Meet Our Community: Tamami Shirai, MS candidate in Mind-Body Medicine
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.
At Saybrook, my interests have expanded to include dance movement therapy for Parkinson disease patients, the effective use of hypnosis in treating obesity and eating disorders, PTSD caused by disasters, biofeedback, psychoneuroimmunolgy, the human brain, and social epidemiology.
My dual background in Japan and in the US has made me more aware of social and cultural risk factors; for instance, obesity in the US is a social problem and there is a lot that I can share because of my knowledge of Japanese daily life. Conversely, there are more advanced studies available here in the US that I would like to introduce in Japan.
Besides my academic background, I have been performing and teaching Middle Eastern Dance at Studio 1002 based in Tokyo since 2006.
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