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Shedding Lies: The Journey of Trauma Recovery with Dr. Anne Katona Linn
Episode 7624th October 2023 • Curiously Wise • Laurin Wittig
00:00:00 00:41:02

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Shedding Lies: The Journey of Trauma Recovery with Dr. Anne Katona Linn

In this episode we get curious about:

In this episode, I had an insightful conversation with Dr. Anne Katona Linn, an expert in trauma and behavior analysis. We delved into Anne's personal journey of healing from childhood trauma and how it led her to become a trauma-informed educator. We explored the profound impact of trauma on both emotional and physical health, discussing her book "Shedding Lies: Living Beyond Childhood Trauma," which addresses the lies we tell ourselves after trauma and the importance of reframing those narratives. Anne recommended the must-read book "The Body Keeps the Score" by Bessel van der Kolk, highlighting its significance in understanding the mind-body connection in trauma. This episode is a powerful exploration of resilience, healing, and the intersection of psychology and education.

To learn more about our guest:

Bio: Dr. Anne Katona Linn is a passionate Educational Coach and Leader who has dedicated her career to helping schools and communities develop safe, supportive and positive school climates for children and teachers. She’s received multiple awards for her expertise in classroom management, mental health & special education.

Website: Katona Linn Consulting | Supporting Safe & Positive School Climates

FB: Author Dr. Anne Katona Linn

FB: Katona-Linn Consulting, LLC

Recommended Book(s):

Shedding Lies: Living Beyond Childhood Trauma by Dr. Anne Katona Linn

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk


Audio Engineer: Sam Wittig

Music: Where the Light Is by Lemon Music Studio

Photography & Design: Asha McLaughlin/Tej Art

To learn more about Laurin Wittig and her work: HeartLight Wellness

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Copyright 2024 Laurin Wittig


Interview Episode with Dr. Anne Katona Linn

Anne: [:

Right. Or wrong. What you figure out what's best for you. I never really, not that my parents, not that my family pushed me. It's just, I wish somebody would have said that to me.

Laurin: Hello friends and welcome to Curiously Wise Practical Spirituality in Action. I'm Laurin Wittig, your host, and today I've got Dr. Anne Katona Linn with me and she has just published her first book. She's had a chapter in another book, but this is her first solo book, and you know, I'm an author. I'm a fan girl of authors.

So I'm [:

Dr. Anne Katona Linn is a passionate educational coach and leader who has dedicated her career to helping schools. and communities develop safe, supportive, and positive school climates for children and teachers. She's received multiple awards for her expertise in classroom management, mental health, and special education. Her new book, Shedding Lies, Living Beyond Childhood Trauma, released on March 8th, but today is the official launch day. And she is currently, I just looked this up before we got on here. She is at Amazon.

Her book is number one in the family and personal growth list. Number two in the behavior list and number two in the depression list, and that is freaking awesome. So I'm very happy to bring and Katona Lynn here to talk about this great book. Hi, Anne.

Anne: Hi, thank you so much, Laurin. Thanks for having me.

Laurin: Oh, yeah. Yeah. [:

Anne: Yeah. Yeah.

Laurin: So I, I feel like I've gotten to know you a little bit in that, in that place. But I'm really looking forward to talking to you. I know this book is about your own childhood and so that's going to be very interesting. So tell us a little bit about why you wrote the story.

Anne: Yeah. So I am, I'm a special educator by training and a behavior analyst and I've worked with kids with special needs really for many, many years. And the last several years, I have done a lot more work around supporting schools in with specifically around trauma sensitive. So I was a state project director for safe schools, healthy students.

tory more and as I did it, I [:

You know that kind of a poster child that people would think of like, oh, they've been through a lot of trauma. I was very subtle things were very underneath the radar. And so, I, I felt through the cracks in many, many ways. And so because of that. I really thought that, you know, I need to share my story and, and I've heard other teens and, and I'm not a teen, but I'd heard, I'd been to conferences where there were teens sharing how, you know, they may have been successful in school, and they talked about their mental health struggles.

d I've done a lot of work on [:

And so the more I shared my story. People were like, you need to write a book. And then in 2019, my husband fell 30 feet off of a roof and yeah, survived. And actually, that's our next book. there were so many miracles and so many things that came out of that. And from that, everyone is saying, Oh, you guys need to write a book.

n that, in that one webinar, [:

So, I'm like, okay, I guess I'm writing a book. And so that's kind of where it went from there. Yeah.

Laurin: I, I have done a lot of work around childhood trauma myself because I grew up with anybody who heard me talk at all knows I share regularly a narcissistic mother and an alcoholic father. Yeah. So, there was a lot of, of that emotional, you know, kind of. Trauma. It was, I was not physically ever harmed. I, you know, I never was without a house over, you know, a roof over my head and plenty to eat and went to good schools and, you know, all that kind of stuff.

of all, it gives the story a [:

Anne: Yeah.

Laurin: So, so I just want to thank you for taking the time and putting this down where people can read it who are not working directly with you.

Anne: Right. Right. Yeah. And, and I had a car accident when I was a child when I was four and that was kind of a big piece, you know? So, and at the time they wouldn't allow families to stay with you in the hospital. So, I was alone in the hospital only except for visiting hours that my mom and my sister would come and visit.

t wasn't so crystal in terms [:

Really looked at it. Yeah, until much later. But I think because I did know that I had PTSD from a young eight. Well, as soon as I, they started really talking about post-traumatic stress disorder with people other than vets, you know, people coming back from war. So. So, yeah, it's you know, there are a lot of things that, that can trigger it.

And we, you know, for me, it was, like I said, it was a little bit easier because it was more clear, it was a clear cut incident that started it. There were other contributing factors, you know, kind of what you talked about those different things that, that are subtle that you often don't realize. And I realized those things later, but from a really early age, I knew that I had post-traumatic stress disorder.


efore about when you were in [:

Anne: Yeah. So, at the time of the accident, there were thunderstorms happening and also obviously things related to a car. So, the specific triggers for me were a thunderstorm, you know, and I was like a little weather girl. I would watch the clouds in the summer and I, I would always, I wouldn't go to things like that.

Where I was, I didn't have a safe adult with me. So, like during the summer, I didn't play softball because that would mean I would have to stay home with my dad, and I couldn't be with my mom. Luckily, my mom worked at a pool, and she was able to bring me with her. So, but I really kind of arranged my life, you know, even though I was a kid and didn't have a whole lot of choices of things, I was able to make that choice.

play softball as an example [:

And my mom and my 2 oldest sisters, especially where am I safe people. And so. I, I always had to be somewhere near them, so that kind of socially limited me, at least in the summer at times, but luckily, like I said, my mom, you know, ran a swim program at an amusement park with a big pool. So, I had, I was able to be social and be with all my friends and you know, just really have a lot of freedom and have a lot of fun that were, that was a huge protective factor.

And then being in a car with [:

then I'm eight years younger than the youngest.

So, my sister who is next up for me, Lisa. I remember when she was learning to drive, she had her permit. So, I was eight years old and we were coming home from my mom's work and we were all dry, you know, my mom was driving and she was going to let Lisa drive the rest of the way home and pulled over on the side of the road.

And I remember I was like, Nope, I, I was, I got out of the car. I was not going to let, I wasn't going to be in the car. With somebody who is, you know, a new driver, I was, there was no way I had to be with somebody who was a consistent driver and who already had those skills.

Laurin: Mm.

Anne: Whereas when she was learning, I, I couldn't, I couldn't do it.

those were, you know, again, [:

So, I remember we, if we had to stay after school because we got in trouble, like the whole class, it wasn't even me. It was, it was everybody.

Laurin: I remember those days.

Anne: Yeah. And my mom worked at a light. She was a librarian at a school close by, like a couple blocks away. At the end of the day, I would walk up to the school to the library and go meet her.

ain, that emotional neglect. [:

It's very subtle in that if we're not able to, if we're not giving as adults, giving kids the emotional support and you know, just engagement that they need. That it can really have an impact. And for me, because of the fact that I had post-traumatic stress disorder, it compounded the whole thing. So, so those were some of the things in childhood you know, again, separation anxiety.

d drinking around the age of [:

It was normal for us to drink, and it was not a red flag and, I realize, you know, again, later, I realized that the drinking that I did was self-medicating my panic attacks and the, and the PTSD. So, I didn't, you know, I was like, oh, great. It's gone. I don't have it anymore. I grew out of it. That's what I thought.

Laurin: Mm.

Anne: I did.

And then 33 years old. I started, I decided I went to a retreat actually, and really just had an awakening that I wanted to change kind of some things in my life. And I decided to become celibate. And I was, you know, I was like, oh, let me, let me see if I could quit drinking. And I did and no problem.

And then all of a sudden, I started having panic attacks

Laurin: Mm.

p and professional help. And [:

Cause I wasn't really, it's, it just was, I was single is a better way to say it. You know, by choice. And I just wanted to focus on taking care of myself. And, and I did, you know, a lot of healing. I did therapy finally. You know, and this is 33 years old. And so, you know, all of those things kind of were the beginning of the healing.

But even in my early twenties, I was raped, and it was by someone that I had dated. And I think partly because of. My lack of self-esteem, I was very needy in relationships and I really had a lot of abandonment issues that I thought I did something like, I really blamed myself a lot for a lot of things.

s the story I told myself my [:

And so, I felt actually worthy at that time, leading up to that. It was, you know, those were kind of the biggest things the biggest areas that it impacted me.

Laurin: So, let's talk a little bit about that emotional neglect aspect, because what, you know, in the moment, how would you identify a child who was, who was experiencing that? Mm.

ecific and it's really, it's [:

So, when an infant or child, when they make noises, when they say something, they look at you when an adult that's. So, when a child does that, that's a serve and when the adult. Response to them, you know, and says, oh, yeah, you're looking at the ball. Here's the ball. And you want, you know, you're smiling at me.

like I said, because it's an [:

Else isolated play, not having an adult read to them you know, not, not able to really talk to a child and let them express their emotion. So, in my situation, we didn't talk about things that was, it was 1970 when this all happened. It's let's just, let's act like it didn't happen and let's not talk about it and it'll go away, and it does it.

So, you know, it, there. The intentions are good. It's just that that technically does damage and that we're not providing the support. So, for me, in my case, it was not talking about it, not letting me know what my family was going through. You know, the fact that they were also traumatized. And then, you know, I never had any treatment.

ecause again, that's what we [:

Laurin: Yeah, yeah, yeah, it was, yeah. I, you know, there's, there's, especially if you're an only child, which I basically was, I was raised with an uncle who's eight years older than me. So, he was a teenager, you know, by the time I was seven, so it was just kind of normal for me to go hide in my room and read and, you know, and, and, and I had imagined their imagination that just ran wild all the time, you…

Anne: Yeah. Well, that's good.

Laurin: myself.

So, you know, there's that, that. Only child versus are you really being neglected kind of thing that crosses my mind because most only children I know have almost an adult relationship with their parents and do get used to spending time by themselves a lot, especially if they're an introvert, which I am.

Anne: Yeah.

s, what's normal, only child [:

Anne: And I think it's a, it's specifically when a child goes through a trauma.

Laurin: Yeah.

Anne: and they especially do not get that support. That's, that's more, that's the more obvious. And that was kind of a case in my situation. But. Even, you know, again, I'm the youngest of seven. By the time I came around, there were a lot of things that some of my older siblings did.

Like my dad went to my two older brothers, three older brothers, but my two older brothers, every athletic event they had, he never came to mine. So, you know, those, those kind of give you, they send a message, even though it's not verbally it, it still sends a message to you.

Laurin: Yeah. So, let's talk about the name of this book, because it's Shedding Lies.

Anne: Yeah.

Laurin: So where did that come from?

y chapter, because when you, [:

That was what that was a story I had in my head. Something's wrong with me. I wish I would just get over this. I would just wish I would just get better. And so. You know, as I did a lot of work, it was, I realized that those were lies. That I told myself and also the other book that I was a part of it was, it was called depression lied to me.

And so, at the end of every [:

And then the truth is. My family loved me, my family was also traumatized. So, there's variety, but each chapter has that at the end. And it's kind of a way to, you know, it's a lesson learned. And so those lies are really pointed out in each chapter. And so, for me, it's the power of taking ownership of that lie and rewriting it and reframing it.

Like, nope, this is, this is. not real. And this is the reality. And actually, when I I had done EMDR, which is I movement desensitization reprocessing, which is a very highly evidence-based practice for post-traumatic stress disorder and life changing. I mean, life changing.

n that. It helps you to look [:

That's not

Laurin: hmm.

Anne: This is what really happened. And so, you know, again, from all of that work that really exposed a lot of these lies. And so just over and over again, the term lies came up and in my healing. And so. You know, that to me, that's kind of a coping strategy for sure is, you know, okay, what is that lie?

You know, I can reframe it and, and really look at what's, what's accurate and what's true.

Laurin: Yeah, I work a lot with perspective.

Anne: Yeah.

Laurin: and that's basically [:

It wasn't just me. You know, those kinds of perspective changes are incredibly powerful.

Anne: Yeah. Yeah. And it doesn't take away the trauma. It's just giving you the perspective that they also went through stuff,

Laurin: Right. Right. Or

Anne: it made it.

Laurin: blaming them for everything, you, you can forgive them or you can have compassion for what they were going through. It just, it just changes the dynamic of the whole memory.

for sure it helps me to have [:

Laurin: Yeah. We get so caught in our own experience. That we forget that everybody else is having their own experience and it may be equally as difficult.

Anne: yeah, exactly.

Laurin: maybe different reasons, but still, so yeah, that's, that's been a big journey of mine to learn how to get that perspective and really take that rational look at it as opposed to that emotional memory that, that I carried with me.

Anne: Yeah. Yeah.

Laurin: So how did all of this lead to the work that you're doing now?

weren't really great for me [:

So I, I, I did all of those things. I think especially after the rape, I just felt like I can't keep on, you know, partly because I worked a lot with athletes. I felt like I just, I didn't want to be in the environment anymore. And so, I ended up getting a job. With twin girls with developmental disabilities and they I worked with a behavior analyst and just loved working with them and just really found that I was naturally good at it.

erience with that. And so, I [:

Special education. And so, I went back and got my master's in special education and I actually started my own business with home health agency and providing services to children and adults in the community and in schools and just loved it. And so got my master's in special education and became a board-certified behavior analyst because I wanted to figure myself out.

And so I'm like, what, you know, I needed to learn more about myself and learn about. Learn the skills that I didn't get as a child. And so, I started doing that and, you know, again, right around the same time was when I really had that realization and that retreat, just an awakening of I want to do things differently.

kind of happened at the same [:

I was more of an internalizer. I held it internal, but I just got these other kids and I had so much empathy for them and loved working with them. And I just, like I said, naturally. It just came to me. And so, I just continued to do that. Worked a lot with kids with autism and still do some aspect of that.

And especially the kids with emotional disturbance, like, even though I don't like that classification, that's what special education classifies them as it's those kids with emotional behavior problems. And just because they're so. Misunderstood and I think I, again, I understood that, like, yes, I felt always misunderstood that people didn't really understand me.

And so, [:

And even before that, I was asked to do a lot of training for staff and, and I'm like, okay, you know, I guess I was naturally just. Good at that. And so I kind of got put into that position and then you know, worked at the state for several years. I also taught in higher ed and for preservice teachers.

So special education and regular education, and just loved that. And really, especially helping teachers, because I realized as I worked out in schools that.

ot of training in higher ed, [:

So. And I was state project director for, like I said, Safe Schools, Healthy Students, which was a big grant that came actually out of the Sandy Hook and the Columbine shootings and really focusing on prevention and intervention and, and all of the, it was a big, big grant. And so doing that at the state level, and just connecting with other states across the country and national partners just really loved doing that.

of connect the dots. And so [:


Laurin: Yeah. Yeah. Isn't it interesting to look back at the path that we take and how everything plays a role in it,

Anne: Yeah. Yep.

Laurin: happens and it turns you this way and something else happens and it turns you back that way and then something new pops up and you go, Oh my gosh, that's exciting. You know?

Anne: Yeah. Yeah. I know. And we get so stuck on that. We should be, you know, we should stay on one path, but I always tell everybody, you know, like my best advice for some, you know, young women, especially, you don't have to have your life figured out by the time you're 25 or 30 or 40 or 50, like really there's no.

e out what's best for you. I [:


Laurin: Yeah, I actually had a mother who had multiple careers and went back to get her doctorate at 63, which is the age I'm about to be in a couple of weeks. And that launched her really strongly into a whole different career than she did until she was in her seventies. And you know, and I. I, it never occurred to me that I had to have one single job.

Anne: Yeah, that's good. That's

Laurin: and I've had, I've had really three, four distinct careers, if you consider staying home with the kids, a career, which it was.

Anne: Absolutely was it.

and this last one started in:

Anne: I know. That's why I'm like, I'm still figuring myself out, you know, and it is, it's, it's, we don't,

Laurin: yeah.

, well, I got my doctorate in:

Laurin: Yeah. Yeah. So there's, there's no, I, I get, I get fascinated by new things. I get a little bored. It's like, okay, I've mastered that. And then something else comes up. It's like, Ooh, shiny thing.

Anne: Yeah. Yeah. Oh, yeah. That's

Laurin: It keeps the brain working and it keeps me interested in, it brings new people into my lives, into my life and all kinds of wonderful things.

So I have, I'm very much a go where the flow takes me kind of girl. So

you know, my little path of [:

Laurin: but if you look back, you can see how everything you've done has played a role in getting you where you are now and.

Anne: And I wouldn't trade any of it. Like, really, you know,

as a software trainer back in:

Anne: yeah.

Laurin: And then I stayed home with the kids and then I wrote novels and now I'm a, an intuitive healer and podcaster and . But in each one of those careers, I had something I learned about myself or something I learned, you know, that it from that job, I learned early on with the computer job, I was a great teacher.

Anne: Yeah.

Laurin: I wasn't trained as a teacher. I just like you, it's just came naturally. And that continues to be a thread through every job I've had, you know, including being a mom.

Anne: Yeah. Yeah.

Laurin: of your mom.

Anne: Yes. Oh yeah. For sure.

you talking about the spider [:

I can see the pieces of the puzzle and how they fit together and where they're missing. And oh, and I can make those intuitive leaps, you know, where we don't know this part, but I know that comes next kind of thing. And it's, it's fun.

Anne: It is fun. Yeah. I, I embrace it. Like I said

Laurin: And that's a real gift.

Anne: it is, it is. It's hard though, because a lot, so many other people don't. So, trying to fill in stuff, I have to be careful because I do also have ADHD and like being able to communicate that effectively, I've gotten so much better, but. You know, again, through all of my learning has helped me, you know, between my professional study and, you know, my own personal growth, all of it has helped me to get better at teaching.

teaching and learning. So it [:

Laurin: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I, I, this is fun. I love talking about this kind of stuff. And I'm so happy that you did create this book because I think it's, it's an important piece of information for a lot of people, self-knowledge, but also, I can see where parents would, would get a lot of useful information from the book as well. So, I think, I think we've come to a stopping place. So, I'm going to ask you the one question I'm asking everybody, and I did warn you. So, you had a little time to think about it. And that is, is there a must-read book you'd like to recommend?

Anne: yes. Yeah, for sure. So, one of the books that I read early on in my self-study was Bessel van der Kolk, K O L K It is The Body Keeps The Score.

Laurin: Oh,

Anne: Yeah.

Laurin: I haven't read it, but yeah, I understand that.

was life changing. And, and [:

I love learning. And that was just, it was very freeing because it helped me to realize some of the things that, because I also was diagnosed with four autoimmune diseases. And so how that trauma childhood trauma impacts our physical health.

Laurin: Yes.

Anne: You know, it impacts every aspect. So anyway, it was very freeing for me and it kind of really empowered me.

So that's my, that's my must read.

Laurin: I've never heard of that one, but that, that's exactly how I work with clients because they usually come in with some physical thing that's, that they can't get resolved. And I help them find the emotional thing that needs to be dealt with. Yeah. Yeah.

Anne: We can't ignore it. Doesn't go away.

Laurin: Nope. The body is going to eventually go out.

Anne: Yeah.

Laurin: You need to pay attention. It's right here in this shoulder right now.

Anne: [:

Laurin: It's so funny how all that works together.

Anne: I know. I know.

Laurin: All right. And would you tell the listeners where they can find you and where they can find your book?


I've got some free resources a few other things that, that are there, and also if you would like to schedule a call with me and see if we can work together. I'm kind of expanding. Yes, I do a lot with schools and just even supporting teachers. And so or educational leaders around, especially around trauma sensitive, [00:38:00] because most people are really flying blind.

And so just having a conversation of how can I help you create your environment and even working more with families to really kind of quiet that stress storm that a lot of families deal with at home. So, my work is kind of overlapped into many areas and so I'm, I'd love to have a conversation and just see if we may be able to work together.

Laurin: Great. We'll have all those links in the show notes. So you can find those anywhere you like to listen to podcasts. All right. Well, I want to thank you, Anne, for being here and sharing this story with us because it's been very interesting. And I think it's really useful for people to hear about this kind of thing and, and bring it into the light, bring it up into the open.

Anne: Yeah.

nd hopefully enjoy it. And I [:

You can email me at or leave it in the comments. I know you can do comments on YouTube and or reviews. I love reviews. Reviews are lovely and give, if you read Anne's book, please leave her a great review. It makes such a difference in, in how easy it is to find her book.

And speaking as a fellow author, those reviews are incredibly appreciated and incredibly valuable. So do, do her a good one too. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing you the next time on Curiously Wise, Practical Spirituality in Action and stay curious.

Curiously Wise. I hope this [:

It helps us be found by others. If you're curious to learn more about me or my healing practice, Heartlight Wellness, head over to my website at heartlightjoy. com. Until next time, I'm Laurin Wittig. Stay curious.



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