Understanding oneself usually means going back to the early years, where all memories and ideas about the world start. There are many important considerations when thinking about what happened in one’s childhood—good things, confusing things, and bad things. Knowing who one was then helps us to know who we are now—there is no way around it. Yet this can be one of the most painful parts of therapy for people, often opening up doors to emotional memories that were long ago closed and sealed off.
As a trauma trained therapist, I understand that for some, this process is deeply frightening and upsetting, and so I am there to help my clients through it. While most people see me weekly, some come twice a week. I help discuss safety in therapy, the importance of pacing, and the need for ongoing self-care; I help discuss the importance of boundaries, what they mean, and how to set them; we talk about decisions in the present day and how they may be mirror images of experiences from the past.
Time and again, there are things I have learned, and while I don’t ever give “homework”, I do encourage my clients from time to time to read an article or listen to a podcast. I use the website as a place to organize them for quick reference.
The podcast and radio show “This American Life” is familiar to many public radio listeners. The weekly show features stories by people, generally organized around a theme. The episode Unconditional Love tells the story of how the field of psychology finally started to believe that love was a basic need and to understand why childhood emotional neglect was traumatizing. I have found this is a very helpful episode—especially the prologue—to reference when discussing with clients why they get into destructive cycles in their adult relationships that seem to resemble childhood and parent relationships.
From a Podcast Series Called “Therapy Chat” facilitated by a therapist named Laura Reagan, LCSW, there are a series of excellent interviews that are worth checking out. Here are a few that I have found particularly interesting in terms of understanding trauma, neglect, and childhood. Please note the Podcast # as you may have to scroll through to find the specific one you want to listen to.
Podcast 140: Dynamics Of Dysfunctional Or Alcoholic Families for anyone who grew up in a family where a parent was an alcoholic, or someone had a serious mental illness.
Podcast #148, Effects of Childhood Traumatic Stress on Physical & Mental Health to learn about the connection between childhood trauma and mental health. This fascinating interview features Dr. Gabor Mate’, a physician with a unique and cutting edge perspective on addiction, trauma, and common diagnoses such as ADHD.
Rachel Grant is a life coach who has a podcast called "Beyond Surviving" on childhood sexual abuse. This podcast is best listened to from the start and consecutively forward. There are many interesting topics and the content is not explicit or triggering. As the name of the series implies, the focus is on hope and survival.