Saturday, April 25, 2015

Author Interview: Dr. Lisa Hartwell

Bad Apples: How To Feel Good Even When Rotten Things Happen is a guide to help you look deeper into your core so you can keep growing and thriving no matter what happens to you in life or how you feel.

I met the author, Dr. Lisa L. Hartwell, at a National Center for Victims of Crime conference because of her work involving sexual abuse prevention and treatment for abuse survivors. But in her career as a speaker and clinical psychologist, she works with people in all areas of their personal and professional lives. She helps people address all sort of difficult issues.

Her book is described as "A Practical Guide to Dealing with Anxiety, Stress, Tough Relationships, Abuse, Sexuality, & More." It promises to teach how to deal with unhealthy people, stop negative thoughts, and be more productive.

Dr. Hartwell took time from her busy speaking and therapy practice to answer some questions for Rose City Reader:

Introduce us to your book, Bad Apples

We all learn best through story and metaphor. In this book everyone's growth and development is compared to to that of apples and how each apple tree contributes to a seasonal apple harvest and thriving apple orchard. Each apple tree branch is compared to 5 developmental areas in all our lives and how growth is expected from birth to death. In addition, we all have "orchard managers" that tend to the health of our tree and our orchard whenever it is needed. Since life has various seasons, it provides a guide to keep you on track to grow no matter what "rotten apples" happen during your life.

What are the developmental models you refer to?

Even though each branch on your apple tree may look the same, there are subtle differences that determine whether or not that particular branch will bear fruit. We look at five unique "branches" of your development that are held together strongly by your supportive trunk. These branches include how you think and act, how you interact socially, develop sexually, biologically and your faith development. Even though they are explained individually, they are all growing in unison to create the strongest and resilient YOU.

How did your background lead you to write Bad Apples?

I refer to a person's core ALL the time when they ask me for help as a psychologist and through my years working as a nurse, I developed an appreciation of how to think of systems as parts and as a whole. When clients call, they always ask for help to change where they are stuck in their lives, mostly related to symptoms (anxious, can't sleep, grief, tough relationships). I've watched people remain stuck if they are not aligned in the five developmental areas and are only focused on "feeling better." Once they address the entire health of their individual "tree" and recommit to the health of the "orchard" in which they live, they refocus on health and growing, not on symptoms that keep them feeling stuck.

Who is the audience for your book? Who would benefit from reading it?

I think everyone! LOL! But to narrow it down, probably those who are looking to figure out why patterns in their lives continue to occur. These include, why you get anxious in certain situations, why you react the same negative way in certain relationships, why you can't seem to move forward when something abuse, death, or tragedy happened in your life, how to move forward and thrive when you feel constantly stressed.

What is a key lesson you want people to get from your book?

No matter what, keep focused on growing yourself and knowing this, you are growing your personal orchard, your community, and even globally. In fact, it is your personal responsibility through the assistance of an orchard manager to ensure your healthy contribution to your orchard, year after year. "Good" and "Bad" (or sometimes "rotten") apples are an outgrowth of an individual apple tree and orchards health, and are thought of as our experiences in life that come and go. The trees remain and grow year after year. And yet, it is the "Good" and "Bad" apples that most people generally focus on throughout their lives. Now is the time, more than ever in our world, to refocus on the bigger picture no matter how old we are or what happens in our lives.

With so many “self help” books available, what makes Bad Apples different?

I believe the apple metaphor is relateable and easy for people to understand and grounds them in developmental models throughout their life. In my retreats and speaking engagements I take people through a guided imagery experience that transforms how they think of themselves amongst others in their lives and with gentle guidance how they can choose immediately to act, react and feel differently. It takes a lot of information we all try to manage on a daily basis and breaks it down easily for someone to see where they need to focus on when something challenging comes up in their life.

Where can readers learn more about Bad Apples and the lessons it offers?

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