Private Practice Success

Maria Gray,

Happiness: You Cannot Transmit What You Haven’t Got

In my last column, I wrote about Jack Canfield’s book The Success Principles, and how I practice goal-setting in my business. My personal goals are just as important to me as my business goals, and I apply Canfield’s concepts to my personal life. When I left my technology career to become a therapist, I was determined to have a better quality of life. I read all kinds of books, and eventually found Dr. Martin Seligman’s research on Positive Psychology.

In a study entitled “Orientations to Happiness and Life Satisfaction: The Full Life vs. the Empty Life” Seligman (2005), measured life satisfaction and three different ways to be happy. The research supported the hypothesis that creating more opportunities for pleasure, engagement and meaning in life predicted a high level of life satisfaction. Dr. Seligman defines engagement as “being so caught up in a task that time seems to stop.” I feel engaged when I am running, writing, or cooking. When I meet a client for the first time, I ask him/her about hobbies and recreation, and I explain the principles of Positive Psychology.

There is a saying in 12-Step programs “You cannot transmit what you haven’t got.” I can’t encourage my clients to practice cultivating happiness if I am not satisfied with my life. The process of running my private practice and marketing workshops is sometimes stressful. I do my best to keep my schedule balanced and leave time for recreation. Are you enjoying your leisure time? Would you like to improve your level of happiness and life satisfaction? To learn more about Dr. Seligman’s work visit

Maria Gray, LMFT, NMP is a psychotherapist in private practice with offices in West LA and Larchmont. Maria specializes in trauma and addiction. To learn more about Maria’s practice see Maria’s workshop, “Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Building A Profitable Private Practice But Were Afraid To Ask,” is scheduled throughout the year on Saturdays. The workshop is suitable for licensed professionals, interns and students. To register, go to