Growth Mindset Podcast

113: Trauma and Mental Health - Karen Stefano, Author - What a Body Remembers

June 1st, 2020

Karen Stefano

A defence lawyer and an author. Her recent book, What a Body Remembers: A Memoir of Sexual Assault and Its Aftermath, looks back at the events where she was assaulted in college, went on to become a criminal defense attorney, and 30 years later was hit with anxiety and PTSD.

Our guest was assaulted near her home in Berkeley, CA, after a late-night walk home from a shift as a Berkeley police department aide. Her assailant was charged with assault with a deadly weapon but was ultimately acquitted of the crime.

Karen got no justice from her case. The assault and the traumatizing experience of not being believed in the courtroom as a woman in need of help, had her understanding why such predicament has happened to her.

Karen shows how there are many ways to heal from trauma, that the path is not always straightforward, but usually more of a two steps forward, four steps back process.

What a Body Remembers is a powerful book about hope and the capacity to heal.

Karen Stefano and What a Body Remembers
What a Body Remembers: A Memoir of Sexual Assault and Its Aftermath


My name is Sam Harris. I am a British entrepreneur, investor and explorer. From hitchhiking across Kazakstan to programming AI doctors I am always pushing myself in the spirit of curiosity and Growth. My background is in Biology and Psychology with a passion for improving the world and human behaviour. I have built and sold companies from an early age and love coming up with unique ways to make life more enjoyable and meaningful.



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Top Tips

Allow yourself to heal

No matter how much you want it to happen, healing doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and patience. Give yourself room to breathe. It doesn’t mean that it will immediately change things, but it will definitely give you a clearer perspective on everything that is going on around you.

Begin the process of letting your painful emotions come and go. Slow down and tune in to our experience so we can find the silver lining. Remember, healing is a process that happens step by step, day by day, so please don’t rush yourself.

Practice positive self-talk

Self-talk is the dialogue you have with yourself, and that's pretty common. Often, self-talk is referred to as giving ourselves instructions while we carry out a task, random observations about our environment or a situation.

Self-talk can be both negative and positive. Much of your self-talk depends on your personality. If you’re an optimist, your self-talk is more hopeful and positive. If you're a pessimist, your self-talk could be "toxic" and depressing.

Our self-talk can have an influence on the way we see ourselves, and the world around us. Learn to shift that inner dialogue. It can help you be a more positive person, and it may improve your health - mind, body and spirit.

It's ok to seek help

Many people who hesitate to seek help struggle in silence. Some people hide their condition so well that loved ones or the people around them may be unaware they are going through something.

There is no shame in seeking help. The most important thing you can do is reach out to someone. You may be surprised at how many people can share their own stories of struggles. But what's more important is that they will also be able to share how they overcame it.

We are not alone. We are love and we are loved.


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