I learned much about hope, trauma, and recovery during this informative and inspirational conversation with Casey Gwinn, President and Co-Founder of The Alliance for Hope International. Please join us as we discuss:
Casey’s own story of triumph
his books, including Hope Rising: How the Science of HOPE Can Change Your Life
the science of hope
the missions of The Alliance for Hope International
“Casey Gwinn, Esq. serves as the President of Alliance for HOPE International.
Casey has been recognized by The American Lawyer magazine as one of the top 45 public lawyers in America. He is an honors graduate of Stanford University and UCLA School of Law. Casey served for eight years as the elected City Attorney of San Diego from 1996 to 2004. His transformative work as a prosecutor changed the face of domestic violence prosecution in the United States. He is the visionary behind the Family Justice Center movement, the founder of Camp HOPE America, the first camping and mentoring program of its kind in the country, for children impacted by domestic violence. He co-founded the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention and trains professionals across the country and around the world in the handling of near-fatal strangulation assaults. He is one of the leading thinkers in the country on the power of hope in the lives of adult and child trauma survivors as well as helping professionals. The Alliance measures hope, resiliency, and wellbeing in all its programs with survivors, both adults and children, and even with its own staff members.
His work has been profiled nationally on the Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS The Early Show, USA Today, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, New Yorker Magazine and a host of other news outlets. Most recently, Casey received the Ronald Wilson Reagan Public Policy Award from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime.
Casey has authored or co-authored ten books since 2006. Casey’s newest book, written with Dr. Chan Hellman from the Hope Research Center at the University of Oklahoma, is entitled “Hope Rising: How the Science of HOPE Can Change Your Life.” It is a roadmap to a life-well lived and points the way toward the power of hope in the lives of all those who have experienced trauma, hardship or adversity.
Casey and his wife, Beth, have three grown children. He is a proud grandfather of five grandchildren.”
“JONDI WHITIS lives and works in New York City using a handful of tried and true techniques to help others achieve their goals, and overcome challenges, fears and doubts to become their personal best. As she likes to say, “My best tools are warmth, honesty, humor and intuition, harnessed to my years of study and experience with people of all walks. I believe the willingness to listen, be of service and celebrate each soul I meet with joy and gratitude is at the heart of my success.”
An Accredited, Certified Advanced Practitioner and Master Trainer of Trainers for the most popular Energy Psychology protocol, EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). Jondi holds credentials from all the top EFT groups, and sits on the Training Board of the original, global EFT association, EFTinternational. This organization, originally called AAMET, is a registered educational charity and leader in standards for accredited, professional EFT training. She has a BA in Psychology and is a former Teaching Artist in NYC public schools for the largest educational grant holder, LEAP.
Jondi is well-known for her years of streaming podcasts on EFTRadio & BlogTalkRadio. A founder of TapFest, the first Intentional global community site, TappingStar, which focuses upon children, and founder of the collaborative community of US energy workers, Spring Energy Event, now in its 8th year.
She continues to develop integrative EFT workshops for all kinds of groups – kids, parents, trauma, veterans, and healthcare professionals. Each month you’ll find her sharing transformational techniques; an integration specialist, Jondi delights in sharing knowledge and experience with both licensed health professionals, avid wellcare workers and caregivers of all kinds.
She welcomes anyone to try the loving, affirming results of EFT by contacting her here: Jondi@EFT4Results.com or www.JondiWhitis.com”
I feel honored to have had the priviledge of sitting down with Andrea Hummel as she shares her passion for mediation, improv workshops, trauma recovery, and resolving miscommunications. Please join us as we discuss:
the role of Improv for Peace in conflict resolution
using mediation tools for processing unresolved trauma
“Andrea C Hummel is trained in multicultural diversity, mediation and trauma recovery. She holds a Masters in applied anthropology from American University, with post-graduate studies in intercultural conflict mediation. She’s trained in ShadowWork and Multi-Track Diplomacy, and holds a theory certification in TSM psychodrama for post-traumatic growth.
In 1991 Andrea founded a consulting firm specializing in cultural diversity and human relations consulting; and was an adjunct faculty member at University of Florida and Manatee Community College. Initially her focus was on preventing conflict; now it’s on resolving it. She’s the developer of the cutting-edge I4P (Improv for Peace) method for helping individuals and communities increase empathy, decrease miscommunication and create alternate endings to historical conflict. No stranger to staying focused during crisis, she was in the Middle East during the 1990 Kuwaiti oil crisis, Guatemala during the 1995 refugee persecutions, and Greece during the 2015 refugee crisis.
Co-author of the Amazon #1 best-seller Pathways to Vibrant Health, she’s working on a self-help book for trauma recovery with Dr Kate Hudgins. She was recently honored with the 2020 Innovators Award from ASGPP, for bringing psychodrama and action methods to a wider audience.
Past clients include: Micosukee Tribe of Indians, Recover! Charlottesville, US Navy STRICOM, AmeriCorps, Equifax, Children’s Board of Hillsborough Co., City of Richmond, City of Charlottesville, Eckerd College and University of Tampa.“
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.”
What a delightful conversation I engaged in with the passionate and compassionate Shenandoah Chefalo, author of Garbage Bag Suitcase: A Memoir and faculty member of The Center for Trauma Resilient Communities. We dove into the depths of:
the healing work of Crossnore and The Center for Trauma Resilient Communities
“Shenandoah Chefalo’s early childhood and subsequent placement into foster care has given her a personal insight into the trauma that children in our nation experience every day. As an author, coach, and nationally-recognized speaker, Shen advocates for foster children everywhere she goes. She also encourages and challenges those in power on state and federal levels, as well as those providing care, to provide the best care possible for these children. With a lengthy career as a paralegal and director of a law firm, Shen has also seen the legal side of children’s care and how much more trauma may be experienced as a child’s case proceeds through the court system.
Shen has been the owner and chief training advocate of two firms in Michigan offering business and life coaching, consultation, and training across the United States. She has consulted with both private and public sector clients providing group and one-on-one training and coaching, workshops, webinars, and keynote speeches. Shen is particularly adept at helping clients identify and address issues, as well as achieve goals, specifically related to the topics of trauma and adversity.
In addition to her work, Shen has authored three books: Setting Your Vision and Defining Your Goals (2013), Garbage Bag Suitcase (2016), and Hiking for Stillness: Healing Trauma One Step at a Time, expected to be published in 2019. Shen earned a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Science, Human Resources, & Society from Michigan State University, and is a 2011 graduate of Coach U in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a member of the Michigan State Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and currently serves as the State Chairman of DAR Schools.
Shen is married to Gerry and the couple have one daughter, Sophia. The Chefalos enjoy adventure and their travels have taken them around the globe. They especially enjoy their family trips during the Christmas holidays and in 2018, they will be hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro, a dormant volcano in Tanzania. This trip will also raise awareness for children in foster care and funds for Crossnore School & Children’s Home.”
“Missy Garcia is a wife, mother of two as well as a powerful sex and leadership coach for women who are desperate to escape from their dull and disconnected lives. She is warm, authentic, funny and deeply vulnerable, offering sage advice about sexuality and leadership from a raw place that has developed through her own journey of self-transformation. Missy is passionate about empowering women with tools to come back into the true beauty of who they are, guide them to open their heart to completely loving all of themselves, and totally embracing their badass queen within. She coaches women to access their inner power, be healed from within and bring back the juiciness into their life, careers and relationships.”
Learn more about Missy and her mission at: W: missyagarcia.com E: email@example.com FACEBOOK: @themissyagarcia INSTAGRAM: @themissyagarcia LINKEDIN: linkedin.com/in/missy-a-garcia/ TWITTER: @MissyAGarcia YOUTUBE: Missy A Garcia
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.
Thank you, Dr. Gretchen Schmelzer, for enlightening us even more about the “journey through trauma”. Listen in as Gretchen shares her insights on trauma GPS, her work in the field of trauma-recovery and healing on individual and societal levels, Nelson Mandela, her five phase cycle for healing repeated trauma, and more!
Welcome to The Healing Place Podcast! I am your host, Teri Wellbrock. You can listen in on iTunes, Blubrry, Spotify, or directly on my website at www.teriwellbrock.com/podcasts/. You can also watch our insightful interview on YouTube. These hope-infused episodes are also now available on Deezer, Google Podcasts, Podbean, and more!
“Gretchen Schmelzer, PhD is a licensed psychologist, trained as a Harvard Medical School Fellow and the author of Journey Through Trauma published in 2018 by Penguin Random House. She is a trauma survivor, who has worked for twenty-five years with the complex issues of trauma, integration and behavior change across every level of system from individuals, to groups, to large systems and countries, including her role as the expert consultant for documentary film The Silence which aired on April 19, 2011 on Frontline regarding priest sexual abuse in a Native Alaskan Village to ensure adequate resources for viewers and for proper follow on support for trauma survivors.
Since 2002, Dr. Schmelzer has also been a senior consultant with Teleos Leadership Institute, an international consulting firm serving leaders of fortune 100 businesses and major not-for-profit organizations such as the United Nations. Her expertise in long term trauma was used to inform the design and delivery of a four year large scale intervention for the UN in Cambodia. She and her colleagues worked with 150 leaders each year who were survivors of the Khmer Rouge in a large scale leadership initiative to strengthen the county’s response to HIV/AIDS. The program integrated work in self-awareness and self-regulation, gender issues, communication skills, relational skills and action learning. This program was rated one of the most successful leadership development programs run through the United Nations Development Program by an independent research team.
Gretchen received her doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Northeastern University, and her Master of Science degree in Counseling Psychology from Springfield College, and BA from Mount Holyoke College. She completed her clinical training as a Harvard Clinical Fellow and completed her postdoctoral fellowship in Behavioral Medicine at UMASS Medical Center and The Center for Mindfulness. Since October 2014 she is the founder and editor of The Trail Guide, a web-mag featured on www.gretchenschmelzer.com dedicated to healing repeated trauma.”
Book three in this blog series – Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy by Francine Shapiro, PhD.
This book was recommended to me by my therapist in the midst of our four year, ninety-eight session, EMDR healing journey. For those unaware what EMDR is and how it helps, I will give you my trauma-warrior perspective, a view from the inside. EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. During most sessions, I would watch a light bar flash from left to right and back again or hold vibrating paddles in my hands, alternating left, right, left, right. This would result in my eyes naturally falling into a rhythmic back and forth as I was encouraged to revisit traumatic events from my youth.
What would arise during these sessions ranged from body memories, such as a feeling that someone was squeezing my left shoulder in a fierce grip, to flashbacks of images, such as seeing my mother’s face from beneath water as she held me down, to sensations of a spirit presence in the therapist’s office (I believe it was my deceased father trying to help me). Naturally, I would at times experience panic attack symptoms, and would almost always cry. Sometimes slow tears cascading down my cheeks. Other times full-on ugly crying, requiring a pause in the action.
While at times I found this to be terrifying, my therapist was always there to remind me to keep myself grounded, be gentle with myself, just notice the body memories or panic symptoms without judgment, and to guide me to tuck the session into a storage box, until next time, so I was able to walk out of her office, most days, emotionally exhausted but able to continue with my day. EMDR was life-altering. I would not be in the place of tranquility I am today without it.
This book, penned by the developer of EMDR, kept me holding on to hope as I weaved my way in and out of horrific childhood and young adult memories. It was my reminder that the symptoms of my Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) diagnosis need not be permanent. I could learn to process the memories in a healthy way, release stored negative energy, rewire neuron pathways, and create healthy coping strategies and new habitual patterns. Whew! Sounds exhausting, right? It was. But, wow, was it worth it.
PTSD makes life unmanageable. It pushes people into trying to do something to survive the chaos within them.
Using real-life stories throughout this book to guide us readers through the lessons to be learned about trauma and its effect on us in brain/mind/body/spirit levels, helped me feel not-so-alone in my journey. Dr. Shapiro also took me by the hand, along with my therapist, and guided me toward a better understanding of the physiological processes that had occurred during the traumas, and helped me understand what being triggered was doing to me in the present day.
Dr. Shapiro takes us into exercises we can utilize as we move along our healing journey. Trying to survive the chaos within me was a heavy load to carry each day. Not knowing when I would be triggered. How severe the panic attack would be. Wondering if I would actually die from it this time (a racing thought that haunted me mid-panic). However, these self-help techniques outlined in the book encouraged me to believe in the possibility. The possibility of relief. The possibility of hope. The possibility of true healing.
Basically, life is not just about getting rid of suffering. It’s about expanding our potential while embracing feelings of joy and well-being.
This incredible book introduced me to life changing concepts such as mindfulness (which I practice on a daily basis now, particularly on my nature hikes), post-traumatic growth (which I can proudly claim has occurred in my life), and Hope for Healing (my own coined term for what I experienced in my life as a result of EMDR – and also the name of my monthly newsletter).
I hope you find comfort in this collection of stories and pertinent information on trauma-recovery. You are so very worthy of the possibilities EMDR can offer.
What a heart-warming conversation I engaged in with Heather Askew, co-founder and co-director of Jojo’s Sanctuary, a beautiful space that works to re-unite children with families and provide opportunities for children in Northern Thailand. Heather has been a foster parent to three Thai teenagers herself and is currently parenting a teenage son. Please join us as we discuss her journey from the film industry in Los Angeles, California to changing lives in the villages of Thailand.
“Heather Askew, originally from Washington State, was a script supervisor in film and television for ten years before moving to Thailand. She moved to Chiang Mai in 2011 to work at Taw Saeng as program coordinator for the after school program. While there, she taught English, gave piano and guitar lessons and planned field trips for the children. After working with Taw Saeng for 3 years, she was invited to join the team at HUG Project as the case manager for child victims of human trafficking and sexual abuse. While at HUG Project, she also started an after school program with her Thai colleague, Win, for the Burmese children who lived in the neighborhood and were at risk of exploitation. The program, called Moulding Stars, continues today and Heather volunteers teaching English once a week to the pre-school class. Heather left HUG Project in 2016 to found Jojo’s Sanctuary with two Thai colleagues, Butsaba and Jay and acts as the co-director. Heather has also been a foster parent to three Thai teenagers and currently has a 17-year-old foster son.
Jojo’s Sanctuary seeks to educate, protect and empower vulnerable children, families and communities in Northern Thailand. They aim to prevent human trafficking by focusing on family strengthening and keeping children in families rather than orphanages. Jojo’s Sanctuary was named in honor of Jojo, an 8-year-old boy who died as the result of child abuse at the hands of an aunt. Their goal is to provide families with the tools to maintain a safe and loving home for every child, regardless of their socioeconomic status. Jojo’s Sanctuary provides educational scholarships, child protection and parenting workshops, assistance with citizenship for stateless children and a holistic family strengthening program for lower income families.”