Women In-Depth: Conversations about the Inner Lives of Women

Listen in as therapists, coaches, writers, and other experts explore the inner lives of women: their struggles, fears, hopes, & dreams. This podcast is about cultivating a conversation around the uncomfortable, uncertain, and unknown aspects of a woman's experience. Through interviews and stories, Lourdes Viado, PhD, MFT goes beneath the surface and takes a deeper look at relationships, motherhood, self-acceptance, authenticity, aging, healing, suffering, loss, and other areas connected to the emotional and psychological well-being of women. We will be cultivating conversation around the entire experience of being a woman, with all its different aspects.
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Now displaying: November, 2020
Nov 24, 2020

Welcome to episode 2 of a brand new Women In-Depth series hosted by Lourdes Viado and Carmen Schmidt Benedetti.  This series focuses on highly sensitive persons (HSPs) who have experienced complex trauma. 


Lourdes and Carmen hope this discussion will help listeners get more clarity and understanding of the HSP’s experience of and recovery from complex trauma.  As HSPs themselves, Lourdes & Carmen  are passionate about working with individuals with this trait and welcome your ideas and questions as we move forward.


Dr. Lourdes Viado is a psychotherapist for anxious and overwhelmed highly sensitive women in Las Vegas, Nevada.  She is a Myers-Briggs Typology Indicator (MBTI) Certified Practitioner and integrates Jungian psychology, mindfulness, neuroscience, and astrology into her work with clients.  She is also the host of the Women In-Depth Podcast:  Conversations about the Inner Lives of Women, which has been downloaded over 350,000x in 96 countries.


Carmen Schmidt Benedetti is a psychotherapist for highly sensitive womxn in Sonoma County, California. She helps them to heal layers of unrecognized childhood trauma and create calm, balance and stability in their life. As a Certified EMDR therapist, Carmen guides adults in reframing their past from an empowered perspective, coming to believe they are ‘good enough’ and their needs and feelings matter


Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Tips & suggestions for navigating the holidays and staying calm, centered & grounded (1:49)
    • Specific to Highly Sensitive Persons (HSPs) (2:01)
    • Everyone can benefit from ways to calm their nervous system (2:10)
    • Also useful for navigating everyday life (2:21)
  • Clarification and definition of “trigger” or “triggers” (2:25)
    • Use of the word can be upsetting (2:54)
  • Alternate words will be used to interchangeably describing the feeling of being emotionally charged by something that has happened (3:07)
    • Alternatives: reactive, distressed, activated, emotionally charged (3:12)
    • There is a need to prepare or respond in order to cope with whatever is happening to you effectively (3:52)
  • Boundaries as a framework for discussion (4:23)
  • Time: having boundaries around your time
    • When planning your time, be very clear from the start (5:14)
    • Clearly communicate and set expectations (5:29)
    • Setup cue words with partner to signal it’s time to leave (5:53)
    • Asking for time to make a decision (6:24)
    • Building time to transition and decompress into your schedule (7:02)
    • Lighten your schedule during the holiday season (7:35)
  • Boundary setting is a great skill for HSPs to learn (8:09)
    • Will help you feel safe & in control (8:24)
    • Will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed (8:24)
    • Connection between feeling calm and centered and how well you are setting your boundaries (8:43)
  • Your body & your physical space (8:54)
    • How much you allow yourself to take on in terms of your energy level (9:08)
    • Self care is another essential skill for HSPs (9:53)
    • Balancing nurturing and supporting others while honoring your needs (10:57)
    • Being mindful of those around you and their energy and emotions (11:43)
    • HSPs will mirror the energy and emotions of those around them, both positive and negative (11:47)
    • Pay attention to clues that you are beginning to get overwhelmed (12:34)
  • Develop strategies to calm your nervous system when you are overwhelmed (13:18)
    • Unplugging, turning off your screens, going for a walk outside (13:41)
    • Diaphragmatic or belly breathing activates your relaxation system (14:02)
    • Explore techniques which give your senses a break (15:17)
    • Limiting alcohol,caffeine and sugar due to the intense effect they can have on HSPs (15:32)
  • Tips for events and traveling (16:02)
    • Create smaller gatherings (16:03)
    • Choose accommodations, ways of traveling, and locations that limit overstimulation (17:08)
    • Develop a strategy for hugs and handshakes and communicate your preference to friends and family (17:43)
      • Avoid hurt feelings and awkwardness in the moment (17:47)
    • Create your own sacred space or retreat (18:24)
      • A place for you to rejuvenate and restore (18:29)
      • Set boundaries around this space with your loved ones (18:57)
    • Whatever works for you around taking care and protecting you and your family is ok (20:14)
    • Intellectual or communication boundaries (21:16)
      • Being clear and direct about your needs (21:29)
      • Avoid using qualifiers which diminish the clarity of your boundary (22:54)
      • Saying no is acceptable and no explanation is necessary (22:56)
      • Communicating in writing can be easier (23:33)
    • Emotional Boundaries (26:51)
      • Disagreements, differences of opinions & hurt feelings from others can be particularly challenging for HSPs (27:03)
      • HSPs default is to notice and nurture the emotions of others (27:42)
      • Important to focus on your well being and sense of calm (28:14)
      • Balance acknowledging the emotions of others while honoring how you feel (29:10)
    • Boundary setting is uncomfortable (30:37)
      • If you are setting boundaries where they are needed, you will experience pushback (30:53)
      • People and situations who have difficulty with boundaries are the ones who need it the most (31:08)
      • Recognize that stress and discomfort is normal with boundary setting (31:15)
      • Reminder: you are not responsible for others’ feelings or reactions (31:47)
    • Choose and create experiences that help you bring you joy and help you feel calm and grounded (33:32)
    • Being assertive is related to boundary setting (34:02)
      • Being clear about what you want, expressing it, and expressing how you feel (34:08)
    • Do the things that help your body decompress (35:02)
      • Exercise or getting enough sleep (35:08)
      • Hobbies that help you relax: journaling or creating art (35:18)
    • Being present for your moments of joy to give you strength during moments with difficult emotions (35:57)
    • Holidays are particularly challenging for survivors of trauma (36:10)
      • Important to create places and people who can support you (36:23)
        • For example: therapist, a podcast, a good friend or family member (36:44)
        • Schedule an extra session with your therapist or phone call with a friend to help process your emotions (37:07)
      • Energetic Boundaries (37:21)
        • Importance of managing energy and emotions to stay grounded (37:32)
        • HSPs tend to take on a lot of energy from others (37:50)
        • Slowing down during times of increased hustle and bustle like the holiday season (38:31)
        • Recognizing that the holiday season can be associated with negative experiences and the need to manage those emotions (39:03)
        • Staying focused on the present moment and what you can do right now (39:37)
        • Simplifying where you can (40:30)
          • Keep your meals basic and simple to make them easier to manage (40:35)
        • Being gentle and compassionate with yourself and your energetic capacity (41:38)
      • Financial and Material Aspects of Life (43:18)
        • Being intentional about gifting (43:44)
          • How many gifts are you buying? (43:44)
          • Who is on your list? (43:45)
          • What is your budget? (43:47)
        • Establishing expectations around decorations (43:58)
        • Exploring gifts that will create memories (44:41)
        • Recognizing that financial circumstance are very different for many people right now (45:30)
        • Exploring alternatives to spending money (46:10)
      • Carmen and Lourdes are available for online therapy for those seeking extra support in California and Nevada (47:06)
        • For those outside of California & Nevada, Dr. Elaine Aron’s website: The Highly Sensitive Person ( has a list of therapists with experience working with HSPs (47:40)
        • Carmen and Lourdes can also assist with referrals (48:10)
Nov 19, 2020

We’re excited to welcome back Bethany Webster to the podcast since her last visit in November 2016 where we discussed the “Mother Wound”. Her 2014 article “Why it’s Crucial for Women to Heal the Mother Wound” went viral and brought worldwide attention to her body of work in feminism and women’s leadership and personal development. Bethany’s work addresses a crucial gap in women’s psychology and empowerment by comprehensively defining the Mother Wound and how it manifests in women’s lives (1:42).


Bethany has a Master’s degree in psychology and completed training in Life Coaching from Joanna Lindenbaum and Holistic MBA. Prior to coaching, as a graduate student she focused on social psychology research on the intersection of race, class and gender. Post-grad school, she worked in academia in the area of research ethics and also as a writer/editor at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City.


Topics discussed in this episode:


  • Healing the Mother Wound (3:07)
    • Discovering the Inner Mother
    • How the Work is Evolving and Resonating throughout the world
  • Importance of this work during the Covid-19 pandemic (3:20)
    • Impact on those healing from trauma or working on spiritual growth (4:59)
  • Quick recap of the November 2016 episode with Bethany:
    • What is the Mother Wound? (5:39)
    • The connection between the Mother Wound and the patriarchy (5:45)
    • The three levels of the Mother Wound (5:47)
    • The connection between unhealthy motherhood behaviours patterns in adult life and the Mother Wound (5:50)
    • Taboos and stereotypes about the Mother Wound (5:59)
    • Benefits of openly discussing the Mother Wound (6:05)
  • What is the Mother Wound (6:17)
    • How 23 years as a client in depth psychotherapy started Bethany’s journey (6:43)
    • Definition of the Mother Wound (7:13)
    • The Four Levels of the Mother Wound (7:15)
      • The Personal Level - how painful dynamics with our mothers shaped or limited how we see ourselves (7:21)
      • The Cultural Level - how the Mother Wound is a product of living as a woman in a patriarchal society (8:17)
      • The Spiritual Level - how pain between ourselves and our mothers, ranging from mild to traumatic, leads to an existential sense of feeling separate (9:18)
      • The Planetary Level - how the Mother Wound impacts how we treat the planet (10:34)
    • Goals of the work (11:53)
      • Increase awareness of the urgency and primacy of healing the Mother Wound
      • Human attachment is the base of conflicts and problems (12:09)
      • Importance of transforming our culture into a place where all people can thrive (12:52)
    • The depth and breadth of the Mother Wound (13:14)
      • How the Mother Wound shows up in therapy (13:24)
        • Self-criticism, perfectionism, comparison & competition between women
        • Difficulty in showing self-compassion & receiving
        • Acts of self sabotage
      • Books exploring the Mother Wound
        • The work of Clarissa Pinkola Estes which explores when the mother-child dynamic is not working (14:07)
        • Bethany’s upcoming book, “The Inner Mother” (14:33) which is about nurturing and developing that part of yourself
      • Resources discussing the Mother-Child Dynamic (15:32)

  • Healing the Mother Wound as a foundation for creating a new world (16:15)
    • Our defenses around our pain (16:23)
      • Projecting onto others, fearing connecting, pushing people away & sabotaging ourselves
    • When our defenses become barriers to our thriving and potential (17:59)
    • Understanding our Safety Algorithm as a coping mechanism (18:24)
    • Understanding and filling the Mother Gaps (19:14)
      • Definition of the Mother Gaps (19:22)
      • Unconscious coping skills we’ve developed to fill those gaps (19:31)
      • Filling the gap by building internal resilience (19:53)
    • Gifts of Healing the Inner Mother (20:26)
      • Leadership qualities, speaking truth, standing their ground, pursuing their dreams, expanded capacity for pleasure and good things
      • Restructuring the brain (20:46)
        • Comparing the inner child to the amygdala and the inner mother as the prefrontal cortex
        • Building new connections and accessing new choices & possibilities
        • The Mother Wound as a pattern of behavior we developed as children that is no longer serving us as adults and the response to a particular situation is an emotional memory (22:13)
        • Learning to be with challenging emotions as part of Inner Mothering work (22:45)
      • Simple steps to begin healing the Mother Wound (22:55)
        • Connecting with your inner child (23:10)
          • Concerns and fears of connecting with your inner child are normal (25:12)
          • If you are feeling stuck or stumped, give yourself lots of empathy (25:57)
          • Connecting with your inner child as a tool for getting through tough moments (26:19)
        • Journaling exercises (26:30)
          • What did you need as a child that you didn’t get enough of? (26:40)
          • What’s one of my current challenges right now that’s repeating? (26:47)
          • How is my inner child keeping me safe and holding me back? (27:20)
          • Where is your Safety Algorithm? (28:30)
          • What does your Inner Child need to feel safe? What are her biggest fears right now? (28:32)
        • Advanced work for healing the Mother Wound (28:40)
          • Morning ritual with your Inner Child (28:42)
            • Morning greeting to your Inner Child (28:53)
            • Morning affirmations to make your Inner Child feel supported and safe (29:37)
            • Validate and differentiate (29:46)
              • Validate the feelings of the Inner Child
              • Differentiate between the past and the present moments (30:02)
            • Evening ritual with your child, for parents and for those working with their inner children (31:28)
              • What was good about your day?
              • What was a struggle about your day?
              • Reviewing your day (31:52)
              • Affirming you are safe (31:54)
            • Connecting with Bethany (32:50)



Clarissa Pinkola Estes, “Warming the Stone Child” (14:07)




Related Podcasts:

“Why Infant Mental Health Matters” with Selma Bacevac


Bethany Webster



Nov 11, 2020

Welcome to a brand new Women In-Depth series hosted by Lourdes Viado and Carmen Schmidt Benedetti.  This series focuses on highly sensitive persons (HSPs) who have experienced complex trauma.    


In this episode, Lourdes and Carmen hope listeners will gain more clarity and understanding regarding how HSPs experience complex trauma.


Dr. Lourdes Viado is a psychotherapist for anxious and overwhelmed highly sensitive women in Las Vegas, Nevada.  She is a Myers-Briggs Typology Indicator (MBTI) Certified Practitioner and integrates Jungian psychology, mindfulness, neuroscience, and astrology into her work with clients.  She is also the host of the Women In-Depth Podcast:  Conversations about the Inner Lives of Women, which has been downloaded over 350,000x in 96 countries. 


Carmen Schmidt Benedetti is a psychotherapist for highly sensitive womxn in Sonoma County, California. She helps them to heal layers of unrecognized childhood trauma and create calm, balance and stability in their life. As a Certified EMDR therapist, Carmen guides adults in reframing their past from an empowered perspective, coming to believe they are ‘good enough’ and their needs and feelings matter.   


Topics discussed in this episode:  

  • Complex Trauma and Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) (1:34) 
  • Challenges in recognizing Complex Trauma (3:36) 
  • Understanding high sensitivity (4:06) 
  • Challenges and gifts of recognizing complex trauma (4:55) 
  • A sense of validation & relief (5:53) 
  • What is Complex Trauma? (6:59) 
  • On-going experience without a clear end point (7:14) 
  • Physical or emotional abuse or neglect in childhood (7:22) 
  • Experiences within early relationships with caregivers (7:31) 
  • A parent unable to engage or respond emotionally for a variety of reasons (8:39) 
  • child who is “parentified” and feels responsible for taking care of their parent (10:04) 
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study (10:56) 
  • Study conducted between 1995 and 1997 regarding experiences in childhood that result in health issues for the individual (11:15) 
  • Some examples 
  • Physical, verbal & sexual abuse and physical & emotional neglect (11:22) 
  • A parent dealing with substance abuse or an addiction (11:41) 
  • A mother who is a victim of domestic violence (11:45) 
  • A family member in jail (11:53) 
  • A family member with a mental illness (11:53) 
  • The disappearance or absence of a parent through death, divorce, or abandonment (11:58) 
  • Potential consequences of parent not being present 
  • Child taking care of their siblings (12:41) 
  • Dealing with bullying by themselves (12:42) 
  • Child possibly being less safe due to lack of parental supervision (12:55) 
  • Resources 
  • What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (14:32) 
  • PTSD is in the DSM V - the manual therapists use to diagnose (14:54) 
  • Insurance companies require diagnosis based on the DSM V (15:14) 
  • Complex Trauma can be missed or misdiagnosed because it is not in the DSM V (15:43) 
  • PTSD is generally more familiar and recognizable (16:14) 
  • Some overlap between PTSD and Complex Trauma (16:38) 
  • Common Symptoms of PTSD that can show up differently in Complex Trauma (17:03) 
  • Usually caused by one-time events 
  • Feeling raw or on-edge 
  • Emotion response to a particular situation is out of proportion  
  • Avoiding places, people or things that remind them of the trauma 
  • Disconnecting to things or numbing out through substance use or mentally checking out (17:44) 
  • Acute Stress Disorder (ASD): what happens within the first 30 days after a traumatic event (18:20)  
  • PTSD continues this response beyond the first 30 days (18:20) 
  • PTSD layered on undiagnosed acute Complex Trauma is often the catalyst for seeking treatment (19:42) 
  • Vantage sensitivity for HSPs (21:31) 
  • HSPs’ emotional intensity and depth of processing amplifies the trauma experience (22:07) 
  • Presents challenges for the HSP and the parent of an HSP trying to manage these intense emotions (22:24) 
  • HSPs can struggle to regulate their emotions (23:23) 
  • HSPs can experience shame due to their emotional intensity (24:02)  
  • Common misdiagnosis of HSPs (24:30) 
  • Bipolar due to lack of familiarity with HSPs and/or Complex Trauma (24:39) 
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (24:55) 
  • Treatment of the physical symptoms of HSPs (25:25) 
  • Finding a mental health care provider familiar with HSPs and Complex Trauma can best help the HSP work through the overlapping issues (27:15.) 
  • Approximately 40-50% clients in therapy tend to be HSPs (29:30) 
  • Deeply understanding HSPs will help therapists working to support their clients’ healing (30:50) 



Carmen’s website:  


Lourdes’ website: 


Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study website:  


Dr. Jonice Webb’s website on Childhood Emotional Neglect: