by Marianne Vernacchia on 06/26/22

How does Disney appeal to so many different people – different cultures, ages, across the entire world?

It’s quite a phenomenon if you think about it.  The level of popularity, obsession for some, and the beloved characters and stories reaching across to resonate with all humanity, is quite astounding. Age-old stories with archetypal themes that Disney highlights so masterfully capture us emotionally, morally, and at times spiritually, down to our very core. Themes like darkness and light in the classic fairytales to the more complex human moral struggles such as family in-feuding, jealousy, power, abandonment, greed, lying, and feeling accepted, finding our true potential, and of course, love, touches each of us. Add to that the heroes and princesses that overcome abuse, discrimination, and isolation, and it is easy to relate and see pieces of ourselves in the beloved characters. They are the same archetypes that we embrace in our real lives, The Hero, The Damsel in Distress, The Wicked Step-Mother/Mother, The Mistreated Princess, The Naïve Young Boy, not to mention those dwarves…Sleepy, Dopey…I know I can relate to those guys! 


It can be fun to play with these themes and archetypes in therapy, to explore which ones we relate to.  Do you have a favorite Disney movie?  What do you like about it? Can you relate to any of the themes within your own life experiences?  Do you wish you had an ending like the movie did?  Why or why not?


Which princess or hero is your favorite?  Why is she/he your favorite?  Have you ever felt the way she felt?  Do you wish your experiences would end like hers/his? Does this hold you back in any way?  What do you think about this?


Then there’s Tinker Bell!  If only each of us could carry around some of that pixie dust in our pockets!



by Marianne Vernacchia on 01/29/22

Have you heard the news?  A new study reveals, contrary to popular belief, that introverts, not extroverts, make the best leaders. According to University of Pennsylvania psychologist Adam Grant, even when it comes to selecting a physician, you may want to choose one with the “reticent” mind, versus the highly sought after “bedside manner” or “people skills” for the best treatment.  

Grant bases his observations on research he and others have conducted on the personality qualities of effective leaders (Grant et al., 2011).  It’s been widely assumed that assertive, charismatic, extraverted people make the best managers and leaders, but according to his study, as well as others in the field, it’s the leaders who listen carefully, think deeply, and really attune themselves to the needs of others who create the most productivity, as well as profit!  Especially those who rank high in “conscientiousness” as well as introversion.

This just goes to show, that it isn’t the more social, gregarious, or comfortable you are that reflects your value socially or within the workplace.  It’s your listening and thinking abilities, insight and conscientiousness, and ability to attune to others.  Introverts become easily drained when in loud, stimulating crowds of people, but it doesn’t mean they’re not cut out to lead groups of people.  

Here are some tips if you’re an introvert and struggle within a large work environment.  

  1. Make sure you take time to be alone and think during your work day
  2. Take work breaks alone outside, in your car, or close your office door for a period of time.
  3. Try not to schedule too many large meetings in one day.
  4. Plan more one-on-one, when possible, to convey important ideas to team leads and members.
  5. Ask more questions if you feel pressured and unsure. The other person will feel heard, you will buy time, and will more clearly understand the need(s). 
  6. Allow thinking/planning/problem solving time alone, then
  7. communicate to the person or group(s) when you’re clear.
  8. Meet one-on-one in a coffee shop if that feels better than a work environment.
  9. Tell someone you want to think something through, or give it more thought, versus feel pressured to respond to someone right away.
  10. Don’t skimp on self care. Schedule in quiet time, reading, exercise, and soothing activities for yourself. Do this daily and perhaps one full day per week if possible.


© 2021 Marianne Vernacchia, MFT#35980



by Marianne Vernacchia on 04/20/21

During the pandemic I’ve had to adjust my time spent each day, as all of us have, and find new ways to cope, change my expectations, find new rituals and develop new habits. One of the new habits (I hope) that I’ve formed is taking a daily walk and listening to an inspirational/motivational, or educational podcast. Something I heard a few days ago, rocked my world!

Author and shame expert, Brené Brown said something to the effect of, “Things really changed, when I realized that I’M IT.”  


That scared the bejesus out of me!  It’s true. I am IT.  Nobody is coming to the rescue! Nobody or nothing outside myself is going to do for me, make my life better, more complete, or make better decisions for me than ME. I AM IT!  

After letting this sink in, I began to feel an inkling of excitement along with the fear.  This means I can do whatever I want!  Whatever I think is best!  I not only can, but I have to rely on my own thinking and ideas, and guess what? I am the most qualified for the job!  I have to be open to feedback, compromise in relationships at times, but I am the only one who’s opinions and judgements matter most.  My life and future is my responsibility.  I have the most power over it. It is up to me to make my life what I want it to be, or what I think it should be!  Nothing magical is going to happen to change my life or world. WOW!  I am the one who has to do it…I am IT!

So, today, I challenge you…

Spend a week reminding yourself that YOU ARE IT!  What are you going to do next?  What’s the next chapter going to look like?  What kind of tweaking, or changes might you want to make?

See you soon and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on you being “IT”.

© 2021 Marianne Vernacchia, MFT#35980 


by Marianne Vernacchia on 03/29/21




Spring is in the air!  With the excitement of new growth and longer days, our minds and bodies wake back up. We move into a seasonal phase of more mental and physical energy and creativity.  It is a time of renewed natural energy, which means it can be hard to take the time to be still and quiet the mind. Without this “me time” many of us lose our daily meditation practice. If we don’t take the time to self-reflect, we run the risk of losing our self-awareness.  This means, we lose important knowledge about our selves, like what it is that we need or want. 


Quiet time is essential to our continued knowledge and growth. In order to not lose ourselves, we have to get disciplined and force ourselves to sit and be quiet.


This is where the “5 -5-5” comes in:


Decide on a regular, daily time to set 15 minutes aside to sit quietly.  If this is new for you, set 5 minutes for quieting the mind, 5 minutes to reflect deeply, and 5 minutes to write. Find or create a quiet place, safe, or inspirational place, and make sure no one can interrupt you. Turn off your apps, meditation music/apps, background noise, and of course, your phone and buzzers. When it’s just your mind, body, and the quiet, sit with your eyes closed and breathe deeply. Go inward and begin to notice your thoughts and feelings. If you start to think about your “to-do’s” or make lists in your head, let it go…get quiet all over again and try again to go inward. It may take 3-5 minutes to settle in and get quiet.  Wait for it.  Some days are easier than others, but don’t give up.  Next spend 5 minutes just observing and listening to your inner thoughts and feelings.  Remind yourself to stay quiet, still, and not to judge yourself!  Ask: “How do I feel right now?  What kind of feelings am I experiencing in my life lately?” It may be that you can only do 2 or 3 minutes to start. That’s okay - keep going.  Next comes 5 minutes of writing time. It is very helpful to journal afterward, trusting that you have learned something important about yourself.


Enjoy getting to know your self on a deeper level, and know that even painful thoughts and feelings are helpful to our growth. Always end with remembering gratitude for the things that we DO have in our lives.


Happy Spring!


by Marianne Vernacchia on 08/17/20

Grounding exercises help calm us down from anxious thoughts and feelings, settle our nervous systems, and ground us in the safety of the here and now.  Grounding can be used if you’re feeling overwhelmed, irritable, anxious, panicky, or waking from a nightmare. It can be used to take a break, or reduce discomfort from any distressing thoughts, sensations or feelings.

Here is a list of my favorite 5 grounding techniques:

BREATHE – Breathe in through the nose slowly, so you feel your abdominal cavity fill up as you count to 5, then breathe out slowly through your mouth as you count to 5.  Repeat at least 5 times, and as necessary.

“VOOO” EXERCISE – This is an excellent method of calming the autonomic nervous system created by trauma expert, Peter Levine.  Sit with your feet on the ground and your hand on your abdomen.  Breathe in through your nose and notice your abdomen fill up. Now, slowly say “Voooooooooo” (pronounced Vu with a long u) in a low, chant style of voice, until the air has exited your body.  It can help to close your eyes. As you do this feel the vibration move through your body and imagine it going all the way down to your feet.  Repeat over and over for 2 minutes.  

NOTICE YOUR BODY – Feel your clothing on your body, feel your bottom in the chair, place both feet on the ground and notice how that feels. Rub your legs with your hands, wrap your arms around yourself and hold yourself.  Notice how that feels.

BE IN THE ROOM – Notice items around you.  List items you see around you. These can be items that you like or they can be neutral items.  Example, the picture on the wall, a plant, the fan twirling above me, the lamp, table, rug, etc.

DESCRIBE AN OBJECT – Pick up an object and begin describing it and listing its attributes such as, size, weight, what it looks like, etc.

© 2020 Marianne Vernacchia, MFT#35980

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​In no way, should any information on this page, blog, or website be used to assess, diagnose or treat any emotional or mental health condition. Reading this website or articles linked to this website, does not in anyway constitute or represent a treatment contract with Marianne T. Vernacchia, MFT. Please seek professional help from a licensed therapist for specific help and treatment for your situation if needed. Articles and descriptions on this site are for general informational purposes only and do not constitute specific treatment or a treatment contract for readers or visitors of this site. Thank you.