197: Intergenerational Trauma and Relationships with Anita Mandley

Welcome back to The Couples Therapist Couch! This podcast is about the practice of Couples Therapy. Each week, Shane Birkel interviews an expert in the field of Couples Therapy to explore all about the world of relationships and how to be an amazing therapist.

In this episode, we’re talking intergenerational trauma and relationships with Anita Mandley. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and your other favorite podcast spots, and watch it on YouTube – follow and leave a 5-star review.

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The Couples Therapist Couch 197: Intergenerational Trauma and Relationships with Anita Mandley

Find out more about the Couples Therapist Inner Circle: https://www.couplestherapistcouch.com/inner-circle-new

In this episode, Shane talks with Anita Mandley about intergenerational trauma and relationships. Anita is an Integrative Psychotherapist with over 30 years of experience in the field of Mental Health. Hear why she focuses on building relationships first, why intergenerational trauma happens, the things that influence us the most, how to ease into these discussions as a therapist, and the most important thing you can bring to a session.

This episode covers everything from intergenerational trauma to relationships. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • What is Intergenerational Trauma?
  • How soon should you bring it up with a client?
  • What is DBT?
  • How do you know when there's been healing?
  • Who is Dan Siegel?
  • What does Sickle Cell have to do with Intergenerational Trauma?
  • Do eating disorders involve trauma?
  • What does the NFL have to do with Intergenerational Trauma? 

Check out the episode, show notes, and transcript below: 



 Show Notes


What is The Couples Therapist Couch?

This podcast is about the practice of Couples Therapy. Many of the episodes are interviews with leaders in the field of Relationships. The show is meant to help Therapists and Coaches learn how to help people to deepen their connection, but in the process it explores what is most needed for each of us to love, heal, and grow. Each week, Shane Birkel interviews an expert in the field of Couples Therapy to explore all about the world of relationships and how to be an amazing therapist.

Find out more about the Couples Therapist Inner Circle: https://www.couplestherapistcouch.com/inner-circle-new


 Please note: this transcript is not 100% accurate. 

Anita Mandley 0:00
Probably the most important thing that I ever bring to a session is my well-regulated presence.

Shane Birkel 0:07
Welcome to episode number 197 of The Couples Therapist Couch.

Intro VO 0:15
Welcome to The Couples Therapist Couch: the podcast for couples therapists, marriage counselors, and relationship coaches to explore the practice of couples therapy, and now your host, Shane Birkel.

Shane Birkel 0:32
Hey everyone, welcome back to The Couples Therapist Couch. This is your host, Shane Birkel. And this is the podcast that's all about the practice of couples therapy. Thank you so much for tuning in. If you enjoy the episode and you want to be part of a community, then definitely join The Couples Therapist Couch Facebook group that's completely free. Obviously, you can always join the Couples Therapist Inner Circle, which is the paid basically an amazing supervision group where we talk about couples therapy, therapists ask questions. There's a ton of course material on working with affairs working with Emotionally Focused Therapy, doing relational life therapy, all kinds of different course material that you can get access to. And I'm really excited I'm I'm sort of revamping the whole inner circle, there's a new business option, which is about building your couples therapy practice, which it could be an add on to the clinical side of things, if that's something that's a good fit for you. So go over to the website and check it out, you can get a lot more details and information. I don't want to take too much time talking about it here on the podcast, but it's something you should definitely take a look at if it feels like that could be a good fit for you. This week, I'm really excited to share with you an interview with Anita Mandley, who's an integrative psychotherapist with over 30 years of experience. And two years ago, I went to her training at The Networker symposium, and I was so impressed and I learned so much and I knew that I had to have her on the podcast. And I learned so much again when we talk this time. She talks all about repairing ancestral trauma. And we talk a lot about trauma. We talk about child our childhoods and experiences that we've had. But she's talking about trauma that goes back generations from before we were born. And that the way in which our ancestors experienced that trauma plays through the generations and impacts us today. So without further introduction, I'm very excited to share with you the interview with Anita manly, everyone welcome back to the couples therapists couch. This is Shane Birkel, and today I'm speaking with Anita Mandley. She's an integrative psychotherapist with 30 years of experience, working with intergenerational developmental trauma, as well as an educator and workshop presenter. Hey, Anita, welcome to the show.

Anita Mandley 3:02
Thank you for inviting me. It's great to be here with you, Shane.

Shane Birkel 3:06
Yeah, I'm really excited to talk to you just so the audience knows, I attended one of the neatest presentations at the psychotherapy, networker symposium almost two years ago now. And you were talking all about repairing ancestral trauma, which I just got so much out of that. Thank you so much for educating me about that. And so I really wanted to bring you on the show, maybe maybe we'll get into that a little bit and other aspects of therapy. But why don't you tell everyone a little bit more about yourself to start with.

Anita Mandley 3:40
As Shane said, as you said, I am an integrative therapy. I've worked primarily with developmental trauma and intergenerational trauma, and not so much shock trauma, the trauma there has, there's been a lot of repetitions of experiences of feeling powerless, disconnected, devalued, someone's out of control. So I think that trauma, my perspective, is that traumas a lot less about the event than it is about the impact of the events. Yeah. And so also, around in the mid 90s, I think I had this awareness that everybody I worked with, had had these experiences, these particular experiences, and I worked even a lot with the chronically mentally ill and people who had access to diagnosis like narcissistic personality disorder or borderline personality disorder. But I thought I realized actually, and working with such a wide variety of clients, that everybody had those experiences of feeling powerless, disconnected, devalued out of control. And I think spend Actually, we don't necessarily think of the chronically mentally ill as around trauma, but I can't think anything more traumatic than to lose my mind. Yeah, right. Absolutely. Absolutely. That's when I began in earnest. And at that time, people didn't really talk too much about trauma, at least not my circles. And so I had to really go outside of my work environment and really seek out information. And so that kind of put me on the path. And then I kind of realized that over time, I used to do a lot of DBT, I actually develop the first comprehensive worked on and develop the one the first comprehensive DBT programs in the state of Illinois, Illinois, especially around the Chicago area. And as I was doing it, I love DBT love DBT, then I love DBT now, but then I realize, for most of my clients, it wasn't enough things were being left out. Things like the impact of ruptures and attachment, or lack of resources or all of that. And I also realized how often therapists and clients lost hope. So generally speaking, when people are referred to me by other therapists, this is the pattern. It's because they've lost hope. They've thrown up their hands, and they said, I don't know if I can do might as well send them to Nina manly.

Shane Birkel 6:46
Last Resort,

Anita Mandley 6:47
exactly. I'm the I'm the final step. The one thing I can do, though, and I start with doing this, I let the new clients know, number one, I don't expect them to have hope. And I don't expect them to trust me. They don't know me. That's great. They trust me, they've had a lot of experiences about people not being trustworthy, right?

Shane Birkel 7:14
So who am I that's really important for them to hear, you know, for you to validate things that they're bringing in, at that moment. Exactly.

Anita Mandley 7:22
And I'll say along that line, then I don't expect you to have hope. That's my job. My job is I always have hope, I hope to hope. And so I think that kind of beginning. As well as kind of telling them my story very similarly to the way I'm telling you my story. Now I tell it to my clients, because I'm like, the first step to the rest of the path is for them to know about me. Right? Not, you know, I'm not going to focus, particularly in the beginning, asking a lot of questions about them, because again, they don't know me, they don't trust me, I have to really focus on building the relationship first. And so that's how I approach things, through relationship through the attachment, through providing the missing resources, things like that. And I agree with that, Dan Siegel, he says something, one of his books about the complexity of therapy. And he talks about how psychology is the only science where there's this lack of complexity, you know, people who are the hand harus to behavioral therapy, people focus on emotion they do mostly EFT, people that focus on, you know, cognition and beliefs, core beliefs, they do CBT. And everything's a little siloed sometimes. But he makes the point that everything Mind Body attachment, all these different facets, are always operating in a synergistic way. Which makes a lot of sense to me. And he says, No, other science is more in need of some sort of complex integrative path than psychology. And so that's sort of how I think about things myself, is, you know, gathering all pieces of the puzzle. And when that happens, it's almost like, it opens up a path to a reorganization, where I'm not really telling people what to do, or telling my story about their story. I'm just gathering the pieces together. So that when they're all kind of in the same space and in touch with one another, they can reorganize, and a transformation can pass can come about. And then it builds this coherence and opens up a whole, a whole different realm of possibility. Yeah,

Shane Birkel 10:20
I love that. And it's very humanizing and valuing of the human beings you're working with the way you're talking about that, you know, it's, it's not that there's something wrong with you as a person, right? Like, there's some reason why this makes sense, based on the trauma that you've been through, or based on the environmental factors that you're experiencing, or, you know, it must really make the clients feel valued, as you talk about it that way.

Anita Mandley 10:45
Yeah, seems to be the case. And then I think 2012 2013, I began to kind of take into account this cultural and a piece and historical trauma piece. And I was basically prompted by one of my clients telling me one day, it was nice to work with a survivor, which kind of took me aback. And I was almost getting ready to say, Well, I'm not a survivor, you know, I've never been assaulted or whatever, never even been spanked. I think a lot of my friends say, Oh, that explains a lot about you, and that I didn't push back. And within a couple of days, I had some images and memories bubble up, where I actually had to acknowledge that, too, was a survivor, but, and it was surviving. Cultural and Historical trauma. So that experience kind of set me on the path, I added the somatic pieces, to bring the body in, which was very helpful. And then I realized, along with this Cultural Historical trauma piece, that then there was this intergenerational piece that people carry. And this these experiences of trauma that were very ancient. And so I really started looking at that, and started having conversations with groups and with people about the intergenerational peace and impact. And so I think for a lot of people, when I talk about that, when we talk about the intergenerational story that they carry, and how it how it has brought them to this moment, it provides another piece of the puzzle for them. That's very affirming. It helps things become more coherent. Like, why, like, it wasn't a fault. Right? Like, how could I often say, how could it have been any other way? Given all of this? Even the intergenerational piece and what's been passed on through the generations? How could this moment be any other way? Yeah. And that seems to settle things in my class.

Shane Birkel 13:29
Yeah, that's great. And so for people who haven't been exposed to these ideas before, can you sort of begin to define a little bit about what you mean by cultural, historical and intergenerational trauma.

Anita Mandley 13:46
So I kind of started on this path after I had that memory that I was telling you, right? Awareness. And I started investigating a concept called Post Traumatic slavery syndrome. And that to join, agree, and I was so fortunate the universe was just like, providing so many assists to me. She happened to be coming to University of Chicago and giving a free lecture, a full day lecture. And she spoke to it and then she smoked, sort of how it shaped the experience of black people, African American people, on so many levels. I started reading about it investigating it looked at, for example, I think one thing I talk about is, you know, I think sometimes that that middle passage, you know, when they took the slaves that took the Africans from Africa, they run those Ships. And I think about well, who could have survived that? And I think about it must have been those who could survive with a very, with very little food, so they must have had very slow metabolisms, the ones that could survive. So I thought about what how does that show up in the African American community now? So that this helped me sometimes towards obesity because of the slow metabolism? Right? Then I thought that they must have had to survive with very little water, the way they were down there. In the, in the bottom of the, those chips, how does that show up to date this being able to retain fluid and water? Right? That's also shows up in our bodies with hypertension, fluid retention, all sorts of things, everything that you know, all these medical things, even when you look at sickle cell, I was reading about how the ability of the blood cells to sickle was a protection initially against malaria. But when you take that out of the natural environment, it becomes an illness, it becomes life threatening instead of life saving. So I looked at all these kind of things. And I'm like, okay, then I think about it also must have been who could survive slavery must have been the ones who are the strongest, the quickest.

The ones who couldn't do a pain. And I think about well, how does that show up?

Right. And it, I think shows up in being able to be a great athlete. Right? Interesting. Yeah. Yeah. So it's almost like a, like genetics. It's a breathing thing, basically. Right, that lead us to this moment. And it's so interesting, because I had, I saw an NFL player for a few years, with a lot of he had a lot of developmental trauma, a lot of time, a lot of abuse in his history, personal history. The one thing I did with him was some somatic work on regulation. And through touch, I do transforming touch as well. He was on the table, and we were working on and somehow, you know, we sometimes talk while he was on the table, and I was telling him a little bit about that. And he looks at me, and he goes, it's almost like his face, not lit up exactly, but opened, like, some new awareness. And they started talking about this thing that happens in the NFL, where you're in a gym, you know, gym, and it's like, you run the they put you through your paces, so to speak. In the circle, you jump you do out perform all these tasks. Okay, right. And he said, and you have on little shorts and gym shoes, not shoes and shorts, and basically nothing else, because they're also evaluating your body. And that's, and he says, when he went, there was at every place a white man with a clipboard piece of paper and a pen, looking at him, they touch his muscles, they whatever. And then he looks at me and he goes, Do you think my body thinks it's on an auction block?

Shane Birkel 19:11
Oh, my goodness. Yeah.

Anita Mandley 19:15
And I said, Does that feel like true to you? They say yeah, yeah. Absolutely. Not that there's any malevolent intent. Just a lack of awareness and education. But his body, remember. Right? Right. And he wasn't on the axon black. His ancestors were though, right? And so he had a blood memory that would show up that showed up with this awareness. So I think that's kind of one example of what I'm talking about. With the post traumatic slavery syndrome, and then from there I had this awareness that it wasn't just African Americans that probably at some point everybody's, they have some intergenerational trauma, some right, ancient memory of being colonized, so victimized, so I've been in war or whatever. And I think sort of when you add that piece when I added that piece, it has added to that complexity. Dan Siegel speaks to that. It also validates something somehow. It's like, oh, that's something I could never figure out. And I knew there was something I didn't know what it was in. I thought I had this one client. zelkova tell these stories. Yeah.

Shane Birkel 21:03
This is great. Yeah. Thank you so much. Yeah.

Anita Mandley 21:05
Well, I had this one client, and her parents were Polish, Catholic, and they were there during World War II in Poland. They weren't married. That she was referred to me, because she struggled with some addictions, sexing, cocaine, champagne, eating disorders at one time or another, the full range, you know, she would have been all sorts of things and intractable depression. Never had had a sustained, romantic relationship. Very smart, smart, smart, smart person. Brilliant. And her brother who was born 18 months after she was, was born with juvenile diabeetus, addicted to alcohol, and also had never had a sustained relationship. And her parents were abusive to her whatever. But in any event, but I finally asked her about how they came here. And she said her mother, her mother, siblings, and her mother's mother, escaped the Nazis went, I think it was Turkey, if I'm not mistaken. But then the siblings went back and fought in underground. Oh, wow. And her father was in a Polish army, but he got captured by the Russians, and was put in a Russian labor camp, let alone the fact that probably Poland, Russia, all those European countries, throughout the times have been conquered, and, you know, just gone back and forth, and all of this, right. So when I heard that story, and I was thinking, and I told her about what they learned about how chama changes DNA, and even RNA they're thinking, and changes, metabolism, the metabolic piece and hormonal piece, which, when we look at her brother born with type lens, juvenile diabeetus, it changes the way the stress hormones impact. You know, it just changes everything. And so when you look at all the things that she came to me to get help with, all of those were sort of like attempts to find refuge. You know, and to find relief. Right. And so, when I explained to her all about this intergeneration on the science behind it, she was a science person, pharmacologist, when she heard out there, I glanced at it, she just had tears just streaming down her face. Yeah. And I just said, Would you? Would you like to use a few words? And she just looked at me. She just said, You mean this is not my fault? And I said, No, not too far. How could it be any other way? Right. And I think it was because the messages she had got gotten from other providers, other therapists was that she had the problem she had and dealt with them the way she did, because she was either bad or incompetent. Or what She did what she did to try to take care of herself. Unfortunately, that kind of sync up to the charm of mind self view of bad things happen to me, because I'm bad or I'm incompetent. Yeah. And so just deepen the shame. So yeah, I began to learn that it wasn't just African Americans that carry the burdens of the past, the pain of the ancestors, you know, inside, I really tried to intentionally now pay attention to that story, and create space for people to tell me the story, not just their stories, but the stories of their, their ancestors. So I can't imagine sit with a Jewish person. And asking, not asking, you know, where the ancestors in Europe during the wars? So how did they get here? How would they treat it once they got here? You know, things like that. Even Irish in Chicago, you know, we're Miss treat every new group that came, you know, I was bullied and victimized or oppressed, on some level. For some reason, this territoriality thing, you know?

Shane Birkel 26:23
Well, it's, it's incredible to think about how these things have been, we're probably influenced by things that happened 1000s of years ago, that just sort of carry through the generations. And some of the things that you're talking about, like the American slavery, and, you know, immigration and things like, in some ways that's like very, very recent, or World War Two. I mean, these are things that didn't happen that long ago that, like grandparents, or great grandparents, you know, that absolutely, people are going to be very influenced by some of those things, even if there's no memory or connection to the particular events that were happening at the time. And I love the way you're talking. It's just so helpful, because our society sort of looks at the person and says, What's wrong with you? Why can't you figure this out? And I think people sort of get in that mindset about themselves. And shame, you know, shame themselves, about what's wrong with me that I can't figure this out. And the way you're talking about it is just so validating, and humanizing to let people know that there's some reason why it makes sense that you're experiencing exactly what you're experiencing right now. Exactly.

Anita Mandley 27:43
Exactly. That's been my experience. And also, I think, even just being curious about it, with my clients, really does a lot to shape our connection to each other. Because a lot of them come to me, no one's ever asked them these questions. Never got that history, you go to a go to your first appointment with a new primary care physician, you get like pages, right? What are you have? What are your parents have? What happened with your grandparents who, you know, they get this whole intergenerational history, medical history, that oftentimes, as you say, when we when we start with a new client, we want to know what brought you here, in terms of this moment? What are you doing? You know, all these other things? We never say, Okay. Your great grandparents were were they? Right? When did the troubles begin? Actually, didn't begin with you partly, was you know, I had a, I did that a lot experience on a training. And it was on Zoom side really couldn't see the people. But I do this little thing when I have them imagine their ancestors before the troubles began. And that's the instruction. I've never had anybody asked me? What do you mean by troubles? Or baguette? None. Everybody seems to get it.

Shane Birkel 29:34
Interesting. Yeah, I work.

Anita Mandley 29:37
And then I checked back in and I did it. This time, one time on this, this webinar. And as Jewish gentleman comes on, he's a therapist. He goes, I have to go back to the garden and eat. Wow. And then one of my colleagues there Dr. Barrett, she was on the call as well, she says so that I, and so just speaks to some some ancient wounds. So when you look at troubles today, it's layered. On top of things that go back for these two individuals that were in my training to the Garden of Eden. Yeah. So it's a very interesting thing, it pops up where you least expected. I have this other client, who's the Irish. She has dual citizenship. I don't even know if she had ever gotten American. But she does have Irish citizenship, and she is able to work. I mean, she's not undocumented in any sense. And she has a, you know, complex trauma, history, Big History, things like that. I was watching his TV show one day. And they were talking about how, in Ireland, the quote, unquote, Ginger's Red Hats get full fully. So I was watching the show, I'm thinking, Well, when I think of the stereotypical Irish look, I'm thinking red here. Their skin lies. So I'm asking my clients, they're sort of used to me, like coming up with random questions. And right. Hey, you know, tolerate me. So I asked, I was watching the show. This is what I saw. And I'm just confused, because this is what I think. And she goes. And I was like, Ooh, I was. I wish Chagall's we have Brown hair. Brown eyes. skulls. Those are Vikings.

Shane Birkel 32:08
Oh, my gosh. Interesting. Oh,

Anita Mandley 32:13
she's telling me about the intergenerational trauma. Historical trauma of Ireland being run over by the Vikings. Oh, now I got to ask about that. Right. So this curiosity, and this intuitive piece is so I think integral and necessary and vital to the way I do my work. Because someone told me ask her. Yep. To just be curious. And then notice, you know, what happened? And a face and her body? And it was like, you know, that fire in us like, okay, there it is. Yeah.

Shane Birkel 33:02
I'm curious. You're sort of talking about it now. But if you're working with a client, or perhaps even a couple or something like that, you know, how soon would you start bringing this into the session? And how would you do? I mean, you're talking about bringing that curiosity, which I guess is part of it. But also, if they come in and say that, hey, we need work on our communication or something like that? Are there ways that you can kind of ease into this understanding? And make some connections to help them make some connections?

Anita Mandley 33:40
Yeah, a couple of ways. One. Oh, and I, especially if you want to talk about my work with couples, and generally probably not the first session, the first session and creating a frame for me, meaning for them to slip with me so that they know me. Yeah, probably not trust, like you said before. Right. So I'm introducing myself for a lot of the first session. And then I usually end with, given what I've told you about myself. Do you think it makes sense that someone's soul referred you to me? Or do you? How does it sit with you? Do you think it might be worth coming back or, you know, some getting beginning to get curious, I've told them about me how I work out a little bit of how I think about people and relationships, things like that. So I've kind of give I start also by giving them a little bit of what the path might look like. Like in the beginning, I'm going to talk a little bit about why I'm that I want to get to know that and who they are, that can start probably as early as the second session. And in this, as I start off, I might say, you know, just

a little bit about tell me about you and tell me about your parents and their lives. And do you know what their lives were like, when you were conceived? Even?

Or what, you know, all these sorts of things, just gathering? And I'll ask them both. As it turns out, it's an interesting thing. Often what they tell me, as I'm asking these intergenerational questions, you know, gathering this information isn't what, what's your birth story, your story, your conception, all these things, and they're witnessing this. And that's, I think, very crucial, is being able to create some space for them to witness each other. And often a little surprised at what they don't know about each other. Right? You know, it's really interesting, it could have been married 3040 years, and never know, what the their spouse or partners situation was, at the moment of conception, right, showed up when they were born. What happened for the next six weeks to three months was their mother depressed, and you know, all sorts of things like that. And so there's actually something and being able to hear and witness, you know, each other story that begins this process, it creates, sometimes, oftentimes, just a little click of a kaleidoscope. A man even asked questions like, What do you think, you know, once we get into this intergenerational piece, I might ask something like, you know, do you think what do you think carry that you carry from your parents? And so some kind of pain that they carried or your grandparents pit carry? Their now your carry? And they'll say, you know, often they'll say, and they'll talk about that. But I also made sure I said, Did they give you a gift? Right? Because I'm building this Okay, here, I'm getting a picture, what what are they bringing, that's been the pain or the vulnerability or the tension or whatever. And oftentimes, it's done to start with them does go back generations, but also I know what the gift is. That's great. Every time I ask it, I think about myself, even I think I was teasing Jane a little bit. And I said, I was ready to be on camera if I'm gonna be on camera, because I painted my face. But I think about where does that come from? My face since I was a kid. Right? Right. Thank you, Tom, thank you started with me. I'd love to paint my face. I it's very tribal, a lot, a lot of marking, you know, the more and the benefit for me is the more I have these conversations, and in trainings or workshops, or even in sessions. It's a circle, not a line. It's a lens, not a linear process. It's a circular process, because I'm in the circle. And awareness has also come to me, I might not say it, share everything, and I'm gonna have some boundaries and all of that. But it's not like I'm here on top. And I'm in parting these pearls of wisdom to my clients, and all they're supposed to do is just receive it, you know, from on high. No, we're in a circle. And we're here to learn from each other. Not that their job is to teach me. But if I'm in the circle, how could it not impact me? Right,

Shane Birkel 39:31
I think that's great that we're fellow human beings sharing this journey as well.

Anita Mandley 39:36
Absolutely, absolutely. And so I think that my couples work that sort of had begins just simply by having them begin to tell their story and have it witnessed by their partner, or other than I do, I've done family stuff too. So the kids even hearing the stories, impacts the children right And then you can even have it with children, even younger children. I'll ask questions age appropriate, you know, according to their developmental age, but they will start telling the stuff the parents never heard. And I might even ask them, What do you think it was like for you? Before you came home from the hospital when you were a baby? Now, some of that might be something they heard, but you'd be surprised what they say. And you might say, Well, that makes no sense. Because they can't have any explicit memory. They know something. I don't think they wanted me to come home. And they might say, I think they love me to death. And I might just close your eyes and just kind of feel who you see there in the hospital with you. Just very interesting. Little children's say. I'll see anybody. Yeah, that's filed that away. Not analyzing it, just witnessing. At this one client, came to me Irish American fellow in the 70s. And I asked them, you know, why did he think he was referred to me? I'm a trauma therapist was said, Do you think it makes sense? It goes, I think I had a so what was it? What is it, Charlie? He goes. I think it's my memory of being in the crib. And I'm crying. And nobody comes to pick me up. And I just What do you make of that? What do you make of the fact that nobody came to pick you up? Is how's the bad baby? Oh, nice. Oh, okay. Now I know there's no such thing as a bad baby. Right? And contest is true. That's his story. All right. So I'll just work with work. He begins to have this safe attachment to me. He begins to you know, get more regulation on fourth row, somatic work and all this other stuff. And all of a sudden, not all of a sudden, but eventually, one day he comes. He goes, You know,

I had another memory about being in the crib. Now he's the youngest of seven. And all pretty close together in age. So what was this memory? He goes, I'm still in a crib, and I'm crying.

He said, but this time, there's a lot of people in the room in the house. And I hear a lot of voices. I said, Oh, seven still nobody came to pick me up. So So what do you make of that? Same question, what do you make of that? goes? There were probably just overwhelmed. So huh. So I feel like truth. Yeah. So. Right. So it's a whole different thing that if I had tried to correct his cognitive or coordinated a belief that he started out as a bad baby, right, that as I added regulation, as I added a safe attachment with me, his capacity to hold more be aware of it more expand his perspective to hear more voices in that room. To understand how busy that house might have been with him, his six siblings, his parents, grandparents also lived in that house. Right. And they're all talking at the same time. Right? He had a different awareness.

Shane Birkel 44:24
Right, right. And I love that you're not telling him, hey, you shouldn't think about it like that. You should think about it like this. You're acting more as a guide, who might be leading him, you might have some ideas of where you want to lead him, but you're allowing him to sort of be empowered to be in control of his own journey toward that, which I think is really cool.

Anita Mandley 44:47
Absolutely. And at the same time, I'm not invalidating his story, right. One time I was in a training where I was being trained and some somatic work. And somebody, one of the students asked the trainer, how do you know when there's been healing and trying to assess when something new and different shows up. So that's what I'm always checking for. Just like when he said he went from bad baby, so they were overwhelmed. That's very different. That's healing than I noticed been his like checking my work. Time I find ways to check my work has something shifted to something new, something different.

Shane Birkel 45:44
And I love what you said, when you're talking about this being more like a circle and not as much like a linear process. You know, I was thinking to something you said earlier, about the complexity, I think you're talking about Dan Siegel, talking about the complexity of all of these things. You know, I think that's helpful for therapists and clients, human beings, to keep in mind that you know, so much about being human is not just a linear process, it's not just about going from step one to two to three to four, you know, that it might feel messy, and it might feel hard, and it might feel confusing. And we might talk about one thing one week and something very different than next week. But it's, it's just that circular sort of curiosity, staying open to what comes in and trying to stay in that sort of mindfulness. So I really appreciated that.

Anita Mandley 46:40
Nicely put nicely pushing. Yeah, thank you. I think that's exactly it. That's exactly it. Yeah.

Shane Birkel 46:50
I know, we're getting close to the end of our time here. Any other final thoughts? Before we finish?

Anita Mandley 46:56
Well, the only thing I would say, additionally, is that I think all of it starts with me, in the sense that my awareness that probably the most important thing that I ever bring to a session is my own well regulated presence. I had to really take care of myself, but also really try to stay regulated, so that I'm having more tolerance, that I have more capacity, that I have more resilience, so that I could sit myself with the circular process, or not rushing to a conclusion or not trying to fix something that was really me that's not tolerating what's in the room. Yeah. Right. And I'm trying to get rid of the discomfort, right, because I can't hold it. But if I can regulate myself, I can sit with a lot without merging with it. But without disengaging from it, I could just witness and join, join in witnessing, join in listening. And so that and also, that I never lose the hope that I can always hold the hope and the possibility of healing. And trust the path that I can trust that path. Yeah, I love it. I

Shane Birkel 48:31
love that. And I talked about therapists doing their own work. A lot of a lot of times, I think that self as a therapist kind of awareness is super important. So I appreciate you bringing that in. Thank you.

Anita Mandley 48:44
Thank you for the opportunity. Shane. I've enjoyed having a conversation with you.

Shane Birkel 48:50
Yeah. Thank you so much, Anita. I really appreciate it. I'm so grateful. How can Is there a place people can go to find out more about you like your your website or something? If anybody has any follow up questions.

Anita Mandley 49:01
That website is under construction. Okay, not too long ago went from a group practice to a private individual practice. So the website is being slowly built. But if you just Google me Anita Mandley, you'll find out a lot about me. Somebody's put stuff on the Google machine. What does that mean for somebody?

Shane Birkel 49:22
Yeah, great. Well, thank you again, so much. I'm so grateful for you talking today. Hopefully we can catch up again sometime.

Anita Mandley 49:30
I would love that. All right. Thank

Shane Birkel 49:33
you so much. And Anita, I'm so grateful for you. I really appreciate your generosity and taking the time to come on here. I always learned so much. And I just really appreciate your wisdom and ability to teach other therapists. Thank you so much for all you listeners out there. If you have a chance definitely leave a rating or a review on Spotify or iTunes wherever you listen to the podcast. Also, if you're are interested. This episode is sponsored by the couples therapists inner circle, which is the membership site that I created about working with couples. And, you know, at this point, there's hundreds of hours of content to help you become a better couples therapist, if you're just starting out, it's a really great way to get going. If you are a very experienced therapist, it's a great way to get education on working with affairs working with high conflict, couples, working with Emotionally Focused Therapy, relational life therapy, all kinds of different things. And there's a really cool new way that I'm setting it up, which is that you can do an add on bonus to your inner circle, which is about the business of couples therapy. And it's all about building a profitable couples therapy practice. And I'm really excited. I've been working with a bunch of people on building their practice starting a podcast, being on social media more all kinds of different goals that people have for themselves, how to use marketing. So I'm excited about that. If that's something that appeals to you definitely click on it in the show notes. And if you're just interested in the clinical side, then you can get that option. If you want to get the business side then you can get the clinical plus the business so there's something for everyone there. Also there you know, please join the free couples therapists couch Facebook group, if that's where you're at in your career, you just want to join the free group. That's another great resource to take advantage of. And I'm always grateful for ratings and reviews on wherever you listen to podcasts. Really appreciate that. This is Shane Birkel, and this is The Couples Therapist Couch, the podcast. It's all about the practice of couples therapy. I look forward to seeing you next time. Thanks everybody.

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