Exploring Trauma and the 12 Steps

Exploring Trauma and the 12 Steps

An interview with Dr. Jamie Marich, on her revised book: Trauma and the 12 Steps, exploring how 12 Step programs can be trauma-informed. Curt and Katie talk with Dr. Marich about how to interweave a trauma-focus into substance abuse self-help and treatment centers.

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 Jamie Marich, Ph.D., LPCC-S, LICDC-CS, REAT, RYT-500, RMT

Dr. Jamie Marich describes herself as a facilitator of transformative experiences. A clinical trauma specialist, expressive artist, writer, yogini, performer, short filmmaker, Reiki master, and recovery advocate, she unites all of these elements in her mission to inspire healing in others. She began her career as a humanitarian aid worker in Bosnia-Hercegovina from 2000-2003, primarily teaching English and music while freelancing with other projects. Jamie travels internationally teaching on topics related to trauma, EMDR therapy, expressive arts, mindfulness, and yoga, while maintaining a private practice in her home base of Warren, OH. Marich is the founder of the Institute for Creative Mindfulness and the developer of the Dancing Mindfulness practice to expressive arts therapy. She is also the co-creator of the Yoga Unchained approach to trauma-informed yoga, and the developer of Yoga for Clinicians. Marich is the author of EMDR Made Simple: 4 Approaches for Using EMDR with Every Client (2011), Trauma and the Twelve Steps: A Complete Guide for Recovery Enhancement (2012), Creative Mindfulness (2013), Trauma Made Simple: Competencies in Assessment, Treatment, and Working with Survivors, and Dancing Mindfulness: A Creative Path to Healing and Transformation (2015). Marich co-authored EMDR Therapy & Mindfulness for Trauma-Focused Care along with colleague Dr. Stephen Dansiger, which was released with Springer Publishing in 2017. Her newest title, Process Not Perfection: Expressive Arts Solutions for Trauma Recovery, released in April 2019.  North Atlantic Books is publishing a second and expanded edition of Trauma and the 12 Steps, due for release in the Summer of 2020. Marich’s writing and work on Dancing Mindfulness was featured in the New York Times in 2017.  In 2015, she had the privilege of delivering a TEDx talk on trauma. NALGAP: The Association of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Addiction Professionals and Their Allies awarded Jamie with their esteemed President’s Award in 2015 for her work as an LGBT advocate. The EMDR International Association (EMDRIA) granted Jamie the 2019 Advocacy in EMDR Award for her using her public platform in media and in the addiction field to advance awareness about EMDR therapy and to reduce stigma around mental health.

In this episode we talk about:

  • Jamie Marich’s return to the podcast
  • The Revised and Expanded Trauma and the 12 Steps
  • The large variation in the programs for substance abuse treatment in whether they are able to include a trauma-informed lens
  • What it looks like to actually interweave the trauma-informed structure to substance abuse tx
  • The power and impact of one alcoholic talking to another
  • The importance of connection, community and relationships
  • The changing face of recovery (including starting with 2 white men and becoming more diverse and inclusive)
  • Attraction rather than promotion
  • Validating strife and struggle then challenging it
  • The bridge between trauma mental health treatment and recovery
  • The fear about trauma work within the addiction community
  • The lack of regard for the negative impact of substance abuse/dependence on the trauma mental health side.
  • How to balance out validation and compassion with a call to action that includes challenge, and accountability
  • The importance of daily lifestyle change
  • What works in the 12 Steps: connection, daily life style changes, tools to keep you accountable
  • Addressing problematic language in the Steps
  • Exploring how to unpack why language is triggering and what is problematic and what is informative for clinical work
  • Looking at religion, “God,” “Higher Power,” and how beliefs are handled in AA, looking at how to support people with spiritual abuse
  • Addressing inclusivity in 12 Step programs

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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!

Dr. Jamie Marich’s Trauma and the 12 Steps, Revised and Expanded: An Inclusive Guide to Enhancing Recovery

Dr. Jamie Marich’s Website

Trauma Made Simple

Dr. Jamie Marich on YouTube

AA Agnostica

Relevant Episode:

Dissociation in Therapy – Interview with Dr. Jamie Marich

Connect with us!

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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, the CFO of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University, a former Subject Matter Expert for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, 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 Past 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.

Stay in Touch:



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

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

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