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By Nathan Long, Ed.D.
President, Saybrook Unviersity
Now more than ever, globally engaged individuals can become the critically needed leaders our communities need. When we look back on this point in history, it will become increasingly apparent that our institution’s commitment to developing learners with a global focus and interdisciplinary approach is essential.
International Education Week (Nov. 14-18), a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, is an opportunity to “prepare Americans for a global environment, and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences.”
In honor of International Education Week, we look at two ways Saybrook University is going global.
These grants provide our faculty members the opportunity to conduct cross-disciplinary research on a global scale. The recipients of our inaugural grant are:
Dr. Luann Drolc Fortune, College of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences
The Academy of Integrative Medicine (AIM) – Amsterdam
Dr. Drolc Fortune will partner with The Academy of Integrative Medicine (AIM) in the Netherlands, creating community forums that will focus on mind-body approaches to integrative medicine.
Dr. Patrick Steffen, Mind Body Medicine
University of Derby – England
Dr. Steffen will pursue training and mentorship with Paul Gilbert at the University of Derby in England, who is a world leader and international expert in mindfulness and compassion-based approaches to psychotherapy.
Dr. Eric Willmarth & Dr. Donald Moss, College of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences
The American University in Cairo and Blue Lotus Wellness Foundation—Cairo, Egypt
Drs. Willmarth and Moss will create a 4-day hypnosis workshop for the Blue Lotus Wellness Foundation, providing an initial introduction to the use of hypnosis for improved motivation, health improvement, and life coaching.
Two landmark study abroad opportunities are currently being offered at Saybrook, with more to come.
Immigration in Context: Examination of Germany takes a unique cross-disciplinary approach to exploring immigration in our world today. Saybrook has partnered with our TCS affiliate institutions to teach and lead a study abroad course that pairs online didactic learning with an immersion program in Berlin.
With both students and faculty from five different institutions, Dr. Kent Becker is our faculty lead and will draw on his experiences with Photovoice to create a unique learning experience for our students. I will join Dr. Becker and our students in Berlin this December and am delighted to share this journey.
“Global Networking & Cultural Intelligence in Context: Examination in Austria,” is our first International Residency and Study Abroad hybrid experience for Saybrook students. Led by Dr. Charles Piazza, the course will partner with Krems University in Krems, Austria and provides an opportunity for students to participate in Krems University’s Business Week.
This course commences in January 2017 and will be considered to fulfil residential conference requirements in an international setting. Additional study abroad opportunities of this sort will be offered on a more consistent basis moving forward as well.
Through thought and action, we are honored to report on all that our community is doing to expand our global perspective here and abroad. To learn more about how to join the Saybrook community, request information today.
In an ideal world, democracy is conducted in a civil manner with the rights of individuals respected and preserved. But the behavior of politicians and voters alike in the months leading up to the current presidential election has been anything but civil.
As the often raucous public debates between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump have come to a close, we turned to two of Saybrook University’s most prominent humanistic voices—legendary Dr. Stanley Krippner and noted author Dr. Kirk Schneider—to discuss the political fractures that have divided our society.
Our round table discussion opened with some sage words of perspective from Dr. Krippner himself: “Humanistic behavior has many components, two of which are respect and humor.”
SAYBROOK: Ah yes, humor. We often forget that. How have you seen these things play out in the current campaigns?
KRIPPNER: Neither candidate did so well with the humor part, but there was one brief moment of respect. At the end of the second debate when the moderator asked each candidate if they could make a positive statement about their rival, Clinton praised Trump’s children—and justifiably so. Trump granted that Clinton was a fighter who never gives up. That was the most humanistic part of all three debates.
SAYBROOK: That’s not saying a lot though, is it?
SCHNEIDER: Not at all. The debates have been glaring examples of polarization, where inflammatory accusations, sweeping generalizations, and “us/them” extremes are dominant, whereas deliberative, more personally secure attempts at engagement with substantive issues have been muted. That said, the debates still provide a vital function of giving the American people a vivid sense of their candidates as people, and hence their inclinations to act as the people they show themselves to be. It is evident to me as both citizen and psychologist that our candidates, as with our country, are in deep emotional trouble. Without the right treatment or intervention, this will only intensify their polarization, and hence likelihood of destructiveness.
This country, and much of the world, needs an army of deeply attuned psychological facilitators of dialogue—as much if not more than its present army of military combatants. To the extent we ignore that imperative, we edge ever closer to self and world extinction. It’s that serious.
KRIPPNER: Yes, it is serious. Kirk’s book, The Polarized Mind, spells it out loud and clear.
SAYBROOK: How has that concept of the polarized mind played out in this election?
SCHNEIDER: The polarized mind operates on both an individual and societal level. It seems to me that Donald Trump and many of the constituents he reflects have been on parallel paths of perceived disenfranchisement, depersonalization, and outrage for a very long time. They form an almost perfect storm of anti-establishment fervor that resonates with a very notable swath of American electorate, some liberals notwithstanding.
KRIPPNER: Of course Trump continues to garner support. His hard-core supporters have had it with both the Democratic and GOP establishment. Republicans are in control of the House and the Senate, yet are governing no differently than did Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.
SCHNEIDER: The problem is that, as with many fear-based movements throughout history both liberal and conservative, there is a tendency to become militant, single issue stakeholders in reaction—to throw the baby out with the bathwater and to block out alternative points of view. It is very hard to be deliberative when one is in a panic, and it seems to me that Trump and many of his supporters are living out a low-level panic that manifests as defensive, reactive militancy. In Trump’s case, this militancy has too often exacerbated into reckless imperiousness.
On the other hand, at a deeper level, I think our social structures have also failed Trump, his followers, and most of us living in this world. As a society we have placed too little premium on the humanistic practices, such as “I Thou” dialogues that could counter or at least delimit polarized mentalities. As a result, we too often feed the very polarizations that we later decry. We have done this in family settings, job sites, religious and spiritual settings, and international-governmental settings, wherever polarized minds prevail. Hence, it is no wonder that we have so many polarizing and outraged citizens, they/we have had very few models of depolarized leadership.
KRIPPNER: Kirk is on target. Neither Trump nor Clinton are examples of “I Thou” dialogue. Clinton does better than Trump, but she ranted on and on during the third debate, often veering far away from the question. When Bill Clinton said “I feel your pain,” most people tended to believe him. They could forgive his womanizing because he was able to communicate.
SAYBROOK: Low-level panic is the right word for the mood right now, with the election just days away. How did we get to this point?
KRIPPNER: This country has been politically fractured for years. At most, 60 percent of the population votes in presidential elections. Those missing 40 percent are finally making some noise. And many of them are going to vote for Trump. Many others have given up on the political process and will not vote at all. They say “a plague on both your houses.”
SCHNEIDER: Exactly, and that again speaks to the historical dynamics of the polarized mind. Many people today feel that they don’t count. They have been disenfranchised economically, racially, and religiously. But added to these experiences of devaluation is the too little recognized depersonalization of our socio-economic system, which tends to prize profits over personally and socially meaningful service or innovation—which frankly, for many people in many sectors of our society, is a physical and emotional grind. As long as we prize the “quick fix,” efficiency-oriented culture, we will be operating at a very devitalized and emotionally volatile level.
SAYBROOK: What needs to happen from here? How will we move forward after this election is over?
SCHNEIDER: In the long run, we urgently need the equivalent of a public works program of psychologically attuned facilitators and mediators to help humanize the many fractured groups and individuals in our polarized world. This is needed at the level of education, the work setting, the spiritual and religious setting, and the communal/governmental setting.
In the short term, pilot studies could be done with the few courageous souls on contrasting sides of issues who would be willing to engage in such a personal, competently facilitated encounter. The results may not be some storybook idea of peace or harmony, but are likely to be notable in their facilitation of greater personal understanding, empathy, and increased probability for common ground.
KRIPPNER: I am very pessimistic at this point. But Kirk’s suggestion of psychologically attuned facilitators is actually being tried in Beijing, China, where 500 psychologists are being trained to improve the mental health of the city. I do not think Congress would ever appropriate money for the public works program Kirk calls for, but I suggest the new administration and the new Congress revive President George H.W. Bush’s “thousand points of light”. They could keep that title to insure bipartisan support, and then recognize and reward programs that engage in these encounters.
SAYBROOK: Any final thoughts or observations on these candidates or the election at hand?
KRIPPNER: Yes, I have one final point, and that is that humanistic psychology does not label people. Donald Trump is called a narcissist, but how can someone diagnose a person without knowing that person? One can say that he engages in narcissistic behavior, and that is as far as we can go.
In the same way, Clinton has been called a pathological liar. Again, that is a diagnosis. If a statement of hers failed verification, that is fair game. And if several statements do not match the facts, that should be brought to voters’ attention. But humanistic psychology would opt out of at-a-distance diagnoses.
SCHNEIDER: Thanks very much for your rejoinder, Stan. I see your point about labeling, and humanism is right to be very circumspect about it. On the other hand, our dilemma is that so many through history who have been labeled mentally ill have been the poor and powerless, while others who have been many times more destructive—in politics, religion, and even professions, have not only been spared of such disparaging labels but actually celebrated. The whole thing is rather topsy turvy.
Partly my idea of a polarized mind is a provocation for all of us to think more seriously about the potentially destructive traits we all harbor and to call them out—particularly when the stakes are high both individually and collectively. As long as we go about this in a comparatively egalitarian way, we’ll be in a better position to address our problems holistically rather than from whatever parochial standpoint seems to be in fashion.
The post Election 2016: Politics in The Age of Polarization appeared first on Saybrook University.
I have had some significant time to think about a great deal with respect to our wonderful Saybrook University. As a non-profit, private, regionally accredited institution conceived in 1964 and officially launched in the mid-1970s, the original idea put forward by established scholars like Rollo May, Abraham Maslow, and Charlotte Buehler was to reimagine higher education, focusing on creating a new means of accessing graduate study, particularly in the field of psychology. This entailed at-a-distance graduate work with luminaries in the field. And for more than 45 years, Saybrook has been making good on that original concept while expanding across several disciplines.
Heading into the next few years, we are setting out on an ambitious strategic plan, which as of late has caused me to reflect on a few of key questions: Why Saybrook University? Why do students, faculty, and staff come to this institution? Moreover, what is it that we do that is making a difference? And, ultimately, how do we continue to provide excellent graduate education in a day and age where competition is fierce, and when institutions of similar size are struggling and in some cases collapsing?
Mission comes first.
Saybrook’s mission is what draws faculty, students, and staff in the first place. The focus on rigorous graduate education steeped in humanistic philosophy and practice with the goal of spurring positive social change speaks to our intellectual leanings and pulls at our heartstrings. And while mission is vital, it is essentially the idea of what we hope to accomplish. In the end, students come to graduate school to immerse themselves in deep study with scholars who have established themselves in their particular field of interest. Additionally, our students embrace the fact that our faculty eschew the Ivory Tower stereotype plaguing much of higher education today. Many of our faculty are practicing their scholarship, making substantial contributions in their disciplines, their clinical and consulting practices, their organizations, and their communities.
Our academic programs nurture humanistic scholar-practitioners.
When considering the question of why, I think of our various programs, including Mind-Body Medicine, Integrative and Functional Nutrition, Humanistic and Clinical Psychology, Counseling, Leadership and Management, and Transformative Social Change. Each program embraces our humanistic legacy, weaving in the importance of understanding the individual, his or her unique strengths and challenges, his or her role within the greater community and society, and helping him or her to actualize their full potential.
We are promoting change in these fields.
Real-life examples of Saybrook faculty, students, and alumni abound.
Ginger Charles, a retired police officer and alumna, is working to change how police officers interact with their communities, thus improving morale and reducing police-citizen violence.
Dr. Kaffia Jones, alumna and retired Brigadier General, is dedicating her next career phase to helping veterans with PTSD
Faculty Dan Leahy and Jeff McAuliffe are helping transform organizations like SoundTransit.
Our student interns are working with Girls, Inc., in Oakland, supporting and helping young women and men actualize their full human potential.
Faculty Dr. Theopia Jackson is creating community healing networks in concert with the Association of Black Psychologists.
The list goes on. Our students and faculty, as evidenced above, are people making a difference locally and globally. Ultimately, those of us here or who are coming to Saybrook University want to make that difference, because we believe in the power of taking what we learn, applying it, and changing lives for the better. The power of what we are working to achieve now will definitely enable us to accomplish and expand Saybrook‘s mission well into the future.
Providing an excellent student experience is our continual priority.
In addition to excellent faculty, our online and residential learning environments must reflect 21st century best practices and innovate beyond the “what is”. My numerous conversations with students point to a pervasive theme: students expect connectivity and meaning. Online learning around the country has become unnecessarily disembodied, with few exceptions. Finding new ways to expand the human-virtual experience that promotes academic engagement as well as close-knit bonds will be how Saybrook defines itself.
For me, all of the above answer the “why” and “how” of Saybrook University. Together, we are making a difference each and every day, locally and around the globe.
By Cliff Smyth, M.S., Ph.D. Student
What is the Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education?
Israeli physicist Moshe Feldenkrais once wrote: “Movement is life. Life is a process. Improve the quality of the process and you improve the quality of life itself.”
Those were powerful words, indeed—words that became the cornerstone of the Feldenkrais Method of somatic education. This method of learning from the lived experiences of our bodies emerged in the early 1970s at the height of the “human potential movement” in North America.
Feldenkrais’s approach to movement functioned as a catalyst, influencing mind-body practices from somatic psychotherapy to mindful yoga and dance-movement therapy. It also resulted in the professional field of Feldenkrais Method practice.
Many people who have experienced the Feldenkrais Method—through Awareness Through Movement classes, for example—have discovered how developing bodily awareness and improving bodily organization can result in less pain and greater function for a heightened sense of self-efficacy and well-being.
Why I believe the Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education is important
During my term as President of the International Feldenkrais Federation (IFF, the UN of Feldenkrais organizations), I supported the creation of the Feldenkrais Research Journal, which was published for a total of four years between 2004 and 2008. It sadly fell into abeyance as the work ended up with just a few people to support it.
Feeling it is too important to lose, I recently set about finding a way to revive it. Over the span of a year and a half, I recruited a team of eight other Feldenkrais practitioners who had the academic training, research experience, and writing skills needed to bring this important journal back into print.
They are all busy professionals but made the time for this project, and for that I am grateful. As I say in the Editorial for Volume 5, “It takes a community to create a journal.”
My Saybrook Experience Helps Resurrect the Feldenkrais Research Journal
Part of what drew me to the Mind-Body Medicine program at Saybrook is how congruent it is with my work and goals as a Feldenkrais practitioner. Now I am using what I have learned from my studies at Saybrook in resurrecting this professional journal.
With the emergence of the “mindfulness” paradigm in health care, there is greater awareness of the importance of mindfulness of the body. This developing self-awareness requires changing habits of moving, sensing, feeling, and thinking.
Laura Schmalzl, at UC San Diego, and her colleagues, have put forward the construct of “movement-based embodied contemplative practices” as an important area of research in neuroscience and beyond. Catherine Kerr, at Brown University, and her colleagues, have also been doing cutting edge research into the neuroscience of embodiment and mindfulness.
We are at a point where research itself, and scholarship discussing what needs to be researched and how it can be researched most effectively, is essential for all the innovative mind-body approaches that have emerged in the last decades.
Society and the development of our field require us to document outcomes, to improve practice, and explore possible mechanisms of action. Publishing quality articles and journals is a vital project for Feldenkrais Method and similar practices. But they also need to be read. To that end, the IFF has also created a Feldenkrais Studies Database.
Find Out More About the Feldenkrais Research Journal
I invite you to have a look at the Journal. There you will find a wide range of research papers on Feldenkrais applications in health, the arts, and other fields, as well as some lively discussion on how to research somatic and mind-body practices such as Feldenkrais. You will also find interesting papers on the psychological and philosophical underpinnings of this mind-body approach.
My Editorial for Volume 5 reviews the last eight years of publishing and scholarship in the Feldenkrais Method.
I believe the return of this journal is coming at an important time in society and in health care. But we can’t do it alone. As the journal comes back to life, we also want to widen our readership—opening opportunities to contribute to people from the fields of somatic practices, psychology, and philosophy to health care and beyond.
Moshe Feldenkrais drew on the scientific method in the design of his classes. You can experience this kind of first-person research—for your own self-care—by trying a live or recorded Awareness Through Movement class today.
Cliff Smyth is founder and editor of the Feldenkrais Research Journal and a practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method at the Feldenkrais Center for Movement & Awareness in San Francisco. He is currently a student in Saybrook University’s Mind-Body Medicine program, pursuing a Ph.D.
Saybrook University faculty member Louis Hoffman, Ph.D., recently announced that the Ernest Becker Foundation of Seattle, Washington, has agreed to offer a $1000 scholarship each year for the continuing Saybrook student who writes the best research paper using the work and research of Dr. Ernest Becker. Dr. Hoffman, who directs the Existential, Humanistic, and Transpersonal Psychology Specialization within the College of Social Sciences, began working last year with Deborah Jacobs, Executive Director at the Ernest Becker Foundation, to make arrangements for the scholarship.
“Becker has long had an influence on existential-humanistic psychology, and has long been integrated in various ways into the curriculum at Saybrook,” said Dr. Hoffman. “A number of the faculty at Saybrook identify Becker as one of their most important influencers, so Saybrook is deeply thankful for the relationship with the Ernest Becker Foundation,” he said. Saybrook faculty member Dr. Ed Mendelowitz, who is an insightful Becker scholar, will be the lead person for facilitating the scholarship and writing projects.
Ms. Jacobs hopes that by providing this scholarship the Foundation can encourage Saybrook students to engage deeply with Dr. Becker’s work and develop their ideas around the present-day applications of his synthesis. “We have long-standing relationships with Dr. Kirk Schneider and others at Saybrook, and have appreciated the University’s commitment to teaching Ernest Becker,” she said. “When looking for an opportunity to encourage student scholarship on Becker, Saybrook came first to mind as a great partner.”
Established in 1993, the Ernest Becker Foundation seeks to advance understanding of how the unconscious denial of mortality profoundly influences human behavior. Ernest Becker laid the foundation for this work in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Denial of Death.
The student author of the winning paper receives $1000 and the potential to receive another $1000 if she or he chooses to develop the paper for publication under the mentorship of a Saybrook faculty member. The Foundation also provides a stipend of $2000 to the faculty advisor, Ed Mendelowitz, who works with the student to develop the paper. Papers are solicited by Saybrook faculty and judged based on the quality of writing and exposition of thought by a team of Becker scholars from both the University and the Foundation.
Ms. Jacobs is hoping that this scholarship project fosters deeper relations between the two organizations. “We would love to see the Saybrook and EBF communities have increased exchange of ideas, gatherings, and outreach efforts,” she said. “We encourage Saybrook students and professors to follow us on Facebook or Twitter to keep abreast of our current and future partnerships!”
Dr. Hoffman said, “We really hope that our Saybrook students carry forth these ideas as ambassadors for Becker’s work. His work is extremely relevant to contemporary times.” For more information regarding the new scholarship, please contact Dr. Louis Hoffman.
The post Saybrook Professor Announces New Scholarship with Ernest Becker Foundation appeared first on Saybrook University.
Carolyn Trasko is a doctoral student in the College of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences, and was recently awarded a FERB research grant for dissertation research.
Understanding the connections between cumulative stress and disease is an essential component of integrative medicine. Carolyn Trasko, doctoral student in Saybrook University’s College of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences, selected this program because it offered her a unique educational opportunity to deepen her knowledge of how mind, body, and spirit impact psychological and medical health. Twenty-five years as a psychotherapist has provided Carolyn with the clinical opportunity to work with individuals who present with co-morbid behavioral health and medical issues, specifically chronic diseases. Often these individuals share histories of traumatic life events and cumulative stress. She came to ask herself: Could chronic psychological and physiological stress make these individuals more susceptible to develop chronic illness or diseases, specifically autoimmune diseases?
Over 50 million Americans suffer from autoimmune diseases and 75% of them are women. Such chronic conditions take an enormous physical, emotional, and financial toll resulting in $100 billion annually in healthcare costs. Working directly with women who experience these chronic conditions has fueled Carolyn with a deep passion and commitment to identify strategies that could alleviate or even prevent their suffering. Specific mind-body interventions used for stress management may impact the immune response by reducing systemic inflammation thereby helping the body to improve its ability to self-heal.
Carolyn has noticed that many of these individuals in their therapeutic work have shared anecdotal evidence of the benefits of relaxation breathing, guided imagery, or yoga that helped decrease stress levels. Could mind-body interventions, specifically relaxation breathing and guided imagery, work by calming the over-activated stress response? For these techniques to become more widely recognized and recommended within the medical community, there is a need for quantifiable proof that these methods are effective.
With assistance from a Foundation for Education and Research in Biofeedback and Related Sciences (FERB) grant award, Carolyn’s proposed research study will look at the potential clinical implications of specific relaxation techniques. This study, through the use of a one-time session of training, will measure and compare the biopsychosocial impact of paced diaphragmatic breathing to that of guided imagery, within a sample of adult women who have been diagnosed with Autoimmune Thyroid Diseases.
The study will further include 1) the biological marker of salivary interleukin-1 (IL-1) as a measure of the inflammatory response, 2) the psychophysiological measures of heart rate variability (HRV) and respiration rate, and 3) psychological measures of positive and negative mood states. Carolyn remarked that these findings could provide support for the promotion of using such mind-body techniques within a medical population. This could result in improved health, wellness, and overall quality of life for those who suffer from these chronic conditions.
The post Saybrook Doctoral Student Wins Research Grant on Trauma & Chronic Illness appeared first on Saybrook University.
Leila Kozak, PhD,is the Director of Integrative Medicine in Palliative Care for Paliativos Sin Fronteras (Palliative Care Providers Without Borders). She is a Saybrook University graduate and an instructor in the Saybrook University College of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences. Dr. Kozak is currently a “Clinical Champion” at the Office of Patient-Centered Care and Culture Transformation at the Veterans Administration Central Office and works locally with VA Puget Sound Health Care System in advancing patient-centered care and integrative health for Veterans. She will be delivering a keynote address and conducting a breakout session at the Palliative Care Institute Spring Conference, May 13-14, 2016 at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington.
Palliative care providers are increasingly seeking non-pharmacological supportive interventions to increase comfort and quality of life, which has led to the integration of complementary therapies within palliative care environments. A variety of complementary therapies have been shown to reduce suffering and improve quality of life in palliative care populations. This emerging field of integrative palliative care brings wonderful opportunities as well as challenges.
In her keynote, Dr. Kozak will discuss the opportunities and challenges related to the use of integrative modalities in palliative care, including acupuncture, aromatherapy, biofield therapies (Healing Touch, Therapeutic Touch, and Reiki), expressive arts therapies (art, writing, and music methods), massage, mind-body interventions, and movement approaches.
Dr. Kozak’s break out session will discuss “The Role of Touch Therapies in Enhancing the Patient Experience.” Her presentation was inspired by a video interview describing the implementation of touch therapies at VA hospitals, in which a Veteran undergoing palliative care described his experience receiving massage: “It makes you feel that you are not just a thing, you are a person.” During the 90 minute session, Dr. Kozak will introduce participants to various touch therapies, describing affordability and costs and emphasizing evidence and the role of these modalities in symptom management and quality of life. The session will also provide practical strategies that participants can use to implement touch therapies at their medical facilities.
Readers may register for the conference at:
The post Saybrook Instructor speaks on integrative approaches to palliative care appeared first on Saybrook University.
Brianne Morwood, RD, CD, LDN, is a dietitian and a student in the first cohort of Saybrook’s new Master’s of Science Program in Integrative and Functional Nutrition. Another student in this cohort, Karmen Gregg, is interviewing the cohort members and creating blog postings about each. Here are Brianne’s responses to a series of interview questions.
What motivated you to pursue integrative nutrition versus conventional dietary treatments alone?
Conventional treatments often have a limited and superficial effect on health, while an integrative approach can identify the underlying cause of disease, thereby providing a lasting treatment and cure. The challenge of this aspect of nutrition was both inspiring and motivating as I begin my career as a dietitian.
If you had to choose one attribute that is unique to Saybrook University and your education experience, what would it be? Why?
Although Saybrook provides education through an online, distance format, the amount of support provided by professors, staff, and peers is exceptional. The residential conference allowed peers to interact and bond before beginning the program, and this friendship has continued throughout each term.
What do you think are the most important attributes and competencies for integrative nutritionists?
An integrative nutritionist should always be familiar with the latest research, as health and nutrition are continually changing. Additionally, one working in this field must be able to compile a list of effective treatment options and work with patients to determine which would be most appropriate for their situation. Thorough education and close monitoring are essential, as the patient’s primary care provider may not be familiar with interactions between dietary supplements and medications, and may not recognize the patient’s reactions to integrative treatments.
As an integrative nutritionist or dietician, what is your approach toward patient care?
As an integrative dietitian, my approach to care is individualized to the specific needs of my patients. Each patient has a unique past medical history and symptomatology, and thus each must be provided with a unique treatment plan.
How influential was the residential conference on your personal and professional growth? Describe any mind-body approaches that you have adapted as a self-care strategy, as well as incorporated into patient care plans to enhance well-being.
The residential conference provided an excellent foundation in mind-body approaches to self care for both my personal life and my practice. My eyes were opened to the variety of mind-body approaches available, and I briefly learned how to perform each, which improved my confidence in applying the techniques to my future practice. Currently I am working more to incorporate meditation into my daily routine, which will prove quite beneficial while enrolled in a demanding master’s program and working full time. The residential conference also promoted development of friendships with my peers, which has led to invaluable relationships throughout the program.
Since you enrolled in the program, how are you applying this knowledge into your personal and professional life?
Since enrolled in the program, I have been working to apply my knowledge of laboratory values and supplements to my assessment of patients. Recently, I have been working to incorporate aspects of the Nutrition-Focused Physical Exam, and I am seeking hands on training in the near future. As for my personal life, I have continued to incorporate mindful eating into my daily routine, and this has proven quite effective.
How do you envision the emerging field of integrative medicine and nutrition within the current medical model?
I envision that integrative medicine and nutrition will become an essential component of the current medical model. Conventional treatments often do not cure the underlying cause of disease, and patients are becoming quite frustrated with the lack of improvement in their health, causing them to turn to a more integrative approach. Additionally, with the changes in reimbursement, health systems may be looking for ways to decrease cost and increase outcomes, which integrative medicine and nutrition can provide.
What is your professional goal, or what career do you hope to pursue after graduation?
My dream is to open a wellness center that incorporates a variety of approaches to achieving and maintaining health. From meditation and massage therapy to fitness, nutrition, chiropractic care, and naturopathic medicine, this center will promote health and wellness by treating the underlying causes of dysfunction and disease.
The post Saybrook Nutrition Student on Integrative & Functional Nutrition in Clinical Practice appeared first on Saybrook University.
Shannon McLain, MS, is a doctoral student in the College of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences. She recently led a workshop for members of the community at The Healing Space, in Houston Texas, focusing on self-care and self-compassion. Here she blogs about her the importance of self-compassion, and some initial self-care practices to build self-compassion.
Most of us feel compassion when a close friend is struggling. What would it be like to receive the same caring attention whenever you needed it most? All that’s required is a shift in the direction of our attention—recognizing that as a human being, you, too, are a worthy recipient of compassion.
Self-compassion is absolutely essential for a balanced and healthy lifestyle. It provides huge benefits including emotional resiliency, stress reduction, contentment, and healthier relationships. Without it, we are vulnerable to the opinion of others and find it difficult to deal with letting go of our mistakes. It’s tough enough to go through a difficult situation, especially when we think we had a part in creating it. It is another kind of torture to never be able to let go of self-criticism and blame. Self-compassion entails being warm and understanding with ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring our pain or flagellating ourselves with self-criticism. Self-compassionate people recognize that being imperfect, failing, and experiencing life difficulties is inevitable, so they tend to be gentle with themselves when confronted with painful experiences, rather than getting angry or self-critical when life falls short of their set ideals. People cannot always be or get exactly what they want. When this reality is denied or fought against, suffering increases in the form of stress, frustration, and self-criticism. When reality is accepted with sympathy and kindness, greater emotional equanimity is experienced.
Self-compassion also requires taking a balanced approach to our negative emotions so that feelings are neither suppressed nor exaggerated. This stems from the willingness to observe negative thoughts and emotions with openness and clarity, so that they are held in mindful awareness. Mindfulness is a non-judgmental, receptive state of mind in which one observes thoughts and feelings as they are, without trying to suppress or deny them. Here’s a quick and helpful tool for engaging mindfulness and self-compassion in your daily life:
S—Stop, take a pause
T—Take a deep breath and relax (for a minimum of three breath cycles)
O—Observe the present moment: What do I notice? Where is my breath? How does my body feel? What am I saying in my mind? What is one way I can respond to myself with compassion and kindness?
P—Proceed. Where was my attention before S.T.O.P? Do I want to continue or attend to something else?
Tune in next time for some helpful tips for creating (or enhancing) a grateful and thankful attitude, in the next installment in Shannon McLain’s Healing Practices Series, on Gratitude.
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Robin Dickey, a doctoral student in the College of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences, provided a presentation for social workers, therapists, and nurses on the importance of self-care on April 6, 2016. This event, which qualified attendees for CEU credit, was called The Knowledge Cafe and was held at the Gladney Center for Adoption in Fort Worth, Texas. The title of the presentation was, “Permission to Breathe! Prescribing Self-Care to Clients AND Providers.” Robin has provided a brief synopsis of the presentation:
Have you ever heard that, “An architect’s house is always crooked”? This is a phrase to indicate how some professionals do not apply their skills to their own worlds. People in the helping professions are compassionate, kind, and caring by trade. However, they are among the least likely to be SELF-compassionate, kind or caring to themselves.
This interactive presentation engaged the audience in breathing and relaxation exercises in addition to providing information about the importance of self-care for professionals. Before diving into the presentation, participants were asked to participate in a grounding exercise to be as fully present as possible. They were asked to consider what “self-care” means to them. Not surprisingly, all 54 participants were able to define self-care as a therapeutic term, but were not actually able to identify what self-care means to them as a person. In other words, no participants answered the question with examples of what they do for their own self-care. The question was presented as “Self-Care means____”. Although the responses could have included “alone time” or “going for a run,” everyone responded as if they were being asked for a formal definition. One such example was “identifying activities that are personally satisfying and choosing to implement that activity.” Once this awareness was brought to the attendees attention, the presentation began.
Topics that were covered included personal stress awareness, identifying self-care opportunities for mental, emotional, and physical health, self-care activities to complete with clients in session as well as individually, and burnout prevention techniques. Additionally, integrative approaches to health were discussed, along with the role helping professionals play in this continuously evolving field. Attendees openly discussed their opinions as to why it is easier for helping professionals to develop and implement self-care techniques with clients than themselves. After brainstorming on reasons why, attendees were asked how they might each invite self-care into their world now that the necessity had been identified and discussed.
The presentation is available to the public at the following link: http://prezi.com/iq7knfzzn7ke/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share
The post Saybrook Doctoral Student on Prescribing Self-Care to Clients and Providers appeared first on Saybrook University.