Q&A with Dr. Jamie Marich

Dr. Jamie Marich, author, therapist

Dr. Jamie Marich began her career as a humanitarian aid worker in Bosnia-Hercegovina from 2000-2003, primarily teaching English and music while freelancing with other projects. Jamie travels internationally teaching on topics related to trauma, EMDR therapy, expressive arts, mindfulness, and yoga, while maintaining a private practice in her home base of Warren, OH. Jamie is the author of seven books on trauma recovery and healing, with many more projects in the works. 

Marich is the founder of the Institute for Creative Mindfulness. Her bibliography currently includes: EMDR Made Simple (2011), Trauma and the Twelve Steps (2012), Creative Mindfulness (2013), and Trauma Made Simple (2014), Dancing Mindfulness: A Creative Path to Healing and Transformation (2015), and EMDR Therapy & Mindfulness for Trauma Focused Care (2018, with Dr. Stephen Dansiger), and Process Not Perfection: Expressive Arts Solutions for Trauma Recovery (2019). She has also written guest chapters and contributions for several other published collections. North Atlantic Books is publishing a second and expanded edition of Trauma and the 12 Steps, due for release in the Summer of 2020.

Jamie seeks to incorporate music and other forms of creative expression into her practice. As her career developed, Marich’s love for experience-oriented methods of healing and trauma resolution intensified, prompting her to explore the conscious dance scene and various ways of applying these wonderful, “come as you are” practices into the healing process. Having completed several trainings and experiencing other conscious dance practices at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Massachusetts, Marich was encouraged and inspired to develop her own, unique practice, which now exists in the form of Dancing Mindfulness. To date, Marich has taught conscious dance seminars at various conferences nationally and internationally and has trained more than 400 facilitators in the Dancing Mindfulness practice.

Dr. Jamie Marich

Q. If you are in recovery, what was your Drug of Choice? And when did you stop using?
A. Alcohol and pills (opiates) brought me to recovery, yet I also identify food and maladaptive attachments in relationships/love addiction as also being problem areas for me

Q. Do you think addiction is an illness, disease, a choice or a wicked twist of fate.
A. I do believe addiction can be viewed as a disease or an illness, IF we conceptualize it as one that primary forms in response to unhealed trauma. Of course there are exceptions out there, yet unhealed trauma seems to be the rule.

Q. Do you log on to ZOOM 12-step meetings? How often? Do you share?
A. Yes! My home group meets on Zoom once a week and I also take part in two non-12 Step holistic recovery meetings each week on Zoom. Yes, I share when I feel I can add something to it.

Q. Have you added anything to your Tool-kit to help keep you sober during the pandemic?
A. The commitment to “one-day-at-a-time” living that I learned in recovery has helped me tremendously through the pandemic. My daily meditation and yoga practices have deepened and keep me sane, as does my connection with my support group and family of choice.

Q. Where did you grow up? 
A. Youngstown, Ohio, USA

Q. If you had an extra million dollars, which charity would you donate it to?
A. Project Trevor or some organization helping LGBT+ youth

Q. Do you have any children? 
A. Two bonus children—actually my stepchildren from a marriage I am no longer in, yet I’ve stayed close to both boys (ages 19 & 15) and their mother. Again, family of choice!

Q. Have you started any new projects because of the quarantine? 
A. Oh yes! I run a training program called The Institute for Creative Mindfulness that primarily trains clinicians in EMDR therapy and expressive arts therapy. The pandemic challenged us to take all of our training programs online. This has stretched my legs as an educator and content creator, and I’m grateful for this opportunity to be adaptive.

Q. If you ever retire would you prefer to live by the ocean, lake, river, mountaintop or penthouse?
A. Preferably a lake with mountains nearby.

Q. Who has had the biggest influence on you throughout your life? 
A. My first recovery sponsor, Janet Leff, who passed away in 2017. I am alive and doing the work I do in the world today because she worked her Twelfth Step with me in the most trauma-informed way possible. She is the hero of my book, “Trauma and the 12 Steps: An Inclusive Guide to Recovery.”

Q. If you were giving a dinner party for your 3 favorite authors, living or dead, who would they be? (Choose 4 if you think one might be too drunk or stoned to attend.)
A. Victor Hugo, Khalil Gibran, Audre Lorde

Q. What books are you reading now?
A. Fiction: “Temple Dancer” by Amy Weintraub. Non-Fiction: “Treating PTSD with iRest Yoga Nidra” by Dr. Richard Miller.

Q. What is your FAVORITE Radio show, news show, podcast?
A. “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver

Q. Are you bingeing on any TV series? If so which ones.?
A. In between binges at the moment; all caught up on “The Boys” so am now watching it week-to-week.

Q. Which film have you watched the most? 
A. “LA Confidential”

Q. Who is your FAVORITE Director?
A. Ken Burns

Q. Who is your favorite sober celebrity?
A. Nadia Bolz-Weber

Q.  What is your FAVORITE Band/composer/musical artist?
A. Gillian Welch & David Rawlings

Q.  What is your FAVORITE Broadway musical/play?
A. Comedy: “The Book of Mormon” Drama: “Les Miserables”

Q. What is your FAVORITE City?
A. Dubrovnik (Croatia)

Q. What is the best piece of advice YOU’VE been given?
A. “What are you going to do about it now?” (Janet’s famous question to me, delivered after fully validating my trauma story in the most loving and non-judgmental way possible).

Q. What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?
A. Coming out in my professional life as a woman in recovery from a Dissociative Disorder (on the mental health side of my recovery); this diagnosis is still shrouded in so much fear, stigma, and misunderstanding, and there was a risk in coming out that I would be discredited and not taken seriously. The freedom in speaking boldly from my lives experience has made the coming out worth it. I am now a healthier educator, writer, and human being because of it!

Q. What is your biggest regret?
A. That I didn’t “come out” (as bisexual) sooner; this also involves the regret that I stayed tied to obligation culture of organized conservative religion for so long.

Q. Have you ever been arrested and if so, for what?
A. No, and yet I should have been many times

Q. What is the proudest moment in your life?
A. Whenever I see one of my students who I have mentored go on to teach themselves; sitting in the room and watching them always brings me to tears.