Written by The Business Journal Staff
Lori Granger, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist/Owner
The Center for Mindfulness in Fresno
What we do: I founded The Center for Mindfulness in 2008 after experiencing for myself how beneficial the practice of Mindfulness was in my own life. I actually came up with the idea in the days following 9/11/2001. I was on a plane from New York to Los Angeles that tragic morning and was stranded in Nebraska with time to consider my own life’s path.
My insight and subsequent career transition and life shift were accompanied by the steady self-awareness that the practice of Mindfulness Meditation provided me.
I now provide Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy and supporting Mindfulness classes to anyone struggling with depression, anxiety, life transitions, addictions and dependencies, communication and relational challenges as well as simple confusion about what’s next in life.
My business or calling has grown steadily with each year.
I now offer Drop-in Mindfulness classes twice a week and do host some other great teachers at my center.
Education: Fresno State!
I worked through two career paths with degrees from Fresno State. My first career was in broadcast journalism with a BA.
I worked in that field for many years, also internationally, ultimately teaching there in the Mass Communication department.
Then I returned for my M.S. in counseling, marriage and family therapy and taught in that department too.
2 Children: Daughter in Coarsegold, son in Paso Robles.
Is the holiday season the toughest time of the year for most of your clients, Lori?
The holiday season is a very tough time, especially because there are a host of media-saturated expectations of perfection on many levels that accompany the holidays. Expectations are interesting fantasies, but very rarely do they represent a true picture of reality. So clients find themselves in anxious anticipation, needing to make or have the day be “perfect,” or saddened in its aftermath by how imperfect it may have actually been.
Explain the importance of meditation and mindfulness, Lori.
Mindfulness meditation helps clients be comfortable and accepting in the reality of the present moment, not in anticipation or future casting or in rumination or reminiscence of how things have been or could have been.
There is optimism in the present when we actually open our eyes, ears and sense with real awareness that this moment is really not so bad, just as it is. It may be pretty ok, and maybe even pretty awesome.
I offer my clients mindfulness tools or practices to help them remember to return to the reality of the present moment and to look with new eyes to see the richness that is here, right now. When we let go of the fantasy that the picture in our heads — or on TV or Facebook — is real, we can begin to appreciate what is rich in reality right now as we’re living it.
How did you get involved in your profession as a therapist, Lori?
In 1999, I took up the practice of meditation seriously with a Zen group. I found so much value in it that I wanted it to be a focus of my life and work. On 9/11 when my plane was grounded in Nebraska, I had an epiphany that I needed to change my life and focus on doing “soul work”. That is actually how the voice in my heart spoke to me. And, because I had been doing a lot of meditation, I actually heard it.
So, I changed my life by following the path of my heart. Went back to school, received my license as a therapist and advanced training in Mindfulness and seven years later I opened my center offering this combined practice.
What do you like most about your job, Lori?
What I love most about my profession is helping people work with their particular brand of suffering and find healing, peace and growth through becoming intimate with their own pain.
What is different about your method of therapy, Lori?
My method is a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT); recognizing and adjusting “unhelpful thought patterns and Buddhist Psychology; helping clients to “befriend themselves” and have self-compassion. Quieting the mind and opening the heart are processes that are aided by mindfulness meditation, which I integrate into my therapy.
How has your business survived in a tough economy, Lori?
When the economic downturn hit with all its stresses and job losses, I saw more clients coming in for stress-related challenges and stress relief through meditation.
What is your key business strategy, Lori?
Walking the talk. Helping people heal. Satisfied clients refer others.
It also helps to have good search engine optimization because most find me on the web.
What was your first job, Lori?
Working as a part-time clerical and serving assistant in a Catholic Church rectory at 13.
What do you do in your spare time, Lori?
I love and can’t get enough of live music in big cities! (That is the New Yorker in me).
I travel to San Francisco with my boyfriend for live music, especially Jazz, every chance we get.
Taking long mountain walks and hearing birdsong makes me very happy.