Episode 249 Elizabeth Power Trauma Informed Care Transcript

This transcript is from episode 249 with guest Elizabeth Power.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and now let’s get on with the show.

Scott DeLuzio: Hey everybody. Welcome back to the Drive On Podcast. Today my guest is Elizabeth Power. Elizabeth is an adjunct instructor in psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center, the founding director of the Trauma Informed Academy, and the author of Healer Reducing Crises, which offers everyday actions people can take to recover from traumatic experiences and be more resilient in the face of stress and discomfort.

Scott DeLuzio: So welcome to the show, Elizabeth. I’m glad to have you here.

Elizabeth Power: Thanks so much. It’s great to be here, Scott. Good, good show. Looking forward.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, I’m looking forward to this conversation as well. Before we get into the [00:01:00] conversation I’d like to give the listeners just a little background on yourself and a little bit of who you are, just so we have some context.

Scott DeLuzio: Who

Elizabeth Power: it is that we’re talking here. Oh my God. I don’t even, I hardly know how to start this. One way I could say is, well, I came to Nashville as a shoe repairer in 1979 because I didn’t think I could do anything else. because I was certain I was dumb. Defective, damaged and all that. I could say I was diagnosed with P T S D as soon as it’d hit the books.

Elizabeth Power: Non-combat related, still P T S D is the impact. Is the impact irrespective of the cause, you know? Mm-hmm. , the symptoms don’t care about the diagnosis. I could say that I’m an anomaly, absolutely an anomaly. I’m not, people with my degree don’t get to teach at medical schools, but I do because of some research I did.

Elizabeth Power: With Georgetown, and I could say that when I get really, really well, you know, pissed off, I don’t know if I can say that on your shore or not, but if, sure, I’ll try and keep the f-bomb to a minimum. The first thing I do is I go out and I grab a hammer and I start building something because I know that if I don’t get it [00:02:00] outta my body, I’m gonna be in big trouble.

Elizabeth Power: Other than that, I’m just your average little old, sweet, southern lady. What can I say? , if you buy that, I’ve got a bridge for you. .

Scott DeLuzio: So far, I’m on track with that. So I think you’re doing a good job at at presenting that anyway, so thanks. Before we got started recording, you were talking about some troubles that you were having and you took some time off and you went out and just built the shed in the, in your yard.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Yeah. You know, that’s an interesting thing. It wasn’t even something I was planning on talking about, but you sort of, Brought that up. Is that, that’s just sort of one of your coping mechanisms, it seems like, is Yeah, yeah, yeah. Going out and just

Elizabeth Power: building something, right? Yeah. Yeah. It’s a really big deal.

Elizabeth Power: I mean, trauma stores up in our bodies. It takes its toll in our body. And one of the things that, that, that has been really helpful to me, and there’s actually some science behind it somewhere. I can look it up if somebody gets their knickers and twist, but basically big muscle that is your legs, your thighs, your calves, your arms, your upper arms.

Elizabeth Power: When you can use those, it really helps. It [00:03:00] helps get the trauma out of your body. Of course, we’re not talking boxing, pugilism and stuff like that. We’re talking, I got a terminal mat on a few years ago and I had a concrete sidewalk that was all different heights and it had buckled and bowed and I mean, it was just, And I got mad and I couldn’t get un mad, and I knew it didn’t have to do with the president.

Elizabeth Power: I knew it was about to pass, so I just grabbed a 15 pound sledgehammer and hat at it and then out and went out and ready to jackhammer and took that, took it right up and laid another one. You need to have a list of things you can do that are big. Even hand putty will help, but anything that will let you use the big muscles that you have, whatever you have, so that it can help get that trauma outta your body, get those emotions to move on through, it’s a lot better than using.

Scott DeLuzio: Sure. Absolutely. In a way it’s probably. Somewhat addictive in a good way. You know, it is, you get that release Yep. Of, of energy go going out. Yeah. But in a way it’s, but it’s also productive. Yeah. You’re doing something to accomplish a goal. You’re building a shed.

Scott DeLuzio: You’re fixing the sidewalk. Exactly. You’re, [00:04:00] whatever it is that you’re doing, you’re doing something productive and Exactly. Not destructive.

Elizabeth Power: Right. Exactly. Exactly. I’m facing a move part-time in South Carolina to be my, near my sister whose husband just died and. You know, I’m going, oh my God, I’ll be living in an apartment.

Elizabeth Power: I won’t have a half an acre of dirt and soil and rocks and trees and things to build. What will I do? And I’m already beginning to plan. How can I meet my need for those times? When I was a lot younger, I used to just walk endlessly. Well, I don’t mean to be ugly at my age, at my ripe old age, past Social security.

Elizabeth Power: I don’t need to be out walking in the. Nobody really does anymore much, you know, unless you own all the land you’re walking on and are pretty sure it’s pretty safe and all that. But I need to be reducing my risks and increasing my ability to exercize and x or size, all the energy that gets stored up. I still go off like a bottle rocket when something goes wrong.

Elizabeth Power: When I woke up and found the blue screen of death on Linda’s 11 on my computer, and I live with my, you know, it’s assistive technology for me in a lot of [00:05:00] ways as well as my work tool. You know, I was thinking about picking up and throwing it across the room and all those things. I bet you know those things, don’t you?

Elizabeth Power: Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. , you know, or in my Subaru Crosstrek cry, I think, oh God, that’s really a tank, and I can just drive over that. And drive up over ’em. You can fill in the blanks any way y’all want to. I’m just gonna drive over ’em. I’m just, I’m so mad ’em, I’m just gonna drive over ’em. I don’t know why they thought they could possibly get away with running me off the road or trying to run me off the road.

Elizabeth Power: And then I back up and I go, are you kidding me? Seriously. Wait a minute. You think that that person woke up at six 30 this morning? Thought, Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh. At one o’clock, I’m gonna be on Thompson Lane in Nashville, Tennessee, going east, and I am going to be right behind Elizabeth Power. She’s gonna be right there.

Elizabeth Power: I know she’s, and I’m gonna run her off the road just to piss her off. Are you kidding? I have no idea what’s going on for that person, but I doubt, seriously it has anything to do with me. They might’ve spilled a coffee in their crutch. They could have had a be in there bonnet. There could have been, I have [00:06:00] no idea what’s going on for them, but I’m just certain that they woke up and decided to take that out on me, whatever it was.

Elizabeth Power: You know, and it’s like, all right, I don’t wake up and do that. Why do I think they do , you know, ?

Scott DeLuzio: And when you put it into those terms it seems absolutely ludicrous. No, nobody thinks that. Nobody, it, you know,

Elizabeth Power: it is ludicrous. Maybe 2% of the world of the people in the world wake up deciding to be real jerks.

Elizabeth Power: Maybe 2%. They can’t all be in my. And they don’t all know where I live and what my routine is, ,

Scott DeLuzio: and they don’t, I guarantee they don’t take the same route to work every day that you might or to the grocery store, to wherever else you

Elizabeth Power: go. No. You know, and my route to work is essentially 12 steps east.

Elizabeth Power: In the house, you know, but when I go to the grocery store somewhere else, you know, and when I hear something that sounds like gunshots in my neighborhood and I auto, I instinctively think, okay, is there a line of sight? What’s the line of sight on that? Where’s that coming from? I think, who in the heck does that?

Elizabeth Power: People who’ve been shot at? Right. You know, and it’s like, okay, [00:07:00] there’s no direct line of fire. Oh God, my neighbor just got a gun. There is a direct line of fire, but that’s not close enough to be her. So, oh wait, that’s probably, somebody’s got one of those mufflers on their little tiny putt car. That sounds like an AR and AK.

Elizabeth Power: You people make those things and I’m thinking they’re doing that just to get my stuff up and I’m thinking, no, they’re not. But when the cable for the Comcast across the street I’m on a different provider, was severed by a bullet, I thought, you know, it might really be time to move.

Scott DeLuzio: That is true.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, that’s a good thought. It’s


Elizabeth Power: constant process of assessing what risk, what is a real risk, and what is a risk that I’m making up that’s left over from something else I’ve experienced somewhere else in this country or in this world where it’s extremely hot, if you get my drift.

Scott DeLuzio: No, absolutely. And so on this podcast, I try to bring on guests with different perspectives, different methods of maybe treating various issues even different.

Scott DeLuzio: Points of view on how they approach things. [00:08:00] And I love how you brought that up. You know, people don’t generally wake up thinking to themselves, okay, I’m gonna go at one o’clock this afternoon and just totally ruin this person’s day. Generally that’s not the way most people operate. Right. And that’s a great perspective to have.

Scott DeLuzio: Unfortunately, sometimes we don’t think about things in that manner. Right. But generally I try to have people on the podcast like yourself who have. Different ways of dealing with these issues that the listeners may be going through. And Thanks. Yeah. And I want to talk about the trauma informed Academy Sure.

Scott DeLuzio: And the work that you do through there, because it seemed really interesting to me and how you are approaching care for traumatic experiences.

Elizabeth Power: Well, thanks, I really appreciate that. I mean, first of all, if you think. And this is a big general question, it’s designed deliberately to diffuse some of the energy around trauma.

Elizabeth Power: If you think about a traumatic experience as anything that is [00:09:00] so overwhelming that you think you might die or lose your mind or be badly injured, can you name me one person who hasn’t had something like that happen to them? I mean,

Scott DeLuzio: maybe a newborn baby, but outside of that, I don’t

Elizabeth Power: mean to be ugly, but I if you think squeezing through the birth canal is a piece of cake, you better think several times again, buddy.

Elizabeth Power: That’s true. That’s true. I’ve never seen one wanna go back in and come out and do it again. , you know, whether it’s medical or natural disaster or combat. Or crime related, or I mean things besides abuse and neglect and horror. And this is the part that’s so hard for all of us to understand because I wanna be special.

Elizabeth Power: I want my trauma to be the only trauma, like my trauma in the world. And honestly, It ain’t, I got kids up the street who were once part of the Lost Boys of Sudan who love fireworks. I got a guy down on the cul-de-sac, who’s Vietnam era, who spends his July the fourth in the closet. I always wanna take him a macaroni and cheese kit, you know?

Elizabeth Power: And it’s like, it’s the same thing. We have great fireworks. So what’s up with these two people who are both two sets of people, the Vietnam era guy [00:10:00] and the Lost Boys from Sudan who are both combat exposed? And here I am in the middle and we don’t even go into my history. You know what’s up with this really different response that they have.

Elizabeth Power: Well, the truth of the matter is it doesn’t matter what the name of the event is. It does not matter because I assure you to a two year old who thinks that the world is coming to an end, it’s just as devastating, especially developmentally for them to think maybe nobody’s gonna feed me or I’ve got, or they’ve gotta have some kind of life threatening surgery or something that to them where they are and their body with their access threatens them.

Elizabeth Power: It’s no different than it is for someone who’s just been hit by an I E D. It’s no different. And that’s a hard pill to swallow.

Scott DeLuzio: Right. And like you mentioned earlier the symptoms that you experience, Don’t really care so much about where the trauma came from.

Elizabeth Power: Right, right.

Elizabeth Power: Exactly. Exactly. And the thing is, it’s not, now I’m real funny [00:11:00] about this and there’s this is a long conversation. It’s about what happens to us, not, what’s wrong with this. I don’t even talk about treatment. I talk about adaptation. Because every quirk, every awful behavior that I developed and everything I that I would call symptomatic of my distress it’s not something I got from a virus or an infection or a bacteria or a, a tumor or it might be from a knock in the head, but there’s a whole separate thing with T B I and trauma.

Elizabeth Power: It’s because of something that happened to me. Don’t make criminal behavior or difficulties. Illnesses, they’re things that happen to us. And when we begin to realize it’s not an illness that we are trying to manage, it’s a set of symptoms that we, that are adaptations, extreme adaptations to things that have happened to us, how can we tune those down and turn and change ’em?

Elizabeth Power: And suddenly it begins to be learning. It’s about the neural networks we create because those neural networks that we create drive our behavior and powerful experiences create very [00:12:00] strong ones very quickly.

Elizabeth Power: So basically. What we help people figure out is, look, okay, so I learned to duck, dodge and hide in closets when there was shooting going on. That’s what I learned. My brain sometimes forgets where I am and thinks I’m back and something happening where there was that kind of stuff going on.

Elizabeth Power: I need my, to help my brain learn to calm down a little bit and cool its jets and relax. And so I’m always looking, how can we install the good, for example? , you know, that creates neural networks. And one of my good friends, Joan Boris Sanko says and teaches, okay, so the, at least three good things happen every day.

Elizabeth Power: I consider this time with you a real highlight of my day, and I see your paintings and they look like paintings that my brother-in-law did, you know? And he was. Vietnam era three tours. And I think to myself, what a great time we’re having. What a great opportunity this is. This is fun. And so tonight before I go to bed, I’ll take 20 seconds and I’ll remember this one event and I will turn the volume up on it for 20 [00:13:00] seconds.

Elizabeth Power: And I will be making a UN network. And you stack those suckers up, choice on choice. And after a fashion, your brain begins your, oh, oh wait. Okay. That’s a loud noise. Let’s check it out before we go into fight or flight. Let’s check it out before we have the old reactions we used to have. So it’s a matter of slowing things down a little bit

Scott DeLuzio: and taking.

Scott DeLuzio: Moments, just 20 seconds, 30 seconds, whatever it is to reflect on the good that has happened throughout the day. Mm-hmm. , right? I mean mm-hmm. Of course everyone has something bad going on throughout the day too, but if that’s all you focus on and you draw on that, that’s a terrible,

Elizabeth Power: it’s, that’s, I don’t read that wolf

Scott DeLuzio: Right. It’s a really bad diet. That’s a good way to think about it. It’s like eating all the junk food constantly, and that’s gonna end up with. The ne obvious negative effects, right? Yeah. But if you’re feeding your yourself in this case, you’re feeding your mind the good, the positive thoughts.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And the those positive memories and everything like that. Yeah. Then you’re [00:14:00] starting to work on a healthier way of working through things. Yeah, and

Elizabeth Power: It’s not denying that any of that happened or that those things were there, or that the negativity is present. It’s additive, not loss.

Elizabeth Power: Of course those things still happen. Of course, I still have the memories, the flashbacks, the strong feelings and all that stuff, but you know what? There’s a lot more to me now than there ever used to be. It used to be all that stuff. Sure. I’m the only one who can add more to it so that I’m getting the balance back that I lost.

Scott DeLuzio: And it’s almost, if you want I always like having different physical examples to Yeah, sure. Analogies to kind of, yeah. Equate this to, but it’s like if you were to take food coloring and just pour it into a cup, it’s gonna be really strong and really potent cuz it’s gonna be that color.

Scott DeLuzio: Right? Right. But if you go fill the rest of that cup, With water, it’s gonna be diluted and it’s not. Yeah, sure. It’s still there, but it’s not the only thing

Elizabeth Power: that’s there. That’s right. That’s exactly right. And that’s

Scott DeLuzio: kind of like these negative memories, these, yeah. These tr traumatic experiences that we’ve had.

Scott DeLuzio: If all we do is just [00:15:00] dwell on that, that’s all that’s gonna be there. And that’s all that’s gonna make up you, but if you have some other stuff, it’s gonna dilute it and it’s gonna give you some other things to fall.

Elizabeth Power: That’s exactly right. And I think about how most of us as we are young, and I think about generations going into service these days most people that I know that are young, that are in service grew up in the technology area and they didn’t really grow up with a lot of relationship stuff except maybe watching The Simpsons, which I think is single-handedly responsible for a whole generation of rude customer service workers.

Elizabeth Power: Starkey’s nice. But it’s become our customary way of speaking to each other, right. In business transactions, it’s, and that is the longest running, most valued show on tv. Can you imagine? Yeah. I mean, okay. No, leave it to me. If it wasn’t any better. It was racist and everything else. and it still modeled the civility.

Elizabeth Power: People didn’t grab a gun and kill each other the first time something happened, you know? I mean, sure. It’s, we, the modeling’s a piece of that too. What? What happens for us is, which is so cool though, is that [00:16:00] as we begin to say, oh, okay, I’ve got interconnections I can use, and this is one of our key things, is helping people find connections.

Elizabeth Power: Like the pictures behind you. I see those. and they remind me again of my brother-in-law who just passed. And I feel warmth and kindness and I feel good. But you know what? If I don’t know what a feeling is, what if I grow up with absolutely, hey, in my family as hillbillies, I feel good and I feel bad was as big as it got.

Elizabeth Power: Right? And so what else is there besides, I feel good and I feel bad. Really there’s something else. How many words do you think there are for anger if you look up the synonyms for anger? Oh my gosh, there,

Scott DeLuzio: there’s. There’s probably a couple dozen, I would

Elizabeth Power: imagine. Yeah, about 55 to 60 depending on which thesaurus you pick up.

Elizabeth Power: And when you begin to look at the feelings that we’re afraid of, that you’re afraid of, and anger is, as a woman, anger is one of those things. I, it’s like, no, people can’t get angry with me. So I would just space out in the sp in the face of it if I don’t know. The difference between feeling [00:17:00] annoyed or distressed or perturbed or being infuriated or being enraged or having a catalytic fit or a hissy fit.

Elizabeth Power: If I don’t have some sense of what are all these feelings on this menu? I can’t possibly even own one. So how do I learn those? Well, I didn’t learn ’em when I was experiencing overwhelming experiences, I’ll tell you that because my brain was doing what everybody else’s. And just trying to keep me alive.

Elizabeth Power: It didn’t have room for all that nicety. So as I began to tinker with that, I discovered things like the research on where people feel emotions in their bodies. They’re actually colored charts that are now normed and re fairly reliable. And if you Google or search, where do people feel emotions in their bodies, you’ll find this host and look for image.

Elizabeth Power: you’ll find this whole set of images that look like heat maps. They’re not heat maps. The yellow and the red indicates for a person where people felt activated, and the blue and the black is where people felt deactivated. But you can suddenly [00:18:00] say, wow, is that what I’m, what am I feeling in that? Pardon my, do I match any of these?

Elizabeth Power: And so it’s like suddenly my experience of emotions begins to expand in a time when I’m not freaked out. That’s the thing. You can’t wait until you’re freaked out. To practice these, you need to practice this stuff when you’re calm and cool and collected so you can call on it more readily when you begin to get upset, when if something begins to hit you and.

Scott DeLuzio: And it’s like, you know, practicing anything. Yeah. You don’t go to the World Series and pick up the bat for the first time. No, sir. You sure don’t and first off, you wouldn’t make it there if that was the case. But it wouldn’t be an advisable way to do it anyways. You, it’s not, you need to, you would need to practice in a much less stressed environment.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. When you know all the,

Elizabeth Power: when the

Scott DeLuzio: pressure’s off. Yeah, exactly. When there’s all the pressure is there you don’t Right. You don’t wanna be there. Just trying to figure it out at that moment. Right.

Elizabeth Power: If you’re trying to enlarge the [00:19:00] pond, you don’t wait to repair the dam or build the damn higher until it’s overflowing.

Elizabeth Power: You do it when the water’s down. Yeah. Exactly. This is just common sense. But because we live in a world that is running towards a medical model, we tend to lose that. We tend to lose sight of all the learning that we can do to balance things out, and that’s where the trauma Informed Academy comes in after teaching this stuff for 20 plus years.

Elizabeth Power: People kept saying, we really want you to put your stuff together because you talk about power and you talk about issues that people don’t wanna talk about, but you don’t talk about trauma a lot. I said, that’s right. I don’t have to tell all the gory stories to make a difference in them.

Scott DeLuzio: So walk us through what.

Scott DeLuzio: end user who kinda walks through this Sure. This program what do they experience when they go through this?

Elizabeth Power: Well, the first thing is they experience a combination of text and video and downloads. And if they choose, there’s training calls they can come and jump in on to find out, like, why would we teach an impact based definition?

Elizabeth Power: Well, you know, part of [00:20:00] it is because, for example, We all, otherwise we caught up in the trauma Olympics. Oh, no, no, no. Mine’s worse than yours. Oh, no, no, no. My, I’ve got more than you. And then suddenly we’re taking off all the events that have traumatized us and seeing who gets the gold medal. Right.

Elizabeth Power: Seriously. .

Scott DeLuzio: Well, and I always say if you have two people, Who drowned one in five feet of water and another in a hundred feet of water. It doesn’t really matter at the end

Elizabeth Power: of the day. No, no. They’re both, they both drowned. They’re both drowned. Right. Exactly. Exactly. They’re both their line.

Elizabeth Power: Yeah, exactly. So, you know, we stress the impact based definition and we talk about the origins of trauma and its history across time. In the big version in the history. Also talk about the history of care across time. Going back to Hippocrates. And the thousand yard stair that we often see.

Elizabeth Power: You know, you see it in rescue pets, you see it in people. It’s fairly universal. It’s that stair that says, I can’t afford to be here, but my body’s left behind. , you know? And then we, as we work through the model, we develop the trauma responsive system, which looks at the elements that [00:21:00] overlap between emotional intelligence and trauma recovery, using trauma psychology and using sociology and education and a lot of different fields that a lot of people don’t go, don’t look at.

Elizabeth Power: And ironically, if your listeners have kids who. Elementary or primary grades, they may be taking social emotional learning, where they’re learning how to manage their feelings and learning how to be kind to each other. They’re learning self-awareness, self-regulation, social awareness, social skills, empathy and decision making, which are the same skills and emotional intelligence.

Elizabeth Power: Those which, you know, there’s a lot of research out there. If your emotional intelligence is higher, you have better income, your relationships are better. Life is ju. Those are the same skills you need in trauma recovery. So we teach the overlaps without talking about diagnosis or medication, which some people really need and really have to have, and it really does make a difference for them.

Elizabeth Power: But almost everybody [00:22:00] can jack up their skills a little bit. And so we work to help people jack up elastic emotions, which is about self-regulation. We work about finding connections, which is those inner connections that are positive. TAs, you got commemorative tats. You know what the stories are? Recipes, family recipes that we love just thinking about those babes, our brain and dopamine.

Elizabeth Power: Seriously. So it’s all the cheat sheet for feeling better more often so that you can balance your life in a different way. Wow. Well, just a lot of cool stuff. It’s,

Scott DeLuzio: And it makes sense to what you’re saying too, how people. Who are better with their emotions, you know, regulating their emotions and things tend to be more successful too, because Yeah, like going back to what we were saying before, if all that is going on in your mind is that negative stuff, that negative emotions and negative thoughts and the constantly reliving the, those traumatic experiences Yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: There’s not a whole lot of room for growth No.

Elizabeth Power: In that, no. [00:23:00] That’s why I was, that’s why I was sure that I’d never be anything more than a shoe maker. Right. You know, and was have been homeless off and on, you know, across my life. But now after a lot of work and a lot of attention and frankly, y’all, it’s really important.

Elizabeth Power: Be kind to your brain. If your, when your brain acts up and says, oh my God, oh my God, my god, bad things were happening. It’s just trying to keep you safe. You can have a little compassion for it and say, Hey, thanks for letting me know I got this. Everything’s good. If you’re gonna talk to yourself, make it count.

Elizabeth Power: Sure. Don’t beat yourself up, then you have to have comfort. That means you’ve gotta either go eat or drink or smoke or use or do whatever you do, which may or may not be the most helpful tool.

Scott DeLuzio: Right. And in a lot of cases, those are not the most helpful tools. They tend to be more counterproductive than, yeah, exactly.

Scott DeLuzio: They’re the, you know, having the. Drinking in excess tonight that yeah, it might make you feel better, but it tomorrow it’s not gonna make,

Elizabeth Power: it’s not gonna help this situ [00:24:00] situation. You, you need those brain cells. Yeah. Getting out on the motorcycle without a helmet and riding it 150 miles up and down the highway, like a wild maniac.

Elizabeth Power: You know, getting out in your yard. Yard in the desert, in the backyard, buck, neck in, slinging a long neck and howling at the moon. Might be safer, although you could still get arrested for it. ,

Scott DeLuzio: right? Yeah. And. But going back to what you were talking about in the beginning, going out and doing something productive, using your muscles get, getting physical without being destructive, without getting into a bar fight, which also uses a lot of the same muscles.

Scott DeLuzio: Oh,

Elizabeth Power: love it. But that’s not, it’s a lot of same muscles. Yeah. Yeah. Not the best idea. I used to be a scrapper. Yeah. Yeah. first bike was a Harley Panhead. Chopped and channeled. Okay. .

Scott DeLuzio: Well, It seems like, so this program here by training people kind of how to deal with these emotions Yeah. In a healthy way, rather than just reacting and having these negative [00:25:00] reactions to this stuff Yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: Is really helpful. Yeah. And it seems like it reduces the amount of time. Someone is gonna stay in that traumatized. I don’t even know if that’s the right term, but yes. But that traumatized state where they, yes. Can’t move

Elizabeth Power: on, right? Yes. It reduces the time and the trauma and the cost of healing.

Elizabeth Power: Now, here’s the challenge. I was awfully comfortable as a professional victim and a professional survivor. I knew my role, I knew what people expected of me. I knew what my behavior was supposed to be like, and it was a nice, tidy, comfortable, horrifying box. You wanna talk about terror? Try getting both feet out of the boat when you think you wanna walk on water.

Elizabeth Power: You know, I mean the, the terror of being healthier was absolutely overwhelming because it. That I could no longer justify burning through whole villages of relationships. Right. You [00:26:00] know,

Scott DeLuzio: and when you’ve labeled yourself as a victim, as a survivor of something whatever the traumatic experience is and whatever the label is that you put on yourself, that becomes part of your identity.

Scott DeLuzio: Oh, yeah. And it’s hard to change your identity. Yeah. And

Elizabeth Power: nobody will let go. Right there will always be somebody who remembers, oh, you’re the one who, now let me give y’all the best answer in the world. If you’re changing your life and if you’re stacking your choices to the positive towards more productive choices, and somebody says, oh my God, aren’t you the one who, your best answer is to smile broadly.

Elizabeth Power: Say, oh yeah, and if you just knew the rest, that and so much more and it kind of turns ’em away. They don’t know what to say.

Scott DeLuzio: and it, that’s a good response too, because there is a whole lot more, and just like that cup of water that I was talking about before and filling it up and diluting the negative that’s in there, [00:27:00] there’s a whole lot more to all of us.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. We’ve all experienced something traumatic at one point or another to varying degrees. I nearly lost my life to, yeah, that was a really close call and it was a scary experience, but regardless of the degree of trauma we’ve all experienced something. Yeah. And. It doesn’t, shouldn’t define

Elizabeth Power: us.

Elizabeth Power: No, it shouldn’t. Although if you, in, in some ways, if you think about it does, I mean, I do a lot of work with faith communities as well, and every origin story is full of trauma. Yeah. Every origin story, if you think about it from the point of view and the people in the story would overwhelm them to the point they probably couldn’t cope.

Elizabeth Power: you know, I mean, we’re not talking about the barista said, oh my God, I’ve been traumatized. They made me taste lemonade in coffee. It’s like, no, no, no, baby girl. You might have been disgusted. You might not have liked it, but chances are you didn’t think you were gonna lose your mind or be badly injured or die.

Elizabeth Power: Right? There’s a criteria there, and the [00:28:00] thing about childhood is that we oftentimes might not know those things that have affected us that way, or we might, it doesn’t have to. What we all think about, which is abuse and neglect. That’s a sociological artifact from when we began to call things trauma.

Elizabeth Power: Mm-hmm. . And when we began to change labeling, you know, if you go back to the Vietnam era, that was really when we began this whole journey because the guys would come home and it would be perilously clear to anybody around them that we couldn’t deal with this as if it was a broken brain. What we had to deal with this was, is if it was adaptations in context.

Elizabeth Power: Sure, and when we began to look at the reactions of post-traumatic stress as reactions that are out of context, we began to make a lot more progress, but that doesn’t fit well with a medical model that is driven by medication and treatment. Treatment tells us that there’s something wrong with us that we have to fix, not something that’s happened to us, to which we’ve adapted [00:29:00] and need to adapt again.

Elizabeth Power: Interesting.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah I haven’t really, I don’t think I’ve ever really thought of it that way. Because I mean, quite frankly a lot of the research that’s out there is talking about treatment. Mm-hmm. Options, be it medication or talk therapy or whatever the thing is. But that adaptation is, I mean, it’s probably a smart way to look at it too, because, Whatever it is that happened, happened.

Scott DeLuzio: Like there’s no going back and taking that away and changing that. Right. Right, right. And so if you’re dealing with something that had happened, You might have to learn how to live with that. And again, go back to another physical example, if you’ve lost your leg in a car accident or something, right?

Scott DeLuzio: Right. There’s no going back. Right. And getting that leg back, but you’re gonna have to learn how to live without it. Right. And so in a similar way, there’s no going back to the time before [00:30:00] that trauma happened as much as you may want to but it, right. It’s not gonna happen. And so that water’s. Exactly now.

Scott DeLuzio: Now you have to figure out how to deal. The trauma that occurred and how to continue living life and try to live life in the best way that you possibly can. Right. How

Elizabeth Power: to open up to life instead of shutting down to trauma. And it’s, when you think about it, I wanna talk about our medical system for just a second.

Elizabeth Power: Sure. Mental health people began to be part of the medical model. Not long after Freud came around, there was a whole big surge and I could give you all the data. Please. In order for a psychiatrist or a psychologist or a counselor to get paid, an insurance form has to be filed. Insurance, healthcare, insurance lives in the world of the medical model where there is a germ or a, it’s a germ based theory of disease that has.

Elizabeth Power: In the case of what we call mental illness, if you have syphilitic lesions, if you have a t b i, if [00:31:00] you’ve got lesions from dementia, if you’ve got maybe ence encephalitis they could be caused by bodily, could be caused by inflammation or parasites. In those cases, you need an infectious disease specialist.

Elizabeth Power: A neurologist a medical doctor with specialized training who submits an insurance claim, just like the psychiatrist who prescribes medication or the counselor who does the talk therapy does, but there’s no equi. It’s a false equivalency. Mm-hmm. , because they are not the same thing. Sure. Now, here’s the big challenge.

Elizabeth Power: We also inherit the impact of what happened to our ancestors, and so that makes us more inclined. to different things and different reactions when we have exposure. But that same genetic propensity can also be changed because we have the blessing of neuroplasticity, which is why we install the positive.

Elizabeth Power: The genes that are associated with my father’s difficulties in World War II or the Great Depression or [00:32:00] pick anything, seven generations back in my family. Those genes don’t have to express when I do the work to change how they. and how I react, right? So this isn’t a life sentence, and medication may or may not be helpful, but it really doesn’t exactly belong in the realm of physical medical care.

Elizabeth Power: But that’s where the money stream is. And so you’ve gotta look at it from that perspective. I don’t mean any harm by this, it’s just that we don’t live in a system that is yet focused on adaptation. It’s not a disability or an ability focused system, it’s an illness focused system, right? I live in disability.

Elizabeth Power: And it,

Scott DeLuzio: it’s just a different way of looking at things, I think. Yeah. And the way our system is currently set up, it just doesn’t seem to fit in that nice box that, that you’re talking about there, but

Elizabeth Power: Right, right. Even though trauma informed care is legislated in a number of states and in a number of settings, we’re still catching up, right?

Elizabeth Power: But hey, you don’t have to wait. You can do your [00:33:00] own work and it will make the work you do in therapy and with medication easier and faster, and that’s the deal. Just how long do you need to suffer?

Scott DeLuzio: Right, exactly. You know, I, and how long does anyone need to suffer? Right. And I think anyone, if you were to ask, like, it would be zero.

Scott DeLuzio: Like, I don’t need, I don’t need the suffering, but I may

Elizabeth Power: not know what to do instead. But I don’t need it.

Scott DeLuzio: I don’t need it. Right, exactly. So, yeah. So you’ve also written the book titled Healer Reducing Crises. Tell us about that book and what readers can hope to get out of it if you need to pick it up.

Elizabeth Power: It’s a cool book. It’s an, it’s on Amazon and it’s not only on Amazon in paperback. Let’s see if I can get it. There you go. There’s a, there you go. Well, there we go. I’ll send you a copy by email. It’s on, in Kindle, it’s on Audible, and I actually did the reading in Audible. Great. What readers can hope to get is an easy, comfortable, non traumatizing.

Elizabeth Power: Conversation and set of stories about the things that most of us first survivors do that [00:34:00] cause crisis. We don’t have to talk about what they’re, we need to know what to do differently. So it presents the primary models that we teach in the Trauma-Informed Academy, the three big ones, finding connections, elastic emotions and identifying and focusing on strengths and gives people.

Elizabeth Power: Kind of a casual look at what we can do to help ourselves. I would call it the prequel of the Trauma Informed Academy. So you can actually learn a lot, and there are a lot of handouts and stuff that are reproduced in the book. A little tiny, but they’re still there so that folks can begin to do their own work in a way that’s supportive.

Elizabeth Power: I’ll tell you this. Before I wrote the book or put the academy together, I surveyed 3000 mental health clinicians and asked them if your clients came to the. With higher levels of these skills, would that help your practice and how would it help it if it would and it was universal, it would help so much.

Elizabeth Power: The work would be easier for them and for us and as much trauma as we have, [00:35:00] anything people could do, like grabbing a copy of the book or signing up for the Trauma-Informed Academy will make it a lot easier for them to do the work that they’re doing to rebuild life and to build a new life after something difficult.

Elizabeth Power: Well, that’s great.

Scott DeLuzio: And I think a good starting point for anybody. Kind of low, risk. Low barrier to entry here. Yeah. Is getting a copy of the book and reading through or listening to the book or Sure. Or whatever they feel most comfortable with. And, Just seeing how that helps them and Yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: Even if it isn’t a hundred percent, getting them across that goal line, you know, maybe that’s, like you said, kind of the introductory to the trauma informed AC Academy and will help them get into transition into that way of thinking a little bit easier.

Elizabeth Power: Yeah, I hope so. What we’ve found is that when folks begin to realize, you know, as far as I’ve come, I’m always gonna have that far to go.

Elizabeth Power: Again, this isn’t a race. There’s nothing particularly wrong with me. I’ve learned to do some things that don’t work. I wanna [00:36:00] learn to do some other things. When we become students, how Mona in the Lang, in the Hawaiian language when we become hamana of our own lives in that way, we find that we.

Elizabeth Power: The reins back in our hands instead of our lives having the reins in its hands.

Scott DeLuzio: That’s a great way to think about it. Yeah. Well, Elizabeth, it has been an absolute pleasure speaking with you, getting to know you a little bit more today. Where can people go to get in touch with you and find out more about the Trauma Informed Academy?

Scott DeLuzio: You already mentioned the book is available on Amazon, and I’ll have a link to that in the show notes. Sure. But what about the the Trauma Informed Academy? Where can people go to find out more?

Elizabeth Power: It’s really easy. My primary website is elizabeth power.com and you can go and you’ll find a link to trauma there.

Elizabeth Power: If folks wanna go straight to the academy and what we’re offering right now, they can go out to trauma informed care.com and they’ll be links on that page and let me offer them a little gift. You ready? Okay. Yeah, please. If you guys want a f a month of [00:37:00] free access to the Trauma Informed Academy, you can go to trauma informed care.com/guest and sign up.

Elizabeth Power: We’re putting that together today, and we’ll give you a month of free access downloads everything, same as everybody else would get.

Scott DeLuzio: That’s excellent, and I do appreciate that, and I’ll have a link to that specifically in the show notes so that people can check that out. So trauma informed care.com/guest check that out.

Scott DeLuzio: Again, the link will be in the show notes. Elizabeth, again, thank you so much for coming on. I really do appreciate your perspectives and your point of view on dealing with trauma and kind. Bouncing back after the traumas that we all inevitably are going to face in our

Elizabeth Power: lives. Right? Yeah. Yeah.

Elizabeth Power: And that, and, you know, and it, the cool thing is it makes for stronger families, healthier people, and more fun in the long run. It doesn’t matter what the name of the event was, that temporarily snatched your world, you can get it back, I promise, and I’ll leave all the rest unsaid for [00:38:00] later.

Scott DeLuzio: Excellent.

Scott DeLuzio: Thanks

Elizabeth Power: again. Thanks Scott.

Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to support the show, please check out Scott’s book, Surviving Son on Amazon. All of the sales from that book go directly back into this podcast and work to help veterans in need. You can also follow the Drive On Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and wherever you listen to podcasts.

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