The Path to Full Recovery and Joy

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 therapies they've tried. As my practice grew too busy to respond to those queries, this piece was created to provide illumination.

Many want happiness, but have no sense of how to acquire it. Integrated Recovery isn't for someone looking for a quick-fix. It's for those of you who've tried just about everything else, and are willing to explore some courageous work you may need to get well, whole and genuinely happy. I'm not describing those brief episodes that come with finding romance, or purchasing a new car or house. I'm talking about an ongoing feeling inside you, that's tranquil and joyful.

In my view, all obstacles we face are due to poor self-worth. This of course, 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 point will be weak, and susceptible to breaking under any type of strain or pressure.

I'm not in the therapy business, and my work has nothing whatsoever to do with your mind.

We concern ourselves only with esteem building, and teaching you to how to tolerate your emotions instead of overthinking or analyzing them in your head. Total Wellness is our goal, and incremental gains are what you can expect from weekly sessions that are inclusive of interim care. Getting well requires your determined, focused effort, but the rewards to you may well exceed what you've ever thought was possible.

I became an Ordained Minister, as it seemed a more congruent fit for the type of assistance I offer. I sensed there might be quicker, more effective ways to help people who couldn't find relief using conventional therapies, and slipped through the cracks. I have given my focus solely to inventing and developing unique, groundbreaking methods which for some, can facilitate healing.

This is not designed to be long-term care. It is a growth-oriented modality that aims to resurrect self-worth and help you become whole and happy within 18 months or less. Some clients may require more time, but I work as rapidly as I can with every individual, to bring about relief and expansion.

Resignation is very different from resolution, and if you're only resigned about painful experiences you've had, those difficulties can keep self-blame and shame alive, which further undermine self-worth and negatively influence all life choices and decisions.

Integrated Recovery provides concrete tools specifically designed 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!

Nothing gives me greater glee, than witnessing a client's total transformation. It is truly a metamorphosis, like the caterpillar to butterfly transition. If I could not help bring this about, I'd find a different profession. I'm very selective about who I accept 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 this work, and I may not be a solid fit for you or your personality, temperament and goals. We'll try to assess this during our initial contact, for it'll never be my desire nor intention to offer you anything you can't or won't make good use of. Integrated Recovery functions on numerous levels to bring about precisely what its name suggests.


It is not psychotherapy, which deals with matters of the mind. My articles may speak to the core of your anguish, and help you gain useful insights about it. My actual work with you is not insight based~ nor do I have any desire to intervene with you in that manner. We simply eliminate poor self-worth, which can spawn and perpetuate human pain.

Recovery work won't let you retain your comfortable love affair with survival. It doesn't permit you to complain about Your Life month after month (which is incredibly boring) without getting to the core of that issue, and resolving it. This is solution focused work that helps you learn how to Thrive--not merely survive. Survival oriented individuals who are addicted to chaos and drama are not suitable candidates for the work we do here.

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've 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 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 us from our very own feelings of dissatisfaction, emptiness or despair that have haunted us for many years, but that we've harshly judged and tried to avoid or outrun through any means possible.

When somebody forces us to feel intense emotions whether pleasurable or painful, it's actually grounding and enlivening to us (dead people don'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 Integrated Recovery 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's often mistaken for "safety." You've landed on this text, because you've bought into some faulty, destructive belief systems along your life's journey, which have kept you 'enrolled' in self-defeating patterns of behavior. These defective patterns must be eliminated, so you can acquire real happiness, and maintain it.

When you've had to endure crisis and chaos on a regular basis, you learn to mentally and emotionally prepare for it, which gives you a sense of comfort. You now anticipate disaster and mentally ready yourself for it, so you can feel safer. This practice became habituated early in life to save you from surprise and shock, and helped you avert feelings of devastation every time the rug got pulled out from under you!

This behavior helped you survive once upon a time, but it works against you now. You're still waiting for the other shoe to drop, and trying to envision the future, to hyper-control it. You're not able to be present, and experience and embrace your emotions, regardless of whether they're painful or pleasurable. This mental fast-forwarding reflex greatly undermines you, but your payoff is Prophesy Fulfillment, which reinforces ancient, faulty thinking; "I'm not worthy or deserving of receiving what I want and need."

Escaping emotional pain when we we're little, means many of us imagined that when we were grown, we would have riches, love, contentment and gleefulness~ but that almost never happens. The letdown or disappointment and shame we feel when our present reality doesn't match our earliest fantasies keeps us striving for it, but no matter how much we change our outer environment (or body), Happiness remains elusive, because it's literally an 'inside job.'

If you're looking for someone to take your money, and be your sounding board week to week, you'll need to look elsewhere. Integrated Recovery is not designed to perform this function for you! IR's central commitment is to help you acquire wellness. This is our only goal~ and building authentic esteem eliminates every obstacle that stands in your way of it.


It's a holistic or 'whole organism' approach to reducing emotional pain, which encompasses your body and spirit and to a very minor extent, your intellect~ because if we're not responsive to all three parts of you, we're neglecting two-thirds of your pie. This methodology embraces the principle that you're not just a brain hooked up to a life-support unit. This is not mind work, it's body-centered feeling work.

Integrated Recovery is antithetical to psychotherapy. This work requires that you learn how to experience emotions in your body rather than analyzing, overthinking and/or attaching meaning or reasons to them in your head. That practice is not allowed here!

You might consider IR work to be like acupuncture, as compared to western medicine. Western medicine treats the symptoms of your disease or discomfort to help you feel better~ whereas Chinese medicine targets the cause of your distress to eradicate it from the body. In a sense, IR's function is to unblock and heal emotional Qi or 'Chi.'

This work goes far beyond mitigating your dissatisfaction or pain. It's 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 perhaps we should talk. This is likely contributing to addictive/compulsive behaviors and poor relationship choices which have brought you confusion, chaos and pain.

I'm troubled that too many female and male therapists try to feminize men, and neglect to honor/respect the quintessential differences between females and males. They seem to disregard the masculine archetype, while urging men toward greater 'sensitivity.' To my mind, this clinical subjectivity is a dangerous misuse of power by clinicians who fear the primal aspects in men, and it can be castrating. No healthy heterosexual gal wants a passive guy! Male clients are helped to grow from scared little boys into genuinely confident Men here~ not women.

IR encourages emotional dependency, but only in the beginning stages, until you can become fully self-reliant. Its primary aim is to assist you with growing a healthy, emotionally independent, rock-solid sense of Self.

In order for us to accomplish this growth, you'll be given a few 'power-tools' which help you construct a self-worth foundation brick by brick, so you can finally climb out of the self-defeating, deeply-dug trenches that are keeping you disabled.

You will deconstruct the negative tape that's been playing 24-7 for most of your life; "I'm not lovable or good enough," for recovery is impossible, if you can't or won't learn, integrate and use tools I give you, that help usher you into authentic wellness.

You'll learn how to confront anyone at anytime about anything, and acquire verbal tools and communication skills which will give you newfound confidence in social and professional arenas.

You'll be using strategies that help you build a strong and sturdy personal foundation, so that self-sabotaging behaviors and faulty beliefs can be dismantled and eliminated.

Integrated Recovery is a collaborative effort; you can't get there without my vigilant help, and I can't assist you, without your strong desire and willingness to utilize the guidance and tools I provide, that bring about full recovery, self-actualization and joy.

I do not heal you! I light and guide your path, give you powerful self-restructuring tools, and teach you how to heal Yourself. This ultra-unconventional approach helps you build self-respect, healthy entitlement and genuine self-esteem.

If you choose not to follow my methods, you'll remain just as you are.

Integrated Recovery is very intricate, experiential, complex and highly individualized to respond to the unique needs of every client, but the key principles of this method are described below:

Feeling - You'll learn how to quit avoiding or distracting from your emotions and your Self, because you are your feelings, and they are you. Running from painful ones, only keeps you unwell.

Healing work is Feeling work. You are taught how to experience, accept, tolerate and endure difficult emotions without fear of annihilation, repercussions, doubt or self-ridicule. This power tool is essential, if you've ever wrestled with addictions.

Given you're here, you've been thinking your way through life, as opposed to feeling your way along. As a 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 depression or anger) 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 fixed, you'll keep shooting in the dark hoping to hit the bull's eye, and second-guessing right choices~ especially when they prompt less than comfortable feelings.

Recovery methods focus solely on what you're feeling, not how you're feeling. This non-traditional method 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 will ever achieve.

All your feelings are welcome here. You'll never be made 'wrong' for them, and I look forward to when you can express your anger, even at me! You've likely had to censor yourself your entire life--but we pull out all the stops here.

I love working with angry people! Their feelings are closer to the surface, so they tend to progress faster. In essence, you'll get to experience being fully You, without getting punished, guilted or abandoned. Conceptualize that if you will!

Reparenting - You'll receive full acceptance, plus guidance and support to help you become the person you've always wanted to be.

Integrated Recovery has to make up for and correct deficits that undermined you in the first place. It is this reparenting process, which helps you acquire healthier, more nourishing/productive ways of talking to and treating yourself. I offer you a brand new template for what a trusted, mentoring relationship is supposed to feel like. This directly influences your friendship and romantic selections, and fortifies all interpersonal dynamics.

The capacity for delayed gratification accompanies adult development. When emotional growth is stunted due to anguish when we're young, instant gratification always reigns and brings us pain, for the 'juvenile' self can't make responsible decisions! It does not consider the ramifications from its choices--it just needs what it wants in the moment, without any thought to potentially harmful repercussions.

Psychotherapists may not prevent you from making unsound life choices. They might view your setbacks as "grist for the mill," so you'll remain with them longer. This practice does not exist in IR. If you were capable of making healthy decisions, you would not be needing direction or guidance.

Reparenting isn't about controlling you. It's about helping you anticipate the consequences of your choices and discerning how they'll impact you. IR work is intended to teach you solid, adult reasoning that guards your well-being.

Healing personality disorder traits is not a function of the mind, and no amount of reading or insight can get you there. Recovery is actually a Heart issue~ and together, we are mending long-standing, painful injuries to your sense of worth. Nothing else is this vital or important.

Emotional growth is cumulative, but it's seldom linear.

Integrated Recovery often feels counterintuitive, as this is an innovative, fresh approach that you've never been exposed to before. There's a natural learning curve that comes with trying anything new, so you might backslide a bit, and that's to be expected. You're in this work to learn and grow~ not to perform perfectly.

If you've done years of psychotherapy, you might anticipate that form of interplay when you begin working with me, and it could be difficult for you to transition out of that well worn style of treatment. If I sense you can't/won't make the crucial transition from that method to this one, I will urge you to seek help from a different type of practitioner~ in short, we will part.

You'll be acquiring healthy limits and boundaries here, because if you already had them, you definitely would not be needing my help. I may seem a bit stern occasionally, but it's solely to halt your self-sabotage, and help you get back on track. My mission is to get you stronger, as swiftly as possible.

Educating - You'll solve the mystery; "who am I--and why am I here now?!"

Integrated Recovery assists you with gaining a solid emotional education. My written materials can help you get acquainted with your Self. You might begin to comprehend why you've acted in the ways you have, and how it is your relationships have mostly floundered and failed. Our sessions however, deal exclusively with self-worth repair, and help you achieve it, once and for all.

IR is a lot like having your kitchen remodeled; it typically seems worse, before it gets better. Remember that old saying, it's always darkest before the dawn? You can either feel a little pain now--or a lot more, the rest of your life.

This work is about helping you become empowered. We help 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.)

Evolving - You will start noticing an absence of pain~ and you'll have to adjust to it. It won't be easy at first, believe it or not.

Every client who is committed to Healing reaches a fork in this road, which feels uncomfortable for a little while. Many of us had to adapt to pain from the time we were very small, and anguish became our constant companion. When we stop feeling some level of pain on a daily basis, it's a whole new set of sensations. This is when our pesky urge to self-sabotage is greatest, because it enables us to return to the more familiar and comfortable painful feelings we've known our entire life. This part of recovery can be challenging, because we're navigating terrain that's feeling foreign, and it takes some getting used to. Fear not~ we'll be crossing this bridge together, and I'll be holding your hand to make it feel a bit less scary.

You'll begin feeling a sense of contentment and peace. You've begun experiencing your feelings, rather than hyper-analyzing them or acting them out. Being 'alone' doesn't still trigger dread and fear, because your relationship with You is growing more solid, rewarding and nourishing on many levels.

You're no longer on the outside of you, observing yourself. You've begun taking your emotional temperature, instead of everyone else's! Trying to make sure everyone likes you (people pleasing), isn't your sole priority anymore. A newfound sense of respecting and liking yourself, is.

You won't keep starving and striving for acceptance and approval from others. You'll have gained the desire and capacity to give it to yourself--and you'll own it.

Happiness is incrementally acquired. Much quicker would feel too destabilizing, but 'FREE' is my acronym for what you will be experiencing, along your way to it. You've navigated various crises, but you may have had to return for more psychotherapy. Integrated Recovery wants to alter this cycle. We help you make concrete, lasting, irrevocable modifications to your pre-existing paradigm. This work offers nothing short of life-altering inner change.

You will evolve into a sentient, self-actualized person, capable of giving and receiving love and abundance. You'll be viewing relationships sort of like the frosting on a well baked cake that's totally scrumptious when eaten alone--but a tad sweeter with some topping.

You won't desperately need to be loved. You'll already know you're lovable, and you will automatically be making healthier, more gratifying friendship and romantic choices, that reflect an unshakable, authentic sense of self-worth~ never self-doubt.

Suffice it to say, this is a process. The principles of Integrated Recovery are simple, but the work is tough--only because it reorganizes and reconfigures what you've always thought was necessary (like avoiding feelings), to save your own life.


If you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod this app will let you hear this material; http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/web-reader-text-to-speech/id320808874?mt=8

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