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Belleruth Naparstek

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award.

The work of the HeartMath® Institute has arguably had its greatest impact showing people that by focusing on their own feelings of love and care, they can entrain their heart rhythms to enter a more coherent, healthy, psychologically resilient state. And they can influence other hearts in the vicinity as well.

What's fun is, they do this with high-end monitors and sophisticated telemetry, so it's a lot harder for naysayers to simply call them fruit loops and dismiss their findings.

Question:

Dear Belleruth,

I have a new client who was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition about 10 years ago. He's determined not to let his disease own him and is doing everything to beat it. He decided to add Meditative Massage to his regimen of therapies. [Ed. Note:This is a program where the client's choice of a Health Journeys guided imagery audio is played during the massage – in this case he chose the guided imagery to help with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

While as much as he liked the topic, he admitted to having trouble focusing until it was almost over. We'll be working together soon and I'd like to help him get more out of his session next time. What would you suggest?

As always, thank you for all that you do.

Hannah, LMT

Just this morning, Elizabeth got a query from a volunteer working at a statewide patient advocacy organization. She was wondering if we could donate some freebie giveaways for her newly diagnosed, shell-shocked people.

One of this woman's jobs was to send comfort kits to newly diagnosed people, still in the throws of realizing how much their world had just gotten turned upside down. The stress level and sense of unreality can be overwhelming.

Okay, so imagine my surprise when I finished a guided imagery talk at the University of Arizona's Center for Integrative Medicine's iHelp (Integrative Health & Lifestyle Program) Residential Weekend, and this ridiculously gorgeous and charismatic nurse comes up after the class and introduces herself to me. She tells me she's running a study at her hospital's chemo unit to measure the impact of our guided imagery on chemo patients – on their experience of pain, anxiety, nausea, fatigue, sadness and sleep quality.

I am of course delighted, because these studies are so important for establishing value, getting the word out to other health care institutions, and getting the funding for other such programs. I had no idea this study was going on.

Furthermore, she tells me that she has a colleague at a neighboring hospital, who is running an even larger investigation of the very same thing.

Later on, we exchange emails and I learn that there are some pretty terrific data being collected. (I can't share this until they publish, of course. But trust me, it's looking very pretty!)

So I says to myself, I says: Cheesh. I wonder how many other studies are going on out there? We need to know about them, so we can help them get the word out when the time is right.

And we can help in other ways, too. Sometimes we've even been able to find a journal that's eager to publish an investigator's results. Sometimes, if we know early enough, we can give a lovely discount or even donate the guided imagery, to use as the intervention or the control, and often we help with designing the study and training the staff.

So, really, people, give us a heads up – if you're planning a guided imagery study, just finished one, or are smack in the middle of one. Maybe we can help.

-Belleruth

We got this lovely note from a nurse practitioner in a GYN practice, who inspired us to take her lead and develop our own prescription pads. Check it out!

Dear Belleruth,

nancy-longI am an ovarian cancer survivor and a nurse practitioner in gynecology GYN. I also am Volunteer Chair of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition.

I buy your CDs and give them to women going thru surgery and chemo.

One of my friends sent me these cards with my very favorite quote from you. When I say it or even think it, my shoulders relax! {Ed. Note: the affirmation is "I know I am held in the hands of God and am perfectly, utterly safe."]

Thank you for all of your wonderful healing work. I often write your website and name on a prescription for my patients.

I play your CD's in my survivor groups.

Thanks so very much.

Nancy Long

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We got the perfect question from Mario, who wants to know which guided imagery to use for his problems with separation anxiety and attachment, and this gives BR an excuse to launch into her favorite topic of blankies, Teddy Bears & thumbs, and why guided imagery is a child's natural solution for finding autonomy from Mommy.

Question:

Hello Belleruth. I have just listened to your interview on Guy McPherson's Trauma Therapist Podcast. Fantastic!

I'm 31 years old and am planning to attend Social Work graduate school next year. I have been working with my own issues of anxious attachment, in therapy and meditation for quite some time.

Researchers from The Sorbonne in Paris examined the relationship between dispositional mindfulness - peoples' natural tendency toward a mindful attitude (non-judgmental awareness of the present moment), and their weight status, in a large sample of the French adult general population.

A total of 14,400 men and 49,228 women, over 18 yrs old, were included in this cross-sectional analysis. Mindfulness data was collected, using the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire, as well as self-reported weight and height.

The investigators assessed the association between weight status and dispositional mindfulness, as well as its subscales (observing, describing, acting with awareness, non-judging and non-reactivity), using multinomial logistic regression models adjusted for socio-demographic and lifestyle factors.

Hello again.

First, I want to give you a heads up – we're having the best time overhauling our whole social media strategy! So if you've got a minute, check out our newly jolted presence on Facebook and Twitter for starters, soon to be followed by new postings on Instagram and Pinterest. Who knew this could be so much fun?

I also want to let you know about some important conferences coming up.

Andy Weil's cutting edge Nutrition & Health Conference is happening in Denver on March 21-23 and is not to be missed if you want to learn a lot of the latest research based thinking and implementing on food, healing and health. I kid you not. You can register at http://www.nutritionandhealthconf.org.

The 18th Annual Energy Psychology Conference is in Santa Clara this year, on June 2-5, on Changing the World through Personal Healing & Transformation. It's a wonderful meeting, and you can register here at http://www.ep-conference.org.

I come from a family of Olympic-grade, Gold Medalist Blamers. My parents woke up angry and went to bed angry. They expressed anger the way normal people say hello, how are you??!! My mother had a constant slow burn, and my father lost his temper over issues large and small (mostly small!!!) dozens of times a day. All of us kids grew up assuming that this was what life looked like!

When I started acting like my mother in my marriage, my husband was dumbfounded. He is a decent, reasonable man who couldn't fathom where all this bubbling anger was coming from.

When he pointed it out to me, I couldn't either. I took a long, hard look at the culture I grew up in, went into therapy and did an overhaul on my psyche. NO WAY was I going to screw up my marriage to this man if I could help it.

Swedish researchers from Linkoping University and Stockholm University looked at whether a blended treatment, with four face-to-face sessions and a smartphone application, could deliver comparable results to a full, 10-session course of behavioral treatment for people suffering from major depression.

The randomized, controlled non-inferiority trial compared a blended treatment (n=46) to a full ten-session treatment (n=47) with people suffering from major depression. The primary outcome measure was the BDI-II, administered at pre- and post-treatment, as well as six months post-treatment.

Results showed significant improvements in both groups across time on the primary outcome measure At the same time, the blended treatment reduced the therapist's time by an average of 47%.