:

www.headhearttherapy.com/podcast

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/WoundedHealr/

https://www.facebook.com/HeadHeartTherapy/

Instagram:

@headhearttherapy

Twitter:

@WoundedHealr

@HeadHeart_Chi

135 – Nicoletta Heidegger – Sluts and Scholars, Healing Sexual Trauma

“We store so much stuff in our body. So, sometimes that’s trauma, sometimes it’s joy or whatever, and to be able to recognize, be aware and, like, feel what’s happening and name it sounds like you’re on your way to, you know, being connected to your body.” ~Nicoletta Heidegger 

Healing is what happens to you while you’re busy recording a podcast. This is the second in a series of deeply personal conversations but, unlike the first, I did not expect a landslide of emotion. I did not intend to share my real-time revelations with you. 

And yet, here we are. 100+ shows in and I feel as securely held by you, this amazing community, in this process as I did my guests Nicoletta Heidegger, MA, MeD, LMFT, who shepherded me through the spontaneous quake; and Rich Buino, LSW, my husband and post-show co-pilot. My hope is that all my messy vulnerability resonates with you and sheds welcome light on what can feel like a dark, lonely process. 

For the sake of mutual safety, this episode is preceded by a trigger warning regarding sexual trauma and minor attracted persons, more commonly labeled as pedophiles. Please take care of yourself, even if that means skipping this conversation. 

About Nicoletta. In addition to her work as a therapist and sexoligist, her PhD studies in human sexuality, and hosting duties of the much-lauded podcast Sluts and Scholars, she’s a genuine old soul. Her empathic, careful handling of sexual divergence has led to her focus on preventative practices for minor attracted persons even as she runs counter to our culture’s entrenched, shame-based attitudes toward sexuality.

In the spirit of radical transparency, I knew that my on-air experience with Nicoletta required an equally revealing on-air debrief. Healing can take a long time, and each journey is wildly different. I am forever grateful to Rich for navigating these emotional switchbacks with me. There’s no shame in doing this work out loud and I hope that this episode helps you lean into that space.

Nicoletta Heidegger is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Sexologist currently pursuing her Phd in Human Sexuality. When not seeing clients, she hosts the sex positive, shame free, educational podcast sluts and scholars.

For full show notes, guest information, and resources, visit: http://www.headhearttherapy.com/podcast

***

Conversations with a Wounded Healer is a proud member of @mhnrnetwork.

Let’s be friends! You can find me in the following places…

Website:

www.headhearttherapy.com/podcast

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/WoundedHealr/

https://www.facebook.com/HeadHeartTherapy/

Instagram:

@headhearttherapy

Twitter:

@WoundedHealr

@HeadHeart_Chi

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