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DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Patricia Cavanaugh

Thursday, December 6,  2012, 8:00 am Pacific, 9:00 am Mountain, 10:00 am Central, 11:00 am EST, 12:00 pm Atlantic, 5:00 pm Zurich, 6:00 pm Istanbul, Dubai 8:00 pm

The Psychology of Life Satisfaction in YOUR Third Act

“You have to laugh and find humor every day. You’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it.”
87 year old college student

“Life is not the way it’s supposed to be. It is the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.”
Virginia Satir

If you are a boomer or a member of the “mature” generation entering your fifth or sixth or seventh decade of life today, you have a fabulous opportunity to purposely create the next stage of your life, traditionally called “retirement”.  You are entering a stage of life that is virtually uncharted, a time in which you are free from social expectations and have reduced family obligations, with the freedom and the need to find new activities which provide meaning and purpose.  Many of us have had a challenging, fast-paced, successful and often stressful second act.  We have dedicated ourselves to raising a family, pursuing a career and/or both.

Now we, the boomers and beyond, are the generations that are reinventing “retirement”. As we look ahead and plan for what used to be considered retirement, we want something different.  We may want a slower pace, but we also want to learn and be challenged, to pursue an interest or vocation we haven’t had time for, to start a new business or to make a contribution to our community.  Boomers and mature generations are living longer than ever before and are living in better health.  We want to plan our transition and create a life we choose: The third act of our life story.

About Patricia

Patricia’s own 3rd Act story came about when she found herself burned out from working in an addiction clinic for 18 years.  She wanted to create something of her own.  In her words, “I spent a good year or more working with a career counselor who helped me make my way through a difficult transition from a field focused on the troubled and addicted to a world where I could help folks explore untapped talent, energy and wisdom in their next developmental “generatarian” phase.  Patricia decided to call her business "The 3rd Act," and four years ago she connected with her business partner Bev Scott who had coincidentally named her own new business The Third Act.  They joined forces and have offered individual coaching and workshops using a life-planning process they created that promotes positive aging for those in mid-life and beyond.

Patricia Cavanaugh, MA, MFT,  is a partner in The 3rd Act.  From the mid 70’s to the mid 80’s, she was instrumental in the development and implementation of the workshop “Money and You” and the “Burklyn Business School” in collaboration with Marshall Thurber. Patricia has been a practicing psychotherapist since 1984, following her graduation from the Transpersonal Psychology Program at John F. Kennedy University.  She has a private practice in Berkeley, CA.  Patricia is also a Master’s Level Neural Linguistic Programmer and has a Third Age Coaching Certification.


Cell: 510-414-3524


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Activity:  Gratitude Journal


Take time every day to write down three to five things you are grateful for that day.  Pick the same time every day to write (e.g. it could be in the evening as you review your day or in the morning as your prepare to begin your day).  Pause throughout the day to notice what you are grateful for, as this helps you remember for your later journal entries.  Sometimes it is a challenge to remember to pause and observe, so to help yourself set a reminder notice on your smart phone or put a post-it note reminder on your mirror or car dashboard.

The research on keeping a gratitude journal is summarized in Robert Emmons' book “Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier” (Houghton Mifflin, 2007).  Emmons and his colleagues at the University of California at Davis are among the pioneers in research on gratitude, part of a larger movement called positive psychology.  Positive psychology, instead of focusing on illness and emotional problems, studies health-promoting behavior and the pleasurable parts of life.

The Gratitude Journal helps to change the brain's wiring to a "glass half full" perspective rather than half empty.  The research done by the Positive Psychology folks show this does make a difference in outlook which helps to improve health and therefore life satisfaction.

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Before we begin, here are a few instructions for listeners:

  • If you have a question, press 5* on your phone.
  • Directly after the interview, be sure to fill out the evaluation linked to your call-in instructions, especially if you want to earn CEUs. 
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  • If you'd like to listen to more of these tele-interviews, and your organization is not currently a subscriber, contact me with someone I can talk with about subscribing your organization so you can listen for free (except for the cost of your distance provider). Email info@ careerwell.org or call 415.312.4294.


This is Dr. Sally Gelardin with Careerwell Tele-Interviews.  Today we have two interviewees:  Patricia Cavanaugh, who will talk about her approach to counseling individuals in their 50s and 60s,  followed by Grant Rudolph, who will talk about "neurotherapy". Both are Marriage and Family Licensed Therapists. Patricia is a partner in The 3rd Act.   Patricia has been a practicing psychotherapist since 1984, following her graduation from the Transpersonal Psychology Program at John F. Kennedy University.  She has a private practice in Berkeley, CA.  Patricia is also a Master’s Level Neural Linguistic Programmer and has a Third Age Coaching Certification. Welcome Patricia.

Interview Questions

  1. In your introduction to this interview on your Careerwell web page,  you mention slowing down in your work as you get older. What does slowing down mean to you?
  2. Have you slowed down?  If so, how has slowing down improved the quality of your life?
  3. What else did you change that enhanced the quality of your life?
  4. Have you made any changes that help you deal with stress better?  If so, what are these changes?
  5. What are you still working on to improve the quality of your life?
  6. What do most of your clients want to change about themselves?
  7. What effective coaching/counseling techniques do you use to help your clients?
  8. How do you help couples make changes in their later years?

Upcoming Interviews

Robert Chope, Wednesday, December 12, 2012, 1:00 pm Pacific, How Families of Origin and Creation Influence Career Decison Making

Mike Whitty, Thursday, January 17, 2012, 8:00 am Pacific, It Doesn't Matter How You Die, It Matters How You Live

Martin Yate, Thursday, January 24, 2012, 8:00 am Pacific

Jim Bright, Thursday, January 31, 2012, 5:00 pm Pacific

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.