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Weston Mom Advocates Risktaking

Weston psychotherapist and writer Amanda Geffner was taken aback by her son Josh’s frank criticism. "Mommy, I'm mad at you," said the 7-year-old. "You run writing workshop s for adults. Why are you doing writing workshops for adults? You should be doing them for kids."

Geffner, who has lived in town for two years, didn’t have to give it a lot of thought. "I said, 'Oh, okay. I've got my marching orders!' " She then contacted Charlene Monn, who coordinates the WOW! after-school program for youth services to discuss doing a children's workshop.

"Because I've been open to things, a lot of possibilities have opened up to me," she said. In addition to her therapy work and writing workshops, Geffner is a founding editor of Psychoanalytic Perspectives: A Journal of Integration and Innovation. She's been published in The New Yorker and she's currently working on a collection of essays and short stories.

Creativity comes naturally to Geffner, who grew up in a musical family. While still in grade school, she had many teachers who inspired and nurtured her writing ability. For her, even therapy requires creativity.

"It's not one of those, 'Do A, B, C, D' and you have a definite outcome," she said, sitting at a table overflowing with books, papers and an enticing spread of snacks and teas. "Doing therapy is creative. It's like raising a child: You don't see the growth day to day, but when you look back, you can see the results."

The biggest obstacle for many writers is self-doubt, Geffner says. "If you don't do anything, you're guaranteed to fail," she said. "The basics never change. To be a writer you have to read a lot and you have to write a lot."

Geffner has twice passed up alluring opportunities to follow her own course. She turned down a Fulbright Scholarship so she could pursue social work, and she shunned a full scholarship to Columbia to start a family. "You have to take a risk," she said. "If I fall on my face here and there, okay, that's just part of life."

Her son, Josh, has a 4-year-old sister, Sophia. She and her husband, Michael, have been married for 12 years.

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