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Light from the Rabbit Hole

Light from the Rabbit Hole

By Dawn Whitney
As a mother of a 26 year old gay man who has suffered from mental illness and addiction his entire life, I have walked along side the scariest parts of these illnesses and also witnessed beautiful moments of survival and hope on the path. I want to share my story and many others whose voices are not understood or accepted so that we can learn to have compassion and love for those who do not fit into with what the majority are comfortable talking about. I want to scream from the mountain tops that we need more understanding and education about what’s happening within our LGBTQIA community.
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27. Suicide Prevention - Holding Space Can Save Lives-Connection/Persuade/Refer
This week’s episode titled “Suicide Prevention-Holding space can save lives-Connection/Persuade/Refer”, I have the honor of interviewing Jill Babiarz who is a death by suicide survivor.  Jill leans into her intense lived experiences of severe depression, suicide, and multiple baby losses, She is dedicating her life’s work to the people who have died, so that we may understand their stories and help save lives.  As a Yoga Practitioner, Jill’s been teaching healing movement for over 2 decades both through her online platform and in her studio in Madison, Wisconsin.  She is training to become a Yoga Therapist and her mantra is to “breaking the silence so prevention can get there before it becomes a crisis”. She talks about the technique that we can all learn to help support those in crisis called CPR which stands for Connection Persuade and Refer.  You will be moved by her story and her dedication to destigmatize the shame and blame of suicide. She can be reached at to book healing sessions or If you know someone in crisis, don’t hesitate to call your local mental health crisis line, drive them to the ER or dial the National Suicide prevention hotline for them at 1-800-273-8255.
August 11, 2021
26. Creating Normalcy is Everyone’s Responsibility
In this fun episode, titled “Creating Normalcy is Everyone’s Responsibility”, Dawn interviews 13 year old Natalie Hills’ who will help educate all of us on how best to support those in the LGBTQ+ community as an ally and advocate.  She explains the pronouns and why they are SO important to understand and use so that we can help normalize the community.  Why does it matter to help normalize something that may seem different to you?  Because when there is a feeling of normalcy, there is a feeling of community.  When there is a feeling of community, there is love and kindness and where there is love and kindness, there is a reduction in bullying, violence and suicide.  There are some great organizations such as The Trevor Project that provide crisis support services for LGBTQ youth in need. They provide crisis intervention and suicide prevention services and can be reached at The Trevor Lifeline: 866.488.7386, and there’s also an awesome organization called The It Gets Better Project whose mission is to uplift, empower, and connect the LGBTQ+ community
July 28, 2021
25. And Then There's Relapse...
This episode was a painful realization of the true heartbreak of addiction and mental illness and it still continues to hit home for us.  Relapse is a common part of the recovery process.  Boredom and isolation could easily be listed as the number one reason for relapse by many individuals in early recovery. Any and all down time prior to recovery was usually used getting their substance, using their substance, and recovering from their substance.  According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), relapse statistics show that 40-60% of people relapse after completing treatment.  Common triggers for relapse are fear, resentment, boredom, and unrealistic expectations. Stress, exhaustion, loneliness, depression, and anxiety. Revisiting people, places, or things that used to lead to drug use. One thing I have come to understand and accept is that addiction is a lifelong diagnosis that needs constant management and vigilance.  Setting healthy boundaries is one of THE BEST ways to love someone struggling with addiction.  But most importantly, DON’T GIVE UP. Don’t be discouraged. Relapse doesn’t mean treatment was unsuccessful or that your loved one won’t be able to stay clean in the long run. It can even be helpful in teaching them what certain triggers are and how to avoid them in the future. It’s never too late for your loved one; don’t give up hope, they need to know they matter to you.  If you are in the Portland Oregon or Vancouver, WA area please turn to who can help you support your loved one.  If you are suffering from mental health, addiction and homelessness, they are here specifically to help YOU.
July 15, 2021
24. Advocating Mama Bears
In this week’s episode, Dawn interviews not only a dear friend but an amazing entrepreneur who created an online holistic health coaching platform called Deconstructing Wellness. It’s a place where “high achieving mamas can empower and prioritize their own needs and wellness so they can show up even stronger for those they love”.  She discusses why she started this company and how her own personal experiences created the urgency to start this company to support women and specifically moms.  Kris talks about her recent breakthrough in her business that made her realize clearly why she started this journey of health coaching. She shares her own personal story of her daughter’s struggle with mental health and how she and her husband had to quickly pivot to meet her needs, hire an occupational therapist to uncover the specific disorder and how to support her own self-care as a mom.  She shares tools and tips to help other moms to recognize some of the warning signs to watch for, how to support those you love in their mental health journey and how to show up for yourself so that you have enough left in your tank to be your very best as a mom, wife and friend. The reality is that as parents we are all in this together…learning, growing, making mistakes, finding solutions, asking for support.  We can’t do it alone and we shouldn’t have to. There are so many resources out there for whatever level of advocating you are doing for your children. Her company is a beautiful representation of holistic coaching for the moms that need support and balance in their life whether they have a child with mental illness or not. Join her movement and subscribe to her Mind Body Collective monthly membership that is changing mamas lives all over the country! You can find her at or on Instagram @deconstructingwellness.
March 17, 2021
23. Empathy is a Simple Act of Kindness
In this shorter solo podcast, Dawn shares a recent personal experience that sparked her to sit down and record this podcast on the topic of Empathy.  Emotion researchers generally define empathy as the ability to sense other people's emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling. Empathy has a powerful place in our lives and for those we are called to be empathetic towards.  We take for granted the extreme impact we can have when we stop and create a safe environment for someone who may need our empathy.  It's the ability to understand another person's thoughts and feelings in a situation from their point of view, rather than your own. The empathetic person will recognize the person's struggle without minimizing it. This podcast has some guidelines on WHEN to recognize that you need to exhibit empathy and HOW to exhibit empathy.  Please take a listen and I hope we can all reflect in your own lives on who we can touch with own empathy today.
March 10, 2021
22. On a Healing Journey...Do You Believe in Trauma Recovery?
On today’s episode, Dawn interviews Reverend Doctor Natalie Vail who is a double board Acupuncturist, Ordained Spiritualist Minister, Certified Psychic-Medium, Reiki Master, Herbalist, Feng Shui Consultant and initiated Shamanic Priestess with more than 30 years of experience as a Healer. Based in San Diego, she works with clients worldwide.  As an integrated Practitioner, her personal mission is to share ancient wisdom and hold a sacred space for people to heal their deepest wounds through compassion and courage.  We discuss her unique gifts from when she was speaking with dead people and spirits from the age of 4, to her own traumatic story during adolescence of living with a severely mentally ill father where she and her siblings endured a dysfunctional and violent upbringing.  This created the need for her to find her own healing journey of trauma recovery.  On this path, she continued to cultivate her healing gifts as an empath and intuitive. She became an Acupuncturist, Feng Shui consultant and Reiki Master so that she could use all the tools of healing combined with her psychic ability to help those who are looking for trauma recovery with transformation with deep healing from past traumas.  We discuss all of this as well as Epigenetics which could be a topic all by itself on a separate podcast.  This was an informative, uplifting and unique podcast that will stretch your limiting beliefs.  It’s amazing to know there are true healers like Rev. Dr. Natalie in this world and we are lucky to have them called into our lives.  You can reach her at her website and she has a online scheduler where you can book an in office Acupuncture/Reiki session or a Transformation Healing session (Shamanism, Reiki, and intuitive healing), Psychic/Tarot Reading, Herbal supplementation recommendation all that can be done via telemedicine. 
March 3, 2021
21. Stepping Into Your OWN Power… Shine Your Light
In this week’s episode, Dawn interviews Lianne Saffer who often describes her life as an endless quest to “feel it all”. She is a wife, mother, writer, life coach, fitness instructor, hair stylist, and advocate for helping people live a loud and authentic life. Lianne is a newly published author of a book that is ON FIRE on Amazon called “Please Don’t Send Me Flowers”. Her link to the book is here and believe me, you are going to want to read it. It will make you laugh out loud, cry out loud, be validated and seen, and deeply contemplate/reflect on what’s truly relevant in life. Lianne says she wrote the book in hopes of opening the conversation around challenges in relationships, sexuality, religion and cancer.  She wrote it to make others be aware that its ok to be uncomfortable and vulnerable and that cancer isn’t a box wrapped in a pretty pink bow.  She wants you to get a glimpse of yourself in the pages and feel less alone.  She’s also my fabulous spin instructor whom when I first met was married to a man and now is married to a woman. Our podcast talks authentically and in a very raw tone of how she found herself, found her soulmate and found her purpose. Her wife, Steph Saffer joins us on the back-half of the podcast and adds so much love and insight into supporting and loving Lianne.  You will quickly learn that Lianne’s story needs to be heard.  She’s not going to pull any punches in this interview and some could say she’s controversial and outspoken…good for her! But I call her a “light bearer” and we need a hell of a lot more of those in this world.  Go buy this book and let your damn light shine! You can follow Lianne on Instagram @liannesaffer
February 3, 2021
20. Freedom from Secrets… A Journey to Forgiveness
Dawn interviews Pirie Jones Grossman, former well known TV Host for E! E! Entertainment Television, Fox Television, NBC, CBS and ABC who is now living a beautiful second half of her life as a Certified Life EmPowerment Coach, TedX Talk Speaker, Influencer and Writer. She also has a secret. Her story will resonate with those who carry a secret, those who may not even be aware of their secret yet and those that feel ashamed to share or acknowledge their secret. Pirie obtained her Masters in Spiritual Psychology in 2014 and that is where she meet her podcasting co-host, Diane Chandler who she share a successful Podcast called “Own your Throne”. Pirie is authentic, candid and inspiring as she shares her own personal struggles with her mother’s severe mental health illness, her own addiction to sleeping pills, her infertility struggles and her “secret”. In her current business, she coaches women on focusing on self-esteem and helping women to reignite the second chapter of their lives through empowerment coaching so they can fulfill their full potential. “It’s never too late to be something great!” Her story is courageous, authentic and triumphant. You’re not going to want to miss this one and you won’t see what’s coming. If you would like to work with Pirie, you can reach her via email at or her website and you can subscribe to her and Diane’s amazing podcast at If you are someone you know is talking or thinking about suicide, depressed or you are concerned on their behalf for their safety and emotional stability, please ask them if they are considering suicide. Many people feeling this way just want to be seen and heard. Don’t be afraid to ask. They will tell you. Connect them or connect for them to the suicide hotline for help at 800-273-8255. 
January 13, 2021
19. Self Love and Acceptance... The Foundation of Happiness
In this episode, Dawn interviews two rising stars within the LGBTQ+ community that are not afraid to be raw, authentic, bold, empowered and their successful podcast “Coming Out Happy” is taking the world by storm.  Their episodes are amazing, they tackle real life issues and give unbelievable advice and support from their own experiences and from the certified life coach training that Dani has worked so hard to achieve.  On their Podcast, online community and on their YouTube videos, Certified Life Coach and Author of the book called Coming Out Happy, Dani Max and her life partner Keely Lou discuss their experiences being LGBTQ+, struggles, triumphs, coming out at work and dating within the community.  They have also created this unbelievable and fast growing private online community where they have created master classes, targeted content and programs that support the community specifically between the ages of 18-35 years old to understand that self-love and acceptance are the foundation of happiness. In Dani’s book, she created a five lesson system that helps people determine who they are meant to be while creating a life they love.  While listening to this podcast, you will NOT believe these two beautiful ladies are millennials…you will think you are listening to two souls that have lived a thousand years. I must have said four times in this podcast that I wanted them both to be my daughters, because I felt such a sense of pride of what they have done so far and what is yet to be. The LGBTQ+ community needs to know Dani and Keely because they are setting the world on fire, just listen and you will be hooked. Follow them on Instagram @comingouthappy, on TikTok @comingouthappyteam and and pick up Dani’s 5-Star rated book on Amazon titled “Coming Out Happy”.
December 16, 2020
18. Let’s Dispel the Psychiatry Stigma
On today’s episode Dawn interview Dr. Laurie Goldman, who is a medical doctor, psychiatrist, and functional medicine practitioner who’s been in private practice since 1999.   She had an interesting start to her career working at one of the country’s largest county jails where she was hired to focus on the women population. While working in the public health sector, she realized that the word psychiatrist did not always have the best connotation. She decided to change that mindset and wanted to be a different kind of psychiatrist. She is trained in integrative and functional medicine which adds a completely different approach and level of normality to psychiatry. She dispels the stigma that psychiatrists overprescribe and she shares her philosophy and approach that works successfully in her integrative practice. She founded Clear Path Wellness to help her patients reach their maximum state of mental and physical health using a personalized, comprehensive approach powered by the principles of functional medicine, which treats the whole person, not just symptoms. Listening to Dr. Laurie will give you renewed hope that there are amazing health care professionals like her out there and that you can be treated holistically and achieve even better results. To reach Dr. Laurie her website is at  If you are in the LGBTQ+ community and are seeking a psychiatrist these are a few great resources for you The American Psychological Association (APA) provides countless educational and support resources on a range of LGBTQ topics- The Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists offers numerous resources for LGBT individuals experiencing mental health conditions and psychiatric professionals with LGBT clients-The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association's Provider Directory is a search tool that can locate a LGBTQ-inclusive health care provider.
December 9, 2020
17. Changing lives with EMDR Therapy
Dawn interviews a dear beautiful lifelong friend, Alison Guillon, LPC, Founder/Owner of Pacific NorthWest Behavioral Health who is a trained EMDR therapist that teaches us the beauty of EMDR which Is used to treat so many levels of trauma.  You will be glued to your seat listening to the amazing science and stories that Alison shares.  She sheds so much beautiful light on the positive influences of EMDR that you will be excited to learn more! She sees collaborative care as essential to overall wellness and comes to her mental health expertise trained in ruling out general medical conditions before promoting psychotropic medications including but not limited to: deficiencies in vitamin D, vitamin B, thyroid, HPA-axis function, adrenal, autoimmune disorders and inflammation.  Alison can be reached at
December 2, 2020
16. Shame... Settling the Score with Ourselves
Dawn interviews Kathryn Metcalf Hernquist who has successfully navigated through insurmountable odds with grace and courage.  With a family history of drug and alcohol abuse, she was not only pre-disposed to addiction but learned at any early age that it was the only way she could “escape” the torment of childhood molestation and sexual abuse in her adult life.  Her story, up until she finally went into treatment and sought help, was a dangerous, risky life filled with chaos, shame and unfortunate events.  She shares a very vulnerable and scary story of a stalker and serial rapist who broke into her home in her very early 20’s, that ultimately would be the catalyst that plunged her deep into her meth addiction.  Like many victims of abuse, from the outside, she appeared and looked normal…whatever THAT is.  In her words, no one would have ever known what she was going through. This is a true story of triumph and we were honored to have her on the show. She has devoted her life to 35 years of sobriety and she is a “money coach to the sober community”.  She has an awesome interview series that can be found at My favorite comment that Katherine made in her closing of the podcast is “One moment at a time, one step at a time, one thing at a time and all of that will add up to an incredible life”.  
November 18, 2020
15. The Silent Partner
Dawn interviews a special guest on today’s episode that knows her and her sons story better than anyone…her husband Ryan.  He gives his perspective of loving both Cole and Dawn from the sidelines while also being an active participant in supporting Cole’s growth and development from the time when he entered Cole’s life at the age of 8 years old.  Together, Dawn and Ryan share what they learned, what they missed, what they didn’t know, how they could have navigated through the challenging times differently and what they did right…in the best interest of their son.  Ryan discusses how difficult it can be to watch from the sidelines in support of not only the addict who is suffering from mental illness but knowing how to support his wife in the process.  The life that they have lived together for many years trying to understand mental illness and to support Cole, is a beautiful story of resilience, patience and compassion. For more resources visit:
November 11, 2020
Trailer for Episode 15: The Silent Partner Loving and Supporting from the Sidelines
Subscribe now on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast platform to get this episode when it publishes on November 11, 2020.
November 7, 2020
14. Emotional Transformation through a Virtual EFT Session
Dawn revisits one of her favorite guests, Amy Stark of Stark Transformation, for a 2nd podcast which is a virtual EFT tapping session.   Watch the Video on our YouTube Channel here: In this podcast which will also be shown on YouTube as a visual session, you can see the power of EFT in action. Amy will explore and heal old programs that Dawn is continuing to run over and over again that have kept her from reaching her full potential.  As a psychic and healer, Amy connects to Dawn’s higher self and taps into her energy to provide immediate healing through the power of tapping with her additional gift of energy transformation.  If you have never witnessed a true healing through the process of EFT, you won’t want to miss this vulnerable and emotional journey that Amy takes Dawn on to repair the trauma and old stories she has been running since before birth.  It’s a remarkable session to listen to on the podcast platforms but even more powerful to witness the healing first hand.  Amy will discuss the chakra’s and show the EFT tapping points so that even the novice will understand the power behind this amazing healing tool.  You can tap along for your own healing during this podcast or you can contact Amy at to book sessions directly with her. I guarantee after you see the unbelievable release that Dawn experiences, you will understand the science and the power that only EFT can deliver.
November 4, 2020
13. Consciousness Awakening and Spiritual Wellness
Dawn interviews a fascinating Spiritual Clinical Psychologist based in Los Angeles  who has written a book called “Lesbian Love Addiction, Understanding the Urge to Merge” that has a 5 star rating on Amazon!  She co-hosts a podcast called “The Consciousness Salon” and she and her wife, Vanessa just launched which was a dream for them both to open their own therapy center.  With over 20 years of experience, Dr. Lauren’s philosophy stems from the understanding that mind, body and spirit are interconnected.   In this podcast, we talk about her journey back from addiction. Her life changing moment that caused her to understand that her “calling” to help others heal holistically was a spiritual one.  Her “second coming out” was indeed to be referred to as a “Spiritual Clinical Psychologist”.  Unscripted and unintentionally in this podcast, some very personal content was revealed involving childhood secrets for both Dawn and Dr. Lauren.  In the event that you have personally experienced abuse or know of someone who has, it is important to realize that this podcast may trigger memories and reactions.  If needed, please take a break, speak to an understanding loved one, or reach out to a clinician.
October 21, 2020
Trailer for Episode 13. Consciousness Awakening and Spiritual Wellness
Trailer for Dawn's interview with a fascinating Spiritual Clinical Psychologist based in Los Angeles  who has written a book called “Lesbian Love Addiction, Understanding the Urge to Merge”.
October 21, 2020
12. Parent Support within the LGBTQIA Community
On this solo podcast, Dawn shares an amazing national resource for the parents, friends and those that identify within the LGBTQIA community. She discusses 6 things you can do before they come out.  Every parent/friend/ally should listen to this episode as Dawn shares some of her own personal journey.
October 14, 2020
11. Brain Based Treatments Lighting the Mental Health World on Fire
Dawn interviews a well-known trail blazer within the pediatric mental health space, named Dr. Roseann Capana Hodge on this weeks’ ground breaking episode!  This podcast was one of Dawn’s most educational, as it dives into “brain based treatments such as Neurofeedback and Biofeedback within the integrative wellness world.   Dr. Ro has written 4 books with the launch of her newest book called “Teletherapy Tool Kit” which is releasing October 27th, 2020, she has co-authored another awesome book which is a resource guide for parents and caregivers called “Brain Under Attack” and has been called by Forbes Magazine, as “The thought leader in children’s mental health”.  She has appeared on CBS, NBC, Fox News, The Mel Robbins Show, USA Today and in the New York Times.  Dr Ro is a bad ass and has been referred to as a leader who is “changing the way we view and treat children’s mental health”. You can find her and her services at  She also has a special podcast bonus for the book: Teletherapy Toolkit™: Therapist Handbook for Treating Children and Teens   You can find her on all of these social media outlets:,, and
October 7, 2020
10. Breaking Down the Walls of Human Trafficking
Dawn shares a painful personal story of her families experience with grooming and trafficking while speaking to the Founder and Executive Director, Max Dispositi of the North County LGBTQ Center in San Diego.  Max will outline the warning signs and educates on prevention of human trafficking.  If you don’t think there is a national crisis of trafficking in our country, you need to tune in and hear the truth. Max Dispositi 760-994-1690
September 30, 2020
9. Embracing Your Whole Self Part 2
This is the continuation of Steve’s journey to becoming his whole self and embracing that he wasn’t getting rid of Stephanie, rather he was allowing Steve to finally be.  This is a Transmale story of hope.
September 23, 2020
8. Embracing Your Whole Self Part 1
Dawn dives into the coming out story of an old high school friend, Steve Hansen, who struggled with being mis-gendered and living his whole life in the body of woman he was never meant to be in while he was also labeled a lesbian.  This is a beautiful story of empowerment, self acceptance, enlightenment and true happiness.
September 23, 2020
7. Energy Healing through EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)
Dawn speaks with Amy Stark from Stark Transformation and the Ophelia Podcast.  She is an energy healer, empath and transformation expert.  She uncovered her spiritual gifts after discovering meditation at 26.  While combining her science background with her spiritual talents she uncovered the ability to help others heal by rewriting their trauma and mental programs through clearing energy and EFT.  Amy and Dawn had an instant connection and she is a repeat guest on the podcast.  Her podcast can be found at and she can be reached for her services at 
September 16, 2020
6. A Bright Light within Recovery
Dawn talks with a special person in her life, Carlyn Park, who has successfully navigated through 13 years of being a sober addict. She brings light, hope and empowerment to her personal journey at a very young age with her battle of alcohol. Her story of family addiction that led her down the addiction path at a young age, reveals that true self love and spirit guiding you, can in fact heal your soul.
September 9, 2020
5. Body Recovery through TRE
Dawn connects with Chad Brown who is the founder of an amazing company called Somatek Training where he is a certified TRE Provider.  TRE stands for Tension and Trauma Release Exercises and Chad shares his own trauma that drew him to seek his own healing with EFT (tapping techniques) and TRE.  He now teaches others for their own “body recovery” discovery. Chad Brown CMT, Certified TRE Provider 323.547.9272 Website: Instagram: @somatektraining
September 9, 2020
4. Courage to be Authentic
Dawn digs into an extraordinary story of resilience and acceptance as she interviews an amazing transgender man, Paul Kan, a corporate executive that lived under cover for many years until he embraced his true authentic self.  He coaches executives to empower their leaders to become the very best version of themselves by being transparent and authentic. His story is moving and brought Dawn to tears. Website: Facebook: @manonpurposelife Instagram: @yespaulkan To all listeners, Paul is offering a free 1 Hr “Discover the Power of You” Session.
September 2, 2020
3. Ian’s Love Letter
Dawn speaks to Stacie McLauchlan, an amazing mother who lost her beautiful son to suicide 3 years ago at the age of 14. He did not leave a “suicide note”, he left a “love letter” and from the letter a beautiful non-profit movement was formed.  This organization is a tribute to Ian to carry on his legacy and words he wrote to “Live Hard” in his letter.  This episode is about suicide discussion, prevention, awareness. It’s an important conversation to tune into, for anyone, not just those who have children.  Please support her movement and donate to the cause and you can follow her on Instagram at @staciemcl or @livehardmovement.
September 2, 2020
2. The Awakened Soul
In this podcast, one of Dawn's closest friends, Robyn Jennings, shares her personal lifelong mental health struggles and perfectly complements Dawn's story as she asks difficult and vulnerable questions of Dawn to uncover the true motivation for why she decided to open her story to the world.  This episode lays the foundation and motivation behind the stories you will hear on the show and reveals some very authentic, yet painful stories for Dawn and her husband Ryan in the support of their son Cole.   Robyn and Dawn share a bond of love and friendship that has spanned close to two decades and this episode provides the backstory as to why Dawn knew this was her time to come out of the shadows. Her strong desire to dispel the stigma and shame of mental illness, addiction and to understand the beauty of being a part of a community (LGBTQIA) that deserves kindness, compassion and support.
September 2, 2020
1. Why me? Why now? Why this?
Even when we stumble down the rabbit hole...there is still light. There is always light shining upon us. Even for those afflicted with mental illness and addiction, there are stories of triumph. Thus the Podcast Light from the Rabitt Hole was born.
September 2, 2020