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Dr. Sharon’s Story:

“I first discovered these principles in 1989, when I was on the phone with a fearful patient. Suddenly, I began shaking from head to toe. Until then, I never shook unless I was cold or buzzed on caffeine. Neither was the case at the moment. So, I asked, “Are you shaking?” She replied, “Yes! I’m shaking from head to toe!” When she said that, I immediately stopped shaking, and understood more deeply how frightened she was. Not long after, a similar situation occurred when in session with a patient talking freely about her rage at her mother. Suddenly, my jaw locked painfully and I couldn’t open my mouth. Through clenched teeth, I asked her, “Does your jaw hurt?” She replied, “Now that you mention it, yes, it does!” So I asked her, through my clenched teeth, “Would you please tear up this piece of paper using your teeth?”  She did it gladly, my jaws released, and the pain went away. On her way home from our session that night, as I learned later, she bought two cakes, took them home, and bit and spat them out all over her kitchen. She reported at our next session how relieved she had felt to physically express the rage she had at her mother for giving love only through food. Similar experiences grew in number, and I began in more systematic ways to relate the sensations I felt to the emotions my patients were experiencing. Still, I was very skeptical, thinking I could be making it all up, that there might be some other cause than simply sensing sensations with minimal or no outward cues.  

“As time went on, similar incidents continued, but one other stands out. I received an emergency call from a client on a Sunday night. The distraught woman couldn’t reach the family pediatrician, and her stepdaughter had a bad case of hives. Not bad enough to go to the emergency room, but bad. So, I gave her some instructions on the physical processing (expression) of issues, along with the probable psychological triggers. I instructed her on how to express these physically and verbally while interacting with her stepdaughter. The stepmother reported that for the first hour the hives became worse, but then suddenly began to decrease. Within a few hours they were almost gone.

“Gradually, I became a believer in emotions as physical sensations, and physical expression of sensations as an important variable in mental and physical health.”

More examples will be found in upcoming books.


Biographical Sketch

Dr. Sharon Gerstenzang has been developing a unified theory of emotion and personality since 1989. Her purpose is to (1) make psychotherapy more understandable and attractive to lay people; (2) help other healthcare professionals” such as physicians, nurses and teachers to make more effective use of their “psychotherapy moments” with patients/students; and (3) teach these advanced methods to other licensed psychologists, and psychiatrists.  She is married, with two grown daughters.

Work Experience

Psychologist: private practice (1989 to present). Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach, CA.
Individual, Family, Couples Psychotherapy; children, adolescents, adults.  Conflict, communication, trauma, stress and pain management in job and school.
Psychological Assistant (1983-1989).  Same treatment range as above; supervisors Almeda DeCell, Ph.D., and Daniel Schiele, M.D.
Medical Advertising Copywriter (1971-1975). Sudler & Hennessey, Inc., N.Y., N.Y.
Copy Researcher (1970-1971). Kallir, Phillips & Ross, N.Y., N.Y.
Literature Researcher (1969-1970).  Thermodynamics Research Center, College Station, TX.

Degrees and Awards

Ph.D. Clinical Psychology, University of Missouri, St. Louis, MO, 1986.
Graduate School: Fellowship to attend University of MO; research grant from Monsanto Corporation for dissertation.
M.S. Clinical Psychology
, Portland State University, OR, 1977.

Medical Advertising: Award winning ads 1972 and 1974.
B.S. Chemistry, Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO, 1969.  Honors College: Full tuition honorary chemistry scholarship; Phi Beta Kappa; graduated cum laude.
High school: Valedictorian of class of 700; debate, math, science and Latin awards.

Affiliations and Memberships
Member, American Psychological Association (APA) 1989-1994, 2000 TO present.
Member, California Psychological Association (CPA) 1995 to present
Member, Orange County Psychological Association (OCPA) 1994 to present

Board Member of OCPA 1998-2000;
Social Committee Co-Chair 1996 to 2000;
Public Relations Committee Member 1997-1998;
President Elect, President and Past President 2000-2002; Professional Practice Chair 2003;
Membership Chair 2004 to present;
President 2009.

Affiliate Staff Member of Fountain Valley Regional Hospital (FVRH) since 1992.
Bio-ethics Committee Member for FVRH since 1997;
Interdisciplinary Committee Member for FVRH since 1997;
Tumor Board 2008 to present.
Celebrate Your Emotions: A Techno Guide to Eight Incredibly Transforming Feelings: teaches the function, movement a uses of the eight most relevant emotions for psychological growth. Available as trade paperback and as e-book download.
Sleep for Health:  a CD rich with information on sleep habits. Includes a sleep hypnosis section.
Newsletters quarterly, 1998 to 2004.
Self-published brochures, funded by Fountain Valley Regional Hospital: Honest Politeness, Bedrock of the Civilized Family; Teaching Children to Really Apologize; The Art of Negotiation; How To Create Emotional Intelligence (1994-1997). 
Cook With Me Sugar Free, Simon & Schuster, N.Y., N.Y.  (1983): A comprehensive cookbook of desserts made with dried fruit and unsweetened fruit juices.

Community Outreach Lecturer for FVRH 1994-2001.
Continuing Medical Education Lecturer for FVRH 1996-2002.
Psychological Stress Reduction Lecturer for City of Fountain Valley, 1995-1997.
Seminar on Emotional Intelligence for California School Nurses Association (Feb 2000 Convention).
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