The Getting Real practices help us free ourselves from the fears and limited thinking of the ego-mind, so we can meet each new moment with our open, authentic, loving presence.

In This Issue…

1. Blog: When You Get Triggered by the World Situation

2. Upcoming Events: Getting Real Weekend in Northern CA  September 12-13, 2020, Coach Training Webinar, Honesty Salon via zoom webinar format; free group coaching call today (August 4)

3. Susan’s card games available on Amazon

4. The 10 Getting Real Truth Skills:  Let’s make the 10 Truth Skills a household word, helping to create a beneficial human presence on Planet Earth.

When You Get Triggered by the World Situation

Our world is suffering from so many intersecting crises. We’re acutely aware of the climate crisis, the unemployment crisis, the Coronavirus public health crisis, the mental health crisis, the opiod crisis, the homeless crisis, the refugee crisis, the hunger crisis, the suicide crisis, and the Black Lives Matter movement. Then there is the huge wealth gap, war or the threat of war, climate migration, and the rise of fascism in many countries. And in the U.S., we see increasing polarization between political parties who advocate very different policies with regard to the role of government with respect to civil rights, public health, taxation, birth control, race and gender equality, corporate power, food safety, environmental degradation, education, and poverty. Just writing this paragraph, trying to use language that is as objective as possible, I can already sense some agitation in my nervous system. The collective soup we all swim in is reaching the boiling point. And it is affecting everyone—some more than others, of course.
How often do you look at a news article or turn on the TV news and feel anger, frustration, helplessness, outrage, panic, depression, or generalized anxiety? As the litany of seemingly unsolvable problems grows, more and more people are feeling stressed out.  The Washington Post recently reported (May 27, 2020) that one-third of Americans experience frequent or chronic anxiety or depression. A recent issue of Forbes Magazine (May 22, 2020) reported the contents of a letter from Simone Gold, M.D., an emergency medicine specialist in Los Angeles, where he states, “Suicide hotline phone calls have increased 600%” in the past 6 months. The more stressed out you feel, the more triggerable you are.
Psychologists and many activists have found that effective action is the best antidote to anxiety and depression. But how can anyone act effectively if they are triggered? If you want to become part of the solution, instead of projecting your personal problem onto the collective heap, you’ll need to learn how to separate your personal trigger reaction from what is actually going on now. Once you get good at doing this, you can use your personal reaction to fuel your genuine outrage and effective action. In this blog, I explore how to use your emotional sensitivities as fuel for an effective and heart-felt response to any world situation, while at the same time having a well-regulated nervous system and differentiating your reactive behaviors and stories from what actually needs to change.

How Rita Transformed Her Trigger

As a therapist, coach, teacher, trainer, and consultant, I spend a lot of time learning about peoples’ secrets, fears, and triggers. One coaching client, Rita, revealed how she got triggered whenever she read stories about the Red State vs. Blue State polarization in the U.S. She also reacted when she heard newscasters, neighbors, and relatives using demeaning labels toward people on the other side of the political divide. When we explored her reactive feelings about a current incident on TV, she connected emotionally to an early school experience with peers when she was around 10 or 11. Her family was Mexican-American, which meant that she was part of a minority group in her school. Kids that age can be cruel. Rita was teased and put down for being “Mexican.” As she remembered some childhood scenes, what hurt the most was the name-calling—hearing words like slow, lazy, and stupid. Through her inner work with me, she was able to use some of what she heard on the news (and elsewhere) as a doorway to deeper self-empathy and self-support. When she allowed herself to weep and feel the full impact of these old hurts, she connected with a new source of inner power. Her fear of touching into this old emotional pain had her frozen and shut down. Now this frozen energy became available to her. Before she explored this trigger, her reaction to friends and neighbors who used demeaning labels toward others had been to shut down and withdraw. But now, she was willing to face the pain rather than hide from it. She gradually found herself taking this issue on as a cause. So, whenever someone used demeaning or snarky language toward “the other side,” she would share how this impacted her, saying something like, “You know I have been on the receiving end of a lot of insulting labels in my childhood, being Mexican in a mostly White community, so this bothers me when you talk this way. I’d rather hear something specific about this person—something they actually did or said and how that affected you. I really want to know what you think and feel. I just have trouble when I hear insulting labels like idiot or ignorant without any real data. I don’t know what they did or said that you’re referring to.”
I think Rita’s story illustrates how helpful it can be to get to the bottom of your trigger reaction, so you can use what’s happening all around you as a doorway to deeper self-knowledge and self-compassion. But perhaps even more important is how, after she learned to feel her hurt rather than deny it, she became less self-righteous toward the friends and neighbors who had triggered her. Instead of shutting down and gossiping to me and her husband (people she already felt safe with) about these people, she felt empowered and emboldened to speak up. In her own way and in her own social circles, she became a leader and a champion for constructive political discourse—a way of speaking that relies on sharing real data about what really happened and does not use polarizing language, name-calling, and put-downs.

Upcoming Events

Getting Real: The Power of Conscious Communication  

A covid-safe in-person weekend workshop with Susan Campbell [Everyone will be screened with an interview; we will be 6 feet or more apart at all times, using masks; group limited in size to assure safe distancing]

September 12-13, 2020  10am-5pm both days

Cost: $350

“You can only be as honest as you are self-aware.”

GETTING REAL teaches 10 truth skills that make you a more present, aware, spontaneous, authentic communicator. Most people have fears and insecurities which interfere with being fully present and honest. These insecurities can be healed. If you learn to put your attention on your here-now experience, rather than trying to control the outcome of your communications, you discover the real source of personal power, love, and inner security.

In this workshop, you will learn how to:

•   communicate with presence, authenticity, and spontaneity (even when you feel fear about it)

•   be aware of how you impact others

•   clear the air and keep it clear

•   repair rifts in trust and connection after a misunderstanding

•   keep your present relationships free of accumulated unfinished business

•   come back to being present after your fear-buttons have gotten pushed

•   communicate from the deepest parts of yourself—so you can be truly heard and accepted

•   notice and free yourself of all the ways you “go on automatic” as you communicate or listen

•   replace these “control patterns” with honest, spontaneous self-expression

•   recognize all the various disguises that mask the “need to control”

•   ask for what you want without being controlling

•   say “no” or mark your boundaries with compassion and sensitivity

•   embrace and value the silences in human communication

•   heal past trauma and unprocessed pain

•   communicate about difficult topics in ways that foster deep intimacy and trust

The workshop is intended for people who want to join with like-minded others to explore honesty as a spiritual awareness practice, getting to the essential self that is beyond conditioned fears, beliefs, and control patterns. Emphasis will be on developing communication skills and relationship practices that you can take home and integrate into your daily life.

Cost: $350

Time/date: September 12-13, 2020 (Sat-Sun), 10am-5pm both days

Location: Sebastopol, CA, one hour north of San Francisco (directions to follow registration)

REGISTER NOW: Call (707) 829-3646 or email:

Led by: Psychologist Susan Campbell has worked as a relationship coach for over 50 years. A former professor at the University of Massachusetts, she is author of 11 books on relationships and communication. Her website is

Coach Training Webinar: Using the 10 Getting Real Truth Skills in Coaching

 A 6-week webinar for new and experienced coaches with Susan Campbell, Ph.D., author of GETTING REAL and other titles
Time: 6  consecutive Thursdays, beginning October 1, 2020, noon-1 pm Pacific time (3-4 pm Eastern time), and ending Nov 5.

Cost: $300 (visa, paypal, and mastercard accepted)

To register or get more info, call or email Susan at (707) 829-3646 or

You will learn and practice how to use the 10 Getting Real Truth Skills to:
-help clients develop their ability to be with emotional discomfort in a way that fosters healing triggers and trauma
-work skillfully with clients’ resistances to change
-help clients distinguish core feelings from reactive feelings
-help clients distinguish reactive stories from authentic experience
-use your perceptions and feelings as useful data in a coaching relationship
-use your feelings and responses to a client to further your own inner development and self-awareness—thus, refining yourself as an instrument for positive change
-help clients heal unfinished emotional business
-help clients develop their capacity for inner witnessing
-help clients develop self-compassion

You will also learn how to integrate these tools into your existing coaching style and repertoire.

You will be given homework assignments to practice with a homework buddy on a separate phone call during the week.  This will require an additional hour per week of your time.

All calls will be recorded and archived on the web, so you can re-listen to calls or hear a call if you have to miss a session.

Some people take this training simply for their own personal development, even if they do not plan to do coaching as a profession. These people are welcome to join.

Honesty Salon in Webinar Format 

In Sept and Oct, I will offer a six-session Honesty Salon in webinar format (zoom). It is scheduled for 6 consecutive Thursdays, 4-5 pm Pacific time, beginning Sept 24.

Cost is $200 for the 6 sessions. An Honesty Salon is a small group experience where we practice the 10 Truth Skills with one another, sharing whatever arises in the present moment. We use a set of simple communication guidelines that assist us in un-hooking from identification with mind chatter and being innocently open to whatever arises.

Between sessions, participants will have the option of meeting in dyads or triads to de-brief and do practice exercises. All sessions will be recorded and archived on a private page, so if you miss a session, the recording will be available to you.

To register or get more information, email me at  If you are interested in this offering, and the announced  time is not convenient, I may be able to change the time.  So please contact me about that at the email address above.

Free Monthly Group Coaching Call, Tuesday August 4

I will be hosting my free Getting Real group coaching call Tuesday, August 4, 4-5pm Pacific time.  We use a telephone conference line. To get on the conference line  from the US or Canada call (712) 770-4010 and then enter pin number 781976 (plus #).

On this month’s call, I will respond to everyone’s questions re problems you encounter in your interpersonal, family, or peer group relationships. I will also encourage dialogue about how people have been triggered by the world situation. As I address your questions, I will invite sharing from the group regarding your best practices for dealing with relationship problems. These calls always involve lively discussion and deep sharing. I hope you will join in.

To call in from the UK, dial: 44-330-998-1227 (local access number)

To call in from Germany, dial: 49-209-8829-4402 (local access number)

From France: 33-1-7890-0674

From Australia: 61-2-8077-0511

To find other local access numbers outside the US, contact

Replay Available 

If you miss the call and would like to access the recording, call (712) 770-4019 and then enter pin number 781976 (plus #).

Getting Real Card Games Available at Amazon

I am happy to announce that both the Getting Real Card Game and the Truth in Dating Card Game are now available to buy at

The link for Truth in Dating is:

And the link for Getting Real is:

Please help me out by going to these links and either ordering a game or posting a review. Amazon reviews really help.

The 10 Truth Skills You Need to Live Authentically

Here is a summary of the 10 truth skills detailed in the book, Getting Real. For those of you familiar with my latest book, Five-Minute Relationship Repair, you may see that that entire book is about truth skill #6, Taking Back Projections. This is such a complex and often difficult-to-master truth skill. So I thought it deserved a whole book. 

Now here’s the list:

1. Experiencing what is  You have a felt body-based sense of your present feelings and sensations. You can notice and not identify with your judgments, projections, and interpretations.

2. Being transparent  You can disclose to others what you are feeling, sensing, imagining, or saying to yourself—with the simple aim of “knowing and being known,” free of the need to explain or defend.

3. Knowing your intent  You can consciously reflect on the intent of your communication. Is it to relate or to control? Are you revealing yourself in the interest of transparency or are you managing and strategizing in order to avoid discomfort?

4. Asserting what you want and don’t want  You can express a desire clearly and impactfully, without expecting to get everything you ask for. You mark boundaries when you need to.

5. Thriving on feedback  You are open and curious about others’ impressions and reactions to you.  This is different from being dependent on others’ reactions.

6. Taking back projections  You know how to learn from situations where your buttons or “favorite fears” get triggered. You can differentiate your fear-stories from what really happened.

7. Revising an earlier statement  You can re-visit an interaction if your feelings change or if you discover later that you have mis-spoken or were on automatic. You can say, “If I had it to do over….”

8. Holding differences  You can hear and empathize with someone else’s feeling or viewpoint while at the same time holding a different feeling or viewpoint. You can “be with” the tension of holding both in your awareness at once.

9. Sharing mixed emotions  You can communicate your multiple feelings about an issue or situation, e.g. You may wish to clear the air with someone while also fearing that your words might feel hurtful to the other.

10. Embracing silence  You can allow some space after you have spoken. You do not fill in the space with explanation or justification. You can experience the nonverbal emanations in the silences during a conversation.  You can tolerate uncertainty, ambiguity, not knowing.

Practicing these skills brings you to a deep and abiding sense of serenity, presence, and compassion. These three words that describe the qualities that we begin to embody when we practice Getting Real.

Recommended Posts

No comment yet, add your voice below!

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *