A conversation with psychotherapist Sonia about her experience of arrest and imprisonment for possession of firearms and explosives as an anti-Vietnam War activist. In order to get professional licensure, Sonia waited years to get her record sealed, requiring her to keep her past a secret. We talk about what it has been like to live for 40 years with this secret, and the unexpected ways it has shaped her life.
A conversation with Lani Peterson of the Public Voice Project about her work with formerly incarcerated men and women to help them tell their stories in a way that helps them to make peace with their past and move forward in their lives. She explains the importance of telling a story that is bigger than a narrow focus on a bad decision or mistake. She describes storytelling as a key to transforming your self-image, and how others see you. She also discusses the techniques she’s discovered to hold the listener through stories that can be difficult to hear, and the ways that listening can also be a transformative process.
A conversation with therapist Nancy Sowell about the family secrets that came out as she was caring for her grandmother with dementia. Nancy recounts the curious distance and even hostility she had always felt from this side of the family, and how it all began to make sense as her grandmother opened up for the first time. She describes the powerful way that dementia can lift a person’s inhibitions, occasionally allowing for shared grief and even healing of old wounds that she had only sensed were there. She also discusses the power of secrets and shame in families, and how difficult it is, even now, to know how to talk about a painful secret with the rest of the family.
An interview with Rachel Grant about the sexual abuse she suffered as a ten-year-old at the hands of her grandfather, and the work she has done to counteract its lasting impact on her life. Despite her training in psychotherapy Rachel became a coach because she wanted to be able to use her own story as a way to help others. Rachel describes the many beliefs that she and other abuse survivors often struggle with [Read more…]