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Gail Petrowsky


The last of a series of seminars, entitled Stress Reduction and Well Being Enhancement sponsored by the Women's Center, took place Monday night in front of an audience of approximately 30 women. The two-hour seminar/discussion entitled "A women's Wellness Evening with Gail Petrowsky" was facilitated by Gail Petrowsky, a holistic counselor and neuro-linguistic programming therapist. Petrowsky, a vibrant and self described "informal" speaker, held the interest of her audience for the full two hours by involving the audience, addressing women in the audience, and encouraging individuals to share their problems and feelings. She demonstrated a stress-reduction exercise which relaxed both the mind and body. At the conclusion of her session, she took individual cases and performed this therapy in front of her audience.

"Our well being is powerfully affected by the link between our emotions and our bio-chemical response; the words you speak create a positive or negative response" Petrowsky said Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) is the study of how the nervous system can react to words you speak. Petrowsky has been studying the interaction between the mind and body and this therapy for 20 years. NLP is based on the Eriksonian-style of therapy, which is based in the unconscious and applied when one is in a totally relaxed state of mind. NLP focuses on taking the complexities of life and making them simple in order to handle them. It emphasizes the necessity to take negative thoughts and situations and turn them into positive challenges. This technique is compounded with the reality that one must allow oneself to feel what one needs to feel. For instance, in sadness, one must allow oneself to experience the emotion while setting a time line to limit how long the emotion will be allowed to remain, Petrowsky said. One can create self esteem or deteriorate it. NLP, by focusing on positive thoughts and devaluing negative ones, can aid in creating self esteem.

Petrowsky pointed out several signs of low self esteem. They include physical ailments, fear of others, lack of trust in oneself and others, righteousness, being stuck in old beliefs, and fear of taking risks or being vulnerable. Self esteem levels affect the way in which one reacts to everyday life situations. What must be understood is that external circumstances of one's life cannot be controlled. However, reactions can be, she said. One way to do this is by forgiving yourself and others, and reaffirming oneself with positive words. By doing this, one can generate self-love and self-acceptance, which radically alters one's outlook on life. NLP can heal on all levels: emotional, physical, and spiritual. Petrowsky also emphasized the role of stress reduction, namely through four methods: reframing a situation as a challenge rather than a threat, changing self talk from negative to positive, breathing to produce inner tranquility and meditation. NLP can aid in cultivating relationships, she said. When one has a healthy self image, love can be given and received, primarily because one feels that they deserve that love, furthermore, one can change the stimuli to change the response of another, which helps with achieving goals in a relationship. Petrowsky described women as "spiritual people who, when they connect with themselves, can actually heal another." and as people who "put off addressing our own needs in order to take care of others." NLP is especially beneficial for women because of this nature.

By Lynda Rizzo, The Daily Campus