The Trauma Therapy Podcast Episode 2: Linda Curran, BCPC ... . Curran... · The Trauma Therapy Podcast

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The Trauma Therapy Podcast Episode 2: Linda Curran, BCPC, LPC, CACD

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The Trauma Therapy Podcast Episode 2: Linda Curran, BCPC, LPC, CACD

GM: All right. Welcome to the Trauma Therapist Podcast. My names Guy Macpherson, and this is a podcast where we interview amazing trauma therapists, individuals who are masters in their field, and really people who are making a difference. If youre a trauma therapist, or if youre a therapist just interested in learning about trauma therapy, this is the place for you. Im so excited to introduce my guest today, Linda Curran, and, Linda, are you ready to do this?

LC: Im here, Guy.

GM: Okay. So Linda Curran is a trauma specialist; shes a veteran clinician, sought-after national trainer, best-selling author on trauma, and a film producer. Linda holds advanced degrees in both Clinical Psychology and Public Health; shes a Board Certified Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Addiction Counselor Diplomat, Certified Co-Occurring Professional Diplomat, Certified Gestalt Therapist, Certified --

LC: Good Lord, thats enough!

GM: Thats enough, okay. [Laughs.] I just want to say that youre author of two books, Trauma Competency: A Clinicians Guide, and also 101 Trauma-Informed Interventions. All right. So Ive shared a little bit about you, Linda, and I just want you to share with our listeners a little bit about yourself, maybe some more personal information so we can just get an idea of who you are.

LC: Well, lets see. I just got a new dog; Im very excited about that; her names

Margaret. I named her after one of the nuns in school because she looks like

shes wearing a habit. I, you said Im an author and a trauma specialist -- the

thing that I am actually most proud of is the website that I put together. And I

didnt let you get to that part, but the website that I put together is very similar to

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The Trauma Therapy Podcast Episode 2: Linda Curran, BCPC, LPC, CACD

what youre doing. It really is bringing together a whole bunch of resources for

people who are doing this work -- you and I both know this work is -- it is as

fulfilling as it is draining at times -- so theres resources for both clients and

clinicians on there, and I would really like people to go there. Its You dont have to buy anything, theres just tons of

resources for people; and thats really one thing I want people to know.

I got into -- I know youre going to ask me why I got into this field but Im going to

tell you -- I didnt choose this field, really. I backed into the field. I tried like hell not

to be in this field, because it meant that I had to go to therapy. So when I went to

therapy because I was in grad school then I discovered that, oh, trauma wasnt

just about Holocaust or veterans, trauma was a really big thing, and it was in my

life, like, all over the place in my life, but the really sad part is -- most people have

what I have, you know. So theres not, probably -- I would say the lucky

percentage of people who have had secure attachments and really have had

[the] kind of life where they build resiliency rather than been overwhelmed; but

when I started looking at trauma and worked in community mental health, it was

like, oh, well the problem is early childhood trauma. Adverse childhood

experiences in childhood is what everybody has in common, that needs to be in

therapy, or--or seems to end up in community mental health.

GM: Okay, great. Yeah, we are definitely going to dive into the website, which is phenomenal. I was--been looking over that for the past couple of weeks. So to get off on the right foot here, we start off with a quote. Something that -- a quote, or a mantra thats inspired you throughout your life; it could be something thats impacted you professionally or personally. What do you have?

LC: Well, I have two of them. The one I have, its -- I actually put it in the book 101

Trauma-Informed Interventions because -- I dont know who wrote it; and I would

like somebody to step up and say they wrote it. It is -- it was probably the most

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The Trauma Therapy Podcast Episode 2: Linda Curran, BCPC, LPC, CACD

touching thing I ever read. I read it in somebodys office, and it was anonymous,

nobody had taken credit for the quote. But here it is; its long:

They are survivors. If you dont have respect for their strength, you cant be of any help. Its a privilege that they let you in --

It makes me cry, by the way, so maybe I should let you read it.

GM: No, go ahead.

LC: [Sighs.] Okay.

Its a privilege that they let you in; theres no reason they should trust you. None. You cant know their terror; its your worst nightmare come true, a nightmare from which you can never awaken. Its unrelenting; there has been no safety -- no one, no time, nothing. All was tainted. Hope was obliterated time and time again. That they are in our office is in itself a supreme act of valor.

Okay, Ive regained composure.

GM: Wow. Okay, and you had another one?

LC: Well, the other, yeah, the other one is more about my own narcissism. So the

other one is, for me it was very, very touching. Its a William Blake quote that; I--I

finally got it when I was doing my own personal therapy. Its -- And we are put

on earth a little space that we may learn to bear the beams of love.

GM: Okay. Thank you so much. So, obviously that first one: lets take that first one, if you dont mind. I mean that is so profound and so -- just incredibly touching. I mean, youre talking about privilege, and youre talking about valor -- Lets break that down a little. Where has that come in in your life? How has that impacted you individually, personally?

LC: Well, I -- You know I think that I was doing -- I went to Gestalt training, which is a

three-year program after grad school, and I went there not for professional

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The Trauma Therapy Podcast Episode 2: Linda Curran, BCPC, LPC, CACD

reasons. I went there because I knew a few people that were Gestalt therapists,

and I thought that they, you know, they got something that I didnt get? So when

I was there -- I think, Im trying to put it; Im trying to get better words for it,

though. When I was in Gestalt training, what I learned was -- in order to be a

good professional, I had to -- I had to be a better person. And sitting with clients,

I get that same feeling, you know? Its like the reason that I do so much training

or the reason that its important for me to do my own personal work is because

the people sitting in front of me, they deserve that. They -- they dont deserve

me to stay, in, you know, like in my narcissism or me to stay in my pathology

because its easier for them--for me to project the anxiety and let them carry it,

you know, any of the things that would be boundary issues or any of those things,

rather than let the client hold it. Be very clear on whats mine, whats relational,

and whats the clients. So I think that basically, its a responsibility to the client.

Does that make sense to you?

GM: Yeah, it makes perfect sense. It makes perfect sense. Its -- you know, its interesting when we -- when I started [laughs] this podcast out, I was not going to ask individuals about their trauma experience and in a sense, its almost inescapable. I mean, what youve shared, you know, with your first quote, I think is so personal, and its so moving. And now to hear you bringing -- talking about how you bring that into the therapy office is -- really clearly speaks to how challenging and demanding, but what a privilege this work is. So I really want to thank you for that.

LC: You know, absolutely a privilege.

GM: So this kind of -- you know, you started talking about the therapy office now, and, it kind of leads us right into the next question, which is -- and you said you kind of backed into this field of, well, trauma -- but lets kind of move back a little and just talk about psychology in general. You know, trauma therapy is challenging. Our listeners are aware of that; youve

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The Trauma Therapy Podcast Episode 2: Linda Curran, BCPC, LPC, CACD

addressed that; but this focus here is on your journey as a trauma therapist: your struggles, your influences. Share with us how you got into the broad field of psychology in general, and then were going to segue into trauma.

LC: Well -- I dont know -- I think everybody -- well, every girl that I grew up with, we

all thought we wanted to be psychologists, like because wouldnt it be cool to just

sit and talk for a living? That was like one of those things that it was like, thats

an ideal career for--for teenage girls? Like my daughter is eighteen and thats

what shes going to do too, because I think thats the -- I dont --- I think thats just

the way that we idealize the profession, as saying, oh, you know, its just going

to be so great. But I actually went for psychology -- like, when I say I backed

into it, I didnt make a decision. I took two masters [degrees] at the same time,

so I was thinking public health, like for outcome measures and stuff like that. I

worked in a hospital for twenty years. And then I thought, well, all right, Im not

committing to