Heidi Winn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with a private practice in Fairfield, Iowa, who learned about NARM as she was grieving the loss of her teenage son, Finn, to suicide.
In sharing this deeply personal story of loss, Heidi hopes listeners will feel a sense of hope and connection with themselves in their learning process, and be able to “experience a sense of the effulgence; the richness that I have had from this learning.”
Heidi uses the words “then-daughter” to refer to her son before he transitioned to describe the evolution of identity that took place. Heidi’s journey with her then-daughter began roughly five years ago, when she began harming herself, and eventually attempted suicide four times in one year and spent over three months in a hospital for her own safety.
Heidi shares that it was during the hospital stay that her then-daughter finally opened up both to himself as well as to his family about what was going on inside, and reported to Heidi, “I had a moment of clarity last night. I'm a boy inside and I want to be called Finn.” This clarity had a profound effect on his suicidality, which dropped overnight from a seven on the hospital assessment scale (the highest intentionality and suicidal thoughts) to zero.
As a NARM Therapist, Heidi reflects back on this time with insight and self-compassion, recognizing how she was at times misattuned to her son and the ways that she unconsciously saw her children as extensions of her own identity. What has been described as parental narcissism, NARM helped Heidi to understand these dynamics within their relationship, and most importantly, to have “compassion for who we are, and where we were, and what we did, and that we did the best [we could].”
To their devastation, Finn did commit suicide in his 8th grade year, while the family was dealing with financial barriers to purchasing the hormonal treatments that were helping him navigate his body’s maturation and menstrual cycle. Heidi shares the profound learning that she went through in grieving and integrating Finn’s death, including the ways that she has learned to navigate her grief through staying in touch with the complexity of her love and sadness.
The ability to be with the complexity of her emotion and experience after losing Finn, is what is described in NARM as her psychobiological capacity to be with her own inner experience. With support from her community and family, Heidi describes the ways that she used her agency to direct her own experience and manage when she was overwhelmed by fear and despair.
Heidi closes the podcast reflecting on the ways that her relationship to her living daughter has changed, in that she has let go of trying to know what her daughter’s truth is or control her in the same ways that she might have before.
Not only has NARM helped Heidi to be with the complexity of her own inner experience, its influence has also supported her to continue to allow others to be complicated and unfolding in their lives as well. When she supports other parents of transgender people, she notices that she has a bigger capacity to “be with the not knowing,” of who they are and who they will become.
This depth has brought big changes to her practice as a psychotherapist, as she gives more space to her clients to learn who they are and what they want for themselves. As Sarah so beautifully reflects, it’s “a spiritual experience to sit with somebody who is becoming fully themselves.”
Heidi Winn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who has a private practice in Fairfield, Iowa. She has worked in the mental health field for over 30 years and has incorporated modalities stemming from Jungian Depth psychology, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and EMDR. Heidi is now a NARM therapist, working to support clients with developmental and complex trauma to sit with and uncover barriers to their aliveness and truth.
To read the full show notes and discover more resources visit http://www.narmtraining.com/podcast
NARM Level 2 Online Training begins January 2021.
REGISTER NOW: https://narmtraining.com/transformingtrauma/level2/
NARM Training Institute
The NARM Training Institute provides tools for transforming complex trauma through: in-person and online trainings for mental health care professionals; in-person and online workshops on complex trauma and how it interplays with areas like addiction, parenting, and cultural trauma; an online self-paced learning program, the NARM Inner Circle; and other trauma-informed learning resources.
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