Interview With Author Barbra Russell

Yes! I Said No! –

How To Set Healthy Boundaries and Increase Your Self Esteem


Barbra Russell, Licensed Professional Counselor

Introduce self and book:

I open my book by stating, “I’ve spent thousands of counseling hours working with many people who want to say “No,” who need to say “No,” but who say “Yes” anyway!”

That’s the reason I wrote the book. I have been a Licensed Professional Counselor for more than twenty years, and a recurring theme I saw in my office was someone who was resentful, felt used and headed for burnout. I would ask the following questions:

Is it hard to find time for yourself?

Do you often ignore what you want, and focus instead on what others want?

Do you find it difficult to speak up for yourself?

If the answer was yes, we began to discuss the importance of setting healthy boundaries. In addition to general principles, however, they needed to learn specific tools and practical steps. As they began to implement them, they began to re-take control of their lives. It was amazing!

Why I wrote the book:

In Yes! I Said No! I share the example of Susan, a client who came to see me because of extreme anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. Over the years, she had adopted an unhealthy lifestyle, one of trying to please others. She was someone who couldn’t say “No.” The step-by-step process I utilized in the office with her and others like her, was so successful, I began to conduct workshops and also created a series of videos emphasizing that people can learn how to:

  • Say no without blowing up, wimping out or running away
  • Stop begin a people pleaser
  • Care for people without carrying them
  • Restore healthy relationships

My conclusion? People needed the information, examples and stories I shared in the office. I decided I’d write a book about how to set healthy boundaries and increase self- esteem.

Tips on choosing titles and covers:

Titles, of course, need to capture attention while indicating the idea for the book. Like the concept of opposites attracting, “yes” and “no” are opposite, and I wanted the underlying impact to shout: “Yes! You will experience freedom after you say No!” “Yes! I Said No!” became the dominant words the reader will see. The subtitle explains more about what they will gain by reading the book.

In working with a graphic designer for the cover, I learned to check out other book covers, see the elements I liked, such as color, type style, images, etc. I also thought of the primary target audience I wanted to reach and, of course, what cover will best represent the theme of the book.

Creativity Tips

“Strike while the iron is hot,” the old adage goes. Because it seems my best ideas come in the early morning hours, I keep a pad and pen by my bed so I can write down any thoughts, then go back to sleep. (Otherwise, the idea will keep rolling around in my head and I can’t sleep – this way, my brain says, “ok, you won’t forget it now, so you can relax.”)

I also post a short inspirational thought or challenge on social media each day; from that may come a basis for a blog or another book.

Plans for Future Books

I am currently putting together a workbook and audiobook for Yes! I Said No!

My “tips for guys; tips for gals” that began with social media posts is being developed into a book on relationship tips.

Barbra Russell, MA, LPC

Author of Yes! I Said No!


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