Stacy Kaiser is a licensed psychotherapist, author, relationship expert, and media personality. Featured as the first in our Profiles in Health series, she shares insights on will power, work relationships and counseling the stars. 

Stacy Kaiser: On will power, work relationships and counseling the stars

1) How did you transition from a therapist with private clients to being on TV and counseling celebrities?

I had been a therapist in private practice for more than 10 years when I met someone who was involved with a television show. The show needed a psychotherapist, and he asked me if I might be interested in coming for an interview. Well, of course I was! I had never thought of being on TV, but the opportunity was new and seemed exciting. I said yes.

The interview went so well that they hired me right then and there.

When the show aired, it made a name for me in a way that I hadn’t anticipated. Other producers saw my work and hired me for their shows. Working on television with people in the TV world meant interacting with a lot of celebrities and people who were close to celebrities. The growing respect for my work, coupled with the relationships I was building naturally led to a growth in my clientele – a growth that meant working with high-profile clients.

2) You’ve worked with many celebrities who wrestle with self-destructive tendencies. This seems to indicate that even the rich and famous have human-scale problems. Is there anything we can learn from them?

At their core, celebrities are normal people who deal with the same kinds of issues we all do. But being in the limelight means that those problems often come with even greater challenges: Celebrities often must struggle with their emotional demons in the public eye. They have to accept, deal with and resolve their issues with an audience watching closely the whole while.

Just like you and me, many of the celebrities I work with are very busy juggling their careers and home lives. Like us, they forget to take care of themselves, often neglecting family and friends, as well. Instead of working toward living positively, it can be easy for them to get wrapped up in self-destructive behaviors.

The lesson they have to learn, and one we can all learn as well, is just how important it is to take care of yourself, your family and your own business. If your day-to-day personal life is not running smoothly, the problems you experience will begin to affect other areas of your life.

3) What is the connection between psychological well-being and physical health?

Psychological well-being absolutely impacts physical health. The connection is huge. People who are facing psychological challenges or who are under stress can experience weaker immune systems, higher blood pressure, a whole host of medical and psychological issues, including anxiety, depression, insomnia and more.

4) The concept of “will-power” is often used in conversations about behaviors like food choices and exercise. Can will-power be modulated to be stronger?

Oh, of course. You can indeed modulate your will-power. Often, it’s something that comes from within. It can also be stimulated by external sources, which are really helpful in modulating when additional support is needed. Connecting with others working toward the same goal can help, for example, as can building a detailed plan that captures small steps toward success.

5) Many diseases that used to be death sentences are now being managed as chronic conditions. How does an individual maintain a constant momentum of optimal self-care for years on end?

It isn’t always easy to stay focused on a long-term goal, no matter what that goal is. When it comes to one person’s ability to keep a constant momentum of optimal self-care over time, a good support system and an effective plan are critical to success. Plans are especially important, and they should include small, regular, easy-to-follow steps; a person or people to reach out to in times of trouble or stress; and interaction with other people who are dealing with similar issues or illnesses.

6) We know that healthy personal relationships are important. How do our relationships at work affect the health of a company and its culture?

I cannot overstate the importance of healthy personal relationships at work. They have an impact not just on individual employees, but also on the overall health of the company, as well as its culture. In the 20 years that I’ve been a practicing therapist, my experience and the research I’ve studied has shown that employees who are happy and who get along with their coworkers and supervisors are more productive and successful. There is a direct link to value for employees and the company when relationships in the office are healthy and functional.

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