064. To Be Safe, Loved & Worthy with Terah Harrison

By on September 3, 2019

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Terah Harrison is a Licensed Professional Counselor and hosts the podcast Make More Love Not War which has a clear mission of helping people have more sex and less fighting.  She discovered the need for her podcast as she saw male clients at her private practice in Fort Worth Texas, who were struggling to understand their female partners.  Most of these men were striving to be better partners but their strategies to achieve this only made things worse.  Many times a simple change would improve their relationships dramatically.

With this amazing information that would benefit men and the women they love in hand Terah wanted to reach more men but how without bending space time?  In her personal life she wanted her husband, Jeff, to go to couples therapy but alas, he would not. If a therapist’s husband won’t go to therapy how many other men are missing out on the knowledge that would get them more sex?  She noticed Jeff listening to podcasts every day and talking about what he learned from them.   The solution hit her like a bolt of lightning – create a podcast that will bring therapy to the men who for whatever reason don’t go. 

Since Terah started the podcast she has been able to interview some amazing experts in love and relationships- authors, professors, therapists, and coaches.  She has also created a series that gives men a back stage pass into a woman’s mind called Whine With Wine and another series that highlights power couples as well as couples in conflict.

Terah’s podcast may be directed towards men but her Evil Plan is really to help women have more connected relationships with men where they feel heard and understood in a way that leads to MORE SEX and LESS FIGHTING for all!!!

One word of caution before you listen. This episode is very real, raw and honest about abuse Terah suffered, both physical and emotional. If that is more than you are ready to handle right now, or you have a sensitive audience, please make the best choice for you.

Key Points from the Episode with Terah Harrison:

  • Terah is a relationship therapist working with individuals and couples, and also hosts a podcast called “Make More Love, Not War” that includes a recurring segment with her friends where they talk shamelessly about sex. That shamelessness part is the key, and takes work to get to.
  • She started the podcast with her husband as a way for them to work through relationship issues together in a way that therapy seemed too daunting for her husband. Through that process, which includes bringing other therapists on the show, listeners benefit, as well.
  • A common issue with couples therapy is that one of the partners thinks the therapist will just side with the other person, so the show helps remove the chance for that dynamic.
  • Terah’s work as a couples therapist started with her own parents, where she was often thrown into the mix of their relationship issues, as many kids end up doing.
  • Her goal is to bust through shame, whether it’s about sex (often for women), our emotions (often for men), and how disconnecting it is to feel shame.
  • I asked if she prefers working with men or women, and she shared why she generally prefers working with men. A key reason is that she is benefiting the woman at home who needs her partner to be a better partner to her.
  • It’s also been very healing for her to work with men and see their good hearts and ability to improve. That comes from her own story.
  • Terah’s story started with sexual abuse at age 4. It happened so long ago that some people might say you should just be over it by now. She shared why that doesn’t “just” happen. When we are that young, our neural network is being built, so the wiring is being set to tell us that we aren’t safe and aren’t worth the protection.
  • The man who abused her was the father of a neighborhood friend, who would abuse Terah and her friend together. It was more than just physical, but also what she referred to as “grooming” them to be abusable. He made her feel special, and that this was something she was lucky to have going on.
  • She felt that she couldn’t tell her parents, so she told them it was just her friend. She was afraid of being labelled a ‘dirty little girl’ who wasn’t worthy of protection. Once her parents found out it was her, they decided not to prosecute him because of what they thought it would do to her to go through that process.
  • Her parents would justify why he did this given his own back story, and they seemed to have sympathy and acceptance for him. They even allowed him to send Christmas cards and presents to Terah.
  • This made her feel like other people are more important than she is, and she doesn’t deserve protecting.
  • Others seemed to sense this, and would target her, whether with bullying, sexual abuse (she was raped at age 13), and mental abuse.
  • She asked her parents if she could talk to a therapist in her teens, and they refused, preferring to “keep it in the family”.
  • Her parents were just doing the best they could. They were young parents who made a lot of mistakes.
  • It left her with feelings that her dad not protecting her meant she couldn’t trust any man since the one who should have been there to protect her and be trustworthy above anyone else didn’t and wasn’t.
  • She ended up in another abuse and controlling relationship. She understood why he was the way he was, but that does not make what he did ok. It’s important to separate the two.
  • He was almost like a cult leader, trying to control her mind and life.
  • Finally leaving that relationship is what allowed her to start healing from all the abuse she had suffered.
  • Her relationships with women were also not good, and that was part of her healing process. Girls had bullied her from a young age, and that was a recurring theme, so that was a piece of the work she had to do which might not have seemed obvious relative to the work around trusting men.
  • The first step she found through her therapy journey is to tell your story. The second step is to build relationships you trust and tell your story to them.
  • Her sense of safe was initially just around sex, but she learned it’s bigger than that, and needs to include emotional safety. Whether that means not being emotionally and mentally abusive, or also behaviorally. That means acting truthfully and not cheating, for example.
  • Through getting her masters in therapy, she worked with men who had done some pretty bad things, whose families had to call the police on given their behavior. Seeing that extreme level perpetrator actually want to do the work to get better opened her eyes to being able to trust.
  • She does warn people to just cut and run if it isn’t safe. Her abusive ex-boyfriend, Scott, broke into her apartment after she left him, and assaulted her physically, injuring her in the process.
  • She talked about finding Amago Therapy, and finding the book Receiving Love, written by the developers of Amago. It went into seeing what you think about love, what your primary caregivers teach you about it, and more. That became the basis for a lot of growth personally and showing her a focal area for her therapy practice to help people.
  • She then found EMDR, a type of therapy focused on reprogramming your neural networks around traumatic events to take away the messaging in your brain around traumatic events and their emotional impact.
  • The third step in her therapy is Somato Emotional Release using Cranio-Sacral Therapy. This process involved visualizing and talking to her four-year-old self, and telling her she is safe, loved and worthy. She tells her own daughter that every day, and she did it for herself, which finally let her feel protected.
  • Doing that for herself allowed her to feel strength and stability in her own protection because it comes from the one constant we all have – ourselves.

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