Episode Archives

Guillain Barre Syndrome Recovery, One Year Later – Ep. 121

Every podcast episode and every incredible guest I have the pleasure of speaking with is special and amazing. I’m truly honored to be able to hang out with you for awhile each week and share the stories of people from all walks of life, who’ve overcome incredible hardships, traumatic pasts, and difficulties that many could never even imagine; in hopes of inspiring and encouraging us all to continue our own journey’s.

This episode is especially personal to me, and one I’ve been looking forward too. This time, exactly one year ago, I was in the early stages of my recovery from Guillain Barre Syndrome. A disease that came out of nowhere, and one I had never heard of before and ended up changing my life forever.

I originally shared my experience with GBS, in February 2018, in episode #58. That podcast took me quite a long time to record and the blog post even longer to write since it was right in the early stages of healing and I was still coming to terms with what happened. Still, I was compelled to write and speak my story as best I could, mainly because that’s one of the ways I cope with things of this severe nature. You can check out that episode and detailed blog post, here.

During the last year, I’ve spoken to a handful of survivors of Guillain Barre Syndrome, and participate regularly in some Facebook groups full of survivors of GBS or CIDP (Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy) who all have varying experiences with this disease and its variants. I’ve kept in contact with some of them regularly, and inparticular with a person I invited to become a guest with me here on this episode, Mary Catherine (MC).

MC is the Founder and CEO of Coffee and Cocktails with MC, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help promote, represent, and support local, family-owned, and small businesses through a variety of media and social opportunities, to help further their exposure. She is also a blogger at MyBlindLife.com, where she documents her new-normal life as a wife, mother, small business advocate and survivor of  GBS and a medical incident that left her visually impaired. 

MC and I talk about our experiences with Guillain Barre, from how things were before the disease hit, how we both contracted it, our treatment experiences, and the ways we’ve worked through recovery since.

We talk about how much we’ve learned and the attitude and mindset we’ve had to embrace in order to heal from this dreaded disease.  The struggles, the wins, and everything in between have helped shaped our individual lives since and also helped to give us a message to share with others. As you’ll hear, and if you’re a listener of this podcast you know already, the power of sharing your story can be an amazing means of inspiring and validating. It’s something I try to embrace, and MC also is a big believer in finding ways to use her experiences to help others.

I hope you’ll enjoy this episode, and take heart in knowing that throughout the recovery from this ordeal, one of the similarities you’ll hear is that during healing, it’s important to surround yourself with a good support system, both in person and online. The power of support is crucial to healing and whomever you can get to help you, virtually or otherwise, will make things so much better…especially during the dark, difficult times that will inevitably come but will also give way, in time, to new possibilities and hope.

Be sure and check out Coffee&CocktailswithMC to learn more about the work MC Derin is doing and the ways she is using her experiences to help others.

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, MPNLP

Guillain Barre Syndrome Survivor.








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.


Overcoming the Effects of Childhood Bullying, and Developing Resilience – Ep. 120

If you know what it feels like to be bullied, things like resiliency, self-compassion, and developing trust aren’t words you would use to describe yourself at the time, most likely. From my own personal experience, I can tell you that I would never have looked at myself and use words even close to that. If anything, “victim, sadness, frustration, worthless, and hopeless” better suited me during the worst times of my experiencing with being bullied.

If we’re being real here, it wasn’t just during the darkest times but rather those feeling permeated my entire being all the time. It’s how I saw myself when I looked in the mirror, even on the good days. That’s what bullying does, it takes over your entire existence and you feel like you are what others have labeled you, you are what they have done to you, and who are you to think otherwise. Especially as a young child or teenager, your experience in this world and your view of it is largely determined by your home life and the events that happen to you.

So if you’re constantly on the defensive, and being the victim of senseless acts of cruelty, it takes a toll which can carry over well into adulthood.

melissa-wilson-grass-is-greener-podast - guest on beyond your pastI’ve talked about this subject on previous podcast episodes and with guest bloggers over on Surviving My Past, and I now have the opportunity again to explore the effects of bullying and how we can overcome that trauma and work towards being the person we want to be, not the person we think we can only ever be.

My guest, Melissa Wilson, is a survivor of bullying and is now a Certified Coach, working with clients who have experienced bullying, and other forms of abuse and childhood trauma to help them get unstuck and move forward toward their goals and dreams. She is also a podcast host of, “The Grass Gets Greener Podcast” where she talks with survivors, professionals, and everyday people who have a story to share and ways to help inspire you to not give up even in the wake of a traumatic past.

I had the pleasure of being on Melissa’s podcast a few months back, where I shared some of my survivor story of childhood sexual abuse and bullying, and how I’ve been able to work through those experiences. I hope you’ll consider checking it out and sharing it with someone who might benefit from it.

The Grass Gets Greener represents hope and optimism. Sometimes you may feel as if other people have a better life than you, that the grass is greener on their side of the fence, so to speak. Well, this site is here to provide you with inspiration and support to help you overcome the effects of what you experienced that can make you feel this way. This site is here to help you become the person you are meant to be. To show you how the grass gets greener for you!  

During our chat together, Melissa shares the experiences of bullying that she endured and how it affected her life:

  • How and when the bullying began for her in school, when she was the new kid and experienced both physical and emotional abuse from classmates.
  • She shares how the teachers in her school did nothing to stop it, and this helped fuel the fear of reaching out for help from her parents, due to fear of making the situation even worse. Her silence was the only thing she could control.
  • Five years after the bullying stopped, she was finally able to tell her parents, receive the support she needed, and start to pick up the pieces.
  • You’ll learn how those experiences she endured help fuel her to learn more about herself, study Psychology, and how the effects of being bullied last well into adulthood.
  • The importance of reaching out and telling someone when you need help, and how staying silent keeps you stuck and perpetuates the idea that you do not deserve help.
  • We discuss the skills that Melissa developed to aid in her healing journey, and how even though she still struggles at times with the after effects, life is so much better because of putting in the hard work of education and healing.

Be sure and check out Melissa’s Podcast, The Grass Gets Greener, over on her website, and available wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. If you’re interested in working with Melissa Wilson as your coach, drop her a line, she’d love to hear from you.

Please consider sharing this post and podcast with someone who might need it, and don’t forget to subscribe on your favorite podcasting app.









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.


Introduction & Chat with new Podcast Co-host, Joanne Cipressi, Coach & Survivor – Ep. 119

Ever since I started this podcast, it’s been quite an interesting and exciting journey, to say the least. From the very first episode where I sat in front of my laptop, talking about being a survivor and the struggles of daily life, to now interviewing coaches, clinicians, and advocates every week; sharing their work and stories. I enjoy each and every episode and consider it a true honor to be a part of your day as you listen to the podcast.

Podcasting has allowed me to take the process of sharing my story to a new level, and as much as it’s hopefully helped you as you listen to the episodes, it’s helped me grow in my own journey even more.  I’m also very grateful to my friends and colleagues at Mental Health News Radio Network, for the opportunity to be among a group of incredible advocates who aren’t afraid to talk about the difficult subjects encompassing Mental Health.

Now, the next phase of the Beyond Your Past Podcast is about to begin, with the introduction of my new co-host, Joanne Cipressi.

Joanne is a Certified Coach and Survivor, experienced in a variety of modalities and skills which have helped her in her own journey as well as her coaching business working with clients, both in personal and business coaching.

You might remember when Joanne joined me on episode 107, where she shared some of her survivor story and the importance of rebuilding trust in yourself and others. Ever since then, we’ve stayed in touch; supporting each other’s work in social media and brainstorming some collaborative ideas, which lead to her now joining me on the podcast.

Joanne Cipressi brings new insight and a new dynamic to the show, which I hope you’ll find encouraging, validating, and yes even fun, too! Because hey, let’s face it, as I’ve said many times before, there’s no shame in interjecting some well-timed humor into difficult topics to help us cope with the challenges of being a survivor and living with mental health challenges as a result of our past.

Her experience in the areas of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Hypnosis, Reflexology, Reiki, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Age Regression Therapy, Holistic Nutrition, will surely bring new insight to the conversations we have on this show both as host and co-host, and with the amazing guests who join us each week.

Joanne will begin joining me on the podcasts starting in mid-late February, and you can expect to begin hearing her each week starting with those episodes being released in early March.

Learn more about Joanne, including her survivor story and her work as a coach, by heading over to JoanneCipressi.com and be sure to follow her on Twitter

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, MPNLP


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.



You Don’t Need to be a Supermom, You Just Need to be You, with Dr. Raquel Muller – Ep. 118

Comparing yourself to another person is debilitating, exhausting, and quite honestly one of the most detrimental things you can do to yourself, physically and emotionally. Trying to “keep up with the Jones” and do what they do is no way to live, yet so often many of us find ourselves going down this road.  Not only do we try and keep up with them, but we try and do things like them because they seem like they have it all together, and have it all figured out.

Their kids look happy and well behaved, their relationship looks like it’s perfect, and we figure if we do what they do, maybe some of that will rub off on us and we can fix what’s wrong with ourselves and our family. Or at the very least, we can be “doing it better” because there is always room for improvement, right?

dr raquel muller - podcast - beyond your pastI’m not here to say that we shouldn’t strive to better ourselves or try an improve certain aspects of our lives and relationships, but there is something to be said for just being you. Being ok with who you are, where you are, the way you parent your children and the relationship you have with your spouse.  The very idea of being content in your life, particularly in the area of parenting, is the subject of this episode of the podcast, with Dr. Raquel Muller.

Licensed Psychologist turned Coach and Speaker helping moms bust the “supermom” myth and become more calm, effective, confident, and joyfully imperfect moms. Dr. Muller is not only a moms’ coach, but she also a mother

As a wife, mother of two, and professional therapist for 17 years I have also struggled with the conflicting and multiple demands of raising a family and being a loving and attentive partner, while also pursuing personal fulfillment through my career. In my work I use my professional skills and personal experiences to teach moms–whether they work outside of the home or dedicate themselves exclusively to their families– strategies to help them bust the “supermom” myth so they can reduce stress and be more calm, confident, happy and effective mothers.

During our, Dr. Muller and I discuss:

  • How she began working with women, and moms in particular, and how her own experiences in life lead her to the decision of helping moms and trauma survivors.
  • Dr. Muller shares her combined approach of trauma work, using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and the TEAM approach, which teaches that the agenda of therapy is not dictated by a therapist, or a diagnosis, but rather by what the client wants to work on.
    • We also discuss exactly what CBT is, because let’s be real, the mental health world is full of acronyms and we always want to make sure everyone is informed.
  • What exactly is a “supermom”, the pressures of trying to be perfect, and live up to the unrealistic expectations we put on ourselves because of what we see others doing?
  • Key elements that are important in helping to heal from trauma. While Dr. Muller specializes in working with women, these principals are universal for all survivors.
    • Work on your mindset
    • Operate from Overflow
    • Master Self-Acceptance
    • Activate Self-Compassion
    • Nurture Your Relationships
  • We talk more about the self-acceptance and self-compassion aspects, and how difficult that is especially for trauma survivors.
  • The most important thing to remember when beginning to work on your trauma and change the supermom or super parent mentality.

All this and more during my chat with Dr. Raquel Muller on being a survivor, a mother, and learning to be okay with who you are, and just as you are, and know that you are good enough.

To learn more about Dr. Muller, including her work as a therapist, her videos, and more about busting the supermom myth, head over to https://www.joyfulimperfectioncounseling.com/  You can also follow her on Instagram and Facebook by searching for “JoyfulImperfectionCounseling”.

Be sure and subscribe to Beyond Your Past on your favorite podcasting app and consider sharing this episode with someone who might benefit from it.

Matthew Pappas, CLC, MPNLP

free one hour coaching sessions - beyond your past







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.

Using Mindfulness and Emotional Regulation to Help with Anxiety, with Melanie Vann – Ep. 117

Being anxious, and feeling the effects of an anxiety attack can start when we’re very young, but if we don’t know what anxiety is, or why we feel so uneasy or panicky in certain situations, that in itself can perpetuate the very thing we don’t understand. Therefore the cycle of anxiety begins before we ever have an opportunity to gain some understanding of what exactly is going on. Essentially we’re at a disadvantage right out of the gate and then we’re forced to just survive, and try to play catch up when someone finally educates us on what’s happening and why.

That cycle starting at such an early age can make growing up even more difficult than it already is. I experienced this very thing for so much of my life, starting at a young age, all throughout school and into my adult years. I thought I knew what anxiety was, and what being anxious felt like, but I figured it was just part of who I was. I resigned myself to the idea that it wasn’t going to change so I just had to deal with it, and try to hide it, in order to make it through life. I came to terms and accepted something that none of us should have to accept, that there was no real hope of feeling better.

melanie vann - mindfulness and emotional regulation to help with anxiety - podcast on beyond your pastThose experiences and feelings all throughout my life were a big part of why I ultimately choose to be an anxiety coach. Of course, the desire to help others was also a driving force, and combining the two seemed to be what my true life calling was. It may have taken me about 40 years to get here but hey, better late than never right!  🙂

My guest today, Melanie Vann, shares her insight as a clinician, on the debilitating effects of anxiety that she experienced in her life and also saw in her son as he grew up. In addition, we also discuss the benefits of being fully present, learning emotional regulation, and equine therapy to help with taking control of anxiety so it no longer controls you.

Melanie is the program director for Mental Health News Radio, and also a clinician and podcaster, as well as the founder and CEO of Your Wise Therapist.  She has been in the mental health field for over 15 years and obtained her Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Regent University and her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Old Dominion University. Her passion to help others embrace their hardships and heal has taken her to multiple realms of the mental health industry. Her expertise is multi-dimensional as she has counseled those suffering from eating disorders, brain injury, borderline personality disorder, depression and anxiety, self-mutilation, sexual abuse, emotional abuse,  narcissistic abuse, and unresolved grief.

During our chat on this episode of the podcast, we’re talking more in-depth about understanding and coping with anxiety, and recognizing how it affects us in daily life:

  • Melanie shares how from the time she was a young girl, she resigned herself to the idea that she was a worrier. She had no idea what anxiety was or how it was manifesting itself. She didn’t understand why other kids seemed so calm and comfortable.
    • As a child, nobody explains to you what’s going on so you are left to try and figure it out for yourself, and again the cycle of perpetuating anxiety starts at a young age and we don’t even realize it.
    • One of the primary skills she used, not even realizing it, was to escape to her own mind where she felt safe and free from these anxious feelings.
  • Learning to see the signs in your children and talking to them about what they struggle with so you can get them to help early on.
  • We discuss how when you are unable to live in the moment and be fully present (mindfulness), it’s difficult to find joy and contentment in life and consequently, anxiety can thrive.
  • How managing anxiety is exhausting and since it can start when we’re young, it carries over into adulthood.
  • Using logic and rational thinking to combat anxiety. Expose the anxious feelings for what they are, rather than what they are trying to make you believe is true.
  • Using writing and other coping skills to help get the feelings out of our head.
    • How retraining our brain, to change the default reaction to specific situations that cause anxiety to spike, is a key to taking back your life.
  • Equine therapy and the benefits of being around horses to help with anxiety.
    • Melanie and I share some stories of our experiences with horses and how much they help you to be fully present because they themselves are always present and they will reflect back to you what you present to them.
    • The resiliency and ability to come back to a calm state after being triggered is something that horses have down pat, and we can learn this as well.

All this and so much during my insightful and inspiring chat with Melanie Vann. Please be sure and check out, YourWiseTherapist.com for more information on Melanie’s work. including her Coaching, Counseling, and Therapy services available. And of course, you don’t want to miss out on all the incredible podcasts over on MHNRNetwork.com!

Don’t forget to subscribe and leave a review on your favorite podcasting app, I would definitely appreciate it and it always helps Beyond Your Past to be the best it can be for you.

Matthew Pappas, CLC, MPNLP


free one hour coaching sessions - beyond your past








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.

Homeless and Runaway Youth, it’s More Complicated than You Think, with Marnie Grundman – Ep. 116

Every year, in North America alone, 1.2 – 2.8 million children run away from home. Just pause for a second and let that sink in. On top of that, statistics show that on any given night there are 1.3 million youth living on the streets and in abandoned buildings. Stats like this can be hard to comprehend because we live in a day and age where there is so much opportunity around us, yet we sometimes fail to realize the struggles of those around us who never let on that anything is wrong.

My guest on this episode of the podcast, Marnie Grundman, has made it her life’s mission to advocate for runaway children and youth, and raise awareness about the reality of why children run and what life is truly like living on the streets.

Marnie is actually a returning guest to the podcast; she originally joined me back on episode 21 when the show was still named “surviving my podcast”. It was then that I was first able to talk to her and listen to her story of how she was a runaway from the ages of 13 -17, living on the streets and doing all that she could to simply just survive from one day to the next. Since the time of that podcast, when her advocacy work was just beginning, things have taken off and changed in a many ways, so I decided it would be a great idea to bring her back on the podcast to give us some updates on her work and how her life has changed since she began this advocacy journey and telling her story to news and media outlets all across Canada and North America.

Marnie Grundman is the renowned author of MISSING: A True Story of a Childhood Lost, Which can be found on her website, MarnieGrundman.com. A child who belonged to no one, missing at the tender age of 13, she experienced first-hand the worst of humanity. However, she didn’t just make it through; she rose above the darkness, becoming a beacon of light, of empowerment, for others to do the same.

She is living proof that no matter what life hands you, you have within you the spirit to rise, to rewrite the outcome of your story, to create a life filled with love and happiness.

​What began as a story of healing led to one of triumph, of the power of the human spirit, of one woman’s surthrival against all odds. Marnie has since become an advocate for the missing, working to change the perception of runaway children so they might finally get the help they need. Her compelling articles, engaging talks and interviews, and page-turning memoirs have become a shining light to the lost, the struggling. Marnie teaches people how not to live their damage, how to heal and overcome, how to rise up and reclaim a life of happiness.

During our chat, you’ll hear Marnie and I talk about:

  • Updates on her work and how her life has changed especially in the just the last few years. She discusses the stigma that surrounds childhood runaways, and her efforts to erase that by sharing the truth as seen through her own eyes and through these whom she advocates for every day.
  • The reasons why young children and youth decide to run away, and how it’s much more complicated than simply rebelling against household rules deciding to go on some kind of adventure.
    • You’ll learn how children who decide to run away are often not able to effectively articulate the reasons why, because they are afraid.
    • They’ve been silenced and running is a way for them to try to speak out.
    • How the very act of running and living on the streets is not some glamorous adventure, or a fun time of memories to look back on later in life.
  • The 40th anniversary is coming up of her last runaway experience. The memories and wounds are still as fresh as ever, and the struggles are still difficult. This milestone is something that she continues to process, but the difference now is that even with those struggles, she has tools and knowledge to help her cope.
    • Seeing how far she’s come is inspiring and validating, but also heartbreaking because there is still so much work to be done to help the children and youth today.
  • Realizing that while she has met so many people who are supporting her work and helping to spread her message and raise awareness, there are also many who do not support her; people who she was close too before she began speaking her truth.
  • Her work with Covenant House and her goal of doing “sleep outs” for all 31 Covenant Houses in North America, this calendar year, to raise funds and awareness for runaway and homeless children and youth.
  • Consider taking a moment and give a smile, some change, or a moment of kindness to someone who is struggling. You never know the difference it can make to a child, youth, or adult who feels like nobody is listening and nobody cares.

I hope you’ll consider joining Marnie in 2019, and participating in a Sleep Out or Donating. There is one near me and I will definitely be there to help this incredible cause, and to help Marnie continue to share her message of hope and healing.

Be sure and follow Marnie on her social media accounts (just search Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram for “Marnie Grundman”. Her website, MarnieGrundman.com has all of the information on her books, her work, and to her Tedx Talk!

Don’t forget to subscribe to Beyond Your Past on your favorite podcasting app, and leave a review..I’d sure appreciate it 🙂

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, MPNLP


free one hour coaching sessions - beyond your past







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.


Learning to Thrive after Childhood Trauma, with Emily Samuelson, Ph.D. – Ep. 115

Years ago, I was at a place that every survivor inevitably comes to when they decide to reach out for help and begin healing from a childhood that involved trauma. That place where you ask yourself, “am I ready to share my story?”

Now, to be clear, not every survivor chooses to share their story, and in fact often times one chooses not too, because of fear of retaliation, alienation by family and loved ones, or a multitude of other reasons. Unfortunately, many survivors never get the opportunity to come to a place of making that decision on their own because they aren’t able to reach out for help, or help isn’t readily available to them.

It takes time and, I believe working with a professional to fully comprehend what happened and unlock the memories in a way that is not re-traumatizing and in a way that allows the survivor to work through those memories in their own time, and learn from them so they can work towards a life that allows them to live free from their past.

emily samuelson - thriving beyond childhood sexual abuse - podcast on beyond your pastThe work I do now in overcoming anxiety and working with survivors, ultimately began in a therapists office and coming to the realization that I was a survivor, and what that meant was a revelation that has changed my life in countless ways. It took that first step though, of asking for help, which is at the heart of the conversation with my guest on this episode of the podcast, Emily Samuelson, Ph.D.

Emily is an author, and passionate activist on behalf of sexually abused children and adult survivors. Based on her experience as a psychologist and a survivor, she knows it is possible to heal. With over 35 years of experience, Emily specializes in the treatment of trauma. While living in Philadelphia, she was on the faculties of Temple University, Thomas Jefferson University and Hahnemann Medical College.

She has served on the Board of Stop the Silence and was a member of the Baltimore City Health Commissioner’s Sexual Abuse Task Force. Emily has been a consultant to the Ms. Foundation and RAINN, and has been a guest on numerous radio shows. She also wrote a chapter for the book, Celebrating the Wounded Healer Psychotherapist: Pain, Post-Traumatic Growth and Self-Disclosure, edited by Sharon Farber, PhD.

As it turned out, her practice is not far from where I live, so we decided that it might be a great idea to do my very first in person podcast. Everything went great, and it was an honor to chat with Emily and hang out with her awesome dog, Sam, while we recorded some thoughts about her book, “Soaring Above the Ashes, Thriving Beyond Childhood Sexual Abuse”:

  • Emily shares how she became inspired to undertake this project, which involved years of interviewing of interviewing survivors across the country; giving them the opportunity to break their silence and inspire others.
    • How she continued to work through her own healing journey as she spoke with the survivors, and through their insight, learned so much more about herself.
  • You’ll learn how her abuser was her father; yet her family never believed her and threatened to alienate her if she wrote about her experiences. Ultimately she did lose much of her family because she refused to be silent and came to the conclusion that her healing journey was more important.
  • We discuss the struggles of shame and blame, and how carrying that on your shoulders as a child is so difficult. The ability to put the blame on yourself as a child allows you to feel some control in the wake of events that were anything but in your control.
    • Emily shares the importance of working towards a place of placing the blame and shame where it truly belongs, at the feet of those who were the abusers, or enabled those acts.
    • We also talk about the struggles of reaching out and talking with someone, when staying silent seems like the safer move.
  • The survival skills that served you for a time; such as dissociation and hypervigilance, should be acknowledged and appreciated for how they helped you.
    • How can you take the positive aspects of dissociation and hypervigilance, and allow them to serve you and others.
    • On that note, actually understanding that there are positive aspects of those struggles in the first place.
  • We share more about the survivor community, and how much healing is out there when you simply look for it.

All this and much more during my powerful conversation with author, advocate, survivor, and Psychologist, Emily Samuelson.

If you are a survivor, at any stage of your healing journey, and even if you haven’t started it yet, the insight that Emily shares will surely speak to you and inspire you. Please consider this important chat with someone who may need it, and consider checking out “Soaring Above the Ashes, Thriving Beyond Childhood Sexual Abuse” on her website or on Amazon.

You can learn more about Emily Samuelson, Ph.D. at SoaringAboveTheAshes.com and on her Facebook page.

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, MPNLP

free one hour coaching sessions - beyond your past







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.


The Sexy-Brilliant Mindset of Empowerment and Personal Development, with Devina Kaur – Ep. 114

Taking a unique approach to personal development, making it your own based on the circumstances you had to overcome and what message resonates with you, is exactly what my guest on this episode of the podcast, Devina Kaur, has done. After all, when you are dealing a history of mental health challenges, the cookie cutter approach isn’t always going to resonate, much less be an effective tool for you to utilize.

Thinking outside the box is what Devina has done and it’s allowed her to become a speaker, published author, and start a movement that encourages you to embrace who you truly are on the inside. You’ll learn to understand what your authentic gifts are, and use your circumstances as a motivational tool to unlock your potential. Her infectious personality and outlook on life will surely motivate you in ways you may have never imagined.

devina kaur - sexy brilliant - podcast on beyond your pastDevina Kaur is a fun-loving, flamboyant, straight-talking author, entrepreneur, filmmaker and inspirational speaker. Born and raised in rural India, she fought to reconcile her traditional upbringing with her ambitions. After a lifetime of being told she was too fat, too loud and too ambitious, her world fell apart in her 30s when her arranged marriage ended. Thirty years of desperately trying to be the person everyone else wanted had resulted in loneliness, depression and confusion. While looking for purpose and meaning, Devina embarked on a journey of self-discovery that led her to start the Sexy Brilliant Global Revolution.

Seeking a genuine connection to real people, she would meet potential dates, friends and business partners in unconventional places. Fearlessly jumping into new educational and business ventures, she built on every success and failure as an opportunity to learn more about herself and her many talents. Daring to step out of her comfort zone, Devina quickly learned that the dating scene was just another superficial construct where potential dates portrayed themselves as they knew others would find attractive, not as their true selves.

… She committed to deconstructing the formality of dating and “keeping things real.” When meeting a new person, Devina would always affirm that she was not just, “Okay.” She was, “Always sexy. Always brilliant.” The words she spoke would determine her frame of mind, and ultimately, the kinds of people she would attract. With every new connection and adventure, Devina uncovered her true self, and she realized that the only way she would have true and lasting love in her life was to love herself first! Thus, the Sexy Brilliant ideology was born, developed and shared around the world.

During my chat with Devina, we discuss: (chapter time stamps included)

  • How she did not like herself growing up. Her struggles with self-esteem about not only who she was and where she came from, but her weight and other challenges eventually found her sitting on railroad tracks contemplating taking her own life.
  • When the shift happened in her life and the circumstances that allowed her to get to a place of accepting herself and loving herself. You’ll learn how she left a secure job in the banking industry; even with all of the success, she was not happy and needed to discover who she was, take care of herself, and gain the courage to discover the direction that would lead her to a new life.
  • How faith, confidence, experience, and your mindset are all key in your transformation. You’ll learn how standing in front of a mirror helped her to reframe the language she used to describe herself, which would also change how she presented herself to others. Gaining inner self-confidence that comes from knowing yourself and your authentic gifts. Understanding both your strengths and weaknesses and that all of your parts, even the darkness, deserves love.
  • Coming to terms with embracing brilliance, when she truly began to notice a shift in her life and have the ability to love herself not just accept herself.
  • What can you expect when you visit her website, SexyBrilliant.com , attend one of her events or workshops, and embrace the Sexy Brilliant Philosophy of Personal Development.
  • Devina shares some of  her experiences in the dating world, as well as having to overcome several traumatic events in 2018, which resulted in the return of depression and suicidal thoughts. However, of the resilience she’s built up, her support system, and having a firm understanding of who she is and what’s capable of, empowered her to work through and overcome those struggles.
  • How men view the Sexy Brilliant Philosophy of Personal Development, and respond to her message.

Sexy Brilliant – Empowerment from the inside out. 

Be sure and check out SexyBrilliant.com for more information on Devina Kaur, including upcoming events, her book series, and appearances. Be sure to follow her on Twitter  Facebook, and Instagram, all at TheDevinaKaur.

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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.


Experiencing the Freedom of Trauma Recovery in Your Own Way, with Michele Rosenthal – Ep. 113

The very thing that started this podcast, my first blog called Surviving My Past, lead to becoming a coach, and what has been driving me for years now, has been my own personal journey of healing from the past trauma in my life. The childhood sexual abuse between the ages of 5-10, the endless bullying in elementary and middle school, the emotional neglect, all of it was something that I suppressed for decades. Once my journey began though, there was no looking back.

Throughout the years of this podcast I’ve shared my own journey with you and talked to many incredible guests; clinicians, coaches, advocates and every day people who have overcome tremendous odds and now use their story to help inspire you.

michele rosenthal - podcast guest - beyond your past - creating a healing intention in trauma recoveryIf there’s one thing I’ve learned during my own ongoing healing, and after talking with so many experts, is that healing is your own personal experience. No two stories are alike, no two journey’s are alike, no two experiences are completely the same. How we start and what the journey is like a long the way is what makes it so unique and ultimately drives you to continue striving to reach each goal of experiencing life in a new way. To ultimately discover the you you’ve always wanted to be; free from your past.

My guest on this episode of the podcast, the incredible Michele Rosenthal is here to share some of her expertise in the area of PTSD and trauma recovery, including how her journey started and some of the experiences she’s had a long the way that have helped her to arrive at a place of being able to not only share her story but work with others to help them facilitate what their healing experience will be.

Michele Rosenthal’s story, and her work, has been featured on NBC, CBS, The Washington Post, Women’s World, Psychology Today, and many other outlets. She is a Trauma Recovery Strategist who began her healing journey in 1998 and has taken her recovery and made it her own by creating a healing intention and taking control of her life so that she could experience complete freedom.

As she outlines on her website I learned about the importance of hope and belief – from inside myself and from those working with me. I also learned about the critical elements of self-empowerment, vision, meaning and identity. Plus, how we can harness those core strengths and apply them to healing trauma.

By the time I completed my trauma recovery transformation I’d learned a lot about what it takes to release the past, connect to the present, and build a new future. I’d also developed a really deep desire to do something with all that knowledge. Since then I have made it my focus to inspire, guide and assist survivors to overcome depression, worry, and fear as they rebuild their lives after trauma and adversity.

During my chat with Michele we cover:

  • 4:45 – What does it mean to fully heal from trauma and what does that look like; how do we begin to facilitate that?
  • 10:05 – We discuss the layers that make up Shame and Blame in trauma recovery. How do you get to a point of being able to share our story, and work through the fear that doing so creates. (as you’ll hear, fear manifests itself in many ways during this process)
  • 14:45 – We continue chatting about Fear in regards to moving forward in healing. How does fear hold you back? The problems with trying to control healing, so it moves at the pace you feel it should..and why that doesn’t always work out. What being obsessed with healing can do to us and for us.
  • 18:28 – Choosing your identity coming out of trauma, and how to continue that development. Creating and mastering the resources you need to sustain the changes you work so hard to implement.
  • 24:40 – What is a Healing Rampage, and what did that look like for Michele. The process of clawing your way through everything that trauma has dumped on you, and giving 100% of yourself to the determination to be free. We also discuss what showing up for yourself means, and how healing is not just a once a week therapy session.We also touch on the benefits and necessity of working with a trauma informed therapist.
  • 31:32 – Michele and I discuss some of the benefits of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) in healing from trauma and overcoming anxiety. The process of creating new neural pathways using the science of how the brain works. Using the language of the brain and how it works to your benefit to speed up healing and experience empowerment in such a more efficient way that feels natural and good to you as an individual.
  • 38:38 – We wrap up by sharing more about the importance of creating and developing the tools that work for you, to sustain you once you’ve begun your healing journey and once you begin to reach the goals you’ve set for yourself, so you can handle what life throws at you and the struggles that will ultimately show up.

Don’t just take my word for it by simply reading the highlights…. Go ahead click play right here in this post or find us on your favorite podcasting app and listen to the insight and empowering words of Michele Rosenthal. Be sure and head over to MyTraumaCoach.com for more information about working with Michele, the 3 books she’s written,  check out videos she’s created, and the podcast she facilitated and read the many testimonials from clients and colleagues who’ve worked with her.

You can follow Michele on Twitter @MyTraumaCoach and Facebook @Michele.Rosenthal

Thank you again Michele for joining me on Beyond Your Past, I’m looking forward to talking with you on the show again!

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, MPNLP

free one hour coaching sessions - beyond your past

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.



Anxiety and New Years Resolutions, Setting Yourself Up for Success – Ep. 112

So…New Years Resolutions. The very thought often brings about an eye roll, anxious feelings, perhaps apathy, just to name a few. If you’re like many, you don’t even bother with them because you feel like the don’t work anyway so what’s the point. For others, the start of each new year is an opportunity to try again with a renewed sense of confidence.  Either way, you’re not alone.

On this second podcast episode of 2019 (as you’ll hear in the podcast I actually call it the 1st episode), I thought I’d take a few minutes and catch you all up on what’s been happening with the show, the direction it’s headed, and some other projects I’m working on…just in case you’re interested in hearing some updates.

If you are..Great, then listen right from the beginning and you’ll be all set.

However, if getting those news and notes isn’t really your thing, that’s cool too…just forward to the 6:50 mark of the podcast where I dive in to the New Years’ Resolutions, Anxiety, and setting yourself up for success as much as possible with the goals you make for yourself.

We’ll dive into things like:

  • The worry of not accomplishing goals can stop you from even bother to set any in the first place.
  • Extreme thinking, an “all or nothing” mindset, and catastrophizing can lead to self-shame with your goals.
  • Deciding to make resolutions, or goals, is not a one shot deal, you can have as many do-overs you need.
    • I share a bit more of using this “do-over” mentality to your advantage, not your detriment.
  • Being vigilant about imposter syndrome, and old unhealthy, toxic mindsets that no longer serve you.
  • Consider adding a goal of continuing something you’re already doing, it’s a great way to set yourself for a win with your goals.
  • Make your goals, S.M.A.R.T.
  • The 3 words, 1 simple phrase, you’ll want to add it to every single goal.

Remember, whether you decide to set some resolutions or goals, or not…you deserve to put your healing first in 2019. Anxiety has no place in your life, so make this the year that you take your power back from Anxiety…and empower yourself for a change.

See ya on the next episode!  Oh, and don’t forget to subscribe and leave a review on your favorite podcasting app..I would definitely appreciate it.

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, MPNLP

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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.

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