5 Innovative, Forward Thinkers Against Internet Crime

So we’ve all heard the horrific stories, the loss of life, depression, fear, and humiliation that can become the result of internet crimes specifically, cyber-bullying, harassment, and stalking.

cyberbullying teensAnd hopefully we have all done our little piece to create a different culture (one of safety and respect) in cyberspace.  As a psychologist I have written many blogs, appeared on national television, and counseled countless parents and children on this topic.

Dr. Renee cyberbullying ABC News Part 1

Dr. Renee cyberbullying Part 2 ABC News

Dr. Renee’s CyberSpace Pledge for Parents and Children

-Might I say, I have seen a lot, heard a lot…this is what I do.

C&FblogHowever I was very impressed with what I saw yesterday at a charity event for Utterly Global Youth Empowerment.  After speaking with the Founders, Carol Blank and Lorrie Sanchez, I learned that Utterly Global has a cyber-bully prevention program that begins in Pre-school and continues through adolescence.

Utterly Global Youth Empowerment

NOW THIS IS EXCITING!  Why you ask?  Well research shows that most bully prevention programs that are conducted in schools are not effective. Why? Because they are time limited, and the (alleged) bullies are usually not motivated to change their behaviors (or even recognize their behaviors).  Basically, attempts to rehabilitate those who might have already become bullies is much harder than PREVENTING youth from becoming bullies in the first place.  AND this is what I LOVE about the curriculum developed by Carol and Lorrie!  It is a developmental approach beginning when kids are young!  Yes- BEFORE they even know about SnapChat and Instagram, we can begin to teach them social skills around cyberspace.


And to the Five INNOVATIVE, FORWARD THINKING LADIES WHO HOSTED THE CHARITY EVENT YESTERDAY: WELL DONE!  Let us keep moving forward until we find solutions, educate, bring awareness, and change legislation.  No More Lives Lost! Thank you!

Photo credit: Joyce Brooks

Utterly Global Founder, Carol Blank, Lauren Lawrence, Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin,Michelle-Marie Heinemann and Utterly Global Founder, Lorrie Sanchez.  photo by:  joyce brooks

Carol Blank (Founder), Lauren Lawrence(Host), Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin (Host), Michelle-Marie Heinemann (Goodwill Global Ambassador), Lorrie Sanchez (Founder)

Utterly Global Founder, Carol Blank, Lauren Lawrence, Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin,
Utterly Global’s Goodwill Ambassador, Michelle-Marie Heinemann and
Utterly Global Founder, Lorrie Sanchez – See more at: http://blacktiemagazine.com/society_march_2014/Utterly_Global.htm#sthash.jsyT6i4z.dpuf
Utterly Global Founder, Carol Blank, Lauren Lawrence, Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin,
Utterly Global’s Goodwill Ambassador, Michelle-Marie Heinemann and
Utterly Global Founder, Lorrie Sanchez – See more at: http://blacktiemagazine.com/society_march_2014/Utterly_Global.htm#sthash.jsyT6i4z.dpuf


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A response to senseless school shootings

December, 14, 2012

Dear friends,

I grieve with all of you. I will try my best to offer some healing as we get more details about this horrific tragedy. Many have asked for tips on speaking to children. It is difficult when the pain is so raw and the emotions still so fresh. Please know that these tips are NOT for people who are directly affected or live in Connecticut. Please contact me directly if you are in that category.

For the rest of us I humbly offer what I will be doing in my own home:

1) Keep kids away from the television. Media outlets tend to give us emotions and raw emotions…it is not what your children need to see.

2) Children are on a “Needs to Know Policy” be honest without details and be developmentally appropriate.

3) Be on the look out for trauma responses in your children and notify a professional for help if they are evident (avoiding school, wanting to know more information than necessary, unusually fearful, problems sleeping, avoidant behavior in general.)

4) They can sense fear and sadness in your eyes..our goal is to help them feel safe…sometimes parenting requires our best acting skills. I tell my clients to practice talking like a news reporter…calm…just stating facts. Do what you do to help your kids feel safe.

5) Try to help them feel there is still someone in charge and in control. Kids depend on us to protect and control situations (even when unfortunately we cannot control and protect them everywhere.) Highlight the ways adults are working to protect children and will do so even more now (ie. the president, law officials, etc.) Even if you don’t believe that, you must give this message to your children. We cannot pass on our feelings (mine included) of “what has the world come to.”

Remember they will hopefully be in this world longer than us. So we need express that there is order, and protection, and authorities will work together on this incident.

6) Lastly, PRAYER AND FAITH. If you practice a religion/spiritual practice in your home, now is the time to call on God. Teaching children that FAITH is important and that what is too hard for humans, is not too hard for God. Hope this helps some….again I am very humbly presenting what will happen in my household.

Wishing you all healing…..Renee

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The Family Playground: Bullish on Compassion, Concern and Gratitude

As I am pondering the huge example we set for our kids in what we say and do, and how that impacts the dramas played out in their school playgrounds, I had the opportunity to tag along on a Girl Scout trip that my daughter attended.  It was my daughter’s first trip to a soup kitchen and I was so happy that I was able to attend with her.  I watched proudly, as my daughter, the same one who the night before asked me to buy her $200. One Direction concert tickets, showed concern, compassion, and most of all greatfulness for her life.
Yesterday I watched Dr. Phil on The View as he discussed bullying and it’s effects on kids.  He rightfully discussed that we need to start looking at the parents of bullies, not just offering suggestions to the teachers or to the bully. He then began a discussion that I agree with and referenced in an article I wrote entitled, “Bully Prevention Starts at Home” published in the Port Times Record. In this article I jokingly tease parents with a kiddish phrase, “It’s your turn”…in that schools, experts, etc. are doing their job…as parents we need to do our job as well. We need to be bullish on the attributes we want to instill in our children. Dr. Phil discussed the opposite and how parents and families can actually breed bullying type behaviors. I agree.
I was proud when my daughter raised her hand and asked the soup kitchen volunteer, “What about the weekend?,” in response to becoming aware of soup kitchen hours which were limited hours on weekdays.  “She gets it,” I thought to myself.  I then I thought about how my own mother had taken me to soup kitchens, and how I had served meals, and participated in organizations that gave back to the community.  And I thought to myself, Compassion, Concern, Gratitude, these too are playgrounds. How the game of life is played fairly, with concern for the well-being of all, how we teach this to our kids. How we teach what Fair Play feels like to all concerned.
My own mother planted these seeds in me, and now they are being passed along.  So while this stuff might sound simple, and easy, I challenge us all to be CEO’s of ourselves and ask what kind of playgrounds are we preparing in our homes, child rearing and relationships.  Do we show compassion, gratitude and concern? Do we complain, always want more or grumble? What do our kids observe us doing?  What are we encouraging by our own reactions and behaviors? What behaviors are we rewarding and how? What about the weekend? What is the mood on our family playground? Is it fair? Is it fun? 
Be a CEO for Compassion, Concern and Gratitude. Our kids…and ourselves, we all need this now.
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A Psychologist Works the Red Carpet.

You ask me: Why all these posts on “pretty” and style from a psychologist?

I say: I’ve written before about my own journey from academia into equally valuing the psychology of looking fabulous on the outside as well.  Spring gives us incentive to renew and present our best. As a psychologist, I have been blessed to help many people on “inside” transformations. With life changes come a desire to renew the outside, to reflect new ways of seeing oneself and new confidence, that “inner glow” which I defined in my last post.

I believe in teamwork and integral to my personal support team is my own stylist, Heather Harewood. We recently had a conversation on style, in part because its Spring and in part inspired by my favorite red carpet looks from the recent 2012 Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute Gala in New York, “The East Coast Oscars.” The exhibit is called “Impossible Conversations” between a designer everyone knows, Miuccia Prada and the famous Elsa Schiaparelli from the 1930’s, together revealing that good style can be timeless, fun and mood elevating!

Dr. Renee: Women love specialists and having stylists for hair and nails, trainers for bodies and mechanics for their cars…yet, many don’t even think about working with a stylist. Look at all these women on the red carpet with their designers/stylists as escorts, such as Chanel Iman and Tom Ford! Why should all women think about a stylist as part of their team?

Heather: A stylist is your personal expert on all things fresh and fashionable – she or he offers “head to toe” suggestions and guidance in color, style and accessorizing that are best suited for you.  Whether it be just a few fashion or image adjustments, special event preparations, such as for a red carpet gala or a complete wardrobe revamping – a stylist is your “go to” person for dressing and image support.

Dr. Renee: Look at one of my favorite celebrity moms, Gisele Bundchen, here on the red carpet, she is just beaming! What is the relationship of style confidence to mood?

Heather: I believe the image and style we present reflect who we are at the heart – wearing a great outfit in our most complimentary colors and style makes a statement about who we are before we say a single word. People respond with aspirational stares, favorable comments (often unsolicited) and even with questions on where we shopped.  Positive energy like that feeds your spirit and has “mood altering” implications. Regardless of how you may have felt prior, how could you not feel a boost to your confidence and self perception?

The more confident you continue to feel, the more confidently you dress – giving yourself permission to rock styles that you never thought you would (but you always wanted to.) I always say, I strive to service clients not just for who they are, but also for who they aspire to be.

Dr. Renee: Look at what Joan Smalls wore, a long sleeve mini in the midst of a sea of skin revealing, floor length ballgowns on the red carpet. She looks so comfortable and confident! What are the most common style misconceptions or rules that result in women or men looking or feeling less than optimal?

Heather: I believe we get stuck in ” RULES. ” So often, I hear clients say: “I never wear skirts” or “I don’t do red”, “People my shape should not wear capris” or a myriad of other rules that have invaded our minds, closets and our fitting rooms.  With so many rules, we can find ourselves in the fashion rut of wearing the same styles all the time – How unexciting?  It is imperative that we make style or fashion choices that are specfically suited for each us based on our body type, coloring, fit challenges and fashion goals – this is where partnership with a stylist is key.

Dr. Renee: Transformation. When we think of dramatic red-carpet change, we think Jennifer HudsonWhat is the most dramatic change you’ve seen with a woman who receives styling?

Heather: I have been truly blessed to work with a young lady I will call “Tina.” Her husband “Steve” contacted me almost in tears because he wanted to do something special for her now that she made it through a series challenging medical complications. “Tina” is a nurse and mother and like many of us, invested all of herself in tending to the needs others more than her own. Over the prior year, she had lost over 100 pounds, was depressed and still dressing like the overweight person she had been.  Tina met with me wearing an outfit that was too large and in a color that caused the appearance of dark shadows under her eyes. Within the first 15 minutes of sampling appropriate colors and styles, I could actually feel the “weight” lifting off of “Tina” as she viewed herself in the 3-way mirror. We were ready to begin our journey with a professional bra fitting (she had never had one), moved to work wear and on to weekend “play” wear. We covered a wardrobe of shoes and accessories and topped off the evening with a full blown cosmetic makeover. “Tina” learned how to interchange her clothing as we pulled together different looks. Now when she shops, we need only add in pieces (in the correct sizes) that compliment what she already owns. The transformation was incredible and has truly been my privilege to style her.

Dr. Renee: The impact of a look like January Jones’s yellow Atelier Versace dress can have a woman so inspired, she wants to hire a stylist immediately!  how can can people start to find a stylist that will be a good match for them, what do you recommend?

Heather: First determine what your goals are in pursuing a stylist. What is it you hope a stylist will do for you?

Most major department stores or specilaty stores such as Nordstrom have a Personal Stylist Service – the service is typically complimentary and there is no obligation. Contact your favorite store at their website to request to speak with or to be contacted by a personal stylist. Expect that the stylist will ask questions to learn about you and your style. Be encouraged to ask your own questions that will help you to determine that the stylist you choose is the best fit for your wardrobing goals – it’s okay to be selective if you do not feel “chemistry” with the first person you speak with.

follow Renee on Twitter here  @reneeclauselle

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Pretty is as pretty does

What is pretty? Real life Barbie Dolls look for pretty in their search for beauty through one mirror, made of glass and metal or the glossy pages of magazines…validation from outside and in front. Wellness experts challenge us to see beauty through two mirrors, the one that shows our physical beauty, and the one that is the window to our soul.  Are your insides beautiful?
Last night I had the pleasure of attending a Les Salon event presented by the wonderful Shirley Madhere, a holistic reconstructive and plastic surgeon and Founder of The New Aesthete.  Shirley creates beauty, but in a wholistic way, as she understands that true beauty comes from the inside out.  “Person before procedure” is her motto. She herself is a model of inner and outer beauty.  The Salon featured Jacqueline Wales, author of The Fearless Factor, a life coach and motivational speaker who discussed and encouraged women to live their lives in a full, fearless way. “Come prepared to leave the past behind, ” the invite said.
As I sat and listened to the presentation, I began to think about the journey that I have seen countless women take as they have recognized their own power, essence, beauty.  I  must say guiding women through this journey and watching them fall in love with themselves has been one of the highlights of my career….so rewarding.  I began to recognize that some of the very women who knew how to dress it up, work it out, and always look uber fab, also had uber wounds that were unhealed.  This insight reminds me of the Barbie dolls I played with as a youth; beautiful on the outside, but empty on the inside.  I am reminded of my own journey to find my beauty. Beyond the media, beyond the mirror.
For me it began on a yoga mat when an instructor taught me how to meditate.  I remember sitting in silence trying my best to go inward, trying to feel something…anything, and then suddenly feeling my inner beauty.
I remember that when I first felt it, it brought me to tears, as I had never experienced myself in that way before.  And then I finally understood the saying my beloved mother said often to me as a child, “Pretty is as pretty does.”  Meaning, when you actively recognize, feel and OWN your inner beauty, it produces a confidence, self-awareness, and assuredness that gives you a stunningly beautiful physical presence. You act from that beauty, creating beauty and sharing beauty back to the world. The best part, is that society’s markers of “beauty” are secondary here, in the presence of this kind of joy and peace.
Which brings me to my Barbie doll concept.  Wellness experts like Shirley and myself, are calling women to first address the mirror of their soul, wants, desires, dreams.  First, see if you like what you see in that mirror. And then let your physical beauty be guided by the inner beauty you find.  Pretty is as pretty does? What will you DO today to discover your “pretty” within and without?
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Sleep, a little piece of Heaven

Sleep, a little piece of heaven
40 million of Americans report having trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep. Insomnia has become a chronic concern for many.  On average humans today sleep 20% less than humans did a century ago. And let’s be honest, sleeping too much gets a bad rap, especially in these days when everyone is overworked and overscheduled.  Well today, I am sharing something that I have been reluctant to profess in the past.
I LOVE SLEEPING! I truly love it. 
And at the risk of someone calling or thinking that I was lazy, not a hardworker…and other things, this is a little secret that only my closest friends and family know about me.  Ok, here comes the true admission:  I love mid-day afternoon naps, and will try to sneak one in whenever I can.  I am the self-proclaimed Queen of the Cat Nap.  I am not alone, famous nappers include Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci, Bill Clinton, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Dr. Andrew Weil and Salvador Dali and Einstein, who both used “Slumber with a Key.” Today as I arose from my throne of slumber, I started to think about the reasons, besides the obvious ones, why I love sleep so much.  Yes, I feel rested when I get up, my face is brighter, eyes more perky, but that is not enough to make me looove it.  Then I realized that I love to dream.  Whether it is a full on REM dream, or just a deep relaxation visualization/dream, I love letting my mind play with ideas and thoughts that have not materialized in my reality.

Think about it. My own field of study, Psychology,  is named for the Greek name for a butterfly, Psyche, a creature who births itself by cocooning, and the same word means “the soul.”

Frankly, some of my best ideas have come during dreams. And when that happens I feel like I have touched a little bit of my soul, a little bit of heaven.  It is during sleep, when I get those ideas, those nuggets, those jewels, that seem to come out of nowhere, but are so “right on!” that they awaken me and send me running to the computer.    It is those ideas that confirm that whatever I do, is bigger than me.  In fact, it is not about me at all.  It’s those times that I treasure my sleep and my dreams as a piece of heaven.  So forgive me if I don’t answer the phone mid-day, or I cannot make it for lunch…I am dreaming….see you when I awaken.
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birth business

Birthdays, astrology, start-ups, creativity… the “business of being born” is a passion in popular culture and is primal within our own psychology. Becoming “reborn, rebirthed or reinventing yourself ” is something we all are passionate about and take so much care towards the conditions that we do that under. Birth traumas or triumphs, we have a lot of mental and physical wellness issues here!

With the birth of Spring and my recent viewing of the groundbreaking film, “The Business of Being Born,”

meeting the Producer, Ricki Lake and Director, Abby Epstein,

at the MamaGlow salon series presented by Latham Thomas in NYC, with panelists, designer Rebecca MinkoffThe Mom’s, Denise and Melissa; Lyss Stern of Divalysscious Moms and Dee Poku of WIE Network…led me to think about how “the business of being born” is not only for parents and babies…but all of us Everyday.

My biggest takeways? Birthing, how we each deal with pain and our choices for comfort and support during transitions is most revealing about ourselves.

Every mom had their own definition of “comfort zone” determining their many choices, hospital or at-home birth, all-natural or ceasarians, epidurals to doulas and midwives to water-births…the most important thing is to know that women (all people!) must be free and informed to exercise their choices in birthing.

Think about how the sudden heat forced the birthing of leaves in one day this Spring!

Heat and pain forces openings, just like sudden heat waves. How much “heat” can we take? How we birth moments in our lives is reflective of how we were birthed, our parent’s stress, anticipation, level of surrender, the surroundings, the knowledge or amount of “control” we think we have in a given situation.

What does it take to birth something new? Being good to yourself.  Feel supported.  Let yourself be supported.

In the film, all types of women, including celebrities like Alanis Morissette, Gisele Bundchen, Christy Turlington-Burns, Cindy Crawford, Molly Ringwald, Kimberly Williams-Paisley and Melissa Joan Hart had completely different expectations, desires, planned and unplanned experiences. How much does that apply to everyday?!

Birthing anything takes patience, a synergy of minds, letting go of fear, dreaming and an atmosphere that is conductive to the creativity process.  Creating the ideal environment for things to grow.  How do you do that? Here are some tools to consider as support to birth your dreams:

Creative Envisioning: Every birth comes from smart seeding and planting. Imagine and think big with vision boards, a daily gratitude journal or even a love letter to what you wish to birth.

Creative Exploration: Birth is about breaking barriers. Doing things differently. Riding the waves of emotional ups and downs. Just like planning for a baby, honor the finished product with a plan to nurture going forward. That also means commitment to your own process, connecting with others who have been “though it” and succeeded!

Mentors: Watching movies like “The Business of Being Born” and getting exposure to others in similar situations, admiring and learning from others who know more than you know will make you feel supported, comforted.

Support: Like doctors, midwives and doulas, managing stress and being around supportive people greatly adds to a successful birth of any kind! That includes everything from good, informative books to seeking professional help.

We are birthing ourselves and we are in this together!

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