Season 3, Episode 15: Finale - Healing Through Creativity and Community

Can we actually heal from adoption trauma or are we just building up a huge toolbox of coping strategies? My guests Pamela Cordano, MFT and Anne Heffron discuss creativity, why so many adoptees gravitate towards creative pursuits and why healing in community means magnified healing.

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Show Notes


Topics We Discussed

  • Thoughts on season three and creativity
  • Why do so many adoptees gravitate towards creative pursuits?
  • Edgy adoption memes (😳) and the freedom of expressing some adoptee thoughts
  • Moving from creating to using language
  • Building up our voice and finding our own forms of honest expression
  • Is it really possible to “heal”? Or are we just piling up coping strategies?
  • Healing: a sense of belonging in the world, feeling the joy of being alive
  • Viktor Frankl: Man’s Search for Meaning (previously called “Say Yes to Life”)
  • Creativity is having an avenue for expression and connection
  • Pam shares some of her story: abuse and neglect during the first six months of her life; then fostered and in a shelter and then adopted.
  • Healing with a physiological expression - coming back into our bodies.
  • Anne’s Write or Die workshops
  • Pam explains the Default Network (and our negativity bias) as a closed system. To heal we need to move into our Direct Experience Network. Pam and Anne talk about some experiences and work they’ve done to activate that Direct Experience Network.
  • Discussing a portion of Option B (by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant) and the three Ps: Personalization, Pervasiveness and Permanence when we have a trauma.
  • Pam teaches about call and response (infant and mother connecting and understanding the acceptance of love). “I couldn’t call to her (my adoptive mother) because her response wasn’t what I needed.” We need a response that is attuned to us, to what we need.
  • Importance of community - adoptees calling and adoptees responding, the “me too” of empathy and attunement.
  • Telling and owning our own story… and then… you can move on! Pam says there are ways (like groups, creativity, etc.) to get around and underneath our stories.
  • Mirror neutrons
  • How do we translate the healing into our lives?
  • Group work can be exponentially more healing than one-on-one therapy.
  • Some good group ground rules: everything stays confidential, don’t give advice. A healthy group will provide space for us to be more of who we really are - opening up our hidden lives.
  • Adoptees have a traumatized brain, and a great part of being in a safe group is that we can be seen accurately by people for who we really are. Groups can reflect back to you even more than a therapist.
  • Anne - “Anything that scares you, it is a doorway of flames that is worth walking through. It is an invitation.”
  • Pam shares a story about her group of 8 women, all who are widows.
  • Anne and Pam’s adoptee retreat in Berkeley, CA
  • Activities we can do if we aren’t able to attend the retreat:
    1. Write out your three reasons you aren’t able to go, and write two pages about one of the reasons. But reframe it - why is it a good thing?
    2. With your support group - try out the bridge activity all together, or if you’re on your own go back to Nicole G.’s episode and do her standalone version of drawing your bridge.
  • What’s the difference between a conference and a retreat?


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