Author:Paul Gilmartin

What is Energy Work? Why Should I Try It?: Guest Blog by Adi Shakti

Feeling Stuck? Try Energy Work!


Being raised by people who are damaged emotionally or mentally can leave you feeling lost inside and possibly repeating the same mistakes as an adult. Experiencing abandonment, shame, and betrayal, can cause you to feel that you are grasping for the straws of a “normal life”, because internally there are missing pieces. Healing starts when you are ready to let go of denial / distraction and there are many healing modalities to find your authentic, integrated self.


Some are physical ways that validate the body, like sports, walking in nature, being with animals, or giving to your body with bodywork or spa treatments. These are tools that actively let you choose how you want your body to be treated or feel.


On an emotional level there are various talk or process therapies where you can practice speaking your truth, being heard, experience emotional intimacy with appropriate boundaries, and feel what it’s like to be in a relationship with another who has your best interests in mind. [There are ways to practice managing emotions like depression or anxiety so that they don’t loom so large in life.] These emotional tools empower you to experience healthy thoughts and feelings that feed your growth and evolution.


As you go through life processing and releasing the betrayal, abandonment and shame you experienced, you may reach a point where the emotional and physical tools you relied on don’t address the nagging destructive thoughts or feelings lurking in the recesses of your mind, self sabotage tendencies, or how to be with your family of origin. That’s where energy tools become useful.


Energy work techniques are another set of tools in your arsenal that you can use to decide what thoughts-beliefs-feelings will guide your life, rather than being at the mercy of the pop up circus of infectious crazy playing in your head. Energy work is an active form of meditation using your imagination to create change in your body and life. Everything, including our thoughts and feelings are energy. Wherever our attention goes, energy follows and manifests.


When you experience abuse, it not only is an insult to your structure and emotions but a literal disturbance of your energy field. It creates an opening for foreign (someone else’s) energy (thoughts / feelings) to enter your space (body /aura).   You then operate your body or live your life based on someone else’s beliefs. This is uncomfortable, like wearing someone else’s clothes, and can lead to body pain, or mental confusion. It can be mild, like chronic depression / anxiety, or severe, like psychosis / multiple personalities.

You don’t have to believe in any of this to benefit from it, you just have to develop a practice. It’s the repeated thought / vision, backed by intent / feeling (while in a meditative state) that build new neural / energetic pathways, that literally build a new body / life.


This may sound complicated, but is actually quite simple. When you release foreign energy from your space, and fill your space back up with your own energy, that is the same thing as owning your space, which is the same thing as being present, which is the same thing as self love. If you feel that an abusive experience has taken something away from you, you’re right, it has. And energy work builds your spiritual muscles so that you can sense how to get yourself back. This is your birthright!


Adi Shakti


Doing healing work on the physical /emotional /spiritual levels since 1987.


Luke Burbank

The podcaster (Too Beautiful To Live), radio host (Live Wire Radio) and tv host (CBS Morning News) talks about his outbursts of anger that get physical, always feeling uncomfortable in his skin and being hyper vigilant to avoid criticism.

This episode is sponsored by SquareSpace. For a free trial and 10% off your first purchase go to and use offer code MENTAL

Get info on Paul’s upcoming appearances in Oakland

Follow Luke Burbank on Twitter @LukeBurbank


Dr Lauren Costine

The author (Lesbian Love Addiction: Understanding the Urge to Merge and How to Heal When Things Go Wrong) and therapist talks about love addiction especially in the lesbian community, what coming out what like for her, myths about lesbians and what makes a good therapist.

For more about her or her book go to

Follow her on Twitter @DrLaurenCostine

This episode is sponsored by BlueApron. To check out this week’s menu and get your first three meals free (with free shipping) go to

This episode is sponsored by SquareSpace. For 10% off your first purchase go to and use offer code MENTAL.

For tickets to Paul’s upcoming live podcasts in Oakland July 20 or 21 click here.


Julie L: Covert Incest Survivor

The French Canadian biologist sits down with Paul and talks about experiencing covert incest by her mother who she believes also had Borderline Personality Disorder, and her complex relationship with her safer but extremely codependent father.  Julie shares about her struggle to share intimacy with her husband and the progress she’s making in releasing some of the trauma thru somatic therapy.

For more information about Paul’s upcoming live podcasts July 20 and 21 in Oakland click here


Michael Alexander

Paul’s old comedy pal Mike shares about psych wards, not being deemed “black enough”, anxiety, depression, experiencing some classic 70’s Chicago racism and trying to be a better parent than he had.

For more info on Mike and his upcoming documentary about 80’s and 90’s Chicago comedy visit.

For tickets and info to Paul’s upcoming live podcasts in Oakland July 20 and 21 go to



Sarah & Zachary Pt 2

Zachary Goodson shares his story while his wife Sarah sits in.  He talks about losing his mother (actress Diana Hyland) to cancer when he was 3, being raised by an abusive father, learning to numb himself with sex and after bottoming out, finding help.  They also talk about how they navigate marriage and work on intimacy while working through their individual issues.

Zachary is a writer, and it’s been a huge part of his healing process.  He’s working on his first book It’s Always Worse In Your Head. For more info about him or his writing go to

The upcoming live podcast recording that Paul mentioned is July 20 $ 21 in Oakland. For tix and info go to


Journaling to Communicate by Sheryl Kayne

Sometimes when the going gets tough, and we’re not even sure what exactly is going on, the people closest to us turn scared and run away, or shut down, or become frightened and overwhelmed asking far more questions than we could possibly ever answer. As a volunteer, certified mental health support group leader, a common thread I often hear from people of all ages is that “my family and friends just don’t get it. They have no idea what I’m going through.”


Which is probably true. A mental health crisis can change your life in an instant. When that happens, although you’re the one going through it, those who love you are frightened, bewildered and trying to fix it. Often when people are upset, confused and intent on controlling the uncontrollable, it can be easier to write than to speak.


“When I needed them most, my parents stopped talking to me because I wasn’t talking to them. I couldn’t think straight when I first started taking meds,” says Seth, age 23. “I had no idea I had anything to say until I started writing it all down in a notebook given to me by a social worker. The anger poured out, I began seeing what was happening as more of an observer than a victim. Some things actually began making sense and suddenly I knew what I needed from others.”

He wanted family support and realized the person he most wanted to communicate with was his younger sister. I asked if he would consider journaling with her; not giving up his own private journal, but creating a shared journal that they could both use. He thought it was a great idea and talked to her about it. Since she lives in South Carolina and he’s in Connecticut, they created an online journal which they can also access from their phones. They each make their own entries and responded to each other’s, at least three times a week.

Shared journaling gives you the opportunity to open, or reopen, lines of communication. Sometimes it’s helpful to agree on a few guidelines, such as being responsive to questions asked. If you need more time to think something through, say that. Be open to receiving the information being presented without making judgements or trying to fix everything.

“Growing up, when things were so horrible, I saved myself by writing in 100s of journals,” says Yanni, age 34. “Then I read and read, finding power in my words. It kept me going. I wish I’d known about journal sharing when I was growing up. Perhaps if my parents wrote down and reflected upon their thoughts, they might have been more thoughtful, considerate and flexible with their words.”

Twitter: @SherylKayne


How Sexual Abuse Affected My Mind: An Email from Katie M.

So my story is kind of complicated (as if others aren’t).  When I was about 6 years old, I was continually molested by my brothers friend over the course of a month or so while my brother would be at band practice in our basement.

I had grown up with the effects of the trauma and had some very dark days, ultimately leading to being in an ok place with it around last year.

I started training to become a 24 hour hotline volunteer for a sexual assault survivor advocacy non profit in my town, and had to quit the training after a heavy day of discussing how to handle calls about child sexual abuse. It hadn’t occurred to me how young I really was when it happened to me, and I also hadn’t explored the idea of what could have happened if I had convinced my mom to report it.

Then, a few months later, I was hanging out with my brother (who is ten years older than me, and probably my best friend – we have an awesome healthy relationship) when he confessed that it was actually him that was my molester, and that when my mom was suspicious of me being hurt and asked him about it, he had blamed it on his friend. Being a young, impressionable child, I had completely taken on this version of the story as the truth.

That conversation was the hardest one I have ever had. My brother has struggled for years with alcohol and drug abuse, tearing our family apart, all because he was living with this horrendous guilt of what he had done to me and how he had negatively affected my life. I immediately forgave him because being a witness of his struggle over the years, I wholeheartedly believe that he had it much much worse living with that guilt than I had with just living with the trauma.

It feels odd to tell an incest story that has a happy ending, but it’s the truth. My brother is now 10 months sober and doing fantastic, and I’m at a relatively good place with the truth. We still have an awesome relationship, maybe even better than before. I feel safe with him, I feel like I can tell him anything, and I don’t hold it against him at all.

How it has affected my sexuality?

My sexuality has definitely been affected. I was incredibly promiscuous when I was a teacher that, without a doubt, was stemming from the abuse.

However, now, I haven’t been intimate in about 2 years, excluding one drunken hookup. My low libido was coming from my birth control, which I got off of after realizing the negative effects it had on me, but even after being off the medicine for 9 months, I feel the same way.

Porn disgusts me, and the few times I do get turned on it’s from a romantic intimacy scene in an obscure indie movie (that sounds so lame to write out.) Not wanting to have sex really doesn’t bother me. I know people that are asexual, and I wouldn’t have a problem potentially identifying as so, but as a 20 year old woman it’s tough to find a romantic partner that’s down with celibacy.

I can’t recall any uncomfortable fantasies. It could be safe to say that I’m sometimes attracted to men who look similar to my brother, but I feel like I’d be really digging to try to link the two.

My healing has been extremely circuitous. When I was a teenage I did a pretty rough job on my healing process by romanticizing my mental illness/abuse. There would be times where if I wanted to date someone who only saw me as someone who was down to fuck I would pull the “I guess this makes sense, being molested really screwed me up…” which I hate now. I hate that I put myself in that kind of light, and also sort of made my and everyone else’s experiences with sexual abuse a joke just to seem like the “mysterious damaged girl that liked sex.”

In the last episode where you interview Sarah Goodson and she talks about how she would get thrilled from sleeping with someone and being detached, and then having the other person want her, I completely relate to that, but it was a vicious cycle because, in reality, I cared a lot, but wanted to keep this image up of being an emotionally detached cool chick. It was really exhausting and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

I think really over the past couple years, I have grown a lot and have done a lot of deep diving into what I’ve been feeling with my trauma, and so that has made it circuitous. Depression and anxiety doesn’t help that either. Something that I want to be able to do is be at a place in my recovery where I can share my experiences with others (preferably teenage girls because I think their emotions and feeling get written of as being a ditsy dramatic girl or having PMS – which is such bullshit) and help them understand the kind of guidance they can really benefit from, and how valid their experiences and emotions are. I know I have quite a ways to go, but as today goes, I am content with my life.

 Katie M.