Dr. Margaret Paul on Holiday Stress, Loneliness & SelfQuest

It’s been called, “The Psychologist in a Computer Program.” The result of over 42 years of developing the Inner Bonding process by best-selling authors/psychologists Dr. Margaret Paul and Dr. Erika Chopich, SelfQuest is a powerful software package because of its self-healing interactivity.

Dr. Paul has appeared on numerous radio and television shows (including Oprah) offering expert advice, discussing her books and demonstrating the Inner Bonding process. Her book titles include “Do I Have to Give Up Me to Be Loved By You”, “Healing Your Aloneness” and “Inner Bonding.” She holds a Ph.D. in psychology, is a relationship expert, public speaker, consultant and artist and has successfully worked with thousands of individuals, couples and businesses.

Many celebrities and visionaries have applauded Inner Bonding and SelfQuest, including actress Lindsay Wagner (The Bionic Woman), Jack Canfield (co-creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul), Neale Donald Walsch (author of Conversations With God)  and singer/songwriter Alanis Morrisette, who channeled the inspiration she found from the program into her latest album, ‘Havoc and Bright Lights’.

I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with Dr. Paul and get her thoughts on the Inner Bonding Process and SelfQuest, the “therapist in a box”. She also gives good advice for people who may be experiencing loneliness around the holidays.

Tell me about how the Inner Bonding Process began?

I went to school to become a traditional psycho-therapist and did that for 17 years, but I was not at all happy with the results of traditional psychotherapy. Although I had patients coming to see me and was always busy and writing books, I didn’t feel that they (my patients) were learning a process. I also didn’t like the fact that they had to keep coming back over and over again.

At the time, I was also on a spiritual path and started to pray for something that was different than what I was doing. That was when I met Dr. Erika Chopich who became my best friend and together, we created Inner Bonding.

What is the Inner Bonding Process?

Inner Bonding is a six-step psychological and spiritual process that helps people really get tuned in to their feelings and learn to take responsibility for them. Six steps that enables one to learn what’s loving to themselves, how to fill themselves with love, take responsibility, find the best choices and then share that love with others.

We’ve all learned through experiencing a lot of pain while growing up that the way to avoid it was to replace it with addiction. Whether it be food, drugs, gambling, sex; anything to fill up that empty space inside. Inner bonding teaches you how to learn from your feelings; all of which are informational. For example, if you cut your finger, the pain you feel is telling you to stop what you’re doing because it’s hurting you. It’s the same with emotional pain. Our emotional pain is telling us to stop the way we are acting or thinking, because we’re hurting ourselves. We have to learn from all of our feelings and how to manage them; otherwise we become victims and addicted in order to avoid them.

Was the SelfQuest program the next logical step?

I work with people and also have many trained facilitators who work with people, but the problem is, there are only so many people that we can work with at any given time. SelfQuest teaches the entire process. It takes users through the Inner Bonding process in a very deep way. It’s taken twelve years to develop and is a very technologically advanced program, but it’s also a process that anybody can learn.

Many people who’ve used it have said that it’s actually like having me in their living room.

A lot of talented people have sung the praises of your work, including Alanis Morrisette. How did your relationship with her begin?

Alanis is amazing and an absolutely wonderful human being. She was reading the books and then attended one of my workshops. Over time, I was able to spend time with and get to know her.  It’s a very gratifying friendship I have with her. She loves the SelfQuest program.

Why do you think your books and programs are such a big hit?

I think it strikes a chord with people in terms of really understanding how to fill that emptiness. There are a lot of unhappy people who are addicted.

Is there a success story you can share about the program?

Not too long ago, a woman emailed me who I had never met or worked with before. She told me that she had been using drugs heavily for 37 years and been through therapy, recovery centers and other programs, but had not been able to get off drugs until she did SelfQuest. She said by using the program; she now understands why she was on drugs and what she needed to do get off them. She’s now been clean for six months.

What else do you find most gratifying?

Our website, which offers many ways for people to get free help. Although there is a cost with Self Quest, we do have a financial assistance program. Those things are very important to me.

With the holidays coming up, is there any advice you can give to people who may be feeling loneliness?

People struggle a lot over the holidays, especially with relationships. Families can be challenging, especially if there has been some abuse in the background. What I suggest is that people really tune inside and see what it is they want. Do they want to spend the holidays with family or friends? Do they want to do volunteer work?

The holidays are not a good time to be alone, but it is a good time to be “offering” something. There are many ways that people can “offer”. They can collect canned goods for shelters or volunteer to work in a soup kitchen. If that’s not their thing, they can look up retreat centers in their town where they can share a meal with others.

Dr. Paul’s recent workshop at The Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Lennox, MA.

One of the things we teach with Inner Bonding is how to access a personal source of wisdom.  Whether it’s Spiritual guidance or inner wisdom, we teach people how to channel that. It’s not very hard and it’s based on a concept of intentions. Either your intention is to learn about what is in your highest good, or your intention is to protect against pain with some form of addicting or controlling behavior.

When people move into an intention to learn, it opens them. Even if they have no spiritual belief system, if they ask the question: “What would really be loving to me over Thanksgiving or Christmas?”, ideas will start to pop into their minds. They might not know where the ideas come from (and it doesn’t really matter), but if they sincerely ask about what is loving or in their highest good, they will get ideas. That’s what they need to do.

What has the reaction to the new SelfQuest program been like so far?

The reaction to the program has been fantastic. We really hope many people utilize it. We’re currently developing a version for the iPad and iPhone as well as having it translated into Spanish French and German. We really want to bring the program worldwide to countries that really need it but don’t have access to this kind help.

To learn more about Dr. Margaret Paul and Inner Bonding, or to find an upcoming workshop you can visit the website.

For more information on SelfQuest® go to http://selfquest.com

Article first published as Dr. Margaret Paul on Holiday Stress, Loneliness & SelfQuest on Technorati.

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