My Personal Transformation Story

Dr. Susan Bernstein

I faced a major transition in a five-week period in early 2001. My marriage crumbled, my job evaporated, my health deteriorated, and my close-knit family experienced a major crisis. As a former strategy consultant to major corporations, I was so accustomed to making detailed plans for the future. But in the face of so much change, I could barely forecast what each new day would bring. Somehow, I kept moving — figuratively and literally — through the chaos.

I discovered that I could find my direction in a new and satisfying way. Rather than following a linear, prescribed path, I began to listen to my inner wisdom by paying attention to my body as well as my mind. By listening to my body — from the inside out — I learned what I needed to be comfortable and flexible in the world. By focusing on my breathing, I began to sense when I felt anxious about the future and could take a deeper breath and re-center myself in the present moment. By taking the time to notice how my arms or my head or any body part felt, I could listen to my body’s messages about what I needed at any given moment. By moving and adjusting my body in simple ways that felt right, I felt more energized and grounded.  All of these inner awareness practices helped to organize and complement the ideas that were floating around my rational mind.

In late 2001, I felt a strong desire to dedicate my efforts to helping people to navigate career and life transitions. I wanted to create a self-expressed career where I could care for and inspire people in a highly personal way. I began PhD studies in somatic psychology at the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute. Unlike the MBA I earned a decade earlier at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, this education allowed me to integrate my intellect with my body wisdom. Drawing from research in psychoneurobiology, physics, and the creative arts, the field of somatic psychology acknowledges the impact of experiences on our bodies. Breath flow, movement habits, muscle tone, cognitive patterns, affective expression, and relational habits are shaped by past and present experiences.

I discovered that when we attune to the messages of our bodies, we can open up to tremendous learning and change. To assist you in a life, career, or any other transition, I am happy to teach you many tools and frameworks.  I can also introduce you to mind and body awareness processes that can help you enhance your self-knowledge, bring you greater joy and ease, and help you make decisions based on your own inner needs.

I began to notice that many clients were resistant to change because of their fears around money, and that this showed up in tensions and stress.  I wanted to unlock the methods for transforming these issues. I took a money coaching workshop with Deborah Price, author of Money Magic, and recognized that most people have deeply-held but flawed beliefs about money.  Since money is currency of exchange, I realized that most of us have unconscious patterns that holding us back from experiencing true prosperity.  The money coaching workshop was one of the most powerful trainings I have ever experienced. so I decided to learn the coaching methodology. Now, I assist clients with creating a new, healthy relationship with money and prosperity.

I love to share a blend of the pragmatic sensibilities and planning abilities I honed through nearly two decades in marketing and management consulting.  If you work with me, you will also get the benefit of my creative energy and deep caring heart.  I regularly take personal development workshops and trainings, so I am constantly learning new perspectives and practices to share with you.

On a personal level, I have lived and worked in Phoenix, Washington DC, Seattle, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Indonesia, and have made my home in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area, where I enjoy hiking, biking, dancing, writing, and cooking fragrant Asian specialties.

Interested in learning even more about my history, and how it lead me to create Work from Within? Read my long biography.