Husband Material

A Story Of Healing Through Psychodrama (with Rick Carlson and Dr. Doug Carpenter)

July 24, 2023 Drew Boa
A Story Of Healing Through Psychodrama (with Rick Carlson and Dr. Doug Carpenter)
Husband Material
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Husband Material
A Story Of Healing Through Psychodrama (with Rick Carlson and Dr. Doug Carpenter)
Jul 24, 2023
Drew Boa

What does psychodrama actually look like? In this episode, Rick Carlson tells the amazing story of his psychodrama process at the Husband Material Leaders Retreat.

Register now for the upcoming Husband Material Retreat at husbandmaterial.com/retreat

The early bird discount ends on August 1st.

Rick Carlson is a Recovery Pastor, Life Coach, and Certified Husband Material Coach. Learn more at comebackcoaching.org

Dr. Doug Carpenter is an author, clinical psychologist, and Certified Husband Material Coach. Learn more at douglascarpenter.com

Take the Husband Material Journey...

Thanks for listening!


Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What does psychodrama actually look like? In this episode, Rick Carlson tells the amazing story of his psychodrama process at the Husband Material Leaders Retreat.

Register now for the upcoming Husband Material Retreat at husbandmaterial.com/retreat

The early bird discount ends on August 1st.

Rick Carlson is a Recovery Pastor, Life Coach, and Certified Husband Material Coach. Learn more at comebackcoaching.org

Dr. Doug Carpenter is an author, clinical psychologist, and Certified Husband Material Coach. Learn more at douglascarpenter.com

Take the Husband Material Journey...

Thanks for listening!


Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Husband Material podcast, where we help Christian men outgrow porn. Why? So you can change your brain, heal your heart and save your relationship. My name is Drew Boa and I'm here to show you how let's go. Welcome to Husband Material. We are back. Doug Carpenter and I are being joined by Rick Carlson, who is going to share a little bit about his experience doing psychodrama at our recent Husband Material retreat for leaders. In this episode, you're gonna get more practical examples of what this can really look like. Welcome, rick.

Speaker 2:

Hey Drew, how you doing.

Speaker 1:

Doing great. Thank you so much for being willing to share your story of what happened at the leaders retreat in March.

Speaker 2:

My honor man.

Speaker 1:

So we did a psychodrama weekend where each man got one to two hours for our processing, and I want to invite you to share what happened for you. Let's tell the story play by play.

Speaker 2:

Hmm, that's kind of a wild story, but I knew that I needed to deal with the fear of intimacy and it's been kind of plaguing me for quite some time and I knew it was the right time in life, the right space and the right opportunity. I said, yep, this is it, fear of intimacy which scared the living something out of me. Just saying that was incredible to be scary and fearful for me, because I knew it would not be easy and I knew that it would take a lot of courage and I knew in me that the core of me had a real major block and I did not want to let people in. And I've been holding that on onto that for, like I would say, decades and living in fear of my core.

Speaker 2:

So, leading up to this process.

Speaker 1:

How are you feeling?

Speaker 2:

There's an area in my life that, over the course of time, I'm getting better, but I don't like to generally be touched a lot. It's something that I've always been uncomfortable with and not knowing how to respond, and I was at making good progress over the last few years. However, especially in a new, unknown environment, even though I knew the men there, it was still a new environment, so I didn't want to be pushed into. Okay, you're gonna give me a hug or you're gonna greet me or you're gonna be glad to see me. I just can't handle that well, and that's a big part of the fear of intimacy, and I put up in what I thought was an invisible wall to touch. But I grabbed a football at the beginning note the retreat and I used that as an object, something that I could hang on to and give myself space from everyone else.

Speaker 1:

Right, because in psychodrama we have a lot of props. So yeah, punching bags, boxing gloves, winnie the Pooh characters paper paper, all kinds of colors, and we had this football and Rick grabbed this football and you were caressing it.

Speaker 2:

Right right, I was very much so I just saw it and I connect to a football because I love football and so it was the easiest, quickest thing to protect me from others, and I don't even think I realized it at the beginning, but it was my safe place and it was my wall. I held on to that football very tightly.

Speaker 3:

It was like the lightest in his blanket.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think that is a good connection there, doug, but as where does this may sound? I love that football because that was my protector and, not realizing at the time, I was also communicating you're not allowed in and you don't have permission, and I think that's where I was, because I was just fearful of what was going to happen.

Speaker 1:

So there you were, holding the football, talking about this fear of intimacy and what you wanted to work on Right. What happened next?

Speaker 2:

Here's the craziest thing. I was invited to go to a chair in the middle of the room and I go okay, I'm not drinking this Kool-Aid, right, I don't know, and how this is going to look and I began to think. I think I have some regrets. Maybe I picked the wrong real thing to deal with, because I felt on the chair, I felt exposed, I felt like people are immediately going to pounce on me, if you will, and evade my space and I had no protection. But I still had the football, by the way, and I couldn't protect myself and I did not like that feeling at the beginning.

Speaker 2:

What happened next is a Doug explain how this would work and explain some processes and then gently prayed over the situation and asked God's direction and guidance and clarity. And then the strangest thing began to happen, and I didn't understand it at the beginning, but all the gentlemen at the retreat began to go and grab cushions and things and blankets and anything that would layer me up. In other words, they need to build layers around me, one upon another, upon another, upon another, and I'm in this chair holding on to the football for my dear life. I'm going. I'm a little claustrophobic, so I'm going. You know what, what's going to happen here? And then I was in this very dark space, so I'm covered up by all these layers and I had no way to escape.

Speaker 1:

So we built a fortress around Rick with walls and a roof covered over with blankets, and if you're watching the video right now, we're putting up a picture of the fort. So if you're watching this on YouTube or husbandmaterialcom, you can see what we built. Doug, why did we do?

Speaker 3:

that we dramatized what he was describing was going on internally for him and he talked about having walls and barriers and that he kept a lot of distance between him and other people. So in the process of psychodrama, I needed to actually build those walls around him to get him to truly have his experience, even outside of his body, and to truly see what those barriers and those walls felt like and looked like and how other people experienced those as well. So we built his barriers all the way around him until I think I asked you at what point did does this feel like what it feels like inside? Are these your walls?

Speaker 2:

Right. I believe that you asked me at that time have we built enough layers? Right? And I wanted you to keep building them, and building them, and building them, because I knew the truth was that's how I operated in life, right With layers, until it became too much.

Speaker 3:

So that brought a moment of insight to you about your internal process Right.

Speaker 2:

I became very isolated and very lonely and I realized I did not like it and I did not want it. Then I became afraid of what would happen next.

Speaker 1:

I remember, standing on the outside of that fortress, guys were saying Rick, it's hard to hear you, your voice is so muffled, it's hard to see you. We want to be with you.

Speaker 2:

And I heard that, but I could not believe that at that time, because I didn't know how to let them in, although deeply I desired it, I needed it, I wanted it. I was compelled to, even at that moment, a couple of times to maybe just bust through the layers and say, ok, here I am. But I couldn't quite do that yet because of the fear. And then there was a point that something began to break in me. Doug, you mentioned that we're not here to hurt you. No one in this space, in this room, is here to hurt you, and you have been hurt over and over again in your life by people and men and individuals and people in life. But we're not here to do that. We're here to embrace you, to love you. Will you let us in? And I wasn't quite ready for that transaction if you will, and then it got crazy.

Speaker 2:

Yes, Now, looking back, it's a little kind of funny in a certain kind of way, and I can't see anything going on. Right, I just can't see and I'm in the dark and I'm covered by all this stuff. All of a sudden I'm hearing all this commotion and all this pounding. Where's that pounding? And I thought something irregular was going on, like there was a problem in the house that we had setting. It turned out to be this was part of the psychodrama. Someone was pounding on outside of the patio door, pounding very loud and yelling let me in, let me in, let me in, let me in. And actually they were representing harm and hurt and fear. And then, the way I understood it that could hear it was all the other guys began to fight for me and protect me and shield me from this bad influence. Apparently they kicked some booty on that one. You know what I'm saying.

Speaker 1:

I was playing that role, a bad guy. It was a very dark and difficult role to play. But I whispered a Doug's ear and I said what if I pretend to be an abuser? And so I invaded that space yelling the most poisonous evil lies I could think of, and everyone else became like a football team, blocking me out, throwing me out.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, we charged Drew. Drew used all his might and all his strength to try to get to Rick and to tear down the barriers to get to Rick and the rest of us, eight or nine men, literally fought Drew off with all our strength until we drug him out of the room and threw him out and locked him out Because we wanted Rick to see that. I'm sure this is what his hurt has represented, as these people coming in and invading his space, but now he had people in his life that loved him and were willing to protect him and were willing to fight for him and who wanted to get to know him and truly be his friend, I agree with that.

Speaker 2:

I experienced that. I began to connect to that and realized that I had that here at home and in my environments too right, and that I wasn't not letting anyone in. But it represented such a big moment in my life that guys were going to no end to fight for me, to protect me and to make sure that I was okay. And they wanted to. There was no hesitation. They were doing everything they can to keep Drew outside and then, of course, took care of him accordingly and kicked him out and threw him out, which is okay for that situation, right, of course, yeah. And then you asked permission to begin removing some layers.

Speaker 3:

Little by little. What was that like for you?

Speaker 2:

I gave permission for the layers to be removed and then all the guys came into some of the gaps of the layers because light was starting to shine in and they spoke to me. This is where I broke.

Speaker 3:

What were you hearing from them?

Speaker 2:

that they wanted to be, sit with me and be in my life and see whatever and anything, no matter what, and love me or me. Sit with me for me. They wanted to spend time with me. They chose me. They chose me and and they were not here to hurt me, they were available to advocate for healing. Something so strong broke at that moment that I had to say yes, please come in One by one. It was hard for me to look up into their faces.

Speaker 3:

Yeah and, but did we rush in?

Speaker 2:

No, it was one by one.

Speaker 1:

Yeah there was a little Crack at first in the fortress. It was just one opening. The rest of the walls were up, but there was just enough space For one person at a time.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and when you look up, because I was still holding in the football and I was looking down quite a bit and put myself In. Now, in those moments when Tears were just flowing down my face I don't know where they were coming from Everywhere in my body it seemed like a release was happening, and I had to. It took everything in me to look up and accept and and accept the invitation, because it was a two-way street. I was inviting them into my space, my deepest space, but they were allowing me in To theirs as well, because there was a connection and a trust that was being formed and each time that happened, my I was able to look up stronger and stronger and More confident and sit up straight and say, yeah, yeah, these are tears of joy and I had held on to some levels of pain that was so heavy that in that moment, I had no regrets. It just broke. It broke and it changed my willingness, or Lack of willingness, if you will. I wanted people to come into my life. It was beautiful.

Speaker 2:

We kept going until all the walls came down and then, after all the walls were down, I Was there sitting in the chair, exposed again, holding tightly onto that football, and I knew I had to make a decision in that moment and I handed the football. And I did hand it to Drew, and there are some good reasons for that.

Speaker 1:

But yes, and I was not the abuser at that time.

Speaker 2:

Right, he was just Drew, right. Yeah, everything was clear, everything was good. Basically, this was at the end and trust was a big factor right there and I chose to give it to Drew and I was very, very happy. It symbolized a lot, a major shift in my heart, in my mind and even in my soul. When I handed that football over, I was okay, I wasn't scared, I wasn't fearful and I could trust and it was at peace.

Speaker 1:

Doug, you played that song. It is so sweet to trust in Jesus.

Speaker 3:

Very fitting for the moment, because you had let your walls down to allow trust to come to your life, so you could choose intimacy Right.

Speaker 2:

Right, god is with us, he's in us, he's around us. But, man, there was a presence there that was so thick in that room, from that experience and into that song, and it was one of the sweetest moments I think I've ever experienced in my whole life, that God cared so deeply about my most inner being, my soul, my hurt, my pain, the blockage. He wanted me to begin overcoming, this fear of intimacy, right Furthermore, god was there to feel that void and I think he began something quite beautiful that morning. I knew it was not a one-time event.

Speaker 3:

I felt like what you were experiencing was something so spiritual. I told you this and I had told Drew this earlier in the week that God had spoke to me several weeks before the retreat about this song and just said get this song like queued up in your phone because you're going to need it. And I didn't know when, I didn't know why, I didn't know what for, and I even told Drew earlier in the week that I don't know when or where or why, but God has told me to have this song ready. And when we started coming to the end of your process, I knew that was the moment that God had prepared my heart for to be with you in that moment.

Speaker 2:

It's really kind of interesting how God works these things out right and he prepares these things way ahead of time. He prepared you in my journey, but it also gave me some prior steps. As I look back, there were a lot of steps prior to this that, had I tried this two years ago, it would not have been the right timing for me and where I was at, god has perfect timing. He also provides the perfect surroundings and the perfect people and opportunities to do his work and healing, and that's one thing. I know that I realized how safe I felt in all of this. Yes, and that was pretty big.

Speaker 3:

It just that you had a visible transformation. Yeah, the rig that moved out into that chair in the middle of the room when I asked you to come there was not visibly the same rig that stood up when his process was over and walked away from that chair.

Speaker 2:

I would agree with you.

Speaker 3:

He appeared to be a very different man.

Speaker 1:

It is wild to see the physical release and some of the shifts that take place after this. Now it's been a couple months since then, Rick. How has your journey continued?

Speaker 2:

Well, I knew I had a responsibility after the retreat to begin to walk this out. I did a lot of thinking over the street and I knew I had kind of like a deadline Don't wait too long to put some of this into practice in what we call the world, you know, back at home and I began to test this healing out. I know that sounds a little strange, but I started taking new risk. It deepened my desire to be seen, be heard. It actually gave me a brand new confidence in speaking and sharing, because I wanted people to see even some of the darkest things. That was scary. And so I'm still in that process. I'm still on that journey and I think it will continue on for quite a while, actually the rest of my life and something has changed in me where I am not afraid of people.

Speaker 3:

It seems like you're willing to be known.

Speaker 2:

Also, like you allow people to see your insecurities, you know, in a new vulnerable way, you allow them to see your weaknesses as well and not look at them as the hiding your weaknesses, because you just want your strengths to be seen and be coachable and teachable.

Speaker 2:

And all these kind of things have been happening where I'm just opening up a new way to breathe more, to enjoy who I am, to celebrate even the hardest and most difficult things inside of me, and I think this doesn't sound selfish, but I think it's okay to celebrate ourselves and what God, how God has made us and who he wants us to be. So he's had to rip that onion wide open inside and pull back and I'm kind of getting to that core, you know, the core of the onion, right, it's actually a beautiful thing and I think that way down deep, where I viewed as very ugly and disgusting and unlovable and unwanted, I am wanted. People want to love me. People do want to care about me. People do want to spend time with me, people want to know me. I am so excited that I'm going to let them in Doesn't mean I let the whole world in.

Speaker 1:

Yes.

Speaker 2:

Okay.

Speaker 3:

And nor should we.

Speaker 2:

Right, but I get to choose and be in freedom in that process and that journey and trust is a big thing in my life. It's been a big hindrance, it's held me back and trust issues also turn into control issues and they get all mixed up. So I have this brand new desire and drive to trust people, but in the healthy, balanced. When you learn to trust and let people in you also look at them differently, you're less critical.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, what happened for you was a beautiful process.

Speaker 1:

Thank you so much for sharing it. Even during the process, I was weeping because I saw someone else being healed. It wasn't just you, it was everybody.

Speaker 3:

There were many tears in the room.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you know you bring up a good point. If we don't allow ourselves to be healed, then we may be blocking opportunities for others to be healed as well. If I don't give myself permission, then I'm not helping others give themselves permission. That's actually a pretty beautiful thing when you open up and allow others to open up with you and give themselves the opportunity to maximize their healing. So would I repeat that anytime soon? Probably not.

Speaker 1:

But I'm a lot more willing yeah All right, Rick. Thank you so much.

Speaker 2:

You're welcome. Thanks so much, rick, you bet.

Speaker 1:

So let's talk about what that's going to look like at the upcoming retreat in September. Doug, can you give people a preview of the?

Speaker 3:

process you will lead. Well, the process that I'm going to lead is helping men access their anger and how do they need to externalize that anger to bring some healing to it. And there's going to be a series of different ways that men can choose to externalize their anger. But it won't just be the action. What's important is with the action is that you chain it and connect it to words. So, as we work through our anger, using action steps, we're going to connect it to the words and the feelings that are inside of us as we externalize that, and that's going to bring about a strong cathartic experience that's going to clear away the anger and allow you to get to the underlying emotions and the underlying healing that needs to come in place of the anger. So that's just one example of an exercise that we're going to do at the upcoming retreat to help bring healing to ourselves.

Speaker 3:

And there will be options right Punching bag pillow fights, punching, you may be hitting a mattress. We may be having a stack of old clothes and cloths that you can just rip up and tear apart, but you're going to be verbalizing your anger as you do this to allow it to come out of you and work through it.

Speaker 1:

And that's just one example. We're also going to have another station where maybe you find underneath your anger there's a deep sadness and you just need to hold the part of you that's carrying sadness, or you need to color a picture, or you need to be held by someone else who's holding that space with you.

Speaker 3:

Once you're able to access that underlying emotion of that anger, we're going to have a place for you to go and get what you need to bring some healing to the underneath pain and hurt.

Speaker 1:

And this is just one of the activities we'll be doing, realizing that this is very intense, we also have built-in space for play.

Speaker 3:

Lots of fun.

Speaker 1:

I hope we have a story time with Doug.

Speaker 3:

Story time with Doug. I hope we bring white socks.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you got to bring socks for sock wrestling. Yes, there's dancing.

Speaker 3:

You got to bring your dancing shoes.

Speaker 1:

We have a worship service which is also very embodied.

Speaker 3:

Oh, very yeah, Very deep and meaningful.

Speaker 1:

So it's going to be awesome. Please sign up. You can go to husbandmaterialcom slash retreat. We would love to see you there, and I'm excited because we have so many other opportunities, too, with some of our regional weekend intensives that Doug and I are hoping to do in 2024 and beyond, and also level two husband material groups.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, we have so many ways for you to be able to connect with one another in this community. Now Find which one you're able to do in works for you, in your schedule, in your financial situation, and make that connection through one of these paths Awesome.

Speaker 1:

Doug, what is your favorite thing about psychodrama?

Speaker 3:

Oh, on a personal level, it's the creativity that I get to just deeply connect with other men and crawl into their process, with them and just create the story and then help provide an avenue for healing to come to them. I've been made to do this work and this is what I want to do in retirement. I just want to do retreats where I do nothing but just do this. So it's a lifeline for me. The collective side is about bringing men together in such a deep, authentic way that we can connect as a tribe and as a unit and as brothers in Christ. And just that sense that I am not alone you know, that's something I so struggled with with my own childhood and in my inner child is that sense of a lack of belonging. And when you do this work and you work through a process like that, the bonding that happens with the men in the room is just so pure and authentic and you know you're not alone.

Speaker 1:

It's kind of like an initiation, it's a ritual, it's a way of experiencing. I am a man among men.

Speaker 3:

I want to rephrase it it's a way of attaching. We attach a pie through that process and attach with one another when we get authentic with one another, and that can be so healing for men who've never had that sense of belongingness.

Speaker 1:

If you can't tell, we are very passionate about this. We want to see Jesus do stuff in our physical relationships with each other. This is one way that can happen Actually, many ways. Our hope is that you will find a way to undo and redo your story and the story of your body, inviting God into this process, because he's the one who brings transformation and we're just creating space. Doug, thank you so much for mentoring me, for training me and our other leaders to be able to do this work.

Speaker 3:

My deepest pleasure and I love being with my brothers.

Speaker 1:

Me too. Guys, you are invited to the Husband Material Retreat. Don't forget HusbandMaterialcom slash retreat and always remember you are God's beloved Son. In you he is well placed.

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