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Sierra Tucson doctors to present at mindfulness conference

May 17, 2012
by News release
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This week, experts, thought leaders and health professionals will gather in the Phoenix area (Goodyear) for a national conference on mindfulness, one of the most popular new treatment approaches in the field of psychotherapy.

The “Art & Science of Mindfulness & Counseling: A Revolution of the Heart” conference will be held May 16-19 at the Wigwam Golf Resort & Spa, and will feature two Sierra Tucson physicians, Robert Johnson, D.O., Medical Director, and James Duffy, MD, Psychiatrist and Chief of Integrative Medicine, along with Jack Kornfield, PhD, a renowned expert in the mindfulness field.

The conference is hosted by FACES Conferences, a leading provider of education and conferences dedicated to mindfulness.

“Over the last three decades we have helped support and give a voice to a variety of mental health movements,” reads the FACES website. “In all that time, we have never seen a mental health movement with the potential of the mindfulness movement.”

The benefits of mindfulness are becoming more known and appreciated nationally in many facets of wellness and recovery. Mindfulness practices hold promise not only for personal development, but also as powerful tools to augment virtually every form of psychotherapy.

Sierra Tucson’s Dr. Johnson, a Board Certified Psychiatrist & Addictionologist, will present “Meds, Mindfulness, and More: The Neurobiological Case for a More Integrative Approach to the Treatment of Depression,” in which he’ll discuss the controversies around the effectiveness of psychotropic medication versus placebo, how the industry came to embrace such a narrow approach to the treatment of psychiatric illness, and the emerging neuroscientific data about the benefits of a broader and more integrative approach to psychiatric treatment.

He will specifically discuss the neurobiological benefits of various somatic, experiential, psychotherapeutic, coaching, and complementary/alternative approaches for the treatment of major depression.

“There is a growing line of evidence that the therapies that work – whether medication, psychotherapy, mindfulness practices, somatic treatments, or experiential therapies – may share common psychobiological mechanisms,” said Dr. Johnson. “We are beginning to gain a greater understanding at a neurobiological level of the nature of the mind/body relationship. Even though antidepressant medications can be very helpful, given what we know about their potential toxicities and limitations, there is a strong, emerging scientific argument to be made about the value of a more integrative and broad-based approach to the treatment of depression.”

Sierra Tucson’s Dr. Duffy will present “The 5 Medicines: A Practical Model of Integrative Mental Healthcare,” in which he’ll describe the significant challenges to incorporating integrative medicine approaches into clinical practice including the avalanche of new research data that clinicians must sort through in the face of limited time and resources. The workshop will present a practical model for providing integrative mental healthcare and a review of recent important scientific findings that support a holistic approach.

“Integrative approaches to mental healthcare have demonstrated efficacy in treating mental disorders and have very few, if any, harmful side effects,” said Dr. Duffy. “These simple but effective treatments include diet, movement practices, environmental changes, meditation and non-Western approaches such as acupuncture and Ayurveda, each of which can be used in adjunct to conventional allopathic treatments.”