The Trauma Therapist | Podcast with Guy Macpherson, PhD | Inspiring interviews with thought-leaders in the field of trauma.
Inspiring interviews with thought-leaders and game-changers in the fields of trauma, mindfulness, addiction and yoga. Join Guy Macpherson, PhD at as we hear about the journeys of passionate mental health workers who dedicate their lives to helping others heal and thrive.

This week I’m so excited to have back on the podcast, Trauma Therapist | 2.0 member, Jessica Culp.

Jessica first joined me on episode 237.

I thought it would be a great idea to invite her back to talk about her experiences as a student, a young therapist, and as a member of Trauma Therapist | 2.0, progressing along her trauma-informed journey.

Jessica is a graduate student at Lincoln Christian University in Lincoln, Illinois. As part of the University’s Seminary program, she hopes to achieve her Masters in Arts Counseling Degree in 2018.

This will be Jessica’s second career, after receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Communications in 2003 and working in the marketing and resource development field for three local nonprofit organizations that included a foodbank, a children’s home and a crisis nursery.

Jessica has been listening to the Trauma Therapist Podcast since she began her studies in counseling in September of 2015, and joined Trauma Therapist 2.0 in December 2016.

Direct download: Episode_275._Trauma_Therapist___2.0_Member_Update_with_Jessica_Culp_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

Bessel A. van der Kolk M.D. is a clinician, researcher and teacher in the area of posttraumatic stress. His work integrates developmental, neurobiological, psychodynamic and interpersonal aspects of the impact of trauma and its treatment.

Dr. van der Kolk and his various collaborators have published extensively on the impact of trauma on development, such as dissociative problems, borderline personality and self-mutilation, cognitive development, memory, and the psychobiology of trauma.

He has published over 150 peer reviewed scientific articles on such diverse topics as neuroimaging, self-injury, memory, neurofeedback, Developmental Trauma, yoga, theater and EMDR.

He is founder and Medical Director of the Trauma Center; past President of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and Professor of Psychiatry at Boston University Medical School.

He regularly teaches at universities and hospitals around the world.

His most recent 2014 New York Times Science best seller, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Treatment of Trauma transforms our understanding of traumatic stress, revealing how it literally rearranges the brain’s wiring—specifically areas dedicated to pleasure, engagement, control, and trust. He shows how these areas can be reactivated through innovative treatments including neurofeedback, mindfulness techniques, play, yoga, and other therapies.

Direct download: Episode_274_-_Bessel_van_der_Kolk.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

Today I had the unique privilege of speaking with David Carr.

David has written an expose titled, We Can Overcome: An American Trauma

This is riveting, and at times hard to read, and yet also inspiring and empowering. (And I’m not getting paid to say that.)

As a boy, David heard the stories of what his father endured as a boy: Fists appearing like unexpected rain, kicks in the side, and nails in his skin. But Carr’s father never set a hand on him.

The cycle of abuse, however, was not broken: David suffered mental and physical abuse from the people that were supposed to protect him. As an adult, he realizes that his continuing mental anguish was self-inflicted.

In challenging himself to see his life in a new way, David realized that the story of his childhood trauma did not consist of what happened to him, but rather way he responded to what happened.

This realization set the stage for him to embark on a transformative journey—one that began as a terrified child—but has since included him as a mixed martial artist, the vice chairman of The Joyful Child Foundation, as an advocate for children’s rights nationwide, and he David has built two successful international companies. He lives on a Southern California ranch style home with his wife of twenty years and three children.

I loved speaking with David. His strength and courage is pretty palpable, and so too is his recognition and acceptance of his vulnerability

Direct download: Episode_273_-_David_Carr.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:15am PDT

If you’ve been listening to the podcast recently, then you might know that about a month ago I left my full-time job at the county here in California to pursue work full-time with The Trauma Therapist Project, The Trauma Therapist | Podcast and Trauma Therapist | 2.0.

I was working at the county for the last 5 years and was there as a Mental Health Clinical Specialist, under a licensed supervisor, and assessing and treating young people between the ages of 12 and 25 who were showing early signs of psychosis.

As you can guess there was a lot of trauma with these young individuals.

I Loved the job.

I Loved working with the kids.

However, I knew I needed to do something else and something different.

It took me several months to get up the nerve to leave, and then I finally did.

Was I more than a bit scared? Definitely.

Did I spend a lot of time wondering whether I’d lost my marbles? Yep.

But I was so, so ready.

And now I’m loving every second of it.

Even though there are days when I feel like I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.

Why do I love this work?

Because I get to speak with incredible people like my guest today. Julia Rose M. Polk.

And I’m not kidding.

You know when you meet someone, or you’re talking to someone, and what they’re saying is just so open and honest and real, and you can sense their authenticity?

That’s what it was like when I was talking with Julia.

I loved talking to her so much, I’ve already had her back for her second episode. (That one will go live in a few weeks!)

For over a decade, Julia Rose has been studying specifically the impacts of early childhood trauma on adult mental health and behavior, some of this research culminating into her master’s thesis entitled: The Effects of Spanking On Mental Health, and Why Clinicians Need to Know (2016).

In her work with clients over the years, she has consistently found that at the root of depression, anxiety, addiction, compulsion, and a range of other mental health issues is a childhood which involved one or more traumatic incidents that have yet to be acknowledged, expressed or resolved. Tremendous shifts occur when this is done, as it allows these wounds to begin to heal.

Julia Rose is an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at the University of the West, and is Founder and President of Trauma Camp, a professional development and consultation company that trains educators about trauma-informed and relationship-based approaches in the classroom.

She is also certified by the International Association of Trauma Professionals as a Youth Trauma Treatment Professional, and has begun training from the ChildTrauma Academy’s Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics.

Importantly, Julia Rose has also spent half her life addressing, treating, reducing and resolving the impact of her own early childhood trauma--experience which serves as her foundational knowledge on this topic.

Direct download: Episode_272_-_Julia_Rose.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:26am PDT

A few months ago I received an email from one of my podcast listeners. The writer of this email (and my guest today), James Winnike, said that they liked the podcast, however, felt it was excluding a perspective and lens which needed to be addressed, and that it could, in fact, do better.

The email was I’d like to share a bit of that email here:

Hey Guy,

[Summary: I love your podcast, but wish it more often included an intersectional lens and talked about the ways that marginalized communities experience trauma. These communities even face trauma at the hands of well-meaning therapists, and discussing these identities would help all listeners. I would love to consistently see interviews with black, queer/trans therapists, and generally therapists who themselves experience a high risk for trauma]

I am a recent MSW graduate who has found your podcast extremely helpful. I love hearing about mistakes other therapists have made, which helps me to accept my own mistakes. My school did not specialize in trauma informed care, so I have to do my own research, which can be overwhelming. This podcast has really helped me find direction, I am so grateful for that!

Because this podcast has helped me so much, I want to reach out about something that has been bothering me recently: the absence of consistent discussions on race, gender, identity, and intersectionality. I work with Black and/or Latinx people who are LGBTQIA and Deaf. I myself am white and trans, which impacts my work every day. Any marginalized identity exponentially increases someone's risk for experiencing trauma, having multiple marginalized identities (deaf, black, and queer) increases the risk further. Sadly I have found that many (not all) of the trauma therapist podcasts discuss issues from an unintentionally straight, white, able-bodied lens. I am left adapting, filling in the blanks, and scrambling to find resources on my own. Sadly, I have many queer Black friends who have had horrible or even traumatizing experiences in therapy! It seems there is a great need for therapists to learn how to work with these marginalized communities.

I would love to see your podcast focus on intersectionality and try to include identity in all discussions. There are black transgender therapists who can discuss the mind body connection, there are Deaf queer therapists who can discuss grieving (with an interpreter if they sign), there are black deaf women who can discuss the trauma of sexual assault. I am so hungry for these perspectives!!!

Highlighting these voices would also be a great way to fight back against the lack of services available to these clients. Your podcast could pave the way for other mental health podcasts in the field.

I couldn’t agree more with what James wrote.

I wrote James back and here we are.

James is a trans, anti-racist therapist and mental wellness coach, with a specialty in working with Deaf and Hard of Hearing families and adults. Through a framework of intersectionality, they have dedicated their life to understanding the ways that systems of oppression interact with mental well-being and trauma. They strive to meet clients where they are through utilizing expressive arts, body work, mindfulness, and storytelling in the therapeutic process.

Direct download: Episode_271_-_J_Lee_Winnike.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:03am PDT

Dave Talamo, MFT is the founder of Wilderness Reflections, an organization which leads individuals into the outdoors for healing and sanctuary. Dave has over 35 years of experience guiding wilderness trips, works as a therapist with youth and adults, and is a certified Wilderness First Responder.

A Certified Hakomi Therapist and advanced-level student of Somatic Experiencing, Dave is a pioneer in the field of ecotherapy and was one of the first wilderness quest guides to develop a somatic approach to wilderness questing. He is committed to the expression of joy and authenticity through the body and to helping others experience their own embodied selves in an intimate, ecstatic relationship with Nature.

Currently, he spends most of his field time apprenticing new guides and training therapists in bringing Nature into the therapy process. Dave finds that the natural rhythms, beauty and spaciousness of wild Nature are an ideal setting for trauma resolution work.

Direct download: Episode_270_-_Dave_Talamo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

Peter M. Bernstein is back.

Peter was first on the podcast in episode 91 and if you’ve listened to that interview then you know how much compassion and authenticity exudes from this individual.

I have to say that Peter’s interview truly epitomized what I’m trying to do, and stand for here at The Trauma Therapist Project:

Authenticity, integrity, and compassion in the pursuit of helping those who’ve been impacted by trauma.

Peter M. Bernstein is the founder and director of the Bernstein Institute for Trauma in Petaluma, CA. Peter holds a doctorate in clinical psychology as a California licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has been in private practice since 1974.

Dr. Bernstein specializes in the field of emotional and physical trauma and is the author of Trauma: Healing the Hidden Epidemic. A veteran of the Vietnam War era, Peter completed advanced infantry training at Fort Ord on the Monterey Peninsula.

The Bernstein Institute offers individual, couples, and group therapy and uses Reichian-Myofascial Release Therapy (RMFR), a unique and proprietary modality developed by Dr. Bernstein for healing trauma, PTS, and other behavioral health issues.

Direct download: Episode_269_-_Peter_Bernstein.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:55am PDT

The individuals in my membership community, Trauma Therapist | 2.0, represent trauma workers of a variety of disciplines, and who are from all over the globe.

Today, I’m talking with one of them, Allan Katz.

Allan is a licensed professional counselor and a certified sex addiction therapist.

Allan currently works in an alcohol and drug residential treatment center where he sees

clients and facilitates the trauma group program for men, using experiential methods

as well as teaching Dialectical Behavior Therapy skills. Allan also treats clients and couples in his private practice where he deals with the trauma of infidelity, sex and love addiction and other relational traumas.  

Allan is the author of Addictive Entrepreneurship which deals with the addictive nature of workaholism vs. the need for drive, ambition and hard work to succeed.    

In this interview Allan shares a bit about what drew him into the field, and specifically how he became drawn to studying trauma.

Direct download: Episode_268._Allan_Katz__Trauma_Therapist___2.0_Member_Highlight.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:55am PDT

Amy Oestreicher is a PTSD peer-to-peer specialist, artist, author, writer for The Huffington Post, speaker for TEDx and RAINN, health advocate, award-winning actress, and playwright. As a survivor and “thriver” of multiple traumas, Amy eagerly shares the gifts of life’s “beautiful detours” her educational programming, writing, mixed media art, performance and inspirational speaking.

Amy has headlined international conferences on leadership, entrepreneurship, women’s rights, mental health, disability, creativity, and domestic violence prevention. She is a SheSource Expert, a “Top Mental Health” writer for Medium, and a regular lifestyle, wellness, and arts contributor for over 70 notable online and print publications, and her story has appeared on NBC’s TODAY, CBS, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen Magazine, Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, MSNBC, among others.

Direct download: Episode_267_-_Amy_Oestreicher.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:51am PDT

Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute

A large part of my focus with The Trauma Therapist | Podcast has been supporting those therapists and the filmmakers who work with and/or help to heal military veterans.

There have been a number of filmmakers and I take it as one of my goals to do what I can to support their work.

Today I have as my guest Stephanie Seldin Howard, the Director and Producer of The Weight of Honor, a documentary about families caring for their catastrophically wounded loved ones returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Stephanie believes empathy is the driving force behind storytelling, something she attributes to her 25-year career as a broadcast news producer. The Omaha, Nebraska native is the recipient of a Los Angeles Emmy Award coupled with two additional Los Angeles Emmy nominations.

Stephanie has produced specials and documentaries for CNN, Fox News Channel, and Reuters as well as local coverage for KNBC-TV and KTTV-TV in Los Angeles. In 2014 she was awarded the Roy W. Dean Grant awarded by From the Heart Productions, making her documentary The Weight of Honor possible.

This is a pretty incredible documentary and the inside story about how the film was made is no less inspiring.

Direct download: Episode_266_-_Stephanie_Howard.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:15am PDT