“The somatic response to misattunement is not what I thought it would be, which is anger, but in fact, it’s shame; that is what your body feels when you are being misattuned to.” ~Sara Moskowitz

“Trauma” exists in many forms. Sara Moskowitz, LCSW, SEP, can trace some of her wounding back generations through the Jewish experience. Beyond that, much of the ongoing personal healing to which she’s committed stems from a thoroughly modern – and complex – family dynamic.

Donor-conceived humans – those individuals conceived using a third party to supply the sperm, egg (or combination), or embryo – often have additional existential baggage to unpack, especially if the donor in question is anonymous. When even the information about the use of a donor is kept hidden from offspring, well, that’s not just baggage to examine – that’s an entire cargo ship! 

Sara’s trauma is further complicated because her parents did as was considered “best practice” back in the ’80s: they kept their use of donor sperm from their daughter with the good intentions of protecting her. Instead, it set her up for a lifetime of unsubstantiated inklings that something was amiss. She didn’t uncover the truth until her late 20s. That’s a double-decker cargo ship’s worth of next-level wounding!

As becomes apparent during our conversation, Sara’s story is an excellent example of failure in the environment, not a failure in the parent. Her mother and father did everything “right,” but the environment failed all involved. Sara’s journey also speaks to the importance of therapists doing the work on themselves. That’s something of a manifesto around here. How can we expect to meet our clients where they are, accompany them on this journey, and provide them with the tools they need to heal if we’re not exactly sure how these tools work?

Just when you think you’ve heard every variation of trauma – boom! – someone like Sara comes along to remind us how rich the human experience is. No one said this work would be easy, but Sara’s outlook is poignant encouragement. “People will say, like, ‘Oh, what a hard job; that must be so draining!’ and I find it so hopeful and so beautiful and, sometimes, draining and, very often, painful. But you can completely change somebody’s quality of life with sometimes gentle interventions.”

MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

Transforming Trauma Podcast

NARM – NeuroAffective Relational Model

Donor Sibling Registry

Somatic Experiencing

Dolores Cannon

GUEST CONTACT INFO & BIO

Sacred Roots Consulting

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Sara Moskowitz LCSW, SEP is a Chicago-based psychotherapist, mother and artist. She specializes in developmental trauma and anxiety, and guides clients to gain access to the wisdom contained within their bodies. Sara is certified as a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner and holds Master’s degrees in both social work and education.


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