Speaker • Trainer • Consultant


I am a take me off your mailing list kind of gal

I apologize in advance for this lengthy blog post and promise not to make them a routine part of my marketing communication with you.

I am a “take me off your mailing list” kind of gal. Making calls to personal space-invaders like the local State Farm agent, endless donation requests, and the air conditioning business’ daily offers are empowering moments. I always feel like “Yeah! One more who I shut the door on. No entering my home without an invitation.”  Bills, the occasional birthday card and the Wednesday advertisements that no amount of effort would stop, are the only things USPS delivers now. How I love saving paper and my boundaries at the same time!

As you would have it, on Thursday, July 14, 2016, I was opening an envelope from Tucson local media, a company I knew would be getting one of these calls from me as soon as I identified the  phone number.

“Congratulations on being named a finalist for the 2016 Influential Health and Medical Awards. This is a significant honor as it comes from the public you serve,” is what I read.

“What kind of scam is this?” was my first thought. “How much money do they want from me? Is this like a time share scandal? A sweepstakes? Who would have nominated me?  This has to be a joke.”

I immediately picked up the phone and called the number listed on the bottom of the letter. A woman answered, “Hello, Tucson local media, this is Laura, may I help you?”

She sounded professional, yet I didn’t trust it. “Yes, my name is Adena Bank Lees and I just received a letter from your organization saying and claiming that I am a finalist as an outstanding psychiatric/mental health care professional. What do you want from me? What kind of deal is this?”

“We want nothing from you. You were nominated by the public.” Laura responded in a firm and almost insulted tone.

“Oh,” I said, a bit sheepishly. Then the inner voice spoke, “You just made an idiot of yourself.” Needless to say, I didn’t ask to be taken off the mailing list.

I found myself sending Laura the information requested and didn't think much more about it.

As August came to a close, a client told me in an email that she nominated me for this award and attached the letter for me to read. As I read my eyes filled with tears of awe and gratitude. I found myself choking up and beginning to cry. Is the woman she is writing about really me? Is this how she and maybe other clients experience me? Wow! It is all of who I have wanted to and worked long and hard to be. It is right here in black and white.

I now knew in my cells this award was for real. I was going to the awards dinner to celebrate  with friends/colleagues and to honor my client. The inner voice came back-“ Hers is probably the only nomination you got.” The retort- “Who cares? One is enough!”

No way did I think or expect my name to be called. “And the first place winner is……

Adena Bank Lees!” Time stood still. My body shaking with surprise and elation, I thought  “My academy award!”   “Just don’t let me trip up the steps!” I exclaimed to my wife, “I am not used to walking in these heels!”

I was speechless at first and then my spontaneity kicked in. I told the audience what I just told you, about how I first thought this was a scam. I heard the laughter and was in my element. Boy do I love to be on stage and make people laugh.

No tripping, no falling. Thank God! I made it back to my table and it took the rest of the presentations for me to get back into my body. Sorry to all those winners I wasn’t present for.

On the way out of the ballroom, a gentleman, (and winner) approached me, looked me square in the eye and said, “All of us in the back agreed, hands down, you gave the best speech of the night.” The smile that emerged on my face was wide and joyous. I made them laugh. My peers. How fabulous! My “inner comedienne” was very proud.



It is 2 weeks since that very special evening. I continue to revel in the experience. I know I am personally growing because I am reveling instead of dismissing and immediately moving to the next thing.

I do have a next thing, however. That is auditioning for TedxTucson, a local Ted event, on Saturday, October 22, 2016. The community is encouraged to attend. I am presenting during the 10:30- 10;45 time slot. If you are in or around the Tucson area and wish to attend- you will see seven others auditioning- please register at: (its free)


I would love to see you there. The bigger the audience, the better I do!

My hope is to be accepted to the TedxTucson event to not only raise awareness of covert emotional incest, but convey the importance of taking action to heal so that the cycle of dysfunction stops now.

Speaking of covert emotional incest, please have a listen to my recent conversation with Robert Cox of Mindful Recovery Podcasts.

The Trauma of Covert Emotional Incest - an Interview with Adena Bank Lees



Save The Date

“The Child as Substitute Spouse: Naming and Validating Emotional Incest” Presented by Adena Bank Lees, LCSW, LISAC, BCETS, CP
At the 75th Annual ASGPP 2017 Conference: “Navigating Waves of Change: Discovering and Celebrating Our Hidden Treasures.”
May 4-7, 2017 Clearwater, Florida
Cultural Competency/Diversity and Ethics in Action
Presented by Adena Bank Lees, LCSW, LISAC, BCETS, CP and Dr. Marlo Archer, TEP
Sunday, January 15, 2017 Phoenix, AZ
Sunday, January 29, 2017 Tucson, AZ

Ponder This

“Laughter is an instant vacation.” ~ Milton Berle

“I realize that humor isn't for everyone. It's only for people who want to have fun, enjoy life, and feel alive.” ~ Anne Wilson Schaef

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