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Bear Psychology Podcast

Dr. Anna Baranowsky is a Canadian Clinical Psychologist, CEO of the Traumatology Institute, Founder and President of the Board at Trauma Practice. She is the author of two books on trauma, numerous courses to help train professionals in trauma mental health and the developer of the Trauma Recovery Program for Self-Guided trauma care. She works with trauma survivors and those with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on post-traumatic growth and recovery.

Through her work she believes that when we share, dialogue and feel supported, it provides a powerful foundation for forward movement in our understanding and the care needed. In her own words "I have found that the most profound changes occur when a person truly feels heard and understood - I like to think of it as deeply BEARING WITNESS to life evolving. We can feel incredibly stuck when we live with our fears, stressors and troubles in isolation."

Dr.Baranowsky is the host of the Bear Psychology Show, focusing on bearing witness to Evolving Mood, Mind, Health. Her talks revolve around recovery, relationships, work and life adventures.

She is dedicated to assisting organizations and health professionals who help trauma survivors to ensure a trauma informed lens of care can grow in community health networks. With that vision in 1998, the Traumatology Institute Canada (TIC) was established. TIC has trained thousands of individuals nationally and internationally.

Dr. Baranowsky serves on the board of directors of the Academy of Traumatology and is a Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress through the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress and is recognized by The National Center for Crisis Management. She has published in the area of Post-Traumatic Stress, Compassion Fatigue, and therapeutic relationships (the Silencing Response).

Copyright:  Dr. Anna Baranowsky, 2020

Jun 1, 2019

This episode discusses a key facet of recovery: self-compassion. Joining Dr. Baranowksy is guest speaker Frank Pasquil who offers practical self-help videos to aid in healing with trauma. For more information on his work or to access these free resources, go to his website: Dr. Anna and Frank have collaborated before with an entertaining video about shaking to release stress, which you can find on our youtube channel here:

The best method for building your self-compassion is practice! Whether it is meditation, yoga, inner self-talk or self-inquiry, there is no one method that instantly leads to success. You have to be consistent and open to the changes it could bring to your life.

Understanding Self-Compassion

Did you know the word compassion means to "suffer with?"

When you think about how compassion relates to other people, it can help you to understand how to turn your feelings inward. When you feel compassion for someone, you're understanding and kind to them regardless of if they've failed or made mistakes. You don't judge them harshly.

When you feel compassion for another, it means that you understand how suffering, failure, and imperfection are all part of the shared human experience. Self-compassion works the same way. It means acting with understanding and acceptance towards yourself. Instead of judging yourself harshly or ignoring your pain, practicing self-compassion means recognizing that it's a tough time and asking yourself how you can comfort and care for yourself in this moment. 

Here are the three elements of self-compassion according to Dr Kristin Neff, an Associate Professor of Human Development and Culture, who has pioneered research in this field.

  1. Self-Kindness Not Self-Judgment

When you suffer, fail, or feel inadequate you can practice self-compassion by being warm and understanding toward yourself instead of ignoring your pain or criticising yourself. Self-compassion means you understand that life is about making mistakes and failing and that sometimes life will fall short of your expectations. The key to not getting caught up in self-judgment is in accepting your reality with sympathy and kindness, thereby allowing yourself to experience greater emotional equanimity.

  1. Shared Human Experience Not Isolation

Have you ever felt frustrated when things don't go exactly as planned? This is often accompanied by an irrational but pervasive feeling of isolation. It feels as if you're the only one suffering or making mistakes. But, of course, the very definition of being "human" means we're all vulnerable and imperfect. So, practicing self-compassion means recognizing that suffering and personal inadequacy are part of the collective human experience.

  1. Mindfulness Not Over-Identification

Being self-compassionate doesn't mean suppressing your negative feelings or exaggerating them. Self-compassion is a balanced approach that comes from the willingness to observe your negative thoughts and emotions with openness and clarity so that you're mindfully aware. It is important that you're not "over-identifying" with thoughts and feelings; don't get caught up and swept away by negative reactivity.

Follow this link to learn more about Kristin Neff:

To check out the line of self-healing audiobooks through Sounds True, follow this link:

This radio show was aired on on Thursday, May 30th, 2019 at 1 pm EDT