Francesca Maximé – ReRooted – Ep. 21 – Mindfulness in Therapy with Janina Fisher, PhD

Janina Fisher

Psychotherapist Janina Fisher joins Francesca Maximé for a conversation around defining trauma, working with mindfulness in therapy, and encouraging curiosity.

Janina Fisher, PhD is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Instructor at the Trauma Center, an outpatient clinic and research center founded by Bessel van der Kolk. Known for her expertise as both a therapist and consultant, she is also a past president of the New England Society for the Treatment of Trauma and Dissociation, an EMDR International Association Credit Provider, a faculty member of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, and a former Instructor, Harvard Medical School. Learn more about her at

Defining Trauma

Francesca welcomes Janina to the show, and asks for her to help define what trauma means. They talk about Janina’s different therapeutic practices and how she combines approaches as needed for the patient.

“Trauma is an event so big that it overwhelms the individual’s capacity to cope, and evokes a sense of life or death threat.” – Janina Fisher, PhD

Francesca speaks with Dr. Diane Poole Heller about trauma as a portal to spirituality on ReRooted Ep. 3
Mindfulness in Therapy (17:02)

Francesca asks Janina about her work with patients who have dissociative identity disorder as they discuss how everyone can get trapped in their own little bubble. They discuss how there are many ways to work with mindfulness in therapy, and how developing awareness can lead to behavioral changes.

“Trauma related emotions, thoughts, physical sensations, images, tend to be supercharged. They tend to be overwhelming. So they can be hard to sit with, without some support.” – Janina Fisher, PhD

Encouraging Curiosity (36:50)

How can we explore trauma on a systemic scale? Francesca and Janina discuss how to find the language to teach mindfulness to different communities. For some cultures, it’s easier to encourage the concept of curiosity, rather than mindfulness.

“I was thinking earlier that the whole concept of mindfulness would be perceived by people of color as a white privilege idea.” – Janina Fisher, PhD

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