Body and mind integrative healing traditions have been the cornerstone of Kari Allen’s work for over a decade. As a substance abuse counselor, she integrated expressive mediation practices into programs of recovery, in both prison and hospital settings. She taught her clients practical self-care living practices that are important components of sustained mental health and substance abuse recovery; meditation, gentle yoga, imagery & visualization and ecstatic dance practices are all part of her repertoire to assist with relief, relaxation, and the development of self awareness for healing. Kari also gently nudges the spiritual doors by inviting clients into deepening rituals and ceremony’s that are consistent with their expressed preferences.
Kari has worked in a number of community based clinical settings and offered individual, group and family services. As the owner of Sacred Bliss Mind-Body Methods, LLC, Kari uses the ancient practice of group gathering to build a sense of communal support, and personalizes experiences by offering individual sessions, that are designed to assist with the embodiment and lived experience of mind-body methods as a regular part of one’s day-to-day living. Today, Kari blends coaching and counseling skills to offer Mind-Body Methods training in private, family and group sessions at Healing Pathways Medical Clinic, in West Sacramento, California. In addition, she offers sessions in private homes and in-nature; in outdoor settings, near the homes of her clients, to guide them in integrating the mind-body methods into their personal lifestyle.
I am presently living in Coconut Grove, Florida with my husband Kurt and two Black and White American short-haired cats named Oscar and Felix. Coconut Grove is a village in Miami that was settled by Bahamians and white settlers in the 1800s and became an artist colony in the 1940s – 1960s. My background is in Theater in performance, directing and writing. I have worked with my husband in professional film and video production and studio design, as well as computer software engineering. I went back to school and received both a Masters in Business Administration and a Masters in Public Administration with a specialization in Homeland Security Policy and Coordination (emphasizing emergency preparedness). For my MPA thesis, I focused on how the community is the actual first-responders. I found a resonance with working with people first as a director, then in organizational behavior in business school and finally in the importance of the community around us.
Saybrook first caught my eye in 2003 and I have keenly watched its development. After I graduated with my MPA in 2008, I decided to apply to Saybrook. To me, Saybrook was where I wanted to attain the jewel of my academic crown, a PhD. It is important to be a part of an institution that is comprised of such stellar human beings, which is the essence of humanistic psychology and life. At the first residential conference (RC), I had a chance to be amongst strangers and landed running. I say this because it is this exhilaration that I still get many RCs later. I especially like the structure of the RC because it establishes a foundation on which all learning is based at Saybook. In fact, it was at a Summer RC that I first learned Kundalini yoga and have continued my practice of it along with my husband. We are looking forward to becoming certified Kundalini instructors, so RCs can be both illuminating and motivational in encouraging one to continue practices learned at a RC.
One of my favorite aspects of Saybrook's MBM program is the close affiliation with the Center for Mind Body Medicine (CMBM). The CMBM conferences were what initially inspired me to enroll at Saybrook for a more intensive learning experience in the field of Mind Body Medicine.
It was also after I attended a CMBM conference called Food as Medicine (FAM) that I was inspired to start a non-profit that is now my full-time job. The non-profit, SuperFood Drive, was founded in early 2009 to help get healthier foods into food banks to ensure that all people have access to nutritious meals. Since its inception, SuperFood Drive has been tremendously successful in leading the movement towards nutrition banking instead of just (processed) food banking. We started by focusing on educating the general public about why it is important to donate nutritious non-perishables during food drives (for example, black beans instead of refried in lard, fruit canned in its own juice instead of syrup, and whole grain pasta instead of mac n cheese). We are now working collaboratively with Feeding America and other national organizations, including government programs, to create a holistic implementation model that can be used to turn all food banks across the country into nutrition banks.
I currently work as the data manager for a federally-funded program called Indianapolis Healthy Start, geared at reducing infant mortality in the United States. Additionally, I serve as an adjunct faculty member at Ivy Tech Community College wh
Formally trained in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Methodology, Carrie served as a consultant and project manager for Activate America, a national YMCA organizational wellness initiative. Recently she served as the Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives for the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region where she initiated and mobilized sustainable organizational learning environments, strategic thinking and action, and program design for high impact.
In 2001, she helped develop and implement the Institute for the Healing Arts in Nashville Tennessee. Working with an integrated team of healthcare professionals, Carrie served as the Director of Integrative Medicine, and established a comprehensive approach to total health. As a faculty member of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine based in Washington D.C., Carrie trains clients and healthcare professionals in scientifically-proven mind-body approaches. She has conducted hundreds of wellness presentations, workshops, intensives, and certification courses to medical staff, high-level executives, and the general public. She is a certified life coach, one-on-one HeartMath provider, and Nia instructor. Carrie received her Masters degree in Exercise Science from Denver University.
Currently, Carrie is the Health and Well-Being Technical Advisor for YMCA of the USA and a doctoral student at Saybrook University where she is studying mind-body medicine with a concentration in healthcare systems.
I was originally interested in clinical psychology when I was in the college, but the way it was taught and practiced did not feel like the best approach to me. I thought there might be another way, so I changed my course to social psychology with statistical research.
Because my husband is American, we moved to the US at the end of 2007 and settled in California. I decided to come back to graduate school after I was injured in 2008 and had to leave my job for rehabilitation. I could not stand and walk for many hours, nor could I sit in a chair for very long. During the treatment of my injury, I had a chance to learn about biofeedback and guided imagery at one of the integrative clinics in La Jolla, CA. Although Western medicine helped me a lot, I was fascinated with these noninvasive approaches that connect with mind and body.
I researched several schools where I could learn about biofeedback; however, I chose Saybrook because the program covers all health fields rather than limiting the course of study to a psychological perspective. I especially wanted to learn from Dr. James Gordon, the Dean of the Mind-Body Medicine program.