Matthew Sanford is a yoga teacher focused on trauma recovery. Matthew was paralyzed from the chest down at age 13 in a car accident that killed his father and sister. As a teen, he was encouraged to “overcome the silence” of his paralyzed body. He learned that he could listen to his body instead, and …read more »
Episcopal priest Carl Russell talks about the childhood sexual abuse he experienced at the hands of his family’s own priest. He remembers the catalyst on his own path to healing: a radio story about sexual abuse in the Boston Archdiocese. At 72 years old Carl decided to press charges, and broke a silence that had …read more »
Navy veteran Meosha Thomas talks about the injuries she suffered in Iraq when her convoy hit an IED, and how she lost and regained her desire to live in the long recovery period that followed. She also talks more about the concept of moral injury, and how she wrestles with guilt over the choices she …read more »
Kate Weber was raped by a fellow soldier within her first weeks of deployment overseas in 1993. She discusses the helplessness and isolation she felt when she discovered that no one, from the staff doctor, to her friends and fellow soldiers, would take her seriously.
Kathy Russin is the Military Sexual Trauma Program Coordinator for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Maine. In this episode she talks about the prevalence of Military Sexual Trauma among veterans, and explains that it is not limited to rape, and affects both men and women. She explains how MST is different from combat PTSD …read more »
This episode of Safe Space Radio features Alice Barakagwira, an asylum-seeker from Burundi who now lives in Portland, Maine. She talks about her work to support and empower women who have faced cultural silencing and endured trauma in both Burundi and the U.S. Alice and Anne explore ways that refugees might be connected with therapists …read more »
This episode of Safe Space Radio features Anna, who escaped Syria while 8 months pregnant in 2013 and now lives in Maine. She talks about trading the daily threat of bombings and kidnappings for a life of uncertainty as she and her husband applied and waited for asylum—and how the experience changed her understanding of …read more »
This is a particularly intense interview about one woman’s narrow escape from Burundi, after she and her mother gave medical aid to an injured protester. She describes their arrest and interrogation prior to coming to the United States, and what it is like to be here, having never planned to leave her life and dreams …read more »
This episode highlights the Maine-Wabanaki Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Safe Space Radio speaks with non-native allies who are working on how to best respond to the needs that the TRC brought to light, and why these issues matter to them personally.
Safe Space Radio talks with Penthea Burns, co-director of Maine-Wabanaki REACH, about her background in child welfare and the difficulty of deciding whether the benefits of removing a child from abuse outweigh the additional trauma of severing family and community ties. Penthea’s work on these issues in Wabanaki communities has led her to a deeper …read more »
Psychotherapist Marushka Glissen talks about her mother, a survivor of Auschwitz who now has dementia. Marushka describes how her mother’s experiences complicated her relationships with her own children and husband, and raises the possibility that for some who are haunted by painful memories, dementia may actually provide a bittersweet respite.
Julie Colpitts is the Executive Director of the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence. In this episode of Safe Space Radio, she discusses how survivors of abuse are often drawn to social service and first responder jobs, and how these roles are connected to the process of recovery. Julie, herself a survivor, discusses choices she …read more »
Songwriter Michael Skinner used music as a way to heal from the abuse he suffered as a child. Michael talks about his adult experiences with PTSD, his often-frustrating encounters with the mental health system, and his efforts to resist the stigmatizing label of “mental illness.” He also explores songwriting as an important healing tool in …read more »
In this episode of Safe Space Radio, Rachel Grant talks about the sexual abuse she suffered as a ten-year-old and the work she has done to counteract its lasting impact on her life. Rachel became a coach because she wanted to be able to use her own story as a way to help others.
This episode of Safe Space Radio features Bob Stains of the Public Conversations Project. He talks about the use of restraints on patients in mental hospitals and discusses facilitating a series of conversations in which both the workers who apply restraints and the people to whom restraints have been applied are able to talk about their experiences …read more »
Yoga teacher and therapist Deirdre Fay talks about her experience of discovering her own trauma history through yoga, which softened her defenses to the point that her body began to relive previously forgotten memories of trauma. She narrates the journey of using yoga to navigate PTSD and how she advocates for and supports survivors now.
This episode with Safe Space Radio features yoga teacher and author Dave Emerson, who co-wrote Overcoming Trauma through Yoga about the development of “trauma-sensitive yoga.” Dave discusses how trauma is held in the body, and can be addressed through the body, often in conjunction with talk therapy.
This episode of Safe Space Radio features Rachel talking about her son’s severe depression and multiple suicide attempts. Rachel names the sense of ambiguous loss she feels now that her son lives in a state mental hospital, and how her daily visits to him can bring their own sense of shame and self-doubt. She offers …read more »
Safe Space Radio interviews film-maker Nancy Andrews about her experience as a patient in the surgical ICU. Upon her release from the hospital, Nancy noticed that she kept having “weird experiences,” which her doctor recognized as post-traumatic stress disorder. Nancy’s film, On a Phantom Limb, explores the horror and disorientation of being an ICU patient. …read more »
Safe Space Radio interviews playwright Cathy Plourde, Founder of Add Verb productions. Her play, Major Medical Breakthrough, was written to inspire health care providers to screen their patients for domestic violence—especially important since only 10-19% of doctors report that they screen their patients routinely for domestic violence. Cathy gives a thoughtful description of why providers are …read more »
This episode of Safe Space Radio features Professor Lawrence L. Langer discussing his book Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins of Memory. Professor Langer developed courses on the literature of atrocity to try and help people find a way to imagine the Holocaust, using stories from survivors. He remembers hearing stories of such horror that the teller …read more »
This episode features an interview with author and social psychologist Jamie Pennebaker about his research into the benefits of confiding painful experiences. Jamie suggests that one of the reasons that childhood sexual abuse may be so destructive is because it is so often kept secret. He describes experiments where people are invited to write for …read more »
Storyteller Laura Simms worked as a narrative therapist in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. She talks about the power of stories to remind us of what is good inside us.
Research professor Jessica Stern is an expert in the connection between trauma and terrorism. In this interview she talks about her experience following a rape at age 15, and how her story was not believed by the police—resulting in more than 40 other children being targeted. Jessica describes living with PTSD, and experiencing a confusing …read more »
This interview features 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 leads the listener in a technique for couples to harmonize their breathing in order to give …read more »
Philosophy professor Susan Brison survived a sexual assault and attempted murder. She describes the transition from needing to tell the story, to finding the story increasingly boring as she healed—and how group therapy, self-defense classes, and jazz singing all helped her recovery.
This interview is 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. She reports that taking a vacation from sex is sometimes necessary, because when sex feels like an obligation, it can often trigger difficulties from the abuse. She …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 …read more »
An interview with Dr. Pat Ogden about working with the body in healing from trauma. Pat uses 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 …read more »
An interview with psychotherapist Deirdre Fay about the deep relational disruption that is a hallmark of trauma. Deirdre recounts how, as an adult she only became aware of her own trauma in the context of safe relationship. She describes the use of meditation techniques to help a person become aware of traumatic memories, to stay …read more »
Judy Harmon is a psychiatrist and Harvard Medical School professor. She talks about how group therapy for trauma can reduce shame and support survivors to take action that reduces helplessness. Dr. Herman describes the deep shame and isolation that accompany trauma, and how group therapy creates a community where members can give and receive empathy.
An interview with psychologist Janina Fisher about dissociation in the face of trauma. Janina describes “structural dissociation” as the process where parts of our Self respond to traumatic experience not only with Fight or Flight, but also by terrified freezing, calling for help, and desperately seeking to attach out of fear of abandonment, and total …read more »
Therapist Celia Grand is an EMDR facilitator and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy trainer with trauma survivors and their partners. Celia blends her expertise in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy (EMDR) with her extensive experience working with the body in trauma. She describes three phases of trauma recovery and how EMDR in particular can change the way …read more »
This episode of Safe Space Radio features therapist, advocate and trauma survivor, Mary Auslander. She discusses the nature of trauma, the ingredients of recovery and what a person can realistically hope for as they heal from trauma. Mary describes giving up her child to adoption after a history of childhood sexual abuse, and the painful …read more »
Therapist Mary Clare talks about the anxiety, depression and suicide of a close friend. Mary Clare describes how difficult it was to stay close to her friend as she became more depressed, and how helpless and angry parts of her felt that her friend would not stay in treatment. She discusses the agonizing decision about …read more »
Patricia Ellen’s son killed himself when he was fourteen. Patricia describes the process of trying to understand what led up to it, and the signs that were and were not there. She describes the bullying incident at school that she believes led her son to suicide. Patricia movingly describes the many years long process of …read more »
Family therapist David Treadway talks about his mother’s suicide, which happened when David was 20.
Psychotherapist Dr. Jeanne Safer about her experience struggling with her own wounds that did not heal in therapy. She discusses the impact this had on her sense of self as a therapist.