Media Q & A
Dr. Joalie Davie, a trained and experienced medical doctor, sees the role of the physician as being more personalized, facilitating and empowering individuals to access inner resources for healing. Using mind-body modalities in her practice, she has achieved surprising and consistent success.
Her new book, Healing the Power in You, presents real-life stories of a physician and her patients, including her own health crisis and the failure of Western medicine to restore her to health. Her search for answers and remedies led to new perceptions and approaches to healing, which literally saved her life. Today, she shares this new information to change the lives of other individuals seeking wellness in a mindful and holistic way.
Q1: You write in your book about being skeptical of non-conventional approaches to healing. What was pivotal in bringing you to complementary and alternative methods?
A: When I was healthy and extremely active—and Western medicine appeared to support my wellbeing—I had no need to look outside that system for help. But then I became seriously ill, and the promised “cure” in fact exacerbated the problem and compromised my pulmonary and immune systems.
So several factors became pivotal in my transformation, as I gradually allowed myself to recognize and then accept:
- The best available treatment options in medicine failed to restore my health.
- State-of-the-art treatment options caused even more serious problems.
- I had nothing to lose in trying acupuncture.
- Respectable colleagues referred difficult and recalcitrant cases to a psychologist who used hypnosis with success—where medicine had failed.
- Medical literature had supported the use of hypnosis for over thirty years, but it was not taught in medical school, in textbooks, or at conferences.
- Acupuncture helped in ways medical treatment failed. And I did not understand how or why it worked so well for me.
Q2: What would you say to a skeptic today, who may consider hypnosis and acupoints to be the stuff of nonsense?
A: I do not try to convince anyone. I state my truth. It is up to individuals to decide what is true for them and what they are willing to look at, what they see, and what they accept or deny.
In my opinion, being skeptical of a practice that is foreign is fine. A skeptic normally is able to ask questions, evaluate situations, and accept facts. The difficulty I encounter is when people are cynical and are not willing to look at facts or accept the truths as real.
Recent scientific research supports the effectiveness of TFT (an energy psychology technique), and acupuncture, for specific conditions such as depression, PTSD, and allergies. TFT is the first energy psychology techniques to receive the designation of Evidence-based Therapy by the National Registry of Evidence-based Procedures and Practices (NREPP).
Q3: Aside from your personal journey, you present the cases of twenty others, with different stories. Describe the range of conditions you have encountered in your practice.
A: As an emergency physician, in the 80s and 90s, the conditions I encountered ranged from a stubbed toe to gunshot wounds, a bad cold to heart failure, acutely psychotic patients to a heartbroken family of a dying loved one.
In my current practice, I seldom see true emergencies. Individuals who come to me are self-selected, seeking to resolve physical symptoms such as pain, allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, and gynecologic problems; more commonly I see clients for emotional conditions such as stress management, depression, anxiety, and phobias, often when they would like to avoid pharmaceuticals.
Q4: Are any symptoms more likely—or less likely—to result in satisfactory outcomes?
A: First, if someone has an emergency such as a broken bone or acute chest pain, the treatment of choice is getting to the emergency department.
That said, in my experience, people who come of their own free will and remain open to the experience have satisfactory outcomes.
Q5: How long does a course of treatment last?
A: Often the course of treatment is brief. In general, young children and people with fewer childhood traumas who have loving and supportive parents will heal faster.
On the other hand, people who have had several serious childhood traumas when very young, and I include adoption after loss of a biological parent, violence, safety issues such as inadequate food or shelter, any form of abuse, a family member with substance abuse, mental illness, or having served jail time—these are more likely to require longer treatment.
Some of the conditions that often clear within a one- or two-session time frame are simple phobias.
I cannot predict how many session an individual will need for continued success. I have had a client come expecting to work with me for a couple of years to clear hundreds of traumas that completely resolved within a couple of months, and I’ve some clients who have worked with me for several years.
Q6: Please mention a couple of the techniques you use.
A: Focusing is a technique I regularly use and use as an anchor. It s about facilitating the client to access to their own inner feelings. Along with Focusing, I use Thought Field Therapy, Emotional Freedom Technique, and Hypnosis.
Q7: Is there a common philosophy underpinning the different techniques you use?
A: When I work with someone, I trust that they have the capacity to heal, and my intention is to guide and facilitate the work to ensure their comfort and safety.
I respond to their story, observe them, listen to what they say—as well as what is not expressed—and adjust my response to what I sense. This is the art of therapy, since I may use different techniques to approach an apparently similar problem in two different people.
Q8: Please tell our readers/listeners what a typical session with you is like.
A: I listen to their goal; if I feel it is within my scope of practice then we can work together. I often use a questionnaire to help both me and the client determine what issues are coming up. When the problem is straightforward, such as anxiety or anger, I may guide them so they can be present as an observer of the situation. Often there is a childhood memory that is connected with the feeling, limiting belief, or emotion and how that memory is stored in their body. Even problems of a physical nature may be tied to troubling memories. When the original memory is accessed, we work to resolve the painful emotions associated with it; this allows for the change in perception of the current situation, which in turn allows the client to access resources and respond rather than react.
Q9: You've done fascinating work with very young children. Tell us about that.
A: Working with children is very rewarding, as they have not shut down their internal resources. And it’s easy to help them get over a trauma, such as surgery or an accident, as long as they have a nurturing and supportive environment. In many cases the children reflect problems in their caregivers, and therefore it is important to work with their caregiver to resolve the child’s issue.
Q10: In your book, you emphasize that you facilitate the healing, and that actually the person coming to see you is responsible for the healing work. Can you explain that further?
A: In my work, I do not know what resources an individual may possess for the healing to occur. I trust that the client has those resources, and I hold the space for the client to access them and heal.
This dynamic can also bee seen when a surgeon sews up a laceration: the wound heals because the patient’s body has the potential to form new skin to close the wound, not because there are stitches. This power of healing is weakened by poor circulation, malnourishment, or other health issues. This is why sometimes the treatment for wounds in patients with diabetes is amputation to a point where the body can heal.
The difference is we understand the physiology of wound healing and the stages for new skin to form, but we don’t yet fully understand the mechanisms to effectively treat, and heal, anger, pain, and anxiety.
Q11: What types of workshops and retreats do you offer?
A: I offer public and private workshops and retreats for small groups and organizations. I have presented at the Canadian Association for Integrative and Energy Therapies, the University of New Mexico Center for Life, the Santa Fe Vitality Faire, Overeaters Anonymous, Cell to Soul Retreat by Gregg Braden, and nonprofit organizations.
I enjoy leading small-group retreats in nature or close to tropical beaches. These workshops, for up to twelve people, are for letting go of stress, resolving inner conflicts, listening to our deepest wisdom, and supporting the healing of parts of ourselves that often go unattended in our busy lives .
Attending these workshops help build resilience and connection. Attendees experience peace, comfort, and more compassion for themselves and others.
Some of my favorite locations for retreats include Sunrise Springs, in Santa Fe, NM, and Rarotonga, in the Cook Islands. Future retreat locations I am currently considering are Hawaii, Costa Rica, and the Mediterranean coast.
Q12: You received your medical degree from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, you taught on the clinical faculties of U-Mass and Tufts, you worked as an emergency physician—what have you retained from that training and experience?
A: My training at Harvard and U-Mass Medical School laid down a solid foundation for developing the skills I have today. Studying the wonders of anatomy, physiology, and neuro-anatomy allowed me to understand the aliveness of the human body and its systems. Studying science—and medicine as a science—allowed me to understand the intricacies of the human body and how it works, what keeps it functioning, and what is needed to sustain its basic functioning. Training, studying, and learning from great clinicians, and then applying what I learned, has enabled me to develop outstanding clinical skills. I also learned from every encounter with the thousands of patients I cared for.
Beyond the science, though, is the art of medicine. There are few academic books that illustrate the art of medicine. It has to do with asking questions and listening for answers, without limiting myself to what I was taught—even when the answers fell outside of my rigorous training.
I have always asked myself: How can I do a better job? Is this the best I can do? Is there a better way to do it?
Q13: Before medical school, was there anyone or anything in your background that may have influenced where you are today in your professional life?
A: I was brought up to tell the truth, to act respectfully in regards to others, to be kind and compassionate, to love my neighbor as myself. These form the foundation of my actions.
Once I learned that some complementary and alternative techniques were safer, even more effective, than conventional modalities, once I understood how to use the body’s own resources and strengths, rather than overpower them, I accepted what I observed and experienced as true, even though it confronted my belief that allopathic medicine was superior in an absolute way. I became a strong advocate of using our innate power to heal, thereby decreasing the need for aggressive treatments, pharmaceuticals, and surgery.
Q14: You talk about alternative modalities that are considered quackery by some of your colleagues. How do you back up your claims?
A: This book is about facts—the true experiences of myself and my clients. I make no claims about specific treatments for specific diagnoses.
However, I would very much like to see more research on the techniques I use. I would like to read about other skilled practitioners using these modalities and comparing outcomes in specific situations. For example, in the treatment of specific physical problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome, frozen shoulder, or back pain, how does using integrative psychology (specifically TFT) and other evidence-based modalities—along with diet and supplements—compare with conventional interventions like surgery or pharmaceuticals?
Another condition I am curious about is what the effectiveness of TFT is for a condition such as cholecystitis for people with subacute symptoms.
Designing studies to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment is challenging, because the basic premises for medicine are different than for energy psychology. In medicine, the tested outcome is based on the current understanding of physiology, microbiology, pharmacology, etc., while in energy psychology the tested outcome is not always pre-determined.
To use an example from my book:
When I did not want to have surgery for the epicondylitis I was experiencing, I tried acupuncture. Acupuncture helped my lungs, so I did not need antibiotics. The antibiotics I would have taken at the time were Cipro and Augmentin. It turns out the reason I was having epicondylitis was an adverse effect of the Cipro (which at the time was not recognized).
Another example: A self employed professional came to me for weight loss. She also had had carpal tunnel for 9 months which was preventing her from working effectively. Her physician had referred her to an orthopedic surgeon for surgical evaluation.
When I worked with her to address her weight issues by working with her emotions and beliefs, and addressing childhood adverse experiences, her wrist improved and she no longer needed a splint. When she went for the orthopedic consult, her wrist was 90% improved. Of course there was no longer an indication for surgery.
So you can see that the outcome can be complex. Because it is not a dose response type effect, the measurement of the outcome can be confusing.
Nonetheless, I believe that research is a tool to help define and possibly refine our understanding of how medicine can resource with energy psychology. And that includes TFT, EFT, Ask and Receive, hypnosis, and many other modalities.
Q15: Do you plan on writing more books?
A: Yes, I do. There are many more facts that need to be shared to educate the general public about choices. It is important to respect the human body and its potential for health and disease. I would like to be one of the physicians who helps people achieve better health through awareness and the ability to access happiness, inner peace, and better choices.