This week on the podcast, I’m delighted to speak to Debbie Augenthaler on grief, trauma, and healing. Debbie is a psychotherapist, the author of You Are Not Alone: A Heartfelt Guide to Grief, Healing, and Hope, and she has a private practice in New York City. After losing her husband, she was unexpectedly faced with grief, and found that losing someone that close to you causes ripples of effects; and that the impact of grief does not neatly follow the stages that we’ve all read about. Grief strikes everyone differently, and grieving is not a linear process.
Yes, you go through waves and stages, but the day to day experience of profound loss was not something she found referenced in books. Debbie was grateful to find a therapist during her own time of grief, one who held space for her to grieve.
Working in the financial field for many years, Debbie was in New York for September 11, 2001. She saw the impact of loss again, among her friends and coworkers. This time, however, she also saw that since she had already been through that kind of loss herself, she was able to “be there” for people as they faced loss in their own lives. In her words, “I wasn’t afraid of their grief. I wanted to help.”
Debbie shares all about her book and her journey through grief, and to becoming a psychotherapist on this week’s show. She also talks about four ways to reconnect in the midst of grief:
- Discover a small bit of hope
- Meditate and look for reasons to be grateful
- Be kind to yourself and others. Smile at other people, look for connection
- Be in nature
Debbie Augenthaler and I talk about:
- Growing up the daughter of a marine and moving quite a bit as a child
- Her early joy of going to the library and finding joy and connection in books
- How and why she became a psychotherapist: her love of discovering what drives people and makes them tick
- How her husband died in her arms, and the impact of that unexpected loss
- Her experience of September 11, 2001 in New York City as part of the financial industry community
- The hero’s journey from victim to victor
- What to do if you’re faced with unexpected grief in your life
- How taking comfort in small things is good and affirming for you when you are in the grief process
- That it’s “OK to not be OK.”
Debbie Augenthaler’s Website
Debbie’s group on Facebook
Debbie Augenthaler’s Book: You Are Not Alone: A Heartfelt Guide to Grief, Healing, and Hope (on Amazon)
Nicholas Wolterstorff’s Book: Lament for A Son (on Amazon)
Julia Samuel’s Book: Grief Works (on Amazon)
Julia Samuel on Jump Start Your Joy
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