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The Graduate Institute

  • Thriving as an Empath: The Art of Self-Care for Sensitive People

    Self-care is essential for all empathic people. When you mindfully and lovingly practice it each day, your sensitivities will flourish. The self-care practices, perspectives, and meditations I present as daily offerings in Thriving as an Empath will support you in being a compassionate, empowered empath without shouldering the suffering of others or trying to “fix” them. All people deserve the dignity of their own paths. Day-by-day, I’ll offer gentle reminders about how you can be loving without becoming codependent or a martyr. As a psychiatrist and empath, I am fierce about my own self-care practices and teach these principles...

  • Unmasking The Real You

    Imposter Syndrome: It’s a problem that affects people from all walks of life, in all types of organizations. It’s often most associated with people who are viewed as extremely successful. Mike Myers of Saturday Night Live fame shared, “I still believe that at any time the no-talent police will come and arrest me.” From Winston Churchill, to Serena Williams, to Michelle Obama, to Lady Gaga, individuals feel plagued by feelings of self-doubt and disconnect from their accomplishments. To outsiders, these individuals appear self-assured and confident, but beneath the calm surface lies an ugly reality: a person who believes that...

  • The Sun: Your Most Beautiful Adversary?

    Ah yes, here comes the sun. So warm, so beautiful, so life giving. How can such a beautiful, blazing star cause so much damage? Let’s look at the facts. As most of us now know, the sun can actually be good for you. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), getting anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes of sunlight on your arms, hands, and face two to three times per week is enough to reap the benefits of the sun. However, anything more can cause unwanted issues. Benefits of Appropriate Sun Exposure Elevates mood Improves sleep Promotes bone growth...

  • The Thunderbird Inn: The Hippest Hotel in Savannah

    I’ve rekindled my love affair with Savannah! Going to grad school at Georgia Southern University, I spent many a night on River Street or in the historic City Market. It was a blast – thanks to a liberal open container law that lets you carouse with cup in hand from historic Jones Street to the Savannah River. Savannah is the quintessential Southern city – it’s enchanting. It has soul and an edgy energy you can feel day and night. Cobblestoned squares, manicured parks, stately Victorian-era homes and ghost stories are all set under a veil of Spanish moss. The...

  • Amp Up the Healing With Electroacupuncture

    I always chuckle a bit at the look of terror that spreads across my patients’ faces when I first tell them I’d like to hook up some of their needles to electricity. I’m sure images of Dr. Frankenstein flash through their minds with high voltage coursing through their bodies. “Why don’t you give me a lobotomy while you’re at it,” they often joke. While I totally empathize with the initial shock (pun intended), electroacupuncture is actually a very safe, very mild, dare-I-say pleasurable experience that is highly effective. What is Electroacupuncture? Since many people have experience with TENS units,...

  • 3 Financial Planning Strategies for Couples

    Recently a woman in her 40s approached me to talk at the end of a financial workshop that I delivered. With tears in her eyes she said simply, “Thank you for tonight. I wish that I met you six months ago.” Deeply moved and very curious, I asked if she would share more. Theresa and her husband Francis (names changed to protect privacy) made a deal when they got married: he’d take care of their family finances and she’d focus on her career. Francis enjoyed managing their money and Theresa found it uninteresting. They both knew how much Theresa...

  • Treating Pain Naturally

    Pain is cited as the most common reason Americans access the health care system and is a leading cause of disability. The National Center for Health Statistics estimates approximately 76.2 million Americans have suffered from pain that lasts longer than 24 hours and millions more suffer from acute pain. According to the CDC, as many as 1 in 5 people suffering from non-cancer pain receive a prescription opioid. These alarming facts paired with our country’s ongoing opioid crisis stress the need for the implementation of natural pain treatments into today’s healthcare system. The natural treatments for pain include, but...

  • How You Think About Pain Affects Your Pain Response

    Chronic Pain is an entirely different beast than acute pain. Chronic pain comes from the brain and is perpetuated by inflammation, molecules that tell nerves and the brain that there is a problem. Chronic pain is also a subjective perception, how we think about pain affects our pain. In the past few years, medicine has made pain the “5th vital sign”. When we focus on the pain, and when healthcare providers continually ask someone what their pain level is, we inadvertently perpetuate the patient’s pain, because what the brain focuses on becomes more real. Although well intentioned, this new...

  • Mindful Moments for Children and Teachers in CT

    Educators and parents alike are taking notice of the stress that surrounds our children on a daily basis. The stressors and demands of modern American society leaves students at a disadvantage that can only be remedied by a significant change in the way we structure and approach teaching and learning. However, while well intentioned, the current nationally imposed reform efforts have led to increased levels of anxiety, frustration and stress amongst educators. Moreover, contending with students’ increasing levels of anxiety, depression and stress to succeed in a competitive world have led to unprecedented educator absenteeism and burnout. Not surprisingly,...

  • Become a Fire-Starter at the Office

    Are you ready to start a fire at work? I don’t mean becoming an arsonist. I mean becoming someone who accelerates whatever they focus their attention on with determination and persistence. Fires are dynamic, ever-changing, fluid mysteries that challenge limits with their presence and power. There is a life force in a fire. Fires move with cause and can’t be avoided and neither can fire-starters. What is a Fire-Starter? Fire-starters are individuals who are flexible in their thinking and fearlessly share their thoughts with others. They thrive on jumping into discussion without waiting for someone to give them a...

  • N.E.D. (No Evidence of Disease) Plays at Ridgefield Playhouse on September 20th

    I had the pleasure of sitting down with Dr. Nimesh Nagarsheth, Gynecologic Oncologist and drummer and percussionist of N.E.D., to learn more about this amazing collaboration of doctors turned musicians who are changing the lives of cancer patients and survivors through music therapy. Yes – these talented doctors started a band! I asked Dr. Nagarsheth how they came up with the name. He said, “N.E.D. is what we write on patient charts when they are free of cancer. When thinking about names for the band, this was the band’s favorite – having both a positive message and a powerful...

  • Integrative Bowen Therapy for Treatment of Chronic Pain

    Pain is something that we all experience throughout our lives. Whether severe, moderate, or mild, everyone has had to bear some pain. In most cases, pain is a signal from the body that something has gone awry. While we usually consider pain to be sensation felt within the physical body, it does not always have to result from a physical injury. Mental and emotional pains can be felt physically as well. In all cases, the treatment of pain is currently a very relevant topic. As made terribly clear by the current opioid crisis, the mismanagement of pain and discomfort...

  • The Language of Disease

    The predominant conventional medical system in the United States has evolved into a system of labels and categories. Diagnosis and treatment is based upon fitting individuals into categories and protocols. In 2013, 7 out of 10 Americans were taking at least one prescription medication. This means that 70% of Americans have been given at least one label of disease. The result is a population that believes they are sick or dysfunctional. When discussing a patients’ medical history, they often say things like “I AM a diabetic” or “I AM an asthmatic”. “I have had diarrhea my whole life”, or...

  • Postpartum Nutrition for Mom and Baby

    There is a lot of information out there about pregnancy and the required steps that a mom ought to take in order to have a healthy pregnancy, however, there is little information about what a mom should do to take care of herself and baby after pregnancy. Great nutrition and care during your pregnancy have helped your baby develop and grow. Now after nine months, you have finally met your lovely baby. Whether you are breastfeeding or not, it is important to take care of yourself and your new baby. Nutrition You need the appropriate nutrition to recuperate and...

  • Healing with Ancient Wisdom & Modern Science

    As humans living on earth we are of one race existing in one place. Although we are one in that perspective we vary in many ways such as places in the globe vary from section to section. This phenomena is expressed throughout the body’s diverse layers making up one whole organism. How then can two people have different experiences when placed in the same environment and same situation? Well some chalk it up to “perception creates reality” and while that plays a major role in our psychology, I’ve personally had my perception clobbered by a reality quite different than...

  • An Unwanted Freedom

    This summer, our precious 15 year old family dog Hailey made her transition to non-physical. It was a deeply emotional time for our entire family and a monumental loss for me on many levels. Hailey was my constant companion from the moment she arrived in our home to the moment she left. For the first year, she slept under my desk on my foot and on the last weekend of her being at home, I laid on the floor with her and barely left her side. For the past year, I knew her time was near and I kept...

  • Osteopathic Medicine for Relief from Chronic Pain

    Chronic pain is commonly defined as any pain, which lasts more than 12 weeks. Whereas acute pain is the normal sensation which alerts us to an injury or illness, chronic pain is one that persists, often for months or even longer. Chronic pain can affect as many as eight of every ten American adults. It can be caused by a musculoskeletal injury (involving the bones, muscles, or joints), nervous system dysfunction, chronic diseases, and autoimmune disorders. Do You Suffer from Back Pain? According to research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, no less than 84 percent...

  • Natural Ways to Address Acid Reflux & GERD

    Chronic gastrointestinal (GI) complaints are often treated with proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), antibiotics, and other medications that offer temporary relief of acute symptoms. Although these drugs are prescribed to provide promising results, new research indicates the drug treatments often mask unresolved physiological problems and cause further complications. Complex GI cases require a comprehensive assessment and a multifaceted approach…dietary guidelines, lifestyle recommendations, and customized nutritional supplementation and herbs.   ~ Nutritional Interventions for Gastroesophageal Reflux, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and Hypochlorhydria: A Case Report; Integr Med (Encinitas). 2016 Aug; 15(4): 49–53.   Are you one of the estimated 60 million Americans...

  • No Medical Explanation for Your Pain?

    Psychogenic Pain Disorder (PPD) refers to a person experiencing pain with no medical explanations for the pain. It has other names such as “Pain somatization disorder.” These terms essentially mean, “we can’t find a reason for the pain so it is likely all in your head”. To many, this diagnosis can be quite off putting and offensive. No one wants to be told they are crazy and the pain is all in their head. Often, the referral of pain patients to psychological practitioners is taken as an assault or lack of validation, as if the doctor isn’t really listening....

  • Could Toxic Burden Be Causing Type 2 Diabetes?

    We have been trained to think of type II diabetes as the type that you “earn” through diet and lifestyle choices. While lifestyle does play a role in the development and management of this disease, there is a very overlooked piece to this puzzle, toxic burden. Toxins are all around us from pesticides sprayed on foods, plastics, cleaning agents and beauty products. Our environment is becoming exceedingly toxic and our bodies are being forced to take on this load. With the rise of severe food and environmental allergies, eczema, autoimmune conditions and chronic illnesses like type II diabetes, taking...

  • It’s Not You, It’s Me

    Projection is a psychological defense originally identified by Sigmund Freud in which one unconsciously attributes their feelings or impulses onto another. The other carries our flaws and is responsible for our misery. Projection is a conflict between unconscious feelings or impulses and conscious beliefs or values. Projecting the feelings onto others or situations is an attempt to externalize the problem. An example of projection is when a husband who has suppressed sexual desires for a coworker, then accuses his wife of being unfaithful. Tom Hanks as Chuck Nolan in Cast Away projects his fears, disowned self or unconsciousness onto...

  • Wanted: Soul Being Candidates

    Did you know that you are a Soul Being having a Human Being experience.? This means that your Soul has been guiding you since let’s say… forever. Just imagine that you are in-between lifetimes and you are hanging out in the non-physical world. Your Soul floats up to the heavenly bulletin board and see’s a job post that says Human Being positions available. The requirements to incarnate as a Human Being are clearly listed as follows: Job Requirements: You will incarnate into a physical body that is going to need a lot of help at the beginning and at...

  • Beyond Calories and Carbs: A Broader Approach to Weight Loss

    Now that summer is in full swing, it’s hard to go too long without hearing a conversation about the next best diet. If you’re like most patients, choosing the right diet can be confusing, overwhelming, and understandably stressful. With so many diets to choose from, it can be difficult to determine which program is best for you. While each one likely has its benefits, I often tell patients there is no single diet that is universally best for all of us. We are genetically and biochemically unique, which means the approach to weight loss should be specific to your...

  • Selective Mutism: Natural Approaches for Vocal Restoration

    What do you do when your patient or client appears to respond to every instruction you give them yet when you directly ask him or her a question there is no response? Do you repeat the question, assuming the individual has not heard what you said? Do you move forward with the intake and make note of the individual’s demeanor? These questions without a doubt leave numerous clinicians pondering what the next course of action might be. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), selective mutism (SM) is a disorder in which individuals...