The Stress Doc Letter
Cybernotes from the Online Psychohumorist
2007, No. I, Sec. I
Fight when you can
Take flight when you must
Flow like a dream
In the Phoenix we trust!
Table of Contents
Shrink Rap--I: Response to: "Facilitating the Handling of an Administrative
Shrink Rap--II: How Resilient Professionals Cope
Readers: Mean Moms, Spectacular Politiquotes, Signs of the Times, Oh Really,
Main Essay: Leading with "Passion Power"
Being Purposeful-Provocative-Passionate-Playful: An Interactive Model for
Expanding Personal Energy, Professional Creativity and Organizational Synergy
Offerings: Books, CDs, Training/Marketing Kit
Overview: Secs. I & II
1) Shrink Rap--I: A reader provides her own follow up chapter to how the
organization addressed theirtyrant, affectionately titled, "The
2) Shrink Rap--II: Laughing in the Face of Change: How Resilient
Professionals Cope by Susan H. Burnell.
3) Main Essay: Leading with "Passion Power" --
Being Purposeful-Provocative-Passionate-Playful: An Interactive Model for
Expanding Personal Energy, Professional Creativity and Organizational Synergy.
A new Stress Doc leadership model examines the "Passion Power" impact when
projecting simultaneously a "cognitive-affective" and "gravitas-comedia" Four
Shrink Rap I:
Regarding "Facilitating the Handling of an Administrative Tyrant" article on
This email is to provide my own follow up chapter to how our organization
addressed our tyrant, whom I've been calling "The PsychoBitchFromHell".
Our upper management did bring in a top notch facilitator who essentially went
through the process you described in your response to "Handling of an
Administrative Tyrant". It was a great, positive process. It gave us reason to
believe things would change long term and the facilitator even suggested a
few techniques that we could use immediately to help de-toxify interactions our
tyrant. Our upper management explained to us that after our individual
interviews with the facilitator, she would meet with us together to share a
thumbnail summary of her findings and to guide us through a process to improve
the work environment and dealings with the tyrant.. (Point of clarification:
Upper management refers to her as a people manager, not a tyrant; oh the
irony!) Unfortunately --and I believe because we provided honest and
uncomplimentary feedback on our little tyrant-- our upper management never
followed through to the next phase of the process. I appreciate the anxiety our
tyrant must have felt about working through issues in the open, but I believe
it's even worse that it's left to fester out of sight. I believe also that the
facilitator --being of high caliber and integrity-- would have keep things
positive, constructive, balanced and focused on the fact that, even though our
tyrant does some crazy and tyrannical things, we all have some culpability and
responsibility to improve the situation.
As it is now, we're back where we were months ago. Maybe things are even worse
because we had trusted the process, pinned our hopes on upper management's
promises and optimism, and were burned and left feeling like fools for our trust
willingness to work through the issue.
I would appreciate your comments and suggestions on this on your website.
Thank you and keep up the great work.
Shrink Rap II:
Faculty Assistance Program Newsletter
Susan H. Burnell, APRinkspark@att.net
Laughing in the Face of
How Resilient Professionals Cope
Change in the workplace can stir up anxiety, sadness, a sense of loss,
frustration, anger and fear. Even small changes can challenge our sense of
competence and test our ability to cope.
"Change makes us confront our fear of exposure," says motivational humorist Mark
Gorkin, The Stress DocTM. "It can be especially difficult for people who
function at a high level and who need to have a sense of control. There's
usually a learning curve involved, and because we place such high demands on
ourselves, we can feel uncomfortable or inadequate during that adjustment
Gorkin's book, Practice Safe Stress: Healing and Laughing In the Face of Stress,
Burnout and Depression and his related workshops focus on techniques for
creatively managing stress in times of change.
"One of the things I encourage people to do when they are facing stress related
to change is to learn to poke fun and laugh at themselves," Gorkin says. "When
we can do that kind of self-effacing humor, it's a sign of self acceptance. It's
also a show of courage. It lets others know we're OK with not being perfect.
Those awkward moments can then be turned into stories we share with the group
that's going through the same experience. When you start laughing together at
the absurdity of a situation, it breaks the tension and helps release pent-up
A flexible funny bone is a part of every resilient professional's anatomy. "The
ability to laugh in the face of change helps us accomplish several things," says
motivator and humorist Karyn Ruth White, owner of Denver-based Laugh and Learn
Productions. "It demonstrates to us that even in the midst of the unknown, we
can still control our response to it. Being able to find the humor in a fearful
or stressful situation allows us to maintain some perspective on that situation
and our role in it."
"The gift of perspective opens the door of possibility," White continues. "If I
can see the humor in something, I can see that there are several ways to look at
the same situation. Once I know that, I can then objectively chose how I wish to
see it. Being aware that we have a choice of response gives us a sense of power
and control in a situation where it is easy to feel powerless."
White, co-author of Your Seventh Sense, How To Think Like a Comedian, says she
wishes more people saw humor as a powerful sanity-management tool rather than
thinking of it as a frivolous, counter-productive activity. "I wish as humans,
we made laughter a priority in our lives. Laughter is tonic for the soul and I
see a lot of thirsty people out there."
Mark Gorkin, The Stress Doc, www.stressdoc.com
Karen Ruth White, Laugh and Learn Productions,
Happy July! Tho it hardly feels like it down here on the Middle Peninsula of
VA...very cool and low humidity. I'm diggin' this nice weather! Hope you're
havin' a great summer.
That's interesting about the Senior Love gigs. Hope it goes well. I hope you
touch on the humor aspect...but I'm sure that you do! You nailed it, hope you
realize, with the highlighted section below. I love seeing older folks being
playful and silly with each other! My hubby and I just celebrated 27 years of
marriage, and, let me tell ya, I'd have killed him long ago if it wasn't for
having a sense of humor!
our long-term history also helped set the stage for romantic and intimate
exploration. There was preexisting comfort and familiarity. However, I believe
the real bridge between two vulnerable souls was a "sadder yet wiser"
psychological depth along with a willingness to risk borne of suffering and
struggle. (And somehow, both of us have managed to
keep alive a playful if not silly inner
I've been working on my Mean Mom website (actually, it's a blog masquerading as
a website until I get around to building a real site, maybe in the fall). I'm
working on putting together a teacher in-service, for a local private school, on
relational aggression. Some girls have left the school because of the meanness
of other girls so we're going to try to nip this in the bud. Interesting how
complicated so many of the programs are...start clubs, put on skits, etc. Why
not just tell 'em to knock that shit off? That excluding others is mean. That
talking about someone, telling lies about them, is mean and could get them in
some serious trouble. My plan is to get the staff on the same page (some ignore
it, some come down hard) and to work with the girls. I am mean (I say what I
mean and mean what I say), and I'll probably have them own their behavior...make
signs for the classroom and perhaps the school hallways with signs like "Talking
about my friends is not nice," and so on. Teaching them what relational
aggression is, and that is coming to a screeching halt right now. :) I'm a
female and I don't buy that eye-batting innocent look of theirs. Dealing with
the parents should be a joy. One mother said "Oh! I was just like that!" The nut
don't fall far, eh?!
Nice reading what you're up to, I always enjoy the newsletters. Cheers to you!
Subj: Spectacular Politiquotes
"Hubert Humphrey talks so fast that listening to him is like trying to read a
Playboy with your wife turning the pages."
--Barry Goldwater, 1964 Republican presidential nominee
"Damit, when you get married, you kind of expect you're going to get a little
--Jeremiah Denton, senator from Alabama, 1981-86. Denton had offered a bill
providing criminal immunity for raping a spouse.
"Boy, they were big on crematoriums, weren't they?"
--George Bush, touring Auschwitz in 1987.
"If guns are outlawed, how can we shoot the liberals?"
--Mike Gunn, Mississippi state senator, 1991
"We have every mixture you can imagine. I have a black, I have a woman, two Jews
and a cripple."
--James Watt, Secretary of the Interior, 1981-83, describing an Interior
Department advisory group.
"Bill Clinton's foreign policy experience is pretty much limited to having had
breakfast once at the International House of Pancakes."
--Pat Buchanan, 1996 Republican presidential candidate.
In a Bangkok temple:
"IT IS FORBIDDEN TO ENTER A WOMAN, EVEN A FOREIGNER, IF DRESSED AS A MAN."
Cocktail lounge, Norway:
"LADIES ARE REQUESTED NOT TO HAVE CHILDREN IN THE BAR."
Doctor's office, Rome:
"SPECIALIST IN WOMEN AND OTHER DISEASES.
Dry cleaners, Bangkok:
"DROP YOUR TROUSERS HERE FOR THE BEST RESULTS.
On an Athi River highway: this is the main road to Mombasa, leaving Nairobi.
"TAKE NOTICE: WHEN THIS SIGN IS UNDER WATER SO YOU CAN'T READ, THE ROAD IS
In a City restaurant:
"OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK AND WEEKENDS."
In a cemetery:
"PERSONS ARE PROHIBITED FROM PICKING FLOWERS FROM ANY BUT THEIR OWN GRAVES."
Tokyo hotel's rules and regulations:
"GUESTS ARE REQUESTED NOT TO SMOKE OR DO OTHER DISGUSTING BEHAVIOURS IN BED."
On the menu of a Swiss restaurant:
"OUR WINES LEAVE YOU NOTHING TO HOPE FOR."
"THE FLATTENING OF UNDERWEAR WITH PLEASURE IS THE JOB OF THE CHAMBERMAID."
"YOU ARE INVITED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE CHAMBERMAID."
In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery:
"YOU ARE WELCOME TO VISIT THE CEMETERY WHERE FAMOUS RUSSIAN AND SOVIET
COMPOSERS, ARTISTS, AND WRITERS ARE BURIED DAILY EXCEPT THURSDAY."
"BECAUSE OF THE IMPROPRIETY OF ENTERTAINING GUESTS OF THE OPPOSITE SEX IN
THE BEDROOM, IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE LOBBY BE USED FOR THIS PURPOSE."
Airline ticket office, Copenhagen:
"WE TAKE YOUR BAGS AND SEND THEM IN ALL DIRECTIONS."
A laundry in Rome:
"LADIES, LEAVE YOUR CLOTHES HERE AND SPEND THE AFTERNOON HAVING A GOOD TIME."
Subj: Oh Really
A woman is in bed with her lover who happens to be her husband's best friend.
They make love for hours, and afterwards, while they're just lying there, the
phone rings. Since it is the woman's house, she picks up the receiver. Her lover
looks at her and listens; only hearing her side of the conversation.
She is speaking in a cheery voice, "Hello? Oh, hi. I'm so glad that you called.
Really? That's wonderful. I am so happy for you. That sounds terrific. Great!
Thanks. Okay. Bye."
She hangs up the telephone, and her lover asks, "Who was that? Oh, she replies,
that was my husband telling me all about the wonderful time he's having with you
on his fishing trip.
Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) Annual Convention
September 21, 2007
Cheri Ditsch CPS
Education and Professional Development Assistant
International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP)
10502 NW Ambassador Drive
PO Box 20404
Kansas City MO 64195-0404
Ph: 816.891.6600 ext. 2245
Mark Gorkin LICSW
Stress Doc® Enterprises
Thank you so much for joining us in Tampa FL for the July 2007 IAAP Convention
and Education Forum. The overall convention evaluations were all glowing and
members left Tampa on an emotional and educational high! What a perfect way to
begin the 2007-2008 IAAP year!
The final registration was 1,874 attendees! Based on a 10-point scale with 10
being the highest score, the average rating for all convention educational
sessions was 8.76.
#502 - Rebuilding Your Fire and Focus: Healing and Laughing In a "Do More With
Less" World - 9.39 (Wow!)
Selected attendee comments:
· "The information explains to me how I feel…it's written to be understood
· "Great, practical coping solutions."
· "Best one so far in my sessions. Thank you!"
· "The information was very helpful. He presented the information clearly and
precisely. He is a great speaker. I really enjoyed this workshop. It was great!"
· "Most useful? Information giving. Handouts were great -- exercises were
excellent -- presenter was interesting, informative and engaging. Have the guy
· "Mark gave us plenty of ideas on how to reduce or balance stress. I liked the
small (group) exercises."
· "Mark was fabulous!! I thoroughly enjoyed this seminar the most. He was
terrific and so were the exercises, even though I don't normally enjoy the
interactive exercises. I could have sat through an entire day with him."
· "Most useful? Creative ways to deal with everyday work issues. Speaker was
high energy, enthusiastic and knowledgeable."
· "Very interesting, interactive and energetic. Very applicable to my job;
useful tools that I can apply to all aspects of my life. Thank you. Mark is a
· "I learned to turn negativity and other issues into a more passionate and
playful productive work atmosphere."
· "This session was so 'OFF THE CHART' in fun and learning about the issues of
others. It was so creative. The most awesome seminar! This type of interactive
learning session is so much fun -- it sure didn't seem like three hours!! Bring
the Stress Doc back, please!
Partial Listing of Recent Stress Doc Programs
Assn. of Administrative Professionals; Annual Convention; Rebuilding Fire and
Focus, 3 hours and Disarming Power Struggles, 3 hours; Tampa, FL
2) Kindred Care; Stress and Team Building (2.5 hours) for IT Dept/HQ in
3) El Paso Natural Gas; Stress, Communication & Team Building for 60 managers
(half-day), Flagstaff, AZ
4) Comfort Keepers; Safe Stress (1.25) and Managing Anger/Conflict (1.25)
programs for hospital and hospice social workers; Kansas City, MO
Mark Gorkin, LICSW, "The Stress Doc" ™, is a psychotherapist and
"Motivational Humorist" whose Interactive Keynotes and Kickoffs draw wide and
"amazing" acclaim -- from Fortune 100s and Federal Agencies to around the world
with Celebrity Cruise Lines. An OD/Team Building Consultant, Mark is the
author of Practice Safe Stress: Healing and Laughing in the Face of Stress,
Burnout & Depression and of The Four Faces of Anger: Transforming Anger, Rage,
and Conflict Into Inspiring Attitude and Behavior. Also, the Doc is AOL's
"Online Psychohumorist" ™ running his weekly "Shrink Rap ™ and Group Chat." See
his award winning, USA Today Online "HotSite" -- www.stressdoc.com -- cited as a
workplace resource by National Public Radio (NPR). Finally, Mark is an advisor
to The Bright Side ™ -- www.the-bright-side.org -- a multi-award winning mental
health resource. Email for his monthly newsletter showcased on List-a-Day.com.
For more info on the Doc's speaking and training programs, call or email the
"Stress Doc": 301-946-0865 or firstname.lastname@example.org . And to view web video
highlights of a Stress Doc Keynote, go to
(c) Mark Gorkin 2007
Shrink Rap Productions