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HOD SELECT: Trauma and Anxiety: Heal, Feel, Deal... and Date!


Dr. Therese

We're looking back on some of our favorite episodes through our HOD select series! Today, we're looking back on an episode with Dr. Therese Mascardo on trauma, anxiety... and how to date, heal, feel, and deal!

Dr. Therese is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, self-care and personal development guru, and consummate foodie. Berkeley educated, she is a mover and a shaker with a drive for entrepreneurship and building community. Dr. Therese founded the LA Digital Nomads, and is the CEO & Founder of Exploring Therapy, a wellness community that helps people build a life they don’t need a vacation from. Through her lens of vivacity and delight, she shares about psychology, business, food, faith, and hospitality .Dr. Therese has an online therapy practice and travels full time. She is passionate about inspiring people to create more healthy, free, and connected lives. In her personal life she is a self-care evangelist, a sustainable clothing & green beauty enthusiast, and on a never-ending quest to find the world’s best breakfast burrito.

On this HOD Select episode, Dr.Therese and Kait talk about how to handle trauma and navigate its effects on a dating relationship. Additionally, they discuss anxiety, types of anxiety, and how we can learn to better understand not only our own, but those of others!

Could you explain what trauma is and how it impacts us?

  • The result of threatening incidents that cause physical, emotional, spiritual or psychological harm. 
  • 50-70% of adults in the United States have experienced some sort of trauma. So it’s actually quite common.

What are some examples of trauma?

  • Car accidents, serious illness, experiencing the death of a loved one, bullying, poverty, experiences a natural disaster, combat, etc.
  • Getting fired, moving, having a baby can be common experiences as well!
  • Vicarious traumatization is being traumatized by things that happen to other people.
  • Traumatic events don’t get categorized as big or small.They are categorized by type and duration.

What is the science in which trauma impacts us?

  • It’s important to understand that trauma impact our brain in which is affects how our brain functions.
  • Overall trauma impacts how one reacts physically and emotionally.
  • When we’re impacted by trauma we go through a stressful state often referred to as “fight or flight”, but it’s more like fight, flee, or freeze.
  • Anxiety is a major outcome of trauma.

How will trauma and anxiety potentially show up in a dating relationship?

  • If trauma isn’t dealt with, it will come up in a dating relationship in one way or another.
  • “Trauma can prevent us from feeling safe in being vulnerable”.
  • Vulnerability is essential in a relationship for intimacy.
  • One has to learn to deal with their trauma to become aware of potential triggers. 

What can be done in a relationship when one person in it has experienced trauma?

  • If triggers get in the way of you living life to its fullest in your relationship, then you need to find and pursue deeper healing. 
  • You have to be honest and real with your partner about your triggers. 
  • When people truly face their trauma and pursue healing, they can find comfort and healing. 

Are there times when you’ve experienced trauma, that you shouldn’t be dating yet?

  • If you find you’re dealing with trauma on a daily basis, you have got to deal with that first. You want to be in a healthy place as an individual before you enter into a relationship.
  • If you have more good days than bad, then go for it!
  • If you’re dating someone who’s faced trauma then you have to ask yourself “Is this person making strides towards healing?”
  • The new generation is making strides towards encouraging therapy and recognizing self-development and self-help.
  • Surround yourself with wise counsel. 

Is there a difference between occasional anxiety and clinical anxiety?

  • We all face anxiety. Anxiety is like a guard dog and you want it to warn you of certain things, however, in the case of clinical anxiety, it makes you things bigger than they need to be.
  • Acute stress anxiety is when it lasts a few days.
  • Chronic clinical anxiety is when it starts to interfere with your daily life function.

How do you date someone who is going through clinical anxiety?

  • Get a sense for their relationship with their anxiety. Become informed about anxiety.
  • Ask questions and listen and understand how severe it is as it will probably have an impact on your relationship with them at one point or another.
  • Ask “How can I be helpful or supportive to you in your healing?”
  • Don’t minimize their feelings, but be aware of them and be there for them where they ask you to be there for them if you are comfortable with it.
  • If it’s too much for you that’s ok. It may not be the right fit or timing for you.
  • Be weary of Spiritual bypassing and toxic positivity. Make sure they can feel heard.

What’s your final nugget of dating advice?

  • “People are drawn more to vulnerability than perfection. If someone reacts negatively to your trauma, it says more about them than it does about you.”
  • Seek feedback, get wise counsel, get therapy.
  • Be a good listener. 
  • “Learn how to avoid repeating patterns that aren’t serving you well.”

Other Resources:

Follow Dr. Therese on Instagram HERE

Connect with Dr. Therese or work with her online HERE

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