Lisa Holland, Ph.D.
Dr. Lisa Holland practices psychotherapy with adults and families.
She also teaches continuing education classes and creates speciality programs to help law, medical and business professionals manage the unique stresses of life and practice.
The daughter of an attorney and life-long South Carolina politician and a school teacher, Lisa learned first-hand how challenging it can be for professionals to tend to the needs of others and still remain emotionally connected to their own lives.
Lisa served two terms on the board of directors for the Center for Cancer Treatment and Research at Palmetto Health. While at Palmetto Health, she established a medical family therapy program for patients and practitioners and two support groups; one for oncology patients and another for couples who were coping with infertility.
After the events of September 11, Lisa wrote a children’s sketchbook titled Jake’s Journey to help guide practitioners and parents in discussing complicated emotions with their children.
Dr. Holland created The Heart Spa, a seminar that helped women learn about the emotional connection to their hearts. The first Heart Spa was held in 2010 with Women Heart , The National Coalition of Women With Heart Disease at City Art Gallery in Columbia and also in Florence, SC. The second Heart Spa was held in 2012 at 701 Whaley with Palmetto Health Heart Hospital.
When I was eight years old I climbed on to our washing machine to reach the nearby sink. When I turned on the water the washing machine shot electricity into me and stopped my heart. A friend, our housekeeper and my father rushed me to the hospital – the doctors and staff restarted my heart through open-chest heart massage.
In graduate school I decided to look at how my so called “recovery” had unfolded. I knew that I hadn’t recovered much of anything and I felt like there were emotional holes in my life that I just couldn’t fill so I set out to learn what I could. I located my old hospital chart notes and school records and I also talked with my teachers and doctors. And, because I had to rely on others’ memories of me, I committed to a course of therapy.
I still don’t remember the accident or who I was before it happened, but eventually I did learn that I’d experienced agnosia, which loosely means, I’d lost the ability to understand the meaning of words. So, as you might guess, “academic” learning was difficult, so I found other ways to learn.
In graduate school I became interested in how people cope with life experience, so I wrote my doctoral dissertation on coping strategies. After graduation I worked as a therapist for cancer, heart and infertility patients. I also began working with the doctors and staff who cared for these patients.
At one point in my life I realized that although I had empathy for my clients, I’d never felt empathy for myself. That is, for that part of me that experienced the electrocution: The struggle, the pain, the shame and the rediscovery. It wasn’t easy, but I did the emotional work for myself because I wanted to, and because I didn’t want to blame other people for my own stuff.
Here’s a link to an old newspaper article about my accident Read the article