Transforming Trauma Episode 080: The Joy of a Queer Identity with Isaac Samuelson
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In this episode of Transforming Trauma our host Emily is joined by Isaac Samuelson, LPC. Isaac is a Chicago-based NARM Therapist who works primarily with people struggling with, discovering, or maintaining their queer identity. Isaac, who themselves identifies as queer, sees queer identity as strength, and seeks to collaborate with all clients to discover the challenges and joys in the lifelong journey of connecting with oneself.
Having worked previously as an actor, performer and clown, Isaac learned the experience of empathizing with and learning from the characters they played. This practice of empathy, which emerged out of their passion for acting, gave Isaac a relational roadmap for supporting their later therapeutic development in helping people learn about and connect with themselves. In Isaac’s acting, and particularly the characters they were creating, Isaac shares, “I was able to do my own thinking about those parts of myself that I was not as thrilled about and to say actually, this is a part of who you are and it can be charming.”
Isaac reflects on their experience of being queer living in America, and that many folks are subjected to persistent implicit and explicit messages of homophobia and transphobia. “There is something to be done with these messages and these feelings and so often we turn it inwards because we see ourselves as the problem because there's no shortage of people pointing to us to say we’re the problem.” Isaac shares that the intersection of cultural trauma and one’s own agency is the place where clients can do transformative work. While it is important to acknowledge that there are ongoing real-world limiting factors, it is equally important to acknowledge that there is great possibility for self-activation and transformation.
Isaac shares a statistic from The Trevor Project’s National Survey on LGBTQ Youth that found one positive adult in a queer child’s life reduces suicide attempts and they discuss the importance of suspending your own perspective while practicing curiosity. They discuss what genuine support can look like and the importance of curiosity against the danger of assumptions and projections. Using a NARM-oriented perspective, Isaac is excited to support many individuals who are questioning, discovering or living in their queer identity. Isaac shares, “How do we see our own value and strength? How do we see ourselves as powerful? And how do we see ourselves as beautiful?”
Isaac Samuelson is a Licensed Professional Counselor working in Chicago. He specializes in counseling for LGBTQIA adolescents and adults.
He is currently working at Chicago Institute for Change and has also worked as a group therapist for the Second City’s “Improv for Anxiety” group. Isaac completed a Postgraduate Fellowship at Live Oak, and a clinical internship at Hartgrove Hospital.
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