Finding The Right Path To Real Recovery

By Shari Schreiber, M.A.


I wrote this because so many people who phoned me, wanted to know how my methods were different from traditional sorts of interventions they've tried, and I wanted to provide illumination.

I've spent twenty-four years helping clients rebuild themselves from the ground up. I'm retired now, and moving into my next life chapter. I hope you'll still benefit from my presence in the world and my writings, but I'm exploring new domains, and hoping that wherever I land will be as gratifying as this work has been for me.

Please view my YouTube channel, Shari Schreiber, M.A. The very first video I uploaded, "How to find a solid therapeutic fit" addresses how to find useful, meaningful inner work. I hope it helps guide you to a fruitful outcome.

As you read this, perhaps you'll think of it as a roadmap that can help you look for a professional to assist you~ not merely with overcoming challenges you currently face, but for getting to the core of those difficulties like poor self-worth~ and resolving them, once and for all.

Many want happiness, but have no sense of how to acquire it. My approach hasn't been for someone looking for a quick-fix. It's for those of you who've tried just about everything else and still haven't found genuine happiness. I'm not describing those brief, delightful episodes that come with finding romance or buying a new car or home. I'm referencing an ongoing feeling inside you, that's tranquil and joyful.

I am not a psychologist, nor did I have a psychotherapy practice beyond my six years in private practice as a Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) intern, over two decades ago. Since that time, my consulting work has not concerned itself with your mind.

You may derive as much information as you wish from my online articles, soon to be books~ but my work was not concerned with helping clients "gain insight" about their pain. It merely helped them quit fearing it, and engaging in addictions and other self-destructive behaviors they'd used to avoid or distract from their agony, which kept them impaired.

In my view, all obstacles we face are due to poor self-worth. This is what influences how we relate to and take care of ourselves within personal and professional relationships. If we regard self-worth as the hub of your wagon wheel, any damage to it means that all spokes which emanate from that center will be weak and susceptible to breaking, under any type of strain or pressure.

Symptoms of poor self-worth:

Staying in a job or career you don't enjoy. Remaining in an undersatisfying or abusive relationship. Feeling afraid to raise fees in your business. Fear of what people may think of you. Feelings of unlovability and unworthiness. People Pleasing. Ongoing struggles with money and/or finances. Never feeling at ease in social situations. Fear of success, love, riches, joy, and having what you really want. Fear of confrontation, or initiating difficult conversations about your needs or feelings. Belief that it's not okay to even have needs. The list is practically endless.

My work has helped clients accomplish two things: Building self-esteem, and learning how to feel and tolerate dark, difficult emotions in the body, rather than analyzing and over-thinking them in the head.

You might go to a gym to strengthen and develop your physical muscles~ but has anyone ever taught you how to build powerful emotional muscles? This should be the crux of your inner work.

Total Wellness means that you should expect incremental gains from weekly sessions which might include interim care (mine always did). Getting healthy will likely require your determined and focused effort, but the rewards to you could well exceed what you've ever dreamed was possible.

I became an Ordained Minister, as it seemed a more congruent fit for the type of assistance I offered people. I'd always sensed there might be quicker, more effective ways to help individuals who could not find relief using conventional therapies, and who slipped through the cracks. Throughout my entire career, I focused on inventing and developing unique groundbreaking methods which facilitated one's capacity to accept contentment, happiness and inner peace. Perhaps it's hard to believe, but many can't.

My work has been a growth-oriented modality that was aimed at resurrecting self-worth and helping one become whole, happy and content within 18 months or less. Some clients needed more time, but I worked as rapidly as I could with every individual, to bring about relief and personal expansion.

I provided clients with concrete power tools specifically crafted to dismantle and eliminate the 'negative tape' that plays 24/7, which constantly asserts; "I'm a fuck-up, I'm not good enough or lovable." You're relentlessly hard on yourself, which causes you to choose lovers or friends who echo exactly how you really feel about you! These tools are now shared with you in my YouTube videos!

Nothing has given me greater glee, than being able to witness a client's total transformation. It's truly a metamorphosis, like the caterpillar to butterfly transition. If I couldn't help bring this about, I'd have sought a different career path decades ago. I've been selective about who I accepted into my practice, for some people actually resist getting well, and my time is too precious a commodity to waste.

You may not be a suitable candidate for an unconventional approach to healing, and it might not be a solid fit for you, your goals, personality and temperament. In any case, a responsible practitioner will try to assess this during your initial pre-work consultation, for it should never be their desire to offer you help you can't or won't make good use of.

Please pay special attention to the following. It might just help you begin to turn your life around.

Never enter into someone's office 'cold.' If they're unwilling to have a brief phone consult with you to discern your difficulties and sense whether they can help you before your work begins, you should call someone else.

Try to get a sense of this individual and whether you can feel understood and comfortable with him/her. They should want to get a strong sense of you also, to determine whether you can be a good, solid fit for them and the type of work they like to do, and for which they are best suited!

Psychotherapy deals with matters of the mind. My articles can speak to the core of your anguish, and perhaps help you gain useful insights about it, but my actual work was never insight based~ nor did I wish to intervene with clients in this manner, as "mind" work can turn into too lengthy a process.

I would not permit clients to retain their comfortable love affair with survival. I wouldn't allow them to complain about their Life month after month (which is incredibly boring) without getting to the root of that problem, and resolving it. Mine was solution focused work that helped them learn how to Thrive--not merely survive. Survival oriented individuals who remained addicted to chaos and drama were not suitable candidates for my work. They were urged to seek a better fit for themselves elsewhere.

You might presume that wealth will cure your woes, but it won't. I've worked with multi-millionaires who have never felt safe or secure. They struggled with loneliness and emptiness just as you have. When you've gotten all the boats, planes and houses you can own, and they don't eradicate that painful vacuum inside you, we have a sort of 'existential crisis' on our hands.

Mid-life concerns pertaining to this issue are developmentally driven. They're about our need to change or amend what we've been doing for decades. As we evolve, we can't keep performing the same tasks year after year, without outgrowing our ability to be stimulated by them! It's like wearing an old suit that's now a couple sizes too small. We've made substantial investments in that wardrobe, but we had different values and priorities in our twenties and thirties that don't fit with the needs of our forties, fifties and sixties. When we aren't responsive to these changes, our passion steadily wanes, and each day requires great effort (or various addictions) to help us maintain a sense of vitality or aliveness.

Our desire for this aliveness can have us choosing high-intensity relationships with partners who have personality disorder traits. The emotional roller-coaster they keep us on triggers anguish and anxiety, which distract from our own feelings of emptiness or dissatisfaction, which may have haunted us for years, but that we've harshly judged and tried to avoid or outrun through any means possible.

When another makes us feel our emotions intensely, whether those emotions are pleasurable or painful, it's actually grounding and enlivening to us (dead people can't feel pain). This could be the reason we've clung to tormenting, toxic relationships long past their shelf life or our ability to access joy within them.

Misery comes easy. Happiness takes daily, diligent work.

Our lack of love, abundance and prosperity are just symptoms of poor self-worth. When our pre-existing foundation is rotted and crumbling, no structures we try to build on it can remain intact. The primary goal of healing work is to bring about tangible and permanent foundational restructuring and change.

Change is scary for most people, because it threatens long-held stagnancy that is often mistaken for "safety." You've landed on this text, because you've bought into some faulty belief systems, which have kept you 'enrolled' in self-defeating behaviors and thought patterns. These must be eliminated, so that you can acquire real happiness, and learn how to maintain it.

If you're looking for someone to take your money and be your sounding board week to week, you might not actually want help. Effective therapeutic assistance won't perform this function for you. Its commitment should be to help you acquire wellness in every sense of that word.


Emotional pain is not stored in the head. It's stored in the body, and each one of your body cells retains a traumatic imprint from every emotional wound you've ever incurred.

Mine was a holistic or 'whole organism' approach to ending pain, which centered on your body and spirit. If you're not responsive to these parts of you, you're missing the boat in context of well-being. My methodology embraced the principle that you are not just a brain hooked-up to a life-support device. This was body-centered work~ not psychological intervention or mind work.

Real Recovery is antithetical to psychotherapy. It requires that you learn how to feel emotions in your body, instead of talking about them and attaching meaning or reasons to them in your head. That practice was not allowed by me.

You might consider genuine Recovery to be like acupuncture, as compared to western medicine. Western medicine treats the symptoms of your discomfort or "dis-ease" to help you feel better~ whereas Chinese medicine targets the cause of your distress to eradicate it from the body. In a sense, effective, real healing is intended to unblock and heal emotional Qi or 'Chi.'

My work reached beyond mitigating your dissatisfaction or pain. It was about helping you thrive, rather than just survive or feel "okay" about your life. If there isn't enough 'juice' in your daily existence, you might be sleepwalking, and you should seek help. This is likely contributing to addictive/compulsive behaviors and poor relationship choices which have brought you chaos, pain and confusion.

My methods encouraged emotional dependency, but only in the beginning stages, until you could become fully self-reliant. Its primary aim was to help you grow a sound/healthy, emotionally independent, rock-solid sense of Self.

With luck, you will find a practitioner who will give you tools to help you construct your self-worth foundation brick by brick, so you can climb out of the self-defeating, deeply-dug trenches that have kept you disabled. Access my YouTube videos, for effective 'power tools' I routinely used in my practice.

You should receive help to deconstruct the negative tape that's been haunting you most of your life; "I'm not lovable or good enough," for recovery is impossible, if you can't or won't learn, and integrate tools that help usher you into authentic wellness.

My approach taught clients how to confront anyone at anytime about anything. They gained communication skills and methods which gave them newfound confidence in social and professional arenas.

I taught each client effective strategies which helped them build a strong and sturdy personal foundation, so they could come to admire, genuinely like, and feel proud of themselves.

The inner work you do with someone should be a collaborative effort. While you're gradually building trust in them, you might think of them as your 'significant other' on whom you can depend for guidance, support and concrete tools that can bring about self-actualization and joy.

I have not healed people! I merely illuminated and guided their path, and gave them self-restructuring tools, which taught them how to heal themselves. This radically unconventional approach helped many build self-respect, healthy entitlement and genuine self-worth.

My consulting work was been experiential~ not cerebral. It was individualized to respond to the needs of every client~ but the basic principles I adhered to, are described below:

Feeling - Clients learned how to experience, accept, tolerate and endure dark or painful emotions without fear of annihilation, repercussions, doubt or self-ridicule. This power tool is essential, if you've ever wrestled with addictions.

You've likely been thinking your way through life, as opposed to feeling your way along. As a direct result, you don't trust your instincts or intuitions, which are there to serve and protect you! These extra-sensory aspects are literally your built-in survival guide, but they can't function when other feelings like anger or depression are banished from your personality.

If you can't trust others, you haven't learned to rely on your innate instincts to guide your decisions, and you do not trust yourself. If this isn't repaired, you'll keep shooting in the dark hoping to hit the bulls eye, and second-guessing right choices~ especially when they prompt less than comfortable feelings.

My methods focused solely on what you are feeling, not on how you are feeling. This non-traditional approach helps you connect with facets of your Self, so you can access life-force within you! In my view, it's the most important gain you can ever achieve.

All your feelings were welcome here. You were never made 'wrong' for them, and I looked forward to when you'd express your rage, even at me! You've likely had to censor yourself your entire life--but we pulled out all the stops here.

I loved working with angry people! Their feelings are closer to the surface, so they tended to progress faster. In essence, you got to experience being fully You, without fear of being guilted, punished or abandoned~ or having it be about "your issues."

Restructuring - Clients received guidance and support to help them become the person they've always wanted to be.

This restructuring process helped my clients acquire nourishing, productive, healthy ways of talking to and treating themselves. This of course, exerted a positive influence on every aspect of their existence.

Emotional growth is cumulative, but seldom linear.

My wellness consulting often felt counterintuitive to clients, as it was a fresh, innovative approach they had never been exposed to before. There's a natural learning curve that comes with trying anything new, so someone might backslide a bit, and that's to be expected. My work was designed to help clients learn and grow~ not perform perfectly.

Many who previously enlisted the help of psychotherapy, might expect that type of interplay when they began working with me, and it was hard not to anticipate that style of engagement. If I began to sense someone couldn't or wouldn't make the crucial transition from those more familiar methods to mine, I'd urge them to seek help from the type of practitioner who provides it, and we would part.

Clients learned healthy limits and boundaries here, because if they already had them, they wouldn't be needing my help. I was be a bit stern occasionally, but it was solely to halt one's self-sabotage, and get them back on course. My only mission was to help individuals get stronger, as swiftly as possible.

Educating - I am nothing, if not an educator. My work has been about helping you become empowered. As such, we helped you learn to help yourself. (Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach him to fish, and he eats for a lifetime.)

The most important and vital relationship you will ever form and maintain is with You. When you master this, all your relationship choices, experiences and outcomes become healthy and positive.

Evolving - Clients would start noticing an absence of pain~ and they had to adjust to it. It wasn't easy or comfortable at first.

Every client who was committed to Healing reached a fork in the road, which felt uncomfortable for a little while. This part of recovery can be challenging, because we were navigating terrain that was feeling foreign, and it takes some getting used to. We crossed this bridge together, and I was available for interim care to help it feel a bit less scary.

Clients began noticing a sense of contentment and peace. They began feeling their emotions, rather than hyper-analyzing them or acting them out. Being 'alone' stopped triggering dread and fear, because their friendship with Themselves had grown far more solid, rewarding and comfortable on many levels.

Clients were no longer observing themselves through another's eyes. They learned to take their own emotional temperature, rather than everyone else's! Trying to make sure everyone liked them (people pleasing), wasn't a priority anymore. New feelings of respecting and liking themselves, were.

Clients who improved quit starving and striving for acceptance and approval from others. They gained the desire and capacity to give approval to themselves--and they owned it.

Happiness is incrementally acquired. Much quicker would likely feel too destabilizing, but 'FREE' was my acronym for what you'd be experiencing, along your way to it. My methods helped clients make permanent, irrevocable modifications to their pre-existing paradigm. This work brought about dramatic, life-altering changes regarding how one views and relates to him/herself.

Clients evolved into sentient, self-actualized beings, capable of giving and receiving love and abundance. They evolved to see relationships sort of like the frosting on a well baked cake that's scrumptious when eaten alone~ but is a tad sweeter with some topping.

My clients surrendered their desperate hunger and need to be loved. They'd ultimately grown into knowing they were lovable, and were automatically able to make healthier, more gratifying friendship and romantic choices, which reflected an unshakable, authentic sense of self-worth~ never self-doubt.

Suffice it to say, getting well is a process. The principles of my work were simple, as were the tools that were taught~ but the work was challenging for people, because it had to reorganize and reconfigure what too many think is necessary, like avoiding difficult emotions, to save their own life.


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Copyright 2004 - 2018, Shari Schreiber, M.A. All Rights Reserved.