Dr. Faith Harper is a licensed professional counselor and board supervisor, certified sexologist, certified clinical hypnotherapist, and certified applied clinical nutritionist in private practice in San Antonio, TX. She is the author of several books, including “This is Your Brain on Anxiety: What Happens and What Helps” and “Unfuck Your Brain: Using Science to Get Over Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Freak-outs, and Triggers.”
In this interview, Faith begins by talking about anxiety, where it originates from, and why we experience it. She goes into detail on four main strategies for dealing with anxiety: behavioral activation, grounding, stress management response, and hypnotherapy. Faith also discusses how to approach emotions with neutrality and curiosity. She explains how labeling, fighting, or holding onto emotions intensifies and prolongs them.
Chris then talks about expressing and repressing emotions, and Faith expands on the differences in emotional vulnerability between men and women. We ask her how a man can evolve from unawareness to a point where he’s aligned with his own values and sense of integrity. Faith explains how to approach ourselves with self-compassion. She also talks about taking responsibility for our reactions and responses to others. She gives some examples of how to express emotions in different situations.
Next, Faith discusses how people change the dynamics of relationships when they change, and why people are often resistant to change. She goes into detail on how anxiety affects our minds and bodies, and references Robert Sapolsky's "Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers." She also explains why depression and anxiety are two ends of the same cord. Faith then expands on how emotions are stored in the body and brain. She describes what EAM memories are, how they're created, and how they're activated.
Faith talks about pendulating emotions, titrating responses, and figuring out where we feel emotions in our bodies. She explains how somatics and mindful movement practices such as yoga and qigong help with building awareness of our bodies and responses, as well as trauma recovery. Faith goes into more detail on what somatic therapy is and how it works. She references Peter Levine's books, including "Waking the Tiger," and David Emerson's work with trauma sensitive yoga.
Next, Faith explains what fascia is, how accupunture activates it, and how fascia connects to different nerves. She also talks about neurofeedback, which we discuss more in depth on our podcast with Dr. Andrew Hill. She goes on to explain how depression affects our minds and bodies, and refences her new book: "This is Your Brain on Depression." Faith offers some strategies for overcoming depression, and emphasizes the importance of self-care.
Faith then discusses how nutrition and physical health affects the brain. She talks about common vitamin and nutrient deficiencies, and shares her insights on different diets, including keto, paleo, and vegan. She also offers practical advice on choosing the right diet. Faith then explains why movement is so important, and goes into more detail on qigong. She describes what happens in the body physiologically that causes us to feel better when we move and exercise. She references Dr. Ray Long's books on yoga.
Finally, Faith talks about the benefits of mindfulness, and offers practical tips for meditating. She also shares her insights and advice for dealing with difficult people and situations, and references another new book she has coming out: "Coping Skills." Faith then discusses the relationship between healing and connection, as well as what makes for great connection. She explains how she models healthy relationships in her therapy practice. Faith leaves us with advice for improving our interactions and bringing our best selves to the table.
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