Talk Therapy: Are Podcasters healing their trauma through podcasting?

On New Year’s Eve, 1989, 11-year-old Collier Landry woke up at about 3:00 am to the sound of two loud thuds. He then heard twelve footsteps, which stopped right at his door. Something told him not to look. Eventually, he went back to sleep. Later that morning, he ran into his mother’s room and found that she was not there. At that moment, Collier knew his mother was dead. 

Since that night, Collier has not stopped talking. 

His efforts are the reason police eventually found his mother’s body and arrested Collier’s father. His father was a well-respected doctor in the small community of Mansfield, Ohio. 

Collier is now a successful filmmaker and podcast host in Los Angeles, California.

His subject matter is his own story.

It turned into an exploration about whether podcasting and/or talking about his story is helping him heal. That made us wonder:  “how many people are healing by talking about their trauma on podcasts?” There are, in fact, many podcasters who are using their podcast to help others and themselves heal from trauma. Check out this list of 30 Trauma Podcasts you must follow in 2021 found on Feedspot.

In his podcast, Moving Past Murder, Collier takes listeners through his journey to healing while facing the reality of his father’s true nature. He has used his podcast as a form of therapy and his experience is a testament to how speaking out can help people heal from traumatic experiences.

About 25 years after the murder, Collier revisits Mansfield, Ohio. His experiences while returning after all those years are captured in a film titled A Murder in Mansfield. You can watch it on Investigation Discovery, Discovery +, Prime Video, and HULU.

A scene from A Murder in Mansfield.

Collier felt that he needed to revisit this traumatic event because he realized something unfortunate about society. He realized that society often did not look at the consequences violence has on the people close to the victim. Society subconsciously brushed these people’s experiences aside.

The people closest to victims of such crimes often suffer what is known as vicarious trauma. GoodTherapy defines vicarious trauma as “indirect exposure to a traumatic event through firsthand account or narrative of that event.” Although health professionals recommend that victims of any trauma seek the help of a psychotherapist, there are also ways to complement their healing process.

For Collier, podcasting has been that complementary therapy. He believes that podcasting requires authenticity, as sharing who you are can push you to face yourself and your experiences. More so if you are needing to heal from deeply wounding experiences.

“It is about going into the trenches, exploring the depths of trauma and its effects, and coming out on the other side.”

While shooting A Murder in Mansfield, Collier saw pictures of his mother’s dead body. He wanted to fully immerse himself into the experience, no matter how painful it would be. He states that “it is about going into the trenches, exploring the depths of trauma and its effects, and coming out on the other side.” For him, vulnerability has helped him connect with his audience and show them that it is possible to get through experiences like that.

In the last scene of the film, Collier gets a chance to sit down with his father. He describes him as a “healer by day and a killer by night.” The irony of that is certainly not lost upon him. To this day, his father will not admit to killing his mother, but Collier has accepted that sometimes the answers we seek are not necessarily the answers we need.

Today, Collier continues to revisit his traumatic experience to help others deal with their trauma. He says that he does it “because the burning desire to share overwhelms the desire for comfort.” He urges people to do it if they feel they need to share their story because the rewards for that bravery are unexplainable and priceless.

To learn about or work with Collier, Click here.

Watch his interview with Christine.

Fisile Mabuza

Fisile Mabuza

Fisile Mabuza is a Creative Writing major at the College of Idaho and is currently working as an intern for Bright Sighted. She graduated with an international baccalaureate diploma at the United World College Southern Africa in 2017 where she focused on English language studies and humanities.

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