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.
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
Over 30 years ago as a 19 year old girl I told my husband that someday I wanted to get a PhD in Psychoneuroimmunology. When I heard Saybrook was starting a program in Mind-Body Medicine I was the first to apply. I am a Doctoral student in the Mind-Body Medicine PhD-Health Systems Track. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in the state of Utah specializing in work with individuals, adolescents, and couples, using a variety of methodologies.
My tagline is “FEEL GREAT-LOVE LIFE” which is what I strive for in my own life and what I help my clients to accomplish.
I received my Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from Walla Walla College in 1996. I also have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. I have a private practice from which I have done Coaching, Counseling and Consulting, to corporations since 1999. I have the advanced postgraduate “Master Personal and Executive Coach” certification through the College of Executive Coaching. I have advanced training in EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, Addictions, Crisis Intervention, Family Systems, Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy, and Personal and Executive Coaching and Mind-Body Medicine.
I have worked as a consultant, trainer, facilitator and coach for corporations such as: Hitachi, Oracle, VeriSign, Agile, Amdahl, RIM, and many others. I develop curriculum and provide assessments and training for groups of Coaches and high level Executives. I have worked successfully with multi-national corporations, helping to create optimal corporate cultures and facilitate relationships between global teams.
I have recently relocated to Midway, Utah where I enjoy hiking, riding my beautiful Azteca horse and spending time with my adult children and many friends.
I use my Mind-Body Medicine training both with my therapy clients as well as in my corporate training. I also have many varied and interesting experiences outside of work in which I am able to utilize my training and education in Mind-Body Medicine. I find that I have a whole box full of skills and tools that I can pull out as needed. Mostly I find that I have gained a confidence and knowledge that allows me to jump in when needed and helps others sense they can trust and count on me.
Andrea is a native of Chile who migrated to the United States in 1992. She worked for the Marine Corps as a Recreation Specialist for the past 14 years. Her experience includes Trauma Sensitive Yoga, tai chi, meditation, and martial arts. She has been featured in several publications including the National Journal, the U.S. Medicine - The Voice of Federal Medicine and FIGHT magazine for her work on PTSD and TBI. While at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, she developed the first of its kind program for the Marine Corps Life Enhancing Activities Program (LEAP). This comprehensive program provided fitness, recreation, and other complementary and alternative modalities to Marines and sailors diagnosed with PTSD and/or TBI. Andrea also developed a partnership with Camp Lejeune Deployment Health to provide support activities to hundreds of Combat Stress and TBI patients including yoga, relaxation and breathing techniques, meditation and martial arts. She also provided fitness, recreational and leisure activities support to the Back on Track Program; a two-week program from the Naval Hospital that focuses on patients with PTSD, the Outpatient Crisis Prevention Program and the Warrior Recovery After Concussion Program.
Andrea has been a guest speaker to numerous conferences around the country on behalf of these programs including the 19th Annual Conference on Trauma presented by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk and The Justice Resource Institute (JRI); the Marine Corps Combat Operational Stress Control (COSC) Conference 2008; the Semper Fit, Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) meeting for the Athletic Business Conference 2008; the University of North Carolina Social Workers Alumni Symposium on Complex Trauma in Adults and Children; the Yoga Training/Seminar conducted by The Trauma Center at JRI; t he Marine Corps Meeting at the National Institute on Recreation Inclusion, San Antonio, TX; the Yoga Training/Seminar at the Kripalu Center, MA, November, 2009.
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.