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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There is no bad weather, just bad clothing. – Yiddish Proverb

The winter storm of 1/29/22 dropped almost 2 feet of snow in my area north of Boston. I enjoy the freedom of experiencing the weather as long as I’ve got the right gear!

Gear includes warm hat, neckwear, gloves and MicroSpikes on my boots. The MicroSpikes are fabulous for walking, running or hiking on ice.

For my Walk and Talk Therapy clients, if they want to walk on trails in the winter they are required to wear MicroSpikes (or other cleats) for safety. No exceptions!

Good health is wealth, go for it💕

The joy of fresh powder!

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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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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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The difference between a flower and a weed is a judgment. ~ Unknown

During my morning hike I came across this beautiful field of dandelions…

Weeds or flowers?

I choose flowers💕

The Dandelion Story

A man bought a new house and decided that he was going to have a very beautiful lawn.  He worked on it every week, doing everything the gardening books told him to do. His biggest problem was that the lawn always seemed to have dandelions growing where he didn’t want them.  The first time he found dandelions, he pulled them out. But, alas, they grew back. He went to his local gardening store and bought weed killer. This worked for some time, but after summer rains, alas, he found dandelions again.  He worked and pulled and killed dandelions all summer. The next summer he thought he would have no dandelions at all, since none grew over winter. But, then, all of a sudden, he had dandelions all over again. This time he decided the problem was with the type of grass.  So, he spent a fortune and had all new sod put down. This worked for some time and he was very happy. Just as he started to relax, a dandelion came up. A friend told him it was due to the dandelions in the lawns of his neighbors. So he went on a campaign to get all his neighbors to kill all their dandelions.  By the third year, he was exasperated. He still had dandelions. So, after consulting every local expert and garden book, he decided to write the U.S. Department of Agriculture for advice. Surely the government could help. After waiting several months, he finally got a letter back. He was so excited. Help at last! He tore open the letter and read the following:  

“Dear Sir: We have considered your problem and have consulted all of our experts. After careful consideration, we think we can give you very good advice. Sir, our advice is that you learn to love those dandelions.”[De Mellow, A. (1984). The song of the bird. New York: Image Books.]

This is a story about Radical Acceptance, and learning to accept the things we cannot change. Radical Acceptance is a lifelong process that you experience each day, in many opportunities and forms. Notice all the dandelions in your life. Some might be close family and friends, others might be strangers. Most important, do not judge your judging – just observe and let it go🌟


	
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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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Coronavirus Retreat Tip #1

Dog in mask

Over the years I have been trained up to always see the pros and cons of each challenge. Not to be in denial of the pain, trauma and suffering — but to see the possibility of hidden value in the challenges.  “What if everything that is happening to you is happening for you?” asked  Colin Tipping years ago in a lecture in New York.   That thought percolated through me for years before I could finally understand what it truly meant, and the freedom and peace of mind that comes from living with this deep level of acceptance. 

What are the pros and cons of this Covid-19 challenge we now face? Here are some resources which have helped me sort this out and remain more peaceful and relaxed during this difficult time. 

To be transparent as ever,  I am feeling the full dialectical nature of this moment: sometimes I feel a deep peace and stillness within, and at the same time I feel the edge of a panic attack creeping up on me.  The difference between now and 30 years ago, however,  is that I have learned to observe my inner world so much better…so when I sense that edge, I use some breathwork, distress tolerance skills and physical release to shift out of it.  (More on those skills in the next Coronavirus post).

Over the next few days, I’m going to unpack some useful tips for coping with this extra level of anxiety we all share from the pandemic.  As always,  I have been sorting and cycling through my personal tool kit, plus I have found some new and impactful ideas that I will share here too.  The best of the best for you, my dear reader…as we trudge this road through the forced Retreat to wellness and bliss.

First, listening to Jack Kornfield  and Tim Ferriss discuss ways to re-frame and re-focus during this difficult time gave me more insight and some good practical advice. Kornfield’s  75 years on this Earth have been well spent.  As a brief overview, he was a Buddhist Monk in Thailand, then served as co-founder of the Insight Meditation Center in Barre, MA,  then became a psychologist. Now he is involved in many educational and activist programs to help bring mindfulness and other useful transformative skills to the public. 

Tim Ferriss is one of my favorite teachers. First, I love Ferriss’  passion for extreme wellness.  I love his awesome lifestyle hacks and his never ending curiosity about world class performers  and the minutia of their morning routines, what they eat for breakfast,  favorite books, how they sleep and more. He also has an impressive history of  brilliant investing, living with bipolar illness and managing well.  Yes, I’m a fan of Ferriss! 

You can access this podcast wherever you listen to your podcasts:  Listen to #414: Jack Kornfield — How to Find Peace Amidst COVID-19, How to Cultivate Calm in Chaos from The Tim Ferriss Show in Podcasts.

For your consideration, here is my brief summary of this  podcast. During this two hour, wide ranging conversation, you will learn: 

  1. During the first hour, “It’s not about perfecting yourself, it’s about perfecting your Love.”  Learning to live in this world with more love, embracing the inner and outer imperfections with radical acceptance is one path to more inner peace and joy here.  Kornfield delves into some wonderful coping and practice skills to help move through the anxiety and depression of these pandemic days.
  2. From 1:07 there is a discussion of psychedelic research aka Sacred Medicines, for the treatment of drug resistant depression and anxiety.   Kornfield discusses the mysteries of our multi-dimensional selves.  “We are learning to use sacred medicines to know who we are.”  Apparently, this paradigm shifting research helps us form more positive and useful world views. Ferriss cites exciting and impressive research coming out of Johns Hopkins Medical School which has gotten robust results.   After listening to this  segment, I made a note to read The Cosmic Game, by psychiatrist Stanislav Grof, which describes the wisdom and understanding that hundreds of trials of Sacred Medicines have offered seekers in laboratory conditions, to help better understand the nature of consciousness Itself. (As it happens, Harvard Medical School is hosting a large conference here in Boston  May 1-2, 2020, on Meditation and Psychotherapy: Learning from Non-Ordinary States).
  3.  From 1:23 Kornfield deconstructs suicide and suicidal patterns and how to reduce treatment resistant depression.  I was intrigued with this curious idea,  how we long for “sleep,” and how for some suicide is the big sleep that they think will solve their painful life for good. Suicidal people have  worthy intentions, not the best solutions…Kornfield’s approach to suicide is practical and soothing.  
  4.  From 1:32  Kornfield explains his trauma work, and how to be in the field of compassion which allows us to process the trauma successfully. “To witness with a loving gaze, it’s not who you are, it’s something that you went through.”   This reminds me of the teaching that “We make mistakes, but we are not a mistake.”   Again, learning to pause, observe, step back and see the pain as something that we passed through is very different then feeling a permanent imprint from it, rendering us emotionally compromised,  with anxiety, depression, PTSD and other conditions.  

I hope you enjoy listening to this podcast as much as I did.  It really gave me a booster during these troubled times. There is hope! There is a solution…

Stay tuned for my next Coronavirus Retreat Tip…may these tips serve you well! 

Onwards and Upwards in good health, 

Lisa Wessan

 

Related reading: 

Dr. Abdu Sharkawy: My Turn: Mass panic may be worse than virus itself

 

 

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Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amid the storm….How Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Skills help you learn to manage and cope better with difficult emotions

I’m excited to announce that we are hastening slowly to transform the world from the inner to outer, one DBT student at a time…

Up next: we will be exploring Mindfulness & Emotion Regulation skills from March 11 – June 17, 2020.

For all groups (Adults, Teens, Mastermind Groups) we have a minimum of six and maximum of 10 students.

Four leaf DBT

The Emotion Regulation module has four sections:

  • Understanding and Naming Emotions
  • Changing Emotional Responses
  • Reducing Vulnerability to Emotion Mind
  • Managing Extremely Difficult Emotions

DBT Mindfulness

The Mindfulness material includes:

  • Learning to be a good observer
  • Being non-judgmental
  • Staying in the present
  • Practicing being effective
  • Accessing Wise Mind (aka higher self, higher consciousness)
  • Understanding Reality Acceptance and detaching from negative or critical thoughts.

As DBT founder Dr. Marsha Linehan says, “It is difficult to manage your emotions when you do not understand how emotions work. Knowledge is power.”

  • We learn to cope better with social anxiety issues, negative thinking and get out of the Blame Game.
  • We learn to abstain from the “Compare and Despair” syndrome.
  • We practice  “Face it, trace it and erase it” as we work the DBT Skills and grow stronger and wiser with effective emotional regulation and expression.
  • We learn to access “Wise Mind” and regain our center, remain calm.  We learn to take a stand for our peace, and become bulletproof to bullies, nastiness and others’ negative remarks.
  • We learn to practice Radical Acceptance, as needed, and problem solve when possible. We are no longer victims.

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Lisa Wessan, LICSW
DBT Skills Trainer

If this sounds good to you, please get in touch with me to start  your enrollment process. 

For exact dates, fees, insurance,  FAQs,  location, DBT videos and more details, please visit www.lisawessan.com or call 978.710.8039.

Onward and Upward,

Lisa Wessan

 

 

Copyright © by Lisa Wessan 2020. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

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