Meet Dr. Ashley
My name is Dr. Ashley Anne, and I'm a philosopher, scientist, and sage who specializes in stress. After a lifetime of being sick and tired (with no solutions), I finally got sick and tired of being sick and tired and dove into the research to find my own damn solutions.
What I found is that the fight/flight/freeze model of stress just doesn't cut it. There are far too many situations in life that can't be resolved by those three tools.
What do we use when we tend to our children?
What do we use when we're negotiating a deal at work?
What do we use when we seek out a hug?
What do we use when we find new solutions?
Never heard of them? Neither did I.
Because they didn't exist... but now they do.
My mission is to bring this new multidimensional model into the world so that everyone understands the truth of who they are and what they can do.
If you're looking for a place to start, my TEDx Talk might be great for you. In it, I summarizes 10+ years of research in under 18 minutes and leave you with a basic understanding of how the body and mind work together to either create health and happiness or disease and disorder.
From there, you might listen to my podcast or browse my online trainings. The content there helped me beat burnout when I was a miserable trauma therapist and continues to be the foundation for everything I do.
But in truth, I keep all my best secrets for my members. They're the ones who get to hear my most recent lessons and tips and tricks for thriving each and every month.
I create all my content with one mission: to teach you what I wish I would have known...
...when I was in fourth grade going to school with pockets full of pills to manage my migraines.
...when I was a freshman in high school sitting in civics class battling my IBS and trying not to fart!
...when I was a senior in college, actively suicidal with no insight as to why.
...when I was a trauma therapist, sitting on the floor in my 250 square foot apartment, parka and boots still on, wondering why the hell I got into this business anyway.
Anne's Anatomy™ changed my life. I believe it will do the same for you.
I began my career as a counselor specializing in neurocounseling and somatic trauma interventions. Because of this unique practice, colleagues sent all their toughest trauma cases my way.
Within six months, I lost ten pounds without trying, my skin broke out, I couldn’t sleep, I was dissociative, and despite seeing a psychologist twice a week, taking medication prescribed by a psychiatrist, and consulting with every supervisor within my reach, I was suicidal.
And no one had answers.
I was looking at the real possibility I’d be forced to quit my career before it even began.
Since no one could help, I had a choice to make. Throw in the towel or dive into the research. Never one to back down from a battle, I dove right in.
Vicarious trauma, as it turns out, has nothing to do with being burdened by the stories of others. Instead, it’s all about sensation.
When we connect with others, the neurobiological experience goes something like this:
Mirror neurons in the brain simulate the autonomic nervous system of clients as they recount and/or experience their stories. This information funnels through the insula, sparks the vagus nerve, and travels to all subcortical organs and tissues. The helper’s body syncs with the client’s body as if they were one; they become a single social brain.
Simulation is a powerful clinical tool. Using the information from physical sensations in session is like having a cheat sheet of the client’s past, present, and predicted future. But only if you also know how to differentiate.
The process of differentiation happens as we use what Stephen Porges called the sixth sense - interception - to feel internal shifts in our body. This information then funnels back up the vagus nerve, through the insula - and here’s the important part: it jumps from the posterior to the anterior.
It's this transition from back to front that allows the simulated information to reach the prefrontal cortex where the helper can tell the difference between their own bodymind and the client's bodymind.
Then helpers can use it:
I just felt my chest tighten up, I wonder if yours did too.
My heart just sank. I wonder if you’re feeling heartbroken.
Oh, my stomach just got butterflies. You seem scared.
Vicarious trauma happens when the body simulates, but doesn’t differentiate.
The material gets stuck, the stress response stays on, and the helper walks away holding the client's sensations as if it were their own.
In walks the next client and the process starts all over again, stacking on sensations and stories until we're all filled up.
Every body simulates. Not every body differentiates.
The latter must be learned.
As it turns out, my symptoms of burnout back then boil down to one key concept:
Compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and burnout have nothing to do with self-care and everything to do with self-regulation.
As a philosopher, healer, and sage, I use what I’ve learned (what I call Anne's Anatomy™) to teach the world’s helpers how to be healthy, wealthy, happy, and free.
Imagine the help we’d give if burnout were never the cards.
I can teach you how.
dr. ashley's credentials
Licensed Professional Counselor - Wisconsin & Illinois
Counselor Educator and Group Supervisor since 2012
PhD in Counselor Education | Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi
MA in Counseling Psychology | Northwestern University
BA in Communication | Saint Norbert College
Sanskrit - Level One | Manorama, Sanskrit Studies