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The Place We Find Ourselves
46 minutes | May 12, 2021
89 Spiritual Abuse
This is a bonus episode on spiritual abuse. Rachael Clinton Chen provides an overview of the marks of spiritual abuse. She will be teaching a conference on spiritual abuse on Saturday, June 5. You can sign up here.
51 minutes | May 10, 2021
88 When Trust Is Violated
Friend and fellow therapist Cyndi Mesmer comes back on the podcast to share one of her stories. It’s a story of the exploitation of innocence and the violation of trust. We talk about Cyndi’s trauma response, how she has experienced healing, and how her posture toward the girl in the story has changed as she has continued to engage her story. To find out more about Cyndi’s counseling practice, visit artoflivingcounseling.com.
42 minutes | May 5, 2021
87 How To Engage Your Story In A Way That Brings Healing (Bonus Episode)
Cathy Loerzel joins me to talk about how to engage your family of origin story in a way that brings healing to your brain. We examine three byproducts of trauma (fragmentation, dissociation, and isolation), the importance of naming the intentionality of those who harmed you, the role you played in your family, and the U Diagram of healing. Cathy and I will be co-teaching the Engaging Your Story Conference on Saturday, June 12. You can register here.
32 minutes | Apr 26, 2021
86 How Attachment Affects Your Relationship With God
Today’s episode begins with an explanation of attachment: what it is and why it’s so important. After recapping The Still Face Experiment, I talk about the two primary types of insecure attachment: avoidant attachment and ambivalent attachment. I then outline how your attachment style may affect your relationship with God. In other words, how might someone with an avoidant attachment style experience their relationship with God? And what about someone with an ambivalent attachment style?
42 minutes | Apr 12, 2021
85 When Abuse Binds Your Heart To Another
Abuse often involves intensity. Whether it’s sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse—the nature of abuse is that there is an intensity between the two people involved. When a parent abuses a child, the intensity at play serves to bind their hearts together. Today, Victoria shares a trauma story that illustrates how her heart was bound to her abuser… and how she has come to be released and find new levels of freedom. Victoria also talks about how she has come to bless her longing—as a child and as an adult—for her father’s gaze… even though the price of that gaze was abuse.
22 minutes | Mar 29, 2021
84 Parenting: How Your Story Is Affecting Your Relationship With Your Children Part 2
Here’s the bottom line with parenting: the past isn’t dead; it’s not even past. Your past experiences in life are profoundly influencing how you interact with, and parent, your children. Every parent knows what it’s like to lose it with their children. But what’s actually happening neurobiologically? What do you do when you realize that you’ve harmed your children? To financially support the podcast, please click here.
35 minutes | Mar 24, 2021
83 Understanding Your Sexual Story (Bonus Episode)
I am joined today by Jay Stringer to talk about the relationship between our current sexual difficulties and our attachment histories. At some point in our lives, each of us will encounter difficulties in our sexual life. It might be the compulsive use of unwanted sexual behavior or a struggle to locate any sexual desire at all. Sexual struggles are rooted in our stories—and more particularly, our stories of attachment to our primary caretakers. If you want to explore this material in more depth, please sign up for the Sexual Attachment Conference on Saturday, April 24. You can sign up here.
26 minutes | Mar 15, 2021
82 Parenting: How Your Story Is Affecting Your Relationship With Your Children Part 1
Here’s the bottom line with parenting: the past isn’t dead; it’s not even past. Your past experiences in life are profoundly influencing how you interact with, and parent, your children. Every parent knows what it’s like to lose it with their children. But what’s actually happening neurobiologically? What do you do when you realize that you’ve harmed your children?
39 minutes | Mar 1, 2021
81 How To Get Your Life Back with John Eldredge
Last year John Eldredge wrote an important book called Get Your Life Back. In today’s episode, John and I talk about my favorite parts of his book. In short, we talk about simple everyday practices that will help you get your life back. Why is this important? Because the pace of modern American life—even in the midst of Covid—often borders on madness. It doesn’t feel like madness for many of us because we’ve lived life at this pace for so long. The pace feels normal. But the human heart was not designed to operate at 5,000 rpm’s all the time; it wasn’t designed to carry the weight that most of us carry.
25 minutes | Dec 21, 2020
80 Relational Conflict: Fight, Flight, Freeze, or Shut Down Part 2
This is Part 2 of a discussion about what happens to your nervous system in the midst of relational conflict. When your body scans your relational environment and detects anything that feels remotely threatening, it triggers your nervous system to do one of three things: socially engage (i.e. talk to the other person), go into a fight/flight/freeze reaction (i.e. yell at the other person, run away from them, or just freeze up in a state of paralysis), or shut down (collapse into a state of hopeless despair). In today’s episode, I explain why your body might opt to shut down. I also outline the difference between the freeze response and the shut down response. To financially support the podcast, please click here.
25 minutes | Dec 7, 2020
79 Relational Conflict: Fight, Flight, Freeze, or Shut Down Part 1
Your nervous system is constantly surveying your environment (think: relationships) to determine how safe and supported you feel. When your body scans the environment and detects anything that feels remotely threatening, it triggers your nervous system to do one of three things: socially engage (i.e. talk to the other person), go into a fight/flight/freeze reaction (i.e. yell at the other person, run away from them, or just freeze up in a state of paralysis), or shut down (collapse into a state of hopeless despair). In today’s episode, I explain how your nervous system determines which response to choose… and why this matters for your interpersonal relationships. To financially support the podcast, please click here.
41 minutes | Nov 23, 2020
78 When Parents Open The Door For Sibling Abuse
My friend Bethany shares one of her stories about sibling abuse. And, as is the case with virtually all sibling abuse, there is so much more at play than an older sibling harming a younger sibling. Harm from siblings never happens in a vacuum. An environment is created in the home by the parents that allows for and, in some cases, even invites, sibling abuse. Bethany graciously helps us understand how these dynamics played out in her home.
43 minutes | Nov 9, 2020
77 The Episode In Which I Share One Of My Stories
Today I share one of my stories. My guest is Rachael Clinton Chen, but she’s actually the host of the episode. As Rachael interviews me, I talk about how I began to engage my story, as well as what obstacles I have faced along the way. Then I read one of my stories and Rachael engages me about it. To financially support the podcast, please click here or here.
26 minutes | Oct 26, 2020
76 Uncovering Intentionality: Did My Parents Really Mean To Harm Me? Part 2
This is Part 2 of my conversation with Cyndi Mesmer. As you begin to name the ways your parents harmed you, it is very common to think, “Okay, I’ll acknowledge that my Dad harmed me, but I don’t think he really meant to do it. I don’t think my Dad was trying to be cruel, he was just pretty oblivious and clueless.” Cyndi invites you to reconsider this stance. What would it cost you to believe that your father hurt you on purpose? What would it cost you to believe that your mother said and did those things on purpose?
29 minutes | Oct 12, 2020
75 Uncovering Intentionality: Did My Parents Really Mean To Harm Me? Part 1
Cyndi Mesmer and I tackle the question of, “Did the people who harmed me really mean to do it?” Answering this question is more important than you may realize. If you are unsure about the answer to this question—or if you are convinced that your parents didn’t mean to hurt you—it will be very difficult for you to access grief and anger about your wounds, both of which are necessary for healing. Check out Cyndi's blog post on Intentionality and Self-Deception.
26 minutes | Sep 28, 2020
74 The Bible, Racial Injustice, and Individual Responsibility
Today I want to look at the Bible’s take on how Christians are called to respond when racial injustice is occurring in our land. I am not going to devote any time to making a case that America is an unjust society. If you believe that America is just and fair, I beg you to pick up any of the books on anti-Racism written by a person of color and find out if people of color experience America as just and fair. This episode is primarily for White Christians who have a sense inside of “I acknowledge that racial injustice exists in America, but since I am not personally committing acts of injustice, I am therefore not personally responsible for the injustice that is occurring.”
35 minutes | Sep 14, 2020
73 Racial Trauma and My Story With Racism
Today I talk about racial trauma, and, in particular, the racial trauma that African Americans experience. One central tenet of all story work is that in order for healing to occur there has to be an honest naming of what has been true. This is true in your individual story and it is no less true in our collective story as a nation.
25 minutes | Aug 31, 2020
72 Judging Others: Is It Okay To Judge Those Who Have Harmed Me?
One of the things that prevents people from engaging the ways they have been harmed is the simple objection, “Who am I to judge my parents?” The premise of the objection is simply, “It’s wrong for me to judge my parents. That’s God’s job, not my job.” In today’s episode, I take a look at what the Bible says about judging other people.
34 minutes | Aug 17, 2020
71 What If I Don't Remember Much Of My Childhood?
Many people look back on their growing up years and simply don’t remember very much. In today’s episode I offer some suggestions on what to do when you are having a difficult time remembering your stories. If you want a summary of today’s episode, you can go to adamyoungcounseling.com and get a free resource called “What If I Don’t Remember Much Of My Childhood?” This document also outlines several written exercises you can do to help you remember your stories.
37 minutes | Aug 3, 2020
70 What's Actually Happening When You Interact With Someone?
What is actually happening when two people interact—whether that’s two spouses, a therapist and a client, or two friends? What is actually happening in the brains of the two people who are interacting? Primarily, nonverbal messages are being communicated from one person’s right brain to the other person’s right brain. This has profound implications for why interpersonal interactions can be so fraught.
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