Meet WE Magazine for Women’s January Woman on a Mission, Dr. Patricia O’Gorman, Author, Psychologist and Public Speaker
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do professionally.
I am a psychologist, coach, and public speaker known for my warm and inspirational talks. My work with women and children of alcoholics, focusing on trauma, is especially gratifying. I’m also a writer; I am the author or coauthor of nine books, including The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power, and my latest, The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power. I’ve held executive positions for non-profits and government agencies in substance abuse treatment and prevention, child welfare, and victim’s rights. Currently I’m on three Boards that range from the NYS Coalition Against Sexual Assault to the Advisory Board for an organization I helped to create: The National Association of Children of Alcoholics.
What do you enjoy most about your profession and why did you choose it in the first place? What was the inspiration for your company/project?
I have always loved being connected to others, which naturally led me to be a psychologist. I’ve also had a passion for trying to help others avoid needless pain, which has led me to speaking and to writing journal articles and books. I enjoy seeing women clinically and helping them stop getting in their own way. Yes, we get in our own way.
As women, we face many obstacles, but our own negative self-talk shouldn’t be one of them. That is what inspired me to label the toxic inner dialogue that is so uniquely feminine as girly thoughts.
Tell us about any new projects you have coming up.
My 9th book, The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan just released 10.28.14. Here I give a name to that toxic inner dialogue so common to women and help them identify and detoxify from specific thoughts that distract them from their goals in life. I call that negative self-talk girly thoughts.
In The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan, I guide women first in detoxing from their girly thoughts in the intimate areas of their life—how to ease negative thinking about body image, sex, needing a man to feel worthwhile, and the pressure to stay forever young—and then move on to detoxing from their girly thoughts in their daily life—how to star at work, take control of their money, and be the mother they would like to be.
I’m now working on my 10th book, A Man’s Guide to Girly Thoughts, which is slated for 2015. Why a book for men? Every man who hears about my girly thoughts detox wants a companion piece to help him understand the women in his life, so he can be supportive in a way that is truly helpful to the women in his life from his girlfriend, to his mother, wife, daughter, even co-workers, instead of feeling he is not doing it right. I want to give men a term to use with the women in their lives– girly thoughts, when they see a woman: selling herself short, doubting her abilities, defeating herself before she begins. I want men to know that they can support the resilience of the women they care about by helping women identify what gets in the way — their toxic, self-defeating inner dialogue which I’ve namedgirly thoughts. I’m inviting men and women to share any thoughts and questions they’d like to see included; contact me atwww.patriciaogorman.com
Professionals have been asking for an adaptation of my work specifically for the treatment community. Out Your Girly Thoughts and Embrace Your Strength: An Eight-Step, Resilience-Building Curriculum will be available in 2015.This is a curriculum I am developing for women in management, and for women in treatment for eating disorders, substance abuse, trauma, and mental health disorders that focuses on the link between girly thoughts and these very specific issues that target women. An adaptation focusing on prevention is also available for younger women.
I invite treatment or prevention sites interesting in reviewing my proposal or in beta testing the curriculum to contact me atwww.patriciaogorman.com.
What is a typical day like for you?
I see (mostly women) patients and try to help them navigate through the challenges that we face as women with families, with jobs, as we also try to have a personal life that prioritizes being healthy.
I’m astounded by how often I use the term girly thoughts for this toxic inner dialogue that we women have. Just this week I gave the same response to both the executive director of an organization who wanted to go on for graduate work but felt she couldn’t handle the math in an MBA, and a 15-year old patient who wants to study art because she doesn’t think she is good in math: Your girly thoughts are telling you that you’re no good with numbers, and this is one of the specific girly thoughts I address in my book, The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan.
I walk my dog, enjoying the fresh air of the rural community in which I live. I love to cook, especially when I can create a meal using whatever ingredients I have at home. I love socializing—speaking with my children, catching up with friends, and spending time with my husband. To relax…? I love to read.
Tell us about your community involvement – what you are passionate about outside of work and home and why/how you participate?
I love to give back to other women, for often it has been other women who have positively shaped me. I use my experiences in life to help me support and positively change the lives of others:
o I have recently joined the Board of the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NYCASA), to help raise awareness of how devastating sexual assault is and to urge that resources be devoted to this crime that usually targets women and girls. Instead of just being angry at how women are abused, I’m channeling my outrage and taking action.
o I volunteer as a mentor to other women professionals through The Women’s Leadership Mentorship Program supported by the NYS Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers Association (ASAP).
o The resilience I developed in growing up in a family with alcoholism has led me to devote considerable time and attention to the impact of addiction on families. I am a co-founder of the National Association of Children of Alcoholics (NACOA), a nationwide advocacy group where I still serve on the Advisory Board.
o I also serve as Chairperson of the Advisory Committee of Horses Healing Hearts (HHH), a supportive equine preventative program for children of alcoholics in Wellington, Florida.
And not only do I exercise my passions though my board memberships and speaking on these issues in community forums, but I also exercise my voice. I sing in two choirs. And I take care of my soul through meditation and prayer.
What is the biggest risk you ever took professionally and/or the biggest obstacle you have overcome?
There have been so many risks at different times:
· I’ve given speeches as Dr. Pat O’Gorman, and then had to deal with audiences who were looking for the man.
· I was the youngest (at the time) female director of a division in the Public Health Service, a decidedly male club at the time.
· I recently closed down the site of my major private practice to devote more time to writing and to living with my husband after six years of commuting (this was the fourth time we had commuted in our marriage).
My biggest obstacle has always been the same: My doubt that I could do “it,” despite the many times I had succeeded in the past. In this way I’m no different from so many other women who find it a challenge to know they are successful. This is why I developed the termgirly thoughts: so we could all have a name for this uniquely female experience of how we doubt ourselves and trip ourselves up.
From where do you draw inspiration? Who have been your role models, mentors, etc?
I have always sought out women in my life and have been gifted by having strong women around me. They were the resilient women warriors in my life whom I wanted to be like. My first role models, of course, were my mother and grandmother. As a really little kid I loved watching Dr. Joyce Brothers on TV; with her calm voice and short solutions, she inspired me to be a psychologist and help others. A professor in my undergraduate years, Sophie Elam, was a role model who just did and didn’t ask. She appreciated my risk taking as an undergraduate and encouraged me to go to graduate school. Marty Mann, the first female member of AA, was a mentor I was privileged to work with in my first position after receiving my doctorate; she kept telling me, “Don’t let those boys get away with this!” And the list goes on. I surround myself with supportive women and loving men.
What do you do to keep yourself sharp? What one thing have you done in the past year that has made a significant difference in your life/your business?
I monitor my own girly thoughts, which as we know are a great energy drain and a source of distraction from what we all really want to do. Yes, we all have them. I call them out for what they are so I won’t give them space. With decreasing the stress of my girly thoughts,I sleep better. And because I’m less stressed (even allowing for the added sugar that publishing deadlines are apt to cause), I have less stress eating.
But when stress does come into my life, I use my sense of humor and a technique I’ve developed and wrote about in my book Healing Trauma Through Self-Parenting to keep myself relaxed: the one-minute meditation
I’ve also learned to prioritize what I need, from going to bed early if I need added rest to eating a healthy, light meal.
What one thing would you like to learn this year?
To continue to see life differently and appreciate life’s mysteries and revelations. On a concrete level I’ve decided to learn to read music and play the piano, inspired by a friend who had an old piano she wanted to give away. Funny how life works.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself continuing on this path that I have committed myself to—speaking, writing, enjoying nature, and spending time with those I love.
What do you do for fun/relaxation/entertainment?
I sing, I cook, I walk my dog, hike in nature, visit my children who live in New York City, hang with friends and family. I may take up curling this winter.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
I recently heard an interview with an older woman poet whose name I never caught, but I heard what she said she has learned in life: If you’re not failing you’re not aiming high enough … so aim high!
What’s the best way for the readers of WE Magazine for Women to connect with you?
• Website: www.patriciaogorman.com
• Blog: http://thepowerfulwoman.net
• Twitter: https://twitter.com/drogorman
• LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/patricia- o-gorman-phd/13/414/58/
• Facebook: www.facebook.com/drpatriciaogorman
• Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ drpatriciaogorm/
• 518.891.5601 Office phone