Getting Past Your Past – the blog! is an extension of the How To Get Past Your Past (GPYP) program.*
GPYP is about making your life the BEST it can be. GPYP is about healing your wounds, past and present, and becoming happy, healthy, wealthy and successful. It is about finding life, love and happiness. It is about making ALL your dreams come true and reaching for the stars because you CAN have it all.
Life is NOT what happens to you but what you make happen.
GPYP is a systematic program that teaches you to address issues of the past while doing concrete, affirmative exercises in the present in order to change your life for a successful future.
The program is structured in a way to expand your comfort zones and frame of reference in a systematic way so that change not only happens but it is PERMANENT.
The techniques and exercises are based on cognitive, behavioral and psychodynamic psychology as well as mourning theory, attachment theory, 12-step programs and some Eastern philosophies (such as mindfulness) and techniques. The techniques and exercises are designed to work as a system so that change is balanced and therefore, permanent.
GPYP is a system of “observation, preparation and cultivation” that continually reinforces positive change using thinking, feeling, and behaving in the present as well as addressing past issues that influence today’s thinking, feeling and behaving.
GPYP materials are available as audio, in seminars, and speaking engagements.
*GPYP is a unique program designed and developed by Susan Elliott over the course of 18 years and is NOT affliated with, associated with or the same as the book Getting Past Your Past published in 2000 by Susan Wilkinson.
Susan J. Elliott owns the Getting Past Your Past domain name (http://www.GettingPastYourPast.com) as well as Getting Past Your Breakup domain name and operates GPYP seminars and events under Getting Past Your Past Productions.
About Susan J. Elliott:
Susan J. Elliott, M.Ed., J.D, is a certified grief counselor, motivational speaker, attorney, blogger, and has been helping clients heal from grief and loss since 1995. She is the author of the best-selling ”Getting Past Your Breakup: How To Turn A Devastating Loss Into The Best Thing That Ever Happened to You” and has given expert commentary and interviews in print, and on radio and television including Women’s Health Magazine, Glamour Magazine, Seventeen Magazine, several national newspapers and local and nationally syndicated radio and television news shows.
GPYB was chosen as the top breakup book of 2009 by Yahoo! Shine and About.com and has won 2 international book awards. Her blog has received numerous awards and has received ranking at various times as the number one health and wellness blog in the relationship category.
of her background she writes:
I began life as a foster child in the Bronx, and was adopted into an alcoholic and abusive home. As a teenager, I gravitated to abusive people and dangerous situations and never thought I could overcome this grim beginning. From my first boyfriend at the age of 12 to walking out of my first marriage, I was in abusive relationships and never thought I would be with anyone but unhealthy people.
In 1987, with no job, no sense of purpose, no self-esteem, and 3 small children in tow, I ended a horrible marriage.
I felt like the world’s biggest loser, convinced that I did not have what it would take to make it on my own.
I was depressed, anxious and overcome with a sense of dread. But I started to change things. I went to therapy and support groups.
Desperate to raise my children right and to break the cycle of abuse, I had to find out what made a person healthy and then I had to do whatever I needed to in order to be healthy.
I worked hard to put together a life and to deal with all that happened to me in a healthy and functional way.
For years I worked through my past to put together a successful life. I not only participated in many different groups and programs on a personal level but started to learn how to help others. I became a certified Grief Recovery (sm) counselor and an Investment in Excellence facilitator.
When my life was on an even keel, I returned to school for my Masters in Counseling Psychology. I had been in therapy and support groups for about 7 years at the time and had read a lot of pop psychology. But now in graduate school, my goal was to understand how people changed and how that change becomes permanent.
I put together a program for my clients to address long-term and short-term issues while changing their attitudes and behaviors.
During my graduate program, I worked two semesters as an intern at a long term drug and alcohol treatment facility. Using everything I had learned, I developed a “Freedom from Relapse” class. It was an optional class for the residents and it started out in a large room with only 3 clients attending. Within a few weeks, it was standing room only.
Many of the treatment center clients were habitual offenders and hard core drug addicts who were court ordered into the program and were facing lengthy prison terms if they relapsed. Many of them had relapsed time and time again and really didn’t have any hope that they could stay straight once and for all. By the end of the semester long class, the residents were lining up at the end of class to thank me for the work I did with them or to share the “lightbulb” moment they had had in class.
During that first successful class, I observed that the residents who worked the program in conjunction with the psychodynamic work they were doing in individual therapy and 12 step programs changed in amazing ways. These were addicts who had been on the street hustling or committing crimes most of their life and I saw amazing changes in them as they worked on the emotional, the behavioral and the cognitive.
Their hard work and dedication to turning their lives around inspired me and I continued to research and develop the material I used in that first class.
If hard core drug addicts could use the cognitive-behavioral material combined with working through their past and unresolved grief to avoid relapse, and I could use it to change my completely screwed-up life, then I was convinced that anyone could use it to their benefit. Much of the material I used in my own life and to develop that first class is now a part of the GPYP program.
Another important part of the GPYP program is recovering from loss. When I was in graduate school I was fortunate enough to study with John James of The Grief Recovery Institute and to be certified as a Grief Recovery (GriefRecovery® ) counselor. I wrote my Master’s Thesis on Grief and Adoptees: A Handbook for Mental Health Professionals and researched mourning theory and attachment theory (Bowlby/Ainsworth). I attended several Stephen Levine workshops and began to incorporate mindfulness and meditation into my work.
After I graduated from my master’s program, I worked as an Emergency Services Psychiatric Clinician specializing in assisting people in crisis. I also developed a private practice as a family therapist and as a grief counselor, taught motivational seminars, facilitated women’s support groups and gave many talks and lectures on changing your life permanently.
Using my personal experience as well as years of academic research, I developed GPYP as a way to present the very best of what works.
While helping others achieve their goals and dreams, I began to understand that several goals of mine had been unrealized.
I had always wanted to become a lawyer but how does a kid from a blue collar family in the Bronx achieve that dream? I didn’t even know WHERE one began to become a lawyer.
I also wanted a degree in English and had never gotten it. I always felt that a degree in English was self-indulgent and unnecessary, but I couldn’t seem to shake it. Somehow I wanted it. People said it was a “piece of paper” and I had a career already. But it was a piece of paper that mattered to me.
How could I tell people to be what they want to be and NOT do it myself?
There came a day when I could not. I had to leave my practice and my jobs and even where I lived to attend to my own hopes and dreams as I encouraged others to do. It was exciting but VERY VERY scary.
First I went back to school to get my degree in English. I wrote my undergraduate theory on Mourning in Contemporary American Literature analyzing three significant works (Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, Ceremony by Leslie Silko, and Final Payments by Mary Gordon) through the lens of mourning. One part of it, without footnotes, is available here:
Theory of Mourning. The thesis was awarded High Honors.
I went to a good school (another dream fulfilled!) and graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa and went to my dream law school, UC Berkeley. My law school thesis was called Payne, Mourning and the Sweet Hereafter which examined the 8th Amendment cases (Payne specifically) and a film (the Sweet Hereafter), victims rights and, continuing to build on my academic writing portfolio on grief, the place of grief in the legal system.
I then came back to New York City, my hometown, to practice law. (all these dreams fulfilled!)
But after I came back home, I realized that I could not just let “Getting Past Your Past” go. From my less-than-fortunate beginning, I had spent the last 18 years making all my dreams come true. By changing myself and working hard, I had become everything I wanted to be. I had realized every single dream. I had a wonderful life full of wonderful relationships. I made a lot of money and I lived where I wanted to live. This was the American Dream especially from where I come from.
I spent most of my first 30 years feeling abandoned and worthless…feeling that no one cared…being abused and thinking that I was the world’s doormat.
Now I was successful.
I was happy, healthy, wealthy and wise.
I thought: I have amazing relationships with my children. I am happily remarried to a man who loves me unconditionally. My life WORKS! From where I come from, this is all amazing!
But I couldn’t just enjoy the success and let that be that.
There were people out there–hurting people–who needed to hear the hope and the positive message, but most of all they needed the systematic GPYP program to show them HOW to do it.
I started teaching GPYP seminars and classes in New York City in 2007 and the feedback was great. I received a lot of email from my students and couldn’t quite keep up. First I started a newsletter and quickly fell behind on that so I started a blog. I expected that only my seminar students would visit and that I would get a handful of hits a week.
Shortly after I started “GPYP – The Blog!”, I posted an entry called “Getting Past Your Breakup” and it became the most popular post on the blog and remains so, having been read over FIFTY THOUSAND TIMES!
I received HUNDREDS of emails about it so I wrote “More Getting Past Your Breakup” and soon the focus of the blog became how to survive a breakup.
The blog is cited on many other blogs and websites and I receive new visitors daily.
People started asking for “the book” but I didn’t have one. After a year of getting letters about it, I put together a book proposal, managed to land an agent with one of New York’s top literary agencies (Fine Print Literary Management) and found a great publisher: Da Capo Press. I’m just thrilled with this!
I’ve had the opportunity to meet my blog readers at seminars and it has been a wonderful experience! The blog has been just the greatest gift in my life and is taking me places I NEVER thought I’d be!
I am SO glad you are all here and am honored to help you through difficult times. Believe me that it CAN be done!
I love being here because people were there for me when I needed them.
I continue the program even though its a challenge to teach the seminars, accept speaking engagements and write the books while practicing law full-time.
The book was published in May 2009 and once it was published I was invited to do what seemed a whirlwind tour of publicity and expert commentary. I’ve been asked to be a commentator for print articles, and have appeared on dozens of radio and TV shows including national news and talk shows.
I have a commitment to sharing what I know to as many people as I can…because I was in the deep, dark horrible place with no hope and thought there was no way out…and I needed to hear hope from others. I needed to have someone share their wisdom with me. And so today I put myself out there as an example of hope, that you CAN do it…and here is how.
I do it because I want to be there for people who need it. I BELIEVE IN THIS because it works. It didn’t work for me because I am somehow unique. I am not. It worked for me because it works. GPYP works.
I am a attorney, therapist, writer, seminar leader and motivational speaker. Most of all, I have gotten past my past and live a contented, peaceful life where I know who I am and like who I am.
I hope you find something here of value. Please feel free to write me with comments, questions, criticism or thoughts. My email has gotten so heavy as a result of the blog’s popularity but I try to answer within a few weeks. If I don’t send me a reminder please.
My Credentials: I hold a B.A. in English from Mount Holyoke College; an M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology from Cambridge College; and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. I am a certified grief counselor through the Grief Recovery Institute.