Massad's New Book Talks of Coaching One's Self Out of Old Habits
There's no secret to the fact that we're in the midst of a renaissance of ideals. Everywhere we turn, people are trying to incorporate a more natural existence, using time and resources that benefit their surroundings and family. Sunny Massad's new book, Untherapy: A Positive Psychology for Enlightened Living, dissects the poisonous cycle of unfulfilled living by re-tuning the brain. How, you ask? By retreating to a set of core values mapped out by—and who better—you.
Massad, a trained psychologist from the Bay Area, has traveled the world studying various philosophies and practices, speaking to nationally accredited corporations (Montessori School Society, American Heart Association, others), writing books and teaching. Yet it was a course in hypnotherapy that changed her life.
"I learned more through hypnotherapy than I had in 8 years of graduate school in psychology," says Massad.
After founding a wellness community in Washington's San Juan Islands, she eventually began suffering from Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder. In 1989, Massad found a gorgeous 2-acre plot in O`ahu's Kalihi Valley, and built the Hawaii Wellness Institute.Here she would continue coaching, lecturing, teaching, recording and sharing her various techniques for better living with an eager student base that hasn't curtailed in 21 years.
We were fortunate enough to sit down with Massad to debunk "new age-isms" and the stereotypical skepticism that surrounds empowering people. We touched on some of her biggest influences, how she came to be in Hawai`i, and on the series of classes she has beginning this month. Read on...
B on Hawaii: First off, what are these classes you offer and when are they?
Sunny Massad: This coming Saturday, April 10, 2010, I have a 3 hour "Learn to Counsel Yourself and Others" class that teaches the principal of my new book, which is how to reverse worry and solve problems. It's a one-time class at the Hawaii Wellness Retreat House in Kalihi, which happens to be a beautiful place to spend a Saturday afternoon. [Cost is $50 for this class.]
For those who really resonate with this class, they can consider my follow-up classes, which they can read about on my web site.
B on Hawaii: Now that we got that out of the way, let's get in to it. What is this concept of "Untherapy"?
Massad: Untherapy is positive psychology that helps a person to scrutinize the way they make themselves suffer, especially in relation to blaming others or shaming themselves.
B on Hawaii: And how did you go about honing in on this theory?
Massad: It's not a secret that so many of us sabotage our dreams. We get ourselves "stuck" in cycles of bad habits. I meet people who have plenty of money, but not a lifestyle that makes them the slightest bit happy. They are unfulfilled, even though they 'Followed the rules'. I'm talking about top lawyers, doctors, so on.
So I started giving keynote lectures to organizations like the Honolulu Police Department, Hospice Hawaii, Hawaii's Department of Transportation—and was getting such amazing feedback. There was such an urgent request for more information.
B on Hawaii: I understand a lot of your practice comes from success you've had through hypnotherapy. While many of my readers are savvy with the practice, for those who are skeptical—and think it involves clucking like a chicken on stage—can you share with us what that means?
Massad: Of course. Essentially, hypnotherapy is a re-programming of the mind. The process is about recognizing how your own beliefs create your happiness or suffering, and how that affects everything in your life. Advertisers know it, and use it everywhere. They program you by preying on how they know you'll react to a message. Everything we soak in affects how we perceive. And with hypnotherapy, it can all be re-arranged. Most people aren't aware of that. You don't have to be wounded or damaged for life because of past experiences. Your suffering is self-imposed. It's the same principal that Tony Robbins preaches. We had the same teacher.
B on Hawaii: So how does one simply re-arrange these emotions, or cycles, that have been ingrained for so long?
Massad: My focus is on providing practical ways to make life calmer, more peaceful and stress free. And the two "how's" are through self-compassion and personal responsibility. Most people who try and fix themselves do so by beating themselves up. Take "The Biggest Loser" [television show]. It's very S&M. It's all about scolding and guilt to achieve a goal. My therapy is not. It's about having a voice inside your head that entices you, not shames you.
B on Hawaii: Tell us about the Hawaii Wellness Institute?
Massad: In 1989 I found a gorgeous 2-acre lot in Kalihi, and built the Hawaii Wellness Institute. It was the perfect place for me to hone all my research, experience, and drive to write books and share my knowledge with others. Hawaii has been very receptive.
B on Hawaii: How can people read more about, or sign up for your upcoming classes?
Massad: They can go to www.HawaiiWellnessInstitute.org and glick on the "Programs" link. Or call us at (808) 848-5544. They can also visit www.Untherapy.com, where they can also read about my latest book.
"Essentially, hypnotherapy is a re-programming of the mind. The process is about recognizing how your own beliefs create your happiness or suffering, and how that affects everything in your life... Everything we soak in affects how we perceive." —Massad