Joy is Our Survival with guest Natalie Gutierrez, LMFT


Natalie Gutierrez, LMFT

Mindful Journeys

Discover the power of healing generational trauma with Natalie Gutierrez, LMFT, author of The Pain We Carry, in this episode of Confetti All Around. Cynthia Perez and Natalie discuss ancestral healing, mental health, and creating safe spaces for Black and Brown communities.

Natalie Y. Gutiérrez, LMFT, is the founder of Mindful Journeys Marriage & Family Therapy PLLC in NY, and a licensed marriage and family therapist working primarily with BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) survivors of complex trauma—ranging from racial trauma, sexual trauma, attachment trauma, and intergenerational trauma carrying cultural and legacy burdens. Natalie is a certified internal family systems therapist and Assistant Trainer for Internal Family Systems. Natalie’s individual and group healing work blends the intersections of psychotherapy, activism, intuitive and ancestral wisdom. She is a mother of 2 on the journey trying to break generational cycles and heal legacy burdens.

Have you read the book The Pain We Carry: Healing from Complex PTSD for People of Color by Natalie Gutierrez, LMFT? If you haven’t, take a listen to this episode and find yourself making space in your heart to come back home to your story and your legacy. This conversation is an intimate talk between two Latina therapists, and a conversation of a homecoming into a purpose higher than our job titles. Natalie and I talk about ancestral healing through crying, listening, and even joyful retreats like the one she is co-hosting in Puerto Rico this summer. Join us as we explore how to reclaim our right to heal and create spaces where our true selves can thrive.

Creating rituals of reconciliation to release internalized burdens is crucial. How do we help women and femmes of color in community? By grieving together, creating rituals, and releasing burdens, we can see ourselves clearly, love ourselves and each other, and take up more space.

Reclaiming Our Right to Heal

Natalie and I share a belief that healing isn’t exclusive. “Healing isn’t just for white bodies. Healing isn’t just for white people. Healing is for us.” This statement resonates deeply. Growing up, it was rare to see our stories represented in mental health spaces. It’s crucial that our unique experiences are acknowledged and that mental health care is accessible and relevant to our communities.

Healing isn’t just for white bodies. Healing isn’t just for white people. Healing is for us. I’m tired of us being forgotten in books. In school and psychology textbooks, it feels like we’re always left out. Of course, we’re going to feel anxious and depressed when we’re struggling to support our families. This makes so much sense to me.

Carrying the Strength of Our Ancestors

One of the most powerful moments in our conversation was when Natalie talked about the resilience we inherit from our ancestors. Yes, we carry their trauma, but we also carry their strength, wisdom, and courage. “Your ancestors, known and unknown, love you, watch you grow, and root for you.” This is a reminder that we are never alone in our struggles. We have a legacy of resilience that can guide us through even the toughest times.

Your ancestors, known and unknown, love you, watch you grow, and root for you.

The Need for Compassion in Mental Health

Natalie highlighted a critical issue in the mental health field: the tendency to pathologize our pain without understanding its roots. “There’s so much pathologizing, so little compassion.” This struck a chord with me. Too often, our struggles are dismissed or misunderstood. We need a mental health approach that sees the whole person, recognizing the cultural and historical context of our pain.

We Are the Medicine: Embracing Our Ancestral Wisdom

Natalie’s words, “We are the medicine,” serve as a powerful reminder that healing starts within us. Inner child healing and connecting with our ancestors can help us reclaim our authentic selves. I’ve found that the more I embrace my heritage and listen to the wisdom passed down through generations, the more I heal. It’s about embracing the duality of our experiences, both the pain and the beauty.

There’s so much pathologizing, so little compassion. The mental health field often wants to label us without understanding the deeper reasons behind our pain. They miss the larger cultural and historical burdens we’ve inherited. It’s a perfect storm for the trauma that lives within us.

Breaking Free from Marianismo: Embracing Our Authentic Selves

We also discussed the burdens of cultural expectations like marianismo—the idea that Latina women must be self-sacrificing and strong, never showing vulnerability. “The legacy of perfectionism, the legacy of needing to be strong, don’t cry.” These burdens weigh heavily on us, but recognizing them is the first step to breaking free. By shedding these oppressive norms, we can live more authentically and embrace our true selves.

The Power of Community in Healing

“Creating rituals of reconciliation to release internalized burdens is crucial,” Natalie said. This resonates deeply. Healing in community is powerful. We need safe spaces where we can connect, grieve, and support each other. By creating these environments, we can release our burdens and grow together. It’s about seeing ourselves and each other clearly, with love and compassion.

Creating rituals of reconciliation to release internalized burdens is crucial

A Call to Heal Together

This episode with Natalie Gutierrez is a powerful reminder of the importance of community and ancestral wisdom in our healing journeys. Her insights on legacy burdens, resilience, and creating safe spaces provide a roadmap for those of us on a path to healing.

If you’re interested in diving deeper into these topics, I highly recommend her book, The Pain We Carry. Stay connected with us for more insights and stories. Your journey matters, and we are here to support you every step of the way.

Picture of Cynthia Alonzo Perez

Cynthia Alonzo Perez

Hi, I'm Cynthia Perez, your official Inner Child Hype Woman the founder of Rooted in Reflection. With over 15 years in social work, I’ve dedicated my career to helping people heal from intergenerational trauma and find joy through culturally sensitive healing spaces. I'm passionate about empowering the Latinx community and fostering creative healing for those often overlooked in traditional wellness programs. Whether you're joining a workshop, a wellness talk, or a retreat, my goal is to create a community-centered space where you can feel seen, heard, and healed.
Cynthia Alonzo Perez

Inner Child Hype Woman

Cynthia Perez, MSW, LCSW, is the founder of Rooted in Reflection. She’s an expert in intergenerational trauma and bilingual, culturally sensitive therapy, offering transformative workshops and retreats.

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