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: 2020
Dec 16, 2020

In this episode, Karly Randolph Pitman and I explore the parts of ourselves that tend to overeat in response to stress through the metaphor of “Food as Mother” and how this perspective can help us understand why we overeat and move towards changing this behavior.


Karly is the founder and facilitator at www.growinghumankindness. She helps highly sensitive people who struggle with shame, sugar, and perfectionism and who want to heal painful habits of self blame, self criticism, and over consuming.  


Growing human(kind)ness arose from two things:  Karly’s own experience with 20 years of multiple eating disorders, chronic depression, shame, and anxiety; and from bearing witness to others’ stories of challenge, growth and rebirth. 


Karly lives in Austin, Texas with her husband Patrick and her family of two dogs, a very frisky cat, lots of dust bunnies, and beautiful oak trees.


Topics discussed in this episode: 

  • How food has become a refuge during the Covid-19 pandemic (3:58)
  • Food and the Mother archetype (4:56)
    • Food is safe, nourishing & comforting (5:16)
  • Food as Mother as a metaphor for our relationship with food
  • The significance of core needs
  • Overeating as soul preservation  (9:17)
    • Listening & connecting to the side of ourselves that is seeking solace in food (9:44)
    • Moving away from thinking of overeating as the enemy (9:56)
    • Tending and befriending rather than fighting (10:06)
    • How this approach helped Karly move away from shame regarding her eating disorder (10:22)
    • The shift in our approach to a challenging aspect of ourselves shifts our relationship to that aspect of ourself and plays a huge part in changing the behavior (11:45)
  • Our coping mechanisms for stress, overwhelm & trauma can be messy (12:29)
    • Stand in contrast to the Western culture of controlling your own destiny (13:08)
    • Can cause you to dislike your response to stress (13:31)
      • Examples: 
        • Eating when you are stressed (13:31)
        • Binge watching Netflix (13:36)
  • Understanding the base human need for connection (14:15)
  • Dr. Anita Johnston’s book “Eating by the Light of the Moon” (15:07)
    • How the kinds of food we are eating reflect the kind of nourishment we are seeking 
  • Recognizing the wisdom of the body’s desires for a particular food (16:42)
    • How sugar or comfort foods can make you feel heard, understood & acknowledged (17:03)
  • The risk that of not being heard or understood when you ask someone for support (17:47)
    • How the act of eating is used to fill the need for empathy (18:20) 
    • How the food reflects back what we are feeling and needing (18:45)
    • How food does not carry the same risk as someone dismissing or minimizing your feelings (19:09)
    • Yet food does not meet the need for connection (20:03)
    • Food becomes a safe substitute for meeting your needs (20:36)
  • How to transition from using food for connection to finding safe connections within ourselves and others (21:27)
    • Very different from breaking a habit (21:46)
    • Focus moves away from changing a behavior to nurturing safety within your being and others (22:12)
    • Deepening connections within yourself and the wider world (22:36)
    • Food becomes one of many ways for connection rather than the primary way (22:50)
  • Becoming consciously aware of the part of yourself that is overeating and your internal critic (24:11)
    • How Karly’s focus on self-compassion brings you into a loving and nourishing relationship with that part of yourself (24:47)
  • How connecting to the Mother archetype helped Karly (25:04)
    • Ideas for connecting with the Mother archetype
      • Gardening, caring for pets, relationships with loved ones (25:43)
  • Seeing your needs as sacred (26:16)
    • Befriending your neediness and healing your relationship with food are intimately connected (26:38)
    • Acknowledging our needs can be shaming (26:56)
    • When we have shame regarding our needs, there is no way to acknowledge them directly (27:21)
    • We can use food to fill the deficit, but we continue to feel unnourished, deprived and unprotected (27:21)
    • Having a different relationship with our needs often changes our relationship to receiving (27:55)
    • Being a place of receiving can be very vulnerable if we’ve been shamed for our needs in the past (28:11)
    • The risks in asking for help (29:43)
  • Karly & Lourdes’ work with Highly Sensitive Persons (HSPs) (30:41)
    • HSPs are more attuned to their needs and feelings (30:51)
    • Can create shame in a culture that isn’t attuned to feeling or emotion (31:06)
    • For HSPs, food can become a way of receiving mothering (31:30)
    • Asking for your needs to be met can be risky, but it’s the way forward to receive the help and support that feeds and nourishes us (32:00)
    • Suggestion for personal practice: Asking yourself and your loved ones, “What do you need?” (32:57)
      • Can make the person responding to the question feel very vulnerable (34:03)
      • Allow the person responding time to process before answering (34:29)
  • Some beginning steps to help someone working with overeating (36:44)
    • Consider overeating as a prayer in disguise (37:07)
      • It’s a part of yourself asking for help (37:19)
      • Pause and ask yourself: What are you feeling? What are you needing? (37:48)
    • Karly offers a free tool: The Binge Rescue worksheet (38:16)




Karly Randolph Pitman’s website: 

Karly’s courses: 

The Binge Rescue worksheet: 

Dr. Anita Johnston’s website: 

Dr. Johnson’s previous episodes:

Episode 59: Cracking the Hunger Code Through Storytelling and Metaphor with Anita Johnston, Ph.D.

Dec 9, 2020

In this episode, therapist and pychotherapist Maya Benattar and I talk about her intriguing work in music therapy.  Maya is in private practice in New York City and online in the State of New York. (01:24) She specializes in helping women who are ready to work through trauma, “stuckness,” and long-held anxiety.  In addition to her clinical work, she offers online and in-person “Reclaim Your Rhythm” workshops for helpers and healers and is a frequent presenter and speaker at conferences and trainings.


Maya received her Bachelors in Music Therapy from SUNY New Paltz and her Masters in Music Therapy from New York University.  (01:54) She completed post-graduate training in vocal psychotherapy with Dr. Diane Austin, in creative arts and trauma treatment at the Kint Institute, and Music & Imagery with Dr. Lisa Summer at Institute for Music & Consciousness. (2:12) Maya believes that women deserve to be loud, messy, sensitive, angry, shy, and so much more.  (2:23)


Topics discussed in this episode:

  • How Maya found music therapy as her calling (3:05)
  • What is music therapy? (4:24)
    • A working definition of music therapy (5:09)
  • Maya’s approach to music therapy (6:48)
    • An overview of the theoretical approaches to music therapy (7:15)
    • Maya’s psychodynamic model of generational influence on how people show up in the moment (7:43)
    • The impact of trauma and influence of untold stories (7:43)
  • Hypothetical approach to working with a woman with anxiety (8:14)
    • Approach is individualized
    • Maya’s tagline “Reclaim Your Rhythm” (8:39)
    • Often women with anxiety or trauma have become disconnected from their core rhythms (8:49)
    • Gentle mindfulness and body based sematic work (9:11)
    • Creating music in the moment to reflect or deepen a certain feeling or idea (9:24)
    • Using musical instruments and art supplies to facilitate sessions (10:14)
    • Adjusting to online sessions during the Covid-19 pandemic (11:13)
    • Exploring the relationship between lack of control and anxiety through music (11:29)
    • The differences between talk and music therapy (12:42)
    • The struggle with the unknown for women (14:24)
      • The gifts & challenges of rediscovering play as an adult (15:29)
    • Musical improvisation as the work of therapy (16:34)
    • Music as an access point to different aspects of ourselves (17:39)
      • Benefits of using tactile objects during in-person sessions (19:00)
      • Ways to make the abstract real (19:56)
    • Reclaiming Your Rhythm as a big process as well as gentle tending (21:00)
    • How musical therapy surprises and inspires (22:16)
      • Discovering and returning to the big wins for clients (24:23)
      • Unexpected benefits of telehealth (24:42)
    • Music Listening in Music Therapy (25:05)
      • Most accessible way to explore musical therapy on your own (25:25)
      • What works for one person does not work for another (25:25)
      • Challenges of working with preconceived notions & assumptions (27:19)
      • Anxiety and the need to feel grounded and a release (28:25)
      • What works for a client on a particular day and in a particular moment may change (29:20)
      • Develop playlists rather than leaning on a particular song (29:36)
      • Practice listening to the music and paying attention to what it evokes (30:10)
      • Creating space to explore and recognizing what you need or want (30:10)




Maya’s website:

Dr. Diane Austin’s website:

The Kint Institute’s website:

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:  

Jul 20, 2020

 “As long as the factors that led your child to create distance remain in place, he or she will not be able to settle into an easy, relaxed, loving, and close relationship with you.”

“What you do in response to estrangement very much matters and can make the difference between a prolonged estrangement and a healed one.”

When children grow into adults, the nature of the parent-child relationship changes as well.

On this episode, I talk with Tina Gilbertson, psychotherapist and author of Reconnecting with your Estranged Child. Her book is a quality, comprehensive resource and guide for parents who are ready and wanting to heal this rift that’s come between themselves and their adult child. Throughout our conversation, Tina offers profound compassion for parents and children with this type of strained relationship, along with tips on how to heal. She explains why it’s essential to allow your child space to grow, why they may have felt the estrangement was necessary, and how parents can reflect on the reasons why this estrangement occurred.


About Tina Gilbertson:

Located in Denver, CO, Tina works as a psychotherapist, speaker, and author of the book Reconnecting with your Estranged Child. She specializes in estrangement counseling, particularly for parents rejected by adult children. In 2019, Tina co-founded the Reconnection Club, where she offers education, community, and support to help estranged parents repair their estranged relationships with their adult children.


Some Questions I Ask:

  • How were you drawn to this work? (2:43)
  • What does it mean to be estranged from your adult child? (6:38)
  • How does estrangement happen? (13:40)
  • Could you talk about the significance of unmet shared needs between an estranged parent and child? (22:21)
  • What are the do’s and don’ts for a parent with a child who has asserted a no-contact relationship? (34:58)
  • How can an estranged parent approach a child that’s been alienated from them at a young age? (40:50)


In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • What motivated Tina to write her book (2:10)
  • How parents still have power and influence within their relationships with their children. (5:58)
  • The various types of estrangement. (6:41)
  • What factors contribute to the estranged relationships between parents and children. (13:47)
  • How estrangement functions as an act of self-preservation. (20:31)
  • How finding self-compassion enables acceptance of others. (26:03)
  • Why contact is not the solution to estrangement. (27:36)
  • How parents can sit with and move through feelings of abandonment, panic, and desperation after a child goes no-contact. (35:14)


Connect with Tina Gilbertson:


Reconnecting with your Estranged Adult Child by Tina Gilbertson

Reconnection Club Website

The Reconnection Club Podcast

Jul 6, 2020

"I value color as a way to communicate and as a way to share ideas and be able to feel movement of emotion and energy in your body."


One of the biggest hurdles of being a parent is helping our kids fall asleep at night.


As parents, it’s necessary to find the right tools to help kids learn to relax, process, and be with their big feelings – and many parents are still learning these skills as well.


On this episode, I talk with Susanne Benton, who has this seemingly magical ability to help kids relax and fall asleep. She creates bedtime meditations for kids on Insight Timer, and seamlessly weaves in magic, beauty, and wonder into the stories she tells. Susanne shares her behind-the-scenes process for writing these meditations for kids, how she comes up with the right stories, and why she emphasizes the importance of imagination and color.


About Susanne Benton:

Susanne is a mother, step-mother, and grandmother with a degree in Child and Family Studies from the University of Wisconsin Madison. She opened her own daycare called Magical Child Family Daycare, where her goal became to create an environment in which children felt welcomed, challenged, and supported in their unique growth. Susanne also developed a thriving practice as a massage therapist over the last 12 years.


Four years ago, Susanne combined her bodywork, mindfulness, and relaxation skills with her experiences with children and families, and with that began writing bedtime stories and recording bedtime meditations. She loves sharing resources for both parents and kids that make falling asleep easier each night.


Some Questions I Ask:

  • What drew you to begin creating the bedtime meditations for children? (8:47)
  • Can you share about why you emphasize colors in your meditations? (19:44)
  • How do you come up with the meditations? (25:51)
  • How do the elements within the meditations become tools for kids? (27:49)
  • What do you love most about creating meditations? (33:13)


In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • Why developing skills to balance intense, accelerated learning with relaxation is so beneficial for children. (5:56)
  • How Susanne incorporates imagination and colors into her meditations. (10:38)
  • How parents can supply their children with soothing and skills to manage trauma and fear. (16:06)
  • What kids like about their custom meditations. (25:03)
  • How to make bedtime a smoother process. (35:09)


Connect with Susanne Benton:

Insight Timer




Jun 22, 2020

How do you see and interact with the world around you?  


While some people go through life without paying attention to every little detail, highly sensitive persons pick up on just about everything – and every bit of information is deeply processed within.  


On this episode, I talk with trauma-informed psychotherapist Carmen Schmidt Benedetti  about highly sensitive persons (HSPs) who have had the experience of complex trauma, particularly complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. We break down the myths and misconceptions around the intersection of high sensitivity and PTSD; how it manifests in people’s lives; and how people can learn to treat their high sensitivity as a gift.  


About Carmen Schmidt Benedetti 

Located in Sonoma County, California, Carmen Schmidt Benedetti is a trauma-informed psychotherapist for highly sensitive adults. She helps them heal layers of unrecognized childhood trauma and create a sense of calm, balance, and stability in their life. She is also a certified EMDR therapist and guides adults in reframing their past from an empowered perspective, helping them realize they are good enough and that their needs and feelings matter.  


Some Questions I Ask:  

  • How did you end up working in the intersection of highly sensitive individuals and complex trauma? (3:07) 
  • What are some of the myths about high sensitivity? (10:58) 
  • What’s complex trauma? (14:14) 
  • Why is complex PTSD so significant for highly sensitive individuals? (23:15) 
  • How can highly sensitive individuals who have experienced trauma move forward towards healing? (32:03) 


In This Episode, You Will Learn:  

  • What it means to be highly sensitive. (7:12) 
  • How complex trauma is different from other types of trauma. (14:47) 
  • How complex trauma shows up in individuals. (19:32) 
  • How complex trauma affects emotional regulation. (26:17) 
  • Why it’s important for highly sensitive persons to seek a therapist who is informed on this trait. (34:00) 



Carmen Schmidt Benedetti’s Website 

The Trauma Treatment Toolbox by Jennifer Sweetens 

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel an der Kolk 

HS Person Website 

Jun 8, 2020

“It’s part of our culture that we’re supposed to respect our parents, and I understand that that’s important. But sometimes that relationship does not work.”

As a child, did you absorb the belief that you’re not good enough. or that you don’t have the right to be your own person? 


This is a telltale sign of having a narcissistic parent and the root issue behind  other thought negative processes; issues around self-perception; and even one’s own parenting styles.


In this episode, I talk with clinical psychologist Dr. Stephanie Kriesberg, PsyD, who has personal experience in growing up with a narcissistic parent as well as a passion for helping others move forward from similar experiences.  In this conversation, Dr. Kriesberg discusses what it’s like to have a narcissistic mother, and some of the dynamics inherent in this experience. She also dives into how to cope; and some of the misperceptions around having a narcissistic mother.


About Dr. Stephanie Kriesberg:

Located in New England, Dr. Stephanie Kriesberg is a clinical psychologist who helps parents, children, teens, and adults with narcissistic parents lead healthier, happier lives. She treats children, teens, and adults with anxiety disorders – including social anxiety, panic disorder and phobias. She has over 20 years of experience with extensive training in the treatment of anxiety disorders and in the use of clinical hypnosis.


Some Questions I Ask:

  • How did you get drawn to your work? (3:15)
  • What does it mean for someone to be described as narcissistic? (5:11)
  • How can you determine if your parent is narcissistic? (12:17)
  • How does one cope with a narcissistic parent? (27:04)
  • Does a narcissistic parent care if they ever see their children? (34:31)
  • What do I need to look for in myself to break the cycle of narcissistic parenting? (39:40)


In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • What it means to have a healthy personality. (5:43)
  • What gaslighting from a narcissistic parent looks like. (17:39)
  • The pattern of inconsistent behaviors in public and behind closed doors. (21:14)
  • Tools to help you find your voice. (30:05)
  • How someone can protect themselves before, during, and after spending time with a narcissistic parent. (36:02)
  • How narcissistic parents experience no-contact from children. (41:42)


Connect with Dr. Stephanie Kriesberg:





Will I Ever Be Good Enough? By Dr. Karyl McBride

Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur

Books by Dani Shapiro

May 25, 2020

“You are the author of your own life, and you are in charge of crafting the story.”


When was the last time you gave yourself permission to explore your power?  


Power isn’t just money, status, or a title – it’s within you. In a world that so highly values climbing the corporate ladder to have power over others, it’s easy to forget the innate power within.  


In this episode, I talk with author Marisa Goudy, who recently published her first book The Sovereignty Knot: A Woman’s Way to Freedom, Power, Love, and Magic. Marisa shares her journey to Ireland 20 years ago, where she discovered the myth and magic of the Sovereignty Goddess, which lays the foundation for her book. Throughout our conversation, we analyze the relationship between the Princess, Queen, and Wise Woman, and why each archetype is significant throughout life. We also discuss the taboo topic of death, reproductive expectations for women, and so much more.  


Take a listen to learn more about how you can become an authority in your own life.  


About Marisa Goudy: 


Marisa Goudy is the author of The Sovereignty Knot: A Woman’s Way to Freedom, Power, Love and Magic. She is also an author, writing coach, and energy healer who teaches women how to uncover, embody and tell their own sovereign stories. Marisa combines her passion for Celtic mythology, Goddess spirituality, and Irish folklore with her feminist vision of creating an equitable world that is more beautiful, bearable, and bold. Marisa inspires sovereignty seekers and creative entrepreneurs to embrace their personal, creative, and spiritual sovereignty.  


Marisa is also the founder of The Sovereignty Writer’s Circle and creator of the Seven Magic Words Project. She also offers writing, coaching, and Tarot as Intuitive Healing sessions to individuals. She teaches therapists, coaches, creative entrepreneurs, and other transformation professionals how to use storytelling to build their world-renewing businesses.  


Some Questions I Ask:  

  • Why did you choose your title? (6:45) 
  • What is the relationship between the Princess, Queen, and Wise Woman? (14:10) 
  • What is a sovereignty map and why is it important? (32:58) 
  • Do you have any favorite parts of your book? (37:26) 
  • What is the best way for listeners to learn more about your work? (42:00) 


In This Episode, You Will Learn:  

  • How Marisa Goudy redefines sovereignty. (6:16) 
  • What it means to be an authority in your own life. (12:34) 
  • How the concept of the Sovereignty Goddess creates space to be a real, messy woman. (23:53) 
  • How Marisa tackles the concept of death in her book. (29:26) 
  • Why Marisa chose to share her personal story about having an abortion in her book, and why that was the right thing for her to do. (37:28) 



Marisa’s Facebook 

Marisa’s LinkedIn 

Marisa’s Instagram 

The Sovereignty Knot Readers’ Community