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What does healing mean to you? 

What expectations do you hold around how we heal and how quickly we heal?

Meeting our basic human need to be loved and experience belonging can be the root of many things we do, say, and want–for better or for worse.

Many of us have experienced relationships that shape how we pursue love and belonging, how we respond to folks who are different or have differences, how we handle conflict, and how we navigate not being perfect and not knowing all the answers.

So, how we seek love and belonging and perceive and pursue healing are inextricably connected.

Under those circumstances, we want to rush our healing process, achieve our desired changes, and be fixed as soon as possible. The stakes are high!

But we do not arrive at “healed” and coast for the rest of our lives. There is no three-step plan to change, heal, and thrive ever after.

Healing is a lifelong process that must be pursued and revisited with the ebbs and flows of our lives. Sometimes, those ebbs and flows feel like tsunamis, forcing us to revisit old wounds or discover new spaces in our stories that require our care and attention so that we can find love and belonging within, first and foremost.

Frank Anderson, MD, returns to the show to discuss his beautiful new book, To Be Loved: A Story of Truth, Trauma, and Transformation.

Frank Anderson, MD, completed his residency and was a clinical instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He is an author, psychiatrist, therapist, speaker, and trauma specialist who’s spent the past three decades studying neuroscience and trauma treatment. He is passionate about teaching brain-based psychotherapy and integrating current neuroscience knowledge with the IFS therapy model. His published work spans contributions to literature and training for a clinical audience and works accessible to the general public.

Content Warning: We cover some heavy topics around verbal and physical abuse, conversion therapy, and suicidal ideation. Please take care as you listen to this conversation.

Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • How the process of writing his memoir caused Frank to interact with his past in ways that surprised him
  • The tricky balance of telling stories honestly but from a loving place, especially with his family
  • How releasing his anger and coming to forgive and love people who harmed him gave Frank space and freedom to forgive himself for the harm he has done
  • Why Frank says healing happens first emotionally and somatically within yourself, and then you can work towards relational healing and forgiveness
  • How different phases of Frank’s life have influenced what and how trauma he unpacked and released
  • Why do we have to stop clinging to divisive polarities and recognize the good and bad in ourselves and each other 

Learn more about Frank Anderson, MD:

Learn more about Rebecca:



[Inspirational Intro Music]

Frank Anderson: Healing is possible, and we’re never done healing. A decade ago, I thought I was healed, and here I am now with all the extra layers. When I am transitioning and I’m at the end of my life, I’m gonna do more healing about my history because I’m gonna be in that phase and something new is gonna come up around my life then. I think we’re never done but, boy, does it get better and, boy, do you keep releasing and, boy, you don’t get activated the same way each layer you release.

Rebecca Ching: What does healing mean to you? What expectations do you hold around your own healing or others’ healing, especially around how we heal and how quickly we heal? Now, it’s probably not a shocker to you, but the intersection of how we seek love and belonging and how we pursue and perceive healing is inextricably connected. The root of many things we do and say and want, for better and for worse, can connect back to meeting our basic human need to be loved and experience belonging. It makes sense we want to rush our healing process and achieve our desired changes and to be fixed as soon as possible. The stakes are frickin’ high. Without love and belonging, everything crumbles.

But we do not arrive and then coast for the rest of our lives, contrary to many messages we’ve been sold. Nor is there a real feasible three-step plan to change, heal, and thrive. A realistic approach to healing sees it as a lifelong process to be pursued and revisited with the ebbs and flows of life and leading.


And sometimes the ebbs and flows feel more like tsunamis that take us out and make us question everything about ourselves and those around us, leaving us with no choice but to revisit old wounds or discover new spaces in our story that need our care and healing so we can find love and belonging within, first and foremost.

I’m Rebecca Ching, and you’re listening to The Unburdened Leader, the show that goes deep with humans who navigate life’s challenges and lead in their own ways. Our goal is to learn how they address the burdens they carry, how they learn from them and become better and more impactful leaders of themselves and others.

I suspect you know the saying “hurt people hurt people.” You may have even said it. I know I have, and there’s a lot of truth in the statement, right? People who hold a lot of pain and wounds and hurt often end up offloading that hurt onto others. For me, sometimes this phrase serves as a reminder to have compassion for what I’m seeing or sensing in myself or others. You also know how catchphrases can sometimes lose their original intent. I know, never, right, these days. Words and meanings are changing by the minute it feels like, but I feel like this one has, and where, again, at its roots and its core lies a lot of truth that the hurts we carry can end up making us more vulnerable to making choices that hurt ourselves and others. That lands true, and sometimes I hear and see this phrase used (“hurt people hurt people”) in a less than compassionate way, and it has more of a judgmental tone like, “Oh, look at them,” you know? “Those folks,” in the othering way like, “We’re so above being a hot mess,” right? [Laughs]


And when we see and hear and experience less-than-pleasant interactions with others, the default to go, “Well, oh well, hurt people hurt people,” instead of really naming the things that are going on.

I hear this phrase used as an offhand statement with this heavy dose of judgment or dismissing, othering, and even stigmatizing, which I think is harmful. In our work together, I see many of the people say this about themselves when they feel bad about their decisions and choices and how they’re moving through their struggles. I see how folks internalize the judgment that being hurt equates to being damaged or less than. So it makes sense that we work so hard to hide our struggles and how these judgements often stigmatize asking for help and support, right? It’s like we’ve kind of gotten good like, “Oh, ask for help,” and “Don’t go it alone,” but we talk out the other side of our mouths sometimes like, “Oh, wow. Look at them,” and it’s this complicated space and vulnerable space that can often fuel more stigma. I feel like we hear a lot of mixed messages around supporting mental health and holistic leadership and whole-person approaches to work.

Now, there’s a lot of language and things that are said and still our capacity to sit with discomfort, our own humanity, and the humanity of others leaves us left with one big ball of awkward discomfort, frustration, confusion, and vulnerability all rolled together. The basic need for love and belonging is at the heart of what drives so much of us. There’s been much written and studied about love and belonging and how the choices we make to protect our community and our sense of belonging and our work and our desirability impact our wellbeing. Too many of us have experienced relationships in our lives that shape how we pursue love and belonging and how we respond to folks who are different or have differences or how we handle conflict or navigate not being perfect and not knowing all the answers, right? Again, the connection of love and belonging with our relationship with healing.


I know many of you work and live in a lot of pressure-cooker spaces full of expectations and demands. It’s a lot. And then we just have so much going on in the world where we don’t even have the space to have conversations with nuance and to really learn and digest the complexity of so much going on, not only just with ourselves but within our country and the world. So hurt people hurt people often serves, at least more often than I would like, as a deflection when we see things that make us feel uncomfortable. Since the desire to be loved and find belonging is a basic human need, I think a lot about what it means to be a loving leader.

I know, I know. This sounds like a cheesy phrase. You know, like #lovingleader, right? That’s not what I want but to be honest, what does it really mean for me and for you to really lead from a place of love? How do I lead myself and others in a way that may fuel discomfort but also generates dignity and connection and boundaries and clarity and courage and so much more of that good stuff? It means healing and being on a lifelong process of healing.

Now, I grew up on a heavy dose of John Hughes movies, which served as a very flawed surrogate for what I witnessed in real life about love and belonging, and oh my gosh, squirrel moment, my daughter just turned 16, and I’m like, “Let’s watch Sixteen Candles!”


Oh, my gosh, that movie. Oh, it’s like parts of me are like, “Oh, Jake! Oh, creepy grandparents. Oh, shoot, racist stuff, sexist stuff, date raping? Oh, my gosh!” Molly Ringwald still is legend. All right, so thank you for that squirrel moment. But yeah, so John Hughes movies served as a very flawed surrogate for what I witnessed in real life about love and belonging, and it took me a while to figure out that many of these movies, you know, not only did they not age well, but the desire to be loved and find belonging, though still meets a fundamental need, that’s why these movies were so great, right?

And so, I can’t think of a more important conversion to have right now with a longtime dear friend and colleague and mentor who just released his memoir aptly titled To Be Loved. It’s a powerful and tender unfolding, and we talk about some of the experiences of writing his story and the parallel process of writing about a lot of his own traumatic experiences.

Dr. Frank Anderson is both a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist. He completed his residency and was a clinical instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He’s done a lot. He specializes in the treatment of trauma and dissociation and is passionate about teaching brain-based psychotherapy and integrating current neuroscience knowledge with the IFS model therapy. Dr. Anderson has lectured extensively on the neurobiology of PTSD and of dissociation. He co-authored a chapter on what IFS brings to trauma treatment in innovations and elaborations in Internal Family Systems Therapy, and he recently co-authored Internal Family Systems Skills Training Manual, and he wrote this fabulous book on his own called Transcending Trauma: Healing Complex PTSD with Internal Family Systems, but his beautiful memoir, which just dropped May of 2024 called To Be Loved is a must-add to your reading list.


Listen for when Frank shares about the default we all fall into, making one group good and the other bad and how we all hold the ability to harm and heal and the role healing plays in all of this. Pay attention to when Frank talks about the nuanced role of forgiveness in his own healing journey and how that freed him up to own who he is today. And notice the part of our discussion where Frank talks about how his healing has impacted his leadership, moving to a more loving, kind place with conviction and moving away from being accommodating and appeasing, which if you work with me, you know I always say it’s exhausting and unsustainable.

All right, before we dig into this episode, I do need to give you all a content warning because there is a lot covered here, some heavy topics around verbal, physical, and sexual abuse, conversion therapy, suicidal ideation. Please take care of you as you listen to this conversation. It’s a powerful episode, but your wellbeing is a priority, so just listen to your body as you move through this conversation.

All right, now please welcome back Dr. Frank Anderson for his third visit to The Unburdened Leader podcast!

Frank, welcome back!

Frank Anderson: Thank you! It’s lovely to be here. Thank you so much for having me!

Rebecca Ching: Well, I mean, you have a book dropping, and I couldn’t not talk to you about not just the book but the process of writing the book.


I’ve been thinking a lot about this as I was prepping for you coming on the show. I mention this as my experience working on your leadership teams for the Level Two Trauma and Neuroscience IFS Trainings, right? We’ve done a lot of them over the last five years.

Frank Anderson: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: And last year I remember we had a training right when you were finishing up the edits for your transcript for your new memoir, To Be Loved. I want you to go back in time to that and share what were you thinking because you had all the things going on. You know, you were working, teaching, leading. But what were you thinking as you prepared for this transcript of your story, your very personal story, for the world to read?

Frank Anderson: The better question, Rebecca, would be, “What weren’t you thinking?” [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: [Laughs] All right! Fair enough.

Frank Anderson: Because I wasn’t! Honestly, I wasn’t thinking.

Rebecca Ching: Okay.

Frank Anderson: You know, it was kind of like, first of all, for the publisher to recommend my writing a memoir was absurd to me. I was like, “What are you talking about? Why would I write a memoir? Me?” You know, I didn’t really understand it initially, right, until I started diving into the process a little bit more, and it was like, “Oh, okay.” Everybody’s life is complicated, especially when you’ve lived it for a while. [Laughs] There’s more that accumulates.

So when I started diving into the writing process, it was so much more intense, so much more therapeutic, so much more — I don’t want to say traumatizing because that’s not quite the right word, but I did a lot of reliving things that I didn’t expect to visit this way because I’ve been in therapy forever, but the writing process is a very different kind of intimacy. So I was kind of — when you said, “What were you thinking,” I was like I wasn’t thinking it would have this kind of impact on me. I had no awareness or idea that it would — I knew I wanted to tell this story, so the world knew that healing is possible. For the outward-facing world, I knew that was important, but I didn’t know the impact it would have on me personally. I was really surprised by that.


Rebecca Ching: Because I noticed at that time it wasn’t — maybe just because I’ve known you for a while, but I noticed that there was an activation. There was almost like a raw — a little bit more. You’re always very real and true, but there was a little raw activation that I was noticing. There was a beauty in it but there was an extra tenderness. Am I — ?

Frank Anderson: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: I hadn’t seen that in you before.

Frank Anderson: You’re absolutely right. You know, you’re so perceptive in that way and the way that I know you, you pick up energy so quickly in that way. That was shocking, and what ended up happening was I wrote a version, the first version. Two people interviewed me — they transcribed it — every other week for ten months. Each chapter was a different interview. They just asked me a bunch of questions, and then I’d edit things. And it came out as me telling a story about my history, and it just didn’t feel right that first pass. But it was my husband who suggested, “You know, what if you were in the scene? Bring us into the scene.”

So then I rewrote the whole book blended is what I did, and that’s what you’ve experienced.

Rebecca Ching: Oh, there you go.

Frank Anderson: Because when we do therapy, we try to have people unblend, but there was a quality, and I’m so grateful I did it in retrospect that I wrote the whole thing from the first-person childhood experience.


So I rewrote it, and I was in the closet, in the crawl space. I was watching the hinges on the door move back and forth as my father pounded on the door. I was in the bathroom when this man exposed himself to me. So I put myself back in every scene, and I relived it, and I wrote it that way.

And then the third iteration was putting the two together. So it was me telling the story and me having people join me in the experience. So that’s what — you saw me at the being-in-it stage of writing, and it was so powerful, you know? And I honestly lost a dear friend as a result of it, which we still haven’t repaired because this woman, this colleague who I’ve known for years, we were working on a case together for her own reason and her own parts. She had a lot of denial around what was going on with her client. And that was a — I know her system well enough, but she became my mother while I was writing about my mother, for me, you know what I mean?

Rebecca Ching: Ooh. Yeah.

Frank Anderson: And it was so powerful, and I was so blended I’m like, “Sue, you’re not hearing me. Sue, I’m trying to speak up. Sue, you’re ignoring reality,” which is what my mother did for me. So we got caught up in this reenactment, and I’m sad about it. I know at some point we’ll repair, but I also know her history well enough to know that not paying attention to reality was life saving for her and her history, you know? So it was so intense to relive my history, which is not what we teach in therapy. So I was raw. I was so raw in that phase. It lasted several months.


Rebecca Ching: And just for the sake of listeners, we’re using some language that’s drawing from the Internal Family Systems model, and when you say blended, can you just give a brief ditty on what that means, Frank?

Frank Anderson: Totally.

Rebecca Ching: And then I’ll jump back into some more questions for you.

Frank Anderson: Yeah, so I like to talk about it as being with versus being in is the way I like to describe it.

Rebecca Ching: Right.

Frank Anderson: The word blended is like I’m in the experience. I’m in the crawlspace. I’m hiding between the rafters, petrified. Electricity’s running through my body. It’s reliving. It’s being in it versus unblended is there’s an observer. There’s like, “Oh, I remember as a child when I was six years old, and I was in the crawlspace hiding from my father.” There’s a narrator. There’s a distance, an observer who can describe the situation. So that’s basically it.

Rebecca Ching: There’s a differentiation from the experience. We can still feel it but we’re not being led by it.

Frank Anderson: Yes, you got it.

Rebecca Ching: I think that’s super powerful. So, okay. This question’s been booking it around my trainings with you. So then let’s go to January of this year (2024). We’re at another training, and you’re sending me a text like, “Hey, hopping out early because I’m packing a couple of my books to go home and share it with my family.” [Laughs]

Frank Anderson: [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: And I’m like, “Okay!” What was going through your mind? What were you most scared about as you were thinking about that, and what were you feeling good about as you were preparing to go home with this book of your story that involves — all these folks were characters in this story, in your story?

Frank Anderson: That’s another thing I had no clue about. When somebody asks you to write a memoir about your history, oh, think about all the other people in the story, right? I love the fact that you’ve been a part of this journey in this way, Rebecca. It’s like, “Oh, yeah! Oh, yeah.” So I just love that. I just want to say that. It’s wonderful to have you along the process in this way.


Yeah, that’s been so complicated, so complicated because I knew it was important for me to tell my story. I knew I wanted people to be able to resonate with my moments so that it could touch them for their moments, and I knew I wanted people to know that healing from trauma is possible. So that was the baseline of what I was doing, and then it was like, “Oh, I can’t tell a story without including my family.” You know, my brother said to my mom, “If Frank tells a story and takes out the bad crap, he won’t have a story to tell.” [Laughs] Like, how do you tell a story without including people but also protecting them and not harming them? That’s tricky, especially when you’re memoir writing because memoirs are about you and the people in your life.

So I worked very hard to tell the truth from love, to tell the truth from love because some of these editors would send me back versions, and they were so angry at my mom or dad. And they’d put in these words that were like, “No! Take it out. Take it out.” I kept undoing the anger and the resentment and the disappointment of the editors in my story. I’m like, “You can’t keep saying that,” because they were feeling it, right? So I worked very hard to try to tell the story from Self energy, from me in a loving place as well as including me in those moments, right? It’s still very complicated with my family, let me say that. This is not a done deal by any means, Rebecca.


Rebecca Ching: It makes sense. It wouldn’t be realistic if you told me, “Oh, everyone was so excited when I gave them my memoir.” Because reading your book was like, “Okay, there are gonna have some echoes,” so how did it go when you shared it with your mom, in particular? Pause real quick. Your father passed, how long has it been now?

Frank Anderson: It’ll be two years in May.

Rebecca Ching: And you started this process shortly after he died or was it before? Was he still alive?

Frank Anderson: No, it was before. He was still alive. It was incredible because —

Rebecca Ching: Oh.

Frank Anderson: And this is where guided comes in for me. Somebody told me to write a memoir, and then my life unfolded such that I was writing in real time around the transition that my dad had in passing. I did so much healing work with him in real time as I was writing the memoir.

Rebecca Ching: Oh, Frank.

Frank Anderson: It’s like my life supported the memoir, not my memoir was the story of my life. It was incredible.

Rebecca Ching: Wow, that’s a lot of intention.

Frank Anderson: Unbelievable. The last four chapters were written in real time. It was very powerful to write it in real time and have it unfold in this way.

Rebecca Ching: Yeah.

Frank Anderson: Different people responded differently. My brother was the first person I told I came out. We’re so traumatically bonded. We’re so close. So of course he was the first family member I shared the story with, and he was like, “Oh, my God, Frank. It was all true. I was there for all of it. You’re telling our history. It’s real. It’s true.” So it was very validating to hear from him because it’s very vulnerable, and I exposed so much of me and him.


I talked about being in the bathtub sexually touching each other in this way that we were just desperately trying to manage our overwhelm. So I’m exposing him in this way. He didn’t care at all. This is my brother. He’s like, “That’s the story. Tell it the way you want to,” which I was so grateful for, right?

And then my cousins that I’m close to were like, “I want you to hear this before it gets out in the public. I care about you and love you. I’m hoping you can help support my mom who’s gonna have a really hard time with this.” And so, they all read it, and they were shocked because they had no idea what happened behind closed doors. “Frankie, I’m so sorry. I had no idea that was going on.” “Everybody wanted to be your family because you always presented so well,” right?

Rebecca Ching: You’re forward facing.

Frank Anderson: Yes, yes! “Your family was the perfect family. We wanted to be like you.” So my cousins were, “You know, I’m so sorry that happened. I wish I would have known,” you know? So it was all the secrets, right?

My mom is still in process. She hasn’t read it. I just went there a week and a half ago. I was filming a TV show, and I was in Chicago, and we had this huge healing moment together. Honestly, it’s been so powerful. She said, “Why are you needing to destroy the family? Why are you destroying your father’s legacy? We were good people.” She was just very hurt and angry, and she’s a very private person. I love her dearly. It’s so powerful. It’s just so hard to do this but it was so important for me. I said, “Mom, I love you, and I’m gonna choose me over you right now. I’m gonna choose Frankie and my truth over you.


I’ve chosen you most of my life over me, and now I’m gonna choose me over you, and I’m sorry, and if that means we will never have a relationship because you’re angry and hurt at me, I’m gonna deal with that. I hope that doesn’t happen. I hope that doesn’t happen. I love you, and I care about you, but I want to help people and I’m gonna tell this story, and if you want me to change anything, I’m fine with that, under certain conditions. I can’t change reality. I’m not gonna change reality in the service of protecting you anymore.”

And you know what happened, which shocked me? She acknowledged my abuse for the first time in my life. 

Rebecca Ching: In that conversation?

Frank Anderson: In that conversation. She said to me, “I am sorry. I didn’t protect you, and you were hurt. I think I needed your father. I think he saved my life, and that’s why I kept choosing him. I am sorry I didn’t protect you, and yes, he harmed you.” It was huge for me. This was the first time in my life she’s ever said anything like that.

Rebecca Ching: I’ve talked about this before on the show, that often in the clients I’ve worked with, the most difficult parts of trauma healing is not from necessarily the perpetrator but those who knew and didn’t intervene.

Frank Anderson: Yeah, that’s right.

Rebecca Ching: And you’re, what — I’m gonna out you on your age now.

Frank Anderson: Go ahead.

Rebecca Ching: You’re 60.

Frank Anderson: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: You’re 60, right? And so, this conversation happened just recently.

Frank Anderson: Yep. Last week.

Rebecca Ching: What are you noticing as you even say last week? As you speak this out right now, what are you noticing?

Frank Anderson: So I’m still processing it, I’ll tell you that. I’m still processing it.


I was, earlier this morning, in my own therapy, and I did this unburdening with the two parts of me. One is little Frankie who wanted to hear that his whole life and is just elated by this news. You know, when you want something for 60 years and you get something, it’s pretty huge. So there was an energy in me that was overwhelmed by it, the excitement of it, and there was an angry part that showed up (and I can’t even tell if they’re the same or different parts) that was like, “How many times I wanted this and this never happened and this never happened, and she’s gone back on her word so many times in order to allow this.” I used to beg her to protect me and just stop him. You know, so there was an anger about it also.

Right now I’m relieved because I showed up, not them (these younger parts) when I had this conversation with her, and I feel like it needed to happen before the book came out. I trust that process occurred because I’m gonna tell a different story now as the book gets into the world because it’s truly about the gift of healing and repair with people who have harmed you, and I had that experience with my father. I wrote about it in the book, and I just had it with my mother last week, right?


So this isn’t about, “Poor me. What a horrible story.” This is about the possibility of repair, of loving, of forgiving those who have harmed you and releasing what you’re carrying from it. And the layers just keep happening. I never thought that dimension would ever happen, and I stopped her when she said it. We were both crying. She was holding my hand. I was like, “Mom, you’ve never said that to me my whole life. Thank you so much for saying that.” I just couldn’t believe it. I was kind of shocked, but I was just like, “Oh, my God. I didn’t know this was possible. I didn’t know this layer, this kind of release and freedom was possible.” You don’t know what it’s gonna feel like until you have the experience, right?

Rebecca Ching: And it’s hard to put words to that kind of spaciousness. It’s a lived experience, and you mention you’re telling a different story but you’re also living a different story too.

Frank Anderson: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: So many people keep the secrets, whether it’s from their family of origin or the schools they go to or the toxic workplaces. They protect those that are hurting the systems to protect themselves. They don’t want to lose their safety of home, of family, of friends, of income.

Frank Anderson: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: What do you say to those folks saying, “I’ve been doing that. I hold the secrets for everyone,” because we’re breaking the rules, right? It is breaking some big-time rules speaking truth and colluding with the story.

So yeah, what do you say to those that are holding those secrets, from family to school to work, out of fear of losing their safety? What would you say?


Frank Anderson: Fear of losing safety but fear of losing connection too.

Rebecca Ching: Yeah.

Frank Anderson: Because I kept secrets my whole life because if I spoke the truth, I was gonna lose the people I loved, right? That’s the fear. You know, we’re not great, as a culture and society, with vulnerability. Telling the secrets is exposing yourself in the ways that you’re bad and wrong and defective and less then, all the stuff, right? I would have these moments as I’m writing all this stuff about myself, I’m like, “What are you doing?” [Laughs] I said to some of my patients, “You’re gonna know more about me than I know about you.” I put so much out there in a way that is not about me in a good light or not about perfect Frank or how great I am. It’s like all the ways I really messed up and all the ways I did harmful things to my partners, to my children, and it was so important to do that.

Those moments of fear and anxiety weren’t long lasting because I feel like everybody needs to know we’re all complicated, and I’m okay to be the spokesperson for that because I think people need to know that, and I couldn’t have done it without the healing I’ve done. You can’t talk about this stuff without having processed it because there is too much shame in all of it, so I don’t really hold shame.

I have to tell you a handful of people have read this because of these — you know, we send out these pre-advanced copies to people and endorsements and things, and nobody is judging me.


It’s fascinating because I thought the exposure would cause alienation, judgment. “Frank, how could you?” “Frank, you’re bad.” Nobody says that. Nobody points out the things I’ve done wrong. Everybody talks about the courage and the bravery and the way my story has touched them personally. That’s what I hear about, Rebecca, and it warms me so much. Nobody’s like, “Oh, my God, Frank. You’re a horrible person.” I don’t feel that energy because of expressing what happened in me and what I did, and that’s been really — I mean, maybe that’s gonna happen, but that’s not what I’m experiencing so far. It’s more like there for the grace of God goes me, right? Everybody’s done stuff, and so, nobody’s judging me for what I’ve done, and I’m really grateful for that so far.

Rebecca Ching: Where are you with judging yourself for your mistakes, for your humanity? Where is your relationship with your story right now?

Frank Anderson: That was one of those shocking revelations around writing this book because when I was able to forgive my dad, truly in my heart, and feel love for him — which is so powerful to love somebody who’s harmed you. I talk about forgiveness, whether or not forgiveness is a choice, but I released so much anger and hatred of what I was carrying towards my dad and the freedom of that when I forgave him truly and loved him, enabled me — this was a shock — to forgive myself for what I’d done. It was weird. I didn’t expect that. It was like, “Another layer here? Oh, my goodness.” Forgiving him for his human fallibility opened the door for me to forgive myself for what I had done, and I didn’t expect that.

Rebecca Ching: Mm, and just for context, Frank, that whole process that led up to that experience with your dad, how much work, how many years of work did that — what was the pregame to that? I think that context was really important, the way we talk about healing and fixing and arriving and all of that stuff, it seems so, “Three steps and you’re free.” Can you fill that in a little bit more?


Frank Anderson: What I’ll say is I do now believe that you have to release the trauma you’re holding about what happened to you first before you can focus on the relationship with the person who harmed you. I break healing down into two different steps now. Release what you’re holding around what happened. That’s what most of therapy focuses on, in my experience with psychotherapy. Healing trauma is healing what you’re carrying whether it’s somatically in your body, whether it’s emotionally, whether it’s cognitively. Heal what you’re holding around the trauma first. Then, if you choose, focus on what you’re holding relationally around the person who harmed you. Those are two different things. Now I understand that. They’re not the same thing.

Rebecca Ching: They get conflated.

Frank Anderson: All the time.

Rebecca Ching: They almost feel like, “You need to heal. You need to heal with this situation.”

Frank Anderson: Oh, yeah. “You need to forgive. You need to forgive,” which is pushed way too prematurely so you don’t heal. Don’t feel your feelings. Just forgive so you can move on.

Rebecca Ching: It’s about the other.

Frank Anderson: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: It’s about the other, yeah.

Frank Anderson: Forgiveness is about you, I’ve learned. It’s not about the other. It’s what you’re carrying about the other. It’s freedom for you if you want to do that.


So it’s embarrassing, to tell you the truth. I did a keynote at The Networker about therapy and my therapy and my journey. I’m like I’ve been in therapy for 33  years, Rebecca, okay? That’s a long time. That’s a lot of therapy, you know? I don’t want people to think, “Oh, God, this will never happen for me because I have to be in therapy for 33 years in order to heal.” That’s not what I’m saying.

Rebecca Ching: You’ve experienced healing, but to get to this really — this level — you’d experienced some level of healing with your father and your family of origin, but to this level it was a few decades of layered work and different things that you’ve been doing, right?

Frank Anderson: You got it.

Rebecca Ching: And different relationships.

Frank Anderson: I was in therapy as a kid, a form of conversion therapy, as you know, for six years because I got caught playing with a Barbie playhouse, right? It was a disorder back then. So that six years of therapy was not helpful for me.

Rebecca Ching: No.

Frank Anderson: Well, it helped me learn how to be a “normal” boy, to play baseball.

Rebecca Ching: It helped you mask.

Frank Anderson: Yeah, it helped me disconnect to survive, right? I had a lot of therapy to undo that therapy, right?

Rebecca Ching: Yeah.

Frank Anderson: But I did a lot of work, and I felt better in my 11 years of 5-times a week psychoanalysis during my residency. I came out. I divorced my wife. I met my husband. I had a lot of good things happen. I acknowledged my trauma. I was not repressed anymore. So a lot happened that was good, so it’s the layers, you know? But this last round, which I’m still in, was when my kids were born.

Rebecca Ching: Oh, gosh.


Frank Anderson: That deeper layer of my attachment wounding, my preverbal trauma, my physical abuse with my dad got released during this last round, and I don’t know that I’ll ever be done with this. I didn’t think last week I’d have another huge layer, right? I don’t think we’re ever — it’s one of the things I want people to know. Healing is possible and we’re never done healing. I think there are different layers and dimensions that are constantly showing up in ways we can’t even imagine.

A decade ago I thought I was healed, and here I am now with all the extra layers. You know, when I am transitioning and I’m at the end of my life, I’m gonna do more healing about my history, right? Because I’m gonna be in that phase and something new is gonna come up around my life then, right? So I think we’re never done, but boy, does it get better and, boy, do you keep releasing and, boy, you don’t get activated the same way each layer you release.

[Inspirational Music]

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[Inspirational Music]

Rebecca Ching: Can you say a little bit more about how your definition of healing has changed (you touched on it a little bit) since you started your work as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist?

Frank Anderson: Yeah. Yeah, it’s so different than what it was. It’s so different, and it keeps evolving. It keeps evolving, you know? And it’s also changing as I’m trying to bring this message to the general public. That’s another way it changes because there’s the psychotherapy version of “healing,” you know? Bringing people back to their past, having them process events that happened to them, and either making peace with it or, because of IFS for me, releasing what we’re carrying —


Rebecca Ching: Right.

Frank Anderson: — that doesn’t belong to us and doesn’t serve us. Any traumatic experience is an exchange of energy that’s harmful and oppressive, and we tend to accumulate that. And so, for me, healing is there’s a release and a transformation that occurs when we let go of what we’ve absorbed. That, I am very aware of, and that is important to me, which not a lot of psychotherapy focuses on. Not a lot of psychotherapy even achieves the release piece, so that’s super important to me. So there’s that.

People joke about this all the time. When you’re outing me at 60, I can’t help it, but I just look super young, but it’s because of what I’ve released. That’s why.

Rebecca Ching: Yeah. You’ve gotten younger since I’ve met you.

Frank Anderson: Isn’t it bizarre?

Rebecca Ching: But people talk about the IFS community like, “It’s a facial!” getting IFS therapy, you know? [Laughs] Forget botox. Get IFS. [Laughs]

Frank Anderson: I’m freer. I’m more me. I’m younger. How do we not be affected when we release energy that’s toxic physiologically, emotionally, somatically, cognitively, right? It has an effect, and that piece I’ll continue to teach. The forgiveness piece, Rebecca, is the — I keep hearing the word “unity” when I give messages. Like, “Frank, you need to bring trauma healing to the world –.” Not that I’m the only one, no way. But “You’re one of the people that’s bringing trauma healing to the world, and you need to promote love, connection, and unity.” And I kept throwing out unity. I’m like, “Ugh, forget unity.” Like, “Unity? Are you kidding me?” I was kind of pissed. I’m like, “Unity?”


And now with this forgiveness piece that I’ve experienced with my mom and my dad, I do not believe (and this is a bold statement that I’m gonna say) the world is gonna be able to heal unless we cross the divide and unless we start loving the other side and we stop othering everybody, because it keeps us in the victim/perpetrator mentality. We’re locked. Whether it’s politically, it’s like, “Are you liberal or conservative?” The conservatives are bad. The liberals are good. Flip it. “Oh, my God, those liberals are so obnoxious. Look at the harm they’re doing!” That polarity. The polarity in marginalized communities, the polarity in systemic racism, the polarities that exist in sexuality and orientation, there’s an othering that we do in our world and in our culture, in our families around the us and them. I have been harmed. I’m good, you’re bad. You’re bad, I’m good. For me, this is the unity piece. It’s seeing the humanity in the other side.

Rebecca Ching: Yeah.

Frank Anderson: Seeing the perpetrator within ourselves, for me now, feels like the only true way we can heal systemically, globally. We’ve got to stop separating ourselves out into good and bad or us and them. People don’t want to hear this message, and I’m okay with people not wanting to hear that message. It doesn’t mean we condone what happens. It doesn’t mean we don’t acknowledge the harm and the impact that it has caused. I’m not saying that at all. I’m not saying forget and forgive. We have to acknowledge what happened. There needs to be restitution and recognition and reconciliation, but I think we’ve got to stop othering people to heal trauma.


Rebecca Ching: Agreed, and where I get stuck when I hear you talk about this, Frank —

Frank Anderson: Yeah. Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: — is the harm that’s getting done real time. I mean, I could just speak sexism. Sexism.

Frank Anderson: Totally.

Rebecca Ching: I mean, I was just in a meeting yesterday, and I was just getting bro’d, and I was like [Sigh], and finally he was like, “Oh, wait. You’re right. I was wrong.” I’m like, “I know,” you know? But he was totally like puffing up, and I’m like, “Oh, my gosh, this is so familiar.”

Frank Anderson: Yeah. Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: That’s a lighter one. I think there are a lot more insidious things, especially around racism, especially around homophobia, especially around just ableism.

Frank Anderson: Totally.

Rebecca Ching: I mean, I think there are a lot more. Sexism and misogyny can go to just very, very dark levels. So when it’s happening real time, if I’m going to connect some dots, that to really heal from the perpetrator (the actual person who has harmed) or even society that’s done the harm, we have to do our own work, but if you’re doing your own work, then you go to therapy, you have some release and you go out in the world and harm is done, this is the rub with this, Frank, where the cultural burdens that systems are carrying. What do you say because I think sometimes there’s some confusion like what’s good enough is kind of what I’m wondering. What’s good enough because I have agency over me, and I try to have an impact in my world, and I also think accountability is a big part of the healing process. That’s often not possible on a systemic scale. So what do you say when there’s the real time harm? It’s not an event that happened. It’s like you go out in the world and who you are is getting attacked?


Frank Anderson: One hundred percent. Whether it’s real time for me or whether it’s happening today, last week, or 100 years ago, harm is harm. As humans, we are capable of harm. It’s a human condition in my view. It happens here, and I’m not justifying it or saying it’s not important or significant. I’m saying the opposite. I’m saying that’s in fact what it is. We’re here and we harm, and we’ve been harmed. It’s true. I’m not denying the existence of it.

Rebecca Ching: I hear that.

Frank Anderson: I am saying when we do our own work and release what we’ve absorbed from being harmed, we can have a different relationship. We can have a different relationship with those who have harmed us and with those we have harmed. It changes your relationship in my experience, okay?

I’m living it now, Rebecca, in a way that’s really striking to me. I’ve had people in my life, and I don’t want to name names who haven’t been very nice to me and haven’t been very kind to me, and they’re prominent significant people. And I get support. “Get rid of them!” “Cut them out!” “They’re jerks!” “They shouldn’t treat you that way!” “What they’re doing is wrong,” and I’m like, “Yes, it’s true. All that is true, and I am gonna be kind to them,” and I’m not saying it didn’t impact me. I’m not saying I don’t have feelings about it. I’m saying I am gonna send love to those who have harmed me. What I have noticed is it changes their relationship to me when I am kind to them.


Rebecca Ching: How would you differentiate this kindness, this intentional loving your enemy versus tolerating, taking it, excusing it, bypassing? How do you differentiate between the two?

Frank Anderson: Well, so this is such a tricky area. It’s a tricky area, but I’m gonna use my mom as an example. I’m gonna just go back to that. What ended up happening, and the individual family legacy, cultural, systemic, there are differences because when systemic things happen, there needs to be acknowledgement on a global systemic level. There needs to be repair and restitution. A top-down repair has to happen in order for change to actually occur, okay? So I want to hold those differences systemically versus relationally, but I want to acknowledge that for sure.

Now what I’m saying, like with my mom, she was like, “Nothing happened. This didn’t happen. Why are you saying this? Maybe he hit you once.” She had all of this just wipe it all out because she needed to protect my father.


She showed up for my younger part as a perpetrator. “Here we go again. She’s denying the reality of what happened” okay? And I felt it. I felt it in those early moments of this discussion. What I’m saying is, “Mom, I understand that’s what you’re holding. Mom, I have a different view, and I have a different reality, and your reality is not going to change mine, and this did happen, and it was really harmful and impactful to me. And you can speak of your experience, but you can’t change mine. This was real, and this did happen, and I love you, and I care about you, and I’ll help you in any way I can. But I am not going to pretend this didn’t exist. I am not gonna not take care of myself and tell the story in a way that is my truth, and if it means losing you, that’s what it means.”

So it was my showing up not from a protective place, not from an othering place, from a kind, clear place that had an impact on her. When I showed up like that, strong and clear with power, not anger, I think it helped her hold the reality more clearly for her. “You’re right. It happened. I’m sorry.” I don’t think she could have done that if I hadn’t shown up in such a clear, loving way. Now, I don’t want to take credit for her growth because it was her growth. I could have still showed up that way, and she could have not done that.


Rebecca Ching: You’re just talking about the emotional physics of how you showed up and how that opened the door, potentially, for that and how —

Frank Anderson: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: And that does. We feel that. When you’re around somebody, even if there’s someone that I don’t want to have a strong connection with, don’t like, there’s hostility, but if there’s a sense of love and there isn’t a power over — you mentioned power. It was more of empowered.

Frank Anderson: Yeah!

Rebecca Ching: But there’s a respect, there’s clarity, there’s boundaries. That’s what I’m hearing. That creates safety. That creates space for some more courage and vulnerability for sure.

I want to circle back. I want to make sure we close the loop as we talked about your definition of healing real quick and you talk about the traditional kind of healing, going back in the past. IFS really helps us kind of get to that next level of releasing —

Frank Anderson: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: — where often we can make peace with it, but there’s this whole new level on a whole mind/body/soul level of releasing. Is there anything else that you would add about your definition of healing? Where’s your definition of healing today, and how is that different than still-conventional wisdom?

Frank Anderson: Well, it’s the moving forward piece. It’s what we’re talking about.

Rebecca Ching: Got it. Okay. I want to make sure.

Frank Anderson: It’s the moving forward is this new dimension for me as the result of my experience that therapists — therapy tends to focus on the past, coaching tends to focus on the future. And I’m like, “Yes, please. Yes, please, okay!”

Rebecca Ching: All of it. Welcome to my world. [Laughs]

Frank Anderson: And so, how do we move forward differently when we’re no  longer carrying the energy of what happened to us? That’s my point. And so, when you’re interacting with a perpetrator, when you’re interacting with a system that’s actively harming, I’m not saying pretend. I’m saying I am different now. The second phase, which includes forgiveness but it’s not only forgiveness, it is showing up differently in harm that’s happening or in harm that happened. You’re different moving forward. I’m different moving forward.


I can have hard conversations in a way that I never could before. I don’t have as much fear of losing connection. If people are upset with me or disagree with me, that’s really okay now in a way that it wasn’t before. It’s like I’m holding my truths, and I believe what I believe, and it’s really okay for you to disagree with me, to be angry with me, to not agree with me, but I am solid in who I am moving forward, and that’s been life changing for me, the moving forward after healing and all that’s involved in that. I can’t believe.

Rebecca Ching: Yeah.

Frank Anderson: And people go, “Don’t be kind. Be pissed, Frank. They hurt you.” And I’m like, “Nope, I’m not gonna do that.” It feels more empowering to be kind than to hurt back.

Rebecca Ching: You had your seasons of righteous anger. [Laughs]

Frank Anderson: My whole life. I hated my father for 58 years. I hated him.

Rebecca Ching: I just wanted to make sure.

Frank Anderson: I was so angry.

Rebecca Ching:  It went from a righteous anger to a toxic that — so this is what I want to ask. You wrote, “With trauma, we either repeat or repress what we do not repair or learn from.”

Frank Anderson: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: You’ve touched on a few things, but I’d love for you to share something that you were repeating in your life and work until you repaired and learned from it.

Frank Anderson: [Laughs] Everything. Oh, my God. There’s so much I repeated! It’s, like, so crazy!

Rebecca Ching: Pick one.

Frank Anderson: Well, I’m gonna pick two because they’re connected, okay?

Rebecca Ching: Okay.


Frank Anderson: It was like so I did all this therapy. Eleven years, five times a week I was able to —

Rebecca Ching: Eleven years, five times a week?!

Frank Anderson: That’s what I said! Eleven years, five times a week.

Rebecca Ching: Shut the front door! Oh my gosh.

Frank Anderson: Yep, that’s what it was. In Boston, my analytic world. That’s what it was.

Rebecca Ching: Eleven years, dear Lord, okay. Sorry, keep going.

Frank Anderson: Yep. Five times a week. Yep.

Rebecca Ching: I just had a moment.

Frank Anderson: So what I ended up repeating, okay, it was I married this woman, and she was passive and accommodating like my mother, and I was controlling and abusive like my father. And I talk about it in the book.

Rebecca Ching: Yeah.

Frank Anderson: So that was my first repeat. I was, oh my God, yelling at her. I was horrible. I hated myself after I recovered from the rages that I had, right? So it was like I became my father, she became my mother. We all do this. We’re like, “I’m gonna be different.” You find somebody, and then you’re saying the same things they said.

So I was a controlling, at times verbally abusive guy to my wife, and I repeated that whole pattern that I was the recipient of. Then I came out, and then I met a man who was controlling like my father, and I was passive and accommodating like my mother. So I flipped. I totally flipped, and then I was the recipient, again, of a controlling guy, and I was passive and accommodating. I played my mother’s role this time instead of my father’s role. And I was like, “Am I ever gonna get out of this rinse and repeat? Am I ever gonna get out of this?” So I have repeated a lot. I repeated my dad’s verbal abuse with my kids at times. That was horrible. That made me suicidal. That’s where I got suicidal.

So yeah, I think that’s my point. We all do it. I’m a therapist. I’m a trauma expert. I do this for a living, and I still did it, Rebecca.

Rebecca Ching: Yeah.


Frank Anderson: And I couldn’t help it, as much as I knew, as much as I help other people, I couldn’t help it because the trauma was still in me, and my protectors were still trying to protect. I don’t do that anymore. I don’t.

Rebecca Ching: So freeing.

Frank Anderson: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: What impact did your repressed traumas have on your approach to leading and showing up in work, too?

Frank Anderson: It’s so different now. This is what I’m saying. I could speak up and say things that are not the party line, that people don’t want to hear, that activate people because they’re in a different energy and they hold a different view and opinion, and I’m okay with that. A leader is a disruptor. But it doesn’t have to come from a protective or angry place. And that’s what I can do now in a way that I couldn’t do five years ago. I think that’s why I’m here now is because I can have hard conversations and change the paradigm. What if you love the person who harmed you? “Fuck you, Frank. That’s ridiculous.” Hold up. What if, in fact, you were able to free yourself from everything you’re carrying? What if you’re different than them? What if you can hold your center and they can’t? What would that feel like?

So, you know, that’s what being a leader, I’m learning, is. It’s not accommodating. It’s being kind. It’s being loving. But it’s also showing up with the conviction of your knowledge and truth from experience of healing.

Rebecca Ching: Mm.

Frank Anderson: And I’m not apologetic. I don’t have to apologize or accommodate anymore.


Rebecca Ching: But I will say it doesn’t mean you’re not going to apologize if there was a wrong. I’ve seen you do that.

Frank Anderson: Yeah, 100%.

Rebecca Ching: You’re like, “Oh, my gosh. I didn’t realize that landed that way. Let’s talk about it. I own –.” So I want to make sure. You’re not apologetic for your conviction. 

Frank Anderson: My belief and my conviction, that’s right.

Rebecca Ching: You’re aware of your intent even if there’s an impact.

Frank Anderson: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: I just want to put that in there.

Frank Anderson: Well, and you know what? Because I’ve been able to forgive people who have harmed me and then ultimately forgive myself, I apologize so much easier. 

Rebecca Ching: Yeah.

Frank Anderson: “I’m human. I am so sorry.” It’s weird but it’s been easier for me to apologize when I’ve harmed somebody. I’m like, “Mom, I am so sorry this is harming you. I feel so bad about that! I’m still gonna tell my story, and I’m so sorry this hurt.” You know, I do it with my kids. I wasn’t a great  apologizer with my kids. I’m so much better, and it had such a huge impact on them. So because it’s okay to be human, because I’ve been able to forgive my perpetrator, I’m forgiving myself, and I’m okay to be human now. I couldn’t be human before. I had to please people, or they would leave me. So now I can be a human and make a mistake and apologize. It’s such a relief!

Rebecca Ching: So as we wrap up, how has your understanding of success changed since you were younger, and what does success mean to you today, Frank, especially with everything you’ve got going on?

Frank Anderson: Success means — I don’t want to be flippant about it.

Rebecca Ching: Be flippant, Frank. If you’ve got flippant parts, they’re welcome.

Frank Anderson: Well, success has nothing to do with success is what I was going to say. It’s nothing to do with success. This journey is not even about me at all. It’s about what I think of purpose. I’d rather use the word purpose than success because staying in the purpose that I was brought here for feels awesome, and all the stuff comes from that. The joy, the experiences, the wealth, the happiness comes from staying aligned with my purpose.


My dad used to say when he was older, “I told you you’d be famous, Frankie! I told you you’d be famous!” I’m like I have no interest in fame. Fame? Fame means nothing to me. I am here to help people and heal trauma, and that’s my purpose, and all the good stuff comes from that, so I don’t think about success or fame. I think about staying aligned and doing good things and then receiving good things as a result of doing good things. That’s the way I think about it.

Rebecca Ching: I love it. So I’m gonna ask you some quickfire questions before we wrap up here.

Frank Anderson: Yeah!

Rebecca Ching: Okay, what are you reading right now?

Frank Anderson: Open Monogamy by Tammy Nelson.

Rebecca Ching: What song are you playing on repeat?

Frank Anderson: [Laughs] “Heather.” Oh, gosh, I don’t even know if you know “Heather!” It’s a teenybop. My younger kid showed me it. It’s a song about this boy who’s gay who’s in love with this boy, but the boy’s in love with Heather, the girl.

Rebecca Ching: Oh, my gosh. Okay, I’ll check it out.

Frank Anderson: [Laughs] And it’s one of these viral songs, but it’s the unrequited love thing.

Rebecca Ching: Yeah.

Frank Anderson: It’s so sweet, and it’s from the gay perspective, but when you listen to it, you don’t even know that if you don’t listen deeper, so it’s very well done. “I wish you’d kiss me the way you kissed her. You’ll never kiss me because you’re into her.” So “Heather” is one that I’m listening to and also I’m gonna say Pink’s “TRUSTFALL.”

Rebecca Ching: Oh, gosh, so good.

Frank Anderson: That’s the other one. Yep.

Rebecca Ching: What is the best TV show or movie you’ve seen recently?


Frank Anderson: Fellow Travelers was incredible. That was brilliant. It was incredible.

Rebecca Ching: What is your favorite eighties (or maybe it’s seventies) piece of pop culture for you, from what you grew up in?

Frank Anderson: Wow, I will say the music back then.

Rebecca Ching: Hello!

Frank Anderson: The music. Music is such a healing force for me.

Rebecca Ching: Me too.

Frank Anderson: Every chapter of my book has a song relevant to that day in life, so when I go back to the seventies, it was all the groovy, just that kind of —

Rebecca Ching: It was so good.

Frank Anderson: Right? I would say the music.

Rebecca Ching: I’m with you. What is your mantra right now, Frank?

Frank Anderson: Bring more love, connection, and unity to the world.

Rebecca Ching: What’s an unpopular opinion that you hold?

Frank Anderson: Forgiveness is really valuable. [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: [Laughs] Who or what inspires you to be a better leader and human?

Frank Anderson: My kids. I did not expect that to pop up. My kids. Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: Absolutely. Frank, when this episode drops, your book is gonna be out in the world! Where can people get the book, and where can people connect with you and your work and all the things that you’ve got going on?

Frank Anderson: Yeah, so the book you can get apparently in bookstores now, which I’m super excited! I cannot wait to go to Target or all the bookstores and get my book or in the airport. So that’s gonna happen. Amazon, of course, people can get it there or www.pesi.com. It’s a wide distribution apparently, so a lot of other places. My website is www.frankandersonmd.com. I read the audio version of the book, which I’m so excited about. Telling that story brought it to life in a way that’s super exciting, and Instagram and all the social media channels I’m @frank_andersonmd for people to kind of follow the journey and be a part of it.


Rebecca Ching: Do you want to give a shoutout to your Trauma Institute too?

Frank Anderson: I was gonna say another place where I’m doing this work now is The Trauma Institute, which we just launched last month, www.traumainstitutue.com. And that’s an integrated center for trauma healing for therapists, the next generation of therapists, and the general public. And I have a company out in LA here called Trauma-Informed Media, which we’re bringing trauma content to Hollywood and to, yeah, be more responsible about the delivery and the message of trauma healing.

Rebecca Ching: Frank, thank you for coming back on the show, for sharing, as you always do, with so much love and vulnerability and truth. I’m excited that this book is out in the world and just appreciate all you’re doing to help helping professionals and just help everyone other less and love more. 

Frank Anderson: Yes. Yes. Other less and love more. I love that. Beautiful. Thank you so much!

Rebecca Ching: Before you go, I want to ensure you leave with some of the main takeaways from this tender and important Unburdened Leader conversation with Dr. Frank Anderson.

Frank shared the power of a lifelong approach to healing versus a quick fix approach. The many layers of healing meet us through the states and stages of our lives and can help us discover what it feels like to release trauma, pain, and shame. The subsequent impact on how we lead and do relationships helps us be a part of healing in the spaces we live and work instead of colluding with so much harm being done. Frank reminds us how healing our trauma can also get us out of the good/bad binary where we often default to othering and judging others instead of leaning into more compassion and curiosity in the presence of conflict and difference.


Frank talks about the role of forgiveness in his own healing journey and how that freed him up to be who he truly is today, and Frank shared how his healing has impacted how he leads himself and others, moving to more loving and kind approaches with conviction and moving away from accommodating and appeasing.

What stood out to you after listening to Frank share his story and his experience of healing and writing about his trauma story? And after reflection, what shifted in how you see hurt people or hurt even in yourself? And what healing do parts of you need right now?

In our fast-paced, ever-changing world I suspect you do not feel like you have the time to heal and grow, or it makes it really hard, but instead we just push through and exile our pain. But there’s no way around it, y’all. If we want to move from offloading our pain on others or doing harm to ourselves, we have to find more confidence and clarity. We must respect the windy road of healing and value our humanity over perfection, and this is the ongoing work of an unburdened leader.

[Inspirational Music]

Thank you so much for listening to this really special episode of The Unburdened Leader. You can find this episode, show notes, free Unburdened Leader resources, and ways to sign up for the Unburdened Weekly email along with ways to work with me at www.rebeccaching.com. And this episode was produced by the incredible team at Yellow House Media!

[Inspirational Music]

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meet the founder

I’m Rebecca Ching, LMFT.

I help change-making leaders get to the root of recurring struggles and get confidently back on track with your values, your vision, and your bottom line. 

I combine psychotherapeutic principles, future-forward coaching, and healthy business practices to meet the unique needs and challenges of highly-committed leaders in a high-stakes world.

This is unburdened leadership

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Are you about this, too? Let’s meet and see if I’m your coach – no expectations. Just connection.