The Place We Find Ourselves podcast features private practice therapist Adam Young (LCSW, MDiv) and interview guests as they discuss all things related to story, trauma, attachment, and interpersonal neurobiology. Listen in as Adam unpacks how trauma and abuse impact the heart and mind, as well as how to navigate the path toward healing, wholeness, and restoration. Interview episodes give you a sacred glimpse into the real-life stories of guests who have engaged their own experiences of trauma and abuse. Drawing from the work of neuroscientists such as Allan Schore, Dan Siegel, and Bessel van der Kolk, as well as Christian thought leaders Dan Allender and John Eldredge, this podcast will equip and inspire you to engage your own stories of harm in deep, transformative ways.
40 Love and War: Attachment and Intimate Relationships
Today’s episode focuses on how attachment styles play out in close relationships. I am joined by Rachel Blackston, who is a therapist in Orlando, Florida. Rachel begins today’s conversation by reading an essay about love and war in her marriage. It’s a beautiful and vulnerable piece that gives you a window into how insecure attachment plays out in a real-life marriage. I’m deeply grateful to Rachel for her willingness to dive head first into this very difficult and important arena.
I am joined today by Scott Gibson who is a therapist in the Chicago area. Scott graciously shares a story about himself as an 11 year old boy. It’s a story about desire, about devastation, and especially about attachment. If you resonate with Scott’s words today, you might want to go back and listen to Episode 14 in which Scott talks more about his own story, particularly with regard to engaging the harm of sexual abuse.
For most of my Christian life, I didn’t know it was possible to hear from God. I was taught that God stopped talking after the Bible. I simply didn’t know that God talked to his children on a regular basis. And so I didn’t take time to listen. In 2015 this all changed for me. I began to learn how to hear from God. Today’s episode is about the process of learning how to hear from God.
37 Covert Sexual Abuse: When Subtlety Equates to Severity
If your parents did not have a healthy marriage—a deep emotional connection—then it is likely that either you or your sibling has experienced some measure of subtle sexual abuse. Subtle sexual abuse wreaks havoc in your heart… but because of its subtlety, you can live your whole life without knowing what’s plaguing you. Today we talk about what subtle sexual abuse is and how it can affect you.
36 How A Story From Kindergarten Can Change Your Brain For Decades
This is really two episodes in one. In the first half we talk about sexual abuse that doesn’t involve physical touch, also known as subtle sexual abuse or covert sexual abuse. In the second half, Sandy graciously reads a story from when she was in kindergarten. And as we reflect on Sandy’s story, we see how a single story can affect your brain for decades. As Sandy puts it, “I don’t think I was ever the same after that day.”
35 Narcissism: What It Is and Why It's So Toxic with Chuck DeGroat
How do you know if you’re in a relationship with a narcissist? What might that relationship feel like? In today’s episode, I talk with Chuck DeGroat about the dynamics of narcissism. Chuck is a seminary professor and a therapist who has a book coming out about what happens “when narcissism comes to church.”
Many times clients have said to me, “What is the ultimate purpose of counseling anyway?” Their question is excellent because it grows out of their sense that healing alone is not enough. Deep down, we all intuitively know that we are made for more than healing and even made for more than freedom. There is an ultimate goal. There is a reason for digging into your story. It may be bigger than you think.
33 What It Means to Engage Your Story with Curiosity with Blaine Hogan
I met Blaine Hogan at a Recovery Week a decade ago. Blaine is an artist, creative director, and filmmaker. Our conversation covers sexual abuse, sexual addiction, and the importance of being curious when it comes to engaging your stories. Blaine reads a story from his childhood… and then shares what happened as he realized that he had left out the most important part of the story. You can read more about Blaine at blainehogan.com.
32 How Life Can Come From Death with Christy Bauman
In today’s episode, Christy Bauman and I talk candidly about the reality of wounds in this life. What does it mean to enter the wounded places in one another’s hearts? And can genuine goodness really come from places of death? You can read more about Christy at www.christyvidrinebauman.com.
Enneagram expert Beth McCord and I conclude our exploration of “How does your enneagram type influence the way you respond to trauma/abuse/harm?" Today’s episode looks at Types 2 through 7. Type Two - 0:30
Type Three - 5:30
Type Four - 12:40
Type Five - 16:00
Type Six - 21:00
Type Seven - 25:50
Enneagram expert Beth McCord and I begin to explore the question of “How might your Enneagram type influence the way you experience abuse or harm? And how might your Enneagram type influence the way you respond to abuse or harm?” Our conversation begins with a discussion about the intersection of trauma and the Enneagram, and then concludes by looking specifically at Types Eight, Nine, and One.
Type Eight - 19:30
Type Nine - 27:45
Type One - 32:00
What is our calling with regard to forgiving those who have harmed us? If forgiveness doesn’t require forgetting, what does it require? And how do I know if I’ve forgiven someone for harming me? These are some of the questions we explore in today's episode. The Bible’s treatment of the subject of forgiveness is far more nuanced and complex than many people acknowledge.
What does it mean to forgive? Today, Robyn and I talk about what forgiveness is NOT. In particular, we discuss the very problematic notion of “forgive and forget.” Does forgiveness really entail “forgetting the offense and never talking about it again”?
27 God Made Our Brain To Need Others with KJ Ramsey
In today’s episode I talk with KJ Ramsey about how her suffering has forced her to rely on other people for help. There are times when our suffering puts us on the floor—either literally or metaphorically. Today, KJ talks about the rather remarkable surprises that often take place when someone joins us on the floor.
Often the place we find ourselves is a place of desert, of wilderness, of valley. Indeed these are places of death. And they are real and they are part of the process of healing. But they are not the last word. Today we look at what happens when you linger in death. The thesis is that if we are faithful to enter death—to dip down to the bottom of Cathy Loerzel’s U-diagram—then resurrection and healing can begin to exist.
Last week we talked about Cathy Loerzel’s U-diagram and about the importance of engaging particular scenes of heartache and harm in order for healing to begin to take place for you. Today we continue our discussion of what the process of healing requires and what it looks like. If you linger in death, if you dip down into the bottom of the U-diagram, you will enter sorrow and grief… and grief is met by the comfort of God which brings a newness to your heart, and a restoration of vitality and joy.
In this week’s episode, we begin a three part series on the subject of healing. What is necessary for healing to begin to occur? There is no way to experience healing apart from taking an honest look at those stories from your growing up years that hold intense feelings for you—shame, powerlessness, terror, sexual arousal, ambivalence, a sense of betrayal, etc. Healing requires that you allow your heart, mind, and body to ponder and engage what it was like for you in your family of origin.
23 How to Engage a Parent Who Has Harmed You with Autumn
Autumn reads a story that is a beautiful illustration of what it can look like to engage a parent who has done harm. This story is from a very recent time in Autumn’s life when she found herself caring for her sick mother. For all of its redemptive beauty, there is nothing tidy about this story—you’ll hear about Autumn’s dysregulation and indeed her murderous rage at her mother… but you’ll also hear about Autumn’s fierce commitment to offering her mother the very thing that Autumn never receiv
22 Why the Practice of Awareness Heals Your Brain with Terry Bohn
In the near future, I am going to address how healing happens in the brain. But there is a prerequisite to healing, there is something that you have to be growing in if you are going to experience healing. And that something is awareness. Awareness means choosing to pay attention to what is happening in your mind and body. Today we’re going to talk about why awareness is so critical for healing, what it actually means, and how to do it. Terry Bohn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
21 From Shattered to Whole: Reclaiming Innocence, Beauty, and Hope with Laurie
Laurie tells us how and why she began to engage her story at a deeper level. She then shares a story from when she was 12 years old. It’s a story in which her sense of innocence, beauty, and hope were shattered in an instant. We talk about how she responded to the assault against her heart and body, and how she has come to reclaim much of what was stolen.
20 Affect Regulation: Why It's Critical For Everyday Life
“Affect” refers to your moment by moment experience of your internal bodily sensations. Think of affect on a scale of 1-10, where 1 represents completely numb and shut down and 10 represents panic, rage, or terror. On this scale, 5-6 represents a slight feeling of relaxed excitement—you are alert, present, and attentive. When you become dysregulated, your body’s greatest need is to return to a regulated state in that 5-6 zone. Affect regulation lies at the core of feeling like you can control your i
19 The Path To Healing: Why It's So Important To Find Kindness For The Younger You
Jason reflects on why he began engaging his story and what that process looked like for him. Jason began addressing his story as part of a story group... but (surprising twist) his father just happened to be a participant in that group! In today’s episode Jason talks about why his growing up years had such a big influence on his adult life, and what the path toward healing and wholeness has looked like.
Hope is flat out agonizing. Hope requires that you groan inwardly while, at the same time, waiting expectantly. The alternatives to hope are a deadening of desire and a growing cynicism about what you can really expect from life in this world. Indeed, most hope is squashed by the simple phrase, “I’m just being realistic.” But our war with hope inevitably leads to God: will God respond to the cries of my heart?
17 What It Looks Like To Actually Grieve Your Wounds
In my second conversation with Andrew Bauman, we engage the whole question of “What does it mean to actually grieve?” If you enjoy my conversation with Andrew, you may want to either pickup a copy of his forthcoming book called Stumbling Toward Wholeness or spend 37 minutes watching his beautiful film A Brave Lament which is also available on Amazon. We talk about both the book and the film today.
16 Why Lament (Surprisingly) Leads to Life and Freedom
If you take your story and your wounds seriously, then sooner or later you will find yourself disoriented by tragedy and heartache. The invitation at this point is to lament. It takes more faith and trust to take our sorrow to God than it does to push down what we are actually feeling. And the surprising result of lament is a renewed sense of freedom and even joy.
15 Choosing Kindness: Engaging Stories of Shame with Andrew Bauman
One of the consequences of trauma is that we tend to do great harm to ourselves—and particularly to our bodies—after the trauma. Today, Andrew talks about the reality of self-contempt and the damage it does to our hearts. We discuss the necessity of honoring our stories with kindness and care, and the importance of engaging our bodies in the process of healing. We also talk about pornography in the context of our stories.
14 How to Overcome the Shame of Sexual Abuse with Scott
In today’s episode, I talk to a fellow therapist named Scott. Scott leads groups for men who have a history of sexual abuse. Today, Scott talks about part of what it looked like for him to engage his own story of sexual abuse. In particular, we reflect on the importance of listening to our bodies in the battle to overcome the shame inherent in all sexual abuse. We end by talking about the necessity of coming to bless our bodies rather than curse them.
In today’s show we take a deeper look at how our hearts have been wounded and what the path to healing looks like. Guided by Isaiah 61, we see how our wounding is linked to the particular ways that we find ourselves enslaved. I conclude by reflecting on what is involved in walking the path of healing. The bottom line is that you don’t have to wait until heaven for the healing of your wounds.
12 Why Trauma Makes It Hard to Trust Your Gut with Janet
One of the byproducts of trauma is that you lose a sense of being able to trust your body. You begin to distrust your gut knowledge of what is true because the people around you question your reality. In today’s episode, Janet explains how this has played out in her life, past and present.
11 Implicit Memory: The Thing That's Running Your Life
When it comes to how and why you react to things the way you do, nothing is more important than implicit memory. Do you ever feel intense emotion that you know is “more than the situation calls for”? Perhaps you think of these experiences as “over-reactions.” These intense emotional reactions are not over-reactions at all. They are directly proportional to how your brain interprets your experience through the grid of your implicit memory.
Gary explains what brought him to begin engaging his story. Through counseling with Brent Curtis, Gary came to realize that there were several characters in his life story who had a profound influence on his heart and life. Gary tells a story that happened when he was 10 years old, and he explains how he made a commitment at the end of that story which would enslave him for years.
Sometimes, “the place we find ourselves” is a place of anger at God. Many Christians feel ashamed if they find themselves angry at God. But if you engage the heartache and pain of your story, there will inevitably be times where you are angry at God. Have you ever just poured out your anger, before editing your words? The Bible, in multiple places and especially the book of Job, invites us to do exactly this because when we finally express our unedited anger fully to God, he is able to address our heart
In today’s episode, I have a very honest and vulnerable conversation with Robyn about sexual abuse. We talk candidly about how our bodies respond with arousal even when there is profound violation occurring. Robyn tells the story of confronting her family about the abuse and not being believed. She then shares how her posture toward the 13 year old girl has changed over the years and what prompted that change.
7 How Your Attachment Style Affects The Way You Relate To Other People
If you want to understand your relationships, you need to understand your attachment style. In this episode, I explain the three types of insecure attachment and discuss how you can identify your own attachment style.
Born to a family longing for a boy, the war against her femininity began early. Tracy learned that attention with her father could be won by performing well in sports, dressing in boys’ clothings, and wearing her hair short. Listen as Tracy discusses this story in the context of her life as a professional golfer, how she’s learned to look at her younger self with kindness, and how God playfully invited her into redemption with an unexpected challenge to wear dresses for the entire month of December.
5 Attachment: What It Is and Why It Matters So Much
The way you attached to your primary caregiver shaped your brain more than anything else. Attachment refers to the emotional bond that you develop with the people you are closest to—the people who are there for you and who truly know you. We are biologically driven to attach to others in order to survive. When we perceive threat or danger, we are hard-wired to maintain proximity to someone who will be there for us, and who truly knows us.
Gary began engaging his story in a deep way when he was in his 50’s. In this episode, Gary shares a story of being humiliated by his elementary school teacher with his Mom standing right next to him. It is a story of mockery, but far more a story of being unprotected by his mother. Gary discusses his journey of finding kindness, and even awe, for himself as a boy.
Mandy is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Naperville, Illinois, where she specializes in trauma and abuse. Mandy talks about how and why she began to engage her story. And then she reads aloud a story from her own life… a story about being bullied in elementary school—a story that had a major impact on how she began to see herself and relate to those around her.
2 Why Your Family of Origin Impacts Your Life More Than Anything Else
Your story started with your relationship with your parents. Every child needs 6 things from his or her parents. In this episode, I discuss these “Big Six” needs. I also explain two kinds of relational styles that result from being either dismissed by your parents or being asked to be a parent rather than a child.
1 Why Engaging Your Story Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Brain
You have a story. That story matters. The only way to experience significant shifts in your heart is by engaging your story. Your life experiences shape the very structure of your brain, and therefore profoundly influence how you are presently living your life. Your earliest relationship with your primary caretakers has had the most shaping power on your brain.