Dr. Dan Siegel is my guest on today’s Big Talk episode of the Dear Gabby podcast — and we’re going deep in our talk about childhood wounds. It’s such an honor for me to share Dan’s wisdom and work with you, because he has had a HUGE impact on my life.
This revered psychiatrist has redefined the way I parent my son, and the way I care for myself.
After I delivered my son in 2018, there was a stack of parenting books on my bedside table, but I had some resistance to reading them right away.
Dealing with postpartum depression, running a business and being a new mom, I was just trying to make it through the days.
And then, the stay-at-home orders hit in 2020. Left at home with a two-year-old, no childcare, and some deep self-work under my belt, I went big.
I wanted to do this parenting thing RIGHT.
I was ready to crack into the books that were still sitting next to my bed.
The first parenting book I read was No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson. This book blew my mind, rocked my world and—without a doubt—made me a better parent.
After that, I did a deep dive into Dr. Siegel’s work. I read every book he’d written. I listened to every relevant podcast I could find. His work was such a grounding resource for me as a parent …. and not only as a parent to Oliver.
In my newest book, Happy Days: The Guided Path from Trauma to Profound Freedom and Inner Peace, I wrote:
I had an amazing revelation as I explored Dr. Siegel’s parenting techniques. At first I thought I was reading these books only to strengthen my bond with Oliver, but I came to see how I could apply them to myself. I could become my own internal parent and heal my past attachment wounds by honoring my inner child parts and applying the same methods I would offer to my son. In order to establish a deeper connection with Ollie, I had to establish a deeper connection with myself.-Happy Days, Chapter 9, Page 176
On today’s Dear Gabby, Dr. Siegel breaks down his strongest parenting techniques so that you can apply them in your own life … whether you’re a parent or not.
listen to today’s episode to learn:
- A GEM of a parenting technique called “connect and redirect” (this makes my life so much easier as a parent—and you can apply it to any relationship)
- A simple technique for grounding and soothing yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed (I use this during frantic workdays and it helps me feel super chill—no matter what’s going on!)
- The fundamentals of attachment science (this is the KEY to understanding your behavior in relationships)
- What the four Ss are, and how you can use them to self-soothe at any moment
On the day I recorded this episode of the Dear Gabby podcast, I was in the middle of launching Happy Days. I’d appeared on four podcasts that day alone, and I was starting to feel overwhelmed.
Using techniques I’d learned from Dr. Siegel’s work, I was able to connect to my feelings of being overwhelmed and help them settle. I tuned in to my feelings and asked the overwhelmed parts of myself what they needed.
a beautiful thing
The most beautiful thing happened after that. I took a short rest on a heated mat. I spent some time playing with my kitten, and used a soothing heart-hold technique that I share in Happy Days.
After I’d taken the time to honor my needs, I was able to reconnect with my adult-resourced Self. I walked into my recording booth feeling calm, curious, connected and compassionate. In the end, I was able to show up for this Big Talk as my highest self!
I want to share the heart-hold technique with you here, so that you can use it any time to return to a state of calm. This is on page 171 of Happy Days:
Heart hold:-Happy Days, Page 171
Place your right hand on your belly and left hand on your heart. Breathe in deeply, and exhale completely. Notice peace and relief set in. I use this hold when I’m meditating or before I go to sleep at night. When I was suffering with postpartum anxiety, this hold was my savior to calm my anxiety and connect to my body.
I hope this episode of the Dear Gabby podcast serves you in all your relationships … especially the one you have with yourself.
And I hope you walk away with hope: it is possible to overcome your childhood wounds, and to thrive!
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The following are helpful resources and books I mention within the episode.
- My guest on today’s Dear Gabby is Dr. Dan Siegel! Dr Siegel is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and executive director of the Mindsight Institute. He’s co-authored some of my favorite parenting books, including No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind and The Power of Showing Up: How Parental Presence Shapes Who Our Kids Become and How Their Brains Get Wired. To learn more about Dr. Siegel’s work, visit his website.
- Happy Days: The Guided Path from Trauma to Profound Freedom and Inner Peace is my story of reparenting myself. In the book, I explain how I learned to let Self lead my inner system.
- If you feel you need additional support, please consult this list of safety, recovery and mental health resources. I’m proud of you for your commitment to self-care.
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This podcast is intended to educate, inspire, and support you on your personal journey towards inner peace. I am not a psychologist or a medical doctor and do not offer any professional health or medical advice. If you are suffering from any psychological or medical conditions, please seek help from a qualified health professional.