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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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 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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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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