Danielle Bernock helps people with childhood trauma in Episode 059

Today I am interviewing a woman who has a passion for helping people recover from childhood trauma.

Danielle Bernock had experienced a lot of childhood trauma from emotional abuse, bullying and neglect. It’s a problem impacting upward of 75% of children in America today. In fact, one in three kids experience a traumatic event every year, and suicide is the second leading cause of death for children ages 10 to 14.

She doesn’t blame her parents. They had experienced their own childhood trauma, which left them emotionally unavailable, stoic and authoritarian. Because they never healed from their wounds, they passed their trauma on to Danielle.

Childhood trauma can come in many forms. Kids can feel the abandonment of divorce, the shame of physical or sexual abuse, the loneliness of neglect, and even the ramifications of a major illness, such as leukemia. Trauma is deeply personal and the silent screams can only be heard by the person held captive.

Turning 50 was a real challenge for Danielle and her husband. It certainly wasn’t anything to celebrate, as far as they were concerned. That’s about the time Danielle finally came to grips with the trauma she had endured as a child. She went through counseling and even wrote her first book, “Emerging With Wings,” which was published when Danielle was 55.

However, turning 60 was a real life-changer for Danielle. Having dealt with her trauma, she was much more joyful and celebratory about entering that phase of her life where she enjoyed a renewed sense of purpose.

Today, Danielle guides people through a process called SELF, which stands for See, Expose, Love and Free. That process helps people peel back the layers of hurt they experienced in order to move beyond the point where many people get stuck as children and never fully recover.

If children don’t address the trauma which hurt them early in life, the hurts can remain hidden under the surface wreaking havoc the rest of their lives.

That’s because shame destroys self-worth and self-esteem. Many times, the kids have nothing to be ashamed of, but they feel they caused or deserved the trauma they experienced.

Trauma is generational in three ways, Danielle explained. First, by being hurt directly through physical or sexual abuse, or even by witnessing domestic violence. Those kids can grow up to treat their own children the same way.

The second generational impact comes from adults with unresolved childhood trauma who wind up leaking all over their own kids. Whether it is intentional or not, hurt people go on to hurt people. The third way is a genetic problem because the victim’s body keeps the score.

Danielle said there are two types of professionals who can help people who have been haunted by childhood trauma. A therapist can help people dig into the past in order to understand how they were hurt as children. On the other hand, a coach can help trauma victims move forward into a much better future.

Many children today must contend with the silent trauma of divorce, which often impacts kids in ways parents are unaware. It can impact the children’s personality and behavior in undesirable ways.

Grandparents can play a big role in helping children recover from childhood trauma simply by letting the kids know how much they are loved and valued. Grandparents can also let kids know their voice matters by simply listening to them and answering their questions.

After publishing “Emerging With Wings,” Danielle wrote several other books, including “Because You Matter,” which is a compilation of interviews with 10 men and women who triumphed over their trauma. Danielle’s book “A Bird Named Payn” describes the raw emotions that arise from caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease.

For fun, Danielle wrote another book with her grandson when he was 12 years old. Titled “Taco ‘Bout Your Value,” it is an activity book designed to help build self-esteem in kids ages 9 to 15.  

She continues to blog on her website at www.daniellebernock.com, where she  offers coaching and courses as well. Danielle also offers a free assessment to help people understand how much childhood trauma still impacts them today. People can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

That’s all I have for this week’s show. If you’d like help in identifying a purpose for your life or to get help planning your next steps, I’m offering a complimentary brainstorming session to members of the Forward From 50 Facebook community. For details, connect with me on Facebook or visit www.forwardfrom50.com.

I’ll have another inspirational interview on the next episode of the Forward From 50 podcast. Thanks for listening. If you like this show, please consider leaving a review wherever you download the episodes.