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Defining and Healing Generational Trauma with Tamara Ardeljan

Things we dive into in this episode: 

  1. The power of family constellations in healing generational trauma

  2. Letting go of your parents' or family's approval of your values and life path

  3. Different types of generational trauma


Tamara Ardeljan is a family constellation therapist and systemic coach. Working with women to heal transgenerational trauma and solve blockages that hold them back to create the life they desire. She does that by using some of the latest tools of science to go to the root cause and help improve the life of women long term. You can connect with Tamara on her website or Instagram.

📌Episode Highlights


How do I let go of needing my parents' approval when it comes to the amount of money I make and the work I do?

  • There are so many reasons for why parents put so much value onto money, or any other value for that matter.

    • It's not really about the money, it's about the emotions behind it and what money means to them.

  • We can have empathy for where our parents come from and understand why they feel this way about this value.

    • We can look into the story of our parents to see why it is important to them.

  • Ultimately, you can create your own story, with a new set of values.

    • Your values might seem weird to them or they maybe don't understand, because they have a set of values that is very appropriate to their time, their life, and their experiences.

  • Ground in the fact that they are allowed to have their story, you can leave them in their destiny, and you're allowed to build your own values, story, and destiny.

How do I navigate the fact that my parents are never going to understand my values?

  • It’s easy to get stuck in grief for a while when it comes to this. Feel that, see yourself in the grief, and validate it. Then integrate with other practices or support systems.

  • Write a letter to your parents from the perspective of this is my life choice and I have this set of values.

    • Explain the of set of values you have and acknowledge that you don't expect them to understand. Regardless, you will continue with your journey, but you see their set of values and respect it.

    • Do a giving back ritual, where you thank them for providing for you for your whole life. Thank them for giving you your life, but you choose to not carry on their values. You choose to carry yours and you’re giving them back everything that holds you back from living your full potential in the way that you want to.

    • You can also ask for a blessing. Ask them to look kindly towards you while you’re living the life of your dreams and ask that they give you permission to not follow their footsteps. They had their destiny, you have your destiny.

How can you heal generational trauma when you still live in the same house as the person that you're trying to heal from or in a shared living kind of situation? Is that possible?

  • Think of your family system as a board game. You grow up as a player in the “game” and there are a specific set of rules for the game. Over time, as you get older and build a life for yourself, you start to create your own rules.

  • Every time you go back to your family, you have a certain amount of time until your body automatically gets drawn into the rules of the game again.

    • Be mindful of the amount of time you can spend with your family before getting wrapped in the old ways of your family system.

  • When you live with your parents, the difficulty is that you’re still in the board game, so you need neutral places where you can explore your authentic self without those rules (hobbies, friend groups, education, support systems, therapy, etc.)

  • Working on on the awareness and working on understanding what those rules are, even though you cannot escape yet or not build your own set of rules yet, is a great first step.

  • Practice questioning certain behaviors in your family, certain reactions, and how you feel or felt towards certain things.

What are some types of generational trauma to look out for?

  • Survival Trauma

    • Our ancestors taught us their survival mechanisms out of love because they thought if I give this to you, you will survive.

    • Those survival mechanisms can come from war, from losing somebody, through any kind of death, etc.

    • Traumatic events or any kind of loss can be stuck in a family system as grief that was never properly processed.

  • Sexual Trauma

    • When we talk about female lines, unfortunately there may be history of sexual abuse.

  • Family Secrets

    • Secrets weigh a lot on a family system and that weight can travel through generations if not brought to the surface.

    • People can have symptoms of dissociation, feelings of numbness of their body, troubles in relationships, communicating, or feeling who they are when a secret was carried for generations.

  • Exclusion

    • If somebody in the family was excluded because they were not fitting into societal or familial norms, it might have been a shame to the whole family.

    • Exclusion of people in the family can also cause a lot of uncomfortableness or expectations around the family's rules.

Thanks for listening! 💖 Stay tuned to Caitie’s website for more episode updates and other exciting programs and resources.


Tamara: The pain that I was carrying was there because of the transgenerational patterns that I was carrying. This is why I couldn't pinpoint it on something specific like a big T trauma, but it was more the behavior and the pain that my parents were carrying and what I witnessed within them and the stress and the dysregulation and the trauma that they had that I took over.

Caitie: Welcome to Whole, Full, & Alive, a podcast helping you feed yourself, feel yourself and be yourself. I'm Caitie Corradino. I'm a registered Dietitian-Nutritionist, a body image coach and the founder of Full Soul Nutrition, a method that combines nutrition counseling with a powerful toolkit of somatic healing modalities. I have guided hundreds of clients to freedom with food, their bodies and every aspect of their lives. I've also been through this healing myself, and on this podcast, I want to help you eat with confidence, embrace your body, form aligned relationships and create a life that you're in love with. I'll share actionable tools, no bullshit stories and interviews that will remind you why you have everything you need within you to feel whole, full and alive. Are you ready? Let's get into it.

Hey, welcome back to another episode of Whole, Full, & Alive, the podcast helping you feed yourself, feel yourself, and be yourself. Thank you so much for tuning into today's episode. It's a really special one. I say that often, and I always mean it. I always mean that every episode is a really special one, but this one's extra special because I've got an extra special guest. I'm pretty stoked to be sitting here with my amazing guests today. 

But before we dive into today's episode, I wanna invite you to take the deepest breath you have taken all day today, wherever you are tuning in from. Can you take a nice deep breath in through your nose, feel your back expand, fill up, and then exhale, let something go out your mouth. Shake out your body a little bit, wiggle your toes, wiggle your fingers, drop in. 

And before we dive into today's episode, which is going to be about generational trauma and healing from growing up in a ruptured family system, I want to remind you that I still have a few spaces left on my Nutrition & Intuition Retreat. If you are interested in joining us in Scotland in just a couple weeks, at the end of March 2024. I have a few spaces left, head to my website to learn more about that. I also have a few spaces open for one-on-one coaching right now, probably a few spaces in exaggeration. I have one space open for one-on-one coaching right now if you're looking for support with nutrition and body image. And every month I host my Back to You Intention Setting Ceremony, and you are always, always invited to join that. All right.

On today's show I have with me Tamara Ardeljan. She is a family constellation therapist and a systemic coach. She works with women to heal transgenerational trauma and solve blockages that help that hold them back from creating the life they desire. Tamara does that by using some of the latest tools to go to the root cause and help women improve their life long-term. And I have worked with Tamara in a very intimate way and have experienced the profound impact of her work. I'm so excited she's here. Tamara, welcome to Whole, Full, & Alive.

Tamara: Hello! Thank you for having me. I'm so excited to be here.

Caitie: So we are gonna start by answering some listener questions that I got about generational trauma. But before we do, can you just please introduce yourself in your own way and also tell us more about what kind of family you come from. You do a lot of family systems work. I am really curious, you know, what's your family story? Where do you come from, Tamara?

Tamara: Well, then I think I'm going to start already then with my family story, because I think that makes sense to where I am now. I was the first one being born in Vienna, Austria, but my parents and my family were immigrants from Serbia, Romania. And when I was born in for the first, like the first in my family in this, I would say, like privileged city. I grew up in two worlds. My family home that had a whole different set of culture, because our culture was very much protected in our home. And then I went to school, which was the Austrian culture, which is very middle, almost Northern European-like. And that was always very weird for me, because growing up, I could feel that I am different and that I feel different towards certain things, like my other friends. And I already as a child suffered from childhood depression. And like, then when I was a teenager, I was diagnosed with many other things, also an eating disorder, PTSD, everything. And because my family, of course, they come from a very simple background and very traumatized background too, from a culture where there was just still a lot of war trauma embedded in the behavior and in relationships. And it was very toxic, but it was considered normal. Nobody knew that this is something that is wrong. Everybody was like that back then in our culture and in our environment. 

But then I grew up having all those symptoms and I started then trying to understand why and what is the root cause of my emotional pain. And most of my early years and teenage years were covered with a lot of heaviness and a lot of emotional pain that I was carrying around every day. And every day I was aware that there's something wrong. I knew that I was not supposed to feel like that. I could see that other people don't have it in that amount that I have it. And but there was nothing really that I could pinpoint it to. I didn't have physical abuse or nothing really happened to me. I was even the privileged one who grew up in Vienna and had, you know, school education and everything that my parents didn't have. And then I discovered for the first time, when I was 16, the world of psychology in general, and I was hooked since then. And I'm now 30 years old and I'm still hooked. 

But the way that my life turned out was mainly because I understood that the pain that I was carrying was there because of the transgenerational patterns that I was carrying. This is why I couldn't pinpoint it on something specific, like a big T trauma, but it was more the behavior and the pain that my parents were carrying and what I witnessed within them and the stress and the dysregulation and the trauma that they had that I took over. So I started with family constellations because family constellations are proven to be until now scientifically the best tool to heal transgenerational trauma and topics. 

And this was when my journey started with, I think over now I must have done around 40, 50 family constellations on my family system so far. And since then, I'm just obsessed with tools in general that go very deep. Because if you have experienced family constellations, you know that they are very special in a very abstract way. And yeah, and now I'm here working with them since over eight years and collecting different tools that really show people where their pain comes from and what to do to actually overcome it.

Caitie: Thank you for sharing that. I love the way you shared that and explained that so well that sometimes what we're carrying in our system and in our psyche isn't related to something in our lives. It's related to something in our parents' life. It is related to something that's just been literally passed down to us. Even if we can't consciously wrap our head around what we're carrying, we might be carrying something that doesn't belong to us that's impacting us just as deeply as if it was ours. So yeah. So Tamara is a family constellation therapist. And I really want to share my experience working with Tamara as my family constellation therapist, because it was the most serendipitous thing that ever happened. 

Early last year, I decided that I wanted to move to Lisbon, Portugal. And about two weeks after I moved to Lisbon, my very close friend, Maria said to me, Caitie, you gotta try a family constellation. Cause I was talking to her about a lot of stuff related to my mom and how I felt like it was impacting the way I relate to my clients and my work life and all these things. And she's like, you need a family constellation. I hear family constellation and I'm like, oh, it's an astrology thing. Like, okay, we're gonna read my parents chart. Like my mom's a Gemini, my dad's a Pisces. Like, okay. Like I was like, yeah, sure. Like I'm open to it. I've been open to that kind of stuff lately. So she kind of just kept pinging me with it for months and months and months and months. Then I left Lisbon for a little bit and I came back. And on the day I arrived back in early July, Maria DM'd me that you were looking for someone to participate in a family constellation. Literally the day I arrived back, I had just stepped off the plane and Maria DM'd me and was like, you gotta go, there's family constellation session tonight. And I was like all right, I mean, I'm free because weirdly my therapist, my talk therapist had canceled on me for the first time ever. She had never canceled on me in like our three years of working together. And she canceled our session that night. And I was like, all right, guess I'm going to family read my star chart thing. 

And so I went and then we get there and we're sitting in a circle with everyone who's gonna participate and you say to the circle, so the person whose constellation was supposed to be read tonight canceled, does anybody else want to do it? And no one speaks up. I have no idea what this situation entails, but I was just like, you know, I have no idea what I'm doing here, but like, I guess you can do mine. I thought everyone was gonna get their family constellation done anyway. And so I found out then that it was only gonna be mine. And I thought that was a very selfish thing for me to be like, do mine. Like this random person just walked in, but then everyone in the circle is like, thank you. Thank you so much for letting us do your family constellation. And I was like, what is this? I had no idea what I was getting thrown into. And within 25, 30 minutes, everyone in the room is acting out my parents' psyche. And different things in my childhood. And we went very deep into the roots of one of my parent’s addictions and resolved and solved and emotionally helped me process something that I had been carrying for my whole life. And it was magic. 

I felt such deep relief after that session and went on a retreat with Tamara a few months later where I did another family constellation. And so I want to share the story to just say that what Tamara does is basically help people process transgenerational trauma in a really creative, deeply therapeutic, science-based and spirit-based way. That's my description of family constellation. Tamara, can you tell everyone what it actually is?

Tamara: I love your description so far. I think you're doing a great job. I think, like I always like to say for people who have never experienced it, that it's very difficult to really put it in words, right? I always say it's like chocolate cake. You cannot explain to somebody how chocolate cake tastes like until they really experience it in their mouth, right? And this is how family constellations are. So basically how it happens is that we're sitting in a group of, like with a group of people strangers mostly for you. And if you're the client, you're going to share a little bit about your family story. And then you're going to choose from those strangers who sit there in a circle with you, somebody to play your mom, somebody to play your dad, somebody to play you, somebody to play your sister. And then you're just going to sit next to me and we're going to watch the play. 

And the people who are embodying the family are just almost like improv. It's like, you know, improv theater. They start just feeling into how they feel towards the other people and how, what they're sensing. And the very magical thing about constellations are that after a while, those people who just start kind of feeling into the field, how I call it. They start acting after a while, like the actual family. And I am working with constellations for over eight years and in 100% of the cases people said this is exactly how my dad talks, this is exactly how my mother talks, this is exactly how I feel towards them, this is exactly what is actually happening. And of course you can imagine that something magical is happening within you when you're sitting outside and watching the reality of your system playing out outside. And this is the part of consolation that is not scientifically proven. Nobody can know why this is happening. There's some theories, but there are no fundamental studies made on that.

Caitie: So with that, I mean, what makes you choose doing this type of active sort of role playing therapy over talk therapy? Because I know you do you use talk therapy in your practice also. But why do you combine it with this sort of active role play therapy? I ask that because I also know that I would have never come if I knew it was drama therapy. I think I wouldn't have never come because when I was in eating disorder treatment, when I was a teenager, they made us do drama therapy and the drama therapists did not hold the space well. Drama therapists that I worked with just didn't create a great experience. I had a really bad impression of it. So I'm curious, you know, what is it that about the family constellation structure specifically that you love and why is it that you want to combine this with talk therapy and your practice to really help people heal.

Tamara: I always say that I think for me, almost every element of constellations are healing in a sense that I think that my favorite part is obviously that we all do it together. And I think that healing in community and in connection is essential for healing itself. And what I love about it is that obviously if you see other people, because there's like, if other people play out your story, there's a deep healing within you happening just by seeing that somebody else gets you. And not only somebody else, but so many, like all the people in the room get it. And after doing so many constellations, we all carry similar topics. You know, we all carry collective trauma within us. So there's not one constellation where somebody can say, I have no idea what this is about, because we all can relate to some degree to all the pain that our family went through and this collective healing that starts happening within the people and even the people who are playing it out, the roles, they get so much out of it. Usually I always say that this is like you need to pay also to like participate in a constellation because it's therapeutic for you too. Even if it's not your family that you're playing out. By you playing somebody else in a constellation, you get so much healing and everybody gets healing. You know, it's like a bunch of people getting together and experience this big transformation. And even if you just watch, because I have people who are, as you said, not maybe not brave enough yet or have certain expectations. So they just come and watch first. And even by just watching a constellation playing out and especially the healing scene at the end does a lot to people and moves them a lot. And my boyfriend always says that his favorite movies, like no movie is better than a constellation than when he participates in one. Cause it's literally just watching like a cinema that is very, that really moves you deeply.

Caitie: Yeah. Yeah, it is like that. And I wanna dive into the listener questions, but I also wanna share just super briefly, for sake of example, tangibly, in the first family constellation session that I did, someone played me, someone played my mom, someone played my dad, someone played my parents' addiction, someone played my parents' repressed memories. And I watched this really, really beautiful story and interaction play out between one of my parents and their addiction and their oppressed memories. And in the last scene of my constellation, it was me and my parent having this reckoning, having this moment of my parent gave me permission to go live and be free and be happy.

And they said, my choices are my choices and your choices are your choices. My life is my life. Your life is your life. And it was a really beautiful moment of just feeling such liberated permission to break free and to take care of myself, finally. And when I participated in someone else's constellation at one point, I played their sensitivity. And that was really special because I felt like I was seeing the world through this person's hyper sensitive lens. And I was looking around at the setting that we were in and I noticed all the colors looked brighter. And I was speaking through the lens of this person's sensitivity. And I had not only a new empathy for them and what it must feel like to be so hypersensitive in the world, but also to just embody that sensitivity for myself and be like, it was an experience. It's a cathartic and therapeutic experience for me. So yeah, these things are hard to explain, but that's just two examples of kind of the breakthroughs I had during constellations. And they were both amazing, whether we were playing out my story or I was just being a participant in someone else's story, which I would have never thought would be so valuable, but yeah. 

These listener questions about generational trauma, I'm really excited to get your opinion on these. We kind of do these a little quick rapid fire style, obviously take as long as you need to, but we don't have to go into all the complexities, especially because these are complex questions. The first question that I got is how do I let go of needing my parents' approval when it comes to the amount of money I make and the work I do? Big question. What comes up for you when you hear that?

Tamara: What I hear when I hear that, it means that your, I can already tell that your parents had different values, right? And a value system, a value structure of a family is very important to them. And there is whole story probably of why parents put so much value onto money. There is a whole, it's because it's not about the money, it's about the emotions behind that. It's about what it means to them and what they want you to have or what they want you to have because it was important to them. And I'm already assuming from the question that you, your values, you value something else too. Because if you, if you say you don't want to be attached of the opinion of your parents, I assume that you have next to money, you have another value, which is probably, I don't know, being free or expressive or flexible or having quality of life or going your own way or, you know, there's something else to your life journey than just making money. And when we talk about values, we talk about different stories and different destinies. And that is a typical transgenerational topic where you would need to understand, have empathy for where your parents come from and understand, because this is what we're also doing in constellation. We look into the story of the parents in order for you to have this, ah, this is why it's so important to them. But just because it's important to them, it doesn't mean that I need to carry on this story and I can create my own story with a new set of values that is maybe weird to them or that they maybe don't understand because they have a set of values that is very appropriate to their time and their life and their experience that they had. So they don't really need to understand your set of values in order to in order for you to follow what feels right to you. And this, I think this distinction that both is okay, they are allowed to have their story, you can leave them in their destiny, and you're allowed to build your own destiny is something that I think is important to understand.

Caitie: That's a really beautiful way of summarizing it is that we can see where their values come from by exploring their story a little bit more. And we get to understand where our values come from by exploring our own story a little bit more and accepting that they might not understand that we have different values around work and money. And that's okay. That doesn't mean that we can't have different values around work and money. 

I personally explored money in my family constellation. We did my dad's family story and you know he'd be totally fine with me sharing this. His dad had a lot of stuff related to money which caused my dad to associate money with safety and money with love which made him act so weird with it. So weird, it was always just this intangible weirdness when it came to money from my dad. He was never shaming me about how much money I made. He never told me I had to do any specific career, but there was just this weirdness when it came to money and I couldn't figure it out. And as soon as I did the constellation, I shit you not. Like a week later, I saw my dad in person and we were at the diner and this is classic Jeff Corradino. He was like, you know, I've been thinking about how I really associated money with love. Like he just says stuff like that all the time at the diner. But it was so specifically about the constellation and I was like, wow, something happened there energetically that allowed my dad to just like start this conversation with me. And since then it's been so healing. But yeah, what if. I'm really lucky in that, but what if the person never gets that messaging from their parents of approval? Like what tools do you have? What tools do you provide clients who ultimately make peace with their own values and understand their parents' values and have to now navigate that idea that like their parents are never gonna understand their values when it comes to something like money?

Tamara: It's interesting that you say that because I had a hypnotherapy session two days ago where I needed to go through it with my own dad. With exactly the same, because my life is so different to my father's life. And he's very, because he comes from such a difficult background for him, he doesn't understand my set of values, as I said. For him, life, the whole existence of a human being is about safety and is about making sure you work hard in order to be safe. And in the hypnotherapy session, I literally saw him really not understanding what I'm talking about when I talk about a quality of life, when I talk about a colorful, adventurous life, when I talk about work-life balance. When I talk about enjoying my life and not only working myself to death, just in order to have financial safety. And the tool that I recommend is always what I do with my clients. It's not, we don't only do role plays because I think this is what I do in my sessions with them. I do role plays and then I invite them to literally talk to, to the parents and talk it out. So if somebody doesn't have the role play possibility, I would recommend to write a letter, to write a letter to, from the perspective of your values to a very loving conversation to the values of your parents, to say that you understand. And this is where there's a little bit of work necessary. If you have never done this, there's a little bit of work necessary of really trying to understand the perspective of your parents and understanding that their set of values have a very good reason, a very valid, mostly very beautiful reason to their existence and to their survival. And it might hurt you right now from the other side, but if you understand it and you have a conversation with them. 

I invite, the tool that I recommend is writing a letter from the perspective of this is my life choice and I have this set of values. I'm gonna explain it to you now, what kind of set of values I have. I don't expect you to understand because I will regardless continue with my journey, but I want to tell you that I see your set of values and I respect it. And then ideally what we do in constellations, we do a giving back ritual, right? So maybe you can incorporate in this letter at giving back where you say with like sentences and energetically you say, thank you for providing for me for my whole life. Thank you for giving me my life, but I choose to not carry on those values. I'm choose to carry mine and I'm giving you back everything that holds me back from living my full potential in the way that I want to. And I have, usually we say in constellation, we almost ask for a blessing. We say look kindly towards me while I live the life of my dreams, you know, and give me permission to not follow your footsteps. You had your destiny, I have my destiny. And by writing it out and just doing a little bit of work there by yourself, your system can already sense that you've got it and that you can leave it there. And then of course, systemic work is very helpful if you want to dive deeper into that.

Caitie: That's really, that's really amazing. I think that a lot of people get stuck in the grieving process of the anger that they feel towards their parents, the frustration, the sadness, all of those things. And all those feelings are so important to feel it's important that we have a process of, yeah, I'm kind of angry that they don't understand. I'm sad that they don't understand. I'm sad that this was their life and that my dad had to spend his whole life just focusing on safety and nothing else, because that's just what he had to do to survive. And then also it is important to collect that into something like a letter and give yourself that opportunity if you can to move forward. When we are close minded to these different types of therapeutic practices, like letter writing and role playing and family constellation, then we miss out on this opportunity to really integrate and move forward. 

And we do, I think I'm speaking pretty generally, but I know I was stuck in grief for a while when it came to my parents stuff. I was stuck in anger for a while about it. I was stuck in sadness for a while. I was stuck in despair. And it's like, well, yes, feel that and see yourself in that, validate that then integrate into one of these practices. 

So the next listener question that I got, and this is an interesting question because actually as Tamara and I are having this conversation, I'm sitting in my mom's house and Tamara is sitting at her parents' house as well. We're both visiting our parents in this very moment. And this person asked, how can you heal generational trauma when you still live in the same house as the person that you're trying to heal from or in a shared living kind of situation? Is that possible? I'm curious what comes up for you when you hear that.

Tamara: It is difficult. I, this is, of course it's difficult because, I always share, I always do before holidays, I do an SOS holiday reminder for my clients, right? Where I give them a set of reminders, how to stabilize themselves, because what happens is that when you start your own life and you move out of your parents' house, and you build up, you start building up your own rules and set of rules. I think I quickly just want to share what I mean with set of rules and values, because I always share this analogy with my clients to understand how family systems work before I continue. You can imagine every single family system like a board game. And every board game, every family system has its own rules that they are moved by. Those rules are moving the little figures on the board game. And you are also, when you're born, one of these figures that is gonna get, that's being moved by the rules and the energetics and the values of this family system, right? And sometimes it hurts, but you're still moved. You cannot stop it, right? Cause you're part of it. 

And what happens when you start healing and when you start questioning and analyzing and be like, wait a second, I don't like this. This is weird. And you start just growing out of it, you almost become the person that stands above the board game and watches the rules being played out. And slowly, the goal is for you to build your own set of rules and your own new board game where a certain, maybe healthier rules are set in place. But every time you go back to your family, you have a certain amount of time until your body automatically gets drawn into the games again, in the rules, right? And I always share, I always tell my clients, what is the amount that you can, that you can stand in your adult self until you switch into old parts of you. And for some people it's, for me, it's three days. I can stay regulated and very well connected to myself. I can enjoy my family for three days until in the fourth day I can already sense that my inner child is getting triggered. I get, you know, feelings, symptoms, reactions that are mostly related to my past. Some people can even stay for weeks, some people just for hours. Like one of my favorite therapists, he's an author, and he wrote that for him it's just three hours when he meets his mother, he can only stay three hours with her until he goes into old patterns. 

So when you live with your parents, the difficulty is that you are in the board game, right? And in order to really get out of it or understand, I think the expectation should be lower than just healing from it. Because I think eventually you will need to find a lot of places to where you can feel yourself. So maybe hobbies or maybe different, you know, friend groups or something where you can, cause you need neutral places where you can explore your authentic self without those rules. Cause as soon as you go back to the house, you will be sooner or later just drawn into them. But working on on the awareness and working on understanding what those rules are, even though you cannot escape yet or not build your own set of rules yet, it's important to at least question it and practice self-awareness, practice questioning certain behaviors in your family, certain reactions, certain how you feel towards certain things and especially the your childhood, right? So you can start if you cannot move and really work on it from afar, which I would recommend. I think it's important to at least start, you know, finding spaces where you can do that, and then also practicing a lot of self awareness and questioning the rules of the family.

Caitie: That board game analogy is great. Another analogy that you used when we were on a call one time is that there's a glitch in the matrix when you're with your family for too long, which I love. I've said that on the podcast before I've quoted you. I love this idea cause it's, when I am with my parents for too long, basically my inner child or my inner teenager starts driving the car, completely and totally. And I didn't really understand what that meant of years, but when my inner child's driving the car, she's driving the car based on trying to do whatever she can to stay safe. Because my inner little girl didn't feel very safe. She felt like she was a bad person. She felt like she was wrong. She felt like everything she said was wrong and she needed to prove herself. So I all of a sudden, if little girl Caitie takes the wheel, four year old Caitie takes the wheel, I'm making all my decisions based on maintaining safety and things go haywire. 

Or if teenager Caitie takes the wheel, God forbid, teen Caitie takes that we all, she's making all of her decisions just based on pure hormones and anger. And it's just, it happens, that glitch in the matrix happens when you're in that board game, right? So you've created your own, your own board with your own set of rules, your own little moving pieces, your own family system, maybe if you desire to get married and have a partner. And yeah, when you live with your parents, you're in their board game, which is really challenging. And I, I wonder, you know, to this person who wrote this question, if there are options for them to separate themselves from their family, if not for living purposes, just for those hobbies, like you said, those other spaces where you can be yourself completely expressed with no or less likelihood of the glitch and the matrix happening, less likelihood of inner child, inner teenager taking hold of the wheel. That's great.

Tamara: And I think like the two, as you said, I think the two or maybe three, like the hobbies, like creating spaces outside as much as possible where you can explore yourself. Education is a big one because if you read books maybe on, you know, healing and there are many, a lot of literature out there where you can explore and start analyzing and understanding what family dynamics mean. And then the third one is support, obviously. I don't know how much resources somebody has to get support, but of course having somebody that can help you reflect what is happening and helping you to understand. Do you think that these are the rules that are happening? Do you think that this is a rule in your family? Do you think that this is healthy or that you don't like, you know, it's like, it's so helpful to not be stuck alone in the board game, because when you're in the board game, you're also moved, so it's very hard to be the person who watches from the outside. And if you have a person who watches from the outside, they can really help you to see or to, yeah, see what is happening actually. And yeah, those are mine.

Caitie: That's a good point. Yeah, that's great. That's great. That is really, to me, seems like a very comprehensive answer to that question. So, all right, while we have like 10 minutes left, I want to ask you a few more questions before we wrap up. You've already provided so many tangible tools about healing generational trauma. And I know this is something that we can probably write a novel about, right? There's so many layers to healing generational trauma, because there are so many different types of generational trauma. So that’s the first question I want to ask you just so that people are considering all of the different possibilities, right? Because I know that there's generational trauma related to money. Then there's generational trauma related to race. There's generational trauma related to war. A lot of our ancestors were involved in the war, a war at some point. And just, you know, what are the, some of the different types of generational trauma that you think people should kind of be considering when they're applying a lens to their family to figure out where their internal, gunk comes from.

Tamara: That's a very nice question because there are some things that we look out for in family constellations, right? Which are usually, obviously the, as you just mentioned, the almost obvious kind of trauma, right? War is a big one because just of her history, right? The second world war was not that long ago. So we have a collective trauma carrying that and a lot of survival mechanisms that come from it. So basically, I think this is also important or interesting to say is that the most, the most or the biggest thing that I'm working with when I work in family constellations is basically just survival mechanisms, right, that don't suit us anymore. So survival mechanisms that our ancestors learned in order to survive that they gave us out of love because they thought if I give this to you, you will survive and this is an anxiety disorder or depression or addiction, because addiction helps you to not feel the pain that you endured during war, right? And it's mostly about survival mechanisms. And those survival mechanisms can come from war, they can come from losing somebody, death, obviously, through any kind of death, early death of a child or murder, what happens sometimes in families or just any kind of loss can be stuck in a family system as grief that was never properly processed. 

There's obviously sexual abuse with women a lot. We have in, when we talk about female lines, there's very, very often, unfortunately, of course, where we need to talk about sexual abuse in the female like ancestry line. What happens a lot too is we look into family secrets. They are secrets weight a lot on a family system and it can, the weight of a secret in a family can travel also generations. And some people can have symptoms of dissociation and not feeling a numbness of their body and dissociating from their body and having troubles in relationship or communicating or feeling who they are when a secret was carried around for two, three generations, like a big one. 

What we also look for is for people who have been excluded because the family system wants to be complete with every single person. So if somebody was excluded because they were, I don't know, homosexual, back in the day, or they were excluded because they did something wrong or because, you know, or sometimes suicide that nobody talked about because back in the day, it was almost a shame if something like that happened. People didn't talk about it, right? And so exclusion of people in the family can also cause a lot of uncomfortableness for the family's rules in general. So we can uncover all of that in a family constellation and see where it comes from, if there's something that needs to be seen, that needs to be talked about in order to be integrated. And when we integrate it, the person, the client, feels a huge difference just in general of their body and how they're carrying themselves when we integrate the trauma properly.

Caitie: Thank you so much. And I just so many little light bulbs for me. And obviously a lot of that is stuff that I've already kind of known a bit from doing my own like family systems work, but a lot of, you know, what I was personally integrating and carrying was family secrets from generations ago. And it didn't really make sense to me. Why did I have these dissociative tendencies? Why do I have these trust issues? You know, I had some explicit traumas in my childhood, but some of which didn't really make a lot of sense for some of the issues that I had. But going back just one generation above my parents showed me that I was carrying unprocessed grief. I was carrying unprocessed secrets. I was carrying the weight of stuff from my grandmother and my great grandmother. And that stuff is real, even if you've never known these people, because it gets passed to your parents, then it gets passed to you.

And so you know, you're talking about a lot of really deep, heavy stuff naturally as a therapist, as a provider. But the last question I want to ask you is about your approach because you're such a modern therapist and I love it. I'm obsessed. I really do love your approach and the relationship that you hold with your clients is one that is very interpersonal. It's very, you disclose about yourself. I mean, I'm technically a client of yours, but I know about you and I met your partner and I know a lot about your life and I feel so much safer with you because of that approach. And I'm just curious about if you ever had a point where you needed to make a decision about whether or not to be a blank slate therapist or share things about yourself and just what are your thoughts about this really modern, just vibey approach that you take.

Tamara: Yeah, I think it's because I'm not a psychotherapist, right? And I think I want to talk about that for a second, because it's a big, big modern topic right now, right? About regular psychotherapy and the almost coaching kind of therapists, you know? I see on Instagram and I have a lot of talks also with psychotherapists and psychiatrists about that, that of course there's almost a lot of hate sometimes from the psychotherapists warning people from like coaches that are, you know, not trauma informed and all of that. And I get it. Of course I'm, you know, of course I agree that there needs to be a certain kind of quality when you coach and when you are a therapist that is not a psychotherapist. 

But I have a very unpopular opinion, which I think that regular psychotherapy will be outdated in five to 10 years. I really truly believe that because science is so quick to catch up on new methods that really go deep, so much deeper than just talking about it. You have systemic tools like the family constellations that are everything that's basically bottom up approaches instead of top down approaches because psychotherapy is top down, which means you work with 5% of your brain capacity and you hope that by just talking it out, that your body will catch up on it. And you have so many new tools out there that work with bottom up, which means we don't even ask the brain, we ask the body. We ask the higher wisdom of our subconscious, of our intuition, of somatics. And I think that because I was never and it's what's not, because I always wanted to be a psychotherapist, but psychotherapies privatized in Austria. So you need to pay 50,000 euros to be a psychotherapist. So it's a very privileged opportunity, which my parents never had. So I wanted to be a psychotherapist, but I needed to find my ways with courses and coachings and all those little educations to get as close as possible to that. 

So I think that my approach is, it's just different from, because I build it up on my own experience with people. I didn't build it up with like, of course I have my certifications, but I think that what I know now and what I felt and how I work is mostly because I do it for almost 10 years now in a very close contact with people and trying out and experimenting and using different tools. This is why I cannot tell you really, there's not a name for my approach because it's a mix of everything and all the tools and all the courses and everything that I gathered to work on my trauma and to help other people to experience the same liberation from it because this is what I'm obsessed about. I'm obsessed about liberating people from this what I call the trauma cloud that you live in and that is so heavy that nobody sees but only you can feel it, you know, and I'm just so tired of of living in a world where it's normal that people live in this trauma bubble and this trauma cloud that hurts them and they don't know what to do with it. And I have healed from all of my symptoms I had as a teenager, including chronic pain with those tools. And this is why I'm different with my clients because it's, you know, it's more human. I don't have like this almost clinical approach to them. I have a human approach to them. And there's, it was never a decision for me. It's like, I know that this is what works. I know that connection is what works ultimately and not anything else.

Caitie: Oof, the connection is what works, is really standing out to me. And I think so deeply that relationships are what heal us. Not information, not figuring out things in our brain like a fucking Rubik's cube. It's relationships that heal us. It's not the nutrition information that I'm able to regurgitate to someone. It's the way that I'm able to use what I know about nutrition to foster a meaningful relationship with that person and help them heal. And presented in a way that's going to work for what I specifically know about them. And I recently had a mentor point out to me that I am like, an energetic blueprint for what it's like to recover from an eating disorder. And it's really meaningful that my clients know that I'm recovered from an eating disorder. And that is part of why they heal is because they see that I exist as someone who's fully healed from disordered eating and me being evidence that you can have a full, liberated life is also part of their healing too.

 And I believe that about my relationship with you Tamara, I think like seeing you as someone who's fully healed from an integrated, their family trauma, evidence of someone who has a life that they really love, who has a partner that they really love, who has a career that they really love is healing for me in and of itself, even beyond the work that we've done together. And so I'm so excited for more people to find you via this podcast episode, because you truly are such a vibe. So grateful that we connected. Thank you so much for coming through today.

Tamara: Thank you so much. And I tell you this all the time, but thank you for the incredible, important, valuable work that you do on this earth. And I, same as you, wish just more people to find you and more people to listen to your story and just have hope. And thank you for what you are doing.

Caitie: Thank you so much for that. Thank you. I really feel it and I'm receiving it and I'm so excited to see you in Lisbon hopefully soon. I'm coming back March 1st and I'm so excited. All right. Thank you so much for tuning into today's episode. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a five star review on Apple or Spotify. It really helps me out a lot. I'm so grateful for your feedback. We'll be back here next week. Actually, before I pop off the mic tomorrow, tell everyone where they can find you.

Tamara: They can find me on Instagram @tamarardeljan. That's it. That's the name. And this is my favorite channel to be in on Instagram. But of course, I also have a website and I think that's it. Those are my two favorite channels so far where you can find me and I'm happy to connect.

Caitie: Beautiful. Thank you so much. All right. Let's end with a nice deep breath. Take a deep breath in through your nose and exhale. Let it go. All right. Now we'll be back next week. Thanks so much Tamara. I'll talk to you soon. Bye.

Tamara: Thank you. Bye bye.


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