You Can Find Authenticity, Meaning and Wholeness As You Take Charge of Your Own Healing
An Interview with Holistic Psychiatrist and Author, Dr. Kelly Brogan
Rooted in principles of holistic medicine and cutting-edge neurobiology, holistic psychiatrist Dr. Kelly Brogan has championed a drug-free approach of lifestyle interventions to overcome mental illness and depression. In her latest book, “Own Your Self”, she invites us to step more fully into self-responsibility to rediscover authenticity, health and healing. Parvati Magazine caught up with Dr. Brogan to talk about psychoneuroimmunology, the illness experience and claiming our power.
Parvati Magazine: What is the meaning of “Own Your Self”?
Kelly Brogan: Socio-culturally, tension is building around the overreach of certain authority—government, or guilds such as medicine—seeking to expand through control and dominance. At the same time, we are increasingly aware that things are no longer working and many feel that we need a new approach to develop our resiliency for the reclamation that will represent our collective liberation from the old system.
So this concept of self-ownership is multidimensional: it applies to our agency over our body—us making decisions for our bodies. It is also about becoming intimate with the whole of who we are, so we can experience true self-authority, and understand the transformative power of our emotions. My invitation is to explore all of the places where we are giving our power away and to take full responsibility. This response-ability gives us the opportunity for action, that can lead us to this glorious place of self-actualization that so many people do not know is even possible.
Parvati Magazine: Currently, this model of taking ownership of the illness experience is not widely practiced. How would you say that current social paradigms, mainstream culture and concepts of disease are barriers to healing? What does fearless healing look like?
Kelly Brogan: The current medical system is a model of linear causality: “You have bad genes and you’ve just got to deal with it.” In this model, the patient has no authority over their treatment because there is nothing they can do other than comply with the prescription.
This is what I hope to disrupt. I have dedicated much time and effort to publishing in peer-reviewed, indexed medical literature, the cases that have come out of my practice and online program Vital Mind Reset. These are individuals the conventional system was unable to help. The most important ingredient in the outcomes I have witnessed is the belief that radical healing is available. These individuals began to understand that they could exercise choice that begins with taking responsibility for the things that they can control—not just lifestyle, but also their mindset and the energy that they give to their belief system.
Parvati Magazine: Tell us more about psychoneuroimmunology as the basis of mental illness. How does this inform Vital Mind Reset?
Kelly Brogan: Many people still believe that chemical imbalances are at the root of mental illness and depression. But researchers have abandoned this concept and a field of study is emerging called psychoneuroimmunology. This offers an understanding of the relatedness between the immune system, the hormonal system, the gut-brain, our thoughts and beliefs. This research has highlighted the ways in which our modern lifestyle has diverged from our evolutionary design, for instance in terms of sunlight exposure, types of stress, food quality and social interactions. Our body is having to adjust to this misalignment.
Vital Mind Reset is designed to send a signal of safety to the body, with a commitment to comprehensive self-care in the form of detox, nutrition, and meditation. It is only in that state that your nervous system can begin to heal.
Parvati Magazine: As a physician, how do you integrate spirituality into your wellness program?
Kelly Brogan: Before my own health crisis, that led to a re-examination of the conventional medical paradigm and this journey of applying what I learned to my patients, I would never have identified as a spiritual person. Through my commitment to offering women the opportunity to come off of psychotropic medication, after learning about the long term adverse effects, I began to understand that there is something called the dark night of the soul. In the taper process off medication, these women almost always met with psychospiritual challenges, because they were now given the opportunity to release stored emotional energy and to begin to develop intimacy with this. Archetypally, I saw shedding and personal rebirth. Transitioning into this consciousness, which is ultimately a compassionate, curious, open comportment toward the mystery of life, fundamentally requires a certain kind of faith.
What I believe I offer is fearless reflection, the sense that you can handle anything that is coming your way. It does not mean that it won’t be scary, but it does mean that you are developing a mastery over the internal weather and experiences that will come and go.
Kelly Brogan, M.D. is a holistic women’s health psychiatrist, author of “A Mind of Your Own”, the children’s book “A Time For Rain”, and co-editor of the textbook, “Integrative Therapies for Depression”. She is board certified in psychiatry, psychosomatic medicine, and integrative holistic medicine, and is specialized in a root-cause resolution approach to psychiatric syndromes and symptoms.