Are You Even Trauma-Informed?

Episode 224: Are You Even Trauma-Informed?

An interview with Laura Reagan, LCSW-C, on trauma-informed care, including what it looks like in practice. Curt and Katie talk with Laura about the barriers clients face when trying to find a good trauma therapist and how trauma therapists can advertise in a trauma-informed way. We also explore how COVID is impacting trauma treatment and tips for providing virtual trauma therapy.

It’s time to reimagine therapy and what it means to be a therapist. To support you as a whole person and a therapist, your hosts, Curt Widhalm and Katie Vernoy talk about how to approach the role of therapist in the modern age.

Interview with Laura Reagan LCSW-C,

Laura Reagan, LCSW-C is an integrative trauma therapist, clinical supervisor, consultant and coach. Since 2015 she has hosted Therapy Chat Podcast, where she interviews therapists, authors, researchers and other experts about psychotherapy, trauma, attachment, creativity, mindfulness, relationships and self compassion. In 2021 she launched a new podcast entitled Trauma Chat for anyone who is curious about what trauma is, how it shows up in our lives and how to find the right kind of help for your specific experience. She is the founder of Trauma Therapist Network, a website providing information and resources on trauma and a membership community for therapists. Learn more at http://www.traumatherapistnetwork.com.

In this episode we talk about:

  • Who Laura Reagan is and what she puts out in the world.
  • What therapists get wrong with trauma-informed care in regard to advertising.
  • How trauma therapists can be trauma-informed in their advertising.
  • Factors that make it difficult for clients to find a good trauma therapist.
  • What is trauma and what is trauma therapy?
  • How COVID is playing a role in trauma treatment.
  • Tips on how to provide effective virtual trauma therapy.
  • What therapists can do to support clients that do not have an ideal virtual environment.
  • If therapists should obtain more trauma training due to the impact of COVID.
  • Considerations therapists can make when deciding to specialize in trauma.

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Resources mentioned:

We’ve pulled together resources mentioned in this episode and put together some handy-dandy links. Please note that some of the links below may be affiliate links, so if you purchase after clicking below, we may get a little bit of cash in our pockets. We thank you in advance!

Trauma Therapist Network

Therapy Chat Podcast

Trauma Chat Podcast

Relevant Episodes:

Managing Vicarious Trauma

What the Grief Just Happened?

Trauma Informed Workplace

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Who we are:

Curt Widhalm is in private practice in the Los Angeles area. He is the cofounder of the Therapy Reimagined conference, an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University and CSUN, a former Subject Matter Expert for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, former CFO of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, and a loving husband and father. He is 1/2 great person, 1/2 provocateur, and 1/2 geek, in that order. He dabbles in the dark art of making “dad jokes” and usually has a half-empty cup of coffee somewhere nearby. Learn more at: http://www.curtwidhalm.com

Katie Vernoy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, coach, and consultant supporting leaders, visionaries, executives, and helping professionals to create sustainable careers. Katie, with Curt, has developed workshops and a conference, Therapy Reimagined, to support therapists navigating through the modern challenges of this profession. Katie is also a former President of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. In her spare time, Katie is secretly siphoning off Curt’s youthful energy, so that she can take over the world. Learn more at: http://www.katievernoy.com

A Quick Note:

Our opinions are our own. We are only speaking for ourselves – except when we speak for each other, or over each other. We’re working on it.

Our guests are also only speaking for themselves and have their own opinions. We aren’t trying to take their voice, and no one speaks for us either. Mostly because they don’t want to, but hey.

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Credits:

Voice Over by DW McCann https://www.facebook.com/McCannDW/

Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano http://www.crystalmangano.com/

Transcript (Autogenerated)

Curt Widhalm  00:00

This episode is sponsored by SimplePractice.

Katie Vernoy  00:02

Running a private practice is rewarding, but it can also be demanding SimplePractice changes that this practice management solution helps you focus on what’s most important your clients by simplifying the business side of private practice like billing, scheduling, and even marketing.

Curt Widhalm  00:18

Stick around for a special offer at the end of this episode.

Katie Vernoy  00:23

This podcast is also sponsored by RevKey

Curt Widhalm  00:26

RevKey is a Google Ads digital ads management and consulting firm that works primarily with therapists. Digital advertising is all they do, and they know their stuff. When you work with RevKey, they help the right patients find you ensuring a higher return on your investment in digital advertising. RevKey offers flexible month to month plans and never locks customers into long term contracts.

Katie Vernoy  00:49

Listen at the end of the episode for more information on RevKey.

Announcer  00:53

You’re listening to the Modern Therapist Survival Guide where therapists live, breathe and practice as human beings to support you as a whole person and a therapist. Here are your hosts, Curt Widhalm and Katie Vernoy.

Curt Widhalm  01:09

Welcome back Modern Therapists. This is the Modern Therapist Survival Guide. I’m Curt Widhalm with Katie Vernoy. And this is the podcast about all things therapists for therapists. And we are once again joined by one of our therapy reimagined 2021 speakers. And returning to the podcast for the first time in like three plus years is Laura Reagan LCSW. And we are so excited to have you back. And once again talking about a lot of ways that we can improve and working with clients with trauma. So thank you for spending some time with us today.

Laura Reagan  01:45

Thanks so much for having me back. I’m really excited to be here.

Katie Vernoy  01:49

Yay. We’re so excited to have you back. And we always ask our folks who are you? And what are you putting out into the world? And we’ll share your other episode in our show notes. But you’re putting something new out into the world. So for our new listeners, who are you and for our long standing listeners, what are you putting out into the world now?

Laura Reagan  02:08

Well, one of the things I put out into the world is that I’m a trauma therapist in the Baltimore area. And I work with clients directly and run a group practice. But also, I have two podcasts now, therapy chat, which has been out for six years. And then my new show is called trauma chat. That’s really for the general public to learn about trauma and connected with both of those, after years and years of being asked by so many listeners for how they can find a trauma therapist, I created a new resource that’s called trauma therapist network that includes information and resources about trauma. And it has a trauma therapists directory, which is the part that to me is the most exciting because it feels like something that’s been needed for such a long time

Curt Widhalm  02:55

When it comes to trauma informed care that this is not just the things that we say and do when clients have come in, we’ve had a couple of sessions with them that a lot of this starts from people’s first Google search of us that really being informed comes with the ways that we even advertise ourselves. In your experience of working in the trauma community and with trauma therapists. What are you seeing that some therapists might not be doing right, that might not be the most trauma informed as far as even like their advertising goes?

Laura Reagan  03:35

Well, that’s a great question. I mean, one of the things is, if anybody pulls up a listing on Psychology Today, for example, everybody knows that is a pretty big therapists directory, you might, you know, you might find Suzy Smith, LPC and, you know, Eugene Oregon, who, there’s 50 checkmarks, filled in on Susie’s profile that say, you know, beginning with A, it’s like, ADHD, anxiety, you know, depression, that everything and then when you get to P, it says, or T trauma slash PTSD. So, if someone is looking for a trauma therapist, and they find that, you know, and they also see that Susie specializes in Bipolar Disorder, you know, every mental health diagnosis under the sun, it’s for the potential client who’s looking they’re like, so what lets me know, this person knows about trauma, like it seems like they do at all it’s like a general kind of thing. And, you know, trauma is so specific, even though it’s super common in mental health treatment seeking populations. You know, it’s a very common experience for people. It’s not the same as just, I know how to help you with anxiety. People who are looking for a trauma therapist are overwhelmed, because trauma makes you feel overwhelmed. And it, you know, it’s hard to focus, there’s a lot of ways that it can really impact you. So once you realize that you need a trauma therapist, and you go looking for one, and then you’ve, you know, Susie and 25, other people come up on that page on Psychology Today. And they all have all the same things marked. It’s really hard for clients to discern how to know if this is going to be the right person to help them with the specific thing that they need help with. Because even in the umbrella term of trauma, there’s so many specific types of trauma that are not all. treated the same way even though you may use some of the same methods, it’s, you know, you need some specific understanding of how those particular issues affect people.

Katie Vernoy  05:52

What would you recommend that trauma therapists, true trauma therapists do to make it clear that they are trauma therapists? The type of traumas they work with? Like, what what do you think would be helpful? And I think kind of nodding to Curt’s question, what would be trauma informed in them setting up a profile or a website? Or those types of things? What are the things that would be helpful there?

Laura Reagan  06:16

I think some of the things that are really important are, you want to come across as non judgmental, not just say, I’m non judgmental, but you want it to feel like that when people look, and people want to feel that you’re going to understand them. They want to feel a warmth from you. But also like, not too jargony not too wordy. You know, like, concise, speak to

Curt Widhalm  06:43

Don’t, don’t throw out the 9 million acronyms of letters that all of us therapists are so keen on collecting.

Laura Reagan  06:51

Right? limited to six or less different acronyms after your name. Maybe two, if you have to. But um, no, just like, you know, they want to, they want to know, like, do you know how to do EMDR? What population Do you specialize with? You know, Curt you and I talked to my podcasts recently, and you work with teens. And you can use EMDR with a broad range of presenting issues, but let them know what you’re good at what you’re really experienced with so that they can see, okay, I have combat trauma, and this person has specialization in people who lived through their house burning down. You know, it’s not the same. I mean, there’s similarities, there’s a lot of overlap in all trauma work. But there’s, there’s also, you know, there’s a difference between someone who was physically abused in childhood, someone who was emotionally neglected, someone who was sexually abused in childhood, someone who was raped in college, you know, they’re all the different, someone who lost a parent when they were 15, someone who lost a parent when they were five, you know, different, even different developmental stages of traumatic experiences can impact us differently. And, you know, was it an ongoing traumatic experience, like being in an abusive relationship as an adult? Or was it a, you know, trauma from being assaulted at a bar fight, it’s different. So people who work with trauma, do know those differences, but they may not always convey that in what they’re presenting out to clients who are looking for them.

Curt Widhalm  08:36

So you’re speaking to, you know, this from kind of the therapist side of things as far as things that we do that confused clients? Are there other things that we might not be touching on yet that makes it really hard for clients to find a good trauma therapist?

Laura Reagan  08:56

Well, yeah, what comes to mind immediately is that people don’t recognize that they have trauma, which is one of the reasons why I made trauma chat, podcast and the website, because experiences that are common, like feeling like nobody paid attention to you when you were growing up. That’s not uncommon in our culture, in the US, but you know, if you feel worthless, and you don’t love yourself, you hate yourself. And it’s related to that. You think you hate yourself, because you should be hating yourself because you’re awful, but really, it’s because of what what happened when you were younger. So I think a big piece is and one of the things that I’m really trying to do both with therapy chat trauma chat, while all three the website are to help people begin to recognize that if you feel this way and this happened in your life, it’s highly likely that the reason you feel that way is because you’re impacted by trauma or and when I say trauma, and this isn’t what everyone does, but for me when I say trauma, I’m really lumping attachment wounds from childhood into that as well, because those are, you know, part of what makes part of what makes healing from trauma so difficult. After you go through a traumatic situation, if people help you, they believe you, they care, they take it seriously and they, you know, they attend to what you need, you’re going to not be as likely to have long term impact like PTSD, as you would if you you go through something and it’s minimized, your parents are telling you not to just, you know, get over it not talk about how you feel. And I’m like keep saying like childhood trauma, because that’s what’s so prevalent. We know from the adverse childhood experiences study, it’s more than 60% of adults in the US. But, you know, it’s pretty much thought to be carries over around the world have childhood trauma. So if, if people don’t take you seriously, they don’t believe you, they minimize invalidate, and they’re not attuned to how you’re feeling, following those traumatic experiences, you’re much more likely to develop PTSD, or complex PTSD symptoms. So the attachment piece is an important part of healing from trauma.

Katie Vernoy  11:25

So I’m hearing you say that therapists need to be specific and talk about the types of traumas they work with. But there’s also this other piece of being able to really educate or explain what could be trauma, you know, these attachment wounds or those types of things so that clients can identify themselves and and know, they’re getting a trauma therapist that has particular training, as well as they can identify that they have trauma, and I see how that could be very, very helpful. I, I guess, and and this is maybe maybe I’m going down a rabbit hole, but I feel like there’s there’s kind of the colloquial, I’m so traumatized this is trauma, everything has become trauma. And then there are the types of things that really require trauma informed or specific trauma treatments. So I guess the question is a two part like, what is trauma? And what is trauma therapy? Because I think, for our we have, like you we have audience that is both therapy, therapy therapists and therapy clients. And so how are you defining trauma and trauma therapy?

Laura Reagan  12:38

That’s a good question, I guess, it depends would be my best answer. But, you know, so if you if you’re someone who, let’s say you have persistent anxiety that you’ve dealt with, say, you’re 35 years old, you’re you’ve always been anxious, and then you become a parent and your anxiety starts to increase, you may not be thinking, I need to go find trauma therapy. So a therapist who’s trauma informed, should be able to identify that it’s highly likely that someone who’s always been anxious is probably anxious because of something related to either unmet attachment needs in childhood or something traumatic that happened, that they may not be identifying that way. And so you know, you would want to know, if they’ve been through anything traumatic. And I think, you know, this is a sidebar, but one of the big mistakes that therapists make is they ask people in the initial intake, do you have any history of trauma? And the person says, “No”, and they go, “Okay, well, you have anxiety, so we’ll just work with the anxiety.” And yeah, you should work with the anxiety, of course, but, you know, longer term trauma therapy is always about, why do you have this anxiety, you weren’t just born with anxiety, or you were, but it’s got to be related to something. Somehow it started, you know, that’s not our natural state. So, of course, feeling anxious is something we all have. And sometimes we’re sad, but I’m not talking about just sometimes being anxious or sometimes being sad, but I’m talking about like, persistent, always anxious, you know, and sometimes it’s panic attacks or whatever. So, a trauma informed therapist could identify that this person probably is impacted by trauma and asked questions about their family of origin or their relationships just to get, you know, a sense of what that’s like and maybe figure out what their attachment style is, and, and work with that even without really saying, we’re going to work with your attachment style, and we’re gonna work on healing your attachments and all that. So, then there’s people who are like, I’ve been to a therapist. I’ve learned coping skills It’s great. But they don’t always work. Some of these things just I can’t seem to change. And that’s when people are more likely to be searching for real. Like, I want trauma therapy. And then they think you know that a lot of people think that means like, I’m going to go to therapy, I’m going to tell my story from beginning to end, you know, I’m going to talk about what happened, and until it doesn’t hurt to talk about it anymore, but that’s not really what most of the time is happening in trauma therapy nowadays.

Laura Reagan  15:32

So it’s more, you know, for me what trauma therapy is, I use a longer term model, I usually work with people for, you know, a minimum of a year, but usually, you know, two to three years or more, because it takes a while to heal the attachment wounds that, you know, through the therapeutic relationship in the work. So, there’s a three phase approach that explained in Judith Harmons, 1992, book, Trauma And Recovery, that, you know, it starts with safety and stabilization, then you move into remembrance and mourning, and then integration of the traumatic experiences into your life. So it’s basically taking someone from being very fragmented at the beginning and in crisis. So it’s emotional safety and physical safety that you’re working with, depending on their situation. And then remembrance and mourning is, you know, all those fragments that have not really been able to be part of who you are, because your capacity to cope during those experiences was overwhelmed. You know, you begin to look at them and say, oh, when, you know, the first day of school when I was so scared, and you know, my mom didn’t even ask me how my day went when I got home. Or, you know, so I just felt like, I couldn’t talk about it. And I just had to deal with it by myself. Now, that might be considered traumatic. I know, people might not really necessarily think of that that way. But yeah, or I went home and no one was there. And then, you know, just like usual, everyone ignored me. And I felt alone. And I just went and played video games until I fell asleep or something like that. That’s when you start to look at those things and say, “How did I really feel about that”, and, you know, begin to work with expanding the person’s window of tolerance, to be able to think about those experiences and feel the emotions that go with them without having to dissociate from them. And then kind of grieving what was lost. And then reintegration is when you kind of are like, bringing it all back to being one whole person with those experiences that yes, they did happen, but they don’t derail you now, you know, they were painful, but you can talk about them, you can feel the feelings, and you can still stay within your window of tolerance. I mean, briefly, that’s what, that’s what trauma therapy is like when you’re doing longer term work. And I think a really important piece is understanding dissociation, which is something that even for people who get training in trauma, a lot of times dissociation is not part of it. And so they don’t learn how to assess and identify when the client is dissociating during the sessions. And so sometimes they’re accidentally re traumatizing the client by, you know, getting into material that the client is seemingly, they’re talking with you about it, but really, they’re not fully here with you at all. And you don’t, you don’t know how to, you don’t know how to like see that when it’s happening and help them get back to being within their window of tolerance. So that’s a really important piece is the dissociation and that’s still just kind of beginning to come to some people’s awareness, despite the fact that, you know, places like ISSTD have been talking about it for, like 30 years.

Curt Widhalm  18:55

I don’t think that this conversation is complete in modern time without bringing up, how are you seeing the role of COVID play out and some of this longer term treatment to?

Laura Reagan  19:05

Yeah, well, for me, I’d be interested to hear if you want to share anything about that. But for me, it’s like, if you’re working with people virtually during COVID, how safe are they where they are, even first of all, like, do they have privacy? And how? How much in survival mode are they right now? You know, being able to assess how well they’re really functioning. Because if they’re doing their session at home, and they do have privacy, it might look like they’re more grounded than they would normally be in the session. But what’s, you know, how supportive is their environment when when the session ends for them to have space to feel what they feel and I’m pretty cautious about I definitely have not been doing as deep work with most of my clients during COVID Because, you know, I know that they have an ongoing trauma that they’re living through now. And for some people, it’s much more that they’re really in crisis and in survival mode. And for other people. They are okay, because they’re really well resourced. But somewhere in the middle, I think there’s somewhat of a complacency about COVID, for many of us at this time, but, you know, if you think about what’s going to activate your threat response system, in response to a trauma, you know, an invisible threat outside that is in all other people, and you don’t know what, who’s the one that’s going to cause you to get the life threatening disease, that’s a pretty severe an invisible threat that you have no control over is pretty much a huge trauma trigger. And, and the long-sustained time of living under that, sort of like living in an abusive home and just being so used to it that you don’t even know you’re in an abusive home.

Katie Vernoy  21:05

It’s interesting, because you talked about the virtual elements, as well as the the kind of the collective trauma of COVID. I know, for myself, I have, I’ve had, it’s gone in phases, where there’s been a lot of safety and resourcing and coping strategies and trying to make sure kind of like, let’s get from day to day, let’s get through this thing. And then there are times when it feels like things can go deeper. But I’ve also been very cautious of going too deep, because I think there isn’t the same resources. You know, social support looked very different for a long time. And still does, I think people are, you know, I’ve also got clients who are setting better boundaries, because there’s this, you know, this way to do it. So I think that, you know, it’s definitely an individual experience. But for me, and I think this continues forward, because we have some therapists who want to stay virtual kind of continuously, like, this is the new thing, I’m gonna be virtual forever. And I think it, I kept wanting a resource that’s like, okay, okay, I know how to set up the setup. I know, ethically and legally what to do with a virtual therapy office. But how do I do good clinical work? And I think on top of that, how do I do really good trauma informed care? via video? And so what do you know about that, Laura? Because Because you’re in this space, and you’re talking to so many people, what are the best practices, especially for trauma survivors, folks, you know, that have had and technically I guess all of society is being traumatized. So this is everyone. But how do we do this? How do we do this? with video?

Laura Reagan  22:45

Yeah, I don’t think I have all the answers by any means. But I think it’s umm, I didn’t think that the presence and energy would be able to be felt, as well through virtual therapy, as it turns out to be, you know, I can still be talking with someone, yesterday I was talking with someone and a couple things, they said, I got chills all over my body. You know, and that’s a typical, like your mirror neurons picking up what the other person is feeling during a session. So that’s normal during an in person session to just be having all kinds of somatic indicators telling you, either your stuff is getting triggered, or giving you information about what’s coming up for the other person. And that’s still happens in virtual sessions for me, but you know, I think it’s the relationship and the presence that you bring, and really knowing your client and being attuned to what’s happening. There’s a lot of drawbacks. I mean, I do practice from a somatic perspective, and I can’t see their whole body. You know, so a lot of times, like, they’re kind of shaken a little bit. I’m like, you know, what’s is your foot going, like, what’s happening? What are you noticing right now? And they might say,” Oh, well, you can’t see. But my foots like shaking really fast”, or things like that, or, you know, there’s a lot of limitations to it. But another thing that sort of a unexpected twist, for my experience of it is, is noticing how some of my clients are so much more comfortable, because they’re at their house, and they’re not in my office space, you know, which I think of as this warm and safe little nest for them, but that’s not necessarily their experience. They’ve they’re coming here, it’s my it’s my warm nest, it’s not their warm nest. So yeah, those are some of the benefits being able to be in their own space and feel comfortable and then being able to take care of themselves and not having to drive because sometimes when you leave a therapy session, you’re a little bit disoriented and then you got to go back out in rush hour traffic. So but I would say you know, all the typical things about, certainly if someone’s in an unhealthy relationship or an unsafe relationship, that therapist should be very attuned to who’s there any signs that, you know, the someone else could be, you know, intruding or crossing boundaries about the client’s privacy, especially teens, you know, kids, parent that’s just sort of standing like right out of the frame where you can’t see them. And the kids like, acting less open, and you’re not sure why but you hear sneeze and you’re like, wait a second. Or you notice I’m looking, you know, it’s like, what’s what’s happening? So? I don’t I don’t have all the answers on that. But it’s definitely a dance.

Curt Widhalm  25:47

What kinds of things have you learned over this last year, as far as supporting clients in their environments where they are facing kind of this constant, like, if I go outside COVID possibility, if they are in their houses, with the very people who have caused all of those emotional traumas from growing up, etc. Anecdotally, what are you finding works for your clients,

Laura Reagan  26:18

As the therapist, you have to be very flexible. And attunement is just so important, you know, knowing your client, and I’ve seen people’s dissociative symptoms worsen when they’re, let’s say, a college student who goes home for the summer, and they’re in their parents house, and that’s where their abuse took place. And, you know, even though no one else is home during the session, they can’t feel grounded and safe there. So, you know, let’s say we were doing phase three work before COVID, we’re probably going to be doing phase one work, you know, safety and stabilization. So, but again, some people can go deeper than you expect. Maybe they can go deeper than they did when they were in your office or my office, because they feel comfortable where they are. So they can let their guard down more I don’t, you know, it’s probably a balance, some people are more constricted, and some people are more expansive, because of the fact that they’re doing the session in their house. But I know for some clients who have some physical disabilities, and a lack of privacy at home, there’s been great difficulty in being able to find virtual sessions to be effective, because there’s many factors that are interfering with being able to just even be comfortable in the session.

Katie Vernoy  27:52

So I think we could dive into virtual therapy forever, because I think there’s going to be so much more therapy done there. But I guess I want to switch gears a little bit and go to the fact that most of society has had at least a small t trauma, if not a big T trauma with a global pandemic. And there is a huge need for therapists to at least be trauma informed, if not to become trauma therapists. So for the new therapists, for the students out there, what is it important for those therapists to know, when deciding to specialize in trauma.

Laura Reagan  28:31

There’s a set of factors that should be present if you want to practice in a trauma informed way. And it has everything to do with how you are with the client, how the space is that you are with the client in so if you’re together in a physical space, you know, everything from the way the lighting is, you know, I mean, there’s a big difference between how comfortable people feel when they walk into a waiting room with indirect lighting and comfortable seating and a fountain going and some spa music versus clinic where it’s institutional looking fluorescent lights. And we can’t always control that. But, you know, everything we can do that makes it feel more calm, and regulating to the nervous system, all the way around, both from the space and the way we interact with people is, is really important. And I mean, like you, I think that everyone’s going to need to be at least trauma informed because of the pandemic. But I also think that everybody really needs to be trauma informed anyway, because of how prevalent trauma is. You don’t have to specialize in trauma. But you should assume that the majority of people that you come into contact with as clients have experienced some kind of trauma like you said, little t trauma or something that’s probably related to why they feel the way they do. And an empathic attuned presence is more important than any training you get in having successful therapeutic relationships with clients who have experienced trauma, be really cognizant about victim blaming and minimizing and like, you’re still upset about that. But that was five years ago, 20 years ago, you know, because that’s what people think already, people who’ve experienced trauma. You know, there’s certain phrases that everyone says, if they’ve been through trauma like, well, what I went through wasn’t that bad. I mean, so many other people have been through so much worse, that’s almost like a script that every single client who has trauma says, or well, I should have known better, or I shouldn’t have done this, or well, it’s pretty much my own fault, because this, those are clues that the person might be having a trauma reaction, so but also the importance of self-care for the therapist, you know, and this isn’t about directly how we work with clients. But it is because if we’re not taking care of ourselves, getting enough rest, sleep, there’s rest, and then there’s sleep, two separate things, movement, oftentimes being in our own therapy, to work through our own issues that we’ve had in our lives, being aware of vicarious trauma, if you do work with people who have experienced trauma, and I think vicarious trauma is worse, when you don’t really understand the impact of trauma on your clients, because you don’t understand why you’re having the reaction you’re having. But vicarious trauma is pretty much an occupational hazard for therapists and therapists who work with trauma. So the way you space out your sessions, the more you make sure that you are, well, obviously, the better you’ll be in your work with clients. And when you aren’t able to do that as much as you need. That’s when we risk doing harm, which we never want to do. Trauma informed, I think if you have a trauma informed approach, working with trauma, clients who have trauma is appropriate. But if you don’t believe in trauma, or you don’t think it’s really you think it’s just nothing special. Nothing different. And it’s tricky, because our schools of our grad schools don’t really teach us about trauma in general. You can really, unintentionally do harm, and it can drive people away from seeking help. It’s, it’s really hard for people who have trauma, to ask for help anyway, because their experiences, nobody cares. No one will understand. It wasn’t that big of a deal. There’s just something wrong with me. And that’s why it seems like such a big deal to me. And those unfortunately, those messages get reinforced through negative experiences in therapy, even when it’s unintentional on the therapist part,

Curt Widhalm  33:10

Where can people find out more about you, and all of the projects that you’ve got going on?

Laura Reagan  33:18

Everything I’m doing now is on my website, traumatherapistsnetwork.com. And I would like to say that Trauma Therapists Network and the directory that it has, it’s not just for people who specialize in trauma, if you use a trauma informed approach, you can definitely sign up. Because, you know, some people might think, Oh, I’m not certified in trauma. So I shouldn’t sign up for this. But it’s really about really letting people know what you know. So there are places to, you know, the checkmarks are like what types of trainings you’ve had? And what specific areas of trauma you do best with? You know, is it domestic violence? Or is it combat trauma? Or is it loss of a parent and childhood? Or is it someone who was in a car crash, or bike accident? It’s all it’s all there and needing help. And all of those presentations are there, people are out there. And if you can let them know what you know, they can link up with the one that’s really the right fit for their specific situation. And that’s, that’s the whole idea of the directory aspect.

Katie Vernoy  34:31

You said that it’s a directory and a network I what are the other things that are included there? I know you have your two podcasts, what else? What else? What’s the whole picture? Okay, yeah.

Laura Reagan  34:41

So of course, it’s it’s developing. I mean, it’s it just went live 10 days ago, but right now it has blog posts that are you know, informational about trauma and there are more being added all the time. The podcasts episodes are there with transcripts for both podcasts. And there are resource lists of specific things. So not everybody who has trauma wants or can get trauma therapy for whatever reason. So hotlines, websites, books, podcasts, and one of the things I really like and want to develop for therapists who participate is for them to be able to share the blog posts that they’ve written podcasts that they’ve been on, not just therapy chatter, trauma chat podcast episodes, but their, you know, think your podcast and other things that people have done YouTube videos, they have courses they’re offering. So it’s a way to really let people find help with trauma, whether it’s just learning about it, or reading about it, you know, and, and pursuing something on their own to taking a course doing some kind of webinar, you know, somatic work in trauma, that isn’t therapy, you know, so. And then for the therapists, again, it’s also going to be, we’re going to gather, so I don’t know when we’ll be able to gather in person, but we’re going to have at least virtual meetings where you know, we can share and support one another. And because, you know, whether you’re a therapist or a client, trauma is very isolating. And so the more we can bring connection, that’s why I’m calling it a network I want I want clients to feel like they’re connecting. And I want therapists to feel like they’re connecting both with clients and other therapists and other people who do this work.

Katie Vernoy  36:41

That sounds amazing.

Curt Widhalm  36:43

And we’ll include links to all of Laura’s stuff and her network in our show notes. You can find those over at MTSGpodcast.com And check out all of the latest updates on the therapy, reimagined conference and all of our speakers and all the cool things that we’re doing for that you can find that out at therapyreimaginedconference.com, and follow us on our social media. And until next time, I’m Curt Widhalm with Katie Vernoy and Laura Reagan.

Katie Vernoy  37:12

Thanks again to our sponsor, SimplePractice.

Curt Widhalm  37:15

SimplePractice is the leading private practice management platform for private practitioners everywhere. More than 100,000 professionals use SimplePractice to power telehealth session schedule appointments, file insurance claims market, their practice, and so much more. All on one HIPAA compliant platform.

Katie Vernoy  37:33

Get your first two months of SimplePractice for the price of one when you sign up for an account today. This exclusive offer is valid for new customers only. Please note that we are a paid affiliate for SimplePractice. So we’ll get a little bit of money in our pocket. If you sign up at this link. Simplepractice.com/therapyreimagined. And that’s where you can learn more.

Curt Widhalm  37:54

This episode is also sponsored by RevKey.

Katie Vernoy  37:58

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Curt Widhalm  38:21

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Katie Vernoy  38:38

You can find more at RevKey.com and make sure to mention that you’re a Modern Therapist Survival Guide listener.

Announcer  38:45

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