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Recent MBM Grad Addresses Compassion Fatigue: Practical Applications for Nursing Professionals. Introducing Betsy Murphy

10/13/2012
Betsy Murphy, Alone and Teaching a Class of Seniors

Nurses are on the front line of care for the ill, wounded, and traumatized individuals and are called upon to deliver compassionate care to their clients. Empathy and compassion are essential qualities for successful healing environments, vital for both the providers and receivers of health-promoting interactions.

Betsy Murphy is a certified holistic nurse who is interested in exploring mind body methods to help preserve compassion in nurses.  Her professional and personal practice of mindfulness meditation and yoga, along with Saybrook’s training in mind-body skills, guided her in the development of a 16-hour experiential education program to alleviate compassion fatigue in nursing professionals. This education program comprised her masters’ project, and she graduated with an MS in Mind-Body Medicine in August 2012.

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Jerrol Kimmel Combines Career in Integrative Health Care with Mentoring College of MBM Students

09/20/2012
College of MBM Mentor Jerrol Kimmel

Jerrol Kimmel, RN, MA, sees her position as a mentor for the Saybrook Mind-Body Medicine program as the culmination of her work as a mind-body specialist since the mid-1980’s. 

Jerrol began her career in community mental health and the healing arts in 1975 with a BA in psychology from UC Berkeley. In 1983 she completed a nursing program in order to integrate Western Medicine with holistic practices.  With the intention of complementing her passion of integrative health with additional academic rigor she received her Masterʼs degree in Integrative Health Studies from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, CA.  Jerrol has maintained a private practice since 1980 incorporating massage therapy, mind-body techniques and other holistic modalities in assisting her clients in attaining physical, emotional and spiritual health.  She is a faculty member of the Center for Mind-Body Medicineʼs professional training programs and is also part of the Centerʼs Global Trauma Relief team providing training for health and mental professionals in Israel, Gaza and Haiti.

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Embodied Practice for Health and Wellbeing: A Healing Retreat for Mental Health Professionals Experiencing Burnout and Compassion Fatigue: Introducing Kari M. Allen-Hammer

08/01/2012
College of MBM MS Student Kari Allen-Hammer

Mental health professionals often work in stressful environments, and are exposed regularly to human suffering.  As a result, they risk emotional and physical exhaustion that can lead to burnout syndrome and compassion fatigue.  

For her Master’s project, Kari M. Allen-Hammer described the problems of burnout syndrome and compassion fatigue as experienced by some mental health professionals, examined the research that supports the use of mind-body medicine practices for reducing the emotional stress that can lead to burnout and compassion fatigue, and formulated an original 16-hour urban retreat program designed to guide mental health professionals to embody states of heightened awareness of their mental, physical and spiritual needs.

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College of Mind-Body Medicine Student Produces Manual for Group-Based Mind-Body Skills Approach for Enhancing Sexual Wellness: Introducing Alexzandria Baker

07/18/2012
Alexzandria Baker

 

 
Sexual dysfunction is highly prevalent in today’s society, impacting 31% of men and 43% of women, according to one study conducted by Laumann, Paik, and Rosen (1999). Sexual dysfunction is more common in persons with poor physical and emotional health and is closely associated with negative experiences in sexual relationships and overall well-being. With the advent of new drug therapies and surgical options for the treatment of sexual dysfunction, sexual health is becoming increasingly medicalized, resulting in the lack of adult sexuality education available outside of the medical setting and a pathology-based approach to “treating” sexual concerns. Given the multidimensional context of sexual wellness, however, the allopathic approach seems to be severely inadequate. In addition, the medical community charged with providing treatment seems unprepared and undereducated for the task thus opening the potential for prescribing ineffective or extreme treatments for symptom reduction rather than addressing root causes or offering patient-centered approaches.
 

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College of Mind-Body Medicine Student Describes Center for Mind-Body Medicine Certification: Introducing Michelle Lamasa-Schrader

05/29/2012
Michele Lamasa-Schrader with her Group at the Center for Mind-Body Medicine

[All students in the Saybrook Graduate College of Mind-Body Medicine Complete the CMBM Professional Training Program, the Advanced Training Program, and a supervision sequence guiding them to conduct mind-body skills groups. Each of these elements is included in a required course in the College of Mind-Body Medicine masters’ and doctoral degree programs. The students then have an option to complete additional CMBM supervision on their own, and attend the Advanced Training Program a second time, in order to earn Certification from the Center. Michelle Lamasa-Schrader describes her experience with this certification process].

The journey through the Center for Mind-Body Medicine’s certification program has been an interesting and enriching experience that I will treasure always. While attending the initial training and advanced trainings through the Center, I was inspired and compelled to move in the direction of certification because the skills had been transforming in my own life. The growth that began to happen personally was amazing to me. I found myself looking and feeling better as a result of simply practicing the mind-body skills. I was better able to handle academic rigor, my family life, and work with greater ease, feeling at peace, and balanced much more frequently.

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College of Mind-Body Medicine Faculty Member Pursues Optimal Performance: Heather Dermyer, Ph.D.

05/15/2012
 
Imagine working full-time as a Clinical Psychologist, teaching Ethics for Saybrook University’s College of Mind-Body Medicine, and working at the United States Olympic Education Center (USOEC) with Olympic hopeful athletes on the Speed-skating, Weightlifting, Women’s Freestyle Wrestling, and Men’s Greco Roman Wrestling Teams.  Heather Dermyer rarely has a day off, yet she enjoys every minute of her busy and productive life. 
 
In addition to living a dynamic professional life, Heather is also dedicated to her own self-care.  At age 17 Heather suffered severe physical injuries from an accident that left her unable to walk.  After four and one half years of specialists, procedures, and physical therapy, the medical community told her there was nothing else that they could do for her pain. 

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Mind-Body Medicine student creates “super-foods” based nutrition programs improving childrens’ health in San Diego: Ruthi Solari

04/21/2012

Ruthi Solari is a master’s student in the College of Mind-Body Medicine at Saybrook University, and the creator of SuperFood Drive (www.superfooddrive.org), a 501(c) 3 non-profit located in San Diego, California.  Ruthi found the inspiration to create SuperFood Drive while attending the Center for Mind Body Medicine’s Food as Medicine (FAM) conference in 2009.  The inspiration for super foods, or nutrient dense foods, came from reading Steven Pratt’s book, “SuperFoods Rx.”  Dr. Pratt’s book opened her eyes to the health benefits of specific nutrient dense super foods such as beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.  Ruthi’s goal is to improve the nutritional status of people that use food banks by providing ‘super foods.’ Upon returning home from the FAM conference, Ruthi taught herself how to start a non-profit.  In June, 2009, SuperFood Drive was incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. 

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Spiritism and John of God: Shawn Tassone’s Ph.D. Practicum in Brazil

03/06/2012

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.

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College of Mind-Body Medicine: Master’s Student Applies Mind-Body Skills to Fibromyalgia

03/01/2012

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.

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College of Mind-Body Medicine: New Perspectives on Aging

02/20/2012

Introducing Connie S. Corley, MSW, MA, PH.D.

Dr Connie Corley photoConnie 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.

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