Current Affairs

How to heal veterans - through art and movement


by Allison Winters

As a dance/movement therapist for Veterans Affairs, I have a lengthy history of working with this unique population that has spanned the range of Veteran generations.  I am also a current doctoral student in mind-body medicine with a focus on health care systems. 

Recently I had the privilege of attending the Third National Summit: Advancing Research in the Arts for Health and Well-being across the Military Continuum, as both a participant and presenter.  This is the 3rd summit of its kind and was originally created as a means to advance the efforts of the National Initiative for Arts and Health in the Military.  This year the summit was held at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD and was sponsored by Americans for the Arts and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.  The summit’s focus, research in arts and health in the military, brought together an impressive and diverse group of creative arts therapists, health care providers, research scientists, artists, medical experts, Veterans, and military personnel.  I had the pleasure of attending the summit for the second time and the honor, this year, of presenting my work as a dance/movement therapist with the military and Veteran population as part of a panel entitled Research Innovations on Integrative Care in Military Health Settings and Applications for the Arts. 

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Integrative Wellness Coaching: Meeting a Need and Closing a Gap


By Carrie Phelps, PhD

Medical practitioners and allied health professionals—specializing in integrative medicine and health sciences—are joining together to create innovative wellness programs that holistically address individual health and well-being (e.g., integrative healthcare, mind-body skills groups, mindfulness-based group coaching). The success of these programs has begun to set the standard for whole-person health professional practices. One such professional practice that is gaining momentum and capturing national attention is Integrative Wellness Coaching. Embedded in the science and philosophy of integrative medicine and the principles and methods of wellness coaching, integrative wellness coaching offers a comprehensive, holistic, and effective approach to lifestyle-related change and transformation.

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The Patient Experience Under ACA


“When doctors and other health care providers can work together to coordinate patient care, patients receive higher quality care and we all see lower costs.” - Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Amanda walks slowly behind me down the long hall from the waiting room to my office.  “Watch you step,” I tell her when we get to the small rise, “Take your time.”  Phrases I repeat many times a day.  Most of my patients, baby boomers, have joint problems.  This is the first time I am seeing Amanda.  I work in behavioral health, every patient is like a present to me, a mysterious gift, what will I find when I unwrap their layers?  The labels they wear, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, don’t provide any clarity to who they are.  Some are playful.  Some are fashionistas.  Some are guarded.  Amanda sits in the chair opposite me.  The chair is strategically placed, near me but not too near, to give the appropriate amount of psychological space.  Not blocking the doorway in case I need to make an egress. 

Amanda hugs a spiral notebook to her chest.  “What brings you here to see me?” I ask.  She looks at me, clearly distressed.  “I don’t know where to start,” she says.  Slowly we unpack her story.  In her notebook are phone numbers to doctors, appointments, notes about her symptoms: chest pain, stomach pain, chronic join pain, problems with her vision, and urinary incontinence. Amanda is in care for her depression and alcoholism.  She is overwhelmed and confused by her multiple medical problems.   She has achieved one of the proposed solutions for her problems; she has a primary care provider she is connected with.    For these problems she has been referred to cardiology, pulmonology, ophthalmology, and chronic pain.  No one has really addressed her incontinence.  She’s had CT scans, stress tests, and eye exams.  The end result?  She doesn’t know the results of her tests despite several visits, and she still doesn’t understand what is going on with her or the cause of her symptoms. 

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Doctoral student Allison Winters to present on Integrative Healthcare and the Arts in Military settings


Allison Winters, MA, MS, BC-DMT, LCAT, RYT, and a doctoral student at Saybrook's School of Mind-Body Medicine, will be speaking on a panel on  Research Innovations on Integrative Care in Military Health Settings and Applications for the Arts this Friday, Feb. 27, at the National Center for Complementary and Integative Health in Bethesda, MD.  

The presentation is part of the National Initiative for Arts and Health in the Military this Friday.

The panel will focus on integrative health and wellness and its use with military populations and veterans.  Allison is a dance/movement therapist and leads a program specifically designed to support veterans in a residential facility in Livermore, California.

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Using integrative health techniques to fight the effects of cancer: sample cases


Lynne Shaner, PhD  is a graduate from Saybrook University’s School of Mind-Body Medicine.  She has a private practice in the Washington, DC area.

“Lisa,” a woman in her forties, had ongoing metastasizing flares, though her cancer was in remission on this day at Hope Connections, a community cancer center in the Washington, DC area.   Her pain was significant, and was located in her chest, at the cancer site.  In a group setting for the monthly workshop that I lead, we used a particular acupressure/talk technique known as EFT, in which she tapped on the various points as directed and verbalized her situation in very general terms. Usually, the pain goes down dramatically. But nothing had changed. We were both disappointed. But when I asked “Does the pain have a face?” she immediately named her daughter. She had a clear image of her daughter ----a picture in her mind’s eye, as well as a list of the emotional results of the daughter’s current behavior (fear, frustration, anger). We went through the technique again, this time including her daughter’s name and each of the different emotions. This time, the pain decreased significantly, down from a level 6 to a 2. We continued to focus, and the pain was eliminated.

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Watch a CBS News story on an innovative treatment program for cancer survivors created by a Saybrook Mind-Body Medicine student!


Experts project there will be 18 million cancer survivors in the U.S. by 2022. Cancer patients often report feeling lost and abandoned at the conclusion of active treatment.  Even though treatment has ended, the impact of cancer on their lives has not.

Members of the Saybrook community have been pioneers in developing treatments for them – including faculty members and alumna like Dr. Jeanne Achterberg (who pioneered integrative techniques to combat the effects of cancer), Dr. Lyn Freeman (who received National Institute of Health grants to test integrative health techniques for cancer survivors, and make them available to patients), and now PhD student Francinne Lawrence, who has created a new model of holistic treatment for cancer survivors..

Survivorship is a recognized phase of treatment along the cancer control continuum and is a new directive for accreditation by the Commission on Cancer. At THRIVE – a program created and run by Lawrence for the Mary Bird Perkins, Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center, in Louisiana - individuals are considered cancer survivors from the moment of diagnosis.

The integrative program was recently featured on a local newscast.  Watch it here

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Saybrook now offers a Coaching for Health and Wellness Certificate approved by the International Coaching Foundation (ICF)

International Coaching Federation

Saybrook University, the world’s premier institution for humanistic graduate studies, now offers a Coaching for Health and Wellness Certificate program through the University’s School of Mind-Body Medicine (MBM). The coaching certificate program provides individuals coming from a variety of professional backgrounds with knowledge and practical experience in basic, intermediate, and advanced coaching skills and competencies. Upon completion of the certification process, participants will be adept at applying their knowledge and coaching skills within diverse contexts such as integrative health and wellness, leadership, and life coaching.

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Saybrook Mind-Body Medicine Student Featured on TV, Authors Chapter for Oxford University Press

James Cahill

Saybrook MBM student Jim Cahill was recently featured in a health segment on a regional television news program, discussing his program: Mindfulness-Based Biofeedback Therapy™ (MBBT). Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine (SCIM) asked Jim to represent the organization and discuss the effects of multitasking on health and well-being, in conjunction with a Women's Health Expo organized by SCIM. He also recently completed a chapter on pain management under contract for Oxford University Press, which describes some of the methods he uses in MBBT.

Jim's MBBT program combines evidence-based psychophysiology with classical Eastern mindfulness practices to create a unique, effective, and grounded training system. Clients are trained to adhere daily to a practical set of self-regulation methods for training foundational nervous system responses, while observing internal states coupled with objective feedback from medical monitors. Eastern mind training methods are used to cultivate understanding and expertise in sensing and controlling the shifts in subjective states associated with desirable objective shifts in physiological states.

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Saybrook University announces cutting edge master’s degree in Integrative and Functional Nutrition


We are what we eat, so it’s a big problem that Americans have a dysfunctional relationship with food.

But just telling people to “eat right” or “count calories” doesn’t work.  We know it, and our doctors have discovered it.  Yo-yo diets and food fads are even worse.

We need new approaches to nutrition, ways to integrate healthy habits and effective self-care into people’s lives, and do it in ways they’ll find personally meaningful.

That’s why Saybrook University’s School of Mind-Body Medicine is proud to announce a new MS degree in Integrative and Functional Nutrition – a degree focusing on the ways we can combine the best in nutritional science and psychology to help people take control of their health by improving their relationship with food.

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Development of a Nurse-Led Hypnosis Service at a Comprehensive Cancer Center : A Report from the SCEH Meeting in Berkeley

Kate Kravits, Senior Research Specialist, City of Hope


School of Mind-Body Medicine Chair Donald Moss attended the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis meeting in Berkeley in October, where he taught a competency course in breath training as an adjunct to hypnosis and chaired a symposium on pediatric applications of hypnosis and biofeedback.  Dr. Moss is reporting in on relevant scientific programs at SCEH.

Kate Kravits, MA, RN, LPC, at the City of Hope in Duarte, California, provided a report on the development of a nurse-led service providing hypnosis for cancer patients on an inpatient and outpatient basis.  This is an excellent example of progress in integrating mind-body services into the mainstream of healthcare.  This program was initially inspired by Guy Montgomery’s research showing that hypnosis can not only moderate the symptoms and suffering of breast cancer patients, but also save money for the institutions serving these patients.   The City of Hope team contacted Dr. Montgomery, who agreed to serve as a consultant for the program.  Establishing their service, the team encountered many barriers, notably prejudices against hypnosis as a medical intervention.

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