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Program offers new ways to treat ‘body, mind, spirit'

April 14, 2009

I'll deal with it tomorrow.

That excuse might work when we're too busy or exhausted to fix a broken appliance, but not when unhealthy lifestyles urgently need repair.

A unique interdisciplinary graduate certificate program in Arizona State University's School of Social Work is providing insight into ways to improve quality of life by focusing on "integrative health." That's the current term used by many health practitioners who believe in the importance of treating "the whole person - body, mind and spirit," says Dr. Maria Napoli, associate professor in the School of Social Work.

The program focuses on a new paradigm of treating mental and behavioral health, the core elements of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, ancient healing traditions, and holistic therapies.

The Graduate Certificate in Assessment of Integrative Health Modalities offers extensive knowledge of health practices such as mindfulness, which helps in embracing change and reducing stress. Among those who have completed the five-course, 15-credit program are social workers, psychologists, nurses and naturopathic physicians.

Students learn about personal health maintenance, patient care, environmental health, and overarching philosophies about health care.

The program includes lectures by health care professionals and ASU faculty from across disciplines; evidence-based research; field observation; and class interaction designed to enhance the quality and effectiveness of treating clients holistically.

"We teach cutting-edge techniques that help health care professionals improve their own quality of life and share that knowledge with their patients," Napoli says.

"We look at the specific processes you use daily to assess your client and consider new ways to craft a rich and innovative model for assessment," says Tamara Rounds, School of Social Work lecturer.

The certificate requires the completion of three core courses in the School of Social Work at the Downtown Phoenix campus, and two interdisciplinary electives available at any ASU campus, or online.

A minimum of a bachelor's degree in health or human services or related field is required to enter the program.

For information, visit