All Parts Are Welcome. All Parts Are Valuable. Richard Schwartz, PhD. The Trauma Therapist | 2.0 Interview.

Trauma Therapist | 2.0  is the online membership community created by Guy Macpherson, PhD, host of The Trauma Therapist | Podcast, and specifically geared to new trauma therapists.

If you’re just beginning your trauma-informed journey and looking to gain confidence, education and wondering how you’re going to keep inspired, this community is for you. Check out this excerpt from Richard Schwartz’ interview here.

A little back story on this interview: Before I begin the interviews with my guests on Trauma Therapist | 2.0  we always chat for a bit.

It’s usually small talk at first—hello, how’s it going, thank-you so much for taking the time to do this, and so forth.

I always mention that these Trauma Therapist | 2.0 video interviews we’re about to do are very different from the podcast, in that with the podcast my goal is to squeeze as much inspiration out of my guests as possible.

With Trauma Therapist | 2.0, the goal is to have my guests talk specifically about how they work with their clients. I invite them to share case studies and get down to the micro details. The idea is that the members of theTrauma Therapist | 2.0 community can learn by hearing these seasoned therapists walk us through, step by step, how they treat their clients, and what their thought processes are.

So, on the morning I interviewed Richard Schwartz, we went through the small talk like I do with each guest.

I then asked him if he had any questions of me. He said, no.

I reminded him about the plan of doing case-studies and asked if he had about two or so he wanted to share.

He said, Well, how about I actually do therapy with you?

I thought he was joking.

He wasn’t.

Was I a bit freaked out about it?

Yes.

Did I get that horrible pit in the bottom of my stomach that happens when I know I have to be vulnerable, in front of people?

Definitely.

Anyway, in this Trauma Therapist | 2.0, Richard Schwartz actually does therapy with me.

I think it turned out wonderfully.

Watch an excerpt from Richard Schwartz’ Trauma Therapist | 2.0  video interview here.

Richard Schwartz began his career as a systemic family therapist and an academic. He co-authored, with Michael Nichols, Family Therapy: Concepts and Methods, the most widely used family therapy text in the U.S.  Dr. Schwartz was Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Institute for Juvenile Research and later at The Family Institute at Northwestern University.

Grounded in systems thinking, Dr. Schwartz developed Internal Family Systems SM in response to clients’ descriptions of various parts within themselves.  He focused on the relationships among these parts and noticed that there were systemic patterns to the way they were organized across clients.  He also found that when the clients’ parts felt safe and were allowed to relax, the clients would experience spontaneously the qualities of confidence, openness, and compassion that Dr. Schwartz came to call the Self.  He found that when in that state of Self, clients would know how to heal their parts.

This approach to psychotherapy suggested alternative ways of understanding psychic functioning and healing, and lent itself to innovative techniques for relieving clients’ suffering and symptoms.  IFS is a nonpathologizing, hopeful framework within which to practice psychotherapy.

In 2000, Richard Schwartz founded the Center for Self Leadership in Oak Park, Illinois. CSL offers three levels of training in IFS, workshops for professionals and for the general public, an annual national conference, publications, and DVDs of Dr. Schwartz’s work through its web site at www.selfleadership.org. IFS trainings and workshops are also being held in several European countries.

A featured speaker for national professional organizations, Dr. Schwartz serves on editorial boards of four professional journals.  He has published five books and over fifty articles about IFS. His books include: You Are The One You’ve Been Waiting For: Bringing Courageous Love to Intimate RelationshipsInternal Family Systems Therapy;  Introduction to the Internal Family Systems Model;  and The Mosaic Mind: Empowering the Tormented Selves of Child Abuse Survivors (with Regina Goulding);  as well as Metaframeworks (with Doug Breunlin and Betty Karrer), about transcending current models of family therapy.

Watch an excerpt from Richard Schwartz’ Trauma Therapist | 2.0  video interview here.

 

Digging Within Ourselves To Help Others Heal

Rachel Grant doesn’t mess around.

From the moment we began speaking I understood who I was talking to: a woman who’d been through tragedy, and as the result of her own healing process, decided that she was going to make it her mission to help others heal.

There is so much power and inspiration in that.

I know I say it almost every time–but this is exactly why I do this podcast. I get to speak to people who are making a difference in other people’s lives.

People who are reaching within themselves, digging deep, and then sharing their love and compassion with those who have been impacted by trauma.

Rachel is the owner and founder of Rachel Grant Coaching and is a Sexual Abuse Recovery Coach. She is also the author of Beyond Surviving: The Final Stage in Recovery from Sexual Abuse.

Rachel works with survivors of childhood sexual abuse who are beyond sick and tired of feeling broken, unfixable, and burdened by the past. Rachel helps them let go of the pain of abuse and finally feel normal.

Her program, Beyond Surviving, has been specifically designed to change the way we think about and heal from abuse. Based on her educational training, study of neuroscience, and lessons learned from her own journey, she has successfully used this program since 2007 to help her clients break free from the past and move on with their lives.

Listen to Rachel’s interview here.

What Is Healing? Robyn Mourning on The Trauma Therapist | Podcast

We each find our own way into this field of working with individuals who’ve been impacted by trauma.

No one way is more genuine or legitimate or more right than another.

But they are personal, and they are our own.

Oftentimes we might not truly know why we get into this field.

Or perhaps, we tell ourselves one thing, when in fact it might be another, and we aren’t yet ready to recognize that.

Robyn Mourning, MS, MFTC comes to this field on a mission.

She comes into this field with personal experiences of trauma and now wants to guide others into their own healing.

Her voice is one of empowerment, and I love it.

Robyn holds a Masters of Counseling in Marriage, Family, and Child Therapy and is the founder of Revolution Trauma Recovery Services, LLC in Westminster, CO.

She provides holistic and evidenced-based counseling and therapy services to individuals and families experiencing the effects of relationship trauma. Robyn specializes in intimate partner violence/domestic abuse, sexual violation/abuse, emotional abuse/neglect and traumatic family system disruptions.

Robyn works from an attachment and social justice lens which allows her to work with clients at the intersection of cultural barriers and their traumatic experiences.

She provides therapeutic parent coaching for adult survivors of abuse and neglect and for parents whose children are healing from trauma. Robyn also provides trauma recovery coaching packages for recovery preparation, recovery mindset and thriving after the recovery stage of healing. Through the Creating Safe Communities Initiative, Robyn collaborates with community members and leaders to further enrich the recovery experiences of abuse/neglect survivors.”

Listen to Robyn’s interview here.

Helping First Responders Deal

There’s something that happens to me (and I believe this is true for many of us) when I talk to someone who says it like it is.

Someone who simply speaks the truth, and shares their truth.

It’s inspiring.

It somehow sets us right.

It sets me right.

Actually what it is is this—it’s speaking with someone who’s endured the tribulations of life, and perhaps has experienced pain and/or trauma, and has come through the other side ready to no longer bs themselves (and sometimes those around them) and now is on a mission to simply tell the truth.

Their truth.

There is incredible power and inspiration and hope in that.

Carl Waggett is that individual.

Carl is someone I found to be incredibly inspiring because after experiencing his own pain he’s now on a mission to help others.

Carl has been a full-time firefighter for the past 14 years, and Acting Captain for 4 of them.

After a fellow firefighter and close friend of Carl’s ended his own life, Carl removed himself from the front line trucks only to be diagnosed with PTSD a short time afterward. Carl says he’s learning that there are many sides to this very intelligent disorder, and would simply like to share his experiences in the hope that others understand that PTSD is more of a winnable battle then you think.

Carl started his podcast, PTSD Bunker Gear For Your Brain, after his experiences with PTSD and to help other first responders.

Listen to Carl’s interview here. 

The Imperative for Self-Awareness. Trauma Therapist | 2.0. Marshall Lyles

Self-Awareness.

Authenticity.

Presence.

These are crucial for the trauma therapist.

How do we cultivate these elements as trauma workers?

Marshall Lyles, LMFT-S, LPC-S, RPT-S, does an incredible job articulating the how, why and where of this in this Trauma Therapist | 2.0 interview.

I love this topic because it demands that we look inside and do the inner-work necessary to be with those who have been impacted by trauma.

Taking on this type of work is truly a daily job and very definitely a journey, unto itself.

Marshall serves as the Director of Training, Supervision and Consultation at the Center for Relational Care in Austin, Texas.

Most of Marshall’s clinical practice has focused on attachment trauma and its effect on family relationships. In addition to seeing clients, Marshall conducts supervision and consultation sessions with counseling professionals and leads trainings in both parenting and professional settings; much of his consultation and training focuses on the use of sandtray therapy within a trauma-informed context.

As Marshall is nearing the completion of his Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy, more writing opportunities are emerging which have become a passionate point of interest for him. Check out a snippet of Marshall’s interview here.

Check out a snippet of Marshall’s interview here.

Aikido, Conflict Resolution & Trauma. Jeff Dowdy

Jeff Dowdy

Aikido and trauma resolution?

Part of my own education in my graduate psychology program involved learning Aikido. Psychology and Aikido are a perfect fit. When I learned of this week’s guest, Jeff Dowdy, and the work he was doing within the trauma field, I jumped at the chance to have him on the podcast. Aikido is a non-violent martial art. If you’re not too familiar with it, you can read more about it here.

Over the last twenty years, Jeff Dowdy gratefully has had opportunities to direct programs utilizing art and Aikido to support the excellence of youth and adults in under-resourced and in at-risk communities. Jeff has led community arts projects, taught art in the classroom, and has recently founded Sarete, a nonprofit that utilizes the martial art of Aikido as a resource for reducing the burdens of conflict and trauma.

For Jeff, Aikido was a discovery that the body isn’t just along for the ride, it is a driving force that determines our experience. Sarete stems from the realization that the body becomes a resource for experiencing conflict in a way that leads toward resolution and healing.

Jeff’s Why

My deep belief is that we do not have to carry the weight of our trauma with us. I really believe that there’s a way through practice that we can reduce the physical cost of carrying that burden on the way to healing.

Jeff’s Advice

  • The important thing to instill in yourself is to work on yourself all the time. Work on being healthy and an example to the people you’re going to treat

Jeff’s Go-To Books

Interview Links

Fear, Denial, Courage & Hope. My Journey.

 

There’s a part of me that believes that somewhere down the road I’ll get to the point where I’m no longer concerned about being a better therapist.

I imagine myself somehow arriving at this stage in my professional development and hearing a soft voice say:

Guy, just stop right there. Exhale. That’s it, let it all out. And now…just be.

Honestly, I’ll probably anxiously reply with something like, But, wait, wait one more sec…

And then that will be it.

The voice will have gone, and I’ll be left with who I am.

And I’ll be okay with that.

I’m almost there. But not quite yet.

I’m not talking about a sense of giving up or an abandoning of the desire to continually improve as a clinician.

Rather, what I’m speaking of here is a greater sense of acceptance on my part, and an honoring of who I am.

There’s an analogy that I think is fitting here:

Sometimes when we’re trying to accomplish a goal, without even knowing it we can be just the slightest bit off, even one or two degrees, and yet the longer we continue in our direction the farther and farther we veer away from our target.

For myself, with regards to my education as a therapist, and a trauma therapist, and in endeavoring to become the best therapist that I can become, I think I’ve been unwittingly traveling just a few degrees off course.

My thought for the longest time has been that in order to become better I needed to pile on the education from books and workshops.

And though there is a certain amount of truth to that, and such education within the training of a therapist is crucial, it is not the entire picture.

Just two degrees to the other side however, there exists another world, a thriving world, without which we could not do this work as therapists, or counselors, social workers, as healers.

And that other world is called us.

It’s who we are, as individuals.

As people.

As husbands

Fathers.

Wives.

And as humans.

How do I know this?

Because for the past few years, after having launched The Trauma Therapist | Podcast, I’ve had the privilege of talking to seasoned therapists from the fields of addiction, trauma, mindfulness and yoga, individuals with a hell of a lot more experience than me, and listening in awe as they’ve shared the story of how they’ve arrived at this point of knowing, of being.

In all cases it’s been a journey and a trial, where mistakes and errors (clinical and otherwise, large and small) were made, but which then served to forge a kind of hard-won self-realization that what is at the heart of this work we do as trauma workers centers not so much around trauma technique #24 on page 32 of that amazing book, but rather within our ability to be and to honor who we are so that we can then fearlessly be in-relationship with that person sitting in front of us.

This has been, and continues to be, my journey.

This walk sounds and seems so simple.

And yet it brings with it great challenges.

Walking along this journey is at the heart of my work with The Trauma Therapist Project, and my membership community, Trauma Therapist | 2.0.

Why is this oftentimes so difficult to do?

I ask my guests this all the time.

And their reply?:

Because we, therapists, are in the room, as well.

It’s not simply about our clients.

We have thoughts, and feelings, and emotions, too.

And perhaps we haven’t attended to them. At all.

Perhaps we’ve mastered the art of keeping them so tightly contained, secretly praying that our clients will not sense this.

We also have our own traumas, large and small.

And perhaps we haven’t yet begun to deal and face and work with them.

Or we think we have, but actually we’re still a bit in denial as to how far reaching their impact has been. (That was me for a bit.)

The list goes on, of course.

But this task of facing this stuff–our personal edges and cliffs–and of then working with them so that we can learn to honor our wholeness, as opposed to an ideal of who we think we should be, or what a therapist should be or do, is what inspires me.

This work is crucial to our lives as trauma workers.

This is the path and the topic which we, as new trauma therapists, frequently skip over or miss entirely as we’re beginning our trauma-informed journey.

It’s the topic which demands the inner-work which then often brings us to the realization that maybe everything in our world is a little bit less perfect than we’d hoped or imagined, but ultimately with the knowledge that that is okay and it is who we are.

This realization, this honoring of this imperfection within ourselves, is something our clients can sense.

Of course they can.

I look at this realization and our own acceptance of who we are, as a silent invitation for our clients to breathe deeply and then to exhale, and then to do the same.

This realization serves to nudge us from the perspective of fixing to one of guiding.

A shift which is made by moving only a few-degrees over.

Yet a shift that makes all the difference in the world.

Guy Macpherson, PhD
Oakland 2017

 

Pat Ogden on The Trauma Therapist | Podcast.

Compassionate.

Empathic.

Calming.

Confident.

Wise.

These are just a few of the words that come to mind when I think of this week’s guest, Pat Ogden, PhD.

When you enroll in a Sensorimotor Psychotherapy course you get access to their library of videos.

I remember the first time I watched Pat working with a client in one of these videos.

I was pretty blown away.

I think the first thing that struck me the most was her calm pacing and manner.

Those of us who were watching this video were given the background on the client, so we were aware of the severity of this individual’s symptoms.

And so to watch Pat working with this client, in the way she was—open, accepting, allowing, and curious—given what we were told, made me appreciate all the more not only her skill, but her trust in the power of the relationship that was in the room at that moment.

I never forgot that.

It’s given me something to aspire to.

If you haven’t listened to this interview, do yourself a favor.

Pat is a pioneer in somatic psychology and both Founder and Education Director of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute®, an internationally recognized school specializing in somatic–cognitive approaches for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder and attachment disturbances. She is co-founder of the Hakomi Institute, a clinician, consultant, international lecturer and trainer, and first author of Trauma and the Body: A Sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy. Her most recent book, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Interventions for Trauma and Attachment (2015) is a practical guide to integrate Sensorimotor Psychotherapy® into the treatment of trauma and attachment issues. Dr. Ogden is currently developing Sensorimotor Psychotherapy® for children, adolescents, and families with colleagues.

Listen to Pat’s interview here.

Authenticity.

How do we become better clinicians, therapists, social workers, counselors, yogis, and ultimately, humans?

What do we have to do, be, realize, strip away, accept, and honor, within ourselves and within that person sitting in front of us, in order to connect?

For myself, so much of this work is about cutting out the bs that I’ve accumulated and that I find is interfering with my work as a therapist, or my role as a husband, a father, and as a human being.

This is what my work with The Trauma Therapist ProjectThe Trauma Therapist | Podcast, and Trauma Therapist | 2.0 is striving to be about.

 

My Shift From Therapist To Human Being.

 

Things are shifting for me.

In a big way.

As a therapist.

And also as a person.

When I first began interviewing people for the The Trauma Therapist | Podcast, my goal was to find seasoned individuals who knew a hell of a lot more than I did.

Obviously that wasn’t too hard to find.

I started out interviewing trauma therapists, solely.

But then I began interviewing yogis, and then all kinds of counselors and trauma workers and social workers, and something interesting happened.

My guests began sharing their “clinical errors,” and “mistakes.”

And aside from the clinical interest this held for my listeners (and myself!), what transpired in almost every instance was that my guests were sharing that it had been within those exact moments and within those specific stories in the course of their experience, when they learned what it means to do this work of trauma therapy.

It was within those moments, my guests would tell me, that what they’d been “missing” in their clinical work, or what they’d completely “lacked,” or “hadn’t been seeing” up until they’d made that error, was that the crucial factor as a trauma therapist or trauma worker–and whether one is a yogi or an addiction counselor–hinged upon their ability to be a person, rather than the perfect therapist.

In other words, to be authentic.

To be themselves.

To be present.

And to actually feel, and not try to ignore what was happening within the relationship.

To honor the experience of the relationship, rather than shove it under the rug.

In short, to be human.

And this isn’t always easy.

It takes work, and attention, and intention.

And of course my guests made clear that they weren’t trying to say that they were ignoring the knowledge and understanding of how trauma works and impacts the brain and body. That is integral.

Yet, without this other, significant, human piece, there can be no healing.

And this has been my shift.

This has been where my energy and focus has been going as a therapist, and as an individual, and a father and husband.

And it’s what I’ve been focusing on with The Trauma Therapist Project and also my membership community, Trauma Therapist | 2.0.

If you’re a trauma worker of any kind and this sounds interesting to you, read on.

If you’re a counselor, therapist, social worker, MFT or yogi, a student or a consumer, and you’re interested in learning about how to work with those who’ve been impacted by trauma, or you’re simply curious about learning about trauma, then I’d like to invite you to check out Trauma Therapist | 2.0.

Trauma Therapist | 2.0 is a community specifically geared towards educating, supporting and inspiring new trauma therapists.

Ready for your shift? click here