Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Lisa C. Palmer.
Dr. Palmer, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My career began as a TV news reporter in local news, working hard and writing a lot of negative stories. But I wasn’t following my calling to make a difference! So, I decided to step away from the spotlight forever, and close the curtain on the dream of becoming a national television personality, to shift gears and write positive stories in people’s lives helping them to achieve great transformations! I made a promise to myself that if I ever returned to television I would do so as an expert.
My breakthrough at the young age of 24 years old meant that all my studies thus far meant nothing. I had completed a degree in broadcast journalism and sociology from New York University; served in the radio division at the White House in the Press Secretary’s Office; worked at CNN in Atlanta as an editorial assistant and then weekend writer; had other stints in local news; several other apprenticeships including at ABC in New York; and competed as Miss Vermont at Miss USA.
However, I always believed that you have to follow your heart and your dreams, even if others are against it, and that is exactly what I did! For the next 7+ years I spent most of my time behind-the-scenes with my head deep in books, studying the science, art, philosophy of therapy, art of language, and healing the mind and body. I quickly realized that this field integrated all the vast knowledge I collected throughout my multidisciplinary studies of philosophy, anatomy and physiology, science, art, and sociology into a form of human art. Before long I had completed research and a master’s and doctorate degree, an achievement I was told that only 1-2% of doctoral candidates accomplish. I became licensed in two states, and attained credentials to help license other counselors, while I continued various other certifications.
On my path to becoming an expert, I worked at many inpatient facilities and with thousands of patients of all walks of life, many with extremely complex issues such as eating disorders, traumas, multiple personalities, and addictions. I was asked to establish an eating disorder program at a hospital, which I did and it was very successful. My patients were able to conquer tough-to-beat issues in much shorter periods of time than expected, and I became known as the therapist that other therapists sent their patients to!
Unfortunately, I saw too many flaws and failures with the traditional model of programs where relapse rates were frighteningly high, and where patients were often dehumanized quickly falling into the traps of institutionalization never to return to a happy existence. I saw patients sadly hopping from one treatment program to another, and families in financial distress having spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to find a cure for their loved ones. I quickly recognized that the current system of treating health and mental health issues was terribly misguiding. How could people be sicker than ever in a country of great wealth? I saw that our system of helping patients wasn’t always helping to correct issues at the root, or fully rehabilitating them – Too much focus on quantity over quality; too many people being treated as numbers; too many treatment plans being determined by insurances; and worst of all, patients really had no idea how to cope once discharged into their reality-based settings!
This is why I founded The Renew Center of Florida in 2007 to help people have a completely new experience of therapy, and feel their own success. Individually customized programs are designed to help people break out of vicious cycles, remove toxic emotions, and regain health and balance in many areas of their lives, all while they are living in their reality-based settings! We combine Eastern and Western approaches, and the latest and greatest techniques in hypnosis, psychotherapy, and neuroscience along with advances in technology and natural medicines to help heal and restore the mind and body. Our programs are a blessing to many and have had tremendous success. Renew has drawn top nationally ranked athletes, celebrities, entrepreneurs, and those serious about healing from all over the world!
They say if you love something let it go, if it comes back to you it is yours! Word of mouth is still a very powerful vehicle, and soon enough national television programs began inviting me to share my commentary on a variety of topics including health, relationships, current events, and even politics. Soon enough I was invited to speak more regularly on every major network both nationally and internationally- FOX, CBSN, Dr. Drew, Crime Watch, RT America, Blaze, Newsmax, Sky TV, MSNBC, and more…which continues today. Almost 20 years later since I left TV, it returned to me!
Obstacles in our lives, can turn into opportunities with time, patience, perseverance, and hard work. If every day you focus on being your best self no matter what is going on within you and around you, you can succeed. I do believe you have to be humble enough to make mistakes, daring enough to take risks, and passionate enough to keep going. There is a wonderful saying, “Fall five times, stand up six.” I think it is more like fall 99 times, and stand up 100. Stay strong, stay balanced, stay in the Light, and don’t let the falls get you down. But, always remember what is most important of all – Be True to Your Self!
Treated as numbers, treatment plans are determined by insurance, patient’s treatment gets cut off when insurance cuts off, and seeing patients sedated on lists of medications with no real cure.
I saw a need to build a unique outpatient program that was different from anything I had seen before. One that was based on helping patients to live normal lives once again, so that they could be free and highly functioning and not depend on therapy forever. A program that could help them to really reclaim themselves and do well in their reality-based settings.
Has it been a smooth road?
Doesn’t it just seem like for some people success comes so easily? This certainly was not the case for Dr. Lisa Palmer! In fact, from an early age I learned that if I wanted to achieve anything in life it would take a lot time and it would be an uphill climb. But, even from a ripe young age of 2 years old when I could barely walk, I showed early signs of tremendous grit and resilience, when I escaped my crib in the early morning hours, left my home, walked a block away and up a hill to attempt to open my god mother’s garage door to say “Good Morning!”
I wasn’t born the fittest, fastest, or strongest. I really had to prove myself in every area, turn my weaknesses into strengths, and learn the ropes the hard way. I believed in dreams that appeared so far out of sight because I was not an heir to a fortune or connected to politics or the television industry, nor did I have the skill set. My parents were simple hard working, family-oriented people, and no one in my family achieved more than a bachelor’s degree. To attain a PhD seemed entirely unrealistic. My mother was an immigrant, my father a second generation Italian with good old-fashioned morals and values. They just wanted me to be a good person, have a solid education, a nice job, and to be happy in life. But, I had bigger dreams that came from within me. I wanted to make a difference, inspire people, and venture to new and exciting possibilities beyond my imagination.
I knew it would be hard, but had no idea how hard it would actually be! So many times in my life people laughed at me for the dreams I had. Here are few examples I will never forget. When I applied as an intern at the White House during the Monica Lewinsky scandal my professor said, “Lisa I think you would make a great intern, but you are not from the Kennedy family, and that is who gets those opportunities.” No I wasn’t a Kennedy, or a Rockefeller, I was me, and it turns out I was one of the 200 out of 2200 applicants chosen that year.
Before I competed for Miss Vermont I was 60 lbs. overweight, I was laughed and mocked at by the trainer while I stood humiliated in a swimsuit in his office, “Do you realize what you are competing for? Do you realize how fit those women are?” he said. I said, “I am buying 10 training sessions, and a meal plan. Just give me the plan.” Within a few months and laser focus, I lost all that weight. I learned everything I needed to learn to compete my first time in a Miss competition and, I actually won.
When I left TV to follow my dreams I felt like a complete failure. Everybody was making money and had direction and I was starting all over again. People doubted me, they said “Why are you doing this? Getting a PhD is nearly impossible.” I said, “Look I am going back to school. I don’t care if I work at a computer lab for $8 an hour while I am doing this, but this is my dream.” And going back to school was the best thing I ever did, because as my mother always said, “Education is the one thing that can’t be taken away from you.”
Rejection after rejection, there were many times I wanted to give up. Many unknowns on the path to developing myself, while I witnessed so many around me flourishing to great success modeling, on tv shows, having fame and fortune. I wondered how it would all come together someday. So many times nothing made sense. I said, “Why do I take 5 steps forward, and 10 steps back?” “Why does everything seem like such a struggle?”
But, it turns out that life is a game of inches. Inch by inch, mile by mile, sacrifice after sacrifice, lesson after lesson, a newer version of myself emerged with each passing year. Some years were better, some years were worse, but all part of the evolution and the transformation.
I learned at an early time in my life that everyone loves to be around a “winner”. When you are a winner they love you, as soon as you are a loser they act like they never cared. So don’t work to get praise from others, work because you are following your purpose, better yourself, and following your dream. Reality is that few will pick you up after the falls, most people will beat you down, and they have their own problems and agendas. That’s why you need to work very hard on developing yourself from the inside – build your confidence, know your purpose, love yourself.
I believe we are given obstacles so that we can overcome them! But challenges can create a lot of pain for us. I once had a professor who said, “People don’t care how you get there, they just want to know that you got there.” It is true for the most part. You see accomplishments and accolades and say “Oh wow that is amazing!” But, if you want to go through the pain and the pressure you can do it too! But, you really have to be the one willing to fight the fight, to lose, to be beaten down and to get back up again. You have to be the one willing to do what no one else wants to do. You have to challenge yourself, make good decisions, and be your own best friend through thick and thin. You have to replace “I can’t” with “I can”, but be realistic. Remember, it’s not over, till’ it’s over. But, you have to be willing to take the punches because when life hits you, it hits you hard, and it is up to you to punch back!
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I believe the mental health and wellness industry is going through an awakening. People are slowly but surely realizing that the system as we have known it has been corrupt and consumer based for years. The recent problems with many sober homes in South Florida brought many problems to light. But, there is much more to be uncovered. Too many patients are waking up to recognizing that the system has essentially failed them, and that the solutions they believed in, weren’t actually the solutions. They are also realizing that while it is very good to have insurance, you don’t always get the best mental health care when you are using insurance. Mental health care is very different than physical health care. It is very complicated to fix someone’s thinking and you really need to be able to take the time with them. The structure, dose, and pacing of the sessions and interventions are very important to regaining and maintaining balance.
Patients will continue to get smarter and wiser and see the value of investing in their health. They will veer away from traditionally designed programs dictated by insurance, to seek newly structured therapy regimens that are more effective. We are also trending towards nutrition, organic, detox, herbal medicine, and the benefits of alternative forms of healing as a culture, and this will impact program choices.
Additionally, in keeping with how fast paced our society is and the need for people to be able to heal more quickly and effectively while they work and live, I believe we will also see more of a need for “Reality-Based” programs like that at Renew. Most people don’t have time to spend 3-6 hours a day 3-5 days a week in outpatient therapy programs. They need to get the therapy they need that works!
We are also trending towards other alternative support systems such as “sober escorts” where you can have your own assistant and helper in your day to day life, making sure you stay on track and stay sober while you get the therapy you need, and help you develop healthy life skills.
- Address: The Renew Center of Florida
299 Camino Gardens Blvd., Suite 100
Boca Raton, Florida 33432
- Website: www.TheRenewCenter.com
- Phone: 800-509-0244
- Email: Info@TheRenewCenter.com
Daniel Andries Photography