Matt

Podcast – Ep. 78 – Dissociative Identity Disorder, and the Living DID Program, with Erika Reva

On this episode of the podcast, I’m talking with returning guest Erika Reva, of The We in Me. I first met Erika through Twitter, and I reached out to see if sheErika Reva - The We in Me - Podcast might be interested in writing a guest blog post for Surviving My Past. To this day, her story is still one of the highest viewed posts  on the blog, which speaks not only to her ability as a writer, but her genuine desire to share her story, continue her healing journey, and also help others who live with DID.

Since then she has joined me on the podcast to discuss DID and Self Harm, and we’ve remained in contact through social media and periodic emails following each other’s journey. After one such recent email exchange, I learned of a new program she had created, called Living DID. After hearing more about it, I knew I wanted to see if she’d be interested in coming back on Beyond Your Past, to share with us how this program came to be, what it’s about, and the feedback she’s received from participants who’ve taken it.

As Erika outlines:

The feedback has been wonderful and many others with DID & trauma disorders have contributed their stories and journey’s for us to share as various examples throughout the discussion based course. Each week we delve into detailed discussion based lectures that pertain to various topics on DID.

Week 1- intro to us (The We in Me) and the course.
Week 2-  Protectors, these parts that are often demonized and feared will be discussed
Week 3- Triggers
Week 4- Littles, the young traumatized parts that are protected and hidden
Week 5- The problems with Docs, we have 2 systems who have also agreed to join us and discuss their struggles as well as our own story and several others who have given us permission to share, so they can remain anonymous.
Week 6- Therapy, an in depth look on what therapy can/does look like for someone with DID and as the psychologists ways to best help them.
Week 7- Relationships & Closing – Focus this final week will be on relationships within the system, people such as romantic or friend type relationships as well as the correlation of BDSM & the trauma community that is vastly overlooked.

As you’ll hear, Erika has fostered collaborative relationships with her local NAMI chapter, and the Chicago Police Department to help educate first responders on how they can prepare for and have a better understanding of, the challenges of walking into a situation involving victims of trauma and those living with DID.  She’s also been invited to speak at an event sponsored by #SickNotWeak, not-for-profit corporation started by Michael Landsberg.

It’s always such a pleasure to talk with Erika, and to discuss Dissociative Identity Disorder with her and others who live with it and have decided to take their story and use it to try to help others. The more light we can share on this topic, the more we continue to educate ourselves and those who are affected with DID.

Be sure and follow Erika and her work with Living DID on , TheWeInMe.com – and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @TheWeInMe.

Oh, and don’t forget to subscribe to Beyond Your Past on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, iHeartRADIO, Spotify, or your favorite podcasting app! 🙂

Matthew Pappas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All conversation and information exchanged on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

Podcast – Ep. 77 – Vennie Kocsis – Healing from Childhood Trauma, Learning to Love Yourself

Vennie Kocsis - Guest Podcast - Beyond Your PastWelcome to Part II, of my new series with Author, Artist, Poet, and Incredible Survivor, Vennie Kocsis. I’m so excited to be recording this series with Vennie, because the message she has, from her own lived experience is one that countless survivors can relate too. Plus, I enjoy being able to help support her work and message any way that I can because it’s helped me in my own journey.

Vennie is an author, artist, poetry writer, and survivor of Sam Fife’s Move of God cult.  My creativity is the therapy by which I have survived the memories of my childhood abuse. There are many  caves where memories hide out, and I intend to travel them all in this lifetime. I am raw. I am flawed. I am open and here without shame, to tell the true story of my own childhood. I write to survive, and I write for those who cannot find the words to tell their own story. Most of all, I write for those who cannot express it. For you, I give my heart and all of my tender parts.

In the first episode of this series, How Trauma Manifests Itself in Adulthood, we talked about the struggle with food. This is something that is close to both of our hearts, and during the show we share many lived experiences in areas such as:

  • Self Shame with how, when, and what we eat.
  • Why dieting doesn’t work for us
  • Reparenting ourselves when it comes to food
  • Moderation
  • Lifestyle Changes
  • and more!

In Part II, we’re talking about some of Vennie’s own personal survivor story, which includes enduring childhood sexual abuse, and being raised in a religious cult.  You’ll hear some of the tragic circumstances, grooming, and brainwashing that inspired her write her best-selling book, Cult Child. Through it all she is here to share her story, in her own unique and personal way, to not only continue her own healing journey but also her passion of reaching others and being a voice for those who are unable to speak their truth.

Along with her story, we spend a lot of time discussing what it means to love ourselves, as a survivor. We explore that means for her, how I’ve learned to do that for myself, and how you can explore that in your own life. As you’ll hear, it’s important to remember that the way we choose to do this is an individual experience, a very personal and heartfelt part of healing.

We’ll discuss how journaling and post-it notes can play a huge role, especially early on in the process. Writing letters, embracing the mindset shift, working through the pain and anger, and realizing that as an adult, free from abuse, nobody has the right to tell us that we can’t love ourselves, or that we don’t get to heal.  What an incredibly liberating time when we get to that point, and as Vennie shares, it opens up a whole new world of healing and speaking our truth.

We cover all this and much more, so grab those headphones or plug us into your speakers and join us for the next installment in the series, How Trauma Manifests Itself in Adulthood.

Be sure and follow Vennie on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, @VennieKocsis.  You see her artwork, read her poetry, and pick up a copy of her book, Cult Child, at VennieKocsis.com

-Matt Pappas

 

 

 

 

 

 

All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

Podcast – Ep. 76 – Vennie Kocsis – How Trauma Manifests Itself in Adulthood – Food Struggles

Trauma manifests itself in so many ways in our adult lives. While we’d like to think that “what happened in the past, stays in the past”, the unfortunate reality is that regardless of when a traumatic event(s) occurred, the effects last long into adulthood.  That’s not to say that there isn’t hope for healing, because I absolutely believe that there is, but we must first understand what’s happened and then we can begin to heal from it.

For someone who spent about 30 years ignoring those effects, it was quite a shock when I finally did start to confront all those memories and bring them to the forefront instead of leaving them stuffed away in a shoe box, in the back of the closet of my mind. “Out of sight, Out of mind” can no longer be an option when we start to deep dive into recovery. As intimidating as that can be, it’s also an opportunity to learn more about ourselves. Being able to put the puzzle pieces in place, and shine light in the dark corners of our minds can yield incredible awareness and lead to self-compassion in ways that we never dreamed of.

Vennie Kocsis - Guest Podcast - Beyond Your Past

One of the struggles that I have faced my entire life, and most certainly as a result of childhood trauma, is in the area of food. Or better put, realizing out how unhealthy of a relationship I’d had with it for most of my life and finding ways to turn that around. Not out of guilt, but out of self-awareness and compassion for who I was, what I went through, and where I wanted to see myself in the future.

My guest, Vennie Kocsis, joins me on this episode of the podcast to discuss this particular aspect of how trauma manifests itself in our lives.

Vennie is an author, artist, poetry writer, and survivor survivor of Sam Fife’s Move of God cult.  My creativity is the therapy by which I have survived the memories of my childhood abuse. There are many  caves where memories hide out, and I intend to travel them all in this lifetime. I am raw. I am flawed. I am open and here without shame, to tell the true story of my own childhood. I write to survive, and I write for those who cannot find the words to tell their own story. Most of all, I write for those who cannot express it. For you, I give my heart and all of my tender parts.

I first met Vennie several years ago, through Twitter, and almost immediately we hit it off as friends and fellow survivors. Our mutual respect for each other as survivors and being willing to share so openly about our struggles, helped form a lasting bond of friendship that I value so much.

Her insight into the world of surviving some of the most horrific abuse imaginable has helped her in using her voice and talents to reach a huge audience with a message of hope and resilience. A message of finding ways to tell your story, and not be ashamed in asking for help.  To that end, not being ashamed to admit that she is still a work in progress, as we all are on our own journeys. She uses her book, Cult Child, her art and poetry to convey what’s in her heart both now and when she was experiencing the trauma first hand.

It’s real, it’s raw, it’s vulnerable, and it’s all about not being ashamed of who she is and the message that she has for the world.

In this podcast we cover topics related to food and survivors:

  • Self Shame with how, when, and what we eat.
  • Why dieting doesn’t work for us
  • Reparenting ourselves when it comes to food
  • Moderation
  • Lifestyle Changes
  • and more!

As you listen to the show, we hope that you’ll feel validated and encouraged with the realization that you are not alone. The struggles of looking at ourselves in the mirror each day can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be that way for the rest of your life.  Making small changes in our lifestyle and a conscious effort to give ourselves a break for a change, can be just the ticket towards finding that self-love and acceptance that’s been absent in our lives for so long.

This is the first in a series of how trauma manifests itself in adulthood, so be sure and watch for future episodes on other topics of being a survivor.

You can learn more about Vennie, her book “Cult Child”, check out her poetry and artwork, on VennieKocsis.com.  Be sure and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as well, @VennieKocsis.

-Matthew Pappas

 

 

 

 

 

 

All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

 

Podcast – Ep. 75 – Rachel Grant, Survivor Struggles and Mentally Ill Labels

Living in today’s volatile and controversial world can take its toll on anyone. With so much violence happening around the world, discord among not only world leaders across the globe but certainly in the US, and the phrase “mentally ill” being tossed around in context to some of the most heinous crimes in recent history, and it’s no wonder we can feel unsettled.

For survivors, it’s tough enough navigating daily life in the wake of a traumatic past, but add in all of the pressures of being bombarded with news and current events 24/7, and the struggle gets exponentially more difficult.

I too struggle with my own thoughts and even my most trusted coping strategies are taxed to their limits at times trying to stay grounded while “fighting the good fight” as it were, to raise awareness and get involved in areas that I’m passionate about. It feels like an uphill battle that gets steeper and steeper, even with the best plan and self-care strategies in place.

Rachel Grant - Sexual Abuse Survivor Coach, Podcast GuestThat’s why I wanted to spend some time chatting with friend, colleague, and returning guest to the podcast, Rachel Grant. From the very first time that we collaborated back in the earlier episodes of the show, we’ve developed a friendship and mutual respect for each other not only as advocates and survivors, but as everyday people just trying to find our way in this world and make a difference while we continue to heal.

Rachel Grant is a Sexual Abuse Survivor Coach, with an M.A. in Counseling Psychology. Her website, RachelGrantCoaching.com features not only her individual and group work with survivors, but also her book “Beyond Surviving”, Facebook Group, Master Class, and free and low-cost Audible Downloads covering topics such as Shame, Boundaries, Abandonment, and much more.

 

Some of the topics that Rachel and I discuss on this episode include:

 

  • Feelings of Shame and Triggers that can arise in regards to the mass violence and political climate across the world.
  • “Mentally Ill” labels being tossed around in negative and stigmatizing ways in regards to school and church shootings, gun control, world leaders, and those who suffer with depression.
  • Getting involved in causes that we believe in, and trying to do too much.
  • Looking at labels in a different context, as a way to help feel inspired and educated, and provide direction towards treatment and resources.
  • Learning to pause, think before we speak and react, when it comes to highly charged situations, reducing anxiety, and in everyday life.
  • Using “service” to help get out of our heads, reduce burnout, and re-energize for not only our own journey but our involvement in causes we are passionate in.

Thank you again Rachel from coming back on the podcast and sharing your insight and heartfelt message for survivors. I’ve learned so much from you and I look forward to our collaborative work in the future.

Be sure and check out RachelGrantCoaching.com and follow her on Twitter: @CoachRachelG.

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, CPNLP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

 

 

Podcast – Ep. 74 – Chip Fisher, the alternative to traditional treatments for Anxiety, Depression, and Insomnia

If you’re anything like me; someone who’s suffered with anxiety, depression, insomnia, and perhaps you also live with PTSD, then you’ve likely tried many, many different types of treatments. Everything from supplements and medications, to oils, meditation, holistic approaches, and much more. The list is seemingly endless, as is the frustration of exploring so many options to try and find what works for you, even if it’s only some of the time.

If you do live with any of those mental health challenges, or know someone who does, this alternative to traditional treatments might be something you consider exploring. My guest on this episode of the podcast is Chip Fisher, President of Fisher Wallace Laboratories, based in New York, a medical device company that specializes in a wearable device to help with Anxiety, Depression, and Insomnia.

Designed collaboratively by world-class engineers and doctors, the Fisher Wallace Stimulator® uses proprietary waveforms to gently stimulate the brain to produce serotonin and other neurochemicals responsible for healthy mood and sleep. Proven safe and effective in multiple published studies, the device is cleared by the FDA to treat depression, anxiety and insomnia.*

As Chip explains, In 2001, renowned addictionologist Martin Wallace, PhD, CCN, CAd, was unable to find any means of coping with the depression that brought him to a standstill in the aftermath of eight hours spent trapped in a building at Ground Zero on 9/11. In 2002 he discovered the Stimulator, originally created by brilliant engineers Saul and Bernard Liss, and used it to successfully treat his depression.

Wallace and Fisher met not long after at a business conference, and Chip was so impressed with the lack of side effects and the incredible results that using this product produced, that he began using it himself and still does today.

You can read more about the story of how this device came to be, and the science behind it, over at https://www.fisherwallace.com

One of the things that I was most interested in, was how survivors of trauma might benefit from using the Fisher Wallace Stimulator.  As is often the case with trauma survivors and those living with PTSD, the brain’s normal functions of stimulating the production of and regulating neurochemicals such as serotonin, cortisol, and dopamine, is hampered. As a result, living with hypervigilance, anxiety disorders, insomnia, as well as other mood disorders is all too common.

This device using patented technology to gently help the brain begin to resume its normal duties in this manner, and as a result countless patients have experienced life changing results.  You can also check out his Ted Talk, in which he reveals some of the science and history behind the development the Stimulator.

As he explains, this device is painless, and most patients experience nothing more than a slight tingling sensation if anything at all. It can be used at home, while traveling, virtually anywhere, and see results without any serious side effects.

In addition, Chip himself lives with Depression and Seasonal Effective Disorder, so he knows first hand some of the struggles that the users of this device live with each day. He too tried countless traditional methods to help with his symptoms, including talk therapy and traditional drugs, but mostly found that they did little to help and some of the medications had severe side effects.

By taking proven technology that originated in 46 A.D., with a physician using a Torpedo Fish to help treat Migraines and Gout, has developed into state of the art technology that can be combined with many digital health applications to help treat some of the most detrimental mental and physical health conditions in modern history.

If you’d like to learn more, check out FisherWallace.com for device information, pricing, clinical trials, and more. Thank you again Chip for coming on the Beyond Your Past Podcast and for the research that your company is doing to help those who struggle in the areas of Anxiety, Depression, and Insomnia.

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, CPNLP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

*https://www.fisherwallace.com/pages/how-it-works

Podcast – Ep. 73 – Lisa Tobe, The diagnosis & challenges of DID and Complex Trauma

If you live with any type of mental health challenge, or know someone who does, you know what a struggle each day can be. No matter what you deal with each day, you have learned, and continue to learn to adapt to what faces you. You make your way through life, one step at a time, building up your resilience along the way. Gaining confidence, perspective, and self-compassion in the face of tremendous adversity that not everyone can understand.

However, before we can begin to live, learn, and adapt, we first have to figure out what it is that’s going on inside our minds and bodies; the diagnosis.

That’s a challenge all to itself, and one that can unfortunately take years or even decades to assess correctly. Unfortunately for so many that is all too often the case; misdiagnosis or no diagnosis at all leads us with endless amounts of unanswered questions about who we are and why we are the way that we are.

My guest on this episode of the Beyond Your Past Podcast, Lisa Tobe, talks about her struggles with being diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and Complex Trauma.

Lisa is a Executive Director of Wildflower Consulting, LLC. – partnering with clients to design, facilitate, and evaluate policy, system, and environmental strategies that improve public health.

During our chat, we discuss topics including:

  • The challenges she faced in getting the diagnosed at 27 years old, and the years leading up to the diagnosis that included a hospital stay.
  • The depression, and suicidal thoughts that plagued her for years before she was able to get a proper diagnosis.
  • Triggers and Flashbacks associated with PTSD and Complex PTSD.
  • How writing helped facilitate healing and understanding of her alters.
  • The power of sharing stories with yourself on a clinical level.
  • Her memoir and starting a non-profit to help women who have survived all types of violence.

I always find it so amazing that during a simple conversation on a podcast, you realize you have so much in common with someone. This show with Lisa was no different, especially when she talks about learning about her particular type of DID and how similar that is to Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (DDNOS), which is what I am recovering from.

There is safety and validation among survivors and those who get what it means to live daily life with these types of challenges. It’s a testament not only to the resilience of the human spirit, but the willingness to reach out and share and help others who struggle.

Thank you again Lisa for coming onto the show, I look forward to talking with you again once your book is published.

If you’d like to learn more about Lisa, her story, or about her non profit for women survivors of violence, you can email her at lisatobe.consulting at gmail.com or at Wildflowerllc.org

I hope you’ll consider leaving a review and rating Beyond Your Past on iTunes, Google Play, iHeartRadio, or your favorite podcasting app!

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, CPNLP

 

Podcast – Ep. 72 – Author and Survivor, Larry Ruhl

There’s a certain type of kinship that exists between survivors of childhood trauma. It’s certainly not something that anyone would wish for, and definitely not the most desirable of circumstances in which to strike up a friendship, but none the less when you meet a fellow survivor, there is often this connection that allows the conversation to flow as if you’ve been friends for years.

It’s not only a mutual respect for one another, but a feeling of just “getting it”, by knowing where the other is coming from. Even though your stories are different, the feelings are often very similar if not the same.

I’ve found out first hand through my own healing journey, that survivors are some of the most compassionate, kind, and understanding people that you will ever meet. They know what it’s like to live through hell and find a way to keep fighting. To use their story to help inspire others, and to help give a voice to those who are still silenced.

That is certainly the case with my guest on this episode of the Beyond Your Past Podcast, as I talk with author and survivor, Larry Ruhl.

Larry’s book, Breaking the Ruhl’s, is his story as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. Throughout the book he faces the challenging questions. “Is it truly possible to move through the shame I carry every day? Can I have a full life without depending on mind-numbing drugs and alcohol? And the most difficult question of all: Do I tell? But how do I tell? Who do I tell? What happens if I do tell?”

Larry Ruhl serves as a board member for Taking Back Ourselves, which facilitates weekends of recovery for female survivors of sexual abuse, and is a registered speaker with the RAINN network (Rape Abuse Incest National Network). He previously served as a board member at Male Survivor. He also spoke at colleges and retreats to increase awareness of sexual abuse against men and boys. Today he shares his story publicly to spread awareness and to help others shed the shame and stigma associated with sexual abuse. He graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), with a degree in Display & Exhibit Design, and worked as a creative director at a textile firm for ten years until opening his own home furnishings/interior design business in 2004. He works as an artist and designer in the Hudson Valley.

During my chat with Larry we cover topics including:

  • This memoir is so personal and the story is so painful. How did you find the strength to share your story? Did writing it help you heal?
  • When did you first realize that what was happening in your household was not only not normal, but was physical, emotional, and sexual abuse?
  • You talk about how you’ve found a way to forgive your parents, but that you’ll never forget what happened. Can you speak to that?
  • You’re no longer in contact with your parents, but you are close with your sister, who still lives with them. Can you talk about how you decided to move forward with this book?
  • Now that the book has been released, how has it impacted your healing journey, your relationships, and your life as a whole?

Larry shares openly and vulnerably about his life and struggles, and offers such hope and encouragement during our conversation that you can help but be inspired by his bravery and the bravery of all who speak out and refuse to be silent.

I’m so honored to have had the opportunity to talk to this incredible survivor and I look forward to bringing him back on the podcast in the future to talk more about his story.  Thank you again Larry for your book, your message of hope, and your continued desire to reach those all who have survived the trauma of abuse.

You can purchase, Breaking the Ruhl’s on Barnes & Noble and on Amazon. Be sure and follow Larry on Twitter & Instagram, @LarryRuhl

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, CPNLP

 

 

 

 

 

 

All conversation and information exchanged during participation the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

Podcast – Ep. 71 – Mental Health Megacast, Catching up and Moving Forward

Welcome back to our self-proclaimed, Mental Health Megacast, a semi-regular round table discussion with 3 mental health advocates and survivors who are trying to find our way through recovery.

There is some debate as to which episode we are actually on, since each of us have our own separate podcasts, and to that end also number our episodes differently. So technically for me this is episode 71, however I believe it’s actually episode 8 of the Megacast, but overall it’s really episode 80 in the grand scheme of all podcasts of various types done to date since I started talking about my survivor journey online in this format.

So there, hopefully I haven’t completely confused you, but then again I’m not sure I didn’t confuse myself…there’s something to be said for simplifying your life that’s for sure  🙂

Anyways, just in case you aren’t familiar with the Megacasts, you can check out past episodes here, and also on cohorts platforms as well….

To that end, the Megacast is creation of the collaborative brain powers (more or less) of Wes from AudioRising.com and Mike from MikesOpenJournal.com, and myself.  I encourage you to check out and follow them online and through your favorite podcasting platform. Each of these has a tremendous message to share and an inspiring and unique way in how they go about it.

In this episode, we do a bit of catching up before diving into some more specific topics. As you’ll see, we have a lot of fun and regardless of the between shows, we’re able to pick up where we left off. That’s the beauty of this collaboration, not only is it a mutual respect and admiration for each others work asMikes Open Journaladvocates, but also the struggle and subsequent resiliency that comes with battling our own pasts.

I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to get together with these guys and share what’s going on in our lives, but also to talk about the tough topics as we see them through our own eyes; the eyes of 3 dudes who have been through hell and back and continuously fight as we not only continue to heal but also hopefully validate and inspire others in the process.

To that end, we hope you enjoy this latest episode as we not only catch up and banter back and forth a bit, but also lay the ground work for what might just be our most controversial topic yet for our next espisode…

Be sure and follow Wes on Twitter @WesA1966 and Mike @Mike_Douglas_ & Open_Journal_  …oh and don’t forget to follow and subscribe to all of our shows on your favorite podcasting app!

-Matt Pappas, CLC, CPNLP

 

 

 

 

All conversation and information exchanged during participation the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

Podcast – Ep. 70 – Artist and Survivor, Sarah Jane shares her story and Mere Objects

One of the things that I tried to embrace from early on in my own survivor journey, was how I could use this experience to somehow help myself, and others. Now, I get that now everyone feels that way or even if they do, are able to embrace such an idea, but I firmly believe that for those that can, it’s life changing not only for the survivor themselves but for those they impact, knowingly or otherwise.

Finding a way to come to terms with a traumatic past and somehow use that as a learning experience and a way to encourage others is truly extraordinary. To be able to see ourselves in a new way, and embrace what we’ve been able to overcome, is something truly empowering. It’s certainly not easy, not by a long stretch, but the rewards go far beyond what we can likely imagine during the tough times of dealing with our own past.

Sarah Jane - Mere Objects - Guest Podcast on Beyond Your PastMy guest on this episode of the Beyond Your Past Podcast, Sarah Jane, embodies the dedication, determination, resiliency, and creativity that we can all appreciate. Even for those of us who aren’t artistically gifted, seeing someone like Sarah Jane use her talents to help bring hope and encouragement to other survivors, is remarkable.

Sarah first reached out to me after seeing a tweet that I made, looking for podcast guests, and after conversing with her through email and checking out her website, I knew I wanted to bring her on as a guest to the show. Anytime I can help someone share their story, it reminds me of the people early on in my journey that helped give me a voice. I know how powerful doing that is, how much healing can come from opening up in a vulnerable way.

Sarah Jane is the founder and creator of Mere Objects, an ongoing participatory artwork honoring people who have experienced sexual violence. Her dedication to giving hope and validation to other survivors, using her own talents and gifts in a selfless way, is inspiring to not only myself but to all who take part in Mere Objects.

As she writes on her website: The world around me inspires both intense curiosity and profound reverence. My creative responses include site-specific and collaborative works as well as sculptural pieces and mosaics. I am particularly interested in creating art that speaks across cultural, religious, or economic differences.

I’ve worked as a university professor, art program manager, and gallery coordinator. I currently live and work at the Grünewald Guild, an intentional arts community in the Cascade Mountains of Washington state.

During our chat, we talk about topics such as:

  • Her own history in an abusive relationship, including experiences of sexual violence, financial abuse, gaslighting, being denied medical care, and being a rape survivor.
  • Ways her family & friends inadvertently pressured her to stay in that relationship by placing them on a pedestal as the “perfect couple” and refusing to believe her when I began to reveal the abuse.
  • How church leaders pressured her to stay by emphasizing a narrative of “marriage is hard” and the importance of wives submitting to their husbands.
  • How her friends and current partner have come alongside her in her healing with incredibly faithful presence, patience, kindness, compassion, and generosity.
  • How that healing gave birth to a participatory art piece, Mere Objects, that offers space for others to tell their stories, and to bear witness for one another.
  • What she’s learned in the past 18+ months of working on Mere Objects: the astonishing number and diversity of people affected by sexual violence, the depth of our wounds and the fierceness of our resilience, and the incredible healing power of truth-telling and bearing witness.

As we talked on the podcast, I was just so inspired by Sarah Jane. Her willingness to openly talk about her struggles not only in the midst of the trials, but even now as she continues to process and heal from that trauma.

You’ll want to listen through to the very end, as she shares some final words of validation and encouragement, and a light bulb moment that came to her during the podcast…I’m telling you my friend, I got chills listening to her share!

Thank you again Sarah Jane for the pleasure of talking with you. I consider it an honor to call you a friend and fellow survivor. I’m looking forward to checking out Mere Objects when it comes close to my area, and also submitting something to the project myself.

If you’d like to learn more about Sarah Jane and Mere Objects, please check out MereObjects.org , and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

-Matthew Pappas

 

 

 

 

 

All conversation and information exchanged during participation the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

 

Podcast – Ep. 68 – Viewing your inner world differently, the Internal Family Systems Model, with Beth Rogerson, Ph.D

When you think about how you view yourself, your inner world…what comes to mind? Is it compassion, kindness, self-love, and contentment…or do things like, self-criticism, shame, broken, and hopeless come to mind?

For so many. those positive views seem like a pipe dream; something we wish we could do but yet never feel like are achievable because of the past. We see others who exhibit those qualities, or we think that they do, and that leads to even more shame, blame, and resistance to change because “we could never be like that, we’re too broken”.

How you view yourself, your inner world has a profound influence your life as a whole, and how you see others. Your romantic relationships, your job, friends, even what you do for fun can all be influenced by our view of what we’re capable of and what we think we are worthy of trying to achieve.

Beth Rogerson has dedicated her life to helping others see their true inner self with a different lens. A lens that allows you view your inner world differently, giving you opportunities to not become overwhelmed by the emotions that flood your mind and your life on a daily basis.

Beth has a Ph.D. in Counseling and is licensed in the United States as a Marriage and Family Therapist and Counselor, and has completed training with The Center of Self Leadership with Internal Family Systems therapy, and the Gestalt Institute in Cleveland, Ohio.  Residing  in Stockholm, Sweden,for most of the year, she provides individual and couples counseling services over a video-conferencing service as well as in person.

She’s also the creator of her own incredible podcast, The Therapy Spot, which is dedicated to people like you who want to help your Self and live a better, more balanced life.  I had the privilege of being on The Therapy Spot podcast in April of 2018, discussing Anxiety and Trauma Recovery.

During her time on Beyond Your Past, Beth and I discuss the Internal Family Systems model, which was developed by Richard C. Schwartz, Ph.D (1995), which describes your inner world as being like a family.  It’s a gentle kinder view of your inside world.  A new frontier for you to know your self differently, and connecting kindly with respect toward yourself  from the inside out.

The basic idea is that we have a family of parts inside of us as well as an abundance or self energy.

Self is best described in qualities.  It has the qualities of Calm Curious Compassionate Clarity Confidence Connection Courageous and Creative. The 8 C’s   We all have them within us, but they can get blocked when our parts take over and we feel, act, or react only from a part or parts of ourselves.

Beth sees the Internal Family Systems model of therapy really as a lens we can all have.  It is like putting on a new pair of glasses and not even knowing you couldn’t see until you see better. I want others to have this lens.  It is not a secret.

The IFS lens of viewing our own personality is that we are multiple in how we think and feel and all these different ways of thinking and feeling are different aspects or parts of ourselves. The nature of our personality is to have different parts with our Self as the leader of our system, however, problems happen when one parts gets to strong or large and hijacks our system and we have a dictator.

We talk more about the Internal Family Systems model and how the IFS approach to personal development teaches you how to cultivate your Self Qualities for greater happiness.The 8 Self qualities are:

Calm
Compassion
Curiosity
Courage
Creativity
Connection
Confidence
Clarity

We cover these 8 qualities, the IFS model, and much more, so be sure and check out the show and also don’t forget to subscribe and leave a review!

-Matthew Pappas, CLC

Guest, Beth Rogerson, Ph.D. – BethRogerson.com

All conversation and information exchanged during participation the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.