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The Stress Doc Letter
Cybernotes from the Online Psychohumorist ™

SEP 2005, Sec. I

Fight when you can
Take flight when you must
Flow like a dream
In the Phoenix we trust!

Table of Contents

Section I

Shrink Rap:
      Leading Dynamic, Inspiring & FUN "Practice Safe Stress" Workshops
           Forty Things You'd Like to Say Out Loud
         Phone Consultation/Coaching and Books

Section II

Main Essay: 
     Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?
Heads Up: 
        Wharton Alumni, HUD, Forty +, Bowie, MD, SHRM


Overview:  Sec. I

1)  Shrink Rap:  Two recent events -- one disappointing, the other encouraging -- motivated the Stress Doc to rethink his product/service line.  How would you like to deliver an "awesome" Stress Management speaking and/or training program?

Overview:  Sec. II

1)  Main Essay:  New Orlean's recent tragedy has the Stress Doc reflecting on his soul city and some of the more memorable and improbable occurrences during his "American in Cajun Paris" years from 1974-1990.

Shrink Rap:

How to Lead Dynamic, Inspiring & FUN "Practice Safe Stress" Workshops

Two recent events – a one disappointing, the other encouraging – a motivated me to rethink my product/service line.  The frustration induced by the first event was simple:  a Central Pennsylvania public service law firm emailed about my being the keynote speaker for a conference on October 28th.  Alas, I had committed to doing a keynote at the annual Fairfax, VA County Government Human Resources Conference on that date.  Where's a Stress Doc clone when you need one?  While the law firm said they will be sure to call me earlier the next time, who knows whether there will be a next time!

Then, about ten days later, a PhD psychologist from London calls.  She's been asked to do a half-day stress management program for financial advisors.  (Her husband is a Professor at the London School of Economics and I suspect there's a referral connection.)  The psychologist has never done a stress program before.  She doesn't want to lead a traditional program; she wants the workshop to be highly interactive and fun.  This clinician did an extensive Google search and thought my website/stress material the most interesting.  (Aw shucks.)  In addition to material sent (email stressdoc@aol.com for info on my Training & Marketing Kit), we had two phone consultations totaling about two hours.  I could hear the pen flying across the page as I walked her through basic presentational and exercise material.  Actually, our first consultation stimulated her to develop an imaginative opening exercise.  (Still waiting to hear the results of our brainstorm.)

I had done this extensive phone coaching for a pending stress workshop once before with "awesome" results.  I recall the trainee saying:  "Everything went exactly as you described!"  This fellow, while not having a psychology background, did have some public speaking experience.  He even performed one of my "Shrink Raps" ™.  For the London psychologist, doing a rap was a bit outside her comfort zone.  She may have been exercising good judgment)

Eventually, finally, I saw the obvious:  why not promote a "train the trainer" program helping others run dynamic, inspiring and FUN stress and conflict management training or speaking events?  Within this framework I could both mentor individuals as well as do live workshops with the training staff of an organization.  Of course the biggest challenge is promoting the concept.  Well here's my first attempt.  Would love to email or speak with you (301-946-0865 in the Wash, DC area).  To good adventures.

So Many Agree:

The Stress Doc's "Stress Management and Team Building" Keynotes, Kickoffs and Workshops are "Amazing."

(Scroll down for several "amazing," "awesome" and "best ever" testimonials.)

Ø Would you like to learn how he does it?  Would you like to lead 1-4 hour (or longer) Interactive and Effective, Inspiring and FUN Stress Management and/or Anger & Conflict Management Programs?

Ø Would you like your training staff to lead Stress and Conflict Management Programs that will educate, energize, entertain and enthrall your employees?

Ø No matter the subject, do you want to be a more Powerful and Engaging Presenter who consistently gets rave reviews and follow-up requests?

Ø Would you like to generate "Motivational Magic" with a learning audience, at meetings or a conference or to transform your overall workplace climate?

Who Can Benefit from the Stress Doc's Coaching & "Train the Trainer" Classes?

> Individual Speakers and Training Consultants
> Departmental or Organizational Training Specialists
> Human Resource Professionals
> Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Counselors
> Guidance Counselors, Social Workers and Psychologists

What You Will Learn:

Ø How to quickly engage and energize an audience of any size and how to sustain attention levels
Ø How to ebb and flow between thought-provoking and entertaining presentation and challenging and creative, safe and FUN real work world exercises
Ø How to run the Stress Doc's signature interactive exercises with large or small audiences, especially his acclaimed team "Discussion and Drawing" Exercise
Ø How to integrate (individual) healing and (group) harmonizing humor into speaking and training programs as a "Motivational Humorist"
Ø How to translate and apply Stress Doc concepts, tools and activities in your specific work or target environment
Ø How to sustain the "Motivational Magic" as an external or internal training/team building consultant?

Seek the higher power of Stress Doc humor:  May the Farce Be with You!

Stress Doc Testimonials

"I have been employed by the same communication coaching firm for the past nine years.  We have had staff retreats before.  However, this year's retreat (June '04) was by far the best.  Mark Gorkin, "The Stress Doc," is amazing.  We laughed, joked and displayed our artistic abilities all while learning how to work better as a team during the difficulties of office change.  My employees can't stop talking about how great the retreat was.  What an awesome way to teach your employees how to manage stress and change.

Shirley Witherspoon-Ford, Director of Administration
The Communication Center-Susan Peterson Productions Inc.
Transforming Media and Presentation Training
Washington, DC

"…the program 'Humor in the Workplace:  Practicing Safe Stress' was one of the most dynamic, engaging presentations I have personally seen in years, and that includes presentations at several SHRM national conferences…We had a record attendance.   Your interactive presentation provided a brief escape while presenting ideas for building teamwork and managing conflict and stress.   You received one of the highest ratings ever…Many have suggested having you back for an extended program."

Sophia Dobransky
President - Fredick County, MD
Society for Human Resources Management

"The members of the Administrative Resource Team and the Department of Human Resources would like to thank you for your outstanding presentation at the ART conference… From the moment you were approached about the possibility of being our guest speaker, your enthusiasm conveyed your commitment to making this conference vital and interesting to participants.  Within the first few minutes of your presentation, you had captured the audience's attention and had encouraged them to become active, eager participants.  The [team] artwork was an excellent way of getting the audience to creatively express their feelings of stress and tension.  The important benefit, of course, was for them to realize that art could be a positive outlet for these feelings."

Marian M. Matthews, Administrative Associate
Fairfax County Administrative Resource Team
Department of Community and Recreation Services

For the entire SKYLINK staff I want to thank you for your presentation during our training workshop.  It is exactly what we needed in our multicultural group.  I have not experienced such a cooperation and participation in many years with the staff.  You truly know how to reach your audience.  Teamwork and communication are key elements to managing our daily work ethic.  You were able to express these values and open everyone's mind.

Ms. Milchen de Vasconcelos
Regional Sales Manager, Skylink Travel

"I would also like to share a section of an email to our president from one of the attendees:

'I wanted to take a moment to share with you the experience from yesterday's CNA Appreciation Day.  We have had this event for the past several years, but I feel that this particular event was by far the best one I have attended.

The speaker was Mark Gorkin, MSW, LICSW.  He was phenomenal.  He is apparently known as the 'Stress Doc.' He was contagiously energetic...engaging...fresh perspectives to old issues...as well as entertaining.  I am leaving some literature on your desk...I hope you find him interesting.  I would love to experience him as a speaker again, either in another CNA Appreciation Event or as a guest speaker here at Hospice.'"

Amy Broderick, Executive Director
Hospice Network of Maryland

"Your presentation…was entertaining as well as insightful and informative to the delight of the audience.  Knowing the changes in our Company gave you the insight to 'hit their hot buttons.'  You had them laughing at their psychological pain, and they didn't want to leave the room to hear the next speaker."

Gabriel Nazziola
National Association of State Farm Agents
Vice President of Conventions

Reader's Submissions:


From:  im837@sbcglobal.net

1. I can see your point, but I still think you're full of bull.
2. I don't know what your problem is, but I'll bet it's hard to pronounce.
3. How about never? Is never good for you?
4. I see you've set aside this special time to humiliate yourself in public.
5. I'm really easy to get along with once you people learn to see it my way.
6. I'll try being nicer if you'll try being smarter.
7. I'm out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message.
8. I don't work here. I'm a consultant.
9. It sounds like English, but I can't understand a damn word you're saying.
10. Ahhhh.... I see the screw-up fairy has visited us again.
11. I like you. You remind me of myself when I was young and stupid.
12. You are validating my inherent mistrust of strangers.
13. I have plenty of talent and vision; I just don't give a damn.
14. I'm already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth.
15. I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you.
16. Thank you. We're all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view.
17. The fact that no one understands you doesn't mean you're an artist.
18. Any connections between your reality and mine are purely coincidental.
19. What am I? Flypaper for freaks?!
20. I'm not being rude. You're just insignificant.
21. It's a thankless job, but I've got a lot of Karma to burn off.
22. Yes, I am an agent of Satan, but my duties are largely ceremonial.
23. And your crybaby whiny-assed opinion would be...?
24. Do I look like a people person?
25. This isn't an office. It's Hell with fluorescent lighting.
26. I started out with nothing & I still have most of it left.
27. Sarcasm is just one more service we offer.
28. If I throw a stick, will you leave?
29. Errors have been made. Others will be blamed.
30. Whatever kind of look you were going for, you missed.
31. I'm trying to imagine you with a personality
32. A cubicle is just a padded cell without a door.
33. Can I trade this job for what's behind door #1?
34. Too many freaks, not enough circuses.
35. Nice perfume. Must you marinate in it?
36. Chaos, panic, and disorder.... my work here is done.
37. How do I set a laser printer to stun?
38. I thought I wanted a career; turns out I just wanted a salary.
39. Who lit the fuse on your tampon?
40. Oh I get it ... like humor ... but different.

Subj:   Your President.........

From:  MDodick (Ms. Dodick is Canadian)

President Bush is going on his annual vacation. The White House says he goes to his Texas Ranch to unwind. I'm thinking, when does he wind?"
--David Letterman

"It turns out President Bush can run again in the next election. Now I know you're only supposed to be allowed two terms, but the Supreme Court said if you count his vacation time, he's barely served one."
--Jay Leno

"President Bush is vacationing in Crawford, Texas. He will be vacationing for five weeks. That's a long time. I don't think he has an exit strategy for his vacation either."
--David Letterman

"President Bush is the fittest president in history. They said it's because he spends a lot of time exercising. See a lot of our previous presidents wasted that time reading."
--Jay Leno

"President Bush believes Rafael Palmeiro. He said he considers Palmeiro a friend and tests or no tests, he believes him. Maybe Rafael Palmeiro is the one who told him there were weapons of mass destruction."
--Jimmy Kimmel, on whether Palmeiro used steroids

"The White House has changed their slogan from the war on terror to the global struggle against violent extremism. Well that just rolls off the tongue. Is that a good idea, giving President Bush more syllables to pronounce?"
--Jay Leno

"On this date in 1990 the first President Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act, which allowed, of course, his son George W. to become president of the United States."
--Jay Leno

"In a speech this week, Hillary Clinton compared President Bush to Mad Magazine's Alfred E. Neuman. . After hearing this the president said, 'Finally a literary reference I can understand.'"
--Conan O'Brien

"Did you folks see President Bush's speech last night, the special address? ... He said many, many, improvements have been made in Iraq. For example, the roads have been improved, the schools have been improved, medical care has improved. Now if only that could happen here."
--David Letterman

"British Prime Minister Tony Blair has asked President Bush to join him in asking other countries to forgive Africa's debt. President Bush said he would like to help but he's still trying to convince Americans to forgive him for our debt."
--Jay Leno

President Bush said I wish I could wave a magic wand and lower gas prices. And then he said I wish I could wave a magic wand and bring the troops home. And he said I wish I could wave a magic wand and fix health care. And I was thinking this guy waves his wand more than Clinton."
--David Letterman

"This is absolutely true. During the scare Vice President Cheney was inside working while President Bush was outside riding his bicycle. So it was a typical day at the White House.  Remember the last time this kind of thing happened, he was reading a children's book. This time he was riding a bicycle. How old his he -- 12? ... You laugh but as soon as they gave the all-clear he went into the kitchen to make himself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich."
--Jay Leno

"You saw that Bush press conference last night. Did you see him at the end of it? He said I don't want to cut into some of these TV shows that are getting ready to air and he literally went off the air so that Paris Hilton's reality show could go on. Talk about a contrast -- a ditzy socialite trying to function in a real job, and then Paris Hilton's show." --Bill Maher



1. Consultation-Counseling-Coaching Service from the Stress Doc ™

Mark Gorkin, MSW, LICSW, the "Stress Doc," is an uncommon psychotherapist-coach with nearly 30 years experience.  Why the distinct perspective?  In addition to being an acclaimed Keynote Speaker and Workshop Leader, Mark is also an Executive/Management Consultant, Organizational Development/Team Building Expert, and Critical Incident Specialist (with 25 years experience as a consultant and coach, including a stint as a Stress & Violence Prevention Consultant for the US Postal Service).

Much information can also be obtained from his multi-award-winning website -- www.stressdoc.com

The Stress Doc is also the author of two books:  Practice Safe Stress:  Healing and Laughing in the Face of Stress, Burnout & Depression and The Four Faces of Anger: Transforming Anger, Rage, and Conflict Into Inspiring Attitude and Behavior.  The Doc runs a weekly "Shrink Rap ™ and Group Chat" as AOL's "Online Psychohumorist" ™. 

Expansion of Service:  In-Office, Phone or Online

The Doc's areas of expertise as a consultant, counselor and speaker include:

+ Stress and Burnout and Rebuilding the Fire
+ Anger Management and Managing Difficult People
+ Growing from Loss, Grief and Depression
+ Couple Counseling and Family Issues
+ Career/Life/Relationship Transition
+ Conflict Resolution and Team Building
+ Executive and Management Coaching
+ Organizational Downsizing and Change
+ Time Management and Personal Organization
+ Motivation and High Performance/Anxiety Issues

Flexibility in length and availability for coaching-consultation sessions; day and evening times.  Fee to be determined during the first contact/consultation.  The first phone or online contact/consultation (up to 15 minutes) is free.

For more information, call 301-946-0865 or email stressdoc@aol.com.

Organizational Clients have included:

Dupont Corporation, SAP--Human Capital Forum/ASUGS, Celebrity Cruise Lines, America Online, Kelley School of Business/Indiana University, Day and Zimmerman, Tellabs, Computer Sciences Corporation, SkyLink: The Airline Ticket Center, Biography Magazine, US Pharmacopeia, Skadden Arps (Intl law Firm), Patton Boggs (Intl Law Firm), LTS, Blackbaud, Georgetown University

CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2005, Human Resources Association--Natl. Capital Area, Society of Human Resource Management, Business Owners and Managers Assn Intl, Airplane Owners and Pilots Association, Association of Legal Administrators, International Personnel Management Assn, Association of Insurance & Financial Advisors, American College of Physicians, National Wildlife Federation, Defense Research Institute, American Industrial Hygiene Association

Government Agencies: 
Australian Embassy, Centers for Disease Control, Health & Human Services--Div. of Acquisition Management, DOD/Population Health and Health Promotion, Department of Justice, National Institutes of Health, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (including National Weather Service), Army Corps of Engineers, Naval Sea Systems Command, Department of Commerce, US Postal Service, Fairfax County Govt., Suffolk, VA

2.  Stress Doc Books:

Make check to:  Mark Gorkin
Send to:

9629 Elrod Road
Kensington, MD  20895

a) Really Hot:  The Paperback Version of Practice Safe Stress:

Practicing Safe Stress:  Healing and Laughing in the Face of Stress, Burnout, & Depression; Stress Doc Enterprises

Published:  2004; Pages:  372

Price:  $20 + $4.95 priority shipping in US; $3.95 in Metro, DC area; $27 in Mexico and Canada; other international destinations to be determined

Or, download: The Stress Doc's Store Front:   www.stressdoc.com

Ebook Price:  $15

Practice Safe Stress tackles the "Toxic-Traumatic Trio" -- stress, burnout, and depression.  Learn practical and playful, inspiring and insightful strategies for transforming these toxins into life-affirming energy, creative focus, and goal-achievement.  Bringing a personal, professional, and organizational perspective, the book is alive with imaginative language and memorable "how to" ideas for:

§ Understanding the "Four Stages of Burnout," the "Erosive Spiral"
§ Rebuilding your fire and developing "Natural SPEED"
§ Achieving liberation through "Emancipation Procrastination"
§ Reducing conflict as a healing or motivational "psychohumorist" ™

There are satirical essays on "lean-and-MEAN" managers and on mismanaged downsizings.  Learn to "laugh in the face of layoffs" and ponder the possibility of "Van Gogh, Prozac, and Creativity."  The Stress Doc also shares his his own trials, errors, and triumphs in battling the "Toxic Trio."

Safe Stress provides many discrete "Top Ten" lists and "strategic tips" essays useful as educational/informational handouts.  To quote the Internet Newsroom:  Your Guide to the World of Electronic Factgathering:  "The most outstanding feature…is his 'psychohumor' essays.  Always witty, thought-provoking, and helpful."  With this easy-to-follow, fast-paced, and fun health and wellness guide, you'll return often to Practice Safe Stress.

b) The Four Faces of Anger:  Model and Method
Transforming Anger, Rage and Conflict Into Inspiring Attitude and Behavior

The "Four Faces of Anger" presents an elegantly simple yet intellectually powerful model that will challenge your beliefs about anger -- both regarding its range of emotion and its potential for positive communication.  The book is a dynamic blend of popular psychohumor articles, essays, case examples and short vignettes, as well as Stress Doc Q & As and even "Shrink Rap" ™ lyrics.  You will gain ideas and tools, skills and techniques for personal control, playful intervention and conflict mastery.  Learn to:

Ø Identify self-defeating styles of anger and violence-prone personalities
Ø Transform hostility and rage into assertion and passion
Ø Confront directly or disarm outrageously critics and (passive) aggressors
Ø Bust the guilt not burst a gut
Ø Prevent emails from becoming e-missiles

And finally, his years as a multimedia psychotherapist and as a Stress and Violence Prevention Consultant for the US Postal Service yield a survival and spiritual mantra at the heart of the "Four Faces of Anger":

Seek the higher power of Stress Doc humor…May the Farce Be With You!

Published:  2004; Pages:  114

Paperback:  $20 + $4.95 priority shipping in US; $3.95 in Metro, DC area; $27 in Mexico and Canada; other international destinations to be determined

E-Book:  $15