Back from the Abyss: Psychiatry in Stories

Craig Heacock MD

How do we find a way out of the darkest depths of despair? Psychiatrist Dr. Craig Heacock hosts a deep dive into powerfully moving stories of hope and healing, as well as topical explorations of psychopharmacology, psychotherapy, and psychedelics.

  • 54 minutes 2 seconds
    When Mom is mentally ill-- A story of resilience

    Christina grew up with a tumultuous and mentally ill Mother, an older brother who decompensated into psychosis and frightening aggression, and just one healthy family member, her Father.   We explore both the wounding of having a desperately ill parent, as well as the profound gift of having another parent able to provide love and support. Christina suffered terribly from these maternal wounds, but she was also able to finally emerge as a healthy, grateful, wise, and deeply caring adult….initially drawn to nursing, she eventually transitioned into working as a psychiatric nurse practitioner.

    This story is in two parts— first Christina shares her moving story, then she and Craig  go meta and explore the behind the scenes preparation for this episode. Two of the themes that emerge in this latter part are storytelling as integration, and vulnerability as part of healing. Christina beautifully describes how the process of pulling her story together and unearthing these often brutal memories allowed her to find a deeper sense of peace, acceptance, and self-affirmation.

    BFTA on IG @backfromtheabysspodcast
    https://www.instagram.com/backfromtheabysspodcast/

    BFTA/ Dr. H
    https://www.craigheacockmd.com/podcast-page/

    16 May 2024, 10:00 am
  • 49 minutes 6 seconds
    A Psychiatrist Goes to War

    Dr. Russell Carr was a career Navy psychiatrist for 20 years and served in Iraq, where today’s story begins.  This is a story of a healer, then a terrible wounding, then the healer trying to find his way amidst the chaos of war. This story is about a rite of passage, one that not every psychiatrist faces, but most do at some point-- that of losing the first patient to suicide, then trying to find the strength to move forward.

    Dr. Russell Carr
    A Psychiatrist Returns from War-- on Substack
    https://russellcarr.substack.com/

    BFTA on IG @backfromtheabysspodcast
    https://www.instagram.com/backfromtheabysspodcast/

    BFTA/ Dr. H
    https://www.craigheacockmd.com/podcast-page/

    3 May 2024, 11:00 am
  • 56 minutes 30 seconds
    My dog saved my life-- Understanding the story of depression

    A huge problem with current psychiatric diagnosis is that it often lumps completely unrelated things under the same vast and vague tent, such as with the diagnosis of "Major Depressive Disorder".   Here Craig sits down with his patient Rebecca to try to make sense of her complex early onset depression and how it played out via addiction, anorexia, and pathological caretaking and how she was finally able find the grace and compassion to prioritize care for herself.

    Bringing Therapy into Med Management-- An intensive psychotherapy training in Colorado with Dr.  H
    https://www.craigheacockmd.com/training/

    BFTA on IG @backfromtheabysspodcast
    https://www.instagram.com/backfromtheabysspodcast/

    BFTA/ Dr. H
    https://www.craigheacockmd.com/podcast-page/

    19 April 2024, 11:00 am
  • 56 minutes 14 seconds
    Psychoanalysis, Dissociation, MDMA and What Lies Beneath

    Here Dr. H sites down with Jenny, a psychoanalyst who shares her moving, then horrifying, then eventually cathartic tale of plumbing the depths of her traumatized psyche, first with years of psychoanalysis, then with five MDMA-assisted therapy sessions. This is a story of numbing and forgetting, then re-opening and remembering...of finding a way to make sense of a life of protective dissociation.

    Bringing Therapy into Med Management-- An intensive psychotherapy training in Colorado with Dr.  H
    https://www.craigheacockmd.com/training/

    BFTA on IG @backfromtheabysspodcast
    https://www.instagram.com/backfromtheabysspodcast/

    BFTA/ Dr. H
    https://www.craigheacockmd.com/podcast-page/



    5 April 2024, 11:00 am
  • 29 minutes
    What I'm thinking about now-- MDMA, Sleep Meds, Motivation, Bipolar vs Borderline, and more

    In this solo episode Craig shares his current thoughts on MDMA medicalization, sleep meds, ADD, motivation vs self-discipline, benzos, how long to stay on psych meds, a change and a proposed addition to his top 10 med list, borderline vs bipolar, and marriage.

    Bringing Therapy into Med Management-- An intensive training with Dr.  H
    https://www.craigheacockmd.com/training/

    BFTA on IG @backfromtheabysspodcast
    https://www.instagram.com/backfromtheabysspodcast/

    BFTA/ Dr. H
    https://www.craigheacockmd.com/podcast-page/

    22 March 2024, 11:00 am
  • 1 hour 26 minutes
    Eating Disorders, Body Image, and Building an Alliance-- A Conversation with Dr. Jennifer Gaudiani

    Dr. H sits down with Dr. Jennifer Gaudiani, a nationally recognized expert on eating disorders to explore a wide range of topics including:

    • etiology and the relative influence of temperament, culture, and concomitant psychiatric illness
    •anorexia as a qualitatively different kind of treatment challenge
    •treatment ambivalence, building the alliance, respecting protectors
    •anosognosia and its relationship with severity of illness
    •how to talk about weight, body image, and eating with mindful/respectful language
    •thin privilege and fatphobia
    •involuntary treatment
    •orthorexia and food rules as a cultural disease
    •GLP-1 agonists and bariatric surgery

    Dr. G
    https://www.gaudianiclinic.com/team

    Sick Enough-- A Guide to the Medical Complications of Eating Disorders
    https://www.gaudianiclinic.com/sick-enough

    Bringing Therapy into Med Management-- An intensive training with Dr.  H
    https://www.craigheacockmd.com/training/

    BFTA/ Dr. H
    https://www.craigheacockmd.com/podcast-page/


    8 March 2024, 12:00 pm
  • 58 minutes 47 seconds
    Sex, Drugs, and Neglect-- Self-Destruction and the Repetition Compulsion

    The driving force of so many of our self-destructive tendencies is not conscious, it’s an unconscious drive called the repetition compulsion, where we try to reenact early child traumas or deficits, often consciously hoping for a different result but unconsciously walking directly and knowingly into the flames.  One of the central tasks of therapy is often helping people identify their repetition compulsions and doing the deeply uncomfortable work of making different choices. For the repetition compulsion feels right, at the deepest levels of being, because it was wired into us during early childhood. Self-destructive decisions smell like home cooking, they are the blue light that draws in the unsuspecting moths over and over and over, even when they see what’s about to happen.

    Here Dr. H's patient  Katey describes how early emotional neglect and toxic parental modeling led her down a path of almost two decades of self-destruction, with an ongoing battle between her healthier and more resilient parts and her wounded repetition-seeking masochistic parts. Who would choose superficially “sweet” boys with good drugs and little emotional connection….why Katey would, and did, and this is her story of why she did that for so long and how she eventually broke free.

    Bringing Therapy into Med Management-- An intensive training with Dr.  H
    https://www.craigheacockmd.com/training/

    BFTA on IG @backfromtheabysspodcast
    https://www.instagram.com/backfromtheabysspodcast/

    BFTA/ Dr. H
    https://www.craigheacockmd.com/podcast-page/


    23 February 2024, 12:00 pm
  • 1 hour 48 seconds
    Psychiatry in the ER

    The rising tide of psychiatric emergencies in the US most commonly ends up in the emergency room, where psychiatrists are almost never found and the brunt of the heavy lifting falls on emergency medicine physicians.  Here Dr. H sits down with Dr. Treve Henwood, an emergency med physician and host of the Rural EM podcast to explore the often overwhelming challenges inherent in trying to effectively manage and treat these psychiatric crises.

    BFTA on IG @backfromtheabysspodcast
    https://www.instagram.com/backfromtheabysspodcast/

    BFTA/ Dr. H
    https://www.craigheacockmd.com/podcast-page/



    9 February 2024, 12:00 pm
  • 1 hour 23 minutes
    At the Crossroads of Psychiatry, Psychedelics and Spirituality--- Dr. H on the Radically Genuine Podcast

    This is an interview Dr. H did a few months ago on the Radically Genuine podcast. Although we posted about this interview on our Instagram feed back in August, we thought this was worth re-releasing on the main BFTA feed.  Of all the podcast interviews Dr. H has done, this one might be the most interesting and relevant for our listeners.

    Here Dr. H discusses the deep structural problems with current psychiatry, the confusion around psychiatric diagnoses and nosology, controversies and mistaken beliefs about psychiatric meds, problems with informed consent and involuntary treatment, why med management is doomed to fail, psychedelics as a portal into psychospiritual and trauma healing, pearls about ketamine treatment, and other topics.

    Radically Genuine Podcast
    https://www.drmcfillin.com/

    BFTA on IG @backfromtheabysspodcast
    https://www.instagram.com/backfromtheabysspodcast/

    BFTA/ Dr. H
    https://www.craigheacockmd.com/podcast-page/


    26 January 2024, 12:00 pm
  • 1 hour 12 minutes
    Bipolar Mania-- Superpower or Kryptonite?

    What does it feel like to be manic?  It can be very difficult for people to accurately recall manic episodes— they aren’t stored like typical narrative memories, but rather they often feel like confusing and out of control reveries that seem to have happened to a different version of themselves. Then comes the guilt and the shame that often follows manic episodes, as a result of the loss of normal social inhibition, the lack of fear, and the surging dopamine levels… leading people to take risks and do things they would never normally do, typically within the big three “Ss”- Spending, speeding, and sex.

    Here Craig sits down with Louise Barnett, host of the Together S.O.B.E.R. podcast, as she shares her harrowing journey through years of cyclical mania, eventually finding a way to not just make peace with bipolar disorder, but to use it to her advantage.

    Louise Barnett
    https://www.instagram.com/louisedbarnett/?hl=en

    BFTA on IG @backfromtheabysspodcast
    https://www.instagram.com/backfromtheabysspodcast/

    BFTA/ Dr. H
    https://www.craigheacockmd.com/podcast-page/

    12 January 2024, 12:00 pm
  • 59 minutes 45 seconds
    Moving from the head to the heart-- The gifts and challenges of group therapy

    Craig sits down with Carrie Haynes, a colleague and Colorado-based group therapist and host of the podcast The Art of Groups. They explore their shared love of group process, the unique benefits and risks of working with groups, specific challenges for the group therapist or leader, and finally how and why Carrie is moving away from traditional group therapy to a more heart-focused transpersonal group model.

    Carrie Haynes/The Art of Groups
    https://www.artofgroups.com/

    BFTA on IG @backfromtheabysspodcast
    https://www.instagram.com/backfromtheabysspodcast/

    BFTA/ Dr. H
    https://www.craigheacockmd.com/podcast-page/



    29 December 2023, 12:00 pm
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