Penny Hodgson – Transforming Trauma into Triumph

Penny Hodgson shares her journey from severe childhood trauma and medical challenges to healing and peace, emphasising spirituality and innovative therapeutic techniques to help others transform their lives.

Penny Hodgson’s journey is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. Born with severe bilateral hip dysplasia, Penny endured numerous orthopaedic surgeries over three decades, grappling with the physical and emotional scars left by years of bullying and pain. Her challenges extended beyond her medical condition, as she faced harrowing experiences of sexual abuse and rape during her childhood. These early traumas set the stage for a life marked by deep-seated anger, resentment, and conflict.

Despite these overwhelming adversities, Penny found a path to healing and peace through a profound spiritual awakening and the support of therapeutic practices. Her certifications in Therapeutic Counselling, Natural Nutrition, and trauma-informed interventions have empowered her to help others navigate their own struggles. Penny’s innovative “Mind Files” concept, a method she developed to address unresolved childhood traumas, has become a cornerstone of her therapeutic approach.

In this insightful interview for Reader’s House Magazine, Penny shares pivotal moments of realization that helped her overcome her past, strategies for rewriting mental narratives, and the motivation behind her new book, “Aces High Aces Low.” Her story is one of transformation and hope, offering readers valuable lessons on finding forgiveness, peace, and happiness.

Can you share pivotal moments or realizations that helped you navigate through your difficult experiences and find healing and peace?  

 Sure. There were a lot of pivotal moments, or stepping stones, to those big aha moments that created shifts in my life, but I think the most important realization was really grasping, at a deeply emotional level, that all of the horrible things that happened to me didn’t define me and weren’t my fault.  

I understood intellectually, of course, and I had worked through the emotions attached to the sexual abuse, rape, and medical trauma in therapy, but I still had triggers. I knew that triggers were just unresolved Mind Files, so every time I found myself overreacting to something, I knew that I had to dig deeper to find and resolve the narrative that was causing the problem.  

How did you discover the pattern of using the past as a reference for expectations, and what strategies have you found effective in rewriting these mental files for a more fulfilling life? 

I was trying to devise an easy-to-understand method for identifying the childhood experience that was creating a block. Because of my operational accounting background, I came up with the Mind File analogy. The pattern revealed itself when I was working through how to explain the attachment of feelings to the narrative. I was using see-through plastic pouches as file folders and different-colored plastic dividers to represent feelings. It took a little while to work out, but eventually, it all fell into place. 

When it comes to rewriting the narratives, the key is to be able to see the past experience in a completely different way than what your memory is telling you. The memory is from a child’s perspective, not an adult one, so you have to learn how to challenge the narrative.   

What motivated you to share your personal story in your upcoming book, and what do you hope readers will take away from your experiences? 

When I was on my Mind Files book tour, nearly everyone I spoke with asked me why I didn’t tell more of my story. The truth was that I forgot what it felt like to be at the beginning of the journey and how important it was to me to hear that I wasn’t alone and that other people had gone through similar experiences. Sexual assault and rape are deeply personal traumas. In Aces High Aces Low, I’m sharing how those experiences impacted my life and how I recovered. I’m also going into a lot of detail about the medical trauma. That’s a subject that most people are completely unaware of, and I think it’s a topic we need to discuss. 

How do you integrate HeartMath interventions and trauma-informed counseling techniques into your work with clients navigating trauma and emotional challenges?   

 HeartMath allows people to see, in real-time, a completely unbiased reflection of what they’re feeling. It helps build trust and is a useful aid for grounding and learning how to shift away from fear thoughts. It’s a little more challenging when working with online clients because they have to own a sensor. 

Mind Files is a trauma-informed program so the techniques in that program are all I use. I didn’t intentionally draft it that way, but I think because I came through trauma, I approach everything from that perspective. 

How do you envision your book helping readers navigate their own challenges and rewrite their mental files for a more positive outlook on life?  

My hope always was that Mind Files would be a map to help people start on a healing path. I always intended to write a follow-up book that delved deeper into specific Mind Files, but I didn’t intend to share my story in such detail. In Aces High Aces Low, I hope that people will read something they can relate to and hopefully learn from my experience. 

Mind Files discusses the importance of reconnecting with spirituality and understanding the role of the Holy Spirit. How does spirituality play a role in your personal journey, and how do you incorporate it into your therapeutic approach? 

Psychology helped me understand at an intellectual level what had happened to me, but I didn’t heal until I understood where I fit into the bigger picture. That led me back to studying spiritual concepts and to God.  

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