By Emily Jo Wharry
In a year dominated by Zoom meetings and Google Classrooms, podcasts can offer welcome respite for screen-weary eyes. For those busy days when sitting down to read an article just isn’t possible, check out one of these episodes, each of which explore the intersection of emotional trauma, childhood development and parenting from a different perspective. These podcasts range across clinical deep dives, one- on-one interviews with former foster youth and chatty conversations among parents.
Listen on Spotify:
Stable Moments Podcast (49 minutes)
The Stable Moments Podcast centers on all things related to foster care, and this episode unpacks the basics of the “trauma” and “trauma-informed” buzzwords. If you’ve always wanted to dive deeper into understanding trauma — specifically within the context of foster parenting — but feel overwhelmed by clinical jargon, this podcast is a perfect first stop. Most of the episode is dedicated to real-life advice for building a relationship with a child who is struggling with the aftermath of neglect or abuse.
This podcast’s quick tip: A traumatized child is used to living with a hypervigilant, survival-focused mindset every single day, making seemingly harmless events, such as noises or smells, trigger upsetting memories and outbursts.
Fostering Voices (57 minutes)
Sometimes the day-to-day struggles of parenting can make it feel as though attaining a lifestyle unburdened by trauma is an impossible goal. In those moments, it can help to listen to the perspective of a young person who grew up in foster care and has successfully overcome developmental setbacks. In this episode, former foster youth Monica talks about her journey with using intensive therapy and Christianity to heal her childhood trauma.
Quick tip: “Hero” mentalities, or holding ourselves to the high standard of saving or healing a child with preexisting trauma, can actually hinder our parenting approach.
Being Well with Dr. Rick Hanson (46 minutes)
This episode offers scientific, research-driven insight on how harmful childhood experiences can leave long-term scars. Dr. Bruce Perry, who has specialized in researching children in crisis for more than 30 years, explains the differences between trauma and stress, notable research on children’s developmental phases and some real-world examples of trauma treatment. This podcast is good for someone seeking denser information on the biological impact of childhood trauma.
Quick tip: “Tiny doses of healing” spread throughout the day — smiling at someone on a bus, walking for 4 minutes around the block — can lessen stress and heal one’s relationship with their regulatory activities that were previously damaged by trauma.
Psychiatry & Psychotherapy Podcast (1 hour, 10 minutes)
In this podcast designed for an audience of mental health professionals, host Dr. David Puder and his guest, Randy Stinnett Psy. D, break down the basics of trauma and attachment-based trauma in a simplified, easy-to-understand way. While this episode doesn’t focus on childhood trauma alone and instead surveys the various manifestations of emotional trauma at large, it’s an informative introduction to the topic for anyone seeking a balance between layperson and clinically-informed language.
Quick tip: We can think of trauma as something that is “too big” for the brain to healthily process into its memory systems — so it gets “stuck,” forcing a person to carry this memory at the forefront of their mind.
It’s Not You; It’s Your Trauma (23 minutes)
This short episode discusses how a person can be impacted by specific childhood relationships, such as a narcissistic parent or a weak family system. If you’re looking for vocabulary that helps you understand and describe the sometimes conflicting relationship between a child’s needs and a parent’s needs, this podcast is a strong resource. Host Joe Ryan’s self-help approach will help whether you’re a parent navigating a relationship with a traumatized child or have experienced a tenuous formative relationship yourself. (Note that this episode contains adult language.)
Quick tip: Sudden withdrawal, anger or “freezing” can often be coping mechanisms for people attempting to quickly process shame.
Carolyn Spring (41 minutes)
Similar to Joe Ryan’s podcast, this episode was recorded for an audience of adults seeking to recover from their own childhood trauma — but host Carolyn Spring also describes her own experience as a foster carer for 22 children who were at various stages of emotional development. She provides an accessible walkthrough on how developmental trauma can impact a child’s ability to regulate emotions and offers an alternative mindset: an inability to regulate emotions isn’t a character deficiency, but the consequence of a lost learning opportunity that can be recreated in the present.
Quick tip: The gaps in time between therapy sessions can be just as developmentally important for healing as the therapy sessions themselves.
Trauma Talks (42 minutes) *Only available on the University of Buffalo’s website.
In this series sponsored by the University at Buffalo’s Institute on Trauma, each interviewee is a professional who shares their experience working in the field of trauma-informed care. This episode’s guest is Erin, a school social worker, who describes how her trauma-informed classroom operates. She also talks about the ways her peers are adapting their trauma-informed methods to now help school children from adverse home experiences cope with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Quick tip: Researchers have identified the five principles of trauma-informed care to be safety, trust, choice, collaboration and empowerment. In many instances, these principles intertwine; for example, trust cannot exist without safety.
The Honestly Adoption Podcast (47 minutes)
This conversational interview features Andie Coston, an adoptee, foster parent, adoptive parent and sexual abuse survivor. She talks about the importance of trauma-informed mindsets and what it’s like parenting as an adoptee. (And though she’s a guest on this episode, Andie hosts her own podcast, Trauma-Informed Everything, which translates trauma research into everyday applications.) This episode’s free-flowing conversation is a more lighthearted alternative to other heavier trauma-themed podcasts.
Quick tip: You won’t be able to meet your child where they are until you heal your own trauma first.
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