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Chelmsford Council On Aging Invites Lisa Wessan to Speak on Releasing Clutter
Clutterers and hoarders of the greater Boston area will find relief, focused relaxation techniques, tools and tips at this almost free workshop at the Chelmsford Senior Center.
Wessan is an inspirational author, speaker, consultant and licensed board certified clinical social worker based in North Chelmsford, MA.
Wessan’s relationship with clutter began 25 years ago, when she realized that the clutter in her small New York City apartment was affecting her social life. “My journey to heal my clutter issue began when a wonderful young man broke up with me because after three months I would not let him come upstairs into my apartment. On that day, we had just spent a lovely afternoon walking for several hours in Central Park, and then we arrived at my building and he asked if he could use my bathroom. I said no, and suggested he go across the street to a nearby coffee shop. That was the last straw for him! He broke up with me on the spot, and I knew I needed to get help,” explains Wessan.
In the 90s, Wessan worked as a talk show producer for nationally syndicated talk shows and was receiving several press kits a day, which usually contained new books, videos or cassettes. “My main problem was the massive pile of great books and free media I was receiving as part of my work. These books were piled up on chairs, tables, floor to ceiling book shelves and pretty much took over my apartment, but I wasn’t letting go of them,” says Wessan.
The boyfriend break-up was Wessan’s wake-up call, and she began a process of taking organizational courses, studying Feng Shui, attending clutter support groups, weekly therapy and learning to work with psychospiritual dynamics and forces (aka, angels, energy medicine, prayer and meditation). “I knew early on that this was an emotional, spiritual inside job – I had to address the inner issues as well as the outer clutter. Over the years, I came to understand that if I don’t face, trace and erase my unresolved issues, I get a cluttered apartment!” says Wessan.
Wessan changed careers in 1999 and became a licensed clinical social worker, specializing in geriatric mental health. In her work as an outpatient geriatric clinical social worker, she delivered therapeutic services to hundreds of elderly and their families. “Most of my clients were referred to me by MDs, NPs, RNs and other health care professionals for depression, grief counseling, transitions and new diagnosis adjustment disorders. What I discovered is that a large percentage of my clients with depression also had clutter issues. That’s when I started a weekly support group, ‘Clutter to Clarity,’ for my clients who presented with emotionally based clutter challenges,”
Long term success with her clients has been featured in the media over the years, including CNN, Paula Zahn Now, The Boston Globe, The Lowell Sun, and The Wall Street Journal.
Wessan still has one foot in broadcasting as the on-air host and producer of the weekly cable television show Z Lighter Side of Transformation.
Wessan often jokes about her journey when she says, “I went from the mess to the message!” It has been her experience that just doing the big clean out -- such as what people see on Oprah’s episodes with Peter Walsh or on the Hoarders show-- do not last, if people don’t take the inner journey with clutter.
“After working with clutterers for over ten years, I know for sure that just throwing out your stuff is a temporary band-aid fix. In fact, research has been done by the Hoarding Institute in Boston which shows that 95% of the people who experience a big clean out are completely cluttered again within six months,” reports Wessan.
That’s why her workshop, Declutter Your Mind, Home & Office: A Holistic Approach, is divided into four parts; two inner journey two outer journey segments. The inner journey segments focus on “shamebusting”
Wessan likes to serve as a “Shamebuster.”
Wessan helps expedite the shamebusting process in groups by using fun interactive group exercises, humor and skills from her laughter therapy training to help the group become cohesive, supportive and to foster powerful mutual aid.
At the Chelmsford Senior Center, successful decluttering strategies will be explored, including techniques for the release of clutter, stress reduction, guided imagery and how to find free sources of emotional support. All participants will receive tip sheets and an annotated bibliography to help create a more balanced life.
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