Natalia Rachel, Founder, Illuma Health, Author & Keynote Speaker
Natalia Rachel brings an amalgamation of knowledge from years working as a therapist and clinic director with a focus on trauma & abuse recovery, as well as her own personal journey.
Natalia Rachel brings an amalgamation of knowledge from years working as a therapist and clinic director with a focus on trauma & abuse recovery, as well as her own personal journey recovering from mental health misdiagnosis and physical health conditions that stemmed from childhood trauma. She is a proud recipient of the Women Icons Asia Award (emerging entrepreneur) for social impact in the domain of trauma-informed culture transformation & self-mastery education.
She is frequently called on to speak and facilitate workshops that inspire a proactive approach to healing and a collective shift towards peace and power. All her work highlights the undoubted link between mind, body, spirit, and relationships.
All of Natalia’s work stems from a desire to support a shift from oppression and suppression, to empowerment and expression, with relationships as the cornerstone for change.
00:41- What was your motivation to start Illuma Health?
- Illuma health’s vision is to create a trauma-informed world and repair and revitalize the way we look after ourselves and each other.
- There are three pillars to this organization. One is a team of therapists who are all trauma informed and trained by her.
- They also offer affordable and free online education to help people understand the concepts of trauma and respectful relating.
- And then they also have a corporate element to the business where they offer professional development training that helps them increase the sense of empathy and compassion and learn to relate in ways that heal rather than harm.
- This business started as she has been working in the field for quite a long time, and realized there was a huge demand for support around trauma and also respectful relating, there was a huge demand for it.
02:25- What does mental and relational health mean?
- Our mental health and our relational health go together, and can’t be separated.
- The biggest predictor of our well-being is, in fact, the quality of our relationships.
- There is a need to learn to harness the power of relationships for healing. And it’s something that wasn’t necessarily taught.
02:58- What are some mental health challenges being faced in the world, pre-pandemic, and post-pandemic?
- There has been a huge mental health issue for a couple of generations that were ignored.
- The silver lining of the pandemic is that we are finally looking at it and beginning to have conversations, but it’s going to take a couple of generations to repair.
- In order to truly heal, we need to look at the root trauma as contextual, and systemic, and it travels through really Relationships, communities, and cultures.
05:02- What are some symptoms, to understand that an individual needs some kind of support?
- Some of the things that might be showing up are extreme fatigue and exhaustion symptoms in the body. So either body might be slowing down or having issues with not enough energy, gut issues, thyroid issues.
- So there might be inflammation, insomnia, and anxiety, and some people get rashes on their skin. Very physically, and emotionally, people either will veer towards extreme anxiety or the other end of this spectrum, they might feel depressed and apathetic. So these are early warning signs.
- Relationships are the biggest piece. So when we are existing in survival, and we’re beyond our threshold, or we’ve got this trauma brewing inside us, it’s pretty impossible to relate in ways that are respectful, dynamic, and harmonic. And so this is a very big indicator, aside from all the physical and emotional stuff.
- In the team, there’s a lack of respect, and people are getting triggered. People are feeling unheard or oppressed, or just generally a sense of discontent.
07:04- How is depression similar or different from some other mental health challenges people are facing?
- When we are depressed, we don’t want to move forward.
- There’s no inspiration, there’s no impulse.
- All of a sudden, our bodies and our beings go into this depressive state.
- This can also be seen as this needed to happen in terms of it’s like a pit stop or a recalibration where we can then begin to build experiences internally and relationally. And culturally, we can start to live in a healthier way.
08:33- Why is there still a stigma attached to talking about mental health?
- Most of us hold a lot of shame around not being perfect and successful and amazing. The world that has been created over recent generations asks us to perform and succeed and be our best selves and reach for the stars.
- And so when we’re anything other than that, it triggers this sense of shame.
- We’re no longer able to sustain the world we created. So it’s forcing us to sit with this shame.
- Though, she believes that over the next 10 years or so, there won’t be a stigma anymore.
10:09- Do you see mental health challenges across age groups?
- It’s different depending on where you are in the cycle of life.
- Many people have existential crisis experiences of what life I want, and what version of myself I want to create. And depending on where we are, in our journey of life, that’s going to be very different.
- Millennials, and Gen Z, are actually much better at choosing themselves and being authentic, and setting boundaries, but it comes at a cost.
- Because when they choose themselves and create the life that they want, perhaps the people in their lives, whether that’s at work or at home, don’t necessarily understand or welcome that, and that can bring up feelings of being rejected. And a lot of grief and anger.
11:33- Is there a difference in how mental well-being is tackled between men and women?
- Yes, there is. And this is because of gender roles.
- Because societal expectations put on both men and women are different.
- Right now, both genders are trying to reclaim some sense of complexity. Rather than being boxed into the way, we’re told to be.
13:41- What programs do you run?
- There are two different kinds of programs. One is online, very affordable, and some free programs that really can help anybody begin to understand how trauma shows up inside us or around us, or how to begin to engage in ways that support other people to heal.
- Then there are programs through corporate channels. The signature program is called trauma-informed humans. It’s important that we become trauma-informed. So this program is about creating empathy with more data points, the more we understand ourselves and other people, and the more we understand relational dynamics, we can begin to look after ourselves, we can begin to set healthy boundaries, and we can begin to engage with a lot more compassion.
15:25- Tell me a little bit about this book. And what was your motivation to write it?
- She grew up in a lot of trauma and depression and then went on to have mental health, misdiagnosis, and then a physical illness that spanned over a decade.
- While she was trying to heal, the whole time she questioned, “why am I like this? What is wrong with me?”
- It’s the same question that most people that have unresolved trauma asked themselves. So this is the title of the book.
- The book shares 40 years of lived experience as a patient turned therapist.
- Each chapter blends conceptual sharing and teaching with a piece of her personal story about where she lived and learned, as well as self-inquiry questions, and a somatic or body-based meditation. So people can really start to process and do their own healing work at home.
- So it’s a pretty personal book. With the hope that it provides a map for deeper and more complex healing for the millions of people that are living with unresolved trauma, and really don’t know where to start.
19:26- Three lessons
- The first one is if you are struggling and wondering, why am I like this? What’s wrong with me? It’s important to know that there’s nothing wrong with you. And in the context of trauma. You make perfect sense.
- The second thing would be, that everything comes back to boundaries, our experience of well-being, aliveness, and growth will always begin with a boundary, a line in the sand. So it’s really helpful for us to start to explore all the places where our boundaries are or have been lacking and see what it’s like to begin to put them in place. And this is an epic, lifelong journey.
- And the third thing would be that healing and growth is such a complex and nonlinear process, it is not a single destination. And once we take away the outcome, orientation, from our focus, that’s where the magic begins to happen. Trust the process.
You can connect with Natalia Rachel- LinkedIn
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Thanks for listening!
Natalia Rachel brings an amalgamation of knowledge from years working as a therapist and clinic director with a focus on trauma & abuse recovery, as well as her own personal journey recovering from mental health misdiagnosis and physical health conditions that stemmed from childhood trauma.
She is a proud recipient of the Women Icons Asia Award (emerging entrepreneur) for social impact in the domain of trauma-informed culture transformation & self-mastery education.