DiscoverBeing Well with Forrest Hanson and Dr. Rick HansonWhat Really Helps Trauma? with Dr. Jacob Ham
What Really Helps Trauma? with Dr. Jacob Ham

What Really Helps Trauma? with Dr. Jacob Ham

Update: 2023-11-204


In one of the most interesting conversations we've ever had on the podcast, Forrest is joined by clinical psychologist Dr. Jacob Ham to explore what really helps people work with - and be with - trauma. They begin with Dr. Ham's background and what drew him to trauma work before Forrest asks him how he "conceptualizes" different kinds of traumatic experiences. Dr. Ham then takes them away from the conceptual, and toward the felt. 

They talk about cultivating a felt sense of connection, empathy as a way in to relationship, and the value of anger. Dr. Ham shares about his own process taking risks as a clinician, using parts work, moving away from the "false idol" of cognizing, and finding a unique way in for each individual.

About our Guest: Dr. Jacob Ham is a clinical psychologist, Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai, and the Director of the Center for Complex Trauma. He was the therapist former podcast guest Stephanie Foo wrote about in her wonderful book What My Bones Know.

You can watch this episode on YouTube.

Key Topics:

0:00 : Introduction

2:30 : Jacob’s background

5:20 : Cultivating a felt sense of connection vs. idolizing the concept of trauma

11:00 : A monastic, medical, and artistic approach

13:00 : Knowing our intentions, and feeling others’ pain as a therapist

18:00 : Surrendering to overwhelming grief

23:50 : Love, vulnerability, and authenticity

29:45 : The value of anger, the energy it demands, and navigating it with humility

34:45 : Presence, and taking risks as a clinician

40:40 : How Jacob does parts work, and finding what works with each individual

46:15 : Staring at the finger that’s pointing at the moon

49:25 : Does a good therapist need to have experienced trauma?

52:30 : Honoring our inner protectors, surrendering to pain, and knowing it won’t last forever

56:20 : Shaping others’ ability to help you, and processing trauma without professional help

1:00:15 : Tipping points and surrender

1:04:15 : Recap

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What Really Helps Trauma? with Dr. Jacob Ham

What Really Helps Trauma? with Dr. Jacob Ham

Rick Hanson, Ph.D., Forrest Hanson