The Lighter Side of Transformation

with Lisa Wessan, LICSW

UP NEXT: 14-week Dialectical Behavior Therapy Group (DBT) starts 08/31/22

🌀 ENROLLMENT IS OPEN UNTIL 08/19/22 FOR UPCOMING

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Skills Training

“Mindfulness & Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills”

14-week DBT program

(age 21+)
August 31 – December 14, 2022

7:30 – 9:00 PM EST

·DBT FLYER FOR AUTUMN 2022

I’m excited and delighted to be continuing my DBT Skills Training Group into the Fall semester, starting 08/31/22. (We are having great success on Zoom, and will continue to meet on Zoom indefinitely.)  

There are currently two spots open, and I’m hoping to be complete with all registration forms, fees and one-time intake sessions by 08/19/22. 

If this is not for you, thank you for sharing with those who could benefit from this excellent skills training. 

Onward and Upward🌀

Lisa Wessan

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the Light gets in.” ~ Leonard Cohen

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Free Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Group offered at the Cameron Senior Center, Westford, MA

I am delighted to be sharing this learning opportunity with you. May this program serve you well💙

As part of a six-month program, I am presenting Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Training in person at the Cameron Senior Center in Westford, MA.  

To learn more, go to page 6 of this newsletter: 

20220701Newsletter (westfordma.gov)

TO REGISTER:
Generously funded by a grant from the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, even though it is free to attend, you must pre-register by calling this number: 
(978) 692-5523

WHEN:
You can still attend the last two sessions:
1 – 3 PM on both August 12 and September 9, 2022.
You can attend these two workshops out of sequence and still gain value.

WHERE: 

Cameron Senior Center

20 Pleasant Street, Westford, MA 01886 (free parking)

Please do not contact me – I am not involved with registration!  They have a limited seat count, but plenty of room.  CALL NOW to reserve your spot!

Onward and Upward✨

Lisa Wessan

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How Toxic Positivity Can Affect Your Health: Benefits of Complaining

Katie Couric spoke to a therapist about how she grieved Jay’s death, the dangers of toxic positivity and the benefits of negativity.
— Read on katiecouric.com/health/dangers-of-toxic-positivity-benefits-of-negativity/

🌀On the importance of doing a thorough Brain Dump to release and let go of your unexpressed grief, rage, disgust and other negative feelings. You cannot do a Spiritual or Cognitive By-Pass!

🌀Tears are the language of grief, and messy, hard crying jags are on the road to wellness.

🌀After reading this article, I will never again say “Everything happens for a reason” (out loud). Mea culpa, mea culpa…

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UP NEXT: Winter/Spring DBT Skills Training January – April 2022 (on Zoom)

Once again I am delighted to be facilitating a new semester of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Skills training.  Here is the DBT flyer for the next group on Mindfulness & Emotion Regulation:

DBT Flyer for Winter-Spring 2022

Fast Facts:

  • All 90-minute groups are $65/Week (self pay, no copays.)  
  • Students pay in full prior to start of group. Personal checks, money orders or PayPal are used for fees. All fees and registration forms must be completed by December 30, 2021 to gain entry to this group.
  • My students are 95% well mannered, high functioning and convivial.  For those who occasionally tend to demand more attention, want to give inappropriate feedback and/or act out in any way, I do have a strong “Respectful Communication Policy” in place and several useful group rules which help to maintain a safe, harmonious and cohesive group atmosphere.  All are welcome, but there is no allowance for rude or harsh behavior.
  • Group members will continue to process their unresolved traumas in their individual therapy, not in this group. This is a therapeutic psychoeducation program. (It is NOT group therapy.)
  • Group size ranges from 6-12 students.
  • Student Reviews.

May this serve you or your loved ones well🌟

Onward and Upward,

 Lisa Wessan

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Feeling Blue? Try donating your blood

Giving blood can be surprisingly uplifting. I donate every eight weeks or so because it feels so good to make that immediate positive impact.

From my personal and professional experience, I have come to understand that searching for happiness is a somewhat bleak cause. Happiness can be fleeting, flimsy, fast. Instead of searching for happiness, searching for ways to feel useful and peaceful are much better drivers for feeling good, which can lead to more joy — which is long lasting and not based on external stimuli. Feeling useful and peaceful is the foundation for all good things in my life.

Giving blood checks off so many boxes, plus according to Tim Ferriss’ research (THE FOUR HOUR BODY), donating blood successfully lowers your probability of getting cancer. This is because when you donate blood, the iron stores within your body remain at a more healthy level. Studies have shown that a lower iron store level in the body is connected to a lower cancer risk. This has several significant benefits for health and longevity.

In sum, giving blood is a total WIN/WIN event…you get a sweet bump up for feeling useful and peaceful plus you lower your odds of getting cancer💙

💥 INTO ACTION? You can easily make an appointment here: http://www.redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS. 💥

Don’t take my word for it, be a good scientist in the laboratory of your life… make a donation and just observe how you feel afterwards.

Onward and Upward✨

Lisa Wessan

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Say Yes to Life: In Spite of Everything, by Viktor E. Frankl

Yes to Life: In Spite of Everything by Viktor E. Frankl

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I appreciate the succinct and compact composition of this unabridged audio book. As much as I loved Frankl’s earlier book, Man’s Search for Meaning, this one extracts the essence of Frankl’s Logotherapy (the power of meaning and purpose in life). He provides valuable ideas and interventions geared towards Solution Focused therapy.

I continue to be touched, moved and inspired by Frankl, on ever deeper and more meaningful levels💙



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Just for Today, by Sybil F. Partridge

1.  Just for today I will be happy.  This assumes that what Abraham Lincoln said is true, that “most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”  Happiness is from within; it is not a matter of externals.

2.  Just for today I will try to adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires.  I will take my family, my business, and my luck as they come and fit myself to them.

3.  Just for today I will take care of my body.  I will exercise it, care for it, nourish it, not abuse nor neglect it, so that it will be a perfect machine for my bidding.

4.  Just for today I will try to strengthen my mind.  I will learn something useful.  I will not be a mental loafer.  I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.

5.  Just for today I will exercise my soul in three ways;  I will do somebody a good turn and not get found out.  I will do at least two things I don’t want to do as William James suggests, just for exercise.

6.  Just for today I will be agreeable.  I will look as well as I can, dress as becomingly as possible, talk low, act courteously, be liberal with praise, criticize not at all, nor find fault with anything and not try to regulate nor improve anyone.

7.  Just for today I will try to live through this day only, not to tackle my whole life problem at once.  I can do things for twelve hours that would appall me if I had to keep them up for a lifetime.

8.  Just for today I will have a program.  I will write down what I expect to do every hour.  I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it.  It will eliminate two pests, hurry and indecision.

9.  Just for today I will have a quiet half hour all by myself and relax.  In this half hour sometimes I will think of God, so as to get a little more perspective into my life.

10.  Just for today I will be unafraid, especially I will not be afraid to be happy, to enjoy what is beautiful, to love, and to believe that those I love, love me.

If we want to develop a mental attitude that will bring us peace and happiness, here is Rule #1:

Think and act cheerfully, and you will feel cheerful.

Written by Sybil F. Partridge   1916 and printed in
How To Stop Worrying, And Start Living, by Dale Carnegie, 1951

LW: Whenever you set a new intention, or want to develop a positive new habit, or break an old negative habit, start something new, always remember, “Progress not Perfection.” Old ways are tough to change, but it will get done. Slowly, slowly, you can do it. There is a solution…Never give up💙

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Walk and Talk Therapy featured on Boston Chronicle with Lisa Wessan

Lisa Wessan featured on Inside/Outside episode

09.09.20 – ABC News/The Boston Chronicle, Inside/Outside episode. Finding Peace in the Great Outdoors. I was interviewed by great team from the Boston Chronicle concerning my work with Walk and Talk Therapy. This was part of a longer story about how we are taking our work outside during the pandemic.

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Pandemic Retreat Tip 4 – Allowing time for Daily Grief Work

avoiding-5-stages-grief-visibility-program

Our culture has difficulty sitting still with feelings.  There is too often an attempt to keep busy and ignore the discomfort of our negative feelings. It has been my experience that many otherwise healthy people want to bypass their phases of grief and jump into positive thinking, avoiding those dark and mysterious pathways of  emotion.

Now we are faced with micro and macro levels of Ambiguous Loss and Grief.   Ambiguous Loss is when you lose someone but not all the way.  For example, you could lose a loved one to illness, such as Alzheimers Disease, Alcoholism, Cancer, Food Addiction/Anorexia. Your loved one might be lost at sea or on a mountain.

Ambiguous Loss is most painful when you live with someone who is “here but not here.”  If your loved one watches multiple hours of Netflix, or video games, and you miss them, you are experiencing Ambiguous Loss.  If your loved one is slowly deteriorating from any illness or addiction, and you are watching them slowly disappear, you are experiencing Ambiguous Loss. When you break up a relationship, divorce, move away, you experience Ambiguous Loss, “here but not here.”

Today we have the Ambiguous Loss of our culture and daily routines. By not seeing the people, places and things that make up our life, we develop anticipatory anxiety of what will come next.  The anxiety then quickly morphs into Anticipatory Grief.

What is Anticipatory Grief?

I defer to Scott Berinato who unpacks our micro and macro Anticipatory Grief so usefully in his recent article in the Harvard Business Review (23 March 2020).  Berinato interviews David Kessler, who is one of our leading grief experts, and explores Kessler’s overview of our current pandemic existence. Learn more here: That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief.  

You may  think you are lonely, or exhausted, or anxious. That may be true. But I would agree with Berinato and Kessler in that you probably have unexpressed grief (and rage), which is clogging up your inner world.

It’s exhausting to repress grief and “act as if” you are perfectly fine. Yet we are called upon to buckle up and deal with life on life’s terms, so there is no binary solution here. We are asked to grieve our current losses and future losses PLUS carry on and live our lives.  So how is this possible?   By scheduling some Grief Work time into your calendar. Allowing time to release and let go will enhance your life as you release the inner pressure. Give yourself permission to unravel a bit.

Tears are the language of grief. Something I frequently suggest to my clients is  “Make some time to do your Grief Work.  Let it flow out of you.”  Most people resist this process and just hope by keeping super busy (or medicated or numbed with screen time) they can bypass the Grief Work.  Nay, nay, it must be done.  Cry now or cry later, but crying will help release those grief-balls that are jamming you up.

CS Lewis grief (2)

When we begin to honestly defrost our grief with each other and then seek solutions for our dilemmas, we start to feel a little better.  I am a fan of the stoic philosophy, but just focusing on solutions and keeping a stiff upper lip all the time is not helpful — something within shuts down and can go numb inside from repressing all that emotion.

Perhaps one of the silver linings from the Corona virus is that now, in this time of profound herd vulnerability, we will be more authentic with ourselves and each other?  Simple, but not easy. This is a practice that takes as long as it takes, perhaps lifetimes.

I have come to believe that your vulnerability is your superpower.  When you are brave enough to be vulnerable, you release, let go and successfully move on.  This is part of the multidimensional journey to wholeness and deep fulfillment💙

References:

Berinato, S. (23 March 2020). Harvard Business Review. That discomfort you are feeling is grief. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2020/03/that-discomfort-youre-feeling-is-grief

Mitchell, S. (1988). Tao Te Ching. New York: Harper Collins.

Wessan, L. (05 JAN 2019). On the “Myth of Closure,” Ambiguous Loss and Complicated Grief.  Retrieved from https://mirthmaven.blog/2019/01/05/on-the-myth-of-closure-ambiguous-loss-and-complicated-grief/

Helpful Scriptures for increased bravery and courage for your Grief Work:
Psalms 23, 31, 46, 126
Deuteronomy 31:6
Ecclesiastes 1:18
Proverbs 14:13

Copyright © by Lisa Wessan 2020. All rights reserved.

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Pandemic Retreat Tip 3 – Shifting from Victim to Victor with the 2-2-2 Method of Transformation

Instead of feeling trapped inside your home or apartment, what if you started to see this as a temporary retreat? Can you turn this victim consciousness into a victorious consciousness?  What if you are being called to live, move and have your being refined in an enclosed space for a few months to evolve to a new level of consciousness? 

This appears to be a global retreat.  We are all being called to stay home and go within, on many levels.  The only real choice we have on this Earth is HOW WE RESPOND OR REACT to stress and crises. Moment by moment…victim or victor?  With ease or anxiety? We choose, again and again.

Go inside

I’m not going to list or catalog all the ways you can go inside…because you are smart, and have been aware of mindfulness techniques, prayer, contemplation, meditation, relaxation techniques, Reiki, yoga and much more.  There are many paths up that mountain to deepen your awareness, increase your insight and have more inner peace.  I’m just here to remind you of what you already know.

“Lisa, I know nothing about going inside myself.  Where should I begin?”  When I hear this,  I often invite my DBT Skills Students to use my 2-2-2 Method of Transformation.

What is the 2-2-2 Method?  The broad brush here is you spend two minutes connecting within, two minutes reading something inspirational and two minutes writing.  You can do these in any order. To feel successful and build momentum,  set a timer for six minutes each day for your practice.  If you stay in the process for six minutes, you’re good, even if you don’t tap each category perfectly.  The idea is to set your intention and do the best you can. 

Meditation:  Spend approximately 2 minutes sitting quietly, doing some kind of paced breathing.  During this time, consciously  seek to access your inner Wise Mind, Higher Power, Ha Shem, Christ Consciousness, Allah, Great Spirit, Buddha Nature, any label will work that is meaningful to you.

Reading: Spend approximately  two minutes reading from a personal growth book, inspirational  literature, Scripture, angel cards, your DBT book or whatever devotional or uplifting material you have handy.  If you have no inspirational literature, this will be a fun shopping trip for you.  Ask around, especially if you know someone who you admire for their mental and spiritual wellness.  See what they are reading. Take a risk and read it too.

Writing:  Finally, do two minutes of writing (in your journal or DBT worksheet).  You can just write what you are observing in your mood.  My favorite format for basic brief journaling is to write a fear list, do a quick brain dump and just get it out of your head onto the page.  Then make a gratitude list (6-10 items or so). Then make a to do list. Then if there’s still time, freestyle and just let it rip. See what comes out of you.

The 2-2-2 Method gives you a structure – but it is flexible – again, you can do these tasks in any order.  If you do this daily practice, this will help you advance and make a big difference over time.

If the timer goes off and you want to do more, that’s fine. But the six minutes a day minimum will be great for building momentum here.

Gentle Note: If you’re too busy to invest six minutes/day on your personal evolution, you are too busy. Dial down your Netflix, YouTube, Videogame and other streaming activities.  You are worth it!  Just six minutes/day will compound over time and create amazing changes in you and give you a life worth living.

Also, do NOT try to do this perfectly!  Allow some wiggle room on the 2-2-2 precision. It’s not exact, although sometimes it can be.

The 2-2-2 Method will give you a satisfying structure to add to your day.  Truly, this is such a good time to start a 2-2-2 practice and build from it.  Over time, you will see this move to longer sessions, and will feel deeply nurtured and empowered by it.

In closing, I appreciate Lynn Ungar’s approach to this pandemic…

Lynn Unger poem PANDEMIC

Stay safe and well,

Onward and Upward, 

Lisa Wessan

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