Pres­ence of MIND

Val­ley launches stress man­age­ment pro­gram for teens

201 Health - - Adolescent Health - WRIT­TEN BY JOSEPH RI­TACCO

In re­sponse to the grow­ing need to pro­vide teens with re­sources to man­age their stress, Val­ley Med­i­cal Group’s Cen­ter for In­te­gra­tive Medicine now of­fers a six-week Mind­ful­ness Tools for Teens course de­signed to en­hance ar­eas of the brain that are im­por­tant for reg­u­lat­ing emo­tions, pay­ing at­ten­tion and re­lat­ing more ef­fec­tively to stress­ful sit­u­a­tions.

“A lot of phys­i­cal ill­ness has its ori­gins in stress,” says Dr. Jodie Katz, med­i­cal di­rec­tor of the Cen­ter for In­te­gra­tive Medicine, which was founded in 2015 with the pur­pose of com­bin­ing con­ven­tional Western medicine with com­ple­men­tary ther­a­pies to pro­mote bal­ance in mind, body and spirit. “Ad­di­tion­ally, what we’re hear­ing anec­do­tally and see­ing in the lit­er­a­ture is show­ing us the preva­lence of anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion in the ado­les­cent pop­u­la­tion in very high.”

Katz, a board-cer­ti­fied fam­ily medicine physi­cian, spe­cial­izes in func­tional in­te­gra­tive medicine – a pa­tient-cen­tered ap­proach that ad­dresses the whole per­son, not just an iso­lated set of symp­toms. She earned her Mind­ful­ness Based Stress Re­duc­tion (MBSR) teacher cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from the Univer­sity of Mas­sachusetts Med­i­cal School’s Cen­ter for Mind­ful­ness and be­gan teach­ing a course for adults in 2006. When the Cen­ter for In­te­gra­tive Medicine opened last year, she eyed a mind­ful­ness course de­signed specif­i­cally for teens. Re­quests from the com­mu­nity, as well as dis­turb­ing trends among teens she no­ticed while prac­tic­ing as a fam­ily physi­cian, pro­vided the im­pe­tus.

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