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A Little Background…

February 7th, 2009

Who might this Dr. Mark Weiss be?

Dr Mark WeissDr. Mark Weiss received his Ph.D in 1971 and has been a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for over thirty years. He recently served on the Board of the Tennessee Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.

Dr. Weiss has led over 500 business workshops and has done in-depth coaching for hundreds of executives at Savin Corporation, International Paper, Holiday Inn, Promus Corporation, The Peabody Hotel and many others.

For many years, Dr. Weiss has committed his practice and life to the attainment of self-awareness and peace. His techniques include a gentle but powerful approach to personal growth, combined with a sense of humor and warmth.

Dr. Weiss is also known as Doctor Scat – a more than 30 year passion for singing and playing jazz music has earned Dr. weiss his nickname – Read more on Doctor Scat’s Webpage

 

Feedback from a client

September 4th, 2014

Please enjoy this recent feedback from a client of mine:

“This man is genius- a God-send, yet, I don’t know exactly what he believes about God sending anything.

Being in counseling with him was a pivotal turning point in my life. It saved me from the thinking patterns that were to be my own version of ‘ the end times.’

I found the courage to make the call, make the commitment, and sit in the chair. I decided to spend money I didn’t have for spending. I decided to do the gut churning work that it took to rise up and take the high road, when faced with this crossroad.

If I had avoided this for myself, and all those I loved….my choices would have meant a life quite similar to an agonizing death.

Mark is strange, and he reminds me of the Keith Sykes song,” I’m not strange, I’m just like you.” I wasn’t going to respond to the status quo, the ordinary arms length grey matter counselor, the common Ph.D in the granola-suit. After all, I knew I could ‘out-smart’ them.

I would arrive at the counseling sessions and sometimes I’d make a pit stop to throw up in the restroom from the anxiety of it all. I ‘d sit in the big chair known as the big hug and he’d pitch a box of Kleenex to me. And then the work of picking up that VERY heavy mirror would begin. I’d struggle and strain to lift it and the sharp realization of the weight of it all, would zing my body like raw electricity. I’d feel almost strong enough and eventually I’d lift that mirror to my face, only to realize that my eyes were closed. It took months, and time and patience from both of us; and Mark had to regularly ‘out-smart’ me. But, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

And what a God given teacher he was!
I admired his brilliance, his courage in the face of his own trials, his admission of his own pain, and his deep intuitive talent, as he led me through the dark jungle of my soul, and into a clearing. An artist is what it took to see me and guide me in the creative work of reshaping my very thoughts about myself, my destiny and my hope.

It didn’t matter what his version of God was.
I told him I was praying, and he said,”Good. You MUST continue that.”
It didn’t matter what my obsession was about the motives of the executioners of my soul.
He said,” You must never speak of their pain when you are here. This is about You. You deserve this time.”
It didn’t matter if he saw every wrinkle, every shame, every torn and battered place in my heart. Even under the blinding glare that felt like interrogation, He said, ” You are a beautiful light. You will always find love. You just can’t see it, because you’ve been living with your eyes closed, waiting for the slap that has been delivered to you, time & time again. But no more.”

It didn’t matter if I side stepped the pain, he made me look at it. It didn’t matter if I danced around the issue. He punched my dance card. It didn’t matter if I sobbed like a baby, he wiped my tears, and said,
” Good work! You are becoming a champion.”

So I felt like sharing this with you – because in my eyes, He is the champion, time and time again.
Believe me, this world is better, with Dr. Mark Weiss in it.
So I’m sending this because, I’m not strange, I’m just like you.
Enjoy this touching tribute from this jazz aficionado and performer, Dr. Weiss aka Dr. Scat.”

 

Wedding

March 31st, 2014

Wedding of Nancy Harris and Dr. Mark Weiss

Click picture for a large invitation

 

Peace

March 29th, 2013

“Inner Peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.”

That includes your own inner family :-)

Inner peace

 

Dr. Weiss sleeps through Lifetime Achievement Award

March 22nd, 2013

lifetime achievement award presentation by Linda HazelDr. Weiss was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Tennessee Association for Marriage and Family Therapy on February 22 at the TAMFT Annual Conference. He has been a devoted member of the organization, serving on the board and conducting presentations.

So here’s the story:

I have been a devoted member of the Tennessee Association for Marriage and Family Therapy for over thirty years. I have served on their board. I have heard many great speakers, the most notable for me being Dr. Richard Schwartz, founder of Internal Family Systems, an approach to psychotherapy that has truly changed my life.

This year I attended the 2013 Annual Conference. For thirty years I have attended every part of the conference. That includes the Town Hall Meeting, awards luncheon, et al.

Dr. Weiss accepts the awardThis year I was quite tired from the drive the night before. I decided to skip the awards luncheon and take a nap. When I returned to the conference center, people approached me, shook my hand and congratulated me.

I was mystified.

I found the organization president, Linda Hazel. She looked at me and in an exasperated tone said “Where have you been? We just awarded you the Lifetime Achievement Award.” What a time for snoozing.

The next morning, they formally awarded me the plaque. What a hoot, and what an honor.

Mark Weiss, Ph.D., LMFT

 

The impact of music on my life

August 22nd, 2012

The Story

The impact of music on my life.

 

I am 71 years old and have been a psychotherapist for the better part of those years.  Music has been an important, in fact, pivotal part of my life since conception.  My father, Sid Weiss, was a world-class jazz bass player.  He played with Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, and Tommy Dorsey and was a studio musician on the Steve Allen Show.  I grew up in an apartment building in Queens (Elmhurst), populated by musicians.  When my mother was pregnant, Billy Holiday wanted to be my godmother.  I was surrounded by talented musicians and singers.  I am relying on the stories my mother told me since most of these events occurred before I had any conscious memory.

Mark Weiss - AKA Dr Scat

I do remember that in junior high school I was in an accelerated academic program for which I was emotionally unprepared.  One day I quit the program and wandered down to the band room in the basement of P.S 16 and asked the band teacher, Mr. Fink, if I could join the band.  He was fine with it and asked me what instrument I would like to play.  Clarinets and saxophones seemed horribly complex.  Trumpets appeared to have only three notes, so I went for the simple.  Mr. Fink took me in another room and showed me how to play an ‘F’ and I was off and running.  He formed a little band and I volunteered to play the bass.  My father decided he would be my bass teacher.  Big mistake!  His perfectionism and shaming were so intense that I accidently broke the necks of three basses in a year, one of which was my father’s practice bass.  For years after that experience I was unable to read music without closing my eyes in anxiety.  Needless to say, I was impaired for years.

 

Eventually having taken a liking to trombone I entered the big jazz band at Valley Junior College.  Luckily, this was the number one college big band in the country.  Because of my anxiety, every time the band had to stop because of a mistake, I was the culprit.  Bob MacDonald, the director of the band and a kind and wise man said “Mark, I will give you a ‘B’ in this class if you promise not to sign up for it next semester.”  I felt ashamed, relieved and sad, but I took his offer.  About three weeks into the next semester, he came to me and said, “I am short a trombone player.  Would you like to sit in for no credit?”  I jumped at the chance and strangely, without the threat of grades, my performance improved significantly.  A wonderful jazz trumpet player named George Graham said I needed a good teacher and a fabulous trombonist had just moved to town and was taking students.

 

His name was George Oliver.  He had played with the Chicago Symphony under Toscanini and he knew the secrets a trombonist needs to know in order to succeed.  My range went up a full octave in a month.  My confidence and ability to read music zoomed.  I finally had a real master trombone teacher.  He would say “I’m gonna show you something for your amazement.”  And he always did.

 

At the same time I had befriended an African from Ghana who was teaching me karate.  My wind started to be much stronger.  I switched to bass trombone which I loved.  I was at the bottom of the band.  Now Bob MacDonald noticed my ability to punch notes and help drive the band.

 

Five days a week, my friend Mike Anthony, an up and coming jazz guitarist would pick me up at my house and we would drive to school, practicing our jazz by scatting (using our voices as improvising jazz instruments.

 

At this point in 1962, our band was ready to go the Monterrey California to enter the National Big Band contest.  We were primed with great arrangements, terrific soloists, strong confidence and me on second trombone, a position I had earned.  There is nothing I can compare to a seventeen-piece big band that is totally ‘tuned up.’  We tore it up.  We took first place as the best college big band in the country.  To this day I can feel the elation of that experience.

 

That night two friends and I camped out at Pfeiffer State Park in Big Sur.  It was ungodly cold and I developed pain in my toe.  It was the beginning of my 51-year struggle with psoriatic arthritis.  Despite the pain, I left home and joined my friend Jim in San Francisco.  We lived in single rooms over the Green Valley Bar on Grant and Green.  I didn’t play much but did a lot of listening at local clubs. Over the months I stayed and worked in San Francisco the pain increased.

 

I moved to Pacific Grove just outside Monterrey, California.  Within three months I was crippled with pain.  I returned to my parents’ house and began an excruciating near-death experience in a hospital bed at home.  Every joint in my body was inflamed.   My parents worked, so I spent a lot of time listening to WBCA, the jazz station in L.A. I was enlightened by the music of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk and a host of other geniuses. I also had a dear friend named Chick Carter who played tenor saxophone.  Chick would come to my house and play his sax while I sang bass parts behind him.  He often said I was the best rhythm section he’d ever played with.

 

The doctors finally gave me steroids and I immediately began to recover. I returned to junior college in a wheel chair and rejoined the concert band.  My right arm was frozen in a closed position.  I set a goal.  In three months, Ferde Grofe was to conduct his Grand Canyon Suite. I committed to returning to trombone and being able to reach seventh position (fully extended arm) by the time of the concert.  I accomplished my goal.

 

Because of the deformities forming in my hands, I stopped playing bass and sold my trombone for psychology books.  I still continued to scat sing on my own.  In 1964 I went to Mississippi during Freedom Summer and worked with a youth group in Cl arksdale. I sang many freedom songs and learned from my group about Smoky Robinson, Major ance and other stars of rhythm and blues.

 

Fast forward:  I am living in Atlanta with my wife.  I have started a psychology practice.  In a trade-out, I took a nine-hour battery of aptitude tests.  The tester looked over her glasses at me and said these fateful words: “At the 100 percent level you would be an excellent psychologist. At the 100 percent level you would be an excellent musician.  If you have a talent and you don’t use it, it will bite you in the ass.”

 

Three weeks later, I took my wife to a jazz club in Atlanta for New Years Eve.  The place was empty except for the pianist.  His name was Duke Pearson, a world famous jazz pianist.  I approached him and asked if I could sit in.  He handed me the microphone and I started scat singing.  We had a great evening and I was hooked.  Soon I was singing three nights a week with Jerry Farber, a comedian and jazz pianist.

 

Fast forward:  I am living in Memphis, sitting in at Blues Alley and doing occasional concerts with my band ‘Heaven on Earth.’  I go to a conference in Southern California and meet a guy named Thor from Copenhagen who tells me about the great jazz festival they hold every year. My father had told me that there was nothing so fine as playing jazz in front of a European audience. I was sold.  The following July I am in Copenhagen.  I walk into a club and ask if I can sit in.  They are cordial and invite me on stage.  The next thing I know, the audience is yelling and screaming and I am getting a standing ovation.  Later that evening I am invited by the same rhythm section to sing at a jam session starting at 1 a.m.

 

The club, La Fontaine, is grimy, noisy, smoky smells of beer.  It is just perfect for an after- hours jam session. For some reason (maybe because I look a bit like an accountant) the place goes dead silent.  I sing slowly at first and then I begin to swing and then I start to scat sing and the place goes nuts…more screaming and yelling.  I am in heaven.

 

I have now gone to the Copenhagen Jazz Festival for 15 years.  I perform with the Monday night big band, a bunch of jam sessions and am a guest at a number of concerts.  In Memphis I sit in with a great singer named Joyce Cobb for a weekly Sunday Jazz Brunch.  There’s a lot more to say, but I’ll leave you with my web site: www.doctorscat.com

 

 

 

 

 

About perspective

June 18th, 2012
The definition of a miracle is ‘a shift in perception that brings you peace. It is to see something anew in such a way that you achieve a greater sense of well-being and peace. You are in a crowd. A man steps on your foot and it hurts. You become angry at the clumsy person. Suddenly you see that he is blind. What happens to your anger? Your foot still hurts. But you suddenly feel compassion and forgiveness toward the man. The situation is the same and your perception has shifted so as to bring you peace.

One thing that is interesting about this example is the smallness of the shift in perception. It occured in seconds and without any significant movement. As humans, we often desire to see ourselves as unfairly treated. The popular position of ‘victim’ allows us to off load our guilt and shame onto others. I order to do this, we have to maintain a perception of ourselves against others and from that lens we can justify a variety of defensive and offensive positions.

Once we are in this fixed place, logic becomes the slave of fear. Looking through fearful eyes produces a fearful reality. The range of what seems important to you shrinks around you.

If you find yourself isolated in a shrunken world of fearful perceptions, one way to deal with it is to shift your point of view. Below is a link to an infinitely larger smaller range of perceptions. It might be valuable to remind yourself of these broader perspectives when you are certain that the person who just cut you off in traffic is an agent of the devil or at least out to personally ruin your day.
Subject: A sliding scale for the Universe.

 

A powerful view into where we stand in the universe… about half way between next to nothing, and just about everything :) Much love to you all.

 

“Where the wild things are”

June 5th, 2012

In this 2 part interview Bill Moyers interviews Maurice Sendak on “Where the Wild Things Are” (2004)

It is truly one of the best interviews I’ve ever seen.

http://www.pbs.org/now/arts/sendak.html

 

Questions and Answers – keeping an open heart?

October 7th, 2011

Relationships are the best seminar in town “

Sondra Ray, founder of Loving Relationships Training

Here is a question from a client married to a consistently relapsing alcoholic husband, frustrated after years of marital therapy. Regarding the practical day-to-day experience of open-hearted compassion:

Dear Dr. Weiss,

“ How do you keep an open heart to one that deliberately does actions that he knows will wound you and yet goes ahead? God does not intend us to be martyrs or doormats. It is a conundrum I fear I will never solve. I know from experience it is so much easier to have compassion for the stranger in the hospital bed, the poor in other countries on mission trips and such than it is for the person you live with every day and who is the one who drives you crazy. The one who lets you down and lies and continues the same behavior over and over again.

Dr. Weiss: As you are undoubtedly aware, there is no simple answer other than to learn forgiveness. It is true that those close to us are our greatest challenges. In Internal Family Systems (see www.Selfleadership.org ) the person you are struggling with is called your ‘Tor-mentor.’ Although they seem to clearly be tormenting you they are also your greatest teachers in the attaining the very qualities you seek for your own peace, such as calm, clarity and compassion. Parts of you love your partner while at the same time you have other parts that are furious and hurt. You have managerial parts that want to get rid of him and other parts that remain hopeful.

You are already familiar with the idea that the greatest source of pain in life comes from the idea “If only he would change, I’d be happy.” Fortunately or unfortunately, the true value of forgiveness and openhearted compassion is not dependent on change in the other. It is your own spiritual learning curve; what I call ‘where the rubber meets the road. No amount of ‘acting as if’ can replace the decision to lead from the heart in life. It is a personal decision as to whether to open one’s heart to the world or shut down in cynical self protection. We often meet people who confuse cynicism with wisdom. Cynicism is the false belief that I will be safer encapsulated in protective coating than in trusting my own inner power of transformation. The benefits and the costs accrue only to you. Do I choose to represent the light of Spirit when I walk into a room? Am I willing to shine my own inner light as a demonstration that I already possess it? The choice is yours. And in that choice you can find personal power.

Cordially,

Mark Weiss, Ph.D. LMFT

 

Dr. Weiss at BlogTalkRadio

September 23rd, 2011

Listen to the “I Am Well” show featuring Dr. Mark Weiss speaking about IFS and other therapies. The sound is really bad the first 5 minutes, so please skip forward.

Blog Talk Radio Interview with Dr. Mark Weiss

 

Steve Jobs speaks at Stanford

September 23rd, 2011

Having become one of the most succesful and influential people in the world – think iMac, iPod, iPad, Steve Jobs – gives a commencement speach to the students of Stanford. Steve never finished College, recommends the search for happiness in everyday life and remember that every day can be your last.

Watch the entire speach here