Brenda Adelman was interviewed by Doug Noll for The Doug Noll ShowDoug Noll, Lawyer turned Peacemaker, is a full time peacemaker and mediator specializing in difficult, complex, and intractable conflicts.Doug is the author of three books, Elusive Peace: How Modern Diplomatic Strategies Could Better Resolve World Conflicts (Prometheus Books 2011); Sex, Politics & Religion at the Office: The New Competitive Advantage (Auberry Press 2006), with John Boogaert, and Peacemaking: Practicing at the Intersection of Law and Human Conflict (Cascadia 2002).Brenda Adelman is a recipient of a Hero of Forgiveness award from The Hawaii International Forgiveness Project, is an award-winning actor with a one-woman show about her life story. She forgave her father for murdering her mother and then marrying her aunt. Brenda has a master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology and is a Write and Perform Your Own Story Guide. To find out how you can write your own story in order to heal pick up your free report at

Each segment below is 15 minutes. The description for each segment is just below the links.


03/27 : 03/27/14 Brenda Adelman – From Trauma to Forgiveness

Segment 1: The First Step is to Move Out of Denial.

On this edition of The Doug Noll Show we are speaking with Brenda Adelman: actor, life coach and forgiveness expert. Brenda grew up in Brooklyn in a close-knit family, but in 1995 her father shot and killed her mother and then married her mother’s sister before going on trial. Her father never took responsibility for the murder. Brenda believes some of the triggers were his unhappy marriage to her mother, an inability to handle emotions, the fact that divorce is expensive, and perhaps an undiagnosed mental illness. Her father, who has now passed, got out of prison in 2 years for good behavior. As Brenda was studying for her master’s degree in spiritual psychology she had a huge breakthrough while learning about healthy boundaries. She then decided to take her dad to court for wrongful death, and ultimately won a large settlement. She finally started to heal when she moved out of denial.
Segment 2: Forgiving, Not Forgetting.
Brenda tells us that when she couldn’t find compassion with father she couldn’t forgive him, and when she couldn’t forgive him she closed her heart to him, and when she closed her heart to him she closed her heart to everyone else, including herself. She finally began to be cognizant of the effect her actions were taking on her own world. It’s about forgiveness, not forgetting. Forgetting means you lose the lesson.
Doug teaches that there are 3 steps of forgiveness: 1) Meet your own needs and forgive yourself. 2) Forgive the event by putting it in perspective and looking at it objectively (which could take a lifetime or could be a quick process). 3) Forgive the person who caused the injury.
Brenda was shocked at how much vengeance she had. It first showed up in poetry, written at night when she couldn’t sleep. It was filled with vengeance and rage. For 30 days she wrote poetry, and at the end of the month she felt an opening and felt the vengeance release. The process of healing started with deeply reflective work like writing, and more recently, from preforming her one-woman show and leading workshops.
Segment 3: No Shame.
One of Brenda’s main messages is that there’s never anything of which to be ashamed. It’s all about applying love to the parts inside you that hurt. She holds space for clients as they process their emotions and sees the truth of each person. Brenda tells us the first step of forgiveness is to move out of denial and into the awareness of what’s really going on. Get in touch with the anger. The second step is to give up the need to be right. The third step is to move into gratitude and volunteer. Be of service in your community.
Segment 4: The Key is to be Conscious.
What happens first when people go through trauma? At first there’s shock. People need some time to grieve and just be in shock. They need time to process and just “be” in the initial pain before starting to heal. It takes about 30 days for the memory to reconstitute itself so that the worst of it slowly dissipates. At that point we can use therapists, healers, mediators, and other specialists to start processing the emotions. We can reframe the memories so that our stories are consistent with our reality. Brenda thinks the key to healing is being conscious. It changes everything. To find out more about Brenda, her one-woman show, or her workshops, visit
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