Addiction can bring your life into total disarray, messing up your career and relationships. Despite this depressing end result, the hope of regaining a thriving life will never be gone.
In this episode, Ken Clark shares how to discover self-care amid grief and shame. He talks about facing unaddressed trauma and transforming a crisis into a significant win.
Ken also explains how people struggling with these issues behind the scenes can muster the right confidence to face them head-on.
This in-depth conversation is a must-listen and serves as a vision for the future of addressing the mental health epidemic sweeping our country!
Watch the episode here
Listen to the podcast here
Transforming A Crisis Into A Thriving Life
We are here with Ken Clark, who I met through a professional business group, and he presented to my group. He runs a therapy company in Arkansas. I loved him from the moment I met him. He is a teddy bear of a man and gifted in the space of the social challenges that we are facing, and certainly, one of them is in the realm of addiction. How do we support the people that we love that are dealing with the disease? I’m going to let you take it from there, and we are going to have a conversation.
I’m honored to be here. I don’t think I had anybody describing me as a teddy bear of a man but I will take it. We are at a cool juncture in our social discussions about things like addiction. We are coming off shows like Mad Men and things like that, where alcohol consumption and wild living are celebrated. That was real several decades ago. We began talking about treatment and people with real problems when they get bad.
Within the last several years, we have been having discussions about how these things get to these places. It’s not simply a person who has made a bad decision about how many drinks to have, even in the last several years. We are looking at discussions like trauma and how family systems, how the network of people that we are part of hurt us feed these things or heal themselves.
It’s an exciting time to be having this discussion. There is a lot of openness, hunger, and candor around talking about this. I’m thankful for that. Everything that is comes before, whether it is Twelve-Step or these great treatment centers. If you are reading this, we are part of an evolving discussion that only evolves because we share our personal experiences, and talk as both addicts, family members, and loved ones addicts about the experience. It’s super cool.
When I was asked to come on this show and talk to family members and people supporting and loving on people who are in the recovery process and/or not yet, the biggest things that came to mind were always about what it means to support and care for self, as opposed to what else do you need to do for this person who, to a large degree, is beyond your control. The biggest things that came to mind were grief, shame, and dealing with those emotions. Often time, one gives way to the other.
If you are reading now like we were talking about before the show, we throw around many of these words but we don’t have fluency in them. We don’t know what they mean even though we use them. First and foremost, what I would put out into the space now is probably my definition of those things. They don’t have to be your definitions. They don’t mean their definitive definitions but if you aren’t wrestling, looking in the mirror, and figuring out what grief and shame mean for you, how it impacts your decision-making, support, and energy levels, that is the low-hanging fruit.
Here are my two definitions. Brief is the painful process of accepting things that are beyond our control to change. It is the equivalent of swallowing down dry bread. You are struggling to get this reality down to you, and it does not want to go. That is what grief is. If it was changeable and within our control, we don’t typically feel grief. We feel hope. When we start to come to the realization that this is not going to change and, “I’m tired of trying, or I’m hitting my head against a brick wall,” that is where grief sets in.
Grief is the dark side of the moon. Grief is a lonely place. It makes us wonder, “What’s the point? Why tried? Why go on?” It can feed our own destructive behaviors. Grief that assigns blame. Grief that says, “This grief is your fault. You brought this on yourself. This is your parenting or your failure as a friend,” or whatever. That turns into shame. Shame is the belief that, “I’m reprehensible. I’m bad. I’m worthy of disgust. The pain and suffering in my life are my faults. Anybody looking at it would find disgusted with me.” Shame is discussed and turned into words.
If you are reading now and you love somebody who is struggling with addiction, those are the two things that I would encourage you to begin taking inventory of yourself, labeling, and separating. “Where am I sad, and where am I angry at myself? Where is this grief something that I’m struggling to accept? Where am I placing the blame on myself?” Both of those have consequences if we don’t label them, deal with them, wrestle with them, and all that stuff. This is why I’m thankful for your show because both of those things diminish in the presence of other people struggling with the same things.
If we are grieving something, we are not understood and alone until we run into somebody else grieving the same thing. “Until you walked in my shoes, all you could show me was sympathy. When you tell me that you have been down this road with your kid, spouse or best friend, now you understand me.” That is sympathy.
Shame has a hard time existing in the presence of, “I have been that person too or I think that too.” Both of those are we care for them and other people, which is why these discussions are important. Why is podcast important? When we care for them and other people, we often hear the things we need to hear ourselves.
When I think about grief, I think about the moment that I witnessed my son’s arrest. I’m standing there on a sidewalk, and four cops lay him on the road, and there is a fight to get him to the squad car. He is screaming at me to save him. I was the love at that moment for him. I went up to my hotel room and completely lost it. I fell to my knees and cracked wide open. I completely collapsed because everything shattered at that moment. Allowing myself to be in the grief was the first step, and doing the work with the grief to transform it and transmute it into the service that has come from it. That is what I think about.
The day that my son was arrested, one of my CEO’s sons overdosed and died. I walked into that three days later. I’m not alone in this. As I opened up the conversations with more people, I heard more stories. There is a connecting point in terms of, “Can you understand what it’s like? To a certain extent and part of the journey, which is relieving, it becomes, “How are you going to navigate this?” For me, that was how it was.
Moving forward to the shame piece that you are referring to, I have done many interviews so far, and recovering addicts, in particular, one who is a dear friend of mine, was telling her story for the first time in ways that she had never told it before. At that moment, she could still feel the shame from several years ago. That is why this conversation is important.
Grief and shame are incredibly resilient because they are past-tense things. Even if everything was rosy from the day after your son got released from custody or whatever, there was never an incident again. It doesn’t erase the grief of that moment in the same way that having twins doesn’t erase the grief of losing your first child. They are mutually exclusive. We encourage people to both care for themselves and hold space for others.
We need to stop trying to provide grief and shame silver linings. This weird Westernized thing we do of, “If somehow you are made hold, it means you were never damaged.” That is not how it works. You could be more hopeful and proud of your son than you have ever been. The moment that you think about that past tense event, all that grief comes back.We need to stop providing grief and shame with silver linings. We must disregard this weird westernized idea that if you recover, you are never damaged. Click To Tweet
Grief is this moment that can’t be undone. It’s etched in stone, and the same with our shame. The things that we remember. You remember those moments from middle school or something where you made the worst joke ever and offended somebody or that person that we ended a relationship with that we wish we had done it differently. You are fine until it comes up and gets that vomit chill of like, “I can’t believe I did that.”
What I would call parallel truths instead of silver linings, there are things that are simultaneously true. You could be the best person making the best decisions ever going forward. You could be the best person relationally. You also made a choice that or went through something that will never be fixed. A big part of that is looking at trauma. This is the big emerging discussion in addiction that a lot of people who have been around it are like, “There is stuff there.”
Trauma is this thing that makes the ties and tethers between the past tense shame and grief and our belief about the future. It is going to continue to be this bad trauma and unaddressed trauma. Whatever that is, it doesn’t have to be sexual in nature. It doesn’t have to be in a war zone. Simply being rejected by the people you love growing up is traumatic enough.
Unaddressed trauma is these toast straps and chains between the past and the future. A big part of this discussion is we talk about grief and shame. It’s tough to make a dent in those without talking about trauma. These things forever impact us, even if we get better from there. Things that catch our brains, nervous system, and Amygdala. They caught him off guard and forever rewired the way we see things.Unaddressed traumas are chains between the past and the future. Grief, shame, and trauma are forever impacted in a person, even if they get better from them. Click To Tweet
That’s a big part of this too. I hope, if you are reading and you are not talking about the things that have left an indelible mark on you, even if it is much better than what the rest of the world deals with, we hear that all the time. This stuff is small compared to everybody else but it is your stuff. You only had a toe chopped off and everybody else of their foot. That doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt to have your toe chopped off. It still sucks.
We tend to do this comparison thing that minimizes our experience.
Even by definition, if you are listening to a podcast now, you probably are living a privileged life compared to a lot of people in the world. There are a lot of people that don’t have the time, the technology or the mentoring to explore podcasts. I bet you, if you are on this, you played that card with yourself of, “My stuff is not that bad. Therefore, I shouldn’t feel it.” That is like hitting the snooze button on grief and shame. That alarm is going to go off again in eight minutes. Get ready.
Do you think that a lot of this for some people is this undercurrent that’s running behind the scenes that sometimes they are completely unconscious about?
It might have been Mark Twain or CS Lewis or somebody who said something like, “Busyness is not of the devil. It is the devil.” We, as people, especially high-performing people, do a good job of distracting ourselves with productivity, meaningful projects, and all these things as a way of not dealing with those things and convincing ourselves those things don’t define us because look what I’m creating and accomplished in the face of that. I’m a doctor now after growing up in a single-wide trailer or something. Therefore, that childhood is somehow erased.
It’s constantly running in the background because a lot of people are gritty. If you love addiction or you are an addict, I give you credit where credit is due. You are tough. The ability to put this stuff on hold and distract ourselves with the productive is where a lot of that gets pushed to the background. What you and I know, you got some gray hair. I got some gray hair. We are old enough to remember driving in station wagons.
I always use the station wagon analogy. I don’t know if you remember this when you were a kid. Mom and dad would pack that backseat to the roof with luggage for a family trip. Somewhere in there, mom or dad would slam on the breaks, and all that luggage, what we used to call the big back, would come flying over the seat and land on the kids in the middle.
That is what happens with our trauma. We stay busy but all that baggage is sitting there unsecured. The moment life slams on the breaks and we get even a chance to sit on an airplane and stare out a window, that stuff starts rushing in. Much less we get sick or have another traumatic event that luggage comes over the back seat. It’s run into the background for most of us.
I tend to think that those accidents or getting sick is the universe’s way of saying, “You need to slow down. This is something you need to pay attention to. You need to be with this.”
I will challenge you if you are reading this. Think about where this applies in your own life. It becomes this weird self-reinforcing fallacy of when it finally does come because we have suppressed it for so long. It comes up with such intensity and reinforces the belief that this is why I keep this stuff in a bottle. That is like saying, “The reason I don’t go to the dentist is that they tell me I have cavities.” That means you go to the dentist, and every time you go, it’s a root canal, which makes you not want to go to the dentist. To being cavity filled, I promise it is better than a root canal. We treat our trauma like that. We hold off until we are in much pain that we can’t function.
There are so many people that I have talked to that when I say to them, “Have you cried?” They were like, “Not yet.” I’m like, “Do you think if you start crying, you are not going to be able to stop?” They were like, “Yes.” I’m like, “Trust me. You will stop. You will wear yourself out. It is all good.”
One of my favorite moments in therapy, and I live for it. This is especially true with A-type folks and, in particular, in my experience, A-type-driven women. There will be this moment. They come into therapy. They are there for 30 minutes. They are giving me the rundown of the week. It’s who, what, when, where, why, how, and very organized thought. I come in with my therapeutic moment of like, “It sounds like that hurt you.” The chin starts wiggling. The singles tier starts coming, and the line I always hear, “I told myself I wasn’t going to do this now.”
There is this agreement within myself with a lot of A-type gritty people where, “I’m not going to do emotion. I’m going to keep my stuff together.” It comes. It’s cathartic. It’s 5 to 10 minutes. They let me care for them. They pull themselves back together, “I’m good. I’m fine.” That is the routine. We know that that’s there. Crying doesn’t make you weak. It doesn’t lead to some slippery slope that never ends. It makes things better.
In the 5 Acts of Courage that I wrote, the first thing was feel. Probably one of the most courageous things people can do is to allow themselves to feel and give themselves permission to feel the feelings.
I think you have heard me say it when I have gotten to speak to your groups, “Being brave without being scared is not brave. It’s dumb.” The whole point of courageous is that you are scared. It does feel risky, and the feeling is that. We don’t know where it’s going to go. We don’t know what conclusions our brains will draw. We don’t want to consider things because we might have to make a choice.
I agree 100%. It starts with feelings. My wife is a phenomenal therapist. She does a lot of bodywork and what they call somatic experiencing. One of the things that even she and I have become aware of as she’s done this training is how dissociated all of us are from our feelings, body or different things. Even beginning to physically feel.
As a CEO, I was curled up on the floor fetal position. One of my friends calls it growing broke. You are rowing a business fast. My wife said to me, “Where do you feel it in your body?” I was like, “Go away.” She was like, “I’m a therapist. I know how to do this stuff.” She kept pressing it. She was like, “Where do you feel it in your body?” I stopped and thought about it. I felt burning sensations in my shoulders. She asked the crazy follow-up question of, “When have you felt that before in your life? What’s the earliest you remember feeling that?”
I remember being in kindergarten and a couple of the neighbor kids holding me down and smashing rotten fruit on me, neighborhood bullying stuff. I remember being embarrassed. That is where I first remembered it. It was fascinating because at that moment of her, asking me to feel, “Where are you feeling it, and what else is that feeling associated with?” My fear was not about a business going out of business. I’m an entrepreneur. I’ve had 5 or 6 build businesses before the business that became an Inc 5,000 business.
What I was afraid of was humiliation. When it came to these people that had come to count on me, when it came to my sons having watched me build a business that now made our family successful, I didn’t want to go backward. It wasn’t a cashflow thing. I didn’t know that until somebody asked me to feel it. Where do I feel it? There are a lot of merits there of us as people, leaders, moms, dads, siblings, and people loving on people that are struggling with addiction. We need to get in touch with what we feel physically feel and what that makes our brain feel.
There is so much to this conversation. You and I could talk for days. Let me ask you this for dialing it in, and I’m interested in your perspective on this. What would you recommend for somebody who is in the beginning stages of the crisis of understanding that their spouse is drinking again or their child is addicted to fentanyl or something in that space? What is the first thing that you think is most important for them in terms of self-care?
As a therapist that was trained a decade ago, that is now learning from these therapists are trained with a lot more new recent knowledge. The biggest thing that I’m working with people now is understanding how nervous systems feed off each other, an addict, whether it’s a craving that is ricocheting through their nervous system. All of who we are, our hopes, dreams, feelings, and all that stuff that exists in our nervous system. Our depression, anxiety, and PTSD are all nervous system issues.
My love for my wife is a nervous system issue. The cravings or the trauma that the cravings are covering up are all nervous system things. Something is going on in their nervous system that is driving this but that sends my nervous system into a fight, flight or freeze. That tells my nervous system, “Here we go again. This is because you weren’t a good enough dad or whatever.
The sooner that we see ourselves in these interlocked nervous systems that feed off each other, the sooner we can begin having discussions about how, “Even though I’m feeling this now, even though they’re doing this, or I’m responding this way. These are things that are not about me necessarily, even though I’m triggered by them.” The concept thereof differentiation is that when somebody starts to slide again, the opposite differentiation is fusion. “I’m able to see this as their journey that I’m part of,” instead of, “Our journey that I’m failing to contribute to or control.”
Can you say that because that is such a critical distinction?
This is their journey that I’m part of. That is differentiation. We are in the same chapter but not on the same page. “This is their journey that I’m part of instead of our journey that I’m responsible for.” My wife had this discussion with me about a business leader. She was like, “You got to stop trying to do everything for everybody that works for us. Let people be disappointed. It’s not your responsibility.” We all struggle with this. People that care the most struggle the most. What we need to hear is other people’s struggles and disappointment, all those things, although we may have some variables that we have contributed.
It’s also their different journey that we have a shotgun seat to but it doesn’t mean we are the driver. It doesn’t mean that we need to grab the wheel or that grabbing the wheel will make the difference. It might cause a crash. Working on that differentiation. Suffering with somebody without assigning blame to yourself for their suffering. That is that differentiation. That is where we start. If you don’t accept or find that differentiation, you act differently like it is yours to fix, to be blamed for, or whatever.
I grew up in Southern California. Part of what you do there is you go to lifeguard camp when you are a kid. One of the first things they teach you in lifeguard camp is that if you have been around recovery at all, you are going to be familiar with a similar discussion. A lifeguard can’t save somebody who is grabbing onto them for dear life or vice versa. You have to be able to keep somebody at arm’s length to drag them into shore. That is that differentiation.
Prentis Hemphill is a phenomenal thinker. One of the things that they said is, “Some version of boundaries is the distance at which I can love both you and me.” That’s the differentiation thing like, “If you are holding onto me too tight or I’m holding onto you, we are going to drown. I need to have enough difference that I can pull you without you clinging to me or vice versa.” That is a lot of work in these early stages. It’s getting people to recognize, “This is somebody else’s journey I’m part of.”
I don’t remember exactly the moment I got clear on that but what I can tell you is that distinction changed the trajectory of my experience.
It induces grief. That is where we stopped doing as much shame because if it is our journey that I’m somehow responsible for, then I’m also responsible for their suffering. That might be something that generates shame. When it’s somebody else’s journey that I’m part of and don’t have control over, that is something I grieve because that is what grief is. It is accepting realities that we don’t have the power to change. When we do that, grieving ends in acceptance. Maybe you know the five stages and all that stuff. The classical model. That is where it ends up. This hurts, and I’m suffering but it is what it is. Within that context, we can help better.
I talk a lot about loving deeply and embedded in giving ourselves permission to love deeply. There is going to be pain, grief, and suffering to a certain extent. I would much rather love my son as deeply as I love him and go through this journey of his addiction with him but I understand it is his journey. Correspondingly, I have my own journey in this. I leaned in hard on my journey in this, which gave me the opportunity to exorcise some of my demons and do some deep spiritual work. Those were some of the gifts that were embedded in his journey. This is all full and rich.
Love is one of those funny things. If you ever see me for therapy, coaching or work with a company, you will hear me pushing people to operationalize words. We throw around a lot of words. That means different to different people. We don’t even know what they mean. As a high-conflict couples therapist, if I had $1 for every time, I heard people argue about, “Whether or not you love me, I would be a rich guy.”
I will usually ask them and stop them. I will say, “What is your definition of love?” They have been arguing about this for several years as a couple. They stare at me like, “I never have to look.” I offer up but it doesn’t mean it is definitive. My working definition of love is the wonderfully s***** realization that my world does not work without you in it.
That is where a lot of us exist. It is this space of you that brings pain into my world, which on paper means I should reject having you in my world but I have come to the realization that I can’t. That is where differentiation becomes important. If we are not careful, love turns into possession, obsession or parental real quick. It is going to be s***** and hard because somebody else has free agency in that. I always joke too. People will tell me that they fell in love, and I will always say, “That was a horrible decision.” There is so much pain attached to loving deeply, as you call it. I don’t know that human existence is when you get to the end of it. If you haven’t done that, you don’t feel the most regret.
In instances where I have told my story, I have been knocked down many times. I can’t even count at this point because I love deeply. In my own way of thinking, I thought, “I need to get better and learn how to love smartly. I’m going to continue to love deeply instead of turning off the heart. I was determined never to turn that heart off. I was still going to lean in and figure this thing out.”
That’s part of this work when you love somebody who is dealing with the disease of addiction or alcoholism. I have read a bunch of Facebook page posts and all the things. Learning to love deeply with, as you said, that separation and distance is a skillset to learn. It is a rewiring of our brains to perfect. It’s not easy. It takes intentionality, focus, and consistent changing of our behaviors.
One of the things that are extraordinary and has been for me where hope resides is the fact that we can change our behaviors. We can rewire our brains. We can get different outcomes than what we have gotten for several years. We know so much more now. What you are speaking of is that it gives me hope in terms of better understanding ourselves and the operating system that is our brain. Our life trajectory is not a faith of completion.
I’m glad you said to rewire our brains. I was raised by bootstrapping people who were raised by bootstrapping kids of depression. You see this with addiction and this insistence on cold turkey, “I will get through it. I don’t need to talk about my issues. I need to put down the bottle or whatever.” Not that that doesn’t work but we do a disservice to the incredible machinery that is the human brain and how automatic so much of our stuff is. It does take a rewiring more than it takes a gritty decision.
Maybe the gritty decision is to embark on the process of rewiring but most people are trying to restrain addiction or their response to addiction in somebody’s life. It is like putting your hand over your mouth when you have food poisoning. The pukes are going to come out between your fingers. Good luck with that as a solution. We got to undo the poisoning in this. That is nervous system brain stuff. You see these videos of dad or mom reflexes. They are doing one thing, and the kid falls off the counter. Instinctively, they catch the kid right before it hits the ground.
There was no decision in there. It was this instantaneous survival reaction. That is a beautiful part of who we are as creatures. That takes some serious work to reprogram, where instead of catching a kid off the counter, which you should do, you are trying to catch a 38-year-old adult or something as they are imploding their life, deciding to leave their spouse and drinking too much. It’s a different animal, even though the brain treats those as the same thing. That takes work, practice, an outside set of eyes, accountability, grace, and all those things. If you are reading this and your solution is to be tougher, you will tougher by deciding to get consistent help with this.
This is a team sport. I was on the bat phone right away after I got home and that particular instance. Fortunately, I have a fantastic community. I continue to expand my community. What we know is that community is one of the number one most powerful things that we need to have in place to navigate life at a successful, thriving level.
One of the highest predictors of relapse coming back from a rehab stint is whether or not somebody is in the community. I’m thankful for inpatient and what it provides to people but the reality is that when you are coming back to an unhealthy network, which is where existence is, that is why it is hard. I don’t mean to make light of it. It’s a lot easier to be healthy in an environment where everybody is pulling for your sobriety, where you are getting three squares a day. Maybe somebody is making you sit in a sauna to get the toxins out of your body.
In that environment, it’s easy to make a resolution, and you come back to the system that makes you unhealthy. People come back to a system that contributes to their health. That is where relapse occurs or doesn’t. One of the things that we would do better is if we look at addiction treatment better, we will begin treating people more in the environment in which the addiction exists. As opposed to sending them off into a situation that’s unrealistic, not that that doesn’t save lives or teach skills. Driving in a simulator is different from driving on the road. We would not let somebody learn how to drive in a simulator and cut them loose.
It is another reason why Voices InCouraged was born was that I could not find the resources to be healthy and thriving when Sam popped out the other side. That is what this is, to some extent, all about. The truth of the matter is, for me, addiction, alcoholism, and all the things are big red flags of humanity. We have a lot of work to do to strip away all the stuff we have been buried with to get back to who we truly are and, as extraordinary human beings, walk on this planet.
We cannot do that in isolation. That community, connection, conversation, and wandering moments where I don’t know if we are having coffee now or if stuff is going to get real and we are going to get deep but those spaces for spontaneous connections and self-disclosure is crucial to this. Whoever is reading, it may sound like a conversation between the two of us but it is a conversation between all of us. That’s where we slowly chisel away.
Differentiation requires the ability to compare slightly different things and say, “This versus this.” Little kids say, “I like pizza, like mom and dad but I don’t like pepperoni, like dad, I like sausage, like mom.” That’s differentiation. We get that process of comparison. Until I hear you talk about your journey, and I’m able to go, “That’s like me, except not like me in this role.” That is where differentiation occurs. You cannot do that without data from other people and without other things to compare ourselves against. The biggest gift to all of you, and you give hosting this show, is getting to hear one more version of the same story so you can decide how your story is the same or different.
There are going to be things that we have talked about that people can go, “I will take that piece. The rest of it, I’m leaving.” That is what it’s all about. Take the pieces that serve you in elevating into healthy, pull, thriving, and let the rest go. I don’t have any attachment to what you pick but I have a conviction about being the best version of yourself.
I learned differentiation from a guy named David Elkind. He is an author. He talks about adolescent development. There is where I got this years ago when I was doing youth work. He talks about the unhealthy opposite of differentiation. That process of differentiation is the thing he calls substitution, which is where I decide my life is not working. I’m going to try and be you because your life is working. How you got to be you was probably this process of tweaking these different things.
Don’t substitute. Don’t ever become one of us. “Pick what works. Keep it hard to rest.” I got one other thing. It is a line that has slipped out in a couple of my recent speaking gigs. People keep writing it down like I have been saying my whole life or knew what I was saying but it is resonating. I will throw it out there in the space for you to consider using it for a future show, which is, “Our normal, maybe other people’s trauma.” Even as we talk about this now, what is normal for the two of us, and how do we handle that? If this is triggering for you, that’s what happens.
If you are anything in this that your soul rebels against it, that’s okay. Our normal is other people’s trauma. What is normal for some of your readers is my trauma. That’s where differentiation is important because if you are trying to be what you see in somebody else, you may be forcing yourself right back into the trauma box that you are trying to escape from.Your normal may be another person's trauma. If you're trying to be what you see in somebody else, you may be forcing yourself back into that trauma box you are trying to escape from. Click To Tweet
I know you are up against time constraints here. Ken, let’s end with that, which was brilliant. I want to say thank you and how grateful I am for you. Our paths have crossed, and you being in my life. This is one step on that journey and path that we are on together that I am grateful for.
It’s one of those serendipitous meant-to-be things that I hide. My world is a better place because you are in it. I’m thankful for it, and the fun part is getting started. I’m grateful for you, and you are so fun.
- Ken Clark – LinkedIn
About Ken Clark
With a reputation for confidentiality and extensive experience bringing collaboration to high conflict environments, Ken has a unique ability to tap into the human elements behind complex situations and quickly move towards effective solutions.
When not leading his award-winning system of mental health clinics, he loves helping entrepreneurs and corporate leaders develop multi-year scaling strategies, working with family-owned businesses to manage change, and helping companies build better teams by developing talent optimization strategies.
He and his companies have been the winner of numerous awards including being ranked four times as one of America’s fastest growing companies by Inc. Magazine, Arkansas Business of the Year, Top 40 Business People Under 40 (Arkansas Business Publishing) and the Mentoring Excellence Award (The Investment News).
As both a CEO and a trained psychotherapist, Ken is a sought-after speaker, trainer and media-friendly subject matter expert and welcomes conversations about helping you or your company.