Complex Trauma

Self-Worth: Finding Strength Through Vulnerability, with Brian Cardoza

June is self-worth month here on the podcast. We started off talking with the UK’s leading confidence coach and transformational mentor, Amy Rushworth, as she shared some of her story and talked about how finding your voice is in direct relation to self-confidence and developing your self-worth. After that, we shared some thoughts on how you are the one that gets to define who you are, and what you’re about; your worth is not dependent on anyone or anything. So if you haven’t checked out those two episodes you’ll want to go back after this one and give em a listen.

Self-Worth - Finding Strength Through VulnerabilityContinuing on with the self-worth theme, we’re talking with returning guest and friend, Brian Cardoza. Brian is an author, artist, and national speaker, using his platform to help share the message of his survivor story and encourage both men and women to take that first step of seeking help to work through a traumatic past.

Brian’s message of hope, presented in such an authentic, genuine, and down-to-earth way, is inspiring because he’s able to relate to the unique struggles that survivors go through, including the silence and shame that keeps them stuck and feeling unable to reach out for help.

We talk with Brian about his survivor story and get into a deep discussion about the struggles of survivors who are trying to find their voice and reach out for help. Throughout our chat, with Brian, you’ll notice how we use some well-timed, and improvisational humor to help illustrate that while this work is deep, powerful, difficult, and necessary, there is hope in healing and all of that work hard pays off.

Plus, near the end of the podcast, in true Brian Cardoza form, he drops a nugget of wisdom that will result in a future episode on the topic of bringing awareness to “coercive rape” and the pressure that both men and women feel when it comes to intimacy. Believe me, friend, this one will definitely cause you to pause and ponder his take on this delicate subject. 

It’s always a wonderful time as we chat with our friend Brian Cardoza, and be sure to find him on Facebook and check him out when he hosts an event in your area. As Brian says, “just put my name in the google machine and you’ll find me”. Oh, and don’t forget to check out his book, “The Unexpected Victim” available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

If you enjoy these podcasts would you consider doing 3 easy things for us?

  1. Share it with one person who might find it helpful.
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  3. Follow the podcast on that same app, so you never miss an episode.

That’s it…Super Easy and it would mean the world to us.

If you want to go a step further, we have a special Thank You just for You!






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.

Releasing Shame and Recovering Repressed Memories through Writing, with Elisabeth Corey – Ep. 132

elisabeth corey - uncovering repressed memories through writing - podcast on beyond your pastOne of the most helpful strategies you can utilize in your healing journey is writing. Whether it’s journaling, keeping a diary, blogging, writing letters that you’ll never send, or other writing methods, the benefits can yield incredibly validating and groundbreaking results.

Writing is also one of the more difficult things to do for many survivors, for many reasons, not the least of which is that it forces you to go back and explore thoughts and memories that you’ve may have spent decades trying to forget or at the very list simply ignoring because they happened so long ago. For some it’s a struggle because writing just isn’t your thing, or you simply don’t enjoy it, you’re not a storyteller, or your perfectionism simply won’t allow you to write anything and deem it acceptable.

Elisabeth Corey, MSW, and founder of joins me on the podcast as a return guest to discuss this incredibly beneficial modality of healing. I first had the opportunity to chat with Elisabeth back in episode 38 as we discussed working with our inner parts to help heal trauma. Inner Parts work is a specialty of Elisabeth and continues to be a focus in her work with private clients and in her group sessions, webinars, and other resources created for survivors.

During my chat with Elisabeth Corey on this episode of the podcast, we’re diving more into recovering repressed memories through writing:

  • How writing from our inner parts can help us connect with what we don’t remember.
  • What exactly are repressed memories, why are they so crucial to healing, and what misconceptions are there surrounding these types of memories?
  • How the idea that writing doesn’t come naturally for so many but why it’s so important.
    • On that topic, the type of writing that Elisabeth teaches her clients and those in her programs is not supposed to come naturally because of you’re diving into areas of your life that you’ve spent years trying to forget. In addition, the coping skills that served us during traumatic events can be a cause of keeping certain memories repressed.
  • How naturally, or not, do our inner parts take to writing and being given a voice?
    • Which parts are more resistant vs which parts are more open to having a voice?
  • Connecting with your inner child and writing from a place of your inner child’s voice and perspective, as opposed to an adults version of their voice.
  • Flashbacks, and how they are not always the overwhelming memories that cause so much turmoil and turn our world upside down.
    • The importance of using these as a learning experience in writing to help uncover repressed memories.

This was such an incredible chat with Elisabeth and she dives more in depth to those topics and shares her vast knowledge in a way that is validating and inspiring. I hope you’ll consider checking out this episode and sharing it with someone who might find it helpful.

Be sure and follow Elisabeth Corey, MSW on Twitter @BeatingTrauma and her website,, where you can also learn about her programs, webinars, and workshops.

-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.


Life with DID and Giving Your Alters a Voice, with Kelli Gettel – Ep. 131

If there’s one thing about being a survivor that is abundantly true, it’s that this whole healing journey thing is a process. It’s full of new memories, seemingly unending struggles especially early on, new realizations about what happened and when, and a host of emotions ranging from sadness to anger, to despair, loneliness, and everything in between. You often wonder how you made it through events that are so traumatic you can hardly admit to yourself that you endured them, much less verbalize it to a therapist or anyone else.

As time goes on, you continue to learn more about your past, and hopefully see some healing take place as you work through those memories, come to the realization that it wasn’t your fault, and that your future is not defined according to what happened to you. You begin to see your hard work paying off, and little by little those feelings that kept you down for so long, and felt like they defined you, no longer have that kind of power. You even begin to experience some relief, some joy, and contentment in your life.

The timetable for healing is different for everyone, and there are plenty of ups and downs, and setbacks and victories along the way, but ultimately the reason you put in that hard work is to feel better, to move forward and realize that you can embrace what life has to offer and you are capable of going after what you want to make your life as meaningful as you want it to be.

Our returning guest for this week, Kelli Gettel, originally shared some of her story in episode 80, Life with Autism, CPTSD, DID, and Narcolepsy. If you haven’t checked out that episode, you’ll want to add it to a playlist on your favorite podcasting app and check out more of her story.

During our chat today, Kelli gives us an update on how her healing work is coming along, including:

  • How she’s learning to interact with her alters, and give them the voice they need.
  • New memories of childhood trauma, including sexual abuse and being subjected to a pedophile ring.
  • The struggles with trust issues, even with a therapist who you’ve been working with for a long time.
    • The challenges of opening up and sharing, trusting others to hear your story, and how you share.
  • The strain that living with DID and other mental health challenges can put on a relationship.
    • The adjustments her husband is making and how much his support helps her and her family.
  • Taking an active role in your healing, and educating yourself, as well as interacting with the survivor community for support.

Kelli lives in the central Pennsylvania area, with her husband and 3 children, including a 4 yr old who also was diagnosed with autism. You can contact her via email,  kelligettel at gmail dot com, if you’d like to connect with her.

Please consider sharing this episode with someone who might benefit from it, and don’t forget to subscribe on your favorite podcasting app.

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


All conversation and information exchanged 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.

4 Benefits of Working Through the Pain of Your Past – Ep. 125

So what’s the deal with the importance of working through a past full of trauma, pain, and events we’d probably rather just forget about? Is there a point to working through all of those memories and revisiting situations that we’ve buried in the bottom of our minds for years, perhaps decades?

The short answer, but not the most comfortable answer, is… absolutely.

This podcast focuses on inspiring you to break free from the chains of your past and move forward to experience the world of healing, possibilities, and opportunity that comes with working through past trauma. We wanted to spend some time with you today explaining why this is so important. There are many who feel like they don’t want to let the past go and others that believe they just can’t do it even if they did want too. Sometimes we find comfort in holding onto the past because its familiar or we believe that by holding and constantly reminding ourselves of the past pain, we can protect ourselves from future pain so we keep all those memories alive. We come up with countless reasons to justify we doing this is so important; things like “the past is a part of me”, “this is just who I am” and “I don’t know who I’d be if I let that go.”

We understand these statements and emotions because both of us, Matt and Joanne, have lived in that mindset for a long time. But, we also understand the amazing benefits of moving beyond that type of mindset — which is why we do this podcast – in hopes that people will find the encouragement and motivation to move beyond their past so they can reap the benefits of doing so.

It can be challenging to know the benefits of something if you have not experienced them yourself. So, today, we wanted to share with you some of those benefits that you can experience when you dedicate yourself to your own journey of healing. Remember, everyone heals in their own way and it doesn’t matter how long it takes you, all that matters is that consider the possibility of how much more fulfilling and enjoyable life can be when you make your healing a priority.

In addition to 4 primary benefits of healing, we also cover some of the reasons why it’s so difficult to even attempt to begin healing past trauma in the first place; including reasons why we focus on the past, why it’s hard to let go, and why we tend to focus on the negatives aspects of our life.

I hope you’ll check out this episode and please consider subscribing on your favorite podcasting app and sharing it with one person who might benefit.

We also appreciate feedback too, so reach out anytime and tell us how we’re doing!


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


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 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

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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.



Blogging about Life with Dissociative Identity Disorder and Complex PTSD – Ep. 106

Many guests who have joined me on the podcast come from a background of writing about their experiences. This method of coping paved the way, in many cases, to their to where they are today, and continue to aid in their ongoing journey of healing. For some, writing is an exercise in anxiety and simply too difficult an experience to endure because of the painful memories the come rushing back while exploring their feelings in this manner.

Writing is usually a solo activity, which in itself can raise the anxiety level to exponential heights; something of course we’d rather not experience any longer. For many however, myself included, blogging offers a way to get those deep-rooted feelings and memories out of our heads and in some ways, make sense of them. At the very least, getting these such thoughts out of heads, can help them seem not so intimidating.

My guest on this episode of the podcast, Shirley J. Davis, has spent a large part of her life writing, which has allowed her to exponentially aid her own healing journey from abuse which started at a very young age, and leading to Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Shirley Davis shares is a freelance writer, public speaker and grant writer who loves life, and hopes to help others to do so as well. Shirley lives with a severe mental health condition known as dissociative identity disorder but has made huge strides forward through many years of hard work and the help of a wonderful therapist. Her philosophy  has become that life is not just an empty journey to simply survive and then die, rather it is a wonderful adventure to savor and enjoy.

She  writes about healing from complex trauma and DID on her blog, , , and many other outlets including NAMI of Illinois, and the American Psychological Association. 

During our chat on the podcast, Shirley shares some of her survivor story, which includes abuse that started from birth, and continuing through age 15.

  • Her personal experience in life with Dissociative Identity Disorder, and how she interacts with her alters.
  • What prompted her to seek treatment, and what that treatment looks like for her in an ongoing basis.
    • The process of giving her struggles a name, and how this helped her make sense of her life.
  • Making sense of D.I.D., especially early on in her life when research and resources were not as readily available as they are today.
  • Her daily life as a survivor and sharing how far she’s come from the child who was abuse for so long.
  • Making her way to the Fusion stage of D.I.D.
  • Why writing has been such an important part of her life, including getting started with her own blog and CPTSD Foundation.

Be sure and follow Shirley J. Davis’ work on or simply google her name for the many outlets that share her work.  You can also follow her on Twitter @ShirleyDavis18.

Please consider sharing this podcast with someone who might benefit from hearing Shirley’s story and encouragement for trauma survivors and those with living with D.I.D., you never know the difference it could make.  Don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app.

-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, 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. 80 – Life with Autism, C-PTSD, DID, and Narcolepsy, with Kelli Gettel

Over the last couple of years that the Beyond Your Past Podcast has been in existence (including the previous name of Surviving My Podcast), I’ve had the pleasure of talking with dozens of incredible guests on a variety of topics. Everything from Dissociation, to PTSD, DID, Anxiety, along with clinicians and coaches discussing various trauma informed modalities used with their clients, and countless survivor stories that always leave me feeling so encouraged and honored to speak with such incredible people.

The power of sharing your story can never be underestimated. You never know how much you’re going to help someone who you’ll never meet.

This episode focuses on a topic that I have not yet covered on the blog or podcast to date; autism and being a survivor. So when Kelli Gettel contacted me and wanted toAutism_Awareness_Ribbon - beyond your past podcast share her story of living with Autism, PTSD, Narcolepsy, and being raised by a Narcissistic parent, I knew this was going to be an episode that would be as educational as much as it will be inspiring.

Kelli is an entrepreneur living in the central Pennsylvania area, and a parent of 3 children, including a 4 yr old who also was diagnosed with autism. As you’ll hear on the podcast, Kelli has overcome tremendous odds in her life, as so many survivors do, and wants to help others understand life with the challenges she faces. By doing so she wants to educate others that these are not reasons to stay silent, isolated, and living in fear or shame. Rather, by utilizing the power of research and learning about your situation, you can find ways to adapt and overcome, and reach others with a positive, stigma fighting message.

Some of her challenges we discuss on the show include:

  • Life as a female, living on the autism spectrum; including when she was diagnosed, the struggles of non-verbal communication with others.
  • How Narcolepsy affects her relationships, and how Narcolepsy can be a form of Dissociation.
  • Sensory Struggles; the challenges of not being able to filter out surrounding sounds and distractions to be able to focus on a single event or conversation.
  • Social Rules & Protocols – how she had to, and continues to learn how to interact in a social setting. Things that come natural to others have to be learned and adjusted too, which can cause struggles in relationships of all types.
  • Her ability to think in pictures; in her mind she sees life in the form of pictures and moving images, so trying to translate that into words and communicate her thoughts can be a huge challenge.
  • We also touch a bit on her life growing up with a parent who had narcissistic tendencies, and how she’s learning more about understanding her alters and using the IFS model to help.

As you’ll also hear how Kelli is so proud of her youngest son, who, diagnosed with autism, taught himself to read before the age of two and is a huge Beatles fan, knowing every song they’ve ever written and nearly everything about the band. Which also leads into our chat about some of the things that she wants to share about how she’s adapting to the daily struggles that multiple diagnoses can bring:

Education has been so important to Kelli; especially reading books to help understand what she’s experiencing, and make sense of the challenges in her life. She shares some of the books that she has found especially helpful; some of which you might recognize:

This was such an incredible podcast, and as you’ll hear there was no way we could fit in everything that Kelli wanted to share, in just one show. So be on the lookout for future episodes with Kelli as we dive a bit deeper into particular areas of her life.

If you’d like to connect with Kelli Gettel, you can reach her on Facebook. If you would like connect with her, she requests that you please be sure and let her know that you found her via the Beyond Your Past Podcast.

Thank you again Kelli for joining me! Your story is inspiring, your resiliency is amazing! I look forward to future shows with you.

Matthew Pappas, CLC, CPNLP

Thank you to my incredible sponsors of the podcast – and Daily Recovery Support







All conversation and information exchanged 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.