Mind-Body Medicine


Saybrook Mind-Body Medicine faculty interviewed in Washington Times


There’s a problem, says Dr. Eric Willmarth, when patients get their expectations for recovery set by “a Xanax commercial.”

In much of medicine, it really is “mind over matter.”  The trouble is most doctors and hospitals don’t practice that way.

That’s why Dr. Donald Moss, chair of Saybrook’s School of Mind-Body Medicine, told the Washington Times a story about a patient who had a heart attack, and whose “ejection faction”  (a measure of how well the heart was pumping) was at 60%.  His doctor told him “Your ejection fraction is 60%,” and left.

The patient assumed this meant his heart was functioning at 60% of capacity, and suffered a pronounced decline in his physical health.

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School of Mind-Body Medicine Students Explore Authentic Leadership and Research in January, 2013 San Diego Residential Programs

Ellyn Hutton Participates in Expressive Arts Activity in Leadership Seminar


Residential Conferences are an integral part of the Saybrook University School of Mind-Body Medicine experiential learning model.  The RC’s are a meaningful place for students to connect with the Mind-Body Medicine community and dive deeper into their coursework.  The January 2013 RC in San Diego included two courses, Intermediate Hypnosis MBM 5625 and Coaching for Health and Wellness MBM 5630, and two optional programs, Authentic Leadership: Leading from Within and a Research Seminar

Terri Goslin-Jones PhD, a mentor at Saybrook, facilitated the Authentic Leadership seminar.  During this seminar the participants used creativity, appreciative inquiry, and “witnessing” to create a leadership vision for themselves.  Each participant created a poster or small cards by using magazine photos, yarn, color, and anything that was meaningful for them to represent their exploration towards leading from within.  In addition, the group explored Appreciative Inquiry, which uses powerful questions and focused listening to gain a deeper understanding of oneself and another person.  Below are some reflections from students who attended the seminar. 

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Emerging Role of Mobile-Health Technology Interventions for Wellness and Disease Management

Mobile Phones

Every year millions die from cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, HIV infection, and diabetes. These conditions contribute to 40 % of all deaths in the more developed and affluent countries.  For each of these diseases, healthy behaviors have been identified, which can prevent onset of these diseases. For example, the onset of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes can be prevented by maintaining a healthy body weight. Once these conditions are present,behavioral and lifestyle change are important for managing the course of these illnesses.

Efforts to increase healthy behaviors and minimize health risk behaviors (such as smoking) become increasingly important in enhancing health in this context. Mobile technology such as texting and smart phones offer platforms for innovative approaches to health enhancement and disease management.

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School of Mind-Body Medicine to Feature Videoconference with James Lake, MD, Leader in Integrative Mental Health Movement

Dr. James Lake


On February 12, 2013, James Lake will make a presentation for the School of Mind-Body Medicine:    “The Promise of Integrative Mental Health”

James Lake, MD, is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the integrative mental health movement. Integrative mental health is a comprehensive whole-person approach to mental health care providing an alternative to the mainstream biomedical and pharmaceutical approach to mental health treatment. The addition of evidence-based behavioral, nutritional, and spiritual/transpersonal interventions can supplement and sometimes replace medication regimens for individuals with acute and chronic mental health disorders.

Dr. Lake is the author of several books:  Integrative Mental Health Care: A Therapist’s Handbook (2009), Complimentary and Alternative Treatments in Mental Health (2007), of Integrative Mental Health Care (2006), and Chinese Medical Psychiatry (2001).

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Saybrook University Psychology Student Completes Dissertation on Biofeedback and Yoga for Undergraduate Stress Management

Carla Benejam in her Apothecary Garden


Carla Benejam lives in Salinas, California with one of her three sons and a big tabby cat. When not teaching courses in biology, life science, or psychology at Cal State University Monterey Bay, she spends many days in her apothecary garden, growing and tending herbs and seasonal veggies. Carla has been teaching for ten years and before that owned a rather eclectic used book store in Monterey. She has an affinity for languages and has studied German, French, Spanish and Indonesian, and a little Italian. Travels have taken her to Sumatra (to see young orangutans in the wild), Fiji, Moscow, Singapore and the Malay Peninsula, Britain, France, Spain, Alaska and Hawaii, Nepal, India, and Tibet.

Carla has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley in Physical Anthropology, and a master's degree from San Jose State College in Evolutionary Biology. On December 27, 2013, she defended her dissertation and completed her doctorate in Psychology from Saybrook University in San Francisco. She is currently preparing a program of biofeedback for stress relief for college students to be implemented at her university, and is also pursuing life as a garden wise woman. Although a Psychology student, the three individuals guiding her dissertation were all faculty from Saybrook’s School of Mind-Body Medicine, chair Donald Moss, and committee members Eric Willmarth and Eliza Bigham.

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Saybrook University Graduates First PhD in Mind-Body Medicine: Beth Haggett

Beth Haggett and Daughter Michaela

Over 30 years ago, as a 19 year old girl, Beth Haggett told her husband that someday she wanted to earn a PhD in Psychoneuroimmunology. When she first heard that Saybrook University was developing a PhD program in Mind-Body Medicine, she jumped at the opportunity and  became the first to apply for the new program.

On December 28, 2012, Beth defended her doctoral dissertation, and became the first student to complete the new PhD. Her degree is a “PhD in Mind-Body Medicine with a specialization in Health Care Systems.”  She achieved her goal within the time frame that she set for herself of three and one half years. Most importantly, because of her mind-body learning, and the self-care that was a component in her mind-body medicine education, her own mental, emotional, and physical health have improved dramatically in the course of her education. Beth’s husband and adult children have also benefitted greatly from applying mind-body skills to their lives.

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Jim Cahill, New Student in Saybrook’s School of Mind-Body Medicine, to Appear on Radio Broadcast on the Use of Biofeedback in Pain Treatment

Jim Cahill, BCB


Jim Cahill is a new student enrolled to begin the master’s program in Saybrook University’s School of Mind-Body Medicine, in January 2013.  Jim Cahill is a certified biofeedback practitioner, and is the developer of Mindfulness-Based Biofeedback Therapy(tm), combining ancient Indo-Tibetan self-regulation techniques with modern biofeedback. He was on the Board of Directors of the Biofeedback Society of California, edited the magazine California Biofeedback, and practices at both Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine and Scripps-XiMED in La Jolla, California.

Jim will appear at 8 PM Eastern time on Saturday December 22, in a radio interview with Dr. Paul Christo, a prominent pain specialist and past Director of the Blaustein Pain Treatment Center and the Multidisciplinary Pain Fellowship Training Program at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Christo hosts the Aches and Gains radio show on WBAL (1090 AM).

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Saybrook University Trustee, Dr. Rick Hanson, offers "Just Twelve Things" -- Rich Guidelines on Finding Resources for the Soul.

Dr. Rick Hanson


Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a Trustee of Saybrook University, and an expert on mindfulness, neuroscience, and the cultivation of compassion.  Dr. Hanson is a neuropsychologist and author of Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom (in 22 languages) and Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time (in 9 languages). Founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom and Affiliate of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, he’s been an invited speaker at Oxford, Stanford, and Harvard, and taught in meditation centers worldwide. His work has been featured on the BBC, NPR,  FoxBusiness,  Consumer Reports HealthU.S. News and World Report, and O Magazine and he has several audio programs with Sounds True.

Dr. Hanson's weekly e-newsletter – Just One Thing – has over 67,000 subscribers, and also appears on Huffington Post, Psychology Today, and other major websites.  For the holidays, he offered his readers the following special compilation called "Just Twelve Things."  He has given permission to reprint the item for the School of Mind-Body Medicine community. The Twelve Things include upcoming workshops, blogs, poetry, courses, all supportive of mind-body-spirit learning.  Our thanks to Dr. Hanson for his service to Saybrook University and for this blog entry.

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Two Saybrook School of Mind-Body Medicine Students Study Healing Traditions of China in Memorable Visit: Introducing Pegi Black and Mary Singler

Highlights of the Practicum Experience


Pegi Black and Mary Singler are both nurses and PhD students in the Fall 2010 cohort in Saybrook University’s School of Mind-Body Medicine. Together, they traveled to China for their School of Mind-Body Medicine practicum experience. They joined the small delegation from the People To People Ambassador’s Healing Traditions of China program led by Lucia Thornton, a prior President of the American Holistic Nurses Association. Initially, Dr. Norman Shealy, a pioneer in holistic health who earned a doctorate in humanistic psychology from the “Saybrook Institute,” was to be Ms. Thornton’s co-leader. However, at the last minute Dr. Shealy was unable to attend.  

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School of Mind-Body Medicine Graduate Participates in Research Investigation of an Application of Emotional Freedom Techniques for Trauma: Marisa Iacobucci, MS

Marisa Iacobucci, Graduate of School of Mind-Body Medicine


Saybrook’s Mind-Body Medicine Program began in the fall of 2009, and since its inception several students have earned a Master’s degree in Mind-Body Medicine.  As students continue to graduate and make their mark in the world, it is inspiring for other students to learn about their passions and paths.

Marisa Iacobucci was one of 16 students in the first cohort and completed her Master’s degree in Mind-Body Medicine in January 2012. Marisa decided to pursue a Master’s in Social Work (MSW), after completing her degree, as it is her intention to work with veterans and their families as well as individuals with chronic pain and illness.  While she was finishing her degree at Saybrook she began to look into MSW programs. At the same time, she participated in an Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) training at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The training was taught by Carol Look (http://www.attractingabundance.com/eft/about-carol/) over a three-day weekend and included the basics of EFT and its value in treating trauma in individuals.

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