Saybrook University student Monisha Rios tells us about her experiences as a U.S. veteran, concerns with the mental health industry, and how Saybrook has helped her.
Tell us about what life was life before Saybrook:
The foundation for my work was laid by my personal experiences in seeking services from the VA. It all began in 1998. I was freshly discharged from the Army and fully equipped with advice from one of my drill sergeants. She told me to go straight to the VA for counseling as soon as I got out, since going to mental health on active duty was certain death for your career. I did as instructed but was turned away because, according to the staff member I spoke with, despite my having been sexually harassed and assaulted multiple times, I had not been penetrably raped, so therefore I did not “deserve” to ask for help. To make matters worse, they told me I was not eligible for any care because I was discharged before 24 months, even though my service was honorable. The Army told me I was a veteran deserving of care, why was the VA disagreeing? The only way I could get care at that point was if I had been medically discharged or attained a disability rating. Since I had been conveniently denied a medical board evaluation prior to discharge there was only one choice. On I went through the ridiculous claims process.
Robert Schley, Saybrook’s Conference Director, confirms that contracts have now been signed with the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa in Monterey, California, for the residential conferences starting in January 2017 through August 2019. All of Saybrook’s residential conferences, along with the annual graduation ceremony, will then take place at the Hyatt. The conferences will continue to be held at the beginning of the Fall and Spring semesters each year, in August and January, and will also include the Residential Orientations for new students.
Saybrook University Researcher and Instructor, Luann Fortune, Presents Qualitative Research on Medicalized Aging05/21/2015
Saybrook’s Luann Fortune, PhD will present her latest research study at the 7th Annual Meeting of the Interdisciplinary Coalition of North American Phenomenologists (ICNAP) on May 22, 2015 at Brock University, St. Catherines, Ontario. In this phenomenological study, Dr. Fortune explored how one family member with care-taking responsibilities for her elders contributed to a system and cycle of medicalized aging.
In the United States, the aged population will double by year 2050 challenging social and economic structures by the need to care for this generation in their last years. While medical advances provide technical solutions to extend life, the medicalization of aging is increasingly criticized as defying the natural process and as dehumanizing the last stage of the live cycle.
Paralysis Can Be a Natural Reaction to Date
Stigma is often associated with inaction during a crisis. Those who freeze in the face of a life-threatening situation often experience feelings of shame and guilt, and they often feel that they are constantly being judged for their inaction. While others may confidently assert that they would have been more “heroic” in that situation, there is a far greater chance that their bodies would have reacted in exactly the same way, freezing as an innate part of self-preservation.
The authors of an article published in the journal Biofeedback describe date rape as a prime example of this type of freeze response. In an article titled “When Not Saying NO Does Not Mean Yes: Psychophysiological Factors Involved in Date Rape,” Stephen Porges and Erik Peper explain how immobilization is a natural neurobiological response to being attacked.
Saybrook University faculty and students led a crisis management workshop at the City Hall of Renton, Washington for city officials and residents on April 29-May 1, 2015. The project was designed as a community outreach project and led to a Certificate in Crisis Management. Saybrook faculty Nancy Southern and Gary Metcalf taught the workshop, along with Dr. Ian Mitroff, Senior Investigator at the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management at the University of California, Berkeley.
Frank Munoz, Saybrook PhD Student in Mind-Body Medicine, Studies Effects of Spiritual Care and Mind-Body Interventions on Gene Expression05/18/2015
Frank Munoz is a PhD student in the School of Mind-Body Medicine at Saybrook University. Frank has worked for the last 12 years as a clinical chaplain in a hospital setting with a clinical specialty is palliative care chaplaincy. He also has a background in Army and Air Force chaplaincy. In 2010 Frank received a grant from the National Institute of Health and National Cancer Institute to train as a healthcare researcher. The grant provided funds to pay for a doctorate degree as part of research training, which inspired him to choose enrollment in Saybrook University’s School of Mind-Body Medicine. Frank was drawn to the Mind-Body Medicine PhD program due to its innovative and creative spirit.
As a clinical chaplain, Frank works with patients and families in emotional and spiritual distress. This felt distress is usually rooted in the physical and emotional pain of a terminal illness. In his pursuit of higher education, Frank sought to learn various techniques that would help support human beings overwhelmed with the burden of a life-threatening diagnosis. In his pursuit of knowledge, skills, and understanding, Frank was particularly drawn to research studies showing that meditation, hypnosis, and guided imagery can alter gene expression.
Saybrook PhD Student Provides a Testimony to Destiny: “You Don’t Choose Saybrook, Saybrook Chooses You”05/17/2015
Natasha Pantti-Dulberg wasn’t sure the timing was right to pursue a PhD degree, but after seeing countless “signs,” she could no longer ignore her apparent destiny. Natasha reported that she wasn’t initially drawn to Saybrook University. That all changed when she attended the Center for Mind-Body Medicine’s Advanced Training Program in San Antonio, Texas, and met the Chair of Saybrook’s Mind-Body Medicine program, Dr. Donald Moss, when they participated in the same small group.
Natasha concluded that it was inevitable that she become a Saybrook PhD student in the Integrative Mental Health specialization, because it seemed to provide exactly the curriculum and credentials she was seeking to support her confidence in herself as a competent integrative mental healthcare provider in the currently shifting healthcare world. Although she was initially unsure of her decision to enroll, due to her already busy life working full-time with two small children at home, all hesitant feelings were quickly assuaged when she was introduced to her cohort at that first conference. She knew this group of “movers and shakers” was special; she sensed their uncommon drive to passionately commit to health and service. This cohort was “her tribe,” and so began a powerful and transformative journey for Natasha.
Saybrook Instructor Chanel Helgasen is One of 121 Physicians to Become Board Certified by the American Board of Integrative Medicine05/12/2015
The American Board of Integrative Medicine (ABOIM - http://www.abpsus.org/integrative-medicine) recently announced the certification of its first class of 121 integrative medicine specialists. Chanel Helgasen, an instructor in the School of Mind-Body Medicine is proud to be a part of this first class of board certified integrative medicine physicians. Dr. Helgason is a Colorado-based integrative psychiatrist, who has pioneered in the use of telemedicine to provide care to mental health patients throughout the rural areas from Colorado to Nebraska to North Dakota. She is also a leader in the organization, International Network for Integrative Mental Health.
“The whole day had an illicit feel to it. Stephanie and I felt like a couple of city types in search of hooch from an illegal still during the days of prohibition. We were in the lush green pastures and hidden valleys of the county of Somerset. It wasn’t booze we were looking for but a commodity that’s much harder to find these days. We were hunting for raw milk.” That may sound like the opening lines of a detective novel but don’t be fooled. It’s the start of a Bohemian Mojo adventure.
What do old world blacksmithing, adventures in raw milk, and freakishly fun foraging have to do with Mind Body Medicine? “Everything”, says recent Saybrook graduate Dr. Stephanie Shelburne. Dr. Shelburne has found that “disconnection seems to be a major contributor to our current health crisis. We seem to be inundated with influences that take us farther and farther away from understanding how to keep our bodies, minds and spirits well.” Enter the Bohemian Mojo Project. What’s Bohemian Mojo? Well, Stephanie and the MojoMakers think it’s something like pixie dust for vibrant and vital living, only so much more.
As National Cancer Survivorship Month approaches, Francinne Lawrence, a Ph.D. candidate at Saybrook University, discussed the use of complementary health approaches to address the long-term and late-developing side-effects of cancer treatment.
Shawn Tassone, MD, Doctoral Candidate in Saybrook's School of Mind-Body Medicine, Launches Web-Based Educational Initiative on Holistic Care05/05/2015
Saybrook's Shawn Tassone, MD, a PhD candidate in the School of Mind-Body Medicine, has launched a new partnership as a thought leader in Integrative Medicine, with a web-based educational effort to provide evidence-based information about proper nutritional supplementation, treatment, and training in holistic care. In conjunction with the support of INNATE Response, a company that distributes whole food based nutritional supplements, Dr. Tassone is the author and presenter in a series of educational videos that are available free online. Eventually, this partnership will contain more lectures on mind-body medicine, women's health, and how to integrate alternative therapies into your professional practice.