The Lighter Side of Transformation

Observed and reported by Lisa Wessan, LICSW

Decompressin’ with Wessan: Walk and Talk Therapy comes to Chelmsford, MA

LW WATT

Since I changed careers in 1999,  morphing from science journalist to therapist, I feel as if I have given birth to three clinical children in this journey…

First, I delivered Therapeutic Laughter for Caregivers (and others) in New York City, which emerged as keynotes, workshops and seminars.  I still enjoy presenting these programs which also include Team Building with Laughter, the Let Go and Lighten Up program and LaughAnanda (laughter meditation).  Each program serves a different sector, for corporate, medical/healthcare, educational, non-profit, and spiritual organizations.

Second, after a long gestational study period,  I delivered Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Groups (DBT) two years ago and currently facilitate two DBT groups in my office in Westford, MA, one daytime and evening group.

Third, and brand new as of June 2017, Walk and Talk Therapy (WATT) was born.  I am very excited about the progress and results my clients are experiencing during WATT.

Over the past several years, every time I read about exercising with clients, I was more intrigued…yes, there is solid science and empirically verified research on the benefits of WATT.

In brief, the motion of walking stimulates the bicameral brain and increases activity between the left and right hemispheres.  This allows people to access more complex feelings and memories, and have the ability to process the sadness, grief or trauma even more effectively while walking. While walking, everything is flowing, and the negative or heavily charged energy from the  traumatic memories can discharge quicker.  (I’m in the process of writing an article on a few of my clients who have had dramatic shifts and turnarounds on these walks.)

So for today, I’m feeling grateful that I took the risk of starting WATT with several people in my practice.   The challenges included, but were not limited to:

  • Presenting myself in hiking clothes, instead of professional garb, and being out of the controlled office milieu.
  • Risking severe disappointment from the client.
  • Dealing with heat, bugs, sweat and other outdoor elements in a professional manner.
  • Allowing more time between clients to allow complete privacy.
  • Seeing clients from 7 AM – 10 AM, a time when I usually am not quite as perky, being a naturally nocturnal person (for DBT students, this was an “Opposite Action” experiment for me!)

I have my clients sign an Indemnity Agreement prior to the WATT, and we discuss the possible challenges that may occur, such as tripping on a rock, or falling for some reason.  For some, this often leads to a lively discussion of their previous adventures and how confident they are in their walking ability.  “Walking around a lake? This is nothing, a piece of cake!”  they say.  For others, the prospect of walking for two miles is daunting, but they understand they can do as much or little of the walk as they want.  We have a choice of several benches for resting along the way with stunning views of the lake.

If you are considering WATT, I strongly recommend it.  As the Scottish-American naturalist John Muir once said, “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”

Copyright © by Lisa Wessan 2017.   All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Leave a comment »

My new hero, Poppa Neutrino (1933-2011)

Read about “The free spirit who rafted across the Atlantic,” (THE WEEK, Feb. 11, 2011). Here’s a man who lived fully, a life of adventure, passion and purpose on every level. Poppa Neutrino is my inspiration du jour…

Leave a comment »

What is Digital Grief?

As a counselor, I have had the privilege of witnessing unexpressed grief, unresolved grief, good grief, bad grief, ancient grief, and grief from loss, neglect, abuse, even past life grief.
I’ve heard nearly every kind of grief available to humans during my time spent in the consulting room, or listening to friends and family process or avoid their grief.

Now there is a new kind of grief emerging in cyberspace, Digital Grief…yes, more people are experiencing painful loss and feelings of grief from cyber-based relationships. In many cases, the people never met face to face. In some instances, they met in a video game and developed a second life together, with emotional, spiritual and financial ties. Some people have lost large amounts of money in gaming groups where fees are won or lost in virtual contests. These financial losses were equally painful and real.

As professional counselors and coaches, we need to be ready for this new kind of grief. It’s real, it’s fraught with complex emotions and we need to acknowledge these losses as equal to flesh and blood level losses.

Here’s an insightful article on Digital Grief, entitled “Your immortal cybersoul,” by Rob Walker. Walker offers some new practical ways to work through the cyber landscape to better manage your digital self.

What legacy are you leaving on the internet? Do you want someone to have access to all of your passwords and maintain your accounts indefinitely? Would that make you feel immortal? There are now ways to do this. More will be revealed….

© Copyright 2011 by Lisa Wessan. All rights reserved.

Leave a comment »

Defining the Laughgasm (Laughing Orgasm)

As sex educator Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright has noted, “While I’ve had some out-of-this-world orgasms, I personally think that a good laugh gives orgasm a run for its money. Nothing is more delicious than losing yourself in a side-splitting, seemingly endless crying with laughter session. It’s no wonder that being drunk with laughter has so many benefits. Laughter boosts your immune system, healing and cleansing your mind, body and soul. It increases the level of endorphins and neurotransmitters that are health-enhancing while lowering the level of stress hormones in your body, like cortisol. Laughter provides fantastic physical and emotional release. It gives your body a good workout, exercising the diaphragm, contracting the abdominals and working up your heart rate. It enhances your mood, drawing you away from any negative emotions, like anger, that are consuming you. In being utterly contagious, laughter also connects us. Hmmm, kind of sounds a lot like orgasm.”

I would never say that laughter could replace sex and orgasms, but there are times when a good full-bodied laugh can certainly help you experience the relief, release and feeling of refreshment you might have from an orgasm, plus it can reboot your nervous system, similar to an orgasm…that is, clear the mind, settle the synapses, relax-reboot and all is well…

I met my first laughter meditation teacher when I lived New York City, his name is Laraaji. Besides facilitating a brilliant laughter meditation class, Laraaji is also a powerful musician and peace activist. Laraaji says “Laughing and orgasming are very similar. For me, ejaculatory orgasm is draining. Instead of coming, its more like leaving. I prefer orgasmic laughter, it nourishes my nervous system, keeps my expressional vehicle loose, and puts me in touch with my feelings. As part of my yogic practice each morning, I have a hearty laughgasm.” Watch Laraaji having a LaughGasm here…

Laraaji facilitates a wonderful two-hour laughter meditation program in NYC…definitely worthwhile if you’re in the city and want to have a mind-blowing laughathon. He’s not big on social media, but he does share his beautiful zither music here.

In my keynote speeches, seminars and consulting work on therapeutic laughter, my audiences often have laughgasms, but I have never labeled them or called them out on it…are we ready? Dare I do it? Should I even consider marketing my work as offering Laughgasms? What do you think?

4 Comments »

Earth laughs in flowers. ~ Emerson

Earth laughs in flowers. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Leave a comment »

Invitation for centenarians, gerontologists and studio audience participants…

I am currently seeking healthy, alert and oriented centenarians to be interviewed for “The Super Centenarian Series” in 2011, my new my cable television topic. If you know any centenarians in the greater Boston area, please invite them to contact me.

I am also interested in talking with gerontologists and health care professionals who work with the elderly for the caregiver segments.

Also, if you would like to be part of our studio audience, please join us!

Leave a comment »

Nothing is impossible…

Nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I’M POSSIBLE!” ~ Audrey Hepburn

Leave a comment »

Retirement Readiness and Longevity…are you ready to be a healthy, wealthy Supercentenarian? (that’s over 110 years of age…)

I’m excited to be a guest on Mike Bonacorsi’s radio show tomorrow, Tuesday, November 16, 2010, 12 Noon – 1 PM, broadcast live from Nashua, NH, in the studios of WSMN, 1590 AM on your dial, and globally webcast from WSMN at this link: http://wsmn.wgamthegame.com/archives/138.

Bonacorsi is a certified financial planner, and is well-known in New England as “The Retirement Readiness Expert.” Together we will explore the good, better and best ways to manage money, life and health affecting baby boomers+. Please join us for a fun lunch and learn experience!

Here are some of the questions we will explore:
Last week the oldest person in the world passed away at 114 years-can this be the norm at some point?
Is living to an advanced age 90+ genetic, good living, luck or a curse?
How difficult is it for someone to accept the fact we are getting older, into the advanced years?
Do we accept the fact gracefully, or with resignation?
As a population we are living longer-can we maintain a quality of life as we get to 90 or maybe even 100+ years?
What can we do as we age to maintain the quality of life we want?

Leave a comment »

What makes a strong woman?

Laughing at the insanity of life is very worthwhile. Strong women laugh early, laugh often, and laugh deeply. -Lisa Wessan

I was featured in this book a few years ago, as one of 101 “remarkable women” who were quoted on this topic…this is a lovely book, great gift item for the women you want to empower… I’m featured on page 33, available here at www.amazon.com.

Leave a comment »

Thoughts on griefwork and laughter….

Kahlil Gibran once said, “If you don’t cry all your tears you can’t laugh all your laughs. ” Do you think this is true?

Leave a comment »