Super excited to celebrate the 100thepisode of The Healing Place Podcast with Diane Petrella, a licensed therapist who works with sexual abuse survivors who struggle with emotional eating, weight, and body image concerns. Thank you, Diane, for joining me to discuss:
her role as a licensed therapist helping clients with sexual abuse history
food addiction as a result of childhood trauma
adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and hypervigilance
“Diane Petrella, MSW is a licensed psychotherapist and life coach specializing in mind-body-spirit approaches to self-growth, healing, and weight loss. Early in her career she co-founded the first child sexual abuse treatment program in Rhode Island and for many years routinely testified in court as an expert witness in the area of child and adult sexual assault and post-traumatic stress. She has 30 years experience working with sexual abuse survivors to help them overcome trauma and reclaim a loving and respectful connection with their bodies.”
As many of you know, I host the internationally downloaded Healing Place Podcast. I do my own editing using a fairly easy software, Wondershare Filmora, and can usually work through any hiccups found in the recordings. However, I ran into a snag last week when my own audio feed was scrambled. I had no idea during the recording process and only discovered the problem when I started editing. Needless to say, I discovered I am not a sound engineer.
That left me scrambling for a solution for the upcoming Friday podcast release. I could bump up the remaining recorded interviews, but one of them was a celebration of podcast episode number 100! That nixed that idea. I happened to be running around with my eighty-four year old mother the day after discovering my recording dilemma when the idea hit me to record an impromptu Facebook Live interview with her.
A little history might help.
I have described my mom as that cute little Gizmo character from the movie, Gremlins. She is sweet and cute and an angel on earth.
But add vodka . . . and just like those Mogwai in the movie, Gremlins, if they eat after midnight, all hell breaks loose. My mom would transform into a cruel, at-times violent and suicidal addict. I experienced flashbacks during EMDR Therapy of waking as a child to find my blank-eyed mother standing over me with a butcher knife in her hand. She denies such acts to this day.
I was the “good girl” in our family. Living a life of co-dependency, searching for my mother’s love and approval most often when she was drinking, and always there to clean up the mess alongside my younger sister. That is until July, 2019. I answered my sister’s phone call as I stood atop a mountain resort in Estes Park, Colorado. Hundreds of miles from home. In that moment, as I was informed of another hospitalization of my mom, brought on by a drinking binge carried out with the intent to die, that I reached my tipping point.
Hit a wall.
Broke the poor camel’s back with that last straw.
Said to the universe with zero hesitation . . .
I walked away from my elderly mother in that moment. And did not speak to her for the next three months. And it hurt my soul to do so. I cried. I shook off Catholic guilt. Yet I stayed firm. And as each day passed, I became more determined in my resolve to give her the space she needed to save herself. It was time for her to clean up her own mess and face those long-avoided demons of her own childhood.
She called me in October. I answered. And I’m not sure why I took the call that time. Something compelled me to do so. She was sober. Happy. And looking for resolution in our relationship. I was more than willing to honor her needs and give her a chance, yet again.
This past Christmas she asked if she could skip our traditional family gathering. I asked her if she was afraid she’d be triggered to crave alcohol and she admitted, yes. I, again, honored her needs and we changed our family plans. Instead we surprised her with a quick ten minute visit to her place which left her smiling and grateful.
Now here we are . . . six months in. She continues to celebrate her sobriety. As do I.
When grandma, or in our case GJ, celebrates sobriety, we share it with the world!
I thoroughly enjoyed this insightful conversation with Dr. Erica Holmes on her role as Director of the Psychological Trauma Studies Specialization at Antioch University Los Angeles, covering the topics of:
her role as a trainer of soon-to-be therapists on the global impact of trauma
her role as a licensed psychologist
philosophies on the impact of psychological trauma
her book Dating with Purpose: A Single Woman’s Guide to Escaping No Man’s Land
“Erica Holmes, PsyD is Core Faculty and the Director of the Psychological Trauma Studies Specialization in the Master’s in Psychology program at Antioch University Los Angeles, Executive Director of Champion Counseling Center at Faithful Central Bible Church and the founder of HOMMs Consulting. Dr. Holmes has provided psychotherapy and counseling, training and consultation, education and research services to individuals and organizations for over 20 years.
Dr. Holmes is a frequent invited speaker at local, national and international conferences and media events. Her areas of inquiry and more than 150 presentations focus on psychological trauma, relationships and coupling, insight and empowerment, psychotherapy with African American clients and the integration of Christianity and Psychology.
Her recently released book, Dating with Purpose (DWP): A Single Woman’s Guide to Escaping No Man’s Land has been met with great enthusiasm and positive review. DWP guides women of all ages through a journey of self-discovery, self-acceptance, and self-empowerment on the path to finding the love they desire. The first workbook of its kind, Dating with Purpose includes a series of easy-to-follow reflective exercises designed to bring awareness to the patterns and behaviors that set up roadblocks to happiness in intimate relationships. It is now available on Amazon.
She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology with a minor in Behavioral Science from California State University Dominguez Hills, as well as, a Master’s degree and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology. Further, Dr. Holmes holds post graduate certifications in the Psychology of Trauma from Antioch University and Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University. She is an American Psychological Association Minority Fellow and past board member for the Los Angeles chapter of the Association of Black Psychologist.”
“Andrea Winkler, MSW, LCSW, LCAS has emerged as an engaging and informative practice-based trainer. She maintains a full-time caseload at the Duke Psychiatric Outpatient Clinic where she provides mental health assessment and psychotherapy. Her passion for trauma and gender related issues began early in her academic experience at James Madison University, and continued throughout her MSW program at UNC Chapel Hill. Completion of UNC’s Certificate in Substance Abuse Studies provided additional specialization in a population for whom trauma is a primary co-occurring feature. Andrea has developed training and consultation services that support the practical application of gender responsive substance use disorder treatment and trauma-informed care into medical, educational, intellectual/developmental disabilities, mental health, and substance use treatment fields.”
Thank you Dr. B. for answering my request on ACEs Connection for a knowledgeable guest to join me on the show to specifically address the topic of bullying! What a fun, yet informative, conversation, filled with critical information for parents/caregivers, teens, and teachers. Join us as we cover:
“Dr. B. is a Professional Keynote Speaker, Certified iPEC Coach, and an Organizational Trainer. She strives to take very complex concepts and make them manageable and understandable. Let’s talk about qualifications, briefly, she has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, with a specialization in Parent-Child Mental Health (PIMH) and a strong emphasis in Neuropsychology. She has an MA in Early Childhood Education, with a K-12 credential, and a BA in Child Development. She has presented at conferences across the country and travels all over the world to better understand human relationships, resiliency, and connection.If you want to know more, just ask!”
“Lorna Minewiser is a Coach who is passionate about sharing what she has learned over the last 30 years. In 1988 she went back to college after more than 20 years of being a housewife, mother, realtor and volunteer. She finished her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology in 1992, her license as a Counselor in 1995, and her PhD in Psychology in 2001. She became fascinated with alternative systems of learning and healing while she was in her PhD program at Saybrook Graduate School and has been learning about and practicing them ever since.
Although she was a Licensed Professional Counselor for 15 years she prefers to work as a Coach and has done so since 2002.
She has taught Energy Psychology classes in Clinton Township, MI, Charlotte, NC, Sacramento, CA and through teleclasses and webcasts. In 2006 she received the Certified Energy Health Practitioner designation from the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology.(ACEP)
In personal coaching sessions she might use EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) or Touch and Breathe, Healing Codes, Emotion Codes,Body Code, Energy Medicine techniques, or something else that could help you make the changes you want in your life.
She has taught high school, college, and teacher continuing education classes. Her PhD dissertation “Eliciting Mental Models: Images of teaching and learning” has been published and she has had several articles published as well. In the spring of 2008 she conducted a research project on using EFT to reduce Test Anxiety. She was chair of the ACEP research subcommittee on EFT for Research. Recently she participated in the Veteran Stress Research Project. Lorna has co-authored an article about the replication project and has a case study article published.”
“Dr. Kristina Brinkerhoff, a consultant, keynote speaker, presenter and trainer, leverages over 20 years of experience as a teacher, principal, superintendent and adoptive mom of five foster children, to help educators gain an understanding of the effects Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and the importance of trauma informed practice in schools. Her work focuses on the direct impact ACEs have on a child’s ability to self-regulate and successfully function in the classroom and school setting, and what schools can do to help students build self-regulation skills and resilience strategies. Participants will gain an understanding of specific strategies designed to help school educators navigate how to address the impact of ACEs, recognize student needs, establish caring and responsive trauma informed classroom and school expectations, and respond to difficult behaviors with compassion and self-control.”
What Participants Are Saying!!
“Really great info, one of the best PD sessions I’ve ever attended!”
“The presentation and materials were excellent!”
“This was the best session I have ever attended!”
“Love your personal connections !”
“Thank you for getting the mind thinking!”
“Thank you, this was an awesome use of my time!”
“Great charisma as a presenter!”
“It was awesome, thanks for everything!”
“Excellent. I wish I knew this at the beginning of my career and know now as I am at retirement.”
“Mrs. Brinkerhoff is confident, poised, and well-versed when it comes to delivering ACE strategy training to teaching/educational staff. She is able to build quick rapport with the staff which then allows her to work directly with them when faced with a challenging scenario.” Valerie Uhlorn, Principal Amity Elementary
“Dr. Brinkerhoff presented to our K-5 administrative group about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE). I was so impressed with her presentation that I asked if she would be willing to come and speak with my staff before the school year had started. This was an area, that my staff was not super familiar with and I felt that bringing her in as an outside source would give a different perspective. She spent half the day with us and really spoke to the depths of childhood trauma and the disruption to the learning environment. The understanding that my staff had after her presentation allowed us to start our year off with compassion and patience for those kids in need. She has the experience and the gift to present with influence and impact for our educators. ” Tony Bonucelli, Principal, Moscow Charter School
“Dr. Brinkerhoff connected her research to personal stories from her days teaching and being an Elementary Principal. Her on-the-ground experience, warm personality, and sense of humor allowed her to relate well to her audience of over 100 administrators. In my eight years of attending the IASA annual conference, Dr. Brinkerhoff was by far the best keynote speaker we have had at the final IAESP session. In fact, once she was finished, a fellow administrator immediately booked her to present at a fall back-to-school training for their charter school staff. ” Dr. Kendra McMillan, Ph.D, Lena Wittmoore Elementary
I feel honored to have had the opportunity to sit with Louise Godbold, executive director of Echo, whose mission is “to educate trauma survivors (including parents and service professionals) about trauma and resilience in order to promote survivor empowerment, resolve individual and community-level trauma, and create the safe, stable, nurturing relationships that break the cycle of generational trauma”. We engaged in a beautiful conversation covering such topics as:
her Harvey Weinstein #metoo experience
the purpose and passion of Echo
alternative approaches outside of therapy for healing
and her upcoming 2020 Annual Conference featuring Survivors Becoming Empowered!
“Louise Godbold is the Executive Director of Echo. Before joining Echo in 2010, she worked for over 15 years in the nonprofit field, both in nonprofit management and as a consultant. For several years she was retained by UC Berkeley to provide statewide technical assistance to county alcohol and drug administrations. She has also worked for The California Endowment and the Los Angeles County Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, as well as innumerable nonprofits, providing assistance with evaluation, strategic planning and creating research-based programming. Louise is the developer and lead trainer for Echo’s curricula on trauma and resilience. She is a trauma survivor and #MeToo silence breaker.”
I so enjoyed the opportunity to sit with the soft-spoken, brilliant, passionate, and enlightened Sarah Peyton of Empathy Brain and author of Your Resonant Self: Guided Meditations and Exercises to Engage Your Brain’s Capacity for Healing to discuss:
the concept of time-travel practice (returning to a younger self for healing)
“Sarah Peyton, Certified Trainer of Nonviolent Communication and neuroscience educator, integrates brain science and the use of resonant language to heal trauma. She brings together depth work and self-compassion that integrate relational neuroscience with the transformative potential of language. She teaches and lectures internationally, and is the author of the book ‘Your Resonant Self: Guided Meditations and Exercises to Engage Your Brain’s Capacity for Healing.'”
I have said for years, as I felt my way along a sometimes rugged and dark healing path, that I had to return to the darkness in order to make it into the light. Those dark spaces held my trauma, the negative energy needing to be released from my body, mind, and spirit. I used to dish this advice to my then-best-friend in regards to her traumatic past. She would scoff me off.
Just when I thought I had processed the worst of my traumas (sexual abuse, bank robberies, murder, physically abusive parent), this said-friend ghosted me. Gone. Just like that. No closure. No good-bye. No “piss off” to send me on my way. Just silence. After seven years of texting every day, weekend hang outs, girls’ trips adventures, deep talks, and laugh-til-we-peed gatherings. Done.
Only two weeks prior had I sat across from her at one of our impromptu lunch dates, telling her that my therapist and I had discovered my biggest fear during my last EMDR session: the fear of abandonment. I told her how it linked back to my mom and her alcohol addiction, how she had left me feeling emotionally abandoned my entire childhood. She knew most of the history of life with my mother: partying with her co-workers after banking hours, stumbling into our apartment hammered a few nights a week; pouring herself a vodka over ice with a squirt of lemon juice on those nights she came straight home from her teller job, sinking into the worn recliner, held together in places with duct tape, losing herself in a book from the library, yelling for my dad to silence the children, which always came with the jingling of a belt-buckle prepping to beat us quiet; belittlement at our not using our God-given talents and, therefore, disappointing Jesus, God Himself, and all of the heavenly hosts; attempted stabbing of my dad when she raged at him with a butcher knife; attempted drowning of her children when she decided we’d be better off with Jesus in lieu of living in this “valley of tears” called life; showing my school photo to church friends, in my presence, and laughing as she declared, “Look how ugly she is!”, later to remind me, “I was just joking”; and so on.
I was struck with an inkling of curiosity when this friend’s head cocked a bit to the side as she replied, “Really?” to my announcement that my biggest discovered fear was that of abandonment. Not bridges or highways, even though I cannot drive on them. Not death, even though I had faced it too many times, from beneath bathtub water, when staring into a revolver placed to my head, when confronted with the firing end of a Luger during a second bank robbery. Not heights, even though my dad had found it funny to dangle me from the Natural Bridge in Kentucky on a rare family outing or had me look out the window of our beat up station wagon at the Ohio River below us as we crossed the humming bridge into Covington, Kentucky to visit my grandparents, as he proclaimed, “See those river sharks? Some day this bridge will crumble. It was built in the 1800’s you know. And when we fall in, those river sharks will eat you”, then he’d laugh and laugh at his humor, while I stared at the muddy water, positive I saw those river sharks. Not flying, though I could not even think of climbing onto a plane without Xanax in my blood. Not cockroaches. Nor being buried alive. Nor fear itself. Abandonment – linked to my fear of rejection, my insecurities, my unstable sense of self, and my deep craving for approval and affection.
Really? That word would haunt my next year as I sorted through the processing of her disappearance from my life.
Only by giving yourself over to your feelings can you find your way out of them.
Susan Anderson in “The Journey from Abandonment to Healing”
I am guessing God’s timing was, yet again, perfect. It was time for me to visit the darkness that was my relationship with my mother. Still swirling in the chaos of her addiction, I never knew who I would encounter upon my calls to check in or visits to her retirement community. Sober mom was kind and doting. “Teri, I don’t know what I’d do without you. Thank God I have you.” Drunk mom was cruel, “I hate you. I want to put a meat cleaver in your forehead.” When I brought that one up during a sober conversation, she insisted, “Oh for Pete’s sake. I was joking. Get a sense of humor. You know I’d never say something like that to you.”
And then the friend-ghosting occurred. And I cried into my journal for a year. I cried at restaurants. I cried at sappy commercials. I cried when I’d hear songs, listening purposefully to tear-jerker ballads. I cried at Facebook memories popping up. I cried all . . . the . . . time. I just cried. For a year.
And as I did so, I read this book. This amazing book filled with comfort and wisdom, reminding me I would survive this, too. Just as I had survived all of the horrors of my past. This ghosting was a reminder that I had not yet faced the pain I had stored away in regards to trust and love, a heart-hurt melded in the hands of my parents. God was opening that attic door and shining a light on that long-avoided box of sadness.
Being left by someone we love can open up old wounds, stirring up insecurities and doubts that had been part of our emotional baggage since childhood.
Susan Anderson in “The Journey from Abandonment to Healing”
My grieving journey had begun. What was triggered by a ghosting, turned into a beautiful journey of healing those old insecurities and heartaches, helping me find forgiveness for my parents, as well as helping me release the ghosts from that abandonment attic. All of them.
The author takes us into an understanding of the five states of abandonment: shattering, withdrawal, internalizing rejection, rage, and lifting. All of which I circled through. The beautiful gift I discovered during this grief journey was that of embracing my own vulnerability even more than I already had. I learned to console little Teri all the while learning to empower adult me.
Susan Anderson, author of this powerful book, offers an action plan for readers to help us along our continued healing journey, as well. An action plan I fully implemented.
The key to change is opening your life to new experiences. Even small changes in your daily routine can lead to new discoveries about who you are becoming.
The key to reconnecting is to cherish the gift that abandonment has given you, to remain open to your vulnerabilities and to the vulnerabilities of others.
Susan Anderson in “The Journey from Abandonment to Healing”
Since reading this beautiful book, I have done exactly that. I opened myself up to new experiences: starting a successful podcast with a growing global audience (The Healing Place Podcast); meeting amazing souls from all over the world who are working to help others along their healing journeys; starting this blog; creating a website aimed at helping others heal from ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) and trauma; becoming a YouTuber (that is still in its infancy stages); standing on stages to share my story of hope; creating our Sammie’s Bundles of Hope project to help children struggling with anxiety and trauma history; volunteering with our sweet therapy dog, Sammie Doodle; and opening myself up to new friendships.