Barbara Becker Holstein in “Four Gateways to Happiness” from Women’s Paths to Happiness

Posted on January 28, 2010
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“When you fall in love with yourself, you begin to feel the positive self-esteem that comes when we don’t deflate ourselves. “You’re ready to take yourself out for tea or to that wonderful spa for a day, or to go back and play the piano, which you always wanted to do. You’re ready to recognize all the tools of wisdom that you have to offer. You’re ready to recognize that you have an Enchanted Self that deserves to be part of your every day.”/ ~ Barbara Becker Holstein in “Four Gateways to Happiness” from Women’s Paths to Happiness

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, discusses her positive psychology approach, THE ENCHANTED SELF and a great new book in positive psychology, WOMEN’S PATHS TO HAPPINESS, in which she is one of the authors.

Posted on January 21, 2010
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As the years have passed and I have become increasingly convinced that happiness is not an option. When you take away joy we immediately find ourselves in circumstances that seem to drain tire and weaken us. I developed The Enchanted Self as a positive psychology approach to work in the treatment room and outside of it. It is a means of self-renewal and self-regeneration that can be used again and again. Some of the techniques I teach involve an attitudinal shift. For example, I show people how to recognize what is right about themselves, rather than what is wrong. Other strategies involve helping us see the power in the stories and purposes of our individual lives. I also show people how to get to where they need to go, whether that means an attitudinal shift, further education or even learning how to rest and replenish. I believe and teach that each of us knows when we are on track, and we know where we are living a healthy lifestyle that fits with the integrity of our spirit.

I have been blessed to be able to join up with a group of women of similar intent. Like-minded and yet each so different, we have banded together to jointly write a great new book, Women’s Paths to Happiness. In this book each of us 12 women has been able to share the path that she inspires other women to walk along. I discuss The Enchanted Self’s Four Gateways to Happiness. I hope you will read our book. You can find it here.

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein and Martha Trowbridge discuss young women’s development on archived radio show Happiness for Women Only.

Posted on November 10, 2009
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Here is an excerpt about young women from the June 15th, 2007 broadcast:

Barbara: I find that women between 20 and 35 do have a kind of wonderment that they finally made it to be a grown up. And yet, at the same time, they’re often struggling with left over self-esteem wounds, sometimes from boyfriends that went wrong, sometimes from overly harsh or critical parents, sometimes from not doing well in their education process. So, oftentimes, young women come to me with a great deal of injury around feeling good about themselves.

Another thing that women between 20 and 35 struggle with is how to be successful, both emotionally and financially. Emotionally, there’s that constant tug between the young woman’s needs for her own identity, her own sense of pleasure, her own interests, and yet she’s still, at the same time, being pulled toward other people’s needs, often because she wants to be. She wants a boyfriend and/or a husband or a partner, she wants babies, she wants pets, she wants to live on her own rather than at home. So there’s so many struggles going on.

And yet, at the same time, often, where is the real young woman? Where is she in all of this? If one marries, there is suddenly the pull between her husband’s needs and her own. And sometimes there isn’t enough wisdom and maturity to buffer his needs and her.

I do find, particularly, and I don’t know if you’ve seen this at all, Martha, in the literature or dealing with more abused women, that the first year of marriage can be very disorienting to a woman’s psyche. And she can particularly sort of lose her sense of being grounded as to who she is. And then it usually just starts to come back, and that passes.

Martha: Well, Barbara, actually, the first year can be a honeymoon. It can be, in some ways, blinding to the reality of the situation you find yourself in. And perhaps in later years, the issues, the faults, the deficits and so on become more obvious. So I think it depends on the relationship.

I agree with you, though, wholeheartedly, it’s so different to be a married woman versus a woman who has never been married. Your whole identity really does get called into question. It gets put under a lamp in the sense of there is a person with whom you’re sharing time and space in a very intimate way. So it can be threatening. It can be a very threatening time for a woman who does not have a secure sense of self.

Barbara: ….Let me just remind you, even though we are emphasizing some of the issues that real women face between 20 and 35, we are not trying to skew the picture that there are millions and millions of women around the world just feeling miserable between 20 and 35.

It also can be a very glorious time, with built in happiness. For example, for many, many women, having a child, or even more than one, is close to bliss. Not only what certain women get from the pregnancy and the childbirth, or even the exciting process of adoption, but the actual development, raising of a child can be extremely connective and uplifting for many, many women.

Martha: And the excitement of those years, once you’re 20, 22. You often have opportunities to travel, to travel on your own versus going as somebody’s daughter. You have opportunities to do things you hadn’t done in the past, to perhaps get your own apartment or house. And it’s a very exciting time as well. There’s lots of hope, generally, and anticipation and you just find yourself doing so many things, as you were saying earlier, as a real woman, as an adult woman, that it can be a really fantastically splendid time of life.

Barbara: Yes. And another thing is that for many, many women, probably most women that are in good health, between 20 and 35, there’s a sense of personal wonderment about your body and your ease of movement and just even your own sexual feelings that maybe secretly as a teenager you were uncomfortable with, now you are much more comfortable with everything about your body.

And there is that energy for going and doing and even, I remember myself, when I was about 24, I remember walking down the street and just feeling so light and airy and, you know, it was so easy to walk and there were some men, and they whistled….


Posted on September 3, 2009

Katherine’s Memory – Playing Elevator in the Closet

Katherine remarked: “My sister and I had so much fun when we were children. The two of us would play, “Elevator” for hours. It was a simple game that went this way: one of us would pretend to be the elevator operator. She would open the closet door and say going up or going down. Then the other one would walk into the closet. The door would be closed behind her. She would huddle on the floor in total darkness. A moment would pass and then she would respond to the voice outside saying, “This floor, coats, dresses, or Second floor, furniture, and cosmetics.” Then out she would leap, laughing hysterically. This sequence would be repeated again and again. We were not at all frightened by the darkness, feeling totally at home in our homemade elevator.”

What a lovely memory Katherine had, so full of heartwarming components. Katherine was able to bring back images of herself and her sister playing with enthusiasm, keeping busy laughing uproariously, and feeling safe.

Do you have a delightful, delicious memory also? I bet you do.

Find it. Enjoy it again. And make sure you share it!


Posted on June 3, 2009
Filed Under A Positive Therapy, Happiness, The Enchanted Self | 1 Comment

We may be in a wonderful mood only to enter the workplace or home and be met by a scowl, a frown, or negative remark from a coworker or family member. How quickly one’s positive state of well being can dissipate. For example, if I walk into the house in a good mood and my mother, or my wife, or my husband, immediately barrages me with a list of things that I didn’t take care of, or criticizes me for chores I didn’t accomplish to their satisfaction, I will find the experience a clear interruption of my positive state of being. However, if someone were to gently say, “Can you give me a few minutes? I want to go over some of the chores we had agreed to split,” or “I want to check with you as to what has been done or what has not been done,” then I may be able to maintain not only my state of well being, but be in a good enough mood to help improve the other person.

A speaker once compared giving constructive criticism to that of a sandwich. The first slice of bread is telling the person something honest and positive about that person. The filling consists of gently leading into a suggestion or sharing ones’ feelings about how something is being done. The second slice of bread again finishes with positive reaction or remark to that person. How desperately most of us need to practice the art of positive criticism.

Blessings Make The World Go Round! Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, Positive Psychologist comments.

Posted on May 12, 2009
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 Hi Ladies,  I hope you are having a beautiful day today.  Don’t we all need to!  Do you feel better when someone has blessed you?  I sure to.  It makes me feel cared about in a special way when I know someone has blessed me.   I’d like to know how you feel about blessings?  Did you ever have a really special ‘blessed’ day after someone blessed you?  A blessing can be as simple as “Take care”.  Or it can be much more such as the blessings I have listed below from my e-mail blessings that I send out once a week.  By the way you can sign up for my blessings by going to the front page of .  

Enjoy these four blessings and please send me a blessing by giving me the blessing of your response!  Write to me here on this blog or at 

 “May the wonders of technology always be a boon to your life and may you have the courage to not let these wonders ‘bust’ your integrity, time or need for genuine privacy and intimate connection that can not be had by turning on an electrical current.”  

“May all that befalls you be delicious and filled with delight even if at first you are puzzled or dismayed! ” 


“May you always be pleased with freedom, both inside and outside of yourself! ”  


“May you be blessed with a disposition that is just as sunny in the rain as in the sun.”  


The Wise Older Woman

Posted on April 29, 2009
Filed Under Happiness, Positive psychology for women, The Enchanted Self | 1 Comment

Recently, I attended a beautiful wedding. A young Jewish couple came together in joy and the room was filled with happiness. Outside of the banquet room I noticed a group of older women sitting near the door collecting charity. They all looked very pure and plain at the same time, young seniors and older seniors, nothing fancy about them. Their hips were full. They were wearing comfortable walking shoes and somewhat frumpy looking clothing. There wore either wigs or kerchiefs. They had a sweetness that if I were a child again, I would have felt delighted to have come home to milk and cookies with any of them. I ended up giving a dollar to just about each woman, in fact two dollars to the woman who actually changed a twenty for me so I could give out my money.

Later on in the evening, I went back out where they were, when nothing much was happening in the social hall. I was looking to have a bit of conversation with one of the ladies. I think I felt a need to be connected to their warmth. I certainly couldn’t ask for milk and cookies, but I could talk!

The woman I started to talk to was well up in years. She had beautiful, lively eyes-eyes that could have gone with a twenty year old or even an infant, they were so bright and full of life. Her skin was beautiful. Her body and her face showed age, but no where near the age that she apparently is. She told me that she came to this country 65 years ago with three children and then went on to have seven more. That means that she is about 90. She didn’t look a day past 75!

She told me that she comes out to all the weddings to collect charity. She’s very proud of the fact that last year she collected $30,000 for poor, sick people in Israel and brides who needed money for their wedding expenses. She told me that she doesn’t keep a dime for herself and that her daughter who lives in Israel helps to disburse the money.

By her intensity, I could see that she took her job extremely seriously and with utter devotion. She told me a few other things about herself. Her husband is no longer alive. She receives Social Security. Of her ten children, nine are living; one daughter was lost at 41-I don’t know to what illness. She is very proud that a number of her children are Rabbis, teachers and school principals in the Jewish educational world. That’s about the extent of the details.

She opened a window to me. I never really knew nor had I ever really talked to any of these women that are always at weddings of this type, asking for money. I guess, like we often do with people we don’t know, I basically dismissed them almost as non-entities even though I always gave at least a few dollars.

Talking to this woman of course made her so alive and real to me as she obviously was for 90 years before I knew her! I was impressed with her generosity of spirit, her sincerity and her utter devotion to her cause. She was passionately committed to her cause. She refreshed me with her energy and focus.

She is a woman, of course, who has known so many people and seen so many things! Having nine living children, she probably has 80 grandchildren. Her world is rich with people, children and grandchildren and probably great grandchildren to love. A private life, her name even if I shared it with you, would not ring a bell. Her charitable work is not a registered charity. She doesn’t go on TV with commercial pitches. She just comes to one wedding after another, sits out in the hallways, puts a little sign asking for money for the poor, ill and brides, in a dish and collects. Then she ships the money to Israel and starts all over again. There’s no middle management. There are no commissions to pay. There are no cuts. It’s just dollar bills transforming lives.

It’s simple. It’s without layers. It certainly is the antithesis, the absolute opposite of the concept of managed care where one hand doesn’t wash the other-where one hand watches the other and takes a cut until there is less and less left.

Yes, as a positive psychologist and a woman, talking to her was for me, really the best part of my week! She uplifted me and reminded me small is not less!

I hope you enjoyed my little story. Remember, the Seventh Gateway to ENCHANTMENT is Positive Action-Good Deeds! I hope this wonderful wise woman helps all of us have the courage for lots of good deeds this holiday season!

Real Women Having Fun – It’s The Truth!

Posted on April 14, 2009
Filed Under Happiness | 1 Comment

the-ob-girlsHere is a great picture of real women having a blast. We all have that girl inside of ourselves just waiting to come out and play. And we need to let her out! Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein

Interview with Loretta Kensley, author and expert in the Sacred Feminine

Posted on March 25, 2009
Filed Under A Positive Therapy, Happiness, Positive psychology for women, Published Articles | 1 Comment

I thought you would enjoy hearing Martha Trowbridge, my co-host on Happiness for Women Only! interview Loretta Kensley, author and expert in the Sacred Feminine and the originator of the website, They are discussing a critical subject for women, finding happiness through creativity.

June 2, 2008

Download the Mp3


Gateway Three: Learning to Meet Our Needs and Negotiate Successfully

Posted on March 19, 2009
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It is never to late to look at the Seven Gateways to Happiness again and again, as women. Let’s look again at Gateway Three.

There’s nothing more demoralizing than a woman who does not know how to speak up for herself, who doesn’t have a voice for herself. When we feel ignored or not understood, we can feel rage and anger building. Often as women we find ourselves in a predicament where we don’t know how to speak up. We simply don’t know how to negotiate for what we want. While sometimes it’s a cultural attitude that we’ve taken on, for instance that women should be demure, quiet, and modest, often it’s due to a lack of understanding the appropriate skill-set necessary for negotiating effectively. All of these factors put a tremendous pressure on our true capacities. Our future happiness or fulfillment is restricted simply because we don’t know the right road to get there. Learning how to meet our needs and how to negotiate appropriately is a lot of work, but the satisfaction far outweighs the work. When you have been able to speak with integrity to a husband, mother-in-law or a boss, when you have been able to finish a level of training that moves you ahead professionally, you’re really living your Enchanted Self. You feel as special as you deserve to feel. It’s worth every moment of effort.

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