The Place We Find Ourselves

By Adam Young | LCSW, MDiv

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Subscribers: 724
Reviews: 1

 Oct 25, 2019
I think this podcast is insightful on different traumas and the time it takes for different people to process them. Everyone needs to process and grieve in their own way and I think this podcast is a good reminder that it is okay.


The Place We Find Ourselves podcast features private practice therapist Adam Young (LCSW, MDiv) and interview guests as they discuss all things related to story, trauma, attachment, and interpersonal neurobiology. Listen in as Adam unpacks how trauma and abuse impact the heart and mind, as well as how to navigate the path toward healing, wholeness, and restoration. Interview episodes give you a sacred glimpse into the real-life stories of guests who have engaged their own experiences of trauma and abuse. Drawing from the work of neuroscientists such as Allan Schore, Dan Siegel, and Bessel van der Kolk, as well as psychologist Dan Allender, this podcast will equip and inspire you to engage your own stories of harm in deep, transformative ways.

Episode Date
123 Is Hope Reasonable?

Many people with a history of trauma find themselves stuck. Stuck in a place of hopelessness about our own healing. It’s this sense of “nothing significant is really going to change for me.” The present ordering of your life—the way things are—claims to be the final ordering of your life. Drawing from the book of Jeremiah, today’s episode explores the question, “What if God is free to create a new beginning in your life that is underived from your present circumstances?”

Oct 24, 2022
122 A Pastor’s Journey of Exploring His Story and Addressing His Trauma with Rich Villodas

I’m joined today by Rich Villodas, pastor of New Life Church in New York City. Rich shares a story of trauma that happened when he was 12 years old. He then explains how that traumatic experience was reenacted 30 years later. We also cover how and why Rich decided to explore his own story, as well as the importance of listening to our bodies in our day to day life. If you want to hear more from Rich, please check out his recently published book Good and Beautiful and Kind: Becoming Whole In a Fractured World.

Oct 10, 2022
121 Why It's So Important To Understand Your Story

Cathy Loerzel joins me to talk about why it’s so important to do the work to understand your story, particularly your family of origin story. In short, the three reasons are: understanding your story will allow you to experience healing, stop reenacting your past in the present, and discover what you are meant to do in your part of the world (discover your kingdom). Near the beginning of the episode Cathy shares a personal example of how her family of origin story is presently affecting the way she shows up in her marriage. I do the same thing at the end. What fun. Cathy and I will be co-leading the “Understanding Your Story Workshop” on Saturday, November, 19. It’s virtual, via zoom. You can register at 

Oct 01, 2022
120 How To Engage Someone's Story Part 4

This is the final episode in a four-part series on how to engage another person’s story. We conclude by looking at the final seven tactics for effective story engagement. Tactic 6: Continually bring your dialogue with the storyteller back to the story they have shared. Tactic 7: Identify the storyteller’s feeling of complicity in their abuse. Tactic 8: This is going to sound both odd and wrong: you have to amplify the storyteller’s shame. Tactic 9: Notice when the storyteller turns on themselves… and name it. Tactic 10: Invite the storyteller to feel their grief. Tactic 11: Use data points from their story to build a case.  Tactic 12: Explore their posture toward the boy or girl in the story.

Aug 01, 2022
119 How To Engage Someone's Story Part 3

In Part 3 of this series on how to engage someone’s story, we look at five specific tactics you can use. Tactic 1: Explore the trauma before the trauma. Tactic 2: Explore triangulation. Tactic 3: Ask (good) provocative questions. Tactic 4: Invite the storyteller to be embodied as they are engaging with you. Tactic 5: Name and address betrayal, powerlessness, and ambivalence in the story.

Jul 18, 2022
118 How To Engage Someone's Story Part 2

This is part 2 of a series of episodes on how to engage another person’s story. Today, we look at principles 3-7 of effective story engagement. Principle 3: Use the exquisite instrument that is your body. Principle 4: Always be monitoring the storyteller’s affect. Principle 5: Your right brain matters much more than your left brain when you are engaging someone’s story. Principle 6: Remember that there is always a reason for human behavior. Principle 7: Repairing rupture is more important than engaging their story perfectly.

Jul 04, 2022
117 How To Engage Someone's Story Part 1

Engaging another person’s story is a skill that can be learned! Over the course of the next four episodes, I will explain how to engage another person’s story well. Today, I discuss the first two principles of effective story engagement. Principle 1: Attunement is more important than engaging the story brilliantly. Principle 2: Kindness will take you further than skill.

Jun 20, 2022
116 Restorative Practices: How to Care for Our Hearts and Bodies in the Wake of Trauma with John Eldredge

John Eldredge joins me today to talk about how to care for our hearts and bodies in the wake of trauma. Topics include how to navigate life when you feel deeply disappointed by God, how to access the mothering of God, and why it’s so important to get a piece of paper and write down our losses so that we might grieve them. Today’s episodes is based on John’s new book “Resilient: Restoring Your Weary Soul In These Turbulent Times.”

Jun 06, 2022
115 Why It’s So Important To Tell Your Story To An Attuned Listener with Curt Thompson

I am joined today by Christian neuroscientist Curt Thompson. In this vulnerable conversation, Curt and I talk about: why our brains change when we share our story with another human being who is attuned to us, why engaging your story is the single best way to become a better parent, and why it’s so important to pay attention to the younger parts of ourselves.

May 23, 2022
114 Making Sense of Your Story: Why It's Necessary To Name Intentionality Part 2

This is part 2 of a discussion on the necessity of naming intentional harm. You can’t heal until your brain has constructed an accurate and coherent autobiographical narrative of your life. Today I introduce the idea of antisocial empathy, which is a very important concept from David Schnarch’s book Brain Talk. I also talk about how to heal when traumatic mind-mapping results in gaps in your memory.

May 09, 2022
113 Making Sense of Your Story: Why It’s Necessary to Name Intentionality Part 1

Naming intentionality matters because if you are unsure about whether or not the other person meant to hurt you, it will be very difficult for you to heal from your wounds. This is because you can’t heal until your brain has constructed an accurate and coherent autobiographical narrative of your life: the narrative has to be true and it has to make sense. Drawing from David Schnarch’s book Brain Talk, I explain two important concepts: mind-mapping and traumatic mind-mapping. Mind-mapping refers to your ability to map out the thoughts and feelings of another person. Traumatic mind-mapping is a collapse of your brain’s normal mind mapping abilities that occurs when you are mind-mapping someone and what you see is terrible.

Apr 25, 2022
112 The Power of Compassion and Curiosity Toward Ourselves with Aundi Kolber

I am joined today by Aundi Kolber, the author of Try Softer: A Fresh Approach to Move Us out of Anxiety, Stress, and Survival Mode — and into a Life of Connection and Joy. We discuss the importance of paying attention to what is happening inside your body, as well as having a posture of compassion and curiosity toward your internal experience. We often respond to our life experiences by “trying harder.” Aundi invites us into the very counter-cultural practice of trying softer. 

Apr 11, 2022
111 Redeeming Heartache: How Goodness Can Come Out Of Trauma

Bonus episode! Cathy Loerzel and I dive into why it’s crucial to take your wounds seriously, and how your wounds lead to the “orphan experience,” “stranger experience,” and/or “widow experience.” We also talk about what redemption looks like for each of these three types of wounding. Jesus takes our experiences of trauma and redeems them. That is, God creates glory, meaning and calling out of the very things that were designed to hurt us. If you want to better understand what redemption can look like for you, Cathy and I will be co-leading a live Redeeming Heartache event on May 21, 2022, in Fort Collins, CO. You can sign up here.

Apr 08, 2022
110 How Do You Move Through Past Trauma?

Jerry Sittser is the author of A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss. He is no stranger to trauma. Jerry and I cover the following topics in this episode: our tendency to try to muscle our way through pain; how adversity in our present life invites us to return to our past story; and how to keep going when facing sadness, anger, exhaustion, and longing.

Mar 28, 2022
109 Anxiety: What It Is and How To Respond To It

Anxiety can be so debilitating. But what exactly is it? Why do we feel anxious? And how can we address it? Anxiety is what you feel when you are avoiding important unfelt emotions. And your anxiety is almost always related to some particular part of your story. 

Mar 14, 2022
108 Your Story And Your Sexuality

I am joined today by Jay Stringer to talk about the relationship between our current sexual difficulties and our attachment histories. At some point in our lives, each of us will encounter difficulties in our sexual life. It might be the compulsive use of unwanted sexual behavior or a struggle to locate any sexual desire at all. Sexual struggles are rooted in our stories—and, very often, our stories of attachment to our primary caretakers and adverse childhood experiences. If you want to explore this material in more depth, please sign up for the Sexual Attachment Conference on Saturday, April 30. You can sign up here. 

Mar 10, 2022
107 Racial Trauma: What's Going On? Part 2

This is part 2 of my interview with Wendell Moss about racial trauma. Today we continue to discuss the importance of naming what has been true of the past so that we might be free from it. We also begin to talk about what the path toward healing looks like, including the role of lament in the healing process.

Feb 28, 2022
106 Racial Trauma: What's Going On? Part 1

I am joined today by Wendell Moss. Wendell is a therapist, an instructor at the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology, and part of The Allender Center teaching staff. We discuss a blog post Wendell wrote for The Allender Center called, “Racial Trauma: The Marks We Bear.” Topics covered include the importance of naming what has been true of our collective past and what is required for healing to begin to occur.

Feb 14, 2022
105 Complicity: Why Sexual Abuse Is So Damaging and How To Address It

Complicity often haunts people with a history of trauma more than anything else. The essence of complicity is the sense that I volitionally participated in my own abuse. In today’s episode, I outline four ways in which we may feel complicit in our abuse, and then talk about how to address the feeling of complicity by blessing arousal.

Jan 31, 2022
104 When The Church Harms You

Rebecca Wheeler Walston joins me today to talk about how she came to engage her story in more depth. She also shares a story of significant harm at the hands of fellow Christians. It is a story of harm from those in a position of spiritual authority. Rebecca and I talk about how hard it is to make sense of experiences of spiritual abuse. We also ponder the role that envy may have played in her story.

Jan 17, 2022
103 How To Engage Another Person's Story

I am joined by Cathy Loerzel to talk about how to engage another person’s story. Effective story engagement is not a magical skill that some people have and some people don’t. It can be learned. Today we give a preview of some of the principles and tactics of effective story engagement. If you want to learn more, consider joining us on Saturday, February 19, for a one day zoom conference on How to Engage Another Person’s Story. You can sign up here.

Jan 04, 2022
102 Talking To Your Children About Sex: The Practical Stuff

Bethany Robbins returns to identify the key points to cover when you talk to your children about sex, including the subject of pornography and the importance of naming the feeling of sexual arousal and blessing that feeling rather than communicating that sexual arousal is bad or dangerous. We also talk about how you can gauge your own sexual health, how you can know the degree to which you are sexually whole or the degree to which you have unaddressed sexual shame. Last, we share some next steps you can take if you want to address your sexual story and your sexual shame.

Jan 03, 2022
101 Talking To Your Children About Sex: Two Stories

I am joined today by Bethany Robbins to address the subject of talking to your children about sex. Bethany and I each share a story about how our parents talked to us about sex. It’s important to understand how your story is playing out in the way you talk to your children about sex… or don’t talk to your children about sex. Here’s the main point: your story in your family of origin is profoundly influencing how you are presently talking to your children about sex.

Dec 20, 2021
100 No Cure For Being Human with Kate Bowler

I am joined today by author Kate Bowler to talk about her recently released book No Cure For Being Human. Topics covered: the very human desire to have a blueprint or formula for how to live life (and why this doesn’t work), coming undone by tragedy (such as a Stage IV cancer diagnosis at age 35), and the (false) promise of American individualism which says that we can conquer not only the external world, but our own inner world.    

Sep 26, 2021
99 Redeeming Heartache: How Past Suffering Reveals Our True Calling (Bonus Episode)

Cathy Loerzel and Dan Allender join me today to talk about their newly published book Redeeming Heartache: How Past Suffering Reveals Our True Calling. Cathy and Dan reflect on what redemption actually means in the context of our stories, why they believe redemption is possible, and how our experiences of being an orphan, a stranger, and a widow can shape our sense of personal calling. If you want to engage your story in more depth, consider signing up for The Story Workshop which will be held virtually from October 14-17. You can sign up by going to and if you use promo code HOPE21, the $50 application fee will be waived.

Sep 13, 2021
98 Engaging With Someone Who Has Harmed You Part 5

This is the final episode in the series on interacting with someone who has harmed you. Today we look at what it means to establish clear boundaries and put relational consequences in place when necessary. I also talk about what is involved in forgiveness and reconciliation. Please consider supporting the podcast by clicking here.

Aug 30, 2021
97 The Story Your Body Is Telling (Bonus Episode)

Your body tells a story. The sensations in your body reveal something about what you have experienced, what you hold, and what you carry. Most of us are either unaware of the sensations in our bodies, or we ignore them, or we war against them. An alternative is to pay attention to your body and to become curious about what your body may be telling you. Jenny McGrath joins me today to talk about her Embodied Story digital course. You can sign up here.

Aug 19, 2021
96 Engaging With Someone Who Has Harmed You Part 4

Today’s focus is how to engage with, love, and honor a wicked person. Direct confrontation is not going to work. You need to be cunning, shrewd, and strategically disruptive. Think “surprise attacks of disruptive kindness” rather than direct confrontation. Dan Allender and Tremper Longman point out that the key to loving a wicked person is “insightful preparation, clear boundaries, and courageous consequences.” Today we focus on insightful preparation. 

Aug 16, 2021
95 Engaging With Someone Who Has Harmed You Part 3

What does it mean to honor your father/mother when they have harmed you? What does it mean to love someone who has harmed you? Today’s episode looks at these two questions. Love always disrupts the status quo. In other words, when you engage with someone in a loving way, your relationship with them will change. They will either harden or soften toward you—but the current state of the relationship will be no more. This is the beginning of what the Bible calls reconciliation. Loving and honoring a person who has harmed you creates the possibility for reconciliation to occur.

Aug 02, 2021
94 Engaging With Someone Who Has Harmed You Part 2

This is part 2 of a series of episodes focused on how to interact with someone who has harmed you. Today’s episode identifies two additional attributes of wicked people—namely scapegoating and intellectual deviousness. If you confront a wicked person about their sin or failure—instead of examining their heart and feeling sorrow and guilt for how they have hurt you—a wicked person will somehow shift the blame onto your failure and your sin. This is scapegoating. Intellectual deviousness refers to the ways wicked people use words to twist truth, avoid guilt, and fill you with self-doubt. 

Jul 19, 2021
93 Engaging With Someone Who Has Harmed You Part 1

Suppose you have come to realize some of the ways that your parents have harmed you over the years. What are you supposed to do now? How do you engage with a parent now that you’ve come to realize some of the ways they harmed you? This is the first of a four part series of episodes focused on how to engage with someone who has hurt you. Today’s episode emphasizes the necessity of identifying the kind of person you will be engaging. Is the person a normal, everyday sinner? Or is the person wicked/evil?

Jul 05, 2021
92 Your Story, Your Suffering, and Kindness with Dan Allender

Dan Allender is the reason this podcast exists. His teaching forms the foundation of nearly every episode. Dan joins me today to talk about how to engage your story and how to engage your suffering. In many ways, this is a conversation about how Dan has experienced God in the midst of his own story. Dan also talks about his forthcoming book (with Cathy Loerzel) titled Redeeming Heartache: How Past Suffering Reveals Our True Calling.

Jun 21, 2021
91 How Healing Happens: Revisiting The U Diagram

Jen Oyama Murphy and I reflect on the U Diagram of healing. The human heart heals by engaging one’s story. But how does cultural background factor into effective story engagement? Whether you are a person of color who is engaging your own story, or you are someone who works with people of color, Jen shares some important categories for you to consider. 

Jun 07, 2021
90 The Cursing of the Body and Racial Trauma

Jen Oyama Murphy shares a story she wrote for The Allender Center called “My Eyes.” Evil often assaults us through the cursing of others. When a part of our body is cursed—especially during our growing up years—we tend to turn on ourselves. Wars with shame and self-contempt begin. In today’s episode, Jen reflects on her experience of racial trauma directed at her eyes and how she has begun to heal. 

May 24, 2021
89 Spiritual Abuse

This is a bonus episode on spiritual abuse. Rachael Clinton Chen provides an overview of the marks of spiritual abuse. She will be teaching a conference on spiritual abuse on Saturday, June 5. You can sign up here. 

May 12, 2021
88 When Trust Is Violated

Friend and fellow therapist Cyndi Mesmer comes back on the podcast to share one of her stories. It’s a story of the exploitation of innocence and the violation of trust. We talk about Cyndi’s trauma response, how she has experienced healing, and how her posture toward the girl in the story has changed as she has continued to engage her story. To find out more about Cyndi’s counseling practice, visit

May 10, 2021
87 How To Engage Your Story In A Way That Brings Healing (Bonus Episode)

Cathy Loerzel joins me to talk about how to engage your family of origin story in a way that brings healing to your brain. We examine three byproducts of trauma (fragmentation, dissociation, and isolation), the importance of naming the intentionality of those who harmed you, the role you played in your family, and the U Diagram of healing. Cathy and I will be co-teaching the Engaging Your Story Conference on Saturday, June 12. You can register here.

May 05, 2021
86 How Attachment Affects Your Relationship With God

Today’s episode begins with an explanation of attachment: what it is and why it’s so important. After recapping The Still Face Experiment, I talk about the two primary types of insecure attachment: avoidant attachment and ambivalent attachment. I then outline how your attachment style may affect your relationship with God. In other words, how might someone with an avoidant attachment style experience their relationship with God? And what about someone with an ambivalent attachment style?

Apr 26, 2021
85 When Abuse Binds Your Heart To Another

Abuse often involves intensity. Whether it’s sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse—the nature of abuse is that there is an intensity between the two people involved. When a parent abuses a child, the intensity at play serves to bind their hearts together. Today, Victoria shares a trauma story that illustrates how her heart was bound to her abuser… and how she has come to be released and find new levels of freedom. Victoria also talks about how she has come to bless her longing—as a child and as an adult—for her father’s gaze… even though the price of that gaze was abuse.

Apr 12, 2021
84 Parenting: How Your Story Is Affecting Your Relationship With Your Children Part 2

Here’s the bottom line with parenting: the past isn’t dead; it’s not even past. Your past experiences in life are profoundly influencing how you interact with, and parent, your children. Every parent knows what it’s like to lose it with their children. But what’s actually happening neurobiologically? What do you do when you realize that you’ve harmed your children? To financially support the podcast, please click here.

Mar 29, 2021
83 Understanding Your Sexual Story (Bonus Episode)

I am joined today by Jay Stringer to talk about the relationship between our current sexual difficulties and our attachment histories. At some point in our lives, each of us will encounter difficulties in our sexual life. It might be the compulsive use of unwanted sexual behavior or a struggle to locate any sexual desire at all. Sexual struggles are rooted in our stories—and more particularly, our stories of attachment to our primary caretakers. If you want to explore this material in more depth, please sign up for the Sexual Attachment Conference on Saturday, April 24. You can sign up here.

Mar 24, 2021
82 Parenting: How Your Story Is Affecting Your Relationship With Your Children Part 1

Here’s the bottom line with parenting: the past isn’t dead; it’s not even past. Your past experiences in life are profoundly influencing how you interact with, and parent, your children. Every parent knows what it’s like to lose it with their children. But what’s actually happening neurobiologically? What do you do when you realize that you’ve harmed your children?

Mar 15, 2021
81 How To Get Your Life Back with John Eldredge

Last year John Eldredge wrote an important book called Get Your Life Back. In today’s episode, John and I talk about my favorite parts of his book. In short, we talk about simple everyday practices that will help you get your life back. Why is this important? Because the pace of modern American life—even in the midst of Covid—often borders on madness. It doesn’t feel like madness for many of us because we’ve lived life at this pace for so long. The pace feels normal. But the human heart was not designed to operate at 5,000 rpm’s all the time; it wasn’t designed to carry the weight that most of us carry.

Mar 01, 2021
80 Relational Conflict: Fight, Flight, Freeze, or Shut Down Part 2

This is Part 2 of a discussion about what happens to your nervous system in the midst of relational conflict. When your body scans your relational environment and detects anything that feels remotely threatening, it triggers your nervous system to do one of three things: socially engage (i.e. talk to the other person), go into a fight/flight/freeze reaction (i.e. yell at the other person, run away from them, or just freeze up in a state of paralysis), or shut down (collapse into a state of hopeless despair). In today’s episode, I explain why your body might opt to shut down. I also outline the difference between the freeze response and the shut down response. To financially support the podcast, please click here.

Dec 21, 2020
79 Relational Conflict: Fight, Flight, Freeze, or Shut Down Part 1

Your nervous system is constantly surveying your environment (think: relationships) to determine how safe and supported you feel. When your body scans the environment and detects anything that feels remotely threatening, it triggers your nervous system to do one of three things: socially engage (i.e. talk to the other person), go into a fight/flight/freeze reaction (i.e. yell at the other person, run away from them, or just freeze up in a state of paralysis), or shut down (collapse into a state of hopeless despair). In today’s episode, I explain how your nervous system determines which response to choose… and why this matters for your interpersonal relationships. To financially support the podcast, please click here.

Dec 07, 2020
78 When Parents Open The Door For Sibling Abuse

My friend Bethany shares one of her stories about sibling abuse. And, as is the case with virtually all sibling abuse, there is so much more at play than an older sibling harming a younger sibling. Harm from siblings never happens in a vacuum. An environment is created in the home by the parents that allows for and, in some cases, even invites, sibling abuse. Bethany graciously helps us understand how these dynamics played out in her home.

Nov 23, 2020
77 The Episode In Which I Share One Of My Stories

Today I share one of my stories. My guest is Rachael Clinton Chen, but she’s actually the host of the episode. As Rachael interviews me, I talk about how I began to engage my story, as well as what obstacles I have faced along the way. Then I read one of my stories and Rachael engages me about it. To financially support the podcast, please click here or here.  


Nov 09, 2020
76 Uncovering Intentionality: Did My Parents Really Mean To Harm Me? Part 2

This is Part 2 of my conversation with Cyndi Mesmer. As you begin to name the ways your parents harmed you, it is very common to think, “Okay, I’ll acknowledge that my Dad harmed me, but I don’t think he really meant to do it. I don’t think my Dad was trying to be cruel, he was just pretty oblivious and clueless.” Cyndi invites you to reconsider this stance. What would it cost you to believe that your father hurt you on purpose? What would it cost you to believe that your mother said and did those things on purpose?

Oct 26, 2020
75 Uncovering Intentionality: Did My Parents Really Mean To Harm Me? Part 1

Cyndi Mesmer and I tackle the question of, “Did the people who harmed me really mean to do it?” Answering this question is more important than you may realize. If you are unsure about the answer to this question—or if you are convinced that your parents didn’t mean to hurt you—it will be very difficult for you to access grief and anger about your wounds, both of which are necessary for healing. Check out Cyndi's blog post on Intentionality and Self-Deception. 

Oct 12, 2020
74 The Bible, Racial Injustice, and Individual Responsibility

Today I want to look at the Bible’s take on how Christians are called to respond when racial injustice is occurring in our land. I am not going to devote any time to making a case that America is an unjust society. If you believe that America is just and fair, I beg you to pick up any of the books on anti-Racism written by a person of color and find out if people of color experience America as just and fair. This episode is primarily for White Christians who have a sense inside of “I acknowledge that racial injustice exists in America, but since I am not personally committing acts of injustice, I am therefore not personally responsible for the injustice that is occurring.”

Sep 28, 2020
73 Racial Trauma and My Story With Racism

Today I talk about racial trauma, and, in particular, the racial trauma that African Americans experience. One central tenet of all story work is that in order for healing to occur there has to be an honest naming of what has been true. This is true in your individual story and it is no less true in our collective story as a nation.

Sep 14, 2020
72 Judging Others: Is It Okay To Judge Those Who Have Harmed Me?

One of the things that prevents people from engaging the ways they have been harmed is the simple objection, “Who am I to judge my parents?” The premise of the objection is simply, “It’s wrong for me to judge my parents. That’s God’s job, not my job.” In today’s episode, I take a look at what the Bible says about judging other people.  

Aug 31, 2020
71 What If I Don't Remember Much Of My Childhood?

Many people look back on their growing up years and simply don’t remember very much. In today’s episode I offer some suggestions on what to do when you are having a difficult time remembering your stories. If you want a summary of today’s episode, you can go to and get a free resource called “What If I Don’t Remember Much Of My Childhood?” This document also outlines several written exercises you can do to help you remember your stories. 

Aug 17, 2020
70 What's Actually Happening When You Interact With Someone?

What is actually happening when two people interact—whether that’s two spouses, a therapist and a client, or two friends? What is actually happening in the brains of the two people who are interacting? Primarily, nonverbal messages are being communicated from one person’s right brain to the other person’s right brain. This has profound implications for why interpersonal interactions can be so fraught. 

Aug 03, 2020
69 How Trauma Affects Your Voice
I am joined today by Susan Cunningham, a California-based counselor, life and soul coach and spiritual director. Sue shares one of the most formative stories of her life. It’s a story about a first grade girl who decided to use her voice. Your voice is one of the parts of you that is most frequently targeted by Evil. If you have a history of trauma, it’s likely that you struggle with using your voice.
Jul 20, 2020
68 Family of Origin Trauma

Today we have the honor of hearing a story from Kellay. In the story, Kellay is ten years old and her brother is 15. Sometimes other family members take up so much emotional space in your home that there is no space left for your emotions. The result is that you can be made responsible for the emotions of other family members—you can be responsible for regulating their affect—but left utterly alone when you are dysregulated and in need of care. This is a horrible bind for a child to be put in.

Jul 06, 2020
67 Your Story, Your Body, and Ritual

I am joined today by Heather Stringer, a therapist with The Counseling Collaborative. Not only does Heather take the body seriously when it comes to engaging trauma, she is also very skilled in designing rituals that facilitate healing. Today we talk about both our physical bodies and the importance of rituals.

Jun 22, 2020
66 How Your Body Can Help Heal Your Trauma Part 2

This is part 2 of my interview with Jenny McGrath about the importance of paying attention to the sensations in our physical bodies when it comes to healing from trauma. Some of the ground we cover includes what can be done when you can’t feel the sensations in your body. We also talk about doing body work to heal the trauma stored in your body. When it comes to healing, paying attention to your body and working with your body is extremely important. 

Jun 08, 2020
65 How Your Body Can Help Heal Your Trauma

I’m joined today by Jenny McGrath, a therapist in Seattle who focuses on how trauma is stored in the body and how the body must be engaged in the healing of trauma. Jenny talks about how and why she began to take the body more seriously when it comes to healing. Topics covered include why our body has a fight, flight, freeze response and how to work with our nervous system to facilitate healing.

May 25, 2020
64 Emotions: Writing Your Own Psalm

What would it look like to begin writing—and praying—your own psalms? When we are feeling big feelings, it can be very healing to put words to those feelings and then to pour the feelings out in prayer. By writing and praying your own psalms, you can facilitate integration in your brain and liberation of your heart. I’ve developed a guide entitled How to Write Your Own Psalm which you can access from my website. 

May 11, 2020
63 Emotions: Praying the Psalms

This is an emotional time. We are all having big feelings. And when we are having big feelings, the place we need to find ourselves is… in the Psalms. Today I hope to open up the power of the book of Psalms for a moment such as this. And by the end of the episode, my invitation to you will be, “What would it look like to begin writing your own Psalms and then praying the Psalms you write?”

Apr 26, 2020
62 When Suffering Lingers

I am joined today by KJ Ramsey. KJ has written an important book about suffering called This Too Shall Last. Sometimes suffering lasts… and where is God in this? How are we to live when the place we find ourselves is one of lingering suffering? KJ invites us to allow our emotions to become a compass, leading us to a God who is present… even in suffering.

Apr 13, 2020
61 The Coronavirus Episode

Three main points. First, the coronavirus is spreading exponentially, not linearly. Second, as a result of the exponential spread—in the absence of aggressive action—the US healthcare system will become overwhelmed and this will affect everyone, including young, healthy people. Third, the only way to stop really bad things from happening is to implement extreme social distancing measures immediately.

Mar 19, 2020
60 Warfare Part 9: Soul Ties

Season 3 concludes with the final episode on Warfare. I am joined again by Cathy Loerzel to talk about soul ties—what they are and how they are formed. We also address how to break curses, agreements, vows, and soul ties. 

Mar 16, 2020
59 Warfare Part 8: Curses, Agreements, and Vows

I am joined by Cathy Loerzel to talk about curses, agreements, and vows—what they are, how they come to be, and where to find them in our stories. Cathy articulates the difference between a curse, an agreement, and a vow. She also explains how it is the design of evil for a curse to lead to an agreement, which then leads to a vow.

Mar 03, 2020
58 Healing From Trauma: Your Posture Toward Yourself

If you have experienced trauma, you likely have difficulty with the whole category of kindness… either receiving kindness from others or being kind to yourself, or likely both. When you are not doing well, what is your posture toward yourself? Are you willing to bring kindness, care, and comfort to your suffering heart and body? And, if not, why not? 

Feb 18, 2020
57 How To Know If You Have Experienced Trauma

Many people are unaware that they have a history of trauma. Trauma has a tendency to hide. But the symptoms don’t lie. If you have the symptoms of trauma, it is highly likely that you have a history of trauma—whether you can locate that trauma in your story or not. Today we will look at the symptoms of trauma, as well as address the questions, “What exactly is trauma? What makes something traumatic?”

Jan 27, 2020
56 Affect Regulation: How Mindfulness Can Help Integrate (Heal) Your Brain

Trauma impairs integration in the brain. When you experience trauma, the neural circuits in various regions of your brain do not make enough connections with one another. Here’s the good news: there is something you can do to promote integration in your brain. In the book Aware, Dan Siegel shares a mindfulness practice that he developed called The Wheel of Awareness. The Wheel of Awareness helps people to integrate the various regions of their brain. And integration leads to emotional stability, which is to say affect regulation.

Jan 13, 2020
54 Warfare Part 7: The Modern Screwtape Letters

The title of this episode comes from a book by C.S. Lewis called The Screwtape Letters. The Screwtape Letters is a collection of letters written from a senior demon, named Screwtape, to his nephew Wormwood (a lower ranking demon). Screwtape’s goal is to advise Wormwood about tactics and strategies for tormenting humans. Today’s episode is my attempt to continue in the vein of Lewis by writing six additional letters. 

Dec 16, 2019
53 Why Family of Origin Triangulation Is Such A Big Deal

Triangulation occurs when Mom or Dad becomes emotionally closer to one of the children than to their spouse. Patria and I discuss the fallout of triangulation in the life of the family and the life of the "special" child. The triangulated daughter often becomes hyper-attuned to Dad, and is setup to be envied by Mom and her (unchosen) siblings. It’s a devastating dynamic that does immense damage to the heart of the triangulated child.


Dec 02, 2019
52 How Your Story Leads to Your Style of Relating to Others with Becky Allender

Becky Allender and I talk about her book Hidden In Plain Sight, which is a collection of stories designed to invite the reader to engage his or her own story in more depth. Becky shares how her relationship with her Mom led to a style of relating in which she became committed to “staying out of the way and becoming invisible.” Becky goes on to talk about the importance of experiencing “sorrow in the care of wise guides” as we engage our story. 

Nov 18, 2019
51 Having Conversations with God with Sam Williamson

I interview Sam Williamson, author of Hearing God In Conversation. Conversation is possible... even with God. Sam and I talk about what gets in the way of hearing from God, why we tend to have low expectations about hearing from God, and how to begin to learn to hear in our ordinary day to day life. If you enjoy this episode, you might want to go back and listen to Episode 38 — The Process of Learning to Hear from God. 

Nov 04, 2019
50 Struggling with Sexuality Part 2: How Understanding Your Story Can (Surprisingly) Help with Jay Stringer

This is Part 2 of the episode about sexuality, lust, fantasy… and your story. Are you curious about how your story can help you understand your current sexual struggles? Jay Stringer presents a surprising—and deeply refreshing—approach to understanding your sexuality in light of your story. He is the author of Unwanted: How Sexual Brokenness Reveals Our Way to Healing. 

Oct 21, 2019
49 Struggling with Sexuality: How Understanding Your Story Can (Surprisingly) Help with Jay Stringer

This is the episode about sexuality, lust, fantasy… and your story. Are you curious about how your story can help you understand your current sexual struggles? Jay Stringer presents a surprising—and deeply refreshing—approach to understanding your sexuality in light of your story. He is the author of Unwanted: How Sexual Brokenness Reveals Our Way to Healing.

Oct 07, 2019
48 You Need More Than God with Sam Jolman

I’m joined today by my friend and fellow therapist Sam Jolman to talk about the fact that we have been made to need more than God. We have been created to need other people. Deeply. However, our need for others can make us feel weak or “too needy.” How are we to navigate this?

Sep 30, 2019
47 Warfare Part 6: Breaking Agreements

In a previous episode, we looked at how we can make agreements with evil that bind us. Today I talk about how to break those agreements. I also share some thoughts about how to resist evil by addressing evil spirits that may be assaulting you. Jesus has given us the weaponry to be successful in warfare. Your words and your will are your weapons.

Sep 23, 2019
46 Warfare Part 5 : Addressing Accusations

In Warfare Part 5, we look at how to wage war against the kingdom of darkness. Warfare move #1 is to pay attention to your life and question the voices, particularly the voices of accusation that you hear throughout your day. The first tactic in waging war is paying attention to what you are hearing and then determining the source of that voice. You can discern the source of the voice with a simple question: what is its tone and tenor? 

Sep 09, 2019
45 Warfare Part 4: Your Authority

When it comes to resisting the assaults of evil against your heart, the starting place is stepping into the authority that is yours. Jesus Christ has set you up to succeed in warfare with evil. However, it’s essential to get clear about the authority that Jesus has delegated to you. This entire podcast began with the claim that “you have a story and that story matters.” The corollary today is “you have authority and that authority matters.” Are you aware of your authority?

Aug 26, 2019
44 How Stories of Harm Lead to Agreements That Bind Us

We are in the middle of a series of episodes on warfare. Last time we talked about making agreements with evil… and how those agreements bind us. Today we are going to take a break from the series to hear Susan’s story. Part of my interview with Susan includes a discussion about an agreement she made. I wanted to make the previous episode practical by sharing a specific example of someone who made an agreement in a moment of heartache.

Aug 12, 2019
43 Warfare Part 3: Agreements

We live in a world in which the kingdom of darkness wars against our hearts. Today we look at the second main tactic of evil—namely, to deceive you to make agreements with it. But what are “agreements with evil” and how are they made? We’ll explore both of those questions in depth. 

Jul 29, 2019
42 Warfare Part 2: Accusation

In Warfare Part 1, we looked at the fact that The Place We Find Ourselves is living in the midst of a world at war. Today, in Part 2, we look at how, specifically, the kingdom of darkness wages war against your heart. What are evil’s goals, strategies, tactics? The kingdom of darkness primarily uses two simple tactics: deception and accusation. Today we focus on accusation. 

Jul 15, 2019
41 Warfare Part 1: The Reality of a War Against Your Heart

We live in a world at war. It’s a war between light and darkness, between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Evil. This is the place we find ourselves. In the episodes to follow we’ll look at how evil operates and how to fight back to win the war for your heart and the hearts of those you love.

Jul 01, 2019
40 Love and War: Attachment and Intimate Relationships

Today’s episode focuses on how attachment styles play out in close relationships. I am joined by Rachel Blackston, who is a therapist in Orlando, Florida. Rachel begins today’s conversation by reading an essay about love and war in her marriage. It’s a beautiful and vulnerable piece that gives you a window into how insecure attachment plays out in a real-life marriage. I’m deeply grateful to Rachel for her willingness to dive head first into this very difficult and important arena. You can read more about Rachel at

May 06, 2019
39 Engaging the Younger Parts of Your Heart

I am joined today by Scott Gibson who is a therapist in the Chicago area. Scott graciously shares a story about himself as an 11 year old boy. It’s a story about desire, about devastation, and especially about attachment. If you resonate with Scott’s words today, you might want to go back and listen to Episode 14 in which Scott talks more about his own story, particularly with regard to engaging the harm of sexual abuse.

Apr 22, 2019
38 The Process of Learning to Hear from God

For most of my Christian life, I didn’t know it was possible to hear from God. I was taught that God stopped talking after the Bible. I simply didn’t know that God talked to his children on a regular basis. And so I didn’t take time to listen. Not because I didn’t want to hear from God—there was nothing I wanted more. I just didn’t know it was possible to hear from God. In 2015 this all changed for me. I began to learn how to hear from God. Today’s episode is about the process of learning how to hear from God. 

Apr 08, 2019
37 Covert Sexual Abuse: When Subtlety Equates to Severity

If your parents did not have a healthy marriage—a deep emotional connection—then it is likely that either you or your sibling has experienced some measure of subtle sexual abuse. Subtle sexual abuse wreaks havoc in your heart… but because of its subtlety, you can live your whole life without knowing what’s plaguing you. Today we talk about what subtle sexual abuse is and how it can affect you.

Mar 25, 2019
36 How A Story From Kindergarten Can Change Your Brain For Decades

This is really two episodes in one. In the first half we talk about sexual abuse that doesn’t involve physical touch, also known as subtle sexual abuse or covert sexual abuse. In the second half, Sandy graciously reads a story from when she was in kindergarten. And as we reflect on Sandy’s story, we see how a single story can affect your brain for decades. As Sandy puts it, “I don’t think I was ever the same after that day.”

Mar 11, 2019
35 Narcissism: What It Is and Why It's So Toxic with Chuck DeGroat

How do you know if you’re in a relationship with a narcissist? What might that relationship feel like? In today’s episode, I talk with Chuck DeGroat about the dynamics of narcissism. Chuck is a seminary professor and a therapist who has a book coming out about what happens “when narcissism comes to church.”

Feb 25, 2019
34 Your Kingdom: The Purpose of Counseling

Many times clients have said to me, “What is the ultimate purpose of counseling anyway?” Their question is excellent because it grows out of their sense that healing alone is not enough. Deep down, we all intuitively know that we are made for more than healing and even made for more than freedom. There is an ultimate goal. There is a reason for digging into your story. It may be bigger than you think.

Feb 11, 2019
33 What It Means to Engage Your Story with Curiosity with Blaine Hogan

I met Blaine Hogan at a Recovery Week a decade ago. Blaine is an artist, creative director, and filmmaker. Our conversation covers sexual abuse, sexual addiction, and the importance of being curious when it comes to engaging your stories. Blaine reads a story from his childhood… and then shares what happened as he realized that he had left out the most important part of the story. You can read more about Blaine at

Jan 28, 2019
32 How Life Can Come From Death with Christy Bauman

In today’s episode, Christy Bauman and I talk candidly about the reality of wounds in this life. What does it mean to enter the wounded places in one another’s hearts? And can genuine goodness really come from places of death? You can read more about Christy at

Jan 14, 2019
31 Trauma and the Enneagram Part 2

Enneagram expert Beth McCord and I conclude our exploration of “How does your enneagram type influence the way you respond to trauma/abuse/harm?" Today’s episode looks at Types 2 through 7. Type Two - 0:30
Type Three - 5:30
Type Four - 12:40
Type Five - 16:00
Type Six - 21:00
Type Seven - 25:50

Jan 01, 2019
30 Trauma and the Enneagram Part 1
Enneagram expert Beth McCord and I begin to explore the question of “How might your Enneagram type influence the way you experience abuse or harm? And how might your Enneagram type influence the way you respond to abuse or harm?” Our conversation begins with a discussion about the intersection of trauma and the Enneagram, and then concludes by looking specifically at Types Eight, Nine, and One. 

Type Eight - 19:30
Type Nine - 27:45
Type One - 32:00

Jan 01, 2019
29 Forgiveness: What It Is

What is our calling with regard to forgiving those who have harmed us? If forgiveness doesn’t require forgetting, what does it require? And how do I know if I’ve forgiven someone for harming me? These are some of the questions we explore in today's episode. The Bible’s treatment of the subject of forgiveness is far more nuanced and complex than many people acknowledge.

Dec 17, 2018
28 Forgiveness: What It's Not

What does it mean to forgive? Today, Robyn and I talk about what forgiveness is NOT. In particular, we discuss the very problematic notion of “forgive and forget.” Does forgiveness really entail “forgetting the offense and never talking about it again”?

Dec 10, 2018
27 God Made Our Brain To Need Others with KJ Ramsey

In today’s episode I talk with KJ Ramsey about how her suffering has forced her to rely on other people for help. There are times when our suffering puts us on the floor—either literally or metaphorically. Today, KJ talks about the rather remarkable surprises that often take place when someone joins us on the floor.

Dec 03, 2018
26 How Healing Happens Part 3

Often the place we find ourselves is a place of desert, of wilderness, of valley. Indeed these are places of death. And they are real and they are part of the process of healing. But they are not the last word. Today we look at what happens when you linger in death. The thesis is that if we are faithful to enter death—to dip down to the bottom of Cathy Loerzel’s U-diagram—then resurrection and healing can begin to exist.

Nov 20, 2018
25 How Healing Happens Part 2

Last week we talked about Cathy Loerzel’s U-diagram and about the importance of engaging particular scenes of heartache and harm in order for healing to begin to take place for you. Today we continue our discussion of what the process of healing requires and what it looks like. If you linger in death, if you dip down into the bottom of the U-diagram, you will enter sorrow and grief… and grief is met by the comfort of God which brings a newness to your heart, and a restoration of vitality and joy. This is the path of healing.

Nov 20, 2018
24 How Healing Happens Part 1

In this week’s episode, we begin a three part series on the subject of healing. What is necessary for healing to begin to occur? There is no way to experience healing apart from taking an honest look at those stories from your growing up years that hold intense feelings for you—shame, powerlessness, terror, sexual arousal, ambivalence, a sense of betrayal, etc. Healing requires that you allow your heart, mind, and body to ponder and engage what it was like for you in your family of origin.

Nov 20, 2018
23 How to Engage a Parent Who Has Harmed You with Autumn

Autumn reads a story that is a beautiful illustration of what it can look like to engage a parent who has done harm. This story is from a very recent time in Autumn’s life when she found herself caring for her sick mother. For all of its redemptive beauty, there is nothing tidy about this story—you’ll hear about Autumn’s dysregulation and indeed her murderous rage at her mother… but you’ll also hear about Autumn’s fierce commitment to offering her mother the very thing that Autumn never received as a girl. 

Oct 15, 2018
22 Why the Practice of Awareness Heals Your Brain with Terry Bohn

In the near future, I am going to address how healing happens in the brain. But there is a prerequisite to healing, there is something that you have to be growing in if you are going to experience healing. And that something is awareness. Awareness means choosing to pay attention to what is happening in your mind and body. Today we’re going to talk about why awareness is so critical for healing, what it actually means, and how to do it. Terry Bohn can be reached at

Oct 08, 2018
21 From Shattered to Whole: Reclaiming Innocence, Beauty, and Hope with Laurie

Laurie tells us how and why she began to engage her story at a deeper level. She then shares a story from when she was 12 years old. It’s a story in which her sense of innocence, beauty, and hope were shattered in an instant. We talk about how she responded to the assault against her heart and body, and how she has come to reclaim much of what was stolen.

Oct 01, 2018
20 Affect Regulation: Why It's Critical For Everyday Life

“Affect” refers to your moment by moment experience of your internal bodily sensations. Think of affect on a scale of 1-10, where 1 represents completely numb and shut down and 10 represents panic, rage, or terror. On this scale, 5-6 represents a slight feeling of relaxed excitement—you are alert, present, and attentive. When you become dysregulated, your body’s greatest need is to return to a regulated state in that 5-6 zone. Affect regulation lies at the core of feeling like you can control your insides. Moreover, all dysfunctional ways of being in the world—all addictions and compulsions—are, at their core, attempts at affect regulation. An impaired ability to self-regulate wreaks havoc in interpersonal relationships because, when you become dysregulated, you are no longer present.

Aug 20, 2018
19 The Path To Healing: Why It's So Important To Find Kindness For The Younger You

Jason reflects on why he began engaging his story and what that process looked like for him. Jason began addressing his story as part of a story group... but (surprising twist) his father just happened to be a participant in that group! In today’s episode Jason talks about why his growing up years had such a big influence on his adult life, and what the path toward healing and wholeness has looked like.

Aug 13, 2018
18 Why Your Story Makes It Hard To Hope

Hope is flat out agonizing. Hope requires that you groan inwardly while, at the same time, waiting expectantly. The alternatives to hope are a deadening of desire and a growing cynicism about what you can really expect from life in this world. Indeed, most hope is squashed by the simple phrase, “I’m just being realistic.” But our war with hope inevitably leads to God: will God respond to the cries of my heart?

Aug 06, 2018
17 What It Looks Like To Actually Grieve Your Wounds

In my second conversation with Andrew Bauman, we engage the whole question of “What does it mean to actually grieve?” If you enjoy my conversation with Andrew, you may want to either pickup a copy of his forthcoming book called Stumbling Toward Wholeness or spend 37 minutes watching his beautiful film A Brave Lament which is also available on Amazon. We talk about both the book and the film today. 

Jul 29, 2018
16 Why Lament (Surprisingly) Leads to Life and Freedom

If you take your story and your wounds seriously, then sooner or later you will find yourself disoriented by tragedy and heartache. The invitation at this point is to lament. When was the last time you just poured out your feelings to God—before editing your words, before making them consistent with some sort of theology? It takes more faith and trust to take our sorrow to God than it does to push down what we are actually feeling. And the surprising result of lament is a renewed sense of freedom and even joy.

Jul 23, 2018
15 Choosing Kindness: Engaging Stories of Shame with Andrew Bauman

One of the consequences of trauma is that we tend to do great harm to ourselves—and particularly to our bodies—after the trauma. Today, Andrew talks about the reality of self-contempt and the damage it does to our hearts. We discuss the necessity of honoring our stories with kindness and care, and the importance of engaging our bodies in the process of healing. We also talk about pornography in the context of our stories.

Jul 16, 2018
14 How to Overcome the Shame of Sexual Abuse with Scott

In today’s episode, I talk to a fellow therapist named Scott. Scott leads groups for men who have a history of sexual abuse. Today, Scott talks about part of what it looked like for him to engage his own story of sexual abuse. In particular, we reflect on the importance of listening to our bodies in the battle to overcome the shame inherent in all sexual abuse. We end by talking about the necessity of coming to bless our bodies rather than curse them.

Jul 09, 2018
13 Your Wounds and the Path to Healing

In today’s show we take a deeper look at how our hearts have been wounded and what the path to healing looks like. Guided by Isaiah 61, we see how our wounding is linked to the particular ways that we find ourselves enslaved. I conclude by reflecting on what is involved in walking the path of healing. The bottom line is that you don’t have to wait until heaven for the healing of your wounds. 

Jul 02, 2018
12 Why Trauma Makes It Hard to Trust Your Gut with Janet

One of the byproducts of trauma is that you lose a sense of being able to trust your body. You begin to distrust your gut knowledge of what is true because the people around you question your reality. In today’s episode, Janet explains how this has played out in her life, past and present.

Jun 25, 2018
11 Implicit Memory: The Thing That's Running Your Life

When it comes to how and why you react to things the way you do, nothing is more important than implicit memory. Do you ever feel intense emotion that you know is “more than the situation calls for”? Perhaps you think of these experiences as “over-reactions.” These intense emotional reactions are not over-reactions at all. They are directly proportional to how your brain interprets your experience through the grid of your implicit memory.

Jun 18, 2018
10 The Trauma of Abandonment with Gary B

Gary explains what brought him to begin engaging his story. Through counseling with Brent Curtis, Gary came to realize that there were several characters in his life story who had a profound influence on his heart and life. Gary tells a story that happened when he was 10 years old, and he explains how he made a commitment at the end of that story which would enslave him for years. 

Jun 11, 2018
9 Why Engaging Your Story Requires Anger at God

Sometimes, “the place we find ourselves” is a place of anger at God. Some of us grew up in Christian sub-cultures in which anger at God was not allowed. If you were angry at God for too long, you had a sense that there was something wrong with you. As a result, many Christians feel ashamed if they find themselves angry at God. However, if you engage the heartache and pain of your story, there will inevitably be times where you are angry at God. Sooner or later, if you are emotionally honest, you will find yourself angry at your Creator. 

Have you ever just poured out your anger, before editing your words? The Bible, in multiple places and especially the book of Job, invites us to do exactly this because when we finally express our unedited anger fully to God, he is able to address our hearts. 


Jun 04, 2018
8 When Your Story of Sexual Abuse Is Not Believed

In today’s episode, I have a very honest and vulnerable conversation with Robyn about sexual abuse. We talk candidly about how our bodies respond with arousal even when there is profound violation occurring. Robyn tells the story of confronting her family about the abuse and not being believed. She then shares how her posture toward the 13 year old girl has changed over the years and what prompted that change. It’s a beautiful conversation. 

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May 28, 2018
7 How Your Attachment Style Affects The Way You Relate To Other People

If you want to understand your relationships, you need to understand your attachment style. In this episode, I explain the three types of insecure attachment and discuss how you can identify your own attachment style. My website:
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May 21, 2018
6 When Your Femininity Is Assaulted with Tracy

In today’s episode, Tracy courageously shares one of her stories with us. Born to a family longing for a boy, the war against her femininity began early. Tracy learned that attention with her father could be won by performing well in sports, dressing in boys’ clothings, and wearing her hair short. One day, in an effort to belong with other sixth-grade girls, she wore a dress to school. The reaction of her peers deepened her desire to stay away from dresses and femininity. She made a commitment that day not to wear dresses ever again. Listen as Tracy discusses this story in the context of her life as a professional golfer, how she’s learned to look at her younger self with kindness and compassion, and how God playfully invited her into redemption with an unexpected challenge to wear dresses for the entire month of December. My website:
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May 14, 2018
5 Attachment: What It Is and Why It Matters So Much

The way you attached to your primary caregiver shaped your brain more than anything else. Attachment refers to the manner in which you connect with others. It’s the emotional bond that you develop with the people you are closest to—the people who are there for you and who truly know you. We are biologically driven to attach to others in order to survive. When we perceive threat or danger, we are hard-wired to maintain proximity to someone who will be there for us, and who truly knows us. In this episode, I give an overview of attachment—what it is and why it matters so much to your day-to-day life.

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May 07, 2018
4 The Trauma of Being Unprotected with Gary

Gary began engaging his story in a deep way when he was in his 50’s. In this episode, Gary shares a story of being humiliated by his elementary school teacher with his Mom standing right next to him. It is a story of mockery, but far more a story of being unprotected by his mother. Gary discusses his journey of finding kindness, and even awe, for himself as a boy.

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Apr 29, 2018
3 The Trauma of School Shaming with Mandy

Mandy talks about how and why she began to engage her story. And then she reads a story from her own life…  a story about being bullied in elementary school—a story that had a major impact on how she began to see herself and relate to those around her.  

Mandy talks about the necessity of finding words for the harm that one has experienced and the importance of bringing one’s pain to God. 

She goes on to explain how she needed the help of another person to fully engage her own story. In other words, you can’t find yourself by yourself. It’s The Place WE Find Ourselves. It’s always “we” not “I.”

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Apr 20, 2018
2 Why Your Family of Origin Impacts Your Life More Than Anything Else

Your story started with your relationship with your parents. Every child needs 6 things from his or her parents. In this episode, I discuss these “Big Six” needs. I also explain two kinds of relational styles that result from being either dismissed by your parents or being asked to be a parent rather than a child. 

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Apr 17, 2018
1 Why Engaging Your Story Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Brain

It turns out that the practice of reflecting on the story of your life actually promotes healing in your brain. There are two reasons for this:

Brain health is a function of the degree to which all parts of your brain are connected with one another.

The process of reflecting on your story, sharing your story with another, and hearing another’s reaction to your story connects neural networks that were previously separated.

In other words, the key to healing is connecting. Engaging the core stories of your life heals your brain by connecting regions that were previously not well connected.

Connecting Left to Right

When you experience harm, your thoughts about the experience become disconnected from the overwhelming emotions you had. Literally. The neurons holding your thoughts (stored in your left brain) become disconnected from the neurons holding your feelings (stored in the right brain).

Telling the story of the experience requires that

your brain link your

thoughts about the story (left brain)

with your

feelings about the story (right brain).

If you are able to tell your story while remaining connected to your emotions, then the neural networks in the left part of your brain will link up with the neural networks in the right part of your brain.

This is very healing.

It leads to what neuroscientists call integration, and what the Bible calls shalom.

Connecting Top to Bottom

Telling your story not only leads to left-right integration, but it can lead to “top-down” integration. “Top” refers to the portion of your brain that is behind your forehead—your cortical brain. “Bottom” refers to the portion of your brain that is lower and deeper—your limbic brain. The limbic brain triggers your fight-flight response and your shutting down response.

When you begin to reflect on harmful parts of your story—stories that hold shame, fear, or rage—your limbic brain reacts and you enter a state of fight-flight or a state of shutting down.

Do I Really Have to Tell It To Another Person?

Yes! If you are able to stay with the story in the presence of another person, two things happen (which are both very good for your brain).

First, the other person’s limbic brain regulates yours—which is to say, their limbic brain soothes and calms yours.

Second, as a result of their attunement and soothing, your cortical brain (top) forms connections and linkages with your limbic brain (bottom).

In other words, the presence of an attuned listener leads to changes in your brain.

Your brain develops neural pathways that connect your cortical brain to your limbic brain. This is very healing because these pathways enable you to self-regulate when you become overwhelmed by fear, shame, or rage.

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Mar 24, 2018