After wrapping up several pod recordings recently, my pod guests have said things like — “That was cathartic”, “That was therapeutic”, “I’ve been to therapy, but it hasn’t felt like that — this felt different — there was such a release”.
This is feedback I received after recording a podcast episode that will be published online, free and available to the whole world to hear, yet the guests felt such a sense of relief and healing after having recorded the show.
And then recently, I listened to an amazing episode on goop - Processing the Trauma of Loneliness with Psychiatrist Will Siu (for those interested in pedigree he graduated from UCLA med school and was on faculty at Harvard and conducted research at NIH).
In the episode, Will talks about his personal experience with trauma and discusses the use of psychedelics in healing trauma. It’s an amazing episode that I encourage you to listen for yourself—however here are a few key take-aways I want to share with you.
Before I do that let’s begin at the beginning.
Trauma is defined as: a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.
Suffering from the effects of trauma varies greatly — different people experiencing the same event will respond differently. Some will experience the event and be able to process it and move on with their lives with no lasting impact from the experience. Yet, others will become traumatized and suffer from post-traumatic stress.
Any event that is deeply distressing to you can cause trauma — anything from your boss humiliating you or a friend betraying your trust to experiencing or witnessing physical violence. When we’ve experienced trauma, and not allowed ourselves to fully feel our feelings of anger, insecurity, grief, shock, disappointment, betrayal, frustration, humiliation, sadness, etc etc, we’re trapping that experience inside ourselves leading to increased anxiety and depression and to us becoming easily triggered by relatively benign things that remind us of the trauma inducing event.
Will says that in these cases, the mind separates the narrative of what happened from the feelings so that we can retell the story and not experience the corresponding feelings.
What is required for healing is to:
1) bring the narrative and the feelings back together,
2) allow the full and complete expression of the feelings,
3) all in the presence of an empathic listener — someone you know and feel cares for you and your well-being.
In the end, we mostly just want to be heard by someone who cares.
I do not mean to imply that my guests shared anything traumatic per se— but what I do want to point out is — all I did was ask questions from a place of pure curiosity and LISTEN WITH LOVE.
So this is my gentle encouragement to ask questions from a place of curiosity, and to LISTEN WITH LOVE more often — to yourself and to others.