What People Are Saying

We are very proud of the words our students and community share about The 7 Tools, about Dr. Steve Hall and about Grace Porter, MA. Click the testimonials below to learn more!

I am amazed at the extent of the change I see in my daily life

Now that I am a few months beyond the Taming the Bear course, I am amazed at the extent of the change I see in my daily life. I am so much better able to recognize when I am feeling reactive about a topic/situation/conversation. This increased awareness, combined with the process of the 7 tools learned during the course, means I am able to consider my feelings and actions with curiosity rather than being completely caught up in the moment and reacting.
Meeting myself with so much more compassion than judgement, like we learned in the course, has also been a game changer for me. My days feel lighter since I am being kinder to myself.
Our TTB group has kept in contact after the course ended, and the mutual support and validation has been so much fun to continue. The shared lessons and language of TTB mean that we can support each other as we continue to grow into using the tools. The community feeling among our small group is a real support—we are actively planning our next group check in to keep that feeling going.
-Bridget Ruiz, Executive Coach and Navy Veteran

Taming The Bear was undoubtedly one of the most impactful experiences in my 15-year journey with TBI and PTS

Taming The Bear was undoubtedly one of the most impactful experiences in my 15-year journey with Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress. Incorporating the Seven Tools of Healing into my daily life provided perspective and practical skills that allowed me to transform my perceptions and effectively manage my emotions. It is a life changing experience I would recommend to any service members or veterans that have been to combat and then find themselves in a battle to rediscover their souls.

-Charles Bailey, US Army, Retired, OIF and OEF Combat Veteran

I didn't realize how the course would transform my life.  I also don't think I realized my life was in need of a transformation. 

Before Taming the Bear, I can honestly say I didn't know what I didn't know.  I joined the course at my friend's suggestion, and my only expectation was that I would walk away with a few stress-handling tools. I didn't realize how the course would transform my life.  I also don't think I realized my life was in need of a transformation.

Curiosity is my favorite TTB word. (Sorry Compassion, you're a close second!)  The whole course was a master class in being curious about whatever it is that causes stress and anxiety (or any other trigger emotion), and then following that curiosity deeper and deeper.  It's a beautiful, messy, spiraling, magnificent scavenger hunt into your own unique headspace. I REALLY fell in love with this part of the process.

Grace is the magical guide that allows all of this work to flow in an organic and authentic way. She's beyond intuitive and amazing to watch and learn from. She created a space for all of us to grow, at our own pace, and within our own boundaries.

Throughout the course, I found myself more open.  Open to laughter, open to mistakes, open to living a big juicy messy life.  I can breathe easier.  I can see the world around me a little clearer. I feel more connected - to myself - to my family - to my job - to what I want my life to be.

I am eternally grateful - for all of it. Thanks Grace!

Carolyn Andros, Professional Photographer and Navy Veteran

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Little girl flying rocket in superhero concept
herzen auf buntem HIntergrund

I find your simple thorough techniques of analyzing and working through these beliefs very helpful.

After taking Taming the Bear, I am much more compassionate with, accepting of, and actually happy with, who I am in the world.
Before this class, I had worked on managing my stress through mindfulness meditation, yoga, exercise, etc. and so going into this work, I really didn't feel like I had a lot of stress. But this class took me beyond managing the symptoms and allowed me to go deeper, looking at the origins of the beliefs that cause me stress, or at least unhappiness in my life.
I have benefitted from the questioning process introduced in the class -- of looking at feelings, taking the feelings to their roots,  and then discovering how the conclusions I made from my life experiences have led me to the development of my belief system. Through our sessions, I learned strategies for changing those beliefs that do not serve me. I had been introduced to most of the class concepts in previous work during my life, but I find your simple thorough techniques of analyzing and working through these beliefs very helpful.
I looked forward to our weekly Zoom talks because they helped us recognize and consider our own behaviors in light of what another participant shared, as well as making everyone feel less alone in their brokenness.

- Patricia Rutowski, PhD, Retired Science Educator/Marine Science Camp Director

Getting to the depths of what is true allows me to make better decisions.

I went into Seven Tools thinking that I would "fix" some things that showed up in my personal life--as a wife, mother, and friend.  The course definitely helped me evolve on this front, but what surprised me was the impact that the Seven Tools made on my role as a corporate leader.  The tools have helped me to alter the way I deal with pressure/chaos/conflict at work, and have moved me down the continuum of reactivity so that I can respond to issues that arise versus being purely reactive.  Doing the work to learn and apply the seven tools has taught me to be a spectator to my own thoughts--suspending judgment of others (and myself) in a way that allows me to lead with more compassion and conviction. Decisions I make have more depth, as I've found a way to pull at the threads of instincts, reactions, and emotions to uncover what lies beneath the surface.  Getting to the depths of what is true allows me to make better decisions and to authentically and honestly communicate "the why" behind them.

-Erin Scruggs, Senior Director, Global Talent Acquisition at LinkedIn

Taming the Bear has had the biggest/most outsized impact for the cost of anything I have tried.

Now that months have gone by and I see the Tools in play in my life, Taming the Bear has had the biggest/most outsized impact for the cost of anything I have tried.
What I learned helps me professionally, personally, as a parent, with my aging parents....It sounds too good to be true, but everyone in my TTB group says the same thing. We all feel like we are different people than we were 18 months ago.
The Tools are applicable in so many ways—taking Taming the Bear was investing in learning a new understanding of myself that has brought new equanimity to all parts of my life. It is so worth the cost.
-Ellen Stamp, Executive Coach
Tree/Lonely  pine on the top of the cliff
Great wall of China in mist morning

I have reframed my difficult relationship with compassion for myself.

Ah...Stress! Over the years I have let stress take control of my life, never really dealing with my core issues, but running away and stuffing them deep inside. However, I have found this strategy to be untenable after multiple health issues, including surviving two cancer diagnoses—I was floundering.
That is until my dear friends at The 7 Tools of Healing offered me another way—Taming The Bear, taking a bite out of stress.
Dr. Hall & Grace—thank you for creating a thoughtful, calm, and respectful space for all of us to explore our relationship to stress. I found the group experience supportive and helpful in taking a look at my own life, and appreciate everyone’s openness to share their inner struggles with the rest of us—so many themes run through all of our lives. This would not have happened without the skill of both Dr. Hall and Grace. Thank you all, it is very much appreciated!
“Practice compassionate accepting awareness of what is, the truth of my present moment.” This one concept presented in the course has changed the way I perceive myself in relationship to the world around me. Rather than managing stress, I am able to lean into the feelings that stress brings up in my body. Enabling me to reach deep inside to examine my fears and long held beliefs through my heart instead of my mind. By employing this concept, I have reframed my difficult relationship with compassion for myself, caring for myself as much as I care for others with unconditional love. I now have space within to take a deep breath.
I highly recommend taking the opportunity to change your dance with life’s stressors by taking this course.
-KK (Initials used by request for privacy)

I'm learning to understand what my reactions are tied to--at the deepest level--and this understanding leads to self compassion and evolution.

I didn't have a lot of expectations when I signed up for the class, but someone I trusted assured me that the content was something I should explore.  12 weeks later, I am infinitely grateful that I listened.  The 7 tools start with simple awareness of how I am choosing to experience my life and react to it.  Going into it, I would have said that I thrive on career stress, and the adrenaline of constantly striving to achieve, solve, and master work is something that has been a positive accelerant to my career.  
The number of "lightbulb!" moments I've had about the impact of that kind of lifestyle is infinite.  Taking time to explore why that drive is a constant in my life and how it impacts non-work relationships and my health is making a difference in the choices I make.  I'm evolving at being able to step back from the moment and take an objective stance before I react.  I'm learning to understand what my reactions are tied to--at the deepest level--and this understanding leads to self compassion and evolution.  
Since Taming the Bear ended, our cohort has maintained our relationships, and we continue to support each other through sharing of reading materials, experiences, and simple reminders.  I'm not exactly where I want to be, but I understand the journey, and the 7 Tools are ones that I can take out and apply regularly to address the daily realities of my work and personal life.
-ESS, Upper Management at a Microsoft Affiliate  

This class then offers you tools to be able to hold yourself with tenderness.

This class was not about recognizing that I was overstressed and under resourced, but instead about recognizing why I continue patterns that lead me to stressful situations as well as my response to stress and how it is based on my beliefs.

Taming the Bear is a journey into yourself to begin the process of understanding deeply held and likely unconscious beliefs that are causing you more stress and internal dissonance and leading you to make decisions that keep you stuck in these stressful patterns. Through compassionate awareness, this class then offers you tools to be able to hold yourself with tenderness while you work on creating new belief structures / thought patterns to create a life with less stress and more joy and success!

My favorite thing about Taming the Bear is the community of people being real about themselves and their lives as we learned how to be more real each week. Watching the empathy for ourselves and each other grow.

-Deb Reid, Family Nurse Practitioner - Board Certified, Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner, Reiki Master

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Early on, I realized that this course would be different.

I was so excited when Patti suggested that I take the class. I was in a space where my stress level was the driving force that determined so many of my thoughts and actions, and I wanted to change that.  I loved the experiential practices every week. They reinforced the class material in a way that made it "sink in" more. I also really enjoyed hearing the experiences of everyone on the weekly calls. Even though we were all processing different life experiences, it was empowering to see how The 7 Tools were applicable to each situation.

Previously, I was trying to make friends with my stress through activities like yoga, hiking, and meditation. These are still important tools for me, but now I realize that these activities were mainly helping process the after effects of stress. I would be paralyzed by stress and *then* employ these tools to "feel better." The 7 Tools has added a framework for attending to my stress as it arises throughout the day.

I am not generally a willing group participant, especially when it comes to sharing my feelings. Although this was definitely the most challenging part of the course for me, I was not expecting to look forward to the calls every week. After going through the process, I now feel more empowered to share how I am feeling - and I know why it is helpful to do so!

The 7 Tools course is an in-depth study of the steps anyone can take to reframe their relationship with stress. Throughout the 12 weeks, participants learn practical skills that encourage a compassionate, fully present understanding of the stress response that leads to personal growth.

I was skeptical before signing up for the class because I have been "battling" stress for a long time - and have been on a constant, fruitless search for "answers" to the "problem." Early on, I realized that this course would be different because we weren't "battling" or "solving" anything. It took me a few weeks of working with the course materials, but I found a way recognize and transform how much of my relationship with stress was about overcoming it.

I loved the presence and kindness that Grace brought to the calls each week. It was so cool to listen as she helped guide participants with questions to delve deeper into tricky blind spots. The grounding energy she brought to the calls was much appreciated.

Dr. Hall has a unique ability to bring lightness - and bumper sticker-ready humor - in a heart-centered way that honors the depth of the work we are doing without getting weighted down in the difficult emotions that can arise when delving into the origins of our stress responses.

-Sara Siegel Web Developer

The combination of both Grace and Steve's thoughts was really nice.

Taming the Bear is gentle and kind class that explores not only what is a stressor and where it originates from for me, but what tools might help me on a regular basis to get to where I am preventing feeling stressed rather than reacting to it.

The combination of both Grace and Steve's thoughts was really nice.  I could feel a different background in education but with a common thread/message and it made me feel that much stronger about the approach and methods. Grace’s listening capacity and kindness were overwhelming and I really appreciated Steve’s responses as they directly got me to think about my practices.

[In the past I have only addressed stress] on my own using TED talks, books, yoga, exercise…but that was more to essentially ‘Breathe’ or ‘deal’ instead of taking a deeper look into beliefs, faith and the way I work that is either helpful or harmful. Taking that look and assessing among and with others kept me accountable to really do the ‘work’ and gave me a perspective I had never seen before.

-LM, Entrepreneur (Initials used by request for privacy)

The Seven Tools....give me both a powerful structure and process to handling my stress.

Before taking Taming the Bear I felt that my adversarial relationship with stress was causing me to avoid opportunities for deeper personal relationships and full enjoyment of my career. I have tried several paths to change this including counseling and meditation. The integration of The 7 Tools into these practices gives both a powerful structure and process to handling my stress. 

I have learned to pay attention not only to my thoughts about a matter, but to how I am experiencing that matter in my body.  In Taming the Bear I learned to invite that feeling to take me to its roots.  I have been able to apply this technique on my own and continue to develop new insights, which allow me to let go of painful things from my past.

In taking Taming the Bear, one not only invests in their own better future but becomes a part of a group of individuals who grow together through a common understanding of themselves and a desire to relate in a healthy way to their loved ones, careers and life events.  Grace’s calm and caring leadership style makes this growth and group development possible.

Grace is an insightful and caring counselor who is well versed in The 7 Tools and is able to connect with each member in the group in a way that makes use of the tools personal and meaningful.

-BJ (Initials used by request for privacy), Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

beautifull cloudy sunrise in the mountains with snow ridge. Trek around Annapurna mount. Himalaya, Nepal.
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Taming the Bear is a class about true healing and resiliency.

After hearing Grace give an intro talk about Taming the Bear a long time ago, I had the sense that I would benefit from hearing all of the steps laid out in a linear process. Context is helpful to the way my brain works. Once I understand the big picture it is easier for me to take tactical action. I hoped Taming the Bear would help me step back from my exact thought place and gain a larger framework that I could then apply to my acute situations as they arise. I was also interested in what a group setting might be like.

I absolutely love (and think it is a big differentiator) how Taming the Bear is designed to be a mix of education and experience. The content is awesome, and I like learning new things. The experiential piece, both via video and on the calls, really elevated the course for me. Once I feel something myself, then I believe it every time.

The accountability and support of the group was great. I really enjoyed learning from listening to others share their experiences. Plus, when I see others growing and working hard, it is a great motivator for me to keep going.

I think the big difference for me with Taming the Bear was learning a structure/process that I could apply every time. Taming the Bear feels much more like a path to addressing the cause of my stress, as opposed to trying to mitigate the effects.

Taming the Bear is a class about true healing and resiliency, that is delivered in a really approachable manner. That it is a great way to open internal doors and gain tons of new perspective about yourself. The combination of information, experience, and group support is really unique. I tell people that it is awesome and that they should get over their fear and DO IT (never mind that I tell my own clients to stop shoulding themselves...).

This course is an invitation to new tools and levels of self awareness that will make a huge difference in your life. If you take the course you will gain actionable knowledge and insights that will help you in both the short and long term. You will need to be patient to get into the flow—to give it a few classes to really pick up momentum and get comfortable with the process.

-Bridget Ruiz, Executive Coach and 2 Time Taming the Bear Student (Testimonial given after taking Taming the Bear the first time as a private class with a group of friends)

Taming the Bear is a well planned and structured class that can help anyone.

I decided to take Taming the Bear because I thought it might get me thinking on a different level when dealing with the everyday challenges of life and business. I have been through a number of counselors throughout my life, all have helped me to see a new perspective on a different part of life. The group setting was a bit nerve racking at first but in the end turned out to be the best part of the class. It is a well planned and structured class that can help anyone (that wants to help themselves) with the everyday challenges of life.

-Len Bazile, Jr, Took Taming the Bear as part of a private class

Overall, the word that comes to mind to describe "The Chill Pack" is empowerment.

Wow. I have been exploring "The Chill Pack" for the past week, and it has been such an amazing thing to integrate into my day. First, you can tell that the whole pack was put together with a lot of love. It is filled with resources-- explanations of the meditations as well as a very comprehensive herbal booklet, which is filled with natural and easy to make remedies. I appreciate that the meditations invited me to take the time for self-care and to go within and to listen to the voice inside that knows all of the answers-- even to the question of "How do I heal myself?'  I love that Dr. Hall acknowledges that spiritual well-being is intertwined with physical well-being and that your heart has all of the answers. The yoga nidra practices by Grace Porter are just utterly delicious! All of the meditations are easy to repeat; since they are inviting you to really sit with your own experience, they seem different every time! Overall, the word that comes to mind to describe "The Chill Pack" is empowerment.  I feel empowered to take control of my own health and to carve out these moments of self-care!

-Erin McKay, Teacher

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