Bloom: Human Stories of Resilience podcast

When bad things happen, how do people bloom? What can we learn from those who thrive when the going gets tough? Amazing life stories of resilience, practical advice, and quirky, intelligent chat from hosts Dr Steve (clinical hypnotherapist) and Susie (writer, baker, parent, previous cancer patient).

Listen now for free on your favourite podcast app or right here!

Episode 9: We Can No Longer Be Friends. While Dr Steve gallivants around Europe, Susie catches the plague and discovers you can’t go back in time.  We talk about the fallibility of memory and whether the world is becoming more tolerant or less, and which of our favourite old TV shows generates side eye from teenagers today.

Episode 8. Stand Up and Be Counted. Ettie was a soldier, and one day the moment came to take action, whatever the cost. But doing the right thing was both hard and dangerous. Ettie tells Susie and Dr Stave about bravery, risks and when the other side hold all the cards.  

Episode 7. It Takes a Lot of Guts. Your life can change, very fast – as our guest Tim discovered one fateful day.  The moment he knew is a story of emergencies, zero blood pressure, organ transplants, an Australian first – and more than that, a story of how he coped and how it changed him. 

Episode 6. You Are Enough. Talking kids and  self-image through the lens of a woman born with cleft lip and palate, whose kid was born with cleft lip and palate. This is our most emotional interview yet, and Susie & Dr Steve (but mostly Dr Steve) make Megan cry, and that’s OK because no Megans were harmed in the making of this podcast. Honest.

Episode 5. I Get Knocked Down, and I Get Up Again. When life gives you lemons, yeah yeah… What about when life gives you cancer and amputation at seven years old? And you find yourself knocked down so deep and dark a hole you don’t know how to get up again? Liam talks about the moment that changed his life…

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Episode 4. A Terrorist Reading Shakespeare. Found guilty of hoarding 70,000 violent, racist files, a young feller is sentenced to… Shakespeare and Jane Austen?! Susie and Dr Steve ponder the redemptive power of dead white authors on living white terrorists. 

Episode 3. Careering Through Life. If you want to make God laugh, goes the old Yiddish saying, tell him your plans. How has life turned out for you? Susie and Steve share Sliding Doors moments, and Steve shares his theory on why those with a brilliant school leaving score may be worse off than the rest of us.

Episode 2. Butterflies and Blowjobs. Where do we go when we fall asleep? What is it like to have a near-death experience in an hallucinogenic state? And what would you end up saying out loud if you lost your grip of reality? Meet Sarah and you’ll know the answer to one of those questions. PLUS why you’re a riverbed.

Episode 1. Sliding Doors. We’re back! We’re back! We’re baaaaaack! Susie checks up on Steve’s homework (nope) and recalls when an awful tragedy happened… nearly. And we preview our new season, our 76th (according to Steve): The Moment I Knew

Season 3

Episode 10. The Moment I Knew. Is it curtains for the Bloom podcast? No. It’s not. But it is the end of series three. Susie and Dr Steve reflect on pivotal moments that changed their lives (always easy listening here)… and unveil their cunning plan for series four. 

Episode 9. Good to Go. It’s going to happen to us all (except Keith Richards). This week Susie and Dr Steve explore the final frontier. What makes a good death, and who gets to have one? And when very, very bad things happen to people we love, how do we carry on – and how do we remember them? 
CW: discussion of death under very sad circumstances. Not for listening with kids around.

Episode 8. No Courage Without Fear. Has your life worked out the way you expected? Guest Elizabeth found the resilience to do something extraordinary. She tells us about processing her daughter’s Down syndrome diagnosis with aplomb, humour and support and solace for others – oh, and she made a podcast! And we talk about brain loops. Why do Susie’s worries keep bobbing back up at 2am and how can she make them go away?

Episode 7. I Was a Priest… and Then I Wasn’t. Susie and Dr Steve talk to Andrew, who was a Roman Catholic priest for a decade, and then… wasn’t. What is it like entering the outside world? Steve should know, because something like that happened to him, too. PLUS we reveal the meaning of life. Sort of.




Episode 6. When It Rains. Is it possible to store up resilience? Susie and Dr Steve talk about building up your reserves for when life throws lemons at you. Today’s guest is Paul, who has taken advantage of a terrible period of his life to help others as a Speaker for Beyond Blue. 

Episode 5. Be Yourself – Everyone Else Is Taken. You CAN be what you can’t see, but it’s harder when you have to forge your own path.  Guest Cath describes building a life as a gay single parent and corporate boss.  Susie and Dr Steve talk about confidence and how to find it, and for the rest of us – just what is required to get the doona off your head of a morning…

Episode 4. Grace Under Pressure. Hemingway’s definition of guts never applied better than to Liz, today’s guest. A bitter divorce is one thing, but coping with years of manipulation and emotional abuse quite another. Susie and Dr Steve talk about resilience when things are bleak and how to find it. [CW: discussion of emotional and legal abuse]

Episode 3. Memories Are Made of… What?
What’s your earliest memory? Probably never happened – at least, not like that. Susie and Dr Steve talk about memory and how time changes perspectives and getting the view from the other side. In this two guest special you’ll meet Catherine, wife of Andy (who’s not an arsehole). Catherine tells us what it is to build a life with someone with ADHD. Then our second guest Brennan shares his memories of growing up in a cult, and his relationship now with his parents. [CW: violence against children, coercive control]

Episode 2. Devils and Angels. If I exorcise my devils, my angels may leave too. When the life you plan is snatched from you, how to do you get the point of being glad of it? Susie and Dr Steve meet Kenny, a remarkable man who wouldn’t have his sight back even if he could. Plus BONUS Tom Waits reference.

Episode 1. Ermagerd! Belief in religion is in decline. In this episode we discuss faith, its absence from our lives and what it means to live in a secular world. Joining Susie and Dr Steve is Father Bob, a Roman Catholic priest driven to serve the poor and excluded. Steve talks about the time he very nearly became a priest himself (yes really) and Susie  explains that Faith is her middle name (yes really). 

Trailer: Susie and Dr Steve are back for season 3! In the trailer we give a sneak preview introducing our first guest (world famous in Melbourne) and talk about how and why we tweaked the formula to focus on ‘human stories’. Listen now here or on your fave podcast app!

Season 2


10. Best of 2020: Resilience. In this final episode of season 2, Susie and Dr Steve talk resilience – what it means and how to tap into it – and review favourite tips for resilience from some of 2020’s best episodes. Includes Steve’s five top tips for finding equilibrium during a pandemic. 

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9. Thank You, Mind! Are you the slave of your emotions, or the master? And if slave, what can you do about it? Guest Judy Herreen speaks about mindfulness, NLP, ACT and how she used her mind to recover from a terrible time. Plus Susie puts the cross back in cross-trainer and Steve mourns the plethora of TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) in therapy. 

8. My Life is Compost. Is your body telling you things have to change? Can illness, stress or depression be cured by health, fitness or yoga? Steve and Susie meet Jane Mallick, who broke, mended herself and is now living the life she always dreamt of – with added compost.

7. PC, JKR and All That Jazz. Language is powerful – but is it so powerful that it must be policed? We hear from an expert who’s written the book on balancing freedom and control in language. We chat about JK Rowling and Steve tells us his position vis-a-vis the Nazis (he’s against) and why even so they should still be allowed to speak. Best of all – no one says ‘political correctness gone mad’!

6. Inside of a Dog… The Joy of Reading. If how we perceive reality relies on the language we use, then the books we read matter. A lot. Susie and Dr Steve talk to university professor (and good egg) Beth Driscoll. Is Fifty Shades of Grey better than Jane Austen – better to read, better for you, better in general? Does reading foster empathy and help us relate, or is it ‘just’ entertainment?

5. Christmas Special. It’s Christmas! A time of joy and togetherness. But what about when it isn’t? Families, gift giving and alcohol can be a recipe for a difficult time. Join Susie, Dr Steve and very special guest Santa to find out how to make it through the festive season with your spirits and mental health intact.

4. Down The Rabbit Hole. How do smart, self-aware people get drawn into difficult and dangerous situations, such as cults and scams? Hear the amazing story of Sue and Gordon, an ordinary couple who became enmeshed in a cult and very nearly lost everything, including their home, each other and their children.

Transcript available

3. I Want Money, That’s What I Want. Can money buy happiness, and how much is enough? And the ordinary, extraordinary story of a man who turned a corner… and in an instant his financial world fell to pieces. Guest Royce Kurmelovs illuminates our relationship with mortgages, debt and the financial system.

2. It’s Raining Tic Tacs! What goes on inside other people’s heads? Steve’s daughter Rowena has synaesthesia, and describes what it’s like when words and music have colours. Not to be outdone, Steve talks about aphantasia, which is the weird head he lives with! We chat about perception and inner worlds and the order in which you put on your shoes and socks.

1.Divorce: breaking up is hard, and when there are kids involved it can be hell for everyone. Lucy Mannering wished there had been a guide – so, with her sister (going through the same thing at the same time), she wrote it. Top tips on getting through emotionally and legally, and making sure you are the sane parent.


Season 2 Trailer – try us out

A sneak preview of what’s coming for season 2, with the medical model vs what goes on above the shoulders, Steve does a little Austin Powers and the inside story on whether Andy really was an arseh*ole before his diagnosis. 



Season 1 2020


10. When We Are Different. The amazing story of a man who at 53 discovered something about himself that changed how he viewed his entire life. Guest Andy Hutchinson tells us about getting a diagnosis of ADHD at age 53, what his undiagnosed childhood was like, and how understanding himself and getting help has changed his life. Susie gives us the parent perspective; what it’s like to have a kid who needs help and her experience of working with the system and schools to get the right intervention and support. PS. We are not medical professionals and Andy’s discussion is not medical advice. PPS. There’s a tiny bit of swearing – don’t listen with little kids around unless you want to be asked why the nice man is calling himself an arsehole.


9. All About the Men! Are men isolated and emotionally straitjacketed? Where are the male role models, and is ‘harden up’ a negative message? Can men find pathways to emotional literacy? And should a feminist care? Susie confesses she finds it difficult to engage in issues of men’s health. Dave Mallard from Melbourne Men’s Group explains why we should all care about men’s issues.


8. Support, Grief and Funerals. How do we offer support during tough times? We talk about flowers, food, thoughts and prayers. Is is better to do the wrong thing or nothing at all? We chat about stages of grief, the benefits of sorting through stuff and why it’s not good to discuss an autopsy in a busy café. Guest Rachael Angus opens a window on death care, supporting families and how she handles the sadness of the grief cycle.

7. The Year of the Breast. Susie tells Steve about her diagnosis and treatment for cancer, including what it was like going through chemotherapy during lockdown and why Bernie Ecclestone was in her fridge. 


6. What Flavour is Your Therapy? and the Anxious Shrink. Worries, significant worries, and being a parent. How is it possible there are more than 150 types of talking therapies?! Why did Steve become a hypnotherapist and does it work? We chat with guest Dr Mark Cross (the Anxious Shrink) about anxiety, connection and families.

Transcript available

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5. Self Love (Not the Fun Kind!) and Empty Nests. Susie and Steve talk about self love (not the fun kind!), maintaining good self esteem and social media as a force for good. And it’s Father’s Day! We riff on empty nesters and how parents become people again. Guest Daniel Bowen (dad of two) talks about the joy of choosing his own music and sadness as kids move on and out.


4. Why Can’t We All Just Get Along? How to get through when you’re not getting along. Steve plays Agony Aunt, and reckons he’s better at it than the real ones. Guest Jackie Wise (dispute and conflict resolution specialist) explains why being nice isn’t enough, and offers some practical tips on talking through difficult issues.


3. What Colour is Your World? Is Steve a racist? Susie is a Woman of Colour! What do our race, ethnicity and family backgrounds bring to how we approach the world? Guest Alice Pung chats about wolf-whistles, writing her family and racist friends. Transcript available.

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2. Lockdown Smackdown! How are you coping with the threat of the ‘rona? When information hurts… and helps. Steve talks about NOT staying up to date with the news… and Susie talks about why that’s such a terrible idea. Guest Nick Staikos MP on the best community support and how he unwinds.


1. Life is Pain, and Why Dogs Make the Best People. Guest Dr Gabrielle Peacock riffs on the surprising things animals can teach humans, and kitten rescue. Why having a pet can help your kids to develop resilience, responsibility and an appreciation of mortality; and why a big fat old dog sitting on you can change your life.