The ordinary madness and peculiar logic of the human mind ... Do you want to discover more about all things mental health? Meet Dr. Beach, a forensic psychiatrist who offers a unique perspective through stimulating real, raw, and thought-provoking conversations. From depression and anxiety to trauma and psychosis to the peculiar aspects of our personality that influence our behavior, Dr. Beach elevates our understanding of the human mind and expands the possibilities for a brighter future.
Control Over Perceptual Experiences
Welcome to an extraordinary conversation on the latest and greatest frontier of unusual perceptual experiences. Meet Dr. Al Powers and Brittany Quagan, co-directors of the Yale COPE project (Control Over Perceptual Experiences) focused on research and potential interventions of those who experience it. Dr. Powers is a psychiatrist, neuroscientist, and Medical Director of the Prime Clinic, the psychosis and risk clinic at Yale University. Brittany Quagan is a clinical therapist, medium, with lived experience hearing voices, seeing visions, and feeling things without stimuli. Together, their innovative and cutting-edge research is dedicated to a better understanding of how individuals with unusual perceptual experiences can achieve control and regain empowerment. Listen to Brittany's personal story and learn just how common these experiences are!
Yale COPE Project: https://www.spirit.research.yale.edu/
Behind the COPE Project is a team of individuals from all different communities--neuroscientists, therapists, mental health professionals, mental health advocates, individuals with lived experiences, and individuals who view their experiences as spiritually oriented. Our group is called the SPIRIT Alliance (SPIRIT meaning the multitude of characteristics that make up an individual).
Al Powers: I’m a psychiatrist and neuroscientist. I am passionate about understanding human experience and building bridges to help us empathize with each other’s experiences. The way I choose to build these bridges is by viewing experiences like hearing or seeing things other people don’t as on the same spectrum with everyday perceptual experiences. By understanding perception, I think we can begin to help normalize experiences and begin to decrease the stigma and dysfunction they sometimes carry.
My clinical work is focused upon the treatment of patients experiencing the very first signs of psychosis, as Medical Director of the Yale PRIME Psychosis Prodrome Research Clinic.
Brittany Quagan: I am a Master Level Clinical Therapist and psychic/medium. My personal experience with hearing voices began when I was about 15 years old. I personally see these voices as Spirit Guides. Along with the voices of Spirit came an influx of distressing experiences such as anxiety, panic attacks, depression, health paranoia, and suicidality. I didn’t know what was happening. I didn’t know what I was hearing. And because I was so distressed by the experiences, I self-medicated with substances and alcohol because, in those moments, the voices and the other uncomfortable sensations and thoughts would quiet down. There were periods of time I couldn’t leave my home, petrified of what I would hear or feel if I did. My sanctuary was the only place I felt safe—or, at the very least—safer. My relationships suffered, I had to drop out of college my first year, and every day I spiraled into what I felt at the time was a never-ending abyss. This continued until I was about 21 years old.
Now, I work alongside Al as co-director of the SPIRIT Alliance, a consortium of psychic/mediums, spiritual communities, therapists, neuroscientists, and people with mental illness to work as a team to understand these perceptual experiences and to create better, more person-centered treatments through the COPE Project.
Good Lessons from a Really Bad Example
Don't miss our first episode in season two. Dr. Beach goes all out, no apologies, and leaves nothing on the table in a conversation with the talented and humorous entertainer, insightful counselor, and author Henrietta Alves. This episode dives into topics from finance to mental illness, from the struggles in the entertainment industry to where and how you live, with valuable advice from Ms. Alves, author of "Good Lessons from a Really Bad Example." Together, they reveal lessons for better decision-making in every aspect of life — preventive, not reactive. This episode is a must-listen for parents and their young adult children to gain insight from someone who's spent a lifetime of misstep and introspection only evolve into priceless tips sparing others from wasted time, energy, and emotion and leading toward a peaceful, accomplished life.
More on Henrietta Alves:
Many years ago, Henrietta decided that she wanted a long, adventurous life filled with love and laughter. Her upcoming book, "Good Lessons from a Really Bad Example," resulted from a lifetime of misstep and introspection. In order to live her ideal 'script,' she realized she needed enough money to cover basic expenses, good health to carry her through, and better time management to accomplish every goal. From there, she devised Twelve Life Goals to consider in a specific order when making any decisions.
She spent her childhood in the South, primarily Mississippi. At that time, being a teacher and/or getting married was expected of a Southern girl. So she did both — earned a Masters's Degree and got married.
One summer, her life took a turn when she sang with a lounge band. Since then, she has performed as a singer/pianist in every major American city, including Las Vegas, and multiple cities worldwide. Her music is admired by celebrities and small-town folks alike.
With her life experience, a natural passion for Henrietta was counseling and psychology. Recording her thoughts and successes with counseling eventually led to her dream of writing books to help others. Friends, strangers, and people of all ages have confided in her, and she has felt a personal fulfillment in helping to guide them through their private storms with no judgment.
New Orleans has been her home for the past 40+ years, where, despite her multitude of flaws, she reared two fabulous, accomplished children, Chris and Musa.
Let's all get muscle minded with Tyler Sarry, a fitness coach, wellness motivator, and mental health advocate. In this honest, educational, and inspiring episode, Tyler covers what is not typically known or seen on the surface, including why he first got into fitness; navigating learning challenges due to ADHD, and the physical and psychological highs and lows when he competed as a fitness model. This episode covers mindful eating, portion control/moderation, healthy vs. unhealthy food choices, how to apply the "80:20 rule", the philosophy behind intermittent fasting, and the need to incorporate healthy eating and exercise into a sustainable lifestyle. Dr. Beach and Tyler focus on the mental health benefits of exercise. They also discuss Tyler's prior struggles with his body image, overexercising, and undereating and the risks of vanity and social media pressures. Tyler's journey can help us all achieve a better mind-body connection and balance.
Trauma – Part 2
Trauma Part 2 of 2 — So much covered in this episode! Dr. Beach and Dr. Sarah Wright, Psychologist, Sex Therapist and Author of Redefining Trauma: Understanding and Coping with a Cortisoaked Brain take us through the practical coping strategies including the importance of telling our traumatic stories; mindfulness; giving ourselves time and space to heal; the positive effects of healthy routines, intimacy and exercise, and the power of support. Gain a real understanding of traumatic reactions as normal responses to abnormal circumstances; the benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)/cognitive processing therapy (CPT) and medications; the critical role of grounding and a safety plan; and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). Listen and learn from the experts in this highly informational second part.
Redefining Trauma: Understanding and Coping with a Cortisoaked Brain
Trauma – Part 1
What is trauma? How does it impact the brain? To many, the word trauma brings to mind emergency rooms, combat, physical injury, or sexual assault. It's less likely to conjure up examples such as being a racial or sexual minority, enduring significant loss, or being a parent and working three jobs, and still find time to be human.
Join Dr. Beach and Dr. Sarah Wright, Psychologist, Sex Therapist, and author of Trauma: Understanding and Coping with a Cortisoaked Brain. Listen and learn as they tackle questions like: how trauma affects the brain; the difference between a corti-sprinkled, corti-saturated, and corti-soaked brain; the importance of relationships and intimate connections; our culture of vulnerability; and the destructive impacts of stigma and shame. Gain real insight on this critical topic in part 1 of 2 episodes!
Hearing Voices — Helpful Strategies (Part 2 of 2)
In this follow-up episode, Dmitriy Gutkovich, mental health advocate and lived experience expert on hearing voices, and Dr. Beach cover concrete strategies to help those who are hearing voices that can negatively impact their happiness, attention, perceived abilities, and/or overall voice ecosystem. Recommended strategies include: learning how to create distance and not personalize voices; scheduling set time with voices; defining threatening attacks more productively; tolerating the ambiguity of voices and not needing to solve all presenting problems; embracing the vagueness of voices; and developing a voice ecosystem. This episode will leave listeners feeling empowered and hopeful and, contrary to what so many falsely believe, many people who hear voices can and do live a happy and productive life in harmony.
Life with Voices — A Guide for Harmony the paperback launches on 9/7, and the ebook launches on 9/14 ( pre-order is available now).
COPE Project: https://www.spirit.research.yale.edu/