Posted by: Abby Caplin, MD | December 4, 2013

Intimate “Writing to Heal” workshop now forming!

If your upcoming New Year’s resolution is to write about health issues that you have been facing, this small group will help you kick-start and/or deepen your writing process. You will also explore your experiences through writing, and find out how to use writing as a healing tool. We will meet at my office for six one-hour sessions on Thursday mornings, beginning February 6. Participants will be given writing prompts, time for writing, sharing and processing experiences. All participants must agree to confidentiality about material that is shared during sessions.

Session dates for 2014:

February 6, 13, 20, 27

March 6, 13

Thursday mornings: 10 AM-11AM

Fee: $149.00

Location: 257 Connecticut Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

I highly recommend calling early to reserve your space! This intimate workshop is limited to only four participants.

 

To register, call Dr. Abby Caplin at 415-255-9981.

Reviews from previous workshops:

“Jump-started me to thinking about my illness differently. Yes, would recommend this class. Abby provides the atmosphere for words to flow, connecting with self and others.”

“I found this workshop helped me deal with the emotional side of my illness in a far more positive way than I would have thought possible. To find my voice has kept panic and self-pity at bay.”

“Being in a safe environment with others who understand the context of chronic illness has been an absolute gift.”

Posted by: Abby Caplin, MD | April 15, 2012

Writing to Heal class

I want to lift my face, smile against gravity, find wholeness in life’s marathon.

B.D., “Writing to Heal” class, 5/11

(Words chosen from word grab bag to create the poem: facelift, marathon, gravity, wholeness, smile.)

Expressive and narrative writing are one of the many tools used for mind-body healing. The common intent in the use of any creative intervention with regard to chronic illness is to reduce the level of chronic stress as experienced by the patient.

If you are living with illness or health challenges, please join me starting next week!

Five Sunday Evenings 7:00-8:30 PM April 22 and 29, May 6, 20, 27

Workshop Series Fee: $145

Find your direction and inner strength

Explore experiences in a safe group

Become more resilient

Spark your creativity

Reservation required.

If you have any questions, please call me at 415-255-9981

Posted by: Abby Caplin, MD | February 19, 2012

Chronic Illness and Exhaustion

My own energy varies from day to day, but with good amounts of consistent rest, well planned, I’m thankful to live a full and creative life.

For many years, though, I functioned in a deficit range, leading to illness and exhaustion. I believed then that it was normal to push myself beyond capacity. I’d done it for such a long time, and I was good at it. Why not keep going?

I didn’t listen to my body as it “talked” back to me through symptoms.

A great method that I use to help myself gauge my stamina is to check in with my body during the day. I like to think in terms of “energy coins,” like a stipend that I have been given, and one that I must spend wisely. In my mind, when my energy bank is full, it has ten coins. As I go about my day, I pay out to the world, slowly or quickly, depending on my circumstances.

If I drift down to about five coins, I reassess my plans and make appropriate adjustments. Four coins, and I know I’m headed for at least a day in bed. It’s hard making those adjustments and even after all these years, I can still sometimes feel guilty about letting others down. But the sooner I make those changes, the sooner I recover. Make it a habit, like taking medicine, to closely watch your energy. If your energy bank is low, take the appropriate action. You have my permission!

Posted by: Abby Caplin, MD | January 25, 2012

The Importance of Mind-Body Medicine

My brother is a retired pediatrician. During his career he was often asked, “Are you nervous, Doc?” “Nah. It’s called familial tremor,” he’d say, his hands shaking as he placed the stethoscope over the child’s heart. No doubt his tremor was a source of embarrassment, as he weathered the odd glances and false assumptions even from his medical school instructors. He laughs about it now, but underneath his upbeat attitude, I sense his years of struggle in living with this visible condition.

Each medical condition or illness has its own set of challenges, including the visibility or invisibility of what the body must deal with. As someone who developed an autoimmune disorder, I became acutely aware of the challenges of a mostly invisible illness. I felt ill, but looked great! In cases like mine, it can take years for doctors to take a person’s symptoms seriously and begin to investigate.

For those with tremors, though, the condition is visible, and one must repeatedly experience the suppositions of others. They may make interpretations and assumptions about visible tremors — wondering if the person is “nervous” or even a drug addict — which can create more stress than the actual condition. From mainstream medical journals to patient support groups, it is understood that while stress is not the primary cause of many medical conditions, it often makes symptoms much worse.

For this reason, it’s important to realize that self-judgments and perceived judgments of others generate stress and can be detrimental to your health. Self-judgments can include thinking that you are “damaged goods,” “not good enough,” or “a loser.” When chronically present, these beliefs are especially potent in their toxicity. Those who work in the field of psychoneuroimmunology and its practical application, Mind-Body Medicine, know that such negative beliefs generate pro-inflammatory biochemical reactions that affect the nervous and immune systems, often making the illness worse.

Each one of us inherits a set of genes through our biological parents, making us prone to specific diseases and medical conditions. We cannot change our DNA, but what we can change is our environment, both internal and external. In this way, the expression of disease-causing genes has the potential to be altered. Mind-Body Medicine helps people evaluate what is possible to change and gives them tools to do it. It also challenges people to think differently, find their strengths and lead empowered lives.

A competent and compassionate mind-body medicine physician, healing practitioner or psychotherapist, trained in mind-body interventions and energy psychology, is a wonderful resource. Everyone with a chronic medical condition or illness needs to be proactive in creating their own internal healing environment.

Posted by: Abby Caplin, MD | January 8, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone! I haven’t posted here for several months. Why? I’ve been writing! I hope you have, too. I’ve given myself permission to spend this year writing memoir pieces, poems and short stories. What’s your plan for this year?

I’ve also decided to offer another class in Mind-Body Health Writing to those of you who live in San Francisco. The class dates are January 29, February 5, 12, 26 and March 4. Please call me at 415-255-9981 if you are interested in taking the class. It’s always enlightening and empowering, fun for people who write, and those who don’t consider themselves writers. Let this class kick-start your new year!

 

Image

PS: This is me at the age of seven wearing a blue-striped top. My cousin Barbara (on the left) sent it to me last week. I don’t think I’ve changed all that much….

 :)

Posted by: Abby Caplin, MD | August 25, 2011

The Empowered Patient

Years ago, soon after finishing medical school, I developed a persistent ache in my upper abdomen. I worried that I had developed a stomach ulcer and sought the help of a gastroenterologist. He took my family medical history, and I dutifully reported that my mother suffered from Crohn’s disease. I wasn’t worried about having it myself, though. My two older brothers were doing fine, and the doctor didn’t seem worried about it either. He recommended and performed an upper endoscopy, putting a scope into my stomach under anesthesia and looking around. When I regained consciousness, I was aware of his sympathetic and vaguely smug smile.

“You don’t have an ulcer. I think this is a case of “medical student syndrome,’” he said. He was telling me that the stress of medical school, coupled with too much knowledge of disease acquired through four years of medical training, had made me a bit paranoid, and that this was causing the pain. I felt better believing that my symptoms were nothing serious, but also a bit foolish that I had sought his evaluation and wasted his valuable time. Unfortunately, his avuncular condescension led me to ignore my symptoms and to years of untreated Crohn’s disease.

I recently came across a book called The Empowered Patient, by Elizabeth Cohen. It’s a must read. I wish this book had been available years ago.  Elizabeth is a CNN medical correspondent, and her book is riveting and instructive.

The Empowered Patient is an easy to read guide about the realities of how to protect yourself in our current healthcare system. For example, the author gives clear instructions about how to prepare for a medical appointment and how to use the Internet (in spite of the possible eye rolling from your doctor). She shows how women are often on the receiving end of gender bias, and teaches that it’s not only OK, but vital to be assertive, persistent and trust your instincts.

The chapters include the following topics:

How to be a “Bad Patient”

How to find Dr. Right (and Fire Dr. Wrong)

Don’t Leave a Doctor’s Appointment Saying “Huh?”

How to Avoid a Misdiagnosis

How to Become an Internet MD (Medical Detective)

You vs. the Insurance Industry

How to Get Good Drugs Cheap

Don’t Fall for Medical Marketing

Don’t Let a Hospital Kill You

The Empowered Patient could help you save your life!

Posted by: Abby Caplin, MD | June 23, 2011

Registration Opens for Mind-Body Health Writing Class

Writing Heals

The reviews are in!

I am pleased to announce that registration is once again open for the next Mind-Body Health Writing Class. The class is held at BookShop West Portal in San Francisco. It begins this September and runs for 5 weeks.

This group is designed specifically for people living with chronic illness.

If you are living with illness or health challenges and would like to be more proactive in your healing, please join me!

  • Connect with others
  • Find your direction, strength and power
  • Engage life-affirming methods
  • Explore in a place of acceptance
  • Get in touch with your resilience
  • Uncover meaning
  • Spark your creativity

I guide group participants through a process of reflection, writing and optional sharing. Just come with an open mind and notebook.

When:
Five Sunday Evenings 7:00-8:30 PM
September 11, 18, 25 and October 2 and 9, 2011

Sign up early – space is limited, and all classes fill early!

Call now to register: 415-255-9981
Email: abby@abbycaplinmd.com

For more information click here: BookShop West Portal

If you are in the SF neighborhood, I hope to see you soon!

Abby

Posted by: Abby Caplin, MD | May 15, 2011

Nourishing Connections – The Ceres Community Project Story

When I work with people who are living with serious illnesses, especially those dealing with cancer, it’s often difficult to even think about eating, let alone decide what to eat and how to find the energy to prepare it. If feasible, hiring someone to help you can be of great benefit. With the right person shopping and cooking, you can use your precious energy for healing in other ways.

But not everyone can afford to hire someone. I was moved when friend and professional filmmaker Eve Goldberg recently shared her short film with me “Nourishing Connections – The Ceres Community Project Story.” I didn’t know about Ceres, but I’m glad I do now. This organization is an inspiration. I hope their model will spread to other communities.

Take a look at this 9 minute video!

Posted by: Abby Caplin, MD | February 14, 2011

Healing Poetry

This poem, “When Someone Deeply Listens To You,” by John Fox is a wonderful reminder about the importance of listening. When we deeply listen, we help others heal. And when we can deeply listen to our different “selves,” whether through writing, friends or therapists, we help heal ourselves as well!

 

When Someone Deeply Listens To You

When someone deeply listens to you

it is like holding out a dented cup

you’ve had since childhood

and watching it fill up with

cold, fresh water.

When it balances on top of the brim,

you are understood.

When it overflows and touches your skin,

you are loved.

When someone deeply listens to you

the room where you stay

starts a new life

and the place where you wrote

your first poem

begins to glow in your mind’s eye.

It is as if gold has been discovered!

When someone deeply listens to you

your barefeet are on the earth

and a beloved land that seemed distant

is now at home within you.

—  John Fox

© John Fox

http://www.poeticmedicine.com/

Used by permission of the author.

Posted by: Abby Caplin, MD | January 2, 2011

Registration Now Open for Mind-Body Health Writing Class 2011

Happy New Year! Welcome 2011!

I am pleased to announce that registration is once again open for the next Mind-Body Health Writing Class. The class is held at BookShop West Portal in San Francisco.

This group is for people living with chronic health challenges.

If you are living with illness or health challenges and would like to be more proactive in your healing, please join me!

  • Connect with others
  • Find your direction, strength and power
  • Engage life-affirming methods
  • Explore in a place of acceptance
  • Get in touch with your resilience
  • Uncover meaning
  • Spark your creativity

I guide group participants through a process of reflection, writing and optional sharing. Just come with an open mind and notebook.

When:
Five Sunday Evenings 7:00-8:30 PM
February 13, 20, 27 and March 6 & 13, 2011

Sign up early – space is limited. The previous class filled early!

Call now to register: 415-255-9981
Email: abby@abbycaplinmd.com

For more information click here: BookShop West Portal

I’m looking forward to meeting you!

Abby

Older Posts »

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.