Mind-Body Medicine


Saybrook’s Jim Cahill on Training Attention For Performance and Wellness

Jim Cahill

Saybrook’s MBM MS student Jim Cahill is the creator of a therapy that combines mindfulness and biofeedback to multiple issues, ranging from chronic pain to stress.  Jim’s work is featured in the June edition of the CrossFit Journal in an article on using mindfulness to improve fitness training results, minimize pain, and improve overall health and wellness.

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Saybrook University Researcher and Instructor, Luann Fortune, Presents Qualitative Research on Medicalized Aging

Luann Fortune, PhD, Saybrook University


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.

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Erik Peper and Stephen Porges Propose a Physiological Basis for Paralysis as Reaction to Date Rape

Erik Peper (left) and Stephen Porges


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.

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Frank Munoz, Saybrook PhD Student in Mind-Body Medicine, Studies Effects of Spiritual Care and Mind-Body Interventions on Gene Expression

Frank Munoz at Poster Presentation at Association of Professional Chaplains


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. 

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Saybrook PhD Student Provides a Testimony to Destiny: “You Don’t Choose Saybrook, Saybrook Chooses You”

Natasha Pantti-Dulberg


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.

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Saybrook Instructor Chanel Helgasen is One of 121 Physicians to Become Board Certified by the American Board of Integrative Medicine

Physician Chanel Helgasen Board Certified in Integrative Medicine


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.

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School of Mind-Body Medicine Instructor, Dr. Stephanie Shelburne, and the Bohemian Mojo Project

Stephanie Shelburne, PhD, in Rural England


“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.

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Saybrook’s Francinne Lawrence on Complementary Practices for Cancer Survivors

Saybrook Ph.D. Student Francinne Lawrence

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. 

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Shawn Tassone, MD, Doctoral Candidate in Saybrook's School of Mind-Body Medicine, Launches Web-Based Educational Initiative on Holistic Care

Dr. Shawn Tassone


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.

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Watch 60 Minutes Sunday May 3 for Report on the Gaza Trauma Work of the Center for Mind-Body

James S. Gordon (top left) and Jamil Abdel Atti, to his right, Gaza, Oct. '14

Watch 60 Minutes Sunday for Report on the Gaza Trauma Work of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine

On Sunday May 3, 2015, 60 Minutes will be airing a report on recovery from last summer’s war in Gaza that includes The Center for Mind-Body Medicine, a U.S. nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. The CBS segment provides a worldwide audience a glimpse of CMBM’s groundbreaking trauma work.

The coverage includes footage of CMBM Director, psychiatrist James S. Gordon, MD, using CMBM’s innovative model of self-care and group support with children who have lost parents in Gaza, and those affected by the conflict in southern Israel. The words and drawings of the children demonstrate the devastation they have experienced, and the power of the CMBM model to heal trauma and restore hope. Included as well are brief interviews with some of these children, and with Dr. Gordon, and CMBM Gaza program director Jamil Abdel Atti.

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