Episode 19: Fierceness + Surrender with Maria Vogel

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Maria Vogel is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist based in Los Angeles who works with families and children, as well as those struggling with chronic illness and pain management. She has been working with families for a decade and doing clinical work for the last two and a half years. Maria has also been managing a chronic illness of her own and was recently diagnosed with Lyme disease.

In our conversation, Maria dives into the political and bureaucratic difficulty of actually getting a Lyme disease diagnosis, how physical illness and trauma intertwine, and how surrender can actually be a powerful act. She also talks about the existential impact of chronic illness and how she has been able to derive meaning in her life amidst a limiting condition.


  • Maria relates her experience with differential diagnoses and pinpoints when she contracted Lyme disease.
  • The unexpected political element to Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment.

  • Maria’s simultaneous experience of denial AND validation in receiving her diagnosis.

  • Exploring how physical and emotional trauma intersect and how women's experiences have historically been minimized in the diagnosis process.

  • Why Maria sees her condition as a “screwdriver” offered by the universe.

  • Maria discusses her initial thoughts on opening up professionally about her illness.

  • Searching for meaning in the midst of illness and coming to terms with being “the triangle in the orchestra.”

  • Accepting the limitations that come with chronic illness while not allowing yourself to be defined by your condition.

  • How working with children allowed Maria to reconnect with the innocence of being a child herself.

“Women especially are taught to not have fierceness, and I poo-poo on that because you SHOULD have fierceness!” - MARIA VOGEL



Psychotherapy for modern families and individuals.


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Lauren Selfridge