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Holistic health program emerges in Phoenix

June 28, 2007

Body scans, trauma-releasing exercises, assessment of air quality and toxins, and progressive relaxation are just a few of the experiential class activities that will be required of students in the new graduate level certificate in the assessment of integrative health modalities being launched this fall by ASU's School of Social Work.

It is no surprise that health and human service professionals and students are seeking theoretical knowledge and practice in these types of therapies, since many hospitals, clinics, hospice, corporations and insurance companies have incorporated these modalities into their services. The goal of integrated “wellness of body, mind and spirit” and the concept patients taking an active role in self-healing are no longer foreign to most care providers.

“Our health care system is in dire need of these types of programs,” says Carlos Santo, a board-certified naturopathic physician who directs Four Corners Healing Center in Scottdale.

New skills in assessing patient treatment needs by integrating a broad array of evidence-based healing methods will be of value to the social workers, nurses, counselors, psychologists, nutritionists, graduate students and other community heath care providers who receive this innovative certification.

This interdisciplinary, 15-credit certificate program will cover the historical development and research of ancient healing teachings, the paradigm of treating the “whole” person, and theories of holistic therapies and how they can be blended as needed. Students also will be introduced to the core elements of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and have the flexibility to add approved elective courses.

The School of Social Work , located at ASU's Downtown Phoenix campus, has offered a course in holistic therapies for the past six years. The course has filled to maximum capacity annually, and social work field instructors also have expressed interest in this additional certification.

One of the highlights of the program promises to be the in-depth study and practice of mindfulness, led by Maria Napoli, author of “Tools for Balanced Living.” This CD and workbook will provide students with evidence-based mindfulness therapies that Napoli has used effectively with teachers, parents and children.

“Our larger aim is healthy communities that support social, economic and personal development,” Napoli says. “Our students will learn to be better healers from community health experts, research journals and their own field observations. Their deeper understanding of ancient and modern healing practices will add to their toolkit when assessing real patient needs.”