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Brian D. Mahan, SEP, Talks About His Transformative Approach to Healing Toxic Shame and Trauma

Brian D. Mahan, SEP

When COVID struck the world, it changed the world forever. During COVID people changed their opinions on things, and they changed their way of life. But more than that, it increased anxiety, depression, and most of all the trauma people went through. Although the pandemic is over, COVID has left a path of personal destruction, and one man who aims to change that is Brian D. Mahan.

Brian D. Mahan, SEP, a globally recognized expert in stress physiology and the renegotiation of shock and developmental traumas, understands how to help people overcome their anxiety, depression, and trauma. He has written a book called “I Cried All The Way To Happy Hour,” which aims to help people overcome the trauma in their lives.


The book which is available on Amazon ( has already gained huge media attention around the world. So, I decided to sit down with Brian and learn more about the book and how it will help people, this is what he had to say.

First of all, please introduce yourself.

I’m Brian D. Mahan, trauma survivor, author, teacher, guest speaker, and a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner. I specialize in the physiology of stress and renegotiating shock and developmental trauma. With over two decades of experience, I’ve dedicated my life to helping individuals navigate the complexities of trauma and toxic shame. My work is rooted in the understanding that trauma is not a life sentence and that healing is possible for everyone.

You have just released a new book titled “I Cried All The Way To Happy Hour”, can you tell me what the book is about?

“I Cried All The Way To Happy Hour” and its companion online free membership site encourages a shift in focus from treating symptoms to focusing on the root causes of our struggles: trauma, shame, and unconscious limiting beliefs. It serves as a primer, demystifying trauma and shame, and answers the questions: What is trauma? What is shame? How do these experiences shape your thoughts, words, actions, and beliefs about yourself and the world? How do those limiting beliefs drive behaviors that create patterns and cycles that seem impossible to break? By addressing and healing the root causes and original wounds, you can change the narrative of your story moving forward

What do you mean by OvercomingTrauma,ToxicShame,andRediscoveringPersonal Resilience in the Post-COVID Era?

Obviously, the pandemic was an unprecedented experience. For the first time in history, our entire species was under an inescapable attack from an invisible assailant and there was no place safe to hide. Even if we did not suffer the personal loss of a loved one, we witnessed it happening in horror with 24/7 news coverage.

The experience of lockdown meant that we lost our sense of freedom, autonomy, privacy, and personal space as most people found themselves in an environment of intrusion. Couples, roommates, and families were forced to be with one another 24/7 oftentimes for months on end. And even those closest to us could be perceived as a threat when they returned home from shopping for supplies or had to go to work like many health providers. Those who lived alone suffered from the indignities of isolation.

For the first time in our lives, we no longer had many of the forms of distraction that we may have used unwittingly to avoid feeling our feelings or facing our internal struggles. On a positive note, there was a shift in consciousness and most of us had an opportunity to leverage the time to look within and begin a healing journey by facing our demons and addressing our deepest wounds and self-sabotaging behaviors. Many called into question the quality of their relationships, even the relationship that they have with themselves. There was an enormous demand for mental health professionals and HIPPA even had to change its rules so practitioners could offer support via video.


Just as a broken bone knits back together stronger than before, many people learned, grew, healed, and transformed as a result.

It has been reported that more people than ever before suffered from depression during the Covid Pandemic, and even though the pandemic is over, a record number of people are still suffering from stress and anxiety, why is that?

In my experience, three things always exist in depression and suicidal ideation: unexpressed anger, toxic shame, and a sense of futility. Anxiety is oftentimes symptomatic of unexpressed anger. And stress is directly proportionate to the degree to which we are not accepting our current circumstances. Until these issues are effectively addressed, depression, anxiety, and stress rarely abate. Anger, toxic shame, and futility are, at the deepest level, physiological conditions that result from early wounding experiences, all of which need to be worked with somatically with a body-based or bottom-up approach. Over time these symptoms may go dormant as a result of sheer will, self-soothing, and self-regulation. But when triggered again, they will reappear.

How will your book help people who are still struggling?

When we can change the focus of the lens and see trauma and shame for what they truly are (physiological conditions more so than psychological disorders), and then do the right kind of work to heal from the original wounds, then personal transformation is not only possible but probable. The online free membership site made available to the readers of the book offers many tools, skills, and resources and is periodically updated. There are many things that we can do for ourselves, but truly healing from trauma and shame is most effective and expedited by working with a trained professional who specializes in working with these conditions.

A lot of people write self-help books without any real experience on that topic, what qualifies you to write a book?

My qualifications come from both my professional background as a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, a 20-year-long international private practice helping several hundred trauma survivors, and my personal journey of overcoming trauma and healing my own toxic shame. Not only did I suffer from developmental trauma, but I used to have 7 to 10 full-blown panic attacks daily, following a catastrophic car wreck, and, was subsequently diagnosed with PTSD.

As I say in my book, “No one heals cozied up on the couch with a cup of Chamomile.” Growth and change are challenging at best. Finding the right kind of approach and a practitioner that we feel safe with, who has the necessary skills and experience, is paramount. Many, like I did, may find it challenging to become willing to feel the necessary temporary discomfort that will undoubtedly be a part of the healing journey. So,  it is important to remain focused on how differently you will feel and what your life will be like once you have gotten to the other side. I’ve walked the path I write about in my book, and I share the insights and lessons I’ve learned along the way.


In your experience, what challenges are people still facing after the Covid pandemic?

When the time came that we could reenter the world and reengage with life as we knew it, many of us could not return to some of our old relationships and behaviors. We had to re-tribalize and forge new relationships and find new groups of friends. Change is hard and oftentimes brings even more to the surface that is still unresolved. Most trauma and the trauma of shame are relational, and we have to lean into our long-term friendships and redefine them as we grow.

What important lessons do you believe people learned about their lives during the pandemic?

Hopefully, they have learned that they can overcome seemingly impossible hurdles and they have a much better understanding of who they are, who they want to share their time with, and what they want out of their remaining time on the planet.

Can you provide me with some examples of the tools that your book provides for people still struggling?

The single most important tool lies in the foundation of the “felt sense” or how to feel (or listen to) our body’s communication. Based on a 20-year-long study at the University of Chicago by Dr. Eugene Gendlin – the single most determining factor as to whether or not anybody gets better with any therapeutic practice and with any practitioner is based in the client’s ability to feel sensations in their bodies, to language them appropriately, and then to attach the right affect and meaning. That is the findings of the seminal research that brought the body-mind connection into the therapeutic field of mental health. We must start there. The book and online resources include several tools to learn and skills to hone. My hope is that you can save yourself an enormous amount of time, money, and trial and error. You can build a strong foundation of knowledge and skills so that when you are ready, you can put your practitioner to work for you.

A lot of people lost their confidence during the pandemic, and many of those people have not got that confidence back, can your book help those people?

In my book, I write about the importance of having a healthy relationship with anger. Without healthy aggression – the energy that we need for self-preservation and self-care (and the care and protection of others) we are unable to express what our needs and desires are or establish and maintain healthy boundaries. Only with that foundation, and, as a result of healing toxic shame, are we able to have high self-esteem and self-confidence.

You say that your book helps with self-discovery, can you explain what you mean by that?

Neale Donald Walshe said it best in his book, Conversations with God, “if you don’t go within; you go without. Self-discovery is turning your attention inwards through self-inquiry and reflection. We have to know what our original wounds are, and the beliefs that we formed as a result and become aware of how those beliefs continue to drive our behaviors. Nothing can change until our beliefs do. And we can’t change our beliefs through mental gymnastics. Our limiting beliefs, the behaviors that habituate them, our symptoms, and the seemingly unbreakable patterns will organically fall away when we have truly healed that which we need to heal.

Whom is your book aimed at, and what do you hope people will get out of it?

I wrote the book for trauma survivors – especially those who aren’t aware that they are trauma survivors. I wrote the book for people who struggle the shame, especially those who aren’t aware that shame is the underpinning of much of their personality, beliefs that they hold about themselves, and what they have come to believe other people believe about them. I want to inspire the readers to stop chasing symptoms and heal the underlying cause of their woes. I want to offer hope that one’s future doesn’t have to be a carbon copy of one’s past. I hope that I can help the readers to fast-track their healing journey. We all deserve to be a full expression of our true authentic selves and to live the life that we want for ourselves.

“I Cried All the Way to Happy Hour” is now available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats, receiving positive reviews and endorsements from respected figures such as four New York Times best-selling authors, celebrities, and Dr. Jonathan Salk, M.D.

For more information about the book and Brian D. Mahan, SEP, please visit

Media Contact
Company Name: Brian D. Mahan, SEP
Contact Person: Media Relations

Phone: (323) 459-1845
Country: United States


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