Month: April 2018

Podcast – Ep. 67 – Sustainable Life Satisfaction – Dr. Jennifer Guttman

One of the big things that so many of us seek in life is simply the desire to feel good, to feel happy. We want that feeling of being totally relaxed, not a care in the world…or the high of something exhilarating that gives you such a rush of being on top of the world.  There’s nothing wrong with those feelings, the problem is, it’s just not something that typically happens every day.

Everybody wants to feel good and not dwell on struggles in life. To wake up each day expecting something great to happen in our lives, and then if it doesn’t, we’re dissapointed. Or maybe you’re okay with not expecting something great to happen, you just hope that nothing bad happens.

It’s a roller coaster way to go through life, so many ups and downs, highs and lows, and unrealistic expectations that we have for ourselves. When it comes right down to it we have to ask ourselves, “how has this worked out of for me so far?” am I truly experiecing all that life has to offer, am I actually embracing life for what it is with an open mind, taking in each experience for what it is, and using it as a learning tool for the future?

How exactly do we figure out how to do that, how we find a way to live a satisfying sustainable life, with the ability to embrace the great days, ride out the low days, and take each experience in with an open mind?  And how does that fit into your life if you’re a trauma survivor?

If you’re asking yourself those questions right now, then my chat with clinical psychologist and motivator, Dr. Jennifer Guttman might be just the ticket for you.

When you read her mission statement, you can’t help but intrigued about the possibilities of what her Sustainable Life Satisfaction can do: To use my experience, expertise, voice and pen to help people realize there is “a path to sustainable life satisfaction through a belief in your inherent lovability.” “Sustainable Life Satisfaction” SLS® is based on theories that I have researched and developed from cognitive-behavior therapy and refined over my 20 years of interaction with clients. My brand of therapy and therapeutic success is based on the precept that the majority of people do not have an inherent belief in their likeability or loveability…With life satisfaction comes an ability to conquer inner fears of inadequacy and the profound discovery and trust in your “inherent loveability.

Since the summer of 2016, Dr. Guttman has been featured as a Contributor and/or has written articles in over twenty nationally recognized publications and blogs including; The Washington Post, Redbook, Reader’s Digest, The Hill, Family Education, and Thrillist, among others. She has talked about a wide range of subject matter, from health/wellness, relationships and dealing with adolescent issues to coping with divorce.

The focus of our chat is on those 6 techniques, and Dr. Guttman gives some insight on each one, what they mean, and the benefits of applying each technique to your life.

-Starting is Easy, Closing is Hard: Learning the importance of closing tasks-not just starting. It’s imperative not just to start, but to also finish and close
-Decision Making: Feeling confident in decision-making, without fearing mistakes or ramifications improves self-confidence and in turn improves chances for “closing.”Br>
-Facing Fears: Do not be afraid to be afraid. Use your fear as positive motivation to propel and compel you to move forward.Br>
-Reduce People Pleasing Behaviors Avoid situations of co-dependency and enmeshment. Learn to live an authentic life without living in “service” of others. Watch people pleasing behaviors which secure feelings of indispensability while averting fears of abandonmentBr>
-Avoiding Assumptions: Avoid making assumptions about what other people think or feel about you. Your actions should be based on fact and not assumptions. Making decisions about how to proceed in a given situation based on guessing instead of facts is a

Podcast – Ep. 66 – 7 Steps to Move Forward in Healing from Trauma, with Svava Brooks

Even with all the knowledge in the world, all of the awareness, the training, the therapy, you aren’t immune to finding yourself in a spot where you just can’t seem to get to the next step. You know how you want to feel, but actually getting to a place where you can embrace and actually live that feeling, is something totally different.

That’s why when I came across a recent article that my good friend, coach, and incredible advocate, Svava Brooks, had written, I knew I wanted to bring her back on the podcast so we could talk about it.

Svava is a is a survivor of child sexual abuse and the co-founder of a nationwide child sexual abuse prevention and education organization in Iceland called “Blátt áfram.”  She is also a certified instructor and facilitator for Darkness to Light Stewards of Children, as well as a certified Crisis Intervention Specialist, a certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator, a BellaNet Teen support group facilitator, a Certified TRE® Provider, and an Abuse Survivor Coach.

The mother of three children, Svava has dedicated her life to ending the cycle of child sexual abuse through education, awareness, and by helping survivors heal and thrive.  She is a certified facilitator for Advance!, a program created by Connections to restore authentic identity.  Every week she writes about healing after trauma on her blog, and also leads a discussion forum on Child Sexual Abuse Healing and Recovery online.

During our podcast together, Svava and I discuss that recent blog post, in a very in-depth and powerful way. As you’ll hear when you listen, each step builds upon the other and each has a direct effect on the other as you move forward.  Being able to apply these principles in your own healing journey, and actually embody and live each one, is crucial to moving forward.

The 7 steps to help you get unstuck and move forward in healing from trauma:

-Establish Safety.  Figure out what makes you feel safe. This is your first priority.
Develop Courage. Eventually, your willingness to heal will develop into courage, as you take more and more healthy risks.
Create a Mindfulness Practice. Connecting with your body is essential for healing. As abused children, we learned the toxic skill of disconnection.  Mindfulness will help you reconnect.
Express Your Emotions.  Learn how to identify, listen to, feel, and express your emotions in a healthy way. All of them: the good, the bad, and the ugly!
Change Your Negative Beliefs. You created these toxic beliefs as a way to survive an abusive childhood. But you’re an adult now. Change your story (beliefs) to what benefits your adult life.
Practice Self-Care, Self-Love, and Self-Compassion. Put yourself first on your To-Do list.  Every day, find a way to lovingly care for and celebrate yourself.
Build a Support System. You can’t do this alone. Healing doesn’t work that way. Surround yourself with nourishing friends who support your healing goals, and a safe place to practice your new way of thinking/feeling/being.

You may still be saying to yourself, ” but how do I apply these my life?” or “I’ve tried similar steps before but it just doesn’t work”

Check out the show and find out Svava’s insight into all of these incredible steps!

Be sure and subscribe on your favorite podcasting app and leave a review!

Podcast – Ep. 65 – Mental Health Advocacy and living with Bipolar Disorder, with Kelly Aiello

Kelly Aiello joins me for a chat about these very topics; living with Bipolar Disorder, being a Mental Health advocate,  and the importance of “telling it like it is” when it comes to living with mental illness.

Kelly is a contributor for The Mighty as well as blogger, student, wife, artist and activist. She writes primarily about mental health issues and has currently returned to school to study neuropsychology. She has bipolar type I disorder and borderline personality disorder, and lives with her husband and way too many cats in Toronto, Canada. You can learn more about her by visiting , including her upcoming novel and maybe send her a message and find out just how many cats she has 🙂

I originally connected with Kelly on a roundtable discussion coordinated by our mutual friend, author, and advocate Rebecca Lombardo.  After that talk, I knew that I wanted to bring her onto the Beyond Your Past Podcast, to learn more about her life and advocacy work.

Kelly shares openly about her life and struggles with Bipolar Disorder, and paints the picture in a very real, authentic way. She talks about the particular spectrum, or level, that she lives with and also the difficulty that she experienced in finally getting the proper diagnosis.

We also discuss, is that not every person fits nice and neatly into one of the 4 defined categories. Therein lies the struggle, even with someone who is knowledgeable, in getting the proper diagnosis. Similarly to Dissociation, you don’t always have the symptoms of just 1 particular type of Bipolar Disorder. As Kelly shares, it can take years to get the right treatment plan in place; and that’s an incredible struggle for the person going through it and for those that help support them in their healing journey.

We also talk about her work in advocacy and the importance of sharing what really happens in daily life. Living with a mental illness has become quite a mainstream topic these days, which is good in some ways and not so good in others. The awareness is always a good thing; I think most of us would agree that anything that helps destigmatize mental health challenges is a positive.

One of the problems is though that you can’t always put a positive spin on it; which is what some of the advocacy groups that Kelly has tried to work with, attempt to do. The tough days when you struggle to get out of bed, to get a shower, and go to work when you’d rather just stay in bed or curl up in a ball in the corner of your room waiting for the emotional struggle of a trigger to pass. Being a survivor of trauma and living with Bipolar or any other mental illness isn’t about something positive all the’s many times just about just trying to make it through the day.

When you share in this real and vulnerable way, you reach an audience that would otherwise feel like they are completely alone.

Kelly also shares some tips and insight on what she’s learned in the areas of self-care, which also equates to self-love, as you’ll hear her explain.  She talks about the importance of setting up a schedule in advance, that you can refer too on a day that you struggle, so you’re prepared ahead of time and have a plan in place to take care of yourself and celebrate each win that day.

Be sure and check out for more information about Anxiety and Survivor Coaching, as well as more podcasts and blog posts.

Don’t forget to subscribe on your favorite podcasting app, and leave a review of the show! I’d would totally appreciate it 🙂

Matthew Pappas, CLC –

Podcast – Ep. 64 – Tools and Insight on living with PTSD, with author and survivor, Alexis Rose

If you’re trying to conquer a traumatic past, and you live with PTSD and Dissociation, then you’ll likely be able to relate to my guest on this episode of the podcast, Alexis Rose.

Alexis Rose began her remarkable healing journey in 2009. Sparked by a family tragedy she began to piece together, for the first time, a personal history of abuse and trauma. Supported by her spirituality and writing, as well as family and friends, she has profoundly grown and changed over the years.

While learning to live with the effects of her trauma, and working with the deficits caused by PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder), she has co-authored three inspirational books. Her memoir, Untangled, speaks to the courage, resilience, and triumph over her unimaginable hardship. Her newest book, If I Could Tell You How It Feels is a series of essays and poems about living authentically with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Alexis is an experienced speaker on the topics of living with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.  She is also an active blogger who writes about PTSD, Mental Health, and Trauma, with a bit of poetry sprinkled in along the way. She is passionate about bringing awareness to help break the stigma of living with a mental illness, particularly PTSD.

She shares with us some of those skills, and elaborates more on how they helped her then, and still today as she lives with PTSD:

Reach out to family and friends who are safe.
Learn to be vulnerable in your authentic self.
Distraction can make us feel guilty, but it’s necessary in healing; color, draw, go for a walk in nature.
Bilateral stimulation, that part of journaling helps keep you grounded in a big way.
Sometimes you just aren’t going to be ok…that’s ok.
Grounding skills

Join us on the show as we discuss these tools, more about her journey as a survivor, and how it came to be that she would write her memoir.

Be sure and follow Alexis Rose on Facebook  and her blog, A Tribe Untangled.

If you’d like to share your story as a survivor of trauma, just contact me anytime!

Be sure and follow Beyond Your Past on your favorite podcasting app, and leave a review, I

would so appreciate it! Thank You!!