Cultivate Joy Within is a program of  Psychotherapy, EFT/Tapping, and Workshops designed to inspire and empower people to live more joyful lives.

The spiritual leaders I have read, seen, or spoken with over the years have all said in one form or another that true joy comes from within and that outside circumstances can never be the foundation for lasting joy. In studying and practicing this concept for many years, I have realized the validity and importance of it, and so have included it in my work. I have given the name “Cultivate Joy Within” to my Psychotherapy, EFT/Tapping Practice, and Workshops.

Find out about more about Cultivate Joy Within’s 2018 Workshops HERE!

Joy is a state of being, a feeling of delight, the emotional component of happiness. We bubble up with joy. We smile. Our hearts open. We feel connected, engaged, at peace. We experience clarity and excitement about our lives and our plans.

What could be more rewarding than to deliberately cultivate these feelings, even in the face of the challenges life places before us?

By offering psychotherapy with a positive psychology component, EFT/Tapping, and Cultivate Joy Within Workshops, I provide clients with the opportunity to choose a path to deliberately increase joy and happiness while working through the challenging issues in their lives.

I invite you to click on the menu topics and read the offerings to find out what I offer as a Psychotherapist, what EFT/Tapping is, and a general outline of the Cultivate Joy Within workshops.

I have been a licensed therapist for over thirty years, working in California and New York. I have experience working with adults in all stages of life and from all walks of life and am excited to be offering my services to the WNY community, and by Skype to the world at large.

Please feel free to contact me for more information and to set up an appointment, either in person or via Skype.

There is a life force within your soul. Seek that life.
There is a gem in the mountain of your body. Seek that gem.
O traveler, if you are in search of that,
Don’t look outside. Look inside yourself and seek that.


In 2008, when I was working as a Counselor for the Medical Center Brigade at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C., I attended an in-service training that transformed how I work with clients. That day I learned about a technique to relieve anxiety, anger, and pain called Emotional Freedom Technique, or Tapping.

I was fascinated as I watched the Therapist trainer work with a veteran who was experiencing a severe headache. After tapping with him for about ten minutes, his headache was gone. The veteran was amazed and very pleased, to say the least, as he had tried many things in the past to little success.

Right then I knew I needed to learn this technique. I contacted the presenter and consulted with her for several months to learn how to use Tapping with clients and for my own personal use. Since that time, I have used Tapping extensively with clients, and in my own life. I tap almost every day to lighten my mood, focus more clearly, relieve stress, and deal with difficult issues that come up in daily life.

After all that buildup, what exactly is Tapping? It is a simple technique developed in the 1980s that combines Western psychology and Eastern acupressure points to relieve physical and emotional pain. By stating the issue at hand while tapping on various acupressure points on the head and upper body that are connected to our “feel-good” neurotransmitters, aka endorphin levels, we relieve stress, anger, and physical pain, which in turn increases our ability to feel joy.

Each time we tap, we experience change. While the memory of what caused stress or anger remains, the emotional component is cleared, so there is no longer a “charge” attached to the memory. When the emotional and physical pain is lessened or completely gone, often it does not return. When it does, it can be tapped away again. Over time, the triggers that caused pain in the past do not have the same energy or power they once had to cause pain.

As your EFT/Tapping Practitioner I will:

  • Provide a safe space to help you discover and explore core challenges and clear emotional blocks to healing. Accessing painful issues when alone is difficult and can be frightening for some people. Being with an experienced practitioner provides safety and a sense of connection.
  • Help you find words that resonate with you and that will be most effective in your healing process. People often have a hard time finding the right words, which then becomes a stumbling block for them.
  • Keep you focused and on point with the issue so you can follow it through to the end.
I am including a link to a recent video from the NBC Today Show of an interview with Nick Ortner from thetappingsolution.com, as it provides a very clear picture of what Tapping can do.

There has been a great deal of research done on the effectiveness of Tapping. If you would like more information on that, Google “Tapping Research”. Also, you can go to YouTube and search “Tapping” to see people in action.

Please feel free to contact me for more information and to set up an appointment, either in person or via Skype.


Everyone has life challenges. When we feel overwhelmed or in need of education and assistance in dealing with those challenges, Psychotherapy can be the difference between remaining stuck in old patterns that cause pain and are no longer useful, and successfully working through challenges and developing new ways of managing them that bring more peace and joy into life.

The role of the Therapist is to collaborate with clients to solve issues, bring greater peace and inner joy and contentment to their lives and find what is meaningful to them as creatively and efficiently as possible. The Therapist assists clients in working through life challenges such as –

  • Anxiety/Stress
  • Relationship issues
  • Learning to make positive life choices
  • Anger issues
  • Communication issues
  • Conflict resolution
  • Grief
  • Frustration regarding achievement of goals and dreams
  • A sense that life could have more meaning

In working with the presenting issue, we reduce or remove internal and external blocks and behavior patterns that no longer serve, while creating new approaches that enhance and improve the quality of life and are then useful for new life challenges.

As a licensed therapist for over thirty years, I have the education, knowledge, and experience to provide a safe environment in which to facilitate authentic change for my clients.

Ann Marie Cusella, LMFT, MFLC

I am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in New York and California. I have over thirty-five years of experience working in institutional settings, private practice, as a crisis counselor for businesses, and for the U.S. Military on military installations, foreign and domestic, as a counselor to military personnel and their families.

For the past ten years, I have been studying and practicing Positive Psychology, Energy Psychology, Emotional Freedom Technique/Tapping, and short-term solution-focused therapy. I have a background in Jungian Psychology, Gestalt Therapy, and Family Systems, among other modalities.

I have been studying and practicing the cultivation of joy and happiness as an internal process rather than one dependent on external circumstances and am convinced that this is a reliable way to decrease stress and improve the quality of life. As a result, I have incorporated this concept into my private practice and have developed individualized workshops that provide participants with tools to cultivate joy in their daily lives.

In a former life, I was the co-owner, administrative director, and teacher at a private residential secondary school for emotionally challenged and addicted youth in Trinity County, CA. I have worked as a secretary, a farm laborer, and an actor. Currently, in addition to my private practice and workshops, I write theater reviews for an online lifestyle magazine. This variety of experiences contributes to my ability to understand and be helpful to people from all walks of life.

I use my education, experience, compassion, understanding, and sense of humor to assist people in making positive authentic changes in their lives.

For Further information


I designed Cultivate Joy Within Workshops to inspire and empower people to live more joyful lives.

Joy is a state of being, a feeling of delight, the emotional component of happiness. We bubble up with joy. We smile. Our hearts open. We feel connected, engaged, at peace. We want everyone to feel this way. We are thrilled to be alive.

However, often we believe feeling joyful is dependent on expectations or desires being fulfilled, or until outside circumstances change. We will feel joy when…

We have more money, a better job, a romantic relationship, buy a house, a car, remodel the kitchen; or when people we love are feeling joyful, when winter is over and it’s spring again…

These things and many more outside circumstances all can bring feelings of happiness, of course. But the temporary happiness of achieving a goal is often followed by a desire for the next thing, which then places us back into worry and stress. We have the job, now we must have the car, or the house. It is as if we are on a treadmill watching a video screen that changes pictures, but we are still on the same treadmill, working, working, working, with occasional moments of joyful excitement or peace.

We may not be goal oriented, but believe it is selfish to be joyful because others are suffering – people we love, people more distant from us, animals, the planet – that we are wrong to cultivate inner joy and peace in the face of the suffering around us, when the truth is that our being worried and stressed serves no one. When we allow ourselves to feel joy in our everyday lives, we bring that joy to others and give them permission to enjoy their lives, too.

Deliberately creating more joy and meaning in life is an incredibly rewarding journey, and one that we usually are not programmed to take. Each step taken toward empowerment and meaning leads to a more joyful life, and each decision made and acted upon produces change. Once you are on this path you will never go back to where you began because you will not have merely altered external circumstances, you will have changed your fundamental approach to life.

I developed Cultivate Joy Within Workshops as a way for people to learn and develop skills to create more joy in life. Whatever our desires and outward circumstances, we can learn simple tools and develop the skills to use them that will allow us to feel more joy in our daily lives. By using the tools and practicing them, we can train ourselves to feel more joyful more often.

Designed to assist you in focusing on life as a journey to be experienced fully, creating the mind-set that being joyful can be independent of outside circumstances, the workshops provide you with tools to:

  • Reduce and/or remove internal and external blocks to a more joyous life
  • Create an individualized plan to maintain a more joyous life, encompassing the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of life.

Through short lectures, individualized and interactive exercises, and discussions, you will learn how to:

  • Practice presence
  • Practice self-acceptance
  • Discover internal blocks to creating a more joyful life
  • Let go of self-defeating beliefs and negative judgments
  • Create an environment for yourself that welcomes joyful expression

Workshops are limited to eight participants with two sessions of 2-1/2 hours each, usually a week apart so you have time to use the tools you have learned, discover what works for you, bring your experience back to the workshop, then fine tune your plan as you participate in further exercises and discussions.

UPCOMING Cultivate JOY Within Workshops

To see my upcoming Cultivate Joy Within Workshops, click here.

For Further information

Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity, but in doing it. Greg Anderson