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April 8, 2013

By Mike Sullivan, Therapist

As a major figure in 17th century continental rationalism, Rene Descarte’s perspectives fueled western philosophy, allowing him to become dubbed “the father of modern philosophy.”  While Descarte offered valuable insights, his emphasis on the mind- body split (later to be coined Cartesian dualism), has catalyzed a perspective that continues to dominate western culture, having important implications in western medicine and psychology.

Western culture has developed a destructive distinction between the mind and the body, leading to an emphasis on thought and rationale, while forgetting that the body is part of the whole, and critical to overall wellbeing and functioning.  It is fascinating that school districts budget significant funds for curriculum, yet give kids relatively minimal exercise and feed them highly processed foods with hardly any nutritional value.  Further, our child obesity rates are sky rocketing, and with that, hospital treatments, with little emphasis being placed on prevention.  What is the value of nurturing the minds of our youth without teaching them how to take care of their bodies?  Why isn’t education more comprehensive?  What if our mind and bodies are in fact one, and nurturing the mind-body is critical for health and wellbeing?

Pacific Quest Wilderness Therapy ProgramI am on my way to Chicago next week for the bi-annual IECA conference.  This conference focuses on educational issues and varied approaches to helping kids.  Dr. Britta Zimmer, ND and I will be presenting on the integrated approach of health and education at Pacific Quest.  We will introduce aspects of mind-body health, including the five pillars of health, extensive clinical supports, and the collaborative approach of our team.  We will draw on a recent case study to show how a recent student really EMBODIES his education!  If you would like to know more about this presentation specifically please don’t hesitate to contact me at mikesullivan@pacificquest.org

It is time that we start educating our youth holistically and give them the tools to live healthy and sustainable lives. Our mental health and physical health are related.  Let’s help our youth understand the connection and empower them to live happy lives.

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