July 7, 2020
Step inside Dr. H's office to eavesdrop on a therapy session with his patient Jasmine (from the Delta Flight Attendant episode in season 1).  This session explores an extremely painful but ultimately transformative relationship that Jasmine had with a...
June 23, 2020
Season 2 is here! We kick off our new season with an episode that was going to run last spring. but then COVID hit and it seemed best to hold off on this (fairly heavy...but then this is BFTA, after all) episode for a few months. A heads up--  in this...
June 9, 2020
Can a podcast have an identical twin separated at birth? If so, then "Inside Eyes" might possibly  be that long lost twin of BFTA. Laura Mae Northrup is the creator of Inside Eyes and a trauma therapist in the Oakland area. She put a ton of work into...
May 26, 2020
Self-described podcast junkie Dr. H reached out to Sarah Buino, host of the excellent podcast Conversations with a Wounded Healer, and they agreed to do this super nifty episode swap, in which Sarah will feature a favorite BFTA episode on her show, and...
May 12, 2020
BFTA's two co-conspirators sit down together for a look back at the first year-- the origin story, highlights, points of gratitude, mistakes made, Craig's most poignant/painful moment, the Enneagram, and Chris' desert island albums (no Meat Loaf!)Back...
April 28, 2020
In this second of a two part exploration of OCD, Dr. H and Dr. Amy Indermuehle, a Colorado-based OCD expert, deconstruct Erin's treatment. Dr. Amy is a big fan of in vivo exposures, whether that be watching stomach-churning Youtube videos, touching...
April 14, 2020
The postpartum period is by far the most psychiatrically vulnerable time in a woman's life. Erin had always some some mildly annoying obsessive-compulsive tendencies, but they were never a major factor in her life, until just after her daughter was...
March 31, 2020
Listeners ask: "Can I tell my story on Back from the Abyss?""Can you heal trauma that you cannot remember?Dr. H then looks back at 3 years of 800+ ketamine sessions and further explores the question of intramuscular (IM) vs intravenous (IV) treatment,...
March 17, 2020
If only swimming or meditation were as good as vodka. Unfortunately, the most powerful and rapid-acting coping strategies also tend to be the most damaging and addictive. Annie learned this the hard way. After her father's death when she just 9 years...
March 1, 2020
After a nightmarish sexual assault at age 15, Mitch's life felt over. Wracked by daily dread, panic, and a desperate longing to die, he eventually found his way 22 years later to the MAPS trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for severe PTSD. In this...
February 17, 2020
The root system of a tree is its hidden protection against the harsh realities of wind and drought and disease.  For people, loving and healthy childhood  attachments are our central hidden protection against the inevitable losses and tragedies of life....
January 31, 2020
Life is much better on Adderall, until it's not.In this episode, Dr. H and Dan Ronken, a Boulder-based psychotherapist and addiction specialist, explore the double edged sword of stimulants.  Using Dan's ADHD and addiction story as a launching point, th...
January 17, 2020
In this mini-episode Dr. H explores the critical implications of thinking about Depression as a syndrome rather than as a meaningful clinical diagnosis.  The diagnosis of Depression is but the first tiny step in the journey of exploring biological, psyc...
January 3, 2020
In this second installment of therapists in the abyss, Dr. H sits down with Jungian analyst and master therapist Dr. Michael Daine to explore how facing death catalyzed an exploration of the unconscious and the eventual rebirth both of his career and sense of purpose in the world.  This then leads to a discussion of whether one can be a capable and resilient therapist without having successfully passed through periods of darkness and despair.Dr. Michael Dainehttp://www.dainepsychservices.comDr. H
December 20, 2019
This is the first of an intermittent series of therapists sharing their abyss stories. Samantha was a newly minted therapist just out of her MSW program, full of hope and excitement for her new career, when she met a client whose horrific trauma story and rapid disappearance from therapy haunted her for years.  Dr. H and Samantha explore how she was able to eventually move from the grief and regret of this vicarious traumatization to a place of acceptance and self-compassion. A heads up— this story contains a description of a sexual assault. Dr. H
December 5, 2019
In this mini-episode Dr. H opens himself up for major audiophile shaming as he (reluctantly) reveals his three desert island albums. With this revelation complete, he then moves on to the challenge at hand-- which three psychiatric medications are at the top of the heap, combining efficacy, safety, and breadth of symptom coverage?A hint-- they all start with the same letter. And they are all generic.  And psychiatry would be greatly hamstrung without them. Guesses?? Dr. Hhttps://www.craigheacockmd.comBFTA website
November 19, 2019
In this second part of Saj's story, he continues to explore the transformative healing of his MDMA session. Initially believing his therapy journey to be complete, his mother later develops terminal cancer and his attachment wounds reactivate. This impending loss leads him to seek even more advanced and difficult work with psilocybin and the support of two experienced guides in the Netherlands.Saj further develops the idea that while psilocybin may well have major therapeutic potential, it is definitely not a starter psychedelic medicine, but rather one that requires significant psychological preparation and scaffolding in order to harness its power.Psilocybin as an advanced medicine Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)https://maps.orgDr. Hhttps://www.craigheacockmd.comBFTA website
November 5, 2019
This is the first of a two part very special interview with Saj Razvi, the Director of Education at Innate Path in Denver, CO. Saj weaves together his three fascinating perspectives— that of a nationally recognized trauma expert, his own personal story of early childhood neglect and how this shaped everything else to come, and finally his long journey of healing the deepest wound a person can have, eventually coming to MDMA and then psilocybin at the latter part of his therapy journey.The episode starts with some foundational concepts in understanding trauma and its long term effects, then shifts to compare and contrast psychotherapy vs somatic therapies vs psychedelic assisted therapies (cannabis vs ketamine vs MDMA vs psilocybin). Part 1 ends with Saj's life-changing MDMA therapy session and beautifully describes how MDMA might help people break through the dissociative legacy of complex PTSD and attachment trauma. MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD https://maps.orgInnate Path (ketamine and cannabis assisted therapy)https://www.innatepath.orgDissociation and trauma website
October 23, 2019
Anxiety and pain are the primary drivers of medical visits, as well as two of the more complicated symptoms to break down in a meaningful way. In this mini-episode, Dr. H presents the metaphor of "below the neck" vs "above the neck" anxiety to help us think about anxiety in a way that might better guide diagnosis and treatment. "Above the neck" anxiety emanates from the ruminating/imagining/obsessing/spin-cycle brain, while "below the neck" anxiety is the body's fight/flight response, with adrenaline coursing through the body to send the blaring smoke alarm signal of impending danger...even where there is no apparent immediate threat. It matters greatly whether anxiety initially sparks from above or below, and the failure to pinpoint the source can lead to treatment failure and prolonged suffering. Obsessional/ruminative anxiety responds best to mindfulness meditation, cognitive therapy, and SSRIs; somatic/adrenaline anxiety requires interventions such as biofeedback, (intensive) aerobic exercise, meditation, beta blockers, and the various somatic trauma therapies (EMDR, somatic experiencing, Hakomi). Benzodiazepines address both types, but at significant potential cost. BFTA website
October 6, 2019
It's an accepted truth in psychotherapy that it’s the relationship itself that heals. In this episode of BFTA, Dr. H and his patient Jasmine explore their always complicated, often humorous, and at times very painful journey through the minefield of borderline personality disorder. A heads up on this episode— Jasmine and Dr. H discuss self-harm/cutting and suicidality in a very frank and perhaps unsettling manner. BPD overview course of BPD website
September 22, 2019
As her father descended into years of meth-induced rages and psychosis, Kate and her family repeatedly tried to flee...but there was no place to hide. And when at last, after finishing college and starting a new life with her husband, she thought she had escaped the demons of her past, a phone call lit her world on fire. Kate eventually found a way to heal through a six year treatment journey with the help of a deeply caring and skilled therapist and the tool of EMDR.This episode is the second in a two part exploration of healing through EMDR.LinksComplex PTSD and EMDR website
September 4, 2019
Sometimes trauma settles deeply in the mind and body and wreaks a kind of clandestine subterranean warfare, turning the body against itself and manifesting strange, frightening, disabling, and even life-threatening symptoms. Sophie's trauma simmered for 16 years, making her life difficult but still mostly manageable. Suddenly, however, she was waylaid as her trauma metastasized into something infinitely more dangerous. A long torturous course through emergency rooms and various specialists eventually ended up on a therapist's couch, holding an oscillating paddle in each hand, walking directly into the mindscape of her mother's death.LinksEMDR (Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) explaining fight/flight (sympathetic nervous system) vs freeze (parasympathetic nervous system) and their roles in PTSD parasympathetic (freeze) response is tied to allergic and asthmatic reactions website
August 21, 2019
Is marijuana a medicine or a coping strategy? Is it safer than alcohol, or in some people, much more risky? Does it help anxiety or does it trigger panic symptoms? This mini-episode explores the complex landscape of "medical" marijuana and what this looks like in Colorado.LinksMJ and psychosis as mania trigger and MJ-- increasing risk of developing psychosis website
August 7, 2019
Sobriety can sometimes be a bridge too far. In a last ditch attempt to escape his methamphetamine-drenched life, Larry moved 1000 miles away to live with his father, he threw away his cell phone, gave up all drugs and alcohol, started running, got a good job...and found himself increasingly overwhelmed by the need to put a needle in his arm.His eventual solution wasn't perfect, but it may have saved his life. LinksHarm reduction and cognition website
July 24, 2019
This mini-episode explores some of the most frequently asked questions about ketamine: •What is ketamine?•How does it work?•Who responds best to ketamine?•What is the ketamine experience like?•What is the best way to do ketamine treatments?•What are the side effects/risks?•Who definitely shouldn't do ketamine?Interview with Dr. H about ketamine on Rural Emergency Medicine podcast
July 9, 2019
Chris successfully hid his increasingly severe depression throughout middle and high school, but by his first year of college he could no longer ignore the horrifying signs that his brain was losing touch with reality. Inanimate objects began to radiate into his thoughts, and suicide seemed the only way to escape. Fortunately Chris took the scariest leap of all and began to open up to a therapist about what was happening in his mind, leading to an exploration of shame, a reformulation of the self, and finally the unexpectedly powerful healing of ketamine. Dr. H interview-- "Recognizing psychosis", on Rural Emergency Med podcast resources/informationhttps://www.kriyainstitute.comLinks-- Delaying treatment leads to worsening and more difficult to treat depressive, bipolar, and psychotic illness
June 25, 2019
A wise psychotherapy supervisor once said: "There are only two things a therapist can do...hold...or poke...lots of therapists are good at holding...not so many are confident enough to poke...the good therapist has mastered the art of both."Actually, there are at LEAST 4-5 other crucial mental processes that an effective therapist should be doing more or less simultaneously...and that's no easy task.This mini-episode explores the hold vs poke dilemma, why this matters so much to anyone who has come to a therapist for meaningful change, and some tangible markers for whether your therapist is up for the challenge of you.
June 24, 2019
Ellie grew up in small town Montana and found a highly effective way to cope with the terrible pain of adolescence, family chaos, and depression. Unfortunately, her eating disorder took on a life of its own and almost destroyed her. This is her journey of profound suffering, the (re)building of a self, and ultimately, a path into the light.Resources on eating disordersBooksEating in the Light of the Moon by Anita JohnsonLife without ED by Jenni SchaeferSick Enough by Jennifer Gaudanihttps://www.nationaleatingdisorders.orgFor ketamine resources see episode 1 (Strawberries)Dr. Craig Heacock is an adolescent/adult psychiatrist and addiction specialist in Colorado. He is a co-therapist in the Phase 3 trial of MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for PTSD and has particular interest in the use of ketamine and other psychedelics to treat severe mood disorders and PTSD. He is a graduate of the University of New Mexico School of Medicine and did his psychiatry training at Brown University.BFTA website--
June 18, 2019
In this episode we explore one of the most frightening parts of the abyss, coming face to face with the desperate need to die. Elizabeth woke up four days after her near fatal suicide attempt and found herself with another chance-- this is her story of finding a new way to live and be in this world.Helpful websites on:Bipolar disorder Craig Heacock is an adolescent/adult psychiatrist and addiction specialist in Colorado. He is a co-therapist in the Phase 3 trial of MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for PTSD and has particular interest in the use of ketamine and other psychedelics to treat severe mood disorders and PTSD.  He is a graduate of the University of New Mexico School of Medicine and did his psychiatry training at Brown University.BFTA website--
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