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The Everyday Fray Podcast
15 minutes | Aug 8, 2017
Learning How to Smile
In this personal episode, I share with you the story of remembering ‘the summer I was sick,’ as I’ve referred to it; it was the summer that my anxiety peaked when I was 18, and I developed agoraphobia, depression sank in, and my life took a downward turn. It was also the summer that Everclear’s Songs From An American Movie Vol. 1 came out, and on it, the track that has followed me in all of the ups and downs since then, Learning How to Smile. For a long time, when the summer humidity reached its zenith, the days started to get a little shorter, and thunderstorms became daily, that song plays, and I’d wonder if I'd ever fall back that place, and if I did, if I'd ever be able to claw my way back out. Join me on this recollection of my journey, as an August thunderstorm triggered the memory – and yes, the thunderstorm you can hear in the background of the episode is from that day.
49 minutes | Jun 13, 2017
Role Initiative: RPG Therapy
A world of fantastic adventure is only a piece of paper, a pencil, and a few dice away. The tabletop game of Dungeons and Dragons has thrilled youths across North America for decades, and continues to grow and evolve with its players. And now, two passionate game masters in Seattle are breaking through the barriers of mental health with the mighty pen and paper. Adam Davis and Adam Johns created the Wheelhouse Workshop, a setting for their therapeutic game sessions, focusing on helping teens become “more confident, creative, and socially capable.” Through a world filled with goblins, magic, mystery, and, yes, dungeons with dragons, the duo are able to use a combination of their training in psychology, education, and drama therapy to develop and practice skills needed by their patients (to whom they refer as ‘players’). This wonderful program that combines two of my own passions is showing real results for kids who may be burned out on therapy, or continue to struggle with social anxiety, ADHD, or other challenges. To discuss the development of the program, the game play and mechanics of therapeutic RPGs, and why a screen-free fantasy world is giving kids real-world success, Adam and Adam joined the Everyday Fray.
51 minutes | Jun 6, 2017
Can cuddling your pooch prevent depression? Will playing with your cat resolve anxiety? Can swimming with the dolphins really relieve stress and improve your quality of life? The answer is: I don’t have a clue. And despite sensationalized headlines, it seems that the scientific community isn’t too sure, either. Animal assisted therapy is a trending subject, but what it actually looks like – and whether or not there’s any scientific evidence to support it – isn’t as simple as the media would have us believe. From studies with notable methodological flaws to our preconceived biases influencing our personal or anecdotal experiences, sorting out the role animals can play in our treatment is a little more complex than it would appear. One scientist examining the available evidence is Dr. Hal Herzog, a professor emeritus of psychology at Western Carolina University, popular writer of the Animals and Us blog at PsychologyToday.com, and author of Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat. Reviewing studies, challenging notions about animal assisted therapy, and putting me in my place for my misconceptions about the pharmaceutical industry is what Dr. Herzog enjoys – and that’s what he did during an in-depth interview with The Everyday Fray Podcast.
41 minutes | May 30, 2017
Balance to Combat Burnout
Feeling burned out is pretty common. Having a few days at the office that lasted a little too long, maybe not sleeping that great, and all of a sudden, you’ve got nothing left in the tank. After a day or two off, you feel well rested and ready to get back into it. Unless you don’t. Experiencing burnout, or compassion fatigue, isn’t something that can always be resolved that easily, and it can very much consume you. For me in the world of animal advocacy, it’s a topic we discuss frequently, and, particularly in wildlife rehabilitation or pet rescue, good people are lost to burn out regularly. I know for people in high stress industries like healthcare, police or military, or education, burning out is also a risk. But anyone can experience the symptoms of burnout. And anyone can combat that burnout with balance in their life. I was thrilled to be able to include Kate Howie – my wife – in this podcast. Burnout and compassion fatigue are topics Kate and I discuss regularly, and she’s given seminars on the subject that were a big help to a lot of people. That, plus her background in the field of healthcare, specifically mental health and addiction, made her the ideal interview on this subject. To discuss how to identify burnout, what tools we can use to combat it, and how we can ask for help without fear, Kate joined The Everyday Fray. Please note that this interview and content at EverydayFrayPodcast.com cannot replace the advice of a medical professional. If you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts or have concerns about your safety, please contact a local helpline, doctor, or emergency room immediately.
64 minutes | May 23, 2017
The Widow's Journal
Grief is not something I have experienced too much of in my life, but it’s not something I, or anyone else, can really avoid. Certainly, the dread of how I’ll feel, what I’ll do, and how the world will look after the loss of a loved one have haunted me at four am. Fortunately, I haven’t had to manage through such a loss yet. But every day, as we go on about our lives, there is someone grieving the loss of a loved one. One tragic story was that of Dr. Carrie Packwood Freeman. I’ve known Carrie for a few years through our mutual interest and careers in communicating about animals – she’s a professor at Georgia State University, and her work on how the media sometimes fails to fairly represent animals profoundly changed my views when I worked as a journalist. In a recent email exchange, I learned of Carrie’s story: she was widowed at 29, when her husband died of cancer. Following her own ups and downs with grief, Carrie took what she learned and combined it with her love of journaling, and created The Widow’s Journal: Questions to guide you through grief and life planning after the loss of a partner. This beautiful book differs from many of the self-help books Carrie read in that it doesn’t tell the reader what to do, or what to expect, but encourages introspection, bereavement, and looking to the future through probing questions and journaling. To share her at times heart-breaking, at times inspiring journey, Carrie joined The Everyday Fray Podcast for an honest, in-depth conversation about grief, journaling, and life after loss.
44 minutes | May 16, 2017
Power of Pod: Life After Bullying
The podcast community is something special, and if you’ve not hosted, it’s a bit hard to explain. But from the simple #trypod and #podernfamily hashtags on Twitter, to the Facebook pages and subreddits, there’s always someone willing to help. A good example is the lovely voice you hear at the beginning of each episode of this podcast – that’s Cynthia, the wife of Christopher Gonlund from the Not About Lumberjacks, Men in Gorilla Suits, and Hell Comes with Paneled Doors podcasts. Without really knowing me beyond my occasional posts in a Facebook group and my work on the Defender Radio podcast, Christopher and Cynthia immediately and, with great skill, offered to help me get that intro together when I posted online looking for assistance. That kind of community isn’t always easy to find, and it’s one for which I’m grateful. And podcasts can be a place of healing, too. Take, for instance, The Grass Gets Greener podcast. Host Melissa Wilson survived bullying in middle school. Her path to healing took many years – and along the way, she decided to blog, and then podcast about the experience. With the podcast, Melissa has found both self-healing, and the opportunity to help others heal through interviews with survivors of various traumas, and with more than 100 episodes in the vault, it’s an inspiring tale of awareness, acceptance, and finding out that the grass really can get greener. Melissa joined The Everyday Fray to share her journey, how The Grass Gets Greener podcast has helped her move forward and heal, and what it’s meant to host and hear the stories of so many other survivors.
25 minutes | May 9, 2017
Introducing The Everyday Fray
Mental health is something I’m connected to personally – I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (with a healthy smidge of social anxiety) when I was about 18. Mental health and addiction issues also run throughout my family. I’ll touch more on that in a moment. There are already some wonderful podcasts out there about mental health, many of which focus on specific issues or have unique styles. I am not an expert in mental health, have no training in the field, and this show isn’t meant to cure or heal anyone, or replace the guidance of a physician, treatment, or a therapeutic environment. This is an opportunity for me to be somewhat selfish, in fact, and look into issues related to mental health that I find interesting, in the hopes that maybe I’ll learn a little bit, discover new tools, and be an enjoyable, cathartic experience for me. I can only hope that it will be beneficial to you, too, as I explore this vast subject through interviews. My plan is to have a new episode every week, published to EverydayFray.Libsyn.com and pushed out to multiple platforms from there. I have also created social media channels: Everyday Fray Podcast on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. If you want a more direct connection, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to getting feedback, hearing your stories, and exploring new ideas for interviews with you. This show will be interview-based, but before I start airing those interviews, I want to share my story, and maybe give you insight into why this project is important to me.
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