Solace in Chaos, how a Survivor of Childhood Trauma found his Peace and his Passion – Ep. 127

spencer gorman-prow - podcast on beyond your pastFinding your peace, your happy place, that particular thing that you absolutely enjoy and you are as comfortable as you can possibly be, that’s a special thing.  It’s cool enough when you discover what that means for you if you’re not a survivor of childhood trauma, but those of us who are survivors, discovering that zone is not something that comes easily but man when you find it, it’s amazing.

The events of the past seem hell-bent on doing everything they can to keep you from experiencing personal fulfillment and joy, which is one of the big reasons why it’s so special when you do discover what that means for you. Plus, it can literally be anything at all, which means that you as a person can feel free to embrace whatever makes you the most inspired and just throw yourself into it 100%.

Our guest on this episode of the podcast discovered that his place of peace, of inspiration, of solace, was in the kitchen working as a chef. Spencer Gorman-Prow is the author of Solace in Chaos, a Chef’s Memoir, which can be purchased on Amazon, both in paperback and in Kindle form.

An Executive Chef’s memoir of how he was able to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds of child sexual abuse and tragedy and forgive himself in order to achieve success. Chef Spencer relates his journey to health, happiness, and healing – all found within the chaotic nature of the professional kitchen. Prepare to be inspired and perhaps even find your own coping strategies within the context of your professional passion.

Spencer reached out to us to continue his journey of inspiring others by coming on the podcast to talk more about his story, including:

  • How the childhood sexual abuse he experienced changed his life, and when he was able to begin working those memories as an adult.
    • The lack of support available to him and how he navigated most of his healing journey alone until he met his wonderful wife.
  • Why he initially turned to alcohol as a coping strategy and a way to numb the pain of those memories.
  • Working through the trust issues, relationship struggles, as well as the self-blame that he internalized as a way to make sense of what happened.
  • How he began to find peace in the kitchen, and what cooking offered him as a place of peace amidst so much pressure.
  • How journaling helped paved the way for Solace in Chaos to become a reality.
  • The challenges of speaking out as a male survivor, and the importance of sharing your truth to not only aid in your own journey but also to help inspire others.

Be sure and check out Solace in Chaos, a Chef’s Memoir, on Amazon. A resource that will surely inspire you to speak your truth, explore your passion, and not be ashamed of who you are and what you went through.

You can also follow Spencer on Twitter: @ChefSpencer68

Please consider sharing this episode with someone who might benefit from hearing Spencer’s message, and don’t forget to subscribe to Beyond Your Past on your favorite podcasting app.

Thank you as always to our incredible sponsors, iNLP Center – offering world-class NLP & Life Coach Training to People in over 70 Countries…and Daily Recovery Support – Safe, Interactive, Group Calls for Survivors of Complex Trauma, 7 Days a Week. 

Your Hosts,

Matthew Pappas, CLC, MPNLP & Joanne Cipressi, CHt, CNLP


All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on, and 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.


Arkhangel, a Story of Battling Schizophrenia along a Journey of Self-Discovery, – Ep. 124

When I was first approached by Professor and Author, Leo Zaccari, about being a guest on the podcast, I was intrigued not only because of the book he recently published, but also how the inspiration for the book came about and the research that lead him to create a character who was not only a superhero, but also battled with schizophrenia.

Leo Zaccari is a history professor, writer, and author of the psychological thriller ARKHANGEL. He teaches history at Brookdale Community College and loves thrillers, sci-fi, fantasy, and the paranormal. My book is a psychological thriller about a girl learning who she is and it touches on themes of coping with mental illness, isolation, alienation, and schizophrenia. I really hope that this book will help young and old alike feel that they don’t have to be alone and that they can identify with a character who shares some of the same problems that they do, and that they can overcome them.

During my chat with Leo, he talks more about his first book, which begins a series that will see the main character and protagonist, Raven, begin a journey of self-discovery while confronting her personal struggles in ways she never imaged.

  • How did he come up with the character, Raven, and what was his inspiration for writing the book?
  • The types of research he found himself undertaking and how the research he did helped develop the main character and story.
  • What he’s learned most during his research, especially since much of the mental health world was new to him.
    • How this new awareness has influenced him and what he would like to see changed in the mental health world.
  • How does Raven’s mental health pose a challenge in the story and how she begins to explore and overcome these challenges.

It was great to talk with Leo, not just to learn about his book but also to get his unique perspective of only recently entering the world of mental health struggles and things that people from all walks of life struggle with as a result of past trauma of all types.

As someone who spends a great deal of time engaged with the mental health community in many ways, it’s important to always be open to new ideas and perspectives. It’s often all too easy to be wrapped up in our own world as we see it, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, but gaining a different perspective allows us to explore this world we are so passionate about, in a different way. Maybe that changes some things, maybe it doesn’t but giving yourself the opportunity to explore mental health challenges in a new way can only serve to broaden our horizons and help to remember pause and think outside the box now and then. You never know what you might come up with.

Be sure and head over to Amazon and check out ARKHANGEL and also consider becoming a Patreon and join him on the journey of Raven and the adventures which await her during her superhero journey of self-discovery.

Don’t forget to consider sharing this episode with one person who might find it helpful. 🙂

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, MPNLP

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All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on, and 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.


Listen to the Cry of a Child, Barbara Joy Hansen Shares her Story and her Faith – Ep. 122

This podcast and my first blog, Surviving My Past, began as a way for me to help tell my survivor story. A story of experiencing childhood sexual abuse, emotional neglect, and bullying, which began between the ages of 5-10 and lasted into early high school. While this podcast has evolved into all types of survivor stories and now features guests to help inspire and encourage you, there will always be a special place in my heart for survivors of trauma and I’m always truly honored to help any survivor share their story and end their silence.

My guest on this episode of the podcast, Barbara Joy Hansen, shared her story on my blog previously and continues to find new ways to inspire, educate, and encourage survivors to embrace healing, release the toxic self-shame, and find hope through faith.

Long before #MeToo & #ChurchToo, I lived with a silent scream for 40 years; having experienced sexual, emotional, verbal, psychological & spiritual abuse. I now choose to use my voice to help others with broken wings to break free from shame. I am a pastor’s daughter who has risen above generational curses with my voice! 

God has raised me from the ashes to give hope to deeply wounded & broken people including drug addicts & prisoners, as a result of my own inner soul healing. I recognize that lack of response on the part of churches when abuse strikes families of faith. I work with church leaders to help equip them to respond to the challenges they face today. 

Grieving my tremendous losses, I wrote my memoir, Listen to the cry of the Child, where I share how victims of abuse often conceal their pain as they carry their scars. Chained as prisoners of their past, many hide in secrecy, afraid of the consequences of revealing the horrors of childhood experiences. On the surface, they may seem carefree and happy, yet inside, a festering wound exists. The only road to freedom from this prison requires confronting the past and revealing its pain in the light of God’s love.

My story has been featured on The Dr. Oz Show, CBN Asia, radio stations, and many websites and blogs, and I am also a regular co-host of the Stop Child Abuse Now radio show, sponsored by the National Association of  Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (

During my chat with Barb, she shares deeply about her faith and the way God is using her and her husband to change the lives of countless survivors:

  • Barb tells her story of surviving sexual, emotional, psychological, and spiritual abuse, and why she decided to write a book about her experiences. This is a very emotional story as you’ll hear in her own voice how she survived and ultimately continues to overcome the effects of abuse.
  • Her advocacy work recently took her to the Philippines as a humanitarian aid worker for two months. You’ll hear a detailed account of the villages she visited, the people she met, and the work they did to help children, families, churches, and inmates in prisons.
    • She shares how her message of faith and hope was received, and the lives that were changed as a result of her message and work.
  • We talk about the opportunities to tell her story on TV, Radio, and other media outlets, and how her faith continues to open up doors for her to share her message of hope and healing for survivors.

Barb’s story is one of deep sadness for the experiences she endured as a child, but also a story of hope, inspiration, and encouragement as she continues to be a beacon of light for survivors of trauma; sharing her story and how her faith has raised her out of the ashes and transformed her life.

To learn more about Barb, be sure and follow her on Twitter @BobbieJoyHanse1, Facebook @Barbara.j.hansen1, and LinkedIn.  You can purchase a cope of her book, Listen to the Cry of a Child, on her website 

Please consider sharing this podcast episode with a survivor you may know, or someone who you feel could benefit from hearing Barb’s story.

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, MPNLP


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All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on, and 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 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, and 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 and on her Facebook page.

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, MPNLP

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All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on, and 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, , 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 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, and 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.


Parenting as a Survivor of Childhood Trauma and Healing Your Past, with Jeremy Schneider, MFT – Ep. 111

If there’s one thing you realize when you become a parent, it’s that for all of resources available, there is no end-all-be-all rulebook on how to raise children. Sure there are countless books and resources available, each offering their take on best practices to employ, but as any parent knows, a child can create a scenario that throws a wrench in even the best of strategies.

Add in the struggles of being a survivor of childhood trauma, and the parenting challenges can take on a whole new level. You want to do everything possible to care for your children, keep them safe, spend time with them, and show them unconditional love, but that’s not always easy to do when you are coping with triggers and memories that can be brought on be situations you never see coming and course your children are completely unaware of.

jeremy schneider, mft - parenting as a survivor of childhood trauma and healing your past - podcast guest - beyond your pastThese struggles and so many others can cause a great deal of stress for even the most veteran of parents.  My guest on this episode of the podcast, Jeremy Schneider, shares his experience in this area and how it inspired him to “Fatherhood in 40-minute Snapshots”.

Jeremy G. Schneider is a marriage and family therapist whose career spans more than 15 years of working with individuals and families, focusing on parenting, relationships and mental health. For his work, he has been a featured in The New York Times, TODAY, and CNN and has been a speaker on panels in New York, Philadelphia, Dallas, and Liverpool, England. Jeremy lives and works in New York City with his wife, Gem, and his son and daughter, Lucas and Dorit.

During our chat on the podcast, Jeremy and I dive into some aspects of parenting as a survivor of childhood trauma:

  • At 9 years old, he realized that not only did he have things he needed to work on in his own life due to a traumatic childhood, but that he wanted to be a therapist when he grew up.
  • During grad school he came to a greater understanding of both himself and his family, and that if he was going to help others he also had to learn how to help himself.
  • One of the most challenging things about coming to terms with a traumatic childhood is not only, “this is what happened to us and we had to deal with those events as a child”, but also now as adults, “we are the ones who have to do the work to heal”.
    • How facing your past allows you to be much more free than if you continually run from it.
  • How the trauma he experienced as a child still causes him to struggle at times today, but even with that ongoing struggle the realization that life is so much better now than ever before because he continues to put in the hard work of healing.
    • Understanding that just because you will struggle as an adult, doesn’t mean that we should just not even bother to try to heal.
  • He shares about his inspiration for writing “Fatherhood in 40-minute Snapshots” and how the experience of writing has changed him, and his perspective on life and parenting.

My chat with Jeremy Schneider was such a great experience and I’m honored to have the opportunity to share some of his story with you here on the podcast. I hope you’ll consider checking out his current book, as well as his memoir due out in mid 2019.

Be sure and follow Jeremy on Twitter and Facebook, and on his website, You can pick up your copy of Fatherhood in 40-minute Snapshots, on Amazon.

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, MPNLP

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All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on, and 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. 97 – Dynamic Running Therapy, and Authenticity in Recovery, with William Pullen

One of the keys to healing from trauma, overcoming anxiety, working through depression, addictions, and virtually any other struggle is figuring out a way to get what’s in our heads, out of our heads in a way that feels safe, validating, and in compliance with who we are as individuals.  By doing so we begin to chip away at the self-shame that so often comes when battling any mental health challenge.

By showing up authentically, to ourselves and the world, even in the wake of extreme events, we gain confidence and resilience. We learn that what happened to us, does not define our future, and the struggles of our past only have the power that we allow them to have. This certainly does not mean that we should try to rush through recovery, or feel as though we should just get over what’s happened.  Instead, simply understand that, in time, we can learn to live and thrive in our present life, rather than being held back by the very thoughts, feelings, and coping strategies which served us for a time, but are now keeping us stuck.

william pullen - podcast - beyond your pastMy guest on this episode of the podcast, is someone who has developed a very unique approach to work through those very struggles that no longer serve us. William Pullen, creator of Dynamic Running Therapy, is a practicing therapist in the U.K., working with clients not only utilizing DRT, but also integrative psychotherapy in areas such as : substance abuse, emotional abuse, anxiety, relationship struggles, career change, life transition, self-esteem, depression, and more.

Integrative Psychotherapy aims to facilitate wholeness between the feeling, behavioural, cognitive, and physiological levels of functioning – in other words the whole person. This is done in part through looking at aspects of the self that you may be unaware of and making them conscious. Together we can look at the life you want for yourself and how to achieve it. Change takes time and cannot be rushed. I believe in providing focus and space, not pressure. I believe in removing expectation, often routed in the demands of others, and instead aligning ourselves with what we feel inside. Change comes about by clearing a path to where we want to be, not forcing our way through to it.

I work in a way that is warm, empathic, non-judgemental, and direct. I am not a therapist who will stare at you in silence. I also believe there is a place for humour in therapy. My work draws on many theoretical orientations and styles. Because each person is unique, my work is different with every person that I see. I tailor my approach to help you and your individual needs. I offer a comfortable and confidential space where you can look at your life free of expectation or judgement.

Dynamic Running Therapy includes the use of a smart phone app, and William’s book, Running with Mindfulness: Dynamic Running Therapy (DRT) to Improve Low-mood, Anxiety, Stress, and Depression. You can find his book on Amazon, and the app is available for iPhone users in the app store.

During our chat on the podcast:

  • We dive more into what exactly Dynamic Running Therapy  (DRT) is, how it works, and how this strategy can help not only with self-esteem, anxiety, stress, and depression, but many other mental health challenges.
  • His Tedx Talk, “Movement is Medicine“.
  • How the struggles of his past, not only in childhood but challenges in adult life, lead him into a role of becoming a Psychotherapist.
  • The importance of authenticity in healing from trauma.
  • Finding your purpose in life, what ever that looks like for you and no matter how long it takes to find, and using your combined experiences to shape who you are and your ability to relate to others.
  • Learning that staying in a survivor mentality can be detrimental to your overall healing.

I encourage you to check out William Pullen’s website, , to learn more about his work, DRT, and his book.  Be sure to follow him on Facebook and Twitter as well.

If you found this podcast helpful, consider subscribing on your favorite podcasting app and leaving a review; I would appreciate it so much. Don’t forget to share it with your friends!

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, MPNLP








All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on, and 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. 95 – Post Traumatic Growth, with Lucille Zimmerman

When I first started blogging, the primary focus was living with Dissociation, Anxiety, and PTSD. After all, those are the things that I struggled with the most. Being a survivor of childhood trauma, I never knew that I could have PTSD; for so long I thought that was only for those who were in the military. I had never even heard of Dissociation until I spent a couple of years working with a therapist. Anxiety, well I knew I was anxious but I didn’t realize how much it was affecting my life and how those anxious feelings had turned into full-blown anxiety.

As time went on and my work with a therapist continued, and then working with a trauma informed coach, I began to learn about this concept of Post Traumatic Growth. It sounded intriguing to me since I was engulfing into healing so much that I figured it had to start paying off eventually, and this Post Traumatic Growth thing sounded like the path I was headed toward, which was exciting.

lucille zimmerman - post traumatic growth - podcast on beyond your pastWait, did I just say that trauma work was exciting?  Well not really the trauma work itself, but the healing sure was. That’s how I approached this journey; as a learning experience. I figured, if I had endured the childhood sexual abuse between 5-10 years old, if I had experienced more bullying in middle school than I cared to admit, then I should at least try to learn from it and use it to my advantage. I didn’t want the trauma to be the end of my story.

My guest on this episode of the podcast, is Counselor, Teacher, and Author, Lucille Zimmerman. She is an expert on Post Traumatic Growth, and shares her insight on this subject with us on the show.

Lucille Zimmerman has a Master of Arts in Counseling degree, and is a Licensed Professional Counselor.  She works with individuals and groups from supportive to insight-oriented psychotherapy, and has worked in a variety of mental health facilities, which included crises/resource oriented counseling to more one-on-one insight therapy.

I have experience treating people in crises, coping with health and midlife issues, eating disorders, struggles related to self-esteem, child abuse, trauma, and marital difficulties. I work with adults treat many people with a wide spectrum of emotional struggles and concerns. I work from a bio-psycho-social context and my treatment approach is adapted to each individual according to need. I am also trained in EMDR for trauma.

On the podcast today we dive into some specific aspects of Post Traumatic Growth, including:

  • Some of her story, and how past traumatic events in her life, including the Columbine Shooting in 1999, affected her and lead to begin searching for how she could help others who experienced all types of trauma.
  • Just because you experienced trauma, does that automatically mean you will get PTSD, and what factors contribute to PTSD?
  • Why do some people grow as a result of trauma, while others stay stuck
  • Keys to Post Traumatic Growth, and ways that we can help ourselves heal and learn from the trauma.
  • How ruminating can actually be a good thing, and even necessary, in order to experience Post Traumatic Growth.

I encourage you to listen to Lucille share with you all of those topics and more on the podcast. We spend a good deal of time talking about those keys to growth and why some people struggle while others are able to heal; and as we talked I was examining my own life and how some of the skills and strategies I used to during some deep parts of my healing, were the very same ones she mentioned as well. In fact, I still use those skills today, because like we always say on Beyond Your Past, healing from trauma is a life long journey.

Lucille’s insight, approach, and encouraging outlook on the reasons we can heal and learn from our past will surely empower you to embrace the possibilities in your healing journey.

To learn more about Lucille Zimmerman, be sure to check out her website and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, MPNLP







All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on, and 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. 91 – Insight on Intergenerational Trauma, with Emily Wanderer Cohen

Trauma survivors have literally experienced first hand what many could not even comprehend. A past filled with abusive parents and  caregivers, toxic family members and friends, and a childhood full of secrets that, when told, can make your hair on the back of you neck stand up on end! It’s a past that none would wish for, yet is more common than we realize. Chances are if are reading this or listening to the podcast, you know someone who is a survivor, or perhaps you are one yourself.

What about a different type of trauma though, one where you don’t need to experience first-hand, in order to feel its effects. I’m talking about intergenerational trauma, and I’m honored to be talking with expert, author, and coach, Emily Wanderer Cohen about this very subject.

Over the 2 years or so that I have been recording this podcast, I’ve covered many different types of trauma, modalities of treatment and healing, and talked with incredible survivors who have overcome tremendous odds and now share their story to help inspire others.  This is the first time I’ve covered intergenerational trauma, and I learned quite a bit from talking with Emily.

Emily Wanderer Cohen is a two-time international bestselling author, speaker, coach, and intergenerational trauma expert.

A second-generation (2G) Holocaust survivor, she knows what it feels like to live with transmitted trauma and helps her clients, including second- and third-generation Holocaust survivors; sexual, spousal, and child abuse survivors; and other genocide, natural disaster, and other severe trauma survivors heal from the trauma, move forward with their lives, and stop the cycle of intergenerational trauma.

So what exactly is intergenerational trauma is (also referred to as inherited trauma or transgenerational trauma)? As Emily explains, it’s described as effects of trauma that the sufferer did not experience first hand. She dives deeper into that explanation during our chat, as well as:

  • Does it only affect descendants of Holocaust survivors or others as well?
  • What are some of the common signs of intergenerational trauma?
  • How can someone stop the cycle of transmission?
  • How do we know it’s real? Are there any scientific studies that you can point to?

Emily shares more about some of the case studies and information on how those who have experienced this type of trauma often have lower cortisol levels, and therefore can be less equipped to handle this or any other type of trauma than someone who has normal cortisol levels. Intergenerational trauma survivors also have an increased likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease and trauma based chronic illnesses such as Lupus, Fibromyalgia, and more.

We cover these topics and more as Emily Wanderer Cohen gives us insight into a type of trauma that can begin to manifest itself without the survivor ever even considering the possibility of its existence in their life.

I encourage you to listen to the podcast and do some additional research, including checking out both of Emily’s international best selling books: From Generation to Generation, and The Daughter’s Dilemma.

You can follow Emily Wanderer Cohen on Twitter, Facebook, and her website,

I hope you’ll consider sharing this podcast on your social media, and maybe even subscribing and leaving a review on your favorite podcasting app! I would definitely appreciate it.

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, MPNLP

If you’d like to be a guest on a future episode, just contact me anytime to share your story. 


All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on, and 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.