College of Mind-BodyMedicine: Dr. Julie Staples Conducts Research on Mind-Body Skills Project in Gaza02/28/2012
Conducting and reporting high quality research is an essential part of the advancement of mind body medicine in health care. Julie Staples has worked as the Research Director at The Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM) since 1996. The rising credibility of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is due in part to high quality studies being reported in a way that the medical profession recognizes. The medical profession uses the Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) to evaluate the efficacy of most interventions. Reporting results of CAM interventions using recognized research methods improves the validity and credibility of the studies, and opens the lines of communication with colleagues.
Julie and her colleagues at the CMBM have recently received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval to conduct three Randomized Clinical Trials in Gaza. The studies aim to evaluate the efficacy of mind-body skills groups for children, adolescents and adults with posttraumatic stress disorder. Previous research in Gaza studied the effects of mind-body skills groups for approximately 500 adults and 500 children. Among these, about 17% of the adults and 26% of the children had symptoms of PTSD. Using pre- and post- test measurements, the studies demonstrated improvement in PTSD symptoms and depression in both adults and children, as well as decreased hopelessness in children and improved quality of life in adults. The new studies will further advance the data gathered in the pilot studies with a more rigorous study design.
Sure a dog is man's best friend. But what does that mean on a practical level? Does the human and animal (HA) bond be used for the greater good?
Angeline Siegel is so fascinated by this subject matter that she felt compelled to study Mind-Body Medicine at Saybrook, with the intention of relating her degree to both humans and animals. Her master’s project title was “A Veterinarian’s Guide to Mind-Body Medicine: Creating Greater Health and Well-Being in the Human-Animal Bond.”
Angeline worked with holistic veterinarian Michael Bartholomew for a two-week practicum in November, 2010 in South Salem, New York at the Smith Ridge Veterinary Center. That opportunity gave her the time and experience to define the audience she is working with, and to look at how veterinarians can influence the health of the human animal bond. Then for her master’s project, she used Saybrook University faculty member Jeannie Achterberg as her committee chair, and Dr. Bartholomew as a committee member. Dr. Achterberg is widely known for her research and publications on the use of imagery for healing, but also has a long-standing interest in the bond between humans and animals.
Angeline has a private practice called the Zen of Fido, www.zenoffido.com, and specializes in holistic medicine for the human-canine relationship. The following is an example of how she is using mind body medicine at her practice.
Introducing Connie S. Corley, MSW, MA, PH.D.
Connie Corley has engaged in the field of gerontology for 35 years of her professional career. During that time, she has participated in developing the innovative cultural concepts of Positive Aging and Conscious Aging.
The word "gerontology" conjures up an array of thoughts and images about aging, and not all of those images are inspiring. The Positive Aging and Conscious Aging movements seek to give new meaning to the aging process. The Positive Aging movement was inspired by positive psychology. It aims to give purpose to one’s later life through a variety of directions, such as being active in communities and building meaningful relationships.
Conscious Aging, a parallel movement, inspires the aging process with an element of spirituality. The Conscious Aging perspective can benefit persons approaching the end of their lives, and their loved ones as well. Through the discussion of spirituality and aging, Conscious Aging teaches loved ones to be more fully present with their aging family member or friend during some of the difficult times. The deepened relationships that unfold through communication about what it means spiritually to move through life, allow for growth for everyone involved.
People have a full range of experiences as they age. One perspective promoted by Ram Dass is that aging allows us to stop identifying with the ego and the physical body. By letting go of physical constraints, conscious aging allows us to get back to our true essence. Instead of aging limiting us to roles, conscious aging connects us with our souls.
Dr. Shawn Tassone, a PhD student in Mind-Body Medicine at Saybrook, has a great post in Psychology Today on the benefits of meditation ... and how to get there from here.
"I worked on meditation for seven weeks and found the process an evolution similar to the progress through a religious paradigm," he writes. "As I grew up Catholic, I think the comparisons are rich and can help you see that meditation is a process and can be taken as slowly as you desire."
Take a look: The Seven Stages of a Lay Meditator