Congratulations to my friends and colleagues, Stanley Krippner, PhD, Daniel B. Pitchford, PhD, and Jeannine Davies, PhD, on their new book, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The book was just published, in March 2012, by Greenwood Press, in their Biographies of Disease series. Stanley and Daniel are both faculty at Saybrook University, and we have held residential conference programs together, on a mind-body understanding of trauma. Jeannine is currently pursuing her doctorate at Saybrook. This book is valuable because it highlights some areas not touched by other works on PTSD. For example, it shows how post-traumatic growth can unfold, creating in the person post-traumatic strengths never present before.
David Paul, MD, PhD, a faculty member of the College of Mind-Body Medicine, has been recognized with the Season for Nonviolence Local Heroes Award. The award was given jointly to David and his wife Bonnie Paul, Ph.D., both Saybrook graduates, recognizing them for their work through the Freedom to Choose Foundation, teaching decriminogenic and life skills to women incarcerated at Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla, California since 2004. David and Bonnie co-direct the work of this foundation. David and Bonnie will receive the awards on Sunday April 1, at a ceremony in Culver City, California.
James S. Gordon, MD, Dean of Saybrook University’s Graduate College of Mind-Body Medicine, today announced the College’s Mind-Body Medicine Scholars Program. The program is a unique, one-time only opportunity for outstanding and deserving students interested in pursuing a graduate degree in mind-body medicine. The program provides multiyear scholarship assistance to new students applying and enrolling in Fall 2012 and to current MBM MS students who are eligible to apply for Fall 2012 MBM doctoral programs.
As a Chaplain Frank Munoz was an integral part of the health care team at Children’s Hospital in Orange County, California assisting children with cancer and their families manage their diagnosis. Through his work he noticed an invisible boundary between patient and families, and the health care team. Something was missing. Despite the best efforts of the group to provide the most compassionate care to the patients and their families, they were unable to reach some people and help ease their suffering. The boundary that Frank experienced fueled his desire to seek knowledge and develop skills to better serve the children and their families facing a life altering diagnosis. This inspiration led Frank to Saybrook University where he is pursuing a Ph.D. in Mind Body Medicine.
Frank then actively pursued funding for his education through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), pursuing a grant that would complement his interests. Doctoral coursework combined with the demands of learning how to be a healthcare researcher is time consuming. The combination is a beautiful synergy that is assisting Frank in learning how to best care for people that he works with, and at the same time is allowing him to make a significant contribution to health care professionals working in similar situations.
How can the influence of 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. Angeline was the first recipient of a Master’s in Mind-Body Medicine from Saybrook University. 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.
College of Mind-Body Medicine Students Complete Practicum at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute03/22/2012
Newsflash from the Meeting of the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis in Charlotte, North Carolina03/20/2012
It's been a blast here at the ASCH meeting in a sort of sleep-deprived way. Yesterday after Pierre Rainville's keynote, I spent 2 hours with him (and David Spiegel of Stanford) in my room doing Dr. Rainville’s video interview and talking about his perspective that hypnosis is the humanistic connection between neuroscience and the study of subjective experience, something that the Cognitive Behavioral perspective misses. Dr. Rainville (University of Montreal) filmed a short "hello" to the Saybrook Hypnosis, Biofeedback, and Cognitive Neuroscience students, responding to the question, “Why should a student in Mind-Body Medicine study __________?” Dr. Rainville is a great guy, who researches everything from brain mechanisms in hypnosis to pain perception in Zen meditators.
The Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB) is the original biofeedback society, which was founded by a group of humanistic psychologists and lab scientists at the Surfrider Inn in Santa Monica, California in 1969. The group began as the Biofeedback Research Society of America and later was known as the Biofeedback Society of America. AAPB has two professional journals, and provides webinars and workshops on biofeedback, neurofeedback, and stress management interventions.
It makes me so sad to hear of Jeanne Achterberg’s death. She was such a wonderful, generous, courageous spirit. I remember meeting her 35 years ago and being stunned by the intelligence and audacity of her research on imagery and cancer. When NIH opened its office of Alternative Medicine, Larry Dossey and I worked closely with Jeanne on developing the state of the art paper on Mind-Body Medicine; actually Jeanne did far more of the work with such skill and grace than either Larry or I. And then there were the times that Jeanne came to Macedonia and Kosovo with me and my team from the Center for Mind-Body Medicine-ready at a moment’s notice to put her gifts in the service of people who desperately needed and deeply appreciated her skill and commitment.
It’s been such a joy too to be with Jeanne at Saybrook, to see the intelligence and commitment she brought to her work with students, to feel us once again moving ahead together. I keep her spirit with me and feel her passion and love.
James S. Gordon, M.D.
Read my Blog about CMBM's work in Haiti
It is with deep sadness that I announce that Jeanne Achterberg died Wednesday afternoon, March 7, 2012, of metastatic breast cancer.
Jeanne Achterberg was a pioneer in mind-body medicine and complementary medicine. Early in her career, Jeannie collaborated with O. Carl Simonton, studying the quality of imagery in cancer patients. She was able to show that features in the imagery predicted the course of the illness. Since that time, she has championed the role of imagery in healing, the role of the mind and spirit in healing, and the shamanic role of the healer.
Jeannie went on to serve in the Office of Alternative Medicine, co-chairing the panel on mind-body interventions. The OAM grew into NCCAM, the home of complementary and alternative medicine within NIH. She is also a past president of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology.
Jeannie has contributed much to mind-body medicine: Her books, Bridges of the Body-Mind, Imagery in Healing, Woman as Healer, Rituals of Healing, Imagery and Disease, and Lightning at the Gate, remain best sellers. Jeannie has also given us a personal example of courage in the face of illness. Her book, Lightning at the Gate, narrated her own journey with illness.
While health reform is a well discussed topic these days, the focus of this discussion has mostly centered on the economic/financial issues surrounding health care. According to Leila Kozak, Saybrook alumni and faculty in the College of Mind-Body Medicine, the mass media has not yet told the story of what is already happening in today’s health care. There is an ongoing movement that is transforming the “culture of care.” People – consumers, health care providers and administrators - are all calling for a new way of doing health care. You can see evidence of this movement all over in clinical settings, medical education, as well as the organizational development realm.
The transformation of the culture of care is largely driven by consumers who are asking for an active role in their health care. A big part of this transformation involves bringing complementary therapy services into conventional western medical settings. Hospitals around the country are paying attention to this call for a new type of health care, what has come to be known as “integrative care.”
Leila has been researching the transformation of the culture of care at the Veteran’s Administration (VA) since 2009. After graduating from Saybrook’s PhD program in February 2007, she applied for a post-doctoral fellowship at Health Services Research and Development (HSR&D) in Seattle, WA. HSR&D is the research arm of the Veteran’s Administration, and her’s was the first fellowship focused on the evaluation of Complementary and Integrative Medicine at the VA. It was during the development of her fellowship research project that Leila became aware of the term “transformation of the culture of care” and the process of “culture transformation” at the VA. She saw how her research interest in the integration of CAM as psycho-social-spiritual support into palliative care was one important application of this culture transformation. She also came to appreciate the opportunities that we have - as humanistic psychology/mind-body medicine professionals – in working towards the creation of this emerging paradigm in health care. Leila believes that the pioneer work of Saybrook’s College of Mind-Body Medicine is supporting the building of a new medicine that is bringing together the “high-tech” with the “high-touch."
The International Network of Integrative Mental Health is a global network dedicated to promoting a whole person approach throughout mental health care. Its objectives include:
- Advance a global vision for an integrated whole person approach to mental health care via education, research, networking and advocacy by bringing together the wisdom of world healing traditions and modern science.
- Re-animate the mental health field with energy, spirit, compassion and joy.
- Create community and opportunities for nurturing personal and professional connections. We honor and respect the unique backgrounds and skills that each person brings to this work, and wish to promote meaningful relationships and connection to a global integrative mental health network.
- Promote evidence-based alternative and complementary therapies and the judicious use of modern pharmacologic approaches for the betterment of mental healthcare.
- Contribute to the emerging bio-psycho-socio-spiritual paradigm addressing mind, body, and spirit by promoting effective and safe clinical practices.
- Educate, support and inspire integrative practitioners and trainees, at all levels of their careers and in all world regions. Our philosophy is based upon blending the best practices from traditional and modern healing systems. Our focus is on safety and positive outcomes while honoring our patients’ unique needs, beliefs, wisdom, and advocacy for therapeutic choices and relationships with practitioners that empower them.
- Facilitate collaborative efforts between researchers and clinicians that extend beyond limited conventional understandings of mental healthcare as it pertains to treatment of individuals with psychological or psychiatric disorders, to a broader perspective that includes the range of psychosocial, familial, environmental, cultural and spiritual factors that impact on health, well-being, immune functioning, and physiological integrity.
Each Ph.D. student in Saybrook’s College of Mind-Body Medicine is required to complete a 100 hour practicum at the culmination of the doctoral coursework. Shawn Tassone, a physician and third year Ph.D. student, coordinated a two-week trip to Brazil through Emma Bragdon, the author of Spiritism and Mental Health. Shawn’s plan was to learn about Spiritism, visit Spiritist Psychiatric Hospitals, and visit John of God, or “Medium Joao,” which the healer prefers. During the trip Shawn was able to witness how Spiritism is practiced in the mainly medication-free psychiatric hospitals in Brazil, and then sit amongst the hundreds of followers with one of the world’s most renowned healers.
The Spiritist approach to mental health highlights the presence of a spirit, or a Discarnate entity, which attaches to the suffering person. It is thought that spirits attach or connect with the suffering individual, but they can communicate with all living beings. The negative energy can also manifest as an ancestral wound from many years ago. The process of breaking free from a discarnate spirit is called a dis-obsession, and Shawn witnessed this process twice during his visit. A dis-obsession takes place around a conference table, with or without the patient, and includes 8-10 mediums. Each volunteer medium has a different gift. Some are clairvoyant; they “see” beyond the present moment. Others are “clairaudience;” they receive messages from another realm. Others practice “psychography,” the practice of writing what is communicated. During the session the mediums communicate with the spirits, who in turn work through the mediums changing how they influence the suffering person’s life. The intention is to have the spirit dissociate from the living person, so he or she can return to a life free and dis-obsessed.
Marisa Iacobucci has been managing the symptoms of Fibromyalgia (FM) for 16 years. Because of her personal struggles with FM, she was hesitant to facilitate a Mind Body Skills (MBS) group for people with FM. Marisa did not want to hear about the progression of symptoms because she feared she would think to herself, “…is this the next thing I am going to get in the progression of this illness?” Participating in the Professional Training Program and Advanced Training Program from the Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM), a core component in her master’s degree coursework, made an impact on her own FM symptoms, and that realization led her to want to help others with FM.
Marisa researched and experimented with alternative modalities and their effects because she wanted to know personally how these modalities could help her. This experimentation inspired her to share her knowledge with others and help them find new ways to cope with and lessen the symptoms of FM.
Marisa made a commitment to facilitate a Mind-Body Skills group for people with FM for her Master’s Thesis. As a facilitator and group member, Marisa knew that some of her own concerns about FM were sure to surface. The awareness of her own vulnerability, coupled by the fact that she was interested in becoming certified by the CMBM, led Marisa to enter the certification process while completing her thesis. Completing a Master’s Thesis and Certification from the CMBM was a beautiful coupling, because it included weekly supervision phone calls with a senior CMBM staff member. The supervision calls helped her manage her own feelings about FM during the process of leading a group.