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.

Introducing My New Book, From Triggered to Tranquil

As a therapist and coach over these past 55 years, one of the things that has impacted me most is my observation of how harshly people treat themselves when they see themselves getting upset, angry, triggered, reactive, or overwhelmed. They tell me things like: “I should be over this by now….. I should be more adult or more together….. Reacting like this means there’s something wrong with me…Who could love me when I’m like this?” Hearing comments like these saddens me, but I do understand that this sort of self-critique is part of many peoples’ healing journey. As I see things, any upsetting or painful thought or emotion can be the entry point for inner work. Seeing oneself getting triggered can be an entry point. Seeing self-judgment or fear-thoughts (like the fear of not being good enough) can be an entry point. Comparing yourself unfavorably to others can be an entry point. And so can noticing when you judge others. The list goes on….

Inner Work
So, what is this thing called inner work? Well, the short answer might start with Socrates’ famous dictum to “Know thyself.” To know thyself involves taking time to explore your fears, beliefs, motives, personality habits, childhood conditioning, and other hidden dimensions of the self. It involves developing an inner witness, an aspect of the self that can notice and observe your own inner landscape. And then, beyond self-knowing and self-witnessing, inner work also involves self-development—intentionally aiming to grow beyond the limitations of your childhood and societal conditioning, letting go of false identities and conditioned attachments.

The Call to Inner Work
Now, most people do not begin this inner journey, the hero’s journey, unless something is not working in their life. And this is where emotional triggering or reactivity comes in. The experience of getting triggered gets our attention, alerting us to the fact that something needs to change, develop, or be let go of. And exploring our trigger reactions (along with our reactions to these reactions) is one of the best ways to begin the inner journey to know thyself. Just one triggering incident contains so much information about yourself. It can show you the childhood origins of your current pain or upset. It reveals which of your early attachment needs were not met (e.g. the needs for safety, loving attention, co-regulation, and the like). It can show which parts of yourself got dis-owned or cut off during your formative years (e.g. your ability to freely ask for what you want). And it can reveal how you took on certain protective personality patterns designed to shield you from pain.

Trigger Work
So, the type of inner work I teach is called trigger work. This is the practice of noticing when you get triggered, what behaviors and fears accompany this reaction, and then continuing to explore the inner feelings, sensations, images and memories that arise. Such exploration is done in a way that allows all these things to be gently experienced and held in a way that leads to healing the old fears and protection patterns that give rise to reactivity.

The goal of trigger work is to teach you not to avoid the normal emotional pains of human relating and to use upsets as a doorway to discover where you need healing. I have boiled the whole process down into “the five steps of trigger work.” My new book, From Triggered to Tranquil, is a self-guided program for healing trigger sensitivities through learning to love yourself where it hurts. After you have practiced these five steps for a while, you will find that you are more confident in situations you once avoided, perhaps even trusting that no matter what life deals to you, you can deal with it.

Help Me Spread the Word

I need your help getting some positive reviews of the book on and You can help me by pre-ordering a print copy of the book from Amazon as soon as possible. You can buy it here:

After you do this, let me know by emailing me at, and I will send you an electronic copy of the book right away–so you can read it even before it arrives at booksellers August 31. I will be very grateful to you if you do this!

Upcoming Events

Getting Real: The Power of Conscious Communication  

A weekend in-person workshop with Susan Campbell May 7-8, 2022  10am-5pm both days (yes, 2022. I am only doing one in-person workshop per year now)

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: May 7-8, 2022 (Sat-Sun), 10am-5pm both days

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

REGISTER NOW: Call Susan’s landline, (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: Helping Clients  Work with Trigger Reactions and Control Patterns (via Zoom)

 A 6-week webinar for new and experienced coaches with Susan Campbell, Ph.D., author of GETTING REAL and other titles, using Zoom

Time: 6  consecutive Thursdays, beginning Thursday, September 16, 2021, noon-1:30 pm Pacific time (3-4:30 pm Eastern time), and ending October 21.

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

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

You will learn and practice how to help clients learn to use Susan’s getting real truth skills and trigger work skills. Specifically, you will learn how to:

-create a safe container that welcomes emotional pain as a portal to discovering one’s lost or disowned parts;

-help clients develop their ability to be with emotional discomfort in a way that fosters healing trigger sensitivities and trauma

-work skillfully with resistance

-work skillfully with your most challenging clients

-teach exercises that stretch clients’ capacity for self-compassion

–teach practices that help clients heal unfinished emotional business

–teach practices that help clients develop their capacity for inner witnessing

-use your own authentic feelings and responses in helpful ways—thus, refining yourself as an instrument for positive change

You will be given homework assignments to practice with a homework partner on a separate 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.

Honesty Salon in Webinar Format 

Beginning September 15, I will offer a six-session Honesty Salon in webinar format (zoom). It is scheduled for 6 consecutive Wednesdays, noon-1:15 pm Pacific time, and ending October 20.

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.

Coach Training: Introduction to Getting Real Coaching

I have taken on a student who will do a 5-session coach training mentorship with me this summer. We are looking for one other student who can do sessions with him and share the cost (half of $175/session times 5 sessions=$875USD). The training will take place during the first 3 weeks of July and the first 2 weeks of August between the hours of 10am and 4 pm, Pacific time. The exact time and day of the week will be decided by the three of us. Email me if you are interested in learning more (

Here is the course outline:
Week One: What is the aim in getting real coaching? What types of clients does it work for? And not work for? How to describe it to clients. I do a sample first session with you where we go over where you are now and where you would like to be with respect to some aspect of your personal or professional development. We also learn how to determine the coaching practices (e.g. hot seat work, mindfulness practices) that work best for a particular client.

Week Two: Helping a client assess strengths, weaknesses, personality habits that interfere with their “input, throughput, output” channels. Control Patterns, trigger sensitivities, attachment style. Gathering information via a “case history” about unmet childhood needs and trauma.

Week Three: Helping clients revise inauthentic communication, using some version of The Authenticity Inventory. Learning ways of inserting this intervention into whatever issues the client may be presenting. Assessing a client’s core fears. How to tie the insights gained last week into client’s current authenticity or self-expression issues.

Week Four: The Awareness Continuum; my favorite interventions. Role play and practice with various interventions.

Week Five: Trigger work steps: role play and practice. How to facilitate pausing, self-calming, and compassionate self-inquiry.

Loving Relationships Free Summit

This Friday, May 21, a 40-minute interview with me is being featured during an online summit event called, The Secrets to Powerful Love Relationships. You can watch my interview about TRUTH in DATING for free on that day. You will also get access to interviews with other brilliant speakers.  The summit aims to help partners improve their current relationship and to help those who are single find the fulfilling love they’ve been looking for. Here is the link to register:

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.

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