An interview with the director of the Maine Transgender Network, Alex Roan. Alex defines the terms transgender, transsexual and cross-dresser, clarifying the difference between sex, gender, gender expression and sexual orientation. He describes his own story of experiencing the gap between his sex and his gender , and his experience of transition from female to male. He gives poignant examples of experiencing male privilege from the “other side.” He also describes common issues that trans people struggle with, especially coping with the reactions of family and friends.
A Live Forum for Courageous Conversations.
Safe Space is a show about subjects that are hard to talk about--a respectful forum for courageous conversations about difficult subjects in order to reduce stigma, provide education, offer hope and access to resources. It is a space for the in depth discussion of matters that touch hearts and yet feel risky to share; subjects that deserve, but rarely get, thoughtful consideration.
The topics on Safe Space often deal with the guests’ courage to accept difference in themselves, especially when they feel afraid or ashamed about that difference. Shame is a painful psychological and emotional experience, but it is also a cultural and political force. All acts of courage inspire others to take risks, to express themselves, to be themselves. Such acts have political force to stand up to silencing, to create change.
Each show attempts to name and acknowledge difficult feelings, and to honor those who have found their own way of putting them into perspective. Listening to Safe Space will introduce you to many who are daring to speak about what is true for them as they find a way to turn their deepest wounds or hidden struggles into a gift for others. Giving voice to the unspeakable is ultimately an act of generosity and courage that makes our world more hospitable and welcoming to the parts of each of us that feel vulnerable.
An interview with radio program director Lisa Bunker about her experience of becoming aware that she identified as a woman. Lisa describes the process of feeling like a failure at trying to be a man, and the deep relief of embracing her female identity. She describes her experiences of telling her friends, her workplace colleagues and her children, and of transitioning to living full-time as a woman.
An interview with terrorism expert Jessica Stern about her experience following a rape at age 15. Jessica speaks about the way her story was not believed by the police resulting in further rapes of over 40 children. She also addresses the way in which her father did not initially take the rape seriously and the way she felt pressured not to look into her past. Jessica describes the experience of living with PTSD, especially the confusing way in which she did not feel fear in dangerous situations (like interviewing terrorists in pakistan), while also feeling panicked by small triggers that she did not know were connected to the trauma. Ultimately Jessica developed the capacity to be intensely curious and empathic toward violent men as a way to try and make sense of what happened to her.
An interview with body psychotherapist Betta de Boer van der Kolk about Tantra as a way to heal from sexual abuse. Betta describes Tantra as an exchange of energy that brings presence, connection, safety and play into sexuality. She teaches me a technique for couples to harmonize their breathing in order to give to each other through their bodies. She also describes ways that a woman can receive sexual healing through tantric massage, and men can learn to dissociate orgasm from ejaculation, in order to experience ejaculatory control.
An interview with philosophy Professor Susan Brison who survived a sexual assault and attempted murder. Professor Brison describes the transition from needing to tell the story, to finding the story increasingly boring as she healed. She spoke about how group therapy, self-defense classes and jazz singing all helped her recover. She describes the pressure she felt from others to “buck up, ” and forget, and how difficult it is for others to listen to stories of trauma. She also describes her decision to go public because rape is a hate crime against women, and she felt committed to bear witness.
Susan’s next concert in on Wednesday, April 13th, from 12:30-1:30 pm in the Faulkner Auditorium for the Performing Arts, at the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH. Tickets are free.
An interview with yoga teacher Matthew Sanford about what he learned from being present to and listening to the silence of his paralyzed body. Matthew describes how yoga has helped him reconnect with his body after the terrible car accident which also killed his father and sister. His practice of yoga has helped him experience the strength that comes from being present to all his feelings of vulnerability. He now teaches adaptive yoga to those with and without disabilities, and hopes to revision the entire way that rehabilitative medicine works with trauma survivors to re-engage with their bodies. He can be reached through www.matthewsanford.com
An interview with couples therapist and certified sex therapist Wendy Maltz about the impact of sexual abuse on sexuality, and ways to reclaim pleasure, safety and intimacy. Read more…
An interview with psychiatrist and trauma researcher Bessel van der Kolk about the impact of trauma on the brain. Bessel outlines the way in which traumatic experience in children shapes the development of the brain, and how our brains can get hijacked by triggers that make us feel we are in a life and death situation in the present. He describes the importance of helping the body feel safe, and how working with EMDR, Internal Family Systems Therapy and neurofeedback can literally help rewire the brain. Bessel also discusses traumatic repetition and the emergence of a new diagnosis for developmental trauma which reflects the effects of chronic, relational trauma on the child’s developing brain.
An interview with Dr. Pat Ogden about working with the body in healing from trauma. Pat used several clinical examples to describe how she works with the body to help people re-engage the physical defenses that got overwhelmed and shut down during trauma. She describes the process of allowing people to move and tremble and shake to release the intense activation in their nervous systems after trauma. She also stressed the importance of integrating movement with beliefs and emotions so that all levels of the brain are involved in healing.
An interview with psychotherapist Deirdre Fay about the deep relational disruption that is a hallmark of trauma. Read more…