Psychologist, author, and organizational consultant, Dr. Susan Mecca provides hope, inspiration, and practical strategies for people who are going through a life crisis. She draws from thirty years of working with people in crisis and from her personal experience. Susan’s belief is that we can choose how we will approach the crises in our lives, stay whole and find the potential for personal growth and transformation during the most difficult challenges in our lives.

Susan’s Latest Blog Entries

Coping with Cancer Part II: Handling the Hard and Scary Stuff

It’s always exciting to be a guest writer on someone else’s blog. This month, I’m truly honored to be part of Shannon Miller’s Lifestyle online magazine. The article is the second in a series that I’ve written for the woman who is known as America’s Most Decorated Olympic Gymnast and the only woman to be inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame–twice. Shannon was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer in 2011 and has a strong interest in helping others who are facing a battle with cancer. Here is an excerpt from the blog. Click on the link below to access the full article on www.shannonmiller.com. In my first article[1], I shared some ideas about handling the first few days after receiving a cancer diagnosis. In this article, I am sharing some of the strategies that my clients and I have used when dealing with panic, terror, fear, and anxiety that often accompany that diagnosis. As you know, if you are living with cancer, crises bring many difficult, often terrifying moments into our lives. We are stretched beyond our comfort zones, time and again, by the news that we hear or the potential outcomes that we face. Decisions must be made where the choices can be ugly or daunting and no one is available to take the blame if the wrong option is chosen. So, how do you take back your power, when fear is threatening to run your life? Accepting that fear, terror, anxiety, panic WILL happen during this crisis is the first step in reclaiming your power.  Once you acknowledge this fact, you have lessened... read more

3 Brené Brown quotes that moved me from fear of rejection into action

An old fear monster has been hanging out in my brain a lot these last few months. I have an inspiring, well-written and edited book available for publication (The Gift of Crisis: Finding your best self in the worst of times). There even is a proposal ready to be sent, should a literary agent or publisher be interested. Yet, I have been dragging my feet (procrastinating, “alternatively productive,” busy with client work…. ie. scared) about taking the next step—sending out letters to potential agents. My rational brain knows that a rejection letter wouldn’t mean my book is unworthy of publication. Literary agents are not infallible when it comes to picking potential best sellers. I know this is true because I Googled it (20 Famous Authors Who Were Rejected). And it certainly wouldn’t indicate that I am not good enough (the current old fear at play here). In fact, logical thinking continues to point out that Brené Brown (best selling author of some amazing books on vulnerability and finding our courage) had her first book turned down by literary agents and publishers. And while this takes the whole “they know more than I do about my book’s worthiness” pretty much off the table, it hasn’t been enough to move me into action. The part of me who still carries the old fears about not being good enough has been stalling, hoping for an easier (read: highly affirming/rejection free) path to publication. The other day, while listening to a podcast by Elizabeth Gilbert (author of “Eat, Pray, Love” and “Big Magic”) and Brené Brown on creativity and whole-hearted living, I found... read more

10 Lessons From Mothering a Teenager through Cancer

(Note: This article was recently published in Elephant Journal. Please click on the link below to access the full article)     In late September 2005, my sixteen-year-old son, Nick, sat down next to me on the couch and told me that he thought he had testicular cancer. Knowing that Nick had a streak of hypochondriac in him, I was convinced he was being overly dramatic about some swelling in his groin. I was wrong. Nick was diagnosed with pre-cursor B cell lymphoma and put on a two-year protocol of chemotherapy. In a single, mind-numbing moment, our family’s priorities, conversations and just about everything else in our daily lives shifted to a single-minded focus on the survival of our child. Our family went from one who barely used aspirin and Benadryl to one that had chemo drugs on the dinner table. It was a world no one wanted to enter and, yet, there we were—unwilling travelers on a bus ride in Hell. Parenting a child through a life threatening illness is both scary and exhausting. Paradoxically, it is also a petri dish for rapid personal growth. The lessons that it taught me were often adopted reluctantly, with teeth gritted in resistance to their wisdom. But ultimately, what I learned changed me then and continues to guide my life today. Here is what those years on the bus showed me: 10 Lessons from Mothering a Teenager Through... read more

Surviving Your New Year’s Resolutions

Surviving Your New Year’s Resolutions Like many people, I enjoy setting resolutions for the coming year–even though I never achieve them perfectly. Earlier in life I judged myself harshly for any slip-ups in keeping those resolutions—believing that breaking one was a clear sign of my lack of will power (or character defect, depending on how badly I felt about the mess up). You see, I had bought into a perfectionist view of the world—the one where only the flawless are considered worthy of attention or love. Any mistake, I believed, took me off the “lovable” list immediately and made the possibility of being loved for who I really was (human and imperfect) a very chancy prospect. It’s not true about New Year’s resolutions and it’s not true about Life. We don’t have to perform this dance with life faultlessly to be worthy of love. We are likely going to screw up, even if we have the best strategies, painstakingly laid out, to achieve our goals. I’m not being pessimistic—actually, I’m an irrepressible optimist. After all these years of imperfection completion, I still set resolutions. During this last year, as I was following a very wobbly path to unconditional self-love, I discovered an important truth that changed how I see life, and even more, how I approach New Year’s Resolutions. Here it is: Self-love is not about learning to love yourself despite your imperfections. It’s about recognizing that you are  lovable–including your flaws. It’s a bit of a game changer if you sit with this idea for a few minutes. Those of us who have been using New Years resolutions... read more

Control, Chaos and Trust

I hit that magical 60th birthday in July this year and, since my family tends to stay active until their 80s and 90s, figure I have at least 25 years of productive living in front of me. That recognition has birthed a couple questions that seem to run through my head a lot—“If not now, when?” and, with apologies to Mary Oliver, “What else do you want to do with this one wild and precious life?” Those questions have led me to thinking about the obstacles I continue to stumble over in my life. These are the personality traits and well-entrenched behavioral tendencies that ride herd on my dreams and plans, slowing them down, often to a standstill. For me they are self-doubt, fear, perfectionism, and an obdurate* tendency to want to tell the Universe how to run things. While I can claim some genetic predisposition to this last trait (family members, you know who you are) I think it has more to do with a fear that if I don’t stay on top of what is going on around me, bad stuff will happen. Those of you who know a bit about my life (http://drsusanmecca.com/dr-susan-mecca-bio/) know that this is both illogical and a bit comical. Given what has happened in my last decade alone, apparently I’m really bad at running things, the Universe isn’t listening, or the Universe dances to a much more complex set of variables than I am capable of understanding or orchestrating. I’m inclined to believe the latter. I also used to believe that playing Universe Hall Monitor would make me more love-worthy. Preventing potential crises seemed... read more

 “Interview with Rachel Lang”

I recently was interviewed on Blissen Up with Rachel Lang. Rachel and I spoke about some spiritual and practical strategies that can help you navigate through a crisis as challenging as cancer.