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 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 Episcopal priest Carl Russell about the childhood sexual abuse he experienced at the hands of the priest of his family’s congregation. Carl tells the story of how both he and his family were groomed for the abuse, as the priest worked to gain his family’s trust and esteem. [Read more…]
An interview with Dr. Vincent Felitti about his groundbreaking work discovering the high prevalence of child sexual abuse among those who are obese. In his clinic 55% of patients coming in for treatment of obesity had histories of child abuse. When the patients were asked, it turned out that obesity was a form of solution [Read more…]
An interview with family educator, Valerie Gamache about her relationship with her mother who had bi-polar disorder. Valerie describes her mother’s illness and the frightening ways she could become suddenly violent and then have no memory for the episode. She reports the ways her family tried to keep, “the Big Secret” to the point that a friend thought her mother had actually died since Valerie spoke so little about her. She describes encounters with discrimination and prejudice that fuel this kind of silence. Valerie has taught numerous family to family classes through NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness and spoke about her deep motivation that other families not have to go through what she did.