‘Tis the Season: Assuaging Holiday Season Stress

December 6, 2009 in It is what it is - opinion column | Comments (0)


Holiday season is wonderful.
It’s also incredibly stressful.
That’s why when my friend Alison Leigh Siegel told me about some of the plans she has for the holiday season I felt compelled to write about it.
Alison is an MFT with a background that blends both classically trained therapy techniques with somatic (body-oriented) practice. For the uninitiated who may not know what, precisely, somatic therapy is, here’s the gist. For every stressful, anxiety-inducing experience we have in our lives, there is a directly correlated reaction in the body. At a simple level this could manifest as those ever-so-pesky knots so many people have in their neck and shoulders (mine tend to bunch up behind my right scapula). In more intense cases, “holding” stress can result in any number of physical ailments ranging from headaches and digestive issues to heart problems and more.
For the last 20 years Alison has been working with clients (more than 10,000 people across her various modalities of therapy) helping them relax, tune in to their core energy and focus in order to live the kind of life they know they want but may be having a hard time reaching.
By working from the core outward – meaning by getting people grounded in their bodies – Alison helps her clients achieve results in a truly holistic (in the full sense of whole) sense of truth, balance and authenticity. She accomplishes this through three basic methods:
1. Traditional psychotherapy: With solutions both for individuals and couples, Alison’s counseling helps address an array of issues, not the least of which may be dealing with family over the holidays.
2. Coaching and skills training: Having worked with top executives from many industries, Alison also has developed a strong practice in basic coaching and skills training for professionals.
3. Bodywork/massage work: Though it would seem mostly a physical solution, Alison’s work in this area also can achieve a powerful emotional release. It also just feels great.
What does this have to do with tech stuff?
Well, that’s where the conversation with Alison about holiday season caught my truly geeky attention. She’s using social media for her work. Of course massage/bodywork requires in person sessions, but for traditional therapy as well as her life/professional coaching, Alison is taking advantage of Skype as a way to deliver powerful therapy solutions for time-crunched individuals – a particularly valuable thing during the already saturated schedule time of holiday season. In the coming weeks she also will be developing her presence on Facebook and leveraging Twitter as well as YouTube to provide ongoing insights, commentary and resources for time-constrained individuals who need to find a way to take that first step towards more balanced emotional health.
When I told her that I wanted to write about this, Alison proffered another little tidbit – a discount! If you’re reading this and you decide you want to try it out, or perhaps give a gift to someone who needs it, she’s offering a 50 percent discount on her rates through January 1, 2010 to anyone who mentions my name when they book an hour-long session. (She emphasized that the discount isn’t just for technology-based therapy, but for all her therapeutic services through the holidays.)
Here’s my disclaimer – Alison and I are close, so you may think that biases my perspective. So don’t take my word for it, you can read some of her reviews for yourself. She has testimonials on LinkedIn as well as some stellar reviews on Yelp.
Looking forward to 2010, Alison also is starting a school to expand her ability to educate people and support their therapeutic needs. At “The Feel Institute” Alison and a team of skilled professionals will be teaching an array of classes and workshops designed to guide people into deeper, more qualitative communications. Some of the initial classes planned include:

Emotional Skills Training:
For social situations or at work (how to be better in relationships with co-workers, boss, etc)

Sensory Awareness:
learning how to feel more with your senses (gives you greater sense of pleasure in everything you do)
Sexual Etiquette: So you think you know what to do? Think again. Learn some basics … and then some.

Be a bitch without bitching:
For women to learn the best way to seize their inner fierceness and still feel good about themselves. (I’m teaching the first class!)
Relationship Communications 101: Learning how to talk – and listen – with your partner
So don’t let the stress of the holiday get to you. Do something for yourself (or someone you love), loosen up the calendar crush of holidays and roll into the New Year firing on all cylinders.
And if you’re a friend of mine, yes a massage for Chrisma-Kwanz-ukah would be lovely, thank you. 🙂


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