Transforming Trauma Episode 057: Healing Trauma Through Curiosity and Compassion with Chaz Franke, LCSW
A podcast brought to you by the NARM® Training Institute
In this episode of Transforming Trauma, our guest is Chaz Franke, LCSW. Chaz is the owner of Light Source, a private practice in Belleville, Illinois, is an adjunct professor in the MSW program at St. Louis University, and has over 15 years of experience working with trauma. Chaz shares with listeners his journey to becoming a trauma therapist, the role curiosity can play in the therapeutic relationship, and how his work has impacted him and his clients.
Curiosity is a theme that is interwoven throughout the episode. Chaz shares, “I always try to tell people that I promise to be interested.” He reflects on the value he holds in being able to be curious with his clients and to support them to not be afraid to challenge or confront him if they aren’t feeling heard. He explains that his curiosity with his clients has not only helped and supported them, it has allowed him to also learn from and be impacted by his clients.
Chaz had many opportunities early in his career that supported him to better understand trauma and how to be with clients in a way that supports their healing. He was mentored by highly skilled figures in the field of trauma and therapy such as Dr. Ira Chasnoff and Dr. Bruce Perry. Chaz shares that Dr. Perry helped him to look beyond the behaviors and to try and understand the person, not pathologizing them, but to hold compassion and curiosity. “If you’ve suffered, you need understanding.”
Chaz also shares about his background in Zen Buddhism which helped him better understand suffering and the importance of not putting pressure on himself or his clients to rush the healing process. The relational framework that Chaz uses, which involves the therapist slowing down and not pressuring themselves, or their clients, is aligned with the NARM framework as well.
Chaz reflects on the reality that despite their best intentions, helping professionals over the years have created harm for their patients due to the lack of support and competency around trauma. Chaz is passionate about the growth of trauma-informed field. He explains that an important area of trauma-informed focus for therapists is on their own connection to Self as helping professionals. He shares about how he uses supervision as an opportunity for therapists to be self-reflective, shifting patterns of self-criticism and self-shaming that lead to over-efforting, pressuring, comparing and other disruptive strategies for therapists. He says that if you can’t look inward you will shut your clients down unknowingly. When give the right kind of support, therapists can be more effective in connecting with themselves and their clients, and more effective in their healing work.
Chaz has so much excitement for his work and for his continued learning. He finds hope in the healing work of trauma therapy. He shares, “I think that therapy is 100% the coolest thing in the world.”
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Chaz Franke, MSW, LCSW owns Light Source, a private practice in Belleville, Illinois and is an adjunct professor in the MSW program at Saint Louis University. Chaz has over 15 years experience working with trauma and has been providing clinical supervision since 2010.