Episode 86 |

Get off Autopilot and Start Living with Intention with Brent Charleton

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This Week’s Guest:


If you’ve read Neil Strauss’ latest bestseller The Truth, you’ve heard of chair work. Today’s guest, Brent Charleton, is a true expert in the subject. This remarkable experience, which is the culmination of a four-day journey, can be like the equivalent of six months of therapy accomplished in one morning.

Brent is licensed in psychotherapy as well as marriage and family therapy, but he’s certainly not your typical therapist. His ultra-successful clients include celebrities, executives, and self-made millionaires, who tend to be high-achieving people who are still lacking or unfulfilled in some aspect of their lives. He uses his groundbreaking chair work technique to break through his clients’ emotional blocks and lead them into more fulfilling lives as fully functional adults.


Find Out More About Brent Charleton Here:



In This Episode:

  • [01:45] – What is chair work, and how different is it from traditional therapy? Brent explains that it involves expelling the emotional blocks that we’ve all developed.
  • [03:55] – Trauma is in the eye of the beholder with different levels of intensity, Brent clarifies.
  • [04:48] – Brent talks more about shame, carried feelings, and unexpressed feelings. He also explains that squirrels (and other animals) are able to physically shake their shame off in a way that we can’t.
  • [08:14] – Shaming your children isn’t intentional, but rather due to generations of modeling behavior.
  • [10:00] – We build up unexpressed feelings, Brent explains, then talks about the stigma of therapy.
  • [13:01] – Brent’s clients generally reach a high level of success, but it still isn’t enough or some aspect is missing.
  • [14:17]- Brent talks about chair work, explaining what it is and clarifying that it’s the culmination of his four-day process. He then explains chair work in deeper detail.
  • [19:03] – Stephan shares his own experience doing chair work, talking specifically about two parts that were particularly powerful for him.
  • [21:10] – Brent reveals that no matter how different they are, people experience this process in very similar ways. He then explains how children change at around seven years old.
  • [24:04] – Brent talks about the wounded child, the adapted teen, and the functional adult as filters that you have in front of your eyes and ears.
  • [29:06] – We hear Brent’s thoughts on psychotherapy, which he thinks has its benefits but doesn’t lead to real change.
  • [31:08] – This is a process of healing, Brent explains.
  • [32:09] – Stephan and Brent discuss the medical industry being based on disease maintenance rather than true healing.
  • [34:34] – Brent offers a simple exercise for listeners to do right away: pay attention to your thoughts and feelings.
  • [37:32] – To make things clearer for listeners, Stephan and Brent walk through the process using a real example from Stephan’s experiences.
  • [43:07] – Stephan shares some of his own backstory, including that he grew up in a ghetto where he almost got abducted as a very young child.
  • [48:34] – Brent’s process is spiritual, but framed within Western thinking, which makes it more palatable for people, Brent explains.
  • [51:30] – The only way to increase your sense of worth is through nurturing yourself.
  • [52:44] – Stephan start off a quick lightning round by asking what the eight core emotions are.
  • [56:02] – What are some unhealthy ways of coping with trauma?
  • [60:26] – Brent explains that Dr. Patrick Carnes’ work has informed a lot of what he still does.
  • [61:18] – How can people get in touch or work with Brent?


Get Optimized!

  1. Reexamine my childhood in light of what I’ve learned in this conversation, namely that anything less than nurturing is shaming.
  2. Write down a list of all the times I remember being treated less than nurturingly by my primary caregivers as a child.
  3. Sit down across from an empty chair. Close my eyes and visualize one of my primary childhood caregivers in the chair, and talk openly with him or her about my childhood traumas.


Links and Resources:

Pia Mellody
Byron Katie on the Optimized Geek
The Tools by Phil Stutz and Barry Michels
Sanjay Sabnani on the Optimized Geek
The Truth by Neil Strauss
Dr. Patrick Carnes
David Delmonico



2 thoughts on “Get off Autopilot and Start Living with Intention with Brent Charleton

  1. Great piece. You mention examples of the journaling. I don’t see them. Can you point me in the right direction?

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