Season 2

Episode 31 – Bryon Ross, Tony’s GOAT Therapist

Bryon Ross is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who graduated from Indiana University in 1985. He has served diverse populations, including a program to rehabilitate sexual offenders. He now works as a therapist for a publicly funded clinic. There he serves people facing a wide range of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and symptoms related to bipolar disorder. He identifies not as a Christian Counselor, but as a therapist who is a Christian.

Topics Include:

What is the difference between mental healthcare and behavioral health care?

How can people “interview” their therapist?

How do you effectively discuss faith in a publicly funded clinic?

What is a remarkable healing story from your professional counseling experience?

What role does forgiveness play in mental health?

What does healing mean to you?


Yoga with Goats– Eric has done yoga for years, but never with goats

San Antonio River Walk – Tony visited on most recent honeymoon

Columbus Tree Canopy Partners – Eric planning a tree planting project for 50th Anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, 2020

Episode 30 – Sepee Zabala Loves Jazz

Sepeedeh or “Sepee” Zabala is a working mother of two who moved to Berkeley, California in 1993 as a Christian missionary.  Raised an atheist by Iranian parents who immigrated to the U.S in the sixties, she was baptized in a horse trough in a living room in Washington, D.C. while attending college.  Her spiritual journey continues, now a tapestry of proven practices that allow healing, health and well-being while communing with like-minded believers of no particular faith or denomination.

Sepee is a member of The Stability Network, publicly speaking about her experiences with Bipolar, Depression and Addiction.  She has advocated in Alameda County’s education and health systems for children and teens suffering brain health symptoms along with the challenges navigating school, adolescence, and relationships.  She hopes to continue to advocate for young people, as well as for adults like herself who greatly benefit from employer support and workplace safety.

Sepee graduated from Georgetown’s Walsh School of Foreign Service in 1993 where she studied International Affairs and Theology.  For the last 14 years she’s worked at a leading global financial firm.

Topics include:

How did her family of origin react to her mental health struggles?

How has faith supported her mental health?

What work accomodation did she request?

How has The Stability Network supported her mental health advocacy work?

What does healing mean to you?


The Stability Network – Sepee and Eric are members, met at conference in 2018

Purdue University – the other Big Ten school in Indiana

Delight in Disorder – Tony’s blog where you can find more details about his upcoming book, “From Despair to Delight”

Jazz – Ken Burns documentary

Episode 29 – Healing Answers from 2018

“What Does Healing Mean To You?” has been the animating questions for our podcast since our first episode.

With Tony out this month, Eric has organized the extended answers from our Season 1 guests.

We encourage you to listen for responses that are most meaningful to you and then find the interview in our podcast feed. Eric does preface each response with a few details of the interviewee.

We would appreciate your written response to the question by adding your thoughts at our Audience Participation link.

Episode 28 – Jon Rohde Protects and Serves

Jonathan L. Rohde is the Chief of Police of the Columbus (IN) Police Department. Before leading the department, he served as a Patrolman, Field Training Officer, SWAT team member, Narcotics Detective, Narcotics Detective Sergeant, and Administrative Captain.

He has a depth of experience in aligning resources within the community to compassionately serve those who struggle with addiction and mental illness.

In 2017, the city of Columbus started a community wide initiative called Alliance on Substance Abuse Progress (ASAP) to address the growing opioid epidemic. In this interview, Jon talks about his experience supporting the ASAP initiative.

He is married to Sarah and they have four children, Falesha (18), Klayton (15), Bailey (9), and Emerson (7).

Topics include:

What is role of police officers in situations where people are exhibiting signs of mental illness?

Comparing criminal justice and Biblical justice

How do chaplains support the police program?

How has the Columbus community worked together to address the opioid epidemic?

What does healing mean to you?


Exhibit Columbus – Exhibit Columbus is an annual exploration of architecture, art, design, and community.

This American Life – Podcast episode titled “Ten Session” – focused on the reporter’s experience of Cognitive Processing Therapy

Tony’s article in local newspaper – A response to mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, TX

 Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement by Dr. Kevin Gilmartin

Healing Story 2 – Paul Currington

Paul Currington is a storyteller and former comic. He hosts and produces one of Seattle’s longest-running storytelling shows Fresh Ground Stories. As a member of The Stability Network, he uses stories and humor to help people talk about mental illness

Visit the Fresh Ground Stories blog here.

Episode 27 – Restoration and Advocacy with Deborah Geesling

Deborah Geesling, founder of P82 Project Restoration, has a heart for those with serious mental illness. Her family experience has given insight into the serious gaps in the mental health system.

As her advocacy developed, she readily identified housing as being one of the top barriers to obtaining a life with dignity. P82 Project Restoration is an organization created to fulfill the dream of opening a Christ centered home for people who suffer with chronic mental illness.

Her advocacy work has led her to speak at conferences, testify on government panels, and be mentioned in a number of publications.

Tony knows her personally through the Advocates for People with Mental Illness Facebook group.

Topics include:

How has her son’s mental illness impacted her faith development?

How did her advocacy develop?

What is the mission of P82 Project Restoration?

What does healing mean to you?


P82 Project Restoration – Deborah’s organization

Clearing in the Distance by Witold Rybczynski – book Eric mentioned about landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted

Advocates for People with Mental Illness Facebook group – Tony and Deborah participate in this active conversation

Episode 26 – Healing Wounded Warriors and Wounded Fathers

Tony and Eric have one-on-one discussion on the Wounded Warriors Project and an experience Eric had with his father around Father’s Day.

The episode features insights from over 100 responses to “What Does Healing Mean to You?” from the 2018 Heartland Conference. Themes emerged from the responses, framing healing as:

  • Acceptance
  • Restoration
  • Wholeness
  • Freedom
  • Peace


Tribe by Sebastian Junger. Eric discusses in context of soldier’s returning from tours of duty

Next Episode:

Deborah Gleesing from P82 Project Restoration

Episode 25 – Cam Stout of The Stability Network

Cameron has been an attorney since 1984. Cam is on the other side of the abyss of a major depressive episode in 2013, feeling better in many ways than he ever has. The Founder and CEO of Stout Heart, Inc., a 501c3, Cam speaks publicly to students, professionals, church congregations, and other groups about his resilient recovery from severe depression, and his seven years of sobriety.

Cam’s timely message is simple and powerful: Mental health conditions are just that, health conditions, not weaknesses. They are not our fault, and there is tremendous hope for ongoing recovery and effective management of these challenges.

Cam discusses ways to identify and address mental health and addiction issues in the workplace, in schools and in places of worship.

Cam is married and a very proud father of two adult children.

Topics include:

What was his experience growing up with a father who was alcoholic?

What role has Stout Heart, Inc in supporting other lawyers and students?

Forming “SEAL” teams- Supportive, Energizing, and Loving- to help maintain mental health

Describes how Electoconvulsive Therapy (ECT) helped him through a time of severe depression

What does healing mean to you?


Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation – Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation

Stout Heart, Inc. – Cam’s Non-Profit

The Stability Network – Mental health advocacy group where Cam and Eric met

Listening to Prozac – The landmark book about antidepressants and the remaking of the self (1997)

Next Episode:

Tony and I discuss responses they received from over 100 people to the question: “What Does Healing Mean to You?”

BONUS: Mental Health Month Dialogue

Should we promote mental health or combat mental illness?

Can we do both?

In this bonus episode, Eric and Tony engage in critical dialogue about the purpose and priorities of mental health advocacy. Eric leans more in the direction of such groups as Mental Health America promoting mental health by combating stigma, as represented in this quote:

This year marks Mental Health America‘s 70th year celebrating Mental Health Month! In 2019 we are expanding upon last year’s theme of #4Mind4Body and taking it to the next level, as we explore the topics of animal companionship (including pets and support animals), spirituality, humor, work-life balance, and recreation and social connections as ways to boost mental health and general wellness. 

(from the Mental Health America, May newsletter)

Tony, on the other hand, sides squarely with groups and individuals who believe the best, and perhaps only way to promote well-being is to combat serious mental illness through improved treatment and rigorous research.

May is being celebrated as Mental Health Awareness Week or Month (MHAW or MHAM). In celebration, well-intentioned advocates are hosting events they think reduce the “stigma” of mental illness. But they are inadvertently perpetuating it….

.. MHAW public service announcements never feature the homeless psychotic, eating out of garbage cans, sleeping in cardboard homes, and living with festering wounds under layer after layer of filthy clothes, or those locked behind bars or in institutions. Why? The stigma advocates fear that showing the most seriously ill will create stigma. But trying to gain sympathy for mental illness by only displaying the highest functioning, is like trying to gain support for ending hunger by only showing the well-fed.   

(from “Why I Don’t Celebrate Mental Health Month” by DJ Jaffe) Jaffe is Executive Director of Mental Illness Policy Org., and author of Insane Consequences: How the Mental Health Industry Fails the Mentally Ill.

Which side are you on? Is it possible to be on both? How can we learn from each other? Listen and see.

Episode 24 – Hope for the Homeless with Dawn Adams

Dawn Adams is the Community Relations Director with Food 4
. Her focus is on researching and aligning resources that allow
Food 4 Souls to assist those who are ready to move into a life beyond homelessness. She is also responsible for cultivating donor partnerships, working with individuals in recovery and working with local organizations, churches and youth programs for community outreach projects.

When she is not working, she enjoys traveling, visiting the local coffee shop and spending time outside with her dog. Dawn currently resides in Fisher’s, IN with her husband and twin girls and attends Heartland Church.

Topics include:

What led her to making the decision to work full time in ministry to the homeless?

How does she handle referrals to mental healthcare providers?

How has her perception of the homeless changed over her 7 years in ministry?

How has working with homeless helped Dawn heal?

What does healing mean to you?


Key Ministry – Inclusion Fusion Conference – Conference Tony attended

Friends of Pollinator Parks – Eric’s Pollinator Park Facebook group

Brighter Days – Homeless shelter in Columbus, IN

Next Episode:

Cameron Stout from Stout Heart, Inc.