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Diving into Healing

Diving into Healing

By San Diego Psychological Association

Diving into Healing podcast is presented by the San Diego Psychological Association (SDPA) Public, Education, and Media (PEM) Committee. This SDPA podcast explores various mental health issues and challenges facing us all. It's an interview-style show that brings on professionals to share their expertise on anxiety, parenting issues, trauma, and more.

Music by Milano - Waterfall (Artlist)

If you have any questions or topics you would like us to cover reach out to Tami Magaro at the SDPA office or visit our website

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What Am I Doing Wrong Here?: Communication Errors and Parenting Pitfalls

Diving into HealingNov 28, 2022

What Am I Doing Wrong Here?: Communication Errors and Parenting Pitfalls

What Am I Doing Wrong Here?: Communication Errors and Parenting Pitfalls

Be honest - We pick terrible times to address tough topics with our kids - at the moment! We know it, and yet we persist.

Parental stress & anxiety causes us to rush really important parenting moments. The language and the tone of our communication have an immediate and direct impact on how our children and teens hear (or ignore) our messages. Parents are always seeking guidance on how to approach certain loaded topics with their teens, but in this episode, Dr. Adria O'Donnell will show us that the WHEN may be just as important.

Dr. Adria O’Donnell is a licensed clinical consulting psychologist, mother, and summer camp behavioral consultant. She brings 20 years of clinical experience and provides practical, direct tips as to how to improve your parenting skills.

Nov 28, 202243:43
 EMDR for Trauma: Focusing on the bottom up Approach

EMDR for Trauma: Focusing on the bottom up Approach

In the episode, Guest Alexandra Brown discusses EMDR as a method of treatment for trauma focusing on the bottom-up approach.

Alexandra Brown is the Founder of Thrive In Life Therapy. She created this group practice focusing on fully integrating mental health with physical fitness/movement. Alexandra believes in using trauma-informed care to heal individuals, their families, and their communities. She focuses on both the top-down approach to therapy as well as the bottom-up approach to focus on the mind/body connection.

Nov 21, 202228:01
Role of the Endocannabinoid system in Health and Disease: Mood, Stress Resilience, Pain Processing and Sleep

Role of the Endocannabinoid system in Health and Disease: Mood, Stress Resilience, Pain Processing and Sleep

In this episode, we will explore the endocannabinoid system's role in health and disease relating to mood, stress, resilience, pain processing, and sleep with our guest today, Dr. Michelle Sexton. She formally studied the endocannabinoid system for six years through her fellowship at the University of Washington and has continued her research into the health effects of cannabis at UCSD.

Dr. Michelle Sexton is an Assistant Adjunct Professor at UCSD in the Department of Anesthesiology. She graduated from Bastyr University in 2008 and then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Washington, where she formally studied the endocannabinoid system for six years. Her NIH-funded pre-doctoral and postdoctoral research on cannabinoids and their roles in neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration investigated cannabis use and its impact on inflammatory markers. She has continued her research into the health effects of cannabis at UCSD. Prior to medical school, she was a midwife and herbalist for 15 years. Dr. Sexton has presented her research internationally and published 18 papers in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Sexton’s clinical practice, research, and teaching focus on the endocannabinoid system and the roles for integrative medicine, including cannabis, to treat a range of conditions across the lifespan. She is a member of the International Cannabinoid Research Society, the International Association of Cannabinoid Medicine, the American Association of Naturopathic Doctors, and the Society of Cannabis Clinicians. She maintains a medical practice in the Pacific Beach neighborhood of San Diego, CA. When not caring for patients or pursuing research, you can find her in the garden, playing music, playing with grandchildren, swimming, or riding her bike to the beach for a surf session!

Nov 14, 202243:49
Maternal Mental Health: Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

Maternal Mental Health: Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

In this episode, Eszter Kalman, LCSW, PMH-C discusses maternal mental health, its prevalence, risks, symptoms, prevention, and treatment. Especially focusing on Postpartum Depression and Anxiety.

Eszter Kalman is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker specializing in Perinatal Mental Health, and she is in private practice in San Diego, CA. Eszter was born and raised in Budapest, Hungary. After living in Rome, Italy for four years - where she met her future husband, she moved to beautiful, sunny San Diego, CA in 2011. After her own struggle with Postpartum Depression and Anxiety, she decided to switch careers to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She went back to school to get her master’s degree at SDSU. While she has worked with a diverse population people diagnosed with severe mental illnesses, her mission has always remained the same: helping those struggling emotionally and mentally during pregnancy and postpartum.

She has been a helpline volunteer for the Postpartum Health Alliance of San Diego and Postpartum Support International for many years.

On her Instagram account, you can find several educational posts, videos on maternal/parental mental health, IG handle @goldentearstherapy

She is a mother of two, a 9-year-old talented, athletic boy and a pandemic toddler girl. Eszter enjoys traveling around the World with her family, obsessed with shows like Shark Tank and everything from Gordon Ramsay. Exploring and being active in the parks and beaches of San Diego is a must for her, as well as her morning latte twice a day.

Nov 04, 202240:24
Socio Cultural Traumas Related to Marginalized Identities

Socio Cultural Traumas Related to Marginalized Identities

Dr. Tahirih Moffett discusses and explores her work with People of Color (POC). She defines common challenges POC face in their lives, including race based trauma, internalized racism, imposter syndrome, and respectability politics. She explores ways POC can take care of themselves and how therapists can provide therapeutic and inclusive care.

Dr. Moffett received a Doctorate Degree in Clinical Psychology (PsyD) from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 2018. She completed her predoctoral psychology internship at the University of San Diego and her postdoctoral residency at University of California, San Diego. Prior to beginning her doctoral program in clinical psychology, Dr. Moffett received her Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW) at Columbia University in the City of New York, and had a career as a neonatal intensive care registered nurse for many years.

Dr. Moffett seeks to provide a safe, warm, collaborative and inclusive space for her clients. She believes this is vital in helping her clients feel comfortable to share and process their concerns and worries so that they can make sense of them and better manage them. Dr. Moffett’s work also focuses on helping her clients build a healthy relationship with life challenges - using their personal values to guide them. Dr. Moffett is passionate about supporting clients with marginalized identities. She is deeply concerned about social justice issues and how they may impact one’s suffering. Dr. Moffett’s approach is holistic lens and integrates intersecting identities. Her therapeutic orientations include Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Psychodynamic, and mindfulness and self-compassion based techniques.

Dr. Moffett loves the SoCal weather. So much so that she often goes hiking, or to the beach to relax, nap, and bask in the sun. Dr. Moffett enjoys reading novels, including fiction and history, and watching a good television show or movie. She considers herself to be a lifelong learner which is why historical books tend to captivate her. She is a lover of dancing and karaoke nights. Dr. Moffett also just really loves to laugh, as humor can be so healing.


Psychology Today Profile:

NPR - Code Switch: For personal knowledge and developing competence of race related issues

The Homecoming Podcast with Dr. Thema: For tips on coping with race based trauma

Sep 22, 202245:23
Immigration Trauma: Help this Diverse Population and their Families
Aug 25, 202238:44
Different Types of Eating Disorders

Different Types of Eating Disorders

On today’s show, we have Registered Dietitian Susan Zelenak who will be talking about the various types of eating disorders, such as Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating disorder, and Orthorexia. We will also discuss a few warning signs to look out for and treatment options.

Susan Zelenak is a registered dietitian who obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in foods and nutrition from San Diego State University. She then completed her dietetic internship through Utah State University as well as her Master of Dietetics Administration degree with an emphasis on dietetic management.

Susan is passionate about helping patients on their journey to recovery. She has worked with adolescents and adults in residential and outpatient settings since 2017. Susan takes pride in creating a supportive space for individualized care centered around the principles of Intuitive Eating and aligned with the Health at Every Size® (HAES) approach.

Susan is currently the secretary for the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals (IAEDP) San Diego chapter and Mental Health Resource Professional on Behavioral Health Nutrition (BHN).

Jul 11, 202237:38
Superhero Therapy: How We Can Cope with Ongoing Global Trauma

Superhero Therapy: How We Can Cope with Ongoing Global Trauma

Guest Host Dr. Monica Hinton

Guest Dr. Janina Scarlet

Nearly 40% of trauma survivors drop out of therapy because they find it “too distressing.” Many also might struggle with being able to trust their therapist or find a way to express what they are going through. When trauma survivors turn to loved ones for support, many are invalidated or shamed about their reactions to their traumatic experiences. As a result, many trauma survivors experience pervasive feelings of loneliness.

Some scientists call loneliness the new epidemic, while others dub loneliness “The New Smoking.” Worldwide loneliness rates have skyrocketed prior to the COVID pandemic and continue to do so. In addition to the global spikes in suicide rates, loneliness has been found to negatively impact the human immune and cardiovascular system in a similar way as smoking a pack of cigarettes per day or daily alcohol abuse.

Hence, many trauma survivors turn to TV shows, books, movies, or video games for comfort as a way of managing loneliness and finding a sense of connection and belonging, especially when lacking these kinds of meaningful connections in real life. The connections that many trauma survivors forge with fictional TV shows, books, and video game characters can serve as meaningful social support systems. 

Many therapists and educators might believe that playing video games, reading comic books, and watching television shows are harmful to people’s well-being. Thus, many well-intentioned providers and/or family members might discourage and even criticize the trauma survivor’s reliance on fictional connections for comfort without realizing their potentially life-saving nature. 

However, more recent studies demonstrate that video games and television shows have helped people to better manage their mental health during the COVID pandemic, as well as during major life stressors, such as when undergoing a loss or a major surgery. Other studies show that popular culture can help people to become more compassionate, feel less lonely, and be more likely to engage in helping behaviors. This is where Superhero Therapy comes in.

Superhero Therapy (ST) refers to incorporating popular culture into evidence-based therapy (such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, EMDR, DBT, and many others) to destigmatize the client’s mental health experience and promote engagement in treatment. Above all, Superhero Therapy aims to assist the client in becoming their own version of a superhero in real life (IRL), fostering posttraumatic growth and being more willing to engage in treatment-related practices. 

Capes are optional.

Dr. Janina Scarlet is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, author, TEDx speaker, and a full-time geek. A Ukrainian-born refugee, she survived Chernobyl radiation and persecution. She immigrated to the United States at the age of 12 with her family and later, inspired by the X-Men, developed Superhero Therapy to help patients with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Dr. Scarlet is the recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award by the United Nations Association for her work on Superhero Therapy.  Her work has been featured on Yahoo, BBC, NPR, Sunday Times, CNN, CW, ABC, The New York Times, Forbes, and many other outlets. She regularly consults on books and television shows, including HBO’s The Young Justice. She was also portrayed as a comic book character in Gail Simone’s Seven Days graphic novel. Dr. Scarlet is the Lead Trauma Specialist at the Center for Stress and Anxiety Management and with the Pop Culture Hero Coalition.

She authored ten books and has written chapters for fourteen others. Her books include Superhero Therapy, Harry Potter Therapy, Therapy Quest, Dark Agents, Super-Women,  It Shouldn’t Be This Way, and many others.

Jun 21, 202243:30
Reversing the Growing Youth Mental Health Crisis

Reversing the Growing Youth Mental Health Crisis

Guest Host Dr. Devon Berkheiser

On December 7, The United States surgeon general warned that young people are facing “devastating” mental health effects because of the challenges experienced by their generation, including the coronavirus pandemic. Here are some ways our professionals can help educate and engage parents to recognize the signs and symptoms to receive the care their child deserves.

Dr. Alejandra Postlethwaite is a board-certified community, adult, adolescent, and child psychiatrist, and an assistant clinical professor in the UC San Diego Department of Psychiatry.

After completing medical school at the Universidad Autonoma of Guadalajara in Jalisco, Mexico, she lived and worked in San Juan Teitipac, Oaxaca, as a family practitioner. She received her psychiatric training at Harvard Medical School and UC San Diego, her child and adolescent psychiatric training at UCLA, and her psychoanalytic psychotherapy training at the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute. Her research career has focused on childhood trauma and parental bonding in the Hispanic population. She has been honored with several awards, including UC San Diego Chair Research Award, UC San Diego Medical Student Teaching Award, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Chief Resident Leadership Travel Award, the APA Minority Fellowship Award, UCLA Gertude R Greenblatt, MD Award for humanity work, and the American Psychoanalytic Association Fellowship Award.

Alejandra is actively involved in the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) Diversity and Culture Committee, the California Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (ACAP) and San Diego ACAP Chapters, for which she is president-elect. She was the behavioral health services director for La Maestra Community Health Center prior to joining Neighborhood Healthcare, where she continues to work with medically underserved children and families. She is also a staff psychiatrist at Rady Children's Hospital's Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Services inpatient unit, and a professor for first-year UC San Diego medical students. Prior to her work at federally qualified health care clinics, Dr Postlethwaite, was the associate training director for UC San Diego's Community Psychiatry Fellowship Program.

Jun 14, 202235:54
What is Depression?

What is Depression?

Dr. Jon Deam discusses a common-sense approach to diagnosis, understanding when symptoms are improving or not, available treatments, and the ultimate struggle with robbed motivation when feeling down.

Jon Deam, MD, is an experienced psychiatrist and telemedicine mental health provider at Aveo Wellness based in San Diego, California. For Dr. Deam, it all started with a question, namely, what do I want? And what does anyone want, for that matter? After years of working with people from all walks of life, faiths, creeds, and nationalities, Dr. Deam stumbled on a simple but challenging answer: to be loved, to be accepted, and to be connected to those we choose to love and accept. 

The first step in that journey was growing up and being educated in Florida. Curious and motivated, Dr. Deam ended up with two bachelor’s degrees, a love of travel after schooling in Scotland, and a clear direction for his life: to help. After graduating from Florida State University College of Medicine, the first new medical school in the United States in 25 years, he made the leap from sunny Florida to snowy Boston to train at Boston University for his psychiatry residency. 

Always drawn to those with stories, Dr. Deam has spent his career helping people navigate transitional, and sometimes painful, steps in life. Some of those stories have been joyful, some touched with sadness, and some touched by serious mental illness in need of treatment. 

Having lived and worked across all four corners of this country, Dr. Deam has seen we aren’t that different after all. The cities change, but the stories are the same. From being the lead doctor on inpatient units, treating those with serious mental illness, to comforting a new mother overwhelmed in a routine appointment, the lesson is clear and lasting: Connect. Grow. Be you.

Jun 09, 202250:50
Prison in School Pipeline

Prison in School Pipeline

Today's episode explores the prison in school pipeline as well as zero tolerance system with our guests Alex Kannan & Dr. Ricky Pope.

Dr. Ricky J. Pope received a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Western Michigan University in 2018. He earned an Associate’s degree in transfer studies and transferred to San Diego State University (SDSU), where he graduated with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. He now provides therapeutic services at Counseling and Psychological Services to SDSU college students. Dr. Pope takes pleasure in assisting first-generation college students to persist toward degree completion as he knows that college can be a path toward upward mobility. His general clinical interests involve addressing racial and ethnic identity concerns, depression and anxiety, and concerns related to masculinity. His research interests involve critical considerations of racism and equity in education, service delivery to underrepresented populations, and the study of organizational structures and participant outcomes in the justice setting.

Alex Kannan is a Spanish-speaking licensed attorney and owner of Kannan Law Firm, Inc., a law firm in San Diego focusing on immigration, criminal defense and auto accident injury cases. Alex prides himself on providing personalized service to ordinary people caught under extraordinary pressure and helping them navigate the confusing and intimidating legal system. Apart from his trade, Alex is passionate about film and makes documentaries that seek to tell stories yet also focus on social issues. Alex believes art is a necessary component of expression.

Apr 26, 202241:09
An Introduction to Human Trafficking in San Diego County

An Introduction to Human Trafficking in San Diego County

In this episode we have guest K Thomas giving us an introduction to human trafficking. We will explore definitions of trafficking, common dynamics, local statistics, and how to identify and report an abuse.

North County Lifeline

This page has two great videos on it. The “Human Trafficking and Recruitment of Youth During COVID-19” video gives tips for providers and parents on how to talk to youth about online safety. The “Ask the Experts Webinar: How to Get Involved in the Anti-trafficking Movement” gives practical ideas of how to get plugged in.

National Human Trafficking Hotline


There’s also some great information and resources for the general public too.

Humans Against Trafficking

Roger Martin is the CEO of this organization and always willing to give interviews about how they are creating tech to prevent and end trafficking.

K (Kathleen) Thomas, LPCC, NCC

K Thomas has been working with victim/survivors of sexual and relationship violence since 2010. During this time, they have worked in many capacities including case management, staffing crisis and emergency response hotlines, victim advocacy, and psychotherapy services. Providing services to individuals of varied identities, they have worked with victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual abuse, stalking, and human trafficking. With a background in training and research, K has facilitated trainings on human trafficking, LGBTQ service provision, vicarious trauma, neurobiology, culturally responsive services, domestic violence, and trauma-informed care. K is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and also an adjunct faculty member of Bastyr University in the Counseling Psychology and Naturopathic Medicine programs.

As Clinical Training Manager for North County Lifeline’s Project LIFE, K has provided trauma-reprocessing, victim advocacy, emergency response, and psychotherapy to survivors of trafficking and exploitation. K provides training and development to staff, collaborative partners, community members, and service providers on human trafficking identification and services, trauma-informed care, cultural responsiveness, and best practice. K is also a co-founder and co-chair of the California Human Trafficking Advocates Network for Collaboration and Empowerment (CHANCE). When they aren’t advocating for social justice, K can be found cuddling with their dog, working on house plants, or playing video games with their partner!

Apr 18, 202243:04
Aging Challenges and Family Dynamics

Aging Challenges and Family Dynamics

Discussion of the complexity of aging and family dynamics in the 21st century

Also, here are some resources for seniors and caregivers:

  • U-T Eldercare Directory  (order one by emailing
  • Elderhelp San Diego
  • Jewish Family Services
  • Southern Caregiver Resource Center
  • Seniors Helping Seniors
  • Rancho Santa Fe Senior Center
  • San Diego Elder Law Center
  • Elizabeth Hospice
  • Oasis San Diego
  • Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UCSD or SDSU

Dr. Tayer is a licensed clinical psychologist who has worked at UCSD for over 20 years as a specialist in behavioral medicine, particularly chronic illness treatment, and geropsychology. She trains graduate students in these areas of psychology and is also a Disaster Psychologist, a CERT member, and has certificates in advanced nutrition and mediation training. Her practice is primarily clinical and supervisory but she does give educational presentations to medical students and community groups throughout the year. Dr. Tayer graduated from California School of Professional Psychology with a doctorate in clinical psychology in 1996 and has been licensed in CA since 2001.

Jan 31, 202247:38
Navigating the Twin Pandemics Covid & Racial inequality: Bringing it home to education and Self care

Navigating the Twin Pandemics Covid & Racial inequality: Bringing it home to education and Self care

How do we navigate the twin pandemics of COVID with the isolating quarantine to facing the hard truths of racial inequality and racism that still exists today? How can we hold space to talk about the painful past, figuring out our new way of connecting, so we can heal these traumas?  We can start with a “first draft” towards communicating.  We cannot heal what we are too afraid to talk about. It’s time to confront our own misunderstanding of white privilege to have compassion for ourselves and those around us.  We must learn to have empathy, compassion and be courageous to have these conversations.

Dr. Ricky J. Pope received a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Western Michigan University in 2018. He earned an Associate’s degree in transfer studies and transferred to San Diego State University (SDSU), where he graduated with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. He now provides therapeutic services at Counseling and Psychological Services to SDSU college students. Dr. Pope takes pleasure in assisting first-generation college students to persist toward degree completion as he knows that college can be a path toward upward mobility. His general clinical interests involve addressing racial and ethnic identity concerns, depression and anxiety, and concerns related to masculinity. His research interests involve critical considerations of racism and equity in education, service delivery to underrepresented populations, and the study of organizational structures and participant outcomes in the justice setting

Jan 14, 202247:19
Attachment Styles

Attachment Styles

In this episode, we are discussing attachment styles with Dr. Melissa Tuomi. Where did attachment styles come from, how do we understand our own attachment styles, and how can this understanding help us navigate our interpersonal world.


Dr. Melissa Tuomi is a licensed clinical psychologist who practices in the San Diego area.  She specializes in treating trauma, PTSD, anxiety, and depression and is trained in EMDR and CPT.  She graduated from Alliant International University and completed a dissertation regarding gay active-duty military personnel and their level of outness as it relates to social support.  She has worked in various settings, including hospitals, community mental health clinics, and college counseling.  Her professional passions are helping to heal trauma and increasing the accessibility of mental health knowledge and treatment.  In her off time, you can find her doing yoga, hiking, and spending time with friends.

Nov 29, 202129:54
Nature Based Group Therapy

Nature Based Group Therapy

What is group nature-based therapy really all about? It's about coming back home! It's about decolonizing therapy and the power of healing being done in nature and with the community. And how this supports the therapist!  

NOTE: Psychotherapists are not licensed to prescribe medication or provide medical advice in the state of California. Always consult your medical provider.

Natalie, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, studied Expressive Arts Therapy under Graciela Bottoni in Buenos Aires and trained in Berkeley with the IEATA symposium 2010. She has found the Expressive Arts, including surfing and outdoor therapy, to be transformative for individuals and communities overcoming trauma, abuse, and intergenerational violence. Her therapy career has includes: working as a culture shock therapist for young expats in Buenos Aires, running expressive art therapy intensives for survivors of trafficking with IJM and Generate Hope, using yoga and art therapy to support teachers and students in the San Diego School District, and working as a social worker implementing the arts at San Diego Rescue Mission. These experiences, trainings, and mentorships plus her own personal healing through her connection with the sea inspired her to found Groundswell Community Project, a San Diego based 5013c that facilitates surf therapy for women and girls overcoming abuse, addiction, and trauma around the globe.

Groundswell Community Project became a member of International Surf Therapy org in 2018 to help contribute the global research and building of best practices for the new field of surf therapy. Natalie noticed the great need for trauma informed safe and brave spaces in the surf therapy and non-profit outdoors therapy field; so created 3 levels of training to support volunteers, facilitators, and non-profit founders in this essential work. Her hope is that these trainings will support increased access to awareness and education of the impact of personal and intergenerational trauma and how surfing and the outdoors can be a transformational space for individuals and communities to find their healing, power, and belonging.

Nov 07, 202152:37
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

In this episode, we discuss Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder with Dr. William Taboas.  We dive deep into what OCD is and what it is not and how to treat it. Dr. Taboas discusses what Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is and why it is considered a gold-standard treatment. He shares how it works and what sessions typically look like. And he also discusses what common and less common OCD concerns are and how ERP can help.

Dr. William R. Taboas is currently a Licensed Clinical Psychologist providing psychotherapy to adults (18+) in multiple locations in the San Diego area. Dr. Taboas is a former Postdoctoral Research Fellow at San Diego State University conducting translational research on Anxiety Disorders and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). He has extensive training in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, including Exposure and Response Prevention for OCD. Dr. Taboas has published several scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals and has presented at national conferences, including the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT), the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), and the International Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Foundation (IOCDF) and local organizations such as OCD SoCal. Dr. Taboas specializes in empirically supported treatments for OCD, Social Phobia, Specific Phobia, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Oct 14, 202131:01
The Invisible Epidemic of Chronic pain and Childhood Trauma

The Invisible Epidemic of Chronic pain and Childhood Trauma

In this episode, we explore pain and its relationship to mental health and childhood trauma. Tracey Chester, LMFT, CCTP speaks from both patient and professional perspectives.  Pain can be all-consuming, intractable, and in many cases, invisible. Many of her patients, chronic illness is an experience of invisible suffering, living a life irrevocably changed by pain.

Chronic pain and pain management are complex problems and one of the most common reasons individuals seek medical advice. According to the APA, approximately 100 million adults in the United States suffer from chronic pain, which is the leading cause of disability. The psychological repercussions are numerous: depression, anxiety, withdrawal from productive activities, social isolation, loss of self-esteem and purpose, loss of energy, the fear of being labeled “crazy” or that the pain is “all in my head,” enforced dependency, and the misuse and addiction to opioids.

Tracey Chester, M.S.,M.A, LMFT, CCTP

Tracey Chester is the founder and clinical director of the Pain and Trauma Institute (PTI) of San Diego. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist, a certified clinical trauma professional, a surf therapy facilitator and a certified grief counselor. Tracey describes herself as a translator/ conduit between the medical world and the therapy world—a product of being both a therapist and a chronic pain patient herself. Her mission at PTI is to promote awareness about trauma-informed care (TIC) as a means to shift a pathological perspective of chronic pain patients to one of resilience. Tracey has been invited to speak at the AOSAM (American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine) 2021 Clinical Conference about the benefits of trauma informed care in primary care.

Sep 26, 202141:10
Understanding Trauma and the 5 Bucket Rules
Sep 19, 202157:30
The Secrets to Long-term Love Relationship Happiness

The Secrets to Long-term Love Relationship Happiness

Our two guests Dr. Lorie Teagno and Dr. Steven D. Solomon will speak of the secrets that empower couples to thrive over the long-term, secrets they have gleaned from working with couples for almost 40 years.

Lorie Teagno is a licensed clinical psychologist who has been in practice for 30+ years.  She was educated on the East Coast where received her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in Psychology from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and earned her Ph.D. in Human Development at the University of Maryland, College Park. She received her early clinical training on the East Coast and has been in private practice in the La Jolla area for more since the 1980’s.  

Her specialty is relationships whether couples, families, parents and children or siblings assisting them in creating intimate, resilient and satisfying relationships they desire and deserve.  

She uses a Differentiation approach in therapy and incorporates Attachment theory, the Eriksonian developmental model and concepts like integrity and redefining one’s life story.  

Lorie has worked with Steve Solomon for 29+ years and together they have created The Relationship Institute and their unique approach to couples therapy and infidelity work.  She and Dr. Solomon have co-authored the book, “Intimacy after Infidelity” (2006, New Harbinger Publications) and two chapters in Sperry & Carlson’s clinicians guide entitled, “Recovering Intimacy in Love Relationships (2010). Besides maintaining a private practice and writing, Lorie and Steve have been training mental health professionals in their powerful and unique approach to relationship struggles for almost two decades.  

Dr. Teagno is married and has two daughters, two step sons, and five fabulous grandchildren – so far!

Steven D. Solomon, Ph.D. is Co-Director of The Relationship Institute ( in La Jolla, California. He is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice for over 35 years in the San Diego area. Dr. Solomon specializes in working with couples and has developed a subspecialty in the treatment of infidelity. He and his colleague at The Relationship Institute, Lorie J. Teagno, Ph.D., have developed a powerful new approach to helping couples in relationship distress: Intimate Love Therapy. He and Dr. Teagno are co-authors of Intimacy after Infidelity (New Harbinger Publications, 2006), a book written for the general public, and wrote two chapters for Carlson & Sperry's latest edition of Recovering Intimacy in Love Relationships: A Clinician’s Guide, (Routledge, 2010), a book written for psychotherapists. Drs. Solomon and Teagno also have collaborated on numerous articles on couples therapy, infidelity, and Long-Term Love Relationship dynamics. For more than a decade they have trained therapists in Intimate Love Therapy theory and practice.

Dr. Solomon is a past president of the San Diego Psychological Association.

Sep 12, 202156:19
How to Apply Psychological Principles to Achieve Peak Performance

How to Apply Psychological Principles to Achieve Peak Performance

How we can use psychological principals to increase peak performance in sport or any time of environment that requires a significant period of preparation for a short window of evaluation.

Dr. Michael Saleh is a licensed clinical psychologist who earned his license in June 2020. He graduated in 2018 from Alliant International University and currently works in San Diego in University Counseling. If you'd like to reach out to Dr. Saleh his email is

Sep 05, 202143:09
Anxiety and Depression in College Students

Anxiety and Depression in College Students

In this episode, we explore some of the mental health challenges that college students face. How Covid-19 affected the mental health of college students and what parents can do to support their children when they are in college.

Guest: Devon Berkheiser, Psy.D.

Dr. Berkheiser is a full-time psychologist, working at the San Diego State University Counseling Center. She is also an adjunct faculty member at Alliant, where she teaches basic counseling skills to first year grad students in the Psy.D. program.

Aug 29, 202133:25
Psychedelic Medicines for Healing Trauma and Depression

Psychedelic Medicines for Healing Trauma and Depression

The renaissance of psychedelics in the field of clinical research has caught widespread public attention. This podcast would provide listeners an opportunity to understand why this resurgence has occurred, what is can offer to the field of clinical psychology, and the current scope of the research to date.

Dr. Amanda Khan

Dr. Amanda Khan is a licensed clinical psychologist and researcher specializing in the assessment and treatment of trauma sequelae. Dr. Khan is a staff psychologist at Sage Integrative Health, a holistic psychedelic clinic, where she provides ketamine-assisted psychotherapy, depth oriented trauma work, and post-psychedelic integration. She served as an independent diagnostician on the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) on phase II and III trials of MDMA-enhanced psychotherapy for PTSD for four years. Dr. Khan has trained in MDMA-Assisted Therapy with MAPS and Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy with Polaris Insight Center, and serves as a Psilocybin Therapist on the UCSD clinical trial for phantom limb pain. Dr. Khan's program of research aims to elucidate how characteristics of trauma, emotion regulation, and biology impact the etiology, maintenance, and treatment of PTSD, moral injury, and depression/suicidality. She is especially interested in developing novel approaches, such as using psychedelics, to heal treatment-resistant PTSD. Dr. Khan is the Chair of the Moral Injury Special Interest Group (SIG) for the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS). She has published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, presents regularly at conferences, and is lead author on a chapter exploring psilocybin for trauma-related disorders. She also writes op-eds for Psychedelics Today, Stress Points, and Medium. Dr. Khan gives regular invited talks on moral injury and working with gender and sexual orientation diverse people. If you'd like to reach out to Dr. Khan visit her website

Aug 22, 202145:57
#MeToo Issues & Therapy: Helping Men Wake Up and Women Speak Up

#MeToo Issues & Therapy: Helping Men Wake Up and Women Speak Up

The rise of the #MeToo movement has generated a seismic shift in how we view sexual harassment and other once overlooked issues in the relationships between men and women. This presentation will explore ways to distinguish and address transgressions that range from the truly violent to the subtly bullying to the simply gross and juvenile. The focus will be on helping men who offend or are confused, as well as offering strength-based strategies to help women confront sexual misconduct in personal, academic and professional settings. There will be a special emphasis on couples whose relationship and sexual dynamics have been impacted by #MeToo histories, with strategies for effective couples counseling that help each partner understand how #MeToo issues are undermining their relationship.

Based on Dr. Wexler’s new book (with co-author Dr. Holly Sweet) the presentation will help men realize the causes and consequences of their #MeToo behavior, as well as how to make “real” apologies for sexual misconduct they have engaged in. Men will learn to examine male entitlement. consider ways they may have unknowingly “crossed the line” with women, and intensify empathy for the confusion and paralysis that many survivors of sexual harassment experience.


David B. Wexler, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist in private practice in San Diego, specializing in the treatment of relationships in conflict. He is the Executive Director of the non-profit Relationship Training Institute, which provides education and treatment internationally for relationship development and the prevention and treatment of relationship violence.

Dr. Wexler is the author of seven books on men’s issues, including When Good Men Behave Badly, Men In Therapy, and the upcoming #MeToo-informed Therapy (with co-author Holly Sweet). Dr. Wexler has authored an internationally-recognized domestic violence treatment manual: the newly revised and updated The STOP Program—Fourth Edition, released by W.W. Norton in March 2020. He has also authored The STOP Program--For Women Who Abuse (Norton, 2016).

Dr. Wexler has been featured on the Dr. Phil show and the TODAY show, in the Wall St. Journal, Washington Post, “O” magazine, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Men’s Health, and on hundreds of radio and TV programs throughout North America to help educate the public about relationships in conflict and how to resolve them.

Aug 15, 202140:36
Healing from Betrayal Trauma

Healing from Betrayal Trauma

Dr. Alicia Tolerico defines the different types of Betrayal trauma which includes: deceit, infidelity, emotional abuse, narcissism and sex addiction inflicted by your partner.  She explores ways to keep safe and signs of being gas lighted by your partner and what to do.  She also examines the different types of boundaries to set as well as self care activities when addressing betrayal trauma.

You can reach out to Dr. Tolerico by emailing her at

Alicia Tolerico, Psy.D.

Dr. Tolerico received a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from Hamline University in St. Paul, MN. She received her Master’s Degree and Doctorate Degree in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University. Dr. Tolerico received clinical experience in diverse settings including multiple residential substance use treatment centers, a men’s correctional facility, inpatient psychiatric hospital and a local LGBT community center. Dr. Tolerico completed Post Doctoral residency at a residential substance use treatment center in Los Angeles, CA. Dr. Tolerico is the Chair of the Early Career Psychologist Subcommittee of the Los Angeles Psychological Association and a member of the San Diego Psychological Association.

Dr. Tolerico is dedicated to providing an empowering environment for clients to thrive in all aspects of their lives. Dr. Tolerico has experience providing psychological services to men, women, and non-binary individuals suffering from mood and anxiety disorders, trauma, sexual violence, betrayal trauma, body image concerns and disordered eating, living with HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ+ issues, and substance use disorders. Her approach to treatment is collaborative, client-centered, and supportive. She desires to foster client’s inner strength to overcome life’s adversities. Dr. Tolerico is passionate about assisting clients on their healing journey towards achieving personal growth, connecting with others, and living a purposeful and intentional life.

Aug 08, 202129:52
The Psychology of Men's Issues: Beyond Toxicity

The Psychology of Men's Issues: Beyond Toxicity

Dr. Singley covers the current state of research and practice in the psychology of men and masculinities. In this episode he explores working with men and explains toxic masculinity and how it relates to time's up and #metoo.  If you want to get in contact with Dr. Singley he's on Instagram: @men.excel or visit his website Daniel Singley, Ph.D. Dr. Singley is a San Diego-based board certified psychologist and Director of The Center for Men’s Excellence. His research and practice focus on men’s mental health with a particular emphasis on reproductive psychology and the transition to fatherhood. Dr. Singley won the American Psychological Association’s 2017 Practitioner of the Year Award from the Division on Men & Masculinities. He is Past President of the APA’s Section on Positive Psychology and currently serves on the Board of the APA’s Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinities as well as Postpartum Support International. He conducts trainings and presentations around the country to assist individuals and organizations to enhance their level of father inclusiveness and founded the grant-funded Basic Training for New Dads, Inc nonprofit and Padre Cadre social networking application just for dads in order to give new fathers the tools they need to be highly engaged with their infants as well as their partners. In his free time, Dr. Singley likes to cook, surf, read, and drive his two sons to activities all over town so they can’t escape his annoying shrinky questions.
Aug 01, 202139:29