Heather Monroe, LCSW

Heather is a psychotherapist and wellness educator with over 15 years of experience working with trauma. She specializes in the healing of attachment and relational trauma and guides her clients through a holistic and transformative process. Her approach is creative, open, and flexible, recognizing that healing requires an individualized approach.

Heather's training in Kundalini yoga and Peter Levine's Somatic Experiencing has given her a deep understanding of the body and how trauma is held in and released through it. She holds a Master's degree in Clinical Social work from Hunter College in NYC, and has completed post-graduate, multi-year clinical training in Somatic Experiencing, Psychodrama, and Attachment & Relational Trauma studies.

Heather has worked in various settings, from inpatient to outpatient care, and has held leadership positions such as the Co-Founder and Clinical Director of an IOP, the Director of Family Services at the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, and a Senior Clinician and Director of Program Development at Newport Healthcare. In her private practice, Heather leads multi-day workshops, provides clinical training, and maintains a small practice.

Heather's home base is Nashville, TN, where she lives with her husband and two children. Heather believes that trauma underpins almost all mental, cultural, societal, and global health disorders. Her life's purpose is to educate and assist people in untangling their past from their present, enabling them to lead their most authentic lives.
  • Masters in Social Work from Hunter College
  • Therapist at CEDAR (Center for Dependency and Rehabilitation) at UCH
  • Co-Founder and Clinical Director of an Intensive Outpatient Program
  • Director of Family Services at Partnership for Drug Free Kids
  • Director of Program Development for Newport Healthcare
  • Active consultant and Senior Clinician at Newport Healthcare

So, what is Relational Trauma? 

Relational trauma typically occurs in childhood and can even be perceived as “normal” behavior. The most common form of relational trauma is a consistent disruption in a child’s sense of love and safety in the family system. It is through these disruptions, and reinforced through cultural and societal norms, that destructive patterns and self beliefs are born. When left unattended, these perceptions give way to depression, anxiety, substance abuse, codependency, attachment disorders, self harm, eating disorders, personality disorders and so many other mental and physical health issues.

Relational trauma can be obvious like:
  • There is physical neglect and abandonment i.e. going without food and/or water, poor hygiene and/or being left alone for long periods of time.
  • There is physical, sexual or emotional abuse 
  • Caregiver has a terminal illness 
  • There is domestic violence 
  • Divorce
  • Caregiver(s) has a substance use disorder
While overt trauma can lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and complex PTSD, covert trauma just like overt trauma can also lead to mental health issues, adverse relationships, personality disorders and physical disease. More subtle examples of relational trauma look like:
  • One or more caregiver(s) is physically not around much of the time and when they are, there is a lack of emotional or mental availability for the child
  • Caregiver(s) suffers from mental distress such as depression, anxiety, bipolar, PTSD, Eating Disorder and is unable to tend to the emotional needs of their child 
  • Caregiver(s) has unprocessed generational trauma which is then unconsciously passed on to the child
  • Caregiver(s) treats child more like an equal or a friend, overshares their life struggles with them, leans on child for emotional support 
  • Caregiver(s) has poor boundaries and is either overly contained (rigid, anxious) or uncontained (explosive)
  • Caregiver(s) treats the child like a surrogate partner looking to the child for comfort, support and intimacy and/or they objectify the child’s body and physical appearance in a way that sexualizes them. 
  • Caregiver(s) uses psychological control in order to get child to behave the way they want them to like withholding love and affection, shaming the child, making the child feel guilty, denying the child’s reality or invalidating their feelings
  • Caregiver(s) is domineering and controlling which disempowers the child and their ability to think for themselves and become who they truly are especially if that means disappointing the domineering parent.  

Heather has completed the following trainings associated with the Mind, the Body and the Spirit:

  • Master of Social Work with a specialization in mental health
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Training with Marsha Linehan
  • Attachment Based Family Therapy
  • Mindsight with Daniel Siegel
  • Peter Levine’s Somatic Experiencing
  • Pia Mellody’s Post Induction Therapy
  • Psychodrama with Karen Drucker 
  • Trainer of Tian Dayton's Sociometrics
  1. Certified Kundalini yoga teacher
  2. Certified MDMA-assisted therapy
    though MAPS