Amy Lewis Bear is a therapist who specializes in emotionally abusive relationships. Based in Atlanta, GA, she has a private practice offering in-person sessions and tele-therapy. In this interview, she talks about writing and promoting her book, From Charm to Harm: The Guide to Spotting, Naming, and Stopping Emotional Abuse, and working in her highly specialized niche.
[2:38] Amy talks about her path to psychology. In college she majored in literature, which sent her on a PR career, working for television and radio. Amy kept up an interest in psychology and eventually went back to school to become a therapist.
[3:40] Amy returned to school in 2004 and earned a master’s degree. She’s been in practice since 2009.
[6:00] Here Amy talks about her first marriage to an emotionally abusive man. At the time, she was young and believed the relationship would get better. She didn’t realize her husband’s need to control was chipping away at her self-esteem. Amy says the relationship and subsequent divorce are the main reasons for her psychology career and specializing in emotionally abusive relationships. She was a single mom for 8 years before remarrying and going back to school.
[8:33] After several years of collecting data and stories on emotional abuse in her therapeutic practice, she put together her book, “From Charm to Harm: the Guide to Spotting, Naming, and Stopping Emotional Abuse in Relationships.”
[12:20] Amy discusses working with a New York agent who booked her on TV and radio talk shows across the country. There has been a lot of interest in emotional abuse. Amy describes 75 emotional abuse tactics and their effects in her book.
[13:44] Internalized criticism is a major result of emotional abuse. Understanding where it comes from is very important, instead of blaming oneself.
[15:13] Guilting, scrooging, steamrolling: just a few of the abusive tactics Amy covers in her book.
[16:09] Most of Amy’s clients are women, and she says the book has been really helpful to them, because it’s the first book with solid information on emotional abuse (with case studies from other relationships) they can use to assess their lives.
[17:38] At the back of the book Amy included three quizzes to diagnose an emotionally abusive relationship. The book also explains many of the effects on the abused partner. Amy would like to do a second edition.
[20:00] Amy talks about selling books in the age of social media, and what publishers expect. Her sales are steady, and have driven traffic to her practice.
[21:05] Amy likes doing tele-therapy and uses Breakthrough.com.
[22:60] Amy talks about the rules and regulations of tele-therapy. The law lags behind technology at this point.
[24:08] Amy speaks about struck up a friendship with Dr. John Gray, the man who wrote Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.
[26:17] Here, Amy explains her schedule, how she splits her time between video sessions and office clients. She doesn’t see more than 4 clients a day to keep her life-work balance steady. The rest of her working time is spent blogging, writing, and answering social media queries.
[28:04] Amy discusses her public speaking schedule. Right now she speaks for free, but she has been paid on occasion in the past.
[29:00] Secrecy around emotional abuse is one of the reasons it’s hard to hold public classes about it. Safety concerns for the women involved are real.
[30:33] Amy says she’s overcome shyness, and that putting yourself in front of groups and doing interviews is really important. She’s gained an education about marketing through social media. Regular blogging leads to new clients.
[32:30] Amy’s son is encouraging her to start a podcast, and she’s considering it.
[33:50] Amy would like to do a research study on emotional abuse. Her information is sound, but it’s anecdotal, from clients and other people. There’s not a lot of research in her field, and there are obstacles too (secrecy, shame).
[36:06] Helping people heal and move on after a bad relationship is the main reason for Amy’s energy and commitment to her practice.
[36:26] Amy’s business advice: have a niche in therapy. Amy’s never met another emotional-abuse specialist.
Bio Amy Lewis Bear, Therapist, Atlanta GA
Licensed Professional Counselor, National Certified Counselor, Distance Credentialed Counselor
Amy Lewis Bear is a psychotherapist in Atlanta and the author of From Charm to Harm: The Guide to Spotting, Naming, and Stopping Emotional Abuse. The emotional abuse Amy experienced in her early adult relationships so profoundly impacted her that she gave up a successful career in public relations and returned to graduate school to become a psychotherapist.
Since then, she has dedicated her professional life to treating emotional abuse victims and helping to expose a social epidemic that thrives on secrecy. She provides therapy in her Atlanta office and telemental health video sessions nationally and internationally through https://bear.breakthrough.com.
After the release of her book, From Charm to Harm, she received an endorsement from phenomenal best selling author, John Gray, who sold more than 50 million copies of his book, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. He is considered to be the number one relationship book author of all time. Amy embarked on a media tour that included interviews on dozens of television and radio talk shows across the United States. She is an “Expert” blogger for PsychologyToday.com. Her blog is called From Charm to Harm.
Amy continues to write and speak on the subject of emotional abuse. Her mission is to encourage both perpetrator and victim to recognize and stop destructive behaviors, get help, and provide healthy relationship role models for their children. You can find Amy at these sites:
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCJ0uWFn4UYA8vOPRWALlBA
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Replays of past episodes can be found here.