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 the courageous work you'll need to get well, whole and genuinely happy. I'm not describing those delightful 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.

I am not a psychologist, nor am I in the psychotherapy business. My work does not concern itself with your mind. You may derive as much information as you wish from my online articles~ but if you engage my services, our work will not help you "gain insight" about your pain. It merely helps you stop fearing it and engaging in self-destructive acts that have historically helped you avoid or distract from it, and kept you 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 point will be weak, and susceptible to breaking under any type of strain or pressure.

Symptoms of poor self-worth:

Remaining in a job or career you don't like. Staying 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.

Our work helps you accomplish only two things: I help you build self-esteem, and I teach you to how to feel and tolerate difficult emotions in your body, rather than analyzing or over-thinking them in your 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 is the crux of our work.

Total Wellness is our goal, and incremental gains are what you should expect from weekly sessions which include interim care. Getting healthy requires your determined and focused effort, but the rewards to you may 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 offer. I always sensed there might be quicker, more effective ways to help people who couldn't find relief using conventional therapies, and who slipped through the cracks. I have given my focus solely to inventing and developing unique, groundbreaking methods which are intended to facilitate your capacity to accept inner peace, contentment and happiness.

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 personal expansion.

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 couldn't help bring this about, I'd have found a different profession a long time ago. 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 enough 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. IR's function is 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, but our actual work is not insight based~ nor do I wish to intervene with you in this manner, as it could become too lengthy a process.

Our work doesn't let you retain your comfortable love affair with survival. It will not permit you to complain about Your Life month after month (which is incredibly boring) without getting to the heart of that problem, 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 this aliveness can have us choosing high-intensity relationships with partners who have personality disorder features. The emotional roller-coaster they keep us on triggers anguish and anxiety, which distract from our own feelings of dissatisfaction or emptiness 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 will have to look elsewhere. Integrated Recovery is not designed to perform this function for you. IR's central commitment is to help you acquire wellness in every sense of the word.


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

Integrated 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 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 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, IR's function is to unblock and heal emotional Qi or 'Chi.'

My work reaches 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.

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 your 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 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, 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 effective strategies which help you build a strong and sturdy personal foundation, and you will come to admire and feel proud of yourself.

Our work is a collaborative effort. You can't get there without my help, and I can't assist you without your strong desire and willingness to utilize the guidance and tools I provide that can bring about self-actualization and joy.

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

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

My methods are experiential (not cerebral), and individualized to respond to the needs of each client, but the basic principles of Integrated Recovery are described below:

Feeling - You're taught 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.

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.

My methods focus solely on what you're feeling, not how you're 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 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 rage, 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!

Restructuring - You will receive guidance and support to help you become the person you've always wanted to be.

This restructuring process helps you acquire nourishing, productive, healthy ways of talking to and treating yourself. This has a positive influence on every aspect of your existence.

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

Integrated Recovery often feels counterintuitive, as it's a fresh, innovative 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 enlisted the help of psychotherapy, you might expect that type of interplay when you begin working with me, and it may be hard for you not to anticipate that style of engagement. If I start to sense you can't or won't make the crucial transition from those more familiar methods to mine, I'll urge you to seek help from the type of practitioner who provides it, and we will part.

You'll be learning healthy limits and boundaries here, because if you already had them, you would not be reading this now. I may be a bit stern with you occasionally, but it's solely to halt your self-sabotage, and get you back on course. My only mission is to help you get stronger, as swiftly as possible.

Educating - I am nothing, if not an educator. This work is about helping you become empowered. As such, 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.)

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

Every client who is committed to Healing reaches a fork in this road, which feels uncomfortable for a little while. 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'm just a phone call away, to help it feel a bit less scary.

You'll begin noticing a sense of contentment and peace. You've begun feeling your emotions, rather than hyper-analyzing them or acting them out. Being 'alone' isn't triggering dread and fear anymore, because your friendship with You is growing far more solid, rewarding and comfortable on many levels.

You're no longer observing yourself through other's eyes. You've learned to take only your emotional temperature, rather than everyone else's! Trying to make sure everyone likes you (people pleasing), isn't a priority anymore. New feelings of respecting and liking yourself, are.

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. Integrated Recovery intends to help you make permanent, irrevocable modifications to your pre-existing paradigm. This work can bring about dramatic, life-altering change regarding how you view and relate to yourself.

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 scrumptious when eaten alone~ but is 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, as are the tools you'll be taught~ but the work is hard, only because it reorganizes and reconfigures what you've always thought was necessary (like avoiding difficult emotions), 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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Copyright 2004 - 2017, Shari Schreiber, M.A. All Rights Reserved.